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Your 2012 Just Desserts hiatus reading assignment: John D. Macdonald

macdonaldJust Desserts Logo 225During the Nov/Dec 2012 hiatus between meetings of the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group, we encourage regular attendees to continue to participate as a group…but in a virtual way. While we may not have an actual meeting scheduled during these two months, this blog is available to keep everyone active with their mystery reading and discussions.

Our “hiatus author” for 2012 is John D. McDonald, creator of the classic mystery/suspense series featuring Travis McGee. McGee isn’t a typical P.I. or detective, but instead calls himself a “salvage consultant”, specializing in recovering lost or missing items. His standard fee is 50% of the value of the item recovered. McGee lives aboard a large houseboat called “The Busted Flush”, which he won in a poker game, and which is now docked at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. McGee appears in 21 novels, starting with The Deep Blue Goodbye in 1964 and ending in The Lonely Silver Rain in 1984. The Lincoln City Libraries have all but one of the 21 Travis McGee novels (we are missing #9).

We encourage Just Desserts participants to read any book in the Travis McGee series (click this link to jump to the library catalog), at some point in November or December 2012, then come back here and leave a comment about whatever you read or watched, as a response to this discussion topic.

As a bit of background, here are some links to MacDonald and Travis McGee information:

John D. MacDonald wrote much more than the Travis McGee series. In total, he wrote over 40 additional stand-alone novels, in both the mystery/thriller, general fiction and science fiction genres.

We look forward to seeing your comments here over the course of the next two months!

So…here’s your question: Which of the Travis McGee novels did you read, and what was your opinion?

Scott C. – Just Desserts coordinator and hos

October 2012 reading recommendations from Just Desserts members

Just Desserts Logo 225Hey, mystery fans! Looking for something good to read?

At the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group meeting on October 25th, after our book discussion, we spent time doing a round robin at the table, giving all attendees an opportunity to share what they’ve been reading lately. Here’s what was popular in October 2012 with this mystery-savvy group:


  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Phantom by Jo Nesbo
  • Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben
  • The Camel Club series by David Baldacci
  • The Berger & Mitry series by David Handler, including The Snow White Christmas Cookie
  • Death by Darjeeling and others by Laura Childs
  • Oh, Jerusalem by Laurie R. King
  • Sherlock Season One
  • Rock Bottom by Sarah Andrews
  • Bones Are Forever by Kathy Reichs
  • NYPD Red by James Patterson
  • Long Lost by Harlan Coben
  • Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
  • The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley
  • The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell
  • Criminal by Karin Slaughter
  • The B&B series by Mary Daheim
  • A Fistful of Collars by Spenser Quinn
  • The 1948 film Impact
  • Brethren by John Grisham


  • Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  • Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
  • Oklahoma City by Andrew Gumbel
  • Season of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Quiet by Susan Cain
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  • The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

What mysteries have you been reading lately?

September 2012 reading recommendations from Just Desserts members

Just Desserts Logo 225Hey, mystery fans! Looking for something good to read?

At the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group meeting on August 23rd, after our book discussion, we spent time doing a round robin at the table, giving all attendees an opportunity to share what they’ve been reading lately. Here’s what was popular in July 2012 with this mystery-savvy group:


  • Rosemary & Thyme DVD series
  • Simisola on DVD from Ruth Rendell
  • The Lincoln Lawyer on DVD – extras with Michael Connelly on a driving tour of L.A.
  • Angels Flight by Michael Connelly
  • Trickster’s Point by William Kent Krueger
  • Judgment Call by J.A. Jance
  • Fireproof by Alex Kava
  • Black Mist by Brad Thor
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
  • A Corpse’s Nightmare by Phillip Depoy
  • Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry
  • The Closer – final season on DVD
  • As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson
  • Bonefire of the Vanities by Carolyn Haines — didn’t recommend it as a mystery, but for the literary element of having the ghost of the protagonist’s grandmother come back as a different famous female sleuth in each book in the series
  • Nobody’s Fools by Richard Russo
  • The works of William Kent Krueger
  • Fool Me Twice by Michael Brandman, continuing the Jesse Stone novels of Robert B. Parker
  • Lullaby by Ace Atkins, continuing the Spenser novels of Robert B. Parker
  • Scones and Bones by Laura Childs (a Tea Shop mystery)
  • Crusader’s Cross by James Lee Burke
  • In the Moon of Red Ponies by James Lee Burke
  • The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman
  • The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
  • The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King
  • Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
  • Killing Gifts by Deborah Woodworth
  • The Big Cat Nap by Rita Mae Brown
  • Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton
  • Haven by Kay Hooper
  • Lethal Outlook by Victoria Laurie
  • The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder by Mary Jane Maffini
  • Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow
  • Fire and Ice by Dana Stabenow
  • Crooked House by Agatha Christie
  • Black Coffee by Charles Osborne, based on the play by Agatha Christie
  • And Be a Villain by Rex Stout
  • Sister Pelagio and the Black Monk by Boris Akunin
  • Murder on Capitol Hill by Margaret Truman
  • Black Water by T. Jefferson Parker
  • Criminal by Karin Slaughter
  • Cat Coming Home by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • Cat Telling Tales by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • Frozen Heat by Richard Castle


  • The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
  • Salmon Fishing in Yemen DVD
  • Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords
  • 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
  • Perfect is Overrated by Karen Bergreen
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Niceville by Carsten Stroud
  • The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What mysteries have you been reading lately that you would recommend?

What mystery authors should we consider for 2013?

Just Desserts Logo 225As we prepare to wrap up our 2012 season of Just Desserts meetings and look forward to 2013, we are faced with that inevitable question — what authors should we read and discuss as a group in the next year?

Harlan Coben, our October 2012 selected author, is the 67th author we’ve tackled thus far. Our goal for the past 6+ years has been to not repeat an author if we could possibly help it. Here are the other criteria we’ve used when choosing past authors/titles:

  • For the first several years of Just Desserts, we alternated between “classic” authors and “contemporary” authors. We ended that practice after we ran out of “classic” authors for whom the library had sufficient copies to meet the group’s needs.
  • The libraries need to own at least 12 to 15 copies of whatever title we select, preferably in a variety of formats, including audio and/or downloadable.
  • We’ve tried to avoid those authors that everybody already seems to be reading (such as Evanovich and Patterson), and focus on picking authors that may be new to a large percentage of the group’s members.
  • We’ve tried to alternate tone and writing style — including a mix of cozies, police procedurals, amateur detectives, noirish P.I.s, forensic detectives, various time periods, etc.
  • We’ve had some success with picking a few authors for whom we didn’t select a specific title — instead recommending that participants read whatever novel(s) they could for those authors (Louise Penny and Suzanne Arruda). We are certainly capable of trying this again! This makes for unusual discussions, as we try to discuss generalities rather than specifics of individual titles.

With all of these considerations in mind, what authors do you suggest that we consider for Just Desserts gatherings in 2013? Leave your suggestions as a comment to this blog post — and feel free to elaborate on why you recommend particular authors in your comments!

Scott C. / Just Desserts coordinator

Here’s a link to the Just Desserts archives, so you can see an entire list of all the authors we’ve used in the past.

Lisa Scottoline’s “Lady Killer”

Just Desserts Logo 225ladykiller2When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met in September 2012, we discussed a 2008 entry in Lisa Scottoline’s best-selling “Rosato & Associates” series, Lady Killer.

This book was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on September 27, 2012. Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are  welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book (and series) in a reply comment to this blog post, below.

Join us next on October 25th, at the South Branch Library (6:30 p.m.), as we discuss a volume in the Myron Bolitar mystery series by Harlan Coben, Promise Me.

For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery  fans, don’t forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you’re logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance.

What do you think of Lady Killer and the Rosato & Associates series by Scottoline?