The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler

Isaac Bell is the main character in a series of Clive Cussler branded books. Co-written with Jason Scott, the series features the adventures of detectives with the Van Dorn Detective agency, modeled after the Pinkertons. The Pinkertons always got their man, the Van Dorns never give up. Mid 19th century high technology always plays a big part in the Isaac Bell novels – steam trains, the telegraph, flying machines and radio all come into play.

The premise of this tale is that London’s Jack the Ripper did not die as claimed by Scotland Yard, but rather found his or her way to the good old USA where he/she continued slashing throats. Taking advantage of the Van Dorn Agencies broad reach in the USA, Isaac Bell uncovers a pattern in the murders of young woman across the country. He appeals to his boss to let him travel to England to pursue further leads and concludes that the location of certain US murders corresponds to the path taken by a theater production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as it tours the US by rail.

Undercover, Bell arranges to become an ‘angel’ offering to fund the production of a film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as it wraps ups it’s cross country tour in L.A. Bell’s sweetie Marion is a budding film producer with some creds, so she and Bell hitch the Van Dorn luxury rail car to the Jekyll and Hyde production train and work to suss out who the evil doer is. The dramatic conclusion takes place on the movie set with Bell and the evil doer locked in a deadly saber duel.

Of all the Clive Cussler / Isaac Bell series I have read (and I’ve read them all), this one appealed to me least. Perhaps it was the emphasis on ‘theater’, or the paucity of venues, or character development that didn’t really work for me, or the fact the Jack the Ripper has been done to tatters, but I was disappointed. I mean to say the train visited a lot of cities, but then straight to the theater or back to the train, so not much attendant travel log or interesting local color. Did I want to keep reading? I read two other books in the middle of reading this one, so not so much.

Dave

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John Sanford: Escape Clause

John Sanford’s latest thriller is a Virgil Flowers novel. Virgil Flowers works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, employed as a detective working out of Mankato. We often find him towing his boat behind his pickup with Lindy rigs in the tackle box, ready to take on the wily walleye whenever one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes is between where he is and where he’s headed. Flowers works Southwest Minnesota for BCA so we know his turf pretty well.

This time, the crime is the theft of two Amur tigers from the Minnesota state zoo. The evil doers plan the heist with inside help and execute very well. The Amurs are rare and beloved creatures to many so there is much consternation around this theft and Flowers is put on the case full time. Through Flowers investigative efforts, we learn the bad guys intend to butcher animals for their “medicinal” value in the Asian marketplace and have a standing offer of $250,000 for the processed animals. Bit by bit, Flowers unwinds the puzzle and locates the bad guys who are more than a little wacked out having murdered three folks who get in their way.

Sanford nearly always has at least one female bad guy in his stories and Escape Clause is no exception. This particular lady stands up in her sunroof and shoots up the vehicle of one of Flowers suspects. Other side plots involve Virgil’s girlfriend getting beaten up and his neighbor being firebombed (they got the wrong house in the dark). A family of six Iranian brothers show up to avenge the death of a seventh brother and continue to pop up in their RV from time to time. So lots of action, much of it bizarre in classic Sanford fashion.

Does John Sanford’s Escape Clause survive my acid test for a good read? You bet. As always, Sandford’s work is a real page turner and it’s hard to beat a book title that is a pun.

 

Beautiful Books by Greenwich House and Peerage Books

Looking for stunning leather look volumes to enhance your decor? Love the classics? Two birds, one stone. These beautiful volumes in faux leather by Greenwich House and Peerage Books feature gilt pages and fancy end papers. The books are tight and in excellent condition.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold; A Small Town in Germany, The Looking Glass War: John le Carre – $10

Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man: Dashell Hammett – $10

The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon, The Food of the Gods: H. G. Wells – $10

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold; A Small Town in Germany, The Looking Glass War: John le Carre – $10

Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities: Charles Dickens – $10

Library of World Poetry: E.D. William Cullen Bryant – $10

The Mirror Crack’d, Caribbean Mystery, Nemesis, What Mrs, McGillicuddy Saw!, The Body in the Library: Agatha Christie – $10

The Complete Short Stories; De Profundis; Poems; The Importance of Being Earnest & Other Play: Oscar Wilde – $10

-Dave

 

What’s on the Spinner?

This old Danner revolving bookcase has been a fixture in the Book Shop for years. We keep it full of the coolest books – the ones that catch your eye, or are just really different. So what’s on the spinner?

Crimson Shore: Preston Child – $9.45

Where They Stand: Robert Merry – $9.80

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry – $7.45

The Monster of Florence: Douglas Preston – $9.45

The Empire of Deception: Dean Jobb – $9.45

River of Doubt: Candice Millard – $7.50

Bartender’s Best Friend: Mardee Regan – $7.00

Even Dogs in the Wild: Ian Rankin – $7.80

The Spinner (revolving oak bookcase)! – $1595.00

-Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirate: Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell

Pirate is Clive Cussler’s latest, a Sam and Remi Fargo adventure, co-authored by Robin Burcell. As Cussler fans know, Mr. Cussler is lead writer of many of his books, Cusslerizing the writing of others well know for works of their own. Grant Blackwood, Russell Blake, Robin Burcell, and Thomas Perry have all co-authored one or more of the Fargo’s adventures.

Pirate is a treasure hunting tale featuring the Fargos, a wealthy husband and wife team with a knack for research and the discovery of long lost treasures. Funds are never a problem for the globetrotting Fargos.  Back at the ranch in La Jolla, they employ a research team with access to fabulous resources, with Selma Wondrash as the lead researcher, booker of travel arraignments and general go-to person who lubes the way for the Fargo’s success. Fargo adventures share a sense of light banter and by-play between the Fargos that makes the stories a bit softer than other Cussler series books.

The tale opens with a version of the story of the loss of King John’s treasure, a vast fortune in valuables, coins and crown jewels. This sets the stage for the hunt. We meet the Fargos in San Francisco’s China Town where they are searching for a copy of Pyrates and Privateers at Pickering’s Used and Rare Books. Immediately, they are confronted by a minion of Charles Avery, a corporate raider, salvage expert and all-around bad guy who also is searching for King Johns treasure.

As is typical in the Fargo adventures, Sam and Remi bounce from one spot on the globe to another running down clues at the sharp end of the stick, feeding Selma info she synthesizes into practical next steps. In Pirate, they hit Jamaica, Oak Island off of Halifax, Snake Island off Brazil, and Great Britain in their search for King John’s treasure. The Fargos find themselves one step behind Charles Avery most of the time.

The exciting conclusion occurs underground (as is often the case in Clive Cussler’s stories), this time in caves under the city of London. There they fight a final battle with the evil Charles Avery and his troops and of course, find the treasure.

Another in the long series (17 to be precise) of Clive Cussler’s New York Times best sellers, this is an action packed adventure studded with bits of history, geography and light romance between the Fargos. Did I want to keep reading? Yes!

Pirate by Clive Cussler at Book Shop

Clive Cussler at Book Shop

Mystery Adventure Fiction at Book Shop

C. J. Box: Endangered

 

This novel is another in the Joe Pickett series. Joe Pickett works for the State of Wyoming as a Game and Fish officer out of Absaroka county, where he lives with his wife Marybeth and daughters April, Sheridan and Lucy. Family friend Nate Romanowski makes an appearance as does Wyoming Governor Rulon. Romanowski is a family friend, a falconer and a dangerous fellow, while Rulon both makes demands on Joe Pickett and runs interference for him.

The story opens with the discovery of a destroyed lek, or nesting flock of sage grouse. Governor Rulon sees the grouse a revenue source for Wyoming like pheasants in South Dakota and wants Joe to get to the bottom of it.

Barely into this, Joe gets a call from the hospital saying his daughter April was found beaten and unconscious and is now in a coma. In short order, Joe learns his friend Nate Romanowski has been ambushed and torn up with buckshot and is also hospitalized and undergoing surgeries to remove the shot.

The sage grouse and Mr. Romanowski become side plots sort of balanced like buckets of water over a door, waiting to avalanche into the story-line as appropriate while finding what happened to April takes priority.

April has been dating handsome bull rider Dallas Cates, and Joe’s search for Aprils assailant leads him to the Cate compound and septic service. The Cates are to say the least, a freaky bunch but adept at manipulation and put Joe off the trail briefly. As the story unfolds and April’s situation begins to resolve, Box kicks the props out from under the grouse and Romanowski story lines and they plunge into the story too.

C. J. Box is an adept writer and a grand story teller. He seldom misses an opportunity to poke recalcitrant bureaucrats for their puffery and I like that about him. Did I want to keep reading? With C. J. Box, always.

 

Endangered, C. J. Box – $5.00

C. J. Box at Book Shop Sioux Falls

Mystery Adventure fiction at Book Shop Sioux Falls

William Kent Krueger: Northwest Angle

 

This story by regional author William Kent Krueger takes place on Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota. The date is July 4th, 1999. A rare weather system called a derecho produces straight line winds of over one hundred miles per hour in a broad swath across the lake. The result is the great Boundary Waters blow-down.

The story focuses on the Cork O’Conner family. Cork and his daughter Jenny are out on the lake when the storm hits. Cork maneuvers his launch in the lee of an island and they ride out the storm, then seek shelter on the island. While on the island, Jenny stumbles across a rude shelter inhabited by a young woman (dead) and an infant (alive). While on the island they are confronted by a man who is clearly searching for the inhabitants of the shelter and who is armed with a rifle. By the skin of their teeth, Cork and Jenny escape the rifleman and return to their resort with the infant in hand.

Since Lake of the Woods straddles the US/Canada border, someone with intimate knowledge of the lake and a fast boat can move goods between countries. Soon the O’Conners learn the rifleman at the island is likely Noah Smalldog, a rogue member of the Ojibwe band who is involved in smuggling.

Following reports of a fast boat docking at night at Stump Island, the O’Conners explore the island. There they meet members of the Church of the Seven Trumpets, a cult building a citadel on the island against end times which the Seven Trumpet folks say are coming soon. The O’Conners find themselves unwelcome and are run off the island.

In the meantime, Jenny falls in love with the infant and is fearful that Noah Smalldog is searching for the child. The story unfolds not unlike a Nancy Drew mystery, with appropriate twists and turns. Who is Noah Smalldog really? What are those Seven Trumpets people up to on Stump Island? Will Jenny be able to keep little Rabbit (as they call the baby)? The tale combines a blend of Christian and Ojibwe faith and philosophy. William Kent Krueger pens a great story and tells it well. The pacing is good and there is plenty to keep one’s attention. Did I want to read on? I sure did.

Northwest Angle: William Kent Krueger $7.50

William Kent Krueger at Book Shop Sioux Falls

Mystery Adventure at Book Shop Sioux Falls

  • Dave

———An Uncommon Collection———– ——Easton Press Collector’s Edition —— Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, Jesse James

Just in this AM. A seldom seen three book collection published by Easton Press. The topic is Old West. Billy the Kid (The Endless Ride), Butch Cassidy (A Biography), and Jesse James (Last Rebel of the Civil War) comprise this collection. These rich brown leather-bound volumes feature gold lettering, embellishment and gilt-edge. The end papers are fancy, the paper acid free and there’s a ribbon.

If your library includes Old West, this is a rare chance to acquire the full set of these handsome books.

Butch Cassidy – $95

Jesse James – $95

Billy the Kid – $95

Leather-bound at Book Shop Sioux Falls

 

 

 

Get your hippie – boho vibe on

Check out this excellent macrame hanging table. The table is constructed from welded steel rings lushly covered with lime green macrame knotting. This vintage hanging table suspends from the ceiling  and will be the focal point of any room it graces.

Macrame table at Gifty Things Vintage – $85.00

Just in this AM: Nancy Drew #65-#116

Nancy Drew is in the house! Or at least 51 of her books are. These trade size paperbacks from the late 80’s and early 90’s are clean and tight – spines are clear and colors are bright. The adventures of Nancy, Bess, George and Nick are priced at $4.00 each. If you love Nancy Drew, this is a great time to fill out your collection at a modest price.