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Thursday, November 30, 2017

NO SAINTS IN KANSAS by Amy Brashear

NO SAINTS IN KANSAS  by Amy Brashear
If you are at all familiar with Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD, you will recognize the story Brashear has used as the backdrop for her teen angst novel.  Outsider Carly is a “friend” of Nancy Clutter who is the ultimate insider.  The novel revolves around Carly’s obsession with solving the murders of the Clutter family in 1959 and clearing Bobby Rupp, Nancy’s boyfriend.
The characters are believable; the situations and conversations spot on.  Capote and Harper Lee make cameo appearances and bring a bit of New York brashness to the Nebraska Midwestern wholesomeness. When Carly’s father is appointed to defend the murderers, she (and her whole family) becomes an instant pariah to the entire town.  Small town morals and infighting come to the fore as the novel progresses.
Although billed as a young adult novel, anyone with an interest in the Clutter murders or small town life will find this novel appealing. Carly is a fictional character, most other characters and situations are based on the actual murders.

5 of 5 stars

THE ROOSTER BAR by John Grisham

THE ROOSTER BAR  by John Grisham
Should you cheer for deliberate, continuing law breakers? I sure did in John Grisham’s latest legal thriller.  A bunch of disgruntled, under educated, over loaned law students attempt to wreak havoc on the dishonest, underhanded, money grubbing multi-billionaire who is behind their failing law school.  The characters are unique and likeable. Although I didn’t follow some of the permutations of finance, it was easy to follow the plot.  The indictment of our legal system and the sympathy with those innocent, and not so innocent, but usually poor, persons caught in the maelstrom of street lawyers and too busy public defenders is clear.
Another well written, legal outing by a master of the genre.

5 of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

ETERNAL LIFE by Dara Horn

ETERNAL LIFE  by Dara Horn
So – was this a good book? It asks so many questions and doesn’t give many answers.  The clear take away is: Be careful what you ask for – you might get it! 

What would it be like to never die? To always return as an eighteen year old when one “life” is ended? What if this was punishment for sin? How many times can a person reinvent themselves and adapt to changing values, science, language, culture, etc, etc. Those are some of the questions this novel tries to answer.  Rachel, a complex character born in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, lives in the pages of this book for centuries as does her co-sinner and lover.  A basic knowledge of Bible history and a smattering of knowledge of the Jewish faith will help the reader grasp the nuances of the tale.  When we meet Rachel in this current age, Rachel is desperate to die – permanently.  

The book is well written, the characters are strong and sympathetic, the situation – well – that is a problem.  First, the God who loves people, and is the God Rachel knows, wouldn’t condemn a penitent to an eternal punishment.  The premise the plot is based on is false.  Second, the probability of one person finding another in ancient times, or even in modern times, is minimal.  So Rachel and Elazar would be unlikely to keep meeting. However, the questions the book asks are important to ponder.

So – suspend belief and enjoy the writing and the characters. It is fiction after all!

4 of 5 stars