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Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

No Man’s Land (John Puller Series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

No Man's LandMr. Baldacci has brought John Puller back and really tangled him up in a super woven story. Puller, and Army Special Agent and son of a retired three
Star general, is involved in finding out whom or what caused the disappearance of his mother some thirty years ago.

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His father, now suffering from dementia, is fading fast and Puller takes some time off from his military career to track down the clues in the old mystery.

It started because a former friend of the family sent the father a letter basically accusing him of doing the dirty deed to his wife. Puller doesn’t believe it and sets out to find the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

The Burial Hour (A Lincoln Rhyme Novel) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Burial HourGreat start to another good Lincoln Rhyme story. This time a young girl sees a man grab a man and put him in the trunk of a car. And while doing so the culprit leaves a mini-noose on the ground. The little girl gives it to her mom and the story begins!

Lincoln and Amelia Sachs, his investigating assistant and about to be wife, get dragged into the case right when they are planning on taking a trip to Europe or somewhere to get married! However with Thom, the great assistant-do-everything-guy will be along wherever they go since Lincoln is a paraplegic pretty much confined to a wheelchair.

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First off they have to find not only the culprit but the guy who was kidnapped. Turns out the victim is all trussed up with a specific type noose that is hooked up to a bucket of water. As more water fills the bucket the noose get tighter and tighter. Can they get to him in time?

But this is only the beginning because next that same culprit turns up in Italy and pulls the same type of stunt. Clever, eh what? At least Deaver didn’t have him turn up in India or somewhere that Lincoln and Sachs would have to go and mess up their wedding plans.

However as the story progresses the reader finds out much about this particular criminal. Also the reader finds out especially about his phenomenal ability to hear sounds and particularly musical sounds at least to him. Quickly he is dubbed the Composer and he is becoming a world-wide entity since he posts videos on something like YouTube to show off his victims.

These mysterious kidnappings also somehow seem to get involved with refugees. Italy like many other countries is so overwhelmed with them that one of their politicians says it is The Burial Hour since there are so many of these refugees that they will eventually bury all the true citizens of the country or countries. Read the rest of this entry »

Most Dangerous Place: A Jack Swyteck Novel by James Grippando

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Most Dangerous PlaceFrom a fairly simple easy beginning this one grows into a tremendous legal battle and finger pointing plus repetitive denials.

Jack Swytek, the legal whiz, is picking up his friend Keith Ingraham at the Miami airport. Along with Keith making the flight from Hong Kong is Isa Bornelli (his wife) and their young daughter. The daughter is the reason for the return as she has some very difficult surgery to be performed which is to help her recapture some amount of hearing since she was born with none.

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However right from the get-go the story line switches from the daughter to the mother as two police officers stop the group as they are leaving the terminal. They place Isa under arrest for the murder of Gabriel Sosa. This murder had taken place many years ago when Isa was in college but even when it had first worked its way up into the Judicial system Isa was never in the States. She lived with Keith who worked as a high powered banker in Hong Kong but they traveled all over the world with his job. So Isa had never been back to the states for any period of time. This time however the Miami-Dade Police Department knew of her arrival (don’t you wonder how??) and they put her into custody. Read the rest of this entry »

Rain Gods: A Novel (A Holland Family Novel) by James Lee Burke

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Rain GodsI suppose Mr. Burke has left New Orleans to write about a happening in Texas. Usually he is in Louisiana but no matter because wherever he sits up a story it all works out! And Rain Gods is proof of that.

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Hackberry Holland, a Texas sheriff, responds to a 911 call and finds a mass grave. Upon digging into the spot he discovers nine women who have been shot to death by what appears to be a machine gun. Closer examination later by the coroner shows that they each were carrying a plastic bag of drugs in their stomach. The 911 call happened to come from a former GI who heard the shooting and went too late to the scene. He and his girlfriend then decided to head out because of what they feared would happen next. Read the rest of this entry »

Through a Yellow Wood (Catskill Mountains Mysteries Book 2) by Carolyn J. Rose

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Through a Yellow Wood‘She was a reminder that there are a hundred little forks in our roads every day and each choice can affect the next one. If we don’t think before we step, we might end up a long way from where we intended to be – from where we wanted to be.’

Sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Imagine a small New England town where it seems as if everyone is related to each other.

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Dan Stone is asked to check-in on Clarence Wolven, his mother’s second cousin. Since Clarence always came into town in the first, he is now two days overdue, and that was odd for him. Also, his phone line is dead.

Dan finds Clarence dead on his front steps. Also dead are the dogs Clarence was training, except for one small pup who is hiding in the back of his kennel.
Dan arranges the funeral since Clarence had no close relatives and took the dog to the vet, who amputates a leg. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Cold MoonMr. Deaver has put a full load into the works this time for Lincoln Rhyme. Rhyme is the paralyzed former New York Police officer now working as a homebound investigator for the NYPD. He works with his female aide, Amelia Sachs, who is still employed by the NYPD and several other aides. Most of their work is centered around Rhyme’s meticulous and very observant style. He uses those assets from his wheelchair while the others patrol the various crime scenes and feed him info as they probe.

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This time he is locked in with the Watchmaker, a very sharp bad guy, who is also deeply into clocks and watches. These he uses in his crimes and usually leaves one of some sort at the scene of the crime.

In the beginning the Watchmaker and his accomplice are targeting a group of people who have a strange sort of relationship. He appears to be killing them, and then after leaving various clues moves on to the next. With the help of Sachs, other investigators, and Kathryn Dance they are able to solve the first Watchmaker case or so they think. Read the rest of this entry »

Mississippi Blood by Greg Isles

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

Mississippi BloodThe conclusion of Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning trilogy is spectacular. He weaves a tale of destruction and revenge at the hands of the Double Eagles and it has hit the Cage family relentlessly. In order to survive they must stand strong and find the truth to what has happened not only in recent months, but also forty years ago.

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Mississippi Blood is everything an exceptional southern novel should be. In-between the covers, there burns mystery, murder, deceit, racial tensions, adultery, violence, crimes and a trial that is not to be missed. You will be captivated by the excellent interconnection that Greg Iles has set before you. A story teller of the highest regard.

I am devastated that this in the final book in the Natchez Burning series. I have come to know and love all the characters in Natchez, Mississippi. This quote is the heart and spirit of each character that Isles’ has breathed life into.

“Mississippi blood is different. It’s got some river in it, Delta soil, turpentine, asbestos, cotton poison. But there’s strength in it, too. Strength that’s been beat but not broke. That’s Mississippi blood.”

All three of the books in the trilogy are long. Don’t let that intimidate you. I suggest starting with Natchez Burning, then The Bone Tree. The conclusion in Mississippi Blood will moor you to Natchez and you will not want to leave. Now, the withdrawal begins.

Alaskan Queen by Richard A. Heininger

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Alaskan QueenLieutenant Cody James is living his dream. He is a U. S. Navy Officer who has the responsibility of following ships via GPS throughout the world.
Throughout the years of military schooling, his dream changed from being a pilot. His moral character drove him to continue to succeed, just in a different field.

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Now Cody is on loan to the U. S. Coast Guard to assist in the development of a global fleet tracking navigational system. The focus is the Caribbean Sea. The system follows the usual paths of various legitimate shipping routes and is searching for anything the could be involved with smuggling or a terrorist attack. Read the rest of this entry »

Bone Box: A Decker/Lazarus Novel (Decker/Lazarus Novels)

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Bone BoxWhile Rina is hiking, she finds some bones which turn out to be human and have been in the ground for a few years. While investigators are combing the area looking for evidence, they find the remains of a couple more bodies which appear to have been buried within a couple of years of the first set of bones. All of the bodies were buried before the hiking trail was opened. Since the remains were found very close to each other and had been buried within a few years of each other, Decker is left with trying to determine if what he is dealing with is a serial killer in the past, or someone who is still active but who was forced to move his burial site after the trail opened. Two things shake up the investigation. The first is that it turns out that one of the potential victims may have escaped and is still alive. If this is true, then Decker needs to find her. The second thing is one of the current college students goes missing. As is often the case with college students, the frantic parents aren’t aware of some of their daughter’s activities making it harder for Decker to track her movements. Even though it is several years later, could this girl’s disappearance be linked to the bones found along the trail?

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I enjoyed this book. The case was interesting and took some unexpected turns. There were a couple of odd things though. A few times in the book the characters shifted where they were with no transition at all. For instance, on one page they are having dinner with their friends in California, and the next page they are back at their day-to-day lives in New York. And then there is the ending. I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll leave it with saying that I was not satisfied with the ending. Not at all. It will be interesting to see where the next book begins.

Bone Box is the twenty-fourth book in the Decker/Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman. While the main characters are the same, nearly everything else in the series has shifted over the last few books. Some of those changes are expected, some are more puzzling.

The most obvious change is that Decker and Lazarus moved from California to upper state New York a few books ago. The move was logical as it puts them closer to one of their sons and his family and allows them to lead a slower paced life. Another logical change is the shift in characters. Their children are grown so readers don’t see them as much. Kellerman has filled that gap by having Decker’s partner/intern/law student from Harvard, become almost an adopted son. In this book Tyler McAdams is a major character.

The two glaring shifts in the series that are a little harder to understand is Rina Lazarus’s role. The earlier books tended to have two distinct plots, one with Rina and one with Decker. Often along the way the two stories merged with Decker’s part being the police procedural and Rina’s being the “human interest” side. Now, the books are basically all police procedurals featuring Decker’s cases. In this book, Rina’s role is reduced to cooking-for McAdams and Decker and also copious quantities of food for the Jewish holiday parties she has volunteered to host for the college students.

The other shift, one that I find most puzzling and one that makes me sad is that in the beginning and through most of the “California” books, Rina’s Orthodox Judaism played a huge role in the book. It set the tone of the books and lent a background story to how the characters interacted not only with each other, but how they viewed society in general. It was the play between Decker’s very secular view of things and Rina’s very religious view that made the books captivating. Now? It seems that Rina’s religion is all about cooking and jokes about McAdams joining the “tribe.” The Jewish rituals seem more forced than part of the flow of their lives.

In spite of the odd ending and the shifts in the series, I still love the books but I look on them differently now.

The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series) by Archer Mayor

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Company She KeptThis is a first time read for me by this author and I was pleasantly surprised. He really keeps the story moving, holding the reader’s interest all the way to the end. And I mean ALL the way to the end. Doubt that more than 2 percent of those reading this one will figure out who the murderer is until the last chapter. Great job.

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A man and his wife out taking pictures in the mountains alongside the Connecticut River find a purse lying on the ground that appears to be dropped by someone who was there prior to them. They start looking around to see what else is perhaps there and whoa! Looking up the side of the cliff beside their walkway is a woman’s body hanging from a rope. The rope was entangled in the wire mesh that was being used as a preventative curtain to keep the cliff from breaking apart and falling below.

Joe Gunther, a squad leader for the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, receives a phone call from Gail Zigman, governor of Vermont. She and Joe had been a romantic duo some years before and shortly after she had been raped. And also before she had become a politician and then become the governor. Gail tells Joe that Susan Raffner was the woman that had just been found on the mountainside and rather going through the normal channels Gail wants Joe to get into the investigation immediately. Read the rest of this entry »