Horseplay – Norm Boucher

Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip
by Norm Boucher
Edmond Gagnon‘s review May 05, 2021 

For his first true crime novel, I think retired police officer Norm Boucher hits the nail right on the head in recalling and writing about his personal experiences while working undercover in one of the worst heroin neighborhoods in Canada.

Being a retired police officer, with some experience working in narcotics, I was impressed how the rookie author checked all the boxes in putting together a book that gives an unadulterated view of what life is really like on the street within the heroin subculture.

Horseplay takes readers into the underbelly of society, revealing what went on behind the scenes in the early 80’s, in one particular area in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Final Justice – W.E.B. Griffin

Final Justice
by W.E.B. Griffin
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 30, 2021  


I had to check other reviews for this one to find out if wasn’t just me that thought it sucked. Not even sure if it was deserving of one star, I was only able to trudge my way through fifty pages. The only thing I garnered from that read was who the protagonist was.


The book is just over 500 pages, with very small font, and could have easily been less than half that. Call me silly, but I really don’t need to know things like the history of a police car or every little detail of the police department, including ranks, numbers, descriptions, etc.


I’ve complained about fluff in other novels, and haven’t read this author before, but my best description is that it is a plethora of useless facts and information that totally distract from the story – if you can figure out what exactly that is.

Edge of Danger – Jack Higgins

Edge of Danger (Sean Dillon, #9)
by Jack Higgins
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 28, 2021 


I find it strange how Jack Higgins took a perfectly good thriller and turned it into a lack-luster story that was barely worth the three stars I gave it.
I struggled through the first half of the book, trying to figure out what was bothering me so much, and I came up with a few things.
The characters all seem to be rich, drink only champagne no matter the occasion, and lack any type of empathy or emotion throughout the story.
Those same characters lack description, thus giving the impression they all look the same and are cut from the same cloth.
Even the action scenes were dull.
I’ve read two other Higgins novels and have now been disappointed twice.

The Summons – John Grisham

The Summons
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 23, 2021 


I was anxious to try some different Grisham novels after scoring a handful at a local store that’s going out of business. The story is not about any of the author’s usual characters, but the intro made it sound interesting.


It’s about an old judge who dies and leaves a secret behind, something to trouble his only surviving heirs, his two sons. The plot dragged from the beginning and was a much slower read than I am used to. I skimmed through the fluff, waiting for something useful to happen.


The main character is a law professor – his quirks bolstered my opinion of such academics, who may be smarter than the average bear, but have no street smarts and lack common sense.


But I forged ahead, hoping our protagonist would wizen up.
It never happened, making the ending predictable and in my opinion, a let down. I can’t call it a happy or sad ending and perhaps that’s exactly what it’s meant to be.

Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Rogue Lawyer (Rogue Lawyer, #1)
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 11, 2021 

John Grishams’s done it again…gone and proved he can create a totally new character, base the next series on him, and write a great story. The prolific author introduces us to Sebastian Rudd, a street litigator who is even more gritty than the Lincoln Lawyer.
The Rogue Lawyer is done a bit different than Grisham’s other courtroom dramas, in that it contains five parts, with different clients and their individual stories, giving readers perspectives from both the innocent and guilty.
Like Mickey Haller, Rudd uses his vehicle for an office, but for different reasons. He represents the lowest of the low, whom no one else will take on as clients, thus making him very unpopular. I don’t give five star ratings very often, but this book was a very good read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Late Show – Michael Connelly

The Late Show (Renée Ballard, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #29)
by Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Mar 24, 2021  


I really like Michael Connelly and the unique characters he’s created over the years to carry the stories in his crime novels. I wasn’t sure about his latest, Renee Ballard, at first, but grew to understand and eventually like the new crimefighter more as the plot unfolded.


LAPD Detective Ballard is no Harry Bosch, but she is a good cop with her own style, perhaps more representative of the newer breed of crime investigator. In ‘The Late Show’ Ballard is not only challenged by the serious cases that come her way, but she has to stand up for herself and fight to regain her good reputation that was sullied by a former boss.


The story is a bit slow at first, but the intrigue and action build at a good pace. The twist thrown in near the end completely took me by surprise.
I think Renee Ballard is a good addition to Connelly’s cast of characters.

Suspect – Michael Robotham

Suspect (Joseph O’Loughlin, #1)
by Michael Robotham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Feb 17, 2021  
I had never heard of author Michael Robotham, perhaps it’s because he’s from Sydney Australia.
Regardless, I found his book, Suspect, a very good read. The protagonist is a Psychiatrist, but not a character like Alex Delaware in John Kellerman’s novels, who assists police in their investigations.

Joseph O’Loughlin may be trying to get into his patients heads, but it seems more like he needs to examine himself. By trying to get to the truth he only incriminates himself and goes from helping the police to being their number one suspect.

I found the backstory a bit heavy at times but the plot was well written and fast paced enough to keep my attention. I would definitely read this author again.

The Snowman – Jo Nesbo

The Snowman (Harry Hole, #7)
by Jo Nesbø 
Edmond Gagnon‘s reviewFeb 07, 2021 


The Snowman is the first ‘Harry Hole’ Jo Nesbo novel that I’ve read. Although a Norwegian author, he can weave a crime fiction tale with the best of them.
I had some difficulty getting into this book, and keeping things straight as the story progressed, because of all the Norwegian names of places and characters. For me, it was hard to concentrate when I couldn’t pronounce or remember most of the proper nouns that were used.
Having said that, the plot was intricately pieced together, with enough twists and turns to keep any crime reader fully engrossed.
Nesbo’s police protagonist and sadistic antagonist were equally likable, especially once the latter was eventually discovered.

The Fifth Risk – Michael Lewis

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy
by Michael Lewis
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Oct 07, 2020 


This is not the type of book I normally read but the author’s name caught my attention. Michael Lewis wrote Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, and The Big Short, all stories that I’ve seen as movies. And being that the Fifth Risk is about Donald Trump, I figured it was worth a read.
The book caught my interest early, tempting me with how the Donald botched his transition into the White House. The author compares past presidents Obama and Bush and how they came to office prepared, and with experts who could fill the important top positions in various departments of government.
It was no surprise to me how the businessman turned president was totally unprepared for the massive undertaking and came in with only his family and a few friends to take over one of the most powerful countries in the world.
The story is about how the president took up to six months to fill some of those jobs for departments like energy where they control unimportant things like nuclear weapons. It goes on to tell how the Donald filled positions previously held by experienced scientists with wealthy buddies who had no idea what they were getting into and no interest it what the job was all about. Scary stuff.
Lewis talks about how the president has surrounded himself with yes men and how no one is allowed to tell him anything negative. They are fired if they do.
Much of this book was dry and boring…parts where the author went into all sorts of detail and backstory about the people who were replaced by the incoming president.
If you want a scary look inside the Trump administration, The Fifth Risk is worth a read.

The Fourth Horseman – David Hagberg

The Fourth Horseman (Kirk McGarvey, #19)
by David Hagberg
Edmond Gagnon‘s reviewSep 10, 2020 


This was my first novel by David Hagberg, and although I enjoyed the overall story, I feel it’s been done to death – secret agent saves the world from nuclear destruction.
I had some difficulty starting the book, probably because of way too many characters with military or political titles to remember, not to mention the many Arabic names.
Once the story unfolded I found it very predictable, even though it was apparent the author was shooting for mystery and suspense.
The plot evolved well but didn’t have to be so complicated.
The Fourth Horseman was an okay read but I’m not running right out to find another book by this author.