3 Stars
Guilty Pleasures
Crashing Heat - Richard Castle

We all read books to satisfy our guilty pleasures, and for me, one of the series I read is the Nikki Heat series written by the TV characters on the TV show, Castle.  Richard Castle is a fictional character that writes a book about a fictional character named Nikki Heat, and Jameson Rook, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author.  "Crashing Heat" is the 10th book in the Nikki Heat series.  I really used to enjoy that series but it seams Castle jumped the shark tank when he separated from Kate Beckett, a fictional detective on the NYPD.  But this is about the book series, not the TV series.


Tom Straw is the ghostwriter of the Richard Castle novels.  These novels are sometimes over the top about a ruggedly handsome writer and yes, in this book he refers to himself that way about a half a dozen times.  These books are hammy, lovey-dovey and the police almost always get there man or woman, sometimes it might take the next book but they're like the Canadian Mounties, they do get the bad guy.


"Crashing Heat" starts out a little slow but 4 or 5 chapters later Jameson has become the lead person of interest in a murder case where a student where Rook was recruited to teach a semester at his old Alma Mater, is found naked in his bed and naturally she is dead.  This book has probably the least amount of action out of the other 9 books in the series but because of my guilty pleasure, I really enjoy the series.  ABC canceled the series after season 8, but the books keep coming.  If the books keep coming I'll still read them.


Crashing Heat by Richard Castle,

Book 10 in the Nikki Heat Series

4 Stars
The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz
The Girl Who Lived Twice (Millennium #6) - Stieg Larsson, David Lagercrantz, George Goulding

I really enjoy the Millennium Series and The Girl Who Lived Twice, in my opinion, lives up to the Stieg Larsson story that he started.  The Millenium Series follows Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Bloomquist, two people from different ends of all spectrums but always manage to find pain and trouble.


Lisbeth is set out to get revenge on the Russian Mafia and kill her sister, Camilla.  Bloomquist is set out to do nothing.  He's in a rut and just wants to holiday at his lake home.  At the same time, a homeless man dies, and nobody pays any attention to him, except for one person.  Langercrantz weaves these stories into a tale of political corruption and the criminal underworld and does it at the pace of the Larsson books, a little slow but always entertaining.   A very good book.


The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz,

The Millennium Series Book 6

4.5 Stars
The Bitterroots by C.J. Box
The Bitterroots - C.J. Box

I see this is the Audiobook and I did listen to the audiobook and read the book along with 


I'm no longer going to count this as a "Highway Quartet" series.  These books after the 1st 1-1/2 books are all about Cassie.

The Lizard King killed her mentor and Cassie has killed the Lizard King twice.  Okay, maybe just once but now he is dead.  After being humiliated and then vindicated by lousy planning by a county DA, Cassie is fed up with being a cop and becomes a PI in North Dakota and Montana and now she is becoming successful.  Cassie is now being called in for a favor by a defense attorney.  

Blake Kleinsasser has been accused of rape and the evidence is pretty solid.  Defense attorney Rachel Mitchell is calling in a favor and just wants to make sure the D.A. in the county the crime committed did his job.  Cassie is set on the fact that Kleinsasser is guilty and goes to Lochsa County to meet with the Sherrif, the former attorney, the raped girl, and her family.  Starting with checking into her hotel room, Cassie feels resistance, and this resistance is coming from the founding fathers of the county, the Kleinsassers'.

For me, Cassie Dewell never was quite as good as the Joe Picket series, Boxes other series.  The Bitterroots is just as good as any of the Picket books written. I'm giving this 4.5 of 5 stars but it could easily be a 5 of 5, it's just that good.

The Bitterroots, by C.J. Box, 
Cassie Dewell Series Book 4

4 Stars
Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons
Fatal Promise (D.I. Kim Stone #9) - Angela Marsons

Fatal Promise starts with DI Kim Stone getting medically release after breaking her leg at the end of her last book, Dying Truth.  Now she has to go back to work and deal with the death and replacement of one of her teammates.  Her team, Bryant and Stace, had been temped out to other squads and under-used, but now it's time for a new case and a new team member.

Both the case and the team member are from previous books. One is a Doctor from the Spades, one of the graduates for the Heathcrest Acadamy, the private school for Dying Truth (Book 8) and the addition of Penn, a detective from the team that Kim had worked with a couple of books ago.  Penn is an excellent data miner, just like Stacey.  Penn's biggest problem is that Stacey and Kim look at him as replacing Dawson, not as what or who he is.

Stacey is on her first case running solo form a missing persons case from when she was on loan and things are not smelling right for her.  It's up to her to find a 15-year-old girl with medical problems, with friends and her father that don't really care that she is missing.

Going back to the Doctor, he is found dead in a wilderness area with very small clues.  More people are found dead and clues lead us to a father and son.  Now Kim has them all wrapped up but there is still doubt because everything is just too easy.

So do Stace and Penn put their differences aside?  Can Kim overcome her feeling that Dawson's death was her fault?  Can Kim justify making Penn leave her team?  Do Kim and Stace solve their cases?

After Dying Truth, Fatal Promises was not quite as good, but I think it's because Dying Truth was just that good.  I'm going to rate this 8 of 10.  It's still a great book.

Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons,
DI Kim Stone Series Book 9

4.5 Stars
Dying Truth by Angela Marsons
Dying Truth - Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons likes to write on current social problems and includes them into her DI Kim Stone investigations.  This time Stone is called out to a private school to try to keep a suicide from happening, but she arrives too late.  As she prepares to leave the scene, it is now not her case, she gets a gut feeling and goes to check out where the girl had jumped off the roof of the school.  With Kim Stone, you have to check off every box and this case didn't add up. Following Keats' autopsy, she discovers that the girl's injuries do not match how she had supposedly died.  She had been murdered.

It turns out there's a secret in that school and people are willing to kill to keep it.  A couple of deaths later, an attempted murder, and investigating prior mishaps the team learns about secret societies and peer pressure at the school, not only with the students but with the teachers and parents.

Marsons supprises us with heroic death of a team member at the end of the book, and now the others have to learn how to cope with that death.

This is one of the best books in the series, I'll give this 4.5 out of 5 stars, with this being the first half point I've given.

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons, 
DI Kim Stone Series, Book 8

3.5 Stars
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Fletch - Gregory Mcdonald

I've gotten behind here, with my computer Linux hobbies and paint preparation for the house interior, and haven't done much reading or posting my readings here at BookLikes, so this will catch me up.  It won't be a long review, it's an old book and Irresponsible Reader gave it a good review a few months ago.  I want to read this series because it sort of reminds me of the old M.A.S.H. series with the second book being M.A.S.H. Goes to Maine, by Richard Hooker with the light-hearted banter.


Fletch is Irving (I.V.) call me Fletch Fletcher (not Jane Doe like the movie).  Fletch is on a story trying to solve the mystery of where are the drugs coming from on the Beach and is under a lot of pressure to turn in his book from his editor's assistant, a woman that hates Fletch and the feeling is mutually returned.  While looking like a strung-out druggie (he does  smoke a little pot, heck it's the 70's in California) he is approached by Alan Stanwyck, a man that married his bosses daughter and then started running the father's aviation parts company so the father could put all his efforts into running his tennis club and setting up tournaments.  Stanwyck wants Fletch to murder him.


Fletch the book is a light read, 254 pages, about the investigation of the drugs on the Beach and also into Alan Stanwyck.  There are humor, murder and mayhem and all in all it's a decent book.  Like IR, I also did the audiobook, narrated by Dan John Miller and it really made the book better.


I'm rating this 3-1/2 stars.  Even though it's written in the 70's it's not really dated and enjoyable to read.


Fletch by Gregory McDonald,

Book 1 in the Fletch Series

3.5 Stars
The Body in the Marsh by Nick Louth
The Body In The Marsh - Nick Louth

This is the first in a series about DCI Craig Gillard, a good detective that has led a clean life, seems to be fit and the subject of a lot of water-cooler talk by the ladies.  Without getting into the sub-plots of the story DCI Gillard is called in to find a missing person, which turns out to be his first love ever, the now married Elizabeth Knight.  Liz Knight gave up her education and promising future career to marry Martin Knight, a Professor that would become a pain in the police department's butt by doing reports on how the police department was lax in their work, and how criminals were not trained to return to society and become contributing members to their community.  Liz turned down an education at Harvard so she could concentrate on her romance with her future husband and become a mother of two.


The beginning of the hunt for Liz is not helped by Liz's husband, Professor Martin Knight's denial that Liz is missing by not really co-operating with the police, and Professor Knight simply justs vanishes off the face of the earth.  DNA evidence is later found proofing that Liz is now dead, but no body is ever found.  With Professor Knight missing, a multi-country manhunt for Martin Knight goes into effect.  Evidence of affairs are found against the Professor even hurts his case even more.  After months of investigation, neither Knight is found and with the pressure of the public and press, Gillard is removed from the case.


The Body in the Marsh is well written, even though sometimes you want to scream at your book or ebook reader for the police to open their eyes to the obvious.  The sub-plots of the story work well with the investigation and Louth did his homework to make the read as real as an investigation can get.  Although DCI Gillard is a smart detective, he sort of fumbles his way to solve the case. This being his diligence to work the case from his insight and gut feelings. Eventually, he is put back on the case and works his way to the point to where he can solve the case. 


I like this series.  For me, 3-1/2 stars do not mean mediocracy.  Louth didn't just go through the paces but pieced together a really good book and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.


The Body in the Marsh by Nick Louth,

Book 1 in the DCI Craig Gillard Series

4 Stars
One Good Deed by David Baldacci
One Good Deed - David Baldacci

I really like David Baldacci, and me being a reader that likes series more than stand-alone books, I still had to read this book.  My only problem is that I got into reading Angela Marsons and had to put this off a couple of weeks after it came out to read.


The first thing I have to say is do the audiobook. The book takes place in 1949 and if you like old 50's drama movies then this will be perfect for you.  It reads just like one of those old movies.  All the "Now see here's" and the women talking tough and then going all mushy.  I bet Baldacci did a lot of research watching these old movies. 


Then there's the way women are portrayed in this book;

Brooks nodded. “I am convinced, Mr. Archer. She has nothing to worry about from me. It was a terrible thing for her to endure. Even more so for a young woman. They are very delicate.”


Archer’s gaze at the man sharpened. “You married?”


Brooks looked surprised at the question. “Well, yes.”


“You work, and your wife stays at home?”


“She has no head for matters outside of the home.”


“You might be surprised about that, Mr. Brooks. I mean, I don’t see much logic behind men being the breadwinners and all except it’s just the way it’s always been, and for no good reason. Everybody deserves a fair shake.”


Brooks shook his head and smiled. “A woman’s place is in raising children and keeping the home and assisting her husband. But it’s still important work nonetheless and quite proper for someone with their fairer sensibilities. It’s a hard world out there, Mr. Archer, and men are designed to thrive in that world, not our women. I mean, that’s why they’re referred to as the weaker sex, after all.”


Now before I get into "One Good Deed" I want to say that Baldacci does not have weak women in his books, well, with the exception of this one, and not all the women are weak.  This is the stereotyping of how women were played out in the older movies.  I haven't read books from this period so I can't say about the books, but I'm sure there are loads of the old detective books that are the same way.


One Good Deed is about Aloysius Archer, a survivor of WWII, prison, and tough life in general.  He's got a good head on his shoulders and wants to do right, as long as it keeps himself out of trouble.  Naturally, from judging how I've talked about how the women are characterized in this book, he finds himself surrounded by two women, that can change their emotions like water from a faucet.  One is his parole officer and the other is the mistress of a man that hires him to collect on a debt, which happens to be the father of the second woman.


There is lots of simple intrigues, murders, tough-talking, and even a trial.  The pace of the book is good and if you can picture this book being written 60 years ago instead of released in July 2019, then you might enjoy it.  I did.


f I go on much farther it will just be babbling so read the book.  Listen to the audiobook.  Just don't try to apply anything written in this book to a woman today.


A very strong 4 stars for this book.


One Good Deed by David Baldacci

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
One Good Deed - David Baldacci

One Good Deed by David Baldacci


The mechanical whoosh and greasy smell of the opening bus doors greeted Aloysius Archer, as he breathed free air for the first time in a while. He wore a threadbare single-breasted brown Victory suit with peak lapels that he’d bought from the Sears, Roebuck catalogue before heading off to war. The jacket was shorter than normal and there were no pleats or cuffs to the pants because that all took up more material than the war would allow; there was no belt for the same reason. A string tie, a fraying, wrinkled white shirt, and scuffed lace-up size twelve plain Oxford shoes completed the only wardrobe he owned. Small clouds of dust rose off his footwear as he trudged to the bus. His pointed chocolate brown fedora with the dented crown had a loop of faded burgundy silk around it. He’d bought the hat after coming back from the war. One of the few times he’d splurged on anything. But a global victory over evil had seemed to warrant it.


I normally don't like overuse of descriptors in sentences, all the adjectives and adverbs get me feeling that there's going to be a lot of fill in this book and less story, but Baldacci makes it work.  Here we meet Aloysius Archer, or as he says, "just call me Archer" as he gets his first steps of freedom after he leaves prison, where they give him a ticket to Poca City, USA,  The year is 1949 and the country is starting to relocate west after post-WWII.


Archer settles in and gets his first job, repossessing a 1947 Cadillac, and this is where the story starts getting good.  Despite serving in Europe during the war and somehow ending up in jail, which hasn't been revealed, we find Archer is an educated thinking man.


Now we find out if this helps Archer, or hurts Archer.



3.5 Stars
Broken Bones by Angela Marsons
Broken Bones - Angela Marsons

In Angela Marsons' 7th book in the DI Kim Stone, we find Stone's team broken up.  Not disassembled but divided up into two teams, Kim and Bryant, per the DCI's instructions, and Stacey and the overprotective Kevin, see the last book for more details.  Stone and Bryant start looking into suspicious deaths in prostitutes and Stacey and Kevin work on the death of a man found frozen to death in a snowbank. 


While this was a good book, I found it a little different than previous Marsons books where Stone was the main character in almost every chapter, to where we were bouncing around between teams in every other chapter.  Both stories were good and Marsons' always good for her twists in the plot.  


Broken Bones goes between prostitution and how some people find themselves in that field by being forced into it, then it gets into human trafficking, slavery, and bonded service.


This could have been easily 4 or 4-1/2 stars but I think just too much was happening in this book, so I rate it 3-1/2 stars.


Broken Bones by Angela Marsons,

Book 7 in the DI Kim Stone Series

5 Stars
Dead Souls by Angela Marsons
Dead Souls: A gripping serial killer thriller with a shocking twist (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 6) - Angela Marsons

This is the sixth book in the DI Kim Stone series. The prologue starts with the suicide of a teenage boy that has to stop what he is doing to write a letter to his mother to let her know it is not her fault. This part is pretty simple, but Marsons can make simple things into big things. Next, we find DI Stone in a field where she has been called after Doctor A, a forensic archeologist professor that had been called to a field site to dig and has found a human bone. The one bone turns into many bones and foul play is suspected.


All this sets up a very thought-provoking book, hitting on basically any kind of hate crime imaginable, and then some. In a crime thriller series, rarely does a fictional story make you think about things that have affected you, or someone close to you, as this book does. This book puts the small groups of people that hate anybody different and how they go out and hurt these people. Hopefully not as bad as in this book, but with us living in the instant news era, we do see these hate groups too much.


I can't go much further discussing the book unless I start giving out spoilers, and with most of my reading, these books have been out a few years and already discussed. This series for me has become a must-read series. Angela Marsons is turning out to be the Queen of research for her books. I really appreciate the time and quality of her writings and the journey she takes me on when I read her books.


Broken Souls by Angela Marsons,
Book 6 in the DI Kim Stone Series

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
Dead Souls: A gripping serial killer thriller with a shocking twist (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 6) - Angela Marsons

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons is really hitting me close to home.  Being born in the deep South, Alabama, I came to age when desegregation was hitting the South.  I remember going outside as a kid and finding flyers for KKK meetings littering the streets of our quiet neighborhood.  I remember miniature KKK comic books also left in the gutters for kids to find, making KKK members almost superheroes.


I remember the first black kids in my all-white school and couldn't get over how shy they were.  It took years for me to figure out they weren't shy, they were scared to death.  I remember being in the High School band where there was no racism, or so I thought.


I remember living in OKC, OK at 21 and making best friends with a Kickapoo Indian, attending pow-wows and learning their customs at these events.  I practically lived with them and watched how they were treated, and how some of their family reacted.


I remember moving to California and when visiting back in Alabama being asked how I could live around "all them Mexicans".  This was from a family member.


I was lucky not to have had racist parents, even though most of my peers were and I became racist at a young age through osmosis, I don't think I ever hated a group of people but I did do things that were hurtful.  I later found out that if you put yourself in the melting pot you could overcome and become to embrace the people that impacted my life, and many of these people I grew to love, my teachers, schoolmates, bandmates, and friends and learned how to correctly judge people.


Dead Souls is about racism, hate, and nationalism in the UK.  It's a work of fiction but I'm sure there's a lot of truth in it.  Marsons really brings to life the worst in people with her thrillers.  Marsons also brings out the best in people with her thought-provoking fiction.  


Dead Souls halfway through is a great book.

4.5 Stars
Blood Lines by Angela Marsons
Blood Lines: An absolutely gripping thriller that will have you hooked (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series Book 5) - Angela Marsons

This is another great series that I've got a love for.  Have you ever read a book and hated the fact that you couldn't read it faster.  For me, this is one of those kinds of books.  DI Kim Stone is thrown into another investigation and also being attacked by a Psychiatrist she put in jail in an earlier book.  Both of these 'chases' make a great thriller.  On one end you know what Dr. Alexandra Thorne is up to, well not everything but enough to know she's playing her mind games on anyone she comes in contact with, and on the other end is a set of murders that has Kim going frantically trying to find and stop the murders and murderer.


With Angela Marsons' storyline twists and the emotions she brings out in her characters this has become an extraordinarily great series.  I had another book in line to read next but now I want more DI Kim Stone.  This is one of the good things about finding a series after it's been released for a few years.  If you want more, you just read the next book.


Blood Lines by Angela Marsons

Book 5 in the DC Kim Stone Series

4 Stars
Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch
Lies Sleeping - Ben Aaronovitch

I think I'm going to have to start taking notes when I read this series.  Peter Grant is one busy guy, between all his magical friends of the rivers, the faes, underground people, his work, and his family, I don't see how he finds time to search for the Faceless Man.  But that's what this book is about, the scheming of the Faceless Man and Peter Grant's attempt to bring him to justice.


I'm not into spoilers, so that's why my reviews are short, plus this book has been out a while and lots of reviews have already been written on Lies Sleeping.  Also, this isn't the type of book that makes you reflect on your life or make you stronger.  It's just an entertaining read.  Other than that all I can say is that for Urban Fantasy, this is one of the best going right now.  With this book, I've caught up with the series and all 7 books in this series were great reads.  Now I have to wait for November for the next book to be released.  It looks like the next book in Urban Fantasy I'm waiting on is Fallen in the Alex Veras series by Benedict Jacka.


I'm open for suggestions on anybody else's favorite Urban Fantasy series they enjoy.


Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

Book 7 in the Peter Grant / Rivers of London Series

3.5 Stars
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch

In the sixth installment of Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, we find Peter a busy guy.  First, he's looking into an overdose that is connected to one of the River's of London's family, Lady Tyburn, next he's looking for a stolen book penned by Sir Isaac Newton himself, and then his hunt for The Faceless Man.  I really enjoy his new partner, Sahra Guhleed.  She brings a non-magical presence to the series, even tho this is not the first book she's been in, she does play a bigger part.  One thing we've found out about Peter is that wherever he goes, destruction is sure to follow, even if it's Harrod's.


Aaronovitch is giving Peter more and more, with less Thomas NIghtingale's supervision, which makes for more action, mistakes, and destruction.  Okay, maybe not mistakes but lots of damage.  All the key players are back and the search for all the baddies is growing.


I'm rating this 3-1/2 stars, but it's still a great read.


The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch,

Book 6 in the Peter Grant / Rivers of London Series.

4 Stars
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
Foxglove Summer: A Rivers of London Novel - Ben Aaronovitch

This has been the best of the series for me as of late.  Peter Grant is on his own, with the exception of Beverly Brooke, his new girlfriend and one of the Queens of a River.  Peter has been sent on assignment from Falcon to help search the disappearance of two pre-teen girls and since this has the Falcon call sign attached to it, that means the Folly is involved and magic is in play.


Peter is now in a small village surrounded by cleared woodlands and is tasked with being attached to one of the families of the missing girls and has the help of Dominic, one of the local policemen assigned to watch over him.  Nobody wants magic around, and with the media coverage that meant Peter had to be at his best at concealing the magic.


The book is great, it really starts to define Peter, as a man, as his job as a policeman, and as his position as an apprentice at the Folly.   Aaronovitch doesn't disappoint us with his storytelling, the research he does of the area and the history of the area the book takes place in.  Aaronovitch pulls out a lot of probably his personal tastes and knits them into his books.  I love Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's storytelling of the audio-book.  He really is the voice of Peter in this first-person magical mystery tour.  I've said before, if Urban Fantasy is one of your likes then this must be added to your TBR list.  But I know a lot of you have already read these.  So now onto The Hanging Tree.


I give this 4 of 5 stars, but of the first 5, this is the best so far!


Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch,

Book 5 of the Peter Grant (Rivers of London) Series