My First Murder

UnknownMy First Murder
by Leena Lehtolainen (Finland – translated)
1993/ 2012 Eng. –  251 pages
read by Amy Ruminate 7h 23m
rating: B+ / crime –  police procedural/”who-done-it”
(both read and listened)

Although it was chosen by the 4-Mystery Addicts reading group I was interested in this book because I’m of Finnish ancestry and have cousins there,  have visited there, etc.   Also,  as is evident from this blog,  I really enjoy non-US lit.

Still,  it took me awhile to get into it,  mostly because of the breathy, almost little-girl voice of the 1st person narrator who is working,  if only temporarily, as a lead detective.  It’s like,  “huh?” –  That may be a part of the book, though – young pretty women are often not taken seriously in some jobs.  But what is this,  “soft-boiled”?   She doesn’t “sound like a cop!” lol

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The Burning Room

burningThe Burning Room
by Michael Connelly
2015/ 400 pages
read by Titus Welliver 10h 11m
rating:  B+ / crime (police procedural)
#19 featuring Harry Bosch

I suspected I wasn’t going to be all that happy with the newest Harry Bosch novel – the reviews were mixed and  I don’t like the narrator’s’ deep, deep voice.  But I’ve kept up with and mostly enjoyed the tales of Michael Connelly for many years, so now is not the time to quit.

Anyway – this time we have a newly dead man who was the victim of a shooting occurring over 10 years ago – the poor guy just finally died of blood poisoning from the gunshot.  Fortunately,  there is surveillance footage of the crime scene – a Latino nightclub –  which Bosch and his new partner,  a rookie named Lucia Soto, check that out carefully.   Bosch is not too sure about Soto.  She seems to be hiding information and,  oddly enough, the shooting had something to do with a fire which affected Soto’s old neighborhood and friends. And there are anonymous phone calls tips.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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1177: The Year Civilization Collapsed

11771177:  The Year Civilization Collapsed
by Eric H. Cline
2014 / 253 pages
read by Andy Caploe / 8h 3m
Rating:  8.5  / ancient history-anthropology

I’ve read only a wee tad about Ancient Egypt and the Late Bronze Age,   certainly not enough to be able to really get right into and up to speed in this fascinating book. I’d never even heard of the “Sea Peoples.”  But this intriguing tale is  about  how Egypt’s civilization in the times of of Ramses III was overwhelmed by  the “Sea Peoples”  which added to other catastrophes of the times resulted in the end of the Bronze Age.  Reading the book was both challenging and enlightening and it took me awhile to get comfortable with the multitude of names and places.  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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Being Mortal:

beingmortalBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande
2014 / 282 pages
read by Robert Patoff  9h 3m
rating:  9 / nonfiction (health – medicine)
(read and listened)

Medicine is a mess with many many parts- one is death and dying which affects everyone from the highest echelon doctors to the lowliest patients.  Doctors are trained in how to keep patients alive and with all the new technology, they can can certainly do that for extended periods during which time more and more surgeries and procedures and medicines are used hoping to make a big difference – but they’ll really make only a 10% difference.  The sole purpose for hospitals is to keep patients alive – a given minimum. >>>>MORE>>>> 

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Those Who Wish Me Dead

thosewhowishThose Who Wish Me Dead
by Michael Koryta
2014/ 400 pages
read by Robert Petkoff – 10h 30m
rating:  C+ / thriller

Can’t really call this a crime novel because this all happens well after the crimes have been committed – it’s just all about what happens to the young man who happened to witness the murder.  –  Well – he has to go into the Witness Protection Program and he’s hidden in a survival camp in Montana.

The book is a page-turner and the characters are very nicely done.  There are some disbelief problems though –  I won’t go into them but … >>>>MORE>>>>

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Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral

epigraphEpitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral
by Mary Doria Russell
2015 / 592 pages
read by Hillary Huber 19h 33m
rating: 9 / historical fiction

Epitaph:  a phrase or statement written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone.

This is a kind of sequel to Russll’s “Doc” (2011),   but explores in fiction the story of  how Sadie Marcus (aka Josephine Earp)  a sweet young actress runaway from an immigrant  Prussian Jewish family in San Francisco,  came to “marry” Wyatt Earp the famous lawman and gambler who took part in the gunfight at the OK Corral and how the other players in that little number got involved.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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Dept. of Speculation

specDept. of Speculation
by Jenny Offill
2014 / 180 pages
rating: 9.5 / contemp fiction (experimental?)

Contrary to some of what I’ve read about this book,  it has a plot.  Stuff does happen to interesting characters in chronological order and it fits – there’s a certain tension about it and the reader wonders how is this going to turn out.   It’s just that parts of the plot are missing and the fictional characters are without names.

No, although I was tempted,  I’m not going to annotate  a 180-page novel which is basically about a woman whose desire is to create monster art  but ends up side-tracked by marriage and family.  Offill included a lot of interesting things in it though.  Sometimes the references are just names, other times there’s a whole quote by someone usually associated with science and space or philosophy and religion – or psychology maybe.  It’s a very literary novel – experimental in some ways.

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