Jan Evanovich: Turbo Twenty-Three

Twenty third in the series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, the entire cast we know and love is assembled once again for a romp around Trenton, NJ. Stephanie, who knows for sure there aren’t regular jobs she would care for, works for Vinnie, who posts bail bonds for the local criminal element. She works with Lula, whose most recent job description was ‘ho. Together they run down bail jumpers for Vinnie and collect a piece of the bond.

In this book, Stephanie is self described as looking like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. She has two ultra masculine boyfriends. Ranger, who was a Ranger and now owns and operates Rangerman Security, and Joe Morelli, a Trenton cop whose mom makes better-than-sex lasagna. Stephanie feels more domestic around Morelli, and more dangerous around Ranger. Both are generally available to jump in to rescue Ms. Plum should she and Lula get in over their heads as they apprehend criminals.  Most of Stephanie’s income goes to purchasing used cars since she wrecks at least one in every book.

This particular adventure unfolds when a delivery of ice cream from Bogart’s yields the frozen body of the Bogart’s human resources manager dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts – just like a Bogart Bar. Ranger has a deal with Bogart’s to fix up security at the plant, and Stephanie takes an assignment to go into the Bogart Ice cream factory undercover and see what she can learn. What she learns is further validation of her antipathy towards assembly line work. Along with her undercover efforts, she and Lula continue to apprehend a variety bizarre lowlifes, so there is never a lull in the action.

Grandma Mazur, Stephanie’s maternal grandmother dyes her hair red and takes up with a biker. Stephanie’s mom continues to toss back whisky shots and her dad continues to bark single word orders like Gravy! or Potatoes! at the dining room table. Stephanie continues to mooch pot roast and meatloaf dinners at Mom’s house in the Burg, her own larder being stocked only with peanut butter, hotdogs and hamster food.

Turbo Twenty-Three is classic Stephanie Plum. Jan Evanovich is irreverent, funny and comfortably predictable in this series. Her cast of characters are well known to her readers and we revel in their antics. No need for a dictionary here, this is a fast fun read and perfect for the plane. Did I want to keep on reading? I’ve read ’em all and look forward to the next.

– Dave

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.

 

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

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.

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is J. K. Rowling’s latest (and last) Harry Potter offering. Based on a new story by Rowling with John Tiffany (playwright) and Jack Thorne (director) Rowling presents the final Harry Potter story as a play. The play is written (and performed) in two parts and is currently in production in Great Brittan, with negotiations underway for Toronto and New York performances.

Harry Potter fans will recall Harry’s arch nemesis Voldemort has promised to return victorious by causing Harry’s demise. The story revolves around this promise and schemes hatched by various interested parties to disrupt Voldemort’s plans for a triumphant return (including preemptively killing Harry).

Nineteen years have passed and Harry, now thirty, is married (with children) to Ginny Beasly and Ron Beasly to Hermione Granger. Harry has a son, Albus. Dracos Malfoy has a son the same age, Scorpius. Everything starts at the train station, where at platform 9 3/4 , the Hogwarts Express is loading students attending Hogwart, a school for children of magicians. On this train ride, Albus and Scorpius meet and become good friends. Albus feels very much in the shadow of his famous dad and he and his dad do not see eye to eye. At school, Albus is chosen for Slytherin, the house of the snake and of dark magic and a major break with family tradition.

Albus and Scorpius come across a time travel gizmo, but it’s only a prototype and can only transport for five minutes. The boys use it in an effort to set right a perceived wrong, but produce unintended consequences. So of course they double down and time travel to fix what they broke the first time. And produce an even bigger mess.

In the end, all the old players hook up, Harry and Hermione, Ron and Ginny, Dracos Malfoy, and Albus and Scorpius to battle Voldemort one more time.

Did I want to read on? It’s Rowling, so yes, of course. It’s a good tale, full of twists and turns and lots of magic. That said, Rowling has assured audiences that the play would contain an entirely new story and will not be a rehashing of previously explored content. It seems a hard promise to keep while retaining most of the same characters and setting. If you want to read an entirely new story by Rowling pen, I suggest the Cormoran Strike series under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J. K. Rowling – $15.00

J. K. Rowling at the Book Shop

Children’s books at the Book Shop

-Dave

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is J. K. Rowling’s latest (and last) Harry Potter offering. Based on a new story by Rowling with John Tiffany (playwright) and Jack Thorne (director) Rowling presents the final Harry Potter story as a play. The play is written (and performed) in two parts and is currently in production in Great Brittan, with negotiations underway for Toronto and New York performances.

Harry Potter fans will recall Harry’s arch nemesis Voldemort has promised to return victorious by causing Harry’s demise. The story revolves around this promise and schemes hatched by various interested parties to disrupt Voldemort’s plans for a triumphant return (including preemptively killing Harry).

Nineteen years have passed and Harry, now thirty, is married (with children) to Ginny Beasly and Ron Beasly to Hermione Granger. Harry has a son, Albus. Dracos Malfoy has a son the same age, Scorpius. Everything starts at the train station, where at platform 9 3/4 , the Hogwarts Express is loading students attending Hogwart, a school for children of magicians. On this train ride, Albus and Scorpius meet and become good friends. Albus feels very much in the shadow of his famous dad and he and his dad do not see eye to eye. At school, Albus is chosen for Slytherin, the house of the snake and of dark magic and a major break with family tradition.

Albus and Scorpius come across a time travel gizmo, but it’s only a prototype and can only transport for five minutes. The boys use it in an effort to set right a perceived wrong, but produce unintended consequences. So of course they double down and time travel to fix what they broke the first time. And produce an even bigger mess.

In the end, all the old players hook up, Harry and Hermione, Ron and Ginny, Dracos Malfoy, and Albus and Scorpius to battle Voldemort one more time.

Did I want to read on? It’s Rowling, so yes, of course. It’s a good tale, full of twists and turns and lots of magic. That said, Rowling has assured audiences that the play would contain an entirely new story and will not be a rehashing of previously explored content. It seems a hard promise to keep while retaining most of the same characters and setting. If you want to read an entirely new story by Rowling pen, I suggest the Cormoran Strike series under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J. K. Rowling – $15.00

J. K. Rowling at the Book Shop

Children’s books at the Book Shop

  • Dave

Cherry Garcia? No, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead

Just through the door, an outstanding collection of Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia bios. Nineteen books in all, if you are a Dead-Head, stop in to mine this find.

 

A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead Dennis Mcnally $10.50
Captain Trips: A Biography of Jerry Garcia Sandy Troy $8.00
Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia Robert Greenfield $8.00
Deadheads: Stories from Fellow Artists, Friends, and Followers of the Grateful Dead (Citadel Underg Round) Linda Kelly $8.00
Garcia Rolling Stone $10.50
Garcia : An American Life Blair Jackson $12.25
Garcia A Grateful Celebration Periodical $8.00
Grateful Dead P. Crushkin $9.00
Grateful Dead a Trip Without a Ticket Pasquale De Bello $8.00
Grateful Dead Family Album Jerilyn Lee Brandelius $8.45
Home Before Daylight: My Life on the Road with the Grateful Dead Steve Parish $9.10
In the Spirit: Conversations with the Spirit of Jerry Garcia Wendy Weir $8.40
J. Garcia: Paintings, Drawings, and Sketches Jerry Garcia $20.00
Living With the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus With Garcia and the Grateful Dead Rock Scully $8.75
One More Saturday Night: Reflections With the Grateful Dead, Dead Family, and Dead Heads Sandy Troy $8.00
Searching for the Sound:  My Life with the Grateful Dead Phil Lesh $9.10
The American Book of the Dead Oliver Trager $8.00
The Book of the Dead: Celebrating 25 Years with the Grateful Dead Herb Greene $8.00
The Deadhead’s Taping Compendium, Volume 1: An In-Depth Guide to the Music of the Grateful Dead on Tape, 1959-1974 Michael Getz $20.00

Music and Dance at Book Shop

-Dave