23 December 2009
22 December 2009
21 December 2009
Michael Connelly is my favorite contemporary author, and I was taken aback when I saw one of his newest novels in Phnom Penh. I bought it, of course, and a few days later, the deed was done... the book had been read.
This is his 19th novel, and it is just as good, if not better than the preceding ones. 'The Brass Verdict' brings back defense lawyer Mickey Haller for the second time. He has taken a year or so off after being involved in a near fatal case (read: The Lincoln Lawyer). As the novel starts, Haller is planning a return to law practice. However, he is surprised to hear that a fairly close colleague of his has been murdered, and as a result, Haller has inherited his case load. At the top of the pile is a high profile case involving the head of a Hollywood movie company that has been accused of killing his wife and her lover.
As Haller is getting started with taking over the cases, he is quickly confronted by Connelly's classic character, Detective Harry Bosch. Bosch has been in over a dozen of Connelly's, but never in the same book with Haller. Bosch is investigating the death of the other lawyer, as well as trying to get Haller to help.
I give 'The Brass Verdict' 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a copy of Elizabeth George's book 'Careless in Red'. I had never heard of her, but apparently, she is a very popular English police/mystery writer. I had not read a novel in a while, so I decided to give it a shot.
It was a good story, but I will say that I am not sure that I ever got used to her writing style. I know that in many ways it reflects English culture… and there were a number of words and idioms that I was not immediately familiar with. That being said, it was very well written.
Similar to the Queen of Mystery Fiction, Agatha Christie, George includes numerous characters that all could be guilty of the crime; in this case, the murder of an 18 year old boy. The body is discovered by a man that has been wandering the coast line of England. The man, we find, is Elizabeth George's main character, Superintendent Thomas Linley. Linley has been wandering aimlessly along the coast after the homicide of his wife by a twelve year old boy. Lost in grief, he decides that he must escape his pain by getting away from any remnant of his past life. However, as he finds the body of the boy, he is eventually cast back into a life of police work. There are a number of intriguing characters in the story; many that seem to have more than enough motive for wanting Santo Kerne (the boy) to meet his end.
I have had this problem with other books, but the title just didn't work for me. I can think of a number of reasons for it, but none that really make it come home to me… but that is why she is making millions writing books, and I don't.
I give it 3 ½ stars out of 5.
I did want to include one of the most interesting sections of the book for me. (It gives nothing away at all about the plot.) It is merely the ponderings of an old man in the book. It goes like this…
"Things change, Selevan thought. That had proved the case in his life, even when it had seemed to him that nothing was ever going to change at all. He'd wanted a career in the Royal Navy to escape what he'd seen as a life of unfaltering drudgery, but the fact of the matter was that the details of that life had altered in minute ways, which led to big ways, which led to life not being drudgery at all if one just paid attention. His kids grew; he and the wife turned older; a bull was brought by to service the cows; calves were born; the sky was bright one day and threatening the next; David moved off to join the army; Nan ran off to marry… One could call it good or bad or one could just call it life. And life continued. A bloke didn't get what he wanted all the time, and that's just how it was. One could thrash about and hate that fact or one could cope. He'd seen that daft poster in the library one time and he'd scoffed at it: When life gives your lemons, make lemonade. Bloody stupid, he'd thought. But not really, he saw now. Not altogether." (pg. 598)
16 December 2009
15 December 2009
03 December 2009
02 December 2009
Last week, we had a party with Dr. John and his wife Bobbi here in Phnom Penh. It was not so much a party as just an excuse to get together with good friends that we had not seen in a long time... those friends, Cambodians that had been college students when we first started coming to Cambodia, and have continued to walk faithfully with the Lord in the places that