Book Review: A is for Action

I got an ARC of Dan Alatorre’s A is for Action and then promptly forgot to read it. What can I say? Sometimes I drop the ball. Just ask my pup about the vast array of bones and chew toys under the couch. (Do you move your couch every time you vacuum? Uh huh. I didn’t think so.)

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Every new author (and a lot of veteran authors) have the same problem when it comes to action scenes. They have this idea for a big battle scene or car chase – but most don’t know where to start!

I’ll show you.

We’ll lay out classic actions scenes, like a car crash or a massive medieval sword clash between armies, and see how they are done. We will analyze the writing style you use in action scenes that isn’t utilized anywhere else in your story.

Car chase or medieval battle, we can create a process to follow.

While every action scene is different, many have similar foundations.

Learn how to write amazing action scenes and take your stories to new heights!

 

My thoughts:

Dan meticulously details the battle scene from Braveheart as a way to demonstrate the power of outlining your action as a starting point. (Sadly there were no shots of Mel’s ass.) I found it an intriguing way to explain complicated action scenes for writers. It felt like a beat sheet. Which isn’t a bad thing. Action can be hard to write, especially if you’re an author who visualizes everything in your book in your head before you put it to paper. Dan clearly articulates the steps he’s found useful to get that mental film into the concrete world. Then he covered ways to layer that up, increasing tension for the reader. I look forward to more in the series.

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Book Review: Survival of the Fritters

I think I need to stand up and say, “Hi, I’m T.A. Henry and I am a cozy mystery addict.” I grabbed Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton, along with a couple of other cozies while I was at the big library this week. Survival is the only one I finished.

Short Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime–or stay alive. If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst–especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her–murdered among a scattering of stale donuts. . . Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business. . .

My Thoughts:

This was a fun read. The donut talk was a little heavy, every time someone orders a donut (a lot of scenes take place in the shop) or eats a donut (she brings everyone donuts), you get a run down of the qualities. It was just a little too much so that I didn’t really become annoyed until I was 200 pages in, the cumulative effect. There were a few moments where I was put off by the unbelievable dialogue or the unbelievable actions of the characters, but for the most part, I read happily. Of course by the next morning, I can’t remember much. Other than the book was pretty good. Which makes me want to decrease my rating. Fun to read, but totally forgettable.  I will read the next one when it comes out, Goodbye Cruller World.

Reviewed: Scripting the Truth

It’s always nice to get a review that appreciates your work but it’s doubly nice to get a review on a book that’s been out for a while and isn’t really getting much attention anymore.

 

You may recall the post I shared last week on the RONE awards where Henry’s current book, Ostrich Mentality is up for an award. Or you may know her from her fantastic blog. Either case… this is definitely a book that fit into many of my reading / genre preferences. I highly recommend it for […]

via Book Review: Scripting the Truth by T. A. Henry — This Is My Truth Now

Book Review: A Good Month for Murder

A Good Month For Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad by Del Quentin Wilber was an impulse grab. The title made it feel like one of those books that could go either way. Sometimes these books take their frustrations out on the hard working detective. Sometimes they go the other direction. It is the rare book that walks the line. This one is rare.

Basic Synopsis (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Twelve homicides, three police-involved shootings and the furious hunt for an especially brutal killer—February 2013 was a good month for murder in suburban Washington, D.C.

After gaining unparalleled access to the homicide unit in Prince George’s County, which borders the nation’s capital, Del Quentin Wilber begins shadowing the talented, often quirky detectives who get the call when a body falls. After a quiet couple of months, all hell breaks loose: suddenly every detective in the squad is scrambling to solve one shooting and stabbing after another. Meanwhile, the entire unit is obsessed with a stone-cold “red ball,” a high-profile case involving a seventeen-year-old honor student attacked by a gunman who kicked down the door to her house and shot her in her bed.

Murder is the police investigator’s ultimate crucible: to solve a killing, a detective must speak for the dead. More than any recent book, A Good Month for Murder shows what it takes to succeed when the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher.

My thoughts:

I loved this book. Wilber wrote it in that perfect balanced way where you feel the stress rolling off the cop and you can smell the fear on the suspect. He balanced gritty reality with a touch of humanity.

Like any good nonfiction book, the cases aren’t nicely wrapped up in a bow. They don’t solve a lot of the cases you spend the book reading about. Welcome to the real world of police work. It’s a long slog of thankless work and sleepless nights. It was very nice to ride a long for 300 pages.

Agatha Christie Read-a-thon Week 4

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Our last week of the read-a-thon, this year anyway. Jay, over at This is My Truth Now, hosted this swarray in honor of the fabulous Agatha Christie, and he did it while launching his second book, Father Figure. So impressed with you James!

Now onto Murder…

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Colonel Protheroe, local magistrate and overbearing land-owner is the most detested man in the village. Everyone–even in the vicar–wishes he were dead. And very soon he is–shot in the head in the vicar’s own study. Faced with a surfeit of suspects, only the inscrutable Miss Marple can unravel the tangled web of clues that will lead to the unmasking of the killer.

 

My thoughts:

This book is so damn delicious. Miss Marple hasn’t solved any murders yet in this book. She’s solved a few village mysteries, the gill of pickled shrimp comes to mind. But she hasn’t garnered any respect. Coming on the heels of Body in the Library, where she’s already known as the one to watch out for, it’s frustrating to read the way some people treat her. Miss Marple is ever the same. Calm, polite, completely straight forward.

I adore the vicar who narrates this book. “At my time of life, you know the worst is usually true,” his answering thought to his wife who says Miss Marple draws the worst inferences from village happenings. I also love the way his wife explains she married him because her other suitors would have considered her a feather in their cap, whereas for the Vicar she’s more of a secret sin. LOL.

I haven’t talked much about the murder I suppose. I don’t think it matters in this book. I know, I know, this is a murder mystery. But….the murdered man is so odious, once he’s killed it’s like you can just relax back and watch the interactions of the village people. I’ve always thought the way she depicts human interaction was Aggie’s greatest achievement. Murder at the Vicarage nails it.

Book Review: A is for Alibi

I had never read Sue Grafton. I’d been tempted, with so many books to her name it seemed a possible vista of reading. When she died recently, James over at This is My Truth Now, penned a lovely tribute which made me run out (virtually anyway) and order a book.

I started at the beginning. A is for Alibi.

Book Description (Courtesy of Amazon):

A IS FOR AVENGER
A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she’s got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

A IS FOR ACCUSED
That’s why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she’s out on parole and needs Kinsey’s help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki’s bad name won’t be easy.

A IS FOR ALIBI
If there’s one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it’s playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer―and sharper―than she imagined.

My thoughts:

I hated the opening of this book. Had it not been on my kindle I might have thrown it. Utter balderdash. But then on page 3, one of the characters says something – being a mistress is all about an ego trip. And I thought well, damn, at least she isn’t afraid to talk honestly about humans and the why they do the things they do. I’ll read on.

I can’t say it was a great mystery. I knew who dun it a third of the way thru. shrug. But it was an interesting read. Interesting enough for me order B is for Burglar. I kind of want to see where this is going. What it will look like when Sue and Kinsey hit their stride.

Agatha Christie Read-a-thon Week 3

Every body say hi to Jay over at This is My Truth Now. He’s hosting this month long love affair with the first lady of mystery, Agatha Christie. This week’s book was The Body in the Library.

The basics (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Colonel Bantry has found the strangled body of an exotic blonde bombshell lying on his library hearth – and the neighbors are beginning to talk! When Miss Marple takes an interest, though, things begin to move along nicely, and its all far more convoluted – and sordid – than the genteel Bantrys could have imagined.

A curmudgeonly financier, his self-absorbed adult children, a couple of pragmatic and clever hotel workers, tons of money and influence, a wild local lad, some smitten girls, the film business, mix into a classic Christie plot filled with twists, turns, and double-backs galore. Plus the glorious settings of A Great House, a fancy Hotel, and an excessively genteel little village, and let’s not forget Miss Marple…

 

My Thoughts:

This is one of my FAVE Aggies. I adore Miss Marple. She’s so straight forward in a lovely, polite, mid Victorian manner. Nothing people do shocks her. In fact, she can often guess what and why before anyone else because she knows people. Miss Marple insists everyone is much the same, human nature being so predictable. I often wonder if Agatha Christie was rather like Miss Marple in a large amount.

This book lays claim to awesome quotes like “fairly made the toe of my boot itch.”

The plot is amazing and to explain why it’s amazing I might have to spoil it a bit. So stop reading now if you hate spoilers.

The Body in the Library - Christie, Agatha

Just a little pic to break it up.

Now back to the spoiling. The whole book it’s forced on you that only two people have a reason to kill Ruby and they both have air tight alibis. All that forcing makes you think it must be someone else right? A forced card like that provokes a reaction. But…

It is actually one of them. And the alibis are for naught as there is a second dead body, a little switcharoo.

Brilliant!