Tag Archives: crime

Book Review: Strongwood: A Crime Dossier by Larry Millet

Strongwood: A Crime Dossier (click on book for more information)
By Larry Millett
Releases 3/15/14
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review

Rating:4 bones

Finish Time: too long.  That is not a reflection of this book, this book was great.  Although I’m still trying to figure out if it is based on a true story or not.  It is written as if it were (footnotes and all), but it appears upon a quick Google search that it is not.  And I had to ask my husband what a dossier was, because I did not know.  I actually am embarrassed to admit that I thought this book would be about a woman detective! Not the case, as it was the trial of Addie Strongwood, who was accused of murder.

dos·sier noun
\ˈds-ˌyā, ˈdäs-; ˈd-sē-ˌā, ˈdä-\

: a group of papers that contain detailed information about someone or something

At the very beginning of the book, it actually prepares you for never really knowing the truth, so I was a bit skeptical as I would have hated to get to the end of the book only to be left wondering.  I had that in the back of my head the whole book, but needless to say, the ending was satisfying – so don’t let that deter you, as it almost did me.

It’s almost a “he said she said”, except HE is dead.  So it’s a “she said” v. everything else that came up in court.  SHE in this case is Addie Strongwood, the book gives you such a clear picture of this spunky little woman.  She is the true definition of a firecracker.  She admits to killing Michael Masterson, but only out of self-defense.  The entire book includes excerpts from a 7-part article Addie published in a local newspaper, her testimony in court, and then various figures from her past, Michael’s past, Michael’s family, co-workers,and a variety of others.  Just when you thought you knew all the facts, more were presented.

The book kept me guessing and going back and forth at different times of the book as to who was really guilty.  Neither character was anything close to a saint, it was really who was the best of the worst!  Really kept me thinking and wondering about Addie, she was either an amazing liar or truly innocent.  And the end will keep you thinking long past putting down the book!

Also fun (and I guess a hint as the fictional side of this book) is the “guest appearance” of Sherlock Holmes.  It appears the author, Larry Millett, has a lot of recurring characters in his books, Mr. Holmes being one of them, who ultimately uncovers the “key” to this case.  Definitely makes me want to read some of his other works.

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Overall a fun read, frustrating at time, but very well put together.  Had me hanging on to the very end – check it out and let’s talk about it!

Here was a teaser from the book too to wet your whistle!

Description from Amazon:

The place is Minneapolis, the year is 1903, and Michael Masterson has fallen in love, or so he claims, with Addie Strongwood, a beautiful working-class girl with an interesting past and a mind of her own. But their promising relationship quickly begins to disintegrate before reaching a violent conclusion. Amid allegations of seduction, rape, and blackmail, Michael is shot dead and Addie goes on trial for first-degree murder. As the case unfolds in a welter of conflicting evidence and surprise discoveries, a jury must decide whether Addie acted in self-defense or killed her one-time lover with the coldest of calculation.

Reconstructing the case through trial testimony, newspaper stories, the journal of Addie’s flamboyant defense attorney, and her own first-person account as serialized in the Minneapolis Tribune, Larry Millett builds a suspenseful tale of love, money, betrayal, and death. Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, long known to readers from Millett’s previous mysteries, play crucial roles in the unraveling of the case, which also offers a glimpse into the sharply divided worlds of the rich and the poor at the dawn of the twentieth century.

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Teaser Tuesday – March 4th

Missed y’all last week.  Our house was overtaken by the stomach bug and the big MOVE.  But I’ve still been reading nightly and have a teaser ready for you this week.

It’s from Strongwood: A Crime Dossier, releasing March 15, 2014, by Larry Millett.

“It had to be, as Michael was untrue to me in every way that a man can be, and now he has paid the price for his crimes.”  At least, those were her words. (about 8% into the book)

And the description from Amazon:

The place is Minneapolis, the year is 1903, and Michael Masterson has fallen in love, or so he claims, with Addie Strongwood, a beautiful working-class girl with an interesting past and a mind of her own. But their promising relationship quickly begins to disintegrate before reaching a violent conclusion. Amid allegations of seduction, rape, and blackmail, Michael is shot dead and Addie goes on trial for first-degree murder. As the case unfolds in a welter of conflicting evidence and surprise discoveries, a jury must decide whether Addie acted in self-defense or killed her one-time lover with the coldest of calculation.

Reconstructing the case through trial testimony, newspaper stories, the journal of Addie’s flamboyant defense attorney, and her own first-person account as serialized in the Minneapolis Tribune, Larry Millett builds a suspenseful tale of love, money, betrayal, and death. Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, long known to readers from Millett’s previous mysteries, play crucial roles in the unraveling of the case, which also offers a glimpse into the sharply divided worlds of the rich and the poor at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

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Book Review: Far Gone by Laura Griffin


Far Gone by Laura Griffin
Available 4/15/14
Provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Finish Time: 10 nights.  Unfortunately for this book, also being a kind of crime, thriller, I just came off of reading a crazy one (The Widow File), so in comparison, this one didn’t hold up.  That’s not to say it isn’t good but I may have enjoyed it more on it’s own, my head was so twisted from the last read, it’s almost unfair to this book.

It was fine.  There was nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t hold my interest as I felt it was slow moving at times.  It was a bit mystery, a few action-packed scenes, and a little bit of love thrown in.  Andrea Finch was a likable, yet frustrating main character.  And by frustrating, I believe that was intentional, as many of the other characters found her that way as well.  Her interactions with the other lead, Jon North, were full of fun banter that is a bit predictable.

The story begins with a “defining moment” in Andrea’s life and career.  The story was brought back to it a couple times, but I would have liked maybe a little more?  Not that they story line needed it, just a few unanswered questions there.  The book then goes on to the “meat” of the story when Andrea receives a cryptic phone call from her brother, Gavin, asking for money.  She goes to find him and ends up in the middle of an investigation.

It was well written, kept me turning pages, just a bit slower than I would have liked.  Again, just coming off of a more intense book, I feel biased.  Not bad, not exceptional, we’ll leave it at that.  Now on to something different from a crime book!



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Book Review: City of Light (City of Mystery: Book II)

By Kim Wright

Downloaded Free on 4/24/13

Finish time: 11 nights.  Not as good as the first book in this series.  This book started off really slow.  I had a hard time getting into the book and keeping track of characters.  Rayley Abrams is not a typical main character, but he was carried over from the previous book, and it brought the story from London to Paris. A few of the other characters came as well including Geraldine Bainbridge, a quirkly older socialite from London who always proves to be good company!

What started off as two separate investigations, came together as Detective Welles and Detective Abrams corresponded between London and Paris.  I enjoy a good crime show (Law & Order or CSI), so it was actually pretty interesting to see the advent of forensics (think CSI minus all technology) through early fingerprint analysis and blood testing (albeit on animals which I am NOT a fan of – but luckily we were spared details).  I also enjoyed the historical side of the book – the building of Eiffel’s Tower in preparation for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889.  Reminded me a bit of Devil in the White City in pointing out what celebrities, inventions, etc were debuted at this event.  As pointed out in the notes at the end, the event was real as well as the “crime” being investigated.  All the characters were fictionalized.  Very typical historical fiction!  It did leave me wondering if there is really a secret room on top of the Eiffel tower?  According to Wikipedia – apparently there is (in case you were curious too!)

The investigation/crime was a bit of a disturbing one (think Law & Order SVU worthy).  Luckily gory details were spared, and as I got further into the book, it did get much better as you take the journey with the detectives, and the motley crew they have put together, to investigate and eventually solve this crime.  Takes a bit of an unexpected turn with an unlikely final hero(ine), but ends very well.

The author does another great job at setting the scene and characters so you can really feel like you are a part of the journey.  So if you can hang on through the first 20% or so (I have no idea how many pages are in books anymore!), the ending is worth it and it was an enjoyable read.

Now – whether to continue with this author’s 3rd book – City of Silence (City of Mystery Book III) or pick up something a little lighter, as we leave on vacation in just 4 days!?  Stay tuned and find out!

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