Review: Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger

Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger

Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger

Series: Cork O’Connor #4

Genre: Mystery

Setting: Northern Minnesota

Source: Audiobook, Library (11 hours, 15 hours)

Narrator: David Chandler

Publishing Date: 2004

512 pages

Synopsis: When the corpse of a beautiful high school student is discovered on a hillside four months after her disappearance on New Year’s Eve, all evidence points to her boyfriend, local bad boy Solemn Winter Moon. Despite Solemn’s self-incriminating decision to go into hiding, Cork O’Connor, Aurora, Minnesota’s former sheriff, isn’t about to hang the crime on a kid he’s convinced is innocent. In an uphill battle to clear Solemn’s name, Cork encounters no shortage of adversity. Some — like bigotry and bureaucracy — he knows all too well. What Cork isn’t prepared for is the emergence of a long-held resentment from his own childhood. And when Solemn reappears, claiming to have seen a vision of Jesus Christ in Blood Hollow, the mystery becomes thornier than Cork could ever have anticipated. And that’s when the miracles start happening….

My thoughts

I read the first three of this series in 2017 and really liked them. I’ve meant to get back to the series and finally did. I listened to the audiobook and though it was 11 hours long it only took about three days to finish it! The narrator is great and the mystery is very good. It kept me guessing! Just like Cork I had many suspects throughout the course of the book!

The setting in the series is also one I really like. The books take place in northern Minnesota among lakes and forests. The main character is the former sheriff of his county and is part Irish and part Ojibwe Indian. The Ojibwe people and culture play a big part in these books and I love that. Cork O’Connor is very human, makes mistakes, but has strong ethical beliefs. He was raised Catholic, but no longer goes to church. Things happened in earlier books that caused him to doubt the existence of God. This book really explores different beliefs as well as miracles and spirituality. What is real when it comes to God? And how do we really know? How do we interpret “signs” from God? Are they real or not? Is God real? I like how this book talks about these things during the course of this mystery without preaching and without taking anything away from the mystery.

I also like that these books have lots about the relationships of the characters–especially Cork’s family. They have their ups-and-downs in and they’re not perfect, but they love each other. Cork has Ojibwe friends as well as white friends. There are tensions between the two groups of people in this book (as in earlier books), but Cork tries to have good relations with both groups.

I recommend this series if you like mysteries set in interesting places along with compelling characters and ideas.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Awards

Anthony Award for Best Novel (2005)

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book I borrowed (from the library)

Review: Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Series: Unknown

Genre: Mystery

Setting: Iowa

Source: Audiobook, Library

Narrator: Julia Whelan

Publishing Date: 2017

296 pages

Synopsis: When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters–her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

My thoughts

This is the first time I’ve read any books by Heather Gudenkauf, but I want to read more. I really enjoyed this story about a woman who lost her hearing in an accident. Her life fell apart after that–she lost her nursing job, she started drinking, her marriage fell apart, she no longer can see her step-daughter as often as she’d like to and she’s estranged from most of her friends. I like that this book feels authentic. The author doesn’t pull any punches.

Background

Two years after her accident Amelia is finally getting her life back together, but it hasn’t been easy. She’s living alone except for her hearing dog, Stitch. She’s applied for a job, but not as a nurse. She loves nursing, but she can’t go back to that yet. She’s joined AA and struggles daily to remain sober. However, she is staying sober.

She does get the job though she missed the first interview when she found a murder victim. The murder victim turns out to be a nurse that Amelia was good friends with before her accident. After the accident she shut out most people. Gwen, the murdered woman, had reached out to Amelia on several occasions–the last time a month or so before–but Amelia ignored her. Since Amelia knew Gwen she’s more drawn to try to find out why Gwen was murdered. There are lots of clues and it’s hard to know why Gwen was murdered. Some strange and scary things happen to Amelia, too–though maybe they’re just her imagination.

Narrator

The mystery is really good. There are a number of parts I thought were scary, but it didn’t stop me from continuing to listen feverishly. I liked the narrator of this audiobook–Julia Whelan. She’s easy to understand though maybe a little too matter-of-fact sometimes. However, I would listen to another book she narrates.

The characters

The fact that Amelia can’t hear really ramps up the suspense in the story. I like that Amelia is determined to be self-sufficient and manage her own life. Stitch is fun to read about. For the most part, he’s a great companion and pretty good hearing dog. He isn’t as obedient as I would have expected though he does come through when he needs to. I was a little surprised he was a hearing dog since he doesn’t always listen too well to Amelia. (That is acknowledged in the book.)

Jake is Amelia’s best friend and the one who has helped her the most to come to terms with her life. He’s a police officer and solidly behind her. Jake was her brother’s best friend and Amelia tagged along behind them–much to their chagrin. She had a crush on him when she was young. Amelia’s husband, David, is still in Amelia’s life. They’re separated, but not divorced. David allows Amelia to have supervised visits with her stepdaughter, but is not very helpful or understanding of what Amelia has gone through.

I’d love to read another book with these characters. However, it doesn’t look like Ms. Gudenkauf writes sequels. I recommend this book–especially if you like mysteries, dogs, people overcoming handicaps and good stories.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book by a local author (Iowa)

Review: Spindle by W.R. Gingell

Spindle by W.R. GingellSpindle by W.R. Gingell

Series: Two Monarchies Sequence #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2015

377 pages

Synopsis: She’s not a princess . . . but then, he’s no prince. 

Polyhymnia is deep in enchanted sleep. High in a tower, behind an impenetrable barrier of magical thorns, she sleeps, dreams, and falls ever deeper into her curse. 

Woken by a kiss, Poly finds herself in an alien world where three hundred years have passed and everyone she has ever known is dead. Luck, the enchanter who woke her, seems to think she is the princess. Understandable, since he found her asleep on the princess’ bed, in the royal suite, and dressed in the princess’ clothes. 

Who cursed Poly? Why is someone trying to kill her and Luck? Why can’t she stop falling asleep? 
And why does her hair keep growing? 

Sometimes breaking the curse is just the beginning of the journey.

My thoughts

I loved this fantasy! W.R. Gingell is fast becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. Several of the books and series I’ve read are a fairytale retelling which is what this book also is. It uses the Sleeping Beauty fairytale as its basis and then turns it all around.

I really enjoyed the story and the characters. The author often adds some romance without that taking over the story and I like that. She also has lots of humor in the book which is always fun. The world building is also interesting. Polyhymnia is woken from a very deep sleep and she doesn’t have much memory of why she fell asleep or exactly who she is. And she keeps falling asleep. Luck is the enchanter who woke her up with a kiss. He thinks she’s a princess and she keeps insisting she isn’t and that she doesn’t have any magic. Luck and Poly bicker and disagree about lots of things, but they also have each other’s back. The two of them embark on a journey and face many adventures. A very good book!

I’ve still got a lot of questions which is great since there are more books in this series. The book has a very satisfying ending, but lots of room for the next book to start where this left off. And it has different main characters. And lots of cats!

I’ve already got the next book in the series–Blackfoot–and will read it soon.

Have you read any books by this author?

My Rating: B+

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook–A fantasy book inspired by a fairytale

Review: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition by Martha WellsArtificial Condition by Martha Wells

Series: The Murderbot Diaries #2

Genre: Science Fiction Novella

Source: Hardback, Library

Publishing Date: 2018

158 pages

Synopsis: It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

My thoughts

I love Murderbot! These books by Martha Wells are such fun to read. Murderbot is so self-aware. I keep thinking of her as female though she’s actually neither male nor female and doesn’t want to be either. It’s hard for me to think of her as “it” as that seems to make her less than she is. However, the author makes a point of calling Murderbot an it so I guess I have to follow that lead. The fact that Murderbot has organic parts as well as inorganic parts makes it hard to think of it as property and with no feelings. Murderbot hacked its “governor” (which made it do whatever humans told it to do) which makes Murderbot’s desire to just watch video serials understandable. Even though Murderbot was treated as an object owned by a company and had to obey orders it has strong ethical beliefs.

This is a short book, but lots is packed in to the story. Murderbot is on its own in this book though it makes some friends along the way. It has decided to investigate what happened in its past–why it calls itself “Murderbot.” After that incident Murderbot’s memory was mostly wiped so it has only vague memories of what happened

Since Murderbot is traveling alone it is posing as an augmented human since security units are either owned by a company or have a human guardian. It hitches a ride on a research transport vehicle that it names ART. ART initially scares Murderbot, but they come to an understanding and help each other. I love the interactions between Murderbot and ART. There’s a lot of snark as well as genuine feeling between them.

The book has mystery, humor, adventure and danger. I already have the third book in the series!

My Rating: A-

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — The next book in a series you’ve started

Review: Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Note: I’m going out-of-town for a couple of weeks and I don’t know that I will have internet very much. I have a few posts I’ve scheduled, but I probably won’t get to check my blog very often. I was just starting to finally answer some of the comments people have posted and visit a few blogs, but that may not happen again very soon.

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito #21

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Arizona and New Mexico and the Grand Canyon

Source: Audiobook, Library

Narrator: Christina Delaine

Publishing Date: 2017

293 pages; 10 hours, 12 minutes

Synopsis: A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon. 

My thoughts

I’ve read the Leaphorn & Chee books written by the late Tony Hillerman for years, but this book is written by his daughter, Anne Hillerman, and it’s the first book I’ve read by her. I was a little worried when I saw she was continuing the series, but I loved this book. I feel it’s a great continuation of the series and I’m very happy she has written more books in this series.

There are earlier books I haven’t read (by both Hillermans) so I’m going back and reading some of those. Some things have obviously happened in these books that I haven’t read about yet!

The Grand Canyon

This is a really good mystery involving environmental issues and development in the Grand Canyon area. Lots of different groups want to weigh in on the issue of building a hotel near the Grand Canyon. Different Indian tribes may have different views as well as the many different views of the non-Indians. When the mediator’s car is bombed and someone dies the questions abound. Was the bomber killed? Is this ecoterrorism? Is the mediator in danger?

This is a part of the United States I love so I always enjoy books that take place in the Southwest. I think the book does a good job showing the beauty of that part of the country.

Bernie Manuelito

It was so fun to read about Manuelito as well as Leaphorn and Chee. I like that the narrator for Anne Hillerman’s books are narrated by a woman. That makes me feel Manuelito is getting equal billing with Leaphorn and Chee . (The cover of this book says “A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel” even though Goodreads doesn’t show that with their listing.) I like the way the three of them work together deciphering clues and depending on each other. It’s a really good mystery and I can’t wait to read more. And I like the part the lion plays in the story!

Audiobook

I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narrator–Christina Delaine. She did a great job with the different voices. A lot of the voices were male and I always thought they were male. Now I want to read and/or listen to more books in this series very soon!

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book with an animal in the title

Review: Modern Crimes by Chris Nickson

modern crimes by chris nicksonModern Crimes by Chris Nickson

Series: WPC Lottie Armstrong Mystery #1

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Leeds, England, 1924

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2017

288 pages

Synopsis: 1924: still reeling from the effect of World War I, life in the city of Leeds is hard: poverty is rife, work is scarce, and crime is becoming more sophisticated. Bravely entering this maelstrom is one of the city’s first policewomen to walk the beat, the resourceful, inquisitive, and practical WPC Lottie Armstrong. Eager to prove herself and determined to succeed, Lottie faces apathy from colleagues and the general public alike until she suddenly finds herself on the trail of a missing girl that leads to the underbelly of the city and to murder. As Lottie uncovers a plot involving high level corruption, CID reluctantly find they need her knowledge and people skills, but as the truth is slowly laid bare Lottie’s bravery is tested to its limit in a breathtaking climax. 

My thoughts

I liked this book, but was disappointed when I found out the next book takes place twenty years later. I wanted to read more about Lottie in the 1920’s. I probably won’t read the second book at this time since it’s expensive and I’m not as interested in reading it.

I thought the mystery in this book was very good and I enjoyed reading about Lottie and her fellow female police constable Cathy Taylor. I could understand how frustrating it was for them to work only with women’s problems and then have to hand anything serious over to the male police officers. And they didn’t receive much respect or help from any of the male officers. This was a very difficult position for both of the women police constables.

Even after Lottie makes significant contributions to a murder case and works with one of the detectives she doesn’t receive much thanks–and is even reprimanded. I enjoyed this a lot.

Chris Nickson writes other mystery series which sound great and I will look for one of those to read more books by him.

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca RoanhorseTrail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: The Sixth World #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dystopia

Setting: Navajo Indian Reservation–called Dinétah in this future

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

304 pages

Synopsis: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World. 

My thoughts

I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels. I usually find them sad and depressing. This is a dystopian future, but the urban fantasy aspects make the book more hopeful.

I love the setting for this book–Dinétah (what was the Navajo Indian Reservation). The book is set in a dystopian future where much of the Midwest is under water. The Navajos had built a wall to keep out people who wanted to steal their land so they survived.

However, the Navajo lands have problems of their own–severe drought, monsters, Navajo gods coming back, some Navajos manifesting powers depending on their clans. Maggie Hoskie is a monster hunter. She uses her clan powers to hunt the monsters in the Dinétah lands. However, as the book opens she has spent nearly a year mourning the disappearance of her mentor. She goes on her first monster hunt since his disappearance and discovers a monster she’s never seen before. The rest of the book is a search for the Diné witch that must be making these monsters. Lots of action, Diné gods, twists and surprises.

The world building is just wonderful in this book. Ms. Roanhorse uses Navajo myths, legends and stories to create the new Dinétah world. I love the Tony Hillerman Leaphorn and Chee mysteries set on the Navajo Indian Reservation and think he does a good job showing how the Navajo myths affect the police work Chee and Leaphorn do. Ms. Roanhorse takes that even further. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a book that has a weapon on the cover

Review: The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

the sinister pig by tony hillermanThe Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn & Chee #16

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: U.S. Southwest, Washington, DC

Source: Ebook, Purchased

Publishing Date: 2003

352 pages

Synopsis: Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is troubled by the nameless corpse discovered just inside his jurisdiction, at the edge of the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field. More troubling still is the FBI’s insistence that the Bureau take over the case, calling the unidentifiedvictim’s death a “hunting accident.”

But if a hunter was involved, Chee knows the prey was intentionally human. This belief is shared by the “Legendary Lieutenant” Joe Leaphorn, who once again is pulled out of retirement by the possibility of serious wrongs being committed against the Navajo nation by the Washington bureaucracy. Yet it is former policewoman Bernadette Manuelito, recently relocated to Customs Patrol at the U.S. — Mexico border, who possibly holds the key to a fiendishly twisted conspiracy of greed, lies, and murder — and whose only hope for survival now rests in the hands of friends too far away for comfort. 

My thoughts

Background

I love Tony Hillerman’s mysteries. I’ve read them for years (though there was a time in the late 1990’s and 2000’s I stopped reading mysteries). I’m going back now to read some of the ones I missed and some of the older ones I don’t remember as well or that I just want to read again and enjoy.

This is one of the books I hadn’t read and I really enjoyed it. I’m reading the books as I find them for a price I can pay so I’ve been skipping back and forth with the books. Each book is a self-contained mystery, but the overall arc of the main characters’ personal lives changes throughout the series so this isn’t the best way to read the books! I’m not sure that I read the two books before this one so I’ll eventually read those.

The story

This mystery involves Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee when an unidentified man is found shot in their jurisdiction. The FBI takes over the case and the case is closed when the Feds say the man was a hunting accident victim. This is a tense mystery. There were problems even in 2003 (as there have been for years before and years after) with illegal immigrants and drugs coming over the U.S. – Mexico border. And any time there’s lots of money involved people don’t want to give that up–so they don’t care who gets hurt or killed in the process.

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito is a main character in this book and I like her. She quits her job with the Navajo Tribal Police and  takes a job with the Customs Patrol at the U.S. – Mexico border. She’s curious about unusual things she sees during her patrols and that quickly gets her in trouble. Leaphorn and Chee begin to see that some of the things Bernie has seen may tie-in with their dead man even though no one at the federal level will talk to them.

One reason Bernie quit her job with the Navajo Tribal Police: she realizes she needs to get on with her life. She likes Jim Chee, but he doesn’t seem to notice her. I like that she realizes she has to be strong enough to leave that situation. She’s not only strong, but a smart, honest and conscientious law enforcement officer. And maybe Chee noticed her more than he let on!

A really good mystery and I recommend the series! I plan to read and review more of the books this year.

My Rating: A-

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

A Trick of the Light by Louise PennyA Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #7

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Quebec, Canada

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2011

352 pages

Synopsis: “Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

My thoughts

This series is as much a study of humanity as it is a mystery series. A Trick of the Light takes place mostly in Three Pines–the little Quebec village near the Vermont border where most of these books take place. In this book Clara Morrow finally has her solo art show at the museum in Montreal. Afterward, the Morrows have a party at their home in Three Pines and the next morning a body is found in the garden. Gamache and his team search for the killer among the villagers and guests of the party. There are plenty of suspects available for Gamache and his team. The problem is sorting through them and trying to see the truth.

This series keeps getting better and better. I’ve read two books in the series so far in 2018–Bury Your Dead and A Trick of the Light. These two books are among my favorite books of the year so far. I recommend reading the books in order. Some things won’t make sense otherwise and the books build on each other depending on what has happened in earlier books. I’ve been slowly reading the series for the past two or three years and am so glad–and that I still have more books to read before I catch up.

Chiaroscuro

He trotted out a word, he’d heard someone use that evening, a word he’d never heard before and had no idea what it meant. He’d turned to the painting of the Three Graces, the elderly and joyous old women, and said–

“The only word that comes to mind is, of course, ‘chiaroscuro.'”

Not surprisingly, the artists looked at him as though he was mad.

Because of Clara’s art show and the party in Three Pines after the show for friends as well as the art crowd there is lots of art talk in this book. The word “chiaroscuro” is used several times in the book–sometimes humorously. I had to look up the word. It means “the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.”

Clara’s paintings seem very straightforward and simple at first, but a discerning eye can see so much more in her paintings. Her treatment of light and shade captivate some people, but leave others wondering what all the fuss is about. Is it all just “a trick of the light?” Ms. Penny does such a great job in this book slowly showing the secrets and motivations people hide and how hard it is to sift through secrets and motivations to figure out what is “a trick of the light” and what is really true.

Relationships

There are many undercurrents from events that happened in earlier books. The relationship between Gamache and his second in command Jean-Guy Beauvoir was damaged during a previous book and that damage shows up in this book. Beauvoir must work through issues toward a better, more realistic relationship. We also discover more about Beauvoir in this book. I have a feeling that’s going to cause problems in some future books!

Characters in this series are neither all good nor all bad. Reading about the villagers in Three Pines is always so interesting. They’re all unique and they all have flaws. Some of those flaws are huge. For example, Peter Morrow is jealous of Clara’s success. Clara has struggled for years to find success as an artist whereas Peter found his artistic success early. Now it appears Clara will be a bigger success than Peter.  He does try to fight his jealousy, but is sometimes unsuccessful. Sometimes he subtly tries to undermine her confidence as an artist and Clara doesn’t have much self-confidence in her abilities to begin with. She has always seemed oblivious to Peter’s jealousy though Gamache has certainly seen and understood Peter’s feelings. Peter and Clara have to figure out what their relationship is really all about in this book. And does their relationship have something to do with the murder?

I compulsively read this book and got to the end and thought–“Wow!”

My Rating: A

Awards

  • Anthony Award for Best Novel (2012)
  • Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery Novel (2012)
  • Dilys Award Nominee (2012)
  • Agatha Award Nominee for Best Novel (2011)

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein

The Star Beast by Robert A. HeinleinThe Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: None

Genre: Science Fiction (one of Heinlein’s Juveniles)

Setting: Earth

Source: Audiobook, Library (8 hours, 50 minutes)

Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia

Publishing Date: 1954

253 pages

Synopsis:A compelling coming-of-age adventure from legendary SF master and multiple New York Times bestseller Robert A. Heinlein

Lummox has been the pet of the Stuart family for generations. With eight legs, a thick hide, and increasingly large size, Lummox is nobody’s idea of man’s best friend. Nevertheless, John Stuart XI, descendant of the starman who originally brought Lummox back to Earth, loves him. But when Lummox eats a neighbor’s car and begins to grow again, the feds decide that enough is enough. John isn’t about to let the authorities take his pet away, and with his best friend, Betty, he determines to save Lummox–even if he must forever leave the life he’s always known. 

My thoughts

I think I read this book years ago when I was a teenager, but don’t remember too much about it since that was a few years ago! I’m slowly rereading some of the early science fiction and fantasy that I read and Heinlein’s books are some of my favorites.

Heinlein’s juvenile series books are just so much fun to read. The young protagonists are heroic and adventurous. They usually have to learn to think for themselves and do what they know is right even when adults don’t always do that–a classic coming-of-age story. His young people may have to deal with a lot of problems, but they have a strong moral compass and know right from wrong. That makes these young adult books different from many written today that sometimes have more moral ambiguity in them. I also think theseThe Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein books work for adults because there are nuances that kids might not notice, but adults will.

I like this retro version of the cover which I think accurately shows the flavor of the story. Lummox is a friendly beast who sometimes finds loopholes in John’s directions and orders!

This story takes place on Earth, but with a creature brought back by an ancestor of John Stuart XI (the main character–along with the Lummox–of this story). I like that it’s his friend Betty who is the shrewd character in the story. She understands the political ramifications and the public relations value of Lummox as well as the value of powerful friends. There are stereotypes in the story–the dumb government officials who overreact and are overzealous, John’s mother who has decided what John should do with his life and doesn’t listen to anyone else’s opinions.

Anyway, I enjoyed this a lot. Lots of adventure, a good story and interesting characters. I listened to the audiobook and thought Paul Michael Garcia did a great job narrating. It definitely increased my enjoyment of the book. I especially liked his voice for Lummox.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?