Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wild Fire By Nelson DeMille

Nelson DeMille has been one of my favorite authors since his earliest work. In WILDFIRE, John Corey, former NYPD Detective-current agent on the anti-terrorism task force, is back continuing the story from NIGHTFALL which ended on 9-11.
It is now one year after the collapse of the twin towers. Anti-terrorist agent Harry Muller is assigned surveillance duties at the Custer Hill Club in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. Henry disappears while on the assignment and is later found murdered. John and his wife, FBI Agent Kate Mayfield set up to investigate the circumstances of their friend and colleagues murder. In the course of their investigation where no one can be trusted, they uncover a plot that would make 9-11 look like child's play. The evil oilman (who else) Bain Maddox, has hatched a scheme to unleash two nuclear bombs on San Francisco and Los Angeles in order to provoke the US into nuclear war in the Middle East.
WILDFIRE was a page-turning, heartrate-elevating thriller with a plot co-mingling fact with fiction and many what-ifs. John Corey is a charming and likeable smart-mouth. You do tend to wonder why Kate puts up with him most of the time, but the man does know how to solve complex puzzles. Leave enough time to read because this is one book that is hard to put down. Highly recommended.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dead Wrong By J. A. Jance

DEAD WRONG is an entry in Jance's Joanna Brady series. Johanna is in her last weeks of pregnancy with her second child, her first with her new husband, Butch. Joanna had recently won a closely contested election for Sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona. Joanna is eager to solve her homicide case before her baby is born. A body had been found of a man who had spent twenty years in prison for killing his pregnant wife whose body had never been found. Questions arise whether the victim was guilty of the killing of his wife. Clues lead to a rather eccentric family who rather keep their secrets hidden. In a concurrent case, a animal protection officer is badly beaten while on an off-duty stakeout.

I am a fan of both the Beaumont and the Joanna Brady series written by J.A. Jance. Each series is very different, set in different locals, the protagonists are different genders with one in law enforcement and the other is a private investigator. What they do have in common is that both series are well-written with character-driven storylines. The plots are usually fairly straight forward and are suspenseful without going over the top with surprises the way some authors do. DEAD WRONG was an engaging read and I was sorry when the story ended.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Last Breath by Stephen Booth

Mansell Quinn is released is released from prison fourteen years after having been convicted of killing his lover. His lover was killed in his house while his wife was at work. His memory is foggy; vague images of blood and his lover's last breath crowd his mind. He felt his must have done it, but while in the middle of his sentence he started to proclaim his innocence. The fact that all of a sudden he was denying his crime made the parole board decide to have him serve his full sentence. Now that he is out, his wife is found dead. Detective Sergent Diane Fry and Detective Constable Ben Cooper investigate a case that is deeply entangled in the past.

My favorite Brit Crime Fic author is Peter Robinson. Stephen Booth has a bit of a way to go before I would consider him the same caliber, but he's got the elements to be a very fine storyteller: atmospheric setting, multidimensional characters and an well-developed, suspenseful plot. Where he falters a bit is when plot points don't get resolved or they are resolved, but don't make much sense. I still don't understand why Rebecca was killed, and more importantly, I am unclear on who killed her. Maybe I missed it, but a reader should really be able to miss the resolution of a major story line. The plot should be more concise and not meander loosing part of the audience. I did like the story, and I was engaged during reading it. I don't think my mind wandered once, so I was a little perturbed when I still had questions at the end.

I did really love how the Peak District was brought to life in the novel. An ancient underground cave became almost another character in the book. I did get a good sense of Derbyshire as a setting. It was not just a matter of saying a story is set in a location, and that is that.

While I did have a few issues with the story, I did enjoy it and do recommend reading it.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Echo Park by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch has "unretired" and is now working in the Open-Unsolved Unit. He keeps a file on his desk from a case that has haunted him, the murder of Marie Gesto thirteen years earlier. An overlooked clue in the case by Harry and his partner causes Harry to question his whole exsistence as a police officer. A serial killer has been apprehended and sentenced to die, but has agreed to lead investigators to her body in exchange for a life sentence instead of the needle. A bungled "field trip" leads to an escape, and before the conclusion of the story, careers are over. FBI agent,Rachel Walling, a character in a prior novel makes a return visit as both a love interest and a helper in Harry's quest to resolve the Gesto murder case.

Michael Connelly has become more prolific of late, but that has not hurt he quality of his writing. Lucky for me because Michael Connelly is one of my must read authors. I am never let down by his books.

ECHO PARK is vintage Harry Bosch...compelling, suspenseful, page-turning. Leave enough time in the day to really sink your teeth into the book. You won't want to put it down.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Kidnapped by Jan Burke

Las Peirnas Express reporter and her Police Detective husband Frank Harriman return in the newest installment in this excellent series. The story opens with the murder of graphic artist Richard Fletcher, and the disappearance of his young daughter Jenny. Richard is part of the famous Fletcher family, but has distanced himself from the cult-like influences of his family. To make matters even more tragic for Richard's wife, Elisa, her son Mason was found drunk and incoherent with the murder weapon and bloody clothing in his car.

Five years later, Jenny is still missing. Mason is in jail and their brother Caleb is a graduate student studying with forensic anthropologist Ben Sheridan who works with the police department. Caleb has always believed that Jenny was alive and that Caleb was innocent. Irene Kelly enters the scene when she does a story on missing children. When she fills in for another reporter at crime scene where human remains are found, she stumbles upon a connection to the infamous Fletcher family. After that connection is made, Irene is committed to helping Caleb find out what really happened five years earlier.

Often in a continuing series it is prudent to read some of the earlier books to get a feel for the characters and their continuing storylines. It might be helpful with this book, but not necessary though some of the characters would be better understood. Even though I have read the other books in the series I was a little lost at why Ethan was living with Irene and Frank. I still didn't know at the end of the book, but it really made no difference to my enjoyment of the story, and enjoy it I did. I had trouble putting this one down. It was well-paced with on-going, intricately-plotted suspense which made me want to turn the pages faster and faster. Irene and Frank are well-rounded sympathetic characters. The secondary cast was interesting and well-developed. There were characters to love and characters to hate. Highly recommended.

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