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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Announcing the Love of Reading Online Book Fair | Main | Kirn, Walter: The Unbinding »

Olson, Karen E.: Dead of the Day

  

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Obsidian © 2007, 309 pages
4 stars

Dead bodies seem to be popping up everywhere in Dead of the Day, the third installment in Karen Olson's series featuring Annie Seymour, a thirty-something crime reporter with the New Haven Herald. (The Herald is a fictional stand-in for the author's one-time employer, the New Haven Register. See my reviews of the first two books in the series, Sacred Cows and Secondhand Smoke.) This time around Annie needs to unravel a complex of crimes that are all somehow connected to New Haven's illegal immigrant population and to, of all things, bee research: the apparent murder of a Hispanic male whose bee-stung body is fished out of the harbor, a drive-by shooting targeting the city's chief of police, a break-in at Annie's mother's house, and so on. It's a complicated story, and Olson does a great job of tying all the threads together without losing readers in the process.

[INSET TEXT: Her stomach is forever growling or otherwise demanding restaurant fare, so we're given a tour of New Haven's eating establishments while reading--from Sally's Pizza in Wooster Square to Louis' Lunch (home of the hamburger Nazis) to Clark's Dairy (where I used to work!).] As in previous outings, Annie tries very often to wrangle information from her old boyfriend, Tom Behr, a police detective.  And she is again abetted in her reportorial sleuthing by Sinatra-esque private investigator Vinnie DeLucia, whom she's been dating since she and Tom broke up. Vinnie's younger brother Rocco joins the cast of characters this time. He's a bestselling author interested in finding a new story, which gives him an excuse for tagging along with Annie and his big brother when they're out hunting for clues. The threesome form a sort of Scooby Gang, each of them interested in the case for their own reasons. I like the new dynamic.

Annie seems to be perpetually hungry in Olson's series. Her stomach is forever growling or otherwise demanding restaurant fare, so we're given a tour of New Haven's eating establishments while reading--from Sally's Pizza in Wooster Square to Louis' Lunch (home of the hamburger Nazis) to Clark's Dairy (where I used to work!). Olson doesn't concentrate too much on the food itself. There are no sensual descriptions of, say, mozzarella sliding off an oily slice of thin-crust pizza. But the restaurant mentions are part of what roots Olson's novels so very firmly in the New Haven area. Previous installments brought readers to Sleeping Giant State Park and into parts of the Yale campus, and the novels are centered on Wooster Square, Annie's neighborhood. But this time much of the action takes place in Fair Haven, a part of New Haven that lies between the Mill and Quinnipiac rivers. I mention that because I hadn't known it before Olson described Fair Haven in the book. I grew up and have lived most of my life in the New Haven area, yet reading Olson's novels I feel as if I've been skating thoughtlessly across the landscape on my trips to the grocery store and the local Barnes & Noble: Olson's protagonist is far more attuned to the area than I've ever been, both its businesses and its underlying features. Part of what I enjoy about the books is that they are so steeped in their setting.

In Olson's previous outing, the character of Annie was, I thought, a little too hard-boiled: burned out after years of reporting and intrinsically misanthropic to begin with, Annie was bordering on being unlikable with all her curmudgeonliness. It may be my imagination, but this time she seems to have softened up a bit. She's still not sweetness and light, but I'm not complaining anymore.

Here's hoping Olson has a lot more crime in store for New Haven.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.