Saturday, February 29, 2020

#12: And the Bride Closed the Door by Ronit Matalon

In Tel Aviv, a young woman barricades herself in a bedroom on her wedding day, sending her extended family into crisis, in Ronit Matalon's slice-of-life novel And the Bride Closed the Door.

This is a slender volume, but rich in characters and situations, as some of the backstory of the bride's life begins to slowly unfold.  Plenty of eccentric characters and quirky episodes, including a section where they try to reach the bride through a window with a borrowed bucket truck.

But it is tinged with melancholy also, as some family tragedy is gradually revealed as well.

A brisk but rewarding read that I borrowed from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

#11: North to Montana by Steven C. Lawrence

Slattery is a former gun-hand who helps a group of settlers with a cattle drive to a Montana promised land; but when they get there, they find a cruel ranch owner holding secret sway in Steven C. Lawrence's North to Montana.  

Soon enough, Slattery's old gunfighting skills come in handy.

I found a Slattery book in a goodbye pile in a flea market and have been on a bender ever since, this being the third this year.  I really enjoy the hard-boiled style, reminiscent of one of my favorites, Ben Haas (John Benteen).  A big shoot-out in a sub-zero blizzard at the denouement adds value.

I feel like Lawrence and Slattery isn't on the radar for a lot of western readers, and should be.

I checked this one out from the Henry County-New Castle Public Library in New Castle, Indiana and read it quickly.

Friday, February 21, 2020

#10: The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

Ballard is a cop relegated to "The Late Show" in Hollywood overnight after reporting a boss for sexual harassment; Bosch is a grizzled retired cop who can't let old cases go.  When Bosch is gifted an old cold case file after the death of his mentor, a murderous chain of events starts in the present in Michael Connelly's The Night Fire.

Connelly has been writing a great contemporary police procedural series, and the fabric has grown rich over time; this one also includes another series character, "The Lincoln Lawyer," who happens to be Bosch's half-brother.

Bosch and Ballard (a newer character) end up juggling several cases--a homeless man killed in what looks like an accidental fire, a judge's murder in front of a courthouse, and a gay man's killing in the past--several of which end up threading together.

I thought the finale went a little far afield from Connelly's usual journalistic style--featuring a movie-sized female assassin who has Bosch pinned down in an office building--and that was a bit of a letdown.  But otherwise another good entry in the series.

I listened to a good audiobook read on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

#9: Bullet Welcome by Steven C. Lawrence

Slattery is a gun-hand trying to retire, but when he--and a young boy passing by--stumble upon a gunrunner crossing the Mexican border, he is forced to defend the boy and his family against a ruthless gang in Steven C. Lawrence's Bullet Welcome.

But Slattery can't quite figure out who to defend them against, with a town full of secrets--including the motives of its lawmen--at the forefront.  Includes a memorable shoot-out for a finale.

This is the second Slattery book I have found recently, this one at the public library, and find the author and his writing the equal of many of the more well-known western authors.

Enjoyable throughout.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

#8: The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

A poor, troubled teen --with an ability to see ghosts--finds herself mysteriously admitted to Yale, where she is tasked with overseeing the school's secret societies.  But when a young woman "townie" is found murdered, she quickly finds herself at odds with the living and the dead in Leigh Bardugo's The Ninth House.

I have never read Bardugo, who has primarily been a Young Adult author; I believe this is her first novel for adults.  And it would need to be approached by older teens with caution; it is full of sexual assaults, including by a ghost (!), casual drug use, and some gory scenes, including an opening sequence where some students use a living indigent person's organs to read the future.

Bardugo's writing is hip and engaging, and the story rockets in a cinematic fashion from one escapade to the next; only a complicated finale, with too big a thread dangling for the sequel, marred the storytelling for me.

I listened to a good audiobook reading of the book by Lauren Fortgang and Michael David Axtell, on loan from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.