Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Interior Chinatown merges the storyline of a TV crime procedural, Black and White, with the life Willis Wu. He and his parents live a fairly unremarkable existence in small one-room apartments in Chinatown. Their building is above the Golden Palace restaurant where the show is in constant production. Wu and his parents and most of their community drift in and out of the series, playing interchangeable parts and hoping their big break might someday come. And I think sometimes they work in the restaurant which seems to actually be a business, not just a set. Wu is often cast as as the "Generic Asian Man," and sees himself holding that role in real life too. It's a clever book, with parts written as a screenplay, parts as Wu's inner monologue, and using snippets of true historical documents. But maybe it's too clever. I appreciated the blurred lines between fiction and reality. I understand that America has been harming Asian...
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The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

I thoroughly enjoyed The Bounty. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good book, but for me, it was a lot of fun. Yes, it's over the top. No, it's not realistic. Don't expect character growth or believable scenes. There's non-stop action, decent chemistry between Nick and Kate, practically unstoppable bad guys, and a whirlwind tour of Europe. I will say the blurb is misleading in a couple of things. First, Quentin did not teach Nick everything he knows, Nick wasn't actually aware of much of what his dad was up to. They are very similar though. Second, Kate and Jake get along just fine. They recognize each other's skills and stubbornness and work well together. The story's a treasure hunt, with iconic places and dangerous obstacles. Even though it's not a scam, Nick's talents definitely have their uses. The bad guys are off course always right on Kate and Nick's trail and, for various reasons, Kate can't count on any official...
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Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

First, go back and listen to The Dispatcher if you haven't already. Murder by Other Means is the sequel and I don't think it would be best as a stand-alone. The world is pretty much like our world except 99.9% of murder victims come back to life, transported from the murder scene to someplace they feel safe, usually their home. Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, someone who steps in and kills you when you’re at risk of an unintentional death, like a car accident or unsuccessful surgery, letting you live 99.9% of the time. This time around, Tony is taking some jobs that are maybe not as legal as he would like, but money is getting tight all around. It starts going awry when he is hired to help a businessman make it to China quicker than he could by plane. Then he's a witness to a bank robbery that goes bad. When people start dying and Tony needs...
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The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village is trying to be both a ghost story and a mystery, and it left me a disappointed overall. Sixty years ago everyone in the village of Silvertjarn disappeared, leaving behind only a newborn baby and the body of a woman who was stoned to death in the square. Alice grew up with the story, her grandmother's parents and sister disappeared that day. Alice is determined to make a documentary based on the events in the town, hoping to find some answers in the process. Alice is not very likable- I'm not sure any of the characters are actually- well maybe one, mostly because we know the least about him. Things go badly for Alice and her friends/crew pretty quickly. We've got creepy abandoned houses, strange noises, "accidents." The Lost Village really does provide great atmosphere. Something out there is scary, but we can't see it clearly. Alice and her crew catch glimpses, but maybe it's just imagination, maybe the...
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Murder Is Easy by Agatha Christie

Murder Is Easy by Agatha Christie

Murder Is Easy starts well. Luke Fitzgerald, retired policeman, meets Lavinia Pinkerton, an elderly woman, on a train. Lavinia is sure there is a serial killer in her village and is on her way to tell Scotland Yart. Of course, Luke doesn't believe her, but then she's killed by a car before making it to Scotland Yard. He also reads that the "victim" she predicted, a doctor, has been found dead. So, Luke heads to the village to do some sleuthing. Luke is a bit bumbling in his investigating. And he manages to fall in love with the striking, intelligent Bridget Conway, pretty much at first sight. She's good as his sidekick, smart and familiar with the townspeople, but I could have done without the declarations of love. On the other hand, it did help push the plot along. We've got several suspects, including an antique dealer who was not portrayed very well, a doctor, a lawyer, and a few others; all...
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The Reminiscences of Solar Pons by August Derleth

The Reminiscences of Solar Pons by August Derleth

I love a good Sherlock Holmes pastiche. I picked up The Reminiscences of Solar Pons at a used book store based on the cover alone: "If there's ever to be another Sherlock Holmes, it's Solar Pons. 'Readers with a taste for genteel crime . . .could hardly do better." Solar Pons is undeniably and unapologetically based on Sherlock. When Derleth asked permission from Conan Doyle to take over the writing of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle declined. Derleth then created a clone of Holmes with Solar Pons, Dr. Parker his chronicler, Mrs. Johnson the landlady, Inspector Jamison of Scotland Yard, older brother Bancroft who works for the government, and the Praed Street Irregulars. This is the fourth collection of stories, but the first I've read. I definitely need to go back and read the others. I'm happy to see they're available as ebooks in case I can't find print copies. Solar Pons, like his predecessor, has excellent powers of observation...
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