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Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries #16: Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd
Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries #16: Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

techeditor, August 3, 2015

If you've never read Charles Todd, as I hadn't, I would not suggest you start with HUNTING SHADOWS, number 16 in a series. My friend started with number 1 and liked it. Perhaps it would have made a difference if I had read the series in order, but number 16 bored me.

The setting is various cities in England in 1920, shortly after World War I. Two murders and one attempted murder have occurred, and Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge has been brought into the investigation. So we follow Rutledge (along with Hamish, who is never adequately explained in this 16th book in the series) as he tries to solve the murders, which seem to all be committed by one person.

But Rutledge encounters many suspects and many other characters along the way. It may be a trick for you to remember them all. Also, you will have to pay close attention to seemingly unimportant comments Rutledge makes early in the story; late in the book, he discovers what he wondered way back then.

This may be more interesting if you read the previous 15 books in the series first.
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Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral by Mary Doria Russell
Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral

techeditor, July 22, 2015

Normally, can’t-put-it-down books are thrillers. So I am surprised to say that a novel about the men who were in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral turned out to be unputdownable. This from a person who never liked watching or reading westerns. But I've liked everything else written by Mary Doria Russell, so I read EPITAPH, only expecting that it would be as engaging and as well researched as her other books.

Now the trick will be convincing you that EPITAPH is more than a western, that this is literature. I began unconvinced. Then it sucked me in.

EPITAPH is a historical novel. All the characters (including Wyatt Earp; his brothers James, Virgil, and Morgan; their friend John (Doc) Holliday; and their “wives”) really existed. And, as Russell says in her “Author's Note,” the main elements of the story are based on real events.

All but the last chapters take place in Tombstone, Arizona. The city is full of dirty politics, unethical politicians, and criminal Cow Boys (as this term is spelled in the book) who steal cattle, drink, and stir up trouble. Here is the really true story of how the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, but particularly Wyatt Earp, try to maintain order there and deal with lawlessness that led to their gunfight at the O.K Corral.

If you've never liked westerns, Russell will make you like one.
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So Cold the River by Michael Koryta
So Cold the River

techeditor, July 9, 2015

Michael Koryta has written several books. I'm told that SO COLD THE RIVER is not a good one to start with because it is so different from the others. But I did begin with this one.

SO COLD THE RIVER reminds me of a Stephen King novel. That is not to say that if you like King, you'll like Koryta. You might, but I found a problem that I don't have with King's novels.

This book starts out promising. Eric, a failed filmmaker hoping for a comeback, is hired to make a movie about an old, dying man. So Eric begins in the cities where the man grew up, West Baden and French Lick, Indiana. The cities and the great hotel in West Baden are not fiction, but the supernatural properties of the water there, obviously, are.

Koryta has a good story going. Problem, though: he is just too wordy. Many paragraphs in this book should have been whittled down to a sentence, or they should even have been eliminated because Koryta was only repeating himself.

But Koryta's writing is good; I'd like to try his other books. SO COLD THE RIVER only needs better editing to eliminate the unnecessary wordiness.
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The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
The Light between Oceans

techeditor, June 29, 2015

Although THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is set mostly in the 1910s and 1920s, Parts 1 and 2 of this book seemed sort of Jane Austenish to me. These two parts involve the reader in the lives of Tom and Isabel, who marry and then live on a small, uninhabited island. Tom is the keeper of the lighthouse there.

The couple see other people (other than two men who come occasionally on a supply boat) only once every three years. This is the perfect setup when they find a rowboat washed ashore their island, with a dead man and a live baby. This presents a dilemma because Isabel wants to keep the baby and Tom loves and adores Isabel. She gets her way, but Tom's conscience never stops eating at him.

Part 3 is unputdownable as Tom and Isabel deal with consequences. It's also sad, a tearjerker. My questions throughout this part were, how can this have a good end and how will the author write herself out of this.
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The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer
The First Counsel

techeditor, June 13, 2015

This is a ridiculous story with a dumb main character, a lawyer working at the White House, and a deranged and spoiled First Daughter. I dislike it so much that I forced myself to read half the book, then could go no further.

Because it is not fair to rate a book I have not entirely read, I leave it unrated.
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