Monday, April 30, 2012

Lori's Book Sense

Welcome to this months edition of Lori's Book Sense.
I hope you enjoy these great titles I've chosen for you this month.

A Detailed Man by David Swinson ~ Half of DC Police Detective Ezra Simeon's face is immobilized from a persistent case of Bell's Palsy--he must drink through a straw and eat carefully to avoid chewing through his own cheek. He has been detailed from robbery to the cold case department while he heals. "How odd to dream with one eye open, like having one foot in reality," Sim muses in the dark, bluesy vein that is typical of his Chandler-esque narration. "That's what makes dreaming dangerous and why I moved my gun farther from the bed." Detective Simeon's half-frozen world begins to heat up when a friend from his Academy days drops dead of a heart attack, and Sim is tapped to replace him, detailed now to homicide, where he inherits the high-profile case of a murdered escort he alone thinks may be the victim of a serial killer.

A Detailed Man is a true cop tale. It’s credible, extremely well written, and told by a man who clearly knows what he’s talking about. Being a highly decorated member of the Metropolitan Police Department has given the author the ability to give this book the authenticity you don’t normally find in books of this type. The detail that he provides when relating the struggles these man face each and every day while trying to solve cases makes  you feel as if you’re sitting in the squad room with them, as if you’re a part of the force yourself. His descriptive picture of life in DC is so vivid that you might as well be walking by his side as he roams the streets of DC in search of a killer. Each chapter is taut with suspense and expertly crafted. While the action doesn’t speed down the track like a runaway train, the story will suck you in and pull you along on a slow ride that you will thoroughly enjoy, hoping it never ends. There better be more of Ezra Simeon in the future. 

Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson ~  Sarah Brandt’s family is one of the oldest in New York City, and her father, Felix Decker, takes his position in society very seriously. He still refuses to resign himself to his daughter being involved with an Irish Catholic police detective. But when a member of his private club—the very exclusive Knickerbocker—is murdered, Decker forms an uneasy alliance with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to solve the crime as discreetly as possible.
Malloy soon discovers that despite his social standing, the deceased—Chilton Devries—was no gentleman. In fact, he’s left behind his own unofficial club of sorts, populated by everyone who despised him. As he and Sarah sort through the suspects, it becomes clear to her that her father is evaluating more than the detective’s investigative abilities, and that, on a personal level, there is much more at stake for Malloy than discovering who revoked Devries’ membership—permanently.

Murder on Fifth Avenue is the 14th book in the Gaslight Mystery series (see Murder on Astor Place, Murder on Sisters’ Row) featuring turn of the century mid-wife Sarah Brandt and the Irish Catholic Frank Malloy who has caught her eye. With each book, the feelings between Sarah & Frank continues to grow, and with this latest installment, it appears that even Sarah’s father, Felix, is warming up to the idea of the two of them getting together.  It appears as if Felix is asking Frank to investigate this case as not only a way to solve the mystery of his friend’s murder, but also as a test of some sort. I have a feeling we will finally see Sarah & Frank come together VERY soon. Victoria Thompson has the amazing ability to bring the turn of the century to life with her accurate descriptions of the way things were back then. From the horse drawn carriages used by the upper-class to the struggles a mistress will face when she no longer has her “protector,” the images of life in those times is vividly painted for the reader in a way that makes us feel fully invested in the story.  Murder on Fifth Avenue is a wonderfully told, first-rate Victorian mystery.

Titanic 2012 by Bill Walker ~ Best-selling mystery novelist Trevor Hughes has no idea that attending his twentieth reunion at Harvard will forever change his life. Persuaded to go by his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Dr. Julia Magnusson, he meets up with three old friends: Solly Rubens, a self-made Wall Street millionaire; Ken Faust, a successful software entrepreneur; and Harlan Astor, New York real estate tycoon and the glue that holds their circle together. That afternoon, over drinks at the Harvard Club, Harlan drops his bombshell: He is doing what James Cameron did not -- he is rebuilding the Titanic, and sailing the ship on the hundredth anniversary to honor those who died, including his great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor IV. Only Trevor is intrigued by Harlan's audacity. Touched by his friend's interest and concern, Harlan invites him on the maiden voyage to serve as the official chronicler. On April 10, 2012, Trevor journeys to Southampton and, along with the hundreds of handpicked passengers, boards the Titanic. He is awed by the immensity of the ship and the feelings that well up in him. His friend has made his grand dream a reality. During the journey, armed with his iPod Touch and a miniature wireless camera hidden in his glasses, Trevor interviews both passengers and crew, eager to learn the reasons why they chose to sail on the reborn ship. Nearly every one of them claims to have been profoundly affected by Cameron's film, wanting to recapture the magic for themselves. And some of them are dying -- their last wish to be on the maiden voyage of the new Titanic. Trevor is touched that his friend has allowed these people to come aboard, and is unprepared when he meets Madeleine Regehr, a beautiful, free-spirited woman who resists his entreaties to be interviewed, intriguing Trevor all the more. Slowly, and inexorably, Maddy draws him out of his shell, allowing him to love deeply and completely, for the very first time in his life. But Trevor soon discovers a darker purpose for the voyage, a purpose that threatens to destroy him and the woman he loves. In a race against time that pits friend against friend, Trevor must stop the unstoppable or risk a horrific replay of history...

The return to Titanic is every bit as poignant as the original voyage. The author brings you right aboard the ship with his extremely descriptive narrative, making you feel as if you were sailing along with the characters. While I understand the route the author took with the ending, I found it to be a little to perfect for me. I would have preferred something a little less expected, but still found Titanic 2012 worth the trip.  Titanic 2012 is an emotional journey that will pit friend against friend, bring closure to some, bring lovers together and possibly tear some apart.  

See you next month ;)


  1. Lori, every month, my TBR pile grows because of your recommendations! Thanks for singling out some great reads from your towering TBR pile. Maggie

  2. I agree, Lori, you're largely responsible for my bookstore tab each month! ;) Keep up the great reviews!