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Grisham does it again with "The Rackateer!" Just when you think you've figured out what the con is, the plot takes off in another direction; leaving bumbling Federal agents and prosecutors in it's wake. Malcolm is a combination of two of Grisham's favoite sort of characters - an innocent man wronged by the system and a down-on-his luck lawyer. Or is he? With more turns and left hooks than anything I've read in a while, "The Rackateer" takes off at typical Grisham warp speed and doesn't stop until the last page. I can't say I've ever read a Grisham book that I didn't savor and this one is no exception. The perfect read for a cool late fall evening by the fire... but don't get too comfortable. If you remember and liked the old Robert Redford / Paul Newman movie, "The Sting," you will love this book!
I must admit that this is the first and only Mitch Albom book I have ever read. Despite his enormous popularity and success, I just never got around to "Tuesdays With Morrie" or "The Five People You Meet in Heaven." Something about this storyline, however, intrigued me and I have it a try. I read this book in about two hours. It is the closest thing I've seen to a modern-day parable or fable. What an incredibly powerful read! This should be mandatory reading for every high school or college student in the world. With hints of "A Christmas Carol" drifting through my mind, I followed the collision course so simply and brilliantly laid out by Albom and hung on every word. A beautiful book. Not even going to try to describe it because I want the next reader to experience it all for themselves. An absolute must-read.
I've read every Patricia Cornwell book. I almost skipped last year's "Red Mist" because I was tired of the drama, but I gave in and was pleasantly surprised. That effort was back to her old self; strong on suspense, low on dysfunctional relationships. I had hoped she had turned a corner and gotten beyond the rut. With all of that in mind, I read "The Bone Bed" in three sittings. I read it quickly because I forced myself to, once again, skim over the psychological bs of the complicated relationships between Kay Scarpetta, Benton, Marino, Lucy..... The underlying mystery was good - interesting and not overly technical and complicated. But once again, Cornwell has chosen to dwell on secrets, unhealthy relationships and the past. Sadly, it ruined an otherwise good book and, I fear, a long-standing series of decent reads involving the unbeatable Dr. Scarpetta. I honestly don't know if I will be able to pick up her next one. I'm tired of it all. The forensics is here, the legal battle, the firepower, the psychological profiling.... but the personal drama between characters overshadows all of that. Die-hard Scarpetta fans may be disappointed. Casual readers will wonder what sort of psycho-babble they stumbled in to.
James Lee Burke returns to the Louisiana Cajun County for his Dave Robicheaux adventure and it is his funniest, wildest story yet. Not lacking in sarcasm, dark thoughts, violence or human frality, "Creole Belle" showcases the seemingly invincible "Bobbsy Twins from Homicide" duo of Robicheaux and Clete Purcel as they recover from a near fatal shooting, discover Clete's long lost daughter (a mob hired gun of all things....) and confront the ever-present demons of their pasts one more time. In typical James Lee Burke fashion, you're never quite sure who is on first and if you can trust them if you figure it out anyway. This yarn did seem a bit more pensive than earlier Robicheaux novels.... but then the main man is getting long in the tooth - as is the author. But all in all, a James Lee Burke read is a cross between a James Bond or Bruce Willis film and Faulkner with a lot of dark humor thrown in. Personally, I will use the "barking roach" line again and again... but you need to read this one to appreciate the visual it creates! A fun read as all of Burke's are. It leaves me waiting for the next one and dreaming of the bayou, sweet tea, po' boys and a thick southern drawal while I wait.