Thursday, July 7, 2011

Books I've Read in July 2011

1) Bad Blood, by John Sanford
Bobby Tripp was a good kid, working at a grain mill, saving for college. But he killed Jacob Flood, a local farmer delivering his harvest; and then, after Bobby was arrested, he hung himself in jail. The sheriff, Lee Coakley, reaches out for help to Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She gets Virgil Flowers, the throwback hippie with the hair, the rock-band T-shirts, and a rep as a lockdown investigator. Coakley and Flowers catch a whiff of sexual abuse involving Bobby’s girlfriend. The abuse angle widens and is centered on a local church, but the congregation closes ranks with iron uniformity. Flowers and Coakley get a line on a woman who escaped the influence of the church years before. She becomes the key to the case, opening a Pandora’s box of multiple murders, criminal behavior among the sheriff’s deputies, and revelations of deviancy that go back generations. As usual, Sandford delivers a great mystery with action, suspense, humor, and, yes, sex. Virgil always gets his man, but he also gets the girl.

2) Like Dandelion Dust, by Karen Kingsbury
Molly and Jack Campbell have everything. Great house in a fancy neighborhood, high-paying job, and a beautiful little boy named Joey. Things just absolutely couldn't get any better.
Until it's discovered that Joey's birth mother forged the signature of Joey's birth father, so the adoption was a fraud. Joey has never known anyone else as his parents, but suddenly he's being thrust into a volatile household of people he's never met and, especially, a father who doesn't know how to show love without violence.
Molly and Jack begin to explore every option they have for keeping Joey, even some fraud of their own. Hovering around the edges of all this drama is God. Joey believes in Him, Joey's cousins believe in Him, even Molly and Jack claim to believe that there is a god, but will they trust him to work this out? Can they give up their son to save their son?

3) Don't Blink, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
The good

New York's Lombardo's Steak House is famous for three reasons--the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police's fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.

The bad

Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels is conducting a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball bad-boy. In the chaos, he accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces. NYPD captains, district attorneys, mayoral candidates, media kingpins, and one shockingly beautiful magazine editor are all pushing their own agendas--on both sides of the law.

And the dead

Back off--or die--is the clear message Nick receives as he investigates for a story of his own. Heedless, and perhaps in love with his beautiful editor, Nick endures humiliation, threats, violence, and worse in a thriller that overturns every expectation and finishes with the kind of flourish only James Patterson knows.

Total year to date: 30

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