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Profile for Peter K. Burian > Reviews


Peter K. Burian's Profile

Customer Reviews: 14
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Peter K. Burian "" RSS Feed (Toronto, Ontario Canada)

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A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 3)
A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 3)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Slow to get moving and too much guessing at who might be the murderer, August 24, 2015
I love historical murder mysteries but this series is NOT among my favorites. Todd's other series, also taking place around World War I, also seemed to be a bit slow, but the primary character Ian Rutledge (a war veteran, police detective suffering from post traumatic stress) was far more interesting. And since he was the actual investigator, there were more facts provided.

Bess Crawford is a nurse who happens to get involved in situations where murders occur (also in small villages). The plot is very slow to get moving in the series. In this book for example, the murder does not even happen till page 83. As well, she is simply not an engaging character.

She has no authority to investigate a crime so there's a lot of asking people about other characters; since she has very little evidence of anything, there's a great deal of guessing at characters' motivation and who might be the murderer. Also, far too many coincidences of characters knowing each other. I bought the entire series and read the first three, but for now, I have switched to reading other authors such as the (much better) Lenox series by Charles Finch, about a Victorian gentleman who is a private detective.

Price: $7.99
223 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars All the best hits, July 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hits (Audio CD)
I love this disc. All of Phil's best hits in excellent technical quality.

Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake #6)
Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake #6)
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.74
71 used & new from $13.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but familiar characters are becoming one-dimensional, July 30, 2015
I enjoyed the entire Shardlake series so far and this one is the best. The primary character has been fully developed and the new character Nicolas is interesting; not fully developed yet, but will be in future books I suppose. Shardlake needed someone to work with since Barak is older now, married with children, and not as eager for action as in earlier books. Nicolas will fill that role soon.

It's not necessary to read the Shardlake series in order although it helps because you then have a better feel for the characters and the history of the era. And yet, the characters -- except for Shardlake -- are nowhere near as interesting now as they were in previous books; I guess they appear because we expect them but they are almost one-dimensional now.

If you enjoy historical fiction mysteries, this series would be one of a half dozen that I would strongly recommend.

Dead on the Island (Truman Smith Private Eye Book 1)
Dead on the Island (Truman Smith Private Eye Book 1)
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting protagonist; fascinating location & other characters, January 4, 2015
There are only 5 books in the Tru Smith series, all available as e-books. I'll bet if you read this first one, you will want to read all five. Unlike the typical detective books, it does not take place in Chicago, N.Y, or L.A. but on an island in Galveston. (as do two other books of this series). The protagonist is a bit of a beach bum ... reminds me of some other books of this type that take place on islands in Florida (like the Doc Ford books by Randy Wayne White) but Truman Smith is a more credible character who happens to have a Private Eye license.

He is self-effacing and that makes for some humor, but when the situation gets rough, Smith does get serious. There is plenty of action, but for me, the first person narration -- and especially the unusual locale, its history and characters who live there -- really made this series most enjoyable. I wish Crider had written more Tru Smith novels, but he did not, so enjoy the five. (Two do NOT take place on the island and I did not enjoy those quite as much; Gator Kill is the better of those two, however.)

When Old Men Die (Truman Smith Mysteries Book 3)
When Old Men Die (Truman Smith Mysteries Book 3)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Second Best of the Truman Smith series, December 28, 2014
This is one of the three books of the series that takes place near Galveston, and I definitely prefer those vs. the other two that take place elsewhere in Texas. (And I find this series to be more interesting than the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, because of the more fascinating location and its history, as well as the local characters.) Truman Smith is well-developed, credible and likeable; (humorous too). I won't re-hash the plot here, but there is plenty of action and mystery to satisfy most readers of this genre. It's worth reading this series in order, since there is definitely character development of both Truman and his friend Dino. (And I would rate the first book, Dead on the Island, even higher than this one.)

Although out of print, the series is readily available in e-book formats at affordable prices. I find them a bit short, but excellent value for the money. I wish Crider would continue this series with new books, preferably all taking place near Galveston.

The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III
The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III
by Sharon Kay Penman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.01
87 used & new from $3.99

0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as Penman's newer books, April 7, 2013
I *love* Penman's more recent books so I decided to read this one, her very first. Honestly, it is not up to the standard of the newer ones.

It's like she could not decide whether it would be a romance book or an adventure book. All her books have some romance but not to the extent of this one re: Anne and Richard. For example, I only scanned a lot of the pages about how she is treated, has to hide out, and eventually finds Richard. Seemed kind of contrived.

I really prefer Penman books that are better at combining relationships and adventures. If you like this book, you will **LOVE** books such as her Welsh Princes series: Here Be Dragons (1985) ·Falls The Shadow (1988) ·The Reckoning (1991). (I would rate these 4.5 to 5 stars each ... very long too but I read every page thoroughly and was sorry when the series was done.)

Almost though not quite as enjoyable as the Welsh series is the The Plantagenet series When Christ and His Saints Slept (1995) ·Time and Chance (2002) ·Devil's Brood (2008) ·Lionheart (2011) Of these I enjoyed Lionheart the most and really hope there will be another Penman book soon.

Budapest (Hungary) 1:10,000 Street Map (International Travel Maps)
Budapest (Hungary) 1:10,000 Street Map (International Travel Maps)
by ITM Canada
Edition: Map
Price: $3.95
30 used & new from $2.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1:10,000 is too much detail (data is too small), December 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you order this map, also order a magnifying glass. 1:10,000 sounds great but there is WAY too much detail, so the names of streets, etc. are simply too small. Every little laneway is shown; great if you are a taxi driver but if you are a tourist, you will have trouble finding the street you want.

My wife and I both have reading glasses so our close-up vision is excellent but we often had difficulty deciphering info.

The city of Toronto, ON is huge and yet, it's so much easier to figure out what the street names are ... or finding a street, without a magnifying glass.

I wish map publishers would publish something like a TOURIST MAP OF XXX. Not for taxi drivers who need to know where every little lane is but for tourists who want to be able to see street names in a larger size, and less difficult to find amid clutter on a map. (I have found maps like that, usually included with a Guide Book but they are sort of pocket size, so too small; hence the print is also small)

Photographing the Southwest: Volume 1--Southern Utah (2nd Ed.) (Photographing the Southwest)
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 1--Southern Utah (2nd Ed.) (Photographing the Southwest)
by Laurent Martres
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.45
33 used & new from $2.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to the most photogenic locations, December 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this guide and Volume 2 (about a different area) a few years ago and have used them on three different trips across the SW USA.

Martres' photos are fabulous ... maybe a bit disappointing to see some of my own photos of the same areas, by comparison.

But he certainly gives you a good flavor of the area, what to expect, when/where to get the best photos, and lots of other useful information.

While a more general guide book like Frommer's is better if you are not interested in photography, these areas are SO gorgeous that everyone really should be.

My only complaint is that on a trip where we covered a large area, I had to bring both of Martre's volumes because part of our trip was covered in Volume 1 and part in Volume 2. But that is nitpicking. (There is also a Volume 3; each volume covers a specific region).

Laurent Martres' guides achieve exactly what they claim to offer and are perfect for serious photo enthusiasts, but also useful if you are more of a point-and-shoot person but want photos of the most spectacular areas: both familiar and off the beaten path.

Michelin Map; Germany, Benelux, Austria, Czech Republic (Michelin National, No. 719)  (English and German Edition)
Michelin Map; Germany, Benelux, Austria, Czech Republic (Michelin National, No. 719) (English and German Edition)
by Michelin
Edition: Map
16 used & new from $6.74

3.0 out of 5 stars Tons of detail but often too small, December 2, 2012
I usually buy Michelin maps before traveling in Europe, primarily since it's typically the only brand that is recently published, and hence, up to date. I would rate accuracy of this one, as perfect ... as usual for Michelin.

I used this map for two trips to entirely different parts of Germany (the Rhine/Mosel and Bavaria) and was often frustrated in trying to find the highway or route number for example. The numeral is always very small and along a 300 mile highway, the route number is not shown often enough. So, I find the highway I want and then need to look along it for quite a way on the map to figure out the route number.

Even with reading glasses, in good light, I often found it too difficult to decipher the name of a road, for example.

And in rural areas, there is simply too much information; every dirt road is shown, making for a very busy area. So it's difficult to find the road I want.

The Province of Ontario, Canada is HUGE compared to all of Germany and yet, the map (of another publisher) is no larger. Even so, it's so much easier to figure out what the route number is for a highway ... or to find a road in a non-urban area ... or to decipher the name of a road without a magnifying glass.

I really think it's time for Michelin to re-think their approach to maps.

Utah (Rand McNally Folded Map: States)
Utah (Rand McNally Folded Map: States)
by Rand McNally
Edition: Map
13 used & new from $9.66

5.0 out of 5 stars I love Rand McNally maps, December 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Whenever traveling in a location where a recent (up to date) Rand McNally map is available, that's always the one I order.

Sometimes they don't have a map to that area at all, or don't have one that was published recently. Then, I buy another one such as Michelin and am always disappointed. (See my recent review of the Michelin map of Hungary, for example.)

I wish Michelin would buy a Rand McNally map and use the same approach; that would make Michelin maps a lot more user-friendly.

We loved the backroads of Utah and used this map often; it's a bit weak re: Monument Valley of course, since that is a Tribal Park, but otherwise we thought it was perfect.

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