Midnight Son by James Dommek Jr.

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

James Dommek, Jr., an Alaska Native writer and musician, sheds new light on a real-life mystery that pits Native American folklore against the US justice system. In the vast Alaskan Arctic, legend has it there once lived a mythic tribe—Iñukuns—that only existed in rumors and whispers. This changed forever when an actor-turned-fugitive, Teddy Kyle Smith, had an encounter that brought Iñukuns from myth to reality. Smith was an aspiring actor with a promising career until it all came quickly crashing down with a gunshot, a manhunt, bloodshed, and other frightful events.

The story of Smith’s tragic downfall has long haunted James Dommek, Jr., the great-grandson of the last of the Iñupiaq story-tellers. Midnight Son is his journey in discovering who Teddy Kyle Smith was, what he did, and what he really saw. Along the way, listeners will experience the soul of the real Alaska as narrator Dommek, Jr. brings this multilayered and sprawling tale to life.

Review –

Teddy Kyle Smith, a retired Marine, started appearing in movies as Alaska’s fledgling film industry was just taking off. But, right after his mother’s mysterious death in Kiana, Smith became the subject of a manhunt.

Smith fled into the wilderness, then shot two hunters at a remote cabin. What he said later brought to life local legends. It also initiated a legal dispute that, at its heart, questions the idea of a trial by one’s peers, if one’s peers do not understand or believe those stories, passed down through generations.

Midnight Son, which quickly become a best-seller for the audiobook service Audible, is narrated by Alaskan writer and musician James Dommek Jr.

Dommek, the great-grandson of Iñupiaq storytellers, says Teddy Smith’s story is really several stories woven together.

I thought this book would be a true crime thriller, but it is surprisingly more. I learned about Alaskan folklore, culture, and story telling in a non-traditional voice. The crime parts seemed secondary to the development of the narrator and that became of greater interest. I wouldn’t recommend to just anybody but it had my attention the whole time. It also gave a much better view of what it’s like to live in the bush than all the television  shows out there glamorizing living off the grid.

Interesting read.

 

 

The Night Fire (Harry Bosch #22, Renee Ballard #3) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 22, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch’s mentor, the man who trained him — new from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly

Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow hands Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before — the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.

Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.

The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

Review –

A cold case pulls Harry Bosch back from retirement and into another eventful partnership with Detective Renée Ballard of the LAPD.

The widow of Bosch’s retired mentor, Detective John Jack Thompson, has a present for Bosch, and it’s a doozy: the murder book for the unsolved killing of ex-con John Hilton, shot to death in his car one night nearly 20 years ago, which Thompson swiped from the archives without authorization or explanation. Bosch, who wonders why Thompson lifted the murder book if he didn’t intend to work the case, is eager to take a crack at it himself, but he needs the resources that only an active partner can provide. But Ballard, settled into the routine of the midnight shift after her exile from Robbery-Homicide, has just started working her own case, the arson that killed Eddie, a homeless man, inside his tent. As if that’s not enough criminal activity, Bosch’s half brother, Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller, faces the apparently hopeless defense of Jeffrey Herstadt, who not only left his DNA under the fingernail of Walter Montgomery, the Superior Court judge he’s accused of killing, but also obligingly confessed to the murder. Working sometimes in tandem, more often separately, and sometimes actively against the cops who naturally bridle at the suggestion that any of their own theories or arrests might be flawed, Ballard and Bosch slog through the usual dead ends and fruitless rounds of questioning to link two murders separated by many years to a single hired killer. The most mysterious question of all—why did John Jack Thompson steal that murder book in the first place?—is answered suddenly, casually, and surprisingly.” Kirkus Reviews

I was very disappointed in this, the latest Harry Bosch novel, because it was, to me, so dry and procedural. Give me action and suspense, murder and mayhem over policy and courtroom capers. But, starting at chapter 46, the book jumped into action and it was like a different book.  Loved it,(huge Harry Bosch fan) but only gave it three stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Private School Murders (Confessions #2) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description

October 7, 2013
In the sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Confessions of a Murder Suspect, James Patterson keeps the confessions coming breathlessly as Tandy Angel delves deeper into her own tumultuous history-and proves that she can rise above the sordid Angel legacy.

Wealthy young women are being murdered on Manhattan’s exclusive Upper West Side, and the police aren’t looking for answers in the right places. Enter Tandy Angel. The first case she cracked was the mystery of her parents’ deaths. Now, while she’s working to exonerate her brother of his glamorous girlfriend’s homicide, she’s driven to get involved in the West Side murder spree.

One of the recent victims was a student at Tandy’s own elite school. She has a hunch it may be the work of a serial killer, but the NYPD isn’t listening to her…and Tandy can’t ignore the disturbing fact that she perfectly fits the profile of the killer’s targets. Can she untangle the mysteries in time? Or will she be the next victim?

Review –
This installment of the Confessions series takes up shortly after the end of the last one.  Matthew is still in jail for the murder of his girlfriend, the Angel kids have a new guardian with new rules, girls going to private schools are being murdered and dangerous and poisonous animals and spiders are being found in the Dakota and especially the Angle’s apartment. Along with all this chaos they will probably have to leave the only home they have ever known. It’s a fast read and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening. I will definite read the next one, which takes place in Paris.
383D1D93C88C19F164B5F1B27B6F4B70
17333276

The Gods of Guilt (Mickey Haller #5) by Michael Connelly

Book Description

December 2, 2013
Mickey Haller gets the text, “Call me ASAP – 187,” and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game.When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger.

Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Mickey must work tirelessly and bring all his skill to bear on a case that could mean his ultimate redemption or proof of his ultimate guilt. The Gods of Guilt shows once again why “Michael Connelly excels, easily surpassing John Grisham in the building of courtroom suspense” (Los Angeles Times).

Review –
I normally don’t read a lot of courtroom drama but in the case of the  Mickey Haller series I make an exception. Courtroom proceedings can sometimes come across as boring and dry but author, Michael Connelly does it without causing the reader to lose interest or to skip pages.  This is another great book in the Mickey Haller  series and I’m looking forward to the next one.
383D1D93C88C19F164B5F1B27B6F4B70
17265069

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Crime-fiction megastar Connelly can always be counted on to try something a little different. In The Reversal (2010), his last Mickey Haller novel, starring the L.A. lawyer who prefers to work out of his Lincoln Town Car, Connelly offered a tour de force of plotting on multiple levels. Here, he narrows the focus considerably, concentrating almost exclusively on what happens inside the courtroom but bringing to the traditional give-and-take of prosecutor, defender, judge, and jury an altogether more complex commingling of personality and legal strategy than is typically on view in legal thrillers. He accomplishes this with a particularly rich first-person narration in which Haller takes us through the courtroom drama as it happens, noting his blunders and praising himself for quick-thinking improvisations. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the plot is meaty: a woman whom Haller was representing in a suit against the bank attempting to foreclose on her mortgage is accused of killing the bank official in charge of foreclosures. Combining ripped-from-the-headlines information on the mortgage crisis with a cast of characters that defies stereotypes at every turn of the plot, Connelly shows once again that he will never simply ride the wave of past success. And, neither, apparently, will Mickey Haller, as he reveals a shocking change of direction in the novel’s final pages.

Review –

 I always enjoy Michael Connelly books but this one had a bit too much legalese for me.  Too much time spent in the court room.  Other than that I loved the story line and especially the ending that I never saw coming.