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KatherineA54 has commented on (5) products.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

KatherineA54, January 31, 2013

Though I already wrote a review here of this incredible book, I'd be remiss in not entering it for The Puddly Awards contest. After friends heard me rave about it, they bought it -- and to a person, said it was one of the finest historical reads they'd had in eons. It was so good I'd read it again -- high praise for a nonfiction work about a little-known President. You'll learn far more than Presidential politics in Destiny of The Republic, and you'll be thinking about history in a totally different way when you finish.
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Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

KatherineA54, November 19, 2012

My friends are growing weary of my raves about this book. But it's hard not to talk about a work so riveting and timely, and so full of twists that it rivals a great suspense novel. As a reader who rarely wanders out of the mystery/thriller genres, it was astonishing that I couldn't put this down until the end.

Like most people, I was aware that James Garfield was assassinated, and remembered the crazed shooter's name. But the attempted murder itself is just one piece of incredible events and people who surrounded this President in 1880. Well-known historical figures like Alexander Graham Bell played a role in Garfield's life and death struggle, as did unknown people like Sen. Roscoe Conkling, a fellow Republican bitter about Garfield's rise to power.

This well-researched work is compelling for providing a vivid snapshot of Garfield, who was a genius, a loving father, a man who advocated for total freedom for slaves and a gentleman farmer basically forced into the Presidency. Had he not succumbed to mistakes by arrogant doctors, Garfield might have been considered one of our greatest Presidents. Detailed scenes about Garfield's wife, his vice president Chester Arthur and his colleague Robert Todd Lincoln (son of another President) flesh out a story that must be read to be believed.

Kudos to author Candice Millard's skill in letting readers view one of the most interesting -- and largely unknown -- periods of history.
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(4 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

The Debt Collector
The Debt Collector

KatherineA54, August 27, 2012

Getting behind on your bills can be murder, Cincinnati homicide detective Sonora Blair discovers, in unimaginable ways. She and her partner take on a grisly home invasion, where an entire family is killed. While techs and other officers are collecting evidence, Blair hears a whisper among the chaos. She rushes to discover a woman hiding under a bed holding an unharmed baby. Before she dies, the woman prays and tells Blair that two men and "The Angel" were in the house. A motive for the murders isn't clear until a relative of the dead woman reluctantly admits the family had some "money problems." A stroke of luck leads the police to two suspects, but Det. Blair needs to know who "The Angel" is before the case can be closed. Though "The Debt Collector" revolves around an unusual crime and unusual suspects, it's the Blair character that pumps up this thriller. She's a single mother who has to put aside the horror she battles on the job to keep some normalcy in her children's lives. She's a tough cop, but she's scared of being lonely. She can stare down a killer, but blushes at compliments from a good-looking ER doctor. A surprise ending finishes this book nicely. I'd never heard of the author until reading this novel, but look forward to checking out her other work.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

It's a Book by Lane Smith
It's a Book

KatherineA54, July 10, 2012

Haters of Kindles/Nooks/E-readers in general: Kick up your heels. Lane Smith has cleverly defended those of us who prefer to hold a real book in our hand. The wonderful illustrations in "It's A Book" include a techno-savvy donkey who can't grasp how the written word can be understood without emoticons, electricity or passwords. A literary-loving gorilla patiently describes the wonder -- and simplicity -- of reading without fear of breaking the words, changing them into nonsense or losing the author's meaning. Not only should you add this to your bookcase (if you still have one), but you should buy a copy for anyone who looks at you skeptically when you remind them that a piece of literary art does NOT have the same effect on their (allegedly) glare-free screen. Thanks to Lane Smith, whose work is important -- and far shorter than this review.
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Fractured by Karin Slaughter

KatherineA54, October 14, 2011

A rich housewife strangles the man who attacks her after savagely murdering her daughter. The police arrive, and the housewife discovers that the teenage girl left in a pool of blood is not her daughter, and the man she believed was about to attack her had actually been stabbed himself, trying to save the girl.

It's then the nightmare really begins. The housewife's daughter Emma is missing; it's her best friend the mother thought she saw beaten and stabbed.

Time for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to step in because of family connections, annoying an already tense Atlanta Police Department.

Will Trent, a laid-back special agent for the GBI, is teamed with feisty Atlanta detective Faith Mitchell to figure out the not only the motives for the initial murder, but who's who in a mess of crimes. Trent and Mitchell, who appear in other Slaughter novels, make one of the oddest -- and most interesting -- teams in the mystery genre. Both have secrets that affect their work, without ruining their path to untangling the mysteries they're forced to plod through.

Slaughter's genius is making every character -- even secondary and background people -- potential threats to the case. Unlike many writers, Slaughter describes people in ways that make you remember them long after reading the book.

"Fractured" is truly a finish-in-one-sitting read; though the crime is vividly played out in the first pages, it's not until you close the last page that you know what Agent Trent and Detective Mitchell discover ... even if all that ends well is a bit broken.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

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