Friday, February 4, 2011


PATHFINDER / Orson Scott Card **** Outstanding science fiction! Forget that this is marketed as a YA novel. This novel is filled with complex time-travel plot lines and fully developed characters. Oddly enough, as I was writing this mini-review, Card was having a mini-stroke at home in Greensboro, NC. Be well, Orson!

VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE'S RAGTIME REVOLUTION/ Eve Golden *** Informative, but rather dry history of the famous dance team.

OUTLANDER / Diane Gabaldon ** Ms. Gabaldon, it's okay for your book to end!!! Waaaay too long.

THE BRASS VERDICT / Michael Connelly **** Connelly is not just one of the best thriller / mystery writers working today, I will argue he is one of the best writers, period. You can have your Michael Chabons and Jonathon Frazens. I'll take Connelly. At least his books make sense, are entertaining and the author is not constantly trying to prove to the reader how clever he is.

LAST CALL: THE RISE AND FALL OF PROHIBITION / Daniel Okrent. ***** The BEST history of Prohibition and the 1920s I've ever read. Highly recommended.

PARANOIA / Joseph Finder ** Sub-par thriller. The main problem is the main character - a slacker at a high tech firm who is blackmailed into becoming a spy for a rival company. The suspension of disbelief quote is too high. Second problem, by page 150 I had already guessed the entire plot and was not surprised by the ending.

TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD / Paul Levine *** Entertaining lawyer thriller featuring second-rate lawyer Jake Lassiter.

MOONLIGHT MILE / Dennis Lehane *** Pretty good mystery novel featuring married private detectives Kenzie and Gennaro.

SHUTTER ISLAND / Dennis Lehane **** Another excellent psychological mystery with a killer twist at the end. I'm very hesitant about watching the movie based on this novel due to the fact that it stars Leo and is directed by the most over-rated director in cinema history, Scorsese.

NIGHT VISION / Paul Levine *** Second novel featuring Miami lawyer, Jake Lassiter. Entertaining, but Lassiter who is NOT the new Travis McGee, not matter what some idiot reviewer from LA Times claims.

STOMP AND SWERVE: AMERICAN MUSIC GETS HOT, 1843-1924. **** Excellent and very readable history of American music, from minstrel to jazz.

GONE BABY GONE / Dennis Lehane. **** Excellent Kenzie and Gennaro mystery novel.

BLACK BOTTOM STOMP / David A. Jasen & Gene Jones. *** Profiles of eight early jazz musicians.

JAZZ AND BLUES MUSICIANS OF SOUTH CAROLINA / Benjamin Franklin V. *** Hit and miss interviews with 19 South Carolina musicians. Notable due to the last interview of the forgotten, but brilliant early jazz master, Jabbo Smith.

DEJA DEAD / Kathy Reichs. *** Not sure why I've never read this series. Similar to Patricia Cornwell's series. Here's hoping Reichs doesn't make the same mistake. Cornwell's books have become unreadable and silly.

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