Then It Fell Apart by Moby (3.5 out of 5)

•May 15, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I had a real hard time with Moby’s first book. I just couldn’t connect with it, despite its tales of debauchery. He struck me as a techno robot, emotionless and on a preplanned trajectory. This book met with far more success. It is out in hardcover.

Then It Fell Apart picks up where the other book left off. Moby’s album Play is a worldwide smash. Moby is falling apart. The unending adoration, awards, parties, gold Elvis suits, and seemingly endless line of women wanting to “connect” with him is taking its toll. But for all of Moby’s successes, his personal failures threaten to take him down. The drugs and alcohol are paramount to his issues, but the way Moby approaches this book, it seems as if his number one priority is finding the dream relationship to complete him. After awhile, it gets incessant and it gets annoying. I’m single and have had a terrible time meeting someone who isn’t in love with their goldfish existence, but when I get my book going, I’m not going to have that take over the book. It felt like that really took over the book, and it really lost me as a result. Too much is just too much.

Having said that, the rest of the book was quite enjoyable. Moby has some real funny stories that he shares. Except the Donald Trump one. I’m not touching that one. Literally. His recollections of growing up as an only child of a struggling single parent in affluent Conneticut in the 70’s are heartfelt and go a long way toward getting to know why he feels such a need to meet the Right One. The rise and fall of 9/11, through his eyes and mere blocks away, and on his birthday, no less, take you back to that fateful day with another eyewitness account. Except it’s someone who used to eat lunch at the World Trade Center with his grandma, who watched as friends of his fell apart in front of him, someone who couldn’t breathe right for months after that day. Moby’s description of 9/11 will RIP your heart put all over again. It’s definitely another thing that made this book better than the first. More heart!

All in all, not a bad read.

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The Big Kahuna (Fox and O’Hare #6) by Janet and Peter Evanovich (3 out of 5)

•May 13, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was a confusing book. It’s the 6th in one of Janet Evanovich’s other series, but the book itself, the characters, and the events within make it feel like the 2nd or 3rd book. Or like 4 and 5 didn’t happen at all. The chemistry between the 2 characters that blew the pages off of the first 3 books? Nonexistent. It’s bizarre, unless this is like that one season of Dallas that was a dream. Evanovich’s first two co-writers have come and gone, replaced on this book by her son Peter. I’m not quite convinced the family dynamic works cohesively in this regard. The book is light and funny, but more questions are brought up by the lack of continuity with the events of the previous book into this one. And when you want to read something light, who wants to sit through most of the book going “What the?”, “Why the hell?”, “Huh? Fiddlesticks!”. Not me! And I’m going to bet most of her readers won’t, either. I hope by the time her next Fox/O’Hare book rolls along, the characters regain their mojo. It isn’t found here.

When the book begins, Nick and Kate are done up as mimes, at a flash mime (similiar to a flash mob, but more horrifying), investigating robberies. That gives way to a missing person, a Silicon Valley multimillionaire whose life may be in danger. Said businessman is named “The Big Kahuna”. Kate and Nick quickly find out that no one seems very interested in finding him. His 26-year old wife is an Instagram model (What the fuck? Right?!) who seems intent on him being declared dead so she can inherit his money, her lawyer is a sleazebag who makes Kato Kaelin look respectable, and his business associates all appear to want him dead. Nick and Kate’s only hope may lie in his son, hippie surfer Harrison. Hippie surfer is a dead giveaway for the type of character you find. The Big Kahuna only trusts his son, and Harrison tells Nick and Kate that his dad may be on the surfer community of Paia, Maui. They pose as a married couple to “infiltrate” the island and try to get The Big Kahuna out safely. The usual hijinks are afoot, but it feels devoid of the usual Fox and O’Hare adventure. It seems phoned in, and that’s a real buzzkill.

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff (5 out of 5)

•May 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I read everything on 9/11. My fourth or fifth copy of The 9/11 Commission Report is dog-eared and needs to be replaced again this year. People in histories and years past remark upon the assassinations of MLK or JFK as life- changing experiences that changed their world forever. My generation would likely cite 9/11 as theirs. At that time of my life, I was living footloose and fancy free, thrilled with my second bookstore job and crazy about the Assweasel (third ex), and living the life of Reilly. 9/11 changed a lot of that. Seeing that happen over and over on television screens and knowing friends of mine who lost people in 9/11, sobered up many of us and put things in perspective. Not to mention scaring the shit out of everyone in the United States and changing the way you prioritize every day things as “important”. It will be 18 years this year, and not a year goes by without reliving it and mourning all of those lost, all over again. This book is heartbreaking, in a beautiful and in parts, inspirational, way. Everyone should have to read this.

Mitchell Zuckoff was a reporter for The Boston Globe, at the time the towers fell. He logged hours and years of stories immediately after 9/11. He continued to touch base with the lodestones of the attack, and the result is this meticulously written, widely researched diorama of the victims, their families, their friends, the attacks , the perpetrators, and the aftermath. I felt like Zuckoff managed to convey the personal touch (the human factor) more successfully than other authors with their books in the past 18 years. That’s quite a tall order, but he does it. Get your Kleenex ready; you’ll need them. A magnificent rendering of the single most destructive event on U.S. soil that dives more into those PEOPLE who were involved, and those look left behind. A truly moving book in every regard. Fall and Rise of 9/11 is available now at your local bookstore.

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger (4 out of 5)

•May 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Cristina Alger is a favorite of mine. I believe this is the 3rd book I have read by her, and she is one of the few who always improves upon her previous titles. This is a step in another direction for Alger, in that she explores the family dynamic in another corner, that of an estranged father and daughter. Nell hasn’t spoken to her father, Detective Martin Flynn, in over a decade. She heads home for his funeral and to settle his affairs, after he is killed in a motorcycle accident. While there, her father’s partner asks her to get involved in her father’s last case, that of a missing young woman who was an escort. Did I mention Nell is FBI? She digs into the case, which deepens in an alarming direction when another body is discovered. The farther in Nell investigates, the deeper the shit that her dad and most of the police department appear to be in. Did her father kill the girls or cover it up for the guilty parties in the police department? Or was he framed in death? This is a twisty pretzel, my friends. There are all sorts of surprises in this book, a good number of them not pretty. I do like a nitty gritty story to sink my teeth into, and this was a definite yes in that category. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a smart, realistic suspense thriller. This book debuts on July 2, 2019 from G.P. Putnam & Sons. Check it out.

Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova (5 out of 5)

•May 8, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was a pleasant surprise. I had read some really good stuff the past few weeks, but hadn’t read a 5 star suspense thriller in awhile. The book is not out until June 18, but well worth the wait.

Lana is waiting for her last IVF round when her long time partner Tyler tells her he needs “a break” from their relationship, which is at the breaking point after many failed pregnancies. Lana is devastated and angry. She goes through with it, and is happily stunned when she gets pregnant. Her level of obsession with the anonymous egg donor takes over, and she finds out who it is. On public transport one day, she sees the beautiful young girl and follows her. She witnesses the girl, Katya, fall, and comes to her rescue. A friendship is struck, although Lana feels tremendous guilt for being friendly with her when she’s supposed to have zero contact with the donor. They go out and hang out a few times, but after a night of dancing in which Katya leaves the club with a stranger, she disappears. Lana doesn’t know what to do in light of this, but she does the honest thing and goes to the authorities, which makes things crazier than they were. Katya, it turns out, was quite a popular young lady, and there are a number of suspects involved. Told in alternating voices, this debut novel made you care a lot about these women, made you angry enough at the men to sacrifice a bucket, and made you puzzled enough to keep turning the page. These are not easy things to do in a debut suspense story. Petrova does it effortlessly, and she doesn’t take any cliched plot devices to accomplish it. If you enjoyed Girl On A Train or The Silent Wife, you’ll enjoy this.

Murder on Trinity Place (Gaslight Mystery #22) by Victoria Thompson (3 out of 5)

•May 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This is Victoria Thompson’s 22nd book in the Gaslight Mystery series. While I don’t read genre mysteries as much as I used to, this one stuck because my godmother Carol and friend Jenny really loved the books. I feel compelled to read every one since I have read, oh, 21 of them. Sometimes Thompson surprises me with one that just leaves me stunned (the last two), and then one will just leave me reasonably sated. As if I asked for nachos and someone handed me whatever is passing for them at 7-11 these days. That’s how I felt about this installment in the series. Okay, but really not gasping in stunned surprise. More like a pleasant burp after lavender tea.

Sarah and Frank Malloy have “retired” from solving crimes. Well, Malloy is still manning his private detective agency, and Sarah helps on occasion, but as the reader sees time and time again in the book, her focus is truly on the clinic she has opened and operates for unwed, pregnant girls. Given this is established pretty quickly in the book, I thought the crime taking place would be investigated by Gino and Maeve, their sidekicks and obvious inheritors of the crime scene. But Malloy ends up taking on the brunt of the case, with Gino helping and Sarah doing a little bit to help solve the case. It’s the turn of the century into 1900 (New Year’s Eve, in fact), but Mr. Pritchard, the father of a family friend, is stumbling around and mumbling that time is all messed up, making an annoyance of himself. The next morning, his body is found on a bench in the park, a victim of strangulation. There are a number of suspects, among them coworkers at the dairy plant Pritchard owned, along with several romantic elements that ended up being quite predictable. That was a lot of the problem with me getting into this. It was so predictable in parts that when it got close to the end, I told the boys at work how I thought it would end. Guess what? Exactly how it ended. The books are still enjoyable as far as a quick read and comfortable characters that you are buds with. But edge of the seat? Sadly, not this time. The characters have all settled into sombulency, and the plots hop along, but not with an edge. At least not this one. The book was just released in hardcover from the folks at Berkely. You can obtain your copy at your local bookstore.

One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1) by Mark Lawrence (4 out of 5)

•May 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I found this one, referenced by a Goodreads friend and recommended to me because I loved “Ready Player One”. The blurb on the book mentions that book AND Stranger Things, so it isn’t surprising they lobbed it to me. The first in a trilogy, this book is small and a quick read as well. It was very entertaining and also kind of sad. One morning in January 1986, 15-year old Nick finds out he’s dying of leukemia. He decides to keep it to himself and continues with his nerdy pursuits, including his weekly Dungeons & Dragons game with his friends. But when one of the guys brings a GIRL (Oh no! Not a girl!) named Mia to the game, things-including time- get real weird real fast. Mia’s arrival coincides with Nick realizing he’s being followed by a shadowy man. That man tells Nick that Mia is in mortal danger, although she doesn’t know it. And now that Nick knows it, that means he has to save the day. Although he’s dying. How can he do this? Can he do this? Why would he do this? Then again, what does he have to lose, besides the life that’s already in peril? So many questions, so little time.

If language offends you, a quick note that there is a bit of it in the book, so if you can’t hear “hell” without flinching or making the sign of the cross, you may read elsewhere. If you love the 80’s and pop culture and a fun character, you will love Nick. Although, as I said, the kid is dying, so there is a bit of sadness. All in all, though, you can’t miss with this book. Mark Lawrence (I keep wanting to say Martin Lawrence!) opens the door to a new world with these likable nerds and the world going topsy turvy over a D&D game. What more can I say? Read it!

This is the first book in a new series. This book was just released, and the second one will be out on May 28, 2019. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the third book! This was published by 47North, and can be ordered through Amazon, or through your local independent bookstore.