Saturday, November 06, 2010

Three Books for Your Stocking

It's already November; time to make your list, check it twice. Here are three books worth a perusal:

I kept hearing about this author named Stieg Larsson, and was wondering what all the fuss was about. I'm a big fan of mysteries, and I knew he was an author of mysteries, but I prefer the Los Angeles and New York City basic venues; would I like something set in Sweden? So I decided to give the first of his trilogy a try, a book called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The book is about a journalist, who after losing a lawsuit, ends up getting a job trying to find out what happened to a girl who disappeared forty years ago. He engages the help of a researcher/investigator, 'the girl with the dragon tattoo,' who looks anorexic but isn't, who appears dull but is actually extremely intelligent, who seems weak but is strong. Together, they navigate and attempt to unscramble a very complex mystery involving many characters. The plot revolves around a corrupt businessman, sex (it is based in Sweden after all), greedy heirs to a substantial fortune, a magazine business struggling to survive, racism, violence, and computer hacking. I really enjoyed reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and am looking forward to reading the next two in the series.

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Adrian Monk, an obsessive compulsive San Francisco detective has invested money with a popular money manager, who it turns out was running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, losing money for thousands of investors. (Sound familiar?) The government's key witness is murdered, and Monk has to find and prove who did it. Based on the television series, the book Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out is Lee Goldberg's best in my opinion, with Mr. Monk in Trouble, which takes place in the Gold Country of California, running a close second. If you like the Monk TV series, you will like Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out.

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Now for a book that has nothing to do with business or finance whatsoever. The book Trouble is written by Jesse Kellerman, son of Jonathan Kellerman, one of my favorite authors who writes great psychological mysteries. I think Jesse is as good as, if not better than, his father. The book is about a young medical student working at a hospital in New York City, who during a break, comes across a woman being stabbed by a man in an alley. He jumps in, and ends up killing the man. After the event, he becomes a temporary hero and gets involved with the woman. I don't want to give any of the plot away but the book involves a very disturbing character, the kind of character who you hope you would never want to run into in real life, or for that matter, you hope this type of person would never run into one of your friends or relatives. As a matter of fact, you would hope this type of person would never really exist in real life, but apparently they do. The book has a few very, very disturbing scenes. If this type of thing bothers you, then don't read; if not, then you will enjoy the book. It may not sound like it from what I've written so far, but this is a true page-turner, a can't-put-it-down book, the kind of book that you would stay up all night to finish, once you are halfway through, even though you know it will give you nightmares for the next couple weeks. I know, because I just finished the book, reading it all day long. Now I'm looking forward to two weeks of nightmares; it will be worth it. If you think you can handle it, read Trouble.

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