Framing the Dialogue

Author Archive

The Bitterroots

Cassie Dewell is working to start a new chapter in her life starting her own private practice as a private investigator.  Her background in criminal justice is both a boon and bust for her new endeavor.  In Bitterroots, a favor owed is cashed in by a defense lawyer forcing her to travel to the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.  Her task is to try to exonerate a man accused of assault.  Cassie finds herself facing a town owned by one family and not afraid to exert their influence.  Her feeling that she is working alone against all odds is not far from the truth…something everyone in Bitterroots doen not want discovered.

The Deserter

“The worst thing was watching his body wither away from captivity and malnutrition. His most reliable and powerful tool, becoming this limp and desiccated thing. He touched his left arm beneath the white tunic he was wearing. Already the muscle tone was coming back. It had never fully gone. He had just let them think it had; that his will was spent, that his body had become an impotent object, drained of its lethal venom. They were fooled, and it was the last mistake they ever made.”

Lethal Agent

It’s hard for me to believe that Lethal Agent is the 16th in the Mitch Rapp series started by the late Vince Flynn.  Though deceased, Kyle Mills has maintained the integrity of the series in the most recent novels.  Kudos to Mr. Mills.  I cannot say that I don’t notice a slight difference, but I still find them keeping me on the edge of my seat and longing for the next book.

In Lethal Agent, rogue actors look to take advantage of a dysfunctional American political climate to unleash a terrible weapon upon the United States and probably the world.  Rapp and his team race to neutralize the threat, a feat that may expose them to the deadly weapon.

The Alice Network

“Lili,” Eve asked impulsively. “Are you ever afraid?” Lili turned, rain dripping off the edge of her umbrella in a silver curtain between her and Eve. “Yes, just like everybody else. But only after the danger is done—before that, fear is an indulgence.” She slid her hand through Eve’s elbow. “Welcome to the Alice Network.”

Death Is Now My Neighbor

Death is Now My Neighbor is the twelfth in the Inspector Morris series.  I confess to not having read the others.  Inspector Morris is a man faced with many afflictions…most of them self inflicted.  He is, however, an excellent investigator.  He captures a case when a beautiful young woman is murdered in her home.  There doesn’t seem to be a clear motive for the crime, but as he investigates the body count rises and the story slowly unravels.  There is a robust list of suspects, though most don’t seem likely to be the type to commit murder.

Talking to Strangers

There was maybe one book by Malcolm Gladwell that I did not like.  He always makes me think when I read his words.  To be honest, I don’t always want to think when I read, but he makes me.

In Talking to Strangers (What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know) he delves into the interactions between people and why many times those initial interactions end badly…and sometimes deadly.  One of the things that struck me is that we generally “default to truth” or we tend to believe a stranger.  Gladwell provided plenty of studies to prove that we, as humans, are NOT very good at spying the lie.  Even people that are “experts” aren’t any better than random.  That’s is not a very comforting truth.

Killer Ambition

“I’m a big believer in the public’s right to know, so if anyone wants to sit in and watch a trial, I’m all for it. What I’m not in favor of is spin. And spin is all you get when the media jumps in. Lawyers who are third-rate on their best day and have never tried a lawsuit get “face time” to pontificate endlessly—and worse, misleadingly—about every facet of the case. As a result, the public’s right to know becomes the talking heads’ right to misinform. And then there are the stealth commentators: the lawyers and experts who are working for the defense but don’t admit it. They get on camera and present themselves as neutral observers, when all along they’re just stumping for their side of the lawsuit.”

The Last Kingdom

In the backdrop of the Danes regularly invading British soil we follow the life of English-born, turned adopted Dane, turned British, turned Dane, Uthred…you get the picture.  The Amazon summary compares this novel to Game of Thrones and to an extent it is of that ilk, without the dragons.  Uhtred, though a lord, is separated from his rightful land and his life becomes one of survival as he both fights for the Danes and against them as he longs to regain his life.

Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault

My wife belongs to a book club.  One of the recent books was this one by the famed cartoonist Cathy Guisewite of Kathy fame.  I’d read a number of action novels recently and thought a humorous book would be a good change of pace.

“None of this has gone as planned. I became a full-time mom at the very moment my daughter decided to reject all input from anyone over age thirty. I became a full-time daughter the moment my parents announced they would barricade the front door if I tried to bring in anyone or anything to assist them. I got older, which I hadn’t factored in, and became even more obnoxious and belligerent than my child or my parents, incapable of even committing to exercising five minutes a day.”


“Yesterday should have been the worst day of her life. She had buried her father, her last relative on earth. She had been attacked by men with guns. People she knew were in therapy for much less. She should be prostrate with misery and shock. But she wasn’t. Yesterday had been the best day of her life. He had appeared like a vision on the steps, behind the garage, above the yard. The noon sun directly over his head, illuminating him.  Her heart had thumped and the old feelings had swarmed back into the center of her life, fiercer and stronger than ever, like a drug howling through her veins, like claps of thunder.”