I binged a lot of crime fiction (with one non-fictional exception) as there was a lot of traffic on my already long commute this week, allowing me to synergize eyeball reading with audio. Plus I took off the weekend so I had some extra time…
Skin Deep 3 stars
So rare, entertaining and enjoyable to have a transracial adoptee as a protagonist. While author Sung J. Woo doesn’t lean too hard on Siobhan’s background, he weaves it in to make her a fully realized person. The mystery is interesting enough, taking twists and turns I didn’t expect but the characters were thin and the resolution predictable and unsatisfying. Still, this was worth reading for the protagonist alone.
The Concrete Blonde 4 stars
As is my custom with Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, I pick my way around his works at my leisure. This was noted by some as one of his best so, despite its serial-killer-preying-on-women motif, I decided to try it. Part courtroom drama, part procedural, this work from early in his career shows where Connelly found his voice as a writer. Taut and gripping in most spots. The end took more turns than it needed to; Connelly tosses red herrings out there like he’s being pursued by Fishing and Wildlife. But it’s still one of the better Bosch novels I’ve read.
The Cruelest Season 4 stars
I was about to give this book what for because the way Penny wrote her characters in this one, Gamache in particular, really annoyed me. And I thought I knew where it was going…but there was a twist. A deeply satisfying twist that made me reconsider how I felt about the whole thing. I still think it’ll go down as one of the weaker ones of the series but it still worked well. Penny is a helluva writer. Though I’m not going to excuse her again if I don’t see more development for Clara in book four.
Hell in the Heartland 4 stars
The best true crime books understand location and subject. Jax Miller does both. She understands that in order to get info, she has to ingratiate herself to the locals. The book is almost as much about that as it is the two missing girls and the story of the Oklahoma countryside. Beautifully written, if occasionally meandering, Miller does a great job capturing the context of the case, and thus its deeper story.
Later 4 stars
Yes, it’s very familiar Stephen King: child-with-special-powers, creepy ghosts and a poor sense of plotting. Of course, the story goes 5 pages longer than it has to because there’s a twist at the end no one needs or was asking for. But it’s still a lot of fun. Would put it as my second favorite of his HCC books and I would read 10 sequels to this before I read another Hodges one.
Also, if you’re concerned that a HCC book wouldn’t connect with his other stuff, add up the lock code numbers on the cop’s cell phone.