Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)

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May 31, Debra rated it it was ok Recommends it for: people interested in soap operas. Shelves: mystery-thriller-suspense. His body was found in a LA hotel room, badly cut from having apparently fallen through the glass while showering. Since Dover had had heart problems, an accidental death is probable. Head of production, Frank Glendora, however, wants to stop nasty rumors that could hurt the TV show United American spends a lot of money sponsoring. As Harry delves into the world of soap opera production, he learns far more than he wants to about paranoid, greedy, backstabbing people whose self-esteem and careers depend on shallow plotlines, great piles of money and, not surprisingly, drugs.

Unfortunately, the plot is almost as shallow as the people Harry investigates. We do learn what motivates some of the characters to do the things they do, but the more I read the less I liked almost everyone in the story. Shallow lives and shallow people who are neither smart or complicated just isn't interesting.

The story unfolds with Stoner interviewing one person after another, and the red herrings aren't strong enough to supply good twists. The killer's identity left me thinking "so what? All I really remember about him is that he lives in Cincinnati, used to be a cop, likes women, and knows how to handle a gun. But shouldn't there be more? Jan 12, Cindy rated it liked it. Hollywood, murders, and behind the scenes - good start on a readable book and author comes thru.

Some sex authors usual otherwise interesting. Well performed by Mark Peckham - Also his usual. Mar 29, Sandi rated it liked it Shelves: crime-mystery-thriller-suspense , read Harry is hired by a large Cincy based corporation that produces soap operas to look into the death of one their head writers. Dec 11, Lori Baldi rated it it was ok Shelves: mystery. Read and enjoyed somewhat mainly because Valin's work takes place in my hometown of Cincinnati, OH.

Kevin rated it liked it Apr 24, S rated it it was amazing Jun 14, Chris Brown rated it really liked it May 12, Spears rated it liked it Oct 10, Debra rated it really liked it Jul 02, Warren rated it it was amazing Mar 28, Melodie rated it really liked it Mar 01, John McDonald rated it really liked it Jun 17, Warren rated it liked it Jun 21, Leslie rated it liked it May 28, Bryan Songy rated it really liked it Sep 06, Daniel Thiel rated it liked it Dec 18, Robert rated it liked it Feb 12, Brian Joynt rated it really liked it Oct 25, Carol Jean rated it it was amazing Jun 21, Rajit rated it liked it Feb 07, Mike rated it liked it Jul 06, Mason Greenleaf.

Cindy Dorn. California, USA. Ohio, USA. Related book awards Shamus Award. Anthony Award Nominee. Shamus Award Shortlist. How do series work? Helpers owlie13 11 , geitebukkeskjegg 7. Series: Harry Stoner Series by cover 1—7 of 11 next show all. The Lime Pit by Jonathan Valin. Final Notice by Jonathan Valin. Dead Letter by Jonathan Valin.

Day of Wrath by Jonathan Valin. Absolute Power David Baldacci. Hearts in Atlantis Stephen King. He looks healthy, he could still have another novel in him He knows con artists and grifters. Ed McBain uses fairy tales in his Matthew Hope stories, at least until the last one. Janet Evanovich uses numbers, and Sue Grafton uses the alphabet.

Lawrence Block made fun of this in one of his Bernie Rhodenbarr novels, describing books Grafton might write when she moves on beyond zebra: AA is for Alcoholics, for instance. She got off to a cracking good start up to about I or J, then suffered something common in books like this: a quality slump. Kinsey Millhone began to spend more time on her domestic squabbles than on her cases, and it got boring, for me.

Not for everyone. Her sales never faltered, so far as I know. John Marshall Tanner is a fully drawn character who grows as the books progress. He seems to be retiring Marsh Tanner, giving him his walking papers, letting him free of the dangerous plots he has spent his fictional life surviving. In the last three books Tanner was forced to kill his best friend, then screwed up a case big time, and finally put his daughter in mortal danger. He has a new lover and he wants to marry her, he has come to doubt his ability, and to hate his job. Normally in a series the hero sucks it up, his lover gets killed a la Travis McGee, and he soldiers on.

Not here. The last chapter of Ellipsis is clearly a good-bye party for Tanner, with all his surviving friends there. Hey, I created him, I can kill him if I want, or I can let him live happily ever after, and fiction is the only place where that can happen! But no more unlikely than living in the eternal peril a series character lives in to sell books, the sort of life that no cop, no PI, no lawyer actually lives. Go now and find happiness!

I could be wrong. Maybe Tanner will change his mind, or maybe Greenleaf has some plan for him after his retirement. They are The Ditto List , a really great novel about a divorce lawyer, and Impact , a terrific examination of the law as it applies to air crashes. His first book was a more-or-less autobiographical story of his time as a young man in the war, and reminds me of Heinlein but without the love of the military. No surprise; though Heinlein served, he never saw combat. Joe did, and was wounded. It has flavored a great deal of his fiction since then, including his masterful Forever War trilogy.

The first book was an absolute mind-boggler, and seldom has a book been more deserving of the Hugo and Nebula. It was published as a series of novelettes in Analog, and told the story of a high-tech war involving the effects of relativity, so that you never knew whether the enemy you went into battle with would be decades behind you in technology Talk about scary! And like most of my favorite SF writers, his short stories are some of his best work. She could become a good series character. I just ordered a copy from Amazon.

Dave Brandstetter is a death-claims investigator in Los Angeles. The books were groundbreaking for their theme, but also damn good fiction. As for Hansen himself Who knows what their sexual arrangement was? But he is on record as saying he was a gay man in love with a straight woman. To put a cherry on the cake, his daughter later had sexual reassignment surgery, and now lives as a man. Three times. Anyway, Healy writes stories with meat on their bones, and Cuddy is much deeper and more believable than stoic, self-satisfied Spenser. Maybe because it takes more than an hour to read one of his books.

Recently Healy has shown signs of being tired of the series character, as so many do.

Harry Stoner Mystery Series by Jonathan Valin

Then he did something unusual for a man so established. He adopted a pseudonym for a whole new series featuring Mairead O'Clare and Sheldon Gold , her mentor. They are Boston lawyers, too. My guess is that, after a time, you realize that your name is too connected to a series that has not made you a household name. So you start over, and your publisher promotes you, and you hope for the best. HG Wells told some pretty good stories. Stupid stories. These people developed science fiction as we knew it in the s, when I first started reading it.

The history originally consisted of one novel and a lot of shorter fiction. Then there were his novels for adults. People are divided on these. Mostly because more was emotionally at stake in those two books than in all his other adult novels put together. Released from his obligation, he published that book as an adult novel. It won the Hugo. It is a controversial novel, and the first one that really showed his propensity to lecture about his political views. There was one more juvenile to follow, one of his weaker ones, and that was it for my golden age of SF.

He is a newspaperman, still writes an irregular in both senses of the word column for the Miami Herald. He carries on the John D MacDonald tradition of decrying the rape of the peninsula, and under his crazy humor is rage. You learn to love and be amazed by the way of the Dineh , with their different way of looking at the universe. At the same time, these are wonderful mysteries and police procedurals.

Everything about them is wonderful. I mean that in a nice way. Sounds like fun. No, what it is, both of them have managed to entertain me over and over while sticking to subjects I know nothing about and care even less about. So maybe Mr. Hunter and I would disagree if we ever sat down and talked, but who cares? He writes cracking good thrillers that teach you a lot about guns and shooting. Then in he began his series character, Bob Lee Swagger , an Arkansas boy who happens to shoot better than anybody in the world and would just like to be left alone.

There are six of these novels, and they divide into stories about Bob Lee and stories about his father, Earl, set considerably earlier. This is unusual, because in one of the books we see how Earl died, while Bob Lee was still young. So we know his fate when we read about him. This adds, rather than detracts, from the books. There is another stand-alone novel that I have to mention: Dirty White Boys. When he designed and built his pride and joy custom car, the Magnum, he not only made something that would go real, real fast and looks like a shark, he made sure it got good gas mileage, too.

But he went into SF writing instead, and has steadily turned out great fiction. That brings to mind nuts with howitzers and ambitions for nuclear weapons hiding out in the piney woods and shooting anything that moves.


Beyond that, his books can be all over the place, from some pretty funny stuff, to spy stories, to aviation-based thrillers that put Craig Thomas and Dale Brown in the shade. If Dean describes an extremely strange bird and all his airplanes are strange, way out there on the edge , you can bet it would fly. He is a member of that small group of maniacs who build ultra-light, ultra-small balsa and paper planes powered by big rubber bands, and compete to see whose can fly the highest, and for the greatest length of time. He told me that for a plane to fly out of sight and be lost is seen as an accomplishment!

He was found hanging from his 14th floor office with a rope that was tied to the leg of his desk, which is a scene that appeared in an unfinished novel.

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His death was ruled a suicide. Before that, he wrote some really good novels set in Chicago. He had had some success early on, went into a bad period, but seemed ready to break out with a series character. He began with the Toby Peters books, which adhere to a rigid formula, though Toby grows as the books go on. The gimmick: he always works for a famous person, usually a Hollywood star.

He is about the lowest of low-rent PIs. At the end of every book he gets a message from another star, letting you know who will be in the next book. Down for the Count Joe Lewis. Peters Peter Lorre. Tomorrow is Another Day Clark Gable. Kaminsky has several other series, and they are much different. The best of the lot star Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov , a Moscow cop. Next best are a series starring Abe Lieberman , a Chicago cop. But they are tough-minded, too. Then there is Lew Fonesca.

He used to be a PI in Chicago, then his wife was killed by a hit-and-run driver and he gave up on life. He lives in Sarasota, Florida, and finds people, when he can stir himself from bed. But then at the end of the book Fonesca decides to actually do something he should have done years ago, which is find the sonofabitch who killed his wife And he has recently begun with a new character, Petra Connor , who sometimes interacts with Alex. Good or bad, he always keeps me reading. This is not to say his scary stories are bad.

I think he is the best sheer storyteller working today. Ideas just burst out of him. He is unequalled in making your hair stand on end. King is proudest of his books THE STAND , which he went so far as to have republished with all the stuff that had been edited out the first time, and his DARK TOWER heptology, which took about 25 years to finish, and might not have been finished at all except for his brush with death, which prompted him to sit down and finished the last three in a marathon outpouring which included including himself as a character.

This is almost pages of overwritten prose It is a long a gruesome trip, and a stunning vision of the universe.

And it seems that most of what either of them wrote was in fact a collaboration to one degree or another. Kuttner probably published more for a simple and ugly reason: Catherine Lucile Moore , even disguising her sex with the C. They were incredibly prolific for over a decade, using a whole array of pen names — Edward J.

Kenyon, C. They eventually burnt out, and Kuttner died in Kuttner wrote some mysteries featuring Dr. They were at their very best at the short length, and had many collections. My personal favorites were a series involving an inventor named Gallegher. He has to figure it out. One of the things he invents is a narcissistic robot who insults him. Very funny stories. MOORE One of the oddest combos you could imagine.

Hap is white and straight and a Democrat, Leonard is black and gay and Republican, and they are bonded by a friendship that is deeper than romantic or sexual love usually is. They are poor, usually work at day-labor type jobs. Both are educated, but have little ambition beyond the day. They live in a little fictional shithole in Texas, not far from Tyler, which is not far from my hometown. The stories are quite violent and told with wit and compassion. The character is Victor Carl , a down and out Philadelphia lawyer.

Lashner is much better than Turow. He ends up doing the right thing, but mostly to save his own sorry ass. Please, somebody! Do it! There are plenty of people who can write an exciting thriller, plenty who can almost make you believe their bullshit Spying is a dirty, dirty business. It involves betraying your country, your friends, everything decent people believe in, or in convincing other people to do those things. Plans may not come to fruition for thirty years or more.

Spies are like spiders, one foot on the web, feeling for signals that may be fantastically subtle. There are layers upon layers, triple and quadruple crosses. This is the real world of spies, on the ground, not tearing around in Aston-Martins, shooting machine guns. There may be only one moment of violence in a Le Carre novel. There may not be any violence at all, except mental torture. The first was made into a terrific four or five-part television series. It was decided that the second was basically not adaptable for film, and then Alec Guinness was brought back to make the last one, which was, sadly a disappointment.

But the books survive, and are must-reads for anyone who wants to see how nasty the spy business can really be. All along he has written other novels, some of them spy stories, others not. A word of warning: If you expect to get into slam bang action on page one, you probably should skip Le Carre. He builds slowly, nothing is out on the surface, easy to see, and the twists and devices can be so subtle that, if you blink, you might miss them.

Unfortunately, when you devour as many books as I do, like popcorn, it gets difficult to recall individual kernels after a few years have passed, so they are a bit hazy to me, though I recall liking them very much. I have no idea if or when he will revisit the PI pair. After Elmore Leonard dialogue, plots, and characters were forever changed. His plots are always different from what you expect.

Aside from Lonesome Dove , I have read almost no westerns, but Leonard is so good that I even went back and read his early ones, and loved them. He knows the street, he knows bad guys, and his good guys always have a satisfying twist to them. One of the best there is. He won some major awards with his series about Serendipity Dahlquist , a precocious year-old girl and Leo Bloodworth , grumpy, something private eye in Los Angeles.

They make an unlikely but very engaging team, as they try to track down her lost dog and get into more trouble than they reckoned on. Take a look at those dates, and you see it was taking him 3 to 4 years to do a novel. My guess is he had to hold down a job while he wrote, and since none of his books made the bestseller lists, I assume his life was not an easy one.

Then he did something different. He hooked up with Christopher Darden. Which is apparently the only thing the jury understood in the whole trial. Trust me, if he could write fiction, he would write it, all by himself, simple as that. Since then, Lochte has produced pretty much one novel per year, and is in a new league. More power to him. Some of them are dead serious, and some are goofy in a way that could probably only happen in Florida. Maybe my favorite writer of all time.

All these new writers owe a gigantic debt to the Godfather of them all. He was the first real pulp writer who the critics noticed and approved of. Too bad they waited so long; he labored in the paperback ghetto for too long before The Dreadful Lemon Sky made him into a bestseller. When his publisher suggested JDM create such a character he was dubious. So he did an extraordinary thing. He wrote the first four Only when he was that sure he liked the dude did he send them to the publisher, and thus eventually find a much larger audience and income.

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Even back then he was head and shoulders above the pack. I have read all of them except Weep For Me , which has never been reprinted because JDM apparently thought it was bad. I looked for it for 20 years without success. So he changed it to Evan Hunter. Nice Anglo-Saxon name. Then he changed it again. And again, and again. In order handle his incredible output he has written under the nice Anglo-Saxon names of Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, Richard Marsten, mostly back in the 50s and 60s when he was working in pulps and paperbacks.

He has 55 novels just in the 87th Precinct series! I enjoyed every single one of them. And then every fourth or fifth book they run into a true crazy criminal genius, The Deaf Man, and he runs rings around them. It is a wonderful family to settle in with, the dialogue is terrific, and the plots are always ingenious. When McBain wants to get more literary he lets Evan Hunter handle it. They concern Mma. Precious Ramotswe , the finest and only woman detective in Botswana. The author is South African, and knows his subject. You want to say they are simpler, but of course that sounds condescending.

They seem more direct, and more honest. I love them, one and all. Thank you, Marilyn! THE NO. McCall Smith has either gone into a writing frenzy seldom seen in the Western world, or is cleaning out his trunk of things he never sold before, cashing in on his new fame. It is said that the smaller and more rarefied the field, the more vicious the arguments, and von Igelfeld and his handful of colleagues prove this over and over.

They are delightful, but probably not for everybody. I loved them all. He is extremely quirky and funny, probably not for everyone, but give him a try. This got him the job of spokescanine for R-r-ruff Brand dog food, which led to roles in crap kids movies, fame and fortune. So here was a guy who only wanted to loll around in his Eames chair and listen to jazz, and because of his famous dog, is able to do it. The funny and ridiculous premise worked, and he wrote two more until , and seems to have quit. Possibly he thought he had stretched it too thin. Maybe it was too hard to keep making up plots where Jellyroll got in trouble in the last one it was a crazed celebrity stalker.

Too bad, as these books are witty without being jokey, and are full of great and hilarious detail. I totally loved them, and read all Aubrey is a jolly man of action who also loves to play the violin. Aubrey has almost as much trouble ashore as he does fighting at sea, running from his creditors and gambling debts. But they work wonderfully well together.

He styles himself a Republican, but I sense that he likes them only marginally more than he likes Democrats. Or maybe he hates them less. His writing reveals him to be more of a Libertarian. It seems to me that he has little love for many of the things Republicans do these days—saying they hate Big Government while endlessly expanding it, preaching fiscal conservatism while running up mind-boggling deficits. But he has understood that in the world of conservative humor Bluntly, the Left has a surfeit of sharp humorists, and the Right has only PJ. Mostly, he hoists the windbags on their own petards.

And there is a lot of wind on the Left. The first book on this list covers his work from when he was a drug-crazed hippie through his reformation, with many non-political side trips, and would be a good place to start. He was really, really good for about 9 or 10 novels, and then he threw it all away. Why should he? They continue to sell well. They continue to be read, even by me, and I often wonder why. Very short. Full of short sentences.

Short paragraphs. Short chapters. Last one had pages and 60 chapters. They are printed on thick paper,. You can easily finish one in a day, while doing a lot of other things. And I guess there are still rewards here, though almost every page I grit my teeth. How many times will Hawk and Spenser wryly congratulate themselves and each other on how wry they are, and how they know big words?

He has discovered a secret: write novellas and publish them as full-length novels and nobody will call you on it. He publishes 3 or 4 books per year this year he will have 4 titles.

Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)
Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)
Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)
Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)
Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)
Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)
Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5) Natural Causes (Harry Stoner Mystery Book 5)

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