book review: Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt

I’ve been reading really horrible mysteries.  Why would I read horrible mysteries?  I promised to review them so I’m trudging my way through.  I feel a little bad giving bad reviews, but the characters are so unbelievable and the plots are just awful.  I’ve finished 2 of them, but I’ve been procrastinating about the reviews because I honestly can’t believe these books were published.

My introduction leads me to a little caveat about my review for this book.  I liked this book, and I don’t think it’s because of the string of horrible writing that I’ve witnessed recently, but there’s a small part of me that wonders.  I felt so relieved when I started to read it and found myself enjoying it and liking the characters.

Little Girl Gone is about a police liaison officer named Afton Tangler who helps in the investigation of the abduction of an infant from a wealthy family.  Afton is discontented with her current role and aspires to be a detective rather than social worker.  She is a likable character who is clever, easy to relate to, and believable.  The author did a great job of character development by allowing the character’s actions to speak for their personalities.  The characters’ reactions to situations were spot on for their personalities.

This book reminded me a lot of John Sandford’s Prey series, not only because they are both based in Minnesota, but the main characters investigate crimes.  Both main characters aren’t perfect and have a little bit of an attitude towards authority, but that’s part of what makes them likable.

While the plot doesn’t offer any surprises, I found myself not caring about that because I was enjoying the well written story.  It seems that Afton Tangler is the main character in a series of books.  I haven’t read any of them before reading this book and found that it didn’t make a difference.  I look forward to reading more books with Afton Tangler as the main character.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentar e-copy of this book from First to Read.


Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil is the third book by Robert Galbraith (pen name for J. K. Rowling) about PI Cormoran Strike.

In this book, a killer is making it personal by sending body parts addressed to Robin.  Robin continues to play more of a major role in the investigation and Cormoran even refers to her as a “partner.” I loved that we continue to find more about Robin because she is such an interesting character.  We find out about why she quit school just shy of graduation.  There’s also more insight about her relationship with her fiance, although, I still find it difficult to accept that she’s with such a pompous lout.  The more that’s revealed about Matthew, the more of a jerk he appears to be and I’m left wondering why on Earth she would want to marry him.

Besides Cormoran and Robin, the other characters in the book aren’t very well developed.  There’s a friend of Cormoran’s who only helps out when they can pay him and the usual incompetent police figures.

There’s more development of the sexual tension/attraction between Cormoran and Robin, but it’s still sort of innocent, with neither admitting or allowing themselves to really think about a relationship together (other than their existing professional one).

The book ended on a frustrating note for me.  I was thinking, “Noooooooo!” at the very end.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I found that the weepy/mopey bits tended to drag.  Still a fan of the Cormoran Strike series!

Book Review The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

I read The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith and The Silkworm (same author) a few months ago, but haven’t had a chance to write the review until now.  In case you haven’t heard it yet, Robert Galbraith is actually a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling.  It was kept top secret, but one of the lawyers at the firm used by J. K. Rowling told his wife who then told a friend of hers and pretty soon it was leaked that J. K. Rowling was Robert Galbraith.  She has since publicly acknowledged this.  The book was already doing pretty well on its own, but once the real author got leaked, it skyrocketed on the ratings charts.

I was a little hesitant to read it because I really didn’t like The Casual Vacancy.  I needn’t have worried.  This mystery/detective novel was good.  I liked the characters (the main character is Cormoran Strike).  I liked that Cormoran wasn’t perfect – it took him time to realize things sometimes, like how his off again-on again relationship wasn’t good for him.  His flaws made him a more realistic and like-able character.  The characters in this book had different personalities – the good guys weren’t all super smart and perfect.  I especially liked his secretary, Robin, who plays a bigger role in The Silkworm.

The gist of the plot for The Cuckoo’s Calling is that a famous model appears to take a flying leap from her balcony.  Cormoran Strike is a private detective (nearly broke) who is hired by the model’s brother to investigate.  Everyone thinks that she committed suicide, including the police, but as Cormoran takes a closer look, he has some doubts.  He has to figure out whether there was any foul play and, if there was foul play, how it happened.

Even though The Silkworm is the second book in the series, it’s not necessary to read the first one first.  The benefit is that Robin is introduced in the first one so you have some background on her.  In The Silkworm, people are showing up murdered and the murders resemble the plot of an unpublished manuscript.  Cormoran has been hired by the author’s wife to find the author, who has gone missing.

The plots themselves were okay (I liked the plot of the first book better than the second book).  I enjoyed the characters in the book and their interactions more than the actual plot.  Actually, the ending of the second book was a let down – the actual storyline was okay up until the ending.  I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys reading mysteries/detective stories.