Kevin G. (2littletime) - Reviews

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Back of Beyond (Cody Hoyt, Bk 1)
Back of Beyond (Cody Hoyt, Bk 1)
Author: C. J. Box
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 2/29/2016


This is the first in the Cody Hoyt series by C.J. Box. I was hooked on his other series Joe Pickett, but decided to go for a change of pace. No pun intended, but this book has Box written all over it. The characters and suspense will have you locked in about a third of the way into the book. It didn't take me long before like any Joe Pickett book I became obsessed in finding all the answers and simply couldn't put the book down!! There are so many twists and turns that this one will have you guessing to the very end. Full of surprises and suspense and I kid you not it had the hair on the back of my neck up a few times!! Cody Hoyt is not without flaws as you would suspect with a Box main character. He has he his addiction being a former alcholic and currently in AA, and also a heavy chain smoker. He also happens to be a cop, but not your typical cop and that is where the fun starts. I won't give anything away as its much too precious to find out on your own, but in this one we find him investigating a murder of a friend. Eventually it turns personal as he finds the only thing dear and perfect to him, his only son Justin suddenly is in the path of danger. Great job again C.J. Box for giving me some sleepless nights, I can't wait to see what you have in store next for Cody Hoyt. I also need to find some precious time to get back to your other main series with Joe Pickett!!


Below Zero (Joe Pickett, Bk 9)
Below Zero (Joe Pickett, Bk 9)
Author: C. J. Box
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 5/25/2016


As always I would recommend reading any of the C.J. Box series in order, as there is previous information and background needed to make this book in the series more enjoyable. That said it was suspense and intrigue to the full extent as usual. As with many of this authors books I have trouble putting the books down and find myself indulging. The character Joe Pickett and his family are fully involved in "Below Zero" as the past comes raging to the forefront. Something that was put to rest a long time ago-a family tragedy-has come alive again. This book ratchets forward with the usual twists and turns you would expect and doesn't end till the final page. The author keeps you in suspense and leaves you with some huge question marks till the very last page.


Bitter Trail
Bitter Trail
Author: Elmer Kelton
Book Type: School Library Binding
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/14/2014


As always Elmer Kelton can spin a good yarn!! As a reader you find his stories factual about events and things that took place in history. This one mainly being about the Civil War conflicts in and around Brownsville, TX. The fictional account of the story could have even been similar to true events, as it tells of good friends suddenly finding themselves on opposite sides in the war. Frio Wheeler who is delivering huge loads of cotton by mule for the South for the Confederacy, and his long time friend Tom McCasland supporting opposite sides for the North. The book tells of struggles between right and wrong and between good friends, still both thinking they are on the right side for opposite reasons. This account makes you think that the Civil War must have been so hard on many, perhaps even brothers finding themselves on opposing sides. A good quick read and a gripping story!!


Blood Hollow (Cork O'Connor, Bk 4)
Blood Hollow (Cork O'Connor, Bk 4)
Author: William Kent Krueger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 12/9/2012


OK I am really sold now, this is the second book in the Cork O'Connor series I have read. A few months back I found a couple of interesting looking books at a garage sale and got them for a good price. After researching found that they were later books in the O'Connor series. I did the smart thing and went to Barnes and Noble and filled the vacancies on the first few in the series and read the first one "Iron Lake" and this being the second. I can tell you this as I reviewed the first book on here, this is my new favorite author. The pages on this one turned just as fast as the first one did. Anyone seeking a new mystery author I would recommend Krueger and also recommend starting with the first in the series as it will make more sense chronologically for several reasons not only the events, but the ages of his children. The characters are strong in this book and the trails of clues laid out keep you guessaing as any good mystery will. After reading the first book and now the second I am beginning to feel at home with the small Minnesota town and its surroundings. He paints the whole state of Minnesota well and it attributes and people even better. William Kent Krueger is definately an artist as he paints the story with his characters and backgrounds. The books so far hold my interest immediately and gets to the point of any good book, I simply can't put it down!! I do hope if you read my review you take the plunge and I promise you won't be sorry as you embark on some great mysteries!! The two that I have read there is a little bit of bizarre added, giving it an added element. Really some great stuff-simply put.


Blood Trail (Joe Pickett, Bk 8)
Blood Trail (Joe Pickett, Bk 8)
Author: C. J. Box
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 1/19/2016


As usual C.J. Box gives you a ride you won't soon forget. Your favorite game warden Joe Pickett is recruited by the Governor to look into hideous crimes, where hunter's during elk season are being stalked and become the hunted. Chilling tale especially for any of us that have been in the outdoors by ourselves to hunt game. As Joe Pickett mentioned several times in this novel "you can feel the hair on your neck stand up"! Box has a way of racheting up the story to get your full attention, so much so I find it hard to put any of his books down for long, as I have to read furiously into the night to see how Joe Pickett cracks the case! As always Joe can get himself into a heap of trouble with about anyone or everyone around him, from the governor to even his own family and neighbors. He is one of my favorite characters in the many books I read. If you haven't read any of C.J. Box's novels and series with Joe Pickett, you are really missing out. This one as all of them will give you many sleepless nights!


Blue Heaven
Blue Heaven
Author: C. J. Box
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 115
Review Date: 5/10/2016


The start of this book took a while for the setup of the main characters. I am used to reading all of the CJ Box books with Joe Pickett, family, and friends. So this being a stand alone book it took me a while to get used to the characters. The main character Jess Rawlins as you would expect is solid, he is an older cowboy/rancher in Idaho living on his land passed down by his grandfather. His life is about to take a huge turn as if he didn't already have problems, the main one being him trying to hold onto his land. Soon enter some transplants and dirty cops that retired in Idaho from LA. I won't give the story line away, but it envolves him protecting two kids that live locally and saw something they shouldn't have. Midway through the book it becomes typical of a CJ Box book, you simply can't put it down, and the suspense ratchets up with lots of twists and turns. A nice change of pace from his Joe Pickett series, but if you like that series, it's almost a guarantee you will love this one too!!


The Buckskin Line (Texas Rangers)
The Buckskin Line (Texas Rangers)
Author: Elmer Kelton
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 2/6/2016


As a fan of Elmer Kelton, whom I found later in life after reading many of the famous author Louis L'amour and others, I can say Kelton rates up at the top of story tellers where the western genre is concerned. These days I have my nose stuck in more mysteries per say than westerns, but still mix it up now and then. That said I really enjoyed this book the first in the series of the Texas Rangers, but have to say reading many of Kelton's books, this one seemed to have some retread involved. Some of his stories, but not all follow a similar pattern-boy or boys parents killed by indians, then boy adopted, or set out on his own to grow up and face the challenges of the old west. This one has a boy named Rusty, partly due to the color of his hair, who is rescued and adopted after being captured by indians. Rusty is destined from the beginning to met up again with his old nemesis and captor Buffalo Caller who is in turn haunted by Rusty's red hair as a bad omen/medicine. The story is likeable and puts you back in a time long ago when the frontier was being blazed. Again Kelton is a top notch story teller and paints images of the old west that makes you believe you were there in another life. Great adventure and a story to be told, if your a fan of this genre highly recommended as the pages will flow quickly!


Cimarron Rose (Billy Bob Holland, Bk 1)
Cimarron Rose (Billy Bob Holland, Bk 1)
Author: James Lee Burke
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 1/6/2013


This was my first read by author James Lee Burke as every once in a while I try a new author. I am not sure I am going to revisit this author again as I found this book a chore to get through. I remained dilligent and did wade through all the cutesy comments and sayings that Burke's characters threw in along the way, I did feel as though it distracted from the story and book. Some of the comments would have added color and flair, but it seems as though Burke deemed it necessary to make a jaded or colored comment from every character at ever turn. This distracted from the story and made it hard to follow and get down to business. Also I felt as though his characters werent developed as well as they could have been for many reasons I won't get into. I am not a prude, but also felt the story was weighed down with lots of vulgarity in which a little would have gone a long way. The story overall was one that was a good one to tell, and you did find yourself rooting for the main character Lucas Smothers (Billy Bob's illigetimate son) that lawyer Billy Bob Holland worked to free of a murder charge. Later in the novel when the courtroom scenes appeared, I did think that this was well written as the evidence in the case comes to view. Some of the vial criminals and characters leading up to that were pushed a little too much upon us as readers I felt. Too there was Billy Bob's former dead Texas Ranger partner LQ Navarro that was brought to light along the way that made commmentary in Billy Bob's head, at times he added and brought light to the story and at other times he was just another distraction from the telling of the story. Perhaps it wasn't my cup of tea as some of my favorite mystery authors like Jonathan Kellerman, William Kent Krueger, and even western author Elmer Kelton develop and write with such a flair that the pages fly off the books like a hurricane raged stream flows to a main river. There I added my own cutesy comment to the reivew. Going to give Burke the benefit of the doubt and not give him a rating of one, but a two because of the overall content and scope of the story. Again at some point I may pick up another book and see how it goes, but for now I am going to give it a rest!!!


A Cold Day for Murder (Kate Shugak, Bk 1)
A Cold Day for Murder (Kate Shugak, Bk 1)
Author: Dana Stabenow
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 153
Review Date: 3/2/2014


I am on a search for an author who writes somewhat similar to William Kent Krueger, with a well written story, strong/bold characters, and lots of twists in a well written mystery. I have now tried Stabenow and Hillerman and find Stabenow closer to the task, but not quite. I did enjoy the book and it was a nice weekend read, the characters good and well developed, the story readable, but somewhat predictable, unlike the bends and curves I find in Krueger's writing. Still I found myself enjoying it enough that I will buy the next in the series. I liked her main character Kate Shugak a native Aluet (similar to Krueger's main character in his books, Cork who is part Ojibwe Indian). The character Kate was well developed and introduced to you so you come to know her and like her as she takes on an investigation, and finds herself going back to her roots in the far Alaska north. The book gives you a vivid image of the hard life and the beautiful scenery found in the Alaska wilderness, and this was the insight I was looking for and did enjoy the window that Stabenow gave me. Thanks for the adventure and plan to take another tour of Alaska in the next book of the series!


A Cold Day in Paradise (Alex McKnight, Bk 1)
A Cold Day in Paradise (Alex McKnight, Bk 1)
Author: Steve Hamilton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 3/28/2014


Always looking for a new mystery/thriller author and found "A Cold Day in Paradise" the first in the Alex McKnight series by Steve Hamilton to be an enjoyable read. I can say a lot of it seemed to be an old throw back book in a detective/PI series, the kind my Mom used to read such as a Mickey Spillane type. For some reason it didn't seem to be all that modern, as it said in this book that Alex McKnight was born in 1950. Too there was mention of pay phones which in this day of age are hard to find. Still I found the pages to flow easily and did find myself intrigued by the whole story of a madman "Rose" who years ago had shot McKnight's partner dead and left McKnight to carry a bullet next to his heart for the rest of life wanting to forge forward in my book to know more. I can say some of it was predictable, but for a first time writer it was good fare, and I understand Steve Hamilton won the Edgar and Shamus awards for best first novel. I can say I like my main characters believable and can say Alex McKnight former Detroit cop is not without his flaws! All in all it sets up the main character and gets us acquainted with him and his surroundings. In the end it has some nice just enough to make me want to continue on, and in the near future will look for #2 in the series.


A Cold Wind (Joe Pickett, Bk 11)
A Cold Wind (Joe Pickett, Bk 11)
Author: C. J. Box
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 1/3/2017


One of my favorite series with Game Warden Joe Pickett and this was one of the best so far. Joe gets dragged into an investigation that he really doesn't want to get involved in. It has nothing to do with his official business, but instead his despised Mother-In-Law is accused of murdering her husband, and by the request of his wife Marybeth he starts an investigation on the gruesome murder of his father-in-law the Earl. Loved this book as with the others in the series his best friend and ally Nate Romanowski, also is on a tangent in this story that parallels with the main story . So many twists and turns that it kept me guessing right up to the very end. Writing and mystery at its best, top shelf-book shelf that is, as this is one I may want to re-visit someday-it was that good. Hats (probably a Stetson) off to C.J. Box who is at the top of his game!!


The Cove (FBI Thriller, Bk 1)
The Cove (FBI Thriller, Bk 1)
Author: Catherine Coulter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 540
Review Date: 2/25/2014


This is the first book in the FBI series that Catherine Coulter penned. I came back and bought this first book in the series, as I enjoyed her #3 book "The Target" so much that I had originally bought in a book club years ago. In a previous review I gave "The Target" top billing as it was enjoyable, well written, and a very fast read with a lot of suspense. Had I started with "The Cove" I am not so sure I would have went out and purchased more of Coulter's books. So perhaps you should do as I have, if your a first timer reading Catherine Coulter go pick up book #3 in the series first and decide from there. The Cove's story takes us to a small town where Sally goes to hide with her aunt caught up in her own troubles-mainly her father's murder, and she ends up finding more problems than she started out with in the Cove. The story and concept were good and there was just enough to keep me going on, but I didn't care for the way it was written as it was distracting the way the author got cute with her characters and prose. I do have several more in the series and I hope they are more like "The Target" and less like "The Cove".


Dark Thicket
Dark Thicket
Author: Elmer Kelton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 1/29/2017


As usual the author Elmer Kelton turns in a good story. He was voted one of the best Western writers ever. In some ways I agree and in some ways I don't, as I would probably give the edge to another famous author Louis Lamour. No doubt Kelton can spin a good yarn, but after reading many of his books, they all seem to be somewhat familar. This one is no different with the setting taking place in Texas, during the civil war nearing towards it's end, and involving a young soldier Owen Danforth. Owen finds himself caught in a quandry, involving his duty with the Confederates, and his family/friends who are dividied with the war. Probably a typical dilema back in those days during the civil war when brother fought against brother. As most of Kelton's stories it is a quick read and not without suspense and did find the pages going by quickly. I would have rated it higher had it not been for the familiarity of which he writes, almost seemed as if I had read it before, almost knowing how it would end.


Dead in the Water (Kate Shugak, Bk 3)
Dead in the Water (Kate Shugak, Bk 3)
Author: Dana Stabenow
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 92
Review Date: 11/27/2015


This being the 3rd book that I have read by Dana Stabenow in her "Kate Shugak" mysteries. Kate Shugak is a retired investigator from the Anchorage's DA office. She is occasionally lured out of retiremnt on a case that needs investigated, usually with her needing the money, as she live's obscurily in the Alaska wilderness. The first two installment's I found interesting and different, and also alluring as the back drop is in the Alaska wilds. I think I gave the first two books in the series a middle of the road rating, as they were adequate. I probably enjoyed hearing more about the wilderness, than the story itself. This one "Dead in the Water" and #3 in the series finally hit on all cylinders. Not only was it set in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian chains, but also with Kate taking a job on an Alaskan Fishing Boat setting out to find two missing fisherman. Again the back drops and history were great, but this time the story, mystery, and action set the pace of the story. Like some of the great mysteries I have read the pace quickens as you induldge yourself into the book. A real good page turner that I really enjoyed from start to the end!!


The Devil's Bed
The Devil's Bed
Author: William Kent Krueger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 12/25/2015


William Kent Krueger is an amazing story teller, that gives us believable deep rich characters that we can easily relate to. I guess I had no way of knowing, but I was saving one of his best for my final read that he had penned. Now to date I have read all of his amazing books and will have to wait patiently for each new one to be published. This book "The Devil's Bed" is one of two of his stand alone books, along with "Ordinary Grace", after reading both I wish he would do more of this. Still his series about Cork O'Connor/sheriff turned private investigator, I look forward to each in the series! It is like picking up an old friend, as I have grown to love all of the characters involved in the series! "The Devil's Bed" to be honest I saved for last thinking it would not be my cup of tea as it involved politics, the Secret Service, and the federal government. Well it turned out to be one of my favorites, guess I was actually saving one of his best for the last just not knowing it. The characters are well developed, the story well told, the suspense is intense causing the pages to flow with ease! Along with the story and the characters he always give us plenty of life's learnings along the way. At the end I always like to sit back and reflect and take it all in. Again with his immense talent I hope there are more stand alone books in the future for William Kent Krueger. My advice if your hooked on his Cork O'Connor series, don't let this one pass you by, as you will miss out on one of his best!!


The Edge (FBI, Bk 4)
The Edge (FBI, Bk 4)
Author: Catherine Coulter
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 352
Review Date: 3/4/2017


Still reading Catherine Coulter's books as the first book I read was #3 in the FBI series "The Target" which was phenomenal. After reading "The Target", I thought all of her books were going to be of that caliber so went out and purchased more in the series, and now have read 1,2,and 4 along with "The Target" (3). This being #4 "The Edge" I found her prose to be similar to books 1 and 2. The author likes to make comments that really divert from the dialouge and the telling of the story. I don't know if she is trying to be funny or add something, in any case it just doesn't work for me. I do think her characters could be great if she didn't try to insert these quirky comments that distract or take away from the story! In this story the main character Ford MacDougal an FBI agent calls for help in solving the mystery of why his sister Jilly ran off a cliff in her porsche in Jilly's hometown of Edgerton, OR. The Agents he calls in for support are characters that we were introduced to in books one and two, FBI agents Savich and Sherlock. The mystery does pick up pace when all the FBI agents and a DEA agent Laura are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious place and find themselves detained and restrained. The pace quickens as they manage an escape and are being followed into a jungle. Sadly towards the end Ms Coulter ties up loose ends quickly and to me in a sloppy way, almost seeming she reached a page limit, and had to shut the story down in a hurry to give you all the answers to the mystery in a lump sum. As I have mentioned before if you want to try her mysteries start with book #3 which was a gem, and then decide if you want to continue on. For me I have bought several in the series, so all I can hope for is that she will return to the level of writing she gave us in book #3 "The Target"!!


Ender's Game (Ender, Bk 1)
Ender's Game (Ender, Bk 1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 958
Review Date: 1/23/2013


It has been quite a while since I have read a good science fiction book. I had bought this book as a Christmas present for a younger friend. I had done some research to see what the younger generation was reading and admiring. "Ender's Game" had received a lot of buzz and I saw it was being made into a movie for 2013, so I told my friend when he was done reading it, I wanted to borrow it. Well he was sunk into some heavy reading for school and other books he had for required reading, so he passed it on sooner than I had expected. Long story short "pun intended" it had me from beginning to end, now I am wishing my life away as I am really pumped about the upcoming movie. Some of the characters can be dark, and at times its hard to believe that most of the main characters are children and the book takes them on into their pre-teens and teens. They are asked much along the way from the characters, so much so that even I as an adult might have caved in. The main character Andrew Wiggins or Ender, immediately you find yourself rooting for him. He is bullied at school and by his oldest brother, and is constantly an underdog as the story unfolds. Still the story finds Andrew/Ender bravely taking on each challenge from being bullied in the beginning, to tasks set at hand eventually by the IF to save the world and universe from "Buggers" or Aliens. The story is weaved well and at times you wonder where some of the content is going, be patient its well worth the ride from beginning to end. Quite a change from the fare I normally read, but making me think its worth taking an alternate route at times for a change of scenery!! I would highly recommend this book if you have read "The Hunger Game" series and looking for something similar yet different. Let me remind you that this book was written before "Hunger Games" so its not a copy cat. Quite a fast read, but slow down and enjoy that ride down an alternate path, its well worth the trip!!


A Fatal Thaw (Kate Shugak, Bk 2)
A Fatal Thaw (Kate Shugak, Bk 2)
Author: Dana Stabenow
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 100
Review Date: 8/7/2014


After reading this the second book in author Stabenow's installment of Kate Shugak mysteries, I can say it is somewhat of an improvement over her 1st attempt at a novel. Still for me there is something lacking in the story, some of the characters I will admit I do like such as her friend Bobby a disabled veteran of the Vietnam wars who is colorful and humorous, and Bernie the bartender of a local bar. They add to the writing, but that is about where it stops. The story for me was somewhat predictable, slows at times, and didn't have much suspense. The book I would say overall didn't lag, as it was only 198 pages, yet the pages didn't exactly fly off for me either! I am used to reading a lot of mysteries and some of my favorite authors I can't wait to pick another one of their books that they have penned, while so far I have used Stabenow's books as a filler in between them as such. I am probably going to give a few more of her novels a shot in hopes that as the second improved on the 1st, maybe the third will improve on the 1st and second!!


Free Fire (Joe Pickett, Bk 7)
Free Fire (Joe Pickett, Bk 7)
Author: C. J. Box
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 69
Review Date: 12/30/2015


Free Fire comes at you gripping you so hard by the throat that you can't catch your breath till you turn the last page. First of all down on his luck main character Joe Pickett who has become one of my personal favorites series, is asked a favor by Wyomings Governor. By doing so he has everything to lose, but also everything to gain, which is mainly getting his life back including his job as a game warden that he so loved. Sometimes you have to take that chance/bait as there is no other way even though the cost can be greater than the reward! When 4 people are murdered by lawyer Clay McCann in Yellowstone National Park, who found a loophole in the law, was ultimately found innocent and walked free. Enraged by this event Governor Spencer Rulon calls on former Game Warden Joe Pickett for his help-the reward for nailing McCann, his old job with a raise. Joe knowing once the cards are laid out on the table it is going to get ugly, so he calls in his friend Nate Romanowski who is indepted to him for help. Nate who we have come to know in previous outings is a force to be reckoned with to say the least. As with any C.J. Box novel the suspense will haunt you till you yourself are in so deep you can't relent, until like Joe Pickett you find the answers. Along the way the secrets are unleashed and in its path we are let in on a web of ruthless individuals whom are involved and the reason why. This book is special in every way shape and form, I simply couldn't put it down, and I warn you as you turn the first page you better be ready for a thrill ride beyond normal proportions that coupled with some sleepless nights. After this I need to catch my breath as the next in the series I am sure will be more of the same.


Heaven's Keep (Cork O'Connor, Bk 9)
Heaven's Keep (Cork O'Connor, Bk 9)
Author: William Kent Krueger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 3/20/2014


I am going out on a limb and saying this is the best book I have ever read in my life. First though I must tell you to get the full effects of this book, read the first in the series. Then all the others subsequent, in the Cork O'Connor series by William Kent Krueger, thus leading up to "Heaven's Keep" to capture the full effects! It is difficult writing a review on this book without being a spoiler. I will say it heavily involves Cork's wife, of previous series Jo O'Connor and that is all I am going to say about the story told. I have come to know and love all of the O'Connor family in the previous books along with other main characters such as Jo's sister Rose, Ojibwe friend Henry Meloux, and countless others, heck even the dog's Walleye and Trixie have character! You come to look for them in this series of books. Now with "Heaven's Keep" all of my emotion's are released as I read this book, and it got the full charge of my emotion's flowing, and range from nail biting suspense to true caring and sorrow/heartbreak for some of the character's, as Krueger has no doubt solidly developed them in my mind!! Krueger has given me so much enjoyment and involvement in my reading corner again and truly brought that part of my life alive again. If you need a jump start on your bookshelf, I suggest giving Krueger a try he is amazing and well deserved of praise at his craft of penning a story!!


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