Willowtree- Mike Bove

Willowtree  by Mike Bove is a so-so murder mystery set in the fictional Arizona town of Willowtree, it is  the first Bruce DelReno Mystery. When Bruce, a retired mail-man, is playing golf, he stumbles across some old bones, while looking for his ball. Later, while investigating the find with an anthropologist friend (a fellow golfer) and his Golden Retriever, Keely, believing the bones to be from an old Indian burial ground, they discover a much more recent set of human remains. Bruce, who spend everyday at the golf course since his retirement, adds amateur sleuth to his favourite pastimes in a bid to catch the killer.

This book takes a while to get going. There were a number of times in the beginning when I came close to abandoning it. As I mentioned earlier, the main character, and narrator, is a keen golfer, and there is a little too much attention, and detail given to the golf in the beginning. Not being a fan of the game (sport?) myself, these descriptions became a bit tedious. Ordinarily, I enjoy the opportunity to learn about things, through my reading, that I don’t know much about, and I thought that golf could be one of them, sadly this wasn’t the case. Unfortunately, the slow pace of a stroll around the golf course, set the pace for the rest of the story.

However, I persevered, and to a certain extent, I was rewarded. Certainly once the body is found and the search for the killer begins, there is enough interest to keep you going to the end of the book. As a murder mystery though, I would classify it as more Murder She Wrote and less James Patterson. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going out of your way to track down a copy, but if you do come across it, it is an okay read.

The Fifth Witness- Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly has a reputation as a great writer of crime fiction. The Fifth Witness is his latest. Mickey Haller is  a LA based defence attorney, who has found that the current economic downturn has effected business somewhat.  As a result he has moved into the increasingly lucrative ‘foreclosure market’ helping the hundreds of Americans at risk of loosing their homes. That is until one of his clients is accused of murder, and he must revert to doing what he does best. (In return for the proceeds of the film and book sales, of course. It is LA.)

This is the fourth book to feature Mickey Haller, the first being  The Lincoln Lawyer (now a Hollywood blockbuster starring Matthew McConaughey.) However, this is the first book of Connelly’s that I have read. So I can only judge it as a stand alone novel.

The Fifth Witness is a good book, and knowledge of the prior books is not required. It doesn’t revolutionise the genre in any way, but it certainly lives up to what one expects from a courtroom based crime thriller. It is pure escapism at its best.  My only criticism is that the conclusion is somewhat predictable, but it is satisfying none the less.

I would recommend this for anyone who is looking for ‘McDonalds’ crime fiction. No real surprises, and its forgotten almost as soon as its finished. But, a good way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon on the couch.