Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Secret of Lucianne Dove

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The Secret of Lucianne Dove
The Secret of Lucianne Dove by Roberta L. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Secret of Lucianne Dove has everything I enjoy in a book: Mystery, history, time-travel, and more. I loved it! It was amazing!

He’d been having dreams again. The sort that woke him up because they were so vivid. When they were that vivid they usually meant something.

So when newspaper reporter Mickey McCoy and his flippant sidekick photographer Freddie Green are sent on an overnight trip to Virginia City to cover the International Camel and Ostrich races, they uncover far more than just the fluff piece they were assigned.

Her face was delicate and sensuous. When she turned and looked at him, he didn’t look away. He stared into her eyes—those strange, enchanting eyes, the color of Comstock gold. Nobody had eyes like Lucianne.

Was veteran reporter Mickey McCoy only looking for the story that would tell him why he became a reporter in the first place? That story that would make him famous? Or will Mickey McCoy discover the haunting secret of Lucianne Dove, before it’s too late?

But that was the thing about life. It didn’t always give you the chance to do things differently. There weren’t a lot of dress rehearsals.

The author, Roberta Smith, hits the Comstock Lode, the Ophir vein, with this haunting tale that is sure to have you paying attention to your own dreams and those so-called coincidences.

Dare to hope.

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Killing Orders

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Killing Orders
Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victoria Iphigenia (V.I.) Warshawski is the daughter of Italian-born Gabriella Sestrieri and former Chicago police officer Tony Warshawski. V.I. is half-Italian, half-Polish, and 100% hard-boiled. A detective specializing in financial crimes, V.I. encounters everything from money laundering to murder, from the mafia to the monastery.

Of course, a hard-boiled detective is never scared. So what I was feeling couldn’t be fear.

Set in Chicago, in the wintertime, mid 1980’s. Lots of Chicago landmarks, payphone use, and cars they don’t make anymore. Will V.I. figure out who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, and will it matter?

I would have preferred the author waste fewer words pontificating on social issues. Because of her misplaced literary-activism, it took me a while to warm up to the main character. I eventually got the job done, but the experience turned an otherwise five star book into four.

“Remember: The only real social sin is to care what other people think of you.” ~ V.I. Warshawski

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Death in a Tenured Position

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Death in a Tenured Position
Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Who done it?

If you can manage to read past about chapter eight of this leisurely paced Kate Fansler crime novel, you will probably be able to guess the answer to the aforementioned question. About chapter eight is where the story picks up the pace too, for about a chapter and a half. The book has an unlucky 13 Chapters, not by accident I suspect, since there is also a prologue and an epilogue that are not numbered.

Did I like this book?

I can answer that question with about as much suspense as Death in a Tenured Position. “No.”

I read this novel as part of the Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma! reading group series Private Investigations: Hard-Boiled and Soft-Hearted Heroes. While I did not like the book (did I mention that?), I was fascinated to learn that the author’s own life experiences eerily mirrored those of the books victim, Janet Mandelbaum. I was floored when I found out that Carolyn Gold Heilbrun (pen name Amanda Cross) met her death in 2003 in the very same manner as that victim.

I did not like the book, cannot recommend it, but I am glad that I had read it as part of a learning experience.

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Land Run

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Land Run

Land Run by Mark Graham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story of a modern day Land Run with twists and turns of fate as extreme as the Oklahoma weather.

This is a really good book with great character development. You will undoubtedly get to know Mark Graham’s characters well when reading Land Run, and if you are like me, they will remind you of real people you actually know.

It was Jake’s turn to clean the kitchen. The room looked like a kind of Moose Lodge for roosters. His wife, Amy Lynn, loved roosters. There were small and large ceramic roosters strewn about the counters. The wallpaper was populated with them. And a serious-looking army of roosters lined up around the room on the wall border running along the ceiling. But Jake was most comfortable in there. They gave his home balance.

It is refreshing to read the thoughts of Christian characters too, people who walk the walk, giving considerable insight into how they think and feel.

She homeschooled their children, sometimes giving oral instruction while grinding her own wheat to bake fresh bread. She made sure that her milk and eggs came straight from a small farm that pasture-fed their animals.

I believe Oklahomans will especially enjoy this book. Although the novel is a work of fiction, you will think you are reading about real people, perhaps your neighbors.

Neighborhood relations, he strongly believed, was essential to home security.

I highly recommend this book.

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