Ron’s #36: Confess, Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald

Yes, that Fletch, the same character from the 1985 movie with Chevy Chase. After I saw that movie in high school, I read a few of the books on which it was based. Gregory Mcdonald has nine books with Irwin Maurice Fletcher as an investigative reporter sleuthing, disguising, and lying his way through the mystery. The two Fletch movies portray him as more goofy than he is in the novels, but the books are good reads before bedtime.

Confess, Fletch is the second in the series, and has Fletch fly in to Boston to find a murdered woman in his rented house. While trying to solve that murder, he is also trying to track down stolen paintings from a family heirloom from a possibly crooked art dealer.

Mcdonald’s writing style is breezy and quick, with lots of dialogue to move the story along. If you are interested in mystery novels, this could be for you. I’m not a mystery reader usually. I just like spending time with arrogant smart-alecks.

Ron’s #7: Traveler by Ron McLarty

I loved this book, my second McLarty novel. I read his The Memory of Running a few years ago, and I loved the narrative voice of the main character Smitty in his writing. Traveler is no different. Jono Riley is a semi-failed actor on off-off-Broadway who is called home to East Providence, Rhode Island after the death of his childhood friend/first love. While there he discovers clues about several other shootings in the area from years ago, and tries to find some meaning.

The main character in this book isn’t Jono; it’s Rhode Island itself. McLarty writes RI so clearly, so powerfully, that the setting plays a main role. Jono returns to his childhood haunts around East Providence and Pawtucket, all the places that are in my childhood. As I read through, I wanted a grinder, a cabinet, and clam cakes on a trip to Rocky Point wicked bad.

If I didn’t have the roots in Rhode Island, I’m not sure that this novel would have had the impact on me that it did. By the time Jono’s mystery wraps-up (pretty hokey, in my opinion), I found that I was thinking about my childhood, my lingering history, my own demons from a small state with a tight grip.

Mark's #16 - The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

This book marks the third legal thriller I've read this year, and the first Michael Connelly book I've ever read. Though I enjoyed the first two legal thrillers, by Randy Singer and John Grisham, I have to say that this is the best,  most believable, well-written, most suspenseful of the three. Since it is a thriller/mystery, I don't like to go into too much plot detail. Briefly put, the story is a first person account of  defense laywer Mickey Haller, aka- The Lincoln Lawyers.  Traveling in his Lincoln through Los Angeles' rougher neighborhoods to meet with various clients who are criminals and convicts, Mickey is a shrewd lawyer and businessman.  Like most defense lawyers, Mickey spends most of his time either working out suitable plea deals, or trying to expose the cracks and flaws of the prosecutions case against his clients.

Connelly does well to lead the reader to have uncomfortable feelings about, what many would consider, a sleazy defense lawyer, while still drawing the reader into wanting him to succeed.

As a defense lawyer for some of the worst criminals in southern California, Mickey realizes the vast majority of his clients are guilty as charged - but he's not concerned with that.

What scares Mickey the most, and where the plot thickens, is the possibility of representing an innocent client and losing the case.

There were a few weak spots in the plot such as Mickey's amicable relationship with his two ex-wives, who work as prosecutors.

What made me pull the trigger and buy this book was the high reviews on amazon, many of them claiming, "Connelly's book puts Grisham to shame when it comes to writing legal thrillers."

I think I agree with that sentiment, and if you read this book you may as well.

Mark's #1 - The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch

The Hangman's Daughter is mystery/thriller and historical fiction set in the Bavarian town of Schongau Germany in the early 1600's.  This is an interesting and different story, with some fascinating insights into that often brutal world.  As the reader, you get the sense that the setting and background for the book is very well researched.  Indeed, the author has ancestors who were part of the hangman heritage, and in the epilogue you can read about his research for the book. Though perhaps a bit long, the story managed to keep my attention throughout.  If you're looking for something different, with an engaging storyline and compelling characters, I would recommend this book.  If you have a kindle, you can get it here for $3.99

If you have a kindle and would like to 'borrow' the book from me, email me and I'll send it to you (it stays for two weeks on your kindle).

Mark's #11: The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Aurthur Conan Doyle (500 pages)

This is the first time I’ve read any of the Shelock Holmes adventures. The book consists of the 24 original short stories.  Each story offers a creative tale of intrique, suspense, and logical deductions by the world’s most famous detective – Sherlock Holmes.

Since each story is about 20 pages long, this book would have probably been better if I spread it out over time and occasionally read one of the 24 original Sherlock Holmes adventures.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the classic work by Aurthur Conan Doyle.  Not surprisingly, I found the stories to be more captivating than most, if not all of the modern Sherlock Holmes renditions, be they on the movie screen or stage.

If you’re looking for some good short story mysteries, does anyone do it better than Arthur Conan Doyle?  I think not.

No mystery on my rating of this book… “Elementary my dear Watson!”

4 stars.