Escape by James Patterson & David Ellis

The 3rd book in the Billy Harney series.

Patterson loves co-writing. This book does seem more sophisticated than his usual fare.

I credit David Ellis who is a practicing judge, the youngest-serving Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District. He’s a very successfully author on his own, as well.

Chicago’s #1 detective, Billy Harney, takes on a billionaire crime boss in this follow-on to James Patterson’s highly acclaimed, multi-million selling Black Book.

As Chicago’s special-ops leader Detective Billy Harney knows well, money is not the only valuable currency. The billionaire he’s investigating is down to his last twenty million. But he’s also being held in jail.

For now.

Billy’s unit is called to the jail when six inmates escape, and two others are missing. Two correctional officers are dead. Approaching the scene, Billy spots something in an empty lot …

I also enjoyed the first two in the series:

Black Book and Red Book.

Cycling Gabriola Island

I cycled Gabriola in the Canadian Gulf Islands in 2020. And again in 2022.

Easy access via a 20-minute ferry service from Nanaimo.

Small. With a full-time population of about 4500, I could live on Gabriola.

Grocery store. Liquor store. Library.

3 provincial parks—Gabriola Sands Provincial Park on the northwest shore, Sandwell Provincial Park on the northeast shore, and Drumbeg Provincial Park on the east shore—as well as Descanso Bay Regional Park and an adjacent community park near the ferry terminal.

There’s a hippie vibe.

cycling Gabriola Island

Only 14 kilometres long, I cycled all the main roadways. Took plenty of detours. Cycled some of the many hiking trails. And still had my tent set up by 6pm same day.

Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Though SLOW, I enjoyed The Widows of Malabar Hill.

It’s been optioned for a TV series.

This is Sujata Massey’s best known book series.

1920s India:

Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows living in full purdah when the case takes a turn toward the murderous. …

Perveen Mistry — a name that reminded me of Canadian author, Rohinton Mistry — the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm …. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women’s legal rights especially important to her.

Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. …

Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder.

Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.

In fact, the murder mystery is poor. And poorly resolved. This is not Agatha Christie.

BUT I enjoyed the worldview of an ambitious woman in 1920s India. She is Zoroastrian. Her client is a Muslim. Both are minorities in Hindu Bombay. Ruled by arrogant Brits.

The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies

I worked out of the University of Saskatchewan in the 1990s.

During those years, I read all the books of Robertson Davies, one of Canada’s greatest novelists.

His Deptford Trilogy and this book were set at the fictional College of St. John and Holy Ghost, affectionately referred to as “Spook“.

I loved how he mocked the Ivory Tower. 😀

As I recall, Rebel Angels was my favourite of his many great books.

For some reason, I decided to re-read it.

Two events spark the plot: the return of Brother John Parlabane, an ex-monk and -drug addict, and the death of Francis Cornish, a local patron of the arts. Parlabane becomes a university parasite, sleeping on couches and hitting up Maria, Hollier and Anglican priest Simon Darcourt for money. …

… Maria – no fewer than five male characters fall in love with her over the course of the novel. A sort of Helen of Troy (her first names bring to mind the presumed harlot from the Bible, while her surname means “God-bearer”), she is so beautiful that she sows conflict and heartache wherever she goes. …

The title refers to angels thrown out of heaven, and is Maria’s shorthand for the trio of Darcourt, Hollier and Parlabane. Parlabane is explicitly likened to Lucifer and Satan, making him an embodiment of evil. …

Rebecca Foster – Bookish Beck

Time and Tide by Peter Grainger

Everyone at Kings Lake Central police station has been expecting DC Smith to finally retire.

And it seems he’s on his last case.

It’s a murder on the Norfolk saltmarshes.

As the team from Kings Lake uncover his story, they reveal another, much older one with its origins far back in the previous century. In the tide that governs the affairs of men, it seems, love and loss, betrayal and revenge are timeless themes.


The actual whodunnit is secondary to the police procedural machinations. The interpersonal relationships.

I do like the narrator of the DC Smith audio books – Gildart Jackson.

Elvis (2022 film)

I never loved Elvis. Never listened to his music.

I did go to Graceland once — but only to make fun of the kitsch. 😀

Due to great reviews, I finally did see the new film ➙ Elvis.

Austin Butler did channel Elvis well.

At times it was edited more like a YouTube video than a Hollywood blockbuster. That was a brave choice. A modern twist on an American icon.

It is long at 2-hour-and-39-minutes. But they started with a four-hour cut including scenes of Presley with his first girlfriend, Dixie, and his meeting with President Richard Nixon in 1970.

I suspect the next future Elvis biopic will be darker. More realistic. And the role of Colonel Parker will be less prominent.

Thumbs up from this critic.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mandalorian – season 2

Worth watching, I guess.

93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“… signature mix of violent toughness and attentive-dad sexiness …”

A cartoon Western, with real people and people in costume looking like cartoons.

Hilariously, the bad guys can never shoot straight.

I’ll bet it was fun to write and storyboard.

With Star Wars budget and video technology, nothing seems to be impossible.

Though the Mandalorian is quite a dull character, there are some scene stealing cast members.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction by American author Jennifer Egan.

… a set of thirteen interrelated stories with a large set of characters all connected to Bennie Salazar, a record company executive, and his assistant, Sasha.  …

Original. Well written. Well researched. BUT I only got halfway through.

Egan is a great writer. But this book centers on mostly self-destructive characters none of whom I liked nor related with.

I’ve had it with narratives with only unlikable characters — for example, Succession on TV.

When published in 2010 nobody liked this book aside from critics. I’m not surprised.

This is a book about aging.

The most impressive thing about the first 60% of this book 😀 for me was her take on how people age. It has a nonlinear chronology with different character’s point of view at different times of life.

This was also depressing.

Trivia ~ Jennifer Egan once dated Steve Jobs.