Author Archive

Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood

I enjoy watching the PBS series “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and was delighted to find it based on a book series. This is the 20th in the series, but I don’t think that I will read the other 19 – it was cute but cloying. Miss Fisher is unique and unusual, the supporting characters are charming, but in the end, the book is charming, diverting, and not very much more than fluff.

Evaluation: 3 out of 5

Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell


A warm and caring look at Scotland during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister – a time of strikes, unemployment, unrest, told from a preteen’s point of view. As he struggles to understand what is happening to his family, he resorts to listening behind the closed doors of the title. This is a beautiful depiction of growing up and trying to decipher the worry and violence that threaten to tear his family and his life apart.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

Red Winter by Dan Smith

A deserter from the Chekists, the terrorist wing of the Red Army,, returns home to find his village destroyed and his family gone. His search for them follows the depraved destruction of the man called Koschi and his soldiers. The novel gives a good look at how Russia ended up the way it is today and how the Communists came to power.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5

Indefensible by Lee Goodman

Nick Davis is a federal prosecutor whose involvement in trying to solve the case of a low-level drug seller gets entangled in a case that mushrooms to three more deaths, a child porn ring, and the possible involvement of his next-in-command. Very fast-moving, suspenseful, and complicated with several red-herrings and danger to his family thrown in. A good read.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

The latest installment in the author’s funny series about bail bondswoman Stephanie Plum, her love interests Morelli and Ranger, and the usual crazies. The author could write these in her sleep – cars get blown up, apartments burned, dead bodies, skips who refuse to cooperate with her and her friend Lula. This time a Russian terrorist is added to the mix. It never gets old and neither do the main characters.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5

Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods

This quick easy read chronicles the ongoing tale of attorney Stone Barrington, whose life apparently never hits a rough patch. I read this series with a sense of humor and a feeling of the unreal.

Evaluation: 3 out of 5

The Heist by Daniel Silva

This is latest adventure with protagonist Israeli super spy Gabriel Allon does not disappoint. Gabriel’s search for a stolen work of art leads him to uncover a conspiracy involving a government in the Mid-East. This action packed thriller is exciting from beginning to end. It’s what I have come to expect when the master spy is at work.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

Yes is the Answer (and Other Prog-Rock Tales) by Mark Weingarten

Various writers tackle the controversial subject of being a fan of Progressive Rock, which is arguably the most ridiculous and “uncool” genre of music these days. Like any collection of essays, this was a mixed bag. A few were great, some were good, some were really terrible.

Evaluation: 3 out of 5

How to Fight Presidents by Daniel O’Brien

A humor book about the presidents with a very flimsy premise. This is political humor for frat boys, filled with factual inaccuracies and written in an incredibly abrasive style. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of crass humor when done correctly, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Evaluation: 2 out of 5

How About Never – Is Never Good For You? My Life in Cartoons by Bob Mankoff

An incredibly informative inside look at the New Yoker’s famous cartoons. Mankoff tells you a bit about himself and then goes into great detail about the history of the New Yorker’s cartoon section and what one would do if they wanted to submit their work.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5