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Still Alice

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Heartbreaking story of a 50 year old woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease. This tragic tale was so riveting, I finished the book in two days. Very well written. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the progression of this disease. The main character in the book was a professor at Harvard. She has a husband and three grown children. This story takes you through the woman's journey as she rapidly declines, and how it affects her family as well. I have a new understanding of the disease.
Deeper Than the Dead

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What a page-turner this book was! I was hooked from the first page until the last, staying up one entire night, reading ravenously. If one was to try to describe the story line to someone, it might sound like a typical who-dun-it....but this was such an attention grabber, so well laid out and well written, that it was certainly anything but typical.The book had strong characters, the story flowed smoothly and the suspense was riveting...especially near the end. Although I guessed about 2/3rds through the book who the bad guy was, I could not put the book down.The story was about a small American town in 1985, where a horrific and gruesome murder was discovered by a group of children in the woods, with another woman missing. Both victims had ties to a women's center in town. An intricate web of mystery fell over the town as an FBI agent on leave came to lend his hand of expertise on profiling, a relatively new way of finding killers in the mid-1980's. Welcomed by some officers, shunned by others, Vince Leone was a man searching for a madman. Soon, one of the main characters in the story, Anne, the fifth grade teacher to the kids who made the discovery of the woman's body, begins to have a personal relationship with the FBI man. As they start falling in love, more and more things take place as the search intensifies for the missing woman. A deputy with a chip on his shoulder, parents of the kids and their own personal issues, suspects, questions, lies..... before long the suspense builds to a fevered pitch, as the author takes the reader on a taut ride filled with twists and turns. As I said earlier, I figured out who the bad guy was before the ending, but it did not detract from the grip the book had on me.I found this book to be a very smooth read, thoroughly enjoyable and addictive....I can't wait to read Tami Hoag's next thriller in this microseries called "Secrets To the Grave".
Paint It Black: A Novel

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This dark tale of grief, love and loss was so engrossing from start to finish, I stayed up all night to finish it. The main character is Josie, a lost soul in a harsh world who learns in the opening pages that her boyfriend has committed suicide while away, supposedly on a trip to his mother's house. Michael, whom Josie was deeply in love with, was a sensitive, gifted artist, but had begun pulling away from Josie in those last weeks of his life.Josie is devastated and sinks into a deep depression as she tries to understand what happened, what she could have done to make a difference, and how Michael could have abandoned their love to go off and kill himself.As the story goes on, Josie comes face to face (at the funeral) with Michael's equally devastated mother, who immediately lashes out at Josie, whom she considers to be poor white trash, blaming her for the demise of her only son. Thus begins a up and down relationship between the mother, Meredith, who is a world renowned concert pianist and Josie, the waif who is an art model who lives on the fringes of society.The extreme depth of Josie's grief pours out in this dark novel...I felt Josie's confusion, her desperation, her agony of loss. The author conveyed Josie's pain very well. As Josie interacts with Meredith, things begin to come out about the mother's relationship with Michael, a secret that Josie realizes could be the reason for this tragic outcome. Josie accuses Meredith of incest, but never really knows for sure if it indeed did happen. As she recounts Michael's references to his mother in the days before his death, she feels strongly that whatever transpired between Michael and his mother must have played a big part in Michael's decision to end his life.Meredith is a famous pianist who has lived a charmed life, but begins to seek out Josie in order to learn more about this street girl who her son was so enamored by.....she holds Josie in contempt for causing her son to drop out of college in his senior year, even though Michael denied that Josie had anything to do with it.Closer to the end of the book, Josie recounts a specific episode between she and Michael when she verbally attacks him out of frustration over his lack of communication in those last weeks, when he was growing more distraught....Josie did not understand what to do so she lashed out and said some very hurtful things....and as she relives this terrible moment in time, the crushing guilt causes Josie to consider whether she should end her own life as well, due to her inability to come to terms with everything that has transpired in her young life, along with feeling so alone in the world now that Michael has gone.The ending was a bit abrupt and there was alot of foul language, but overall the book was absolutely outstanding. The book was incredibly emotionally powerful and I was absorbed from page one. While not everyone's cup of tea, this one earned a high mark from this reader. I would love to read more by this author.
One Shot: (Jack Reacher 9)

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This Jack Reacher novel is one of Lee Child's best ~ yet all of his books with this great character are top-notch thrillers. Jack Reacher, an ex-military cop, now a drifter with a dark side, somehow manages to walk into trouble wherever he goes. This time a man he knows from 14 years ago, who has murdered before, is accused of randomly shooting five people as they are leaving work on a Friday afternoon. But could there possibly be another person responsible for this seemingly cut-and-dried case? Despite all the evidence that is piling up, building a strong case against James Barr, Jack Reacher begins to investigate and piece the puzzle together, with the help of a lawyer, a journalist, an ex-Marine, and several others who seek the truth.I found this book to be so riveting, I could not put it down and finished it in record time. I highly recommend this (and any) of the Jack Reacher novels ~ Lee Child is superb! A smooth read, a suspenseful plot, murder, romance, thrills and chills.....this one has it all!
Paranoia

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What an absolutely awesome thriller! I loved this book. The story line was superb, the characters were believable and the ending was fabulous.Adam Cassidy made a mistake. He was caught by his superiors at the high-tech corporation where he worked, and rather than end up in prison, he reluctantly decided his only option was to go through with his boss's plan.....to go to work for the competition and learn their secrets.Arrangements were made and Adam became a new employee of Trion, another high-tech corporation, who had a highly guarded secret project that would turn the world upside down upon it's release. Adam's boss at Wyatt wanted him to find out all he could and report everything back to him, or else he would turn Adam over to the authorities for his wrongdoing.Adam becomes enmeshed in his new, high paying job, and before long he becomes a personal assistant to the CEO of Trion. He cannot believe his luck. This turn of events would make his covert job of corporate espionage much easier, as he would have better access to the secrets of the company now. Before long, he gradually starts to like Mr. Goddard, the CEO of Trion. He's a genuinely nice guy. And Adam begins to resent, more and more, his old boss at Wyatt, who is a first class jerk.Although Adam continues to find out the new company's secrets, he realizes that he simply cannot continue to rat out this new boss, because he almost feels as though he is the warm, caring "father" he never had. This creates a huge conflict in Adam's mind, so he decides to stop reporting to Wyatt.As the story moves along....Adam meets and has a relationship with a beautiful co-worker. His relationship with the CEO of Trion grows stronger. His old boss puts on the pressure to report or there will be consequences. Adam is faced with the possiblity of being turned in by Wyatt if he doesn't comply. So he finally decides that he either must choose to follow his conscience and stop the espionage or just do what he was intitially sent to Trion to do, then inform Wyatt that he is finished with them for good.The story progresses with higher and higher suspense, peaking near the end and then a shocking surprise ending that was unexpected by this reviewer. This book was one of the best suspense novels I've read to date. I have moved Mr. Finder up to one of my top ten favorite authors, in the company of Lee Child, Dennis Lehane, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, and Robert Crais. I can certainly understand how this book could be good enough to be made into a movie. But I recommend reading this one first. It's a finely crafted tale by a superb author. FIVE STARS!
The Murderer's Daughters

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I loved this book. The story is about 2 young girls whose lives are turned upside down when their father murders their mother, and stabs the youngest girl while attempting to commit suicide. The older girl, Lulu, is in shock, as she was hiding in a bedroom during the attack, when her mother screams at her to get the neighbor to come help. The girl does go for help, but wonders, was it in time? The mother does indeed succumb but the little girl, Merry, survives.Merry is sent to recover in a hospital and Lulu is shuffled around until they both end up in an orphanage. Virtually abandoned, they feel hopeless and alone. Along comes a philanthropic, rich family who takes the girls in....which at first is a dream come true, only to turn sour as the girls feel like more of a "project" than an actual part of the family.All along, the father, who did not succeed in his suicide attempt, has been sitting in jail. The younger daughter, the one he stabbed and nearly killed, feels a need to visit him on a regular basis, trying to overcome the psychological damage as well as trying to convince herself of his love for her. He encourages her to keep coming, and also he asks her why her older sister never comes. Lulu has cut herself off from him...she does not visit, she does not want his letters which arrive frequently, asking her to come, and also to write to the parole board for him. He has no sense of remorse in Lulu's mind, no sense of the magnitude of what he has done to her life and the life of her younger sister.The book then takes you through the years as the girls grow up and become women....jobs, Lulu getting married and having kids.....Merry living a wild life, unable to ground herself or find true love....all the turmoil that continues between them and in their own personal lives, all from this horrible act from when they were kids.This book was extremely well written, compulsively readable....I couldn't put it down. This debut by Randy Susan Meyers was an excellent first novel.....I look forward to more from this talented lady!
Darkness, Take My Hand

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Well, once again, Dennis Lehane has managed to grab me and solidly rivet me to one of his books...while turning page after page well into the night. As with every book I've read by him (all but one now that I've not yet read)....I have been completely smitten and unable to put down this story of murder, suspense, love and loss."Darkness, Take My Hand" was a winner from page one. The characters Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie, private investigators with a long history, are contacted by an old acquaintance with the prospect of a case....a wealthy psychiatrist who has received a threatening message from an unknown source. Thus begins a journey into the web of insanity and danger so extreme, that it consumes all involved without mercy.There are so many twists and turns in this story, I don't even know where to begin to try to describe it....only that this one will grab you and won't let go until the very last page....and leave you reeling after a thrill ride that you won't soon forget.If you've never read Dennis Lehane, you are really missing out. "Darkness, Take My Hand" is a 5 star winner, without question. I highly recommend this book!!
Things We Didn't Say: A Novel

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The main character of this book is a young woman that goes by the name of "Casey", which is actually her last name. Her first name is Edna, which she hates, so everyone calls her Casey. She is engaged to Michael, a young father of two girls and a boy, and a volatile ex-wife named Mallory. Michael has a high pressure job as a journalist, and it stresses him out on a regular basis.Michael's father is a very successful doctor, and never lets an opportunity go by to make Michael feel as though his job is not a very good choice for making a living to support his children. Michael always feels as though his father is looking down his nose and flaunting his perceived superiority. Michael's stormy relationship with his father causes alot of irritation.Early on in the story, Michael's son Dylan, disappears. At first no one knows if he has been abducted by a stranger or if he has run away. Since Casey works with computers for her job, so she is recruited to get into Dylan's computer and see if she can find any clues as to where he might be. She discovers that he has been conversing with a girl, and they determine that Dylan has run off to meet up with her and run away together.When Dylan's mother, Michael's ex-wife Mallory hears of the disappearance, she becomes hysterical and blames everything on Casey, who has been living with Michael and the kids. Casey feels terrible, and begins to question herself and wonders if it might be possible that she did not pick up on Dylan's intentions, and that perhaps she might be to blame. Michael seems to coddle Mallory, which in turn frustrates and hurts Casey....but Mallory is a very volatile, high-strung, alcoholic who although she lost custody of the kids, still has very strong feelings about having Casey playing the role of "mother" and resents young Casey and feels threatened by her presence in her children's lives.Casey has issues with alcohol herself, but Michael does not realize to what extent alcohol plays in her life. Although she does not make a habit of drinking....in fact, she tries to avoid it due to the problems Mallory has had and the way Michael feels about it.....she begins to feel like she needs a drink to cope with all that is going on in the household with Dylan's disappearance.The story proceeds on, with lots of drama between Michael, Casey and Mallory. Michael's daughter Angel discovers some very personal things in Casey's journal and Angel lets Casey know that she knows about these things, which causes alot of turmoil in their relationship.Dylan is finally located and brought back home by Michael and his father. Mallory deceives Casey one night while the guys are gone and under the guise of friendship, gets Casey drunk on whisky and when Michael brings Dylan home, he sees Casey intoxicated and blames her for falling apart just when he needs her to be a stable force for the other children during the crisis with Dylan. Michael does not realize that Mallory has set out to cause problems between Casey and himself. Casey begins to feel as though she is not valued in Michael's eyes the way she needs to feel.....and begins to emotionally withdraw. Michael's continued reluctance to be firm with Mallory is taking it's toll on his relationship with Casey.Then, a near tragedy with Michael's youngest daughter choking on a piece of candy, sets a whole new thrust in the story in motion.....as Dylan stands up for Casey, who actually saves the young girl by doing the Heimlich maneuver. Dylan tells his dad that Casey saved her and Mallory was irresponsible in ignoring the risk to the young girl of jumping with candy in her mouth.Eventually, Michael begins to see things as they really are, the daughter Angel begins to soften towards Casey, and Mallory's crazy behavior is getting to be more than Michael wants to endure, and the ending brings Michael and Casey together once more, closer than ever.The book was extremely well written, it was hard to put down. I would highly recommend this book to all.
Damaged

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After waiting 6 months to receive this advanced reader's copy, I was still looking forward to reading this anticipated thriller by Alex Kava. Although I own a few of her books, I had still only read one short story by her that was in a compilation of stories by well known authors, and thought she was one to follow. This book, however, fell short of my high expectations.The story line initially sounded good.....a mysterious cooler with body parts found just off the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola Florida, just as a huge hurricane was quickly approaching. Even though the story was a quick and easy read, it was not particularly a substantial or "meaty" tale. The characters were not especially memorable. The ending was surprisingly abrupt and sudden, as if the author was tired of the story too, and decided to just "end it".This book made me reconsider ever reading any others by this author. I was especially surprised that it was not better because of the dust jacket notation by one of my very favorite thriller writers, Lee Child, who said....."Read this gripping, can't put it down thriller. O'Dell could be Reacher's long lost twin". I hardly think so. Maggie O'Dell was a forgettable main character in a mediocre story. I may give Alex Kava one more try in the future, but at this point, I am not impressed.
Reversal

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This was a surprisingly lightweight effort by one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly. Although I found the book compulsively readable and smoothly written, the story line was fairly shallow and there was not much suspense or action til near the end. I did find the ending satisfying but at the same time I was expecting more from this book than what was given by Mr. Connelly. This would be an excellent book to read when you don't want something heavy.In a nutshell, the book revolved around a child murderer who has spent 24 years in prison, who is released due to his diligence in seeking out someone to hear his pleas of innocence and help him fight for a reversal in his conviction. He is finally exonerated and released from prison once DNA testing proves that one of the main pieces of evidence was not what it had been thought to be, namely a semen stain on the little girl's dress. It belonged to someone else. However, the DA's office enlists Micky Haller, of "The Lincoln Lawyer" books, to take on the prosecution of the man in a new trial.Micky decides to go from defense attorney to prosecutor and gets his ex-wife (a prosecutor) and Harry Bosch (a detective) to help in this case.The court convenes and most of the book is spent in the courtroom, going through the usual back-and-forth banter between sides, with a stern female judge and different witnesses.Somehow Harry discovers a hidden area under the Santa Monica pier where the convict (Jessup, who was released on his own recognizance) has carved out a small space to stay, complete with pillow, blanket and canned food. Harry doesn't quite know what to make of it, since he knows that Jessup has a room at a hotel where he is staying. He also learns from the SIS that Jessup, the convict, is also out hitting the bars and sitting in the parks in the dead of night for no reason that they know of. This may have been an attempt by the author for some suspense but I found it lacking.Finally, near the end of the book, there was a sharp twist that was both surprising and unexpected....but unfortunately it led to an ending that was rather lackluster.I still have Michael Connelly on my "favorite author" list, but this was definitely not one of his best works....mediocre at best.
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