Philosophy trumps missionary and the ghosts have it!

Dead Drop by Jesse Mills

A Jack Salvo novel

Jack is an alpha male with a difference – a Private Eye who teaches philosophy. He could have had an academic career but he didn’t want to write about obscure philosophical points in obscure journals that were only read by Professors and their PhD students.

His logic background from his studies gives him a specific way of looking at the problems he is presented with in his investigative work. It perhaps helps him make deductions and follow the links but he also adds in induction and intuition to round out his choices and decisions.

We don’t know what he looks like so we have to make assumptions from the way the women he encounters react to him. Hence my assumption of the alpha male with strong pheromones!

The story doesn’t rely on red herrings but does unfold gradually and ‘who dunnit’ is not the surprise at the end that many books rely on. rather this is a story of action and reaction.

Overall, I like the book, but not so much I have gone out to buy more in the series or by the same author.

3 stars.

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Glorious Montana Sky by Debra Holland

I have read books in the Sweetwater in Montana series before but all current day. This was my first placed in the historical era. As such I found it less convincing than current day stories in its description of life and attitudes.

In many ways it as an opportunity lost as the female ‘lead’ was an octoroon – part black – and much of her ‘ruminations’ were about how people would react to her if they knew. Yet this was not developed. She was not ‘outed’ until the last chapter and even then it was covered up. I would have liked to see this area of culture and Western society explored and to have the community know and interact after this knowledge.

So, I think the book skated over two serious issues – the second being the impact of missionaries on African tribal cultures and traditional belief systems. Some points were raised but to explored.

Thus I found the book superficial and disappointing. The only interesting points were the details of the wild berries  used for making jam. I didn’t recognise three and so I looked them up.

Fruits in Montana: unknown to me:  Saskatoon, Chokecherry, Buffalo Berry

Saskatoon is the Amelanchier alnifolia – deep blue berries. The fruit can also be eaten raw. Hint of apple in the taste.

Chokecherry – Prunus virginiana. Black to red berries. Sucjering shrub or small tree up to 16 foot. Astringent taste, sour.

Buffalo berry (bull berries) – Elaeagnaceae shrub family (Shepherdia). 3 species – silver, Canadian and round leafed. Berry is dark red with white dots, rough to touch and bitter tasting. A favourite of bears.

2 stars

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Seeing the Dead by Sheila Connolly

Ghost stories and war or battlegrounds are common but this book has a twist to it. The ghosts are not always at the scenes of the battles and everyone who sees them seems to have common ancestors.

And so we come to the witch trials of early East Coast America. Most of the ghosts remain as shadowy figures but it seem that the ghosts of children can interact with other children. Now the question arises as to whether child-like adults could also interact with the ghosts of children or vice versa. Is it the innocence and lack of preconceptions that enables the children to interact?

What interested me also, is that I shall be going to Boston next year and so descriptions of the area nearby and the type of small town I might encounter was useful.

3 stars.

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