Category Archives: Reading

Gambrelli and the Prosecutor, by Laurence Gioliotti

In a Nutshell

Title:  Gambrelli and the Prosecutor: An Inspector Gambrelli Mystery

Author:  Laurence Giliotti

Publisher:  Chateau Noir Publishing

Date of Release:  March 16, 2015

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Source:  The publisher provided a digital galley proof in exchange for a fair and honest review

Rating: 4 Acorns out of 5

Inspector Gambrelli is one of the most interesting detectives I’ve run across in some time. He’s part Maigret, part Gamache with a generous dollop of Dirty Harry’s irreverence to authority added for spice. I should probably add that these are all favorite detectives of mine.

Gambrelli is a chief inspector on the Metropolitan Police in Paris in the 1930s. There’s rumblings of a German invasion. A prosecutor has been charged in the murder of the prosecutor’s mistress and has asked for Gambrelli to investigate. Neither man cares much for the other, yet Gambrelli is the prosecutor’s only hope.

There’s plenty of twists and turns and lots of red herrings, but Gambrelli and his men solve the murder and even manage to put a twist in the shorts of their least liked police commissioners.  The only thing I wanted more of was information about the setting. A great mystery, but it could have been set in just about any part of the first 60 years of the 20th century. There wasn’t as much as I needed on the clothing or music or much else to place the piece in the 1930s.

Even so, I’ll be looking for more of these. Have a good week!



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Bryant & May and the Burning Man, by Christopher Fowler

                  IN A NUTSHELL

Title:             Bryant & May and the Burning Man                

Author:        Christopher Fowler
Genre:           Mystery/Thriller

Publisher:     Bantam

Released?      December 15, 2015
Source:           Chicago Public Library

Rating:            4 out of 5 stars

It felt like it took forever for my name to get to the top of reserved list for this book. It was well worth the wait. This is Book 12 in the Peculiar Crimes Mystery series and there’s another due out soon.

This mystery involves murders by fire in the interim between Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day in London. Even though not assigned to solve the murders – only identify the first body, Bryant and May weasel into the case. Sometimes peculiar cases take eccentric detectives to solve them and this one is no different. This time Bryant is exhibiting some disturbing symptoms of a rare form of Alzheimer’s and May and the rest of the squad have the additional challenge of ensuring he doesn’t get lost along with working the case. Fortunately, Bryant can still solve cases even if he can’t find his way home.

As with the rest of the series, there’s plenty of quirky information on London history and more than enough twists and turns to keep this reader up most of the night to finish it.

4 out of 5 stars.


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An Interesting Find

I’ve been reading like crazy, but haven’t finished anything – yet. But while I was surfing the net I ran across an interesting site: . Just to be clear – I’m not compensated in any way for this review.  Highbrow is free and it sends a 5-minute course to your email early every morning. Right now I’m doing “Journey into Minimalism” by Leo Babauta. There are courses on a lot of topics, but you can only take one at a time.  The one I’m doing is well written and by a writer I’ve read before and enjoyed (although I didn’t know that when I signed up for course – pleasant surprise).

I love it! It’s free, it’s valuable information and for me with my short attention span – it’s fast. It’s a great start to my morning. I highly recommend!

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Brady and Hindley: Genesis of the Moors Murders, by Fred Harrison

I’ve been a fan of true crime books since college, where one of my majors was criminal justice. I chose that major in part because I thought the reading would be much more interesting than other majors – and I was right! Brady and Hindley confirmed that opinion.

Author Fred Harrison was in the unique position to interview convicted serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, as well as others whose lives they impacted in early 1960s Manchester, England. Fortunately, the author does not go into great detail of the horrific tortures and deaths of these young children. Instead he concentrates on how these two became what they were and how they came together. It’s a fascinating study and a real page turner.

Unfortunately, the interviews were conducted primarily in the 1980s and while the introduction provides some updates, I was left wondering if perhaps I read an earlier version back in the day. The Moors Murders are of particular interest as it’s unusual couples commit serial murders together. So, even though the interviews were conducted some time ago, it’s an interesting study of how this anomaly started.  Also, as a result of the author’s interviews, the police were able to resolve a number of cold cases for which Brady and Hindley were suspected. 4 stars out of 5.

This edition was published May 3, 2016,  by Open Road Integrated Media. The publisher provided a digital copy of this book for review.

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In the Clearing, by Robert Dugoni


In the Clearing, by Robert Dugoni, is the third Tracy Crosswhite thriller. Based on this one I will definitely be looking to read the first two! Tracy is a police detective who helps out a friend, Jenny, who attended the police academy at the same time as Tracy. Jenny has gone on to fill her father’s post as sheriff of a lesser populated county in Washington State. Jenny’s father died leaving an open case from his first days as a deputy forty years before in the same county involving the presumed suicide of a Native American high school student. There is an additional subplot involving the murder of the husband of a prominent attorney’s daughter.

While there weren’t quite as many twists and turns as I like, it was well-plotted and well-written with believable characters. I’m always looking for new series and I think this one is a keeper.

In the Clearing will be released May 17, 2016 and is published by Thomas & Mercer.


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The Victoria Vanishes: A Peculiar Crime Unit Mystery, by Christopher Fowles

The only downside to reading a Peculiar Crimes Mystery (aka Bryant & May) book is that you can’t skim or God forbid, lose your place because that one particular nugget of information you need to avoid confusion at the end is likely hidden in that spot. The Victoria Vanishes is no different from the rest in the series. In this outing the Peculiar Crimes Unit and the octogenarian team of Bryant and May are working on the homicides of middle-aged women who die suddenly in pubs or just outside. There’s plenty of twists and twisted characters and a ton of information on London pubs. As with the rest of of the Bryant & May series I’ve read so far, Fowles wraps up all the lose ends and subplots in a tight bow at the end. He even brings his reader full circle from the beginning scene at the wake of the team’s forensic pathologist, Oswald Finch, to the reader’s discovery of what actually happened to his remains.

Great writing, well-developed characters who are a bit quirky plus an interesting story, make The Victoria Vanishes a real page turner. I highly recommend.

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I’m in Limbo!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I hope to change that. In my last posts, I talked about minimizing. I did that. I’ve gone from having a full 2500 square foot house in South Dakota to a full 500 square foot apartment in Chicago. We’re not sure if we’ll remain in Chicago, so we still have the house in South Dakota – but it’s fairly empty.  Time will tell. The good news is that Project Minimize was a huge success.

Now that I’ve cut back on my fiber-related hobbies because of space limitations, my spare time is focused around reading and animation. I’ve read some wonderful books in past few months and I miss sharing what I’ve read. So here I am again.

I recently discovered the Bryant & May series by Christopher Fowler. I have been burning through them at a rate only the snail’s pace of the Chicago Public Library’s interlibrary loan program has slowed. I’m currently reading The Victoria Vanishes: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery. It’s Book Six in the series, which is about half way. Bryant & May are octogenarian detectives who have been on the job since World War II. They’ve spent their entire career solving crimes no one else really wants. Their methods are unorthodox to say the least and the rest of their unit is well on its way to becoming much like them. There’s always minor plots and sub-mysteries within these books and I’ve found them to be an intriguing read. If you enjoy quirky, intelligent characters, I think you’ll enjoy this series as much as I do.


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