Profile for Judith Lindenau > Reviews

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Content by Judith Lindenau
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Reviews Written by
Judith Lindenau "dulcie22" (Traverse City, MI USA)

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Dogs of Riga: A Kurt Wallander Mystery
Dogs of Riga: A Kurt Wallander Mystery
by Henning Mankell
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 39.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frighteningly Real, May 28 2003
One of the previous reviewers mentioned that "Dogs of Riga" might be difficult for Americans because of its pervasive 'Scandinavian gloom'. True, I think, but what makes this novel even more unsettling is the thick, murky atmostphere of mistrust and suspicion depicted in the countries of Eastern
Europe in the early 1990's. It is difficult for Americans to empathize with the fear and suspicion of those times, which is the setting of this novel. The repressive and grim background is indeed the leading force in the novel: it is a force which still impacts life in much of the Eastern Bloc today, accompanied by suspicion and corruption.
Against that setting, then, the characters assume heroic proportions. The desire of Wallander to do his job well and bring closure to the deaths, the courage of Major Liepa to confront corruption, and the passion of Baiba Liepa to revenge the murder of her husband--all assume epic dimensions when viewed against the social backdrop. The plot is thickened by the lies, fear, and deceit by which even the ordinary citizen must survive. The labyrinth is constructed with masterful prose and an observant eye, hallmarks of Mankell's craft as a writer.
"Dogs of Riga" is a classic of the genre. More complex and better crafted than the typical police procedural, it is a 'must read' for the epicurean mystery reader.

Echoes of Lies
Echoes of Lies
by Jo Bannister
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars More than a thriller..., May 26 2003
This review is from: Echoes of Lies (Hardcover)
It would be easy to categorize "Echos of Lies" a 'thriller' or a good mystery, but to do so would be to take the easy way out. Jo Bannister's novel certainly fits those superficial descriptions--in fact, it rates most highly in the suspense department. But in all fairness to the author, there is much more going on here. "Echos of Lies" is an examination of lies, and lies about lies. Not only is the kidnapping of a young child a lie, all of the relationships which surround Sophie are filled with untruths and pain. And each of the characters who participates in her rescue must create their own deceptions and wrestle with the question of the destructive nature of truth. When should they lie? When is it better to tell a half-truth, or no truth at all? At the beginning of the novel, Daniel Hood is tortured relentlessly for information: the first words he speaks in chapter one are "I don't know...".
And he doesn't know. Miraculously, he survives physically, and confronts his torturers. Miraculously, he unravels the mysteris surrounding kidnapping and death. And at the end, the truth is too destructive to be told. The last sentence of the book is Daniel's lie to the police inspector: "No," he lied. "She never knew, and I never told her."
This book is truly good writing. More than just a challenging read or a thriller, it contains a penetrating depth of thought which makes it intellectually satisfying as well.

The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
239 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A book I will give to my women friends..., May 1 2003
This is a lovely book. I don't give that praise easily...and by giving it, I mean that the novel is well crafted with expressive prose and finely drawn characters. It has a depth of meaning not only in its action, but in the allegorical depth suggested through the imagery which forms an intricate substructure. "The secret life" speaks of motherhood, womanhood, love, discovery, and personal strength. It provides wisdom to women, and pride, and beauty. And, it's a compelling story. I will give it as a gift to the people I care about.

Hold the Cream Cheese, Kill the Lox: A Ruby, the Rabbi's Wife Mystery
Hold the Cream Cheese, Kill the Lox: A Ruby, the Rabbi's Wife Mystery
by Sharon Kahn
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Ruby Rules!, April 6 2003
Kahn's 'Ruby, the Rabbi's Wife'(well, widow) series is a delight! All four mysteries are vehicles for Kahn's wicked sense of humor and sharp descriptions of the Jewish community, and they are plotted simply and entertainingly. In "Kill the Lox", Essie Sue (the Jewish princess)is planning a bar mitzvah for the terrorist twins. Kevin Kapstein, the fumbling and pompous rabbi, stumbles through the plot as well, lurching along behind Essie Sue as they plan the largest celebration Eternal, Texas has ever seen in the Temple Rita.
Plans go astray when Herman, the master lox cutter, is found sliced by his own knife, and Ruby is off on another mystery--one which takes her to Alaska and to New York. She solves the crime--actually, two crimes--with the help of the two men in her love life and her best friend and e-mail correspondent, Nan.
It's all much fun and entertainment. I do hope Sharon Kahn is hard at work on the next installment in this series!

April Fool Dead
April Fool Dead
by Carolyn Hart
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
57 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Mildly amusing., March 9 2003
I've ready most, if not all of this series, and this is by far the worst. The writing is now formulaic. Max is sexy as hell, and lazy, and Annie Darling is just....well, darling. Outside of that, the only thing that happens is a convoluted plot, lots of references to other writers, and some good puzzles for the mysterioso. But if you spend much money or time on this little piece of fluff, you deserve the final words in the novel: "April Fool."

Habeas Campus
Habeas Campus
by Wendi Lee
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst!, March 9 2003
Clearly one of the worst mysteries I've ever read. Poorly constructed--it's as if the author made a list of every trite gimmick and off-the-wall idea that ever was mentioned in her lady writers support group, and threw them into one novel. A voodoo queen on a college campus, and a cast of Vermont college characters who have all been to Haiti? Missing potions and antidotes? Get real! This kind of shallow frivolity gives a bad name to the genre.

Bering Strait (W/1 Live Track)
Bering Strait (W/1 Live Track)
Price: CDN$ 16.76
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars All they are reputed to be...., March 5 2003
This is beautiful music by gifted young people with ambition and talent. They are better at what is essentially American music than most American musicians, and they are Russian. But the end result is, who cares? This is a good album, well worth listening to!

In the Bleak Midwinter: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery
In the Bleak Midwinter: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery
by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.99
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Winter Less Bleak, March 5 2003
I couldn't read this book in one sitting--I do have a day job! And I didn't want to, either--because I didn't want the experience of reading it to end. "In the Bleak Midwinter" is one of the most skillfully crafted mysteries I've ever read: the plot is focused, and moves rapidly through the various personalities enmeshed in it: the priest, the police chief, the congregation, the tragic love story. It's notable, too, for the characters we DON'T meet but who hover over the action: the chief's wife and the dead young mother. And of course there's the snow, the never ending snow that keeps falling on the rural New York town, trapping the residents into small and predictable movements, underwhich lies great human passion and ambition.
The winter was a little less bleak when I reluctantly finished this extraordinary reading experience. Read it.

Love You To Death
Love You To Death
by Grant Michaels
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable., Feb. 15 2003
This review is from: Love You To Death (Paperback)
I've enjoyed this series....it's fun and amusing. It's not great plotting (a little baroque and over-blown), but the characters carried me through. Worth a look.

Stealing Time
Stealing Time
by Leslie Glass
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing lacking in this mystery novel!, Feb. 15 2003
I really liked this mystery! April Woo is a wonderful heroine...complex, victimized by a mother who just happens to be Chinese (but sounds a lot like many mothers I have known), and fighting her insecurities just like the rest of us. The New York background is well drawn, and the plot is crafted intricately and maintains suspense. Leslie Glass is a writer who crafts her prose well, too. "Stealing Time" is one good book.

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