Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Bad Axe County - John Galligan

Bad Axe County is John Galligan's latest novel. If you're a 'grit-lit' fan, you're going to enjoy this one.

Heidi Kick is a former Wisconsin Dairy Queen. She's also the interim Sheriff for Bad Axe County. There are many who don't want her to have the job permanently - including others on the force, drug dealers, corrupt local government and a whole bunch of other lowlifes. She does have some supporters though. And she's going to need all the help she can get.....

I couldn't help but think bad a** as I got to know the lead character. She's tough, smart, determined to clean up the town and solve the mystery of her own parents' murder. All while trying to juggle being a wife and mother as well. Heidi is the main voice in the book, but we also hear from some of the antagonists - each one of them perfectly skin-crawling despicable. And one victim, determined to save herself. I have to say, her chapters were really hard to listen to.

Galligan's descriptions are very atmospheric - I could easily picture the settings. And I doubt I would stop in Bad Axe County - it just says 'keep on driving' to me. The winter storm and flood only serve to isolate the county.

The plotting was good as well, with the pieces falling into place with each new chapter and revelation. The reader is privy to more information than the Sheriff and can only hope she puts the pieces together before it's too late.

I chose to listen to Bad Axe County. The reader was Samantha Desz - and her voice was perfect for this character. It has a nice gravelly tone, is easy to understand and completely matched the mental image I had created for Heidi. She rarely raises her voice which is right for this character. The calm way of speaking belies her determination. It's well paced, never rushing and perfectly modulated. The voices employed for other characters are really good as well. Listen to an excerpt of Bad Axe County.

I hope there's another book in the works with the Dairy Queen. I think they are more stories to be told.  Fans of Fargo (indeed, one of the really nasty guys has 'that' way of talking), Justified or Ace Atkin's Quinn Colsen novels would enjoy Bad Axe County. Gentle readers, this one is probably not for you - there are graphic sexual and abuse situations.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Giveaway - The Possession - Michael Rutger

I enjoyed The Anomaly last summer - the first book in Michael Rutger's Anomaly Files. (my review) The second book, The Possession, releases tomorrow - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"From the author of The Anomaly comes the second installment in The Anomaly Files, a series in the tradition of James Rollins of a team investigating American myths and legends.

Still recovering from the shocking revelations they uncovered deep in uncharted territory in the Grand Canyon, American myth and legend investigator Nolan Moore and his team take on a new mission, investigating a rumored case of witchcraft and possession.

Nolan hopes their new case, in a quaint village in the middle of the woods, will prove much more like those he and his team investigated prior to their trip to Kincaid’s cavern.

But as the residents accounts of strange phenomena add up, Nolan and company begin to suspect something all too real and dangerous may be at play. A force that may not be willing to let them escape the village unscathed." Read an excerpt of The Possession.

"Michael Rutger is a screenwriter whose work has been optioned by major Hollywood studios. He lives in California with his wife and son."

And if The Possession sounds like a book you'd like to read, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends August 3/19.

Friday, July 19, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #272

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true. 
 But you can like one cover version better than another....

US cover
UK cover
I've enjoyed J.P. Delaney's previous psychological suspense novels. There's a new one - The Perfect Wife - coming in August 19 on both sides of the pond. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The stark, simple look of both covers matches the look of previous covers. And we've got a woman in white on both covers. I did like the insertion of the figure for the letter I on the US cover. And I like the blue tones and water images. At first glance I wasn't sure what the image on the UK cover was. (It's a very modern staircase.) The word perfect is off kilter - a nice touch. We also get a tagline. I think I"m going to go withe the US cover this week - it just appeals to me more. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Perfect Wife?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Sentence is Death - Anthony Horowitz

The Sentence is Death is the second book in Anthony Horowitz's Detective Daniel Hawthorne Series. (The first was The Word is Murder - my review.)

I found the first book incredibly clever and that originality continues with book two.

The protagonist is the enigmatic Hawthorn, let go from the police and now working as a P.I. Hawthorne is such a great character - a brilliant detective, but somewhat lacking in personal interactive skills. I quite like him. And playing Watson to his Holmes? Anthony Horowitz. Uh, huh - Horowitz has written himself in as a character in the series. And in the series, he plays himself, writing about Hawthorne's cases, often referring to actual events. Can you imagine the writing process? The interactions between the two are wonderfully depicted.

In this latest, a divorce lawyer is found bludgeoned to death with an expensive bottle of wine. Hawthorne picks up on the smallest clues and discrepancies. Horowitz also tries to investigate at times, but doesn't have the skill set of Hawthorne. What Horowitz desperately wants to konw is more about Hawthorne. The personal details of the detective are sparse and are only slowly being brought to light.

The murder is clever and takes several turns, keeping the reader guessing along with Horowitz. Hawthorne is far ahead of us on the final path to whodunit.

Clever, clever, clever. And so much fun to read. Here's an excerpt of The Sentence is Death. This reader will be looking forward to book number three. (And Horowitz has stated that he sees nine or ten Hawthorne book in the series.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Over the Counter #409

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner?

The Valedictorian of Being Dead by Heather B. Armstrong.

From Gallery Books:

"From New York Times bestselling author and blogger Heather B. Armstrong comes an honest and irreverent memoir—reminiscent of the New York Times bestseller Brain on Fire—about her experience as one of only a few people to participate in an experimental treatment for depression involving ten rounds of a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.

For years, Heather B. Armstrong has alluded to her struggle with depression on her website, dooce. It’s scattered throughout her archive, where it weaves its way through posts about pop culture, music, and motherhood. But in 2016, Heather found herself in the depths of a depression she just couldn’t shake, an episode darker and longer than anything she had previously experienced. She had never felt so discouraged by the thought of waking up in the morning, and it threatened to destroy her life. So, for the sake of herself and her family, Heather decided to risk it all by participating in an experimental clinical trial involving a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.

Now, for the first time, Heather recalls the torturous eighteen months of suicidal depression she endured and the month-long experimental study in which doctors used propofol anesthesia to quiet all brain activity for a full fifteen minutes before bringing her back from a flatline. Ten times. The experience wasn’t easy. Not for Heather or her family. But a switch was flipped, and Heather hasn’t experienced a single moment of suicidal depression since.

Disarmingly honest, self-deprecating, and scientifically fascinating, The Valedictorian of Being Dead brings to light a groundbreaking new treatment for depression."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But...I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

We Were Killers Once - Becky Masterman

Becky Masterman's latest book, We Were Killers Once, is the fourth in her Brigid Quinn series, but can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.

Masterman has come up with an absolutely fascinating premise for We Were Killers Once. What if.....there were three men at the Clutter killings? Yes, those murders - the ones that inspired Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.' And what if that third man is freshly out of prison - and determined to make sure that the evidence he knows it out there is destroyed. And what if Brigid and Carlo end up in this killer's path......

Brigid and her husband Carlo are seemingly opposite personalities. The relationship between the two is well written and believable. As individuals, they are written with lots of depth. Brigid has a most interesting background - and a fascination with killers that served her well in her FBI career. She's now retired n- I like that she is an 'older' lead character.  Carlo is a former priest. They are light and dark - and prove to be excellent foils for each other's thoughts, leanings and actions.

I loved Masterman's idea of this third person. He too is very well drawn - ruthless, though he doesn't believe so. His ideas of how to blend and behave gave me chills. We Were Killers Once is told in two voices - the killer and Brigid. The reader is aware of what is going to happen, but can only helplessly turn pages, keeping up with the cat and mouse game being played. (And I had a moment where I wanted to flip ahead.....but didn't) But who is the cat and who is the mouse? Again, this was my first introduction to Brigid - and I am very, very intrigued. She's a complex protagonist - on the side of the law, but with very dark thoughts and tendencies. Her niece Gemma-Kate seems to have the same, umm, personality.

Masterman's writing is excellent, driving the reader forward with each new chapter. There's action, but there's also some thoughtful bits exploring the relationship between Carlo and Brigid, as well as some philosophical discussions.

The plot moves along at a good pace, culminating in a final scene that was just right. My only question was whether this antagonist would have pursued this elusive piece of evidence, having his role in the killings go unnoticed for many, many years.

I enjoyed We Were Killers Once and I will indeed be looking forward to further work from Masterman. Here's an excerpt of We Were Killers Once.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Chain - Adrian McKinty

There's been lots of publicity surrounding the release of Adrian McKinty's latest novel - The Chain. Did it live up to the hype? Oh yeah it did - thriller readers are going to want to pick up this one!

The premise is a frightening (and pretty dark) one...

"Your phone rings. A stranger has kidnapped your child. To free them you must abduct someone else's child. Your child will be released when your victim's parents kidnap another child. If any of these things don't happen: your child will be killed."

Takes the chain letter concept to a whole new level doesn't it?

McKinty has created a great lead character in Rachel. She's a divorced, single mother battling breast cancer. Why in the world have her and her daughter been targeted? I love books that place an everyday person in an extraordinary position. Can they beat the odds? Thwart the 'bad guys'? Pull off the impossible? Rachel is a force to be reckoned with.

Action is the word of the day in The Chain. The plot is driven forward by twists - most of them ones I could not have predicted. I love being caught unawares by a book. So, the game changes frequently and Rachel has to react and respond to the newest directive. Now, I must admit - some of those plot lines require a few grains of salt. And that's okay - this is pure escapist, entertainment reading.

I had a three day weekend lately - and I devoured The Chain on that extra day. It's addictive, propulsive reading that will consume the reader. The Chain is an action packed thriller film just waiting to be made. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of The Chain.