Thursday, December 30, 2010


Jeffrey Reiner has been laid off from his job at a South Florida newspaper where he has had the title of Universal Calendar Editor for the past 16 years. He has exactly 147 days of severance pay, but he is in no hurry to get back to work. He knows he has to take any opportunity that comes his way, no matter how humbling or embarrassing. A guy who calls himself "enterprising dude" hooks him up with a couple short term humiliating and degrading assignments.

Through all of this, Jeffrey's family life is unravelling. His wife communicates to him via daily to-do lists, his teenage daughter has no use for him, and his son has taken up a disturbing form of pest control. His mother is trying her outrageous best to get kicked out of an assisted living facility. Even his dog finds a way to let him down.
What follows is a very funny journey of self discovery and a look into the absurdities of life.
Written in first person prose, the writing is so comfortable and laid back one feels that the author is really the main character, Jeffrey.

Full of whimsy, dry humor and surprising insight, I thoroughly enjoyed joining Jeffrey on his journey.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Faithful Place by Tana French

Frank Mackey left Faithful Place, a low income Dublin neighborhood, when he was nineteen. He had planned to run away to London with Rosie Daly on that winter night but Rosie didn’t show. Rosie was never seen again. Twenty-two years later Rosie’s suitcase is found in a fireplace in a demolished row house. Frank is a detective on the Dublin police force and is determined to solve the puzzle of what happened to Rosie.
Faithful Place is not picture perfect Ireland. It is grim, Frank’s father is a nasty wife beating alcoholic and Frank’s brothers and sisters are highly dysfunctional. The neighbors generally distain the Mackey family and distrust of the police is high. How Frank comes to terms with his past and his intense love for Rosie in the solution of the crime creates great pacing and character development. The steadfastness of Frank supports the structure of the novel. The novel’s strength lies not only in the suspense but in French’s forceful examination of family dynamics in contemporary Ireland.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Poisoning in the Pub by Simon Brett

A light, fun mystery set in the South of England near Brighton. I am tempted to call this one a COZY mystery (meaning violence are downplayed or treated humorously with a light, refreshing take) but sometimes, that scares people off so I will not call it that. But, it really is a cozy. But, please do not be scared off. This is a fun, highly entertaining mystery that you will miss if you avoid anything "cozy." The two main characters, Carole and Jude, are spunky middle-aged ladies who relish a good chance to sink their teeth into a good crime story. Carole and Jude are Brett's continuing characters in his Fethering series...this book is the tenth in the series. Here, Carole and Jude set about trying to prove the innocence of a friend, the owner of a local pub where a murder is committed. The pub, before the murder, had been targeted with some other unsavory offenses (a poisoning (explains the title of the book) and an influx of biker-type clientele that was scaring away the other regular customers. So, Carole and Jude set about proving that the pub had been targeted specifically for some reason and the murder is a result of that harassment. Brett, most famously known for his famed Mrs. Pargeter mystery series, seems to enjoy writing Carole and Jude. The two amateur sleuths are enormously fun to read and Brett's easy-going writing style makes this a top-notch mystery, filled with humor and dry wit. Do yourself a favor and ignore the "cozyness" of it and read it just for fun. You will not regret it!