Category Archives: Reading

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

“The Kill Room” is right up to the minute and far ranging book. It involves the sniper killing of an American activist at a luxury hotel in the Bahamas. The Bahamian authorities dont’ seem to be interested in investigating the murder but a New York Distric Attorney thinks it is a targeted killing by an obscure US Federal Agency and is intent on conducting a conspiracy to commit murder investigation, come hell or high water or national security concerns.

The book stars Deaver’s recurring character Lincoln Rhymes, a consulting forensics investigator who has been given the job of analyzing the evidence in the case which is a good trick since he is in New York, and the murder occurred in the Bahamas. He doesn’t have much to work with but he works with what he has.

Things soon get dangerous. A foodiphile murderer is determinted to derail the investigation by whatever means including eliminating what little evidence there is and eliminating witnesses if has to do so.

This is a very absorbing book on several different levels. There are several plot twists and turns, all of which make sense and even a grizzled murder mystery reader like me didn’t foresee the ending. I give it four stars out of five, which is great!

I got mine at the library so I’ll have to return it. I read it during a trip to the Rocky Mountains. So if you are in the Tulsa Library and you get a whiff of spruce trees, sage brush, mountain meadows,and trout streams just follow it to the book.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed

“Wild” is Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir of her 1995 journey along the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon-Washington border. I love travel books and this is heck of a travel book as she talks about the challenges she faced and the people she met as she spent several months walking the 1100 miles of the trail. The book is also about her personal journey from a really messed up childhood to a really messed up self destructive personal life as an adult. As she walks along the trail overcoming her challenges and enjoying her adventures she also learns a lot about herself. She appears to have gotten her act together.

The word for this book is compelling. I really got into the book and many times got so engrossed I lost the awareness of reading. What more can you ask of a book.  Her description of the life that she lived before the hike is painful to read. So is her lack of preparation for the hike. She picked out her equipment and made her way to California and started hiking having never done any hiking before. Her body had to toughen up on the go. By the time she finished months later she could hike “the big miles.”

I give the book five stars out of five. It is really a great read.

I read the book on my Kindle. It is the first library book I’ve read on the Kindle. To buy the Kindle version costs over $12. Wayyyyyyy too much for a Kindle book.

The Pot Thief Who Studied Billy The Kid by J. Michael Orenduff

The Pot Thief who Studied Billy the Kid is J. Michael Orenduff’s sixth book in his Pot Thief series starring Hubert Schuze a pottery store owner in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Hubert, or Hubie to his friends buys and sells native American pots for his business. He also supplements his inventory by digging pots up from various sites that he knows about in the wilds of New Mexico. The Federal Government doesn’t really approve of this method of inventory supplementation but that is okay with Hubie because he doesn’t really approve of everything the Federal Government does either. He also makes copies of pots for sale in his store. He is very good at making the copies look old. He never lies to a customer, he doesn’t really volunteer much of anything either.


(Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa)

Hubie often ends up in the middle of mysteries. In this book he finds himself digging for pots in a remote cliff dwelling. Instead of a pot he finds a human hand. A hand with a hole in it. That is kind of a revolting development for sure but things get worse when he finds out that somebody has driven off his vehicle and he has to walk a long ways back to civilization. So, its like, who is the dead person, who stranded Hubie out int he middle of nowhere and why?


(Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa)

So Hubie immediately starts attacking the problem at happy hour drinking margaritas at a local watering hole with Susannah Inchaustigui a basque perpetual student at the University of New Mexico. He always discusses his situations with her at happy hour. If you love happy hours, you’ll love this book just for their repartee. After discussing the situation Hubie and Susannah have quite the adventure solving the mystery.


(Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa)

Hubie and Susannah check out quite a bit of New Mexican remote areas and talk to Curanderas and other rural characters and of course they finally solve the mystery and get their man.

If you love New Mexico and the southwest and a good mystery you’ll love this book. I’ve read the whole series and am quite the fan. I give it four stars out of five.

“A Wanted Man” by Lee Child

Gottatellya, I love the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child. They are way beyond brain candy. Jack Reacher is like this 6′ 6″ ex Military Policeman who roams the country on foot with nothing but the clothes on his back, a toothbrush, and an ATM card. He buys a new clothes ever three days and throws the old ones away. WhattaGuy!!

He doesn’t take any crap from anybody either. In this book one of the character says something like “You don’t like to be pushed around, do you?” Jack says “I don’t know, I’ve never been pushed around. If I do, I’ll let you know if I like it or not.” He had lots better experiences as a high school freshmen than some of us did is all I have to say.

In this book Jack is hitchhiking in the midwest on his way to to Virginia to meet a woman he has never met. He gets picked up by two men and a woman who are wearing identical shirts. At first he figures they are part of some sort of corporate team building group but as they travel on he figures out differently. In the meantime  a man is brutally murdered and a cocktail waitress is abducted bringing in the FBI in the form of a semi hot Agent named Julia Sorenson.

Well before this book is out Jack Reacher has to deal with not only the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security, and a bunch of Syrians he also gets to cop a feel of Agent Sorenson’s wrist that almost makes him swoon.

So does Jack deal with all this and still get his unseen woman in Virginia, or does Agent Sorenson or the Syrians, or the CIA dissuade him? Does he finally get pushed around? Read the book to find out.

I love Jack Reacher, I give this book four stars out of five.

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The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H. Lawrence by J. Michael Orenduff

One of my guilty pleasures is reading J. Michael Orenduff’s “Pot Thief” Series of books. It is a about a pot seller (like in ancient southwestern Indian pots, not marijuana) named Hubert Schuze who owns has his shop, and adjoining residence in the Old Town section of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hubert gets most of stock from two sources, he digs the pots up in total violation of Federal Law, and he makes very good copies of existing pots. He is not greedy but he has lots of expenses. He is helping his nephew get through college and he is helping an elderly couple with their steep medical expenses. Still, when he has enough, he is liable to close the shop and take a nap.


(photo by Yogi, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, Hopi-Tewa jar)

In this latest adventure, Hubert is induced to give a lecture on old Anasazi pots at the University of New Mexico’s D.H. Lawrence Ranch. He has a second agenda. Somebody has offered him a three for one trade if he can find an old Taos Pueblo pot that somebody wants.

(photo by Yogi, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, Work by Dorothy Torivio of Acoma Pueblo)

Hubert goes to the ranch, and a bad snowstorm hits. There is no way in or out, the telephone lines are down and there are zero bars on the cell phones. There are about ten guests and some staff people, and guess what. Somebody starts killing the guests!

(Another photo by me from the Heard Museum in Phoenix, a Hopi Tewa jar by Helen Naha)

So we have a classic murder mystery but this one is self conscious. The characters talk about the classic murder mysteries and so the story is kind of inside out.

All I can say is that Mr. Orenduff is a great writer, the books are readable and interesting and full of southwestern culture. I give the book four stars out of five. Which is great.

You can get the book from Mr. Orenduff himself. He’ll mail it postage free and autograph it, or you can order it off Amazon. You can get them very reasonably priced for the Kindle.

He is working on “The Pot Thief who studied Lew Wallace.” I can’t hardly wait.

My reviews of Mr. Orenduff’s other books (totally out of order!!):

The Pot Thief who Studied Pythagoras

The Pot Thief who Studied Escoffier

The Pot Thief who Studied Ptolemy

The Pot Thief who Studied Einstein

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Stolen Prey by John Sandford

Stolen Prey has everything, meth addict muggers, horse manure thieves, a money laundering Spanish language software company, gold smuggling, machine guns, and a gang of Mexican narcos who arrive in the north country to find out where there dang money went and go about killing and torturing in order to get what they need. The action is driven by a motley group of computer hackers who have figured out how to hijack the money laundering activities for their own gain. John Sandford ties all this together in this novel. This book has lots of irony, I love irony, a complicated, but not too complicated, plot and lots of crossing and double crossing.

I give this book four stars out of five. It is a very satisfying read. I got mine at the library. 

The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman

The Sleepwalkers is a crime/suspense novel set in Berlin in the early 1930’s when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party were preparing to take over Germany. Berlin detective Willi Kraus is assigned to investigate the death of a drowned young woman who was pulled out of a river with bizarrely surgically altered legs. As Kraus pursues the investigation he starts to uncover a vast and deep conspiracy of evil.

Willi Kraus is a sympathetic character and that is what kept me going. I didn’t find the book very suspenseful. Kraus is supposed to feel hemmed in by the conspiracy but there was nothing that indicated that except the character saying it. Suspenseful scenes ended abruptly or had other unsatisfying ends. It was a frustrating book to read in some senses.

I give it two stars out of five. I liked the characters, I loved the back story about Berlin in those times, but not the story too much.

I feel like a traitor. St. Martin’s Griffin the publisher gave me this copy to review. Sorry guys! I appreciate it though.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the final book of the Hunger Games trilogy. Katniss Everdeen the teenage heroine is again at the center of the action. She is a guest of District 13 which is leading the rebellion against the Capitol of Panem. Panem is is a brutal country that rules harshly over the various districts that comprise the country. District 13 has stayed independent because they possess nuclear weapons and have also built their cities deep underground to withstand Capitol bombing.

Katniss finds out very soon that life is brutal in District 13 also. I learned a new word while researching this book: Dystopia. No it is not some sort of strange disease, it is the opposite of Utopia (and could be a good word for Words with Friends or Scrabble.) A Utopia is where life is great and everybody is fulfilled, a Dystopia is where from outward appearances everything is Utopian but where really life is repressive. So this trilogy is called Dystopian. So Katniss slowly realizes that District 13 may be no better than the Capitol in the way their citizens are treated.

The trilogy is marketed to teenagers but there is plenty of meat here for grownups. The choices that the characters make are complex and have consequences. There is lots to think about how social movements tend to be hijacked by those in control to achieve their own ends. (I’m thinking about how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements have been hijacked by our two political parties)  The first two thirds of Mockingjay is much slower paced than the other books because it has to do with Katniss becoming aware of what is really happening. The last third of the book has plenty of fighting, killing, and gore.

I’m kind of a fan of many books marketed to teenagers. I’m no prude but I like the concentration on the story and characters and the absence of cheesy sex scenes and bad language. I guess I’m turning into a little old lady.

I rate the book four stars out of five.

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