Tuesday, October 26, 2021

So many books . . .


So many books . . .

Book review time!

by David Balducci

The Atlee Pine books
Long Road to Mercy
A Minute to Midnight

Atlee Pine is an FBI agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, AZ resident agency where she is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.  Pine is a complex character with a tragic backstory.   At age six, she and her twin sister Mercy were assaulted in their home – Atlee was beaten nearly to death and Mercy was taken.

In book one, Long Road to Mercy, she is assigned to find a tourist who has gone missing while on vacation in the canyon.  Although his body is not found, his canyon mule has been found killed and mutilated.  The investigation runs into one problem after another until eventually Pine and her assistant Carol Blum, go on a “rogue” road trip just to get answers.  Surprising and a bit unexpected answers.

Book two, Minute to Midnight.  Back in the Shattered Rock, AZ office, Pine is having anger issues related to her childhood attack and her twin sisters kidnapping.  Her boss gives her some time off to return to her home in Andersonville, GA to hopefully find some closure.  Another road trip for Pine and Blum.  However, once in Andersonville a new series of murders occur and Pine must help in the search for the serial killer in a small town filled with secrets.

Book three, Daylight.  With her time-off running out, Pine gets a promising breakthrough, the identity of her sister’s kidnapper.  Pine and Blum resume their race for answers in Trenton, NJ.  And . . . unknowingly stumble straight into John Puller's case, blowing his arrest during a drug ring investigation involving a military installation.  [Side note:  John Puller is another of Balducci’s book series.]  Pine’s and Puller's joint investigation uncover a connection between the suspected kidnapper’s family and a scheme that strikes at our democracy.  Working through layers of lies and cover-ups, Pine finally discovers the truth about what happened to Mercy. And . . . .

Book four, Mercy, comes out in November.

My thoughts – I enjoyed the first three books and am eager to read book four.  I think the characters of Atlee Pine and Carol Blum are well developed and suited to each other.  The mysteries are interesting and not too drawn out.  One thing – you do need to read them in order as they continue one from the other.

by Andy Weir
Project Hail Mary

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.  (ah, you say – is this an “end of the world” book?).  sort of. 
He awakens with amnesia, in a space ship with two corpses and a robot of sorts.  (ok, you say – it’s about space travel.)  kinda
As his memories slowly return, he realizes he has an impossible task to achieve.  (got it, – it’s the impossible dream/dare not go/unreachable star quest.)  a bit.
And, he encounters an unexpected ally as desperate as he to solve the problem. (uhmm – close encounters?) again - kinda.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, it is a tale of discovery, speculation, survival, and friendship.

My thoughts – Wowsa!  very good book.  I’ve read The Martian and that’s good.  This is better.  The ending is a little sad I thought, but you’ll need to read the book and decide for yourself.

by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Crooked River, a Pendergast novel (19).

Dozens of identical blue shoes are found floating in with the tide on a Captive Island, FL beach, and all have a severed human foot inside exhibiting unmistakable signs of violence.  FBI Agent Aloysius Xingu Leng Pendergast is called off his vacation to take on this unusual investigation.  A preliminary report indicates the feet were wrenched from their bodies in the crudest of ways. As the days continue, more wash in until the number tops one hundred.  Soon, Pendergast and his partner, Agent Coldmoon find themselves squaring off against an adversary more powerful and deadly than they've ever encountered.

My thoughts – for the most part, I’ve enjoyed all the Pendergast books.  They’re well written, not overly wordy, and a good mystery.  This one is all those things.  Plus, if you haven’t read the series in order (and I haven’t), it’s easy to know what’s what and who’s who.

by Donna Andrews
Murder Most Fowl, a Meg Langslow book (#29)

Meg Langslow is in for a busy summer. Her husband is directing a production of Macbeth, and most of the cast and crew are occupying spare bedrooms in their house or camping out in their barn.  She also has to keep an eye on “Camp Birnam”.  Located on her parents’ adjoining property, a group of medieval reenactors are commemorating the real-life Macbeth by setting up what they believe is an authentic medieval Scottish military camp.  And then there's Damien Goodwin, a questionable filmmaker who has been hanging around, trying to document the Macbeth production.  When Goodwin hosts a showing of some of the footage he's taken, he manages to embarrass or offend everyone. The next morning no one is surprised to find that someone has murdered him.

My thoughts – I’ve reviewed the Donna Andrews series previously.  And this one is great, just like the others I’ve read.  I really enjoy these mysteries.  They’re funny, interesting, uncomplicated stories.  An easy read.  And, while I’ve tried to read them in order, I found that as soon as a new one comes out – I have to jump ahead and read that one next.  Characters are easy to follow though it’s amusing to me that Meg’s twin sons get older but no one else does!

That’s all for today.  Happy reading everybody.

26 Oct 2021





  1. I've read almost all of these! I've only read the first Pine book, so I need to get to the others. And I haven't read anything by Donna Andrews before (that I remember - hmmm should go check).

  2. Some interesting looking reads there.