The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

Hardcover, 400 pages, Published August 16th 2010 by Little, Brown and Company, ISBN13: 9780316089517

The Postcard Killers

by

James Patterson and Liza Marklund

NYPD detective Jack Kanon is on a tour of Europe’s most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren’t what draw him–he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each restaurant through a killer’s eyes.

Kanon’s daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have become victims of the same sadistic killers.

Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter, Gabby Larsen. Every killing is preceded by a postcard to the local newspaper–and Kanon and Larsen think they know where the next victims will be. With relentless logic and unstoppable action, The Postcard Killers may be James Patterson’s most vivid and compelling thriller yet.

*Please note: I cannot quote anything from the book. I’d won and received an ARC copy through the contest on the author’s website.

NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon has been all over Europe for almost six months. His on the trail of a serial killer, one that sends postcards and pictures to the newspapers before and after each killing.

But it’s for sure the murders are being committed by a serial killer. Victims are of young couples in love, either boyfriend/girlfriend, engaged, or newlyweds. The victims are drugged, murdered (throats slit), and posed, and polaroid pictures are taken and sent to the same person they previously sent the postcards to. The murders are committed once, in one city, then the killer moves on.

Jacob is on the hunt for what he calls The Postcard Killers, and won’t stop until they’re caught. At every murder, he becomes more and more frustrated, and despair is crashing on him. You see, he’d sent his daughter on vacation to Rome with her fiance, and she was one of the Postcard Killers’s victims. Guilt-ridden, he’s determined to catch them, no matter the cost.

Dessie Larsson, a Swedish reporter, received a postcard and wonders what it’s supposed to mean. But then the polaroid arrives, and she’s dragged into the case, against her wishes. She’s persuaded by the police to write a letter and publish it in the newspaper, meant to capture the killers’ attention. It does, in a gruesome way, and now Dessie feels responsible for the second set of victims, believing that, if she hadn’t written the letter, the killers would have moved on and the victims in Stockholm would still be alive.

Together, Jacob and Dessie comb through the evidence, the postcards, the polaroids. There’s a pattern, but just when it seems obvious, it floats away. One picture in particular haunts Dessie, for the posed victims remind her of something. After talking to her ex-husband, she’s figured out what all the polaroids have in common; the victims are posed to immitate reknown paintings, famous paintings.

When clues fall into place, pictures of the killers are released to the media, and a widespread manhunt ensues, only to have the tables turned on them. The killers give themselves up, acting like a pair of tourists caught in the middle of the whole fiasco. Jacob is sure they are the killers, but there’s not enough evidence. No prints, no DNA, no nothing.

But when they’re released, Jacob loses it. He needs to find evidence it’s them, and decides to investiage their pasts – in Los Angeles. The more people he talks to, the more he’s certain that Sylvia and Malcolm Rudolph, twins, sister and brother, are the killers.

As more clues fall into place, he returns to Dessie, and together the find another clue: a website created about their art group. One page needs a password to access, and no matter what they try, the password is denied. That is, until they hit the right password. What they find, is indescribable.

The killers aren’t just Sylvia and her twin brother, Malcolm, but several other people, all over Europe. All part of the same art group, and art group formed by Sylvia and Malcolm.

Jacob and Dessie are hot on the twins’s trail, through northern Sweden, where Dessie had enlisted the help of her cousin to see if they could find and track the twins. When news of a second car theft reaches them, Dessie passes on the information to her cousin, and the car gets spotted.

The climax of the story is swift and brutal, but the epilogue is very sweet.

**Not your garden-variety killers. Ha! (If you read the book, you’ll catch the pun, LOL!)

I liked Dessie right from the beginning. Even though she was a small-time reporter, she didn’t want to be reknown. That wasn’t for her. She didn’t care if her byline was under the biggest story. She wasn’t in it for the prestige. Her morals and beliefs grounded her, and I liked that about her very much. When the police persuade her to post a letter to the killers, offering them a large sum of money for an interview, she’s viewed in the media as unethical and immoral, and this really disturbs her.

Jacob is on a one-track mind: to find his daugther’s killers, no matter the cost. Severely depressed by guilt, believing that if he hadn’t sent his daughter and her boyfriend/fiance to Rome on vacation, she’d still be alive, he’ll stop at nothing to find and capture her killers. I liked his tenacity, even if I found him to be immoral at times. For him, morality flew out the window the minute he confirmed his dead daughter’s body was his daughter’s. I also loved how the walls he built around himself came crashing down when Dessie came into the picture, and how her face kept coming to mind while he was away from her. I think Dessie was his “saving grace.”

The killers, Malcolm and Sylvia Rudolph… what a pair of psychotics. I think the most disturbing to me was watching them interact with their victims. *shudder* Reading a murder-mystery, you expect gruesome crime scenes, so I was prepared for it. But you don’t really get into the killers minds, you just see them interact with everyone around them, how they act with their victims, how they “put on a show” about being simple art students and tourists, taking in the sights and museums… that was disturbing.

The climax was perfect. And the epilogue was sweet. One thing, though… I’d have liked to see Jacob “say goodbye” to his daughter with Dessie beside him.

Another perfect James Patterson novel. No unneeded details or descriptions, vivid descriptions bring mental pictures to mind that make you shudder, characters that are complicated with simple words, and short chapters make this a quick, but very enjoyable, read. Highly recommended!

Rating: .5

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Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath – “Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels” series Book #1

Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages - Publisher: Hyperion (May 31, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 078689072X - ISBN-13: 978-0786890729

Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages - Publisher: Hyperion (May 31, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 078689072X - ISBN-13: 978-0786890729

 

Whiskey Sour

by J.A. Konrath

“Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels” series Book #1

Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is an insomniac Chicago cop with a train wreck of a personal life and a stalker bent on adding her to his murder list. Join Jack, her binge-eating partner, a sleazy PI, and two very stupid FBI agents on a wild hunt for the Gingerbread Man – a killer who makes Hannibal Lector look like Huck Fin.

Whiskey Sour, the first in the Jack Daniels series, cleverly combines laugh-out-loud humor with edge-of-your-seat suspense. This is serial murder – with a twist.

Review: A laugh-out-loud, in-your-face mystery.

Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels, yes that’s her real name, you can check her ID, is a divorced, 40 something insomniac, who is good at her job. And that’s it, as far as she believes. At one point, she had it all: marriage to a great guy, a budding career… only, her ambitions took over. She became a great lieutenant detective in the Violent Crimes unit, and believes her marriage failed because of it. In her words, “it was all her fault.” Married to her career, she doesn’t have a personal life. Her latest boyfriend left a “Dear Jack” letter on her fridge, then left a message on her answering machine asking her to put his things in storage. Instead, she left them in the hall.

A new case pops up; a woman found dumped in a garbage can, um, rear-end facing upwards. Stapled to the victim, a note: “you cant catch ME IM THE GINGERBREAD MAN.” And it doesn’t end there. More bodies are found, and other than finding twine imbedded in the victims’ wrists and ankles, there are very little clues to go on. With pressure from the mayor, Jack her her partner Herb, are now stuck with two FBI agents who are sent to profile their madman, using the ViCAP computer. Only, their profile is off – way off. And nothing they get from the computer is worth a dime.

Meanwhile, tampered candy is left in her car, causing havoc and ending up with eleven stitches in Herb’s mouth. Clues have her questioning her ex-partner, and Herb convinces Jack to try Lunch Mates, a dating service. And her lucky first date ended up with a hell of a lot more than he bargained for.

**Laugh-out-loud funny is right. The deadpan jokes had me cracking up. I liked Jack. I liked her in-your-face personality, and you really get the feel for her. No buttered up and overdone descriptions, the entire story is to the point. You get her background quick and easy, and you kind of feel bad for her. Being married to her job, she believes she can’t have a personal life, yet we see her make a friend out of a criminal she’d arrested when she was still in uniform, and the new guy, who got more than he bargained for, has kept in touch, even from the hospital. I think there’s hope for her yet.

I liked her partner, pushing without being pushy. I see him as her polar opposite, yet they’re both just as determined to get the job done and see justice is served.

I liked the mystery. Even though you know who the murderer is, it was watching the good guys going after him that was really well done. Warning: at one point, it does get a little gory. But I’m a Stephen King fan, so that didn’t bother me in the least. And getting inside the killer’s mind – enough to give me a couple of shivers.

While the story is a little less than three hundred pages, you get all of what a good book is made of. I liked the fact that there wasn’t any filler – nothing that draws you away from the plot, even when hitting Jack’s personal life. Straight, to the point, and still, it involves the story. Terrific novel, and I plan on continuing the series.

Rating:

The Prey by Allison Brennan – “Predator” trilogy Book #1

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages - Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 27, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0345480236 - ISBN-13: 978-0345480231

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages - Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 27, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0345480236 - ISBN-13: 978-0345480231

 

The Prey

by Allison Brennan

“Predator” trilogy Book #1

First, she imagined it. Then a killer made it real.

Rowan Smith is living in a borrowed Malibu beach house while her bestselling novel is made into a Hollywood movie. A former FBI agent with a haunted past, Rowan thinks she has outrun her demons. But fiction and reality collide when a dismembered body is found in Colorado: the real-life victim had the same name, occupation, and looks as a character in Rowan’s novel. By the time the FBI, LAPD, and her own private bodyguard gather around her, another person is killed – again, the murder ripped from the pages of Rowan’s book.

In the company of a former Delta Force officer with secrets of his own, Rowan faces an excruciating dilemma: the only way to chase down the tormenting killer is by revisiting the darkness of her past – and by praying for some way out again.

After the prey is chosen, the hunt is on and the kill is certain.

Review: Not bad for a debut novel.

Former FBI agent Rowan Smith last case haunted her so much, she quit the FBI. Parts of the case hit too close to home. At the age of 10, she witnessed her brother Bobby’s evilness when he murdered most of the members of her family. The only ones alive besides herself are her brother and her father, but her father may as well be dead. She saw her mother’s bloodied, lifeless corpse and believe he killed her. Now he sits in a mental ward, no life in his eyes. Now she’s an author whose books are being made into movies. Staying in Hollywood in a rented beach house, she’s currently working on the next movie. One morning she wakes up to the slamming of a car door. Answering the door was the worst thing she could have done; reporters were camped on her doorstep, wanting to know her reaction to a murder that was taken straight from one of her books.

When another murder happens, her producer, Annette hires a security firm. Michael Flynn, ex-cop, is on the case, determined to protect her. But he’s also falling for her, and his brother, John, ex-DEA, wonders if it’s a repeat of a past case that went horribly wrong. Their sister, Tess, makes up the entire security firm, she’s their computer expert. When more events occur, John believes Rowan’s hiding something, and believes Michael’s too smitten to properly protect her. He wonders if what she’s hiding could get them killed.

As more and more murders occur, and her books left behind at the scene, FBI and the Flynn brothers agree that someone is after Rowan. But who could it be? Someone she put away, a family member of someone she put away or a victim? And then she begins to wonder if it’s someone from her past. But who? Everyone but herself, her brother Peter and her father are alive. Who could it be?

** I have to be honest; If this had been the first Brennan novel I’ve read, I probably would have enjoyed it more. But because I’ve read her more recent work, I found this one lacking.

For a debut novel, it was good. Not great, but good. I’ve read similar plots before and I didn’t find this one original enough to score 5 stars from me.

And emotionally diconnected. Rowan closed herself off from everyone. And in doing so, the reader also feels disconnected from her. Yes, what happened in her past is terrible, no kid should have to live through that, and I have to say I was proud at the life she built despite it. But with an emotional lack coming from the main character, it through the whole book off. Intelligent, strong, she can defend herself. But her past tortures her emotionally, and the reader doesn’t feel it.

John. Ex-DEA, he brings baggage to the story as well, but I found him more likable than Rowan. Strong, self-assured, he’s haunted when a case went terribly wrong, and he’s determined to catch Pomera, the man he’s been after for years. He started the security firm with his brother.

Michael. How am I supposed to approach this? He’s supposed to be an ex-cop. Supposed to have been a cop for 15 years before he quit. I’m sorry, but what I got from him was a smitten teenager in his late teens! OMG! He was attracted to Rowan right from the beginning. While they had their runs on the beach in the morning, he’s too busy watching her than their surroundings. When John pushes Rowan for the truth, for details, Michael makes him back off and coddles her. WTH?! He acted more like a love-sick teenager, jealous of his brother, than the grown man he was supposed to be. Granted, what happens in the book is awful and while I wished him off the case, I didn’t wish for what happened to happen.

And while I felt a physical attraction between Rowan and John, I didn’t feel anything else but. I felt more from the other characters. I did like the suspense and the mystery, even though finding out who the killer is was rather predictable. The climax and ending had me flipping pages. Started of slow, picked up in the middle, and about 3/4’s of the way in, became really good.

Will this stop me from reading The Hunt and The Kill? No. I’ve been told they’re much better. But this one doesn’t rate top marks from me, and I’m sad to say it.

Rating:

Don’t Look Twice by Andrew Gross (‘Ty Hauck’ series Book #2)

Hardcover: 384 pages - Publisher: William Morrow (March 3, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0061143448 - ISBN-13: 978-0061143441

Hardcover: 384 pages - Publisher: William Morrow (March 3, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0061143448 - ISBN-13: 978-0061143441

 

Don’t Look Twice

by Andrew Gross

‘Ty Hauck’ series Book #2

In this dramatic new novel following the bestselling The Dark Tide, a drive-by shooting rocks the posh suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut, and an innocent bystander is dead.

Detective Ty Hauck punges into what seems like a vicious case of retribution and follows the trail to a sinister gambling scheme at an upstate casino. Until Annie Fletcher, a young restauranteur in the midst of rebuilding her life, witnesses something she shouldn’t have – and immediately runs to him with what she knows. Suddenly, Hauck is pulled into a rising storm far greater than it first appeared – a storm wide enough to encompass corruption inside Greenwich’s circle of wealthy and powerful citizens. And punishing enough to consume Hauck’s own family, and tear brothers apart forever … if it doesn’t kill them first.

Don’t Look Twice is a gripping story of profiteering on an international scale and an emotionally resonant domestic thriller from one of the hottest new talents in suspense fiction.

Review: Fast-paced whodunnit and emotional, but plot twists rather predictable.

Ty and his daughter, Jessie, are at the gas station, stocking up on fuel and supplies before taking the boat out for its final voyage of the year. While standing in line, a red truck slams to a stop outside and bullets start flying. Ty got a look at the shooter, and a partial plate, but when he turns to see if everyone’s alright, Jessie is unconscious and covered in blood. Ty flashes back to when Norah, his other daughter, was killed years ago when the car backed down the driveway, running her over. Jessie is fine, but in shock, and the blood isn’t hers; the blood belongs to David Sanger, federal prosecutor who was standing in line behind them.

At first, the shooting seemed an act of gang revenge. But looks are deceiving, for as the investigation progresses, and the body count starts to rise, the case goes so much deeper than Ty could have possibly imagined, from the lowest of the low to people high-up in the political chain, including a U.S. senator. Ty discovers that his brother, Warren, is also involved. The questions is – how deep?

**The author writes his characters in such a way that, good or evil, they seem entirely real, entirely human. Ty is a smart detective, tenacious, determined.

I could feel the difference between Ty and Karen (from The Dark Tide.) There was a distance, and I could tell the love wasn’t there any more. Truthfully, I don’t think it was really there to begin with. And while that really is too bad, a new female character, Annie, a restauranteur, becomes involved when she witnesses a gang member disposing something in the dumpster behind her restaurant – the gun that had been used in the drive-by shooting. I could feel something between them, and I really can’t wait to see in the next book if Ty and Annie take it any further.

It was nice to be introduced to Warren, Ty’s older brother. You can tell that their relationship is a strained one; Ty had witness something involving Warren a long time ago, and it put a distance between them. Just when it looks like they’re going to become close again, a twist in the plot will leave the reader feeling just as hollow and angry as Ty does.

I have to admit, I found the plot twists rather predictable. It’s like I could tell where this was going, how deep the case really went and how high up the “food chain” it really was. And by the time you hit the end of the story, you’re left as unsatisfied as Ty – because if he actually went all the way, there was still no proving what he knew. Without proof, it was like Ty had to drop it, knowing that he wouldn’t/couldn’t win. And that was sad. For me, a mystery needs a solved case and a happy ending. A friend is murdered in an explosion in Ty’s home – an explosion meant for him, leaving Ty feeling guilty and worn out. And just when he needs his boss the most, I find that Vern isn’t there for Ty like he should be. As the chief, you’d think he’d be just as bent as Ty to finding the truth. Personally, I think it was obvious Vern knew more than he was letting on, and the more it went on, the more I became disgusted with a character I liked in the first novel, The Dark Tide.

I think I liked this book more for the emotional value than the mystery, if I may be honest with you. The emotions during and after the shooting, when he reconnects with his brother and ultimately losing him, the guilt he feels for the explosion meant for him, losing Karen all while knowing there was no longer a relationship to save, the offer of a new job… the emotions roll off the page as you’re reading this novel, and it makes it hard to put down.

Rating:

The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross (“Ty Hauck” series Book #1)

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages - Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 006114343X - ISBN-13: 978-0061143434

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages - Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 006114343X - ISBN-13: 978-0061143434

 

The Dark Tide

by Andrew Gross

“Ty Hauck” series Book #1

On the morning Karen Friedman learns that her husband, a hedge fund manager, has been tragically killed, Detective Ty Hauck begins his investigation of another man’s death in a suspicious hit-and-run in Karen’s hometown. The two seemingly unrelated tragedies are about to plunge a beautiful widow and a determined investigator into a maelstrom of murder, vast sums of missing money, and international conspiracy.

Review: Fast-paced, deception, lies, conspiracies, plot-twists… excellent!

One morning, while at her yoga class, Karen Friedman, along with everyone there, learns of the bombing at Grand Central Station. At first, Karen feels horrible for the people involved in some way. Until that same horror starts to sink in – her husband had taken the train to work that morning after bringing the car in for servicing. Trying not to panic, she tries to reach him – but he’s gone. The first bomb was set off in the first two cars, and Charlie always sat in the first car. There’s nothing left of him to identify – only part of his briefcase was found.

A year later, with the kids away for the night, Karen is determined to watch the documentary on TV. Just when she watch anymore, reaching for the remote to turn it off, whose face does she see? But it can’t be … can it? Is Charlie really still alive?

Nearly a week goes by when Karen finally decides she needs to talk to someone about this. She won’t tell the kids – they were just as devastated as she was when Charlie was supposedly killed. Recording the documentary on a DVR, she takes it to detective Ty Hauck.

She had met Ty previously when he came to her home. On the day of the bombing, he had been at a case of hit and run, and Charlie’s name and number had been in the kid’s pocket. Ty’s about the only one she can trust.

And that’s when the fun begins. Ty takes a leave of absense, determined to find answers for Karen. Conspiracies, lies, deception, Karen can’t believe her husband of 18 years was even involved. But the biggest shocker is actually finding Charlie and hearing his confession. Only, it doesn’t stop there.

**Great book! Had a hard time putting it down.

Karen is a strong woman, in mind and body. Determined, she wants to hear the entire thing from Charlie’s mouth, face-to-face – she and their children deserve that much. Once she latches on, like a pitbull, doesn’t let go.

Ty has lived a hell in his past, one that he actually couldn’t get passed, until he met Karen. But with Karen in his life, he moves forward, looking to the future, feeling emotions deep down that he never thought he’d feel again. Just as determined as she is, he breaks laws he’d sworn to uphold to get to the bottom of the whole matter, and it nearly cost them their lives.

From bombs to hit-and-runs, to connections in between… From plot-twist to plot-twist, conspiracies, lies and deception, this one had it all. There was a little romance put in, but I felt it was more like an on the side type of deal. While I did feel something between Karen and Ty, it wasn’t as strong a spark as it could have been. I also felt that when the action starts, the dialogue suffered a little – well, enough that I can’t give this one a full five stars.

Regardless, great mystery, great plot, enough action to satisfy, and emotions roll throughout. Excellent read!

Rating:

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood (‘Buchanan-Renard’ series Book #1)

Mass Market Paperback: 520 pages - Publisher: Pocket (August 28, 2001) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0671034006 - ISBN-13: 978-0671034009

Mass Market Paperback: 520 pages - Publisher: Pocket (August 28, 2001) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0671034006 - ISBN-13: 978-0671034009

 

Heartbreaker

by Julie Garwood

‘Buchanan-Renard’ series Book #1

“The suspense builds nonstop … {and} will leave your heart pounding” (Kansas City Star) in this stunning New York Times bestseller from Julie Garwood – a thrilling excursion into the soaring heights, and the darkest impulses, of the human heart.

“Bless me father, for I will sin…” In the still shadows of the confessional, a madman tauntingly reveals his plan for a murder he is going to commit, pulling Father Thomas Madden into a twisted game by disclosing his next intended victim: Tom’s sister, Laurant. In a frantic race to protect her, Tom calls upon his best friend, elite FBI agent Nick Buchanan, to track the predator who is closing in on Laurant. Now, as an electrifying attraction grows between Laurant and Nick, so does the danger – and one false move will cost both of them everything that matters.

Review: “Heart Pounding” beginning and great ending, but drags in the middle.

In the sweltering heat, Father Tom is in the confessional, doing his duty. But today will be a different sort of day, for a murderer will enter the confessional and ask for absolution for a sin he is going to commit. But what scares him the most: this murderer plans on killing his sister, Laurant.

When Laurant doesn’t hear from her brother, she becomes concerned, scared even, and heads to Kansas to see him, fearing that his latest test results confirmed that the cancer was back and he was having chemotherapy treatments. When she gets there, she’s happy that the cancer has not returned, but her world is still torn upside down, for a murderer wants her, and for the kindhearted woman she is, she doesn’t understand how she can be the target of a madman.

Nick Buchanan, an FBI agent and Father Tom’s best friend since they were kids, is supposed to be on vacation, but the second he hears from Tom, he heads straight to Kansas and vows to protect Tom’s sister. When Laurant suggests using herself as bait, Nick argues: he doesn’t want here anywhere near Holy Oaks. But the rest of the team, including Laurant, disagrees with him, for if Laurant was to run and hide, how long would she be constantly looking over her shoulder. She won’t allow it, and takes the decision out of his hands when the killer calls, taunting them all.

When a suspect is eventually caught, Nick can’t believe it. Are his instincts out of whack? Could it be that he really is tired and due for a vacation, to recharge, to get himself back in the game? For his instincts are screaming that it’s not right: that the whole thing was just too easy. And even while everyone is assuring him that the evidence is building against this suspect, that they have their man, Nick believes they’re wrong. Question is, if they are, will Nick still be able to save Laurant?

**I really liked the beginning. The killer, his whispers, his words, gave me the chills. I’m sure I’d have reacted the same as Father Tom had. And I liked Tom. A very down-to-earth priest, he’s kind, selfless, never shirking his duty no matter how much he wishes he could.

Nick, strong, selfless, he’s also very determined. Even when he tries to keep Laurant at arm’s length, she still managed to get under his skin.

Laurant, a strong female character. She cares, almost to a fault, about everyone around her. Strong, kind, she helps in anyway she can. Egging the murderer on might not be a very bright idea, but as unselfish as she is, she’s not thinking about herself – she’s thinking about the women out there that could end up substituting her until the murderer gets his hands on her, and she can’t accept that.

I liked the mystery, and what action there was, was terrific, especially the climax of the story. When the suspect is arrested, I believed as Nick did – it had been too easy. No mystery I’ve ever read had ever been that easy. What bugged me a little was that the middle of the story seemed to lag – it was almost like this could have been a 250 page Harlequin romantic-suspense novel – the center seemed like “filler”. Stuff that happens that really didn’t need to happen. And most of it was all talk. Had there been more attacks of some sort, more action, I think the story would have been a lot better. But for what there was, it was good. I think, LOL, my favourite part was, knowing how very much Nick hated to fly, he flew over an ocean to get Laurant back. Very sweet ending.

Rating:

Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger

978-0307388995

Mass Market Paperback: 444 pages - Publisher: Vintage (April 29, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0307388999 - ISBN-13: 978-0307388995

 

Beautiful Lies

by Lisa Unger

Ridley Jones has been living a lie. A myserious package showed up on her doorstep one morning and the beautiful lie she used to call her life was over. Suddenly, everyone she knows feels like a stranger. She has no idea who’s on her side and who has something to hide – even her new lover, Jake, might have disturbing secrets of his own.

Now she’s determined to find out the truth, even if it means risking her life.

Review: Family secrets you like you can’t imagine.

It all started when Ridley saves a little boy from being run over in the middle of the street. That fifteen minutes of fame – are going to cost her like you wouldn’t believe.

A grainy photo and the words: “Are you my daughter?” are shoved under her door, and this starts the entire train of destruction. Everyone she knows has been lying to her, from her parents to her brother, her ex-fiance and friend, Zach and his mother, Esme. Even her deceased Uncle Max lied to her. Everyone is telling her that, because of her act of bravery, it’s bringing crazies out of the woodwork, but for some reason, that doesn’t ring true for Ridley, and she becomes determined to find out why.

And it seems that the only one she believes she can trust is Jake, a man who recently moved into her apartment building. After a little research, Ridley learns that the woman in the photo, Teresa Elizabeth Stone, had been murdered in 1972 and her 18-month-old daughter, Jessie Amelia Stone, went missing. It was believed that Christina Luna, father of Jessie, had murdered her and disappeared with the child. With Jake’s help, she gets in contact with the man who sent her the photo, Christian Luna. He’d found Teresa’s body that night, and Jessie missing, and he ran, knowing that he would be a supsect, for Teresa had a restraining order on him, and he’d been banging on her door, drunk as a skunk, earlier that night.

But as Ridley is talking to him in the park, he’s shot dead beside her, rifle shot to the head.

Lies upon lies tumble, and Ridley becomes even more determined. Whether or not she is Jessie, she’s going to find out what happened over thirty years ago. Who killed Teresa Elizabeth Stone? And what happened to Jessie?

I’d had high hopes. I’d heard such good things about this author that when Crystal suggested this book as a Buddy Read, I jumped on it. I think we both may be regretting the idea.

It’s not that it was a bad book. The action was superb, the mystery was great, the plot thick, the lies, deceit and twists ties the reader up in knots. The characters have you wondering, but the main character, Ridley… oh, boy, where do I start?

You can tell she grew up in a bubble of her parents love and money. Naive, she knows about bad things in the world, but she really had no idea. Reading about it is one thing, but being involved is another, and her eyes are being opened rather drastically, rather quickly. But the rambling… OMG, the rambling! It screams FILLER! It may give you an idea about the kind of person she is, how she grew up, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah, but enough is enough! At one point, she even jokes that we might be upset at her rambling but that there’s a point to it. I’m sorry, but there was stuff rambled about that had no bearing to the story whatsoever. The rambling drove me crazy, and I even had my husband look at me funny when I yelled: “Get to the point, already!” Not once, but three times.

And while I did feel that spark, that click between her and Jake, the relationship hit high really quick… too quick. First the sex (which is painfully really nothing to gossip about whatsoever,) then the I love you’s inside a week? Are we really supposed to believe that? Sure, I felt that connection, but the rest went way too fast. Sorry, Ms. Unger, but readers of the suspense/thriller genre are not that naive.

And the ending – perfect set up for a second book. And honestly, I wasn’t happy… Not. One. Bit. Way too many unanswered questions, plus we still don’t know who actually killed Teresa Stone. Now I feel like I’m being forced to pick up the second book, Sliver of Truth, in order to find out. To me, that screams: guaranteed sales. From an author’s and publisher’s stand-point, that’s awesome. From a reader’s stand-point, a huge load of B.S. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll pick up Sliver of Truth. I feel cheated, and I don’t like feeling cheated.

I can’t say it was a bad book, cause it wasn’t – not to me, anyway. But it wasn’t the greatest for me. Do I recommend it? *shrug* The choice is yours.

Rating:

Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodworth (‘Violet Eyes’ series Book #1)

Dell

Format: Mass Market Paperbound - Published: August 31, 2004 - 368 Pages - ISBN: 0553803379 - Published By: Dell

 

Through Violet Eyes

by Stephen Woodworth

‘Violet Eyes’ series book #1

In a world where the dead can testify against the living, someone is getting away with murder. Because to every generation are born a select few souls with violet-colored eyes, and the ability to channel the dead. Both rare and precious – and rigidly controlled by a society that craves their services – these Violets perform a number of different duties. The most fortunate increase the world’s cultural heritage by channeling the still-creative spirits of famous dead artists and musicians. The least fortunate aid the police and the law courts, catching criminals by interviewing the deceased victims of violent crime.

But now the Violets themselves have become the target of a brutal serial murderer – a murderer who had learned how to mask his or her identity even from the victims. Can the FBI, aided by a Violet so scared of death that she is afraid to live, uncover the criminal in time? Or must more of her race be dispatched to the realm that has haunted them all since childhood?

Review: I started and finished this book on Saturday, May 19th, 2007.

What can I say… I thought this book was pretty good, for a debut novel. I liked the plot, wasn’t too thrilled on the ending, though. I thought the characters needed a little more development – there wasn’t enough of who they were and why their thoughts were the way they were. I didn’t like the romance part of it – it just didn’t seem natural to me, kind of like a ‘now or never’ situation, and I didn’t enjoy that.

I did, however, thought that the whole “Violet” thing was definitely a very fresh idea. I’d never read anything like that before, and I enjoyed the aspect of it tremendously. I still think the plot could’ve used some more work, but not bad for a debut novel. I may just give another of his novels a try.

Rating: .75

Killer Takes All by Erica Spindler

Mira Books

Format: Mass Market Paperbound - Published: May 1, 2006 - 480 Pages - ISBN: 0778323056 - Published By: Mira Books

 

Killer Takes All

by Erica Spindler

“The White Rabbit beckons you to follow him, down the rabbit hole, into his world. He’s a deceiver, a trickster. You won’t know what is truth and what is a lie. He aims to best you. Beat you. And when he does, you die.”

When a friend is found brutally murdered in her New Orleans apartmnet, former homicide detective Stacy Killian has reason to believe her death is related to the cultish fantasy role-playing game White Rabbit. The game is dark, violent – and addictive.

As a former member of the Dallas police force, Stacy was exposed to more than her share of the horrors of crime. Moving to New Orleans was her attempt to pursue a quieter life. But her friend’s murder plunges her back into the role that she fled – especially after she meets Spencer Malone, the homicide detective assigned to the murder case. Stacy doubts the overconfident rookie is up to the task and vows to track down the killer herself.

Her investigation draws her into the privileged circle of White Rabbit’s brillian creator, Leo Noble, a man with many dark secrets in his past … a man whose life has the same frightening surreal quality of the game he invented.

As the bodies mount and the game is taken to the next level, Stacy and Spencer are forced to work together. Soon they are trapped in the terrifying world of a game gone mad where Leo Noble and all the people around him are suspects, cryptic notes foretell the next victim and no one – no one – is safe.

Because White Rabbit is more than a game. It’s more real than life and death. And anyone can die before the final moment when the game is over … and the killer takes all.

Review: Finished Thursday, May 11th, 2006. Totally wicked!!! Spindler does it again. I had only thought I was right, and boy, was I wrong! Spindler knows how to introduce her characters, knows exactly where and when to put twists in her plots. She’s one author that knows how to surprise her readers, keeping them in suspense and makes you turn the page while holding your breath. At the end of the book, I was surprised, and dammit, I shouldn’t have been, having read her other books, but she got me again, and does it every time! Word of warning: Read See Jane Die first. You’ll get to know Stacy beforehad. Plus, I had only recently learned what RPG’s really were (having watched a CSI: New York episode a few months back.) Spindler really gets into the RPG facts, and the details are not boring in the least. If you’ve never heard of RPG’s (role-playing games,) you’ll find out about it in this book. (ie: Dungeons&Dragons.)

Rating:

Triptych by Karin Slaugther

Dell Publishing

Format: Mass Market Paperbound - Published: July 31, 2007 - 512 Pages - ISBN: 0440242924 - Published By: Dell Publishing

 

Triptych

by Karin Slaughter

In the city of Atlanta, women are dying – at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frienzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread – and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael’s lover before she became his enemy.

But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer’s trail in the most coincidental of ways – someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open…

Review: Read in 2997. This is the first Karin Slaughter book I’ve read. Doesn’t mean I don’t already have some of hers on my shelf, LOL! There’s a series she wrote, but I’m missing a couple in the series, and I won’t read them till I have them all.

I liked the twists in the book. The characters were great. I don’t know how much of a review I can give without blowing or spoiling anything for anyone. Okay,I can say I had my suspicions in the last half of the book, and I wasn’t correct in a couple of them. I liked the plot, the characters, the setting made you feel like you were right there with them. Excellent!

Rating: .5