Although Odd Thomas claims to be only a fry cook, he possesses a special gift: he can see dead people. However, they are unable to communicate with him verbally which makes it hard for Odd to understand why they seek him out. In this latest installment of the Odd Thomas series, Odd and the enigmatic Annamaria have been invited to stay in a stone tower at Roseland, an estate built in the early '20s by a wealthy man named Constantine Cloy. There, Odd encounters a spectral young woman in white with blood on her chest riding a black stallion who manages to communicate to Odd that she wants him to save her son. As Odd explores the grounds of the estate, he encounters strange time shifts and other-worldly creatures. The small staff is elusive and secretive and some do not make much of an effort to hide their hostile feelings toward Odd. Odd eventually locates the imprisoned youngster in the mansion and promises to help him escape but this proves to be a dangerous undertaking. And what Odd discovers and witnesses as he seeks to free the boy prove to be suspenseful and horrendous.A very pregnant Annamaria as well as the German shepherd ghost dog Boo play tertiary roles at best in this book. As always, Annamaria enchants those she meets and speaks in riddles. Odd isn't really sure why he is with her but knows there is a reason not yet revealed to him. Adding a chilling context to the read is the statement Odd makes that his stories will not be published until after his death. Koontz excels at portraying evil characters and does not disappoint with this outing. Of interest is his introduction of NikolaTesla into the character pool and the way in which he weaves the plot around Tesla's futuristic inventions. There's plenty of nail-biting suspense and horrific creatures and characters, ensuring another exciting read from the master of storytelling.
Billy Pilgram becomes a time traveler after he's abducted by aliens and taken to the planet Tralfamadore. There, Billy is placed in what would be akin to a zoo in America, where the Tralfamadadorians are privy to watch his every move. But Billy doesn't always stay there. He finds himself going back and forward in time, returning to his childhood, jumping forward to when he was a prisoner of war during WWII and kept in a slaughterhouse (Slaughterhouse-Five) in Dresden until its destruction by bombs, and even as far into the future as his own death, then back to Tralfamadore where he is mated with a porn star from America. And all over again.This classic is part fact and part fiction, the factual portion taken from Vonnegut's own experiences as a prisoner of war in Dresden before and after its firebombing. And in its telling, one wonders if this is the only way Vonnegut could relay his experiences as a soldier and subsequent prisoner of war by implanting small bits and pieces among the other experiences of Billy Pilgram. After all, Vonnegut states at the beginning that he had been planning on writing about the war but could never actually get it finished.
Nick and Amy Dunne live the good life in New York City, both with careers they love and lots of money to spend. But when the recession hits and they lose their jobs, they're at a loss as to what to do. Nick decides they should move back to his hometown in order to take care of his mother, dying of cancer, and his father who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Nick quickly fits into this completely diverse lifestyle but Amy has a hard time adapting. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears. At first the police treat it as a missing person but when evidence of a massive blood spill in the kitchen turns up, they begin to suspect murder and their eyes turn toward Nick, who has been acting suspicious since the beginning.This book is told in two sections, each one with alternating points of view of Nick and Amy. Gillian does a good job slowly revealing facts and providing nicely delivered twists while peeling away the layers of the personas of Nick and Amy, These two are not likeable characters although this does not take away from the read but rather enhances it. The ending may bother some readers although others may see it as the ultimate twist to the story.
There’s trouble in the neighborhood of the Grapevine Detective Agency. A woman is murdered minutes after leaving a mysterious envelope with the owner of a local bar, a nearby wig shop is broken into and vandalized, and a black car constantly cruises the neighborhood. Neighbor Helen Tattaglia asks the detective agency to follow her husband, son of the head of a crime organization, but Elvin Suggs, Di Redding, and their friend Cobra, a former Marine sniper, are a bit suspicious of her real reason for hiring them. When the owner of the bar and Helen are subsequently murdered, Detective Reggie Combs calls on his friends at the detective agency to help look into the murders. Their investigation leads them back to the Tattaglia family and a doctor of ill-repute performing mysterious experiments. This latest installment of the ‘Nam Noir series is as thrilling as ever. Applewhite’s unique writing style – think hard-boiled meets cozy – is intriguing and makes for an enjoyable read. The diverse personas of Elvin, Di and Cobra are a good combination and enhance the fast-moving plot. Readers will be challenged as they try to solve this not-so-easy-to-figure-out whodunit.
Preschool teacher Sarah Hurlihy, encouraged by her close-knit Irish Catholic family, begins to think about dating after being divorced for two years. Sarah answers a personal ad in her local paper, only to find her date is her widowed father; something her family finds hilarious. Sarah’s sister Carol places a personal ad for Sarah which starts Sarah on the path to weeding out prospective dates. One or two hold promise but Sarah can’t seem to find the time for any relationship to marinate while dealing with her father’s overzealous and overjealous girlfriend, her brother Michael’s marital problems, and her sister Carol’s rebellious teenage daughter. Will she find someone to spend the rest of her life with or will Sarah be forever doomed to taking care of the rest of her family? Claire Cook has penned a fun romantic comedy depicting the pitfalls of dating and family life. The book moves at a fast pace, placing Sarah in the midst of some pretty humorous situations, surrounded by loving family members and interested would-be beaus.
SBI agent Logan Hunter is called away from her bridal shower to a crime scene where the mutilated body of a UNC Wilmington coed has been discovered. It doesn't take Logan long to learn this young college student had a sordid past tied to pornographers who travel around in vans offering young girls money to be photographed in the nude and holding parties on an elusive ferry featuring drugs and kinky sex. When another young girl's body is found in a dumpster, Logan teams up with an undercover agent who goes by the nickname Crack. Although Crack rubs Logan the wrong way, they make headway in the case, going undercover and trying to infiltrate the pornography ring. In the interim, Logan marries her fiance Chase but the two never seem to find time together as Chase is dealing with a death in his family and Logan's busy with the investigation. When Logan and Crack take drastic measures to catch the pornographer they believe to be the murderer, their plan goes awry and Logan finds herself in mortal danger with no one to help her.#4 in the Logan Hunter series by Susan Whitfield deals with a troubling issue: college students indulging in pornography to pay for their tuition. Whitfield has obviously done her homework and portrays this gritty, grimy world in all its gruesome reality. Logan is an engaging character, a strong woman with a confident attitude. This well-done mystery moves at a quick pace with enough action and suspense to keep readers quickly turning pages. The unexpected ending is somewhat of a shock although ensures avid interest in the next book in this series.
Denise Weimer has woven a magical tapestry of history and fiction around the lives of four families in the hot, sultry climate of southern Georgia during a volatile time when differences between the North and South over slavery are threatening to come to a boil and the Cherokee people are being forced off their land and made to relocate. In this first installment of her Georgia Gold Series, she introduces and provides background for three standout characters: Mahala Franklin, a beautiful young woman who endures prejudice and rejection because she is half-white and half-Cherokee; Jack Randolph, the son of a wealthy shipbuilder who abhors slavery and longs to return to his original homeplace in New York; and Dev Rousseau, a true Southerner who plans to enter the military if the perceived war between the North and South becomes reality. Chocked full of history, with dialogue true to the time, characters that intrigue and beguile, and what promises to be an adventurous and exciting journey, this is certain to be an interesting, entertaining series.
Nancy Kaiser, known for her poignant memoir Letting Go: an Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Journey of Healing & Transformation, has penned another powerful read with Master Teachers, her first book in her Tales of an Animal Communicator series relaying her work as an animal communicator and the lessons learned from the animals with which she communed and treated. Kaiser’s background as a pharmacist and assistant to her veterinarian husband along with her deep love of horses and dogs certainly helped pave her way to becoming an animal communicator. She takes her reader along on her journey of transformation as she realizes the special gift she has and begins to apply it to healing and communicating with animals. We learn the lessons taught with each animal she introduces us to, their perception of afterlife, which is so uplifting, and the spirituality of each of these beautiful animals. Her skillful writing draws her reader into tales of great joy and deep sorrow, of fiercely holding on and learning to let go, and learning to live in the moment. One cannot read this book without coming away knowing animals have souls and are, indeed, our true teachers on this earth if only we will open up our hearts and minds and listen to what they have to tell us.
Time traveler Ashe, along with Lurch, a nanite who lives in her head, lands on a dying planet where she meets up with sexy Vidor Shan. Ashe has met Shan before in another time line although he doesn’t remember her. With her time tracker suit broken and bereft of the technology upon which she depends, Ashe joins forces with Shan and his men as they search for Shan’s lost brother while trying to escape aliens tracking Shan. Time’s running out and Ashe needs to get off this planet but Shan is proving a major distraction even though he’s off limits.This last installment of the Project Enterprise series proves as good as the ones before it, with a kick-ass heroine going up against an alpha male in a strange, alien world. Lurch is an intriguing addition to the cast of characters and the exchanges between the nanite and Ashe are amusing and fun to read. The witty dialogue and sizzling chemistry between Ashe and Shan make this fast-paced plot even more enjoyable. There’s plenty of action-adventure, suspense and mystery on top of one heck of a romance all woven into a sci-fi all readers will enjoy, no matter which genre they prefer. Jones couldn’t have ended her series with anything better than Kicking Ashe and this reviewer is disappointed to see the series end.
Young London lawyer Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to conduct business with Count Dracula, a mysterious and very sinister-looking man who reveals himself only at night. When their business is finished, Dracula seems intent on keeping Harker in Transvlvania while he travels to England. Harker soon figures out Dracula is not just an ordinary man but a vampire and manages to escape only to suffer a mental breakdown, delaying his marriage to Mina, a woman Dracula becomes fixated on. To the rescue comes Van Helsing, a doctor who knows about vampires and how to kill them. But their efforts to find Dracula are hampered by the fact that Dracula has Mina under his power and is able to stay at least one step ahead of them as he flees back to Transylvania.This classic is written in an interesting style with the plot relayed through diary and journal entries of the people surrounding Van Helsing. Readers might find it interesting that Stoker based Dracula on Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian ruler during the mid 15th century known for his cruel impalements of men, women and children. The plot lags at times, especially during lengthy discourses by Van Helsing, but it's an interesting look into the period (late 19th century) and the mindsets and interactions of men and women of that time. The story is at times thrilling and suspenseful and Dracula a most evil character.