Tag Archives: Steve Hamilton

#fridayreads take me away

29th April 2011

#fridayreads take me away is a weekly meme to celebrate the start of the weekend and the glorious day of reading whatever the heck you want. Want to know more? Read the original post where I explain why you should join in with what you read on the weekend. Want to write your own post? *Steal* my button. Have your own #fridayreads take me away post? Link up below! Happy reading.

Yay! It’s Friday, my friends. It has been a stellar week here, what with bookshelves, birthdays, and e-readers. (More on which I chose if I can ever figure out how to edit video.) In the meantime, I’ve got a Friday Reads for you:

Unrealistic? Yes. Full of plot holes? Maybe. But fun? Heck yeah. There’s no denying I need a little John Grisham or Steve Berry action every once in a while.The summary from Grisham’s website (in the true spirit of Friday laziness):

In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive—there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?

I mean, come on. Who can resist? This was a quick, fun read, perfect for a Friday afternoon or evening.

As for me, I’ll be tucked up with Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories before the onslaught of research paper grading. You know you’re jealous. 😉 Well, you can be jealous at least of the Kate Atkinson….

jenn aka the picky girl

P.S. Remember The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton that I reviewed here? It won an Edgar Award last night! Definitely check it out.

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

14th April 2011

Michael is a young man with a special talent for opening things – well, everything except his mouth. At age 8, something horrific happened to him, his mother and father, that caused him to be unable to talk. It’s not physical, but it may as well be. Michael spends the rest of his young life raised by his uncle after both his parents are dead.

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton opens with Michael telling the reader his story from prison. Michael’s talent? Picking locks. At first, he buys a couple standard locks from a junk shop and opens them. Then one night, he falls in with the wrong crowd (who previously shun him because he doesn’t speak) and breaks into a man’s house, leaving no trace the lock has been picked. The others run off when the police are called, but Michael gets caught and won’t give up his accomplices. His punishment is working for the man whose house he broke into, a man whose daughter Amelia, Michael has seen a drawing of and whose face he can’t forget.

Michael’s skill attracts all the wrong people, and he is forced to become a box man, or safe cracker, in order to safeguard the one person with whom he has been able to communicate – Amelia.

I first read about The Lock Artist at Jen’s Book Thoughts and again at Jenn’s Bookshelves. I was convinced I had to read it and bought it at Murder by the Book about a month ago. I began it late one evening and finished it the next day. It was one of my #fridayreadstakemeaway choices.

Hamilton writes one hell of a suspenseful novel: the pacing had my palms sweating, and I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Michael, dubbed Miracle Boy by the town where he is raised. Though holding the *big event that happened in the past that affects the present* doesn’t work for some books (I’m looking at you, Little Bee), Hamilton kills it, but he also inspired a very odd feeling in me: The more I read about Michael’s inability to speak, the more I felt as if I couldn’t speak. Yes, I know this sounds absolutely crazy and abstract, but think about it. You aren’t speaking when you read. The longer you read, the longer you remain silent. And I honestly had to stop and say a few words out loud at one point. That’s how insanely skilled Hamilton is. I identified with Michael; even though I knew he was making the wrong choices, I felt he had no other option. Why his hands are tied behind his back and the reasons for his speechlessness, well, you’ll just have to find out by reading.

But do me a favor. If you don’t feel all meta or abstract or whatever, don’t come back here and make fun of me for having to take “talking out loud breaks.” Or do. Whatever. I’ll just be happy you read The Lock Artist.

Read this one: immediately / asap / when you get a chance / if you’re bored

jenn aka the picky girl

#fridayreads take me away

1st April 2011

By now, I hope you have heard of Friday Reads/#fridayreads (the number sign is for a hashtag on Twitter). If not, here’s a little explanation: readers around the world join together in community to support one another and celebrate the simple joys of reading. It has grown to be a huge event, and readers can win prizes for participating. Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven) started it, and now over 5,000 readers post at any of the listed sites what they are reading or plan to read.

What I have noticed over the last year of book blogging is that different readers have real issues with what they read. I see bloggers apologize for a certain book or phase of reading. I say, read. Period. Whether it’s a magazine you’ve saved up for Friday afternoon or evening or a mystery, romance novel, sci-fi, or New York Times bestseller, Friday is about doing what we love most: reading.

In that spirit, I invite you not only to share your #fridayreads on Twitter or Facebook (just like the page and comment) or the Friday Reads blog (my intention isn’t to take away from that), but also to come here and talk about just what the heck you feel like reading on this hallowed day that starts the weekend.

How it works –

Readers: Leave me a comment. Tell me what you’re reading. Ask for recommendations if you’re stuck.

Bloggers: I know last week the linky deal didn’t work, but it should be fixed, so leave your link so others can check out what you’re reading on Fridays to take you away from your hectic week.

What I will do –

First, I’ll make a recommendation based on my week’s reading. If I’ve reviewed it, I’ll link to the review. If not, I’ll give you a synopsis and why I think it would make a great kick-your-shoes-off Friday read.

Second, I’ll tell you what I want to read on a Friday afternoon. It always varies. It depends on the weather and how clean my house is or how much that week has drained me.

Ready? I’m recommending you read… (drumroll please)

I actually read this book last year and never reviewed it, so I am only going to give a brief synopsis, though I definitely enjoyed it.

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall is as colorful as its cover. Vish Pruri, owner of Delhi’s Most Private Investigators, Ltd (and proud of it), spurns that cheap fictional hack Sherlock Holmes whose investigative methods, Pruri says, originated in India. Pruri mostly checks into marriage alliances, but in this book he is hired to locate a missing servant girl for attorney Kasliwal. When the girl turns up dead, Pruri must use every ounce of his incredible powers of deduction to determine who is responsible.

Tarquin Hall’s characters and telling of The Case of the Missing Servant charmed me, and I loved the dialogue and the funny sayings. Perfect #fridayreads, don’t you think?

As for me….

After a really, really taxing week, I plan on prosecco, bubble bath(s) and a couple good books. I’ll finish up The Lock Artist. It’s so good, but I have had too much grading this week to finish it after starting it on Sunday. Once I finish that, I’ve got these lined up:

Galore by Michael Crummey thanks to a giveaway from Jen at Devourer of Books

This one courtesy of my dad (whom I gave this to a week ago) 😉


So… that’s what I’ll be up to. What about you, guys and gals – what are you reading this Friday?

jenn aka the picky girl