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Author: Mike Brogan
Title – Car Wars (July 23, 2019)
Madison McKean-Jordan is Chairman of Turner Advertising, the advertising agency handed over to her by her father. As the story opens, Madison wins a huge advertising account for the new XCar. The XCar has a revolutionary long-range battery-power system that can allow up to five hundred miles of driving before needing a fifteen minute recharge. XCars have been sent to various dealerships to be used as floor models and for contests before the official launch date. Some of the greedier dealerships sold a few of the XCars early.
Competitive car companies are worried. Once of them hires a genius hacker. Since newer vehicles are basically computers on wheels, Robert K. Bruner develops a remote vehicle driving system. He mainly targets the new XCar (later branching out to other models that are on the road today) and takes control of the car while it is being driven. The news is plastered with stories of wrecks and fatalities involving the XCars.
To save her new account, Madison cooperates with the XCar manufacturer and the FBI to hunt down the hacker. This puts a target on her back, as well as other helping the investigation.
***** FIVE STARS! The main character of Madison is the same character from one of the author’s previous books (Madison’s Avenue.) Seeing her again was like meeting up with an old friend. You do not have to read the previous book to fully enjoy this stand-alone thrilling tale.
If your vehicle has Bluetooth, GPS, or any other wireless device, it would be vulnerable to attack. The thought sent a chill through me, especially since the technology is out there. I read at breakneck speeds to see what would happen next. I began and finished this novel in a single evening. I simply could not look away from the wreckage and destruction the hacker was causing.
Mike Brogan writes with a flair that encompasses unforgettable characters and extremely realistic situations that will make you think twice about getting behind the steering wheel of your car. This story is a road trip like no other! *****
Author: Wendy Corsi Staub
Title – Dead Silence
This story is about Amelia, an investigative genealogist, the Angler, and Barnes, a missing persons investigator for NYPD. Amelia helps people, especially those abandoned as babies, find their families and their roots. The Angler is a Canadian who comes into the US for his own dark purposes. Barnes is an investigator for NYPD, focusing on those who are missing, some intentionally. When a small child is found near the US/Canadian border, their stories begin to intertwine as the race is on to find his parents before he is found by evil bent on destroying the boy and those sheltering him.
**** FOUR STARS! This book kept me interested all the way through, and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series. This author gave just enough resolution and revelation without giving away the whole story. Every time I thought I had figured out the whole story, there was another plausible string unraveled that had me thinking again. At the end, some things are resolved while this reader was thinking "but what about...?" and happy to see another book will answer some of those. ****
Author: Ditter Kellen
Title - The Boy in the Window
Jessica and Owen Nobles lost their seven-year-old son, Jacob, three years ago. Jessica is unable to get past her grief. Thinking a change in scenery may help her, Owen moves them to Florida. The little town of Sparkleberry Hills is quiet, yet the new neighborhood is anything but. First, there is Marge, the nosy neighbor. Second is Eustice, who beats his wife. Third is Dale, the drunk who plays with knives.
Jessica begins seeing a seven-year-old boy in the window of an abandoned house. But every time Jessica tries to speak with the boy, he disappears. Researching online, Jessica learns the boy is Terry Dalton, who disappeared from the house thirteen years ago. Bodies begin falling around her and Jessica is a suspect in at least one of them. She is being set up for some unknown reason … and she cannot even rely on her husband for help, because even he believes Jessica may be crazy.
***** FIVE STARS! This is an exciting and chilling novel that I could not help but read in a single, rainy evening. The story gave me a wonderful excuse to skip doing chores as I could not put the blasted thing down. (Just one more chapter…) The main characters have well developed backgrounds and subtle paranormal element within the story made it a bit spooky. Owen had reason to worry about his wife’s sanity, but Jessica had every right to be disappointed in him. What does that mean? It means that the author did a terrific job of showing both sides of the rocky marriage. Highly recommended. *****
Author: Alison Gaylin
Title - Never Look Back (July 2, 2019)
True-crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison is doing research for his next podcast which hits close to home for him. No, it actually does hit home. It is about a series of murders in the 1970s committed by teen couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy. Quentin has a relative who was one of the victims. Therefore, the podcast would be called “Closure”. Quentin contacts a website columnist named Robin Diamond because he has reason to believe Robin’s own mother may be intimately connected with the killings. Of course, Robin thinks the idea is crazy, until a deadly home invasion destroys everything Robin once believed.
***** FIVE STARS! The story is told through the eyes of Quentin, Robin, or a series of letters written by fifteen-year-old April Cooper at the time of the killings. Each chapter begins with either the name of who it is following or a letter from April. (Later in the book, there is a chapter that follows Roy and several following Summer.) This is the type of book in which you need to pay attention. Little things read at first turn out to be big things later on. A haunting and compelling read that I simply could not put down. (I read the entire novel in one afternoon.) This author has made a fan out of me. I eagerly look forward to her next thriller. *****
Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Title - The Curse of Misty Wayfair
Set in 1908, Thea Reed is searching for her mother. The search has taken her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin. To earn her way, Thea is a traveling photographer who (often) goes door-to-door offering her services. Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access to a mental asylum, where she assists the groundskeeper, Simeon Coyle, in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. But Thea ends up waking the ghost (legend) of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.
Set in Present Day, Heidi Lane has received a troubling letter from her mother, who battles dementia. It has Heidi traveling to Pleasant Valley. There, her siblings not only care for the mother, but also run a lake resort. Heidi finds a photo album in an antique shop with a picture of someone who could be her twin. Now Heidi has questions! When Heidi catches sight of a ghostly woman (outsider her window) who supposedly haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, Heidi fears for her life.
**** FOUR STARS! The story hops between Thea in 1908 and Heidi in the present. Normally, I avoid stories that jump around like this, but this novel has a old-timey Gothic feel to it. (I miss the Gothic Romances of old.) Holding my breath and hoping for a miracle, I purchased this book. I am happy that I did so. The time hopping did not bother me at all. In fact, for a long while, I felt as if I were reading two Gothic books at once. Then the author merged them. Very well done. ****
Author: Mike Brogan
Doctor Nell Northam, a top U.S. military scientist, is abducted in Manhattan while she is out shopping with her sister, Lindee Langstrom. Nell is a terrorist’s dream because she is highly skilled in biological and chemical weaponry. The President directs his top Security Advisor, Donovan Rourke, to locate her. Luckily, Nell manages to escape her abductors and explains to Donovan the chemical weapon she had been forced to help create; however, there is one mystery ingredient in which she was privy to. Yet this weapon is designed to kill thousands of young children was due to happen within twenty-four hours. But as Nell and Donovan rush to stop the attack, they realize that they have the attack details wrong. The attack is going to happen within mere hours and the real weapon is being delivered in a way no one could possibly imagine.
***** FIVE STARS! The title of this novel is aptly named. This author has, once again, left me breathless with his most recent release. The story caught my attention quickly and never let go. When I finally learned of the weapon’s delivery method, I actually felt a chill go up my spine. That is how deeply the author managed to engross me into the story. Worse, this is something that could actually happen – or something similar. I can tell that Brogan did a lot of research for this story and everything is clearly explained. Readers that have read previous titles by Brogan may recall Donovan Rourke, and a few secondary characters, from the past. This made the story even more realistic for me; however, new readers will have no trouble because all the characters are well developed. I am eager to read Brogan’s next thrilling novel. He has become one of the authors on my (short) favorites list. Everyone should read this book! *****
Author: Cynthia Eden
Title - Taken (LOST #5)
After surviving several torturous days at the hands of the infamous Death Angel, Bailey Jones finds herself unable to move on with her life. No one believes Bailey saw and helped another woman escape her torturer on that last painful night. Bailey turns to LOST (Last Option Search Team) for help in locating the missing woman. LOST assigns Asher Young, a former SEAL, to the case.
Asher cannot afford to let his growing feelings for Bailey distract him. That could very well end in tragedy, especially since it seems as though the Death Angel is not dead after all. Is the killer stalking Bailey again? Is it a copycat? All Asher knows for certain is that there is no way he will allow the killer a second chance at torturing Bailey to death.
***** FIVE STARS! Even if you have not read the previous titles in this series, you will fully understand and enjoy this exciting story. It stands alone. I was ensnared from the very first sentence. The action and suspense is as tantalizing as the hot chemistry between the two main characters. Asher’s past is as horrific as Bailey’s and this adds more depth to both characters.
Cynthia Eden has written a breathtaking and suspenseful story that will long remain in the minds of her readers. There is no doubt in my mind that Eden is a master at her craft. *****
Author: C.J. Kyle
Title - Silent Night
Police Chief Tucker Ambrose had once been a cop in Chicago and his gut is telling him that the blood pattern found is no joke. This is unusual since Christmas, Tennessee, has a very low crime rate. Now there is blood with no body, a missing teenager, and a body found in the woods with religious items. Most clues are probably buried under snow and law enforcement have little to go on. If that is not enough to frustrate Tucker, there is also a lovely lady, Miranda, in the area who Tucker believes is either not telling all she knows, is lying, or is simply crazy.
Miranda Harley has been tracking this serial killer. Problem is, no one will believe her; not even the handsome cop. But when Miranda becomes catches the killer’s eye, Tucker must not let doubt cloud his judgment as he races to stop the twisted killer.
**** FOUR STARS! For those in law enforcement, a bloody, bodiless crime scene is one of the most frustrating events. This author takes that frustration to a whole new level by adding a heavy snowfall to obscure the much needed details. Then the author must have thought to herself, “Heck, let’s really make Tucker’s job miserable by having everything happen during the holiday season!” Yeah, this author has a wicked streak and I enjoyed every moment of it.
The author lets a romance develop between the two main characters, but keeps most of the story’s focus where it belongs – on the mystery. The reader will sometimes see events happen through the killer’s eyes, so be prepared in advance if you are squeamish.
Kyle has created a twisted path upon which readers will enjoy a terrific mystery, a bit of romance, well developed characters, and be left begging for more. ****
Author: Jamie Freveletti
Title - Robert Ludlum’s ™ The Geneva Strategy
(A Covert-One Novel)
Lieutenant Colonel Jon Smith, MD, was minding his own business when he was attacked by three men and a deadly flying drone. Jon managed to escape but later learned that his attack was only a taste of what was to come.
On one evening in Washington, DC, several high-ranking members of the government disappear in a mass kidnapping. Jon Smith and the Covert-One team begin a worldwide search and rescue mission. As some of the first kidnapping victims are rescued, they show signs of brainwashing or mind-altering drugs. They are similar to other odd events happening. For example, Major Kimball Canelo’s entire troop walked off a cliff on their own and despite Canelo’s many attempts to stop them.
Smith learns that one of those kidnapped is a computer software coding expert in charge of drone programming and strategy. His name is Nick Rendel. He is the victim with the most dangerous knowledge, including confidential passwords and codes that are used to program the drones. Should the kidnappers learn what they need, they could reprogram the drones to strike targets within the United States.
***** FIVE STARS! Those who have not read any of the Covert-One novels will not find themselves lost of confused as they read this fantastic story. The main character, Jon Smith, is not only rescuing the kidnapped people, but also investigating the mind-altering drug. (He is a microbiologist stationed at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID] in Maryland.) The two investigations are connected and the author has done a good job of blending them. The Covert-One team characters are not fully fleshed out, but most fans will already know them. It is not really necessary either. The main focus of the story is the drug and its researcher, Dr. Laura Taylor. (She had been trying to create a drug to wipe memory from soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but her research was suspended a year ago when she was placed in a mental institution.) Dr. Taylor has escaped and is trying to give Smith clues while evading those hunting her.
Author Jamie Freveletti has done the Covert-One series proud! She has a fast paced and intense writing style that is impossible to resist. I found myself intrigued after reading the very first sentence and knew immediately that I would not be getting any home or yard chores done that day. In a word, “Wow!” *****
Author: Joan Hall Hovey
Title - The Deepest Dark
Set in Canada. Abby Miller is a successful novelist, but since the deaths of her husband and daughter she has lost her muse. Unable to move past her grief, tired of receiving pity from others, and not wanting to be a burden to her sister, Karen Rawling, Abby decides to retreat into solitude. After sending Karen a quick email not to worry, Abby drives to the area of Three Brooks. There, at Loon Lake, Abby secludes herself in the cabin that she and her husband has kept secret from absolutely everyone. The log cabin has no indoor plumbing and no electricity. Soon, Abby would regret never confiding the secret cabin to Karen, as well as never breaking down to buy a cellular phone.
Three dangerous men have escaped from Pennington Prison. Ken Roach is the ring-leader. Big Jim Ellison (Tattoo) is the rabid muscle. Donnie Leaman (Dog) is the thief/geek. After savagely murdering an elderly couple at their farm nearby, the trio break into Abby’s cabin to lay low. The police are only one step behind the escapees. Ken, knowing Abby is a well known author, expects her to get them enough cash so that the three may go their separate ways. But unknown to Abby, once Tattoo and Dog are gone, Ken has personal business to settle with Abby.
**** FOUR STARS! Once again Joan Hall Hovey has written a story so full of suspense that I was unable to tear myself away until the last page had been read. Most of this story follows Abby and the escapees, but often it shifts so that readers can witness the progress being made by Karen the police of Three Brooks, and the daughter of the murdered elderly couple.
Hovey’s writing manages to link the reader to the characters; if anything bad happens to a character, chances are that the reader will be horrified. Otherwise, Hovey keeps “the filler” many books possess to a minimum, which means every word written is necessary for the story and the pace is continuously fast. My only advice for readers is this: Take a deep breath before you open this book. ****
Author: Richard Devin
Title - The Third Hour
(Father) Dominic Renzi was once a devout catholic, but now he finds himself at a crossroad in his life and his faith. It is Spring, 2006. Dominic is in Rome. When Dom enters his apartment he finds a dying priest who, with his last words, pulls Dominic back to the church in a way he never expected. Unknowingly, Dominic is the Key.
A complicated conspiracy begins to unravel. With help from inside the U.S. Senate and the Vatican, Dominic searches for the truth. He begins to understand the connections between several of the world’s mysteries: Roswell, the Bermuda Triangle, and even time travel. However, there is another holy organization bent on destroying the Key. Dominic is being hunted. Can he uncover the secrets from the past before the Novice kills him?
**** FOUR STARS! If you do not believe in God before you begin reading this book, chances are good that you will by its end. My only real problem with the story is all the flashbacks (and time hopping toward the end.) However, I can think of no other way that the author could have fully shown and/or explained everything to the reader.
Fans of The Da Vinci Code will especially enjoy this tale. Richard Devin has created a conspiracy that is deep, complex, and goes all the way back to the crucifixion of Christ. The characters are believable, the pace is fast, and the action is often stunning. I would not be surprised to see this story in movie theaters someday. Terrific! ****
Author: Mike Brogan
Title – G8
Donovan Rourke lost his wife, Emma, two years ago in Brussels. Now his office is the CIA anti-terrorism Manhattan bureau. Donovan discovers that a man named Valek Stahl will assassinate the world’s eight most powerful leaders at the G8 Summit in Brussels in three days. The information came by having Professor Sohan Singh translate a message written in old Sumerian. That translation cost Professor Singh his life.
The last thing Donovan wants to do is return to Brussels, but when the President and the Director of National Intelligence asks him to personally handle G8 security, he reluctantly agrees. In Brussels, Donovan works with Jean de Woha, who is the European G8 Director and an old friend, and the lovely daughter of Professor Singh, Maccabee, who insists on continuing her late father’s aid to the Agency on national security. Donovan fears that Maccabee may become caught in the crosshairs of the major assassination plot. After all, not many people can translate old Sumerian. It does not help that Donovan is beginning to care deeply for the lady.
The trio soon learns that Katill (one of Stahl’s various names) is the same man who murdered Donovan’s wife. They also learn that the assassin has just penetrated the G8’s billion-dollar wall of security. At the last second, Donovan sees the world leaders walking into Stahl’s deathtrap and there is no way or time to warn them. And then his worst nightmare happens!
***** FOUR AND A HALF STARS! This story took my attention hostage at the very beginning, as Stahl enters the home to murder Donovan, but ends up killing Emma. From then on I could not put the book down. This is a fast-paced thriller involving a stone-cold psychopath who changes his name and appearance almost hourly. All unnecessary fluff has been removed from this novel, leaving only action and suspense. Of course, that also means that little time is spent on the affections blooming between Donovan and Maccabee, so their love for each other near the end seems a bit too sudden.
In my synopsis, I reveal little more than what the book’s blurb does. This covers about half the novel. And if that much suspense is packed in the first half of the story, you can only imagine how action filled the second half is. If anything, the second half is even more breathtaking than the first! Once again, Mike Brogan has created a story that will keep you reading long past your bed time. Outstanding! *****
Author: Wendy Corsi Staub
Title - Nightwatcher (Book One)
Set in New York City. The story opens on September 10, 2001. Allison Taylor had grown up poor, but today she lives in New York and works as a style editor at 7th Avenue magazine. In the apartment across the hall, live Carrie and James “Mack” MacKenna. But the next day, September 11, 2001, everything changes. The World Trade Center falls due to suicide terrorists crashing into the buildings.
In the midst of the cataclysm, Mack searches for his wife, Carrie, who was within the Twin Towers when they fell. As for Allison, she is worried about her neighbor upstairs named Kristina Haines. Unable to quell her worry, Allison goes to check on Kristina. She finds Kristina’s body in the apartment, horribly mutilated.
Homicide Detective Rocco “Rocky” Manzillo is assigned the Haines murder case. Murph is one of the missing, so Detective Lisha Brandewyne is helping with the case. The strongest lead is from Allison, who had seen Jerry, the building’s part-time maintenance man, in the area at the time of Kristina’s death. And even though he was creepy at times, Allison could not envision the mentally handicapped man as vicious. But then lady dies, same MO, and there is a link between the victim and Jerry.
*** THREE STARS! Be warned that there is a cliff-hanger ending. Allison and Mack will return in the next book (titled Sleepwalker). The second book will take place ten years after this one ends. Due to the open ending of this book, readers receive no real sense of closure. Therefore, the publisher only waited one month before releasing the second book and it is already out to the public.
The author did a great job of capturing the shock of New York City’s population on that fateful day. The aftermath was equally chaotic and Staub managed to reflect the horror, grief, and disbelief of families and emergency personnel. Of course, the world does not stop spinning and brutal events still occur, even at ground zero – such as the killer in this story. But so much time was spent on the World Trade Center’s attack and its effect that the serial killer paled in comparison. Still, this story is very good and well written. Its plot was just overshadowed by the events on nine-eleven. ***
Author: Tom Knox
Title - The Marks of Cain
The Marks of Cain captures the reader immediately with the excitement of the chase when two strangers from London David Martinez, a lawyer, and Simon Quinn, a journalist, find themselves in serious jeopardy as each person's separate paths brings them together as they close in on torturous killings that would give anyone an "inexplicable shiver on a very warm day".
From his hospice bed in Arizona, David Martinez's Granddad attempts at making a bedside confession of David's genealogy and how David became orphaned. Unbeknownst to David, his grandfather is a millionaire; he bequeaths his fortune to David but with a stipulation that David must utilize part of the cash to fly to the Basque Country in Europe and find Jose' Garovillo and ask Jose' about the map of churches that David's Granddad gave David just before he took his last breath.
In the meantime, Simon Quinn, a free-lance journalist, and Bob Sanderson, Detective Chief Inspector (DCI), in England, were mystified with a recent homicide in Primrose Hill. A woman, formerly from the South of France was found brutally tortured and murdered in her home. This barbaric torture "knotting" was once known as garroting and it had been expertly done. Hers was just the beginning of a sequence of murders and the disappearance of a brilliant scientist; an epic journey to a ferocious rivalry between closely related species.
***** FIVE STARS!Author Tom Knox provides the reader with a brilliant, thought-provoking thriller that intertwines history, ethnicity and religion. It tantalizes the reader in wanting to establish the boundaries between fact and fiction and poses the question who are the people known as the Cagots and why were they considered outcasts?
This is a fast-paced, twisted thriller filled with intrigue and drama and by far the best book I've read in 2011. I anxiously await his next novel 'The Lost Goddess'. *****
Author: Karen Rose
Title - You Belong to Me (Baltimore Series #1, 6/7/11)
In the quiet town of Anderson Ferry, Maryland, a young lady is brutally assaulted and murdered on her prom night. The onlookers did nothing to stop the violence or help the girl. Twenty-one years pass.
Dr. Lucy Trask is a Baltimore medical examiner. While jogging in the early morning of Monday, May Third, Lucy finds the posed body of a man so badly damaged that she does not realize that she knows him. Very soon afterward, other bodies begin to appear. All of the victims have been tortured. All of the victims are from Lucy's home town of Anderson Ferry. The killer places and poses the victims' bodies specifically when and where Lucy would be the one to discover them.
Homicide Detective J.D. Fitzpatrick has seen a lot of death, especially during his time as a soldier. But neither his time in the military, nor his time working in Narcotics could have prepared him for the tortured bodies showing up in Baltimore. J.D. and his partner, Stevie Mazzetti, instinctively know that Lucy is innocent. It does not take long to prove it either. Yet it is also obvious that the killer has personally targeted Lucy. But why? J.D. can tell that Lucy is keeping secrets about her current private life, but that should not have anything to do with her life from over twenty years ago. Back in Anderson Ferry Lucy had been a kid, while the victims would have been in high school. Lucy may have known them since the town was small, but she had never been what anyone would have called friends. So how, in the killer's mind, could Lucy be linked with any of the deceased? All J.D. is sure of is that he must convince Lucy to share her secrets with him before she becomes the killer's next victim.
***** FIVE STARS! All of the events in this story, except for the Prologue and the Epilogue, happened in less than three days time. Needless-to-say, this means that the story moved at a very brisk pace. Karen Rose has an intense writing style that attracted, yet repelled me, simultaneously. The author painted such clear and vivid pictures in my mind that I became jittery once or twice. While I read a few of the tense scenes, I actually felt as if someone had injected me with a decent dosage of caffeine. During this tale Lucy and J.D. were the main "good guy" characters and the author let me, as the reader, follow along as they collected evidence, did autopsies, and brainstormed possible scenarios. However, I was also allowed to see many events from the killer's point-of-view. In fact, as I learned more and more about why the killer was seeking revenge, I began to sympathize with him. (I honestly cannot say that I would not have done the same had I been in his shoes.) There were times when the story shifted to a private investigator, who had his own dealings with the killer. Of course, the investigator and detectives eventually merged together, but I still found this to be a stroke of genius on the author's part.
This title is the first in a new thriller/romantic suspense series featuring Baltimore homicide detectives, district attorneys and prosecutors as lead characters. If you have read any of the author's previous titles, chances are good that you will come into contact with a few familiar characters as this series progresses. But whether you are a fan of Rose's, romantic suspense, or detective thrillers, I have no doubt that you will thoroughly enjoy this intense look into the mind of a killer. Excellent! *****
Author: Jason Starr
Title - The Pack (June 7, 2011)
Simon Burns is a very ordinary guy--a kind of passive, metro-sexual New Yorker. He's married and the father of a 3 year old son, however his stresses with work are playing havoc with his marriage. Arriving at work one day--anticipating a promotion--he is utterly blind-sided when he is instead fired out of the blue. He is bitter, angry and more than afraid for his future, as his wife, Alison, convinces him to become a stay-at-home dad. He finds himself flailing in these new depths until he meets an extremely tight-knit group of fathers at the playground. Their sons all get along very well and Simon is welcomed into their "pack". Feeling as though he's found some grounding with his like-minded new friends, Simon goes to a guys' night out with them......only to wake up the next morning naked, cold and lost in an un-familiar woods. He is later stunned to discover that his ex-boss has been mauled to death by a wolf. From coping with odd physical changes and appetites to experiencing horrific 'memories' of gory violence, Simon struggles to figure out what exactly was the "family beer", what happened that night and what is happening to him now--until an ancient-looking old man approaches him, offering information that is too crazy to be taken seriously....isn't it?.....
**** FOUR STARS! What a great read! Although initially I felt like we jumped right into 'things' a tad too quickly, that feeling was quickly erased by what happens once Simon meets his new friends. From there on in, I was hard-pressed to put the book down. While attending my own daily chores, I'd find my mind on Simon.....wondering what was going to happen next and next after that. I can't say that I guessed right once, which was very cool! I like Simon. He's a good guy who tries to do the right thing....right to the very end. The very end? It blew me out the door--SO not what I expected! When I finished this book (at 2:47am!) I wasn't ready for it to be over.......and was delighted to discover that Mr. Starr is already hard at work on a sequel. If you enjoy suspense and thrills with an extra twist of sumpin'-sumpin, you can't miss with "The Pack"! ****
Author: Dean Koontz
Title - The Good Guy
Timothy Carrier is a noticeably big man who has spent the last several years trying his best to be un-noticeable. Outwardly, he is known as a mason who cares very much about his work. His friends love him and worry about his lack of "a life", however the sameness of every day is carefully honed and treasured--even as he tries to ignore a sense of "something big" that will come at him and change these quiet days.
That 'something' begins as a case of mistaken identity--first by a man mistaking him as a killer-for-hire, then by the killer himself. Help or run? After removing the photograph of Linda--the woman to be killed--from the package, he tries to tell the killer that he's had a change of plans then goes to warn her. Rather than walk away, Timothy goes on the run with Linda in an attempt to protect her. While trying to evade the killer, Timothy discovers that long-latent skills come all too quickly back to the surface....which turns out to be a very good thing as the killer seems to have almost inhuman abilities in his relentless hunt.
**** FOUR AND A HALF STARS! Just when you think you can relax and get yourself another cup of tea, something else happens that will keep you glued to the book. Strong, likable characters, an extremely (extremely!!) creepy bad guy and a plot that has more twists and turns than a coastal highway takes you on a ride you won't want to end! Even knowing that Koontz's books usually have 'happy' endings didn't stop my heart from leaping in my chest even as the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up. Brrrrrrr! Definitely a read-in-one-sitting kind of book! ****
Author: Jordan Dane
Title - The Echo of Violence (Sweet Justice #4)
Jackson Kinkaid met Sister Mary Katherine four years ago. The Catholic nun helped him through the most difficult time of his life. This is why Jackson finds himself attending a fundraiser for children in Port de Paix, Haiti. Only for Katherine would he be at the missionary school function. So when terrorists attack, Jackson witnesses the raid and sees Katherine taken hostage with the other survivors. Videos of the senseless slaughter are posted online, time is running out. Only Jackson can track the killers, while dealing with a gunshot wound. Knowing he needs help, Jackson contacts Joe LaClaire, his number one man, and has him begin calling in favors to mount an urgent rescue mission. The only reliable contact is the Sentinels in NYC. Though Jackson has something against Garrett Wheeler, who is over the Sentinels, Joe makes the call for aid.
Sentinels' agent Alexa Marlowe is forced into an unlikely alliance with Jackson who is no longer the man she once knew. Now the relentless mercenary is rumored to be selling his services to the highest bidder. Alexa can only hope that whatever secrets Jackson is holding back will not end up killing everybody. Jackson cares only about rescuing Kate, but Alexa's orders are to take the terrorist leader alive, even if it means the deaths of Kate and the other hostages.
***** FIVE STARS! I thought Jordan Dane's stories were terrific before, but now I believe they are freaking brilliant! This story only covers a very short period of time, yet the entire thing is non-stop action and suspense. As I said, freaking brilliant! *****
Author: Kate Brady
Title - Last to Die
Detective Sergeant Dani Cole is called in to help with a body found in a local park. The deceased lady turns out to be Rosie McNamara, a former hooker that Dani had helped to straighten out her life. This makes Dani determined to find Rosie's killer and a chain of events begin. In quick order, Dani finds her home invaded, her furniture destroyed, her dog at the vet, the killer taunting her, and then the chief of police has her pushed off the case (because her late father had been a crooked cop and the chief is just waiting for Dani to follow in her dad's footsteps). To top it all off, Mitch Sheridan has returned and is connected with the investigation.
Mitch Sheridan is a famous photographer. His photography reveals tragedies around the globe. Mitch is half way around the world when he receives a frantic call from Russell Sanders, his close friend, mentor, and the managing director at JMS Foundation for Photography Art. (The Foundation is Mitch's namesake.) Mitch hears a scuffle before the phone call is disconnected. Worried, Mitch returns to Maryland and finds Russell dead. This is how Mitch runs into Dani Cole. Eighteen years ago he and Dani had been in a relationship. But that ended as a teenage Dani watched her father being arrested and saw Mitch there with his camera in hand. Now Dani is all grown up and is tougher than nails.
Dani and Mitch soon realize that the homicides of Rosie and Russell are somehow connected. As the two unofficially investigate, they find themselves not only dealing with multiple homicides, but also with a black-market baby ring. In some unknown way, the Foundation is involved. From the shadows, a killer watches Dani and decides she is getting too close to the truth.
***** FIVE STARS! This story has pulse pounding action and suspense from the beginning until the end. I found myself unable to stop reading and losing sleep, but it was worth it. This author never insults the reader's intelligence, so as soon as the reader is sure of whom the killer must be, the author no longer bothers to hide the information. This gem will test your wits as it pulls you along on one of the fastest rollercoaster rides of the year. Outstanding! *****
Author: Dean Koontz
Title - Mr. Murder
He jolts out of some sort of trance. He had faded out while dictating a letter to his editor and is shocked to discovered he had been repeating the same thing, over and over for several minutes...
....."I need.....I neeed....I NEEEEEED!!!"......
An assassin. A murderer. No past. No future. Only movies. Only 'hits'. Only now. How does he know to do things he must do? and when to do them? and how? Empty. So terribly, terrifyingly empty....... Suddenly....inexplicably... ....drawn.....to go... ...that way. Now!.......to find and reclaim his stolen life.
Author Marty Stillwater is a devoted husband to Paige, a woman whom he adores more with each passing day. Paige has beaten her own childhood demons to become a successful child psychologist and--with Marty--has learned and earned the joys of "family." Together, they form the "Fabulous Stillwater Parenting Machine" for their two little girls, Charlotte and Emily. After years of struggling with his writing career, Marty is poised to have his first big success--a best-selling hard cover book--after his previous two paperbacks had hit the New York Times bestseller list. Marty isn't comfortable with the sudden upsweep of attention he's receiving because of it though. He especially regrets doing an interview and photo shoot for People magazine. He's not comfortable being in a spotlight and the twist People gives to his story is especially embarrassing--using tricked photos to make him appear to be as weird and spooky as the 'Mr. Murder' they have labelled him as.
Marty--always the optimist--is hit with a previously unknown feeling of impending, immense, rushing danger and doom. He tries to chalk it up to his writer's imagination but is hammered into believing it's true when he discovers what appears to be a perfect duplicate of himself in his home. It's a cruel joke that it happens on the same day as the People magazine article is published. The police suspect him of an elaborate publicity stunt, making thinly veiled threats of arrest for filing false reports. Just when they most desperately need help, the Stillwater family is on their own....and the "Other" may not be the worst of what's trying to find them.
***** FIVE STARS! If you like suspense with an unusual 'edge', Mr. Murder is a must read-and, if you've already got a life, it is a read you'll regret starting on a week night! *****
Author: Elizabeth Lowell
Title - Death Echo
Emma Cross thought that after leaving the CIA her days would be easier. She now works for the elite security consulting firm called St. Kilda's. However, her skills, instincts, and professional paranoia just may help her survive her latest assignment. Emma is tracking a yacht named Blackbird, a dead ringer for another ship that went missing somewhere between Vladivostok and Portland about a year ago. Emma needs to find out if the boat's lethal cargo is biological, chemical, or fissionable. Unless her mission is completed within seven days a major American city will be lost.
By her side is a new partner, MacKenzie "Mac" Durand. He used to lead a special ops team. But five years ago bad intel ended up wiping out his team in Afghanistan. Mac, the only survivor, walked away. Until Emma showed up, Mac made money sailing high-end boats like Blackbird. Emma finds Mac to be as deadly as he is attractive. Mac believes the same of Emma.
Taras Demidov is an expert in extortion and execution. He is in the pay of the oligarchs running the former Soviet Union. He also tracks the boat, watching Emma and Mac as they sail the yacht. But even more enemies hide in the shadows and the clock is counting down.
**** FOUR STARS! Elizabeth Lowell is a New York Times bestselling author. This story clearly shows why. The plot is believable and all the characters are realistic. It is obvious that Lowell did a lot of serious research, not only about the shifting power politics of the world, but also about cruising on and navigating a large boat. (I had no idea that there was so much involved.) The tension and sense of danger seems to ooze on every page. Another winner! ****
Author: Mike Brogan
Title - Madison's Avenue
Madison McKean receives a frantic phone call from her father, Mark McKean. He is the Chairman and CEO of Turner Advertising in Manhattan. When Madison arrives at his residence a few hours later, the police inform her he has committed suicide. Madison does not believe it. Her father has been refusing a takeover by ComGlobe, an agency conglomerate that has a history of fattening their own pockets with one hand, while handing out pink slips with the other.
Madison is soon elected as the new Chairperson of Turner Advertising. Not all of the board members are happy about it either. Should ComGlobe take over, each of those board members would become very wealthy. The only person Madison feels able to trust is Kevin Jordan, the Creative Director.
When Madison and Kevin begin digging for the truth, they become the target of an ex-CIA hitman.
***** FIVE STARS! Working high up in the ranks of a billion dollar corporation can be more than nerve racking at the best of times. Some find it tempting to lower their morals and get rich quickly by burying the competition, stabbing coworkers in the back, or selling corporate secrets. In this story, Mike Brogan drags the shady world of big businesses into the light for all to view. The ComGlobe merger plot is no different from all the other shark infested companies in America that lay off workers and out-source job positions.
This well written story caught my attention quickly and never let go. Part mystery and part thriller, this corporate tale will test your wits while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Once you begin reading, be prepared for time to fly by and to possibly lose several hours of sleep. *****
Author: Colleen Thompson
Title - Touch of Evil
After her husband dies due to a sudden stroke, Justine steps into his position. During Sheriff Justine Wofford's grief and trying to care for her nine-year-old autistic son, Noah, she does not make the best decisions. Therefore, Justine is blindly led by various people down the wrong path. By the time she pulls herself together, Justine's career is circling the drain. In the past month, three men have been discovered dead by hanging. Chief Deputy Savoy, who is gunning for her office in next year's election, tries to convince Justine that they were suicides. But this time the sheriff finds evidence of murder. All three men were part of an up-and-coming zydeco band. Now only one band member still breaths, the female lead singer named Laney Thibodeaux.
Laney is the cousin of Dr. Ross Bollinger, one of the local emergency room physicians. A few months prior, Justine and Ross had a brief affair. Ross ended it. But when Justine is brought in with head trauma due to an assault, Ross must admit to himself that he still cares for the young sheriff. Problem is that even though his cousin has received threatening fan mail Justine keeps her objectivity and treats Laney as she would any other suspect.
The stakes are high as a killer walks free in the county. Justine must find the killer, deal with the rising body count, handle disgruntled lawmen, and more. But can Justine get to the bottom of everything while the attractive physician keeps her pulse pounding?
***** FIVE STARS! Colleen Thompson brings the worlds of law enforcement and emergency medicine into vivid Technicolor life, complete with surround sound! I was kept on the edge of my seat from the beginning. By the ending, I had succeeded in biting all my fingernails down to nubs. This story will take your breath away and leave you gasping for more. *****
Author: J.D. Robb
Title - Fantasy in Death (In Death series)
This latest book of the “In Death” series has Lt. Eve Dallas plunged into the competitive world of high tech gaming. Bart Minnock, founder of the highly successful U-Play, is found brutally murdered in his private—and highly secured—holo room. Computer logs prove that no one has entered or exited since Bart locked himself in for a play-through of the newest version of their top secret, cutting-edge game, Fantastical.
Hampered by her limited knowledge of gaming, Eve relies on Peabody, McNabb and her own ‘fantastical’ husband, Roarke, to help her determine who killed Bart and why. No small task, given that no one even knows what killed Bart or how he or she managed it!
Set in 2060, every day life has changed drastically but believably from today’s world. Electronic and computerized gadgets abound but don’t seem to have done anything to help ease the pace of life. For as advanced as this world is from ours, murder is still an everyday occurrence for New York City’s Homicide cops.
**** FOUR STARS! Fantasy in Death slam-dunks you into a brain twister of whodunits that will have you guessing right until the murderer(s) is/are fingered…but even then, the action isn’t over. What comes after that will have you on the edge of your seat, mouth agape!! Talk about getting hit out of left field!! It leaves me wondering just how far computers and gaming can really go! ****
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Title - Hot Pursuit (Troubleshooters #15)
Alyssa Locke is the team leader of the nation's very best personal security company, Troubleshooters Inc. This time it is supposed to be a low-risk assignment, until the body bags start coming into play. Detective Mick Callahan believes that the newly elected assemblywoman, Maria Bonavita, and her chief of staff, Jennilyn "Jenn" LeMay, are simply over reacting to something a harmless prankster left for them to find.
Alyssa calls in Jules Cassidy (FBI) when things go from bad to worse. The SEALs of Team Sixteen are busy guarding Maria and Jenn, while Alyssa and her husband, Sam Starrett, deal with the murder investigation. Alyssa soon begins to realize that the killer may very well be the same one she has been after for several years. The killer is only known as "The Dentist" and he has decided that Alyssa will be his all-time-favorite victim ... soon.
*** THREE STARS! Though Alyssa and Sam are the main characters in the investigation plot line, there are several sub-plots to keep readers interested. However, there were times I felt as if the author simply divided the team into several tiny groups and gave each their own little slice of drama to act out. Those who have kept up with the series will be happy. Even though the story came across as mostly filler to me, it wraps up a killer that had been a loose thread from a previous short story.
All-in-all, this is a good story, but nothing fancy. It does not add anything vital to the series, yet fans will get to find out how the team members are doing and see a bit of action too. ***
Title - The Blessed
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
This is the 3rd book in this series that follows an eclectic group of thirteen people—The Gifted. The Gifted are an odd mix of men, women and children, each possessing a special talent bestowed upon them by God to aid the group on its quest. They have been called to Avignon, the new home of the Church, and to the very place and people who may well destroy them all. Led by Daria (a healer), they make their way to fulfill an ancient prophecy—to rid the Church of corruption and to make God’s message available to the common man—even as they are hunted by the purest darkness, intent on crushing not only the Gifted, but all things holy.
***** FOUR AND A HALF STARS! Somehow, the author has managed the incredible challenge of weaving a story that is rich in history, drama, spiritualism, romance, suspense and pure unadulterated Evil into a tapestry that is a thrill to experience! As they travel, they begin to gain supporters and believers, the elite that are needed to gain the Pope’s ear and to stand with them during the ultimate showdown. Although exercising any of the gifts that these people are blessed with is no small thing, I was especially awed reading of Daria’s healings—scenes so intense they left me with goose bumps! Conversely, I was equally creeped-out about reading of a very real Satan’s successful manipulations and how easily even holy men were drawn into the web of deceit and depravity.
This is the first book of this series that I’ve read, and even with references to earlier occurrences, I didn’t feel that I missed anything by not having read them first. This book is excellent and is able to stand all on its own! Given how intriguing the characters and message in this book are though, I can’t wait to read the first two! The Blessed will leave you thinking back to these wonderful characters again and again. This is not your typical story of good vs. evil! Highly recommended! *****
Title - The Wrong Side of Dead
Author: Jordan Dane
Seth Harper wakes up in a bloody motel room and focuses on a gruesome female corpse just before the police burst in to arrest him for the murder. He is the prime suspect in the young lady's death, but Seth has no recall of recent events.
Alexa Marlowe is an operative working for the Sentinels, a covert and well-funded international organization. Her boss, Garrett Wheeler, sends Alexa to help Jessie "Jess" Beckett with Seth's problem. The Sentinels want to recruit Jess and hope that after Alexa's help she would consider sitting down with Wheeler to at least hear his offer.
Jess Beckett is a bounty hunter (ahem, "works in Fugitive Recovery"). Seth had worked one summer for Jess and she is determined to prove Seth's innocence. Problem is that Seth cannot recall anything past being in a bar. The guy has never been open about his personal life, but now Seth is even more closed mouth. Jess needs to find out why Seth refuses to even tell her his current home address. Who is Seth trying to protect? To get the answers, Jess must confront her horrifying past childhood, when she had been just one of several kids imprisoned by a serial pedophile and killer.
***** FIVE STARS! Stories by Jordan Dane are darkly nuanced and suffused with breathtaking suspense. Good luck finding the will-power to put this thrilling story down for even a few minutes. I sure failed to do so. Just keep reminding yourself to breathe. *****
Title - Urgent Care (Angels of Mercy)
Author: C.J. Lyons
Nora Halloran is walking into Angels of Mercy Medical Center, to begin her shift as ER charge nurse, when she spies someone dying from an assault in the cemetery across the way. Karen, one of hospital's nurse anesthetists, had been physically assaulted, stabbed multiple times, and left for dead. Karen dies in the emergency room. No clues can be found to identify her attacker and many in the hospital had reason to dislike the woman. But Nora recognizes the attacker's work. Karen's killer is the same man that had kidnapped and physically assaulted Nora two years ago. Though Nora never reported what had happened to her, she can no longer keep quiet.
Lydia Fiore (an ER attending doctor with a major secret of her own), Gina Freeman (an emergency medicine resident with famous parents trying to run her life), Seth Cochran (a surgery resident with a past involving Nora and Karen), and Jerry Boyle (a homicide detective and Gina's fiancé) are but some of the people that join Nora in the struggle to unmask a killer. As the clock ticks, the victim count grows.
***** FIVE STARS! This entire story takes place in less than three full days. The E.R. cases and hospital protocols are extremely realistic. It is crystal clear that the author, C.J. Lyons, knows her crafts (both medical and writer) well. As Lyons weaves her web of suspense and intrigue, she manages to convey to the reader the hectic pace and emotionally draining times in which those working within the medical professions face daily. A real eye opener! *****
Title - Waking the Dead (Mindhunters #3)
Author: Kylie Brant
Seven sets of skeletal remains are found dumped in Oregon's Castle Rock area. When asked to, Adam Raiker sends one of his best people to help. Caitlin "Cait" Fleming left her job as a teen super model fifteen years ago, to her mother's dismay. Cait still has her fragile model looks, but is now tougher than most men. As one of Raiker Forensics' best forensic scientists, Cait and her assistant, Kristy Jensen, enter the Oregon wilderness to find answers. Identifying the seven remains will be difficult because all the skulls are missing.
Sheriff Marin Andrews informs Zach Sharper, who found the remains, that he will be needed as an outdoor guide for Cait. Sharper has no use for manners or subtle tact, but that is more than fine with Cait. Sharper only needs to help her find her way through the Willamette Forest so she may gather clues to piece together. Despite the attraction that eventually begins to blaze between them, Cait's focus and determination to catch the killer never ebbs. As she slowly gets closer to the truth, someone decides it is time to add Cait's skull to his gruesome trophy collection.
***** FIVE STARS! I could not read this story fast enough. From the first page until the last I was on the edge of my seat. I read this entire book in a single evening, unable to put it down - except to order out for pizza so I would not have to stop reading to cook. The author clearly did extensive research to get all the forensic details correct, as well as the terrain in which the story took place. Books by Kylie Brant are on my Must Buy list! *****
Title - Takeover
Author: Lisa Black
Theresa MacLean is a forensic scientist. She is called out, along and her fiancé, Homicide Detective Paul Cleary, and her cousin, Homicide Detective Frank Patrick, to a quiet neighborhood in Cleveland, where a man's body had been found in some bushes. The decease's name was Mark Ludlow. He was a bank examiner for the nearby Federal Reserve Bank.
While processing the samples from the homicide scene, Theresa learns that Paul had gone to the bank (to speak with Ludlow's coworkers) and ended up as one of the hostages when it was robbed. Ludlow's wife and toddler son are hostages as well. Theresa is glad to know that the city's best hostage negotiator, Chris Cavanaugh, is the one in the hot set. Cavanaugh has never lost a hostage victim. She soon begins to worry that his arrogance may cost someone's life this time.
Due to a shocking event, Theresa exchanges herself for one of the wounded hostages. It does not take Theresa long to realize that this is not an ordinary heist. Something much more terrifying is going on.
**** FOUR STARS! This entire story happens in less than ten hours. It begins at the body which was found in the shrubbery at 0642 hours on a Thursday. Readers follow Theresa during most of the day's events. It is obvious that the author must have done a huge amount of research for this story and Lisa Black's talent for empathy shines through on every page as she realistically details the reactions of all the characters. Very well done. ****
Title - Waking Nightmare (Mindhunters #1)
Author: Kylie Brant
Set in Savannah, Georgia. Detective Ryne Robel heads the task force set up to catch a serial rapist. Ryne asks his commander for another detective to be added to his group. Instead of a detective, Abby Phillips is added. Abby is an expert in forensic profiling. She does not receive a warm welcome to the task force, but Abby's talents prove invaluable. No one has been able to find a link between the victims. They appear to be chosen randomly. The women are being physically assaulted and then tortured. The elusive suspect is learning the victim's phobia and then specifically creating a torture designed upon it.
Abby has more going on in her life than the investigation. Her wild sister, Callie, has followed Abby down to Savannah and she is up to her normal tricks. And while the task force follows their slim leads for the suspect's identity, he is watching Ryne and Abby.
***** FIVE STARS! This is the first of a new series revolving around the forensic consults hired from Raiker Forensics. Reading this story is a lot like watching CSI on television, but this story also includes a sizzling romance and creepy suspense. Readers will not have to wait long for the next episode. The first three titles will be printed one month apart. I do not know if this will stop as a trilogy or if it will continue on into the next year, but either way the author has a winner on her hands. This story is very realistic with close attention to the details and methods used by the brave people who actually investigate such horrors. (They have my undying respect and admiration!) A fabulous story that I cannot recommend highly enough. *****
Title - Acts of Mercy (A Mercy Street novel)
Author: Mariah Stewart
Samuel DelVecchio has spent the last sixteen years with the FBI, most recently as a profiler. He is now with the Mercy Street Foundation. Sam's first assignment is a cold-case murder of a soup kitchen volunteer. It is not long before Sam wonders if it is part of a serial killer's work. Turns out that there have been two other killings with the same MO. FBI agent Fiona Summers is already on the case and cooperates with Sam in hopes of figuring out who the killer is and why he is posing his victims in a certain way.
It is a local parish priest that recognizes what the poses represent. The killer is staging the Church's corporal acts of mercy ("Feed the hungry, shelter homeless ...") with the bodies. Sam and Fiona are in a race to stop the killer, but this killer is closer than they know.
***** FIVE STARS! Each Mercy Street novel investigates a single case. Yet there is also a continuous running sub-plot involving the owner of the foundation, Robert Magellan, Readers are treated with a fast paced and intense FBI thriller, but they also get to finally witness Robert find out what happened to his missing wife and infant son. (The readers who have been following this series already know the answers about Robert's wife. This title holds the answers to the son.)
As always, Mariah Stewart manages to show the good and the bad in our world. The author's writing style pulled me into the characters' lives, forced me to care for them, and swept me onto an emotional rollercoaster ride. All I can suggest to readers is for them to remember to breathe. *****
Title - Drawn in Blood
Author: Andrea Kane
Former FBI Special Agent Sloane Burbank's hand is healing well. She is determined to get well enough to rejoin the Bureau. For now she consults for the Bureau on a case-by-case basis and she has retained all her old contacts. As to her private life, Sloane feels ready to take the next step in her relationship with her former colleague Derek Parker. They are finally going to live together. But then Sloane receives a frantic call from her father, Matthew.
Matthew Burbank and his partners witnessed a crime (murder) thirteen years ago while overseas on business. Now Matthew has come face-to-face with the killer while in Chinatown. Even worse, he gets home to find the place trashed and his wife harmed. He tells Sloane everything but makes her promise not to tell Derek. This is hard for Sloane. Keeping her father's secret means she must withhold vital information that would help Derek (who is part of the Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force) on their Red Dragon case. This case will either make their relationship stronger or tear it completely apart.
**** FOUR STARS! Even though this continues with the main characters from Twisted, you do not have to read anything before opening this title if you do not wish. Each title's plot is stand-alone, but the main characters and their relationship is an ongoing theme. This means that as the series progresses (and yes, I believe more are forthcoming) those who read each title will enjoy the stories much more.
There is much more going on than I can tell without spoilers, which I refuse to ever give out and ruin surprises. Suffice it to say that there are several characters on the good side, as well as the bad side. Andrea Kane has a talent for making fictional characters so realistic, I could almost swear they were real people. ****
Title - Twisted
Author: Andrea Kane
Sloane Burbank almost bled to death when she was wounded on duty. When and if she ever gets her hand back in working order, Sloane will decide whether to return to the FBI. Unwilling to be stuck at a desk job, she turns her skills to a new job as a private consultant. Time has passed, but Sloane is not ready for the FBI again yet. But her consultant job keeps her busy and she loves teaching seminars at colleges, especially showing and telling college students about Krav Maga training.
When Hope Truman calls for her help, Sloane drops everything. Penny, her friend since elementary school, has been missing for just under a full year. The local police and FBI have given up and set the case on a back burner. Hope believes Sloane is the last real hope of ever finding out what happened to Penny. Sloane vows to find Penny, dead or alive, and begins pulling strings from her former FBI contacts. To make matters even more difficult, the agent in charge is her ex-love, Derek Parker.
Special Agent Derek Parker is transferred to the Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force "C-6". There has been a string of murders in Chinatown that is threatening to explode into gang warfare. Each gang is blaming their rivals for the deaths of Asian prostitutes and everyone has nervous trigger fingers (or knife hands as the case may be). The last thing Derek has time for is to be pulled out C-6 at this point in time to go over a cold-case with zero leads. Derek's professionalism cracks when he learns that he must work with Sloane on the old case. It soon becomes clear that Penny is not the only one who has been kidnapped. Several other women have disappeared; all have been connected with Sloane in some way, even if only vaguely. The disappearing women are part of a twisted, heinous crime spree that has been going on for almost a year - and the last target is to be Sloane.
**** This is an original plot line, at least to me. The criminal has his own warped twist version about Greek goddesses. He is one sick puppy, that's for sure. The story slows down a bit too much in the middle for me, but the couple's rekindled relationship kept me entertained as I waited for more to happen. I found that I could never really like Derek, the hero. He just came across to me as too unsympathetic for what Sloane went through and is still in physical pain from. However, the chemistry between Sloane and Derek is obvious and she is a forgiving soul (at least where he is concerned). Mystery and Thriller fans will enjoy testing their wits against this who-dunnit. There are enough clues to figure it out. Romance fans will find themselves delighted as well. The author even includes a page with the FBI departmental chart on it. It only shows the departments mentioned in the book though. Acronyms and a few unknown words are also listed in the beginning for readers to refer to if they need to. I found it to be a very handy little tool. All-in-all, this is an exceptional tale that grabbed me on the first page and gave me one heck of a wild ride. Recommended! ****
Title - Cry Mercy (A Mercy Street novel)
Author: Mariah Stewart
California cop Ann Nolan learns that her adopted daughter, Chloe, is being searched for by her biological father. Anthony Navarro is a big time drug lord and has a large reward out for Chloe. Fearing her daughter will be kidnapped, Ann changes her name to Emme Caldwell and flees across the country to begin a new life as an investigator for the Mercy Street Foundation (MSF) in Conroy, Pennsylvania. Emme's first case is to find nineteen-year-old Belinda "Belle" Hudson who disappeared from her sorority house. Debra Newhouse, can only tell Emme that Belle had not taken her computer with her but it vanished shortly afterward.
Nick Perone restores classic automobiles. He is grateful when MSF accepts locating his niece as their first official case. Belle had been communicating on a forum board with her donor-siblings. These are other people born by the same sperm donor from a fertility clinic. Belle had been trying to learn who her biological father is, Donor 1735. Emme and Nick's search for Belle will lead them to a serial killer that may very well be as dangerous as Navarro.
***** The Mercy Street Foundation has officially opened its doors and this new series has officially begun. There is more than one secondary plot running in the background. They will spill over into future novels. The main focus in this installment is Emme and Chloe getting settled with the foundation and solving the first case. It is obvious the author did a lot of research for this story. I am amazed at how much I learned about fertility clinics and donor-siblings. An exciting story that successfully solidifies a strong foundation for the series. (No pun or tongue twister intended.) *****
Author: Karen Rose
Title - Kill For Me
Thirteen years ago Susannah Vartanian had been a victim. Six years ago she had been a victim again. Due to this, Susannah is unwilling to have a relationship with anyone. It is also why she became an assistant district attorney in New York City. Susannah will always blame herself for keeping silent in the past, but now she is coming forward to do the right thing. Only this way can she regain and keep her self-respect. Upon her hip, Susannah has branded with a swastika. In the southern states other girls are showing up with the same brand on their hips.
Five teenage girls have been murdered. It should have been six girls dead, but one survived thanks to Susannah. Only that survivor can reveal the secrets of those involved in a huge human trafficking ring.
Special Agent Luke Papadopoulous, with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and Susannah investigate the ring. It will lead them from anonymous Internet chat rooms to what seems like the very gates of Hades.
**** Though this is a stand-alone story, it basically continues a couple of threads that were left dangling in the previous title, Scream For Me. (For those who have read the prior book, Susannah is the sister of Daniel, the special agent.) This time the focus is mainly on Susannah's life and the investigation of the trafficking ring. Susannah came across to me as Wonder Woman more than once, almost inhuman. Much time seemed to be spent on Susannah's traumas, and the results in the present date, rather than on dealing with the ring and the young girls. I wanted to see more of the investigation and what that entailed. Still, I cannot complain about any of the facts because the author did a smashing job in her research. Very realistic in every way I could think of. Karen Rose is definitely climbing the stairs to success. BRAVA! ****
Author: Karen Harper
Title - The Hiding Place
After being in a coma for months, Tara awakens miraculously. However, she finds that her husband has divorced her and she has a new life to build. At a doctor's exam, she is in for another shock; at some point, she has given birth, but she had no idea she was even pregnant. Immediately, she sets out on a quest to find her child, as well as struggling to remain a part of her niece's life when the girl's uncle, Nick, arrives to claim custody of her. As it turns out, Nick, who attracts her more than he should, all things considered, will be her greatest ally in the former quest. Finding the truth will mean learning things that Tara finds ugly and would rather not know, but must. Yet, despite the pain, there is always the hope of a happy ending.
**** This is an unusual story, using concepts that are at times mind boggling, but still intriguing. Kudos to Ms. Harper for originality and boldness of concept. ****
Author: Mariah Stewart
Title - Mercy Street (Magellan Project #1)
Set in Pennsylvania. Mallory Russo used to be the lead detective on the Conroy Police force until something happened and she resigned. Mallory is writing a book when her former friend and police chief, Joe Drabyak, sends Father Kevin Burch to her. Father Burch is from the school "Our Lady of Angels" and asks her to get a P.I. license and investigate a park shooting.
Over two weeks ago, on a Friday night, four high school seniors - three boys and a girl - enter Conroy's small park. The next morning, two of the boys are found shot to death, and the girl and third boy have disappeared. There are no witnesses and no leads. Conroy's police force is busy with a sniper and have put the case on hold. This is just the type of case Mallory loved to bite into. Father Burch's secretary is the grandmother and legal guardian of the missing boy. On her behalf, Father Burch convinces Mallory to look into it.
Detective Charlie Wanamaker left the Philadelphia force and returns to his childhood home in Conroy to help his own family with a couple of problems. His first assignment with the Conroy Police Department is the park shooting. Charlie quickly realizes that the initial investigation left many questions unanswered. Unofficially, he teams up with Mallory to find out what really happened that fateful night and locate the two missing teens.
***** This is the first book of a new series about The Magellan Project, a select task force of private citizens with backgrounds in a variety of law enforcement fields who solve cold cases. In this book, readers witness the creation of The Mercy Street Foundation "M.S.F." There is a secondary plot, involving the M.S.F.'s owner, that is mentioned often but left dangling (open) for future parts in this new series.
This story is very well written and captured my attention almost immediately. There is a blooming romance between Mallory and Charlie, but no hot bedroom scenes. This story remains focused on the homicides and missing persons investigation. The reason Mallory left the force creates a lot of tension with former coworkers and rivals. This makes the action even more intriguing somehow. All-in-all, another winner from the Queen of Romantic Suspense, Mariah Stewart! Highly recommended! *****
Author: Alex Kava
Title - Exposed
Maggie O'Dell's latest adventure is her most frightening yet. A serial killer is stalking the FBI itself and is almost impossible to profile since he apes the most famous criminals of all time. Moreover, Maggie is handicapped by the fact that she has been exposed to the deadly virus that is his weapon of choice and is in quarantine. From her hospital bed, she tries to help solve it while on the outside, RJ Tully takes an active role in tracking down this menace.
**** With frightening realism, Ms. Kava once again draws readers into a maze of tension and fear. Her stories seem entirely too plausible not to make you keep the lights on full brightness while reading. She is a true master of her craft. ****
Author: Marcus Sakey
Title - Good People
The Reeds, Tom and Anna, are "good people," whose main dream in life is to have a child, though that desire has been frustrated by infertility and all the solutions are out of their price range. In fact, the only thing keeping the wolf from the door is the rent paid by a hermit to whom they rent rooms. Then, he dies, but instead of finding themselves at a financial loss, they discover a windfall of hundreds of thousands of dollars hidden in his place. They seize the opportunity it presents, but soon find themselves locked in a nightmare as their former tenant's criminal past catches up with them. Instead of finding life, these two good people may have just entered into a covenant with death.
*** The incongruity of interposing edge of your seat suspense and heart stopping danger against the ordinariness of suburban life adds to the terror of this fast paced story. Fans of thrillers will not want to miss this, though unlike your average book of this genre, it delivers more than action, but also presents thought provoking ethical issues. ***
Author: Andrea Kane
Title - Dark Room
Morgan Winter had been a ten-year-old girl when her parents, Lara and Jack, were murdered. It happened on Christmas Eve. Morgan found the bodies. During the trauma, only one man could reach the child, Detective Pete "Monty" Montgomery. Monty was the lead detective in the case. When Schiller confessed to the Winters' double homicide, the case was closed. Yet Monty never fully believed Schiller was the person that killed the Winters.
Little Morgan had been taken in and raised by her parents' closest friends, the Shores. Congressman Arthur Shore and his wife, Elyse, treated Morgan as if she was one of their own. Surrounded by the Shores and their children, along with many therapy sessions, Morgan got through the trauma. However, as the holidays approached each year, Morgan dealt with graphic nightmares.
Seventeen years later...
Morgan Winter still considers the Shores to be her second family. She operates an elite boutique social agency called Winshore LLC. Morgan's partner and dearest friend is Jill Shore. Jill, with all her perkiness, is dealing with various holiday decorations and meetings. Morgan is dealing with finding possible matches for clients, when Monty shows up at her door with horrible news: Schiller was not her parents' real killer. The real murderer is still out there and possibly killing more. Even though Monty "retired" five years ago, he is now a private investigator. Morgan hires him on the spot. Jack Winter had been an A.D.A. In fact, he had been the D.A. Office's golden boy. With Jack's golden boy history, Arthur pulling some strong strings, and Monty personally on the case, Morgan has no doubt that the real killer will be found this time around. Problem is that the real killer is not only still out there, but has been watching Morgan since the night of the double homicide, making sure that a dark secret is never revealed. As Morgan and her circle begin to find answers, the killer must convince her to stop searching.
***** There are other major and secondary characters that I do not mention in my synopsis. Since Jack was a prosecutor that had put away many well-connected criminals, he had many enemies. Therefore, the list of suspects is immense. This novel will test your wits as you hang on to every word and analyze every suspect. Lots of drama and tension, yet with a light touch of romance. I expect to find this title on the NY Best Selling list quickly! *****
Author: Marc Paoletti
Title - Scorch
David Cole, an ex-Navy SEAL, is the head of pyrotechnic special effects on a Hollywood movie set. Ronny, his twenty-one year-old son, works by his side. Ronny is David's pride and joy. David's private life is just as wonderful. He is dating Jennifer Shrager, a lovely film director.
When Ned Brandenburg, the nephew of Gary Stanford who is the film studio's president, almost kills everyone on the movie set, David goes to Gary and informs him that Ned is off the set and the scene will not be filmed until all explosives are double checked (to make sure Ned did not tamper with anything else). This would cost Gary a bundle and put them behind schedule, however, David insists that safety come first.
Gary puts a contract out on David, hiring Frank Ruger to do the job. Frank was part of David's SEAL Team in Iraq and has a huge grudge against David. Frank not only wants David dead, but wants David to suffer as much as he did while committed. To this end, Frank makes David watch as Ronny is tortured, and then uses David's own pyrotechnic devices to blow father and son up. Ronny is killed, but a horribly burned David gets away.
Framed for the crime and pursued by police, David must endure massive agony while hunting down the men responsible for Ronny's murder. A few of David's former teammates help out along the way, but David is slowly losing his grip on reality. Grief, physical pain, and desperation cause flash backs to his time in Iraq. Soon, David will become a threat to friend and foe alike.
**** By letting readers watch as Ronny is tortured and killed, Author Marc Paoletti ensures that readers cheer David on to succeed in his quest for vengeance and justice. Some of the pain and self administered medical actions David endures is a bit too unbelievable for me; however, it makes for some very intense reading. I learned a pretty good amount of how Hollywood stages the epic events on screen as well. This author clearly knows what he is writing about and his back ground is highly impressive. If his future books are as well written and exciting as this one is, then Marc Paoletti will someday become a well known author of the genre. Absolutely terrific! ****
Author: Rob Palmer
Title - Eyes of the World
Elections are only two weeks away. Carolyn "Lynnie" Connor is high in the polls to become the first female president of the United States. Her husband is often referred to as "Saint Devon"; he is a former Navy chaplain and is always doing missionary work. (He is currently in Africa.) So should anyone find out that her childhood friend, Michael "Mike" Stanbridge is also her lover, her marriage and career would be ruined.
Lynnie's home town is preparing a party for her. The theme is "This Is Your Life". Reverend Eve Tessmer has been working hard to make it perfect. There is a guest speaker lined up for each of Lynnie's life, except for the first year when Lynnie was in Arizona. Eve's close friend, Archibald "Archie" Pascoe, agrees to look over the papers from Eve's Arizona file for ideas. That very night, Eve is murdered and everything about Arizona is taken except for what is in Archie's possession.
Mike learns that he is the main suspect in Eve's death. More and more evidence begins pointing his way. As a teen, Mike saved Lynnie's life, but failed to rescue his sister's, when their house burned down. So when someone tries to kill Archie, via fire, Mike instinctively knows that had Archie died he would have been blamed for it. Mike and Archie must figure out what is going on while dodging political assassins and the FBI.
***** A perfect read for the election year! With Hillary Clinton in the 2008 race, it makes Rob Palmer's book superlative. Filled with twists, turns, and unexpected surprises, I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. I cannot recommend this one high enough. Magnificent! *****
Author: L.A. Starks
Title - 13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy
Lynn Dayton, executive vice president for TriCoast Energy's US oil refining operations, literally put her career on the line when she convinced TriCoast's board to buy the Centennial refinery just before it hit bankruptcy court. Lynn had promised the board she would make it profitable. The refinery is on the Houston Ship Channel and has had a few technical problems recently; however, since TriCoast purchased it the problems have soared and Lynn is on a time line. Lynn quickly learns that sabotage is the main problem and that many other refineries are having the same, dangerous troubles. Workers are dying! Lynn must scramble to figure out who the saboteur is and why s/he is causing the havoc.
Things are not much better in her private life, what little she can squeeze in these days. It is up to Lynn to finance the medical care her father requires. Her younger sister, Ceil, has suddenly left the Peace Corps in Gabon and refuses to explain what caused her decision to leave the job she loved so much. There is less and less time to be spent with Cy, her boyfriend, or his kids either.
The puppetmaster controlling the ones Lynn and her team seeks is Robert Guillard. Robert is a corrupted idealist in the French Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry. His diabolical plans are financed mainly by an Asian liaison. Just like Lynn, Robert is on a deadly time table too. Unless Robert's American puppets start doing better at their sabotaging, the Asian liaison will start reminding Robert of his need for haste. Robert plans to use Ceil to manipulate Lynn. But Robert's stereotyped image of Americans causes him to underestimate his prey.
***** To say more may cause spoilers, something I try not to do. I will add that Lynn must also deal with the normal dangers all refineries race, such as hurricane season (May - December). Many people help refineries to run smoothly and safely; therefore, this story has many characters. In case readers may become confused, the author includes a small list of the key characters in the front of the book. There is also a note section to help readers understand terms. Do not worry that any of the technical terms or items will detract from enjoying this story. I knew nothing about refineries or how they operated when I began reading this mystery thriller. The entire novel is easy to read and comprehend. As for the story line itself, the French bad guy is no secret to the reader. The question on my mind throughout the book was the identity of the saboteur. This tale will keep readers engrossed to the point that they forget all else going on around them. Truly fantastic! *****
Author: Jordan Dane
Title - No One Heard Her Scream
Detective Rebecca "Becca" Montgomery has been in a state of emotional limbo since her younger sister, Dani, disappeared five months prior. To get Becca off the case's head investigator, Lieutenant Arturo Santiago (her boss and friend) sends her to investigate the body found in the ashes of a recently burned down theater. Upon arriving at the fire scene Becca scans the by-standers for anything odd. (One man stood out from everyone else and she makes a mental note to have someone check out the handsome guy and his car tags.) The body found has already been reduced to a skeleton. There is no clothing, but an expensive locket is found at the feet. The body had been bricked into the theater wall, near the stage, during the last reconstruction. Sam Hastings, the team leader for the crime-scene technicians could tell the person had been a young female. The scratch marks within the brick tomb clearly shows that the lady had been buried alive. Becca's duty will be more difficult than normal since the clues prove that someone has been missing a daughter or sister, just like her, with no idea if the girl were alive.
It is not long before mystery man's identity is known. Diego Galvan is one of the top men working for Hunter Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh is a high profile business man. He is as dirty as they come, but no one can ever prove anything. If Diego is working for Cavanaugh, he can't be good and this makes Becca wonder why he was at a fire scene. Diego makes contact with Becca, claiming that he was only giving her warning about Cavanaugh. Yet the man never comes right out and tells how he is connected to Cavanaugh. Diego neither admits his boss is in any way connected to the body, nor that his boss is not. One thing is for sure, anytime Diego is near Becca, her knees go weak and she yearns for things out of her reach.
Diego Galvan hates Cavanaugh. But there is one person he hates even more and this is Matt Brogan, Cavanaugh's muscle man. Diego has to be very careful due to the fact that Brogan keeps an extremely close eye on him. Yet Diego cannot stop himself from warning the lovely detective about his boss. Once he meets Becca face-to-face, Diego is fascinated and unable to stay away. Feeding Becca information could easily get him killed; or worse, get her killed. One way or another, Diego is determined to bring Cavanaugh to justice. But is the price too high?
***** I am unable to tell more in the synopsis without totally giving away some vital clues and information. I can say that Cavanaugh has more than one shady business going on. Brogan knows most, if not all, of Cavanaugh's business dealings (legal and illegal). Yet Brogan is not very intelligent. He can't get his mind off of killing Diego someday. The body's identified early on and Becca must contact family, anyone last with the deceased...the normal stuff. But again, I can't go into more detail than that.
Author Jordan Dane has set a very strong foundation for the "NO ONE" trilogy. Rest assured that this IS a stand-alone story. All major loose ends are tied. Whether you are a fan of Romantic Suspense or Crime Scene Thrillers you will not be disappointed. There are some bedroom sections, but not enough to turn off male readers. I have never read this author before now, but I will definitely be keeping my eye on her. If Jordan Dane's writing stays this good, I see wonderful things in her future. Excellent! *****
Author: Juan Gomez-Jurado
Title - God's Spy
Enter the dark, mysterious world of the Vatican and the tumult that comes with changing its leadership when one by one, the cardinals assigned to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II begin dying in violent, gruesome manners. A serial killer's vendetta against the church will require the talents of an American priest and the skills of a lady cop to put an end to the nightmare. It will also bring up the uglier side of the church as abuses by priests come to light.
*** Though it is somewhat tempting to compare this to either Dan Brown on the negative side or Andrew Greeley on the more positive, neither truly fits. Unlike the former, the entire Christian faith is not the subject of an attack, merely the politics and the men who claim, in some cases, falsely, to represent God. Though there are some difficulties inherent in reading a work translated from another language, the greatest problems readers may face are the graphic depictions of violence and abuse. If you are of a gentle spirit, you may, like me, have to skip some parts or risk nightmares or loss of lunch. ***
Author: Jeff Abbott
Title - Collision
Ordinary and newly married, Ben finds his world destroyed, and he has no idea why. First, his young wife is killed, then, systematically, everything is taken from him after his identity is stolen and he stands accused of murder. His only hope of being cleared and finding out why all this has befallen him lie in Pilgrim, a former spy who needs Ben's help just as badly after he is shot. These two vastly different men will begin an adventure that will keep them only one step ahead of their enemies, never knowing who to trust. Dangerous times make strange friendships, but essential ones.
**** Although there is no arguing that this is a very fast paced, tightly woven thrill ride, it never loses the human element, allowing you to be drawn into Ben's nightmare and truly care about not only him, but about Pilgrim as well. Mr. Abbott makes the fantastic scenario frighteningly realistic, making you believe this could happen to anyone, any time. ****
Author: T. Jefferson Parker
Title - L.A. Outlaws
Suzanne Jones lives a double life and finds herself in a dangerous and impossible situation as a result of that. Holding the idea in her mind that her ancestor was a Robin Hood style outlaw in the Old West, incidentally, Joaquin Murrieta was a true figure, Suzanne adopts his name and the Christian name Allison, to continue in his footsteps, committing petty crimes to fund charitable donations. Though some might see her as a folk heroine, police officer Charlie Hood has vowed to bring her in. Yet, the crime that will bring her into his life is not hers, not completely at least. Suzanne/Allison witnesses a diamond heist gone bad and captures the loot for herself, but both that and her being a witness places her in a killer's line of fire. Not realizing Suzanne, his sole witness to the horrific crime, is none other than his nemesis, Charlie enters into a passionate relationship as he attempts to find the truth and keep her safe. With every passing day, the danger, the heat, and the tension of keeping secrets increase in intensity, until an explosive finale knocks you off the edge of your seat.
**** The legends of Zorro and Robin Hood are given a hard, fresh, modern spin in this action packed roller coaster ride of a novel. The key word in describing it is intense. There is just enough romance to hold a woman's interest, but not enough to interfere in a man's enjoyment of kick-butt action. If you are in withdrawal from Alias, then you probably should bring this home. ****
Author: Douglas Preston
Title - Blasphemy
What do black holes, Navaho, extreme right wing pseudo-evangelists, and the government have in common? They are at the center of this novel that pushes more limits and buttons than Dan Brown has ever dreamed of. Project Isabella is a government plan to create micro black holes and use them for power, with the side "benefit" of proving that the people who have faith in God or any god, are wrong. Naturally, this sets off a conflict, with a fire and brimstone caricature of an evangelist leading the way. However, he is not alone in providing dangers for the hero; the government and the scientists as well as the Native Americans are all involved in competing for what to do with the "truth." When it comes out, it is something that no one could have expected or anticipated, except perhaps Shirley Maclaine. In the end, a New Age message is preached as the reality that should replace both the Judeo-Christian God and science as we know it.
*** Though I commend Mr. Preston's use of language and imagination in matter of science, I cannot and will not applaud yet another attack on people of faith, something that appears to be en vogue of late. Ironically, he may have derived the notion of using black holes from Doctor Who, a show that has recently drawn fire for containing Christian themes. Word affect people, but if you can leave it at just being a story without letting it affect your beliefs, it's a thrilling ride. If you are prone to being influenced, or getting high blood pressure, leave it be. ***
Author: Steven Womack
Title: By Blood Written
Sergeant Hinton "Hint", Hamilton County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Department, Homicide Squad, knows this killer's MO already. So when a detective informs Hint that one of the victims at a crime scene is missing a couple of body parts, Hint knew where they could be found. Hint simply phones FBI Agent Hank Powell, tells him that a couple more bodies have been found, and for him to come up to Nashville immediately.
Author Michael Schiftmann was tired of his books never hitting NY bestselling list. So he decides to give his stories a more realistic touch. To accomplish this, Michael becomes a serial killer. With this experience, Michael can realistically write out the violent scenes within his novels. Of course, the public loves it and Michael begins hitting those bestselling lists.
Michael and his literary agent, Taylor Robinson, fall in love and wedding bells can be heard. But an FBI agent and a local Nashville detective have somehow found a link. Michael may have to kill Taylor in order to keep his dark secrets.
***** Author Steven Womack has written what I like to call a "Woo Woo!" From the first page until the last, this story kept my attention riveted. I simply could not stop reading. I only stopped reading so I could order pizza for the family; I did not want to take time out for cooking. Yes, this story is that fascinating. If you enjoy thrillers, but do not mind some graphic details, this book is more than worth your time and money to pick up. *****
Author: Karen Rose
Title - Die For Me
When a murder victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field, Detective Vito Ciccotelli's gut tells him that there may be more bodies nearby. The medical examiner suggests enlisting the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen. Using a GPR, a device that shows an image of what is under the ground, Sophie locates a matrix of graves. Almost a dozen bodies, most having been tortured before their deaths, had been posed and buried. But the terrifying part is realizing that empty graves remain - the killer is not done yet.
He goes by many names. His employers at oRo, a company that produces computer games, knows him as Frasier Lewis. They are very happy with how realistic Frasier's cut scenes (short movies within video games) are. They have no idea as to what lengths Frasier goes in order to get such realism. The first computer game was set during World War II and titled, "Behind Enemy Lines". The new game will be titled, "The Inquisitor". Frasier would need footage of medieval torture for this one. The image and scream of an archaeologist, who is too close for comfort, would be perfect.
***** This tale sent more than one chill down my spine. I have to admit that I admire the author, Karen Rose, for all the research she must have done to complete such a book as this one. She must have endured nightmares from the torture research. I say this because the author perfectly described the devices used, a few I have never heard of. I stayed up late reading this story, but it was worth the loss of sleep. Karen Rose is a master of her craft! *****
Author: Steven James
Title - The Pawn
Agent Patrick Brower has a very full plate before him. Two serial killers, a fanatical cult, and an insidious plot, not to mention a poorly adjusted teen step-daughter occupy his full attention as he fights the darkness, both within and without. He finds himself caught in the middle of a chess game in which the pawns are sacrificed with alarming frequency and no one is who they seem.
*** For most of the book, the pacing comes off as rather uneven, shifting from first to third person and cutting rapidly between scenes. Character development is also somewhat scant and it is difficult to determine why it would be classified as inspirational. However, the last portion of the narrative tightens up and characters began to gain depth. Had the first 3/4 of the story been as engrossing as the last quarter, this would be a five star read. ***
Author: Colleen Thompson
Title - The Salt Maiden
It is a small place, Devil's Claw, Texas. Sheriff Jay Eversole, of Rimrock county, knew it better than most. Full of venomous snakes, scorpions, coyotes, bobcats, an occasional mountain lion or rabid bat. But there may be hope. A company called Haz-Vestment has been sniffing around the area. The locals are thrilled about a salt-dome project that the company was considering for their county. For now, it is still a barren wasteland in the center of nowhere. All was pretty quiet until the veterinarian, Dana Vanover, showed up looking for her missing sister, Angie. Angie spent the last five months in Devil's Claw. The lady spent her time weaving tapestries and causing all sorts of trouble for the locals. She had been totally against the salt-dome project, claiming it defiled the Salt Woman of legends. Anyone who thought Angie had any real sense never thought so for long. Angie has a drug-addled and drunken history. Everyone was glad the lady left. That is, until the sister, Dana, showed up looking for Angie.
Dana Vanover did not want to go off looking for her sister again. But her mother, Isabel, convinced Dana to look at Nikki Harrison, the daughter Angie never told anyone she gave birth to and gave up for adoption. Now Nikki fights cancer; her only hope is bone morrow from Angie. So off Dana goes to Rimrock. The locals are all but hostile from the start, except for the sheriff. However, Jay has not been sheriff for too long. Yet Jay is the only one willing to keep looking for Angie. The two end up dealing with a sniper, a deadly car chase, a scam involving the FBI, and so much more. But through it all, Jay and Dana cannot seem to keep their hands off each other. Their start may have been rocky, but their feelings for each other seem to grow stronger with each hour that passes.
***** An excellent thriller with a touch of romance. I could not bring myself to set the book down. I simply HAD to know what would happen next. From the beginning it is non-stop action, drama, and mystery. Fans of Tess Gerritsen, Tami Hoag, and Sandra Brown will adore this tale. Phenomenal! *****
Author: Tom Grace
Title - The Secret Cardinal
In China, a Catholic priest suffers as a martyr for his steadfast loyalty to Christ and to the Roman church. Knowing his plight, the pope asks Nolan Kilkenny to get Father Yin, who the pontiff has elevated to the status of Cardinal, to freedom. Despite the danger and his anger at God, the ex-SEAL agrees and begins to immediately plan how to achieve his goal. The tension and pressing need only increases when the pope dies and Yin is suddenly a candidate to replace him. He's also on death row. However, though many of the cardinals would like to heed the late pope's tacit request that the Chinese man become the first Oriental pope, there are forces that do not want him to escape to get the chance. One Judas is all it would take to kill not only the prisoner, but his rescuers. Miracles will be needed.
**** It's so very refreshing to find a thrilling novel filled with intrigue that affirms the faith. Even Protestants, like myself, will be absorbed by the fast-paced action and labyrinthine politics. If somehow Tom Clancy and Andrew Greeley collaborated on a book, the results might look somewhat like this. Forget Da Vinci and its many clones that try to tear down Christ's true bride. Go for something like this, a feel good, action novel. ****
Author: Laura Caldwell
Title - Good Liar
Hoping to lift her dearest "Sister Friend," Kate from a state of chronic depression, Liza introduces her to Michael, a handsome, older man who sweeps her off her feet and into marriage. Liza is not thrilled about this. She knows who Michael is, for he's like her, a spy for a top secret organization who lives a secret life Kate can never know about. Secrets have a way of coming out, and before long, Kate finds herself endangered by the world the two people she loves most live in.
*** Fans of Alias and La Femme Nikita who are in withdrawal can get a fix by reading this book. Shifting between times and viewpoints, the plot is complex and action driven, with little time to dwell on emotional issues. If you are looking for a thrill ride between the pages, this is the one. ***
Author: Cathy McDavid
Title - Night of the Hunter
Twenty five years ago, a bond was forged between Nick and Gillian when their lives were touched by tragedy, though they have not met until now. Gillian's mother was killed by a monster who becomes active and goes on a killing spree, but even her eye witness testimony could not save her father for going to jail for the crime he did not commit. Likewise, Nick was orphaned by the creature and the young boy went into training to be the next Huntsman, the one being who can stop the thing. When it wakes from its cocoon again, Gillian recognizes the signs and is determined to find proof this time and set her father free. Nick seeks her out; he knows she is part of his destiny and he needs her to fight the dark horror. Gillian can feel the connection as well, but they may not have a future. They cannot just kill their foe, there are rules that must be heeded. With their love and the fate of the world on the line, two people stand between life and chaos.
*** The pacing is rapid, though the reader never feels rushed as a vast amount of lore is related to them, making for an interesting story. You are done almost before you realize it, but the tale still feels complete. ***
Author: Andrew Gross
Title - The Blue Zone
Benjamin Raab has been buying gold for Argot Manufacturing. Suddenly, the FBI arrests him for money laundering, aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. Benjamin is aghast to learn that the law believes he works for the Mercado family of the Colombian drug cartel. Benjamin insists he is innocent, but the only way out is his testimony against his accomplices and for his family to immediately disappear within the Witness Protection Program. But just before it happens, one of them get cold feet.
Kate Raab is devastated at learning her father has gotten the family into such trouble. Kate marries Greg Herrera, they adopt a dog, and slowly life becomes bearable. But only fourteen months after the mess her father had caused Kate's life begins to fall apart again. Kate keeps seeing strange people watching her. Then her best friend is shot and rushed to the hospital. Someone begins following Kate. But her world totally shatters when she hears that her father has suddenly disappeared into what the WITSEC agency calls "the blue zone" and someone close to him (whom Kate knows as well) is murdered. Kate begins to dig into her father's life. She must find her missing father and, somehow, uncover the secrets someone will kill to keep buried.
**** This thriller is extremely fast paced. Readers must pay close attention or risk missing critical parts of the plot and story. This is the first time that author Andrew Gross has published a solo thriller. In my opinion, it is very well done. This author is one to keep your eye on. I feel that Gross is going to have a long and successful career! ****
Authors: Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Title - Invasive Procedures
George Galen is a brilliant (but insane) geneticist, black-listed for unethical and illegal genetic tampering. He has created a method to alter human DNA to heal diseases, but uses it to also "improve" those who receives his treatment. Galen makes his patients stronger, faster, able to heal quickly, and compliant to his will.
Dr. Monica Owens is one of the best thoracic surgeons in her field. Needing Monica to make his plans work, Galen has Wyatt, her six-year-old son, kidnapped. To keep Wyatt from harm, Monica must accompany Galen and his goons to an abandoned and forgotten nursing home. It is there that Galen has set up an impressive genetic lab, along with some unwilling test patients. Hating herself for what she is forced to do, Monica begins altering the DNA of the prisoners.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hartman is a brilliant (and sane) virologist. Working for the government's biohazard agency (BHA), he has discovered how to neutralize Galen's DNA-changing virus, V16. Needless-to-say, Galen is not happy.
***** This began as a short story titled MALPRACTICE which was published in a sci-fi magazine around 1977. After years of emails to each other, Card and Johnston expanded the tale to novel size.
Although this is a combination of sci-fi and medical thriller, with a little government military thrown in, it is labeled as simply fiction. If you expect to find a fantasy or sci-fi story in the lines of ENDER'S GAME, then you are going to be disappointed. This book proves that author Orson Scott Card has the rare ability to cross genres with his writing. So begin reading with an open mind and be prepared to be blown away! *****
Author: Raymond Khoury
Title - The Sanctuary
For centuries, a small group of men has guarded a secret, the key to virtual agelessness. Now, someone else wants to learn of this gift or curse and will stop at nothing to gain it. It falls to one young woman, Mia Bishop, and a man who is protecting and helping her to prevent that from happening. They are working blind, with no knowledge of what the mystery is; Mia just knows someone has taken her mother in their quest for hidden lore that could turn the world upside down.
*** Alchemy mixes with the modern world in a fast-paced tale that races through time and across the globe. Think Tom Clancy meets Harry Potter. Though the characterization is light, fans of plot-driven action stories will find this to be a delight. ***
Author: Erica Spindler
Title - Last Known Victim
In the wake of Katrina's wrath, NOPD uncovered a cache of a serial killer's trophies and also found his apparent final victim, one of their own, Officer Sammy O'Shay. Two years later, it seems as if the Handyman is at work again, and this time, Captain Patti O'Shay, his last vic's widow, is determined to stop him and get justice for her husband. She has no idea going in that her quest could cost her family even more blood. With no clear clues and with her best source of information a possible suspect, Patti could soon reunite with her husband if she fails.
**** The story is timely and complex. Twists and turns continually take the plot in unexpected directions. I never saw the truth coming. There are as many red herrings as you would find in vintage Christie, but the format is up-to-date and will definitely appeal to fans of CSI. ****
Author: Iris Johansen
Title - Pandora's Daughter
Voices filled Megan Blair's head until a tragic turn of events orphaned her and she somehow managed to silence them. Twelve years after the worst night of her life, Megan is forced to face her heritage when an attempt is made on her life and she finds herself with only two allies in the world. Like her mother before her, she has a rare talent that has made her the object of fear and hatred for a powerful madman, bent on destroying both her and every person in her extended family. It has fallen to her to keep the key to finding a family of psychics safe from destruction.
**** This thrilling roller-coaster ride of a book will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Romance, action, and suspense are blended with the paranormal into a heady blend of literature guaranteed to keep you up at night so you can finish the story. ****
Author: Laurie Breton
Title - Point of Departure
A high-powered, lady realtor whose star is on the rise disappears and a John Doe's body is found in the last place she was seen, along with her personal possessions. To the cops investigating, none of the scant clues add up in any way that makes sense. Where did she go? Who is the body? Where does her husband fit in? Complicating matters is the fact that one of the detectives finds himself attracted to the vanished woman's sister-in-law, jeopardizing their investigation with a conflict of interest. None of them could have foreseen how complicated everything would become though.
**** Ms. Breton without fail brings her readers intense character driven stories that draw you in from the outset and don't let you go. Her words paint a vivid portrait that comes alive, like a movie for the mind. You will not be able to guess the outcome of this mystery, no matter how clever you are. ****
Author: Alex Kava
Title - White Wash
It should be the thing that solved all of the nation's fuel problems. Echo Energy had perfected a way to convert such things as chicken guts into a clean fuel that was virtually non-polluting. Yet, this too good to be true facade might just cover up a dirty secret that is worth killing to protect. Sabrina Galloway, one of the top scientists at Echo, narrowly avoids death and finds herself on the run, forced to rely on someone she thought had written her off, to stay alive and to expose the dirty truth. A plot that endangers lives and natural security is on the brink of either being overturned or coming true in a horrible way, unless the most unlikely heroes can come through.
**** Fans of Gayle Lynds or Robert Ludlum will be thrilled with this action intense read that zips along at a dizzying pace. There is just enough reality seasoning the story to make it seem all too true, to bring it home to the readers. Ms. Kava is a fantastic author. ****
Author: Lisa Jackson
Title - Twice Kissed
It begins with a silent plea, sent across miles, from her mirror twin. Maggie knows something is wrong with Mary Theresa, or M.T., or Marquise as she calls herself. The police confirm this; her sister has disappeared. Now, not only will Maggie need to find Marquise for her sister's own sake, but because both she and her sister's ex husband, the man she loved and M.T. stole, are suspects. As the mystery unravels, Maggie will learn how twisted her twin was, and how severely she actively worked to wreck Maggie's life.
*** Though this is a compelling story, it lacks some of the edge of Ms. Jackson's earlier novels. Perhaps the multiple flashbacks weigh it down. Yet, I can safely say, she has never written a bad book and has succeeded in retelling the good twin/bad twin story. ***
Author: Jason Pinter
Title - The Mark
Henry Parker comes to New York, hoping to become a journalist on the order of Bernstein and Woodward. Instead, less than a month into his first job, his big break turns into a nightmare when he is attacked and upon waking finds that he is the only suspect in a cop killing. With the FBI, the NYPD, and the mob after him, he goes on the run, desperate to stay alive and to find answers.
*** This is not your average Harlequin published story. Shifting between first and third person POVs, it tells a complex, twisted tale that you might not completely understand exactly what was going on, even at the end. It moves fast and does hold your attention, making a worthy start to a new series. ***
Author: James Grippando
Title - Got the Look
Hot shot Miami attorney, Jack Swyteck, is stunned when he discovers that his latest girlfriend, Mia, has not been honest with him. Not only has she been vague about her past, but she is also married. And when she is kidnapped and her wealthy husband decides that his unfaithful wife is worth nothing the kidnapper requests Jack to pay the ransom. Jack is not one to sit still and take orders from the FBI, and so he takes matters into his own hands as Mia’s fate rests on his head. In a race against time and the kidnapper’s demand to pay what she is worth, Jack uncovers Mia’s secret past as he tries to negotiate with a kidnapper who killed his previous victim when he was not paid what she was worth.
***** Awesome read with nonstop action and suspense from the first page to the last! James Grippando has created a cast of interesting characters in this book and there is never a dull moment. Got the Look has got me hooked. I cannot wait to read the rest of Grippando’s Jack Swyteck stories. *****
Author: Orson Scott Card
Title - Empire
Captain Coleman "Cole" is assigned as the new aide for Major Reuben "Rube" Malich. However, Rube never comes into the office and never calls. His secretary, DeeNee, says she cannot help him. According to DeeNee, who has no way to contact him, Rube seldom shows at the office except to pick up messages and leave again. No one knows what Rube does or where he goes. DeeNee assures Cole that Rube knows he has arrived, but all he can do is stand around and wait for what could very well be days or weeks. Within minutes of Cole finally meeting Rube, chaos comes storming in! The Vice President is killed in an "accidental" car wreck. Only few minutes later, the President and the Secretary of Defense dies when a rocket hits the west wing of the White House, at the very section the two were in a meeting. Everyone is calling Rube and Cole "heroes". Had they not been there and acted immediately, it would have been much, much worse. But the two heroes know that Rube is being set up to take the fall.
Rube has his wife and kids move in with a relative in West Windsor, New Jersey. Before joining them, Rube and Cole must meet up with Rube's old buddies from Special Ops for some serious brainstorming. The men have not been in New Jersey with the family half a day before chaos comes stomping (literally) back in. This time it is fourteen-foot-tall, bulletproof, heavily armed globes on mechanical legs. The mechs, along with gunmen on individual hovercrafts, succeed in seizing New York City and establishing the "Progressive Restoration". They claim to be restoring the government to what it should have been and even invite other cities and states to join them. It looks as though a second American Civil War has erupted. One side has high tech weapons. The other side has militia footmen, Rube, and Cole.
***** Author David Weber is diabolical in writing books with military tactical maneuvers. Author Tom Clancy is clever in writing books with espionage. But author Orson Scott Card is brilliant in a way that is difficult to define. Card loudly attacks your physical senses, while at the same time; he silently infiltrates your mind and twists your very way of thinking. The most horrifying part is that as I read, I could detect no flaw in the strategies. It is all perfect...and very possible. I strongly recommend ordering pizza to be delivered and unplugging the phones before you even open the cover of this military/political thriller. Stellar! *****
Author: Karen Harper
Title - Inferno
All across that nation, fire investigators are baffled by the unsub known as the Boy Next Door (BND), who has so far killed four women and set ten fires. The cases hit especially close for FBI agent Brad Hale, whose father was an arsonist. The authorities have virtually no clues on which to go until a call from Lauren Taylor summons them to the sleepy, wooded, little town of Vermillion, Montana. A recent passenger seems off to her, and the young widow thinks he might be tied to the case. However, knowing who the BND is does not help much. Annoyed by the diminutive title, he is planning a blaze of glory that will make a new, respectable name for himself. In the process, he can also settle some old scores. Lauren and Brad find themselves trapped on the road to hell on Earth as they race to beat literal and figurative flames.
*** Despite the fact that you know who the killer is for most of the story, there is a high degree of tension as things play out. If you enjoyed Blue Smoke, you will probably want to add this to your shelf. ***
Author: Matt Dickinson
Title - Black Ice
Deep beneath the Antarctic ice cap, scientist Lauren Burgess has discovered a secret that could change the face of human knowledge. Then a desperate mayday call comes in. Two explorers, one of them the legendary Julian Fitzgerald, are stranded out on the ice and a rescue is their only hope. Lauren puts the ground breaking scientific work on hold as she leads a dangerous rescue mission into the frozen void. But after returning to the base, the pressure of isolation gradually takes its toll on Fitzgerald and his true dark nature is revealed. Lauren and her scientific team must fight for their very lives. On the run with injured members of the team, sub-zero conditions and a madman on the loose, the odds are against them and time is running out.
***** OMG! The publisher's synopsis tells it better than I ever could, so the above is St. Martin's words. I began reading this book in the early morning and simply could NOT put it down until I had finished reading every page. It loosely reminds me of the old movie "The Deep". This is a fantastic novel that I am pleased to highly recommend to everyone. Outstanding! *****
Author: Michael Putegnat
Title - Laguna
Laguna is a story where extreme wealth equals extreme power or does it? John Magne is a fourth-generation Texan with great land wealth. He is nearing the end of his family’s dynasty of land in the Laguna Madre unless he can figure out a way to generate more money from his ranch. With an attitude of Manifest Destiny and the end results far outweighs the means to get there Magne puts himself above the law and sets out to do what it takes to save his heritage including greasing political palms and applying power and pressure wherever needed as he sets about to drill for gas on his land regardless of the human and environmental consequences. Drawn into the legal and political scenario are two brothers, one who is seeking an answer and one who is running from it, and five women who have very different reasons for trying to stop Magne from succeeding in his forward, by all means motto.
***** Michael Putegnat’s excellent novel consists of short chapters that give a wealth of information on the character of each particular chapter and which end with a punch that ensures continued reading. For the last several chapters I simply could not put the book down. I found this story reminiscent of a John Grisham legal and political bestseller with intrigue and suspense all culminating in a spectacular conclusion. *****
Author: Christiane Heggan
Title - Where the Truth Lies
Grace McKenzie is an art curator for a Boston museum. She is walking out her door to begin her vacation when she has a surprise visit from Sarah Hatfield, the woman who almost became her mother-in-law ten years before. But Grace is truly shocked when she learns that Steven, her ex-fiancé, has been murdered and that he has left his gallery in New Hope to her. Knowing Grace would not accept, Steven's will asks that she spend one week in New Hope, Pennsylvania, before declining.
Upon first walking into the gallery, Grace surprises an intruder. From there on she is surrounded by drama. The man arrested for Steven's murder is Fred Baxter, who was New Hope's chief of police. Motive? The police say that Fred found out that Steven was having an affair with Denise, his wife, and killed Steven in rage. The locals don't believe it though. Grace is intrigued by the mystery, but wants only to put the gallery in order during her week there and leave. Instead, she makes friends with some charming and feisty people. Then she learns Steven may have been blackmailing someone and trafficking stolen goods or art forgery.
FBI Agent Matt Baxter returns home to help clear his father of Steven's murder. With the tension between his father and step-mother, Matt decides to stay neutral and out of the way by residing in a hotel instead of with Denise and his sister. Matt and Grace team up to discover the truth. But in doing so, they will uncover deeply buried secrets of people they thought they knew well. At the same time, they find a link to a twenty-year-old disappearance.
***** A fabulous swan song by an amazing author! This is Christiane Heggan's final novel as the author steps into retirement. And what a story it is! The novel starts out with high drama and I found myself hooked instantly. As the reader, I was swept into suspense, intrigue, murder, and a plot with many twists. The Baxter Family, along with the town's history, made for a few juicy sub-plots. Perfect for readers who don't require much oxygen to breathe as they read. *****
Author: Linda Howard
Title - Cover of Night
Few people visit Trail Stop, Idaho. Usually only rock climbers or people wanting to get away from big city life for awhile. This is where young Cate Nightingale settled down with her twin four-year-old boys and runs a very small B&B. There are not many rooms, but since Trail Stop is like a dead end (there is nothing beyond the city but road-less mountains) the rooms are never all filled. Everybody knows everybody in the area, mostly by necessity since the closest mailbox is ten miles away and a trip to the grocery store is an hour, each way. The cost of living is low. Neighbors help out neighbors. Everyone feels safe and secure. Danger oozes into town when Mr. Layton checks into the B&B. Nothing seems out of whack until the man disappears one morning via his window, leaving his personal items behind. Cate gets worried and reports the disappearance to the nearest law enforcement agency; however, since he did not skip out on his bill, there has not been a crime committed. Only a few days later, two strangers invade Cate's B&B, demanding that Mr. Layton's possessions be turned over. To Cate's shock, Calvin Harris, a local handyman, saves the day. But the strangers only leave to enlist the aid of mercs-for-hire. Soon Trail Stop is cut off from the rest of the world and the entire community is held hostage. No one outside town has any idea that anything is wrong. There is no cellular service, no land lines working, and the bridge has been blown up. It would be a week or more before the outside world can reach them. The invaders are confident that the locals will hand over what they want long before then.
Calvin Harris may be known as the local handyman in Trail Stop, but he is a retired Marine. The local guide for rock climbers and hikers is Joshua Creed, who is Cal's former commander. Even eight years out of the Corps, these Force Recon men know how to deal with terrorists. And unknown to the invaders, the locals are used to taking care of matters themselves since law enforcement is so far away. Everyone has weapons and knows how to use them. The strangers want Cate, believing she has something they want. But Cate is part of Trail Stop, and they protect their own!
***** A modern day thriller that only Linda Howard has the talent to create! There is romance, but only one or two small love scenes (just as any good book or movie has). The story is filled with action and drama. I refused to stop reading for anything, even dinner. Highly recommended! *****
Author: Holly Lisle
Title - I See You
Dia Courvant is a paramedic in South Florida. Four years ago she was dispatched to the scene of a terrible car accident and rescued the sole survivor - only to find her own husband, Mac, dead in the wreckage. Dia is still a paramedic and her comrades at Station Thirty-One in Coral Springs are like family to her. Ryan, Howie, Tyler, Sherm, and Kelly always watch Dia's back, just as she does for them. They see the worst accidents together and they see the boring sides of the job together as well. But lately the number of wrecks in the area has risen. Multiple vehicle accidents, in the worst possible places of the highways, and usually at the worst possible times - such as rush hour. The odd thing about these recent accidents is that detectives are showing up at the sites. This is how Dia meets Brig, but Dia is too busy trying to save lives to ask him why these accidents are so special.
Homicide Detective Brig Hafferty and his partner, Stan Chang, are not surprised when signs of a bomb are found at the biggest multiple car wreck yet. Someone has been planning these wrecks, killing many innocents for unknown reasons. While at the most recent site of devastation, Brig notices Dia, a spunky, but strong paramedic. It is not long before he is using weak excuses to show up at Station Thirty-One to see her. When Dia calls him shortly thereafter, sounding scared, Brig rushes to her home to see what is wrong. Someone has started sending Dia anonymous thank you notes and gifts to her personal residence, which no patients should have been able to get the address of. That someone has also been deleting all of Brig's answering machine messages before Dia could get them and writing threatening notes on her bathroom mirror, which can be seen only when the room is full of steam. She clearly has a stalker and he has gotten very close to her before she even realized anything was wrong.
Dia and Brig soon learn that her stalker and the bomber are the same person. Brig and Stan have good leads and seem to know the identity of the person, but they have no real proof. Then Dia begins receiving warnings from beyond the grave.
***** Here is a story that will send chills down your spine while tugging at your heart strings. I keep having flashbacks of the movie "Ghost" starring Patrick, Demi, and Whoopi. But this tale is even better! There is a lot of medical drama for readers to witness, which shows how well the author, Holly Lisle, researched Dia's paramedic role. The author even has the correct codes, procedures, and medical jargons. It is all so realistic! (And since I work in a hospital, I would know.) An outstanding story that will linger in your memory for a long time to come. BRAVA! *****
Author: Brenda Novak
Title: Dead Silence
It has been well over a decade since Grace Montgomery left her small town home behind, but now she has returned to reconcile with her past, freeing herself for the future. Despite her success in the outside world, she is still the daughter of white trash in the eyes of many. One of the few willing to give her a chance to rise above being the girl with few morals striving to be accepted is politician/widower Kennedy Archer. She is a danger to his career, but despite this, he wants to know her again. However, the mystery that brought shame to Grace's life haunts them still, and will continue to have long reaching consequences.
*** For much of the book, there is a meandering pace that sets the stage for the last tenth of the story, when the action truly begins to move and become cohesive. ***
Author: Kathryn Fox
Title: Malicious Intent
Dr. Anya Crichton is a freelancer pathologist in Australia. She is one of the few women in the field. Anya is trying to get her new business off the ground so she can pay her mortgage, pay child support, and then go to court to fight for custody of her three-year-old son, Ben.
Anya's expert forensic evidence is instrumental in winning a very high-profile case and soon the offers for work come pouring in! She decides to help a lawyer, Dan Brody, look into the death of a young Lebanese girl. It looks to be a simple overdose. However, Anya notices some odd fibers in the girl's lungs. This seems to have nothing to do with the death, so it is simply listed as a side note. Yet soon other female suicides show up. All the victims had disappeared for a short period of time before their bodies were found and all of them have the same odd fiber in their lungs. None of the deaths seem to be linked, so the law enforcements shrug it off. Anya finds herself unable to let it go. And someone out there is determined to stop her from nosing around, permanently.
**** I found this novel to be an intellectual challenge! I simply had to see if I could figure it all out before the main character did. The author adds in a realistic personal life for Anya to give the story a deeper feeling of belief. The story is well written and moves at a good clip. Fans of the CSI series will definitely want to check out this new talent. ****
Author: Mariah Stewart
Title: Final Truth (Truth #4)
The truth has come out and it is NOT pretty. Eugene Potts worked at the Fremont lab in Florida. He is the one who tested evidence and then testified to his findings, putting several awful criminals in prison. Now Potts can no longer hide the fact that for almost two months he has been mixing or losing samples, fudging reports and results, then committing perjury in the trials. Due to this, Potts's career is over. But the really bad part is that those criminals are contacting their lawyers to see if their DNA samples were tested by Potts during that time.
Erwin Capshaw was the first to be released. He was sentenced to life in prison. Now he is free. His prison buddy, Lester Ray Barnes, is on Death Row. He has only a matter of weeks before he dies. Taking Erwin's cue, Lester Ray has his lawyer, Roland Booth, pull strings to have a judge look into his case quickly. There was no time to lose. That was how Roland Booth ended up on the famous legal talk show, "And Justice for All". The show not only succeeded in getting Lester Ray's case heard and the man released, but also ensured that Roland would become a famous and rich lawyer.
Regan Landry has continued her late father's legacy of writing true crime novels. Since he was murdered not too long ago, Regan is still trying to sort out all the reports, notes, sketches and pictures that her father has left in boxes. The boxes are stacked everywhere, including the attic and basement, and nothing is organized. Her fiancé, FBI Agent Mitch Peyton, talks her into hiring an assistant, Bliss McKinley, to help organize her father's work.
Regan tunes in to "And Justice for All" and is intrigued. Unable to decide if she would like to write the story, she meets with Roland and Lester Ray. Regan is still undecided when Lester Ray is released from prison. Roland, sure that Regan will make him even richer, gives Lester Ray one of his credit cards. Thus the man accused of being a serial killer is free and heading to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a vacation.
Within a short time, bodies are showing up. The female victims all share Lester Ray's MO. But since all Lester Ray's DNA has disappeared, no one can prove that he is up to his old ways again. Regan and Mitch, along with Mitch's FBI co-workers, begin the horrid task of following Lester Ray and trying to pick up evidence as they go. Will Regan be able to help prove Lester Ray is killing again? If Lester Ray finds out what she is doing, will he kill her too? Or will Lester Ray decide she is too valuable to kill since she will publish his story?
***** If you enjoy the hot television shows of crime scene investigators, ER, police or law enforcements, or just plain enjoy drama, then this is for you! You do not HAVE to read any of the other "Truth" novels to fully understand and enjoy this story; however, if you have been following them, then you already know how Regan and Mitch got together. You will also recognize several of the secondary and minor characters that help in this investigation. It made the story seem much more realistic. I, as the reader, followed Regan in her search to learn more about the elusive Eddie Kroll (whom her father was obsessed with) and in her involvement with investigating Lester Ray with the FBI. The author's extensive research in forensics and law show on almost every page of the book. I finally got answers about Kroll and I got to see what the main characters from the previous novels in this series were up to. Mariah Stewart is going to hit the best seller charts all over again with this gem. *****
Author: John Passarella
Title: Kindred Spirit (Paranormal)
Heather and Hallie Moore were identical twins. As children the two were so closely connected that they could actually speak directly into each other's mind. That ended at the age of ten. Heather fell from a tall tree and was in a coma for a week. Things were never the same again.
The girls grow up into adulthood. Hallie becomes a reporter for NBN-7 News in Pennsylvania. Her segment is called "Hallie's Comet". She gives out awards for "the best" in businesses.
Heather gets married to Tom Galloway and has a son, Shane. She even has a home business involving homemade gift baskets. However, she only gets to see her son reach the age of five. Heather is violently murdered on a roadside one night while driving home from her yoga class.
On the first anniversary of Heather's death, Hallie goes to the site of her sister's murder. A small white cross marks the spot. The instant she touches the cross, Hallie is mentally bombarded with visions of Heather's last moments. Upon awakening, Hallie finds her sister's golden locket. The locket had disappeared the night Heather died; which means the killer had come back to the scene recently. Feeling her sister is with her some how, Hallie begins looking into Heather's last days. Hallie has been close to Tom and Shane, seeing them almost daily. Therefore, it is not difficult for Hallie to talk Tom into letting her go through Heather's home office. Odd things begin happening to Hallie, especially in her own apartment. Visions, all the electrical appliances go wild, floating objects ... and that is only the beginning. Hallie better work quickly, because Heather's murderer is getting prepared to kill again.
***** I could not decide if this should be labeled as "Horror" or "Paranormal Thriller". One thing is for sure, this story will send chills up and down your spine. It is so creepy that I had to stop twice and take a breather. When the phone rang near me I actually screeched. Yes, I SCREECHED! Author John Passarella is well known for his skills in creating horror stories, but his poison pen is even more lethal in the paranormal thriller realm. I feel sorry for anyone who misses out on this outstanding novel. I cannot recommend it highly enough. *****
Author: Annie Solomon
Title - Blackout
As far as Margo Scott knew, she was a bookseller who lived in a house she had inherited from her aunt and she had a sister. Then, one day, she wakes up, with no memory of the last month, skills she can not account for, and no way to prove anything that she believes about herself is real. As Margo works to learn who she is, the truths are dark and disturbing. Someone else wants to know who she is as well; Jake Wise, an undercover agent who keeps turning up until he becomes her ally and lover. The more answers they find, the more questions arise, and the more afraid Margo is of who she really is. Is she a killer?
**** This is a challenging read with twists and turns that will keep you guessing from start to finish. It's a rollercoaster read that only gets faster as it nears the end. ****
Author: Erica Spindler
Title - Copycat
Five years ago, Kitt Lundgren's world shattered; her daughter slowly died of pediatric cancer, her marriage fell apart, she fell into the bottle, and a serial killer terrorized her town. Blowing the Sleeping Angel Kiler case could have cost Kitt her career, but she's recovered, and now, he's back, or is he? Though the new murders resemble the SAK, there are anomalies, and what's more, the original SAK has called Kitt to tell her that the new cases are a copycat, one he resents and wants her to end. Working with a partner who distrusts her and is not happy to be secondary on the case to Kitt's primary is not ideal, nor is facing her own demons on multiple levels, but Kitt manages. With each death, things get more personal, and people outside the victim pool start dying as well. Just as Kitt's on the ragged edge, things truly get interesting, in the Chinese curse sense.
**** This is Spindler at her best. The tension stays high from start to finish, making you want to find out who did it, and it's someone you probably won't see coming. Brava. ****
Author: Colleen Thompson
Title - Deadliest Denial
When two of her husband's fellow officers come to her door, Claire knows things are bad, but she could not have imagined how bad. Spence has not been killed, but is accused of being a murderer, and of trying to have Claire herself killed. She is shattered, of course, and when her horse ranch suffers from a series of vandalism attacks, things seem to just be on a steady downhill trend. Then, Spence skips bail and comes to Claire, professing that he has been set up and still loves her. Claire wants to believe him and is even willing to risk everything to help, but is Spence truly innocent? On her dangerous quest to prove the truth, Claire will face many "demons" and pains before she finds out who really betrayed her.
*** Ms. Thompson has created a complex story that will hold you glued to the page until it's over. Even though it seems quite clear from the start that Spence is innocent as we are given a peek into his mind early on, there is an element of uncertainty and peril that keeps the tension high. ***
Author: Lisa Gardner
Title - Gone
When Rainie Connor vanishes, former FBI profiler Pierce Quincy must pull himself together to try and save his estranged wife. The UNSUB is almost too cooperative at first, promptly giving detailed instructions and demanding only a small ransom. Yet, something is out of place, something is bound to go wrong, and it does. As the clock ticks away, Rainie's situation grows worse. She is afraid, not sure Pierce can forgive her enough to save her life, and in withdrawal. The answers all come with only seconds to spare.
**** Ms. Gardner gives her readers a tightly woven suspense novel that weaves a web of fear around you, drawing closer with every page turn. She escalates the tension until you can NOT put this book down, because you are sure that if you do, the ending will turn out badly. Yet, it's done is such an understated way that you don't realize it's happening until you are hooked. Have some time to devote to this one before beginning. ****
Author: Julie Garwood
Title - Slow Burn
How many people can say their lives were saved by a wonderbra? Kate MacKenna may be the only one who can do so, and that's just the first in a series of events that will rock her world in multiple senses. Shortly after narrowly escaping death by explosive, Kate learns her late mother's debts may completely wreck the lives of herself and her sisters, then, she has to deal with a best friend's surgery. It's not too surprising that she gives in to one night of passion with that friend's brother, a sexy buddy who becomes more, for just one night. When she comes home, yet another explosion sends Kate back to the hospital, and brings that sexy buddy back into her life. Dylan is convinced someone wants Kate dead, as strange as that seems to her, and a letter inviting her to the reading of a long-lost uncle's will only makes him more certain of that. It becomes Dylan's number one priority to keep Kate safe and find out who wants her out of the way, and why. Suddenly, she has become far more important than he ever believed she could be to him, and Dylan does not want to lose her now.
**** This is Ms. Garwood's best book since Murder List. Humor, love, warmth, and thrills are blended perfectly. The mystery is a little easy to solve, but the characters drive the plot, making you care about how they reach the solution, more than what the solution is. Make this a keeper on your shelf. ****
Author: Neil McMahon
Title - Revolution No. 9
Dr. Carroll Monks leaves his home to help a lady change her flat tire down the road. But instead of a disabled vehicle, Monks finds himself kidnapped and taken to a terrorist encampment.
The leader is a sociopath called "Freeboot". The group is determined to change society. They have already killed a few leading citizens. Freeboot's three-year-old son, Mandrake, is diabetic and close to death. Monks, being the caring healer he is, wants to stabilize Mandrake and then get the little boy to a hospital. Freeboot refuses to let Monks or Mandrake leave camp, even if it means Mandrake's death. Worse, Dr. Monks's own estranged son is one of the terrorists. In fact, he was the one to give Freeboot the idea of kidnapping the doctor.
Monks already knows that he has lost his own son, but refuses to let Mandrake die. Monks will have to think of a way to escape. Then the "kidnappee" will become the "kidnapper", because Monks plans on taking Mandrake with him.
***** This is one of the best novels I have read in months! It is scary to think that something such as this has probably already happened before. Author Neil McMahon has one daring imagination! Most impressive! *****
Author: Joanne Harris
Title - Gentlemen & Players
St. Oswald's Grammar School for boys has trained children of the elite for generations. It is a school with a high success rate and much tradition. But things are changing and not everything is for the better.
Roy Straitley has been a teacher at St. Oswald's for over thirty years. As Straitley sees tradition disappear and fancy technology begin to take over, he begins to seriously consider turning in his chalk and retiring. Email is his bane, but he could come to live with it. Not much else though. All the changes are almost overwhelming.
Five new members join the teaching staff of St. Oswald's. One of them (known often in the book as Snyde) is not there to teach promising young minds. Snyde is there for much darker reasons.
***** Now this novel is told in a far different way than I am used to! Author Joanne Harris lets Roy Straitley narrate, but also allows Snyde his turn on the soap box. This is a bold move that few authors dare. Yet Joanne Harris succeeds in making it work! Highly recommended! *****
Author: Sue Walker
Title - The Reunion
Innes Haldane listens to her answering machine and is horrified to hear a desperate message from Isabella "Abby" Velasco. Back in 1977, when Innes was only fifteen-years-old, she resided in an adolescent psychiatric unit in Edinburgh, known only as "The Unit". The Unit dealt with the most troubled of teens. Some of the teens were there for mental problems, others for violence. It was a dark time and place that Innes had forced herself to forget.
Innes never returned Abby's call and later learns that Abby died, apparently a suicide. Then others Innes knew from The Unit turns up dead or worse. Innes feels compelled to look into Abby's death and see if something more sinister is going on ... and if she could be next on someone's hit list.
***** Sue Walker pens a dark and twisted psychological thriller that will keep you reading as quickly as you possibly can. I stayed up very late, promising myself that I would only read a few more pages, only to glance up at the clock to see another hour has past. Very intense! *****
Author: Lou Dischler
Title - The Senator
A little over a year ago Paul Kennedy's reputation was thoroughly smeared. Paul is now a FORMER journalist, marketing manager, and political candidate. Drinking, fishing, and his girlfriend are just about the only things he cares for these days. But things change when a misaddressed package arrives at his little island cabin. It would turn Paul's life around ... if he survives.
Helen Thornton knows that the package from Argentina should have been delivered to someone down the street, but decides to open it anyway. Within is a manuscript about Free Trade in America. Since her father is Senator Wade Thornton, Helen found the manuscript contents fascinating. People have already died due to that manuscript and more will follow. Thankfully, Helen has enough sense to consider taking the manuscript to the Senator.
They are called the Society of Dorset. They have been around longer than you could know. They have people all over the world. Over time, they have managed to infiltrate even the White House. They are pushing America's President for Free Trade. They make the idea of free trade sound wonderful for America ... for the world. But the opposite is true. The Society of Dorset wants America's economy to collapse. They want the entire would to be under one rule. Their rule! All they have to do is retrieve the manuscript before Senator Thornton gets it, kill Helen, and frame Paul for her murder.
***** The book editor missed a few punctuation marks, but nothing most people will even notice. Everything else I can say about this novel is wonderful. The story hooked me quickly and held onto me tighter than glue. That is very impressive since I knew nothing about Free Trade. I sure do now! This awesome story will open a lot of American eyes! Author Lou Dischler created the characters very well. Readers will find them fascinating and totally believable. One word of warning, do NOT begin reading this novel until you have a weekend off and are free of all obligations. You will not want to put this gem down. Highly recommended reading! *****
Author: Allison Brennan
Title - The Prey
Three women have known violence in their childhood. They come together as roommates at the FBI training academy. Ten year later, their nightmares really begin.
Rowan Smith left the FBI after she was assigned to a case very similar to her own childhood violence. No one really knew she left to preserve her sanity. She began a writing career and had astounding success. In fact, one of her books is being made into a movie in Hollywood. Rowan thought she had left her past behind her at last. Then a dismembered body is found in Colorado. The victim had the same name, occupation, and looks as a character Rowan wrote in one of her novels. This is followed by a second victim, again eerily similar to a character in one of Rowan novels.
Michael Flynn is an ex-cop. John Flynn is a former DEA agent. The two brothers own and operate a security firm. They are hired to protect Rowan. John believes there is more to it all than they currently know. He also has some secrets of his own that he wants no one to learn of. Yet even he will be astounded as the truth comes out. And the only way to reach the truth is for Rowan to revisit the violence in her past, a past that just may kill them both.
***** It is hard to believe that this is Allison Brennan's debut novel. It is fantastic! This title is the first of a trilogy. Each woman from the academy will get her own story told. You will not have to wait a long time between the stories either. The three books come out with only a month between each. (The other two titles will be "The Hunt" and "The Kill".) I could not read fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. Highly recommended reading! *****
Author: Julie Kenner
Title - The Manolo Matrix (Play Survive Win #2)
Someone has brought the game "PLAY-SURVIVE-WIN" into the real world. Three people are involved during a game. One is assigned as "Target", one as "Protector", and one as "Assassin". The Protector's job is to be the bodyguard of the Target. They work together in solving clues that will lead them, ultimately, to a code. During this time, the Assassin is after them. If the Target finds the code and enters it online before he is terminated, he wins a HUGE cash award. But if the Target is killed, the Assassin gets the money.
Jennifer Martin is currently a singing waitress in Manhattan. But her dream is to make it to Broadway. She has no time for PC games these days; however, she did make a PSW online account years ago. Jennifer had not given the game another thought until last year, when her roommate became an unwilling Target role player. So imagine Jennifer's surprise to get a PSW email informing her that she has been cast in the role of Protector. Jennifer must now play the game out or die.
Devlin Brady was the FBI agent who assisted Jen's roommate during her PSW nightmare. His badge is suspended until he is cleared of charges against killing his partner last year. He has spent the last year dealing with his guilty conscience. When Devlin receives word that he has been cast as the Target in PSW reality game version, he could care less. He would probably have sat there and waited for the killer to put him out of his misery. But his bodyguard, Jen, would not let him. If he did not play the game, SHE would die the next day. Well dang! His cop instincts just could not let that happen. He is forced to play the game.
Birdie received her email only a few days before she was due to be released from prison. Devlin was the main person in the group that hunted her down five years ago and sent her to jail. She is MORE than thrilled to be cast in the role of Assassin. She gets to kill Devlin and become a multi-millionaire. What could be better?
***** This time the stakes are just as high as they were in the previous book, "The Givenchy Code", and just as exciting. I found myself hooked immediately and did not stop reading until it was finished. (Okay, I admit it. I took one BRIEF break to hit the restroom and make a sandwich.) Author Julie Kenner's pen must have been smoking as she wrote this suspense filled novel. Fast paced, a bit of romance, and lots of tension! If you enjoyed John Grisham's Pelican Brief, then you are going to drool over this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! *****
Author: Meryl Sawyer
Title - Half Past Dead
Kaitlin (Kat) Wells has spent the last three years serving a prison sentence for a crime she did not commit. Now, she's gotten a break; the government has secretly reopened her case and believes she is innocent, but they still need some information before she can be completely cleared. Therefore, she's being released on a work furlough to her home town where, hopefully, she can help them wrap it up while re-establishing her own life. However, once back home, not too many people appear to be happy to have her back. Kat's mother is near death, lost in a world of her own, and the two never really got along before. Now that Kat's a disgrace, that's even more true. Kat's sister has no use for her and even tries to bribe her to move away, which Kat can not do under the terms of her release. Yet, on the plus side, Kat's new boss does believe her and is willing to help clear her name, and to help find out who is now trying to kill her. The Sheriff, Justin Radner, is at first leery of Kat, but there is also an attraction between the two of them. It's an irresistable force. Though doubts persist as to her innocence, Justin finds himself falling in love, though he does not know the whole truth about the woman he loves.
***** This is one of Ms.Sawyer's best works. The plot is complex, and every character is presented powerfully. Plot lines cross and weave together into a mystery that will challenge you until the end. This is a keeper. *****
Author: Laura Van Wormer
Title - Mr. Murder
(A Sally Harrington novel)
Drama just seems to follow Sally Harrington everywhere she goes. No matter how she tries to avoid trouble, trouble finds her. Now the Mafia trial mess is behind her, she hopes. She has a relationship building with Paul Fitzwilliam, the police officer who followed her from California to the east, she hopes. There is still some unfinished business with David Waring that she will have to deal with later, she hopes not. And she is starting a new job with the DBS Network as a co-anchor of a morning show "DBS News America This Morning".
Then the feds show up. One of Sally's former bosses is beaten severely and left for dead on the doorstep of Sally's Connecticut home. The police believe it to be somehow linked to the recent death of a millionaire that Sally has JUST finished interviewing. Since Sally is connected to both events, even though she could not possibly have anything to do with it herself, the police plan to keep close tabs.
**** For those of us who watch the news, it all seems so easy. As long as you are presentable, in whatever way the Public currently considers "presentable", can enunciate well, and not let your personal feelings show on your face as you read distressing news, then being an anchor or reporter on TV is a glamorous job. Well, the Sally Harrington novels shows how difficult it really is. The author, Laura Van Wormer, clearly shows what goes on off the camera. (She certainly convinced me not to ever enter the field.) The author takes this difficult, hard hitting setting and adds in some dark, vindictive people. Then the main character, Sally, is surrounded by a variety of characters that differ from each other in every way, shape, and form. It all keeps the pace flowing at a steady clip while the reader takes it all in with ease. Expect some interesting tid bits from the secondary characters. A terrific read! ****
Author: Tasha Alexander
Title - And Only To Deceive
(Regency Mystery Thriller)
Emily marries Philip, Viscount Ashton, to escape her mother for the most part. Emily knows very little about Philip, except that he enjoys art and hunting. So when Emily finds herself a widow after a short six months of marriage, she is not emotionally crushed.
When one of Philip's friends, Colin Hargreaves, tells her about Greece and the villa, Emily begins to search out more information on her deceased husband. This is how Emily gets interested in art, antiquities, and the like. With all her wealth, Emily can afford to absorb all the knowledge she wants about her new interests.
While at the British Museum, Emily stumbles upon a ring of forgers. The members of the ring have been stealing items and leaving replicas. At the same time, Emily is being wooed not only by Colin, but also by Andrew Palmer. Even more intriguing is Andrew's evidence that Philip is still alive!
***** Do not judge this book only by its cover. True, it is set during the Regency era, but this story also involves a terrific mystery with lots of suspense. Author Tasha Alexander simply blew me away with her writing style and challenged my intellect as well. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys mysteries, thrillers, or regency novels! *****
Author: Jonathan Santlofer
Title - The Killing Art
Former NYPD detective Kate McKinnon has altered her life style more than once. She has seen the worst a detective possibly can, as well as seen the glamour and glitter of the elite social class. Now she wants only to have some quiet down time.
Currently Kate is an art historian. She is writing a book about the New York School artists of the 1930s and 40s. When Detective Monty Murphy calls her, Kate puts it all on hold. Someone has slashed the de Kooning painting she donated to a museum in her late husband's honor. Kate and Monty team up and are on the hunt.
**** If you enjoy art then you will doubly enjoy the writings of author Jonathan Santlofer. This novel combines a detective thriller AND art work for you to contemplate. Personally, I've not read the author's previous novels involving Kate, but after reading this one I am seriously considering haunting a local book store in hopes of finding them. A terrific tale that will keep you reading late into the night. ****
Author: Mariah Stewart
Title - Dark Truth (Truth series #3)
In early 1989 at St. Ansel College (in Stone River, Maryland), Professor Stephen Madden was one of the top in the English field. Universities, world-wide, vied for him to give lectures on their campuses. He was next in line to be the Head of Celestine Hall. So his nineteen-year-old daughter, Nina Madden, stopped short as she witnessed her larger-than-life father being arrested and charged with the rape and murder of four students. Confused and emotionally adrift, Nina washed her hands of her father, her stepmother (Olivia), and her stepbrother (Kyle).
Today, sixteen years later, Nina Madden is a book editor in New York City. Her best author and friend is Regan Landry. Regan's late father had been a famous true crime writer. Regan is continuing in her father's footsteps. So naturally Nina goes to Regan for help digging into the past crimes of her own deceased father. Olivia has recently died and while going through her father's things, Nina reads a letter from her dad to Olivia. In the letter, Stephen admits to having affairs with his students, but not in their deaths. In fact, he accuses Olivia of defiling the girls and murdering them. But that is impossible, right?
Regan and her FBI boyfriend, Mitch Peyton, begin digging. Detective Wes Powell, Stone River Police Department, very reluctantly joins the investigation as well. As Nina learns more and more about Stephen and Olivia's pasts, a killer becomes uneasy.
**** I love how the author makes each novel of this series a stand alone book, yet keeps Regan and Mitch as an ongoing sub plot. If you are looking for a "Romantic Suspense", go elsewhere. Mariah Stewart is pure "Mystery Thriller". Stewart's stories, such as this dark tale, clearly shows that she enjoys her work. It also shows how twisted and devious her imagination is! As you read, do not assume that you know who the killer is. You may be dead wrong. (Pun not intended.) Terrific addition to the "Truth" series. ****
Author: Joseph Finder
Title - Company Man
Nicholas "Nick" Conover is the CEO of the Stratton Corporation. It is the well known name for "Made in the USA" office furniture. It is the largest employer in Portland. While the company ran smoothly, Nick was the most admired man in town. However, Nick became the most hated man when Boston forced him to lay off thousands. Everybody in town had at least one close relative that Nick had laid off. Everywhere he went, the locals made sure to remind him of their hatred.
When a stalker begins breaking into his home and vandalizing, the local police take their time in showing up. The police do not even pretend to collect evidence or care. Nick is a single father with two kids. So when the stalker becomes violent, Nick has some top grade security devices installed. Needless-to-say, when the alarms go off, Nick protects his family. After all, the police would not show up until it was WAY too late. Though it was self-defense, Nick knows the cops would enjoy slapping a murder label on him and hauling him off to prison. Therefore, Nick calls Eddie Rinaldi, Stratton's corporate security director, and ex-cop, who had installed Nick's home security devices. Eddie makes it all disappear.
At work, Nick realizes that he is not being informed about major company decisions. Nick and Eddie quietly investigate and begins to uncover a conspiracy against Nick that involves some of his closest colleagues. Nothing is making sense and everyone is lying to him.
Enter Homicide Detective Audrey "Aud" Rhimes. She has been paired with the loathsome and slovenly Roy Bugbee to investigate a body found in a dumpster on the wrong side of town. Clues are few, but Audrey keeps coming back to Nick as her main suspect. Her gut instinct insists that Nick knows something and is holding back evidence. When she learns of the previous break-ins and the department's numerous negligences about them, Aud cannot blame Nick for his silence. But she is determined to uncover the truth.
***** This author is every bit as good as John Grisham. This is a thick novel with unexpected twists throughout most of it. Readers can easily empathize with Nick. I found myself believing that I would have done exactly as Nick did, every step of the way. This novel starts out exciting and ends up with a huge climax. I was unable to put the book down for long and made lame excuses so I could return to Nick's world. Highly recommended! *****
Author: R. Barri Flowers
Title - Justice Served
Criminal Court Judge Carole Cranston hates the battered-women cases the most. She chose her career in hopes of putting the abusive men in prison and off the streets. Yet far too often Carole can do nothing but watch as the guilty men go free due to a plea-bargain, hung jury, or some sort of small technicality. But that did not make her resort to becoming a vigilante. Or did it?
Detective Sergeant Ray Barkley and his partner, Detective Nina Preston, are the ones on the Vigilante Killer case that is getting so much media coverage. Seems that there is a serial killer, possibly female, on the loose. She targets abusive men who escape the justice system. As bodies pile up, the few clues they have point the finger at Judge Carole Cranston. All the murdered men had been in her court room. They all walked free. And the women abused had all spent some time in the Rose City Women's Shelter, where Carole donates a lot of money. Nina has no doubt that Carole is guilty and is doing all she can to prove it. That is hard to do without hurting Ray, who is very attracted to Her Honor. It causes tension between the two partners as well, because Ray is just as positive that Carole is innocent. In fact, Ray and Carole begin seeing each other, even though it is NOT a good idea.
**** I am lucky enough to be able to state that in my personal life almost half the people I know are black, almost half are white, and there are a few numbers of other races. So I am used to hearing titles such as "brother, sister, dude, amigo, man, guy" and the likes every day. When I read a book where most, if not all, the characters are African-American it does not surprise me to read "brother" or "sister" in it. It seldom even registers to my brain. However, in my opinion, those two titles are use far too frequently. I felt as if they were being used on every second or third page. It seemed unrealistic and became frustrating.
As for the story plot, characters, and suspense, R. Barri Flowers proves, once again, that he chose the right career. This author weaves a magical web, as well as, a tangled one. The clues are all there, but even toward the end I could not be positive that I had tagged the right culprit. I will be recommending this title to many! One last thing, if you hate to be left hanging do NOT read the last page or two. This is a stand alone story. The author wraps up the mystery thriller beautifully. But the last couple of pages begins with the killer of the next novel kidnapping his first victim. I was left feeling incomplete. ****
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Title - Vanish
Dr. Maura Isles is doing paperwork on an autopsy late one night. She needs some information to continue and goes into the Cold Room to locate it. There, she hears a noise coming from one of the body bags. Upon opening it, Maura is horrified to discover that the woman is still alive! Shortly thereafter, Maura goes to the hospital to follow up on her Jane Doe. She enters Doe's room just in time to see Doe kill a security cop. Doe ends up barricading herself and six other people in the Diagnostic Imaging area.
Jane Rizzoli is a Homicide Detective with Boston Police Department. She is also about to deliver a baby. She naps on the exam table and wakes up to find herself one of six hostages. Then a stranger walks past the police and SWAT Team members without anyone noticing until it is too late. Doe and the stranger know each other. They are on the same side. Rizzoli's husband is FBI agent Gabriel Dean, who is outside the hospital worried about his wife. He becomes frantic when he learns that the stranger is a specially trained black-ops agent, Joseph Roke ... and Joe is NOT on the police's side this time. No one knows what these two, seemingly crazy people, could possibly have in common.
When the crisis is over, Dean, Rizzoli, and Maura cannot seem to drop all their unanswered questions. They begin their own investigation. Soon they realize that Doe and Roke may not have been crazy after all. Sometimes there are secrets so terrible that powerful people will stop at nothing to keep quiet.
***** You have GOT to read this one! Author Tess Gerritsen has created a story that I can only classify as a "Medical, Detective, & Political Thriller". This novel covers all of them. The scariest part about the story is that what it describes, the lost girls, is totally true. These girls ARE out there. And more are added to their numbers daily.
Make sure you do not begin reading this novel until you have a couple days off work with no pressing plans. Once you start reading, you will not be able to stop. Highly recommended reading. *****
Author: Elizabeth Lowell
Title - Always Time To Die
The story begins with the murder of an old man, former Senator Andrew Jackson Quintrell III. No one really cared that he died. Everyone in the area knew the dirty old man had been a philanderer his entire life. If it was a human female, between the ages of puberty and menopause, the would bed her, even against her will. Back in his glory years people kept silent about such things. After all, he was a powerful man in New Mexico. The voting public would never believe a bad word against such a powerful and upstanding citizen.
Governor Josh Quintrell was the old man's son. Josh could care less that the old man was dead. Josh had his eyes on the White House. All he had to do was keep his family's dirty laundry hidden from the voting public for eleven more months. Then he could sell the ranch that had been in his family for centuries and stick his ailing mother, Sylvia, in a nursing home somewhere. Sylvia had not spoken to anyone or acknowledged her surroundings since the 1960s. She would never even realize that she was no longer on the ranch.
Winifred Simmons y Castillo was Josh's aunt, Sylvia's sister. Winifred was glad the dirty old man was dead. He never really cared for his ailing wife anyway. Winifred stayed by her sister's side, willing her to live each day. Winifred hired Carolina "Carly" May to write the Castillo family history. She was the last of the Castillo line. It was time to put their history into print for all the world to know. It was time to get vengeance for Sylvia's sake.
Carly loved genealogy. Perhaps it was because she was adopted, her file sealed, and she had no way to know her own biological family history. This time the family she wrote about was famous. Carly felt honored to be doing the Castillo-Quintrell family history. But no one in town wanted Carly to dig into the past. All of them had dark secrets. Many warned her to quit and leave. Help came in the form of mysterious Daniel "Dan" Duran, who was tight lipped about his occupation. All he would tell her is that he was on vacation for a few months. Dan had grown up in the area. He knew a lot about the families Carly was working on. He also knew that most of the locals were, in some way, related to the former Senator. Someone wanted the Senator's secrets to die quietly, just like the dirty old man had. Dan was determined to keep Carly alive.
**** This is a intriguing story filled with danger, suspense, and just a touch of romance. People interested in learning a bit about genealogy, how to find relatives via DNA samples, or how to figure out the dates of old photos will enjoy the details that the author goes into. If you are in no way interested in such things, you may find yourself skimming areas of the book because the author included a lot of her research on the subjects. This makes the story even more realistic to the readers. So does all the information the author added about the history of New Mexico. At some parts of the story I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out who did what, when, and why, as if it was a CSI television episode. Author Elizabeth Lowell has a new fan in me! ****
Author: Mike Brogan
Title - Dead Air
Dr. Hallie Mara is a molecular geneticist. Reed Kincaid works in advertizing. They are together and watch in horror as Kyle, Reed's brother, dies from an unexplained and sudden cardiac arrest "SCD". But before he dies, Kyle informs them that he has been poisoned and that "many will die Friday." A thorough autopsy is done with all types of poisons tested for. The results claim that there was no poison. Therefore, no police investigation. Hallie and Reed begin their own investigation. Once they have evidence and present it, the police and federal authorities take charge, but it is too late.
It becomes clear that they must stop a brilliant, driven psychopath who is poised to exterminate sixty thousand innocent people in ten unidentified US cities on Friday. Yet no one knows what type of poison will be used, where it will be used, or how it will be distributed.
***** Here is fair warning for all readers with tender hearts. The killer within this novel tortures animals. He also kills animals and children. If you cannot handle such a realistic madman, avoid this book. If you decide to read anyway, do not bother complaining to the author or this reviewer. You were warned.
As the two main characters investigate and learn about the poison, the reader is shown the horrible potential of biochemical weapons. The author, Mike Brogan, shows what COULD someday happen with this devastating work of fiction. As the reader, I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction. The author made it all so realistic that my mind refused to look at some of what was happening in the story. It kept shying away. I had to force myself to return and reread pages. By doing so, I overlooked nothing. The author's lesson hit home and that lesson is terrifying! Highly recommended reading. *****
Author: Julie Kenner
Title - The Givenchy Code
Archibald Grimaldi was a genius when it came to making online games. His first, and biggest, was called "Play. Survive. Win." Gamers call it "PSW" for short. Even today it is considered one of the BEST online strategy/role playing games. Players would send in a profile about themselves. Everything had to be answered honestly because the game clues are generated to match the player's interests and hobbies. Once approved, the player is given one of three roles: Target, Protector, and Assassin. A condensed synopsis of the game is that the Target will solve a clue and run around the cyber-city to the place that the clue leads him to. There, another clue will be waiting. The Protector is the Target's bodyguard. The Target and Protector keep finding and solving clues until they reach the last clue and win the game. However, an Assassin is somewhere in the city. His job description is simple: Kill the Target before the last clue is solved.
Archibald Grimaldi is now dead at an early age. But before he died, he wanted to bring his cyber game into the real world. He has succeeded and made sure that no one can stop the things he had put into motion.
Marine Major Matthew Stryker was in counter terrorism when he left the service. Now he is in "private security". He turned in a profile for PSW years ago, but never played. Does not seem to matter. He was given a name to protect and twenty grand had been deposited into his bank account. Thinking it was a joke, he did nothing. Therefore, Jamie Tate died. Now he is given another name to protect, Melanie "Mel" Prescott. Another twenty grand has been deposited in his bank account. There is no way he will let another woman die because he failed to act.
Mel loves cryptology and has a weakness for Givenchy shoes and handbags. She even entered that on her profile when she played PSW many years ago. Mel is blonde, but brilliant. She won PSW on all three game roles. When she received a coded message informing her that she is a Target, she thought it a sick joke. One body later showed her differently. Mel and her mysterious Protector, who happens to be a hunk, are running for their lives. And the insane Assassin, Lynx, is right on their heels.
***** This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat constantly. If you love online gaming, such as myself (GULP!), then you simply MUST read this! Did you enjoy "The Da Vinci Code"? Then you simply MUST read this! Do you love thriller novels that keep you glued to the pages? Then you simply MUST read this! Highly recommended reading. *****
Author: Scott Wilde
William "Billy" Longbow was just a boy in Lufkin, Texas, when he first saw the bloody terror that a giant Russian Razorback hog could inflict. Billy and his older brother, JJ, watched helplessly as it gutted their friend and then they sobbed as several hogs devoured the body. Later, as a young man, Billy was drafted and sent to Vietnam. He ended up a side gunner on a Huey 67H20 helicopter. While there, he saw the bloody terror that man could inflict as well.
A medically discharged Billy returned home to heal, mentally and physically. Soon JJ was swearing that he saw the same huge hog that had killed their friend long ago. Worse, the giant hog had several others with him. The huge Razorback hog became a menace to the entire community. Even with a six thousand dollar reward on the razorback's head, no one could find it, much less kill it. So Billy must finally make the decision to take matters into his own hands.
**** The military section of the book is a very small part. Ninety percent of this thriller focuses on the razorback and its reign of terror. The author uses his outdoorsman experience to make this tale extremely realistic. A bit of romance is thrown in with the arrival of Suzanne for Billy. She has a level head, just like Billy, and she is one feisty lady. All-in-all, the author, Scott Wilde, has written a wonderful hunting thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. ****
Author: Jess Parker
Title - Detachment X-Ray
Jake Green was a US Navy Seaman. He was caught up in a battle front advance in the Korean War. Even though he had never trained for battlefield duties, the Marines assigned him as a radioman and gunfire spotter with a forward echelon unit led by Captain John "Silvertip" Silvers. The unit became surrounded and held out for five days with heavy battle situations. There were only a few survivors.
When Green returned to his ship he was told that the situation he had been in had never occurred. Green, and a select few others he had never met before, were sent back to the United States for "special training" and Detachment X-Ray was formed. This secret organization had a chain of command that reached back to the White House. The members never knew where they their mission would be until they got there, nor what their mission would entail.
Only the mission was important!
Trust no one!
***** W-O-W! I cannot express how wonderful this book is! You have to read it to believe it. The author managed to show how awful war could be, as well as, how far a person would go when pushed beyond their limits. The author injected military humor even during the survival training sections. Highly recommended reading! *****
Author: Jess Parker
Title - Covert Avengers
(Sequel to Detachment X-Ray)
In the previous book (Detachment X-Ray) Jake Green "Navy" had told Major Long Ball Kwong that the next time they met Jake would gut him. Surprise, surprise, when Long Ball appeared with a trade delegation from the People's Republic of China as Mr. Dong Ping (future Premier).
Jake had been in deep cover, ordered after he left Detachment X-Ray. He emerged and became Staff Assistant to a United States Senator, Sam Martin. Jake had been at a U.N. conference when he spied Long Ball. Jake was lucky enough to get the best secretary on the Hill and her big boyfriend was a small arms expert. Better yet, Jake struck gold when he hired a red haired Irish lass as his driver. She was THE BEST when tails from the FBI, CIA, and the Chinese Secret Service had to be shook off!
Jake, his new staff, and comrades from the Korean War got together to deal with a mountain feud, stop a drug running operation (via sea), and make plans for Long Ball.
***** Very few sequels to books and movies are as good as the original. Yet Jess Parker has succeeded in doing it here. It was fast paced and non-stop all the way through the novel with a climatic ending that left me laughing and begging for more! I can only hope the author is considering a third for Jake Green. I am so happy to be able to highly recommend this book, and its author, to everyone I meet! *****