This month, my reads included an interesting mix of storylines and quality of writing.
1. OUT by Natsuo Kirino (B+)
I loved the characters and found the story interesting. I especially liked the interesting narrative technique (same event, different points of view), but found the ending a bit of a letdown.
2. CHARLIE OPERA by Charlie Stella (A-)
Wonderfully crazy plot featuring mobsters, police, FBI, and a likeable main character caught up in it all while on vacation in Las Vegas. Stella does a great job with the dialogue. I would love to see this as a series.
3. SAFE AS HOUSES by Carol Ann Davis (C-)
It's never a good sign when I dislike all the characters (both the killer and others). There were some disturbing and annoying plot points, and I wasn't being annoyed, I was being bored.
4. ONCE UPON A TIME by Barbara Fradkin (B+)
Interesting story with a just okay resolution. The entire series is good, and the books just keep getting better.
5. WAYNE'S DEAD by Christy Tillery French (D-)
Ugh. There was nothing unique about this story, and I found it totally predictable. Readers are told that the main character is a great cop and yet we have to suffer through him missing things that even a child would pick up on. I think my eyes have just now recovered from all the eye rolling I did.
6. BRONX ANGEL by Ed Dee (B+)
I liked this one better than the first book in the series (14 PECK SLIP). Very strong sense of place, and Dee manages to create a realistic story even though there weren't any surprises that I was hoping for.
7. MURDER IN VEGAS by various authors (B-)
Collection of short stories. I skimmed some, and didn't read those that didn't capture my interest quickly. Maybe that's not fair, but too bad. ;) Overall, the ones I did read were good.
8. SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS by Jodi Compton (A)
Great storyline, but the book's real strength is the main character. She's real, flawed, and likeable, even though she makes some questionable decisions (like giving a teenager wine to make her more likely to talk). There were various story threads that managed to complement each other, and wrapped up well. There were even a few surprises that I didn't see coming.
9. FATAL FLAW by Frank Smith (B-)
The story and characters were okay, but just okay. I never got a really good feel for the main character...I think I like him, but I'm not sure. The resolution was a bit cliche. There was still something I enjoyed, so I will try out the next in the series.
10. NO LAUGHING MATTER by Peter Guttridge (B+)
Good mix of mystery storyline with humour. The author certainly has a great imagination! There were a few far-fetched scenes, but overall it was a fun read.
11. JUST A GEEK by Wil Wheaton (B+)
This is not your usual celebrity biography. It's written in casual, conversational; style, which really works in this case. It's funny, honest, and an interesting look into this actor turned writer & blogger.