Monthly Archives: July 2013

The 9th Girl – Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

 The 9th Girl by: Tami Hoag

 Zoe’s Tale by: John Scalzi

 Cold Wind by C.J. Box

 Another Man’s Moccasins by: Craig Johnson

 The Dark Horse  by: Craig Johnson

 River of the Gods by: Ian McDonald


Other Books I’m Reading: 

 World War Z by: Max Books

 Anathem by: Neal Stephenson  

Tami Hoag is another one of those authors I either hate or love depending on the book.  For instance, I’m a big fan of her protagonist Elena Estes from Dark Horse and The Alibi Man.  I’m not such a big fan of her Deer Lake series, or really any of her romance novels.  Her newly published book The 9th Girl is the fourth installment in Tami’s,  Kovac and Liska series.  The prior books, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, and Prior Bad Acts were all strong work.  


The 9th Girl starts with Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska being called to a scene on the highway New Years Eve.  The car the murdered girl was being transported in hit a huge pothole on the freeway, the trunk popped open and she popped out.  The horrified limo driver who sees the girl pop out of the trunk creates a serious traffic jam, and the cops are called.  The poor dead girl had been stabbed, and her face has been partially melted with acid, leading the reporters to dub her “Zombie Doe”.  The dead girl is the 9th Jane Doe case of the year.  She is also, Kovac suspects, the 9th victim of a serial killer the news has started calling Doc Holiday.  Liska is not so sure. 


Meanwhile, Nikki Liska, divorced Mom of two sons is having problems at home.  Her older son, Kyle, who is fifteen is having problems at school.  She’s feeling guilty about her hours.  She’s feeling guilty about not being closer to Kyle.  And the fact that she’s investigating the brutal murder of a child who could be her son’s class mate, is not helping matters.  


Then the crazy starts.   


Sensitive readers should probably be aware that the forensic scenes are a touch graphic.  However, if you’re a fan of the genera, they are probably nothing that will surprise you.  


On the whole I enjoyed this book.  I like that Kovac calls his tiny blond partner “Tinks” short for Tinker Bell.  I like that she calls him “Kojack”.  I like that they work well together, even when they disagree.  And they do disagree.  The plot in The 9th Girl is strong.  The way they finally catch the serial killer is clearly just a stroke of…  Well, I can’t call it good luck, considering the curcumstances.  But it was clearly just a stroke of the author being on their side.  On the other hand, I guess they were due for some luck somewhere in this story.  Besides, really, if the author isn’t going to be on the side of the hero, who is?   


Favorite Scene:  Nikki Liska tries not to kill Kyle’s principal.  


Favorite Quote: “You have to kill a zombie by killing it’s brain,” Elwood explained. “It’s not that easy.”


Enjoyability: A solid four starts.   


Where to read this book:  Still in the air conditioning for me.  


Further reading:  Someone recommend C.J. Box recently.  I may give that one a shot.  


What Alice Forgot – Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

The 9th Girl by: Tami Hoag


Other Books I’m Reading: 

World War Z by: Max Books

Anathem by: Neal Stephenson  (It may be Neil is permanently stuck on this list.)


What Alice Forgot by: Liane Moriarty is a book picked for my monthly book club by one of the other members.   That being the case, it’s not really a book I would have picked out myself.  Still, it’s one that I”m glad I got to read.  

The book starts with Alice waking up on the floor of her gym, during an interrupted spin class.  Alice interrupted the class by plummeting off her bike, whacking her head and passing out for ten minutes.  In her fall, Alice seems to have forgotten ten years of her life.  She believes she’s 29, pregnant with her first child, and happily married.  In fact, she is 39, a mother of three, and in the middle of divorcing her husband.

All of this could be played for comedy as Alice pieces together the last ten years of her life, but it’s not.  There are funny moments.  Her children realizing that Mom is not entirely home and they should take advantage of the situation is fun.  Also, watching her try and piece together the gossip at school is charming, until it’s just heartbreaking.  In the final analysis this is a literate and literary work.  Not a comedy at all.  In fact the first two chapters were so sad, I almost put the book down.  But I’m glad a read on.

By the time Alice’s memories come flooding back, she already has the facts all worked out.  I won’t say what there are.  Spoilers.  I will say that I find the ending completely believable.  Which I was pleasantly surprised about.  It would be easy for an author to write an ending to this book where all the memories come flooding back, but they make everything okay, or everything is okay in spite of them.  Liane Moriarty didn’t do that. Instead Alice is essentially forced by her mind to take one of the best pieces of advice a marriage counselor, or a mother ever gave.  If you start acting loving, even if you don’t feel it, things change in a relationship.

There is a special warning on this book.  Alice’s sister Elizabeth is having infertility problems.  It is a large, and extremely sad piece of the book.  If this is something that it bothers you to read about, this book is probably not for you.  The portions are large enough and important enough to the plot, that not reading it with the rest of the book is really not an option.

I think I’ve used “heartbreaking” and “sad” enough in this review to put a person off the book.  The book is not sad in total.  I found it to be a very enjoyable read.  But it’s a read with some bite.  Which really, doesn’t it make it that much better?

Thank you Book Club Annie for your great pick!  


Enjoyability: Five stars, and two boxes of tissue

Where to read this book:  Curled up in the air conditioning.  What a scorcher we’ve had this week.   

Further reading:  I am waiting for the library to come up with about five or six books I’ve put on hold.  Until then, I’m finishing The 9th Girl and working on the ever present Anathem.  

Bad Blood – Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

Bad Blood by: Dana Stabenow

The 9th Girl  by: Tami Hoag

A Tale for the Time Being by: Ruth Ozeki

What Alice Forgot by: Liane Moriarty

Blindfold Game by: Dana Stabenow


Other Books I’m Reading: 

World War Z by: Max Books

Anathem by: Neal Stephenson


“Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” – William Shakespeare


Can I just ask?  Are you Shakespearienced?  Apparently Dana Stabenow is.  Sure, the setting of Bad Blood is two villages on different sides of a river. One rich and one poor. So there are more than two families.  It’s more like four families.  Other than that it’s very Shakespearean.  Which is fine with me.  There is a reason that Shakespeare’s works are considered classics.  If you’re going to take inspiration from someplace, may as well take inspiration from the best place.  


Bad Blood is number twenty in the Kate Shugak series.  Readers familiar with the series will be familiar with Chopper Jim, Kate Shugak’s current boyfriend.  This is good because this book is really more about him than it is about Kate.  Jim is called into the poorer village on the river to investigate a murder.  At least it’s pretty clear to Jim that it’s a murder.  Everyone else is insisting it was an accident.  Meanwhile Kate does yard work, picks up mail, and runs into the still menacing Erland Bannister.  Jim get’s called to a murder on the rich side of the river next.  Again he gets the this murder is clearly an accident routine.  Which he finds frustrating.  Meanwhile Kate finds that Erland Bannister is supporting both sides of a major issue, bootlegging and drug running are on the rise in the area, and the mandatory young lovers have run away, gotten married, and gotten into a pickle.  Kate helps the young lovers even though she knows it’s going to make Jim mad, and then….  There is a huge cliff hanger. 


Let’s face it.  Twenty books is a huge number to write about one set of characters.  While I enjoyed Bad Blood, it’s not my favorite in the series.  I would actually be fine if Dana Stabenow decided that this was the last Kate Shugak book.  She is a very talented writer, and I see no reason I wouldn’t continue to be a fan no matter what she was publishing.  It is all to easy for one major character to take over a writer’s life.  Look at Arthur Conan Doyle. I would much rather have Dana Stabenow writing at the top of her game because she’s enjoying it, than writing another Kate Shugak because she has to.  


Enjoyability: Four stars

Where to read this book:  This is not a cold snowy book.  So just curled up on the coach, or laying on the beach would be good.  

Further reading:  I’m right in the middle of The 9th Girl.

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