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!

Cemetery Road                                    

Author:  Greg Iles                      Fiction

Another massive story from Greg Iles set in the Deep South. Marshall McEwan left his hometown of Bienville, Mississippi as soon as he could - his brother Adam died in a teenage dare gone wrong, an event from which his father, owner and publisher of the local newspaper, never recovered. McEwan went on to become a Pulitzer Prize winner for a Washington DC newspaper. His father is now dying, and as is the norm for Southern families, he returns home to help his mother and with the family business. His return rekindles an on again, off again relationship with a beautiful woman, Jordan Elat Talal (Jet) who is now married to Paul Mathewson, who was a best friend as they grew up and who saved McEwan’s life in Afghanistan. When Buck Ferris, a man who served as a father surrogate to McEwan, is murdered, McEwan takes on the Bienville Poker Club, a group of very rich and very influential men who he suspects is involved as they try to protect a massive project that will ensure Bienville’s future. Sound complicated? Sort of, but what ensues is a gripping story of family, love, betrayal, and much much more. I could have done without the political references to the current environment (that cost it a star in my rating). But plenty of characters to like or dislike that builds to an interesting conclusion. I am a big Iles fan. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for the Advance Reader Copy of this novel.

I Let You Go                                  

 Author:  Clare Mackintosh                           Fiction

5 year old Jacob is killed in a hit and run accident. Ray Stevens and Kate Evans, investigators in Bristol CID, are assigned the case. But there is little or no evidence and eventually their chief forces them to shut down the investigation.. Meanwhile, Jenna Gray moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast to start her life over as she tries to forget the horrible accident, the loss of her child, and a past that is quite forgettable. But can Jenna escape? A terrific debut novel with a twist (or two) that will shock.

Looking for Alaska                                

 Author:  John Green                                    Fiction

Miles Halter, a high school junior, is in search of what he calls the Great Perhaps. In his quest, he enrolls at Culver Creek Boarding School where he rooms with the Colonel and meets Alaska Young, a gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and fascinating leader of a small group of students. The book is in two parts - before and after (I’ll not say before or after what). But after, nothing is the same. This is the second John Green novel I have read, both about teenagers and both about coping. While it might seem incongruous, this old man finds the stories to be beautifully written yet fun to read.

The Final Detail                                         

 Author:  Harlan Coben                               Fiction

Myron Bolitar has gone off the grid after his last case and the collapse of his relationship with his significant other. When a yacht approaches the private island where Myron and a lady friend who also needed to get away from it all, who should it be but Win Locke, Myron’s college buddy and close friend. He brings news that Esperanza, now his partner at MB SportsReps, has been arrested for the murder of one of their most important clients, Chu Haid, a pitcher making a big comeback with the Yankees. But Esperanza does not want Myron involved, but of course that doesn’t cut any ice as Myron and Win are too close to Esperanza and are not going to let it go. The Myron Bolitar series, of which this is the 6th book, is full of humor as well as tension with a likable protagonist and crew. I have actually read 8 of the 11 books in this series and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them.

The Burial Hour                                      

 Author:  Jeffery Deaver                             Fiction             

Lincoln Rhyme is back in the 13th book in the series. Rhyme and his now fiancee, Amelia Sachs, are planning their honeymoon when they are brought into another crime in NYC. A businessman is kidnapped off the streets of New York and the only clue is a miniature hangman’s noose made of instrument gut string left at the scene. Analysis of the trace combined with a social media recording of the victim being slowly hanged allow for a rescue. The unsub is dubbed The Composer, and when he appears again in Naples, Italy, Rhyme and Sachs head there only to meet with police and a prosecutor who don’t necessarily want them there. But as the number of victims grow, they become allies in a frantic series of searches to save victims and catch the perpetrator ensues. Deaver is known for his plot twists, and there are several in this book. But I felt this edition in the series really dragged along at times. Putting Lincoln Rhyme on the road might be a little bit of a stretch. And another mainline thriller writer incorporating a social issue (immigration) is just not my cup of tea. Nonetheless, Rhyme remains a good lead character, but this was not Deaver's best.


The Korean Woman                          

 Author:  John Altman                       Fiction

Song Sun Young is a North Korean sleeper agent. After a miserable childhood in the Hermit Kingdom, she was trained and sent to New York City, where under the name on MI-Hi, she marries and has two children. She likes her new life and hopes that the activation call never comes. But it does. As the troubled negotiations between the US and North Korea continue, she is thrust into action. But the American intelligence agencies have infiltrated the North Korean systems and know of her existence. Dalia Artzi, an Israeli operative leads the chase as Song flees in this high stakes operation. Dalia recognizes what has happened and she must act to prevent a world wide catastrophe. This book was just ok for me. Too many technical details, and less than well defined characters left me to wonder at times what exactly was going on. And I read fiction to avoid being “preached” to and I think there was a little too much of that here. Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and Edelweiss for the ARC of this book.