A Day In The Life

Book Reviews

 The Overlook      Michael Connelly     Little, Brown and Company     2007

Connelly is one of my favorite authors.  I own all of his novels featuring Detective Harry Bosch who is so familiar to me that he almost seems non-fictional.  I must admit, however, that I was not as engaged with “The Overlook” as I normally am in a Connelly work.  Don’t get me wrong…..it is an excellent read, just not as exciting as some of his previous novels.  Harry meets up again with FBI agent, Rachel Walling, as they investigate the execution-style murder of Dr. Stanley Kent.  Bosch and Walling disagree on the focus of the investigation.  Bosch is on a mission to speak for the dead and bring the murderers to justice while Walling is more concerned with a possible terrorism angle. 

  The Woods       Harlan Coben       Penguin Group, Inc.     2007

Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp went into the woods one night.  Two were  found murdered and two disappeared without a trace.  Other people were in the woods that night, too.  What did they see?  What did they hear?  What did they do?  A present day murder awakens the ghosts of the past for Paul Copeland and he suddenly finds his life, once again, in turmoil because of what happened twenty years ago at Camp PLUS.  This book is a real page turner.  Fast paced with lots of twists and turns in the plot.   I tried to make it last, but I couldn’t put the book down.

  Exile                         Richard North Patterson     Henry Holt and Co.   2007

A fictional legal thriller set in the midst of current events pertaining to the struggle between the Palestinian and Jewish peoples.  Powerful, gripping and full of historical and factual information.  This book was a learning experience.

 The Watchman     Robert Crais     Simon & Schuster  2007

If you read Crais then you are familiar with Elvis Cole (The World’s Greatest Detective) and his partner, Joe Pike (ex-Marine; ex-cop).  This book focuses on Joe Pike who is asked to guard a young woman who was involved in a mysterious car crash.  Several days after the crash, the young woman becomes the target for a relentless team of killers and no one understands why.  Enter Joe Pike.  I am a huge fan of Robert Crais and this book is not a disappointment.  Intense and powerful.  I couldn’t put it down.

The Alibi Man     Tami Hoag     Bantam Books  2007

Elena Estes, whom we first met in Dark Horse, returns in this thriller set in the ultrarich world of Palm Beach society.  Polo is just one of the games (probably the safest) that the wealthy play.  A groom is murdered on page one and the action and suspense begin never to let up for 350 more pages.  Elena delves into the secret life of the murdered groom and uncovers ties with the Russian mob and a group of powerful Palm Beach bad boys who give each other alibis to cover their sins.  A good read.

 The Two Minute Rule     Robert Crais     Simon & Schuster  2006

Great read by one of my favorite authors.  This story involves the FBI, an ex-con, the LAPD and many more colorful characters.  The two-minute rule is how long professional bank robbers know they have in a bank before the cops show up.  Break the two-minute rule and you might find yourself spending time in jail.  Not everyone follows the rules. 

The Lincoln Lawyer     Michael Connelly     Little Brown  2005

Another of my favorite authors presenting his first legal thriller.  It’s a great book.  I will leave you with the first paragraph from the bookcover flap, “Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him.  But what he should have been on the watch for was evil.”    

God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It         Jim Wallis     A New Vision for Faith and Politics in America     Harper Collins  2005

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a Christian or even religious, this is an excellent book to read.  The content reaches out to those of us who are concerned with the imperialistic policies of the Bush administration.  Probing questions, startling insights and suggestions for changing the political wind in the United States. 

House of Smoke     J.F. Freedman     Signet  1996

This is the third of nine books written by J.F. Freedman.  It is a thriller set in the Santa Barbara, California, area.  A wide range of social issues including spousal abuse, protecting the environment and the drug trade are incorporated in the story line.  Freedman’s style is clean and concise yet the story has many layers, textures, and characters with depth.  I find it hard to put the book down.


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Overlook merely represented some leisurely time off for Connelly. He needs a rest now and then, because he must exert a terrific amount of energy on most of his books which are very good. Not being a lawyer, writing legal thrillers is supposed to be a handicap, but he surmounts this nicely. Only thing wrong with legal thrillers–Connelly’s stuff included–is that they never cover “legal” crime. I’ve waited 50 years for the first one. (Finally had to write one myself for satisfaction.)

Comment by Jack Payne

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