Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mystery? Legal Thriller? How should this book be classified or described? I do not know. But I can say it was good!!!
The author -Mark Gimenez- was suggested to me by several people to me including my local librarian and members of my mystery book discussion group. He is a Texas author and The Color of Law was his first book.
There is a murder in the book - the son of a United States Senator/potential presidential candidate. The accused is a prostitute / drug user. A. Scott Fenney is a lawyer for a big firm in Dallas. He is introduced in the book when he is telling jokes and making a speech in front of some other lawyers. He is campaigning to become the state bar president. Little does he know how this speech is going to change his life because a federal judge is at the luncheon where he is making this speech. This federal judge appoints him to be the lawyer for the accused murderer mentioned earlier. Representing the accused is a conflict for the firm he works for. Refusing to jeopardizes the firm's future cases in this judge's court. Continuing this case will bring unwanted publicity for the Senator and that is not good for the firm.
Scott does everything he can think of in order to get out of the predicament he is in - but to no avail. He finally accepts the position he is in and the results are disastrous on his life. He loses his job, his wife, his house, and his cars. And it appears he is going to lose the case as well. All this is hard for somebody who has thrived on making his life a success. Most of the focus of the book is on the time between this appointment as defense and before the trial actually begins. It is during the trial when everything seems almost hopeless that Scott finally realizes the truth about his client and the murder. He had assumed his client was responsible but he was obligated to defend her. He finally realizes she is not responsible and must uncover the truth in order to free his client. Well he succeeds and frees his client but his (and his daughter's) life has been forever changed.
Fiction? Yes. But believable. I will read the other books he has written - The Abduction and The Perk.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stringing Along

I just finished the second (of five) book in the Megan Clark (or Murder By The Yard book group) series. It is called By "Hook or By Book" and was written by D.R. Meredith. I enjoyed it.

One of the things some people do not like about book series is the repeating of information covered in a previous book. For example, the introductions to the characters are similar to the introductions in a previous book. OF COURSE!!! There are reasons for this. Number one - the reader may have not read any of the previous books in the series so introductions are important. This is certainly the case here as well. And the introductions are consistent - the character does not become a totally different person. However, the author can build on the character description so we get to know the character better. People can change.

It was an interest in discussing mystery books that started the first book in the series. It is a shared interest in string figures that is the occasion for this book. Because of the shared interest, Megan and the Murder By The Yard book group organize a string figure convention. Things start off well. But one murder leads to another and the suspect and connections have to be determined. There is no shortage of suspects - Megan is a suspect again. And Megan of course starts her personal investigation. Needless to say, Megan is again responsible for solving the cases.

Do you remember the reason why Abigail the book store owner liked mysteries over romances from the previous book? To paraphrase - there are hundreds of ways to commit murder. Two ways were the causes of the murders in the previous book. Well ..., two other ways are used here - the hangman (a string figure that can be dangerous) and nicotine poisoning. The way these were done was interesting.

One of the interesting things about this book are the descriptions of how to do different string figures. I was more interested in the story so I brushed past these and did not try any of them. I would think trying these while reading the book would take away from the story. But the instructions are real.

The other thing I thought humorous is how the author introduced another one of the books she wrote in this book. The character who mentioned the book title could remember the book but could not remember who the author was.

Would I recommend this book? You bet!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blogging For Mystery Book Reviews

So ... we do not have enough to do? Need to have more reading resources? If you like mystery book reviews, I found another blog that does this - and more!!! I have a link on my blog watch for the blog (Mystery Books-News, Reviews, Etc). They even have a feature call "Mystery Godoku" - it's kind of like Sudoku. I am sure you will find something you will like there - it seems to be updated quite frequently

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another "Vanished"

I just completed the April selection for our mystery discussion group. It was "Vanished" by Karen Robards. It was not the typical kind of book I would have picked up to read. For starters, it was not one of those Texas mysteries I like to read. Also it wasn't by an author I was familiar with. Finally, the cover was not the kind of cover that would have drawn me to check it out and read. But since it was the group's selection, I read it - and I am glad I did.

The "sleuth" in this book was Sarah Mason - an Assistant District Attorney for Beauford County, South Carolina. She was not a "typical" sleuth. She was a mother who lost her daughter seven years ago who is jolted into searching for her daughter again. She has not forgotten her daughter and it probably has been something she has had thoughts about over the years - but she has been "coping" with it by doing her job in the DA's office. This is a "believable" explanation - "throwing" herself into her job to keep from constantly thinking and despairing about her daughter who is most likely dead.

She is "thrown" back into thoughts about her daughter by two events in this story. First, she is at the scene of a robbery where she (and an unknown little girl) become witnesses to the murder of the store clerk. When she tries to escape with the little girl, she gets shot and the little girl disappears. It seems nobody else believes her about the little girl who just "vanished" from the scene. While she is unconscious, she is frantically trying to find the little girl and then is frantically trying to find her daughter again.

Now this event alone has dredged up memories of the loss of her daughter but it is the next event that puts her frantically into action looking for her daughter again. In the middle of the night, she gets a call from her "daughter" - at the age she was when she first became missing. To virtually everybody else it seems like she is losing it but she insists the phone call was real. One person tries to help her discover the truth about the phone call - Jake Hogan.

Jake Hogan is a private investigator she turned to years ago after her daughter disappeared. He and Sarah have become friends and he is concerned about her. Other things happen and suggest the possibility someone is trying to "shake" her up. It also suggests a possible connection between the robbery gone bad and the mysterious phone call.

One of the first things Jake does is locate the little girl from the robbery gone bad. This puts Sarah at ease a little - knowing the little girl is OK. But things are not OK. Somebody is still trying to shake Sarah up and things are complicated between Sarah and Jake. There are a number of possible reasons and suspects behind this but there are no clear connections. One of these suspects are guilty but everything does not connect until close to the end of the book. We learn why Sarah is taunted by her missing daughter and "more". But to get the "more" you have to read the book - it is too good to miss.