Monday, April 28, 2008

The Hell You Say by Josh Lanyon

Title - The Hell You Say
Author - Josh Lanyon
ISBN -0-595-38512-5
Genre - Mystery
rating 4 out of 5

The Hell You Say is the third book in the Adrien English mystery series. Many folks will only start a series at the beginning but this is my first introduction to Josh Lanyon's work and I must say I am very impressed. His ability to move the plot along and spin a good story kept me turning the pages well into the night.

After Adrien’s bookstore employee Angus receives death threats, Adrien decides to help him and his girlfriend get away. However Jake, Adrien’s on again off again deeply closeted police officer lover, believes that Angus has a connection to an unsolved ritualistic murder. Before long Adrien finds himself enmeshed in mystery, murder, and a Satanic Cult.

Josh Lanyon has written a good mystery. His writing style is crisp and his characters are well developed. The book is filled with memorable characters and there are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing who the killer is. This book grabbed me from the opening paragraph. I look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

Review - Desert Cut by Betty Webb

Title- Desert Cut
Author - Betty Webb
ISBN - 978-1-59058-491-0
Genre- Mystery
No. of Pages 263
rating 5 out of 5

While scouting out locations for a film documentary in Arizona, private investigator Lena Jones and her director boyfriend Warren Quinn discover a freshly dumped body of a young dark skinned girl, the discovery of which evokes past memories of Lena's abused childhood. When another child disappears and in spite of clashes with the local sheriff, Lena continues to investigate the child's death and uncovers a small town with a big secret that puts her own life in danger.

Betty Webb has written a superb mystery with a disturbing theme of abuse that is very sensitively handled. Webb explores the cultural norms that condone behavior which we in North America name as abuse. Some may want to skip over some of the more graphic passages but the resolute will be rewarded with an excellent mystery and thought provoking read. I look forward to reading more her books.

Review - Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Title-Heart Shaped Box
Author- Joe Hill
ISBN - 978-0-06-114794-4
No of pages -366
Genre- Horror/Mystery/Suspense
Rating 4.5 out of 5

I usually do not read horror novels but this one peaked my interest because I continued to hear remarks about it on the various mystery lists I belong to. With a bit of trepidation I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. Joe Hill has written a good debut novel that held my interest and kept me wondering how it would end.

Judas Coyne, an aging death-metal rock star, collects the macabre. So when a ghost is advertised on the internet Coyne jumps at the chance to buy it. For a thousand dollars Coyne becomes the owner of a suit that is alleged to be haunted by a dead man's spirit. After UPS delivers the black heart shaped box Coyne soon discovers the previous owner of the suit in the bedroom, then sitting in his restored mustang dangling a gleaming razor on a chain from his hand.

I found myself drawn into the story and caring about the characters. Hill draws out empathy for Judas Coyne and as he copes with the ghosts of his own past and struggles to find the strength to battle a real evil. The blend of psychological terror and horror combined with new revelations and twists keeps the story moving with a sense of urgency that left me turning the pages well into the night to find out what would happen next.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review - The Sex Club by L.J.Sellers

Title: The Sex Club
Author: L.J. Sellers
Publisher: Spellbinder Press
ISBN: 978-0-9795182-0-1
No of pages: 347
Rating 4/5

When a pipe bomb explodes at a birth control clinic and then a young client is found dead in a dumpster, Kera Kollmorgan, a nurse working at the clinic begins to search for the truth on her own. Bound by client confidentiality Kera is unable to go to the police with information that she has. As she begins to uncover some new facts she finds herself becoming the target of the bomber. Detective Wade Jackson, fearing that his own daughter may be in danger, finds his investigation blocked by strong political forces at every step.

L.J. Sellers has written a fine debut mystery novel that explores religious fanaticism and its effects on the lives of various people. The characters are well developed, the plot plausible and well executed with an unexpected twist at the end. I look forward to reading more books by this talented author.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Review - Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Ice Station by Matthew J. Reilly
Genre - Action/Thriller
Number of Pages - 390
ISBN - 0-312-20551-1
Rating - 3 out of 5

A group of scientists at a remote ice station in Antarctica make a startling discovery buried in a 100 million year old layer of ice. A team of divers is sent under the ice shelf to investigate. What they find has the potential to be the greatest discovery ever made- a discovery that nations would kill for. Within a few minutes the divers are brutally killed and a garbled distress call is sent out. A team of marines led by Lt. Shane Schofield is sent out to investigate. They quickly learn that in a land without borders the only law is survival.

Matthew Reilly has written an action packed page turner. The action is almost non stop and left me almost breathless. The plot with its many twists and turns kept me guessing who the bad guys were. I have to admit that this story requires suspension of belief, particularly in the area of survival in the Antarctic, but after all, it is fiction. There could have been more depth to some of the characters but over all I enjoyed the book.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Review - An Incomplete Revenge

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear
Genre - Period Mystery
5th in Series
ISBN- 0805082158
Number of Pages 320
Rating 4.0 0ut of 5

I chose this book because I am already familiar with the works of Jacqueline Winspear and so I was looking forward to this fifth installment of her Maisie Dobbs series. I was not disappointed.

Maisie Dobbs, a psychologist/investigator is hired by long time benefactor James Compton to investigate reports of mysterious fires happening in Heronsdene where he wishes to purchase an estate. The towns people are closemouthed about the events and as Maisie continues to investigate she discovers that they are also closed lipped about a war time incident as well. A shady landowner and a mysterious group of gypsies add suspense and colour to the story.

Although some of the plot twists are predictable, Winspear provides a vivid description of England between the two great wars when society is experiencing great changes and challenges. She shines light on the subjects of prejudice, fear, and guilt in a way that challenges the reader to look at their own selves.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Review- Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
ISBN 0312365705
Genre Suspense/ Thriller
Number of Pages 352
Non Series Novel
Rating 3.50 out of 5

Anne and William Taylor, aged 12 and 10 are on the run in the woods out side of the town of Kootenai Bay Idaho. They have just witnessed a murder and are being pursued by the killers, former police officers, who know who they are and where they live. The only hope the children have is Jess Rawlins a rancher in whose barn they hid. Jess must stay one step ahead of the killers who have joined the search party and volunteered to help with the investigation.

I chose Blue Heaven because I have read several books by C.J. Box. This is his first standalone novel. I enjoyed the book but found that his addition of extra characters in the book took away from the build up of suspense. That being said the book did move along quickly and held my interest. The theme of children in peril was handled sensitively. I recommend this book.

Review - Wild Inferno by Sandi Ault

Wild Inferno by Sandi Ault
ISBN 0425219224
Number of Pages 304 pages
Rating - 3.00 out of 5
(second in the series)

I picked this book to read because I enjoy reading about First Nations traditions and myths and in this book Sandi Ault gives us many examples of Ute and Pueblo mythology and traditions. The legends and folklore are the vehicles of learning for Ault's protagonist Jamaica Wild.

Jamaica Wild, a Bureau of Land Management agent, is asked to locate an old Ute named Grandpa Ned and enters a fire area to find him. Instead she finds a lone smoldering fire-fighter who can only utter "save the grandmother " before he collapses. Later Grandpa Ned's burned body is found along with an unusual artifact which only adds to the mystery. Fires continue to rage near Chimney Rock as the Pueblo people gather there for a important ceremony.

In Wild Inferno we are treated to an inside view of the bravery and skills of teams of fire fighters, many composed of Native Americans, who battle forest fires. The author's admiration of those men and women shines through. We are also given glimpses of some of traditions and myths of the Pueblo people. At times, however, the plot almost gets lost in focus on mythology and firefighting. Ault is able to pull it all together to provide a satisfactory conclusion.