Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro - Book 68

With three cases going on at once, this is no ordinary thriller. A serial killer, a Mob connection, an evil twin (really!) and a deception by a friend, as well as a cast of well-drawn characters make Private a good read which I didn't want to put down. As usual, Patterson keeps chapters short and focused and there's always something happening. I liked the main character, ex-Marine Jack who runs Private Investigations and his many co-workers who help to solve all the crimes. I was happy to hear that there's another in the series which will be out soon. Highly recommended - 4 stars.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Killing Cupid by Mark Edwards and Louise Voss - Book 67

This is one of the best books I've read recently. Told in the form of the journals of the two main characters, it charts the ever-evolving relationship of Siobhan and Alex. It opens with a bang as one of the characters falls to her death (or was she pushed?) and the pace continues relentlessly throughout. As the novel progresses, the stalkee turns stalker, and both of the main protagonists teeter on the edge of obsession. You'll be surprised by how the relationship turns out - but will the workings of justice put an end to it all? A five star thriller!

Catch Your Death by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards - Book 66

"A secret conspiracy. A killer virus. A race to save the world. " - Amazon's description about sums up this gripping medical thriller about scientific conspiracy and megalomania. Scientist Kate Maddox is in a race against time to find out what happened at a research centre 20 years ago, discover who has kidnapped her son and stop the man responsible from unleashing a deadly virus. This is a pacy thriller which I couldn't put down. 4 stars.

Falling Star by Diana Dempsey - Book 65

Natalie Daniels has bags of experience as a TV anchorwoman, but that doesn't stop her new boss from wanting to get rid of her. Even worse, he wants to replace her with the younger, prettier woman she mentored, but who still doesn't have the necessary skill. Here's Amazon's description:
Meet anchorwoman Natalie Daniels. Her husband just dumped her. Her boss is scheming to replace her. And she's hopelessly in love with a man who's engaged to another. What's a woman like Natalie to do-especially in Los Angeles, a city already known for shaky foundations? Teach all of them a lesson in success and revenge.
I rooted for Natalie all the way through, booed the villains and enjoyed the story. A nice, light read - 3.5 stars.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Promises to Keep series by Shayne Parkinson - books 62-64

I love a good historical novel, and the Promises to Keep series by Shayne Parkinson has a lot going for it. It's set in New Zealand in the 1880s, which is a novelty in itself, among a small farming community in Ruatane. The trilogy follows the life of Amy, from the age of about 12 onwards. And what a turbulent life it is too - from near ruin, to a disastrous marriage, to surprise relatives and more. The supporting characters, including her stepmother Susannah, her cousin Lizzie, her husband and sons and others, are all well drawn and come to life off the page. I was sorry when the trilogy came to an end and will be looking out for more from this writer. Five stars!

The books are:

  • Sentence of Marriage
  • Mud and Gold
  • Settling the Account
  • A Second Chance

Find out more on the Shayne Parkinson author page

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell - Book 61

Leaving behind her forensic pathology practice in South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient in a psychiatric ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. He says his injuries were sustained in the course of a murder ...that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer? The only thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered and that more violent deaths will follow... -

I have to confess to disappointment with recent Patricia Cornwell novels and this one was no exception. Despite a decent plot, the story seems to plod and by half way through I was anxious for it to be over. If you're a series fan (as I was) you'll probably read it anyway, but if not, then start with one of her earlier novels, such as Postmortem or Body of Evidence. 2.5 stars.

61 Hours by Lee Child - Book 60

When a tour bus on which he bummed a ride skids off the road and crashes, Reacher finds himself in Bolton, S.Dak., a tiny burg with big problems. A highly sophisticated methamphetamine lab run by a vicious Mexican drug cartel has begun operating outside town at an abandoned military facility. After figuring out the snow-bound, marooned Reacher's smart, great with weapons, and capable of tapping military intelligence, the helpless local cops enlist his assistance, and, as always, he displays plenty of derring-do, mental acuity, and good old-fashioned decency. While the action is slower than usual, series fans will appreciate some new insights that Child provides into his hero's psyche and background as well as a cliffhanger ending. -

That description only gives a hint of the tension that builds throughout this gripping novel. As usual, Jack Reacher remains calm through a set of strange circumstances, involving prison riots, drug cartels and more. There's a shocking death near the end and the baddie is somewhat unlikely (I didn't see it coming) culminating in a cliffhanger that will only be resolved (I hope) in the next Reacher novel, Worth Dying For.

Fallen by Karin Slaughter - Book 58

I couldn't put down Fallen by Karin Slaughter. Bringing together Will Trent and Sara Linton as well as a few characters from other novels, Fallen provided thrills and chills at a break neck pace. Here's Amazon's product description:

There’s no police training stronger than a cop’s instinct. Faith Mitchell’s mother isn’t answering her phone. Her front door is open. There’s a bloodstain above the knob. Her infant daughter is hidden in a shed behind the house. All that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations taught Faith Mitchell goes out the window when she charges into her mother’s house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room. She sees a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn’t see is her mother. . . .
As usual, Karin Slaughter provides bags of suspense, interesting characters and a rollicking good read. Unlike some authors, she seems to get better with each novel. I highly recommend this as a 4.5 star read.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foul Play by Janet Evanovich - book 59

While Janet Evanovich is best known now for her Stephanie Plum mystery series, I first read her work when she was primarily a romance writer. Foul Play is from that era. It features a fired TV anchor and handsome vet who find romance. While the story follows the predictable pattern of most romance novels, the characters are delightful and it's a good, light read. Three stars.

Infected, Contagious and Ancestor - books 55-57

Infected, Contagious and Ancestor are three books by Scott Sigler. I found them all unputdownable. Infected deals with a situation where "a number of unlucky humans ... develop some unusual symptoms—itchy, blue triangular growths on their skin—that eventually result in the carriers becoming screaming, homicidal maniacs" (Publishers Weekly).   Contagious is its equally riveting sequel. In contrast, Ancestor is about what happens when scientists try to play God, creating a throwback that could kill them all. Part medical and scientific thriller, part horror story, all three novels grip you from page one. I'm not a big horror fan, but found that in most cases, there was less gore than suspense (though there were some creative ends for some of the characters). Collectively, I give these books 4 stars.

Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer - Book 54

When I caught the first episode of Flash Forward a couple of years ago, I immediately liked the concept. The TV realization did not live up to expectations, but I was excited about reading the book. Written by Robert Sawyer, the book deals with a 21 year flash forward to the future and people's attempts to deal with the aftermath. I found it an interesting read and enjoyed people's attempts to prove, disprove and avoid the future they thought awaited them. In the end, which I won't reveal, the book comes full circle to an incident revealed early on. I'd give this 3.5 stars.