Richard M. (algernon99) - Reviews

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1991 Writer's Market: Where and How to Sell What You Write
1991 Writer's Market: Where and How to Sell What You Write
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/18/2007


This is a great book. Well, I must admit to a small bias. I was interviewed and spotlighted in a two-page article in this book. I was picked as a highly successful new writer--I had broken into print as a new magazine writer with several dozen articles that year. So, of course, this is one of my favorite books of all time!


1st to Die (Women's Murder Club, Bk 1) (Audio Cassette) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 12/26/2006


I don't read Patterson, but his stories make good listening material on tape. The reader here is excellent and the story is exciting, as four highly motivated professional women--the main one is a homicide detective--get together to go around the system to catch a horrifying serial killer who targets newlyweds on their honeymoons. The tape is unabridged (some might say underabridged), so you get every word of the novel. I was perfectly happy with the story about two twists before the author finished, but if you like interesting, well-crafted twists at the end, this is the story for you. It lists for $39.98, comes on 7 cassettes, and plays for 9 hours. It's a commuter's dream.


Adios Muchachos
Adios Muchachos
Author: Daniel Chavarria, Carlos Lopez
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 9/28/2007


I've been carrying this around in my briefcase for about six months, reading a bit every now and then. It never holds my interest, though, so I go back to whatever other book I'm reading.

Though I rarely do this, I think I'll just give it up and not finish it. There's nothing really wrong with it, but it just doesn't make me want to come back and read some more.


Airframe
Airframe
Author: Michael Crichton
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 211
Review Date: 6/13/2007
Helpful Score: 1


I was not very fond of this one. Crichton is certainly an excellent author, but this is not his best work, in my opinion. There was some interesting stuff about how aircraft are designed, built, and tested, but I tire of plots based on corporate greed.


Any Man's Death
Any Man's Death
Author: Loren D. Estleman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 4/25/2013


I enjoy most of Loren Estleman's books. I also enjoy most of the popular books about hit men. This is both. It should be good. I've read two previous Macklin (the hit man's name) books and enjoyed them.

This one, not so much. It's OK, but Estleman has a thing about being gritty, dirty, Detroity (if there were such a word, it would describe his books), hard-boiled, and kinda noir. In the Amos Walker series, it works well. This one, not so much.

The book involves two Detroit mob bosses. One getting out of prison is trying to take control back from his lieutenant, who took over in his absence. That's an interesting story. Then there's a flamboyant, unfortunately over-the-top unbelievable black minister who's posturing against an upcoming gambling legalization referendum. The three powers are fighting things out (the mob guys want gambling) through battling hit men, disloyal right-hand men, and other hard cases.

The politics and tactics of the thing didn't make enough sense to my non-political, non-tactical mind. (Estleman loves dirty politics in his Detroit books.) It just didn't hang together for me.

And the ending was not satisfactory for me.

Other than that, it was fine.


The Art of Survival (Fiddler and Fiora, Bk 5)
The Art of Survival (Fiddler and Fiora, Bk 5)
Author: A. E. Maxwell
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 7/28/2006
Helpful Score: 1


A wonderful entry in the Fiddler and Fiora series, long out of print. A husband and wife team wrote this, Ann and Evan Maxwell. She's a popular mystery and romance writer under the name of Elizabeth Lowell.


Ashes to Ashes
Ashes to Ashes
Author: Mary Monica Pulver
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 11/14/2006
Helpful Score: 1


Mary Monica Pulver also writes as Monica Ferris. She's a wonderful writing with an indefinable difference to her writing that I really like. This is 3rd in the Peter Brichter series and one of the best. It involves arson and murder. The relationship between Brichter and his wife is fascinating; she's a unique character that I have really enjoyed learning about.


At Wick's End (Candlemaking, Bk 1)
At Wick's End (Candlemaking, Bk 1)
Author: Tim Myers
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 95
Review Date: 12/29/2006
Helpful Score: 4


I really enjoyed this book. It is simple, easy to read, mildly amusing, moderately clever, and extremely comfortable. Hmmm. I guess that what a good cozy should be, eh? It's short and pleasant. I look forward to the rest of the series and I guess I'll have to try his other series, as well. Recommended for cozy lovers everywhere.


Atlanta Graves (Sunny Childs, Bk 1)
Atlanta Graves (Sunny Childs, Bk 1)
Author: Ruth Birmingham
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 11/14/2006
Helpful Score: 2


Very enjoyable read. I'm quite fond of Sunny Childs and her world.


Aunt Dimity and the Duke (Aunt Dimity, Bk 2)
Aunt Dimity and the Duke (Aunt Dimity, Bk 2)
Author: Nancy Atherton
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 8/11/2006
Helpful Score: 1


A quiet, pleasant adventure on the English countryside feature the inimitable Aunt Dimity, a deceased person who communicates through writing in her old blue-bound journal. Cozy as can be, but special.


Aunt Dimity's Christmas (Aunt Dimity, Bk 5)
Aunt Dimity's Christmas (Aunt Dimity, Bk 5)
Author: Nancy Atherton
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 122
Review Date: 7/28/2008


I adore the Aunt Dimity books. They're unlike anything else I've ever read. They're heartwarming, cozy in the best sense of the word, uplifting, and fun. That said, I had a bit of trouble with this one. Most of the story is logical, well crafted, and fun to read. I had trouble, however, with Lori's total infatuation and belief in this homeless guy after spending maybe a minute total looking into his eyes as he is semi-conscious in the hospital. From that brief exposure, she KNOWS he's a great person, could not possibly have ever done anything wrong (even when there's evidence), and must be defended and believed in at all costs.

Huh?

Nevertheless, allow the author the luxury of this unlikely event, and the rest follows as the night the day. I'll give it a month, then dig in to the next book in the Dimity series. (No pun intended.)


The Ax
The Ax
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 8/13/2006
Helpful Score: 3


Donald Westlake is an amazing writer. In this book, a middle manager in a factory loses his job and can't seem to find another one. In total desperation, he hits upon an idea that will result in murder most foul. This is a clever, frightening, believable story.


Bad Manners (Lilly Bennett Mysteries)
Bad Manners (Lilly Bennett Mysteries)
Author: Marne Davis Kellogg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 11/27/2006
Helpful Score: 1


I bought this book because it takes place in Wyoming, my wife's home state. In this book, Lilly Bennett, a disgraced California Chief of Detectives(caught with a married lover--a judge!), comes home to Wyoming to start a security company. Things start to happen immediately, and she's pulled into a murder investigation. The cover says it's tart and crisp, consistently witty and entertaining. I didn't find it particularly funny, but it was a fun read--especially for Wyoming folks.


Bad News Travels Fast (Joe and Dottie Loudermilk)
Bad News Travels Fast (Joe and Dottie Loudermilk)
Author: Gar Anthony Haywood
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 6/14/2007


This is a new series about the Loudermilks, a black older couple in an Airstream trailer who have the most fun and funny adventures you can imagine. They moved into the trailer so that their various ne'er-do-well adult children can't come and live with them.... This is a funny, wonderful book!


Bank Shot
Bank Shot
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 6/6/2007


Donald Westlake is a natural treasure. His humorous caper novels are legendary, and this is one of the best. The idea here is that instead of robbing a bank by breaking in and removing the money, they'll just steal the whole bank. Temporary banks often reside in mobile home/trailers while the new bank building is under construction. Why not just put the wheels back on and tow the whole bank away? Then you can take your time in getting in and extracting the money.

It should be easy, but things never quite go according to plan in a Westlake caper.

This classic novel was made into a movie, but the book is the right way to experience this misguided attempt at larceny on a grand scale.


Banker
Banker
Author: Dick Francis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 11/14/2006


This time Dick Francis sets his wonderful mystery in the world of investment banking. You'll learn a lot about banking, horse racing, and people as you follow this excellent mystery story. No one tells a story as well as Dick Francis.


The Big Bad City (Novel of the 87th Precinct)
The Big Bad City (Novel of the 87th Precinct)
Author: Ed McBain
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 12/2/2006


Followers of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels will enjoy his reading of this story on tape. A nun has been found murdered in the park--who would kill a nun? The story develops with fascinating details emerging and creating a pattern that answers the question.


The Blackbird: A Grofield Novel
The Blackbird: A Grofield Novel
Author: Donald E. Westlake, Richard Stark
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/11/2006


This is Donald Westlake, the master writer, writing as Richard Stark. Westlake is the best there is; this one is exciting, interesting, and has that wry Westlake flavor that no one else can even imitate.


Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, Bk 6)
Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, Bk 6)
Author: Nevada Barr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 155
Review Date: 7/31/2007
Helpful Score: 2


I generally like the Anna Pigeon stories, although sometimes they get a bit tedious. This one is my favorite of the four or five I've read in the series. I am fascinated by caves, yet have a healthy near-claustrophic fear of them. So does Anna Pigeon.

When she joins a rescue team to descend into the almost unexplored deep parts of Carlsbad Caverns, all sorts of interesting things transpire. The writing is excellent--I could actually feel the emotions (fear, primarily) as the story went on. This story even affected my dreams for a time!

I recommend it. The mystery elements are good, but the actual feeling of being way down deep in the bowels of the earth in tiny, tight places as well as in huge empty underground rooms is the main reason to read this amazing story.


Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, Bk 6)
Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, Bk 6)
Author: Nevada Barr
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 45
Review Date: 7/31/2007
Helpful Score: 1


I generally like the Anna Pigeon stories, although sometimes they get a bit tedious. This one is my favorite of the four or five I've read in the series. I am fascinated by caves, yet have a healthy near-claustrophic fear of them. So does Anna Pigeon.

When she joins a rescue team to descend into the almost unexplored deep parts of Carlsbad Caverns, all sorts of interesting things transpire. The writing is excellent--I could actually feel the emotions (fear, primarily) as the story went on. This story even affected my dreams for a time!

I recommend it. The mystery elements are good, but the actual feeling of being way down deep in the bowels of the earth in tiny, tight places as well as in huge empty underground rooms is the main reason to read this amazing story.


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