Thursday, June 21, 2007


Ultraviolet - ****

Very interesting, quirky - short on story, long on special FX, but dazzling nonetheless. The scene on the roof where she kills all the bad guys by simply running around them all so they end up shooting each other was great. I understand that the movie was based on a comic, which might be why I felt it was a little lacking in plot content, but overall it was a fun watch.


M is for Malice, Sue Grafton - 06.18.07 ***
N is for Noose, Sue Grafton - 06.19.07 ***
O is for Outlaw, Sue Grafton - 06.20.07 ****

In my haste to get to the next book in the series, I keep forgetting to stop and talk about each book as I finish it! So today I shall update y'all on the last three that I've read.

In M is for Malice, Kinsey reluctantly accepts a job from one of her newfound cousins, a lawyer from San Francisco, who is representing the Malek family. Papa Malek has died recently, leaving approximately $20 million to his four children, one of whom has been missing for 18 years since Papa Malek kicked him out of the house. Kinsey begins the search for the missing brother and finds Guy Malek easily, informs him of his father's death, and incorrectly assumes that her part in the family drama is done. But when Guy returns to claim his share of the inheritance, old memories bubble to the surface and threaten to tear the family even further apart, and when Guy is found murdered, his head bashed in while he slept, the three remaining brothers all seem to share means, motive and opportunity. Did one of Guy's siblings murder him for his share of the money, or is there more going on than meets the eye? Kinsey swears to find out.

N is for Noose finds Kinsey in Nevada, where she has been caring for her friend Deitz after a knee surgery. When an old client of his calls and asks for his help, Deitz sends Kinsey down to Nota Lake to see if she can help the recently widowed Selma Newquist, whose husband Tom, a deputy with the local police, has recently died of a heart attack. Selma believes that something was bothering Tom before he died, but he didn't seem to confide in anyone, his recent case notes are missing, and when Kinsey starts asking questions the town folk close ranks and either refuse to talk to her or misdirect her anyway they can. When Kinsey gets attacked late one night she nearly gives up on the case, but after returning home to Santa Teresa the few nagging clues she has won't let her go. After speaking with a mystery woman in Santa Teresa who knew Tom, Kinsey discovers that Tom was following some leads on what may be a double homicide, but with his notes missing, and no clues to speak of, Kinsey is stumped. She returns to Nota Lake, and suddenly the pieces start falling into place. Tom knew a secret - but whether it's corruption in the police force or corruption in Tom's own home, Kinsey won't find out for sure until it's nearly too late...

In O is for Outlaw, we are introduced to Kinsey's first ex-husband. We met her second ex-husband Daniel several books ago, and while he's alive and well, the Mickey may not be so lucky. Fourteen years ago Mickey was implicated in a fatal beating, and when he asked Kinsey to lie about where he was the night of the death, she leaves him and files for a divorce. Having not spoken to him or rarely even thought about him since then, two strange things happen in quick succession - a fourteen year old letter suddenly arrives that may prove Mickey really was innocent of the crime, and almost immediately after the letter arrives, two cops from LA do the same with some bad news. Mickey has been shot twice - with a gun that once belonged to Kinsey, and is currently in a coma at UCLA, where the doctors don't expect him to survive. Feeling vaguely guilty about her treatment of Mickey so long ago, the begins to search for the shooter with a vengence. As she tries to find out what Mickey's been up to since she last saw him, she begins to reunite with the old police gang, people who were once a part of Mickey's life - and her own. Some have done well for themselves, some not so much, and she begins to realize that Mickey knew secrets about each of these people - secrets that some of them would be willing to kill to protect.

I've been liking these books so much because I can usually figure out who the bad guy is right about the same time that Kinsey does - but I have to admit that this one blind-sided me!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


L is for Lawless, Sue Grafton - 06.16.07 ***

In this installment of Kinsey Millhone's case files, Kinsey finds herself accidentally involved in trying to solve the mysteries surrounding a 40 year old bank robbery. When neighbors ask her help in obtaining funds from the government for a military funeral for their grandfather, Kinsey discovers that he wasn't in the army at all, but was actually a bank robber hiding from the law! For four decades the massive pile of loot that was stolen has remained hidden, until a series of murders, assualts, and kidnappings lead Kinsey on a chase across the country. When she and her associates land in Kentucky, they are left with the choice of finding the loot or dying, and Kinsey must bend all her training and talents to discovering the hiding place of the treasure.

This one was a little more comical than some of the others I've read so far, what with her skulking around hotels and pretending to be a maid. Great story.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


G is for Gumshoe, Sue Grafton - 06.08.07 ***
H is for Homicide, Sue Grafton - 06.11.07 ***
I is for Innocent, Sue Grafton - 06.13.07 ***
J is for Judgment, Sue Grafton - 06.14.07 ***
K is for Killer, Sue Grafton - 06.15.07 ***

As you can see, I've been speeding through these rather quickly, without even stopping to comment on each individual book. I might need to upgrade the series to 4 stars since I can't seem to stop reading them long enough to write a review.

Since the events of F is for Fugitive, life has moved quickly for Kinsey - her apartment has been blown up by a bad guy trying to kill her and rebuilt by her landlord, & she's been fired from her association with CF Insurance and set up offices on her own, which seems to suit her much better. She's travelled to Mexico looking for someonewho faked his own death, accidentally proved a man innocent of murder, and in K is for Killer when she couldn't provide evidence to have a murderer arrested, she arranged for him to be "disappeared" by a mysterious man in a limosine.

Sometimes dark, sometimes hysterically funny, this series is a must read - I'm amazed that no one insisted that I read it before now! So now that we're all caught up I'm going to go finish L is for Lawless. Be back soon!


The Tawny Man, Book 3, Fool's Fate - Robin Hobb, 06.07.07 ****

In Fool's Fate, the conclusion to the Tawny Man series, Prince Dutiful travels to the Out Islands to complete the quest that the Narcheska has charged him with to prove that he is worthy to marry her. He must lay the heads of the black dragon, Icefyre, on the hearth of the motherlodge before she will become his queen. Included in his party are many nobles and merchants, eager for trade with the Out Island tribes, and of course Fitz (still in disguise as Tom Badgerlock), and Lord Chade accompany him. The Fool, in his persona of Lord Golden, also intends to travel with them, but the Fool confides to Fitz that one of his prophecies says that in order for Icefyre to live, the Fool must die - and the Fool has every intention of making sure that Icefyre lives! Fitz manages to arrange for "Lord Golden" to be left behind.

Many adventures ensue and some mysteries are solved, only to reveal deeper mysteries. Who is the Pale Lady? Why does the Narcheska, who seems to like the Prince and welcome the marriage personally, demand a quest from him that, if he succeeds, cause the rest of her people to hate him for depriving the Out Islands of their "good luck" charm? These and other questions weigh on Fitz's mind as they journey to the glacial island where the dragon is supposedly frozen in ice. And to his great surprise, when they arrive, who should be sitting on the landing beach in a large and colorful silk tent, but the Fool. When asked how he got their ahead of them, all he will say is that he flew.

Thus begins the journey over the ice and snow to find the dragon, and as they near their destination Fitz's choice becomes more desperate - in order to save the Fool, the dragon must die, which seems unthinkable, as it may well start a new war between the Six Duchies and the Out Islands. But if the dragon lives, the Narcheska may not marry the Prince and thus dash the hopes of peace and trade between the two nations anyway. In the final showdown, it doesn't much matter, for once again events are beyond anyone's total control, and all the survivors of the quest can do is pick up the pieces and learn to live their lives again.

This was a completely satisfying ending to the series, and I greatly enjoyed it. Although now that it's over I think I can safely say that the character of Fitz drove me crazy - constantly making wrong or impulsive choices, rarelly thinking things through, and even when he did he rarely comes up with the right answers. Still, he and the rest of the bunch are likeable characters, and since the stories came out all right in the end, I guess much is forgiveable.

Monday, June 4, 2007


The Tawny Man, Book 2, Golden Fool, Robin Hobb - 06.03.07 ****

Fitz - in his disguise as Tom Badgerlock - has sucessfully rescued Prince Dutiful from the Piebalds and returned to BuckKeep with Lord Golden. Not all who set out on the daring rescue have survived, though. Emotionally bereft after the loss of NightEyes, Tom tries to fit into his new life at the palace. The demands on his time and energy are nearly endless - train the Prince in the magic of the Skill, form a Skill coterie for the Prince, protect the secrets of his daughter Nettle, pursue his sky duties for Lord Chade, and try to guide his foster son, Hap, through the perils of city life and the dangers of young love. The betrothals ceremonies for the Narcheska are continuing, as are the trade agreements with the Out Islands, but it seems that someone is determined that the FarSeer reign should fail. The queen continues to receives threats against the Prince, and the Piebalds would like nothing better to reveal the Prince to the world as Witted. Someone is spying on Lord Golden, and on Tom, and the Piebald leader that Tom maimed in the Prince's rescue seem set on revenge against him.
As the civil unrest grows, Tom's problems continue to multiply. When a delegation of Bingtown Traders arrives to beg the Six Duchies to join the war against Chalced, the Out Islands embassy takes offense and returns homes with the Narcheska. She challenges Dutiful to come to her home and prove himself worthy of being her husband by killing the Black Dragon, Icefyre, a mythical beast rumored to sleep under the ice of a glacier.
Lord Golden, upon hearing this, begins to puzzle out some of the events that have transpired of late and deduces the existance of a second White Prophet - one with her own Catalyst - and who seems to be struggling to defeat Tom & Lord Golden's desire to turn time into a better path. But she can only triumph if Tom doesn't survive. Tom begins to realize the extent of the Fool's efforts to keep him alive all these years, and the friendship between the two continues to grow until the fateful day when Jek arrives with the Bingtown Traders. When Jek reveals the Fool/Lord Golden to also be Amber (see, The Liveship Trader series), Tom is crushed yet again. He suddenly feels that he doesn't know his best friend at all, resulting in an ugly confrontation where both speak things that should never be said. The rift between them seems unbridgeable.
But when the plots and conspiracies against him suddenly come together, Tom finds himself (yet again) badly wounded and nearly dead. Those he trusts and loves must all join together to use each of their Skills to save his life, and once more the biggest challenge is to simply survive.

Friday, June 1, 2007


The Tawny Man, Book 1, Fool's Errand, Robin Hobb - 05.30.07 ****

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the RedShip Raider wars. Fitz & Nighteyes have lived a mostly solitary life in the hills of Buck Duchy, and Fitz has created a new identity to go along with his new life - Tom Badgerlock. He and his adopted son, Hap, live simply and easily until events conspire against them. In the Fifteenth year of his new life, the summer brings three visitors in quick succession. Starling the Minstrel arrives to take Hap to Buckkeep for SpringFest, and while they are gone Chade arrives to try to convince Tom to come back to the palace to train the young Prince Dutiful in the magic of the Skill. Tom refuses, not wanting to return to court life. Next comes the Fool, who has also assumed a new identity, that of Lord Golden a Jamailian lord visiting from the south. The two spend many happy days reminiscing about their old adventures. Tom still refuses to return to the palace, and at last Lord Golden must leave.
Shortly after Hap returns from SpringFest, Tom and Starling have a brief argument when Tom discovers she is married, and he ends their relationship, and Hap determines to acquire enough money to pay for an apprenticeship with a cabinet maker in BuckTown. Almost at once a messenger arrives from Chade, begging Tom to come at once - Prince Dutiful has disappeared.
So finally Tom does what everyone has been conspiring to force him to do, and returns to the palace to help Chade and Lord Golden discover the whereabouts of the Prince. Have the Piebalds, a group of the Old Blood who despise the FarSeer reign, abducted Dutiful? Or has the Prince run away willingly, unaware of the Piebalds plans to use him for their own political gain? Tom and Lord Golden have only two weeks to discover the truth - for a delegation of Outislanders will arrive with the new moon for the Prince's betrothal ceremony to the Narcheska Elliania, as part of a monumental trade agreement to ensure peace between the two kingdoms.
Once again, Tom will be called to sacrifice everything he holds dear to save those he loves from the treachery that surrounds them, and his Skill and Wit will be tested, and his divided loyalties stretched to the breaking point as he struggles to decide who to trust and what to believe.