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Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

One Good Deed by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Shortly after WW II Aloysius Archer ends up in Poca City which is the little town that he is assigned to as part of his parole. He was put into prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. He knows nothing about the town and the townsfolk know nothing about him. While in prison he spent much of his time exercising and actually doing body building so he was in very good shape although not a big man.

Archer quickly realizes that not only does he need to meet with his parole officer but he also needs to find some sort of employment as his room rent is eating up his meager savings.

After getting checked into a hotel he begins to feel the need for a drink although bars and liquor are both listed on things that parolees are not to partake of. But he believes he can control himself so off he heads to The Cat’s Meow. And this first visit is pretty much the beginning of One Good Deed..

While at the bar he meets up with Hank Pittleman who is enjoying his drink with a young lady who turns out to be Jackie Tuttle (though Archer doesn’t know it at the time). Pittleman tells Archer that a man named Lucas Tuttle borrowed some money from him and not only didn’t pay it back but he also didn’t turn over the 1947 Cadillac which was used as collateral for the loan.

Pittleman gives Archer some money to go and get the Cadillac and bring it to him. Archer sees this as a good way to earn some cash and agrees to the task.

The following morning Archer makes his first visit to his parole officer who turns out to be a lady named Ernestine Crabtree. He explains about his new “job” since she tells him there is plenty of work in the area and part of his parole is partaking in three job interviews. She accepts his explanation of his job and tells him that if it doesn’t work out he must do the interviews. He agrees.

All of this is just the groundwork for a very interesting read as Archer gets involved with Poca City residents and especially Pittleman, the two Tuttles, and Crabtree. Those four play interesting roles in this story as Baldacci tells it.

One of the first events is that the Cadillac is actually burned up before Archer can get it or before Pittleman can retrieve it from Tuttle.

However there are many other interesting happenings as Archer begins his new life in Poca City. The ongoing battle for “big man on campus” so to speak between Pittleman and Tuttle is perhaps the largest but the life that Archer lives involving Jackie and his Parole Officer also contribute to the story line.

Another great read by the master, David Baldacci! Read it and enjoy!

Noble Beginnings: A Jack Noble Novel by L.T. Ryan

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Quite an interesting book but I am still trying to figure out exactly the total picture. Jack Noble and his partner, Bear, are deployed Marines in Iraq assisting the CIA supposedly. But as the story deepens it appears that the CIA isn’t really on their side. Or at least someone in the upper echelon of the CIA has developed a really intricate and complicated scheme. Whatever that scheme is never really develops but Noble and Bear suffer because of it.
It starts when the two of them try to save a family from what appears to be an assassination of the father. Noble doesn’t believe that the family and especially the children should be witnesses to this maneuver. He boldly steps forward and stops the procedure from happening.

The leader of the group is a man named Martinez who begins a scuffle with Noble. However Noble and Bear withstand the attempted putdown and Martinez with his men take off leaving Noble with Bear to watch over the family for a short while. Shortly after however is when the main part of this story really begins. Read the rest of this entry »

A Case of Need: A Novel by Michael Crichton

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A Case of NeedAn interesting (though somewhat boring book in places) about a young girl who dies or is killed from a botched abortion. At least that is the idea of A Case of Need as we begin working our way through the story. John Berry, a practicing pathologist is alerted to the fact that, Art Lee, an obstetrician friend of his has been arrested. Supposedly Lee performed the abortion that had ended up killing Karen Randall.

It seems that she was brought to Lee by her uncle, Peter Randall, and she requested the procedure. Lee claimed that he told her she was too far along (four months) in her pregnancy and that an abortion could not be performed safely. He says she left and then later died from a botched abortion.

After hearing Lee’s story, Berry gets somewhat crossways with the police, especially a Captain Peterson, when he decides to do some investigating himself. First off he does not believe Lee did it and secondly he realizes that the Randalls are not only an influential family but also a group of well-known doctors that gets their way, one way or another. Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Lie: A Jack Swyteck Novel by James Grippando

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

It’s time for another Presidential election. A widely-supported, if controversial, incumbent is facing off against a younger, more liberal opponent. As has happened before too many times, the popular vote winner appears to be on the losing end. The final result won’t be known until the Electoral College meets. However, the votes of the electors are governed by a myriad of laws, allowing for the possibility of “faithless” electors. One such elector has just surfaced in Florida and hires Jack Swytek to defend her right to vote her conscience and her fitness to serve , as well as against murder charges. There is a lot more to this case than meets the eye and Swytek will have to pull out all the stops to succeed for his client. Read the rest of this entry »

Verona by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

VeronaIn this one Deaver has written an interesting short story about a man being killed in Verona while driving home in his automobile. It turns out that he was Donald Lark, a gangster who commanded a good size portion of the Panhandle territory. That territory was wanted by several other gangs and two in particular.

At the funeral parlor Brendon Nagel and his right hand man scouted out the other potential gangs and leaders as to who might be the other gang looking to take over Lark’s territory. It turns out that the most likely group is led by John Yung and Ki, Yung’s right hand man. Both of them were standing by the casket and eyed Nagel and his man quickly and quietly. Read the rest of this entry »

Likely Suspects (Alexis Parker Book 1) by G.K. Parks

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Likely SuspectsPretty good read about Alexis Parker who has been working as an Investigator at the Office of International Operations but has decided to now strike out on her own. Her plan is to do security work or even private detective work. A good friend and former supervisor puts her in touch with a James Martin who is owner and active leader of Martin Technologies. After a somewhat strange interview and stranger introduction to Martin’s secretary, she is hired.

The problem appears to be that some one or more than one someone appears to be attempting to be doing damaging things to James Martin, possibly even killing him. As Alexis begins her new employment she finds that Martin expects her to basically act almost like a girlfriend. At dinner on the first day of employment it seems that several gunmen enter the restaurant and plan a holdup of the diners. Alexis and her former boss (Mark), who is along basically to further the introduction of the two, get the word from Martin to go after the gunmen and see how good the new security head of Martin Technologies really is. Read the rest of this entry »

Toward the Light by Bonnar Spring

Reviewed by James Eaton

This is a well-written book that, for the most part, impresses and engages, and here and there, strains credulity.

I suppose I’d also label it something of a slow burn, so as thrillers go, not substantially thrilling unless you put in the time. So put in the time. Patience rewards here.

Note: If you have seen and worshipped “The Princess Bride” as I have, you might need to take a pill to wipe Inigo Montoya from your memory banks, or you may find that wry swordsman haunting you, particularly at points in the story where I’m sure the writer of this novel did not envision invoking Mandy Patinkin.

Now that that’s out of the way, I will say that I, ultimately, enjoyed “Toward the Light.” The details, always in abundance, were essential to the illustration of the Guatemalan setting. I don’t feel, having just finished the book, that I’ve been to Guatemala, but I am quite sure the characters lived their lives and made their choices there, and that is what matters. Read the rest of this entry »

Lies She Never Told Me: A Novel (Historical Fiction Book 3) by John Ellsworth

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A historical type story that begins on the Great Lakes in July of 1915 when an excursion steamer capsizes and sinks. Hundreds of people are thrown into the water and many drown. However quite a few are saved and many by Knowles Graham a seventeen year old who jumped from his motorcycle right into the water to help out.

Strangely enough his bike and clothes had already caught the eyes of a group of “not too law abiding” cops. They ended up stopping Knowles and not only arrested him but pretty well beat the tar out of him before throwing him in jail. Shortly thereafter the same cops brought in another young man and threw him into the cell with Knowles after beating him pretty badly also. Knowles gave a lot of aid to the new man and together they made it through the night.

The other young man was Alphonse Capone who would later in life again run into Knowles Graham when they were each on opposite sides of the law. Knowles through some more good work that he does in saving a cop becomes not only a cop but moves all the way up through the system of government to eventually become Senator Graham from Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »

Tripwire (Jack Reacher, Book 3) by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very typical Jack Reacher story by Lee Child and another good one at that! Reacher is the former military man who retired and has spent his life traveling the United States with no money in his pocket. He has a retirement account in the bank and draws out some cash as he needs it. But most of the time he works at odd jobs, picking up enough cash to pay for his room and something to eat as he travels.

He hitchhikes most of the time or sometimes rides a bus or even a train on extreme occasions. His claim to fame is that no matter where he goes he runs into some sort of crime and he usually solves it by himself. He is meaner than a one-eyed mountain lion and can pretty much whip any individual who thinks otherwise.

In Tripwire he though working in south Florida ends up again traveling pretty much all over the country. And he does it this time with a young lady named Jodie Garber. Jodie is the daughter of General Leon Garber who not only was Reacher’s commanding officer at one time but also his best friend and best life trainer that anyone could have. It turns out that Jodie who had an insatiable crush on Reacher years ago is looking for him to help her with a problem. Reacher was also somewhat infatuated with Jodie years ago but being she was the general’s daughter and fifteen years younger than Reacher he did not explore it. Read the rest of this entry »

Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

“It’s just that the research I did turned up a murder where you used to live, where you were an English teacher.”
“There was a murder, and someone was arrested, yes, Kristi.”
“Were you the one who caught him, Mrs. Fletcher?”

That exchange, between Jessica Fletcher and a young woman she thinks is a reporter from the local high school newspaper, forms the heart of A Time for Murder, the 50th entry in the iconic Murder, She Wrote series. Jon Land, current series shepherd, has chosen to celebrate that milestone by taking us where no reader (or viewer, for that matter) has ever gone before: into Jessica’s past, specifically twenty-five years back in time, and the result is nothing short of a smashing, slam-dunk success unrivalled in the annuls of literary pop culture.

Jessica’s still married to a much alive husband Frank. And they’re raising their eight-year-old nephew Grady at the time, as she tries to carve out a career as a high school English teacher while struggling to get published.

“Is this a mystery?” one of her students asks, as the class dissects one of Jessica’s own short stories that she distributed anonymously.

It’s not supposed to be, but that gets her thinking, as does the murder of the beloved high school principal who was just about to hire her full-time. An office mishap is suspected at first, until Jessica displays her keen powers of observation for the first time while working with Appleton Maine’s only detective, none other than future Cabot Cove sheriff Amos Tupper.

But that flashback to the past is only part of Land’s fourth, and best, effort in the series so far. In the present, the high school reporter for whom Jessica granted an interview turns out not to be a reporter at all; in fact, she’s not even in high school. And when she turns up murdered herself after badgering Jessica about that murder in neighboring Appleton, we’re off to the races on a dead sprint that swiftly reveals a clear connection between these two killings separated by twenty-five years.