Post Script: Review -False Witness by Dorothy Uhnak

 

False Witness – Dorothy Uhnak

ISBN: 9781453283578

Description (Open Road):

After surviving an unspeakable crime, a victim identifies a shocking attacker
Lynne Jacobi gets the call a few hours before dawn. Model-turned-television celebrity Sanderalee Dawson lies on the kitchen floor of her sumptuous Manhattan apartment, hanging on to life by a tenuous thread. The victim of a savage assault, she stuns everyone when she survives and identifies her attacker. 

So begins a case that leads law enforcement down a twisting path of secrets, lies, and false leads. Lynne, bureau chief of the district attorney’s office, is fueled by ambition and her vow to bring a brutal killer to justice. But Chief Investigator Bobby Jones isn’t sure they have the right man, and he hesitates to put his legal career—and his affair with Lynne—at risk. The victim herself, as the only witness to her rape, must go up against a monster who just might get away with it.

Uhnak has been credited with paving the way for authors such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Patricia Cornwell, and many others who write crime novels and police    procedural ‘s with strong heroines. This novel is being re released.  

My View:

A compelling read. The first frantic violent pages introduce us to the horrific assault that leaves celebrity Sanderlee Dawson in a coma fighting for her life. Uhnak spares none of our senses as she graphically describes the location and the horrific events which set her protagonist Bureau Chief Lynne Jacobi of the DA’s office on a roller coaster ride of manipulations, political game playing, deceit, lies and frustration. “The discordant, unanticipated color, dominating all the overturned furniture and tossed about lamps, was the darkening brownish-red thickly shimmering blood. Sanderlee’s life force was sprayed and splattered and pooled all over the room…There would be no cleaning up. There would have to be a complete cleaning out.”(p11) “All that blood, Jim? My God, what the hell did he do to her? …..More blood than I have ever seen in one place before. And I have been on the scene of some very gory homicides.  There was a heavy meat clever on the floor, professional type.  Bloody…..” (ps13-14)

Jacobi investigates the attack with a “prosecutor’s point of view: that anyone, at all, can do anything, at all: is capable of committing the most unimaginable acts, given a set of circumstances – emotional, physical, personal, mental, environment, whatever.” (p118-119) False Witness is a procedural crime novel with a strong feminist protagonist who is battling crime and all the isms of the time –at nearly forty years old she has been “doing battle for many, many years without too many compromises along the way. My young female associates haven’t been in the war long enough to learn that there are necessary times of truce.” (p9-10)

I read this compelling novel with a hunger that could only be satisfied when the last page was turned.  Except it wasn’t satisfied, I felt the frustration and the weariness and the bitterness that Jacobi was wearing, like a heavy cloak and I needed more. An excellent read. I will most certainly be seeking other books by this author. 

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Post Script: Review(Encore) – A Bitch Called Hope

A Bitch Called Hope – Lily Gardner

ISBN: 9781938120978

 

Synopsis (Diversion Books)

 Bitch Called Hope is the poker term for drawing the queen-eight in Texas Hold ‘Em. There’s not enough luck in the world to build a winning hand with those cards, but it’s so tempting to try.

Meet Lennox Cooper. She’s a smart poker player, a smart detective, but she’s got issues. A year ago her affair with a married cop got her fired from the Portland Police. Now she’s trying to build a new life as a private investigator, but all she’d landed so far are surveillance gigs.

The murder of a wealthy developer gives her a chance to re-establish herself as a homicide detective. During the course of the investigation she meets Mr. Right. Only problem, he’s on the short list of suspects. Lennox bets on her lover’s innocence. The odds aren’t much better than drawing A Bitch Called Hope.

My View:

The title drew me in– the explanation of the poker term reference had me intrigued and I was not disappointed. What a ride! What a hand Lennox Cooper had drawn! A roller coaster ride of action and intrigue, violence mixed in with the humanity of human failings and the universal need for love. Lennox Cooper is a modern day Kinsey Millhone – she is gutsy, heroic, smart, good at her job; the woman just needs a break and Mr Right.

This novel is a well crafted, fast paced explosion of action and drama. I didn’t guess the killer. I didn’t guess the ending. I didn’t put the book down till I had reached the (almost) satisfying end.  What a debut novel. I cannot wait for the next book and to follow Lennox Cooper on her next adventures. Lily Gardner where have you been hiding?

PS

Enjoy with a chilled glass of  Juniper Estate Cane Cut Riesling.  

To Read or Not to Read That is the Question?

William Faulkner says: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” 

And I am….reading as much as I can as often as I can and without prejudice – I will just about read anything….unless the script is full of typos and poor grammar. Then I find myself correcting and not reading. As Angela Carter wisely says: “Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.”

And I wholeheartedly agree; your own experiences of the world influence how you read/what you read and consequently how you feel about a book. My views on any particular book are a personal response that reflects my life experience, my reading experience, my personal taste  and as such I say read  my reviews and the descriptions/synopsis – and then decide for yourself if you think the book is worthy of YOUR interest. These days I read for entertainment, for pleasure; I am not interested in providing high brow critical analysis in my reviews, I merely want to share with you my individual response to the script; enthusiastic or…. not so much; loved it, couldn’t put it down…or not. I hope you enjoy my reviews and are maybe inspired to seek out some of my reads. I, in return  for your interest, will always provide you with my honest response to the book I am currently reading.

So without any further ado I introduce you to my new regular weekly spot – Post Script.

First review will follow soon.

You Reap What You Sow

The past few weeks the weather in Western Australia and in particular our region, has been extremely hot. I know it is summer but it has been unusually hot and the heat has persisted for days on end. The reverse cycle air conditioner we thought we would mainly use for heating has been getting a work out. The heat however has been great for our summer crops – we have just harvested a great looking crop of Butternut Pumpkins ( see picture below – they are ripening in the sun) I have so many cucumbers I don’t know what to do with them, hubby has just picked a basketful of long eggplant, a bag of stringless beans, a handful of snow peas, a sink full of silver beet ( spinach), the tomatoes are ripening a handful a  day but there in the coming weeks will have a deluge of lovely tomatoes – roma, cherry tomatoes, mini yellow roma, mini red roma, red heirloom tomatoes……onions – brown, red and white and the kale plants has turned into a tree! And we have just planted a second crop of potatoes – we have one box left of the last crop. Have I missed anything? Oh yes capsicums, chilies, broccoli and soon a few lettuces. The zucchini have almost done their dash-thankfully, as I am running out of room in my freezer! It is a great time of year for growing your own vegetables.

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I love having fresh picked, home grown vegetables. I love knowing that they are grown naturally, chemically free and just bursting with a taste you do not get in the supermarkets. I just wish I knew a little more about how to use/preserve these veg for another day. The freezer is very useful- I have a freezer full of broad beans, grated zucchini (ideal for fritters, for soups, for adding to the dogs rice …)plenty of frozen spinach and kale ( though these greens I prefer to use fresh or juice), some pasta sauces, some frozen dehydrated tomatoes ( yum as they are, great to add intense flavour to soups etc and wonderful to make your own sundried tomatoes),frozen grated beetroot ( ideal to put straight into chocolate cake) and frozen green beans. Potatoes, onions and pumpkins will happily sit in the pantry until required.

I have successfully made beetroot relish (great with cheese), I have made eggplant and zucchini pickle and I am dehydrating tomatoes.  Any other suggestions as to how to use up all this veg would be appreciated.

Does anyone juice? I am a big fan of green/vegetable based juicing. Each year when we have this glut of fresh vegetables I turn to juicing as a way to boost my intake of vitamins and minerals and to use up some of this abundance of veg. (I have newly acquired attitude towards waste and excess…..I can’t stand either) Within a week of juicing my normally weak easily breakable fingernails are transformed to diamond strength, my eyes are clear and bright and I generally feel invigorated.  I really should do this more often, not just when we have a glut of vegetables.

The problem is however how to fit all of this eating/juicing into my day (I am also on a “health” regime – trying to stall the rapidly approaching painful symptoms of osteoarthritis.) Getting old sucks.  I have researched and found anecdotal evidence that MSM (sulphur) a nasty bitter supplement is meant to be useful, I am having Vit D and Calcium, Fish Oil, Chia seed and LSA daily, and I have made bone broth (from free range, grass fed local beef) which I have used as a basis for soup (to which I have added plenty of our vegetables.) By the time I have eaten and juiced and drank all of the above I am full.

Does anyone else suffer from osteoarthritis and what have you found makes a difference? The best advice my GP has given me is to take daily paracetamol –a slow release variety. Surely there must be a better more natural way to combat this condition (at the moment 3 discs in my neck are affected and my little fingers are sore and inflamed, the knees…. well replacement when I am of certain age might do the trick……Enough…. I don’t want this.

Happy juicing, and my family and friends – look out for a box of fresh veggies and preserves heading your way soon. 🙂

Do You Feel that your Life is on “Shuffle”?

Busy, today in fact the past few days have been busy.  Does your life resemble an mp3/4 player on shuffle – a little bit of this and a bit of that? Reading….blogging, book reviewing and making an awesome beef and eggplant curry (yes you guessed it we have a glut of eggplant at the moment), a bit of housework…a bit of eating, drinking coffee….and relaxing in the sunshine. Perfect. I like this sort of busy.

Tomorrow – time to make pasta sauce – it is very satisfying work making your own sauces, jams, pickles and is a really great way to use up that fridge full of home grown fresh produce.

My Pasta Sauce has no exacting recipe – the most important part is making sure you use a really large pan to cook the sauce in- too often have I been caught out with overflowing saucepans , having underestimated the need of my ingredients. Take on large pan, add a good slug of EVO, some roughly diced onions ( 3 or 4), 1 or 2 roughly diced capsicums, a few cloves of  crushed garlic, cook till onions are translucent and then a few kilos of skinned chopped tomatoes  and a pinch or two of salt and sugar, (you can even add a few diced eggplant if you have them handy). Let mixture come to the boil and then simmer till reduced, lid off, stirring occasionally –this process usually takes a few hours. This sauce is delicious as a pizza base, as a pasta sauce or add some chili and a some cooked beans and you a yummy bean dip or a vegetarian bean mains to have with rice.

Books: I have been very pleasantly distracted by my ebook reader these past few days, I am always on the hunt for a new author to follow, a new world to immerse myself in and this I found in two very different reads; The Bitch Called Hope by Lily Gardner ( I have an advance copy)- a book I could not put down. And Then Go Straight Forward by Bill Johnstone – another murder/mystery written from the perspective of the investigative journalist. My reviews follow.

A Bitch Called Hope – Lily Gardner

ISBN: 9781938120978

Synopsis (Diversion Books)

A Bitch Called Hope is the poker term for drawing the queen-eight in Texas Hold ‘Em. There’s not enough luck in the world to build a winning hand with those cards, but it’s so tempting to try.

Meet Lennox Cooper. She’s a smart poker player, a smart detective, but she’s got issues. A year ago her affair with a married cop got her fired from the Portland Police. Now she’s trying to build a new life as a private investigator, but all she’d landed so far are surveillance gigs.

The murder of a wealthy developer gives her a chance to re-establish herself as a homicide detective. During the course of the investigation she meets Mr. Right. Only problem, he’s on the short list of suspects. Lennox bets on her lover’s innocence. The odds aren’t much better than drawing A Bitch Called Hope.

My View:

The title drew me in– the poker  reference had me intrigued and I was not disappointed. What a ride! What a hand Lennox Cooper had drawn! A roller coaster ride of action and intrigue, violence mixed in with the humanity of human failings and the universal need for love. Lennox Cooper is a modern day Kinsey Millhone – she is gutsy, heroic, smart, good at her job; the woman just needs a break and Mr Right.

This novel is a well crafted, a fast paced explosion of action and drama. I didn’t guess the killer. I didn’t guess the ending. I didn’t put the book down till I had reached the (almost) satisfying end.  What a debut novel. I cannot wait for the next book and to follow Lennox Cooper on her next adventures. Lily Gardner where have you been hiding?

Then Go Straight Forward – Bill Johnstone

ISBN: 9781478397236

Synopsis (Provide by Amazon/Createspace)

The shooting of two apparently innocent tourists on vacation in northern Florida and a fire in a wealthy neighbourhood of Washington, DC are two seemingly unconnected incidents. However, they prove to be strands in a mysterious pattern involving organized crime, a children’s charity, the clergy and a dead security agent. Together they trigger an investigation by journalist Mike McCabe whose news instincts determine he follows the clues to the bitter end. The book is the sequel to another Mike McCabe adventure, White Collar Option.

My View:

Johnstone weaves an intricate tale of murder, arson and intrigue which at first is a little confusing and dislocate.  I had to force myself to read past the opening chapters – these read like mini books, I could not connect the dots….could not weave the strands together.   Perseverance paid off, suddenly I found myself engrossed and reading fervently; the pace increased, the story unfolded smoothly and all became clear. I finally engaged with the story and enjoyed the book from that point on.

What are you reading now – anything worth recommending? I prefer contemporary thriller/crime and am not adverse to perhaps a little paranormal in the mix and a glass (or two) of fresh cool Sav Blanc to lubricate the mind as one reads. 🙂

Reflections

Where to start – I have discovered that I have much to say but where to start and what I should share with you is an interesting conundrum.  This blog isn’t a diary, maybe it is more about personal musings, reflections, a sharing of thoughts; sharing of ideas, recipes,  books I have enjoyed and the wines I have enjoyed whilst reading them:) Maybe this blog is  really about family –an extended family because that is who you share this stuff with.

So to start…….The year that was 2012 sounds like a good start point.  It was a great year, full of excitement and adventures. First and most importantly both daughters got married – within 6 weeks of each other. What an amazing time and what wonderful occasions they were.  I am so pleased that my daughters have happiness and love in their lives. Image 

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Then we got a dog- it has been over 2 years since our loyal Mollie Dog left our lives at the age of 18 years.  It has taken us two years to get over the loss and decide to have another dog in our lives agian. A trip to K9 Rescue in Mandurah Western  Australia;  http://www.k9dogrescue.com/pictures.html did not disappoint, we returned home with Bob, a young male English Staffordshire Terrier- a beautiful affectionate companion. photo

Dempsey ( French Bulldog pup  and Bob on the right)

Then came a bit more travelling , complete with dog, and now a tent ( our van not quite big enough for the dog to sleep in too ) so next we move to a caravan.  We have decided that if we want to travel for longer and explore the locations more fully we need to be able to leave the caravan in the park and drive about as opposed to pack up the van each time we set of to explore.  The van needs to go. It has served its purpose, we had some lovely adventures in it but as our family has expanded we need to accommodate our new ambitions and dog.

In between holidays, weddings and adventures I managed to squeeze in a bit of paid work and to read lots and lots of books. I discovered a love of the series.  I discovered e readers – which make reading on the go, reading anywhere, so convenient and cheap. I discovered “best reads” of particular years…..mystery/crime/murder….. sometimes with a bit of paranormal thrown in and that by searching for authors/books on the “best of” lists on the web I could find an author I liked and then down load easily all the books they have written and could sit down and feast on 8 or 9 or more excellent reads in a series without coming up for air!  So blissful to have so much content, to have characters and story lines develop and overlap and to go on the journey with the writer.

My list of Great Reads begins with the following (and if you decide to read these authors please try and read in order of publication, you will enjoy so much more)

CJ Box – Joe Pickett Series (and a couple of standalone novels).

Karin Slaughter.

Jo Nesbo – The Harry Hole series.

Arnaldur Indrioason –  Detective Erlendur series.

Michael Connelly – Harry Bosch stories can be read as a standalone but more enjoyable read in order.

Tess Gerritsen – the books of the series Rizzoli and Isles are such a good read, I think better than the TV production.

Karin Fossum – can be read as standalone but again better to have the back stories and character development of reading in order.

Linda Fairstein.

John Connolly – I just loved his mix of murder and intrigue and paranormal in the Charlie Parker series.

I could go on and will …….just thinking about these books again has got me itching to get back to my ereader and the dozen or so books I have waiting for me. Beats working any dayJ

PS

A good book is best enjoyed with a coffee  during the day ( Yahava if in WA) and later in the evening with a cool Riesling , you cannot go wrong with any in  Howard Park/Mad Fish range ( the winery is just down the road from me) .

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