Showing posts with label Mystery > Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mystery > Crime. Show all posts

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  12,714 Ratings  ·  799 Reviews
Download or read online for free Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn't been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother's death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he's been looking for.

When Maura's fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

“Daisy wore a clingy black dress with a neckline so deep it could tutor philosophy.”

“My great-grandfather, Dad often told us, saved his best wines for special occasions. He was killed when the Nazis invaded Paris. The Nazis ended up drinking his wine. Lesson: you never wait. When I was growing up, we used only the good plates. We used the best linens. We drank out of Waterford crystal. When my father died, his wine cellar was nearly empty.”





Reviews


Ah yes, the ever faithful Coben novel. The comfort and confidence I feel in his work knows no bounds; whether I am on a string of enjoyable reads or stuck in a month long slump, his books are always devoured and relished. You could say I shove his books into the hands of strangers on a regular basis that I regularly recommend his novels in the most appropriate fashion, and with good reason- they are compulsive thrillers filled with dry humor and wit that anyone can relate to. As one of my top 3 favorite authors of all time, I think it's safe to say my review cannot be wholly unbiased, but if you'll stick with me I'm going to try and give you impartial facts as to why you may love this book too.

1- Coben based this book on true events that happened in his hometown. That's right, this story may be his most believable and realistic to date, if solely for the fact that it was inspired by two things that had taken place where he lives. I'm not going to tell you about it so that you can buy the book and read it for yourself, but it's all explained right in the prologue and naturally sets the tone for the entire read.

2- This book is downright hilarious. Ok, I know that sounds weird for a thriller that involves grisly murders and disturbing content to be funny, but you just have to read it to see what I mean. Anyone who has been a longtime fan of Coben is aware of his sense of dry humor and ability to infuse even the most tense situations with comic relief. This particular standalone was reminiscent of the same air of intelligent banter found in the author's Myron Bolitar series, which is a HUGE plus for me as it's one of my favorite series of all time. <--- Check out other reviews if you don't believe me; they'll agree on the MB reference as well.

3. The story isn't rigid and predictable. You know how sometimes you can read a string of thrillers in a row and wonder where one starts and the next ends because they all appear the same? Not so here; Coben has whipped up heaping piles of intrigue and suspense for sure, but also added in a dash of humor and romance for good measure. I love how I don't feel confined to thinking I'm in a single genre when I read these books; when I dive in it just feels like natural writing and remains uplifting no matter how dark the story turns.

These are just a few reasons why I found Don't Let Go to be such an excellent read; if you have enjoyed the author's previous novels you'll likely find this one just as refreshing and exciting as his past books. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a multitude of gut busters (those are my laughs when I snort at the same time) along with their serious stories. I'm once again in my dry spell of waiting for the next book to be written and published, but in the meantime I'll reminisce over all the feels of DLG. I can't wait to see what the majority thinks of this book!
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One of my all-time favorite authors has done it again! An absolutely superb, stand-alone thriller to add to his (and my) collection.

Nap is a police detective who has never fully recovered from the death of his twin brother Leo. Along with his girlfriend Diane, Leo died tragically when the couple were just teenagers.

Unbelievably, that same night, Nap lost his girlfriend Maura…only she went missing, and was never heard from again. 15 years later he is still the walking-wounded. Emotionally devastated and left to ponder “what if?” He also carries on a constant inner-dialogue with his deceased brother. A very unique and clever angle that took me a bit to get used to, but once I warmed up to it I completely enjoyed his inner conversations.

With a knock on the door, news comes that his long lost girlfriend Maura may have resurfaced. Only problem…it’s tied to the death of another childhood friend. Could this be related to why Leo died mysteriously so many years ago? As Nap starts digging into the past, there are others out there determined to keep the secrets of the past buried forever.

Absolutely outstanding! Loved everything about this book from start to finish! As good as his Myron Bolitar series, this one does not disappoint! There is even a cameo appearance! Yeah! Would highly recommend to all Harlan Coben fans!
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5 Brilliant Shining Stars.

"Don't Let Go" is the Best Standalone Harlan Coben has EVER written.  Hands Down.

Detective Napoleon Dumas, known as “Nap” lives and works in a small New Jersey town.  He has been searching for answers his whole life.  Or at least for the last fifteen years -since his senior year of high school to be exact.  That is when Nap lost his twin brother Leo.  When Leo and his girlfriend Diana were found dead – on the railroad tracks in their hometown.  No one ever determined the exact cause of death.  At that exact same time, Nap’s high school girlfriend Maura disappeared.  Vanished, almost into thin air as if she never existed.  It tore him apart, losing all three of them at once.  He has never been the same.

Now, fifteen years later, Nap is informed that Maura’s finger prints are found at the scene of a crime in a neighboring town (involving someone else from their high school).  Nap is astounded and he feel that this incident has to be linked to what happened to his brother.

In order to uncover the truth, Nap enlists help from his mentor Augie and his best friend Ellie, both of whom have been with him from the get go.  The ride it takes them all on is dangerous, twisted and full of surprises.

“Don’t Let Go” is one of the best books Harlan Coben has ever written.  It contains interesting, intriguing characters who you can't help but care about deeply, its brilliantly written and has an extremely well-developed plot.  The mystery is complex, compelling and completely exhilarating.  While I guessed the ending fairly early on, it did not spoil the book for me in any way whatever.

For those of you who have read Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series, this book reminded me a lot of those.  Best friends Nap and Ellie’s friendship reminded me of Myron and Esperanza's (especially the in the earlier sports agent books).  I immediately loved Nap and Ellie's characters and this story - in fact, I adored it.  Nap’s past, his search for answers, the crime he decides to solve on his own – it all creates an incredible story – one that sucks you in and that won’t let go until you turn the final page.  Though I admit that the Myron Bolitar series is my favorite of Harlan Coben’s works, I would love to see more of Nap in the future.
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Harlan Coben has achieved another mic drop with his latest book, Don't Let Go.

Don't you hate it when "real life" gets in the way of your reading? If work hadn't gotten in the way, and we hadn't been without power due to a storm for more than 24 hours, I would have devoured this book in one sitting. But even spread out over a few days, this book knocked me out, and once again reminded me (after the fantastic Home last year) what a fantastic writer Coben is.

Napoleon "Nap" Dumas is a police detective in his suburban New Jersey hometown. Now in his mid-30s, living in his childhood home, he's never quite gotten over the death of his twin brother Leo during their senior year in high school. Leo and his girlfriend Diana were found dead on the local railroad tracks, believed to be either poor judgment due to drugs and alcohol, or some kind of double suicide. Nap never could understand how Leo could either make such a colossal mistake or how he could be so desperate, and this lack of closure has haunted him for years.

And if the shock of Leo and Diana's death wasn't enough for Nap to handle, his girlfriend Maura, also a friend of Leo and Diana's, disappeared that night. No matter how hard Nap tried to find her, he never could, and never understood why she left. Fifteen years later, Nap gets an alert that Maura's fingerprints have turned up in a rental car involved in the murder of a policeman, who, it turned out, was in the same high school class as Nap, Leo, and Maura. Suddenly Nap may be able to find answers to the two questions that have plagued him for years, and he is determined to do everything he can to uncover the truth, no matter how many people warn him simply to let it go.

But instead of finding answers, Nap keeps finding more questions, questions he might not want to know the answer to, questions which involve Leo and Maura and Diana and other high school classmates. And for some reason, right in the middle of all of the questions is a mystery surrounding an abandoned military base in their hometown, which some believed was far more nefarious than the story presented by the government.

What happened that fateful night which changed the course of so many lives? Was it government conspiracy, youthful folly gone wrong, or something even more sinister? Will finding the answers set Nap free to live his life, finally able to put the past behind him, or should he take the advice of those who tell him—and not all do it gently—to let it go? And will Nap even survive his hunt for the truth?

Much like Home, not only did Don't Let Go pack some punches, but it also contained a lot of raw emotional power as well. Nap, Maura, his best friend Ellie, and Diana's father (and Nap's mentor) Augie were fascinating characters, each with secrets of their own. Every time I thought I knew where the book was going Coben took the plot in a slightly different direction, and I was truly hooked from start to finish.

How many of us have wondered about whether we could have changed the course of a tragedy if we had only acted differently, or acted at all? That knowledge doesn't always help, and it creates a burden we must bear until we're ready to move on. That burden is so deeply felt in Don't Let Go, and Coben's mastery with the plot's twists and turns as well as its emotional intricacies makes this an excellent book.
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Harlan Coben, the king of literary suspense, is back at it again!

Coben is my go to author for when I need a sure thing - he just ripped me out of a month long book slump with this here little tale, and I am oh so grateful. You really can’t go wrong with his books, he is a master at this genre and always delivers. I love that I catch myself saying “What in the world is going on?!” at least once a chapter in his books. He constantly keeps you on your toes and wondering where the ride will take you.

I very much enjoyed the forward, where Coben explains his inspiration for this book - an actual location which existed in his hometown. He has woven a deeply intricate tale based on this locale, one that I won’t soon forget.

The characters are flawed and real, the dialogue is witty, and the story has suspense, intrigue and a dash of romance.

If you are a fan of this genre, you certainly can’t go wrong with this book!

4.5 stars
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Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben is a 2017 Dutton publication.

An ingenious, potent, and disturbing thriller-

Napoleon ‘Nap’ Dumas’ was enjoying an active senior year in high school, where both he and his twin brother, Leo, were involved in serious romantic relationships, and were busy with extracurricular activities- Leo, with his conspiracy club, and Nap with his hockey team. But, Nap’s world stops on a dime, when Leo and his girlfriend, Diana, are found dead on the railroad tracks, and Nap’s girlfriend, Maura, suddenly leaves town, leaving no traces of her whereabouts for the next fifteen years.

Nap, who went on to become a cop, is still haunted by Maura’s sudden departure and has grieved every single day for his twin brother.

But, when a fellow officer is killed, Leo recognizes him as one of Leo’s buddies from the ‘The Conspiracy Club’, back in high school. But the real kicker is that Maura was with him when he was gunned down, but managed to escape.

This event seems to set off a domino effect, when another member of the ‘The Conspiracy Club’ disappears, and yet another goes completely off grid.

Nap begins to believe Leo and Diana did not die in a senseless drug and alcohol fueled accident, or a suicide pact. Determined to discover the truth about his brother’s death, Nap starts to look into why ‘The Conspiracy Club’ was so interested in an abandoned Nike Missile site. Is there a connection? After all these years, why has Maura suddenly reappeared and why are members of the conspiracy club being murdered?

At this point, I could just say- It’s Harlan Coben. Read it. You’ll like it, I promise.


But, if you need a push, here you go-

I think you will really like Nap. He is unconventional, has a tendency of taking the law into his own hands, has no qualms about breaking the rules from time to time, but is still a straight up guy, who feels things very deeply, and is loyal to a fault.

If you like conspiracy theories, (and who doesn’t like a good conspiracy theory), there’s a really good one woven into the plot, plus it’s quasi- factual. This story also has a cold case element to it, as well, which happens to be one of my favorite crime tropes.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a HC novel without a couple of steep inclines, breath sucking free falls, a few dangerous hairpin curves, and maybe add in one or two gut punching revelations, for kicks and giggles.

The story is very absorbing, the characters are unique and surprising, and while I say this after nearly every Coben novel- the conclusion of this book is a real stunner. I sat staring into space for about five minutes after I finished the last chapter. Seriously, it was so shocking, it had a numbing effect.

So, back to where we started- It’s Harlan Coben. Read it. You’ll like it, I promise!

5 stars
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Traveling Sister Special Read Review by Brenda and Norma with Kaceey and Lindsay's thoughts.

Don't Let Go is an outstanding and solid new standalone thriller from the thriller master himself (in Brenda and Kaceey's opinion lol) Harlan Coben that we all were very excited to have received from Edelweiss.

We decided to read it as a special birthday read for Brenda's 50th birthday and thought it extremely fitting as this has been Brenda's all time favourite author for some time now. Brenda and Kaceey who are big time fans of Harlan Coben were very excited to read this along with Norma and Lindsay who have only read one or two of his books so far. Brenda only recently introduced Norma to a Harlan Coben novel not too long ago. Don’t Let Go lived up to all the hype created by Brenda and Kaceey for Norma and Lindsay. They are now fans and there will be more Harlan Coben books in the future for these Traveling Sisters.

Don't Let Go is a fast-paced story with big secrets and lies that reach back to 15 years ago. Harlan Coben does a great job revealing layers of deceit along with clues and throwing in a bit of red herrings along the way. He didn't have all of us guessing to the end, although Norma quickly became suspicious early on, she was still left surprised with a few twists as there were plenty of twists and secrets to reveal.

Harlan Coben takes a hometown legend and builds quite an interesting and creative story here that had all of us quickly turning those pages with Norma reading and finishing it mostly in one day. We left the very exciting, suspenseful and intense ending to read together so we could message our thoughts and suspicions to each other. Which makes it all that more of an interesting and enjoyable reading experience for us.

Don't Let Go started off with a bang and didn’t let go to the very end leaving all of us looking forward to our next read by Harlan Coben! We highly recommend adding this one to the top of your list and Don't Let Go till you read it!
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Harlan Coben delivers an intensely suspenseful, captivating, fast-paced thriller that kept me guessing from start to finish. I have read one other book by Coben (The Innocent) which was good, but didn’t “wow” me. With encouragement from my fantastic “sisters” Brenda, Norma and Kaceey, I jumped on board this Traveling Sister Read and tried out Coben’s latest book and it definitely lived up to the hype!

I loved the main character, Nap! He is a police detective who finds himself working a case that involves his personal life from fifteen years ago. I enjoyed following Nap on his journey to explore and expose lies and buried secrets to uncover the mystery that has long haunted him. Nap’s journey takes many unexpected twists and turns and keeps the suspense building as the pages fly by. His sarcastic and witty humour had me giggling throughout every chapter.

This novel was a great re-introduction for me to Coben’s writing. I am definitely hungry for more books from this author and will make sure I add some to my reading list in the near future.

A big thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Harlan Coben for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34001659-don-t-let-go

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbø


4.04  ·  Rating details ·  66,376 Ratings  ·  5,747 Reviews
 The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbø download or read it online for free here
 The Snowman (Harry Hole #7)
by Jo Nesbø
Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

“What is worse? Taking the life of a person who wants to live or taking death from a person who wants to die.”

“I´ve read that it´s the smell some carnivores use to find their prey. Imagine the trembling victim trying to hide, but knowing that the smell of its own fear will kill it.”






Reviews


This is a re-read for me, it is the 7th in the Harry Hole series set in Oslo, Norway. It is now a major film with Michael Fassbender as Harry, I admit to being intrigued to see how this novel translates into this movie! 
We have the usual gloomy and downbeat portrayal of Norway, its weather and its people. A young boy finds his mother missing and goes outside. There he finds a snowman has appeared, adorned with a scarf belonging to his mother. Oslo police have Harry investigate with his new partner, Katrine Bratt. As Harry digs into the case, it emerges there are eleven missing women through the years and not a body to be found. Harry concludes that there is a serial killer on the loose, an analysis that his superiors dismiss. That is until Harry gets a letter from the killer looking to lock horns with him. And so ensues a battle of wits in a macabre story with numerous twists. My re-read confirms to me that this is one of the better books in the series, although The Redbreast is my favourite. Looking forward to seeing the film. Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC.
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I was invited to read 'The Snowman ' by the publisher, prior to its release in cinemas in October 2017, and have given an honest review in exchange.

As a little girl I used to love the first snowfall of winter, and the fun that accompanied it, like sledging down hills with complete abandon and snowball fights, but best of all was building a snowman. Great effort went into making this little guy look good - a borrowed cap and scarf from dad - a few buttons from mum's sewing box - however, the snowman in Jo Nesbo's thriller doesn't have such pleasant connotations, on the contrary, it elicits feelings of abject terror!

November in Oslo, and the first snowfall of the year covers the gloomy landscape. A young boy discovers his mother missing and ventures outdoors to look for her, but all he finds is his mother's pink scarf wrapped around a snowman in the front yard that appeared mysteriously the day before. And so begins Harry Hole's seventh investigation in this extremely popular series.

Investigations reveal that numerous women have gone missing over the years, all of them on the day of a first snowfall, but their bodies have never been found. As even more go missing, Harry receives a letter from the perpetrator wanting to play games, wanting to pit his wits against Oslo's most famous serial killer hunter. Let the games commence!

Harry is up against an extremely intelligent killer, and the tension never let's up for a minute - the depressingly somber landscape only adds to the fear. The plot is complex, clever, and leads to many suspects, each of them perfectly plausible, but all is not what it seems, and there are many twists and turns before 'The Snowman' is finally revealed. Another winner from Jo Nesbo.
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So I can’t remember if I’m watching TV... or maybe I’m listening to some NPR podcast or something, but I hear about this movie called The Snowman directed by the same guy who did Let the Right One In and based on a novel by this Jo Nesbo dude. Hey! Jo Nesbo! I know that name! I’ve seen his books floating around on Goodreads. I’ve seen people I know, love, and respect reading, loving, and recommending his books.

But I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. I started thinking about all the other times I’ve tried to read a mystery/thriller book from a series. Patterson, Coben, that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo guy, Connelly, etc. I always start strong, but those books have never really done it for me. They’re fine, but they never really go beyond fine. I like books that are beyond fine. In fact, from now on, when I really like a book, and someone asks me what I thought about the book I read and liked, and I have a chance to respond, and I also love commas, anyway, I’m going to start responding by saying, “Man, that book was beyond fine.”

Ask me what I thought about Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman. Go ahead. I’ll pause here and give you a chance to ask.

Oh, I’m glad you asked. I thought this book was beyond fine. A solid four stars. I don’t know five stars would be. Maybe extraordinarily beyond fine. Exceptionally beyond fine. Incrementally beyond fine.

The Snowman is beyond fine.

This is the seventh book in the Harry Hole series, and it’s the first book I’ve read, but I never really felt lost or confused. There are some references to prior events and characters, but things are explained well. You can read this one without starting with The Bat. I hear The Bat isn’t all that great anyway. It’s below fine, I guess.

Nesbo weaves together a very intense page-turner with characters that matter and twists that actually make you pause and drop the book for a sec before you can continue. I blew through the second half of the book. In fact, I woke up early this morning just so I could read the end of the story... and I am not a morning person. Thank God for coffee. Can I get an amen?

I’m excited for the movie. I’m excited to read more Nesbo. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was caught up in this thing, and the ending did not disappoint. Oh, and on a side note, I liked all of Nesbo’s music references. He threw out names like Ryan Adams and Gillian Welch. He’s got good taste. Well, he mentioned Slipknot a few times, too, so maybe not.

Check this one out. Let’s hope the movie is just as good. Or at least beyond fine.
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”Jonas stood up on one of the kitchen chairs and peered out. And, sure enough, there on the lawn in front of the house was a snowman. It was, as his mother had said, big. It’s eyes and mouth were made with pebbles and the nose was a carrot. The snowman had no hat, cap or scarf, and only one arm, a thin twig Jonas guessed had been taken from the hedge. However, there was something odd about the snowman. It was facing the wrong way. He didn’t know why, but it ought to have been looking out onto the road, toward the open space.”

Instead, it was looking at YOU.
Just an odd thing, maybe a joke by the neighborhood kids, but unsettling, nonetheless. They didn’t see anyone making the snowman. When Jonas’ mother turns up missing, he finds the pink scarf he’d given her as a present, wrapped around the snowman.

***SHIVER*** what does that mean, Harry?

A strange case like this rapidly becomes several connected strange cases as more women go missing, and a snowman appeareth. There can only be one guy in Norway who has the experience to take on a demented serial killer.

    Harry Hole

    VS

    The Snowman



Katrine Bratt is Harry’s new partner. I know of two partners he has had since I started reading the series, and they are both...dead. Harry might be at the center of any storm, but the debris always seems to land on those around him. Katrine is intelligent, alluring, and sexy, but more importantly, she really seems to understand Harry, which most of the time Harry has a hard time getting Harry, so there is hope that she could prove useful. Harry explains the job as he sees it:
”’I would guess you’re fairly proud of your investigative talent.’[Katrine asks]

‘You mean the rat-catching gene? The innate ability to lock up people with mental illnesses, addiction problems, well-under-average intellects and well-above-average childhood deprivations?’

‘So we’re just rat-catchers, then?’

‘Yep. And that’s why we’re so happy when once in a blue moon a case like this lands on our table. A chance to go big-game hunting, to shoot a lion, an elephant, a fucking dinosaur.’”

One of the things I really like about Nesbo is that he always works in books, movies, and music into his novels. This conversation that Harry has with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Rakel, cracks me up.

”’The Rules of Attraction?’ Harry repeated, taken aback. ‘Have you got it?’

‘You said it was on your list of most underrated modern films.’

‘Yes, but you never like those films.’

‘That’s not true.’

‘You didn’t like Starship Troopers.’

‘That’s because it’s a crap macho film.’

‘It’s satire,’ Harry said.

‘Of what?’

‘American society’s inherent fascism. The Hardy Boys meet Hitler Youth.’

‘Come on, Harry. War on giant insects on a remote planet?’

‘Fear of foreigners.’”


Harry always seems to be a half step behind the Snowman. One of the problems with serial killers like The Snowman is there is nothing readily apparent that ties them to their victims, so basically you have to wait until a new victim appears and hope the killer makes a mistake. It becomes all too personal though when Rakel finds a note on her windshield.
”We’re going to die whore!”

We’re? What the heck does that mean? Rakel is moving in her latest boyfriend, a doctor named Mathias, but she keeps ending up at Harry’s apartment warming his bed. One of those situations where she can’t live with Harry, but she also can’t seem to live without raising and lowering his flag either.

She fits the killer’s profile.

Harry is truly up against a diabolical killer this time. A man targeting women who have strayed...but how does the killer know these things about these women? Time is of the essence, and red herrings send Harry and his team scrambling down looping paths that get them no closer to the killer. The case becomes all too personal as Harry’s new partner, Katrine, and Rakel become targeted by…the Snowman.
Jo Nesbo, as always, kept me turning pages. I groaned with frustration when promising leads turned out to be dead ends. In a case like this, nothing can be ignored because the investigators are so desperate for a viable lead. In the end I had to hope that Harry would weave enough clues together to form a noose around the killer. Highly recommend. I can’t wait to see one of my favorite actors, Michael Fassbender, bring Harry Hole to life on the big screen.
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Here's the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you're a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn't care less about the distinction: the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism; in short, whether you're reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism. 
If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the course, ennui is imbued into the populace (as it is also reflected in the works of prominent Russian writers - Anna Karenina comes to mind). Just as we continue to struggle here in the States with our history of slavery and the resulting racial tensions, so do Europe and Scandinavia struggle in coming to terms with Nazism and the Bolshevik revolution (More than a few reviewers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Nordic writers' pre-occupation with Nazism). And yet, the rise in popularity of these Nordic thrillers here in the States is puzzling given our strong tendency towards literary Romanticism. We like for the good guys to win, we like emotion, we like our heroes (as opposed to anti-heroes) we enjoy free will, and in general consider ourselves in control of our own lives.

Having said that: there is excellence in Literary Naturalism. The above doesn't mean we can't enjoy a well written novel, an intriguing mystery, a flawed anti-hero, a well crafted story written in the style of literary Naturalism. It doesn't mean we can't enjoy the works of Jo Nesbo. I did.

In Jo Nesbo's words: "I come from a family of readers and story tellers." With a librarian mother and a father who sat before the fire and told the kids stories they wanted to hear (each repetition bringing something new to the tale) Jo's foundation was carved in stone. Again, in his own life story we sense the determinism filtering into his life: he wanted to be a soccer star but an injury put a quick stop to this; with a dreadful feeling of fate guiding his life he entered the military in the hopes something would happen (what happened was "Self-Discipline"); thinking he might want to be an economist he entered the world of finance which he abandoned as well; someone told him he could play guitar (he only knew 3 chords) and he formed several bands, Di Derre being the most successful; and finally he wrote (on an airplane to begin with) and he never stopped.

The Redbreast is Jo Nesbo's third Harry Hole (pronounced "Hooleh") novel (the other two not being translated for a US audience as of yet) and is Nesbo's claim to fame. So, this is where we start. Yes, the books should be read in order! For an American audience, Harry Hole can be likened to Harry Bosch; he defies authority, is an outcast within his own organization, is best left alone to do this job (his office is at the end of the hall), is more of an anti-hero than a hero, has trouble with his romantic life, lives alone, has a fierce propensity for justice (as opposed to the Law) and once let loose is like a pit bull with a bone fastened to his jaws. But perhaps the most compelling reason why Harry Hole has such a following is Nesbo's devastating characterization of what exactly comprises a flawed hero. Upon reflection, American hard-boiled writers don't come close to accomplishing the same. This is not too dissimilar to the way Nesbo sees himself.

Bjarne Møller, my former boss, says people like me always choose the line of most resistance. It's in what he calls our 'accursed nature'. That's why we always end up on our own. I don't know. I like being alone. Perhaps I have grown to like my self-image of being a loner, too....I think you have to find something about yourself that you like in order to survive. Some people say being alone is unsociable and selfish. But you're independent and you don't drag others down with you, if that's the way you're heading. Many people are afraid of being alone. But it made me feel strong, free and invulnerable.

And...ah, yes, there is the matter of plot! So how do we justify this decided streak of fate/determinism within the novels with Nesbo's apparent mastery of plot? The two seemingly ought to contradict each other. On the one hand, we have Nesbo's almost Shakespearean tendency to cast characters as marionette puppets on the strings of fate (the very opposite of plot), while on the other hand we are riveted by the very complex actions and reactions made by Harry Hole during his investigations (Nesbo is a master at not adding anything superfluous to his novels). Perhaps it is an unholy marriage between the two that transfixes us. His plots are intricate, very complex, the seemingly irrelevant details exposed throughout the novels become larger than life as the story closes, and they can weave through time, forward and backward, as the story unfolds. But, with a little alacrity, we can remember we are reading Naturalism and so it isn't always Harry Hole making events happen, but rather the reverse, it is the events that move Harry Hole. Again, it is a matter of preference but in Nesbo's case it is done with utter expertise as a writer.

The exposition/setting is often Scandinavia: the weather is somber, the descriptions grey-like, the people absorbed with alcohol and withdrawn, if not bundled and sequestered. And yet, the dialogue and scenes are full of references to other millieus', continents, languages, and cleverly hidden philosophical references that speak to a widely cultured audience (as opposed to American writers of this genre who rarely venture beyond the borders of their land, if not their own State). And as with plot, there are no superfluous details. Everything in the novels matters and Nesbo does not forget even the tiniest detail to which he's made a seemingly furtive reference earlier on in the story. This is one of the biggest reasons why I love Jo Nesbo.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast and am currently reading the remaining Harry Hole novels. I remain intrigued by events left undone (such as the fate of our undiscovered villain in this and other stories). You'll just have to read the novels to find out more.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9572203-the-snowman

Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge


4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,993 Ratings  ·  356 Reviews
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge download or read it online for free
Another Day in the Death of America
by Gary Younge
On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.

This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.

“Take a bunch of teenage boys from the whitest, safest suburb in America and plunk them down in a place where their friends are murdered and they are constantly attacked and threatened, "writes Leovy in Ghettoside. "Signal that no one cares, and fail to solve murders. Limit their options for escape. Then see what happens.”

“But they can explain a great deal. The circumstances into which people are born and the range of opportunities to which they are exposed shape both the choices available to them and the process by which they make those choices even if they, ultimately, still make the choice. I have yet to meet anyone who denies that individuals have free will. But I also have yet to meet anyone who makes a convincing argument that circumstances don’t shape what you can do with that will.”





Reviews


Heartbreaking book of an ordinary day in America where 10 young men are killed by guns...

Gary Younge picked November 23, 2013 as the random day to track and report on the children and teens in America who were killed by gunfire. On this day the victims numbered ten, in comparison to an average day of seven. The victims were all male, from across the United States and between the ages of 9 and 19. The circumstances varied from opening the door to an angry father to playing with a gun with a friend. Each of the TEN stories was powerful and sad.

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives was a 2016 GRCA finalist in the non-fiction category. It is a disturbing, but riveting read that invokes questions of how and why we accept these tragic deaths of children as ordinary instead of taking immediate action to stop the killing.

“So long as you have a society with a lot of guns- and America has more guns per capita than any other county in the world- children will be at risk of being shot. The questions are how much risk, and what, if anything, is being done to minimize it? If one thinks of various ways in which commonplace items, from car seats to medicine bottle tops, have been childproofed, it's clear that society's general desire has been to eliminate as many potential dangers from children as possible, even when the number of those who might be harmed is relatively small. If one child's death is preventable, then the proper question isn't "Why should we do this" but rather "Why shouldn't we?" It would be strange for that principle to apple to everything but guns.”
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Having finished this book I am left with the overwhelming impression that it was a book that needed to be written. Author Gary Younge is a journalist who spent many years living in the States. Although living in America, he is British and as a black man he was very aware of both the differences and similarities between cultures. One of the most obvious differences is the number of guns that are readily available in the States. I don’t think most Americans understand how shocked us Brits are to visit a supermarket in America and find guns openly on sale. Younge himself was shocked, after snow thawed in the spring and a gun was found near his house and another near his children’s school.

Every day in America, on average, ten children are killed by guns. That is not including suicides, just murders. In fact, gunshot fatalities are so common that they are often not reported. The murder of a child does not even merit a mention on the news, or a paragraph in a newspaper – especially if the child in question is poor or black. The author’s idea was a simple one and incredibly moving. He took an ‘average’ day – Saturday 23rd November, 2013. On this day, ten children were killed (possibly more in fact, but these are those that he could find). The youngest was nine years old and the eldest nineteen. You may say that nineteen is not a child. My eldest child is nineteen and he is currently at university – possibly straddling the difficult age between childhood and adulthood. One of the teenagers killed, eighteen year old Gustin Hinnant, listed his favourite movies as, “Toy Story,” and “Happy Feet.” Despite any bravado or teenage posturing, these are children…

In this book, Younge tells the stories of these children. As also befits the ‘average’ statistics around such shootings, all of these were boys. One was white, two Hispanic and seven were black. They were all from poor backgrounds, meaning that most lived the areas that experience the most crime. These boys were all individuals though and so were their stories and their deaths. These shootings range from gang related killings to an unsupervised boy shooting his friend in a town where hunting seems to be the main preoccupation and loaded weapons available and accessible.

Much of this book is depressing, dispiriting and tragic. Along with the boys stories, Younge weaves the history of gun related crimes into the text. There is the terrible statistic that between 20 and 30 percent of Chicago children in public schools have witnessed a shooting, the fact that poorer parents often do shift work and thus cannot both be at home and earning a living – leaving their children in areas they know are unsafe and, perhaps most depressing, is the fact that parents of these children are often blamed by both the media and their own community. Alongside the fact that the community is unable to face the fact that society has a role in these horrifying statistics, there is the accompanying fact that most of those interviewed seemed to accept without question the presence of guns in their country. Those who own guns can claim that it is personal responsibility and teaching safety that is important, but until America really faces the facts that they have more gun deaths than any country that is not at war, and does something about it, then nothing will change. The names below represent ten of those unlived lives that represent the sad statistics. Ten children killed by guns – every day, including today.

Jaiden Dixon
Kenneth Mills-Tucker
Stanley Taylor
Pedro Cortez
Tyler Dunn
Edwin Rajo
Samuel Brightmon
Tyshon Anderson
Gary Anderson
Gustin Hinnant

This was a very well written, intelligent and thoughtful read. I was very impressed by Gary Younge as both an author and a journalist and I certainly want to explore more of his work.
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Another Day in the Death of America is an interesting and stark look at the effects of gun violence in the United States. 
Gary Young is a UK born journalist who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He decided to take a random day in 2013 and look at all of the deaths of children caused by guns that day. His definition of children is fairly expansive, but he looks in some detail at the deaths of 10 children, ranging in age from 7 years old to 19 years -- which is close to the daily average of 7 deaths. Each chapter is about one child and the circumstances of his death -- they are all boys. Some deaths are accidents and some are intentional. Most kids are black or Hispanic, and live in difficult economic and family circumstances -- but not all of them. And most of them have close ties with their mothers, siblings, friends and teachers who give a human face to what have often been short lived and brief news stories. Young's premise is that while these deaths are often tied the challenging circumstances in which each child lives, the frequency and commonality of these deaths is due to the prevalence of guns in the US and the lack of gun control. Interspersed amongst the narratives about each child, Younge presents statistics, historical information and analysis in support of his argument. Coming from Canada where guns are far less common and much more tightly controlled, it wasn't hard for Younge to convince me. But I still found this an interesting, sad and scary read -- and from the sidelines it strikes me as a very timely topic for the US and an original approach to tackling it.
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The idea of this book is simple – take a random day (Saturday, 23 November 2013) and write an account of all the kids who were shot and killed in that 24 hour period in the USA. There were ten. (Note – suicides are omitted because they are never reported. So the figure is probably higher than ten.)

The author Gary Younge (a black British journalist) quickly makes clear : this is not a book about the need for gun control, although to a British reader, it may appear that it is. Gary Younge is writing about the whole difficult Gordian knot of intractable problems which has led the USA into the horrendous levels of violence it now suffers.

We do have to mention some comparative figures.

In the USA (population 323 million) in 2014 there were 15, 872 homicides, of which 11,008 were homicide by firearm

In the UK which has a population of 65 million there were 573 homicides in 2016 in total of which 51 were by firearms

There are cities in America which have more murders than the whole of the UK. Such as Chicago (population around 3 million) – 762 in 2016.

TEN KIDS AND TEN USEFUL MORAL LESSONS

Here are the basic details of the cases in this book.

Jaiden Dixon. Grove City, Ohio. Aged 9. Killed by his mother’s deranged ex-boyfriend.
Moral of this story : sometimes there’s nothing you can do.

Kenneth Mills-Tucker, Indianapolis. Aged 19. Shot on the street, no one arrested, no motive discovered.
Moral of this story : don’t walk around at night.

Stanley Taylor, Charlotte NC. Aged 17. Shot by a 27 year old guy at a gas station. No motive discovered. No arrest.
Moral of this story : Don’t drive a car.

Pedro Cortez, San Jose, California. Aged 18. Drive by gang murder. No arrest.
Moral of this story : don’t be in a gang or know anyone in a gang or know anyone who’s in a gang which you’re not aware of.

Tyler Dunn, Marlette, Michegan. Aged 11. Accidentally shot by best friend aged 12.
Moral of this story : don’t have a friend who lives in a house full of unlocked loaded guns.

Edwin Rajo, Houston. Aged 16. Accidentally shot by his female best friend.
Moral of this story : if you’re going to buy a gun for self-protection against all the gangbangers in the neighbourhood, learn how to use it.

Samuel Brightmon, Dallas. Aged 16. Random street shooting. No arrest made.
Moral of this story : if you’re young and black, don’t leave the house.

Tyshon Anderson, Chicago. Aged 18. Gang murder. No arrest made.
Moral of this story : this was the only acknowledged gangbanger of the ten victims. So, I guess, the moral is you reap what you sow. But the other nine victims never reaped what they sowed. So that moral is just not true.

Gary Anderson, Newark NJ. Aged 18. Shot in a drive-by, everyone agreed it was mistaken identity. No arrest.
Moral of this story : don’t look like anyone else.

Gustin Hinnant, Goldsboro NC. Aged 18. Everyone agrees, shot by accident. They were aiming at the other guy in the car. No arrest.
Moral of this story : don’t leave the house, don’t have any friends

THE DAILY TORRENT

This book is a companion piece to another wrenching piece of journalism, Ghettoside by Jill Leovy, which I also recommend. Both books cover the same ground in different ways. But heck, there are so many others too. This is not uncharted territory. Great tv shows like Homicide and The Wire have charted all this stuff already. But it seems every time we get reminded of it, we then forget.

What Gary Younge does is lament the invisibility of these kids’ deaths (they barely register in the media, after 24 hours they’re gone and forgotten) and link them to various immense trends in American society. He interviews the families where he can (some refuse to speak); he transcribes 911 calls; he creates portraits of these kids as far as he’s able. As you can see from the summary, in seven of the ten cases no murderer was ever discovered, no arrests were made.

This book takes a snapshot of a society in which these deaths are uniquely possible and that has a political culture apparently uniquely incapable of creating a world in which they might be prevented

We get pages on the collapse of manufacturing, the implosion of the black family, the failure of politics, the corrosive segregation of the American city –He throws out various insights. Regarding the famous school/workplace/mass shootings, he remarks

They disturb America’s self-image and provoke its conscience in a way that the daily torrent of gun deaths does not

And he ploughs on to the next sad case. Okay, you may be thinking this is not a very cheerful or hopeful book. You’d be right. “Researching this book has made me want to scream” he says in the Afterword. That may be your reaction too.
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5★ (Read and reviewed February 18, 2017)

I considered a lower rating, but Younge makes the subject so compelling and the people so familiar, I don't know how he could have done it any better.

WARNING: if you have lost someone through sudden violence, especially a child, this book, and possibly my review, is going to be even more disturbing than it is for someone like me, who has lived a pretty sheltered life. And he lets us into these families’ lives so well, that I’m still afraid for them all.

Author Gary Younge is in a unique position to look at the American way of life and death, and I think he’s done an admirable job.

“I was raised black and poor (though in England, where race and class interact differently), and I have two black American children.”

He says when he moved to Chicago, his son’s day care centre had a meeting on traffic awareness. The teacher recommended that parents travel the same route to school so that kids might have some sense of where they are. Then the teacher explained the routes the centre uses to take kids on outings.

“One of the parents asked whether they would continue to pass the site by the subway where there had been a recent shoot-out. The teacher smiled. ‘I knew that would come up,’ he sighed. ‘It’s a good point, and we are really going to have to get on top of it. We must talk to the children about how to handle situations like that, because the big problem in those moments is that they panic.’

I thought this was odd. Panic in the presence of gunfire seems a perfectly rational response, whether you’re four or forty-four. The problem, it seemed to me, wasn’t the panic but the shooting.”

Un-bloody-believable! He says in England, sometimes the culture feels more violent (fights and such) but less deadly.

He mentions that the first child who died on Saturday, November 23, 2013, was actually shot on November 22, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. But he said he just chose a Saturday, because “it’s over the weekend, when school is out and parties are on, that the young are most likely to be shot.”

He also explains, “it is not a book about gun control; it is a book made possible by the absence of gun control.”

He pulls no punches for his readers, rather he tells these stories with great care and concern and with affection for some of the victims and families he came to know. They are the ones left with the empty chair at the table, the bedroom with clothes strewn around, posters on the wall. It’s impossible not to share the sudden, violent and unexpected loss of their kids.

I'll mention only a couple of stories, but there is a chapter devoted to each child and their family. How it happened that the kid was where they were, whether someone should have known better, or whether it could have been prevented. One little boy was shot point-blank when he opened the door at breakfast time to his mother’s violent, crazy ex who was the father of one of his older brothers.

The father’s own son remembered his dad had said he might opt for “suicide by cop” (to escape his troubles) but never thought to find out what that meant. The father was, indeed, gunned down, but that didn’t save the little boy.

I grew up in America a long time ago and was never aware of guns, except for hunting. It was more like the movie “Grease” where parents worried about their kid joining a gang and getting beaten up or maybe stabbed with a switchblade (flick knife). How times change.

The father of one victim said “Back in the day, when we grew up, you get in a fight, somebody might jump you, you know, but the next day you speak to the person and you keep going. But now you get in an argument with somebody, they come back and shoot you.”

These days:
“Many young people in certain areas are gang members in the same way that Soviet citizens were members of the Communist Party . . . – there was precious little choice.”

California is divided between north and south at Bakersfield: Noreños and Sureños, with special dot tattoos. They wear blue or red (nothing political!), and one grandmother said she always took away her grandson’s red shirts, in case it made him a target. It didn’t save him.

I’ve lived in Australia since the late 60s, and nobody really ever talked about or heard much about guns, except for farmers and hunters and The Mob (or whatever we called them then), until the Port Arthur Massacre led to gun law changes (see below).

“Five years after his retirement from the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Nixon, insisted that the Second Amendment ‘has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word 'fraud' – on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

Younge explains, the New York Times did some investigations in 2013 and reported:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention produced findings and reports on how to limit gun deaths in the same way that they produce reports on healthy eating and how to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. They found, among other things, that the presence of guns in the home increased the likelihood of death rather than reduced it. The National Rifle Association was not pleased with this particular conclusion or the research in general.

Our concern is not with legitimate medical science,’ Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, told The New York Times. ‘Our concern is they were promoting the idea that gun ownership was a disease that needed to be eradicated.’ So the NRA used their immense lobbying power to effectively put a stop to the government’s finding out how to make people safer around guns.”

No. They were promoting the idea that one of the biggest risks to the health of children in America was the lack of safety around guns. One kid in this book came home from school to show demonstrate the gun safety lesson they'd had. He too the gun out of the cupboard, loaded it, went to put it back and it discharged, killing his friend. He understood the safety lesson . . . but not well enough to have a gun where he could get it.

Researching and writing this book has made me want to scream . . . I’ve wanted to scream at journalists and police to treat these deaths as though the lives mattered.

But more than its making me want to scream at anyone in particular, it has mostly made me want to just howl at the moon. A long, doleful, piercing cry for a wealthy country that could and should do better for its youth and children—for my children—but that appears to have settled, legislatively at least, on a pain threshold that is morally unacceptable.”

Our family sold back the only newly illegal repeating shotgun from our farm and kept the rifles and shotguns that were still okay. When we quit farming, we sold the guns, lock, stock and barrel to another farmer, along with the heavy steel cabinet that bolts to the floor.
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"Brilliantly reported, quietly indignant, and utterly gripping. A book to be read through tears."-NAOMI KLEIN

I don't know who Naomi Klein is, but she is spot on with that quote. Gary Younge, an accomplished journalist, a Briton, and a black man, searches for understanding of these daily senseless killings and their anonymous victims. Like Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, this book haunts me with it's powerful message about a heartbreaking trend in the America that I don't see or even hear about. This book is so important. I'd like to quote the entire Afterward here but instead I will encourage everyone to read this book. Something has to give. 5 stars


    Researching and writing this book has made me want to scream. But more than its making me want to scream at anyone in particular, it has mostly made me want to just howl at the moon. A long, doleful, piercing cry for a wealthy country that could and should do better for the youth and children – for my children – but that appears to have settled, legislatively at least, on a pain threshold that is morally unacceptable.
    I want to bay toward the heavens, because while kids like those featured in this book keep dying, the political class refuses to do not only everything in its power but anything at all to minimize the risks for the kids who will be shot dead today or tomorrow. 
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29502379-another-day-in-the-death-of-america


The Whistler by John Grisham

The Whistler by John Grisham


 4.03  ·  Rating details ·  132,784 Ratings  ·  33,462 Reviews
The Whistler by John Grisham download or read it online for free here
The Whistler by John Grisham
We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.



Reviews



I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to read this short 4 chapter preview of John Grisham's new thriller 'The Whistler'. Well, who wouldn't want to read this excellent author even if it isn't the full book?

Lacy Stolz investigates cases of judicial misconduct in Florida. She has her share of interesting cases but nothing that will set the world on fire, that is until Greg Myers approaches her with the mother of all judicial misconduct complaints.

Lacy, along with her working partner Hugo, agree to meet Myers ( a somewhat shady character who lives on the periphery of society). He claims to have evidence of a female judge being mixed up with the local mafia, and that she's amassed a small fortune in illegal earnings from a casino and its surrounding condos. This case, if true, could become a very dangerous assignment for Lacy and Hugo, and Hugo in particular has real concerns about becoming involved with the mafia, and its possible outcome. This preview certainly gives a strong flavour of what's to come and has left me feeling excited about its release. I realise that 4 chapters doesn't make a book so it's difficult to accurately rate and review but it's certainly whetted my appetite and left me desperate to read the rest of this intriguing storyline. I think John Grisham has written another winner here.
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Who judges the judges? Personally it's not something I've ever given any thought to, but John Grisham has created a unique and exciting storyline based around this very subject.

Lacy Stolz investigates cases of judicial misconduct in Florida. She has her share of interesting cases but nothing that will set the world on fire, that is until Greg Myers approaches her with the mother of all judicial misconduct complaints. Under state law, Myers and his anonymous whistle blower are able to claim a portion of any illegal assets discovered from the investigation, and as investigations go, this one will go down in history.

Lacy, along with her working partner Hugo Hatch agree to meet Myers ( a somewhat shady character who lives on the periphery of society). He is a convicted felon, who lost his license to practice law, but he served his time and has recently had his licence restored. He claims to have evidence of a female judge being mixed up with the local mafia, saying that she's amassed a small fortune in illegal earnings from a casino and its surrounding condos. This case, if proven, could become a very dangerous assignment for Lacy and Hugo, and Hugo in particular has real concerns about becoming involved with the mafia, and its possible outcome. The case is presented to their boss Michael Geismar, and after much deliberation, it's decided that they will take the case on, with Lacy and Hugo being the main investigators.

And so begins the massive investigation to bring to justice the most corrupt judge in US history. It becomes clear that peeling away the many layers of deceit will not be easy, and as their powers are somewhat limited, the FBI are brought into play and work in conjunction with Lacy and the team. Companies and assets are well hidden but the whole team's determination is unquestionable. Of course, anyone who tries to take down the mafia are not in for an easy ride, but it makes for a truly exciting read.

This was an intelligent and gripping storyline, and took me into places I'd rather not go, thankful that I was reading from a cosy armchair, and with the distinct advantage of not being personally involved. The characterisation too was perfect, with completely believable personalities. What a thoroughly enjoyable and compelling read.
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I have read most of John Grisham's novels so I was always going to read this one and so when offered the opportunity to read this preview I had no hesitation. The only problem is as expected the preview only succeeded in drawing me in and left me wanting more. The book is out in October so not too long to wait but I wish it was sooner.

The novel starts with Lacy Stoltz an investigator who works on judicial misconduct cases in Florida. Up to now she has only worked on fairly small cases but suddenly she is thrust into the big time. Lawyer Greg Myers approaches Lacy and her partner Hugo on behalf of a whistle blower who has details of a judge who is mixed up with the local mafia. In combination with the gang the judge has managed to make illegal earnings from involvement in a casino and two of the people who opposed the casino are now dead. Under state law Greg Myers and the whistle blower are able to gain a slice of the illegally gained assets and are in a position to make a lot of money. But they first need to convince Lacy and Hugo that the case is genuine and the danger is worth the risk.

The four chapters I read set the story up and I need to hear more. I am sure this is going to be another John Grisham best seller.
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Quandary time: I really enjoyed this book - in fact, perhaps more than the last two or three from this popular author (if possible, I'd give it 4.5 stars). For openers, there's a noticeable absence of the industry-bashing that's been common of late (much to my dislike), and the focus is almost entirely on legal procedure that's reminiscent of earlier and, IMHO, more enjoyable works.

On the other hand, it struck me as different enough that it may not sit well with die-hard fans. Can I call it, for instance, a "high-stakes thrill ride" as claimed in the description? Simply put, no.

Don't misunderstand; there's plenty of action, beginning the minute Lacy Stoltz, an attorney and investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, is contacted by Greg Myers, a lawyer who claims that a Sunshine State judge is the most successful judicial thief in U.S. history. The judge, he reports, for years has been taking huge cuts from a large casino operated by the Tappacola Indian tribe, construction of which was financed by a secretive organization called the Coast Mafia. But there are complications; first, Myers was at one time disbarred, so his reputation is questionable. And, he's representing the whistle-blower only by way of an unknown intermediary, whose name he refuses to reveal (he insists he doesn't even know the name of the whistle-blower). Because of the threat to his own life, he's been on the lam for years (Myers isn't his real name); and he admits his only motivation for coming forward now is that he and his client stand to rake in millions by filing a complaint with the Board of Conduct.

Painfully aware of those limitations as well as touchy jurisdictional issues between Florida law enforcement and Native American property, Lacy and her partner, Hugo, tentatively begin to investigate. Some of the dirt they dig up early on suggests that the FBI should be called in to help, but Myers threatens to back out if that happens. So, the partners set off to learn what they can given the legal restrictions - and from the git-go run smack dab into a hornet's nest that quickly turns deadly.

As I said before, the action is pretty much nonstop after that. So why isn't it a nail-biter? I'm not sure, except to say it's the style of writing. Dialog makes the characters seem real, but everything in between is pretty much a narrative so matter-of-fact that it's almost - but not quite - to the point of bland. This "just the facts" approach keeps the plot interesting as all get-out to me, but at the same time I never felt any particular excitement or sense of imminent danger; in other words, nothing that put me on the edge of my seat. That said, though, I finished the book in a day and a half just because I didn't want to put it down - hence my dilemma in writing a review.

In the end, I come down strongly on the side of well done. But in the final analysis, I guess other readers will just have to decide for themselves. Sorry, guys and gals, but it's the best that I can do.
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One of Grisham's finest in his signature Southern raconteur style, with a big ol' plot that wraps around judge corruption (Grisham gets the legal points just right) and Indian gambling casinos. 
This book, as do some of his others, takes a welcome chance with POV--it is neither limited third nor omniscient, but something in between as readers are taken inside the heads of several characters.

In another refreshing change, the book easily passes the Bechdel test--that is, there are several strong female characters, and several scenes in which the women are talking about a subject other than men.

Many successful books center on family, and there is much in the way of caring, difficult and tragic family situations in THE WHISTLER.
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4 "A Casino, Mobsters & A Corrupt Judge" Stars for the story and 4.5 Stars for the narration!

The Whistler is a tale of the perfect storm of corruption, a corruption so profound and well hidden that it lasts decades and involves an entire Native American tribe, countless of mobsters that have previously evaded law enforcement attention, numerous murders, a corrupt judge, and her attorney, as well as loads of dirty cash. Going deep into how the organization of a Native American tribe and the federal laws that allow gambling on tribe lands work, as well as, the powers of a little known governmental authority whose job it is to investigate judicial misconduct, called the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, Mr. Grisham's spare no detail account of the inner workings of these various matters are sure to keep the listener entertained and fascinated with learning more about these interesting matters. Moreover, the listener is sure to be glued to the edge of their seat as they work out who the secret mole, or "whistler," and intermediary actually are, as well as the enormity of the grandiose corruption scheme they are blowing the cover on. Moreover, as if the story were not reason enough to listen, Cassandra Campbell's adept narration makes this a great title to experience in audio format.

It all begins with a tip as to a corrupt judge who allegedly is skimming money, along with the help of the little known Coast Mafia, from a casino on Native American land. Although RICO cases and crimes on Native American lands are within the jurisdiction of the FBI, it is Lacy Stoltz, a lawyer who works for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, who gets the tip based on a complaint of the judicial misconduct of a Florida judge. It is the informant's goal to earn a large fee under the related whistler statute for providing a tip that leads to the recovery of money from the corruption.

However, Lacey and her partner, Hugo, are immediately presented with several quandaries. First can they believe the informant? A person who refuses to be identified and who has only reached them through an unknown intermediary and the intermediary's counsel, who goes by the very common name of "Greg Myers." Moreover, Myers fully admits that he has a criminal record and was at one point disbarred for his past transgressions. As if that wasn't sketchy enough, Myers also seems to live beyond his means and constantly on the run on his expensive boat. Can Myers be trusted? Even if he can, Lacey's normal line of work involves sanctioning judges who commit small infractions, not organized crime. When she suggests that the Myers take his complaint to the FBI, however, he absolutely refuses. Stating he will never work with the FBI. Just who is telling the truth and who is corrupt in this story? And the deeper Lacey digs the more dangerous the situation gets when it becomes clear that someone wants to silence her investigation. Can she stay safe when she has no formal law enforcement training to guide her?

Cassandra Campbell provides a talented narration that is perfectly suited for a law enforcement drama or thriller. Using expert timing, Ms. Campbell's delivery is easy to follow and allows the listener to sit back and seamlessly enjoy the story.

Ms. Campbell also expertly produces different voices for each one of the various characters allowing the listener to know who is speaking in dialogues without the need to rely on dialogue tags. She even manages to make each character's voice match the personality traits that Mr. Grisham pens for each. For example, Lacey sounds like an inquisitive, energetic, and dedicated lawyer which matches her description, whereas her partner Hugo, who has 4 young kids and is constantly described as sleep deprived, sounds appropriately tired. Even the informant sounds appropriately anxious as the corruption scheme begins to unravel and it becomes a fight to see which side will win: good or evil.

All in all, I really enjoyed listening to The Whistler. As a lawyer myself, I found the description of the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and how the Native American tribes are organized and self-governed fascinating. I also enjoyed the fast-paced action scenes as the corruption ring slowly begins to be uncovered. Although there isn't a lot of mystery or suspense surrounding this title, it is the action and interrelationships among this wide disparate group of criminals that is the draw of this legal based thriller. It's amazing to see that after decades of great legal thrillers, Mr. Grisham is still one of the best of this genre.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29354916-the-whistler

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill by John Grisham


4.03  ·  Rating details ·  613,374 Ratings  ·  4,309 Reviews
Download or read online for free A Time to Kill by John Grisham
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
Before The Firm and The Pelican Brief made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice -- at last it's available in a Doubleday hardcover edition. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence...as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town...Clanton, Mississippi.

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life...and then his own.

“Mr. Buckley, let me explain it this way. And I'll do so very carefully and slowly so that even you will understand it. If I was the sheriff, I would not have arrested him. If I was on the grand jury, I would not have indicted him. If I was the judge, I would not try him. If I was the D.A., I would not prosecute him. If I was on the trial jury, I would vote to give him a key to the city, a plaque to hang on his wall, and I would send him home to his family. And, Mr. Buckley, if my daughter is ever raped, I hope I have the guts to do what he did.”

“With murder, the victim is gone, and not forced to deal with what happened to her. The family must deal with it, but not the victim. But rape is much worse. The victim has a lifetime of coping, trying to understand, of asking questions, and the worst part, of knowing the rapist is still alive and may someday escape or be released. Every hour of every day, the victim thinks of the rape and asks herself a thousand questions. She relives it, step by step, minute by minute, and it hurts just as bad.
Perhaps the most horrible crime of all is the violent rape of a child. A woman who is raped has a pretty good idea why it happened. Some animal was filled with hatred, anger and violence. But a child? A ten-year-old child? Suppose you're a parent. Imagine yourself trying to explain to your child why she was raped. Imagine yourself trying to explain why she cannot bear children.”





Reviews


Read when it first came out. I really ought to reread this prior to reading Sycamore Row. I remember being captivated with the story of Jake Brigance but I details are sketchy at best at this time. Seems like a summer reread is on the horizon.
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I confess that when one of my book clubs made this our monthly selection, I approached it with more than a little trepidation. I knew that this was Grisham's first book and that when it was first published as a hardcover, he could hardly give it away. Sales were so poor that there was initially no paperback release. Only after the success of The Firm and other of Grisham's books was this one finally resurrected and released in paperback.

Like most of Grisham's other readers, I jumped aboard the train with The Firm and never looked back. Though I've enjoyed most of his later books, I simply took it for granted that this first effort was probably his "practice" novel, that it was not very good, and hence the poor sales. I further assumed that his publisher, anxious to milk the Grisham brand for all it was worth, only finally published A Time to Kill in paper simply to cash in. Accordingly, I've avoided it all these years until I was finally forced to read it.

I'm very happy that I was. The book turned out to be a gripping story with better-defined characters and a much more interesting setting than many of Grisham's later books. In fact, it may be one of his best.

The tiny town of Clanton, Mississippi, is shocked when two drunk and drug-addled thugs viciously assault a ten-year-old girl, failing to kill her only because they could not find a bridge from which to throw the child. The two are quickly arrested and charged with various crimes related to the attack, when the girl's father, a decorated Vietnam vet, takes the law into his own hands and kills the men who so gruesomely violated his daughter.

The father hires a young, up-and-coming lawyer named Jake Brigance to represent him. But this is Mississippi and the case is complicated by the fact that the victim and her father are black while the two dead thugs were white. The population of the town is evenly divided between blacks and whites and, while most people irrespective of race, condemn the actions of the two thugs, they are divided, mostly along racial lines, over the issue of whether the father should be convicted of premeditated murder or be given a medal for ridding the town of the two scumbags.

Grisham plays fair with both sides, and it's clear that he knows very well the setting, the people and the dynamics of the situation. There are a number of great characters in this novel and very few of them are pure of heart. These are much more complex characters than those usually served up in books like this, and the story grabs you from the start. It also raises a lot of thought-provoking questions. It's a great read, and I'm only sorry that it took me so long to get to it.
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Continuing with my reading of all Grisham titles.
This is the first I've read of the southern trial novels. Extensive use of the N word was disturbing but it's used for an accurate portrayal of the voice of white southerners of the period, not gratuitously. Much more disturbing was the scene of the violent attack on a little girl that's the basis of the story. Again, not gratuitous. This novel was based on a true story. A thoughtful and thought provoking reminder of the cruelty and racial prejudice in our not-so-far past. Really interesting descriptions of the trial and the jury and its deliberations.
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A satisfying legal thriller.

Grisham gives the reader much to ponder in this story of a black man who kills two men who raped and brutally beat his 10 year-old daughter. It's hard not to root for the father. It also makes one wonder if the story would have worked as well had it been his wife or sister who had been raped instead (probably not), which in and of itself is worth thinking about. It certainly makes one wonder if and when murder is ever justifiable, and exactly how we draw those lines in the sand as individuals and as a society.

That said, there were times the characters felt one dimensional. Lots of stereotypes. Occasionally, the story and the characters bordered on satire. Toward the end I grew weary of the tongue-and-cheek dialogue between characters. I also felt Grisham offers a very cynical view of lawyers and the legal process, which at times adds to the story and at other times takes away from it.

Overall, an incredibly well-written story, with relevant and important themes.
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Riveting, somber and powerful, A Time to Kill is a totally unforgettable legal thriller telling of secluded prejudice in a small Southern town, and one lawyer who wants to change the world.
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My favorite Grisham, and I've read almost all of them. He states in his own words that sometimes he gets "a bit verbose" - but I really liked it because of the depth that he goes into on the characters, which is mostly absent from his other stories.
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4 stars!

Die Jury - A Time To Kill in English – was the first Grisham I have read. I’ve heard about him and his books a lot, but somehow I kept going back for other authors I already knew. But I have to say that I enjoyed this one a lot.

I won’t write anything about the plot itself – most people know it anyways, either because there are tons of good summarizing reviews out there, or because they have read or seen the movie (which isn’t nearly as good as the book) themselves. So let me just say a little about what I liked:

American law is always something a little mysterious and – let’s just say it – a little crazy for me. It is very different from what we know in Europe and I was super curious to get a little information on the American system in this book and I have to say that the parts of the book set in the courthouse were by far the ones I enjoyed the most. It was very interesting to see how the process developed and what possibilities the different parties had to act and react. The selection of the jury and its discussions afterwards was very well done.

It took a little to really get into the book – the first scene was of course heartbreaking and totally catchy, but the introduction of so many characters in such a short time made my head spin. I still kept mixing up some of them during the book. I really liked our main character Jake Brigance, he might not be the usual super hero and has some serious character issues, but that made him very credible.

I also had a few problems with the pace of the plot. I had the feeling that we had a furious start, followed by a very slow middle part which ended in a too fast ending. I guess that such things come with experience and we have to keep in mind that this is Grisham’s first novel.

Well, I will definitely keep my eyes out for other Grisham books!
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My first John Grisham novel was his latest release, The Whistler: a capable, if not entirely thrilling, read. Because I give every author two chances to 'wow' me, I decided to take a stab at Grisham's debut, A Time to Kill.

Wow. Wow wow wow. Was I impressed!

Set in northeastern Mississippi (an area I've ridden through many times, and have a certain affection for), a young black girl is kidnapped and brutally raped by two white rednecks, both career criminals despite only being in their twenties. The two are caught and arrested, but that does not make the girl's pain go away, of course — so her father takes matters into his own hands, and murders the two rapists in cold blood. Jake Brigance, a young lawyer who is desperate for the big time, takes the case despite its daunting nature. What unravels is something that thoroughly impacts the entire fictional town of Clanton, Mississippi, and the reader as well. There is no black or white here, only a world of gray; while most readers can sympathize with the girl's father, was it right of him to murder the men? What is morally justifiable? What role does the court system play in our lives, and even when juries make the 'right' decision, is it still wrong? These are questions Grisham leads the reader to, never fully answering them but instead inspiring thought and meditation. I know I certainly look at the American justice system in a new light after reading this fabulous novel.

This was a journey that had me glued to the pages, and I would have read it much faster had life not intervened. I was shocked by how fleshed out the town of Clanton and its inhabitants really are, in the pages of this weighty story; Grisham is one who can tell a tale, and had that talent from the very beginning . . . as is evident here, in his debut novel. I was not sure what I wanted the final decision to be — guilty, not guilty, mistrial — because of all the twists and turns and new revelations that come to light during this volume's 480-ish pages. That's a good thing. The person who begins reading this novel and the person who finishes this novel aren't the same, not completely; this is one with true potential to impact, all these years later. It really stands up.

John Grisham is one of America's most popular authors, and I can now see why. I cannot wait to work my way through the rest of his releases, but I don't know if any of them can top this one.
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I don't normally read books like this one, but a good friend recommended it so I decided to give it a shot. Now I am glad that I did, it make me view court room dramas in a whole different light. This is also a first time read for me with this author.

Synopsis
In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence...as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town...Clanton, Mississippi.

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life...and then his own.

I have to be honest and say I was not sure about this book at all. The more I read though, the more I was intrigued. I really enjoyed the writing style a lot. The story was very engaging and was pretty quick paced. I also found this story to be very thought provoking as was a young adult in the year that this book was written. I did not think much about how thick the racism was in the 80's. Reading this book brought that to the forefront for me. It also made me think about what I would have done if this was to happen to me, if my child had been raped, beaten and left for dead. What would I have done? How would I have reacted? This book really makes reader's think about it.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book, well most of them anyway. They were developed very well. Of course my favorite would be Jake, but I also really enjoyed Ellen even though she came into the story relatively late. I would have loved to have had her a bit sooner into the story and maybe learned a bit more about her. I could relate to the characters very well because they felt so real and down to earth most of the time. I also found them to be very likeable for the most part.

Since I was recommended this book, I must recommend it as well, even for those who do not like courtroom dramas like me. I think this book could change your mind. I look forward to experiencing more of this author in the future.
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Wow! What a powerful book, I can't believe I hadn't read it sooner. I've seen the movie a numerous amount of times because I'm a big fan of both Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L Jackson. My eyes were glued right to the pages from beginning to end, I just couldn't put it down.

I remember watching the movie for the first time when I was in my mid-teens and I remember not liking it at that time because it was hard for me to understand the court and legal system, but as I got older I watched it again and I loved it. This book is to me not just John Grisham's best book, but it is now a book I'm putting in my list of favorites. The book is very emotional and some parts were very disturbing and hard to read, and it's sad to say it's probably happened in real life. An excellent book that I recommend to everyone!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32542.A_Time_to_Kill