Tag Archives: thriller

First Line Fridays – 16 March 2018

Happy Day Before St Patrick’s Day! One of the best days of the year because its my birthday! I’m happily celebrating the 15th anniversary of my 21st year 🙂 While my choice of book for First Line Friday’s doesn’t have an Irish theme, or even any green on the cover – I know that I’m as excited as a leprechaun who found his pot of gold to start reading it!

Special Agent John Kaiser stood at the window of the FBI’s “tactical room” in the River Bend Hotel and started at the lights of Natchez twinkling high over the dark tide of the Mississippi.

All i’m saying to myself right now as I jump into book 2 in Greg Iles trilogy is “How the heck have i never read you before?!” And I can safely say, if book 3 in the trilogy hadn’t been nominated for an Audie this year in a category that I was listening to, that I would have picked him up. But since reading friends of mine told me that I needed to read the previous two books in the trilogy in order to understand book 3 and i’m soo glad i did. Even though they are huge reads at 700+ pages (the first book) and 800+ pages (book two) and culminating with 28 hours for book three. Of course, then I can go back and read the early books in the Penn Cage series…so basically, I have lots of good reading ahead of me and I can’t wait!


Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays


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2018 Audies – Thriller/Suspense Nominees

This is my first year of listening to the nominees in the Thriller/Suspense category – i think mostly because I have been in that kind of mood lately. I’ve had fun discovering new mystery/suspense authors over the past year and hopefully this category will add some more authors to be to be read/listened pile.

The nominees in the Thriller/Suspense category are:
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, narrated by Georgia Maguire, published by Macmillan Audio
Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben, narrated by Steven Weber, published by Brilliance Publishing
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer, narrated by Ellen Archer, published by Hachette Audio
The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Graham Winton, published by Recorded Books
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré, narrated by Tom Hollander, published by Penguin Audio
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles, narrated by Scott Brick, published by HarperAudio

Initial Thoughts on the Nominees:
☼ I’ve had a print copy of the Breakdown sitting in my living room for close to a year now, since it was released but not sure why I’ve not picked it up because it definitely falls into the type of thrillers I seem to enjoy – maybe it was because I knew it would be nominated for an award down the road and I would get a chance to listen to it (lol…not really, but it seems like good logic to me). Georgia Maguire is a new to me narrator (and she has a relatively small backlist of books) so fingers crossed.

☼ I’m probably one of the few people who have never read a Harlan Coben book previously and from reading some of the reviews on Audible, hopefully I’m not setting myself up for a disappointing listen (several of them recommend starting with the different Coben book or being prepared to devote more than 1 listen to this book). I also could have sworn that I had previously listened to Steven Weber narrate a book, but looking through my archives, I can’t find anything…hmmm must be going slightly crazy 😉

☼ The Chemist is probably the one book in this category that I am dreading because its Stephanie Meyer and my disdain of the Twilight series is pretty well known (I made it less than 30 pages into the first book before it, literally, went flying across the room). Added to that, several of my goodreads friends either gave it low stars or marked it as did not finish and I’ve become even more leery. However, I’ve listened to several narrations by Ellen Archer previously and hopefully she can save me from a regrettable experience.

☼ The opening description of the Fourth Monkey on Audible describes it as Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs, so I was immediately intrigued – Se7en gave me the serious heebie-jeebies at times and yet, its a movie I’ve watched several times. I’m also in the mood for a good serial killer novel so hopefully this will provide. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I have never listened to anything narrated by Edoardo Ballerini before, even though folks in the various audiobook groups i’m in rave about him; but I have listened to something narrated by Graham Winton before (a romance novel) and I vaguely remember enjoying his style (but apparently I didn’t write a review for that book).

☼ You pretty much can’t have a thriller/suspense category without a John Le Carre book – this is advertised as being book 9 in a series that I haven’t really listened to any of the previous ones – so hopefully it can stand on its own decently well…Of all the narrators i’m listening to this year with the Armchair Audies, Tom Hollander has the shortest backlist on Audible thus far (only 7 books listed), so its not surprising that I haven’t listened to anything by him before.

☼ Mississippi Blood is by far the most daunting book of any in this category (or overall) at 28+ hours of narration (and to make it even more daunting when asking about this trilogy on Goodreads, it was highly recommended that I read the first two before getting to this one – each one running 800+ pgs). I have no doubt this will probably be the last book that I listen to for the Audies this year, so I have time to get through the other 2 books in the trilogy first. Scott Brick is one of those narrators who is either a love or hate – thankfully for me, i tend to fall more into the love category than the hate – although I have had limited experience listening to him (but I did manage to survive 48ish hours of Chernow’s Washington: a Life).

My Prediction:
Going by pure guessing since I’ve had limited to no experience with all but one narrator in this category – my pick for the winner in the suspense/thriller category is:
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles, narrated by Scott Brick

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Posted by on February 13, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events


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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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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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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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Review – The Keepsake – Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: #7 in the Rizzoli and Isles series

Narrator: Diedre Lovejoy
Run Time: 10 hrs and 51 minutes

Book Description:
For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed “Madam X,” the mummy–to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact– seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse–horrifying proof that this “centuries-old” relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.

To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large–and is now taunting them.
Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering–or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.

Of all the books in the Rizzoli and Isles series that I have listened to this year, The Keepsake is one of my favorites. I loved how a museum, a place where many people wouldn’t necessarily choose to visit (unless you are a history dork like me!) as an option when visiting a new city. And yet, Ms Gerritsen wrote this book in a way that I hope will cause more people to choose to visit them. And added to that, there was the egyptology twist with mummies and artifacts. The various dead methods that the author choose to incorporate into the plot with the Archeology killer were particularly gruesome and unique from all the other books in the series. After finishing this book, I wanted to pick up a book about egyptian burial methods to read up on my history. To me, that is a sign of a good book, when I want to find a non-fiction book about something that was featured in a fiction book.

After listening to most of the books in the series so far, and playing the musical narrators for most of the books (I think Deidre Lovejoy is the 5th different one maybe), I have come to appreciate the different narration skills out there. For me, this was a solid performance. I can’t say that it completely blew me away, but I rather enjoyed it and it made my commute go a lot quicker for the 4 and a half days that it took me to complete it. I downloaded this from my library via the overdrive app, so I have no complaints about the production of it and didn’t notice any issues with the recording.

The Keepsake: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel (Rizzoli & Isles Novels) (Paperback)
The Keepsake: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles) (Kindle)

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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Book Review


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Review – The Missing – Chris Mooney

The Missing
Author: Chris Mooney
Series: Book 1 in the Darby McCormick series

Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Run Time: 8hrs 23 minutes

Book Description:
Darby McCormack was in high school when she first encountered the killer: someone murdered a woman in the woods where Darby and her two best friends were partying. His race to silence the witnesses was sure-footed and violent – but somehow Darby survived.
Twenty-five years later, Darby is a crime-scene investigator for the Boston Police Department, and a chilling case – a woman’s late-night abduction – has her uncovering strange leads to missing women, past and present. As forensic clues lead her closer to a psychopath called the Traveler, Darby must finally resolve the nightmare of her past and come face-to-face with a killer who is determined to keep the missing – and the horrors they endured at his hands – from ever coming to light.

I likely never would have picked up this book if I hadn’t been playing around with a book recommendation book online. The Missing showed up as a book that readers who enjoyed Shadow Man by Cody MacFayden and since I enjoyed that one, I figured that I would try it. It also worked well because I am making it a goal of mine to try a wider range of audiobook narrators rather than sticking to my tried and true favorites and I had never listened to the narrator before.

Similar to Shadow Man, The Missing focuses on a female mc who has suffered a tragedy in her life – this one when she was a teenager. (But as a random thought, why is it that so many female main characters in these mystery/thriller/suspense books have suffered some kind of massive tragedy that makes them a crusader for good, why can’t they just choose to do that…but that is a thought for another time). Anyways, back to the book – Darby is now a crime scene investigator and solving current crimes as well as the one from her past.

At first I thought I had figured out who the bad guy was going to be, but I completely discounted the person who it turned out to be – you know, one of these days, i’ll start listening to the little voice on my shoulder. I am kind of tempted to re-listen in the future and see if I feel differently.

This was the first time that I had listened to Bernadette Dunne as a narrator and it likely won’t be the last. I felt that she had a good range of vocal inflections for the various voices – but at the same time – the cast of the book was rather limited as compared to other ones I have listened to, so I don’t know how she would have done with a wider range of characters, but I’ll be looking out for more done narrated by her in the future.


Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Book Review


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