Tag Archives: suspense

Review – Lost and Found – Amy Shojai

???????????????????????????????????????Lost and Found
Author: Amy Shojai

Review Copy Provided by Author

AN AUNT searches for her lost nephew—and dooms her sister.
A MOM gambles a miracle will cure—and not kill—her child.
A DOG finds his true purpose—when he disobeys.

Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything—husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot—and flees to Texas to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher’s promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect. As September races the clock, the body count swells. Shadow does his good-dog duty but can’t protect his boy. Finally September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing and stop the nightmare cure. But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?

I have to admit that at first I was skeptical about how much I was going to enjoy the book – because I felt upon reading the jacket copy that too much of the plot had been disclosed (don’t worry, I was partially wrong). And the first few chapters were a bit rough, for lack of a better word – it took me a little while to get into the feel of her writing which is very stark (for lack of a better word) as well as the one POV being from Shadow, the German Shepherd puppy (who I loved as a character BTW – reminds me very much of my big goofy baby). To say that the plot resembled a roller-coaster would be correct – it was a continual up and down through the entire thing – the last author I read who did such an on the go type plot was James Rollins (although Matt Reilly is a close second). The medical mystery plot was intriguing, but it wasn’t like it was new to me – maybe because I read a book not long ago that had a similar theme, but I guess it is hard at times to come up with something truly unique.

I think the one thing that I didn’t like was that throughout the entire book, the author alluded to something that had happened with the main characters husband/dog, but never really came out and said specifically what it is. That drove me nuts – I wanted to know – maybe we’ll find out in another book who knows. Also, the names of the main character and her sister just seemed a bit cheesy to me – named after the month they were born in and then their last name just happens to be Day…lol! There was also a bit of a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming that I felt just overdid the whole thing – it wasn’t needed (at least in my honest opinion) – it almost ruined the tension that was in the book for me…

Either way, I enjoyed the read, I would probably give it 3.5 stars overall, but would recommend it for people who like mysterys/suspense/thrillers, especially with a medical twist, and those who like books with animals).

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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Book Review


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Review – Untraceable – Laura Griffin

Author: Laura Griffin
Series: #1 in the Tracer’s series


Private investigator Alexandra Lovell uses computer skills and cunning to help clients drop off the radar and begin new lives in safety. Melanie Bess, desperate to escape her abusive cop husband, was one of those clients. But when Melanie vanishes for real, Alex fears the worst, and sets out to discover what happened. Using every resource she can get her hands on — including an elite team of forensic scientists known as the Tracers, and a jaded, sexy Austin PD detective — Alex embarks on a mission to uncover the truth.

As far as homicide cop Nathan Deveraux is concerned, no body means no case. But as much as he wants to believe that Alex’s hunch about Melanie’s murder is wrong, his instincts — and their visceral attraction — won’t let him walk away. As a grim picture of what really happened begins to emerge, Nathan realizes this investigation runs deeper than they could ever have guessed. And each step nearer the truth puts Alex in danger of being the next to disappear….

I’m conflicted over how to rate this book for a main reason, so I’m going to try and explain that before I get into the review itself…I originally picked up this book about a week and a half ago, knowing that it was #1 in a series, and not being able to find a noted prequel, figured I would be good to go. However, I quickly realized that I was missing something in the interaction between Alex and Nathan – you could tell that there was some kind of history, unfortunately, I didn’t know what. A quick tweet to the author and I discovered that they had met in a previous book in a different series (Whisper of Warning), and since I needed to make sense of their relationship before I could continue, I grabbed it. Which is where my conflict lies – once I factored in Whisper of Warning, I actually really enjoyed Untraceable and would probably give it 3.5-4 out of 5 stars. However, since I had to read another series (because I ended up reading both Whisper of Warning and the preceding book), I have to drop my rating to a 3. If i had known about the linkage ahead of time, it might not have been as big of a deal, so this is more frustration on my part. So I am saying very blatantly, I highly recommend you read the Glass sisters books (Thread of Fear and Whisper of Warning) before trying this series.

Now moving on, having gone through a variety of romance/suspense books (although leaning more towards the romance side), recently, i have to say that Alex was an improvement on many of the heroines. Yes, she had her dumb moments and there were a few times where I was like, seriously…but thankfully she didn’t exhibit the TSTL traits that many seem to have had recently…and then there is Nathan – overall I liked him as a character – he wasn’t the complete Alpha male than shows up so often in rom/sus, and seemed a bit more believable – I also liked that he was a bit older (late 30’s, vice early 30’s) – that gave him an air of experience that I find is often missing in books. Or rather, a more believable air of experience…sometimes I find it hard to believe the stuff that 28-30 years old have gone through in their lives prior to their book (maybe that is a bit jaded of me…).

The mystery aspect of it was ok – for the most part, you knew who did it prior to the reveal since it was discussed early in the book – but there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming. The ending did get all tied in a pretty bow a bit too quickly for me however – I would have liked to see some carry over into another book in the series (although, who knows, maybe this will be the case)…

Overall, 3 stars because of the issue discussed in the first paragraph – but I’ll def. be checking out the rest of the series (especially since I have books #6 and #7 to review as ARC’s…)

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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Book Review


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Audiobook Review – The Silent Girl – Tess Gerritsen

the silent girlThe Silent Girl
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: #9 in the Rizzoli and Isles series

Narrator: Tanya Eby
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Every crime scene tells a story. Some keep you awake at night. Others haunt your dreams. The grisly display homicide cop Jane Rizzoli finds in Boston’s Chinatown will do both.

In the murky shadows of an alley lies a female’s severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed all in black, her head nearly severed. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel.

Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. But one woman connected to that massacre is still alive: a mysterious martial arts master who knows a secret she dares not tell, a secret that lives and breathes in the shadows of Chinatown. A secret that may not even be human. Now she’s the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil.

I was conflicted going into my listen of this. It is one of the few audiobooks that I have started and then got distracted before continuing (mostly because I had a bad case of BSN disease – bright shiny new). So when I went back to the Silent Girl, I wasn’t sure what my overall opinion of it was going to be. Added to that, I had read a blog post by the author (or something on her website) where she talked about complaints from readers about this being similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I loved)…but it took me a long while to figure out the similarities – so to me it wasn’t that obvious.

This is one of the books in the series that I really struggled about how I felt – I did like the mystery and the solving of the crime – but it hasn’t had the same relationship between Jane and Maura that was so prevalent in previous books – which was part of the reason why I enjoyed the series. And it wasn’t similar to Ice Cold, the previous book in the series, where Jane and Maura were literally cross-country from each other – this time it was a matter of personalities, beliefs, job roles…I admire Maura for standing by her beliefs – she is definately no shades of grey kind of person – it is either right or wrong – this is one of the first times that I have been disappointed in Jane as a character – I guess after 8 books, I expected more of her (lol – I can’t believe I am talking like she is a real character).

The mystery was fulfilling – I had my normal jumping back and forth trying to figure out who did it and who “The Silent Girl” really was – it wasn’t who I thought that it was originally. I did figure it out maybe about 2/3’s of the way through. I’ll be interested to see if any of these characters make an appearance in later books – I was sufficiently intrigued by the character development.

I have to admit that Tanya Eby’s narration is growing on me – I wasn’t so sure if I truely enjoyed her narration – but I did like this one. I hadn’t noticed any of the issues that I had with her narration of Ice Cold (what seemed to be a slight lisp and an irksome narration for Jane’s voice). In fact, by the end of it, I was really getting into the narration and enjoying it. It was also nice to see that she is narrating the next book in the series (after the series has played musical narrators for a good portion of it)…

Overall, a good addition to the series – not my favorite one, but an improvement over Ice Cold which I just didn’t enjoy…3.5 stars overall


Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Audiobook Review


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Review – Got Game? – Stephanie Doyle (@StephDoyleRW)

Got Game?
Author: Stephanie Doyle

Book Description:
Oh, Yeah. Game On! The world of professional golf is rocked when the new ranking system allows Reilly Carr – the country’s best female player–to compete with the big boys. Now everyone wants to know if she will or won’t play in golf’s premier event…The American.

But her tough choices are complicated further when Luke Nolan – her on again, off again lover – suddenly decides now is the time to turn their friends-with-benefits set up into a real relationship!

If she’s going to make the cut she’ll need to battle her game, the press and most of all her heart. The stakes have never been higher.

I have to say upfront that I loved Reilly as a character – she was a tough, no nonsense, work her ass off kind of girl. Having worked in a male dominated career for the last eight years, and dealing with people who try to skate because of certain characteristics – I find that i am often drawn to characters i books that reflect more of what I would like to see – in this case, a woman who shows the guys how it is done. True, she won’t ever be able to completely match them, but getting out there and doing her best is what I liked.

I liked how the relationship between her and Luke was re-kindled (since I am a sucker for young love rekindled). Although her brother and best friend drove me a bit nuts. The whole bickering, make-up, break-up thing just doesn’t do it for me. So i’m glad that everything worked out on that side of the house in the end.

I have to admit that I kind of figured out the suspense angle before it was revealed, but i think that the author did a good job of making it obvious without being too much so (if that makes sense…). I’ll definately be looking forward to reading more books by Ms Doyle in the future (can’t remember off the top of my head, if i have read any by her in the past or not…). Solid 3.5 stars overall.

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Book Review


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Review – Dead Ringer – Allen Wyler

Dead Ringer
Author: Allen Wyler

Review Copy provided by Blue Dot Literary

Book Description:
While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver’s head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed with the shock by what’s staring back at him: His best friend, Andy Baer.
Stunned, McCrae races back to Seattle to discover that Andy is in fact missing and may have been murdered by a gang of body snatchers who operate a legit funeral business and make a fortune by selling recovered body parts to medical researchers.

McCrae teams up with an unlikely pair—a beautiful but hardnosed female cop and a gang member whose family was victimized by the body parts ring—to try and expose a macabre web of corruption that involves law enforcement, politicians, funeral home curators and murdered prostitutes.

After reading a previous book by Allen Wyler (Dead End Deal), I was impressed by the medical technique and familiarity that he brought to the storyline. In Dead Ringer, he managed to do that once again. Reading the description of Dead Ringer, I was like, the name of the main character (Lucas McCrae) sounds familiar, and then I realized that his name had been used as a cameo in Dead End Deal – so I liked how the author was able to tie to two books together though similar characters, without making them a true series.

But this book was for me, so much freakier than Dead End Deal. I have been an organ donor since I got my license nearly 15 years ago, and while I had thought about how my organs might be used, should anything ever happen to me – the depravity of the antagonist opened my eyes. I had read/heard about bad market deals with organs, so it didn’t really surprise me that there were ones for dead bodies as well – but wow, that’s about all I can say. I think that the author managed to walk the fine line between being dramatic, and cheesy – although, there were a few moments where I was like, uhhh ok…and personally, I felt that everything tied up in a pretty bow almost too easy…but I’m sure others would disagree with me.

I’m definitely interested in seeing more of what he writes in the future. Overall 3.5 stars.

Purchase from Amazon here: Dead Ringer (Print) or Dead Ringer (Kindle)

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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Book Review


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Audiobook Review – Ice Cold – Tess Gerritsen

Ice Cold
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: #8 in the Rizzoli and Isles series

Narrator: Tanya Eby
Run Time: 9 hrs 51 minutes
Producer: Brilliance Audio

Book Description:
In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.

As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in the snow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness—someone who is watching Maura and her friends.

Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless—and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate.

I figure after greatly enjoying the last few books in the series, I was about due for a dud. But even saying that, Ms Gerritsen’s dud’s are still better than a good majority of other fiction out there (oh the irony). I can’t even really describe what it was about this one that made it only ehhh for me – I think it was because I had pretty much figured out the who done it early-ish in the book (like not long after the introduction of said character). I also think that it might be the fact that one of the things I love the best about the series is the interaction between Jane and Maura and that was decidedly lacking in this series as they spent 90% of the series separated by several thousand miles. It made me realize how much Jane is the dominant character in the series – while Maura has this quiet strength and perseverance, which was highlighted in this book – Jane is like the gun powder – explosive and on the go. Which is what I prefer – maybe because she is opposite to me – I definitely identify more with Maura than with Jane, which is why I like reading about Jane’s antics. The one interesting thing for me in this book was how various cult’s and the development of Cult’s were discussed. It made me want to read more about some of the ones that have become famous in history (Jonestown specifically), so I am on the look-out for books (if anyone has any ideas – let me know).

Going into the narration, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Tanya Eby’s work. I had heard a few negative reviews about some of her work and I was a bit worried – but I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t say that this was my favorite narration ever, because its not, and it definately wasn’t my favorite of the series (Anna Fields has that spot all tied up), but it was enjoyable. One of the comments other listeners had made was on a lisp – but I didn’t hear anything that wasn’t easily gotten used to in listening. However, I wasn’t a fan of how Jane sounded in her parts – she didn’t have the Boston Irish accent that I had gotten used to in previous narrations, so that was lacking. However, I didn’t mind her narration of Jane and thought that she did a pretty good job with the narration of the various males voices that occurred through-out.

Overall, I would give both the book and the narration 3 stars. I liked it, but didn’t love it. It will be interesting to see how I enjoy the narration in future books, as it appears that Tanya Eby may become the primarily narrator (she has done the two most recent books).


Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Audiobook Review


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Audiobook Review – The Stonecutter – Camilla Läckberg

The Stonecutter
Author: Camilla Läckberg
Series: #3 in the Patrik Hedström series

Narrator: David Thorn
Run Time: 16 hours and 58 minutes

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Jukebox and Highbridge Audio

Book Description: The remote resort of Fjallbacka has seen its share of tragedy, though perhaps none worse than that of the little girl found in a fisherman’s net. But the post-mortem reveals that this is no case of accidental drowning!

Local detective Patrik Hedstrom has just become a father. It is his grim task to discover who could be behind the methodical murder of a child both he and his partner, Erica, knew well. He knows the real question – and answer – lies with why. What he does not know is how this case will reach into the dark heart of Fjallbacka and the town’s past, and tear aside its idyllic facade, perhaps forever.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first when I started The Stonecutter as to if I would enjoy it or not. I had previously tried several times to listen to the first book in the series and kept getting distracted – so I didn’t know if it was an issue with the author, the audio, or the fact that I was trying to listen to it at work. And normally, I am a stickler for listening to series books in order, especially ones like The Stonecutter where many of the same characters re-appear and the relationships develop through-out the books. But after talking to one of my friends who had read all three books in the series, she told me that I should be ok to listen to The Stonecutter without too much trouble and then went on to say that it was her favorite in the series to date. I’m glad that I listened to her advice and now I am debating going back and trying to listen to the previous two, because I am curious enough about the some of the things that were mentioned in this third book to know the context in which they originally occurred.

There were lots of twists and turns presented during the book, and at one stage, I thought I had the who done it, narrowed down to one of three people, but to my surprise when I did finally figure it out, it wasn’t any of the people I was expecting. Läckberg did a great job of laying a foundation of multiple people playing a role in the crime where it could have easily have been any one of several people. I also liked the fact, as with other Nordic authors, the case isn’t presented as a wham bam solve it in one day, but rather it is extended, many different people get questioned and mistakes are made. I also found that the transition between the past and the present flowed relatively smoothly once I got used to it and I could easily see that the chronological progression of the sections from the past meant that it was going to be significant in the ultimately solving of the crime.

Unlike many of the books that fall within the Nordic Noir genre, Camilla Läckberg tends to place a bit more of a focus on the character interactions and relationships, as well as the solving of the crime. At times this was a bit distracting and it felt to me like everyone had some kind of psychological issue (and that I could have been reading symptoms in the DSV-IV). But ultimately many of these issues ended up playing kind of a role in the development of the crime and the eventual solving of it. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of some of the secondary characters and felt that there was some extraneous plots going on (Erica’s sister for one), but with how the book concluded, I think those are going to play a role in later books in the series.

This is the first time that I had listened to a narration by David Thorn (aside from my failed attempt with The Ice Princess which didn’t have anything to do with him as I reflect back). But it won’t be the last. For the most part, I thought he did a good job with the various voices, in particular the male characters. His female voices tended to be weaker than the male ones but that didn’t really surprise me at all. He managed to maintain the continuity of the narration through-out and it was an easy listen.

The production by Highbridge Audio was really good and I didn’t have any complaints about the quality. Just one of my tiny pet peeves is that I like it when CD’s end at the end of a chapter because I routinely try to finish listening to the current chapter on my commute to work in the mornings (or afternoons) and have been known to sit in my car to finish up one – but that is really hard to do if the chapter doesn’t end with the CD – but that is probably just a personal pet peeve of mine and may not bug others.

Overall, I’d give the story a 3.5 and the narration a 4.5 – so an overall score of 4 stars for the book. I’m looking forward to re-trying the earlier books in the series and seeing where she goes in the future.


Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Book Review


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