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October 3, 2015
Anne Corey reports on Anne Perry's CORRIDORS OF THE NIGHT, the latest in the lengthy Monk series and was less than best pleased. On the other hand, Phyllis Onstad thought very well of Catriona McPherson's THE CHILD GARDEN. Karla Jay reviews the audio of Sue Grafton's X as Grafton nears the end of the alphabet. Karla admired both the book and the narration by Judy Kaye.
A clutch of police procedurals all found favour this week. Jim Napier calls LIFE FOR A LIFE, by T.Frank Muir, one of the most authentic and gripping crime novels he's read in some time. Ben McPherson's A LINE OF BLOOD is also very dark, says Diana Borse, but sadly, she remarks, probably very true. Another British police procedural, Tony Parsons' THE SLAUGHTER MAN, impressed Ben Neal with its sensitive portrayal of a policeman balancing between the demands of his job and his responsibilities as a single father. The Brits do not have a monopoly on satisfying police stories, however. Meredith Frazier reports that Brian Thiem's debut, RED LINE, rings very true, as well it should, since Thiem spent twenty-five years as a cop in Oakland.
Civilian women protagonists also did very well this week. Lourdes Venard enjoyed Sandra Block's THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME, the second in the series that features Zoe Goldman, a resident on a juvenile psycho ward in Buffalo. Archaeologist Faye Longchamp-Montooth solves a contemporary murder in Mary Anna Evans ISOLATION and finds out something possibly shameful about her family's past history. Christine Zibas says that this is a tactful blend of historical information and entertaining mystery. Christine had a small problem with DEAD SOON ENOUGH, the latest adventure of Steph Cha's Korean-American PI, Juniper Song, but on the whole found the book fast paced and interesting.
PJ Coldren paid a visit to the grandfather of all private investigators, Sherlock Holmes, thanks to two contemporary contributions to the every-growing store of Holmes resurrections. Both Bonnie MacBird's ART IN THE BLOOD and Stuart Douglas' THE ALBINO'S TREASURE have plots involving missing art work and both, says PJ are creditable pastiches.
So far, most of the action this week has unfolded in urban centres, but that does not mean that the hinterland has been neglected. Patricia Skalka's DEATH AT GILLS ROCK is set in Door County, Wisconsin, and Sharon Mensing reports that the county and its inhabitants are brought to life in the book. Center Springs, TX, a fictional town in a real Texas county, is also brought to life in Reavis Z Wortham's DARK PLACES, with the additional attraction of being set in the 1960s. Still, as Cathy Downs reminds us, there is a dark centre beneath the surface charm of this book. CRAZY MOUNTAIN KISS, by Keith MaCafferty is set in Montana and, says Sharon Mensing, "is touching and thoughtful, even as it deals with tough Montana ranch life."
Our visitor in the "Sixty Seconds With...spot this week is Anne Perry. You can read her answers to our questions in the box to your left.
If you're curious about how crime is faring in Britain, take the time to visit CRIMEREVIEW where you can find out what's being published there.
We'll be back in a couple of weeks, so do join us.
P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.
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Since RTE first appeared, some twelve years ago, the business of books has changed out of all recognition. Then, books were reviewed in the print media for the most part, though Amazon was encouraging readers to post their reviews of the books they read. Now, newspapers across North America have reduced or eliminated the space they allot to books and, with certain notable exceptions, only best-selling authors are likely to get noticed. As a result, electronic reviewing has become increasingly important and, due to the somewhat slippery question of online authorship, occasionally problematic.
For this reason and in view of a recent article in the NY Times detailing a reviews-for-hire enterprise, it's probably wise for RTE to reiterate its position on reviewing. While our reviewers receive galleys, ARCs, or finished copies of books for review, they are otherwise unpaid. Furthermore, they are asked to disclose any special interest they might have in a book or an author they are reviewing. No one, including the editors, receives any compensation for the work they do. All our reviewers are encouraged to express their honest opinions, whether positive or negative, about the books they are reviewing. None of our reviewers uses a pseudonym and all are who they say they are. Nor do we employ rating systems (stars, grades, "highly recommended," or the like) in the belief that our reviews deserve to be read in their entirety. Since RTE does not review self-published or digital-only releases, we are perhaps less vulnerable to offers to pay for reviews, but it seems a good idea to make our policy clear. Finally, in the years that I've been editing RTE, I have never once been approached by a press or a publicist to violate this principle in any way.
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