Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon

Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon

Maigret in Holland was perhaps not my best choice for my first Maigret read, but it was the only one the used bookstore in town had. Maigret is not in France here, he's been called to Holland where a French national is being detained under suspicion of murder. Maigret does not speak any Dutch, which slows his investigation some. He interviews the main characters in the story with varying degrees of success depending on their knowledge of the French language. The small town and characters are described well, wanting to keep their secrets and the status quo. Maigret is intelligent and observant. I'd like to read another when he is on his home turf. ...
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The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

Two things first. One - this is the first book by Klosterman I've read. Two - I, like Klosterman, am firmly a Gen X-er. I graduated high school in '93, college in '97. I got married in '99 and had Amber in 2000 (which counts because Klosterman doesn't consider the '90s officially over until 9/11). If I'm an adult, that was the decade I became one. I don't know if you have to be a member of my generation to enjoy The Nineties, but I'm sure it helps. If it was part of the culture during the '90s, it's in here: Nirvana, Reality Bites, American Beauty, Pulp Fiction, Seinfeld, Friends, Columbine, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, the Clintons, Dolly, Garth Brooks, Clarence Thomas. It covers TV shows I watched, bands I listened to and rappers I didn't, news stories that feel different when you look back at them than they did at the time. Klosterman talks about why the person and/or...
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A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

I thoroughly enjoyed A Master of Djinn and my library had "A Dead Djinn in Cairo" on audio, so I picked it up. The setting is a steampunk 1912 Cairo in a world where magic has been discovered/released. With the help of the djinn, Egypt has pretty much thrown England out. Fatma is sent out to investigate the apparent suicide of a strong djinn, but nothing's ever that simple is it. I enjoyed meeting Fatma again and seeing how her relationship with Siti started. The plot was fun, full of djinn and clockwork angels and ghouls. The main problem, the thing Fatma has to stop, becomes a problem again in the first full-length novel in the series, so I'm not sure if I'm glad to see how it originated or disappointed that the same "machine" is used in both. ...
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Friend of the Devil by Stephen Lloyd

Friend of the Devil by Stephen Lloyd

Friend of the Devil is set at a posh boarding school on its own island off the coast of Massachusetts. The school, Danforth Putnam, also serves as an orphanage and has for ages. We've got the typical mix of high school kids, nerds, over-achievers, bullies, and staff who range from caring to a little nutty. Into this mix comes Sam, an insurance investigator on the trail of a valuable lost book. Friend of the Devil is slasher horror, with plenty of dead teenagers and lots of gore to slip in. Sam is kind of a hard-boiled detective not above threatening the kids on campus. Harriet, the school reporter, is also digging around, and they both uncover more than they expect. You know how some slasher movies and scary and some are lighter, despite the jump scares. This falls in that second camp. It's funny and over the top. You know who the monster's going to target, you know it's going to be...
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The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

My husband was telling me the other day that the Mars lander was losing power because of dust. I asked if it was on the radiator. He looked at me funny and said it was on the solar panels. I had been in the middle of The Apollo Murders and I don't think it's a spoiler to say that an astronaut's plan to sabotage the Soviet's moon rover was to cover it in dust. It's the middle of the Cold War and the US and the Soviet Union are in a race to conquer space — for national security reasons, foreign policy objectives, and bragging rights. In this science-fiction thriller set during the Nixon administration, Apollo 18 is being sent on one last mission to the moon. The Soviets have a moon rover and a manned spy satellite. The tension between the Americans and the Soviets is palpable, both in space and on the ground. It's national pride and personal...
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A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

There are several short stories set in the same world as A Master of Djinn and I do wish I had read them first. A Master of Djinn does a fabulous showing us this Cairo and introducing the character, but the events from at least two of the stories are mentioned and I think reading them would have given me a better background. I may actually go back and read them now - I did love the world. A Master of Djinn is more or less a murder mystery set in a steampunk alternate 1912 Cairo where djinn live and work among mortals. Our investigator is Fatma from the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. The dead men and woman are members of an Al-Jahiz Secret Brotherhood, all found murdered, their bodies, but not their clothes, burned to a crisp. Turns out an imposter claimant to be Al-Jahiz returned is running around town causing all kinds of havoc. Clark...
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