Friday, July 18, 2014


Phantom Limb: A Daniel Rinaldi MysteryPhantom Limb: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery by Dennis Palumbo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dennis Palumbo now has four thrillers (as of September 1, 2014) in the Daniel Rinaldi mysteries set in Pittsburgh, where he grew up. That is one of the features that drew me to the series since I lived there happily for a number of years. It isn't necessary to be familiar with Pittsburgh; but if you are, it's fun to recognize the locations the author describes.

Daniel Rinaldi is a psychologist who reluctantly gets called in by the police from time to time, to help with difficult cases needing his skills. His specialty is traumatized victims of crime including sexual assault. But never fear. Since author Dennis Palumbo is also a psychologist in real life, he never goes too far with the violence or the sex. The focus is on one heck of a good story.

In Phantom Limb, things start off with a bang. Set in Pittsburgh, this roller coaster ride of a thriller is a worthy fourth entry into the series. Hollywood Starlet Lisa Harland now married to a very wealthy older man is kidnapped as she leaves her session with Rinaldi, who of course gets knocked out. Why does the kidnapper insist on Dr. Rinaldi being the one to make the ransom drop?

I tend not to tell too much of the story since part of the fun of thrillers is the surprise and unexpected plot twists. And Palumbo precisely lays out the various story lines, carefully pulling them together at the end. Except, of course, those things that MIGHT be part of the next book.

If you start with the first book in the series, you will feel like the reoccurring secondary characters are old friends. Palumbo has filled his stories with people that are memorable, quirky, cranky, and fun.

I read lots of thrillers and have to say that Dennis Palumbo is one of the best writers in the genre and he gets better with every new entry in this series.

Bottom Line: If you read and enjoy thrillers, add Dennis Palumbo to your list of authors to follow. You won't be disappointed! It's not necessary, but I would still suggest reading the other three books first. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Disclaimer: A copy of Phantom Limb was provided to me by Poisoned Pen Press/Netgalley for review purposes. Dennis and I were in a community theater production together in Pittsburgh many years ago.

Title: Phantom Limb: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery #4
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
No. of Pages: 250 pages
Copyright: September 1, 2014
ISBN: 1464202540
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: NetGalley

Dennis Palumbo is a writer and licensed psychotherapist. His first Daniel Rinaldi mystery, Mirror Image was published in 2010, followed by Fever Dream in 2011, and Night Terrors in 2013. He was formerly a Hollywood screenwriter and his credits include the feature film My Favorite Year. He also wrote for Welcome Back, Kotter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scholastic Parents Summer Reading List

Use this list or create your own to find new and exciting worlds to explore.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Best Closing/Opening Lines of Novels

Now this is fun for a rainy day. Check out the best closing lines chosen by The article also has a link to the best opening lines of books and you are invited to suggest additions or make your own list.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Too Many Choices?

When I was a young mother, I remember being given the following advice. If you ask your child what they want, it can be overwhelming. You can simplify their decisions by making a selection of several things (of which you approve) and saying do you want this one or that one?

In today's world of the 'long tail', we are offered an ocean full of choices for pretty much everything.

It seems to me that this is both good and bad. Right now I am leaning towards thinking it's bad. Maybe that's because the older I get, the more I shut down when overwhelmed by choices. Emily Dickinson composed this poem in 1862.

The Soul selects her own Society -
Then - shuts the Door -
To her diving Majority -
Present no more -
Unmoved - she notes the Chariots - pausing -
At her low Gate -
Unmoved - an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat -

I've known her from an ample nation -
Choose One -
Then - close the Valves of her attention -
Like Stone -

Now my interpretation may not be what she intended, but I feel myself closing off to much of what is new and touted as wonderful. The joy of my childhood and earlier years continues to occupy much of my attention.

Instead I am inspired by the Introduction to Lillian Hellman's Pentimento.

"Old paint on a canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When that happens it is possible, in some pictures, to see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman's dress, a child makes way for a dog, a large boat is no longer on an open sea. That is called pentimento because the painter "repented," changed his mind. Perhaps it would be as well to say that the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and then seeing again. That is all I mean about the people in this book. The paint has aged and I wanted to see what was there for me once, what is there for me now."

And so I plan to limit my reading to those books languishing on my shelves. I am going to enjoy the music and theater I already love. Of course, that's not to say that there will be nothing new allowed into my life. I'm just shortening the 'long tail' so I can focus more on "what was there for me once, what is there for me now."

Monday, July 7, 2014


Buzz Books 2014: Fall/WinterBuzz Books 2014: Fall/Winter by Publishers Lunch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First introduced for the 2012 Book Expo America, the FREE digital Publishers Lunch Buzz Books has become the place for both industry professionals and book lovers in general to discover and read about the books expected to spark high demand BEFORE they are published!

There are 32 fall and winter books for adults in the fifth edition of Buzz Books. A second volume handling the burgeoning young adult titles is available with 20 excerpts.

The Introduction gives a nice overview of the upcoming publishing season broken down by literary fiction, debut fiction, commercial fiction, and followed by non-fiction conversation starters, memoir & biography.

What's really great is that after many selections, you have the option to follow a link and request the complete galley copy from Net Galley if you qualify as a 'professional' reader.

The fiction titles that caught my eye included Stewart O'Nan's West of Sunset (Viking, January), Louise Penny's The Long Way Home (Minotaur, August), Tana French's The Secret Place, and Becky Masterman's Fear of Darkness (Minotaur, February). These are all authors I have read and loved in the past.

In non-fiction, I'll be adding Marilyn Johnson's Lives in Ruins (Harper, November) to my list and I'm curious about Letty Cottin Pogrebin's How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick (Public Affairs, September). For memoirs, the following sound like they could be great fun: John Cleese's So Anyway (Crown, November); Neil Patrick Harris's (is there anything he can't do?) Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (Crown Archetype, October);  and Anjelica Huston's A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in London, Ireland and New York (Scribner, October).

Only two of these books were included in the selections: Tara French's  latest mystery and the Neil Patrick Harris autobiography.

Check out Buzz Books on Amazon. Did I mention it's FREE!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

World Book Night U.S. Project Ends

Cover from World Book Night Facebook page
I first heard of World Book Night after the first event had ended. Thinking it was a brilliant idea, I pledged to be one of the 'givers' for the next year; but then I got busy and didn't get involved. Now it's too late.

Recently, after the third seemingly successful year, the announcement came out that the project had ended. You can read about it in the Los Angeles Times article date July 2, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Terminal City (Alexandra Cooper, #16)Terminal City by Linda Fairstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been a year since I read Linda Fairstein's Dark Angel and my reaction is the same. The best part of her books is New York City and the historical details she works into the story. In Terminal City, Fairstein continues her winning formula in this 16th entry in the Alexandra Cooper series.

The plot is interesting and the procedural information is fascinating. What I don't like is the way Alexandra Cooper, an assistant district attorney specializing in crimes against women and children, is treated like a child. Perhaps the portrayal is an accurate picture of how women are viewed in her field, but I find it discomfiting to see her demeaned even by those that supposedly care for her.

Bottom Line: If you love mysteries and are curious about NYC's Grand Central Terminal, by all means consider reading this book.

Title: Terminal City
Author: Linda Fairstein
Genre: Police Procedural/Thriller
Publisher: Dutton Adult
ISBN: 0525953884
No. of Pages: 384 pages
Copyright: June 17, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: NetGalley

DISCLOSURE: Invited by NetGalley to request and receive this title for an honest review.

Linda Fairstein is an American author and former prosecutor focusing on crimes of violence against women and children. Wikipedia

View all my reviews