Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Hardball" (V.I. Warshawski Novels) by Sara Paretsky Published 2009 by Putnam

"Hardball" (V.I. Warshawski Novels)
by Sara Paretsky
Published 2009 by Putnam

As a new fan of the Private Investigator/Thriller/whodunit genre, I wasn't sure what I was in for when picking up this book. "Hardball" is the 13th novel in the V.I. Warshawski novels and not having read any of the previous books, I have found a winner. V.I. Warshawski is a private investigator working in Chicago, her father was a police officer for the Chicago Police Department in the late 60s/ early 70s. That much is learned in this book and any other knowledge of Warshawski's past is not really needed so this book is not one that you have to have read the previous books to know what is going on. Which means you too can jump right in and enjoy this superbly written detective story.

Speaking of the story, this book covers a very interesting time in America's history and the author, Sara Peretsky, does a great job of mixing fact with the fiction to create a backdrop for a thriller whodunit that will knock your socks off, or at least keep you turning the page to find out what happens next.

Private Detective, V. I. Warshawski is hired to find a young black man, Lamont Gadsden, after he disappeared in 1967 during a snowstorm. Lamont's aunt is nearing death and wants to know where her nephew is before she dies. Warschawski reconnects with some of her father's old police colleagues; pays a prison visit to Johnny Merton, a notorious gang leader she once defended in her days as a public defender; and tracks down Steve Sawyer, who disappeared following a murder conviction. She then has to confront an sour time in Chicago's history, a peaceful march in 1966 by Martin Luther King that resulted in a white riot and the murder of a young black woman, Harmony Newsome. Digging into this ancient history stirs passions and fears of what secrets might be revealed.

While searching for Lamont, Warshawski's young cousin is fresh out of college and is helping with a senatorial candidates campaign. This man seeking election is part of a family from that same history of Warshawski's father and when the paths of finding Lamont, solving an age old murder and the ties with her father begin to cross with those of the family of the wanna be senator, her cousin may be in danger.

This book not only provides the thrills-a-minute excitement that a good detective novel should but also deals in a very proper manner with part of America's (not just Chicago's) dark past.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:42 PM Comments: 0

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Bad Things Happen" by Harry Dolan

"Bad Things Happen"
by Harry Dolan
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons

So do you ever get bored with a whodunit novel because by the first chapter you've already figured it out? I do, and the more I read mysteries and detective stories it seems easier to figure out. Well, this is definitely not the case with Harry Dolan's debut novel "Bad Things Happen." In fact just when you think you've got it figured out Dolan throws in another possibility and suspect and red herring, you have to figure out which is which. That's what makes reading this book fun.

From the very first sentence, "The shovel has to meet certain requirements," the reader is thrust into the world of mysteries, writers, publishers and murder.

David Loogan is a man with a past. A past he doesn't want anyone to know. Maybe that's a red herring or maybe that's true. Maybe he's just a private person. When asked what he does for a living he says he's a gardener or a juggler depending on the person. But when he picks up a copy of a magazine called "Gray Streets," David becomes a writer. David writes a story that fits into the realm of the magazine, full of whodunits, mysteries, murders and thrillers. The magazine is published in Ann Arbor, where David has recently rented from a professor who is on sabbatical.

David takes the manuscript, in an unmarked envelope, and anonymously delivers it to the magazine's editor. The next day David rewrites the story making it a little better and does the same with the rewrite. He does the same with a third re-write but this time when he goes to drop off the manuscript the owner of the magazine, Tom Kristoll, catches him and makes David an offer to become editor of "Gray Streets." David and Tom hit it off and become good friends. When David begins having an affair with Tom's wife the future is changed.

Tom calls David late one night and asks for his help in burying the body of a man killed in Tom's house. Soon Tom is found murdered. (or is it suicide?) The primary suspect in what is probably a murder is found dead in his car, at first it looks like suicide but Elizabeth Waishkey, the homicide detective is not sold on that idea. When the man who was supposed to have been buried by David and Tom shows up to help David solve the murder of Tom Kristoll the mystery moves on further.

With the constant turns and twists and subplots this is the kind of book that keeps you wondering what could possibly happen next. Let me be the first to tell you that this book does not give up it's secrets until the very end, and even then leaves you wondering. This is one of those perfect reads that you need to snuggle down next to a warm fire and read the night away.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:53 PM Comments: 0

Monday, May 04, 2009

"Portrait in Death" by J.D. Robb

"Portrait in Death"
by J.D. Robb
read by Susan Ericksen
produced by Brilliance Audio

I don't know what it is but I can't help but keep coming back to the " Death" series of books by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts.) Okay, I confess, i do know what it is, it's the little twist of science fiction that make these books something more than just a good detective novel. The series takes place in the near future, this book in particular in the year 2059. Just enough sci-fi gadgets to make it seem fun. But the real draw to these books is the no-holds-barred main character Lt. Eve Dallas. Lt. Dallas takes nothing from noone. And she can brawl with the best of them.

Another aspect of this series is the colorful, unique and richly written characters. Not only do they all have depth but it is easy to imagine what they are doing in their "off" time. While Lt. Dallas could take on the world by herself she doesn't need to and she's finding this out as each book pushes the series. Her husband the extremely rich Roarke who worked his way from being a street thug to a man who thrives on "making the deal" in the business world and has made his life extremely comfortable through the riches.

In this book however Roarke, usually the crutch holding Eve up in her tough times, is out of sorts. He finds that the woman who walked out of his life at the age of 5, whom he thought was his mother was not his mother, and that his real mother was murdered by his father. This could be disturbing enough but he now finds out he has family, his mother's twin sister is still alive as well as many cousins, uncles, aunts and even grandparents. This throws Roarke into an emotional roller-coaster ride that Eve takes time away from her murder case to help him cope with these emotions.

That side story or Roarke dwells on the side of the murder mystery in which Eve has to solve before a serial killer kills again. Someone is killing young college students and posing them for death portraits and claiming to take their "light" within himself so he may live forever. Each student is young, innocent and "full of light." The case builds to where Lt. Dallas and her aid Officer Peabody are tracking down photographers and kids in the techno-clubs.

Once again J.D. Robb writes a book that keeps you guess as to "whodunit" and at the same time takes you on a great story focusing on friends and family and support groups within. Also Susan Ericksen provides the voice for the audiobook and putting as much depth in the character's voices as J.D. Robb puts into the book.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:08 PM Comments: 0

Friday, May 01, 2009

"The Dead Man" By Joel Goldman Published 2009 by Pinnacle Books

"The Dead Man"
By Joel Goldman
Published 2009 by Pinnacle Books

So do you love a good thriller/whodunit? Here's the book for you, "The Dead Man" By Joel Goldman. Jack Davis is a former FBI agent who was forced to early retirement due to his condition. As Jack says, "I shake, that's what I do." Jack's last case in the FBI was investigating the death of his daughter, a drug addict that stole a few million dollars in a drug sting. After her death the FBI is convinced that Jack now has that money. Now Jack has a mysterious ailment that causes his body to shake, or experience tics, not unlike Tourette's Syndrome, however after all the tests no one can explain the cause of these tics.

This book grabbed me from the beginning with it's reference to the story of the Clutter family murder in Kansas, as told in the great book by Truman Capote, "In Cold Blood." The prologue tells of a young girl who is found by a family member whose parents have just been murdered in rural Kansas in 1959. The murderer is never found and the case is never solved.

Jump to today in Kansas City where Milo Harper is the millionaire funding a company researching dreams, to be more exact nightmares. The idea behind the research is to teach Lucid Dreaming to the people experiencing nightmares so they may rid themselves of these nightmares. When two of the test subjects are found dead, having died exactly like their nightmares, Harper is sued by one of the families and he hires Jack Davis to find out how and why these people died.

In a case that not only brings back Jack's nightmares, but also stirs up some ghosts from Jack's past, the reader is thrust into a thriller that cannot be put down. Not only is Jack Davis up against trying to find a killer before they kill again, but the FBI wants Jack for the missing money and one of the bodies that turns up is a mailman that has been stealing mail. The man is found with an open envelope to Jack from his dead daughter.

Aside from being a great thriller and a whirlwind crime-solving adventure this book takes place in one of my favorite cities, Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas). As a former native of KC, I still have a fondness for the town and when the author, Joel Goldman, writes about moving around the city to solve the crimes I could follow perfectly what area he was in. In fact it was fun to even break out a map and map the adventures. Goldman is an attorney in KC and writes a great thriller that puts Kansas City on the literary map.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:01 PM Comments: 0

Friday, April 03, 2009

"Illegal" By Paul Levine

By Paul Levine
Published by Bantam Books

J. Atticus Payne, affectionately known as "Royal" Payne by judges and law enforcement agencies, has problems. His wife has left him for a right wing tv talk show host, he's being hunted down by an internal affairs officer for skimming money from a sting operation in which he was to bribe a judge. Oh yeah he's also now hated by all judges and attorneys for bribing a judge. Things just don't seem to work out so well for Jimmy "Royal" Payne.

To make matters worse his son was killed by an illegal immigrant that was drinking while driving and smashed into Jimmy's car when he and his son were out for a father/son day. Payne is out to seek revenge on this Mexican by always threatening to hunt him down and kill him with his bare hands. Luckily his ex-wife, Sharon, has been able to stop this when he's threatened to do it before. But now it looks as though he has nothing to lose.

Oh but that's not all to this story, not by a long shot. You see, J. Atticus Payne had once helped some illegal aliens that were forced to suffer in the desert heat inside a metal tractor trailer. Some of the Illegals died but the ones that survived got to become citizens thanks to Payne. Now when Marisol and her son Tino need to cross the border and escape Mexico to the promised land of "El Norte," Marisol gives her son Payne's business card in case they get separated he should contact Payne to help him.

During their border crossing something goes wrong with the coyotes (the people transporting the immigrants) and the border patrol and Tino gets separated from his mother. When Tino finds Payne he discovers that Payne is not the great man the legends have created, but seeks his help to find his mother anyway.

Payne's ex-wife is supposed to arrest him (Payne) but after hearing the boy's story let's him go to reunite Tino and Marisol.

In an adventure that brings out the heartbreak and danger of the everyday life of an illegal immigrant Payne and Tino go back to Mexico to retrace the steps of their crossing to find Marisol. Covering the dangers of border crossing, the dangers of illegal workers in packing plants and farms and the dangers of being hunted down by the so-called patriots guarding the borders and even by those bringing in the illegals. This novel is fun, adventurous and poignant all in one. Not since I read T. C. Boyle's "Tortilla Curtain" have I absorbed a novel that covers the plight of illegal immigrants viewed from both sides of the issue.

Great book that you will not be able to put down once reading.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:42 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Salvation in Death" by J.D. Robb

Salvation in Death
by J.D. Robb
Read by Susan Ericksen
Produced by Brilliance Audio
13 hours 23 minutes

Once again I get to visit the kick-butt New York cop of the Future, Lt. Eve Dallas. This time around it was less sci-fi and more simple detective work...there was of course a bit with recreating a portion of New York city in a hologram, that was cool, but not enough to grab the sci-fi part of my brain.

However the main thing that keeps the whole " Death" series by J.D. Robb interesting is the characters. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), has created a cast of some wonderful characters, and no matter what the crime these characters are fun, interesting and even seem like old friends, especially after reading a couple of the books. So I stayed interested regardless of the lack of cool gadgets.

You've got Eve Dallas a tough cop with great detective smarts who is haunted by a terrifying past. Her husband Roarke, the Irish street thug turned entrepeneur who now owns most everything on or off Planet. Some great side characters are also thrown into the mix with Eve's assistant Detective Peabody and her love interest, the colorful electronics division Detective McNabb, and a score of others that have a past, a present and you become interested in their future.

I go back and forth in this series between the audiobooks and the physical books. The one thing that keeps me coming back is the reader, Susan Ericksen. Ms. Ericksen's vocal abilities run the gamut in every book in this series. She captures with ease the Irish lilt in Roarke's voice, the entire character of Detective Peabody is encapsulated in the voice used. Not a single character is missed each with his/her own voice summing up their character. In this novel she even captures the accent of residents of Spanish Harlem with ease and as always is very convincing.

In "Salvation in Death," poisoned wine kills a priest at the Catholic funeral mass, Eve Dallas is called in as primary investigator. She pieces together disturbing clues that suggest identity theft, gang connections, and a deeply personal act of revenge. Then a second murder knocks the whole investigation sideways. With another poisoning of a religious figure, this time a televangelist with a world following. Something about the second killing doesn't seem to jibe with Eve. And soon she's investigating 2 separate but similar murders.

The murders of the two religious figures sends Eve on a crime-solving adventure that creates a bit of a morality tale that seems to say not all in the world is black and white, the gray areas are what are becoming more and more clear to Lt. Eve Dallas, NYPSD.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:41 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Judgment in Death" by J.D. Robb (2000)

"Judgment in Death"
by J.D. Robb
published byBerkley (2000)

It's been a while since I read one of the " Death" series of books by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts) so I picked up this book from earlier in the series. It was like visiting an old friend. NYPSD Lt. Eve Dallas and her rich and powerful husband Roarke make a great crime solving team. Lt. Dallas works homicide and has a reputation for kicking butt and always solving the case. Roark owns pretty much everything on and off-planet. I say off planet because these books throw in the sci-fi twist to what are great detective novels. This book takes place in the Spring of 2059, which being that close in the future you still get real cop work being done, yet being far enough in the future that there are some real cool gadgets (automated cars, lasers, super cool computer systems and 'droid maid service).

Now, on with the story. Lt. Dallas is called to a murder scene in a strip club called "Purgatory" to find the place trashed and a dead body lying in a pool of blood. The victim was bludgeoned to death and the scene was made to look like a robbery gone bad. But Eve doesn't buy that. Roarke doesn't either looking around he notices that the expensive liquors were smashed rather than stolen and fenced, and surrounding the body are several credits, 30 to be exact. Roarke is on scene to Eve's dismay because, as usual, this is a property he owns. Eve turns the body over to discover that the victim was lying on his badge. The badge is intentionally covered in blood. With these symbols; blood on the badge, and 30 "pieces of silver", Eve realizes this was no robbery but that a statement is being made.

On her way home from the scene she is confronted by former lover now Internal Affairs officer Webster. Webster drops hints for Eve to follow the money. Looking in to the victim's financials, it appears as though he was receiving large somes of money. The money seems to be coming from Ricker, a crime boss in New York that once had a shady relationship with Roarke.

After another cop's body is found Eve now has two crimes to close, finding the cop-killer and bringing down the crime boss that is funding these bad cops. The problem is that the first victim was a plant by Internal Affairs to find all the cops on the take and that the IAB was trying to make him look bad to cover themselves. Eve discovers that another precinct seems to be the breeding ground for corrupt cops and one of their own is killing off the bad cops. So before anymore bodies show up Eve and Roarke (who also becomes a target of Ricker) use pure instinct, cop know how, and great gadgets to catch a cop-killer and bring down Ricker.

Once again this book is full of the great characters that are prominent in these novels. You've got the trusty, although sometimes sarcastic aide to Lt. Dallas, Officer Peabody, Electronics Division Captain Feeney, and NYPSD psychologist/profiler Dr. Meara. A great team of great personalities are what make these books worth the read.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:41 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Witness in Death written by J.D. Robb

Witness in Death
written by J.D. Robb
read by Susan Ericksen
audiobookPublisher: Brilliance Audio 2007
Original novel published by Berkeley 2000

We return once again to the world of Lt. Eve Dallas the best homicide detective in New York in the year 2059. This time the book starts out as Eve and Roarke are enjoying a play at Roarke's newly built "New Globe Theatre." The play is a stage version of the classic movie "Witness for the Prosecution." Dallas is enjoying the play because she is solving the crime while watching the play. The climactic scene in the play is at the end when the lead actor is stabbed by his wife onstage. The problem is that someone has switched the prop knife for a real one and the actor, Richard Draco, is murdered onstage in front of a couple thousand witnesses including Lt. Eve Dallas. Now Dallas has a homicide to solve.

"Witness in Death" is Book 10 in the " Death" series written by Nora Roberts' pseudonym J.D. Robb. It is the 10th book but the 11th story (one story appeared in an anthology) in the series that to date has 27 books (32 stories) in total. The books in this series are some really fun to read sci-fi crime thrillers, and this book is no exception.

While the crime itself took place right in front of Dallas, that doesn't make it cut and dry. After all who switched the prop knife for the real one, when did they do it and why? These are the questions that Eve and her crack team of NYPSD's finest have to solve. This time her team consists of electronics division detectives Feeney and McNabb, her aide, Officer Peabody (who has recently been exploring a love interest with McNabb), Officer Truehart, Dr. Mira - police psychologist, and Roarke (only because Roarke owns pretty much everything on and off planet and loves to dabble in his wife's work).

When it comes to who did it and why, that leads on a confusing trail, because everyone that knew the arrogant Richard Draco hated him and wanted him dead. All of them have a different reason for wanting him dead but it pretty much comes down to Draco being an arrogant jerk. (that's putting it pretty mildly).

When a stage hand is later found dead by hanging, the team rolls into overtime, because the stage hand had just booked a trip to Tahiti so probably didn't kill himself.

If you're wishing to check this book out in audio form, be prepared for a real treat. Susan Ericksen is the reader for all the " Death" books and has the vocal characterizations down perfect. My favorite is how she captures the entire character of Peabody in her voice. I'm afraid that if this is ever made into a movie, if they don't cast Holly Hunter as Peabody, I may have a hard time believing the actress. Listen to the audiobook and you'll see what I mean. Each of the character's voices created by Ms. Erickson are unique and you may feel you are hearing a multi-cast performance.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:41 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Loyalty in Death" by J.D. Robb (published by Berkely, 1999)

Once again we join New York's best homicide detective in the year 2059, this time it's not really a real homicide case that Lt. Eve Dallas is thrust into. Sure, there are dead bodies and a murder mystery for this kick-butt future cop to solve but this time a lot more is at stake and the culprits are terrorists.

Before I go too far with this one I would like to ponder with you; Why was it that beginning a few years before the attacks of 9/11 several authors were writing about terrorist attacks in New York or via aircraft? Chuck Palahniuk, Kyle Mills and J.D. Robb are just three that come to mind at the moment, but wow...that's a coincidence. Palahniuk and Mills had to go back an rewrite their books to not get too close to the actual attacks. Okay side venture over, let's get back to talking about "Loyalty in Death."

The beginning of the book gives us a simple little warning from a terrorist group calling themselves "Cassandra." "We are Cassandra, We Are Loyal," is how they begin every communication. Cassandra seems to be an off-shoot of a terrorist group from after the "Urban Wars" known as "Apollo." "Apollo" had terrorized the nation seeking to take over the country by blowing up landmarks and all ending with the destruction of the Pentagon, after which the leader was killed and nothing further was heard from "Apollo." If you know your mythology the you know Apollo to granted Cassandra the gift of prophecy and Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy. But this warning is that Lt. Dallas may be a problem in their plans so they have to take her out, or in the least, keep her busy, and busy she is.

One of the best tool and toy maker's on and off planet, J. Clarence Branson, has just been murdered by his wife by one of his company's own drills. The wife Lisbeth Cook, is very calm about the whole deal, she found out he was cheating and in a fit of rage, she uses the drill to stick him to the wall. She remarks, "that model IS very reliable." Something doesn't sit right with Eve on this one, and not just the fact that she gets the murder charge knocked down to murder 2 and will hardly do any jail time. More is fishy when Lisbeth gains a nice couple hundred million dollars from J. Clarence's will. This does not go over well with J. Clarance's brother and business partner B. Donald Branson.

At the same time Eve gets a communique from "Cassandra" saying that a building will be blown up. All this while Eve is investigating the mysterious death of an underground electronics expert by the name of "Fixer." Just thinking of all this work makes my blood pressure rise, but it's all in a day's work for Lt. Dallas, Eve, NYPSD.

Throughout the book Eve Dallas solves 3 murders, and attempts to thwart the destruction of several New York city landmarks. On top of all this her Aide, Officer Peabody, discovers she and Electronics Division Detective McNabb share a mutual interest, each other. Also, Peabody's brother comes to town and is set up in another murder. Let's not forget Eve's husband Roarke, being the richest man on and off planet may keep him busy, but he's always ready to use his former criminal side to assist with the detective work, besides, he has the coolest toys and gadgets.

Lots of action in this one and a very fast paced book, you won't want to put it down. I will note that in the earlier publications of the book World Trade Center Twin Towers were one of the landmarks set for destruction by the terrorists, but in the audiobook that reference is removed. I think the same was done with all printings of the book after 2001.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:58 PM Comments: 0

Friday, April 11, 2008

"The Good Guy" by Dean Koontz published 2007

Tim Carrier is in his favorite bar, run by his friend, enjoying the simple bar chat. Known for "nursing" his beers he's there actually just to take up space and relax. he's approached by a man with a manila envelope. The man talks about how Tim is early and that he recently went skydiving with his dog. Tim seeing this as not your normal bar chat fare chats back with the man. The man then slips Tim the envelope and says there's $10,000 in the envelope, half now and half when she's gone. The man then makes a hasty retreat out of the bar.

Tim opens the envelope and finds a photo of a woman who is "easy on the eyes" and an address on back. Also, as stated $10,000 in wrapped hundred dollar bills. Tim realizes he's just been confused in a murder for hire. Another man then walks into the bar and sees the envelope and approaches Tim. The man tells Tim he's early and Tim tells the man he changed his mind. The man doesn't let this happen and Tim says I'll still pay you half and removes the photo from the envelope and passes the money along to the man.

Tim then leaves and gets set to call the police to tell what has happened. At this point he sees the man get into a car and place an emergency police beacon on the top of the unmarked police car and drive away. Realizing the stranger may be a cop, Tim then decides to take matters into his own hands.

Tim goes to the woman's house and explains how she is in danger. Then the action never lets go. Constantly running away from what turns out to be some sort of shadow government murder for hire Tim and the woman, Linda, begin running for their lives just to be a few steps ahead of this assassin. As the story progresses we find that Tim also has a secret and that secret is what helps him stay ahead of this psycho killer. But in something a little different from most of Dean Koontz's books this secret is not a dark secret but one that leads to a very heroic ending for the book.

Great action to be found and mysterious characters throughout the book keep you on the edge of your seat and constantly turning pages. I'm going to venture to say this is one of the best if not THE best Koontz book I've read.

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posted by Gil T. @ 6:45 PM Comments: 0

Monday, April 07, 2008

"Glory in Death" by J.D. Robb

"Glory in Death" is the second book written in the " Death" Series, originally published 1995. This series is written by J.D. Robb which is the pen name for Nora Roberts. The series started as a side idea/venture Nora Roberts had where she would write about a Kick-butt-take-names get-justice-served cop in the future. Due to contractual agreements with her publishing company she had to write these under a pen name. This series of books (now about 30 books in the series) is a break from the typical Nora Roberts romance fiction. The series follows New York Homicide Detective Lt. Eve Dallas as she fights for the victims and gets the mystery solved. The catch is that the first book is set in the year 2058 (with the latest in the series taking place in 2060) and being set in the future there are all sorts of great sci-fi gadgets to enhance the story and entice the not-into-romance reader.

This book is the second in the series and opens with the murder of a prominent female District Attorney. Then the murder of a famous actress. The two women have something in common and that is Lt. Dallas' extremely rich boyfriend, Roarke. In fact Roarke has a lot in common with many of the books in the series, but this link could tie him into the murders in a way that makes the investigation difficult for Lt. Eve Dallas.

Dallas soon deduces that what else the victims have in common, is fame. So to reach out to the killer she and prominent reporter Nadine Furst, set Eve up as bait by focusing on her on the news stories. This however ends up with Nadine's assistant being the next victim by mistaken identity. But Eve doesn't give up.

The nice thing about this book and the series is the characterization J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) uses. These are everyday people and their lives (in spite of having the sci-fi futuristic feel to them) seem normal and lure the reader in. This is the book where Roarke asks Eve to marry him. This is also the book where we meet Peabody a uniformed officer that becomes Dallas' aide and later partner.

This book, as well as the entire " Death" series, features lots of action, lots of thrills and great reading, with characters that come to life from the future.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:09 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book Review: "Burn Factor" by Kyle Mills

After reading all the Kyle Mills books that revolve around the character of FBI agent, Mark Beamon (who by the way is a great "everyman" crime fighter, better even than Clancy's Jack Ryan) I've been reading his other books. They have proven to be some fun books, I'll have to admit this is only the second "non-Beamon" book. This book, "Burn Factor," however does cross into Beamon territory and even has a very brief appearance of Mark Beamon. This book is a little different from the Beamon books in that this starts out being a novel about a serial killer, but soon becomes a serial killer novel with a government cover-up in place.

Quinn Barry is an ambitious employee of the FBI. She works on databases and coding for the FBI's systems. She very much wants to be an agent and as soon as her superiors see fit to send her to training that's what she will be. But for right now she's working on some coding to help matchup new hardware with the FBI's CODUS database for DNA. Her new search engine seems to have a glitch. 5 extra results are found for unmatched DNA. These results were not in the original programming. She soon finds that embedded in the old coding someone hid some DNA markers that were to be ignored. Thinking this is just some test code that got stuck in the old system she sets out to prove her program is better.

Once she announces the DNA code error, she gets transferred to Quantico to reprogram some databases. But she doesn't give up. She requests the police reports from the 5 extra results, knowing they don't exist and that once and for all she can show how she saved the FBI time and money she can get that agent training. However, it seems the 5 cases are real and are very heinous crimes of what appears to be a serial killer. At this same time her CIA boyfriend is snooping through her stuff and all of a sudden acting nice to her.

The action builds and never stops once Quinn decides to investigate the murders herself and is lead to a physics genius Eric Twain. She soon discovers this is a cover-up by an unknown government entity and her life is in danger as she tracks down the killer and the cover-up.

This is a great book for an adrenaline junkie. The character of Quinn Barry never knows when to stop and takes the inevitable good guy/bad guy chase to all new highs.

The fun part of the book is when Quinn is trying to determine who she can tell to reveal the cover-up and the only name she can come up with is Mark Beamon, but as the name comes to her she once again must be on the run so we have to settle just for the mention of his least (SPOILER ALERT!!!) until the end.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:03 PM Comments: 0