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The Silent Girl: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel

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Tess Gerritsen’s new novel, The Silent Girl, is the first I have read in her series. I will read more and I will likely check out the TV series on TNT. Gerritsen notes the novel is a personal one inspired by her mother’s tales of growing up in China. Having not read other of her books, I don’t know if interweaving tales and her own story line is typical of her work or not. I can say that I was intrigued with the style and thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. There is always a danger in weaving mythic stories into a real world mystery, but Gerritsen does so with ease. She retains just enough mystery while playing out the clues to lead to a plausible and satisfactory ending. Well written and engaging.
The Stranger You Seek: A Novel

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Amanda Williams introduces her character, Keye Street in a rich bit of prose meant to transport the reader to Atlanta. He style slowed down my interest and I almost put the book down, but I did not. I am glad I stayed with the book because it quickly became a well-written thriller with unpredicted twists and turns. I do not want to say too much about the development of the plot lest any spoilers slip out. The threads do hang together and make you stop and think during the story as well as wanting to read ahead to see what happens. I agree with another reviewer, the missing cow was a wonderful distraction in the course of the story while helping build the suspense. Well done.
The Last Victim: A Novel

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Karen Robards’ novel, The Last Victim, is a publication of the Romance at Random division. Given the blurb on the Early Reviewer’s list, I did not expect to receive a “romance” novel. I suppose I understand why it would be considered a romance novel, but it met my expectations for a good mystery and a good read. The romance stuff, the part that would not normally attract me for an evening read, was an integral part of the story and helped move it along.Dr. Charlotte Stone is a sociologist study serial killers. She had come face-to-face with a serial killer as a teenager and survived. She dealt with the scars of the experience by delving into the mind of those who terrify her most. Two events overlap to set the stage for the story, Stone is asks to consult on a serial killer case that could bring her back into contact with the killer from her past and the man she is currently studying is killed in prison. Dr. Stone sees dead people. Dr. Stone sees the sexy, dead serial killer from her study. Dr. Stone does not want to see the living serial killer as she is the only person alive who can identify him and that puts her in danger.I am certain that I would not have opted to read The Last Victim had I fully understood what it was about. But, that’s why I like the Early Reviewers program. I sometimes receive books that I would not have given even a first look and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.The Last Victim is well written. The plot flows quickly with no strange twists if you accept the premise that some people can see ghosts. Garland, the dead serial killer, helps develop the lead character and helps the reader better understand what motivates Dr. Stone. Once I got over my surprise, Garland became an important character as real to me and the living characters. What I appreciate most about Robard’s writing is that the story came to a satisfying end. The mystery unfolded in logical steps and the revelation of the bad guy made full sense within the storyline. I enjoyed the read.
A Fatal Debt

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John Gapper's novel, A Fatal Debt, takes on current events on Wall Street. Although economics can be quite dry and rarely banch into the mystery and intrigue outlined in Grapper's novel, he tells a good story that keeps the reader involved and ready to turn the page. Ben Cowper becomes an unwitting party to murder and in danger himself unless he can prove that murder transpired despite his efforts to treat his Wall Street patient. With no idea as to who is friend and who is foe, he must solve the mystery to save his own life and his career. The mystery is well written, engaging, and held my attention to the end.
Flat Spin

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Dan Freed's Flat Spin is a well written, engaging first novel. His Cordell Logan mystery is the kind of book I hope to find in the early reviewer's books. Logan is a retired "secret agent" or unacknowledged military operative now trying to survive as a flight instructor. I am not a pilot, but I do fly with a friend in a small plane and I found his description of the experience very compelling. His relationship with his ex-wife and her second husband, his murdered ex-partner is equally complex and believable. The story line is filled with unexpected twists, each of which seen plausible and flow from the plot. I have found two new favorite authors among my early reviewer books. I think I just found a third favorite.
Force of Nature

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I have all the Joe Pickett novels having become a fan with the first book shortly after its release. I collect several other series in addition to the Pickett novels. Authors go through ups and downs in an extended series with some better than others. C.J. Box just seems to get stronger with each book in the Pickett novels and Force of Nature is perhaps his best yet. Joe's relationship with his wife, Marybeth, and daughters provides the thread that holds the series together, but it is his relationship with the mysterious Nate Romanowski that provides the tension that captures one's attention and keeps the series moving forward. Nate's complex attachment with Joe's wife adds depth to the story. In Force of Nature, we learn more about Nate and what drives his behavior. While Nate relates the story, it is Marybeth's discovery of the story on her own that makes it real and drives Joe to the story's conclusion. C.J. Box takes a big risk with this story and pulls it off in my opinion. It is a good read on its own, but for those who have followed this series, it is a tour de force.
When I Kill You

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Raven Books says good things come in small packages. When I Kill You is one of their Rapid Reads by Michelle Wan. I do not normally seek out “short” stories, preferring instead to read mysteries and thrillers with more complexity. Wan’s book arrived shortly before I had my first of two cataract surgeries. Reading a long complex book was definitely not on my things to do. Wan’s book proved to be the right length and it provided the satisfaction of a complex read ideally suited to my shorter reading times. I have a new appreciation for the value of a “rapid read.”
Dead Wrong

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I did not realize I had reviewed an earlier book by Connie Dial until I finished reading Dead Wrong. This is the second in the a new series featuring Captain Josie Corsino, a good cop with a troubled family life. In the current story. she is responsible for an officer trapped in the investigation of him having shot a fellow cop. He is not entirely honest about his previous involvement with the officer he shot, but the story opens with good evidence that he is innocent of murder. Corsino has her own problems at home and the case gives her an excuse to avoid them, or is she really devoted to be a fine cop. I went back and read my review of her earlier work, The Broken Blue Line. At the time, I said I might like her future books better and I do like Dead Wrong better than her earlier work. She has a no nonsense writing style showing good evidence of her experience as a LA cop. A satisfying read, but not at the top of my lists.
Pulse

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Pulse, a Frank Quinn novel by John Lutz is the kind of mystery that hooks me early on and keeps me up late wanting to find out how it ends. I have not read his earlier works, but I will seek them out for my next cross-country flight. Frank and his partner Penny are perfect in their role as independent detectives. They take on a consulting role in the murders of women that seem to be connected to a serial killer believe to have died years ago. The plot is complex and the murder scenes are often equal to those of Silence of the Lambs. Lutz weaves together the past and the present in a satisfying story line that progresses towards the conclusion. I found myself reading late into the night because I wanted to know what happened next. The conclusion, however, left me somewhat deflated. It was a logical outcome and perfectly believable from the storyline, but it felt like a let down not unlike a Dan Brown novel. Despite my mild disappointment in the conclusion, I will seek out other Lutz novels when reading for recreation.
Multiple Sclerosis

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Medical books typically fall into two categories in my opinion. so overly medical that they don't make sense to the typical reader and those so simple that they are dangerous. This book falls into the third category, medical books that are actually useful and informative. Multiple sclerosis is described in easily understandable language and it makes sense when you are living with MS or someone who has MS. The discussion of symptoms and treatments is well done. The question and answer format allows you to zero in on the actual events you live with or are afraid you might have to live with. Fear, that is the key to my positive review. So much of living with MS is the fear of what might be that it is easy to miss the fact that one can actually live with the reality of MS and live happily when one understands the disease. My wife and I live with her MS everyday and the topics covered in this book are exactly the topics that help us ensure that we live a happy life despite what MS may or may not conspire to visit on us. Knowledge always make it easier to deal with whatever problems you have to face. I highly recommend this book for anyone with MS, for anyone who has a family member with MS, or anyone who is afraid that they might have to deal with MS.
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