Read this in the middle of the day.

A Silence of Mockingbirds, A Memoir of Murder by Karen Spears Zacharias2012;$25.00; 322 pages; Macadam Cage, San Francisco, CA; 978-1-59692-375-1; 364.1523092 Z16s; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 1/20/15-1/23/15

Back in October of 1984, 5 months before I got married, 17 months before Daniel was born I read a book that kept me up all night.  I read Pet Sematary by Stephen King.  I remember turning the radio and a light on and trying to sleep, I think between then and now another book has not bothered me to do that do me.  Until now, it is 12:50 AM as I type this and I can’t sleep, I don’t want to sleep, but I have to go to work in the morning and work a full day.

At 1:53 PM, Friday, June 3, 2005 Karly Sheehan died.  She was 3 years old. She was beaten and tortured by her mothers’ boyfriend until she died.  It could have been prevented, if the system had worked the way it was supposed to.  Too many people took the abusers word for what had happened, too many people believed the narcissistic mother, too many people wanted to blame the father, too many people didn’t want to deal with it.

Karen Spears Zacharias had given the mother a place to live when she was a teenager and so was very familiar with the mother in the story.  Karen I don’t know how you did the research and wrote this, I would have been crying through the entire research and writing.  This is a story of a system that betrayed a young life.  The story of Karly Sheehan changed laws in Oregon so hopefully no child falls through the cracks.

The story is well written and compelling to read, it was like watching Titanic, I knew what the ending was going to be but I kept hoping someone would step and change things.  Unfortunately this is real life and not a novel. There is no happy ending.

I really enjoy Karens’ writing but as the grandfather of a three year old I shouldn’t have read this because I kept seeing my granddaughter.

I went to bed at 1:30 after finishing the book, starting this review and starting my next book.  I never felt like I got to sleep just hovered somewhere on the border of being asleep and being awake.  Several people at work today commented on how tired I looked.


What is with the title of the review?  This is not a book that should be read in the evening or just before bed.  This book is scarier than anything Stephen King could write, because it is true and shows the inhumanity of man.

An old recipe makes something new

LOCK IN by John Scalzi; 2014; $24.99;336 pages;  A Tom Doherty Associates Book, New York, NY; 978-0-7653-7586-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 12/20/14-12/23/14

Many people around the world are locked in their bodies due to a disease called Hadens.  They are not comatose but there minds are still active, technology has been developed that allows them to move about in the real world.  One way is in a threep, or a personal transport device, think Robocop or any other metallic personage.  Another way is to integrate into another person who has been specially trained to accommodate your mind alongside yours while you enjoy the physical sensations they can provide.  Now throw in murder, a rookie FBI agent who has Hadens, an older more experienced FBI agent who is damaged goods and a conspiracy and you have the story.


Did I like it?  Yes, it was an interesting take on a familiar story, all of the characters were three dimensional.  It was an interesting combination of genres.

What is with the title of the review?  There are many familiar ingredients here but the meal was stunning and new.


I want to kick some upper echelon ass

Black Hearts, One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death by Jim Frederick; 2010; $26.00; 439 pages; Harmony Books, New York, NY; 978-0-307-45075-3; 956.70443 F8524b; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 10/28/14-11/4/14

Mans inhumanity to man is highlighted in this story about how four soldiers executed and committed heinous crimes against a family in Iraq.  The backstory is almost as atrocious as the crime that was committed, 3 of the four had very negative family stories.  There time serving in Iraq was terrible as they lost comrade after comrade and were badmouthed, ignored and punished for the failings of those higher up in the chain of command.  This is very difficult to write as there are several people t, those hat I would like to blast for what appears to be their incompetence and stupidity but I don’t know what pressures they were under.  I don’t know how many times I stopped, it was many, put my head in my hands and said you can’t be serious.


Did I learn from it?  I learned several things about human nature and the ineptitude of the command structure those in command of this platoon ignored not just warning signs, but warning screams, they degraded the soldiers and ignored signs from the lowliest private to the company commander.

What is with the title of the review?  I feel like I ever meet up with some of the upper echelons from this book I would simply sneer at them stop whatever I was doing and walk away from them.  These are not leaders that you would follow to the gates of hell, you might lead them there and throw them in, lock the gate and throw away the key.


When are Zik and Zak going to be part of the story?

Fatal Conceit by Robert K. Tanenbaum; 2014; $26.00; 431 pages; Gallery Books, New York, NY; 978-1-4516-3557-7; Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library,Gresham; 9/4/14-9/5/14

Butch Karp and his wife Marlene, are involved in a situation which stretches from the Middle East to upstate New York and involves them and their daughter Lucy and her husband Ned.  Of course there is a criminal case which involves a murder, but the murder is just the tip of the conspiracy that actually stretches to the backrooms of the home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Butchs’ contempt for those in the White House is palpable and comes alive in the story.  Butchs’ legal expertise, Marlenes’ dogged investigation and Lucys’ linguistic expertise are all vital to the story, as are almost all the supporting characters.  The battle here is against those that think they are above the and against various government factions in several far flung places.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was set so securely in today’s news that the fictional pieces of it made complete sense.


What is with the title of the review?  Butch and Marlene have twin sons, who go by the nicknames Zik and Zak are often just on the periphery of the story.  Someday I would like them to be a part of the main plot.



won’t be reading the second one

Murdermobile, A Portland Bookmobile Mystery by B.B. Cantwell; 2013; 191 pages; 978149280711; Shilshole Bay Books; Seattle, WA; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Library Outreach; 4/10/14-4/10/14

Hester Freelove McGarrigle is the librarian aboard the Portland City Librarys’ last remaining bookmobile.  The former library director is found murdered in a closet onboard the bookmobile.  Then begins a romance between Hester and the police detective assigned to the case.  Oh he also investigates the crime with help from her.

Did I like it?  Not really, it was very obvious to me very quickly who the murderer was, the story had too many coincidences in and there were two many unanswered subplots left dangling like a participle at the end of a sentence.

 Grade -C

What is with the title of the review?  This was the first in a series and I will not be reading the second.