Steve's Reviews

I first met Nancy when she was the manager of the highest grossing (per square foot) B. Dalton store in the country and I was still in the midst of a 40+ year banking and investments career. She introduced me to many authors that rekindled my love of reading. Spending a lot of time on airplanes (or waiting for them) was made a lot easier with my new "friends." I am now retired and split time between Florida and Indiana with reading and golf competing for my time. I have nine grandchildren and most of them are readers as well - one of my favorite things to do is take them to our local bookstore and turn them loose!

The Other Woman                                           

 Author:  Daniel Silva                 Fiction                     

This is the 18th book in Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, and somewhat different from most of the earlier books in the series - there is less violence and thus a little less heart pounding action. On the other hand, Silva has created another winner. When the exfiltration of a Russian who has been working for the West goes south, the Israelis, and Allon, are blamed. But this loss, and some other operations that seem off key, leads to the conclusion that a mole can be found in either British or American intelligence. Allon and his good friend, Graham Seymour, of MI6 team up to discover where is the leak that is causing their angst. And their review of files from many years earlier reveals that there is an “other woman” related to one of history’s most famous acts of treason. There is more of the characters we have come to know in the series, and a little less of Gabriel (which begs the question as to whether one should go back to the beginning or read this book as a standalone). The pace of the book does quicken as the mole is revealed and the plans to expose him/her become clear. There is a lot of historical background, both of the series and the deception, which is not typical in Silva books. Net-net, it is still a good addition to the series.


 Author:  Lisa Scottoline                                   Fiction

This is the 6th book in Scottoline’s Rosato and DiNunzio series, but the first that I have read. Mary DiNunzio, a named partner in the law firm, is seven months pregnant and her associates are throwing her a baby shower when the party is interrupted by a process server. The firm, and the partners, have been named in a reverse discrimination complaint. The opposing attorney is Nick Machiavelli, who has lost to the Rosato and DiNunzio firm, and Mary in particular, in a major case. They decide to hire an outside attorney, Roger Vitez, who specializes in lawyer malpractice, to represent them. When the only male lawyer in the firm, John Foxman, is found murdered, suspicion falls on the firm, and in particular, Judy Carrier, one of the other attorneys. The dead lawyer was a skilled antitrust attorney and although not the lead, was heavily involved in the biggest case the firm was handling - London Technologies. Having worked on many murder trials, DiNunzio becomes the leader in this book, delving into why Foxman was killed, why the firm has been targeted by the lawsuit, and ultimately who was responsible. I have enjoyed Scottoline novels in the past, so jumped at the opportunity to review this book (my thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC). It is an easy read and moves along, but a little light for me.

The Guilty Dead                                           

 Author:  P. J. Tracy                           Fiction             

This is the ninth book in the Monkeewrench series. P. J. Tracy is the pseudonym for the mother/daughter writing team of Patricia and Traci Lambrecht. Patricia passed away 18 months ago, so this is the first book written entirely by Traci (the last book had been mostly completed before her passing). And let me say that after what I felt were a couple of down books in the series, I believe that the series is back on track. Monkeewrench is the name of a software firm with four offbeat partners - Grace, Annie, Roadrunner and Harley. Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi are Minneapolis PD detectives, with Gino being the soon-to-be-father of his girlfriend Grace’s baby. Gino and Leo are really the focus of this book, with the Monkeewrench team a strong second with their uncanny way of using technology to solve crime. Trey Norwood is the son of filthy rich Gregory, but a young man with lots of issues, not the least of which is his drug addiction. He overdoses in the prologue to the book in the presence of August (Gus) Riskin. Fast forward to the one year anniversary of his death when his family is about to finally spread his ashes in Colorado. But before Gregory even leaves Minneapolis, he is found dead in his office in an apparent suicide. Enter Gino and Leo, and they suspect something other than suicide right off the bat. Then more deaths follow in rapid succession. At the same time, the FBI has approached Monkeewrench for help with a suspected terrorist threat to the city. They have a new program that may help, but it hasn’t been tested so any results may not be accurate. As is often the case in this series, there are multiple story lines that will keep you guessing to the very end. A good addition to the series, and it can be read as a standalone, but I recommend the early books in the series to get to know the characters. My thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society                                      

Author:  Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows   Fiction          

It is January, 1946. Juliet Ashton is an author is search of her next book - she has become famous from a compilation of her writings during the war. When a letter arrives from someone she does not know from Guernsey, her curiosity is peaked. Not that the letter has anything to do with the war but rather their mutual interest in essayist John Lamb. He tells Juliet about the birth of the Society and how it continues at the present time. The book is told in a series of letters between Juliet, her publisher and friend Sydney Stark, her newfound Guernsey friend Dawsey Adams, and various other Guernsians, an interesting group to say the least. Juliet decides to temporarily move to the only British land once occupied by the Nazis to write about the occupation. While there she becomes dear friends with the residents of the island and the daughter of one islander who was taken away by the Germans. A wonderfully written story about the emergence from the darkness of WWII.