I loved Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, and since I’m a bit of a “completist”, once I like an author’s books, I try to read everything by them. Although it was made into a movie, the book has been long out of print. Which made no real sense…how could a book written by an author as prolific and popular as Sue Grafton, and that was made into a movie, not be available ANYWHERE? Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. Like Keziah Dane, one of her earlier books, the characters are dirt poor backwoods families. Isolated from town, this story takes place entirely on the properties between two neighbouring families. If you have ever heard of the old Hatfields and McCoys feud of two warring families, fighting for reasons they no longer remember, you have the Lolly Madonna War.
A reporter, Liam Mulligan, investigates a series of arsons around his hometown.
What I Liked
Mulligan makes an intriguing sleuth, and he has lots of interesting characters running around the woodwork. He is far from Sherlock Holmes, nor is he Spenser for Hire taking on the tough guys. A bit more Donald Lam or Trace…slightly incompetent, but not Plum-funny. His partners-in-sleuthing are generally good.
What I Didn’t Like
There are quite a few “foreshadowing” hints dropped, and it made me figure me well-in-advance sometimes when certain things were likely to happen and how. Although, to be fair, a couple never happened (red herrings). And I thought the bad guys were all relative obvious for the overall plot and motive.
Kottler reflects on the literature and personal experiences as a psychologist about the elements that lead people to not only make changes in their life but also sustain those changes over the long-term
What I Liked
I had the pleasure of hearing Kottler speak as an honoured guest at my wife’s university graduation ceremony, and he intrigued me enough on the subject of “change” — what we know and what we don’t know — that I bought his book. It was the perfect book for me at this point in my life, as I’ve been wanting to make a significant change that has been holding me back for at least 30 years. I’m great at the day to day goal-setting stuff, but I needed to understand large scale change on a deeper level, and this book was ideal for that education.
At the beginning, I was struck by a central question — when does an alteration in attitudes, beliefs, behaviour, thinking, or feeling “count” as change, and how long does it have to last in order to qualify? » Read the rest
The textbook-sized book includes ten case studies across America where former big box stores – Walmarts and Kmarts – have been put to new use after the store left or closed.
What I Liked
I was drawn to the premise of the book as I have frequently seen large big box stores in Canada, anchoring malls and plazas, move out and languish empty for a number of years. Sometimes it is a short time and another retailer moves in. Sometimes it is a long time, and it looks like urban blight. Rarely have I seen much in the way of “good news” around these sites, and I was intrigued with the idea of a series of case studies where the stores aren’t just languishing empty, but have been put to reuse.
From a policy perspective, the first thing that jumped out at me was that the stores were not all empty because the store “failed”. » Read the rest
Two stories stand out. Fatal Accident deals with a cop on vacation who sees a car wreck in front of him where the wife dies. When he tries to follow up with the hospitalized driver, the driver is more worried about people looking at the car than the wife. The cop’s instincts say murder. Not quite as solid but memorable is Crime of Omission, where a man consumed by jealousy is trying to convince himself to kill his best friend/wife’s lover while up at the cottage in the winter. Can he do it? Will he have to? Nice twist ending, although kind of campy.