Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Alpabetical Summary Books Read in 2008

Authors first name first.

Alafair Burke - Angel's Tip
Alafair Burke - Dead Connection
Alex Kava - Exposed (Maggie O'Dell series, Book 6)
Amanda Stevens - The Devil's Footprints
Andrew Gross - The Blue Zone
Anita Shreve - Testimony

Barbara Hambly - Renfield, Slave of Dracula
Barry Hoffman - Hungry Eyes
Beverly Barton - A Time to Die
Bill Floyd - The Killer's Wife
Bill Lavender - Obedience
Brent Morgan - The Bell Witch - An American Haunting
Brian Keene - City Of The Dead
Brian Keene - The Rising
Bruce Elliot - Death Rites
Bruce Elliot - Still Life

C. J. Box - Blue Heaven
Caitlin Rother with John Hess - Twisted Triangle
Carol O'Connel - Find Me
Chelsea Cain - Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan Series, Book 2)
Chris Mooney - Deviant Ways
Cody McFadyen - Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett Series, Book 1)
Cody McFadyen - The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett Series, Book 2)
Cody McFadyen - The Darker Side (Smoky Barrett Series, Book 3)

Darwin E. Coon - Alcatraz: The True End of the Line
David Wellington - Monster Island
David Wellington - Monster Nation
David Wellington - Monster Planet
Dennis Lehane - The Given Day
Diane Carey - Enterprise: Broken Bow
Douglas Preston - Blasphemy

Fred Rosen - When Satan Wore A Cross

Gayle Wilson - The Suicide Club
Gayle Wilson - Victim
George D. Shuman - 18 Seconds
George D. Shuman - Last Breath
George R. Stewart - Earth Abides
Gwen Hunter - Sleep Softly

Harlan Coben - Promise Me
Harlan Coben - The Woods
Heather Graham - The Death Dealer
Heather Graham - The Dead Room
Hester Browne - The Little Lady Agency

J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)
James Patterson - Double Cross
James Patterson -Hide And Seek
James Patterson & Howard Roughan - Sail
James Rollins - The Judas Strain
Jay Anson - The Amityville Horror: A True Story
Jeffrey Deaver - The Bodies Left Behind
Jesse Kellerman - The Genius
Jodi Picoult - Nineteen Minutes
Jodi Picoult - Salem Falls
Joe McGinnis - Never Enough
Joe Schreiber - Eat The Dark
John Benedict - Adrenaline
John Grisham - The Appeal
John Jakes - North and South (Book One, North and South Trilogy Series)
John Katzenbach - The Wrong Man
John Lutz - In For The Kill
John Saul - Faces of Fear
Jonathan Nasaw - Fear Itself
Jonathan Nasaw - The Girls He Adored
Jonathan Santlofer - Anatomy Of Fear
Joshua Spanogle - Flawless

Kate Brennan - In His Sigths
Kenneth Johnson - V: The Second Generation

Lee Hunt - The Vampire Of New York
Lisa Jackson - Left To Die
Lisa Jackson - Lost Souls
Lisa Scottoline - Daddy's Girl

Margaret Maron - Hard Row
Merry Jones - The Deadly Neighbors
Merry Jones - The River Killings
Michael Palmer - The First Patient
Michael Prescott - Comes The Dark
Mo Hayder - Ritual

Natalie R. Collins - Wives And Sisters

Patricia Cornwell - The Front
Patricia Cornwell - Scarpetta
Peter Benchley - Jaws

Rebecca Stott - Ghostwalk
Richard Laymon - Savage

S. Andrew Swann - Zimmerman's Algorithm
SSarah Pinborough - Tower Hill
Sebastian Fitzek - Therapy
Simon Beckett - Written In Bone

Stephen King - Bag of Bones
Stephen Booth - The Dead Place
Steve Hamilton - Night Work

Terri Persons - Blind Spot
Terri Persons - Blind Rage
Thomas Cook - Taken
Tina Wainscott - What Lies in Shadow

Z. A. Recht - Thunder And Ashes (The Morningstar Strain, Book 2)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dennis Lehane - The Given Day

Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane’s long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families--one black, one white--swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city’s most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.

Here, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era--Babe Ruth; Eugene O’Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson’s ruthless Red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge; and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Hoover.

Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time--including the Spanish Influenza pandemic--and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.

The Given Day is very different from what I usually read and I was excited to jump into a almost new genre to me. Since I read A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follet I haven't touched anything epic wise because I still think Follett's work is the non plus ultra for me but this one proved I don't have to be shy. :-)
I found myself diving into American history surviving the great influenza, the strike of the Boston police officers in 1919, where riots cash with the National Guardsman and witnessing the Boston molasses disaster. All the while reading about the two main characters Luther Laurence and Danny Coughlin.

Both men very different from each other:
Danny, the aspiring police officer eager to become the legend his father is, raised in a "good" home , his father a successful police officer himself, wants to step into his father's shoes and works undercover at "unions" who recruits immigrants.
Luther, raised poorly but with a hand for baseball who has to leave his pregnant wife and flea to Boston because he shot two men in self-defense.
Both men, very different from each other, one white one black, start a friendship when Luther begins working in Danny's fathers house. Overshadowed with the resentment between the two cultures, Danny doesn't care much and Luther doesn't like Danny at first.

In the end both characters most certainly wouldn't have survived without each other in a time were racism, distrust, prejudice and hatred were daily business to an extend were people killed each other and fought for their rights with their own hands and blood.

Lehane embedded history so nicely that it captivates the reader to do some research about mentioned people like political figures at that time.
It is almost unbelievable that 700 pages only cover such a short period of time but nonetheless a time where so much happened that changed the nation.
Beautifully crafted and worth every single minute spent in the lives of Luther and Danny.

Visit Dennis Lehane.

Hardcover: 720 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (September 23, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0688163181
ISBN-13: 978-0688163181

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Simon Beckett - Written In Bone

Dr. David Hunter should be in London with the woman he loves and a past he can't quite shake. Instead, as a favor to a beleaguered cop, Hunter travels to a remote island in the Outer Hebrides to inspect a baffling set of remains.
A forensic anthropologist, Hunter has seen bodies destroyed by all forms of violence, but even he is surprised at what he finds: human remains burned behind recognition - all within the confines of an otherwise undamaged, unoccupied cottage.
Local police want to rule the death accidental. But Hunter's examination of the victim's charred skull tells him that this woman, no doubt a stranger to the close-knit island of Runa, was murdered by someone nearby.

Within days, two more people have been killed. Hunter's job is to coax the dead into telling their stories - but now that he's beginning to hear them, he is staggered by the truth. Working with only the barest of clues, he peels back the layers of mysteries past and present, exposing the tangle of secrets at the heart of this strange community - from the deceptions of a wealthy couple to the bitterness of an ex-cop and the secrets of a lonely single mother - as a tale of rage and perversion comes full circle... then explodes in a series of violent acts and shocking twists.


I remember reading The Chemistry of Death, the first installment surrounding Dr. David Hunter and that I was impressed at how good Simon Beckett researched and explained the facts he was writing about, all the while binding them easily into the books plot.
It is the same with Written In Bone. Easy understandable descriptions bound into the killings that are happening on a remote island.

Dr. David Hunter is called to the remote island of Runa, where a burnt body was found in a cabin.
Figuring the skull of the victim has been smashed, he announces the death as a murder but it is too late to call for reinforcement. The island is engulfed in a storm that eventually shuts it off from all communication to the outside world.
Bound to work with ex-cop Brody and the islands grumpy sergeant Fraser he secures what he can before the storm destroys the small cabin, not knowing that this is just a beginning of a chain reaction threatening his own life.
The stored remains of the victim, the already destroyed cabin and the only boat with a satellite phone on board are purposely destroyed. The lives of a deputy and a noisy reporter-girl taken and a murderer on the loose the rural community is in danger, not knowing what the killers goal might be. Is it "just" a random intruder or is it someone deeply bound into the community out on a killing spree for whatever reason ?


With twists, turns and a few surprises Beckett kept me reading, enjoying his explanations in forensic anthropology. The book reminds me a bit of P. D. James' The Lighthouse without all the private stuff going on around the main character, Hunter.
Of course we hear a bit of his struggles with his girlfriend Jenny and his constant absence in their relationship but it isn't overwhelmingly boring.
I got the sense that Beckett focuses more on the forensic research instead of building the character or he does so in a slowly way not knowing yet in which way his character is going to evolve with time.
So he doesn't create a huge attachment to his character which might be a plus but also a negative for some readers. For me it was completely fine.

The next novel surrounding Dr. Hunter is announced to be published in May, 2009 under the name Whispers Of The Dead.

Visit Simon Beckett.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (September 25, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385340052
ISBN-13: 978-0385340052

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jeffrey Deaver - The Bodies Left Behind

When a night-time call to 911 from a secluded Wisconsin vacation house is cut short, off-duty deputy Brynn McKenzie leaves her husband and son at the dinner table and drives up to Lake Mondac to investigate. Was it a misdial or an aborted crime report ?

Brynn stumbles onto a scene of true horror and narrowly escapes from two professional criminals. She and a terrified visitor to the weekend house, Michelle flee into the woods in a race for their lives. As different as night and day, and stripped of modern day resources, Brynn, a though deputy with a difficult past, and Michelle, a pampered city girl, must overcome their natural reluctance to trust each other and learn to use their wits and courage to survive the relentless pursuit.
The deputy's disappearance spurs both her troubled son and husband into action, while incident sets in motion Brynn's loyal fellow deputies and elements from Milwaukee's underside. These various forces race along inexorably toward the novel's gritty and stunning conclusion.


Brynn McKenzie follows up on a presumably misdial at her station when she stumbles into the gruesome scene of two murders and their two killers not far away. Chased by the two villains she meets Michelle, a visiting friend, who barely escaped the scenes.
Brynn leads the two by her instincts and her repeated special training in survival and police training are a huge asset to her mission to get Michelle out of the huge national park they fled into and survive their pursuers mission to not leave any witnesses alive.
The head of the two men crew calls himself Hart, who lives by his instincts as well and it seems to him, the craftsman, that the women he wants to kill is a craftswomen as resourceful as he is.

When Brynn notices something is off it is almost to late for her to turn the situation around.


What made this book very good is it's time-frame which plays mostly during one night and focuses about the cat and mouse chase through the woods. Written in almost real-time it makes it hard to put the book down.
Brynn is a difficult but brave character. Abused by her ex-husband, her son in trouble and her new marriage on the rocks. She focuses on what she is best in: her job, which she takes very seriously taking yearly offers for special training and refresher courses.

At one point when the chase was finished the book lost a bit of it's excitement but kept up with twist and turns until the very end. Where the final conclusion is so much different from what the reader was made to believe from the beginning.

Visit Jeffrey Deaver.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 11, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416595619
ISBN-13: 978-1416595618

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lisa Unger - Black Out

"When my mother named me Ophelia, she thought she was being literary. She didn't realize she was being tragic."

On the surface, Annie Power's life in a wealthy Floridian suburb is happy and idyllic.
Her husband Gray, loves her fiercely: together, they dote on their beautiful daughter, Victory.
But the bubble surrounding Annie is pierced when she senses that the demons from an ugly past are gaining on her quickly, triggering frightening- and unwanted- memories of someone she used to be.
A lifetime ago Annie was Ophelia March, a young girl who fled a troubled home only to find herself in the thrall of a killer-- someone Annie thought she'd left far behind.

After a series of disturbing events-- the appearance of a familiar dark figure on the beach and a mysterious man asking too many questions-- Annie realizes she must piece together her fractured memory to finally make sense of who she was and who she is and, ultimately, to save herself and her daughter.


Annie was born under the name Ophelia March but now lives under her new name Annie Power. She knows about the reasons why she is wearing this new identity completely different from the live she lived before but she does not remember the details that linger in her subconscious mind only waiting for the right moment to resurface. For Annie, her family and her new life to survive she has to remember and ultimately reconnect with the girl Ophelia.

Her nemesis Marlowe Geary, the first person she fell in love with, is a gruesome killer and Annie watched him kill women. She's almost lost her mind and is his will-less puppet when she is rescued by her now husband Gray who once was paid by her father to find her.

Now Annie finds and sees disturbing clues from her past. The ultimate clue for her is a necklace she finds on the beach. The other half is hidden in a little box under her bed. Marlowe once gave it to her with the words that she belongs to him and one day he would come and get her back so that they can live together again. He'd leave the necklace in her sight for her to find.
Annie knows her existence has to die - again and that is what she does. Leaving her husband and daughter behind she faces her fear to find Marlowe and end her suffering when things turn around and Annie finds herself in a much bigger, manipulative picture.


I found myself not really caring for the book. The author pieces together the story, making constantly time jumps to reveal Annie's past. Nothing wrong with that but I found it annoying and too much at times. Once a chapter got interesting it was left to jump back to the past which annoyed and sort of confused me quite a bit.
I liked the crossing of reality and fiction in Annie's mind. Given a little thought about it it makes sense that Annie partly experiences things that aren't there but I figure not everyone has an existing medical background to understand how the mind works through traumatic experiences. I would have liked an introduction to that in the beginning of the book. It seems this is a major complaint of reviewers on Amazon.

However, there is a lot that could have been better, more thought through but the plot is a fine one and I give credit for that and a bit of thinking outside of the box.

Visit Lisa Unger.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books; 1 edition (May 27, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307338487
ISBN-13: 978-0307338488

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Patricia Cornwell - Scarpetta

Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient on Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk - and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard.

The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder ... that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta ? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer ?
The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered - and more violent deaths will follow.
Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges:
Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government ? And what is the connection among the victims ?

In the days that follow, Scarpetta, her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley, and her niece Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic company investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-to-real streets of the city--an odyssey that will take them once to places they never knew but also much, much too close to home.


I'd be lying to say I did not anticipate the publishing of Cornwell's newest Kay Scarpetta novel "Scarpetta" for whatever reason. When it arrived I was surprised by it's thickness and the overall appearance of the book. I held it in my hands and got this feeling of not being disappointed this time before I even read the first sentence.

Scarpetta has a small medical examiner's office in Charleston, Carolina and is bby her now husband Benton Wesley to New York. The District Attorney Jamie Berger asks her for help with a patient who admitted himself to the forensic psychiatric unit. His name is Oscar Bane and he hasn't been charged with anything just yet. The only thing police has against him is that he was the first person to arrive at his girlfriends apartment and discovers her killed in a gruesome way.
Bane seems to be a little bit off claiming someone is following him, trying to steal his thoughts and mind and the only person who is allowed to examine his wounds is Dr. Scarpetta who finds herself in a huge dilemma:
For one thing she isn't allowed to break her patient/physician confidentiality as long as Bane hasn't been charged and for the other thing, she learns that Benton after Marino's sudden disappearance, took care of him, helped him with getting treatment for his alcoholism and other issues. She also learns that Marino now directly works for the District Attorney's office and is directly involved in the murder of Oscar Bane's girlfriend.
The next days reveal more confusion, more misleading evidence and more death.


Initially I've detached myself from expecting the Scarpetta we know from the early books because I think this might have been the downfall in Cornwell's past few publishing's. So I went into reading the book without the expectancy of the character Scarpetta. What I got was a mixture of Scarpetta, Lucy Farinelli and Marino and I actually liked the book very much.
In the beginning I feared we might again get too much of Benton and Scarpetta's relationship issues but during the plots development we completely got away from that and learn about how each of the "Scarpetta Team" deals with what happened in the previous novel between Marino and Scarpetta and that Scarpetta partly takes responsibility for it. All this happens between investigations, not too much at once but bit by bit so that it doesn't get annoying and gives closure to the The Book Of The Dead novel.

I think it was fantastic to get back a piece of what I missed in previous novels and a new direction. In the end they all redeem themselves in one or another way. Not only speaking of the characters here.
So would I recommend this book to Scarpetta fans ? Definitely and especially when the disappointment about the last novels was/is still there.

Twist and turns kept me reading and wanting more Cornwell for the first time in years and I appreciate the work for detail the author put into this work. Speaking for myself, I couldn't put it down and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Visit Patricia Cornwell.

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult (December 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399155163
ISBN-13: 978-0399155161

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sarah Pinborough - Tower Hill

The quit New England town of Tower Hill sits perched on high cliffs, removed from the outside world. At its heart lie a small college... and very old church.
There are secrets buried in Tower Hill, artifacts hidden centuries ago and long forgotten. But they are about to be unearthed... .

A charismatic new priest has come to Tower Hill. A handsome new professor is teaching at the college. And a nightmare has settled over the town. A girl is found dead and mutilated - by her own hand.
Another has slashed her face with scissors. Have the residents of Tower Hill all gone mad ?
Or has something worse ... something unholy ... taken over ?


Elisabeth (Liz), Steve and Angela have just moved to the quiet town of Tower Hill to fulfill their studying. Besides their different upbringing they instantly click and become friends, living in the same house. Liz, who has finally broken out of her parents religious grip, Steve who considers himself to be a poor trailer kid finally getting a chance in life and Angela who's studying divinity and can't wait to prove her own belief.

When school begins and they go their own way and make new friends things suddenly begin to change. Angela's bubbly nature changes completely when she's joins her paranormal investigation class and completely absorbed in her awe for the new teacher Dr. Kenyon, Liz feels mighty disturbed after her first visit in the local church and getting to know the new priest Father O'Brien and Steve notices the same strange behavior he saw on Angela on his working colleges and suddenly the whole town seems to be asleep with people in trance visiting their church.

Having lost Angela to the towns trance the two teenagers seek alliances with the only two unaffected from the towns curse. Four crusaders against two men that have been changing this town, their evil goal in mind and awaiting the arrival of the ancient evil they are about to arise.


This is Sarah Pinborough's fifth book and for me personally it is her best: suspenseful and creepy.
She colorful describes all the changes in the towns people and brought me to really liking the main character Liz and her spirit. It is Good against Evil beautifully crafted by one of the rare female horror-suspense writers. Good one !

Visit Sarah Pinborough.

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Leisure Books (July 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0843960523
ISBN-13: 978-0843960525

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lisa Jackson - Left To Die

Nothing's more terrifying...
One by one, the victims are carefully captured, toyed with, then subjected to a slow and agonizing death. Piece by piece, his exquisite plan takes shape.
The police can't yet see the beauty in his work -- but soon very soon, they will...

Than being left alone...
In the lonely woods around Grizzly Falls, Montana, four bodies have been discovered. Detectives Selena Alvarez and Regan Pescoli have been hoping for career-making case, but this nightmare. Even with the FBI involved, Selena and Regan have nothing to go on but a killer's cryptic notes, and the unsettling knowledge that there is much more worse to come...

To die...
When Jilian Rivers opens her eyes, she's trapped in a mangled car. Then a stranger, claiming to be a trail guide named Zane MacGregor, pries her free. Though she's grateful, something about him sets Jilian on edge. And if she knew what lay out there in the woods of Montana, she'd be truly terrified. Because someone is waiting...watching...poised to strike and make Jilian the next victim...


Jilian Rivers receives alarming messages via phone and email, that her long believed dead husband, Aaron, is still alive, living a good live with half a million dollars he stole over 10 years ago.
Alarmed she's beginning the journey to the town the letter was sent from when her front tire is shot in the middle of nowhere with a snow storm coming up. Injured she lies in her car when a stranger frees her.

Lately there have been women found dead in the woods around Grizzly Falls. The killer's MO is always the same: the front tire is shot and the car crashed. The women found dead have all been tended to. Their wounds were stitched or taped and they all seemed to be of a good health when they were tied to a tree in the woods. Slowly freezing to death.
Detectives Selena Alvarez and Regan Pescoli have squat to go on. No evidence left with the women, no evidence left with the sooner or later discovered cars. The only message left by the killer is a letter with the initials of the victims written on it and a star carved above the head of the women.

Jilian read about the dead women and now finds herself in a frightening situation: She wakes up in a cozy cabin, her wounds tended to and at the mercy of a men, she doesn't know anything about.
There is something about this man and she doesn't know if she can trust or believe him at all. In the end she doesn't have much choice but waits for the moment in which she can break free.


At times I thought this is one of Lisa Jackson's best books until I read the last few pages and discovered the book has an open end. The author announces the sequel will be published in August 2009 with the title Chosen To Die. My thoughts were she's got to be kidding leaving us readers here without any closure.
Without spoiling the book too much, it will be about one of the two detectives who the author thinks is an interesting person.
Unfortunately I don't feel the same way and couldn't find anything special about that. Nor do I want to read the same story all over again.
However, the rest of the roughly about 480 pages deserves a recommendation.

Visit Lisa Jackson.

Mass Market Paperback: 484 pages
Publisher: Zebra (August 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420102761
ISBN-13: 978-1420102765

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jay Anson - The Amityville Horror: A True Story

28 days of terror in a house possessed by evil spirits
In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their dream home, the same home where Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parent, brothers and sisters just one year earlier.
The psychic phenomena that followed created the most terrifying experience the Lutz family had ever encountered, forcing them to flee the house in 28 days, convinced that it was possessed by evil spirits.
Their fantastic story, never before disclosed in full detail, makes for an unforgettable book with all the shocks and gripping suspense of The Exorcist, The Omen or Rosemary's Baby, but with one vital difference ... the story is true.


On the evening of 13th of November 1974 Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed his parents and 4 siblings in their home in Amityville, Long Island, NY, claiming later, during trial, that voices in his head urged him to kill the family.
Little more then a year later Kathleen and George Lutz bought the house and moved in with their three children.
From day one strange things seem to occur: it always seems to be chilly in the house. The characters of the occupants seem to change, especially in George and the boys nature, who begin to fight each other. The little girl has an imaginary friend who's a pig named Jodie, disgusting smells, a crucifix hanging upside down, doors, windows and drawers opening and closing by themselves and apparitions. A hidden room which walls are painted red is found in the basement and the Lutzes claimed it smelled like blood.

There also is a connection to Father Frank Mancuso who blessed the house and instantly has bad feelings about the house. He later in the story seems to fall ill as soon as he tries to help the family.

After 28 days and the final "horrific" night the Lutzes abandon their home to flea to Kathy's mother and never returned to their estate.


True or not, their have been a lot of voices stating their opinion of the story being a hoax but also a lot of voices, "acclaimed" mediums like f. e. the Warrens to be true.
The authors claimed everything has been told like George Lutz told him but but in interviews many years later he admitted that certain events portrayed in the books aren't factual.
In 2005 his than stepson, Christopher Quaratino, gave an interesting interview to the Seattle Times talking abut what really happened when he was 7 year old boy. He's pointing his finger to George Lutz being interested in the occult and having brought what happened to himself and the family. He also claims, a lot of what Lutz claimed isn't true. He's not denying paranormal occurrences but clearly sees his former stepfather as the instigator.

It is said that the family really left the house head over heels but what they left was little more then cheap stuff which lets room for the educated guess that there was a shortage of money. The Lutzes paid half of the house and myself as the mystery reader already sees a good solution to moneytrouble: Buy a house where someone has been killed in and make the best out of whatever you can do with it.
The family that bought the house later lived there for many years without supernatural occurrences and debunked a few of George Lutz's claims.


The first few chapters I was about to give up on the book but then found myself eager to read on and compare the book to the different movies. True or not, I found the book very entertaining and also the included research I did about the house and ultimately about the DeFeo case.


Mass Market Paperback: 269 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books (January 1, 1979)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553131605
ISBN-13: 978-0553131604

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anita Shreve - Testimony

At Avery Academy, a prestigious New England boarding school, the headmaster finds himself in possession of a videotape - a disaster in a small package. More shocking than sexual acts recorded on the tape are the ages of the students. One girl is just fourteen.
A Pandora's box, the tape unleashes a storm of shame and recrimination throughout the small community. The men, women, and teenagers involved speak out to relate the events of that night and their aftermath.
Mike Bordwin, the headmaster, struggles to contain the scandal before it destroys the school.
Silas Quinney, a well-liked local boy, grapples with the tremendous consequences of his mistakes.
Anna, his mother, confronts her own forbidden temptations. And Sienna, an enigmatic and troubled young woman, tries to put her past behind her.

For all the tape reveals. it provokes more questions than it answers.
How did this happen ? Who is to blame ? And will the mistakes of one foolish moment ruin the futures of everyone involved ?
As the chorus of voices rises to a crescendo, it reveals the surprising truth of what occurred that night, and how the lives touched by theses events will be forever transformed.


I finished Testimony with a huge sigh and the question what would I have thought and how would I have handled a situation like this.

Avery Academy is a private boarding school in New England. It is lead by headmaster Mike Bordwin who receives a homemade sex tape featuring four of Avery's students. 3 young boys age 17-19 and a young girl age 14, almost 15.
Bordwin has to decide what to do next. Deliver the tape to the police or handle the situation contained inside Avery's walls. He decides to go with the later but as word gets around, is forced to work together with the police who soon arrests two of the boys and the third boy missing.

As the story slowly unfolds we learn about all parties concerned: Children, mothers and fathers, uncles, friends, reporters, people employed at Avery Academy and at last the little community.
Each has to tell a part of this story, how it happened, how the aftermath was handled, partly who was to blame for the whole situation and who the boys and the girl were.

As the story is told the reader gets a good picture of the students involved and the life they are forced to live after they were expelled from school, chances of going to University lost because they had one drunken night and did something very stupid, were probably seduced by "the hot chick".
However, the book is more saddening from the boys perspective. During my reading I felt sorry for them, less for the girl who according to her description by roommates and her own telling of the story seems to be every flaky and dubious.
In the end it is the law that decides who is to blame and bares the boys way.

And it is the reader that has to decide on which side to stand on. Are you forgivable towards the boys and the girl ? Do they need to be punished for life for something they did for a moment and for something they all wanted at this time and no one was harmed ? Is morality more important than their future ?

Of course things like this don't happen in real life, don't they ? Aren't teenagers and young adults wasting their time drinking alcohol, doing stupid things ?
Well I did, my friends did, not in this way but certainly the one or the other way and not always inside the law.

Very thought provoking and a must read for people who like to confront themselves, their own morality and sense of justice.


Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 21, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316059862
ISBN-13: 978-0316059862

Sunday, November 16, 2008

James Patterson - Double Cross

A psychotic killer who craves an audience

Just when Alex Cross's life is calming down, he is drawn back into the game to confront a criminal mastermind like no other. The elaborate murders that have stunned Washington, DC, are the wildest that Alex Cross and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. This maniac adores an audience, and stages his killings as spectacles in public settings. Alex is pursuing a genius of terror who has the whole city on edge as it waits for his next move. And the killer loves the attention, no doubt--he even sets up his own Web site and live video feed to trumpet his madness.

And a mastermind who works alone

And in Colorado, another criminal mastermind is planning a triumphant return. From his super-maximum-security prison cell, Kyle Craig has plotted for years to have one chance at an impossible escape. If he has to join forces with DC's Audience Killer to get back at the man who put him in that cell--Alex Cross-- all the better.

Both are after the same detective--Alex Cross


I guess my big advantage with this book is that I have listened to all the audio books and never really picked up a book from the Alex Cross series. So while reading I always had the narrators gorgeous, character giving voice in my head while reading. I always thought it is this voice that gave Alex Cross the live in the audio books and and now that I read my first Hardback in this series I know I've always been right.
For me personally James Patterson's writing style isn't the best one, dull and repetitive at times. The characters aren't growing at all so I'll most certainly will stick to listening to the audio books instead of buying a real book.

However, the story itself is quite nice at the last third which I finished in one day while the first two thirds bored me big time.

For me it was an experiment that failed. :-)

Visit James Patterson.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (November 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316015059
ISBN-13: 978-0316015059

Monday, November 10, 2008

Peter Benchley - Jaws

It's out there in the water ... waiting. Nature's most relentless predator. It fears nothing. It attacks anything. It devours everything.
The seaside community is at it's mercy. A small-town police chief, a marine biologist, and a modern-day Ahab must try to stop it.

But they are only three men ... alone against the Great White Death.


Who hasn't seen the movie at least once ? That the book is very different from the movie splatter does indeed surprise as it takes a few completely different turns than the movie does.
The story itself is pretty much the same:

Amity is a vacation community on Long Island that lives on the earnings taken in during the summer vacation season and it's tourism.
At the early summer days a girl is killed by a shark. The chief of police, Martin Brody, wants to close the beach but is pressured by higher locals and the selectmen to not do it. When more people die in a short amount of time he's still pressured to keep the beach open and after a short time of having them closed to open them again.
Ichthyologist Matt Hooper arrives in town to help with the search of the killer fish and for many days Chief Brody, Hooper and the venturous fisher Quint try to find the fish but it seems that the fish is the one that comes to them, taking first Hooper and then Quint. Brody faces the fish on the sinking boat and comes away ... . alive.

So much for the plot. But there is much more to mention which wasn't included in the movie. For example Ellen Brody's unhappiness with her social status and her short escape into an affair with Matt Hooper. The islands political structure and not to forget the fish hunt which is so different from the movie. I've been waiting for the famous sentence said by Brody "We need a bigger boat" but it never came. Instead Hooper didn't survive and got killed when he went down in the shark cage.
The ending of the book is completely different from the movie as well and I don't know which one I like more. Probably the movie ending because it has more of an impact but the book ending certainly explains more of the course the Brody family seems to have to go through in the future.

Overall, after today's standard the book probably wouldn't be such a success than it was in 1974. The characters are very unsympathetic with Brody being the most real.

Visit Peter Benchley.

Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Fawcett (July 30, 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0449219631
ISBN-13: 978-0449219638
Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chelsea Cain - Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan Series, Book 2)

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland's Forest Park, Archie Sheridan is reminded of the last time the police found a body there, more than a decade ago: It turned out to be the Beauty Killer's first victim, and Archie's first case.
This body can't be one of Gretchen's - she is in prison - but when, with the help of reporter Susan Ward, he uncovers the dead woman's identity, it becomes another big case. Trouble is, Archie can't focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison.

Archie hasn't seen her in two months; he's moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he's relieved. He knows he's the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all.


Archie Sheridan hasn't seen Gretchen Lowell in two months and suffers terribly under the abstinence he's put on himself for his family's and own sake. He's seriously dependent on pain medication much more mental than physical. He is about to die if he doesn't quit taking pills but Archie doesn't really care about his spirit anymore. He's dead since Gretchen Lowell tortured him, leaving his body mutilated and in constant pain. From the outside it looks like he is much better since he moved back to his house to be with his ex-wife Debbie and his two children.

When a dead body is found in a wilderness park he contacts Susan Ward, working for The Herald to take over the coverage.
The investigation becomes hot when Susan is able to identify the unknown women they just found because she was the main witness in a case than Susan was about to reveal in her paper. Molly Palmer was raped by Senator Castle when she was 14 years old and working for him as a babysitter. Just as the story is going to be in print the Senator and Susan's involved co-worker Quentin Parker die in a car accident and Molly is killed.
On top of that Gretchen Lowell has been assaulted by a guard and requires Archie's presence in prison. Archie's instantly drawn back to her watched by his partner Henry who orders a lockdown on Gretchen and a transfer to another state. |During this transfer Gretchen escapes.

Archie is relieved for Gretchen and worried about his family. Susan received a gift of chocolate hearts supposedly send to her by Archie but he never sent it. The Sheridan family and Susan and her mom are hidden in a club to keep them save and Archie knows there is only one way for him to save his families future: To get her and die with her.
He recklessly fleas their shelter just to be picked up by Gretchen who once again instantly drugs him.


This is an amazing, gripping continuation of Chelsea Cain's first thriller Heartsick. I didn't expect the second book to be so completely topping the first one so it was a huge surprise how much the authors writing style has improved.
The characters from the first novel return, some developed more, some less. Henry, Archie's partner is still the cool headed, loyal partner watching out for Archie. Susan is shortly before publishing her breakthrough as crime reporter and still dreams about writing crime books.
We learn about Archie's relationship with his ex-wife and his struggle when his children begin to talk about Gretchen Lowell.

It left me wanting more and worrying about what worse can happen to this haunted man.

I recommend to read the prequel first just for the understanding how deep Gretchen and Archie's relationship to each other is.

Visit Chelsea Cain.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur; 1st edition (September 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031236847X
ISBN-13: 978-0312368470

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (Year 1)

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys', his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that's about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him ... if Harry can survive the encounter.


Young Harry Potter lives in the house of his aunt and uncle Vernon and Petunia Dursley, enduring the attacks of his cousin Dudley for the last 11 years. His bed is cupboard and love & friendship are foreign words for him. The Dudleys' let him feel he is the outsider, the burden they never wanted, and he's now coming to an age to recognize how off things are in his life.
Little does he know the reasoning for his uncle and aunt to not let him read the letters that begun to arrive lately, but the Dudleys' certainly know, they don't want to have to do anything with what the letters implicate. They know how off Harry's parents were. Especially Petunia's sister Lily.

On his eleventh birthday Harry's life changes when he is taken away by a huge, giantlike man called Hagrid, who introduces Harry to his real being as a wizard. He learns that his parents were a witch and a wizard and died while fighting the dark Voldemort who ultimately killed his parents but wasn't able to kill Harry.

Harry becomes a student in wizardry at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and for the first time learns what friendship is all about. Fascinated by the magic surrounding him he learns the ups and downs of being a wizard. He finds friends like Ron Weasley and Hermione Grander and he also makes enemies. He is a natural talent in riding the broom and becomes the Seeker for the Gryffindor team and prevails as an excellent attribute to the team, leading his house team to the first win in years.

But all the happiness has it's shadowy side. There is Darco Malfoy, the mean little boy taunting not only Harry but also other students and Professor Snape headmaster of the Slytherin house, who's dark appearance not only frightens the students but who seems to deeply hate Harry for unknown reasons.

During the term the three children discover a secret trap door on the third floor of Hogwarts castle. Behind it lingers a huge three headed dog guarding a trap door. Professor Snape soon becomes a suspect of interest when Harry discovers that he has a huge bite mark on his leg and seemed to be the reason why Harry had dangerous diffuculties during one Quidditch cursed by Snape.

Rumors are that the dangerous Voldemort is returning, trying to get to whatever is hidden under the trap door, the assumed safest place on earth to hide something.
Ultimately Harry has to face what's hidden under the door and who's trying to steal something of major important for everybody's well being.


Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (originally in the U.K. edition named Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone) has been published a little more than 10 years ago, the movie shown on TV a million times and here I am having just finished the first volume for whatever reason.

I understand the series was developed for children but later matured to fit not only a child's taste but also the grown-ups taste.
I went into the book without knowing what to expect and it left me wondering what all the fuss was about.
Initially I thought there is nothing special about it but I find myself thinking I'll pick up the second volume quite soon. The reason for that is, I know what is going to come due to watching the following movies plus I actually began liking the characters in general. The writing itself is flat but flawless, fitted for children without implicating any kind of horrific pictures in a child's head.

I liked it !

Visit J. K. Rowling.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 8, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 059035342X
ISBN-13: 978-0590353427

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Alex Kava - Exposed (Maggie O'Dell series, Book 6)

Agent Maggie O'Dell and Assistant Director Cunningham believe they're responding to a threat made at Qunatico. Instead they walk into a trap. Before they realize it, they've both been exposed to a killer who can strike at anyone, at any time, and no one can predict who might be next... until it is too late.

The killer's tactics suggest he's an aficionado of criminal minds. He uses bits and pieces from those he admires: a phrase from the Beltway Snipers, a clue from the Unabomber, a delivery method similar to the Anthrax Killer.
His weapon is a deadly virus, virtually invisible and totally uninspected. His victims appear to be random, but in fact, they are chosen with a revengeful precision. The vaccine is limited and untested.

Maggie knows dangerous minds - from hauntingly perverse child predators to cunningly twisted serial killers. Now she faces a new opponent from inside an isolation ward at a biosafety containment hospital. Maggie must help Agent R. J. Tully find clues to catch the killer - while waiting to see if the deadly strain is already multiplying in her body. With every new exposure there's the potential for an epidemic. And Maggie knows she and Cunningham may not live long enough to discover who is the deadliest, most intelligent killer they've ever profiled.


When a doughnut box on Assistant Director Cunningham's desk is found nobody thinks it might have been left by an intruder at Quantico headquarters. Instead they find find a note hidden under the doughnuts: The note announces a crash at a certain time and a certain point.
Rushing for help they trap into an almost invisible trap. The house they enter is occupied by a mother and her little daughter. The child looks neglected, the mother lies blood gurgling in her blood drenched bed. Both agents instantly know there is no bomb going to explode but that the mother and the child have been exposed to a biological, possibly highly infectious agent. When the little girl vomits she splatters all over Cunningham and partly over Maggie.
The agents destiny seems to be defined when the Army arrives and takes them to the nearest USAMRID center and their containment hospital.
If it weren't for Maggie all the evidence would have been lost in the house. In a snap decision she bags a manila envelope from the mothers desk and hides it under her waistband.

With her and Cunningham locked away Tully stays outside worrying about his co-workers her considers his friends. With little evidence and not much to find on the doughnut note he pretty much doesn't know where to begin his investigations while Maggie after begging receives a laptop to at least do a little research about the return address on her envelope.
During this she receives the threatening diagnosis that she and Cunningham have been
exposed to Ebola Zaire, the worst and deadliest strain of all known Ebola viruses and that Cunningham seems to be infected while Maggie's blood stays clean.


I know a lot about viruses and have read a lot of reference about this topic so I might judge that Mrs. Kava did a fine research job and explained the facts about Ebola very nice and understandable for people who have never gone into this topic.
However, the plot seems to have suffered from it or shortened by the publisher.
The actual investigation to find the killer fells short and in the end leaves a few questions and loose ends.

The writing style very much reminded me of Whitewash but this time it didn't hurt the book as much.

There are a lot of possible infected people mentioned, but Mrs. Kava didn't close the loop on those. Also there was a quarantined hospital that receives a not much tested unproved vaccine. I figure she didn't close the loop on the later because the vaccine is real and it hasn't been tested on a lot of humans yet.

To come to a conclusion:
Yes, I liked it but I believe people that aren't too interested to read about pandemics, filoviruses and containment procedures might not be as interested as I am. Overall for me it was fluent up until the end which I probably didn't get right in the first place because I was distracted about all the loose ends and disappointed that the end was such uneventful.
Overall the book is very different from the other Maggie O'Dell novels.

Visit Alex Kava.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Mira (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778325571
ISBN-13: 978-0778325574

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lisa Scottoline - Daddy's Girl

Natalie Greco loves being a law professor, even though she can't keep her students from cruising during class and secretly feels like Faculty Comic Relief. She loves her family, too, but as a bookworm, doesn't quite fit into the cult of Greco football, headed by her father, the team captain. The one person she feels most connected to is her colleague, Angus Holt, a guy with a brilliant mind, a great sense of humor, a gorgeous facade, and a penchant for helping those less fortunate.
When he talks Natalie into teaching a class at a local prison, her comfortably imperfect world turns upside down.

A violent prison riot breaks out during the class, and in the chaos, Nat rushes to help a grievously injured prison guard. Before he die, he asks her to deliver a cryptic message with his last words: "Tell my wife it's under the floor."

The dying declaration plunges Nat into a nightmare. Suddenly, the girl who has always followed the letter of the law finds herself suspected of a brutal murder and encounters threats to her life around every curve. Now not only are the cops after her, bur ruthless killers are desperate to keep her from exposing their secret. In the meantime, she gets dangerously close to Angus, whose warmth, strength, and ponytail shake her dedication to her safe boyfriend.

With her love life in jeopardy, her career in the balance, and her life on the line, Nat must rely on her resources, her intelligence, and her courage. Forced into hiding to stay alive, she sets out to safe herself by deciphering the puzzle behind the dead guards last words... and learns the secret to the greatest puzzle of all - herself.


The books description is quite accurate so there isn't much to add.
Halfway through the last third of the book it lost my interest. I was interested in the ending but wasn't at all excited during the whole book and didn't expect too much.
In the end I was surprised to find a twist there but that's all about it.
The characters, even the main character Nat Greco, who should be at least some sort of likeable, fell too flat which is very unfortunate because the whole book surrounds around her and her feelings for her family, boyfriend, the new man in her life and the current situation. It feels like closing the book and forgetting about her and the whole story.

Something cozy for days when you don't have anything else on your shelf.

Visit Lisa Scottoline.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060833149
ISBN-13: 978-0060833145

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bruce Elliot - Death Rites

A woman's nightmare
Nigth after night, Michelle Ransom is trapped in a terrifying dreamworld where the faceless bodies of murdered woman haunt her, drawing her ever closer to the edge of madness. Is it all in her mind ... or all too real ?

A cop's redemption
Since his wife's death, grief and alcohol have slowly consumed LAPD detective Amiel "Touch" Benson. Until a chance meeting with Michelle Ransom reminds him what he once was and what he once had.

A killer's ritual
When Michelle's visions come to life in very real and very disturbing crime scenes, Benson is forced to consider the impossible. Is Michelle truly psychic ? Or is she a suspect ?
Either way, Benson must risk everything to find out. Because the final ritual has already begun.


Sometime after Benson's wife death we find Benson in disturbing condition: grief and alcohol made him unreliable not really a pleasure to work with. His true friend and partner Amanda still on his side to hide his flaws but getting annoyed by his overall appearance and work attitude.
Their new case needs a leading detective and Benson still is the best. Surprisingly his old high school sweetheart Michelle Ransom seems to be somehow involved as she comes forward confessing about her dreams of dead girls, locations and the victims cry for help.

Is she truly a psychic or is she the crazy killer on an Egyptian trip who lately killed three girls by mummification or is someone playing a dangerous game and Michelle became the psychic receiver ?
Time pressures when her beautiful daughter Jana is abducted and together the team has to find the girl before she becomes the next victim of the Mummykiller.


I was a little bit disappointed by the second novel in this "series" which hasn't been continued since 2002. Compared to Still Life, the first novel, the characters, especially Amanda's felt a little bit flat this time but she's still sticking to her unloved husband, secretly wondering if things couldn't be better for her if she wouldn't work together with Benson, the man she secretly desires. She considers herself his friend and vice versa.

Benson is a wreck but when he notices how important a clear head and good work in this case becomes to him as a detective and personally he soon pulls himself together
becoming the detective he was.

Overall I liked it, the plot was nicely exercised but something was missing I couldn't quite fathom. It might be the feeling of reading a book that was made for TV instead of a novel.


Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Onyx (February 1, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451410335
ISBN-13: 978-0451410337

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bruce Elliot - Still Life

The line between artistic vision and insanity has been violently crossed. Mutilated bodies are being discovered almost daily-their gruesome remains meticulously arranged into grotesque shapes and forms.

Detective Amiel "Touch" Benson wants to stop him. To do so, he will have to work with the one person whom the artist confides in-radio psychologist Teri Fields, whose show the killer calls to let Benson know where the next corpse is located. They must race against time, for true art waits for no one-and there is a master at work.

His canvas: the city of Los Angeles.
His inspiration: the dying screams of his victims.
His passion: to create a masterpiece of death no one will ever forget.


When the famous The Dr. Teri Fields Show airs as usual everyone considered the last evenings call a huge prank announcing he's killed someone.
Very soon the listeners learn it was no prank at all.
A beautiful young girl has been found dead in her apartment. Her angelic features only disturbed through a fine cut through her throat, posing like an angel on her bed in clean sheets. Entering her bathroom detectives find a gruesome scenery of blood and stench. The victim has been drained of blood and was cleaned afterwards.

Detective Amiel ("Touch") Benson and his partner Amanda Blaine work the case and their first response is talking to the radio shows host Dr. Teri Fields who seems mighty disturbed by the last nights call and it's trueness.

The crimes scene otherwise seems clean except for some dust left by a drawing pen. The two detectives are clueless that they are in for a ride into the world of art and a disturbed killer artist meticulously working his scene.


Our protagonists are very likeable and human. Amiel, nickmaned Touch, is married to Liz, who suffers from bipolar disorder. They are still married but separated. Touch can't let go of her but secretly desires his beautiful partner Amanda who carries a package of her own. She is married to a man she loves but doesn't fulfill her needs.
They work together, dream of each other but they don't touch each other.
They both are very human, especially Touch who cares for his wife who rewards him with sugar but mostly vinegar.
When Touch meets the hypnotizing Dr. Fields he fells for her hard enough to almost screw up the whole investigation, Amanda's and his own career.
Their flaws make you want to read and learn more of them. Especially how their life went after the book.

Still Life is the first book in what was thought to be a series but unfortunately there has only been a second book since 2002 named Death Rites.


Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Onyx (May 8, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451409841
ISBN-13: 978-0451409843

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bill Floyd - The Killer's Wife

Six years after Nina Mosley discovered evidence linking her husband, Randy, to a string of murders across the country, she's finally settling into a new life with their seven-year-old son, Hayden, in Cary, N.C. Now calling herself Leigh Wren, Nina hopes that she's heard the last of her ex-husband, who's on death row in California. But when the father of one of Randy's victims tracks her down and exposes her identity, Nina knows her troubles are far from over. As friends shun her, Nina struggles to come to terms with her past. When Hayden's life is suddenly put in jeopardy, Nina must revisit Randy's crimes and uncover who's continuing his killing spree before it's too late.


Leigh Wren and her seven year old boy Hayden found a new life far away from their past, mostly Leigh's past. Leigh, who's former name was Nina Mosley, helped in the conviction of her ex-husband who killed nearly 12 known victims over the span of a decade and now is awaiting his execution on death row.
Living with suspicions and hidden fear buried deep inside her, she lived a life of questions without answers until her husband Randy got careless coming home with bruises and blood on his closes. Willing to finally share what he does he leaves the key to his shed where Nina discovers the necessary evidence for a conviction. Randy confessed on all accounts.

Now, six years later, she still lives a self-encapsulated life but gets along well with Hayden and her new career when she is approached by the father of one of Randy's victim. It is Charles Pritchett who came to expose her and her hiding place, to get justice and have people known who she is. In his eyes Nina's innocence was never cleared to his satisfaction.

The media frenzy begins and in the midst of it little Hayden is abducted and his teacher killed and mutilated frighteningly similar to Randy's victims.

The police has two instant subjects: Randy himself, who had strange letter conversations from death row and Charles Pritchett who threatened Nina and her child.


The Killer's Wife is Bill Floyd's debut novel which seems to be pieced together a little awkwardly but still entertaining.The reader learns about Nina's past and her current life as Leigh Wren but the shifting between past and present didn't make the cut for me. For the thriller reader there aren't much new additions or insights in a killers psyche.

Plot and writing style appear to be pretty basic but not boring. A fast read for the weekend. I'd read a next novel.


Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur (March 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312373392
ISBN-13: 978-0312373399

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brent Morgan - The Bell Witch - An American Haunting

The Bell Witch took up residence with John Bell's family in 1818. It was a cruel and noisy spirit, given to rapping and gnawing sounds before it found its voices.
With these voices and its supernatural acts, the Bell Witch tormented the Bell family. This extraordinary book recounts the only documented case in U. S. history when a spirit actually caused a man's death.

The local schoolteacher, Richard Powell, witnessed the strange events and recorded them for his daughter. His astonishing manuscript fell into the hands of novelist Brent Monahan, who has prepared the book for publication. Members of the Bell family have previously provided information on this fascinating case, but this book recounts the tale with novelistic vigor and verve. It is truly chilling.


The Bell Witch is a tale that allegedly happened in 1817/1818. The family Bell tormented by an evil spirit causing noises, pushing, slapping and cursing the family, especially John Bell, the father, and his daughter Betsy, eventually causing John Bell's death.

The way it is with tales over time things get messed up, a lot is added or worsened and so it seems exactly that happened with the Bell Witt Haunting.
There were several reasons why I couldn't finish the book:
First and foremost it couldn't keep up my interest. Although the author tried to stay factual it pretty much stayed too factual without creating the necessary atmosphere for the reader.
The things he writes about sound all too fictitious and it is hard to really be believed.

In the end the book feels like a tale - fairy that is.

Visit Brent Monahan.

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (June 19, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312262922
ISBN-13: 978-0312262921

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cody McFadyen - The Darker Side (Smoky Barrett Series, Book 3)

Everyone has a secret they don't dare tell anyone.

He'll kill you for yours.

A lie, a long-ago affair, a dark desire - everyone has secrets they take to the grave. No one knew that better than FBI special agent Smoky Barrett. But what secret was a very young woman keeping that led to her very public murder ?
And what kind of killer was so driven and so brazenly daring that he'd take her life on a commercial airliner thirty thousand feed in midair, a killer so accomplished that he'd leave only a small souvenir behind ?

These are the questions that bring Smoky and her handpicked team of experienced manhunters from L. A. to the autumn chill of Washington, D. C., by order of the FBI director himself - and special request of a high-pwred grieving D. C. mother.

As a mother, Smoky knows the pain of losing a child - it nearly killed her once before. As a cop with her own twisted past, she takes every murder personally, which is both her greatest strength and her only weakness.
Brilliant, merciless, righteous, the killer Smoky is hunting this time is on his own personal mission, whose cost in innocent human lives he's only begun to collect.
For in his eyes no on is innocent; everyone harbors a secret sin, including Smoky Barrett.

Soon Smoky will have to confront a flawless killer who knows her flaws with murderous intimacy.


In this third novel Smoky Barrett and her team are summoned to Virginia, near Washington, D. C. to investigate the murder of Lisa Reid, born Dexter Reid, the almost transgendered son of Texas congressman Dillon Reid who's talked to be the next president of the United States. The victim was killed during a flight in mid air, the heart punctuated and a little cross with the number 143 stuck into the puncture wound.

When a second victim is found the team knows Reid's death wasn't necessaryly an act against the congressman but rather something the deceased had in common with the new victim. The M. O. similar to Read's, the new victims cross carries the number 142.
Is it possible there was a killer flying under the radar for years who killed 143 people ?

The team struggles to paint a picture of the person they are searching when online videos appear about the killing of Lisa Reid and all the other victims. They all had something in common: They sinned in their life. Homosexuality, sex, drugs, alcohol, infidelity, no sin is forgiven and The Preacher is going to get them.

Smoky's only way to find the perp is to figure out how he learned about his victims sins and the race against time begins with the announcement the next victim will be a child.


Although this novel can't keep up with the last two books, it keeps a lot of info about the characters in McFadyen's series. Revealing their secrets, flaws and feelings. Smoky's struggle to allow herself to be happy in her now since two years lasting relationsship with Tommy, James's gayness, Alan's alcohol abuse and Callie's Vicodin addiction and even Kirby, who's been introduced in the second books and seems to have become a part of the family has to reveal one of her secrets at the end.
They are a family kept together by shattered dreams, loss and eyes that saw too much.

The whole book seems to evolve slowly but is non the less enjoyable to read and learn about the characters. I really liked it and it was about time to learn a bit more.

Visit Cody McFadyen.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Bantam (September 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553806947
ISBN-13: 978-0553806946

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cody McFadyen - The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett Series, Book 2)

"I want to talk to Smoky Barrett or I kill myself."

The girl is sixteen, at the scene of a grisly triple homicide, and has a gun to her head. She claims "the Stranger" killed her adoptive family, that he's been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her.

No one has. Until now.

Special Agent Smoky Barrett is head of the violent crime unit in Los Angeles, the part of the FBI reserved for tracking down the worst of the worst. Her team has been handpicked from among the nation's elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they'll have to be o deal with this case.

For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death; an "artist" who's molding sixteen-year-old Sarah into the perfect victim - and the ultimate weapon- But Smoky Barrett has another, more personal reason for catching The Stranger - an adopted daughter and a new life that are worth protecting at any cost.

This time Smoky is going to have to put it all on the line. Because The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too relentless. And when he finally shows his face, if she's not ready to confront her worst fear, Smoky won't have time to do anything but die.


Smoky Barrett and her team are the best of the best the FBI has to offer. They are the Violent Crime Unit. Minddivers skilled in diving into the minds of psychopaths.
Together with her adoptive daughter Bonnie, who lost her mother, Smoky's best friend, through the hands of a serial killer, they both begin to feel happy again. Embracing their new life, allowing themselves to be happy.

When Smoky receives a phone call she is needed at a triple homicide crime scene it seems odd that a girl is standing there holding a gun to her head demanding to speak to Smoky.
Her story: A stranger killed her new adoptive family. He took everything she ever cared for and everybody who every care for her including her parents 10 years ago and no one every believed her that she had to witness her parents death and two of her Foster families death.
The team soon learns the girl is speaking the truth and the investigation begins.

Up against a killer who seems disorganized but isn't, who is up to date what they do, they discover a cobweb of manipulate, threatened people around Sarah Langstorm. People who haven't spoken up for years to safe their lifes and the lifes of those they love.
The killer's goal is revenge, ruin the life of Sarah Langstorm, make her what he has become, shattered and crazy. The clues the team finds seems to be placed years in advance by this killer and nothing they find seems to be real or lead them further away.


When I read the first book Shadow Man in this series I knew I found a writer wholly satisfying me as the reader. I didn't expect to find a writer who gets to me emotionally - again.
I thought the little girl tied to her dead mother in book one got to me and there can't be any more more shocking until I read this book and dove into the strong emotions of a 16year-old recounting the story of her life, the witness of her parents murder in detail and those of her Foster families. I was wrong.
McFadyen is a genius who makes you feel for every single victim in his book. He makes you care, putting intensity in his books that create goosebumps and touches the heart. When I read the diary Sarah had written for Smoky I literally felt the terror but also felt the little happy things in her life shortly before they got taken away from her.

Overall there are a lot of characters coming into the book, playing an important role in what happened to Sarah and I absolutely admire that there is not a single loose end in end. I wonder if the book was written backwards and how the author made it to create a story such tight it takes your breath away.
I read an article in which McFadyen mentioned he didn't want anyone to read it and get away unscathed and for me, he archived this goal.

McFadyen is a huge dog lover and surprised me in mentioning his own dogs under different names, but with the same nickname "Black Forces of Destruction", two black Labrador Retrievers. I smiled because I remember reading about his two black Labs on his webpage and I clearly remembered this nickname and the reason why they are named like this.

McFadyen feels near, his book doesn't leave you, you should be afraid of what's coming next and you will have problems to find books that reach the same level.

Visit Cody McFadyen.

Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: Bantam (July 29, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553589946
ISBN-13: 978-0553589948