Book Reviews

A Darkness More Than Night (Harry Bosch #7, Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch Universe #9) by Michael Connelly

A Darkness More Than NightTitle: A Darkness More Than Night (Harry Bosch #7, Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch Universe #9)
Author: Michael Connelly
Rating: ★★★

Terry McCaleb is a retired FBI agent who secretly misses the adrenaline received from investigations after a transplant ended his career. L.A. County Sheriff’s detective Jaye Winston phones McCaleb to get his insight on a tricky case she is working on that dead-ended.

So, what it’s like, Terry? Being a father.”

“It’s like having a gun to your head all the time. Because I know if anything happens to her, anything, then my life is over.

For those of you who read this novel, you will know that McCaleb’s daughter, Cielo Azul, is named after an unidentified girl who her father had previously investigated. In Terry’s terrifying time of almost-death, he thinks about his young daughter, who helps him to remain calm. She is now his everything (which makes me mad because his wife should be!). McCaleb would do anything to protect his family, but without even realizing it, during his investigation, he puts his family into danger.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you look into the abyss the abyss looks into you. You know, all the clichés. They’re clichés because they’re true. You don’t go into the darkness without it going into you and taking its piece.

There is some dirty work going on in the background of this case, which is also associated with Harry Bosch’s current case in court. No one is as they seem and everyone seems to be breaking some kind of law. So, is it okay to break a law or hide the truth in the name of justice?

One of the biggest problems I had with this novel was that I didn’t really feel connected to any of the characters. Frankly, most of them just annoyed me. And let’s be realistic, Terry, don’t make promises you can’t keep. If I was Graciela, I would’ve kicked your butt!

Despite the lack of character development, I enjoyed the novel after the first half. It took me forever to get into the book. Not enough action for me. 😉 The one thing I really appreciated was that I was unable to find out who was guilty of the homicides until the detectives did. Although, with the clues given, I’m not sure I could’ve figured it out on my own anyways.

Will Terry convict his friend, did he risk the safety of his family, and potentially endanger himself?

FEBRUARY 2018 MYSTERY BOOK DISCUSSION

Book Reviews

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger AckroydTitle: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4)
Author: Agatha Christie
Rating: ★★★★★

The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to seekers after it.

Wow! So I definitely judged this book to be outdated and not-relatable because of the publication age date. Nevertheless, it was the complete opposite. Christie adds a slight sense of humor from some characters (Poirot and Caroline) in order to add lightness to a grave murder.

Murder, blackmail, drug abuse, and suicide…this sounds like a novel that could very well take place in the present. Why is it always that deceit has a direct correlation with love? That self-preservation seems more important than justice at times? Christie makes a clear representation of society as it is and always will be…we are all guilty of putting our best interests in front of justice at times. But does that mean it’s right? No. Sometimes we judge others before finding out the entire truth. Just like in this novel, it was easy for the upper class to assume that the lower class: the servants or poor, were most likely suspect to the murder. However, we see that most times, that is not the case.

The author does a great job of keeping both the audience, as well as the characters, in suspense throughout the journey, while at the same time sending us some clues along the way. I found it interesting that one character, although static, seems to be the most in tune with the facts instead of basing off of personal preference. While Caroline is the epitome of a Drama Queen, she also seems to be the only logical person aside from Poirot. The ending really gives readers the “Aha!” moment that we all look so tirelessly for at the end of a fulfilling read.

always bear in the mind that the person who speaks may be lying

One thing that I really liked about this novel is that we got a look inside each of the suspects’ lives. With that being said, since they were the ones describing their whereabouts at the time of the murder, the reader only gets to see the suspects’ sides. But be careful…because not everything is at it seems. All of the suspects lie…whether largely or little white lies. The murderer may come as a surprise to some, but I suspected this person all along. Can you find out who the killer is before the truth becomes clear?

JANUARY 2018 MYSTERY BOOK DISCUSSION

 

Book Reviews

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4) by Jacqueline Winspear

Messenger of TruthTitle: Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Rating: ★★★★

“With a true masterpiece, there are no words required. Discourse is rendered redundant. That’s why the work of a master transcends all notions of education, of class. It rises above the onlooker’s understanding of what is considered good or bad, or right or wrong in the world of art. With the artist who has achieved mastery, skill, experience and knowledge are transparent, leaving only the message for all to see.”

I went into Messenger of Truth with some hesitation. The only reason for me starting it was due to a “Mystery Book Discussion” at my local library. Despite my initial reaction, I actually learned to enjoy the idea of art, as well as, this novel. The idea of art telling a story similarly to writing never before seemed possible to me. However, how the author describes Nick’s artwork makes me want to delve into the six-piece masterpiece of the deceased artist.

As a “messenger of truth”, Nick Bassington-Hope creates art that is extremely realistic and literal. Being one who served our country, Nick both experienced and saw many traumatic events of the reality of war, which later served in his ability to draw propaganda for the war. But, not only did he experience the sad truth of war, but also the reality of how people back home were living: sick, poor, and struggling to survive.

I can dance with life again.

The above phrase was written on one of Nick’s American sketches and is a recurrent image in Messenger of Truth. This can also be related to Maisie’s growth throughout the book. At the beginning of the novel, we find Maisie struggling with figuring out if she made the right choice in leaving her comfortable lifestyle and moving to her own place and finding her true identity, like a dancer not being confident at the start of a dance. As the story progresses and Maisie sees how the Bassington-Hopes, mainly Nick and Georgina, have come to pave their own paths in life despite “going against the grain”, she starts to believe that it may be possible for her to do the same, gaining the confidence she needs and taking more risks. In discovering the truth behind Nick’s death, we discover the true meanings behind Nick’s paintings: the blood and horror of war, the striking poverty and disease residing all around. Nick believed it was duty, through his paintings, to depict the wretched reality of the status of the world as it was; the truth. People don’t want to always see the truth for what it is, but, rather, the “better”, “more appealing” version. By solving the case of Nick’s death and realizing these truths, Maisie has now built the confidence she needs to pave her own path in life, bowing at the end of a marvelous performance, the crowd roaring.

DECEMBER 2017 MYSTERY BOOK DISCUSSION