Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Budapest NoirBudapest Noir by Vilmos Kondor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1930's Budapest, a young woman dressed as a prostitute, is found dead in an alley. In her purse is a Jewish prayer book

Budapest, in 1936, was no place for a Jew, or an inquisitive newspaper editor, as Zsigmund Gordon soon discovers, once he begins his own investigation of the "non crime"

A knowledge of Hungarian history isn't necessary, to understand the story herein, but it helps.....the narrative itself fills a lot of blanks...but the story itself is pretty basic. A coffee factor's daughter blows the cover of her "Aryan" family, by falling in love with a Rabbinical student...at a time when everyone, in Europe, was falling over to court the Nazis. Said daughter finds herself in the position of a Prostitute and "Artist's Model".....gets herself murdered...and Father does not know "best".

While not a Thriller in the James Ellroy mode....I see this more in Simenon's Inspector Maigret territory...more brains than brawn..though there is violence here..none of it gratuitous. Zsigmund Gordon is just a journalist...doing his job....risking life/limb/family.....It was the times, you know...

I liked this book for it's understated tone....it's "slow burn"...Recommended to those who like their Noir with a European, not Euro Trash, flavour.


*****this was a Net Galley*****

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Call Me PrincessCall Me Princess by Sara Blaedel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A young woman is brutally raped in her own home and Detective Inspector Louise Rick is given the case. Subsequent investigation reveals the fact that the young woman met her assailant at an online dating website.

The perils of Online Dating are the focus of this story. The ubiquity of the phenomenon and the supposed anonymity of the participants.

I found this to be a good mystery, story wise....but the entire tone of the book was a bit dry, and bloodless. Something I'll chalk up to it being a translation. I did not find it as compelling as Stieg Larsson's work...to which it's been compared. ScandiCrime has become one of the darlings in publishing, lately....and any work containing potential "thrills" seems to be fair game. a pity, that..since this book is pretty low key. The addition of glimpses into Rick"s rocky personal life was a good touch....lacking sentimentality, they, again, proved that high stress jobs wreck havoc on romance.

There were enough plot twists in the story to keep it moving...some good insights into the feeding frenzy of the "tabloid" publishing mentality....and the fact that every job situation has its pompous dead weight.

I did enjoy this book, and would like to read more of Ms Blaedel's work. Recommended, but don't expect heart-stopping thrills...Louise Rick is no Liz Salander...but she works hard and gets the job done.

(3 Stars)

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The Witch's LadderThe Witch's Ladder by Dana Donovan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you're not already "into" Paranormal Lit....you might want to take a pass on this one..

Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys do Paranormal??? This clueless bunch of psychics could barely organize lunch...never mind the murder of one of their own...who embodies the "soul of all evil" (my quotes..not the author's)

The narrative bounces between snippets of "lectures" on all this paranormal....and trendy, Hip dialogue...a bit disconcerting. All of the stereotypes are here....as well as the funky fogs and spontaneous tornadoes/earthquakes/water spouts. There is grisly murder, complete with evisceration....."tribal" jealousy....a gambling jones....and a stalwart Policeman/convert.

I don't mean to make a complete hash of this book. It is not my genre-of-choice...but I was in the mood for "fluff" and I don't do romance...The plot was strong enough that it held my interest...but, I am a born skeptic. Things that "go bump in the night" probably do so for a very good reason...I like my Mysteries without the "hocus pocus". I will say, reading this book gave my Laugh muscles a workout!

Recommended to the already-converted...others, beware

(2 Stars)