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APRIL 25, 2011
Birdology ~ Sy Montgomery
I’ve been taking my time reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery, savoring the stories, peck by peck or is that page by page.
Everyone that I know that has read this before me, bird lovers all, seem to pick their favorite chapter and bird to exclaim about. Some enjoyed reading about feeding baby hummingbirds (very interesting and hard work), some liked learning more about the birds of prey, what it means to study falconry and others couldn’t believe the lineage and sheer size of The Cassowary. The Adventures with a Pack of Hens is a real hoot!
For me, it was the crows all the way. My dad loved crows and he often spent hours and hours just watching them; at least he did when he retired and actually had time to, well, “sit and watch the crows”. He always said they were smart and loved to imitate their call, “Caw, Caw, Caw”. I believe he was able to communicate with those that frequented his yard. He knew they held meetings and were that they were very family focused.
Montgomery really gives us a picture of this bird that is loved by some and hated by others. One guy goes so far as to say, “They’re like rats with feathers!” He’s not alone in this opinion. Crows are one of the bird groups that are in no danger of extinction. A roost can contain over 200,000 birds. One, on the Delaware River had 500,000. One at Ft Cobb, Oklahoma, had more than 2 million. That’s more than even Alfred Hitchcock could imagine. But crows are fascinating and if you take the time to read this book you’ll see why.
Montgomery is called “Part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.” by The Boston Globe. I intend to read more of her books.
APRIL 18, 2011
Befoe I Go to Sleep ~ S. J. Watson
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson provided by the publisher, Harper Collins. I was immediately intrigued by the premise and read it in just a few days. It comes out in June. Be certain to add it to your list.
S. J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep is one doozie of a story! Imagine waking up one morning and finding a stranger sleeping beside you. Now imagine this happening every day. Each time you fall asleep every memory you have is wiped. Not exactly amnesia where some memory remains, more like a rebuilding of who you are each day.
The reader is plunged into this nightmare with Christine, who is not only the victim of lost memory but the narrator, the one we must rely on to reveal just what's going on. Just when we think we've got it we are slapped with the reality that there may be no one we can trust. It's complicated and just when we think we know what's up, Christine falls asleep and we start all over again.
Watson's debut is tense from the get-go; a page turner that had me on the edge of my seat. I'd recommend it to those who like a good psychological thriller or those interested in disturbances of memory.
APRIL 17, 2011
This is Dedicated...
Kill the Messenger
Bantam Dell, A division of Random House, C.2004
My little pal who came to me
when I needed him most,
and left far too soon.
Always missed. Always loved.
APRIL 11, 2011
In the Author's Own Words ~ Vicki Delany
Welcome Vicki Delany, author or the popular series about Constable Molly Smith beginning with In the Shadow of the Glacier. We recently heard one your Columbia neighbors exclaiming about the books. The latest, Among the Departed hits our shelves May 3rd so get yourself on the reserve list today.
Four cops, Two paramedics, One Mystery Writer
By Vicki Delany
That's how many people it took to wake one man up to go to work.
After I’d published two novels of standalone suspense with Poisoned Pen Press my editor, Barbara Peters, and I decided it was time to try a series. I knew right away that I wanted to write the type of series I like most to read: the traditional British-type police procedurals.
But first, I had one problem: I have no experience in law enforcement whatsoever. I used to be a systems analyst at a bank. Not a lot of gun battles or drunk-and-disorderlies in that job. We didn’t even have a jail in the office basement.
I knew that if I was to create a reasonably realistic police series I would need some help.
I’ve been very lucky and there are now five novels in the Constable Molly Smith series set in the fictional town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, Canada.
Everywhere I’ve been I’ve found police officers to be more than helpful in talking to me about the ins and outs of their job. I have a detective constable who enjoys answering all my questions and will look things up, or ask the department lawyer, if he doesn’t know the answer to any one of them. I’ve toured police stations, met many officers, been out on ride-alongs and walk-alongs, talked to the dog handler and met his dog, been to watch in-service training, been to the firearms training course (where they didn’t let me touch a weapon, you’ll be pleased to hear).
I’ve had some really boring nights too. As I try to explain when the nice officer assigned to take me out apologizes because nothing at all happened, if I want to see a gun battle or a bank robbery in progress, I’ll watch TV. It’s the everyday details of the ordinary cop’s job that I’m interested in seeing first hand, that I want to give veracity to the books. The protagonist of the Constable Molly Smith series is young, green, a bit naïve. When the series begins, in In the Shadow of the Glacier, she is still on probation. She walks the beat on a Saturday afternoon, attends fender-benders, throws drunks into the drunk tank, tells people to empty out their cans of beer, helps confused old ladies cross the street, answers domestic disturbances, and stands outside crime scenes not letting anyone in.
This is the detail of day-to-day policing I’m trying to get right for my books. That as well as the way the officers relate to each other, the jokes they tell, how they balance families and young children, how they train (or not). My books are about murder and kidnapping and tragedy, yes, but they are also about people and relationships.
One thing I'm learning from the ride-alongs I've been on over the past three years, is that there can be a lot of humour in a cop’s job. It's a tough, often unpleasant, job and they put their lives on the line every day. But boy, do they get a good laugh some times.
Recently, the car I was in was called to a home where a man wasn't answering the door to his friend who had come to take him to work. It was the usual time and the usual routine, and the friend was worried because the man had a medical condition. He had hammered on the door, tried to peer in windows, even climbed a tree to get a peek inside. But no answer and no movement.
When we got there, the officer banged on the door, and bellowed, and peered in windows, and banged and bellowed again. He called for an ambulance. Reinforcements arrived, including the sergeant. Someone crouched down and yelled into the cat door. (And took a sniff - ug). Eventually there were four cops, two paramedics, and one mystery writer gathered at the top of a rickety set of stairs leading to the upstairs apartment. Permission to knock down the door was given, the door was kicked in, and everyone rushed in. Everyone, that is, save said mystery writer, who hung behind not wanting to see anything yucky. Then I heard a shout, "XX, what are you doing still in bed? Aren't you going to work?"
So I also wandered into the apartment to have a look.
Yup, the guy was tucked up in bed. Didn't feel like going to work, didn't bother phoning in, and didn't particularly want to get up and open the door. Out we all trooped, one mystery writer, two paramedics, four cops, leaving XX in bed and a broken door swinging on its hinges.
I’ve also learned things I’ve decided not to incorporate into my books. For example, it is the norm in most U.S.police K9 units for the dog to live in the house with the officer; in Canadathey follow the RCMP model in which the dog lives in a kennel outside the house. I decided in this situation I’d go for atmosphere and colour rather than veracity and so I let Norman, my RCMP dog, stretch out on the rug beside the fireplace. Sometimes the story has to come first.
It is, in fact, precisely while Normanis snoozing on the carpet at the beginning of Among the Departed, the fifth book in the series, that he gets a call to search for a little boy lost in the mountain wilderness.
Here is a picture of one of the handsome officers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting as I do my research.
APRIL 4, 2011
Devil Food Cake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke
comments by Merand
Devil Food Cake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke
"Oh the injustice of it all! This is probably one of the best Hannah Swensen mysteries in a while. The story was good, I hadn't fingered the murderer right away, and of the twenty recipes included, I've just got to make fifteen of them! If that isn't high praise, I don't know what is. But, and I won't give anything away, the frustrating love triangle that makes me think I won't bother reading anymore of these mysteries came to quite a dramatic head and the story ends with a cliffhanger! Seeing as this book just came out last week, I'm probably several months away from seeing any resolutions. I guess I'll console myself with some tasty treats like Mocha Trifle or Pear Crunch Pie or Raspberry Vinegar Cookies or Chocolate Euphoria Cookie Bars! I may even have to buy this book since it will cost me a fortune to copy all those recipes anyway!
APRIL 3, 2011
This is Dedicated
Babylon Rising The Secret of Ararat
Tim LaHaye & Bob Phillips
DEDICATED TO the memory of famed astronaut
Colonel James Irwin, who walked on the moon in 1971.
His faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible caused him
to search diligently during the 1980's for the ever-elusive
Ark of Noah, which many believe will one day be found
high in the rugged mountain peaks of Ararat, where it has
been preserved in ice for about five thousand years-waitin
for someone like him to locate what many expect will be
"the greatest archaelogical discovery of all time."
APRIL 1, 2011
Scent of Rain and Lightning ~ Nancy Pickard
Comments by CarolK
I was captured and enraptured by The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard. I haven't read anything by Pickard in years but perhaps it's time to fill in the gaps.
Nancy Pickard is an Edgar winning author so I think I was expecting more of a who-dunnit when I picked this up. There is a murder and you do want it to be solved and justice to be served in the end. Where the story really shines is in its exploration of family with all their flaws. Set in Rose, Kansas, we meet The Linder Family, well-known, powerful ranching family with strong leaders at their helm. When one of their married sons is killed, and his wife goes missing, the elder Linders take on the responsibility of raising their only granddaughter, Jody. A ne'er do well, Billy Cosby is charged with Jody's father's death and imprisoned but no one knows what became of her mother. Of course, this uncertainty at her mother's fate plagues Jody but much is kept from her by her protective grandparents, aunt and uncles. Secrets, manipulation, wealth, privilege, greed, tragedy and love are excellently handled in one fine story. Pickard was able to impart the gathering of an oncoming storm, thrill me with the scent of the rain, and had me holding my breath waiting for the lightning strike.