Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Dead as a Doornail" The Southern Vampire Mysteries book 5 by Charlaine Harris

"Dead as a Doornail"
The Southern Vampire Mysteries book 5
by Charlaine Harris
Published 2005 by Ace books

Damn you Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse, & HBO's "True Blood" series. You got me addicted to an fun series of books. Okay, that's a bit about just, "Darn you?" While most of the blame for my addiction goes to Charlaine Harris, I have to also blame HBO for turning these books into a series. I watched the first episode and was hooked and then had to read the books, now I'm hooked on those. I guess there are worse situations.

Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries not only contain vampires but they also contain most of the folk from the supernatural world, there are werewolves weretigers, werepanthers, shape shifters of all sorts, menads, fairies, witches, goblins and even dwarves of myth. Not only that but each story is a real mystery thriller that is fun to solve, at least for the reader, maybe not so much for Sookie Stackhouse, who is always getting beat up.

Sookie Stackhouse is a bar-maid at Merlotte's bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She has what she calls a disability, she can hear other people's thoughts. She tries her best not to but sometimes it is necessary. Sookie also lives in a world where vampires have "come out of the coffin," in other words, the vampires have let the world know they exist. It's not such a bad thing because now they can drink a newly concocted synthetic blood (True Blood) and not have to feed off humans. Not all the vamps are full supporters of this which lead to some chilling moments. Sookie's boss, Sam, is the owner of Merlotte's and he has a secret, he's a shape-shifter. Now this is the interesting part, shape shifters and other mythical folk have not let their presence be known to the world, they are waiting to see how the vamps fare.

So now you have the back story, here's what goes on in this book.

Vampires, were-creatures, shifters and one fairy godmother are all up against a sniper with an apparent aversion to non-humans. As if trying to discover who's behind the shootings isn't enough, the telepathic Sookie has to cope with a few other distractions: her "Were" friend, Alcide Herveaux, needs her help in his father's bid to become the next leader of the local werewolf pack; her boss gets shot; her house partly burns down. So as you can see Sookie's calendar is full.

These books are very creatively written and, being told from Sookie's point of view, provide some great humorous moments. Humor, romance, supernatural beings, mysteries to solve all wrap up into some great stories that bring out the Scooby Doo feeling for adults. Check them out they are fun.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:04 PM Comments: 0

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Out At Night" by Susan Arnout Smith

"Out At Night"
by Susan Arnout Smith
Published 2009 by Minotaur books

If you're into romantic/detective thrillers you just might be interested in picking up "Out at Night" the latest book by Susan Arnout Smith. But I'll warn you, if you are interested in the back story of the main character, Grace Sescanso, you may want to first read "The Timer Game." This book is the second book featuring Grace Descanso, Grace won't talk about why, but she quit medicine altogether. Now, five years later, Grace is a crime scene tech in San Diego, going to AA meetings, scraping by and living to be a mom to five-year old Katie. Most of this is gathered from this book but it really seems as though most of the pieces of Grace's life story are missing and actually detract from what could be a great murder mystery/thriller.

The story opens with Grace on vacation with her 5 year old daughter, Katie. Grace has never told Katie about her father, but Katie's father, from the bits and pieces I could gather in this story, is a rich actor named Mac. They all 3 begin bonding in the Bahamas on vacation when Grace gets a call from her uncle, an FBI agent in California saying she needs to return because of a murder. Here's another missing piece of the background of Grace, apparantly there was a huge rift created in the family, when Grace's father married a woman the family didn't approve. The real mystery at this point is whether Grace is needed to solve the crime, babysit her cousin or is she suspected of murder.

Thaddeus Bartholomew, a history professor, is forced at gunpoint to drive to a soy field. As he lies dying, he leaves a message on his answering machine at home in Morse code: find Grace Descans-. Cut off before finishing, the FBI need to know why he asked for Grace. The plot thickens when it is discovered he was a protester at one of Grace's lectures on DNA profiling of suspects. That is the only time Grace has ever seen the man, but when she investigates the murdered man's home she finds a wall full of photographs of various people, one of those photos is Grace.

The big scare in the area is a terrorist threat towards a world conference on genetically modified foods. As it turns out Grace's cousin is pregnant and in tight with the most violent of these protester's. Grace's uncle wants her to find how deeply mixed is his daughter/Grace's cousin.

Grace uncover's the plot to wreak havoc at the conference in a deadly way and uncovers a plot to rid the world of the Caucasian race.

Once you get past the missing pieces of Grace's past the latter part of the book becomes a thrilling race against time to stop the terrorists.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:10 PM Comments: 0

Monday, December 07, 2009

"Heaven's Keep" by William Kent Kreuger

"Heaven's Keep"
by William Kent Kreuger
Published by Atria Books

Cork O'Connor, part Ojibwe, former Sheriff, has an argument with his wife, Jo, an attorney. She leaves on a chartered plane on a business trip to represent a group of Native Americans as the plead their case for casino rights in Wyoming. Along the way they group must stop to pick up a representative of the Arapahoes in Wyoming and then leave for Seattle. Leaving Wyoming the chartered plane runs into a severe storm and goes down. Not only the unfinished business between Cork and Jo is up in the air but the whole idea of the plane crash seems strange.

Cork cannot just sit at home waiting for reports so he decides to go to Wyoming and do what he can. He decides to take his teenage son, Stephen, so he will not grow up thinking he could have done more. As if this weren't enough to trouble Cork, a land developer wants to purchase the the lakefront land in Cork's hometown, including the land where Cork runs a small fast food style diner. The developer is chock full o' money and lawyers, but Cork does not want the land turned into a bunch of condos and ruin the landscape. Hugh Parmer, Texas millionaire and land developer finally decides to approach Cork, man to man. But with Cork's wife missing, Parmer tells Cork this can wait and to go find his wife, he also offers to help anyway he can.

Flying to Wyoming on Parmer's personal jet, Cork and Stephen arrive in Wyoming to find that the local Sheriff is correlating searches through many assets, however a tribal elder has had a vision and the Native Americans interpret that vision showing the plane to have gone down in an area nowhere near the search area, and are conducting their own searches. The Sheriff downplays the vision because the elder that received the vision is a typical "drunk Indian."

In related news the pilot of the plane, another Native American, is found to have been videotaped at a bar the night before the flight drinking to beyond excess. This creates a new hype to the story to be covered by the mass media looking for the next story.

After many days of searching only to be put off by more snowstorms, Cork and Stephen head home accepting they've done everything possible.

At this point in the book the reader can get the feeling that the story could easily end there with a tragic end, but William Kent Krueger won't let the story end there. At this point the author takes the reader on a thrilling ride that shows things are never what they seem to be. With exciting chases and uncovering hidden plots within plots, Krueger has written a novel with an explosive outcome that uncovers what people can and will do to become a savior for their own community.

Several months later, still grieving, Cork is contacted by the wife of the man who owned and flew the charter plane. An unlawful death suit has been filed against the pilot's estate alleging that he had been drinking the night before the flight disappeared and his ability to fly the plane was impaired. But credible evidence suggests he was not flying the plane that crashed. And if he didn't fly the plane into the storm, then who did? It seems also that the plane may have not gone down and that it was flown safely to a hiding place. And that the pilot on film is not the same pilot hired to fly the plane. Cork O'Connor returns to Wyoming this time with a different search agenda.

Just when you get comfortable with this novel the author will throw you a curve or a red herring and you never know which it is until the exciting end.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:08 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, August 17, 2009

"The Atlantis Revelation" by Thomas Greanias

"The Atlantis Revelation"
by Thomas Greanias
Published 2009 by Atria Books

Thomas Greanias has closed out his Atlantis trilogy thriller featuring astro-archaeologist, Conrad Yeats. The first two books in this series not only were great action/thrillers with some puzzle/mystery solving thrown in.

In the first book, "Raising Atlantis" the reader is introduced to Conrad Yeats, an archaeologist that uses the alignment of the stars to find the great mysteries of ancient treasures. Conrad has a strange relationship w/ Sister Serghetti, a nun that is know for helping the unfortunate but with some attitude. I think the best way to describe Sister Serghetti is to take Mother Theresa and throw in a whole lot of "Tomb Raider's" Lara Croft. Serghetti and Yeats could almost become husband and wife or even just lovers if it weren't for the good Sister's marriage to Jesus Christ and the Catholic church getting in the way. This first book led the two to Antarctica to discover under the ice was the lost continent of Atlantis, which boasted great technology leading Conrad's father to take a massive transport to the original universe which seeded the Earth with human DNA.

In Book two "The Atlantis Prophecy" Yeats' father's gravestone provides an elaborate puzzle leading to the actual origin of the United States and its government. All the planning for the government in the new world was brought on by the Catholic Church, the Freemasons, the Knights Templar and many other subjects of conspiracy. This leads Conrad and Sister Serghetti to two globes, a terresterial globe and a celestial globe which when used in conjunction with each other can determine the fate of the New World. The sad part of this book is that Sister Serghetti steals one of the globes from Yeats to give to the Vatican.

Now feeling hate towards Sister Serghetti because of the betrayal, Conrad Yeats moves on. Here In book 3, "The Atlantis Revelation," Yeats begins the story with a hunt for a weapon that proves the Nazis were trying to use Technology developed in early Atlantis. The weapon is the Flammenschwert, translated from German means the flaming sword. This weapon can turn water into fire and with the Earth being over 70% water this could be dangerous in the wrong hands. The problem is that the Flammenschwert is stolen from Yeats before he can surface from the lost Nazi submarine in which it was found. This begins a chase across Europe as Yeats tries to prevent the Flammenschwert from being used to start Armageddon.

This thriller takes as from the Bilderbergers to the Alliance who all want control. All this is action is being conducted by Roman Midas a Russian multi-billionaire seeking world domination. In an adventure that takes us through to the beginning of man's exile from the Garden of Eden, Yeats, with the help of some surprising supporters tries to stop this Final War.

While this book does have some great action and some puzzle/mystery solving, it did not have the oomph of the first two books in the series. Don't get me wrong this book is a very fun, exciting romp through Europe and Ancient History, but the first two had more. Maybe because in the first two the main puzzle to solve was completely unknown, in this book the item (the Flammschwert) and the possible use was known as the thrills happened in the background.

The book does seem to bring a close to the adventures of Conrad Yeats and Sister Serghetti, or maybe just the beginning. It brings the trilogy to a full close but Greanias did leave room for more books following these two and their adventures. Greanias could go either way and I'd be happy but I would like to find more technology based in myth and legend.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:50 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, August 06, 2009

"The Lost Throne" By Chris Kuzneski

"The Lost Throne"
By Chris Kuzneski
Published August, 2009
by Putnam

I'm not sure who started the trend of treasure hunting, globe hopping, action and adventure novels, but I hope it is not one that ever goes away, especially after reading this latest novel from Chris Kuzneski. In Kuzneski's latest novel "The Lost Throne" a cast of characters hop the European continent in search of treasure and tracking down murderers with some great thrills to keep you glued to every page in this book.

If you haven't read a Chris Kuzneski novel, the best way to describe it is that his writing is very much his own. Okay, If I have to compare for the sake of introduction I'll say he's a bit of James Patterson, Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, James Rollins, with a twist of Tom Clancy for flavor. Simmer down until you have a heaping dish of thrills, action, adventure, and humor. Kuzneski’s novels follow the adventures of Jonathon Payne and David "D.J." Jones, former members of the MANIACs an elite Special Forces unit in the U.S. military, the main characters are ex-soldiers,but the novels are not “military” thrillers. The relationship and the resulting dialogue between these two is very real and at times very funny. And to top it off all there's a puzzle that you will be trying to solve alongside Payne and Jones.

"The Lost Throne" starts out with two separate sets of murders. One in a nearly unknown Greek Orthodox Monastery, in which 7 monks are beheaded while the group of assassins try to find a book. The other is a single man assassinated in St. Petersburg, Russia in broad daylight, both are professional but other than that seem unrelated.

Interpol agent Nick Dial takes on the case in Greece where the monks are murdered. Upon arrival he gets the gut feeling that something bigger than murder is at stake. The monks were at the monastery for a secret meeting between a group of Orthodox monks that come from various nationalities. Dial soon discovers that the monks had some modern facilities and on a security camera tape an image is caught of one of the assassins. The assassins seem to be Spartans, yes the same from Sparta, the subject of the film and comic book "300," from the battle of Thermopylae. The Spartans were after something and when Dial discovers the beheaded monks heads in a pyramid stack in a hidden chamber within the monastery he must find out why.

On the other side of the world the Heroes Payne and Jones are called upon for help. But the problem is that Payne mistakes the ringing of his cell phone for the ringing of the hotel phone and at 3 am he knocks the cell phone down getting to the other, thus breaking the cell phone. The next day after Jones fixes the phone (yes, he's a tech expert) he finds that every half hour an call came through his phone. The caller is an academic named Richard Byrd. Byrd fears for his life because he has nearly uncovered the location of a magnificent treasure. But there are those who have dedicated their lives to protecting it, and they will stop at nothing to prevent its discovery.

After Byrd is discovered to be assassinated Payne and Jones are called on to help smuggle Byrd's assistant out of Russia for her safety. There is the plight for the treasure uncovered and eager to help in all ways Payne and Jones seek to solve the puzzle of what the treasure is and where it is located.

With some great fights, chases, espionage-like moments and the fun humor of Payne and Jones, "The Lost Throne" will keep you on the edge of your seat and eager to help solve this mystery.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:06 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, 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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Conspiracy in Death by J. D. Robb (The Penguin Group 1999)

I'm continuing in my quest to read all the novels in this great series by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts. I've read several and jumped back and forth from the first few to the last few. This is number 9 in the series (if I have my books correct) and it delivers the same punch all the others in the series do. I can say this about the series; There is not a single bad book in it. Each book can be read independent of the series, but if I had it to do over again I think I would like to read them in order. At times it's fun to see what happens to the characters and then go back and revisit where they were introduced in the series, but J.D. Robb not only creates great characters from the start but knows how to develop them through the series and make them seem more than real.

In this book for instance we are introduced to the NYPSD Officer Troy Trueheart, in my interpretation he's a bit of a Jimmy Olsen type character, young, eager and good at his job. Later in the series he comes to the detective division and works under Detective Baxter and with this intro we get more of an understanding in his character. Basically any character in the series will come back as long as they are not killed. We are also introduced to Dr. Louise Dimatto who will later run a clinic/home for women that is funded by Roarke.

In this book Lt. Eve Dallas and her assistant Delia Peabody, are called to a crime scene by Officer Ellen Bowers, and Officer Troy Trueheart. A homeless man, that goes by the name "Snooks" is killed, his heart removed. The heart is removed with the skill of an extremely talented surgeon. Dallas and Peabody both know a serial killer is preying on the city sidewalk sleepers. With all of the cities resources, and Eve's billionaire husband Roarke, Eve develops solid leads, but the puzzle is a free clinic run by a saintly doctor, Dr. Louise Dimatto. Soon though, three are dead, and Eve is running out of time.

Unfortunately for Eve, trouble is also coming from within the police force. Officer Ellen Bowers is deranged, and obsessed with Eve. She obsessively writes a journal about all the terrible things that, she believes, Eve has done. One night, going home to her apartment, still obsessing, Bowers is attacked, and killed. The blame is quickly placed on Eve, who is stripped of her badge, and goes into a deep depression because her badge and her job define who she is. Only her husband Roarke can bring her back, and help her figure out why four people are dead, why someone wanted her off the force, and why this is all being done.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:07 PM Comments: 0

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King (published 2007/2008)

Being a Stephen King fan, I'm always jumping to be among the first to read his latest works, and in some cases like this to listen. "The Gingerbread Girl" is a short story by Stephen King that was originally published in the July issue of Esquire magazine on June 15 of 2007. It will be included as the second entry in King's 2008 short-fiction collection "Just After Sunset." I missed the story when it came out in the magazine, but that doesn't mean I have to wait (or you either) until the release of the collection this November (2008). That's because, as King has done in the past, the story is released as an audiobook. So I jumped and got the audiobook and let me tell you it was worth it. Mare Winningham is the voice talent for the audiobook and she delivers the story with a punch.

I think that not only is Stephen King the "Master of Horror" but he's also pretty high in royalty in the "What if..." scenario. His books can be pure horror like vampires in "'Salem's Lot" to werewolves in "Cycle of the Werewolf." But some of his stories also take the ordinary everyday situations and ask "What if...(it went in this direction)?" I think "Cujo" is a prime example of that. An average dog gets rabies...but what if he trapped a family in their car. Well, this story is one of those what ifs. What if you wanted a peek at your neighbor's and found a dead body?

After her baby's sudden death, Emily starts running. Soon, she runs away from her husband, to the airport, down to the Florida Gulf and out to the loneliest stretch of Vermillion Key, where her father has a conch shack he has kept there for years. Emily keeps up her running. She always runs everywhere, running on the beach and on the roads, and she sees virtually no one anywhere. This is doing her all kinds of good, until one day she makes the mistake of looking into the driveway of a man named Jim Pickering. Pickering also enjoys the privacy of Vermillion Key, but the young women he brings to his home (referred to as his neices) are never seen leaving. And when Emily finds herself in the den of a madman, she will do anything she must to escape.

The story is relatively short but full of tension, from the moment Emily looks into that driveway to the chase. I won't give too much away, but this is one book that gets the blood pressure up.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:02 PM Comments: 0

Monday, June 02, 2008

"Divided in Death" by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts) (pub. 2004)

Once again JD Robb brings us to the "near" future to investigate a crime with NYPSD's toughest cop, Lt. Eve Dallas. This time, as has happened to Eve before this homicide investigation leads to Roarke, Eve's extremely wealthy husband. This time however the victim is the husband of one of Roarke's Security geek employees, Reva Ewing, and the scene is set up to look like Reva killed her husband and best friend after finding they were sleeping with each other.

Before I get to the crime of passion that is a poorly set up frame job, let me tell you about these books. The "...In Death" series of book all revolve around Lt. Eve Dallas and are set about 50+ years from now. Just far enough into the future for some really cool gadgets that I as a sci-fi geek love. This book especially brings out the geek in me because the crime turns out to involve a government agency that evolved out of Homeland Security, and the operatives are now referred to as spies or spooks. One of the reasons Reva Ewing is targeted for the fram is that she is working for Roarke on a "Code Red" Project. This project is to create a shield for a computer worm that would possibly bring down every network in the world. Roarke's company along with many others are contracted through several world governments to create the shield. Roarke's is the one that seems close to cracking the code and blocking the worm.

Through some serious technology and some good old fashioned cop-work Lt. Eve Dallas and her team of Electronics Division Detectives Feeney & McNabb and her assistant the new Detective Peabody and Civilians from Roarke's company the true killer is brought down. But the fun doesn't end there.

Another aspect of these books I've found interesting is that the title of the book is usually a great clue as to how the crime started or will be solved. In this one, however, that is not the case. In this book, the title refers to a subplot created that puts a wedge between Eve and Roarke and has the potential to destroy their marriage. Keep in mind that JD Robb is actually Nora Roberts and Nora Roberts is a romance/thriller writer. Well the romance comes out in this one in the form of Roarke and Eve working out their problems.

From reading previous "...In Death" books it is learned that Eve Dallas, as a child, was a victim of beatings and rapes by her father before she stabbed him to death and became a ward of the state. In this book it is found out that Homeland Security had her father under surveillance and knew what was going on in the home and to the child now known as Eve Dallas. But the kicker is that Homeland Security allowed it to continue, and even cleaned up after Eve killed her father. Here is where the wedge comes in. Roarke, wants revenge and finds the names of the folks that allowed this to happen and threatens to "make them pay." Eve cannot allow this to happen and the two start avoiding each other. Very interesting subplot here.

As I've always said these books are great sci-fi cop thrillers with some romance thrown a little something for everyone. Do yourself a favor and pick up one in the series...if not this one...and get hooked.

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posted by Gil T. @ 6:48 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Vengeance in Death" by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)(pub. 1997)

Just when Lt. Eve Dallas is done for the day, she and her aide, Officer Peabody, are preparing to go home to spend some well deserved down time. But crime doesn't rest and when Lt. Dallas gets a personal call on her comm-link a murderer has tagged her to be the primary on the murders he's about to perform. The murderer gives Eve a puzzle to solve but, by the time she solves it and arrives on the scene the victim is already dead.

Soon Eve gets another communication, another puzzle and another victim. In a series of murders that has Lt. Eve Dallas chasing after her number one suspect, Summerset, her husband Roarke's major domo and best friend. Also it would probably make Eve so very happy to arrest Summerset, after all they hate each other, but she knows he didn't do the crime and is being set up.

The crimes seem to start to dig in Roarke's dark criminal past. All are people Roarke once used or friends that helped him to find the murderer's of Summerset's daughter over a dozen years in the past in the year 2043. The chase is on and the clock is ticking. Not only does Eve have to catch the murderer before any more murders occur, she also needs to catch him before Roarke does, knowing what he is capable of when his friends or family are threatened.

This book takes us a bit deeper into the dark history and mystery that is Roarke. The reader of this series of books by J.D. Robb is rewarded in this installment by finding more about the relationship between Roarke and Summerset and their dark pasts. A fun aspect of the book is that in learning of Roarke's past, Roarke and Eve go to Ireland. On the Emerald Isle Eve finds the beauty in the land but also finds why a dark past is possible. Roarke visits the site where his father was killed and seems to get a little more closure.

Once again J.D. Robba (Nora Roberts) has created another fun sci-fi murder thriller. If you haven't read any of the books in this series give them a try, it really doesn't matter which book you start with, the great writing, characterization and great dialogue makes these books fun to read and easy to get lost in.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:25 PM Comments: 0

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Cold Fire" by Dean Koontz (published 1991)

Jim Ironheart gets mysterious messages, telepathically, to go and save someone from sure death, usually children. Jim doesn't know where this power to know the future comes from and just assumes it is God working through him saving people that could die. Jim just gets the message "lifeline," and is off all he needs to know comes to him as needed and usually at the last minute.

When Jim saves a boy from being run over by a drunk drive outside a school in portland, reporter, Holly Thorn, wonders how Jim knew which kid to save. Holly sees a story in this. She soon discovers that Jim has saved several people all over the nation from impending doom. After approaching Jim on one such mission in which he is to save a mother and her daughter, Holly asks why not save all the passengers. Jim only receives enough information to save these two. Holly presses for Jim to take MORE action and he ends up saving most of the passengers by telling the flight crew what will happen and how to reduce the death toll in the crash. On the ground in the rubble of the plane, Holly then rescues a 5 year old boy and something changes in her. She no longer sees the world in the view of a reporter. She now wants to help Jim to save the world.

In order to join forces with Jim Ironheart there are some issues which need to be addressed. Such as Jim's dark past and the mysterious source of his life-saving messages. Holly and Jim find themselves exploring Jim's past in the town he grew up living with his grandparents. His parents died tragically when Jim was only 9. The source of the power seems to come from the bottom of a pond beside an old windmill on Jims boyhood farm. Or is this really the source.

It what turns out to be a great exploration of the supernatural to discover Jim's powers, Holly may have inadvertently put both their lives in jeopardy. The excitement, chills and thrills are just beginning when the "alien" in the pond begins to reveal itself.

As typical with Koontz' work this book has great characters discovering themselves. At the same time another great Koontz skill is his beautiful use of language. This book is even furthered with several quotes from Edgar Allen Poe and Koontz weaving those into the story.

Yes, this is another classic Dean Koontz novel that deserves to be re-discovered.

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

Monday, April 28, 2008

"The Second Horseman" by Kyle Mills (published 2006)

Way back in October, 2007, I discovered Kyle Mills by reading his book "Darkness Falls." His writing style is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and anxious to turn the page. His genre is government thrillers. Most of his books feature a returning character, FBI Agent, Mark Beamon. Actually 5 of his 9 books have Agent Beamon. The other 4 fall within the same genre but with little twists here and there. In my "fanboy" lens I created about Kyle Mills ( ), I state, "Tom Clancy, look out Kyle Mills is on the scene." Because I believe that you can easily count his work up there with Tom Clancy.

This book, "The Second Horseman," does not have the character of Mark Beamon but does have a great lead character in the guise of Brandon Vale, a career thief, the best there is. One of the great things Kyle Mills is that every single character in his book has depth and that depth is shown through both a good side and a bad side. So Brandon Vale, the thief, has the bad side, his attitude to life and his humor offsets the bad with some good.

The story starts out with Brandon in prison on some trumped up diamond heist charge. Sure he was framed for this one, but he's not exactly innocent. But, for some reason when it comes to time for lights out a guard takes Brandon out to the gate, gives him a cell phone and says go. Confused, Brandon stares at the guard, the guard then takes his nightstick out and proceeds to knock himself out. Brandon then realizes something is awry. He then makes for the woods bordering the prison. He then is led to a change of clothes and a house via calls on the cell phone.

It turns out that Brandon's last job was merely a cover as Brandon cased Las Vegas. After all, how does Vegas keep all that money from just piling up? It turns out Brandon had almost all the plans figured out as to how to heist the money leaving Vegas and heading for the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. About $200 million would be good money, for anyone. It would also be good money for the government, supposing they wanted to buy some black market nukes to get them out of terrorist hands and not have to keep records of the money or the nukes. Also $200 million would be good for purchasing same nukes and destroying a middle eastern country.

So what turns out to be a mix of Oceans 11 and a Tom Clancy novel Kyle Mills delivers an action thriller which first takes us through a "fun" heist releiving Vegas of some funds and then saving the world through government double crosses.

Some great action and very fun dialogue in this book, so be prepared to be thrilled, entertained and kept on the edge of your seat when you read "The Second Horseman" by Kyle Mills.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:50 PM Comments: 0

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Immortal in Death" by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)

One of the things I have found to be the best aspect of the " Death" series of books (of which this is book 3 of 30) is the depth of the characters. Sure, when you create a series of books you have more "time" to develop characters but J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts had the characters developed from book one. So what is it that makes these characters pour out of the pages and come to life? I think I have figured it out...dialogue. Not only is their dialog realistic it can range from sad to funny and sometimes all in the same line. That is the depth of humanity. So how can that be carried in a book about a cop from 2058 with some great sci-fi gadgets and the ability to solve any case? Again I think I have discovered another answer...the writer J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts. So, while J.D. Robb writes great sci-fi detective stories, Nora Roberts is the actual writer, and she's a romance writer. So the human factor to these books comes from the love and romance. Love of the job, love for one another and love for friends and love for lovers. There is where the depth comes from.

That being said let's talk about this book in the series. "Immortal in Death" I'm going to have to say (at least at this point...I haven't read them all, I'm jumping back and forth from the newer books to the older books) is the best book in the series. This one is where all the characters really meld and bonds are created. On top of that this book has a great mystery, and some great action in finding the murderer(s).

In this book Lt. Eve Dallas (homicide detective for NYPSD) is getting ready for her wedding to Roarke. That's pretty much all the name he uses and all he needs. He owns practically everything on the planet and most off planet ventures have his hands in them, and the practical cop, Dallas, has some nervousness about that. Not only does she not want him to think she's marrying for money, she also, due to a tragic childhood, is not sure about her own ability to love.

With that in place Dallas' weasel, (police snitch) Boomer, is found dead. Not just dead but he is found severely beaten to death. In his apartment is found an unknown drug and the data on the manufacture of this drug. Dallas wants this case and wants to solve it now. At the same time her best friend, musician Mavis Freestone, has a boyfriend that is a fashion designer and wants to design Dallas' wedding dress. Where is she going to find the time? As she does find time the designer, Leonardo is visited by his ex-girlfriend who immediately commences to attack Dallas physically because she thinks Dallas is his new girl.

This ex-girlfriend is later found beaten to death and Dallas' best friend Mavis looks to be the prime suspect. Another case for Dallas to take but this time it's personal. She knows Mavis couldn't do such a thing. With all odds against her Dallas soon finds the two murders are connected by this unknown drug. What looks to be a new illegal substance ready to be launched on the world and the distributors are models, actors and producers this becomes a media frenzy.

The detective work begins, the mystery becomes completely entangled and with what actually turns out to be a great twist in a whodunit this book delivers a great punch that will captivate you from page one.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:41 PM Comments: 0

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Raising Atlantis" by Thomas Greanias published 2005

There are many myths / folklore / stories throughout time that speak of a great flood that covered the Earth and there are just as many stories and myths that speak of an advanced island civilization that sank into the ocean. The most common myth of the island of Atlantis. But no one has uncovered real proof.

Thomas Greanias writes a great piece of thriller fiction in Raising Atlantis that explores one of the "what if" aspects of Atlantis. That is; What if Atlantis were Antarctica?

In Antarctica an earthquake swallows up a team of scientists and at the same time a large split in the ice uncovers a Pyramid larger than any other in the world and yet built to the same ratios as all the other world pyramids. Dr. Conrad Yeats is trying to escape the Peruvian police as a U.S. Special Forces helicopter approaches him and the soldiers coming out of the chopper offer him a getaway but that getaway consists of coming to Antarctica and help his dad General William Yeats.
Seeing the chance to escape Conrad takes the opportunity but regrets having to face his dad (they've never seen eye to eye since Conrad is adopted and the General will not give him info on his blood parents). Dr. Conrad Yeats is pretty much a rogue archeaologist. He has a reputation of not preserving the finds only publishing the results. Some countries will no longer allow him access.

In Malaysia former nun Serena Serghetti's personal helicopter is nearly shot down by the Malaysian government police. They begin disassembling her personal craft while telling her she needs to get out of that country, her saving grace is that the Vatican wants her, more specifically, the Pope has requested an audience with her. Rather than facing imprisonment by the Malaysians she goes to the Vatican to find what a Pope would want with a Environmental Freedom Fighter, linguist and former Catholic Nun.

They all want Atlantis, the secrets to God are to be found but at what expense?

Once the exploration of the Pyramid begins the Earth is in an upheaval. The machinery in the pyramid begins turning the Earth on it's axis and what is now Antarctica will soon return to the tropical region turning the other sections of the world into an ice age that will destroy nearly all human life.

The discovery of the pyramid and its workings and the ultimate use of the pyramid is a great clue searching adventure reminiscent of Dan Brown's "DaVinci Code." This book is a thrill a minute. I will warn you the book has a pretty good cliff hanger ending, but the sequel "The Atlantis Conspiracy" will be out this month.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:21 PM Comments: 0

"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

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Fade" by Kyle Mills

If you are into action thrillers where the good guys and bad guys have a fuzzy line dividing them, then Kyle Mills has written a book just for you. Throw in some political drama, topical plots and you have the gist of the book "Fade." But there is so much more.

One of the things I love about books is when the authors create characters that are not only believeable but also have depth and the character of Salam al Fayed, Fade to his friends, has that and more. A little background on Fade; he's a former Navy SEAL who later went on to work for the CIA and to do some "under the radar" assassinations, for the good ole U. S. of A. During one of those missions Fade got a bullet in the back. He survived but the bullet is lodged near the spine and he will soon die or become paralyzed as the bullet moves. The problem is at the time it happened it could have been operated on, but Uncle Sam's great wealth wouldn't pay for the "experimental" procedure. So Fade was left on his own. He went down to Columbia to do some work for the drug-lords. This was the kind of work the U.S. Government, trained him for. He earns some big money assassinating competing drug-lords. When he has enough money he comes back to the states to get that operation. However, the bullet is now covered in so much scar tissue that an operation is out of the question. Too late for Fade. Now Fade lives the life of a hermit, waiting for the bullet lodged near his spine to paralyze him. The last thing he wants to hear is that his country needs him—least of all from his ex-best friend Matt Egan, whom he holds responsible for his condition.

Enter today, and a secret department of Homeland Security is recruiting agents to work undercover in the Middle East and the director wants his second-in-command, Matt Egan, to bring aboard his old friend Fade. Matt and Fade went on several missions together in the CIA. Matt, at the cost of his job, even fought for Fade's operation, to no avail. Also when Fade went to Columbia, Matt covered up those records so the government would never know.

Fade seems perfect for the job. An ex-Navy SEAL, the son of Syrian immigrants and speaks perfect Arabic. When the director of Homeland Security goes around Egan and tries to "persuade" Fade to join the team, they inadvertently start the bloody war that Fade has been waiting years to fight. A war that the government, with all its resources, may not be able to win.

Fade kills several police officers in what he thinks is the government coming after him. When Fade discovers the error the chase is on. Will Egan be able to find his friend-turned-fugitive before Fade can take the ultimate revenge?

The action in this book is non-stop and Kyle Mills throws in several humorous sections especially with the cynical and sarcastic attitude by Fade. The book also has a very nice surprise ending, that actually leaves the reader feeling good, even with the destruction in Fade's wake.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:08 PM Comments: 1

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Strangers in Death" by J.D. Robb

The latest book in Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb's " Death" series featuring the kick @$$ future NYPSD detective, Lt. Eve Dallas, is one more to add to your must read list. The whole " Death" series has a lot going for it, such as; Sci-fi (being set in the year 2060), detective/crime thrillers, and with the background of Nora Roberts a little romance. The best thing the series has is the characterization. Not only do you have the great character of Lt. Dallas but all the other characters in the books are well written and full of depth. You've got Dallas' extremely wealthy husband Roarke (he owns most of the planet and some off-planet interests thrown in), her partner Detective Peabody is fun as well as a great host of many others. Sure it helps to have 30 some books in a series to build depth to the characters, but each book is written independent of the series. You can jump around through the books in no particular order (like i've been doing) or you can read them in order...just set aside some time.

This book has a few differences in the other books in the series, which makes it seem this may be a turning point in the series. But at the same time, it seems business as usual. Normally each book can be read without reading the earlier books in the series, but this one, for the first time I know of, makes some references to previous happenings in earlier books. They do not stop the story by any fact they intrigue and make the reader more apt to read the earlier books. Another difference is that Roarke the multi-billionaire is taking more of a part in the investigation process in this book as a civilian consultant. He has been used as a consultant before...but this time a lot more use of his resources is being made.

In "Strangers in Death" a prominent business man is murdered in his bed. His body, tied down with velvet rope and surrounded by sex-toys, is found by the "House Manager" (housekeeper). She immediately calls the police and then calls the man's wife who is vacationing in the Virgin Islands. It seems Thomas Avers was cheating on his wife and died during some kinky action. At least that's what the murderer wants you to think. To Lt. Eve Dallas, this doesn't hold water. Avers had a huge sports equipment franchise and ran several charities for children. When Dallas meets the wife, Ava Anders, her gut tells her the wife did it. But Ava was miles away when the murder happened and has a rock solid alibi.

Thanks to Eve's husband Roarke owning most of New York, doors are opened much easier for her and her investigation becomes easier, at least for the footwork part, most of the investigation is trying to hurdle the brick walls which make the investigation seem to end with no suspects.

At the same time some fellow detectives have a cold case that is bugging them and they hound Dallas to look into the case to see if they missed anything. She only sees that the dectives did their job and says, "Sometimes they just go cold."

But, (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) could these cases be tied together? Upon further investigation Roarke mentions an old Hitchcock film "Strangers on a Train" and now the investigation rolls on like a runaway train with only Lt. Eve Dallas ready on the brakes.

Great action, great mystery and as usual great characters.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:02 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

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Review "The Door to December" by Dean Koontz

Every so often you have to go back and revisit an old Dean Koontz novel and get some good old fashioned chills. Even Dean himself has to do so. This book was originally released in 1985 under Dean's psuedonym Richard Paige but has been re-released under the proper artist's name, Dean Koontz.

This book is a classic Koontz novel. It features the hero with a soiled childhood, in this case Dan Haldane the police detective that takes on they mysterious case of Melanie Rafferty. Melanie is a 9 year old girl who was kidnapped by her father, Dylan, 6 years prior after Melanie's mother, Laura, filed for divorce. The story begins with Dylan's house the scene of a brutal crime in which he and several "occupants" have been found bludgeoned to death. Melanie is found wandering the streets of L.A. naked and in a catatonic state.

Lt. Dan Haldane calls Laura to the scene to try to put together what happened. Laura hasn't seen or heard from her husband and daughter for 6 years. What happened in that 6 years immediately sends a chill up the reader's spine. In this house which was the base of research for Dylan Rafferty, who was a psychologist performed a series of bizarre psychological experiments. To make matters worse it becomes clear that Dylan had been using his daughter as the main subject of his experiments, strapping her to a shock therapy chair and isolating her for hours in a sensory deprivation tank encouraging her to discover the full potential of her psyche.

As the police continue to investigate the murder other bodies start to appear. In each case the victim seems to have been killed in a very extreme way far beyond the abilities of any normal person. At first the victims don't seem to have anything in common but as the investigation continues they start to discover that all of the dead were somehow linked and this link is that something (not someone) is killing those involved in Melanie's experiments. The link also leads to find what was actually being studied and who was funding the experiments.

This is Dean Koontz's classic thrill package wrapped within the covers in this book. A little paranormal activity and great characters to follow to the ultimate battle of the psyche.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:34 PM Comments: 0

Monday, March 03, 2008

Book Review: "Rapture in Death" by J.D. Robb

One of the things I like about not reading the " Death" series, by J.D. Robb, in order in which they are written is that I get little surprises about the pasts of the extremely well written characters from this series. In this book which was actually book #3 in the 30+ books in the series. In this entry into the series we join Lt. Eve Dallas and her new husband just as their honeymoon ends.

Now one thing to point out is that these books are set in the late 2050s which brings in some cool sci-fi gadgets which make the storytelling much more fun and for me it helps offset the romance/love scenes which I find "icky." Yeah, I'm not a romantic fiction fan. This book had more than the usual amounts of romance and sex but they were key to the, I let them slide.

Just before Eve and Roarke are finished with their honeymoon on an orbiting resort satellite, a death occurs. And sure enough, Lt.Dallas is a cop first and foremost and is immediately called to go to the scene. However it's not a homicide which is Eve's forte, this one is a suicide. But the suicide is that of a young computer whiz that was very happy in life and had no reason to "self-terminate." After all he was helping design the holo-suites on Roarke's resort. Did I mention that Roarke owns nearly everything on Earth and almost everything in the solar system? Yeah, he's rich. One other thing about the self-termination is that he has a huge unnatural smile on his face. This doesn't sit well with Dallas but she turns it over as a self-termination to the local authorities since orbiting satellites are out of her jurisdiction as a homicide detective from New York.

Arriving back on planet Dallas has her normal duties to solve cases and appear in court to make sure those cases are seen to their finish. One attorney that tries to break Dallas on the stand, is found the next morning as a result of self-termination. Dallas again thinks that this person was one of the least likely to self-terminate.

When the publisher of a big tabloid jumps to her death while Dallas is trying to talk her down, Lt. Dallas starts putting all these cases together and realizes some other force is at work and tying in these cases. What did they all have in common? Okay a bit of a spoiler here...they all relaxed with a new Virtual Reality system created by Roarke Enterprises.

This is also the book in which Dallas' friend, the rockstar, Mavis, gets her start. However the producer may have alternative motives. He may be the best producer/artist in the music world of 2058 but he experiments on Roarke and Dallas by sampling their brainwaves and becoming able to nearly make them puppets. This is where the strong amount of sex comes in. After a "session" with the producer, Jess, Dallas and Roarke end up making love like animals on the lawn of the lush Roark Estate.

This book is non-stop action, great mystery, great thrills and great characters. One such character makes her step in becoming a regular in the series. That character is Lt. Dallas' aid, Officer Peabody. Delia Peabody is such a fun character and her interaction with Dallas and Roarke create some great humor that helps to break from the constant action and mystery without halting the story. And of course Dallas and Roarke are fun. The dialogue in all these novels is natural and brings out all the relationships in the story.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:58 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Book Review - "The Husband" by Dean Koontz

All married couples recite the words "til death do us part." (Okay except for those few that have "alternative" weddings) Those five words are pretty much taken for granted, especially when you look at Hollywood and today's divorce rate. But there are a few of us out there that not only take that seriously but feel that sentiment with our heart. But digging down deep how far will you go to prevent that parting?

In this novel, "The Husband" by Dean Koontz, we find out just how far Mitch Rafferty will go, including killing someone and finding out the dark side of his family. The cover of the book reads "We have your wife. You can have her back for 2 Million- cash." This sounds like a typical kidnapping crime book, but as any Koontz fan knows nothing is ever typical.

Mitch Rafferty is simple Landscaper/Gardner who has his own small business in California. His wife, Holly, is a secretary that wants to become a real estate agent. Living their own lives simply and normally. That is until when one day at work, Mitch receives the call from Holly and then the kidnappers telling him they want $2 million. Mitch says, "I'm just a gardener, I don't have that kind of money." To which the kidnappers simply reply, "We know." Then to prove they are serious they kill a man walking his dog across the street as Mitch watches in horror.

So what would a man do to get back his wife? Well without giving away too much, Mitch will do anything. But an insistent Detective Taggart seems to think Mitch is hiding something. Mitch was told not to involve the cops but was forced to call 911 after he sees the man shot.

It is soon revealed that (as with most of Koontz's "heroes") Mitch had a very troubling childhood. Mitch's parents were tenured Professors of Psychology at UCI and had their own way of raising children. This bizarre upbringing for Mitch and his 4 siblings included such abuses as "the learning room," a sensory deprivation room where the children could spend up to 2 weeks in said room to "think about" what they did wrong.

While Mitch may have turned out pretty normal, his brother Anson, the family Jewel, turned out to be very successful. Mitch soon learns that Anson is also hiding a secret.

With more action and thrills than any movie ever produced this book will keep you riveted and not wanting to put it down even after the extremely exciting conclusion.

"The Husband" proves when it comes to thrills/chills and plot twists, Dean Koontz delivers.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:51 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Book Review: "Free Fall" by Kyle Mills

Mark Beamon is the FBI agent created by Kyle Mills and is the main character in 5 of his 9 books and has to be one of the most interesting fictional characters created. You're never really sure if Beamon is on top of everything or if it's just a bunch of dumb luck. No matter what the case Mark Beamon is the one to turn to when wanting to find someone that can't or doesn't want to be found. Even the FBI top brass that don't like his ignore-the-rules methods, will pick Beamon to be the guy in such a situation.

In this book it seems more of a mix of both dumb luck and some smarts from Beamon that helps find an alleged murderer of a rock climber/government employee. At first tracking the murderer who is an expert rock/ice/mountain climber as well as being the ex-girlfriend of the victime. What at first could be a lover's tryst unfolds before Beamon to be a darker side of the run for the presidency.

Before I get too far ahead of myself in this review, let me first applaud Kyle Mills for creating an edge of your seat thriller that includes his personal passion/obsession of rock climbing. Mills spends his off time rock climbing in his native Wyoming (as well as other prime climbing sites). With 2 successful books under his belt ("Rising Phoenix" and "Storming Heaven") it was time to combine his passions; writing and climbing.

FBI agent, Mark Beamon is being held accountable for some leaked wiretappings that incriminate several prominent political figures. The recordings were discovered in his previous case and somehow leaked into the media. While he did not release the tapes, the political elite need a scapegoat and that's what Beamon is best at being. The FBI offers him a deal in which he will do minimal jail time if he confesses. They give him 3 weeks to decide. During that 3 weeks he is suspended. As he prepares for the political machine to mow him over, he breaks it off with his girlfriend so she can move on and not have to be wrapped up in this mess. But being Mark Beamon he can't just do nothing.

Trystan has pretty much given up the free life of rock climbing and is working on a law degree at Georgetown, he gets a job working for the government looking for newly declassified documents. Trystan runs across a file called "Prodigy," in which the Hoover era of the FBI kept tabs on promising upstarts in order to use against them in case they became too powerful, Kennedy is one such person that would fall under the Prodigy profile, with his affairs. What Trystan sees in this file is so amazing that he risks his job and takes the document from the storage house to hide somewhere.

Enter Darby Moore, the world class female climber, pop philosopher, Trystan's friend and once girlfriend. She convinces Trystan to go rock climbing for the weekend. During the night of the climb Trystan and Darby are abducted by men looking for the file. Trystan is injured, but he and Darby escape. They split up and plan to meet back up to evade their unknown pursuers. When Darby returns to her van the next morning she finds it surrounded by police and the body of Trystan hanging out of the van.

Turns out that 3rd party presidential candidate David Hallorin wants that file to use the information to guarantee his election bid. Now Darby is wanted for the murder of Trystan and is pursued by all the law enforcement agencies and Hallorin's men.

Someone wants Darby found and wants her found fast, and since the best man to do the job is not busy, Mark Beamon is hired by an unknown person and promised enough payment to cover his legal fees and get out of the frame job from the FBI.

So the adventure begins with Mark Beamon trying to track down a woman who can live in the mountains and not be dependent on society, while at the same time finding more and more that Darby is also being framed. To find out why he has to find Darby Moore.

The thrill of the chase and the constant twists and turns are what Kyle Mills is good at writing and he doesn't let off with this book. The descriptions of some of the climbs and the struggles made my knuckles turn white.

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posted by Gil T. @ 11:27 PM Comments: 0

Friday, February 15, 2008

Book Review: "Mistress of the Art of Death" by Ariana Franklin

I have just read another very interesting historical fiction. But I was fooled as I was reading it. Let me clarify that a little, Ariana Franklin writes of murders and death around the year 1171 in Henry II's England. But Franklin uses the prose and style of today's thriller writers mixed in artfully with the language of the time. The story never falters nor did it leave the me confused by archaic language. I guess what I'm trying to say that without the Historical Fiction label this was a great thriller/mystery.

I think the best way to describe the synopsis of the book is to take the tv series CSI and plop the characters down in 12th century England. Adelia Aguilar, a female doctor (unheard of to the Brits, in fact a woman even dabbling in healing would probably be punished as a witch) specializes on listening to the dead and determining cause of death, much like modern medical examiners. Adelia is sent by the King of Sicily to help King Henry II with her companions to root out who is killing the children. The locals are accusing the Jews, but 3 of the 4 murders occured while the Jews were locked in the castle. The Christians don't let this stop their wild stories of Jews taking flight and eating children.

Adelia's companions are Simon of Naples, a Jew and investigator, trusted and employed by various European monarchs to sort out their more intractable problems. Mansur, a Marsh Arab, helped and sheltered by Dr Aguilar who found him running away from the monks who had him castrated as a child in order to preserve his soprano singing voice– a not uncommon occurrence. He is Adelia’s devoted protector.

Not does this book involve the thrill of the chase of tracking down a child killer but the prejudices and superstions of the time are explored and even at times hinder the investigation. The murderer, it is determined, is a returned Crusader, this puts nearly every male in town in suspicion. Even the tax collector Sir Rowley Picot. Notice the "Sir." Sir Rowley was knighted upon taking Henry II's first born's sword to the Holy Land during the crusade. He has his own motivations for tracking down the murderer. These are discovered when he tells his tale of his "adventures" on the Crusades.

There are several humorous occasions in the book to break the dark story line. My favorite, for some reason unknown to me, is when Adelia asked if the coroner looked at the children and the response was (paraphrasing here)yes but he had no info on their death, the coroner has no need to know medical things.

All in all this book has great characterization and the strong female lead character of Adelia at times seems out of place for the century but makes the book that much stronger. If you are a fan of CSI, turn off your TV and pick up this book and get lost in a great thriller.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:02 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Book Review: "Storming Heaven" by Kyle Mills

I've recently become a fan of Kyle Mills and especially of his character, FBI Agent, Mark Beamon. And this book, makes me even more of a fan. "Storming Heaven" is Kyle Mills second book and the second of 5 books (so far) with Mark Beamon. Let me tell you in this book Mark Beamon gets everything thrown at him that can possibly go wrong...but, spoiler alert, he wins in the end. However it is an extreme rollercoaster ride of thrills in this book before we get to the end.

Mark Beamon, just off the case of solving who's poisoned the drug supply, is put out to pasture, that's right the FBI director still doesn't like Beamon, even though Beamon gets the job done. So now serving in Flagstaff, Arizona, Mark Beamon gets what could almost be called a simple case of murder and kidnapping, but nothing is simple when Beamon is involved.

Agent Beamon arrives on scene where it seems the Davis' have been murdered and their 15 year old daughter, Jennifer has been Kidnapped. The girl's boyfriend has an alibi and Mark seems to have hit a brick wall when it comes to clues for finding the girl. With the help of his young assistant, Chet Michaels, Beamon starts uncovering some clues that lead to a very bizarre story of corruption and the politics of religion. The religion in question a newly formed religion in the Church of the Evolution in which the leader of the church is the self proclaimed new messiah.

The church has its fingers in everything and sometimes those same fingers clutching the necks of some pretty high ups in the corporate world and politics. Through the book we know that Jennifer is the grand-daughter of Albert Kneiss the founder of the church. She has been kidnapped by the woman who is running the church, Sarah, while Kneiss slowly dies. The plan is for Jennifer to die on Good Friday leaving Sarah with all the power. So on top of Mark Beamon trying to solve the case, we have the adventure of Jennifer surviving the abductors.

As Mark Beamon gets closer to the church as the answer to sloving this case, the church does everything in its power to destroy Beamon's already shaky reputation. First they convince the head of the FBI to get Beamon off the church angle. seeing that not working they publish stories in major newspapers of Beamons credibility, especially with his drinking. Then the church destroys his life by releasing misinformation labelling him as a child molester, and to make matters worse they destroy his credit and cause the IRS to come after what little he has left.

But it takes a lot more than that to take Mark Beamon off the case, no longer an agent and now a wanted fugitive, he puts together a team of a computer expert that is a former member of the Church of the Evolution and a cantankerous old electronics bugging genius from the J. Edgar Hoover days of FBI work. Now not having to keep to the rules of the justice system Beamon and his team take on the Church of the Evolution. The rollercoaster ride becomes more thrilling at this point when at times Jennifer is rescued only to be abducted again and then rescued and then Beamon is double crossed by a trusted ally and so on and so on.

You will not be able to put this book down check it out.

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:54 PM Comments: 0

Friday, February 01, 2008

Book Review: "Naked In Death" by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts)

Nora Roberts had a great idea for a story, A female cop that kicks serious but around the year 2050. But due to contractual reasons she had to write the story under the pseudonym of J.D. Robb, thus launching the " Death" series of books. This book, "Naked In Death" was the first in what is now 26, with more to come and some short stories in some anthologies.

This book launched the coolest cop character I've ever read, Lt. Eve Dallas. Lt. Dallas is one tough cop and with some cool sci-fi tools from the mid 21st century she can get the job done. Before I go any further I've got some things to say about the series. First I didn't get interested in the series until the 24th or 25th book but I'm glad I did pick them up. I'm now going back and reading the series in somewhat publication order. I've skipped around some and am just now getting to book one. Also I want to point out that yes, Nora Roberts is a romance writer, and yes these books have those moments. In whole I don't mind, (I'm just not much of a fan of romance novels, something about the airbrushed models on the covers or something.) Each time in these books that I get to one of the romantic moments, I trudge through this book seemed to have more than the others I've read in the series, and at times it seemed like they went on for too long. I'm a thriller sci-fi type guy, not a mushy kissy kissy guy, okay, not with books anyway.

"Naked in Death" introduces us to Lt. Eve Dallas, a hardcore NYPSD detective that takes no bull from anyone and kicks serious butt. She has a dark past which comes back to haunt her usually in her dreams. She was abused and molested by her father and then abandoned at the age of 8. She was raised in the "system" and turned out to be a tough detective that cares for the victims and won't give up until justice is served.

Also introduced in this book is what turns out to be Eve's love interest, known simply as Roarke. Roarke though, also has an interesting past. Right now he's a multi-billionair that owns nearly everthing on Earth and a few interests off-world.

The story starts with a murder of an LC (Licensed Companion, prostitution is legal as long as they are licensed in this near future). The big hitch in this murder is that the LC also happens to be a member of an influential Senator's family. Senator DeBlass, at the time of his grand-daughter's murder is introducing a morals bill to ban LCs. The murderer also left a note at the scene and sent a video to Lt. Dallas saying "1 of 6." Then there are two more LCs murdered each with the corresponding numbered notes. Also each victim was shot with antique bullet style guns (hey it's the mid-21st century, they now have lasers and stunners) and each time the gun was left at the scene. The suspects are all collectors of antique weaponry.

The list of suspects is a tough one. First there's Roarke, the multi-billioniare, who does not have an alibi for the nights in question and he's a known weapons collector. Another suspect becomes the man who tries to stall the investigation at every turn, the Chief of Police.

The romance between Roarke and Eve is a dangerous one, in that he's the prime suspect and Eve risks her job just being seen with him, but she has already ruled him out. The actual murderer has a darker and more heinous motive that hits close to home for Eve.

So when it comes to futuristic thrillers, J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) has me convinced. Check out this book and get hooked on the "...In Death" series.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:36 PM Comments: 0