George V. Reilly

Review: Hard Freeze

Title: Hard Freeze
Author: Dan Simmons
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: St. Martin’s/Minotaur
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 295
Keywords: crime, thriller, noir
Reading period: 27 May, 2015

Joe Kurtz is marked for death after the events of ‘Hardcase </blog/2015/06/07/Re­viewHard­case.html>`_. And a concert violinist is convinced that he just saw the man who murdered his teenaged daughter 20 years earlier, who was thought dead. More mayhem.

Off to Berlin: Spring Cleaning

As I announced a couple of weeks ago, we’re off to Berlin for June and July. We leave the house at 4:30am tomorrow to catch a 6:45am flight to Chicago and thence via Dublin, arriving in Berlin at 10:30am on Tuesday.

There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind and make things happen. We’ve been spring cleaning furiously for several weeks. Frankly, it was long overdue. The bedrooms and the offices were all badly in need of being re­or­ga­nized. My office used to scare me, it was such a mess. It’s still far from perfect, but it’s much cleaner, you can use the desk, and the remaining clutter is stacked into continue.

Review: Glimmering

Title: Glimmering
Author: Elizabeth Hand
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper Prism
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 537
Keywords: fiction
Reading period: 18–26 May, 2015

It’s 1999, the "Glimmering" is destroying the ozone layer, the seas are rising, and the world is falling apart.

I thought this was well written and the two main characters were well-drawn, but I didn’t enjoy this book.

Review: Pirate King

Title: Pirate King
Author: Laurie R. King
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 368
Keywords: historical mystery, Holmes
Reading period: 14–16 May, 2015

Mary Russell—Sherlock Holmes’ much younger wife—in­ves­ti­gates the odd goings on in a British silent film company that’s making a pirate film on location in Lisbon and Morocco in 1924. The filmmakers get more than they bargained for, as the rogues they cast as pirates seem to be real pirates.

A decent entry in this series.

Review: The Crook Factory

Title: The Crook Factory
Author: Dan Simmons
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper Torch
Copyright: 1999
Pages: 562
Keywords: thriller, historical
Reading period: 28 May–6 June, 2015

In 1942, Ernest Hemingway ran a counter-espionage ring and submarine-seeking operation from Cuba. Staffed by amateurs, it was approved by the American ambassador. The narrator, Joe Lucas, is sent by J. Edgar Hoover to infiltrate Hemingway’s op. There seems to be a lot of espionage going on in Cuba and it looks like Hemingway is being set up for something.

Based loosely on true events, this is en­ter­tain­ing, if a tad longwinded and confusing.

Review: Hardcase

Title: Hardcase
Author: Dan Simmons
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: St. Martin’s/Minotaur
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 263
Keywords: crime, thriller, noir
Reading period: 26 May, 2015

Joe Kurtz is a hardboiled ex-PI who just spent eleven years in Attica for killing the men who killed his partner. He’s out now, in­ves­ti­gat­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of a mob accountant, and he quickly makes new enemies. Mayhem ensues.

Review: Bad Boy

Title: Bad Boy
Author: Peter Robinson
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 387
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 10–12 May, 2015

A woman calls at a Yorkshire police station to talk to her friend, Detective Inspector Alan Banks, about the gun she found in her daughter’s bedroom. Banks is out of the country, however. An un­reg­is­tered gun is a serious offence under British law and the police take it very seriously. The daughter’s friend—Banks’ own daughter, Tracy—goes to warn the owner, and he goes on the run with Tracy. She’s willing at first then realizes that she’s in way over her head with this bad boy.

Another good entry in Robinson’s long-running series continue.

Review: A Midwinter Murder

Title: A Midwinter Murder
Author: Peter Tonkin
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 251
Keywords: historical mystery
Reading period: 10–13 May, 2015

Tom Musgrave, sword master and master of logic, is called away from the Eliz­a­bethan court to the Scottish borders, where his brother has been found dead­—ap­par­ent­ly frozen in terror by the sight of a hellhound. Musgrave uncovers a nest of intrigue and murder when he returns home to in­ves­ti­gate.

Tonkin has written a good historical mystery, though I found the pro­ta­gan­ist’s ra­ti­o­ci­na­tive powers improbable.

Review: In Cold Blood

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 1965
Pages: 343
Keywords: true crime
Reading period: 3–8 May, 2015

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote’s best­selling non-fiction novel, describes the 1959 murder of a wealthy farmer and his family, which terrorized Kansas; the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Kansas Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion; the arrest six weeks later of two parolees, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith; and the lives and deaths of Hickock and Smith. Smith was a ne’er-do-well, brought up by footloose alcoholic parents, with two siblings dead of suicide, while Hickock had been brought up in a good home.

Capote “recre­at­ed” the events of the Clutter murder and, in­ci­den­tal­ly, helped create the genre of continue.

A Berlin Summer

Emma and I are going to spend most of June and all of July 2015 in Berlin.

Two years ago, our friend Joanna announced that she was going to spend a year in Paris with her husband and daughters. This got us thinking about spending a year in Europe ourselves. After con­sid­er­ing Bilbao and some other cities, we eventually decided upon Berlin. We had both studied German in high school or college; Berlin is a vibrant cultural city, full of history and art; it’s a tech hub and a startup magnet; and it’s con­ve­nient­ly located for travel within Europe.

We spent a week there last year in early August, staying with continue.

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