Reviews of the books I've read

A list of all the books I've read this year. For these reviews, this is my book review scale:

burn Burn any copy you find of this book, it is horrific.
mock This book is awful. Don't read this book and mock anyone you see reading this book.
don't Don't read this book.
desert If you're on a desert island and are bored out of your mind, this book is okay to read.
fan If you're a fan of this author / genre, this book is worth reading.
worth This book is interesting, fun, entertaining, and thus worth reading. I would hand this book to a friend who asked for a _____ type book.
strongly I strongly recommend this book
amazing OMG, this book is amazing and/or life-changing, let me buy you a copy.

Post date:

Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)

Book Notes

This book was recommended to me in Susan's Slack channel by Francis. It had been mentioned in a meeting as a good business book to read. I read the first chapter, maybe the introduction, online, and bought the book. It's about the theory of cognitive dissonance and how reality intrudes on our beliefs, causing us to do things we don't think we would do.

The book is an easy introduction to the theory and the consequences of what happens when we have two opposing beliefs, how we justify bad actions to ourselves, and how we do those bad actions in the first place (one small step at a time). It also describes just how many people don't follow scientific methods before making declarations, making assumptions, or moving forward. In particular, most people including those in the health professions, don't understand statistics and control groups.

Memory is another area where justifications are made. The book discusses false memories, as well as how people remember how bad things are. The depth of "bad" is dependent on your desire for the experience, and inversely proportionate. If you want to do something and it sucks, it sucks less than if you do something and didn't want to do it, even if the experience is the same. You know, that whole justification thing, which is why we were reading this book to begin with.

The fundamental issue in all of this justification, however, is the lack of space to make mistakes. Mistakes are associated with being stupid in American culture, which means kids are trained to fear making mistakes. This, in turn, incentivizes not trying.

It's a horrible way to live, by the way.

I recommend this book highly, along with the philosophy of "Try, try harder. Fail, fail harder. Try, try again."

A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Book Notes

Pre-book notes

Mom bought this book when she was on her Indian writers kick. I have no idea what to expect.


Okay, this book was completely and totally not one I would pick up on my own. If Mom hadn't bought it in such a format that I would have it on hand, I wouldn't have read it. She was on an Indian writers kick, and read a large number of authors from India, this book and this author being one of her many.

The story is told in two interleaved parts, one from a first person point of view of a major in the Pakistani army, the other from a third person point of view of a narrator. The story is somewhat confusing at the beginning as the two parts intertwine, but totally clears up as the story progresses. I absolutely adored the way the author would tell of an incidental fact or odd coincidence in the story, then a bit later show how it was incredibly relevant in the story. I chuckled a large number of times, pleased when I caught the references.

I didn't catch some of the humour, and many of the references were lost on me, but I was delighted by the book. Totally outside of the books I normally read, and recommended.


Book Notes

Mid-book thoughts

I'm kinda chuckling at this book as I read it. It's all pre-Internet era advertising examples, which makes them hilarious in the context of today's world. That said, I wish there were an updated, relevant-to-today version of this book. Extracting the message, ignoring the historical juxtaposition with the number of upturned ideas about marketing, and the book is okay so far. Might be a bit too Mad-Men-esque for me.

End of book thoughts

Subtitled, "The Battle for Your Mind"

I read this book on the recommendation in How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products.

The book was first published in 1981, though there's a 2001 copyright on some of the books. As a result, oh, ha, a lot of the products discussed and idea presented are so dated I felt I was reading a Mad Men how-to manual of sorts. There were references to Xerox's failed attempts at the computer industry, along with references to the Marlboro man on television (uh.... nope, not any more), and American car manufacturers dominance in the minds of Americans. The parts where suggestions about "possibly think internationally" had me giggling. And, aw, man, I understood many of the references to the older ways of doing things (hey, how about that Thomas Register?).

I really would like to have this book rewritten with modern / updated product references and case studies.

That said, the positioning yourself and your career chapter totally hit home. Still relevant, still applicable, and still swirling in my head as "I need to do this."

Many thanks to Poornima for suggesting the book. I wouldn't have read it otherwise. It's a fast book to read, and, despite its datedness, worth the 3 hours to read it.

Introvert Advantage

Book Notes

Mid-book thoughts
I'm struggling a little bit with the part of the book that links thrill-seeking, dopamine resistant genetics with extroversion. The author has a section that talks about how thrill seekers have lower dopamine sensitivity and seek out novel, often dangerous, activities to alleviate boredom. My difficulty with this idea is that if introversion is building energy from the inside (instead of extroversion of absorbing energy from the outside), seeking novelty is orthogonal to introversion. Okay, if not orthogonal, at least not a causation as she seems to indicate.

Recognizing that a data point of one is the same as a data point of none, and that my experiences aren't necessarily reflective of a whole, blah blah blah, I find myself seeing experiences outside of my comfort zone, in the area of discomfort the author says thrill-seeking extroverts thrive. I don't seek thrills or need to do dangerous stunts to believe that I'm alive, but I do want experiences, to live life fully.

Maybe it's because I have trained myself to be outside of my comfort zone, and that training means that my natural state is OUTSIDE of it. Maybe I'm not comfortable IN a comfort zone, which is one of the weirdest things to say about an introvert.

I'm not sure. Have to think on this more. I will say that I had to reread the section several times, pondering it. I don't agree with it. I think she found a correlation, not a causation.

More mid-book reading, I've stalled on this book, based on the irrelevancy of some of the content. In particular, introverts dating. The advice isn't relevant to me.

End of book thoughts

This book ended up being a better book than I was expecting it to be. The beginning was annoying to me because it started off as all about the author and her world as an introvert. It didn't seem to apply to me. The middle part about introverts dating didn't seem to fit either, because the advice was for shy introverts. I'm not a shy introvert. I am completely and totally an introvert. I am, however, likely to go up and talk to people while ignoring social norms like "You aren't supposed to just ask the CEO out for dinner, bring the family" sort of things. People are people and I find some of the limitations and barriers we create to be not worth seeing, since they aren't valid. So, yeah, I'm not a shy introvert. I am, however, an introvert.

Which is why the last 40% or so of the book WAS relevant and incredibly interesting to me. Introverts in the workplace? F--- YES, let's talk.

Introverts and communication styles?

Introverts and personal space?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

God, I wish I had some of this insight three years ago. My world would have been a lot less grey back then had I had it.

So, while the first part, meh, get through it, the last part is incredibly insightful for introverts. On that basis, I recommend this book.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Book Notes

Okay, I picked this book up for really cheap, after being notified it was on sale in an email from BookBub, a site with daily emails of books that are on steep discount or free on Amazon and Apple Books.

This is the first of the series of books the show Dexter is based on. I've watched the show, I found it somewhat entertaining, if hard to watch with some of the gore and just wrongness of the whole concept. I mean, not of the fact there's someone taking out the people who are killing people and not being caught, but that such people could exist (both the people doing the killing and the person killing the people doing the killing). It is an interesting twist on the concept of right and wrong and the morality of revenge for those who don't find justice.

The book follows the series incredibly well, with few details different. Said details are pretty significant, but come late enough in the story that I was thinking, "Huh, I pretty much know how this is going to end." I didn't, and that was okay. I might read the next book to see how the books and the series diverge, but only if the book is on sale (or free from the library), and only if I've run out of other books to read. The premise of the books doesn't sit well enough with me to continue reading the series.

I'm glad to have read the book. I suspect fans of the television series would enjoy it.

Possibly unrelated, I am amused by the author's name, even if it is a pen name.

The Burning Room

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 19

As far as Bosch books go, it isn't clear that this is the *last* one, but it is currently the last one published. In it, Harry has about a year to go before he's completely dropped from the police force. You would think that at SOME POINT in his career, he would be able to figure out how to be political. You would think at some point he would have learned how to be just enough manipulative to get his own way. But, no. He hasn't (er... hasn't been written that way), and so, goes out on a stupid thing like, "getting a report for the amazing TWENTY YEAR OLD CASE I JUST SOLVED." Come on. You reward shit like that, you don't fire someone 6 months from retirement.

Okay, so, Harry is an old fart now. It happens. He's, what, 64 at this point? Yeah, old.

And yet... someone dies, a bad cop did it, tunnels. Still.

19 books worth of that plot.

And I read them all! Take that reading list goal! CRUSHED YOU!

Anyway, if you like the first few books, enjoy 19 books of essentially the same plot, with a few clever twists. I've enjoyed them enough that, SHOULD ANOTHER BOSCH BOOK COME OUT, I will read it.

Yeah, I kinda miss the guy already.

The Black Box

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 18

Okay, come on, how much coincidence can one stand? I mean, yeah, an author is going to write a nailbiter, create some suspense, but coincidence after coincidence after coincidence allows this seemingly random 20 year old case to be solved. Classic Bosch, too! Someone dies, the bad cop did it, tunnels. In this particular case, it's not a tunnel, per se, but it totally the darkness of the tunnels, so let's say metaphorical tunnel.

This is the second to last Bosch book currently published. There was enough eye rolling with all the dead cops but the case is still solved after twenty years that, well, I have to admit this counts as the first of two bad books that might make me stop reading the series (two books in a series in a row bad, and I now stop). Bosch's girlfriend is clearly completely annoying, and clearly there only for filler. She doesn't add much to the plot, yet is insecure enough to be awkward. The real Bosch would have dumped her already, as he tried to do at the beginning of their relationship in the previous book.

Nearly done with the series, which is good, because I've been tearing through these, and, well, with the end so close, I'll be somewhat relieved to finish the series. Even in his old age, Bosch is still a lone wolf, a keep-the-cards-tight-to-the-chest, if-I-die-the-case-goes-with-me sort of player. You'd think he would have mellowed out.

I don't recommend this book unless you've already been reading the series and want to finish it. Then it's classic Bosch, read it.

The Drop

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 17

Okay, I have to say, Bosch has this most annoying habit of keeping all of his theories and suspicious to himself until he can play them out and confirm every little detail with them. I would f---ing hate working with him because of this trait. I want my coworkers to be working WITH me to an end goal, not hoarding knowledge and ideas that could help the rest of us achieve the goal we have set out for ourselves to accomplish.

This particular habit has become tiresome in this detective.

That all said, this was one of the better Bosch books. Oh, we had someone die. We might have even had a bad cop do it. And we most definitely had tunnels, though perhaps not in the most literal of ways.

There are two cases being solved in this book, the second was a bit too clean and, oh, look, one, two, three, follow the trail to the cold case perp. How convenient. Perhaps the whole idea of hiding in plain sight isn't so far fetched, though, really, this is fiction and all.

Yeah, so, it's a Bosch book. Bosch is getting old and I'm nearing the end of the series. Two more books and I'm done, even if there is another Bosch book after 19. After 19 books, ugh, this series is longer than the Dresden series, and THAT is a series I'll actually actively recommend.

The usual, if you're reading Bosch, clearly there's a reason why, so keep reading recommendation.

The Reversal

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 16

This book was a Harry Bosch / Micky Haller combination book. Contrasting how the last Micky Haller book claimed to be a Bosch book wasn't really a Bosch book, this one is half of a Bosch book.

In particular, the narrator's perspective oscillated between third-person Bosch-is-doing-stuff to first-person here-is-Haller's-viewpoint. While initially jarring, the changing perspective worked for this book. I suspect that Connelly writes all of the Haller books in the first-person, the previous one was, so this is likely keeping in line with that style.

We see more of the dynamic between Haller and Bosch, and Haller and his ex-wife. There were a lot of mis-directions in the book, which, honestly, were a nice contrast to the normal Bosch style of he gets everything right. You know, part of the Bosch formula.

Speaking of that formula: someone dies, tunnels. The bad cop might not have done it. You'll have to read the book to be sure. I enjoyed the book enough to say it's not the first of two books in a row needed for me to stop reading a series, so I'll keep going. Bosch has to slow down at some point, right?

Nine Dragons

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 15

With the speed that I have been reading these Bosch books, you'd think that I really enjoy them. You'd be somewhat right, I do enjoy them, but not necessarily really enjoy them. They are entertaining, to be sure.

So, in this book, as in thirteen of the last fourteen books, someone dies and there are tunnels. I know, I know, you're expecting me to say, "AND A BAD COP DID IT." Well, sorta. Read the book to understand what I mean. The series definitely took a right turn in the middle of it to a point of complete "Wait, WTF. Did that just happen?" The emotional stuntness (is that a word? it's a word now) of Bosch (okay, of Connelly's portrayal of Bosch) is stunning. The man cannot describe emotions to save his life. There is a dark abyss of raw pain that people descend into at certain points of their lives. That Connelly was unable to describe it well leads me to believe that Bosch's "mission" is a cover for his sociopathy. Here, let's look at Wikipedia's definition:

Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/), also known as—though sometimes distinguished from—sociopathy (/ˈsoʊsiəˌpæθi/), is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior.

Antisocial? Check!
Diminished remorse? In this book, check!
Bold behavior? Check!

I understand the plot minimized the time available for any kind of mourning in the book, but come on, Bosch does not do emotions (or Connelly can't write them, I don't know which, as I don't know if being emotionally stunted is a deliberate creative choice).

Look at me, finally analyzing the characters!

Anyway, it was a fast read. Good enough to continue reading the series if you're already a Bosch fan. There's a left (right?) turn in the middle of the book that is stunning, so way worth reading if you're already invested in the series. If you haven't started, don't jump in the middle, go read books 1-3 to see if you like the series.

How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products

Book Notes

This is my review of the book for work:

Finished reading How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products - it was a Shopify Montreal library book, and, I think, a great choice. I read it in about 3 days on the bus rides into work, so it's a quick read. It's a guidebook on how to build software from validating an idea before writing software, through user personas and stories, designing workflows with paper, prototyping guidelines, basic marketing strategies and metrics. The typography and copy-editing needs work; the book has no ISBN [edit: the copy I have doesn't, but the book does: 978-1-4951-4124-9], and is available at and Amazon.

Okay, that's the blurb of it. The opinion of it: if you already know all of this information, if you already write code and know about full product life-cycles, then, sure, all you're going to get out of this book is how much it needed a copy-editor before publishing.

However, it is the PERFECT book to hand to someone who doesn't write software or is new to software development, and wants to take an idea through to project launch and growth. It's a great roadmap: it's not deep in any area, but points the reader in the right direction.

My new plan for people who approach me at conferences with ideas they want to build is now recommend this book and suggest they do the exercises through chapter 7, then come back and we'll talk.

I recommend this book for software people as a blueprint, it's an easy read and eye-opening to all the things you already know but everyone else doesn't. For non-software people, this is the perfect blueprint for building a software product.

Ignore the typos and the "you've gottas."

Of note, I have it as a work-provided book. Work has this amazing library where employees are allowed to take books from the library to read, and return if they want or keep them if they'd like. I love this idea. Many of the books are business books, some are inspirational books. It's a great idea for a library.

Notes while reading:

If your book has a "you've gotta" in it, then you've gotta have an editor before you publish. A number of these odd speech patterns and assorted typos are distracting while reading. I would argue having someone do the typography design would also benefit this book. The tiny print, tall line spacing and small margins make the book difficult to read. Bigger fonts and thinner paper would have been a great improvement for the readability and feel of this book.

The exercises in the book are great.

Wow, is it easy to forget just how much one learns over the course of a career writing software for a living.

Questions to ask self in weekly reviews (similar to what I already ask, actually):

1. How much time did you spend on your idea this week?
2. If you didn't spend any time this week, why not?
3. Will you be able to set aside the same amount of time next week? If not, why not?
4. If you worked on your idea this week, what were the specific tasks you did and were there any results (doesn't matter if they were positive or negative)?
5. Is there anything you are stuck on? What is it?
6. If you did get stuck, who do you know who could help you, and what is the specific help you need from them? Or do you need to do some thinking or research on your own?
7. Set 1-2 goals for the following week (eg "do exercise 1 in chapter 3")


Brass Verdict

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 14

Okay, this wasn't REALLY a Harry Bosch book. It was a Mickey Haller book, I think book three of that particular series, maybe book two. I don't know. While the book itself was entertaining, and there's enough background to understand some of the Mickey Haller series, I was reading this book because it was a Bosch book. It wasn't really a Bosch book. Bosch is a secondary character to Haller, only part of the plot.

For the book itself, even though it wasn't what I was expecting, it was entertaining enough. There were a number of plot twists and quite a few, "And I figured it out for myself" Haller moments to get the gist of the Haller character. The book is written in the first person, which was great for explaining the actions and interpretations of Haller, as the main character. First person books done right are great reads. This was a fun read about how a courtroom might actually work. Having not been in a courtroom for anything more than a parking ticket, I can't say that it is or isn't an accurate portrayal of reality.

There's one big twist at the end of the book that I didn't see coming. I liked it.

I'll read the next Bosch book, even knowing that Haller comes back in two books, and that I probably should just stop reading this series. Still trying to get to book 19.

While this wasn't a Bosch book, per-se, it's on the Bosch list, and listed as book 14. There was only one mention of a tunnel, and hey, maybe a bad cop didn't do it, so maybe, just maybe, this isn't a Bosch book for-realz.

If you're reading the series, keep going. If you're not, start with books 1-3 to see if you like them enough to keep going. They're all pretty much the same book.

The Overlook

Book Notes

Harry Bosch, Book 13

Lots of references to Echo Park and the screw up that it was, in this book. I didn't recall that in the last book, but, hey, let's go with it.

This is a short book. I read it in two evenings, with a monster headache happening during both evenings. It was classic Bosch: someone dies, he follows a trail, OH LOOK IT MIGHT BE ANOTHER BAD COP (you weren't going to read this far into the series, were you? Okay, maybe you are, but I can't possibly be spoiling the plot or the outcome because THAT'S HOW EVER SINGLE BOSCH BOOK ENDS: the bad cop did it). There was only a passing reference to a tunnel.

Surprisingly little jazz in this book.

And no woman / sex line. More than a little refreshing. Oh, and a new partner! Who doesn't go along with Bosch! Win!

My conversation about the book at work went something like:

> Not recommended if you haven't read the previous 12 books in the series and liked them
I feel like this is the reading equivalent of "It gets good about 40 hours in"

Nope. Never really gets good. I just like the cranky main character.
Here's the plot of every book in the series: someone dies. a bad cop did it. tunnels.



Yeah, so, if you're reading the series, clearly you like them enough to keep going, so yes, read this one, too. If you haven't read any Bosch, read books 1-3 first and see if you can stand this many in this series. I'm going to 19, or two bad ones in a row, which ever comes first!


Book Notes

The dust jacket blurb is awful:

Wool introduced the silo and its inhabitants. Shift told the story of their making. Dust will chronicle their undoing. Welcome to the underground.

The book, however, is great. There were a number of parts in the book where I just hated to keep reading. All of them were parts of people being assholes to other people. There's looking out for your own needs, and then there's just plain greed. The former I understand, the latter I do not. The deliberate claiming of another person as property I also cannot stand.

Upside to this book, it has as close to a happy ending as you can get in a book with the previous two books Wool and Shift prior in the series. The plot in this world doesn't jump between centuries, making it easier to read. It wraps the saga up nicely, lots of small mysteries solved, which was nice.

I recommend reading this book (after the previous two, of course, it'll make no sense without those two first).


Book Notes

Okay, here's the blurb on the back of the book:

In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, the CBS network re-aired a program about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall. And the ability to forget it ever happened.

Doesn't really do the book justice. It's a background and continuation of Wool. I struggled to start with this book. Wool was great, and while I was interested in more of the Silo world Howey had created, I wanted the story to sit. It felt complete. This one starts out with how the Silo world was created. Given it starts out with politics and manipulation, I can't say I was overly enthusiastic about it. Okay, I wasn't. It took me a long time to get into this book.

I really like Howey's writing style, however, so I kept going. After I decided a couple days ago that I was going to finish a book, dammit, this is the one I chose, and I'm glad I did. I finished it, and finished it fast. It's good.

Yay, the book-finishing-drought is finally over! This is a great one to do it with, if you've read Wool. If you haven't read Wool, read it first, then read thing one. Next up, Dust.

Practical Empathy

Book Notes

I bought this book almost immediately after it was published. As someone who has been told time and time again that I lack tact, I dove into this book with abandon and joyous expectation that this book would help me be more aware of the people around me, their motivations, their stories, their expectations, their fears and hopes. My desire was to learn to be empathetic. For the first six chapters of this book, however, I was fairly disappointed in this book. Pretty much the only thing I got out of said first six chapters was the correction that one is not empathetic, but rather one has empathy. Empathy is something that is developed, and, oh, boy, I was thinking this was not the book to teach me how to develop it. This was not the book for me.

To start, the first three (of nine total) chapters are introduction to developing empathy. I was so confused by the lack of anything useful in the first three chapters that I figured I missed something, something so fundamental that it would be obvious on a second pass.

So, I read the first three chapters again.


It's three chapters of why I want to buy this book. I already bought the book. I am already reading the book. Tell me how to start this journey, push me down this path to empathy already. I don't need more convincing, just go already. The first three chapters could have been condensed into one introductory chapter.

Okay, so along chapter four, I have more than just the proper definition of empathy. Good. Let's go.

Right into formal listening sessions.

Uh... What?

And then it dawns on me, finally, that this book is not a practical guide for the general layman to develop empathy. This is a very specific guidebook for people who do market research in its earliest states. This book is for people who are trying to understand the motivations of people buying stuff relevant to said reader's company's products, goals, and mission. This book is for people who are trying to get their company to understand people's motivations so that the company can make money off of them (-ish, that's a cynical approach, but perhaps not too far off for American companies).

In other words, this book is not the book I was expecting or wanted it to be.

Having recently read Prodigal's Interviewing Users, a great guidebook on how to do exactly that: interview people who use your product or product idea, I found this book long-winded, scattered, and unfocused. It felt like standing in a time-out on the ultimate field and everyone wants to get a word in on how the team can improve. With so many suggestions and things to try, you can't remember any of them, you just have item after item after suggestion coming your way, it's overwhelming.

Things improved in Chapter 7: Apply Empathy with People at Work. FINALLY practical empathy tips, actionable suggestions that are worthwhile. I almost wish this chapter were the whole book.

Thing is, though, you HAVE to take this book in small chunks. Read a section, maybe a page, and mull it over, play with it, moosh it around in your head, practice it, digesting, and THEN move on to the next idea. Otherwise, it's too much.

As with all my book reviews, take my perspective and reading motivations as factors in this review. This was not the book I was expecting, and not the book I wanted. I am not the target audience for this book. As such, I cannot recommend reading this book for someone who wants to learn how to develop empathy. I can recommend this book for people who have read Interviewing Users, do face-to-face user interviewing research, and want to learn how to shut up and listen to people talking to you. I am not in that latter group.

Deadline (Virgil Flowers)

Book Notes

Virgil Flowers, Book 8

Okay, finally, I have finished the publish Virgil Flowers series. All eight books. I can finally go back to reading the the "boring" technical books I have started. About time.

This book was fun. As typical, Flowers ("that f'ing Flowers") has multiple crimes going on, and he is investigating them all at the same time. We learn more about Johnson Johnson in this book, which is great. No fishing, but lots of bad guys. There's a murder (or a few) and one point where we find out, though only briefly, that Flowers is human.

The odd thing about this book is that Flowers pretty much had everything figured out by 43% of the way into the book. Yet, the rest of the ride, the remaining 57% was still engaging.

I laughed out loud many times, with the dialog in the book, reading some of it to the people around me because it was so amusing. Mom commented to me that she had laughed out loud with this book, and it was her favorite Virgil Flowers book, so, yeah, it's recommended. The plot is shallow but engaging. The dialog is amusing, quick-witted, and entertaining. Having read the previous 7 books helps with some of the references in this book, but isn't required.

Besides, this book had beagles in it. What's not to love?


Storm Front (Virgil Flowers)

Book Notes

Virgil Flowers, Book 7

Okay, so, this one was a twist on the f---in' Flowers plot lines: there was no murder to investigate. I rather like that about this book, and the storyline. It was an adventure, a high-speed car chase. While some people were shot at, no one died. What I found most peculiar, and delightful, is that everyone in the book specifically didn't want to kill people. There wasn't a hair-trigger "let's go kill me some people!" reaction that seems prevalent in most mysteries / adventure / action / westerns books. It becomes a little uncomfortable because, well, it's a thought process so far removed from mine that it's, eh, yeah, discomforting.

I enjoyed this book. It ended amusingly. I recommend this book if you've liked the series so far.

That all said, what really hit home for me in these books is the level of communication that Flowers has with his boss, Davenport (who is, I'm told, the central character in Sandford's Prey series of books). Flowers keeps his boss in the loop on his activities, relies on his boss for help (because, really, that's what a manager is supposed to do: enable his employee to do his best), helps his boss when he can, and delivers results.

I don't know why I hadn't noticed it in previous books, it really stood out for me in this one. I like it. I don't like telling people (read: leads and bosses) bad news, but if I don't tell them, they can't help me at the exact point I need the most help.

I think, along with my super-powers speaking shirt, I am going to start using my Flowers over-communicator. I like that personality facet of Flowers.

Even if he is a fictional character, I can still be inspired by him.

Mad River

Book Notes

Virgil Flowers, Book 6

Okay, this Virgil Flowers book is not a mystery at all. From the first paragraph, we have the villains' names and their actions. We don't know exactly why they are doing what they are doing, but we know who they are and what they are doing. So, no mystery with a big reveal at the end about the bad things, just one giant action scene.

Eh, that accurately describes it, one long car chase.

Which isn't a bad thing. I remember reading Gerald's Game years ago and thinking, "Okay, King is a good author if he's able to make the story of a woman hand-cuffed to a bed for two days an interesting story." I had a similar reaction here, in that, okay, it's a 6 hour car chase by Virgil Flowers of three relatively dim-witted small-town teenagers (with a note in the book that half the population is dumber than average, which isn't necessarily true unless there is an evenly mirrored distribution of intelligence about a reflection point at the average, which there isn't, and also a discussion way off point here, but the note is in the book. Now, if we were talking median instead of average...), and, yet, it is still interesting.

Best to read that previous sentence without the content between the parentheses.

So, yeah, we have a 400 page car chase and a crap tonne of murders. Not the usual one maybe two (okay, four) that seem to be in every Flowers book. We start off with five and it gets worse from there. Of course the book's back cover tells us this, which is why, after someone has already recommended a book to me, I don't read the two sentence summaries on book jackets. Too often, they ruin the book.

And back to this book. Hey, Flowers isn't perfect. He doesn't always win. He's good, a statistical anomaly to be sure, but even he both makes mistakes and fails. We finally see this in this book.

There is a bit of a mystery in the book. I enjoyed it, and managed to read it starting at 11pm last night until 4am. No idea why I kept reading and wasn't tired. Was a fun ride.

Recommended. The whole series is recommended so far.

Dry Bones

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Book 11

Well, that didn't take me long to read. Being sick means you can sit around and read. I will admit, however, I would have liked to have listened to this book, as sometimes when sick even reading is difficult.

This particular Longmire mystery involves, HEY, A DEAD GUY. It also involves a dinosaur, which is nifty. We also find out in this book that there are 2483 people living in (the fictional) Absaroka County, Wyoming. Seriously, if there were that many murders in that small of a county that I was living in, I sure as hell would move away from that county. Of course, hell isn't really sure, so maybe I'd stay because I loved living there. Who knows.

This book was more of an action-packed conversation than a mystery. We have the dead body in the first few pages, and not so much of a hunt for the killer as a confusing twist of related actions that make sense in the end just sorta happen along the way. The dialogue is still great, I laughed a number of places, and was engaged throughout the book. This isn't the best Longmire book that Johnson has written, but it was entertaining enough to enjoy and keep reading the series.

So, if you're a Longmire fan, keep reading. If you're not, read one of the earlier books to see if you like them before reading this one.