Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø

Fictional detectives fall into many categories; the competent police force detective, male or female; the female amateur of so many light cozies, who may or may not have a bit of magic about her; the former professional who still "helps" with the occasional case; and the competent private investigator are just a few. Harry Hole is the anti-hero, a type of detective I'm drawn to. He's competent, but that's almost his downfall. He's so tenacious, like a pit bull with a bone, that even when he's sent on this sensitive case that everyone want to just go away, he digs and digs through all the muck and muddle to get to the truth. He's an alcoholic and develops a taste for opium, he is haunted by memories and by the unsolved rape of his sister who has Downs' syndrome. He's in a bad spot, so the folks in charge send him off to Thailand, figuring the drunk cop has no...
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Night Film by Marisha Pessl

I really enjoyed Night Film and I have to say that it kept my attention all the way through, which at over 23 hours is pretty impressive. McGrath was not my favorite of the characters. I didn't exactly understand his obsession, but I did like the two young adults who are his side-kicks. Their reasons for caring made more sense to me. He just let a story overtake him, their concerns are more personal. It's a long books and tends toward sprawling in places. It meanders and we follow trail after trail that (maybe) go nowhere. It's not a novel with answers, just more questions. And that's even before McGrath (maybe) loses touch with reality a bit. I have to say I really liked the whole set-up and the way reality mirrored fiction portraying reality - maybe.  I guess it's one of those stories where I just went along for the ride, let Pessl lead me down the alleys she wanted to. I loved her...
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The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle

Ah, the lives of the rich. Wine and food and wonderful scenery. And a house so marvelous someone is willing to kill you for it. That's about all there is to this mystery. I was never really worried about Reboul, since Sam is clearly too smart to let anything happen to his friend. There's no real question who the bad guy is, but for someone as connected and careful as Vronsky is, his plan is foiled easily. It's a short audiobook and the narrator does an okay job with all the characters and accents, from French to Russian to American to whatever Elena is, but my mind kept wandering. There was a lack of tension, no need for clues. The food sounded delicious, but aside from that there isn't much else to keep my attention. The characters are two-dimensional. The mystery is pretty much non-existent and the solution to the problem is too easy. I started to say it's okay if you just need something...
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The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Short stories are always tough to talk about - I want people to know why I did/didn't enjoy it, but I don't want to give away too much. It's even tougher when it's a prequel to a series that I've read all the rest of, like this one. The Shell Game details Nick Fox and Kate O'Hare's first meeting. Nick's a con-man/thief and Kate's FBI. HE's charming, she's dedicated. They're both intelligent and good-looking, although I'm not sure you get a feel for how attracted they are to each other in this mini-episode. Nick gets to show off his cleverness, Kate gets to show off her ability to see through him, but I missed their interactions with each other that are so much of the fun in the series. Scott Brick does a good job as always as the narrator. His tone of voice fits the story, not melodramatic, but not straight either. Does that make sense. He knows the type of story...
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The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus

First off, a minor complaint. Neuhaus' series is being translated from German, but out of order. So the first I read was Snow White Must Die #4, then Bad Wolf #6, and now The Ice Queen#3. Each is a self-contained mystery, but Pia and Oliver's personal lives come into play a fair amount and it's a little odd going back in time to see where their relationships were, knowing how they change over time. It doesn't bother me too much, but I feel like it would be a stronger series read in order. The story is absorbing, a mystery involving an influential family and secrets that go back to WW2. The blurb above gives the basic plotline, but it gives you no idea of how inter-connected theses people's lives are, how horrible their secrets are. It's a large cast, and the narrator, Robert Fass, does a reasonable job. I found a few of his voices jarring, but I do understand that it can...
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Beastly Things by Donna Leon

I've read several of the Brunetti mysteries, but not necessarily in order. Beastly Things was okay, not the best in the series and there were some things I missed. First and foremost I missed the food, the delicious meals Brunetti has, the desserts and drinks. They're here, but not as tempting as usual. Of course, that probably has to do with the social theme she's tackling in addition to the mystery. We have a look inside the food industry, at the slaughtering of animals and how the meat is deemed "safe for human consumption." I don't mind social issues in mysteries, but at times it can over-shadow the actual mystery plot. And the horrible scene at the slaughterhouse was not as disturbing as I thought it would be, in all honesty. But maybe I've heard too many horror stories before. I like the characters as always and Venice is as a wonderful setting. I will say the plot held few surprises. I guessed...
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