The Judge – Steve Martini

The Judge (Paul Madriani #4)
by Steve Martini
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Jun 21, 2021  


This is the first Steve Martini novel I’ve read and I’d have no problem reading more. Comparable to John Grisham when it comes to courtroom drama – but not quite as good, the author tells a good story with believable characters.


I thought the story dragged a bit, mostly because Martini goes into excruciating detail about every little clue or piece of evidence introduced, slowing the story down. Having said that, I enjoyed the plot and was surprised when the truth about the real killer was revealed at the very end.


For Grisham fans out there, Martini is worth checking out.

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.

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.

Les Miserables

Having seen the live stage version at least twice, and the previous movie musical with Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman, I have to say that I enjoyed the latest BBC production of Les Miserables the best. The new version, which we were able to stream on CBC Gem, is not a musical. And it’s cast is not made up of A-listers, but you should recognize names like Dominic West (the Wire), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Olivia Colman (The Crown).

I found a new appreciation for this latest installment of the timeless classic because I got a better understanding of the story. Perhaps the music and lack of backstory in the stage versions left me with more questions than answers as to the overall plot. For the unaware, Les Miserables takes place in France after Napoleon and the French Revolution.

It’s a sad rags to riches to rags tale that is shown in eight parts, currently available for streaming or downloading. Cathryn and I loved the story and both give it a 9 out of 10.

News of the World – the Movie

For movie buffs like Cathryn and I, the year 2020 was painful. And because of of the worldwide pandemic with Covid 19, 2021 isn’t shaping up to be much better. Old movies in our DVD collection and streaming companies like Netflix and Crave have been our only saving grace. Even the producers of television shows had to take a hiatus in the name of safety.

After exhausting the list of decent movies to stream, and for a change from binge-watching our favorite TV shows, we’ve taken to searching for decent movies that have to be rented. Major motion picture studios seem to have caught on to our dilemma, and since they can’t release their new movies in theaters, they are making them available to rent.

Last night we rented the latest movie by Tom Hanks, News of the World. We were shocked that we had to pay $25 to watch the new release, but took into consideration that it would have cost us more to see it in a theater. And since we’re not allowed out of our house, what choice did we have. We were able to rent and download the movie through Apple TV.

News of the World is a western with a completely different story line that’s never been done before. It takes place after the American Civil war, when the country is trying to heal, and the south has suffered the most. Tom Hanks’ character travels from town to town, reading from the latest newspaper articles, apprising folk of what’s happening in their part of the world.

I found the movie a bit slow at times, typical of some westerns, but there was enough action and a great story line that kept me interested. We both loved the movie, with Cathryn giving it a big 10. I can’t say there was anything wrong with the flick but I’m giving it a conservative 8, just because I can.