Friday, March 25, 2011

Coming Soon From Ed Lynskey

To start off, Ed Lynskey is an American author who writes crime fiction. I have read one of his previous books Blue Cheer. When I was asked if I wanted the opportunity to read an early release of his book Lake Charles, I said, "Sure!" This book is scheduled to be released in June of this year.

Let me start off by saying this is not a part of the series of the previous book I read - it seems to be a standalone book. There are several characters in this book but the main character is Brendon. In fact the story is pretty much told from his point of view. Just some information about him, he appears to be a young adult recently getting out of high school and he has a twin sister - Edna. He has been raised by his mother - his father left when he was still a toddler. Occasionally, he gets a postcard sent to him from his father in Alaska but it does not say anything. Brendon has a job working at a press - one of only a few of the businesses in this area of Tennessee. He has thoughts of going to Alaska, meeting his dad, and probably going to work in the lumber business with his father.

A couple of things however happen in Brendon's life that puts a grasp on his life. He likes to drink and take drugs. One weekend he gets hooked up with a girl and some of her friends. They go to a concert and do drugs. Afterwards, he goes to a motel with the girl. They continue with the drugs and have some sex before they fall asleep. When he wakes, he discovers the girl has died so he calls the police. He tries to cover up the evidence of the drugs they had been doing but more evidence appears and he gets hauled in for questioning about the murder of the girl. She apparently died from an overdose on PCP which was NOT the drug they were doing. (Oh by the way, the girl is the daughter of a well known lawyer who has political ambitions.)

He is set to be charged with murder and will be going on trial. His mother gets him a lawyer he does not like who gets him out on bail. (This is not the same lawyer who is the father of the dead girl.) Since he got out on bail, he has been having these "dreams" and conversations with the dead girl. He is trying to quit drugs and one of the questions is whether he is having these "dreams" because of the drugs. (Or is this an inherited trait? You will have to read for yourself to see if this is a possibility.)

And if it is gonna "rain", it usually pours!!! Brendon takes a trip with his twin sister and his friend Cobb to the lake - Lake Charles. He and his buddy plan to fish, while his sister plans to ride her jet ski. While there, his sister disappears and they start looking for her. A lot happens - they get shot at, they discover drugs are being grown in the area around the lake, and Brendons' friend Cobb gets killed.

The questions mount up. Is his sister Edna still alive? Why was Cobb killed and who is responsible? How does the dead girl fit into this?

I am not going to tell any more of the story - if you are interested, you need to read it for yourself. I will say I had to read it twice for myself because I wanted to make sure I understood it. Brendon was a hard character to get to understand. Whether it was because of the drug problem he had or whether it was a cultural thing, I am not entirely sure. Of course I think probably some of it 1s also related to the area where it occurred at in the Tennessee mountains. I would be interested in knowing what others think about the book.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Firewheel Mystery Reading Group

I missed out on the last meeting in March but got an update from one of the other member's. Here is what was said about the last two books we reviewed -

We reviewed two selections.

Everyone really enjoyed the “Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, our February selection, and it received a resounding six thumbs up. Several were already into reading the second and third books in this series.

The March selection, “The Monkey’s Raincoat”, received mixed reviews, 2 thumbs up and four down. A few expressed the opinion that it was overly violent and old fashion. Not surprising, since it was published in 1992, but a necessity if we plan to start a series with the first one published. Just think, no internet, no cell phones, etc. A very strange world indeed compared with today’s.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pig Is Pigs

OK!!!! I read this strictly for the fun of it. It is NOT a mystery but it was recommended by one of the friendly cashiers at my "local" Firewheel Barnes and Noble. This is a short story I was able to download to my NOOK ant the title is .... Pigs Is Pigs - just like the title of this blog. I know - the title of my blog is unoriginal but it is catchy. It was written by Ellis Parker Butler.

Let me setup the story ... it is hilarious. A man had two guinea pigs shipped in as pets for his son. When he goes to pick them up from the stationmaster, there is a disagreement over the cost of shipping. The man only wants to pay 25 cents apiece - the price for pets. The stationmaster however disagrees and insists on charging the livestock rate - 30 cents apiece because ... "pigs is pigs".

This is good for a laugh and you would be surprised to see what happens. Check it out if you get a chance!!!

Incidentally, Wikipedia says,"The concept obviously had some currency because it also shows up in the famous Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Introduced to Sleuth Clare Fergusson

Clare Ferguson is one half of the "team" in the Claire Ferguson / Russ Van Alstyne Mystery Series written by Julia Spencer-Fleming
(click here to check out her website). The series consists of 7 books with the latest one - One Was A Soldier - scheduled for release in April. I was fortunate enough to get an early release of book number 7 for my introduction to the series, the sleuth, and the author.

First as an introduction to Clare in this story - she is returning home from a tour in Iraq as a helicopter pilot. She is returning to her old job as a minister in the church. This was a surprise to me as an introduction but it definitely sets well with the story. I have to admit there were plenty of surprises for me in the book.

The other part of the "team" is Russ Van Altsyne. He is the professional in the story - a chief of police. He and Clare have an interesting friendship / relationship. He does not share the same religious convictions Clare has but is more of a man focused in his professional convictions.

Now back to the story. Returning home, Clare becomes involved in a help group for returning service people - as a participant. This group is led by a professional counselor and each participant has problems they need to address - including Clare. The problems range from uncontrollable anger, intense nightmares, infidelity, alcohol and drug abuse, traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, and regrets. Each person in the group has difficulty facing their demons.

After one member of the group attempts suicide and another member of the group is discovered dead, the group becomes focused on determining why. Chief Van Alstyne (who is not a part of the help group) is convinced the death was a suicide but Clare is not convinced. She and her group are committed to find the answer for their fellow "soldier". Not only is there the death that is being questioned but also the theft of thousands of dollars from the reconstruction in IRAQ.

I do not want to go any further with the story. I will say I had to read the story twice - it certainly had it's moments and was worth it. CHECK IT OUT!!!