Framing the Dialogue

Book Reviews

Murder Theory

Murder Theory is the third in Andrew Mayne’s The Naturalist series featuring Dr. Theo Cray who is a computational biologist and serial-killer hunter.  If you hadn’t read the first two novel, I would as they’ll give some background on the whole nerd/killer hunter label.  Dr. Cray is lured back to the scene of the Toy Man killings when there are more murders at that scene.  Are the killings just coincidence or a new killer afoot?  Once he is on the scent, Dr. Cray, as you know, will stop and nothing to find a killer.

The Stupidest Angel

“Pine Cove, sleepy California coastal village—a toy town, really, with more art galleries than gas stations, more wine-tasting rooms than hardware stores—lay there, as inviting as a drunken prom queen, as Christmas loomed, only five days away. Christmas was coming, and with Christmas this year, would come the Child. Both were vast and irresistible, and miraculous. Pine Cove was expecting only one of the two.”

When Archangel Raziel gets his big chance to deliver a Christmas miracle he really messes up…hence the title of the book, The Stupidest Angel.  When he grants a wish to young Joshua Barker, Raziel really isn’t aware of the breadth and scope of that wish.  This holiday will not soon be forgotten in Pine Cove…unless it is?

Eat, Pray, Die

“So when the Taste Society invited me to apply for a classified position that paid a hundred grand a year from the day of the first assignment, it seemed like a no-brainer. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know anything close to the truth about the job. Or the Taste Society. In fact, I still didn’t know much about the Taste Society.”

The Cow in the Parking Lot

“Even though he is the human embodiment of patience and compassion, the Dalai Lama himself has admitted that he gets angry. The object of this book is not to eliminate anger but to place it and our expression of it in a different context…A fair summary of this book is: You are hitting your hand with a hammer. If you stop, you will feel better.”


In Assegai by Wilbur Smith we meet young Leon Courtney who is a young officer in Britain’s King’s Rifles.  When his successful life and death struggle to survive a brutal native attack actually ges him arrested he becomes disillusioned with military life.  His high-ranking uncle convinces him to stay and participate in a special spying mission to try to learn what Germany is planning on the eve of what will be World War I.  Taking a job as a hunting guide is the perfect cover.  All goes well until he meets the lover of a German industrial giant and things start to unravel.

An Unexpected Afterlife

“How in God’s name had he spent the night—naked—in the Mount of Olives Cemetery? Hayya alas sala-a-ah!  Hayya alal fala-a-ah! A ball of searing pain burst behind his right eyeball. He fell to one knee and released a hand from modesty duty to massage his temple. Of course! His birthday party last night. He had sipped a glass of Recanati Merlot as he discussed his business plans with Galit’s grandmother. He had looked about for Galit and then… a black interplanetary void. He had never drunk to blackout before, not even in his single days, but that would explain the headache. It might also help explain his current predicament. The muezzin call ended. He glanced at his wrist and swore under his breath. His watch—his dear father’s Rolex, the heirloom from his grandfather—was gone. Moshe took it off only to shower. One person alone would dare take his watch. One person alone would abandon him overnight and buck naked in an East Jerusalem graveyard. Moshe would deal with him later. For now, he had to get home.”

Code Name: Johnny Walker

The subtitle of this book pretty much describes the substance of this book.

“The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs”

Written by Johnny Walker (not his real name to protect him and his family still necessary to this day) about the Iraqi view of the wars in Iraq and how he and many others had to fend for themselves against brutality in their hometown.  Many of the places in the book you have heard of and they probably bring up visions of bombings and constant military action.  Johnny Walker ended up becoming an interpreter (terp) for the Navy SEALs and by accounts was extremely helpful in bringing the fight to the bad guys.  It is most interesting that Mr. Walker’s account are vastly different than the headlines that most of us were treated to in American papers.  Rather than brutal villains, most soldiers were really trying to rebuild Iraq and help the citizens get on their feet.

Twist and Turn

Tim Tigner’s Twist and Turn is the fourth in the Kyle Achilles series.  With Katya at his side, Achilles races against time to foil another fiendish plot.

“Strain as I might, I heard nothing beyond my own biology—and the breathing of others. Not a sound. No passing cars or chirping crickets. No humming appliances or rustling leaves. Beyond the breathing, my auditory world was also dead. But the breathing was enough, enough to know that my system was online, while somehow, some way, the rest of the world was turned off.”

Deadly Web

“The streets were completely empty. It was one in the morning on a Wednesday, and most of the city’s drunk or homeless didn’t hang out in this neighborhood. The windows around them were dark. Only she and Bernard traversed the empty street, on their way to meet a dead man.”

That’s a pretty great lead into the novel (though from page twenty five) or maybe a good lead into a book review?  This is the second in Mike Omer’s Glenmore Park novels featuring Detective Hannah Shor who is desperate to redeem herself after her mistakes in the recent serial killings in the small town (Spider’s Web).  When a seemingly normal man is violently murdered, his unknown, darker side is discovered and provides a long list of suspects.

Just One Damned Thing After Another

“By now, afternoon had become early evening. The interview was taking far longer than a simple research job warranted. Clearly it was not a simple research job. I felt a surge of anticipation. Something exciting was about to happen. He cleared his throat. ‘Since you have not had the sense to run for the hills, you will now have the “other” tour.’ ‘And this is the “other” interview?’ He smiled and stirred his tea.”