Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review - Stay by Nicola Griffith

Title - Stay
Author - Nicola Griffith
Genre - Mystery
ISBN - 0-385-50300-8
Number of Pages - 303
2nd of 3 in series
rating - 5 out of 5

I am always worried about sequels. My experience has been that they are not as good as the original. Not so with with this one. If fact it is better than the first book --the Blue Place which I enjoyed.

Devastated by the death of her lover Julia, for which she blames herself, Aud Torvingin cocoons herself in a North Carolina mountain forest where she is painstakingly rebuilding an old log cabin. An old friend invades her cocoon to ask her to find his girlfriend. Aud reluctantly agrees and goes to New York and quickly finds the missing Tammy and then from that point on the book careens into high gear with Aud's grief transformed into vengeance.

This book rates among the top 5 I have read this year . Nicola Griffith has written an excellent novel that is complex and multi -faceted. Her character Aud is exquisitely portrayed as a woman coming to terms with the violence, brutality, tenderness, and vulnerability that are central to her character. Griffith's insight into the psychological aspects of grief and her ability
to give the reader a stunning sense of place through strong images of the North Carolina hideaway and gritty city life vividly reflect the inner tensions that fill Aud's life. Griffith also enables the reader to feel encouraged to hope for emotional resurrection for Aud. The writing is good. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Review -Plum Island by Nelson DeMille

Title - Plum Island
Author - Nelson DeMille
Genre mystery/thriller
ISBN - 0-446-60540-9
No. of Pages - 574
Rating 3 out of 5

Recuperation time is supposed to be a time of rest, relaxation, healing, and refreshment. Not so for NYPD homicide police officer John Corey. While he is convalescing on Long Island from three gunshot wounds, John is asked by an old friend the chief of Southhold town Police Department to help investigate the brutal murder of two Plum Island research scientists who happen to be John's friends. Plum Island is a secure government research facility and germ repository. The government, is order to prevent a panic, puts out a cover story that the couple were smuggling out vaccine to sell. Corey doesn't believe it and after he is ordered off the case he continues to investigate.

Nelson DeMille has written a good mystery. His characters are well developed, especially John Corey. He is a very witty and likable character. The plot was good but the first half of the book moved rather slowly. The second half of the book moved along much better and the last 100 pages were very good. This was my first DeMille book and I plan to read more.

Review - Subterranean by James Rollins

Title -Subterranean
Author -James Rollins
Genre - Thriller
ISBN - 978-0-380-79264-1
No. of Pages - 410
Rating 3 out of 5

I enjoy fast past thrillers even if they require some suspension of belief. James Rollins has provided me with just such a book. Beneath the ice at the bottom of the world is a huge subterranean labyrinth, a place of breath taking beauty and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists headed by archaeologist Ashley Carter is handpicked to explore this secret place. But they are not the first to undertake this risky venture and those they follow did not return. There are mysteries here older than time and surprises that could change the world and things that should not be disturbed. Ashley and her team discover a devastating truth that could doom them and their expedition.

Folks who enjoy books by Clive Cussler will enjoy this book as well. It is action packed, fast moving, and an interesting tale. The characters were quite well developed and there is enough suspense and tension to keep me reading well into the night wondering how the story would end. Rollins writes with clarity and intelligence. I definitely will read more by this author.

Review - 6 Days by Brendan DuBois

Title - 6 Days
Author - Brendan DuBois
Genre - Thriller
ISBN -0-7515-3076-X
No. of Pages - 568
Rating 3.5 out of 5

Special Forces Agent Drew Connor and his girlfriend Sheila Cass are walking in the White Mountain range of New Hampshire when they are caught in a thunderstorm and they take shelter in what Sheila thinks is a relay station. But when Drew enters the building he realizes that they have stepped into something much more sinister. There are bullet proof checkpoints, telephone hotlines and a map that read Internment Centers. Drew's instinct is to get out of there fast, and when they get to town they find find themselves shot at by the local police without being asked questions. Someone wants them dead for what they have seen.

Once again Brendan DuBois has written a fast paced keep you on the edge of your seat political thriller. He demonstrates how easy it is for religious extremists to try to get in control. I particularly found the quotations at the beginning of each chapter chilling. The plot is well paced and well thought out. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the story is how easily the fictional plot could become a reality.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Murderers' Club by P.D. Martin

Title - The Murderers' Club
Author - P.D. Martin
Genre - mystery
ISBN - 978 - 0 - 7783-2441-6
Number of Pages - 376
Rating 4.5 out of 5

I usually do not read mysteries about serial killers. They are often too violent for my tastes. After reading P.D. Martin’s first book Body Count, there was enough of a twist in the development in the character of the lead protagonist that I actually enjoyed the book. The Murderers’ Club is the second instalment in the series and I was hooked right from the opening prologue.

Sophie Anderson, a F.B.I. Profiler has visions that see into the mind of killers. Her talent is uncontrollable and unpredictable. When invited to come to Arizona for a vacation by a police officer friend Daren Carter, Sophie, who is still suffering after effects from her previous case, is only too willing to have a break. The vacation suddenly ends when bodies start showing up at a university campus. Sophie is forced to use her terrifying skills in order to catch the killers.

Once again P.D. Martin has written a keep you on the edge of your seat thriller. I particularly enjoyed her character Sophie and her struggles and reluctance to use her gift and the toll that having the gift takes on her. The book is really written in two parts, the killers and the police. As a reader I could see the whole story and watch how the two came together in order that the case is solved. Some suspension of belief regarding F.B.I. procedures is required which may affect some readers, but over the entire story had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged.

Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues by Robert Fate

Title - Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues
Author - Robert Fate
Genre - Mystery
ISBN - 978-0-9776276-2-4
Number of Pages -280
Rating 4.25 out of 5

One of the things I like in mystery stories is a strong female protagonist. Robert Fate, in his Baby Shark series, has created such character in the person of Kristen Van Dijk. Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues is the second book in the series of three. Kristin continues to grow, develop and mature.

Kristin and Otis are hired to find a runaway heiress. They have rescued her before but this time the search gets them entangled with a mob boss, a police investigation, and a con job while they try to keep her safe and themselves alive.

Once again Robert Fate has written a high octane mystery thriller that hooked me right from the beginning to its surprising conclusion. The partnership of Otis and Kristin is beautifully developed. The sense of place enhances the story and dialogue between Otis and Kristin is crisp and at times humorous that keeps the tension from becoming overpowering.. The action driven plot kept me turning the pages. I look forward to reading more by this very talented author.

Beating The Babushka by Tim Maleeny

Title - Beating The Babushka
Author - Tim Maleeny
Genre - Mystery/Thriller
ISBN -978-0-7387-1115-7
Number of Pages - 364
Rating -4/5

Beating The Babushka is the second novel in Tim Maleeney's Cape Weathers P.I. series. After reading Stealing the Dragon, his first novel, I was looking forward to reading this one and I was not disappointed. Maleeny has written another well-crafted mystery that kept me reading to find out what happened next.

A movie producer plunges to his death from the Golden Gate bridge, an apparent suicide that shocks the film community. When a female colleague claims it was murder, the police do not believe her. She turns to P.I. Cape Weathers for help and he believes her and takes the case. Before long Weathers and companion Sally, a deadly assassin trained by the Triads, take on the Russian mob, and Weathers finds that he is the target of a sniper who doesn’t want the truth revealed.

Tim Maleeny has written a very good mystery with many twists and turns. The plot is well crafted, and the characters, Cape and Sally, are well developed and fascinating. Sprinkled throughout the novel are touches of humour that keep the tension from becoming unbearable. I enjoyed the book and look forward to more from this talented author.