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tregatt1 has commented on (4) products.

The Darcy Connection by Elizabeth Aston
The Darcy Connection

tregatt1, June 19, 2008

While quite the enjoyable and delightful read, Elizabeth Ashton did reuse many plot motifs and devices from previous novels -- like beautiful but remote elder sisters, and heroes who seem to disapprove of the heroine and who make initial cutting remarks that they later live to regret. So really, there was nothing terribly original or unique about THE DARCY CONNECTION On the other hand, it was a well crafted novel, full of thoughtfully depicted characters, that made for an absorbing and compelling read. So that even though I personally wished that Charlotte had been less of a cipher and that she had figured more vitally into the story at hand; and even though I thought that there was a missed opportunity not to have included Mr. Collins more into the plot, I will say that THE DARCY CONNECTION truly was a charming and delightful read
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Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
Friend of the Devil

tregatt1, June 19, 2008

I'm a huge fan of the series and Peter Robinson's Alan Banks series is pretty much an auto-buy for me. That said, I have to say that I am getting a little tired of certain regular plot features/devices -- like the detailed references to the music Banks listens to -- sometimes it almost feels as if they were stage directions to the filmed version of the novels. More often than not however they read like indications that we're to take Banks as something more than a plodding policeman. The thing is that I rather thought that we'd moved away from such thinking! And then there was the little segue into Banks' and Cabot's private, screwed up love lives. My impatience with this plot gambit however may have more to do with the fact that I have never really warmed up to Annie Cabot as a character. I'm definitely in the minority here, I know and really think that the author should worry more about his characters' alarming drinking habits. My real problem with FRIEND OF THE DEVIL though was that I felt as if the entire subplot dealing with Banks' investigation into the murder-rape of Hayley Daniels was wasted, and that it made the pacing of the book uneven and seemingly plodding at times. I much preferred the subplot dealing with the murder of Lucy Payne and rather wished that Banks had been the investigating officer on that!

In spite of all my niggles, however, this still was a fantastically riveting read, with the last half of the book proving to be absolutely unputdownable. Which just goes to show how brilliant an author Peter Robinson truly is, and how in spite of all my nitpicking grumbles, I still found FRIEND OF THE DEVIL to be an utterly compelling and absorbing read.
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The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome) by Steven Saylor
The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)

tregatt1, June 19, 2008

I've read many glowing reviews for THE TRIUMPH OF CAESAR, and while I agree that it is a good read, well written and utterly compelling, I have to say that, for me, this is really not the best entry to the series -- I think the best two installments are still ROMAN BLOOD & ARMS OF NEMESIS. THE TRIUMP OF CAESAR was wonderfully crafted, filled with wonderful historical details, but the sad fact is that for much of the book, the air of suspense and tension was sadly lacking. Things definitely picked up in the last five chapters of the book, when Diana, Gordianus' daughter, joined in the investigation -- so much so that I rather wished that she had started helping her father earlier in the book! And that is actually my only criticism of this installment, that the suspense was somewhat lacking. In everything else -- the compelling storyline, brilliantly fleshed out characters, colour, pageantry, atmosphere and historical detail, THE TRIUMPH OF CAESAR delivered in spades. I particularly appreciated the poignant manner in which Saylor conveyed through Gordianus, the enormity that the never-ending wars had caused, and that Saylor had given Godianus a voice that authentic without sounding anachronistic. I cannot fully express how tired I am of coming across 'Roman' investigators that sound like modern street toughs! All in all. THE TRIUMPH OF CAESAR was a good read. It may not be the best in the series, but it was an enjoyable and rewarding one nevertheless.
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Heartsick: A Novel by Chelsea Cain
Heartsick: A Novel

tregatt1, June 19, 2008

A good thriller needs a few key ingredients: a good and compelling plot, an enigmatic killer that captures the attention even as (s)he repels, and a central character -- usually the detective who is trying to stop the killer before (s)he kills again -- that is charismatic and engaging. Unfortunately, "Heartsick" lacked all of the above. The central plot -- the hunt for the killer who is kidnapping and murdering these teenage girls, gets lost between the subplots involving Sheridan's obsession with Lowell, and the one involving the other central character, reporter Susan Ward's, search for a good story. It almost felt as if the hunt for the current serial killer was a bit of an afterthought. Also, I didn't really find any of the characters all that engaging or compelling. This second point, I'll concede as a matter of personal taste and that other readers may not have the same reservations as I had. Most damning of all, thought, was that I didn't find "Heartsick" to be a very suspenseful read. I actually read the book over three days, and I don't usually take so long to read thrillers! There just was no tension, no "the-edge-of-your-seat" feeling. And what is a thriller without a few chills
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(8 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)

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