Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

In An Evil Mind, the serial killer, Lucien Folter, is already in custody and it's up to Detective Robert Hunter to get him to give up the details about the killings and the location of the bodies scattered around the country. In the past, Hunter has had stellar success in catching other criminals and getting information from them. However, this time Hunter has met his match and must deal with a truly evil mind.

I really enjoyed this book, but I don't think I liked it as much as Carter's other thrillers. Because the killer had already been caught, Hunter spent a lot of time talking to him. Lots and lots of talking. Perhaps a little too much. However, I did enjoy the way the author brought in past events and the forays into the past. Like Carter's other books, this one was immediately engaging. The short chapters allowed Carter to build in lots of suspense. Also like Carter's other books, this one is quite graphic and not for the squeamish.

I don't think I've read too many books where the killer is in custody when the story begins. Knowing who the killer is, having him in custody and then getting the details of the killings and locations of the bodies is sort of like working backwards. It's such a fascinating concept. I loved it!!

After reading a few of the previous books featuring Hunter, I was thinking he was perfect and definitely smarter than everyone else he has to deal with. However, for the first time, we are seeing some small cracks appearing in his solid armor. Did this case get under his skin so much that he's lost his advantage? Were the cracks there all along? Maybe he's not so perfect after all.

Carter mentions at the beginning of the book that it's based on real facts and people he met while he was working as a criminal behaviour psychologist. I would have loved it if he expanded upon this more. I can't imagine it was all one case, right? I would also have loved him to say which parts are fiction.

I also loved that this story had a personal connection for Hunter. That connection is revealed quite early in the book, but I don't want to give anything away so I'll leave it at that.

Carter's resume never ceases to amaze me. He was a member of the Michigan State District Attorney's Criminal Psychology team, then became a rock musician and is now an author.

Highly recommended. Not my favourite book of his, but still a really great book. I'm really looking forward to reading more books by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's UK website.

For more information about the author and his other books, please visit Chris Carter's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster UK for this review copy.

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter, Simon & Schuster ©2014. ISBN 9781471132193(Uncorrected proof), 484p.

Desire Lines by Christina Baker Kline

In Desire Lines, Jennifer walks away from a post-graduation bonfire and is never seen again. Years later, her friend Kathryn, now a recently-divorced journalist finds herself back in her hometown where memories of Jennifer's disappearance come back to haunt her.

I adored this book. I've been reading lots of gritty mysteries and this one, while it did contain a mystery, stood in stark contrast because it was tamer (for want of a better word). It was a welcome respite and a wonderful read.

Over the years, there have been only a few characters with whom I really identified with from all of the books that I've read. That's probably not that unusual, but it sure is nice to run into a kindred spirit every now and then, even if they are fictional. Imagine my surprise when I saw myself (well, at least partially) in two of the characters in this book! Both Kathryn and Jennifer had traits that I possess or had thoughts that I've had.

By coming home and dealing with Jennifer's disappearance, Kathryn learned more about herself and dealt with some issues that were causing her pain. Because I had seen parts of me in Kathryn (as I explained above), I too learned more about myself and gained some insight into my behaviours and thoughts that I hadn't had before. I think that's probably why I loved the book so much.

There were two other things about the book that I loved. The overall sad tone of the book really appealed to me. I don't know why, but I really like books where the characters are miserable. I don't think of myself as a morose person, but I guess in some ways I am. The book is also about memories, especially those haunting ones. How memories work and how people remember things is another one of my favourite subjects.

One of my favourite passages in the book explains the title of the book.
...this is what I call a desire line. Strictly speaking, it's a landscape-architecture term for the paths people create when they cut across the grass instead of taking a prescribed route--people who follow their desires, if you want to be literal. But I just use it to describe any foot trails that's relatively new and hasn't been formalized by markers or maps. (page 323)

This edition of the book contains a P.S. section, which features more about the author, a reading group guide and excerpts of her other books. It was definitely worth the read, but I didn't find it as interesting or informative as other P.S. sections in other books. I would have loved more insight into this story and/or an interview with the author.

Highly recommended. I'd love to read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at William Morrow/HarperCollins for this review copy.

Desire Lines by Christina Baker Kline, William Morrow (HarperCollins), ©1999. ISBN 9780060566944(Trade paperback), 343p.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler

In Deadly Errors, a series of deaths are linked to the new computerized record system at Maynard Medical Center. Dr. Tyler Matthews is the first to suspect that something is wrong, but he can't convince others that the system, currently in a beta test at the hospital, is responsible. His job, his marriage, his reputation, and his life all come under fire when he challenges the hospital and the corporation who see him as a threat to their multimillion dollar profits.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It contained a good medical mystery about how the chart values were being changed resulting in patient deaths. It also gave a small glimpse into corporate greed and conspiracies. The first half of the book was okay. I loved that Wyler, the author, has the expertise to explain the medical procedures as well as he did. However, he used a few too many medical terms that were unfamiliar to me. For me, the second half was much better. Really suspenseful and action packed. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster.

While I enjoyed it, the book just didn't draw me in. I'm not sure why, though. Sometimes, it felt like a chore to just keep reading and finish it. I got into it much more halfway through, but it still didn't grab me like I hoped it would.

There were a couple of awkward and repetitive spots in the writing that bothered me. However, I won't cite an examples here because I read a copy of the uncorrected proof, not a final copy. Hopefully these spots will be caught before the final printing.

I found the medical information extremely interesting, but because I have a background in computer science, I was much more comfortable with the computer terms and computer programming issues that were going on. I won't go into any details, but if this truly was a beta test of the system, patients wouldn't have died.

My doctor's office switched to electronic medical charts within the last year. I don't know exactly how the system works, but I really liked the idea. After reading this story though, I'm not as enthusiastic about it. It left me wondering if errors like this could really happen.  

I also read Dead Ringer by this author. I enjoyed it more than I did this one.

Recommended. I have another book on my to-be-read pile by this author called Dead End Deal.

For more information about this book or to purchase it directly from the publisher, please visit Astor + Blue's website. For Amazon orders, click here.

For more information about the author and his other books, please visit Allen Wyler's website.

Thanks to Jillian from Astor + Blue Editions for this review copy.

Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler, Astor + Blue Editions, ©2012. ISBN 9781938231209(Advance Reader Copy), 345p.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

In The Silkworm, Cormoran Strike, a private detective, is hired by the wife of novelist Owen Quine. Quine has gone missing and at first his wife thinks his just gone away for some alone time. However, it's quickly discovered that it's much more serious than that, especially after Quine has been found brutally murdered. As for suspects, there are plenty. His newest manuscript portrays almost everyone he knows in a very bad light. If it's published, many lives would be ruined. Strike and his young assistant, Robin Ellacott, have their work cut out for them in dealing with this most callous killer.

I loved this book! The story grabbed me right away and I couldn't wait to see what happened to Quine. The storyline about publishing was revealing and exciting to read about.

Both Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are terrific characters and complement each other perfectly. I loved that we got to read more about them and the others in their lives. In Strike's case, we learn about his brother or rather half-brother. They share the same famous father. With Robin, we got to read more about her relationship with her husband-to-be. I really like Strike, but it's Robin who's the highlight for me in this series. She's just awesome.

The book does start out with a bit of cussing, but it doesn't last long. It just lasts a few pages and isn't really that bad or disgusting. Hopefully, it won't turn off too many people.

I liked the first book in the series better than this one. While I loved this book as a whole, I didn't love (or even like) the story or excerpts of the manuscript that Quine wrote before his disappearance. It wasn't my type of book and frankly reading those sections made me uncomfortable. It was just too weird. I'm definitely not into shock art and/or satire. I think parts of this could have been cut without jeopardizing the storyline. It may have even made it a better book and condensed the story a little.

I found one passage in the book that particularly liked. For me, it perfectly describes the murder of Owen Quine:
This murder was elaborate, strange, sadistic and grotesque, literary in inspiration and ruthless in execution. (page 147)

This book is the second in the series, but it can really stand on its own. I think I think there are some references to the first book, but there are no spoilers. So far, the books can be read in any order.

Besides the Harry Potter series, I've read two other books by this author: The Cuckoos Calling also featuring Cormoran Strike and a standalone book, The Casual Vacancy. I still count this book as one of my all-time favourites.

Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.

Highly recommended.

For more information about this book, please visit Hachette's website.

For more information about Robert Galbraith and the other book in the series, please visit For more information about J. K. Rowling, please visit J. K. Rowling's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Hachette Book Group Canada for this review copy.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, Mulholland Books (Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)), ©2014. ISBN 9780316206877(Hardcover), 455p.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Needlework Tuesday - From head to toe

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

This week I worked on two knitting projects. Last week, I showed the beginnings of a beanie or light toque I was knitting for myself. I finished that, but I'm not really thrilled with it. I could explain further, but I'd rather just show "the good side" and be done.
I'm currently working on the matching scarf and I don't like it any better. Moving on....

The other project I worked on was the felted slippers from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month. I'm really surprised at how quickly they worked up. A quick knitter could probably make them in a couple of hours. It took me a bit longer than that, but I made a mistake and had to rip back quite a bit. I felted them this afternoon (twice through the washing machine with detergent and hot water) and I'm quite pleased with them.  Here are the photos of one slipper: 

Before felting

After felting
It's like magic!!!!  The length is perfect for my feet, but they are still a bit too wide.  However, I didn't want to chance one more time through the wash.  Oh, well.  The slippers are still air drying and I'm wondering if that'll make them shrink a bit more.  Once that's done, I'll sew on the purely-decorative straps and buttons and model them next week.

Sorry for the glare.  That's the overhead light reflecting off the kitchen counter.  I was too lazy to retake them.

That's it for this week. I'm going to be looking for a larger project or several smaller projects to do in the next week or two. I wish I could do something else in front of the TV, but for me knitting is the best.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.   If you've done any crafting this week, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so other can enjoy your creations.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tangled Thursday - P

Tangled Thursday is an occasional post on this blog. Heather at Books and Quilts is hosting these challenges in which we share our latest Zentangle inspired creations.

This week Elaine suggested using the letter "P" for inspiration. I chose to learn a few new (mostly) "P" patterns for my creation. Here it is:
Tangles: Puf, Puffle, Paushalöv (with Tipple and Zinger), Popsicles, Panthe
All of them are new-to-me except Panthe (bottom right), which I did only once before.  I wanted to do that one again because I wasn't satisfied with my first attempt.

I love Puf (top left) and will likely use that one many times.  Likewise with Paushalöv (bottom left), but here I think I left too much white space.   My attempt at Puffle (top right) is just a scribbled mess.   Meh.

Thanks for the challenge Elaine!!!

Be sure to check out the other "P" creations on Books and Quilts.   If you'd like to join us, please do so by linking your post to the Mr. Linky on Heather's post.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting...Again

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

After having abandoned (temporarily?) the scarf I was making last week, I scrambled to find another knitting project to do in front of the TV.

I've had two balls if Kroy Sock yarn sitting around for some time. I didn't love the socks I made from this yarn, so I searched online for something different. I found a pattern for a beanie online. I don't think a "beanie" is appropriate for someone my age so I'm thinking of it as a light toque. I was planning on making a narrow scarf with the second ball, but it looks like I'll have to dip into the first one to finish the hat.  I'm already into the decreasing section at the crown of the hat (I've done more than in the photo below), but had I known that sooner, I could have made a contrasting strip with some other leftover Kroy yarn. I might figure out something yet.

This hat was supposed to be knit in the round, but since I didn't have the proper circular needle and didn't want to buy one,  I decided to knit it on two needles and have a seam down the back. I'm hoping it's going to work out.

What I didn't anticipate was how differently the colours were going to be "scattered" around the scarf from knitting back and forth instead of in rounds. I know it doesn't really matter, but it's not something I considered when making the decision to go with two needles. Here's how it looked a couple of days ago:

My next project in the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month arrived yesterday. This time it's Felted Slippers. I've never felted before, but I've seen projects for it and have been curious about how it's done. Of course, I didn't have the proper needles, so that meant a trip to a specialty yarn store in the city. I can't see me using these needles (4 double pointed 8mm needles) that much, so I wasn't that happy to have to shell out another $18+ for this project. Sure, I could have bought plain metal ones for about $13, but these bluish wooden ones are kinda pretty, so I went with them. In hindsight, I should have bought the metal ones and saved a few bucks, but it was a long day, I was tired, there was a line-up at the store, and I just wanted to go home. Here's the project:

...and the new needles:

Pretty wood grain, eh? 

I'm not excited that about this project. That's because I only knit for myself and I don't usually wear slippers. I wasn't that excited about last month's project either, the carry-all bag, which I've yet to use. I'm finding that I have to keep reminding myself about why I joined this experience new things, patterns, yarns, stitches, techniques, etc. In that regard, the club is doing what I wanted it to do for that's exactly what's happening. I've had to look up online a number of new-to-me things in the last three months and have learned some new abbreviations as well as techniques. I just wish I loved the items more or found them more useful and that I didn't have to go out and buy new needles for every new project that arrived in the mail. ***big sigh*** Oh, well. 

After complaining last week about the cabled scarf I was knitting but not loving, I received a comment from Heather, who suggested smaller needles. Thanks Heather!!!  I'll probably try that this week.  Hopefully, I'll have a photo to share in the next week or two.
Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.   She's finished her beautiful year-long temperature scarves which are 17 feet long!!!   If you haven't seen them, you can find them on her blog.   Also, if you've done any crafting this week, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so other can enjoy your creations.