Monthly Archives: July 2018

The Lincoln Lawyer

I listened to this book on audio. I read it about six years ago. But I decided that I wanted to reread it and I am glad I did. I had been in the mood for a good legal thriller. The Lincoln Lawyer fits that bill.

Michael (Mickey) Haller is a criminal defense attorney. He doesn’t have a traditional office. His office is the back seat of a fleet of Lincoln Towncars he owns. He has a former client who is trying to work off his fee as a driver.

Through a bail bondsman, Mickey gets hooked up with a “franchise” client. Louis Roulet has been accused of beating and trying to rape a woman. He wants Mickey to defend him. Mickey agrees. Roulet has money. He will pay more than $100,000 for his defense. That is a franchise client. Rare in the criminal defense world.

Louis swears he’s innocent. He says he was set up by the woman, who, it turns out, is a prostitute. Mickey believes him – until things start lining up to make Mickey wonder whether Louis is, indeed, innocent.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because I don’t want to ruin it for the three or four people who don’t know the book. I love this book. While not an attorney, Michael Connelly knows the law. He writes really good courtroom scenes. But more than good, they are accurate. And that is what I love most about this book. It is a well-written, tightly woven legal thriller.

If you like legal thrillers or just a really good book, I recommend this one.

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The Word Is Murder

Anthony Horowitz is shadowing a police consultant, writing a true crime book about the murders of a mother and son. That is the basic plot of “The Word Is Murder.” I cannot say enough great things about this book.

This book blends a real person (Horowitz) with fictional murders. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the seamless blending of reality and fiction. Celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have cameos. It is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time.

Tony (only Hawthorne calls him “Tony”) is shadowing Hawthorne. Tony met Hawthrone while working on a tv show Tony was writing. Hawthorne asks him to partner on a true crime book based upon the crime that Hawthonre has been asked by the police to consult on. Tony doesn’t want to do it, but does it anyway.

Diana Cowper visits a funeral home to plan her own funeral. Some hours later, she’s dead. Murdered. In her own home. She is the mother of Damian Cowper, a famous actor, who is about to star in the television show “Homeland” in America. Who would want to kill Diana? She was a widower who lived with a missing cat. She sent her son a mysterious text before her death, saying she saw the “lacerated” boy and was afraid.

Diana Cowper was involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed one boy and lacerated the brain of another nine years and eleven months ago. Is her murder related to that accident, in which she was driving without her glasses and fled the scene? Is her murder related to her famous son? Or is it related to something else entirely?

Shenanigans happen at the funeral and Damian ends up dead shortly thereafter. It’s up to Tony and Hawthrone to figure out who the killer or killers are. And while the clues to the killer’s identity are laid before the reader, just as they are for Anthony, you probably won’t figure out who did it.

I loved this book. It kept me guessing. Plot twists and misdirection are expertly employed to keep you on your toes and guessing. I like the unique way that Anthony Horowitz tells this story and how he weaves his real existence into a fictional story with fictional characters. At one point, I even Googled Damian Cowper to make sure he was, indeed, a fictional character. The blending is that seamless.

Anyone who likes a good mystery will like this book. Agatha Christie would love this book and wish she’d thought of the plot. I highly recommend this book.

I won this book and received no other compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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30 Before 30

Marina Shifrin decided to make a list of 30 things she wanted to do before she turned 30. That list turned into this charming and funny book of essays. Marina is the daughter of Russian immigrants. She grew up in Chicago. Her claim to fame is a YouTube video in which she quit her job, dancing to “Gone” by Kanye West.

I really enjoyed this book. Marina is funny and self-deprecating. She is honest and insightful. My two favorite essays were the one about the Godfather films and her trip to Russia. Marina and her father are close, but they disagree politically. They had been getting into arguments over the phone after Trump was elected. She decides to watch all three Godfather movies because her father loves them. It made her feel closer to her father. And she talks about the immigrant experience. I am two generations removed from my families’ immigrant experience, so I liked her perspective. I have a new appreciation of the Godfather movies-and my relationship with my own father.

Her essay about going to Russia and seeing her family was also a favorite. I could identify with some of the places she went from my own trip to Russia. And I really appreciated her trouble with the language. Russian is one hard language. I loved her descriptions of her family. They seem as crazy and strange as my own.

I am trying to think of any criticisms of the book I have. Honestly, other than nitpicky little things, I can’t think of any. The book is funny and hits home, as it will for any women who has lived through her 20s. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no other compensation for my review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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Dead Girls

Dead Girls is an interesting premise – that we, in the United States – have an unhealthy obsession with women being murdered. At least that is the premise of the first third of the essays in this collection. Alice Bolin talks about shows like Dateline and podcasts like Serial to point out that when the victim is a dead woman, we are more interested. In my opinion (though she picked on Serial and I love Serial), the first third of this book was the best.

In the middle third of the book, Alice Bolin writes about Los Angeles. I actually liked this third as well because her view of LA is interesting. She discusses femme fatales and Raymond Chandler and Day of the Locust and Joan Didion and Hollywood. She manages to mix what seem like disparate topics into a free-flowing discussion of the weirdness that makes up LA. I honestly really enjoyed her discussion of Didion. I have tried so many times to read her, because being from California, she is considered the “LA” writer. But often times, I have found her writing to be off-putting and staged, for lack of a better word. Reading Alice Bolin’s thoughts about Didion helped me make sense of what I couldn’t make sense of before. So, for that, I applaud this book.

Being totally honest, the last third of the book lagged for me. It wasn’t my favorite. Despite the fact that I didn’t really like the last third, the prior two-thirds were so good, I recommend this book. I gave it three stars because the last third dragged. But if you are interested in true crime criticism and a fantastic discussion of LA, this is a good book to read.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no other compensation in exchange or this review. The opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.

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