Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, July 17, 2017


  • Lee Child, The Enemy.  A Jack Reacher thriller.  "new Year's Day, 1990.  In a North Carolina motel, a two-star general is found dead.  His briefcase is missing.  no one knows what was in it.  Within minutes Reacher has his orders:  Control the situation.  Within hours the general's wife is murdered.  Then the dominoes really start to fall."  I've been going through a lot of Lee Child's books recently with no sign of me stopping.
  • John Creasey as "Anthony Morton," The Baron in France.  Mystery/crime novel about John Mannering, former jewel thief known as The Baron, who "is called upon to solve the brutal murder of jewelry dealer Bernard Dale, and to find the Gramercy jewels, a fabulous collection that has been stolen Dale's smart flat in Surrey after the murder.  Tony Bennett*, Dale's associate and a likable chap with countless friends, is accused and arrested.  No one believes he is guilty, but the evidence points to him alone, so the police have no choice but to consider him the murderer and thief -- even though the Gramercys are not in possession.  Mannering goes into action..."  Creasey published some forty books about The Baron, who was also featured in a fairly forgettable television series.
  • Loren D. Estleman, Poison Blonde.  An Amos Walker mystery.  "Who is Gilia Cristobal?  She's simply one of the hottest of hot Latina singers.  But nothing in her life is simple.  In her native land she was involved with people her government didn't like, and she barely escaped with her life to start fresh in the U.S.  In her wake she left accusations about a former lover, about violence, about blackmail.  Now she's in Detroit to make music and wants Amos Walker to protect her from those who have threatened her life.  She also wants him to investigate someone from the darkest chapter of her former life.  When Walker realizes the Gilia's main man, recently out of prison, doesn't regret the time he nearly killed Walker, what at first seemed like an easy payday starts looking more and more like a losing proposition.  Latin heat, indeed."  I'm betting this book reads much better than the back cover blurb.
  • Alan Dean Foster, Interlopers.  SF novel.  "Upset stomachs.  The collapse of civilizations.  Nervous breakdowns.  Blame them on a twist of fate, but Archaeologist Cody Westcott knows differently.  Something is causing these random acts of badness.  something ancient, something evil, something...hungry.  we are not alone, but we're about to wish we were..."
  • Bill Knox, Wavecrest/Susan Dunlap, Not Exactly a Brahmin/Robert L. Duncan, In the Enemy Camp.  A 1985  Detective Book Club 3-in-1 edition.  The Knox is one of his Webb Carrick mysteries.  "Carrick is prepared to accept and deal with the banality of the local fishermen and midnight forays by foreign trawlers as an inevitable part of his job with the Fisheries Protection Services.  It's a killer's secret plan that makes Webb a sitting duck."  Dunlap's book was the third published in her Jill Smith series.  "Ralph Palmerton's murder is Homicide Detective Jill Smith's first case.  Although painstaking investigation has come up with seven suspects, it takes a silly party to reveal the killer."  The Robert L. Duncan is one of his  thrillers.  "From the dangerous back alleys of Jakarta to the lush villas of millionaires, Chalres Clements and a psychopathic killer engage in a deadly contest for world control."
  • Adrian McKinty, The Bloomsday Dead.  The final book in McKinty's Dead Trilogy.  "Running hotel secrurity at a resort in Lima, Peru, Michael (Forsythe) has been lying low and staying out of trouble -- until two Columbian hit men hold him at gunpoint, and force him to take a call from his ex-lover. Bridget Callaghan.  At that moment she offers him a terrible choice:  come to Ireland and find my daughter, or my men will kill you -- now.  Once in Dublin, in the span of a single day. Michael;penetrates the heart of an IRA network, escapes his own kidnapping, and then worms his way into a sinister criminal underground in search of the missing girl.  But before the day is out, Michael once again finds himself face-to-face with his kidnappers -- as well as the lovely and murderous Bridget.  There he must confront a series of shocking truths about himself -- and do whatever it takes to stay alive."
  • Robert B. Parker, Hugger Mugger.  A Spenser mystery.  "when Spenser is approached by Walter Clive, president of (Georgia's) Three Fillies Stables, to find out who is threatening his horse Hugger Mugger, he can hardly say no:  he's been doing pro bono work for so long his cupboards are just about bare.  Disregarding the resentment of the local law enforcement, Spenser takes the case...Despite the veneer of civility, there are tensions beneath the surface southern gentility.  The rest of the Clive family isn't exactly thrilled with Spenser's presence, the security chief has made it clear he'll take orders from no one, and the local sheriff's deputy seems content to sit back and wait for another attack.  But the case takes a deadly turn when the attacker claims a human victim..."  As usual, there's large type, wide margins, and short, snappy dialog.  A fast read.
  • "Hugh Pentecost" (Judson Phillips), The Copycat Killers/Michael Gilbert, The Black Seraphim/Donald MacKenzie, Raven's Longest Night.  A 1983 Detective Book Club 3-in-1 edition.  Pentecost's Uncle George was more commonly found in short stories but he appear in a few novels -- including this one.  "George Crowther's law career was assured; no one expected the young man to abandon it and retreat to a cabin in the woods.  With his dog, Timmy, George spent years in the wild areas, learning them, knowing when something was wrong with his territory, but it is Timmy who discovers the horror.  A rubber tube lies poking out of the earth, a moan emerging from it -- when the earth is opened George discovers a coffin in which a young man has been buried alive.  It is a message for someone, a deadly message."  I read this one when it first came out and really enjoyed it.  Gilbert was a MWA Grand Master and recipient of the 1994 Diamond Dagger Award.  The Black Seraphim is a stand-alone novel and was a finalist for both the Edgar and Gold Dagger Awards:  "Twenty-four-year-old James Scotland is a brilliant young pathologist -- a badly overworked pathologist who needs a vacation.  His month in a small British ton begins quietly enough -- but beneath the quiet facade of the old cathedral town, poisonous passions surface.  A well-deserved break ends abruptly for Dr. Scotland."  Gotta love those poisonous passions!  Before he turned to a successful writing career, Donald MacKenzie spent twenty-five years as a confidence man and robber, giving him a fairly knowledgeable background for his mystery novels.  MacKenzie's most popular series (sixteen novels) concerned John Raven, a Scotland Yard officer, and later an unlicensed private investigator.  "Raven has been framed!  Count Stephen Szechenyi, in political exile in Spain for most of his life, desperately needs help; it comes too late.  Murdered, Count Szechenyi is used to put John Raven into a Spanish prison -- Raven's prints are found on the gun, but he didn't kill the count.  Who did?  And Why?"
  • Walter J. Sheldon, Rites of Murder.  A Bishop Burdick mystery.  I don't know a thing about this one.  Sheldon was a somewhat prolific pulp writer.  What I have from him has been solid journeyman work.
  • S. M. Stirling & David Drake, The Reformer.  Military SF novel, seventh in The General series and the last by Stirling, although Drake has written three further books in the series with other co-authors.  "After the collapse of the galactic Web, civilizations crumbled and chaos reigned on thousands of planets.  Only on planet Bellevue was there a difference.  there, a Fleet Battle Computer named Center had survived from the old civilization.  When it found Raj Whitehall, the man who could execute its plan for reviving human civilization, he and Center started Bellevue back on the road leading to the stars; and when Bellevue reached that goal, Center send copies of itself and Raj to the thousands of worlds still waiting for the light of civilization to dawn.  On Hafardine, civilization had fallen even further than most.  That men came from the stars was not even a rumor of memory in Adrian Gellert's day.  The empire of Venbret spread across the lands in a sterile splendor that could only end in another collapse, more ignominious and complete than the first.  Adrian Gellert was a philosopher, a student whose greatest desire was a life of contemplation in the service of wisdom...until he toughed the 'holy relic' that contained the disincarnate minds of Raj Whitehall and Center.  On that day, Adrian's search for wisdom would lead him to a life of action, from the law-courts of Venbret to the pirate cities of the Archipelago -- and battlefields bloodier than any in the history he'd learned.  And the prize was the future of humanity."
  • "Sara Woods" (Sara Bowen-Judd), Put Out the Light/"James Melville" (Roy Peter Martin), The Death Ceremony/Aaron J. Elkins, Murder in the Queen's Armes.  Another Detective Book Club 3-in-1 edition, again from 1985.  The Woods is one of the last books in her long-running series about barrister Athony Maitland; Woods died in 1985 although the series continued until 1987 with the 48th novel about Maitland.  "Antony Maitland latest case is fought outside the courtroom, without the aid of police.  Singlehanded he must exorcise a ghost and catch a killer.  If his plan fails, an innocent man faces death."   Melville's book is the seventh in his series about Kobe, Japan's Superintendent of Police Tetsuo Otani.  "Iemoto, the Grand Master of the Tea Ceremony, was shot and killed before Superintendent Otani's eyes.  It's a point of honor for Otani to find and pursue the murderer."  Elkins (who usually publishes without his middle initial) gives the third in his series about anthropology professor Gideon Oliver.  "Gideon faces a relentless foe.  All of his expertise in tracking down a murderer will be useless unless he can escape the trap the killer has set."  You may notice that the blurbs on these Detective Book Club editions are pretty generic and often belie the quality of some of the novels.

*  No, not that Tony Bennett, although he is also a likable chap.


  1. Nice haul.Loren Estleman doesn't get the love Leonard gets (even in Detroit) but he is a solid writer who takes on various subjects well.

    1. Patti, Estleman is more than a solid writer IMHO. He is a bright light shining through a dark night.

  2. I've got a few new ones coming in too. Maybe I'll post like this as well.