Movie: Florence Foster Jenkins

May 19, 2016

A rare evening at the GFT to watch Meryl Streep & Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins.

movieThe movie is the true story of a New York heiress in the 1940s who supported the arts and has a dream of being a great singer.  However, Florence can’t sing.  She has passion and love of music and those around her simply don’t tell her how bad she is. 

At private recitals, her devoted husband and manager, St Clair Bayfield, managed to protect Florence from the truth by manipulating the audience and press. But when Florence decided to give her first public concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall, St Clair can’t keep the true reviews from her. 

It is also worth mentioning, Simon Helberg‘s performance as pianist Cosme McMoon who steals many of the scenes in this film.  It is difficult not to see him as his character from The Big Bang Theory but he is fantastic in this film.  This movie is both hilarious and moving.  The relationships appear eccentric and self-serving but towards the end we see just how devoted St Clair is to Florence and that her audiences do care for the vulnerability she puts forward.  A lovely and very funny movie.


Book: Michael Connelly “The Gods of Guilt”

May 13, 2016

The latest Michael Connelly novel- which means that last in my unbroken run of reading the entyre output of Muchael Connelly over the past year or so!

bookHarry Bosch has finally bean retired – or forced out – and is rebuilding a motorbike while trying to ignore the loss of the chase.  Mickey Haller (his 1/2 brother) approaches Harry to help investigate a homicide.  While Harry agrees to read the murder book he is reluctant to move to ‘the darkside’ by working for the defense.  As Harry spots problems with the original investigation he is gradually drawn past the point of no return.

It is good to see these two characters in one story, although I think in balance this is a Bosch novel.  What makes this most interesting is the tension between Harry’s approach of wanting to solve the murder against Haller’s requirements to win in court to get his client off.  This tension stops Harry moving ahead once he starts to close in on the true suspects – but not for long.

Lots of stuff in this book for Michael Connelly fans seeing how Harry Bosch survives outside the institutions which have always been part of his life.  How will he work without a badge, what’s happening with his relationship with his daughter, and much more.  The book is fast paced and doesn’t disappoint.

 


Book: Michael Connelly “The Gods of Guilt”

May 13, 2016

The latest in Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller series, “The Gods of Guilt” finds Mickey picking up the pieces from a failed run for District Attorney and estranged from his daughter, the two things that we saw might be changing at the end of his last outing.  Now Haller finds himself defending a man charged with murder – one twist being that the victim is also an old client of Mickey’s – a prostitute who he thought he had helped out of that lifestyle.

bookTrying to investigate the case to defend his client, Mickey also wants to know how she ended up back in LA.

 


Book: Michael Connelly “The Burning Room”

May 13, 2016

My continuing march through the novels of Michael Connelly now has very few books left.  In The Burning Room we see Harry Bosch in the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, but unusually they catch a ‘fresh body’ when a man who was shot by a stray bullet 10 years ago which left the bullet lodged in his spine finally succumbs to complications.  The cause of death is given as the bullet, which makes it a homicide despite the time gap between the shot being fired and the victim dying.

bookAs Harry and his new partner Lucia (Lucy) Soto start to look into this apparently hopeless case they start to uncover political links, and the possibility that the victim wasn’t the original target.  Meanwhile Harry discovers that his new partner is carrying out her own investigation off the books into an apartment fire that killed several children 20 years ago – Lucy was one of the survivors so Harry helps her find those behind it.


Book: Michael Connelly “The Fifth Witness”

May 13, 2016

In this, the fourth book in the Mickey Haller series, the credit crunch is hitting everybody. Haller isn’t getting too many criminal cases so his business is now handling civil cases where banks are imposing foreclosures – sometimes illegally – on the poor individuals who can’t keep up their mortgage repayments. Haller has one such client, Lisa Trammel, and he’s managed to keep the bank at bay for eight months while he assembles a case against both them and ALOFT – the company handling the foreclosure on behalf of the bank.

bookThen comes the hammer blow: the bank’s CEO, Mitchell Bondurant is found murdered in the company car park, and Lisa has been arrested for the offence. Haller now has a new criminal case on his hands…

Much of the ensuing action, naturally, takes place in court as Haller brilliantly conducts the defence while simultaneously trying to win back one of his ex-wives, Maggie ‘McFierce’ McPherson. All the characters, for me, are as well-drawn as they can be in genre fiction, where the emphasis is necessarily on the plot. And boy, what a plot this has. The one weakness lies in the fact that the case against Trammel goes to court with the prosecution initially armed with no more than circumstantial evidence. Would that really happen? But this is a minor quibble; the book is fantastic entertainment.

( read in 13 days)


Book: Michael Connelly “The Black Box”

May 13, 2016

A ‘flashback’ opening to this novel with Bosch and his partner working homicide during the LA Riots of 1992.  The circumstances dictate that homicide detectives only have time to do very little with each case – which isn’t Harry Bosch’s style.  He is called to the body of a Danish photo journalist found by national guardsmen who are trying to secure areas of the city.  There are no witnesses  and apart from a bullet, nothing else is found at the scene.

black-box20 years on Bosch is working in the Open Unsolved Unit trying to close old cases – but would it be politically embarrassing if the only case solved from those riots was that of a white journalist?  This is of no consequence for Bosch as he gradually runs down every clue, in this case following the gun.  Simply another page turner and I can’t fault this good read.


Book: Michael Connelly “The Drop”

May 13, 2016

Just can’t get enough Bosch books!  As ever this police procedural has more than one case going on not to mention the relationships with partners, authority and his daughter.

bookHarry is now working cold cases when a DNA match comes up from a 1989 murder.  Only problem is the person who’s DNA was matched would have been 8 years old at the time.  So more investigation is required.

Then Bosch is called to the death of the son of his longtime nemesis, Irvin Irving.  Was this a suicide or murder?  If Bosch solves it what will the political fall out be in either case?

started – March 15th – 24th


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