Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung

I can't remember what I was reading that mentioned Raffles, but clearly something put him on my to-read list. Raffles is a gentleman and a good cricket player. He's also a charming jewel thief. His exploits are written up by, Bunny, his partner in crime who is never quite all in the know. These are a fun collection of interrelated stories. Raffles is unrepentant but has a lack of seriousness that lets you root for him. The thefts are sometimes clever and Scotland Yard is mostly incompetent, of course. ...
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Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

Heaven, My Home is the follow-up to Bluebird, Bluebird and I really think they need to be read in order. Heaven, My Home has Texas Ranger Darren Matthews investigating a new case, a missing boy with connections to a white supremacist group, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). But events from the first are still hanging over his head, threatening his career and marriage. In Jefferson, a 9-year-old boy, Levi King, was out at night in a ramshackle boat on Lake Caddo, but never makes it home. Levi is far from being a perfect child or even a nice child and his father is the head of the ABT, currently serving time in prison. An apparently reformed Bill is worried about Levi's disappearance, and Darren's boss sees the situation as a way to gain more information on the ABT. Locke sets the novel in the immediate aftermath of Trump's election and a Texas in which the repercussions are being felt in the...
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Diamond Geezer by Gillian Godden

Diamond Geezer by Gillian Godden

It took me several chapters to become invested in Diamond Geezer. It's a gangland novel and there are no characters to really like, which makes sense, they're almost all up to their necks in drugs and the crime world. That being said, it turned out to be an engrossing story. Nick is living a double life. He's a successful lawyer with all the privileges and tokens of upper-class life. At the same time, he's deeply involved in the Glasgow crime world. The book is mostly set on an estate in Glasgow, where Nick's grandma lives. The estate is more or less ruled by a mysterious character known as “The Undertaker,” who provides drugs, food, jobs. The people of the estate, most of whom are living in poverty and addicted to one thing or another, rely on him, even if they don't know who he is. It's interesting, though. They have to look out for themselves, but there is also a...
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An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

An Elderly Woman Is Up to No Good is charming and funny and a reminder not to underestimate elderly women. Maude is an 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family or friends, and she's quite happy that way. Maude enjoys doing things on her own, including traveling and solving problems. Maude kills people, annoying neighbors, an antiques dealer, people who present potential disturbances to her peace. She's cunning and intelligent and not vain. She's perfectly willing to use the disguises and tools old age provides; pretending to be confused at times or hard of hearing, neither of which she is; using a cane or walker, neither of which she needs. They make her appear less capable - and dangerous - than she is. Maude is quite a likable character though, in spite of it all. Just don't become one of the "problems." ...
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A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

A Rage in Harlem is full of crime, violence, memorable characters, and a dark sense of humor. The descriptions are vivid and Himes brings to life a Harlem that is both realistic and unbelievable, in that way that places are so different from my own experiences. The main character is novel is about an undertaker's assistant, Jackson, a naive church-going man, not too bright, who is in love with a faithless, light-skinned young lady, who borrows (without permission) cash from his boss in order to take advantage of a get-rich-quick scheme. Of course, the scheme blows up in his face and his girlfriend Immabelle, takes off, worried the cops will catch them, at least that's the reason Jackson attributes to her disappearance. You have to give it to Imabelle, she is probably tougher and more cunning than the rest of them put together. The rest of the book follows Jackson's adventures trying to get back his money and his...
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The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

I did see the movie version of The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon back when, so I had some vague idea of what I was getting into with the novel, but I didn't honestly remember much. Tom Ripley is probably a sociopath. He conveniently leaves murder off his list. He is definitely an expert manipulator and liar, lacks a conscience, is obsessive, and has difficulty with personal relationships. He is sent to Italy by a wealthy man with the intent of convincing the man's son to return to America. Needless to say, that does not happen. He spends some time playing the rich American, sight-seeing, eating, hanging out with his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf, and Dickie's maybe girlfriend Marge, who Tom clearly doesn't like. He wants Dickie to himself and sees Marge as an obstacle to that. We see the world through Tom Ripley's eyes, which is fascinating and disturbing. Everything he does is logical, given his reasoning. He has...
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