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

Advertisements

Mania by Craig Larsen

Mass Market Paperback - 376 Pages - ISBN-13: 978-0786021543

Mania

by Craig Larsen

On the foggy streets of Seattle, a serial killer known as the Street Butcher is terrorising the city. Newspaper photographer Nick Wilder is accustomed to seeing gruesome homicide scenes. But when the Street Butcher claims Nick’s brother his latest casualty, the case suddenly becomes very personal. Determined to find his brother’s killer, Nick stumbles into a dizzying labyrinth of deceit and danger. As he digs deeper, Nick discovers his own past holds a key to unmasking a clever, diabolical psychopath. But the real motives behind the murders are as cold and stark as Seattle’s winters – and much more blood will spill before Nick learns the horrifying truth.
 
**Review: A definitely terrific read!

Before I even get started on my own review, I gotta mention: widely known and loved authors, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Gregg Olsen and William Lashner, all give this book high marks. I’m right there with them! Two thumbs way up, Craig Larsen!

Nick Wilder isn’t new to gruesome scenes. As a photographer for a Seattle newspaper, he’s seen his fair share of crime scenes. The lastest aren’t any better. But soon enough, a pattern developes, and the Street Butcher is turning into a serial killer.

The deeper Nick begins to dig, the more the pattern developes, for Seattle isn’t the only city seeing these gruesome murders. But things are getting more complicated. Nick’s brother, Sam, is murdered. A public official is murdered, and Nick is having dizzy spells, blackouts with missing time, and is starting to have flashbacks of traumatic experiences from when he and Sam were kids.

But all of this goes deeper than anyone realizes, and who’s to say if it’ll ever stop.

**Incredible first novel by a talented author. Keep ’em coming, Craig!

When Mr. Larsen PM’d me to see if I’d like a copy of his book, I jumped at the chance. His novel is one in a genre I like very much. Who’d say no to a book that’s getting terrific reviews? Of course I said yes, LOL! And, boy howdy, am I ever glad I did!

The confusion, the flashbacks, the twists from past to present, all that blended well. The character is confused and baffled, and the feeling is pressing into the reader. You feel that confusion, and you keep turning the page to see what happens next.

I found it suspicious that Nick met Sara the way he did. I didn’t like her from the beginning. Now I know why. There’s just something about her that puts a person off, especially her “vagueness”. And this is all before Nick follows her when she sneaks out of their bed so as not to wake him.

But I never even thought to think that Sam’s brother had anything to do with this. Or even the detective for that matter. There is a certain amount of predictability, but not enough to put off a reader. A few too many adjectives, but as author Stephen King as an influence, I can see where that comes from. SK is one of my fave authors, LOL, so I didn’t mind the overuse one bit. I did find that the characters, some of them, lacked depth.

Yet still, the confusion, the blackouts, the flashbacks of Nick’s past, all play the part well. Put all together, they turned an incredible book that much better.

Mr. Larsen, you keep cranking out books like this, and you’ll have a fan here who’ll keep reading them. Bravo!

Rating:

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages - Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 Reprint edition (December 2, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0312365713 - ISBN-13: 978-0312365714

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages - Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 Reprint edition (December 2, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0312365713 - ISBN-13: 978-0312365714

 

In this town, the bad have it good…

Blue Heaven

by C.J. Box

A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother are on the run in the Idaho woods, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder – four men who know exactly who William and Annie are. And where their mother lives.

Retired policemen from Los Angeles, the killers easily persuade the local sheriff to let them lead the search for the missing children. Now there’s nowhere left for William and Annie to hide … and no one they can trust. Until they meet Jess Rawlins.

Rawlins, an old-school rancher, knows trouble when he sees it. But he is only one against four men who will stop at nothing to silence their witnesses. What these ex-cops do not know is just how far Rawlins will go to protect William and Annie … and see that justice is done.

Review: My first C.J. Box – won’t be my last!

Their mother’s current beau was still there that morning and walked into the kitchen, finding twelve-year-old Annie and ten-year-old William at the table eating breakfast. Following a quick conversation, Tom promised William he’d take William fishing that afternoon – school was letting out early. Upset with her mother that she’d allow that man into her home, and upset that Tom broke his promise to William, the pair set out on their own to the creek. Neither knows how to fish, but Annie is a determined girl; she figures that if Tom knows how to fish, it can’t be all that hard to learn.

But once at the creek, the children witness an execution-style murder and are now on the run from the three men who spotted them. Only, it’s not just the three men: after being rescued, Annie quickly learns that their rescuer is in on it as well. Again on the run, they’ve taken refuge in Jess Rawlins’s barn.

Retired Santa Anita policeman, Eduardo Villatoro, has come to town, wanting to solve a case that still haunts him. A few years back, after the races in Santa Anita, several million dollars was being transfered from the racetrack to the bank. The armored cars were stopped and one of the officers were killed. All this time, the killers were never found, the money still missing. But several of the bills that matched the recorded serial numbers have been deposited lately, most through a bank in Kootenai Bay (Blue Heaven). Villatoro is determined to solve this last case.

Rawlins, an old-school rancher, thinks at first that Annie and William couldn’t have witnessed what they said they did. It didn’t make any sense; especially when the supposed killers turn out to be retired policemen from Los Angeles. But as Jess continues with questions while the children are hiding in his home, he learns that the children were right. Now the four men are heading the search for the missing children, one of them staying with their mother in her house, keeping her away from the public, the media and the phone. And now Jess, divorced with a mentally ill and drug-addicted son, a man about to lose his family’s ranch, is determined to keep the children alive. But what will he do when the killers figure out the children are hiding in his home?

**Fabulously told, rich with descriptions and well-developed characters.

Jess Rawlins doesn’t see himself as a brave savior; he only wants to do what’s right. But he is a strong man with strong beliefs, and he’ll do what he must to protect those children.

Annie – for a twelve-year-old, she’s turning out to be a brave and mature young lady. She does what’s necessary to protect her brother, right down to convincing Jess to teach her how to load and shoot a gun. William believes to be brave, even when scared spitless.  I adored the children.

And the killers… they gave me the creeps. Being retired police officers, I think made the creeps worse. Vindictive, manipulative and cunning, I cringed everytime they determined what to do next to find the kids. I hated every single one of them. While they get what they deserve, I still wish more would have happened to them. If you as me, they got the easy way out.

Superb action, intense suspense, well-developed love-to-love and love-to-hate characters, incredible descriptions of what seems like a beautiful and relaxing place on earth, together with a tear-jerker ending, this was my first experience with C.J. Box. I can say with complete honesty it won’t be my last. A huge recommendation!

Rating:

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

Paperback: 496 pages - Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (March 3, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 045122650X - ISBN-13: 978-0451226501

Paperback: 496 pages - Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (March 3, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 045122650X - ISBN-13: 978-0451226501

 

Every family has its secrets…

Hold Tight

by Harlan Coben

“We’re losing him.”

With those words, Mike and Tia Baye decided to spy on their sixteen-year-old son, Adam, who has become increasingly moody and withdrawn since the suicide of his best friend. The software they install on his computer shows them every Web site visited, every e-mail sent or received, every instant message. Within days, a cryptic message – “Just stay quiet and all safe” – draws them into a maze of mayhem and violence that could destroy them all….

Review: Hold tight to what? (enter sarcasm here)

Tia and Mike Baye are worried. Since the death of their son’s best friend, Spencer, Adam has become withdrawn. Something’s wrong, and Tia convinces Mike to have software installed on Adam’s computer so that they can try to figure out what’s wrong. Mike is uneasy with this decision, for they are invading their son’s privacy. Would the lack of trust tear their family apart?

Tia prints out the report from Adam’s computer and goes through it. The cryptic message – “just stay quiet an all safe” – is alarming to both, Tia and Mike. Stay quiet? Why? What’s going on? They decide they have to do something. One e-mail on Adam’s computer is talking about a party, a party that Mike and Tia do not want Adam attending. With the idea of stopping him, Mike tells Adam that they’re going to a hockey game with, but Adam doesn’t show up. He’s taken off, and his parents are desperate to find him.

Tia and Mike’s daughter, Jill, is friends with Yasmin Novak. Yasmin has become an angry and hurt little girl; her teacher, Joe Lewiston, made the mistake of singling her out in class, and now she is incessantly being made fun of.

Joe Lewiston is sorry for what he’s done, no one understands how sorry. And now he’s become jumpy, going so far as to change the password on his wife’s e-mail account so that she doesn’t see what’s being sent to her.

Yasmin’s father, Guy, has taken to driving by the Lewiston’s home, slowing down as he goes by.

They Bayes neighbors are having a rough time. Their ten-year-old son is sick and needs a kidney transplant. Now, usually the father is the perfect match, but after tests are run, not only is he not a match, he isn’t the biological father. What secret is Susan Loriman hiding?

Meanwhile, there’s a killer out there who murdered two women; he’s looking looking for answers.

**Where do I begin? The story started out strong. You learn who the characters are, what they do, their worries, their frustrations. You get that something’s wrong. There’s a mystery and suspense, and you’re right with the parents as they search for their son.

All these story lines are connected, but it’s the coincidences that I had a very hard time with. How everything’s connected, by the smallest things,  had me shaking my head. Unbelievable is what they were. Just when you think there’s a grander scale, everything is put to small individual things being linked together and it was ridiculous! (and here I am repeating myself!) And the reader is made to believe it! That just made it all that much more absurd!

I have to admit, though, the main point was brought up as parents point of view and beliefs. How far would you go to protect your child? Would you spy on them? Would you do what they Bayes did? And what of the consequences should your child find out you invaded their privacy? At what point do you let them go? And should your child find out, how would you go about repairing the damage? I liked that part – it had me thinking of what I would do once my kids hit that age.

The mystery, as far as the Baye family was concerned, was excellent. The rest, to me, was filler. I wished that Mr. Coben had concentrated on that alone, the rest was distracting. Not a bad book, but not high on my list of recommendations.

Rating:

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Warlord by Angela Knight contains “Jane’s Warlord,” “Warfem,” “The Warlord and the Fem,” and “Baby, You’ve Changed”

Paperback: 410 pages - Publisher: Berkley Trade (September 4, 2007) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0425217841 - ISBN-13: 978-0425217849

Paperback: 410 pages - Publisher: Berkley Trade (September 4, 2007) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0425217841 - ISBN-13: 978-0425217849

 

Warlord

by Angela Knight

contains “Jane’s Warlord,” “Warfem,” “The Warlord and the Fem,” and “Baby, You’ve Changed”

Together for the first time – the acclaimed novel and novella that turned Knight into “a rising star in the paranormal pantheon” (Midwest Book Review) – plus two never-before-published stories set in an erotically charged workd that “will set your blood on fire and have you begging for mre…” (In The Library Reviews)

In Jane’s Warlord reporter Jane Colby has made a startling discovery about a recent murder. The killer has struck before – hundreds of years in the past. Now’s he’s jumped through time to find his next victim … Jane. Her only hope lies with Baran Arvid – a genetically engineered warrior from hundreds of years in the future sent to capture the predatory time traveler – even if it means using jane as bait. But can they survive the galaxies that come between them – and a madman bent on destroying them?

In Warfem a strange destiny has reunited the seductive Warfem Alina and Baird, the sexually dynamic Warlord who shared his lover’s young fantasies twenty years ago. But in this time apart, a dangerous new spark has been ignited between them. One that has held Alina captive in another’s plot of death and betrayal…

Review: Erotically charged, action, mystery, suspense, together with paranormal sci-fi elements – Knight is one heck of an author!

Jane’s Warlord

As the newspaper reporter at a crime scene, Jane Colby can only imagine how horrible the crime scene must be if the lead detective comes out and “tosses his cookies”. Upon arriving home, she faces a rather large man and what looks like a rather large wolf who broke into her home. But Baran and his partner, Freika, convince her that their there to save her, to protect her, from the murderer. Traveled back in time, Baran and his partner sent to stop the murderer and he needs Jane. Only, Jane isn’t meek. Strong, self-reliant, with a past that haunts her, she wants to fight and to use herself as bait, regardless of her fear. But not only does she accept that he’s from three hundred years into the future, she’s afraid she’s losing her heart to him, and worried about how much she’ll have changed once he goes back, for she’s losing her heart to him..

**Incredible as only Angela Knight can make it. With believable details, you really like Baran and Freika right from the start. What I liked was how Jane stood up to him even knowing that he could overpower her. I loved their banter, especially with Freika. Action was great, love scenes superb that make you squirm in your seat. Excellent plot well carried out. A truly fine story.

Warfem

Warfem Alina is carrying a file for the one she serves. She is to deliver the file, on the promise that her mistress, Rajin, would finally release her from duty and give her back her son. Baird is investigating a case of treason, afraid that his ex-lover, the woman he loved, is knee-deep in it. And while he doesn’t want to believe it, extenuating circumstances forced her to do as her mistress bid. But no more. Alina is tired of the threat Rajin holds over her son and will do whatever is necessary to get her son out of harms way. What Baird doesn’t know is that, even after twenty years, Alina still loves him, had been forced to leave him. Question is, will he understand and believe when the truth stands in front of him in the form of a ten-year-old boy?

**I liked this one. The action was great, the plot well done, even if it was small. I think Ms. Knight could have actually made this one into a novel instead of a novella, adding more to the story. I think my fave part is of the boy taking down the one person who could destroy them all. Perfect ending!

The Warlord and the Fem

Apparently, these last two first appeared on a yahoo group and added them to the book. Truthfully, I think they could have stayed out of the book. I won’t go really into deal, cause there isn’t much to begin with. Baird, a Warlord (not to be confused with Baird from Warfem – this Baird is a different character,) fights to become part of a mercenary group because of Kyna. Kyna is a Warfem, and Baird wasn’t her as his mate. But Kyna refuses, for she remembers spying on an “episode” with her sister and her Warlord, and it freaked her out. She swore to herself she would never be with a Warlord, would never play the submissive to their dominant ways in the bedroom. But Baird is determined. What I liked was that he did his damndest to “court” her, playing chess, talking, taking walks, all in the name of having her as his mate. I think, though, that Kyna could have fought him a little harder in the last scene, and while their lovemaking was great, it was short of spectacular. Could have been better – the whole story could have been.

Baby, You’ve Changed

Did not like – not one bit. There was nothing to it. Warfem Tamir and her ship, the Xe’vit, fight and lose the battle to Captain Gage Deauxville and his ship, the Intrepid. But he’s not after her ship – he’s after her. Years ago, as teens, Tamir had humiliated him, for humans aren’t strong enough to play the dominant, as Warfems need. But now Gage isn’t just merely human anymore, but a vampire, strong enough if not stronger, than Tamir. He intends to take his revenge on her in the way of how Warlord do. What I didn’t like was how. Until she submitted to him, what he was going to do was rape, and that left a sour taste in my mouth. Yes, I know that some have that fantasy, of being taken against their will. This was so not for me. Period. ‘Nough said.

Overall, I really liked the book and recommend it to any sci-fi, paranormal fan.

Rating:

Heartstopper by Joy Fielding

Mass Market Paperback: 442 pages - Publisher: Seal Books (March 25, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 1400025052 - ISBN-13: 978-1400025053

Mass Market Paperback: 442 pages - Publisher: Seal Books (March 25, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 1400025052 - ISBN-13: 978-1400025053

 

Heartstopper

by Joy Fielding

New York Times and internationally bestselling author triumphs with a spine-tingling thriller about a picturesque Florida town – and the killer determined to prey on its teenage girls… Heartstopper.

Welcome to Torrance, Florida. Population: 4,160. As Sheriff John Weber would attest, the deadliest predators to date in his tiny hamlet were the alligators lurking in the nearby swamps. But that was before someone abducted and murdered a runaway teenage girl … and before the disappearance of popular and pretty Liana Martin. The pattern is chilling to Sandy Crosbie, the town’s new high school English teacher. With a marriage on the rocks, thanks to her husband’s online affairs, and a beautiful teenage daughter to protect, Sandy wishes she’d never come to the seemingly quiet town with shocking depths of scandal, sex, and brutality roiling beneath its surface. And as Sheriff Weber digs up more questions than answers in a dead-end investigation, one truth emerges: the prettiest ones – the heartstoppers – are being targeted. And this killer intends to give them their due.

Alternating between the chilling journal entries of a cold-blooded murderer and the sizzling scandals of small-town life, Heartstopper is Fielding’s most exciting novel of suspense yet.

Review: Not as chilling as I was led to believe…

I can’t even get into a description with this one before giving my honest opinion. I think this is the first time I’ve ever read a book where there doesn’t feel like there’s a main character. I mean, the synopsis has Sandy Crosbie as the main character. While you do see a lot of her and what’s going on in her life, the teens in the book, the sheriff and his family… it’s like equal exposure. Chilling journal entries? Um, I think not. And I could tell it was a teenager that wrote them – mainly because of the writing and rambling. I don’t want to reveal too much, in case you decide to read it, but I wasn’t surprised by the outcome, it really didn’t hold that much mystery or suspense for me, and not that much of a thriller either.

Sandy and her family had moved to Torrance at her husband’s insistance. Little did Sandy know it was because of an online affair – for now her husband has left her for another woman. To make matters worse, she teaches the daughter of that woman. Can we say awkward? That’s about the only thing that was awkward.

With a divorce looming in front of her, her friend finally convinces her on a double blind date, but Sandy went with the flow when she was “rescued” from her uncomfortability only to land herself in a stupid situation. And I do mean stupid situation – I thought it was the most ridiculous scenario the author could have put her in; completely obvious, and I think that made it worse, cause you knew before Sandy knew what was going to happen. Ugh. I have a friend who gave me a nickname for a stupid character like that: TSTL – Too Stupid To Live heroine. And even then, she wasn’t a heroine. She didn’t figure it out. Sure, she’s worried about her 17-year-old daughter, and how the kidnappings and killings are of beautiful teenage girls, but she was just like everyone else in town – just as clueless as to who the killer was.

The climax had me turning the page, just to see what would happen. Sure, acceptable outcome. The last chapter is the killer’s journal again, where you get the wrap-up of the aftermath. Again, everything was obvious. And this book was supposed to be a thriller? I wanted so much to like this book and was disappointed because, while I didn’t hate it, I found it to be between “whatever” and “okay.”

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:

Perfect Victim by Jay Bonansinga (‘Ulysses Grove’ series Book #4)

978-0786018789

Paperback: 352 pages - Publisher: Pinnacle (December 1, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 078601878X - ISBN-13: 978-0786018789

 

Perfect Victim

by Jay Bonansinga

‘Ulysses Grove’ series Book #4

A slashed female corpse … a footprint, a tire track … a trail of blood in a crowded shopping mall. Even the most jaded cops are horrified by the carnage. But to seasoned FBI profiler Ulysses Grove, the evidence spells out a much more personal message – a threat that speaks to Grove alone…

METICULOUS KILLER…

He chooses his victims with care. He plans their murders with painstaking precision; he studies the most notorious slayers. He’s gone to extremes to achieve his goals – committed to fulfilling his destiny as history’s greatest serial killer…

With precious lives at stake, at his very soul on the line, Grove throws himself into the chase – and into a trap from which there’s no escape…

Review: Synopsis promises excitement – author failed to deliver.

Anyone who’s read my more recent reviews usually get a brief rundown of what I read, what I liked and disliked. With this one, I’m sorry, but I’m not wasting my time.

The synopsis had my attention, I figured this one was right down my alley. How misleading! The prologue and first couple of chapters had my attention. From then on, I had to force myself to read this book. For me, that’s not good – not good at all. I felt absolutely nothing for the characters: not for Ulysses, or his wife Maura, nor anyone else. One dimensional, no depth, no personality. The only one I actually liked was their toddler! The plot was ridiculous, unlikely and far-fetched.

One Amazon.com reviewer wrote: “Bonansinga’s protagonist is a ludicrous cross between Jesus Christ (think immaculate conception — no, really,) Sherlock Holmes and an African-American Batman. Sort of like an Anne Rice character, without the benefit of imagination, plot device and literary skill. And I use those terms loosely.” – Thank you, Anonyme from Oregon, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

I had to wonder if perhaps I’d have liked the book more if I’d read the others in the series. All their synopsis’ sound good, but seeing as I really didn’t like the characters, nor the plot, in this one, I highly doubt I’ll go out of my way to get a copy. If it’s passed to me, that’s still a huge maybe.

And the ending… good grief! How anyone, let alone the main character, could have survived that is anyone’s guess – it was that far-fetched. Understandable how his mind wasn’t intact after that – but for his wife and kid to walk into the room and suddenly remember who he is…  honestly, Mr. Bonansinga, did you really think we’d be able to swallow it?

If his characters had been more believable, if there’s been more mystery to the plot, and if he’d left out the spiritual/paranormal mumbo jumbo (didn’t believe any of it for a second, not even a nano-second,) maybe, just maybe, I’d be more inclined to read some of his other work. As it stand: No.

Rating:

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