Friday, July 30, 2010

Review of In Harm's Way

In Harm’s Way
Ridley Pearson
G.P. Putnam
389 pages
Sheriff Walt Fleming returns in another shock filled adventure in picturesque Sun Valley Idaho.
Fresh from saving the life of a young girl Walt’s crime scene photographer and recent romantic interest Fiona Krenshaw tries unsuccessfully to stay out of the camera’s view finder, Walt mistaking this for modesty thinks little of it until it’s apparent that there’s something insidious going on. Now he has more crimes to solve than you can shake a stick at, still at war over his ex-wife’s antics including her involvement with his star deputy and trying to raise his twin pre-teen daughters so the last thing he needs is a hot shot homicide dick from Seattle horning in on his territory too, but that’s exactly what he’s got.
There are many things that stand out about the brilliance of Ridley Pearson he’s a master storyteller as evidenced by my refusal to put down this latest thriller and his character development as evidenced by his many, many fans of both his series and his stand a lone novels. Well fans of his Lou Bolt and Walt Fleming series have something extra to love about in “In Harm’s Way” both Lou and Walt are in the house, solving crimes and keeping the streets safer for their residents. Walt as the main protagonist is brilliant as a law officer so it’s especially nice to see him bumbling around like a teenager with his first crush when you bring in the heroine in this case a feisty, independent and yet very vulnerable Fiona who has a slew of secrets of her own. The plot is always interesting as you mix the have and have not’s of Sun Valley while the dialogue is not what you might expect of a crime drama and further evidence of Mr. Pearson’s excellent writing ability because he can ably write a suspenseful, chilling, edge of your seat thriller without dropping the “f” bomb, or for that fact other crude and offensive language, not that I’m opposed to such language, but it is nice to have a refrain from it once in a while. His characters are amazing in their complexity from the one liner all the way to the star of the novel.
This is one read you must not miss, believe me you will be sorry if you do. It will be an instant best seller. It reads well on it’s own but I would strongly suggest starting the series from the beginning to get the full picture.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review of Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen
Janet Evanovich
St. Martin’s Press
309 pages

Welcome back to the zany, funny and sometimes dangerous life of Stephanie Plum. In her 16th numbered book we find Stephanie and her gang of merry men and women up to their armpits in trouble. Vinny’s missing, there’s no doubt it’s because of his sleezy lifestyle, but he is the boss and so he has to be saved.

Janet never fails to make me laugh and this episode in the life and times of Stephanie Plum is no different. The plot is classic Evanovich, which with her Jersey flair she takes us to the underbelly of society and makes us roll on the floor while doing it. She gives us characters that you have to shake your head at, laugh at, drool over and shrink away in fright of. Stephanie as her protagonist is as fresh as ever, always doubting her abilities as a bounty hunter, always questioning her choices in the men in her life and always without fail getting into hot water that inevitably involves those men to help her get out of. Her other cast of mis-fit characters is a laugh a minute circus of the most imaginative people ever to grace the pages of a novel.

I promise you will roar with laughter, you will delight with joy and you will be frightened all at the same time as you turn pages to learn the outcome of this installment of the perils of Stephanie Plum.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of A Thread So Thin

A Thread So Thin
Marie Bostwick
352 pages
Kensington Publishing

This is the third in her Cobbled Court novels. Marie Bostwick is brilliant when it comes to relationship novels.
As Marie re-acquaints us with her wonderful characters from her previous Cobbled Court novels she wastes no time priming the drama pump. And as everyday ordinary things happen to the stars of our show is when the magic of Marie’s storytelling comes through, when she makes interesting reading out of the mundane, when she makes it impossible to stop turning pages because you just have to find out what’s next.
Inside the novel are many different mini dramas all going on simultaneously of each other and overlapping each other. Ms. Bostwick handles these with an equal amount of panache mixed with good old fashioned horse sense. It’s a tale of love, of belonging, of friendship, of coming of age. It’s a story of hardship and heartbreak and disappointments. It’s a life story a realistic picture of how we act and react toward each other. This is no romance, but a definite love story, in fact more than one love story and the author uses reality and ideality to tell us about them. Her dialogue is eloquent and prose like in content and descriptive and detailed in context and will leave you with vivid and colorful pictures in your minds eye. Her romances are not textbook Happy Ever After, some get that and some don’t. Her love scenes are very tame, and yet we hard core romance readers will not feel cheated.
This can stand a lone, but I would recommend reading the series in order to get the backgrounds. This is a truthful look at relationships and if that’s the genre you love, this is the one you’ll want. It has all the bells and whistles for a great read.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review of Death Echo

Death Echo
Elizabeth Lowell
William Morrow
392 pages

Imagine yourself ex-CIA trying to live a simple life and forget about “the company”. Imagine yourself ex-CIA working for a civilian organization that seems to exist on ex company operatives. Imagine these two ex-company employees tangled in a web made by “the company” and now they have to not only clean it up, but survive doing it.
Ms. Lowell brings us another one of her beloved St. Kilda’s contracting novels, full of espionage, intrigue, stealth and deception and you have the perfect plot for her newest novel, a plot as old as cold war stories and as new as the last edition of CNN Live. In it we meet two incredible characters that are her hero MacKenzie and her heroine Emma who will ensnare you with their poise and ensconce you into their life of lies. You will immediately feel their attraction to each other and quickly turn pages to learn the outcome, not only of the romance but if they live to discover it. Her co-staring characters are equally interesting from the enigmatic couple we met in an earlier work Grace and Faroe to the current company men and the deeply unnerving criminals. The romance is fast, furious and sizzling as the couple doesn’t know what waits for them tomorrow or even if tomorrow waits for them. The love scenes are hot, sensuous and physical and nothing less than you’d expect of the characters. Yet underneath the sizzle you feel a certain yearning between them, a hope for the future.

You will not be disappointed with Elizabeth Lowell’s latest romantic suspense read. It will be well worth the money, a must read for the summer and a next best seller for this New York Times best selling author.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Review of The Lion

The Lion
Nelson DeMille
Grand Central Publishing
437 pages
John Corey is back and better than ever.
In this latest thriller Nelson takes us back and re-introduces us to The Lion who in reality is international terrorist Asad Khalil who is on a personal jihad to avenge the killing of his family by the US military in 1986 which was interrupted the last time he tried it by none other than John Corey and Kate Mayfield. Well now things are a little different John and Kate have married, the US post 9/11 has a tighter rein on terrorist infiltrating our borders. Or do we.
The Lion is a heart racing, pulse pounding thriller, just as you’d expect from the master himself Nelson DeMille, and believe me he will not disappoint you. His plots are always timely and very controversial and this one is no different. He’s not afraid to take on the heavy hitting topics of the day and turn them into action adventure novels. His storytelling is unequaled in his genre, he knows how to keep a readers interest and keep the pages turning long after lights out until the end. His characters are always entertaining, but in my humble opinion there is none better then the combination of John Corey and Kate Mayfield where he mixes the irreverent, smart aleck and insubordinate John Corey with the ultra professionalism of Kate Mayfield, who I may say in the several years of marriage with John has unfortunately for her superiors and fortunately for we readers rubbed off on her, which only makes her a much more humanly flawed character. His co-stars in the novel, most of who we’ve met previously are an intricate part of the telling of his tale, especially the villain The Lion, who is so far above any other villain out there that there’s just no comparison, the extent of his evilness will appall you and make you shudder in your shoes and break out in goose bumps. But have no fear because one of the things I love about Mr. DeMille is his love of country and that good will crush evil, maybe not every time but often enough to give us hope, so that even as dark as his novels can get he always gives us a ray of light at the end.
This is an instant best seller and right now is #9 on the New York Times best seller list. Pick this one, you will not be sorry you did.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review of Whiplash

Catherine Coulter
G P Putnam’s Sons
402 pages
Whiplash is Catherine Coulter’s 14th in her FBI Thriller series
Erin Pulaski is about to get her Irish-Polish American PI rear into hot water trying to help her latest client, while SAC Bowie Richards is looking for a burglar who daringly dropped out of the window of the CEO of a powerful pharmaceutical company and dropped into the biggest intrigue ever, oddly enough the two events are related. Meanwhile in Washington Dillon and Sherlock are looking into the spectral appearance of to powerful Senator. Soon the two couples are brought together to help Bowie and Erin finds herself where she doesn’t want to be, in the hot seat.
Catherine has wowed us with the antics and heroics of her beloved husband and wife FBI team of Dillon Savich and Lacy Sherlock who’ve at least co-starred if not starred in each of the previous 13 FBI novels. As usual the events portrayed in this volume is something easily taken off CNN or the New York Times and the headline would read “Pharmaceutical Company chooses profit over patient cure”, is it true or just someone trying to sabotage the good name of the giant firm. We’ll leave that for the experts to solve and while they solve it they will take us on a wild ride of an adventure, through the streets of Washington and in the Suburbs of Connecticut while they try and solve two different crime sprees. The dialogue is to the point direct, no overabundance of words here, the author knows what she wants to say and says it, the end. Her characters are, yes, larger than life, and yet they are very personable, very charming in her good guys and very disagreeable in her villains. Her budding romance between Bowie and Erin is very sweet and contains nothing that would be offensive to any reader, but the romance is not the main point that would be the mystery/thriller and that is first rate, filled with intrigue and suspense and heart stopping action.
This is one of your must reads of the summer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review of Unspeakable

Laura Griffin
Simon and Schuster
384 pages
FBI rookie Elaina McCord has just found herself embroiled in a crime spree that’s unspeakable. She’s got a lot to prove, she just has to figure out who she needs to impress. She’s not sure who to trust especially too handsome true crime author Troy Stockton. Troy is use to love-em and leave-em, but something’s different about Elaina, now if he can just convince her.
Laura Griffin gives us a thrilling, chilling action filled romantic suspense novel in Unspeakable. Her plot is wonderfully inventive which is difficult when dealing with crime drama. Her vivid descriptive dialogue paints the perfect scenes of Southern Texas while she keeps us informed on what’s happening with her mixture of cop-speak, bar-fly jargon and regular narrative. Her characters are well developed and up to the task they’re put to, her hero and heroine are unlikely candidates for a couple but that doesn’t stop her from pairing them up and then making them work hard for their happy ending. Her co-staring characters fill in the blanks and complete the tale. Her romance is intense and physical while her love scenes are hot, spicy and sensual but also give you enough room to use a little imagination.
So if you’re ready for a read that takes place where the summers are hot and the romance is hotter give Unspeakable a try. If your kind of beach read comes with a warning label, this one’s for you. If you like your thrillers complimented by a great romance this is it. A great summer read for any lover of romantic suspense.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review of The Passage

The Passage
Justin Cronin
Ballentine Books
766 Pages
Be prepared for the most incredible journey of your life
In the early 21st century the US military partakes in a news-braking experiment for a new weapon that goes very, very wrong. In the aftermath there is little left on planet earth in the way of the human species and what they have to cope with just to survive in unspeakable. This is a story about the “after”, about surviving in a brave new world, it’s about persevering in the face of desolation, but most of all it’s about hope, hope for a future, hope for a civilization. It’s a journey that you will not soon forget, filled with characters that you will cheer on even in the face of the greatest odds.
Justin Cronin is one amazing storyteller and he gives his reading audience an unforgettable post apocalyptic novel a novel filled with incredible characters and unimaginable terror staring creatures from your worst nightmare ever. His storyline is unique and that’s quite a feat in this paranormal, science-fiction frenzy of a time in publishing, how does he do it, when every other author is writing about planetary destruction and loss of humanity, well you’ll just have to see that for yourself. One thing I have noticed about many of these types of novels is the total darkness they represent, well Justin gives us a ray of sunshine in this one, light at the end of the proverbial tunnel if you will. His dialogue also makes the read unique as he give us a blend of analytical jargon by the narrator and old fashioned simple conversation from the host of survivors who seem relegated back in time with dialect as well as culture. His unequaled dramatic and descriptive portrayal of places of destruction of horror and events will keep your mind busy with unbelievable detail. His characters are remarkable, unforgettable and uncommon where the human population has become an endangered species while his creatures of the night are terrifying and plentiful, but one thing for sure is that the telling of the story would be incomplete without all of them.
So be prepared for the ride of a lifetime, an action packed, edge of your seat thriller mixed with the most unbelievable of horror stories that any lover of either genre will love. A must read for the summer and an instant best seller in the making. Run do not walk to your nearest bookseller to enjoy this novel.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review of An Ocean Between Us

An Ocean Between Us
Susan Wiggs
407 pages

I remember seeing photographs and videos of Navy ships coming home to berth and watching the glowing faces of the men and women reuniting after so long apart, seeing the love and longing on the faces and the tearful joining together after a long deployment. Susan Wiggs takes that homecoming even deeper, deep into the psyche and emotions of the participants of that particular play, into the family and lives that it revolves around. Into the darkest places, the empty holes that are left when the ship sails. She shows us first hand what life beholds for a Navy wife, what she has to cope with when her husband is so far away and gone for months at a time. What happens when there’s a ‘mishap” at sea. This is the story of one Navy family but it goes deeper then that too because it reaches out to the people they touch and who touch them. This is the story of the Bennetts a career Navy family living like gypsies every few years packing all of their belongings and moving on and moving up.

Grace and Steve Bennett to everyone’s eyes have the perfect marriage, Steve a Commanding Officer and Grace the career Navy wife, along with their three perfect children have moved to Washington State for Steve’s latest orders and settle in. Or do they? Small hairline cracks are starting to show in this perfect picture, there’s secrets hiding ready to make the crack even wider. The question is, is repair possible or is it time to move on.

Susan Wiggs is a most amazing storyteller, not only does she give accurate details about her characters and places they are, but she digs deep inside them and reveals to her reading audience what’s underneath the surface, what makes them tick. The plot to this story has been all too real to us, a service family in crisis. We could easily see it on CNN today or tomorrow or yesterday. Then she gives us a novel full of the most incredible characters ever to grace the pages of a book, characters who’s lives fill us with hope, with joy and love, then there are those who fill us with dread and anger. She dedicates her knowledge of humanity to introduce us to and educate us about those characters. Her hero Steve and heroine Grace are exquisitely described and her readers will turn page after page to eagerly learn the outcome of their tale. Her supporting characters are equally detailed and give meaning and depth to the novel. This is not a romance novel, but it is full of love stories, and they are poignant and heartbreaking and heartwarming, they give us joy and sadness and hope.

It’s easy to see why Ms. Wiggs has such a loyal following. She has a way with words and of telling a tale that is truly magic. I beg you to run and not walk to your nearest bookseller for one of the most heartfelt novel of the year. A must read for the summer and a definite best seller in the making. I am honored to be a fan and if you read this novel, no doubt you will be too,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vacation - Staycation

I'll be taking a week off and going on vacation, but I'll be full of reviews when I get back
Everyone have a safe and happy 4th

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review of Nothing But Trouble

Nothing But Trouble
Rachel Gibson
354 pages
Mark Bressler lived a charmed life until a life altering car accident. His motto used to be “I’m only good at two things, hockey and sex” only to have the hockey taken out of the equation and what’s left, a hot and angry ex-pro athlete. Then your team brings in Chelsea Ross a sprite of a woman with two toned hair and a penchant for colorful designer dregs who wants to disguise running your life as organization and what have you got “Nothing But Trouble”.
In this delightful light romantic comedy Rachel gives us two contrasting characters as her hero and heroine, but despite that fact they fit together well sort of like ying and yang or more so like Jeckel and Hyde and while they’re stumbling and tripping their way to romance, love and that all elusive Happy ever after we’re awarded with full belly laughing comedy mixed with double r rated hot love scenes and soap opera worthy drama. Her readers will find themselves helpless to do anything besides cheer them up and cheer them on. Her supporting characters some of who we’re reconnecting with from the last novel and some new players are an equally important part of the telling of her tale. A tale right out of the most scandalous of tabloid rags, Mr. Big Deal athlete meets Ms. Little Miss small time actress. But the sparks they will be a-flying and her audience will have no choice but to keep turning pages to find out just how it all works out.
No one is better than Rachel with romance, comedy and drama, add in the sizzle factor and you’ve got yourself one hot summer must read. “Nothing But Trouble” is the second of her Seattle Chinook Hockey series, check out the first one “True Love and Other Disasters”