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Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

They Call Me Ms: A Vic Carella Mystery by Terry Adcock

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

They Call Me Ms. takes place in the Washington metropolitan area and introduces readers to Private Investigator Vic Carella. Mitch Goldberg hires Vic to locate his stolen luxury yacht. What Vic thinks is just a simple problem of tracking down a missing vessel turns into a challenging and dangerous adventure as Mitch was not forthcoming when Vic agreed to take on the case. It comes to light Mitch is tangled up with a criminal organization that engages in arms smuggling, money laundering, and human trafficking.

Mitch’s dead body turns up before Vic figures out who might have hidden the yacht and its location. Vic’s inquiries to determine who killed Mitch and his involvement in illegal and nefarious activities bring her to the attention of miscreants. She comes up against seemingly inescapable and life-threatening situations. Concurrently with Vic, law enforcement officials are investigating. Who will prevail? Will the individuals engaged in unlawful activities get away with their crimes or be stopped by Vic and/or police and government agencies?

The novel is a terrific debut in A Vic Carella Mystery series. Vic, the newly featured female private detective, tells the story from her point of view. Terry Adcock’s writing style lets readers get a first-hand look into Vic’s emotional and behavioral responses to ethical dilemmas. All the characters are imbued with distinctive personality traits, which affect their approach and reaction to situations. New challenges and more complications for the characters make readers want to know what will happen next. How complicated will their personal lives become? Can they overcome obstacles in their way? The profanity chosen by Adcock suits the characters. Read the rest of this entry »

The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A typical Patterson book. The People vs Alex Cross is long and detailed but it is also interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention to the end. Alex Cross is a good long time cop who does have somewhat of a reputation for shooting those who oppose him……but it has always been proven that they provoked the shooting by pointing a gun at him or something that made Alex pull the trigger.

In this one he has shot and killed several followers of a major nemesis of his and he contends that they had guns drawn and were pointing them at him. His entire family is in the courtroom in his support and when it appears to be a closed case Alex’s nine year old son, Ali pulls off an astounding work that actually convinces the court to go on hold and rethink the evidence.

Strangely enough while all of this court room drama is going on Alex, along with his fellow police officers, is being drawn into an even deeper situation. It seems John Sampson, Alex’s former partner who is on temporary has gotten involved a case of missing girls. Not only are they young and very pretty but they also are all blondes. Everyone in law enforcement knows that they have been taken prisoners for those reasons. And they also feel quite sure that nothing but harm can come to these young women. Read the rest of this entry »

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Then She Vanishes is a high-octane thriller packed with mystery and suspense. Jess is a reporter for the local newspaper in a small seaside town in England. Heather, a former close friend to Jess, is the prime suspect in a double homicide. Jess questions whether Heather is guilty. This puts Jess in a difficult spot for pursuing her own investigation. After Heather’s sister, Flora, disappeared without a trace nearly twenty years ago at the age of sixteen, Jess’s friendship with Heather’s family fell apart. Will the past hinder Jess in her efforts to find answers? Is Flora’s disappearance connected in some way to the unlawful killing of two people? Will the cold and present cases be solved, and the truth revealed?

Claire Douglas has done an outstanding job of creating a many-faceted novel. Topics like violent criminal acts, illegal drug trade, substance use and addiction, and kidnapping are skillfully woven together. Douglas includes other key elements in the story, such as the psychological and physical aspects of dealing with horrifying circumstances outside of one’s control. Readers can also identify with the characters and the tough choices they make in relationships that will have a lasting impact on their lives, both personally and professionally. Read the rest of this entry »

Camino Winds by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Bruce Cable owns a very large and busy book store on Camino Island and he and the rest of the residents are very uptight about the possibility of Hurricane Leo hitting the island. Bruce is very busy right now with several writers that he works closely with and helps them turn their works into best sellers.

However Bruce and the residents are working to “batten down the hatches” as Leo gets closer. Most everyone except Bruce and a few other die hard residents have evacuated the island. The storm does pretty much as predicted or maybe even more than predicted and the damage is intense. Also one of Bruce’s favorite writers (Nelson Kerr) who stayed on the island is found dead right after the storm. And the cause of the death is not the storm but gunshot wounds to the head.

The local authorities do the best investigating that they can under the circumstances but Bruce isn’t satisfied and goes off on his own to do more. It appears that Nelson was deep into writing a new book and it was not just a normal novel but one that was digging deeply into some special type of production of new vitamins or something. And though the book is fiction it does seem to be looking at not only the story. that is interesting. but also looks (or tries to look) at some strange but interesting characters.

Bruce isn’t quite sure how much Nelson really knew or was finding out but he does feel it is up to him and some others to start digging deeper into the entire situation. And since Bruce has quite a following not only among readers but actually various law enforcement groups who immediately take an interest in Bruce’s hypothesis. The involvement of all of these individuals helps to not only make for good reading but also makes the story move along. Read the rest of this entry »

The Guardians by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

John Grisham has done it again! The Guardians is another of his very interesting looks at law and the practice thereof. Grisham himself was an attorney in Southern Mississippi back before he became a famous writer, for books like Time to Kill and The Firm. And then even after his writing skills became known, in 1996 he went back to the courtroom and, as an attorney, won a case for his clients that totaled over six hundred and eighty thousand dollars. However The Guardians is proof positive of his ability as a writer!

Cullen Post and several other attorneys work in what is called Guardian Ministries. It is a very small firm that is based on religious beliefs and works on getting prisoners out of jail. The inmates they work to free are basically those who have been found guilty of a crime by a court that didn’t necessarily have all the facts. Or at least did not have them correct.

Most of those that The Guardians try to help are on death row or at least have been in prison for a very long period of time with no hope of release. Post is a lawyer and also an Episcopalian minister. He is presently working for Quincy Miller who has been in jail for over 20 years for a murder that was committed in North Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

Under Currents: A Novel by Nora Roberts

Reviewed by Allen Hott

To think that all of this happened in a small hill town in North Carolina makes you realize how great a writer Nora Roberts is. She follows various people in the town (mostly relatives of one another) as they go about their lives but the really good part is when she puts the reader into the shoes of those who suffered and some who actually died.

Begins with a wealthy family but the family is headed by a very strange rich man. He seems to enjoy sex with his wife (had several children) but seems as though he likes beating her physically more than he enjoys sex. And then she also tends to get into the fighting part as she fights back. Then together at various times they also beat their children. And that is their downfall!

They are arrested. She gets a fairly light sentence but he, because of the severity of the beatings and the continuity of them, gets a very severe sentence. His children move on with their lives and Zane, his son, becomes an attorney and stays close to his sister.

They have moved away to a small town where they are both moving along with their lives with the help of several extended relatives and also locals in the area. Zane does well in his profession and becomes close with the chief of police. Zane had always carried a baseball with him as he had played all of his life and had dreams of making it to the big leagues. Read the rest of this entry »

The RayBright Caper (A Kirbi Mack Novel Book 1) by B.B. Teeter

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

If you are looking to start a new modern detective series with a feminist twist, consider “The RayBright Caper” the debut novel of the “Kirby Mack Series.” The story revolves around the classic tale of thieves trying to pull off a heist and an underdog investigator trying to catch them. However, in B. B. Teeter’s version, this involves a secret military device as a prized possession, an unlikely band of two misfits, and an underappreciated female private security investigator.

Harvey, the man who came up with the grand plan, recruits an unlikely associate, a tech-genius kid named Mark. The start of their professional relationship is a particularly enchanting part of the novel. The tension between the two is palpable, as they each try to size up the other without giving too much away about themselves. Nevertheless, to obtain trust, one must first offer trust.

The two make a great team by complementing each other nicely. There are plenty of moments where they show complete trust in one another. What is more, they seem fully dedicated to the plan. However, throughout the pages, there is a lingering tension, which erupts occasionally.

As their carefully thought-out plan is set in motion, so is Kirby Mack, who is playing for the other side. She is hired by the targeted RayBright Labs, a San Diego Defense contractor. The founders of the company catch on to the fact that something is about to happen but that something seems to elude them.
Kirby proves to be far more resourceful and skilled than her employers thought. Her intelligence and deep knowledge of human psychology enable her to see things in a different light and generally obtain what she wants. In the end, it might even turn out that she was too good for the job. Read the rest of this entry »

The Guilty by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Quite a beginning to this one as Will Robie, a professional top-grade sniper for the CIA, is waiting to get off his shot at an intended target. Although he has been doing this for some time he never actually knows who the target is or why that person is the target. He only knows what his orders are and he has always obeyed and then fulfilled his orders.

This one turns out differently and changes Robie’s life drastically. Yes, his shot is perfect and he hits and kills his target. However as he looks on from his perch he notices that behind his target was a young girl who was completely covered by the target until the bullet went through the target and right into the little girl’s head killing her also!

Robie does get away from the shooting area but he can’t get over the feeling of what he has done. His supervisor understands and tries to help out by not only helping to console him but also by granting some time off so he can get hopefully back together and return to his position.

But as it turns out on his next assignment Robie doesn’t take the shot because he believes he sees a small boy on the scene. Turns out there was no boy and Robie’s supervisor definitely decides it is time to give him a break.

His supervisor also tells him that they have gotten word that Robie’s dad, Dan Robie, has been charged with murder down in Mississippi. At first Robie doesn’t seem to care as he and his dad have not spoken since Robie left Mississippi some years ago and they were never overly friendly or close. But Baldacci uses the murder, etc. to move the story not only to Mississippi but also to move the story into a truly great read. Read the rest of this entry »

The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Imagine yourself with no memory of your identity. This is the situation in which Addison finds herself in The Stranger in the Mirror. Any recollections about her life, before she was rescued by benevolent strangers, are gone. Addison currently lives in Philadelphia and is engaged to be married. She is experiencing fleeting moments of perturbing images. She wonders if memories are trying to break through into her conscious awareness, or if her imagination is conjuring the images. At the same time Addison is dealing with amnesia and its effects on herself and others, another person is facing challenging circumstances. Julian’s wife disappeared without a trace, and Julian has made it his number one priority to track her down. He lives in the Boston suburbs with his seven-year-old daughter. When Julian shows up and claims Addison is his wife, lives are thrown into upheaval. Is Julian’s allegation true? Remembrances of Julian and his daughter elude Addison. What does it mean for Addison and her fiancé? Will Addison stay in Philadelphia or try and embrace her supposedly past life? Will Addison ever recover her memories? Read the rest of this entry »

Deadly Anniversaries: A Collection of Stories from Crime Fiction’s Top Authors

Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is a very interesting concept to writing a book on mysteries, etc. in short form. There are a total of nineteen short stories written by some of today’s top writers. And basically each story is centered about some type of anniversary. The writers include Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Sue Grafton, and other notables.

“If You Want Something Done Right” tells of how a woman who wants out of her marriage pulls off various attempts but none work because he figures them out quickly. However he does become overly involved himself in how to protect himself and guess what? You got it right. Now read the story (and book)
to get the whole story. Sue Grafton put that one together and it is good.

“Ten Years On” is about an Indian nurse who is drawn to a dead soldier’s brother and it has a very strange ending.

Lee Child wrote “Normal In Every Way” that tells of a very slow thinking clerk who while working in police headquarters uses anniversary dates of various murders and ties them together in such a fashion as to help solve some crimes that have gone unsolved. Read the rest of this entry »