Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beverly Barton - A Time to Die

Ten years ago, Black Ops commando Deke Bronson's bullet left up-and-coming journalist Lexie Murrough paralyzed.

It's taken years of painful physical therapy to bring Lexie back from the brink. And Deke is just grateful that she has no memory of his part in the incident that left her injured and him emotionally scarred. He's tried to put the past behind him, leaving the military and joining the Dundee Agency, but he's never been able to forgive himself.…

When Lexie, now head of an international charity organization, begins receiving terrifying threats from the son of the dictator killed during that long-ago operation, it's Deke who's assigned to keep her safe from harm.

Maybe it's fate's way of giving him another chance, but falling for Lexie isn't supposed to be part of the deal. And what if she finally discovers the truth?


Former reporter Lexie Murrogh got shot in the back at an inauguration where the new elected president got shot. Her injury left her paralyzed and dreaming of her secret savior with his deep grey eyes for the next ten years. After a long way of recovery she is left with a cane and very sucessful as the head of a charity organization called Helping Hands.
Now she and her boss and best friend Cara Bedell are threatened by an assasin promising to kill Lexie and all her friends for what she did back then when she's been shot.
Little does Lexie know that the bodyguard's, hired by Cara, were participating in the assassination 10 years ago and the very stray bullet that stroke her came from Deke Bronson, her personal bodyguard, gun. Nevertheless the sparkles are flying between both of them instantly. While Deke's trying to concentrate on his job Lexie falls head over heals for him.

A quick read, lacking the suspense one looks forward to read in this genre. The characters are very cliché. Unfortunately the books main focus lies on the love between Lexie and Deke and doesn't really fit into the main plot.

Visit Beverly Barton.

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (December 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373772491
ISBN-13: 978-0373772490

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jonathan Nasaw - The Girls He Adored

Call him Max. But don't shake his hand. Don't get too close at all. Because Max isn't just Max. He's a lot of people, a twisted collection of personalities struggling to find a way out. One of those personalities is vicious, Insatiable. A man with a talent for the blade and a hunger for women with strawberry blond hair.

Max latest querry, Dr. Irene Cogan, is about to learn two things firsthand: what makes Max tick, and what happened to The Girls He Adored.


Psychiatrist Dr. Irene Cogan is called to evaluate the mental state of a man who's got captured killing the young woman on his passenger seat in a routine traffic control. Nobody knows who he is or where he´d come from.
Soon she discovers that the man in front of her isn't just a man, he's at least six men and a child. There are Max, Christopher, Mose, Kinch, Ish, Peter and Lyssy hidden in one fast thinking and moving mind with such enormous amount of intelligence and skills.

While Dr. Cogan interviews the subject the doghoused FBI Special Agent E. L. Pender feels for the first time in over 10 years they finally might have captured a serial killer nicknamed as Casey. Casey's victims are strawberry blonds just like the disemboweled girl the unknown subject in jail killed.

High in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon a strawberry blond haired woman sits on her porch with a sewing basket full of separate reddish blond strands.

When "Casey" escapes from jail he knows Dr. Cogan might be able to help him control all his alters just a bit better and that her hair's just been colored frosty blond. There is a glimmer of reddish under the blond. He kidnaps her and begins his, and now her's as well, journey home.

Pender's fishing for clues. So far police and FBI have been able to follow Casey just because he left dead bodies every now and then but his final destination's hidden in the dark. When he finds Dr. Cogans taped interview sessions he finds the one clue that might be able to direct him in the right direction and the chase begins.

While I liked the strong beginning of the book very much, it got pretty plain and thin, somehow boring, around the middle. Reading Casey's story of how he'd become what he was wore me out, couldn't really grab me. In the end I wasn't surprised about the ending as it was more then predictable.
Nasaw did a very good job to explain what Dissociative Identity Disorder is but clearly failed to create a mystery.

Visit Jonathan Nasaw.

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star (February 1, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0671787454
ISBN-13: 978-0671787455

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hester Browne - The Little Lady Agency

When sweet, naive Melissa seeks a job with her old Home Economics teacher she is half way through the interview before it dawns on her that Mrs. McKinnon isn't interested in her cookery skills, but is in fact running an escort agency.
Melissa panics, but she needs the cash - and what harm can providing lonely men with stimulating conversation over dinner do? More exciting still, she'll get to wear a disguise...
Enter her alter ego: Honey. As flirty and feminine as a Bond girl, as confident and sexy as Mary Poppins in silk stockings, Honey brings out a side to Melissa she never knew she had. A side that will get her into hot water, (and out of it) and that she'll never want to lose...


The first chapter tells pretty much everything there is to know about Melissa Romney-Jones aka Honey. Graduated from art school Melissa's a reliable, sensible, shy, insecure person, failing at her jobs. She's a domestic goddess, the nice girl next door always looking on the bright side.
Then there ist her other side, Honey. A blond whigged whirlwind in silmk stockings, married 15 times with over fity men she'd dated.
That´s what the book is about.

Melissa lost her job at an estate agency and receives a business card of a former teacher who's running a "temping agency" which pretty fast emerges to be an upmarket escort agency. After the second date ends with a punch into the males face an idea is born: The Little Lady Agency.
You need a girlfriend to present at your company's festivities, a woman pretending to be your wife ? Someone to organize a party or your life ? A personal makeover ? All is available at The Little Lady Agency. Everything except Sex.

When Melissa's or better Honey's business begins to run she goes disguised to a party arranged by her former employee. There she meets Jonathan Riley, the American new managing director from New York. Not thinking much he gives him his business card and the next day he calls her for help and an absolutely, predictable story unfolds not spearing the reader an easy happy missing some twist and turns.

This was my very first excursion into the chick lit genre. If it weren´t for someone else I probably would have never read the book and it feels like expected: Lots of chocolate, lots of inseurity on the female side, lots of corniness.
However, Hester Browne created a very likeable, sweet character in Melissa and her two friends. She stays a bit on the surface of the british etiquette and I so wished she would have gone deeper into this but as for the American character in the book she might have loosened the etiquette.
I'm unsure if a chick lit has to be funny, as for that, I didn't find anything funny. The book´s probably good in the chick lit genre but but for me, the mystery-thriller freak it's just too much above the surface.

Rating: Won't give one because I don't want to judge on a genre I am not well-read in.
Visit Hester Browne.

ISBN-13: 9781416527268
ISBN-10: 1416527265
Publisher: Pocket
Publication Date: 9/5/2006
Pages: 384
Book Type: Paperback

Friday, January 18, 2008

Alafair Burke - Dead Connection

When two young women are murdered on the streets of New York, exactly one year apart, Detective Ellie Hatcher is called up for a special assignment on the homicide task force. The killer has left behind a clue connecting the two cases to First Date, a popular online dating service, and Flann McIlroy, an eccentric, publicity-seeking homicide detective, is convinced that only Ellie can help him pursue his terrifying theory: someone is using the lure of the Internet and the promise of love to launch a killing spree against the women of New York City.

To catch the killer, Ellie must enter a high-tech world of stolen identities where no one is who they appear to be. And for her, the investigation quickly becomes personal: she fits the profile of the victims, and she knows firsthand what pursuing a sociopath can do to a cop. Back home in Wichita, Kansas, her father lost his life trying to catch a notorious serial murderer.

When the First Date killer begins to mimic the monster who destroyed her father, Ellie knows the game has become personal for him, too. Both hunter and prey, she must find the killer before he claims his next victim, who could very well be her.


Driven, young detective Ellie Hatcher, working scams and robbery in New York receives a surprising special assignment to the homicide department: A young woman had been strangled in an empty alley.
Like her two other victims have been killed. One 12 and one 24 months ago and the fourth victim is coming up.

All woman had something in common: They were connected to an online service named FirstDate. During investigations Ellie and her new partner won´t get any help from FirstDate's CEO without a court order.
The killer's changing his M.O. and one victim wasn't even an user of FirstDate but a FBI informant releasing informations about credit card fraud and Russian drug dealers. Mentioning FirstDate to an agent got her killed three days later.

Searching for patterns that don't exist or don't add up Ellie and her partner use the help of former programmer and co-founder FirstDate to solve this case.

A fantastic mystery, very well thought through. As a former deputy district attorney and being the daughter of James Lee Burke, an acclaimed crime writer, Alafair Burke certainly knows what she's writing about. Twist and turns, dramatic and a little love is all this book needed to make it a perfect, suspenseful mystery, very well written and without leaving any questions at the end.

The character Ellie Hatcher is a stand-alone besides the Samantha Kincaid series, which I haven't read yet but certainly will read sometime soon. Hopefully a beginning to a new series !

Visit Alafair Burke.

ISBN-13: 9780805077858
ISBN-10: 0805077855
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 7/10/2007
Pages: 336
Book Type: Hardcover

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chris Mooney - Deviant Ways

A master killer calling himself the Sandman is out for revenge. He's slaughtering not just one person at a time but whole families and whole neighborhoods, unleashing devastating explosions nationwide, and watching the horror unfold on a sophisticated network of surveillance cameras. No one knows why he is committing his crimes, or where he'll strike next.

But one man -- Jack Casey -- knows this: the Sandman wants him in the middle of the case, and wants him to suffer...

Jack was the FBI's top profiler until a psychopath's unspeakable crime shattered his life. Now Jack is starting over as a detective in a posh shoreline community outside Boston, and involved with a beautiful woman who knows nothing about his shocking past. But the Sandman has found him, and his cutting-edge electronic devices are silently monitoring Jack's every move. Knowing that a showdown is imminent, Jack turns in desperation to Malcolm Fletcher, a strange and brilliant fallen angel from the profiling unit. Fletcher is wanted by the FBI. And he possesses the key to unlocking the Sandman's demented mind.

As Jack Casey confronts evidence that the evil he's fighting may have emanated from his own side of the law, the Sandman's motivations begin to appear and a wild chase ensues. But while racing against time to save the next family, Jack is led deeper into the dark and terrifying tunnels of his fragile mind -- a place where the Sandman awaits, to deal his final master stroke of vindictive cruelty.


Jack Casey is an Ex FBI profiler working as a police men in a little town called Marblehead. Since watching his pregnant wife die by the hands of a psychotic killer he's come a long way from profiling, a six months months stay in a mental hospital, working in carpentry and finally accepting a job offer at the Marblehead police department. Despite his new girlfriend, which he really loves, he can't let go of his past and wife Amanda.
No a new killer is on the loose and kills whole families in his town and those close-by. The killer has an agenda, kills people and sets their houses on fire. He is well informed about explosives with huge impact. Not only destroying the scenes of crime but whole neighborhoods and streets.

After receiving a call from The Sandman Jack is informed that his life, his girlfriend's and that of her niece is on his agenda if he doesn't step back from all investigations. Jack begins pulling former strings and FBI connections to save the life of those he loves.

The Sandman is highly intelligent, a freak who knows how to manipulate and monitor people. He has a past and only one person knows him good enough to know what he's going to do. This person isn't Jack Casey but also an ex-profiler hiding from the FBI. Malcom Fletcher also has an agenda - his very own one.
There are going to be a lot of dead people along the Sandman's path until his campaign of vengeance is fulfilled.

I really liked this book. It certainly does have a sort of open ending considering Malcom Fletcher, a dark and fascinating character. I've been asking myself a special question about him but I don't want to spoil the book. Ask me after reading the book yourself. :-)

Visit Chris Mooney.

ISBN-13: 9780671040604
ISBN-10: 067104060X
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: 10/30/2001
Pages: 512
Book Type: Paperback

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Carol O'Connel - Find Me

A mutilated body is found lying on the ground in Chicago, a dead hand pointing down Adams Street; also know as Route 66, a road of many names. And now of many deaths.
A silent caravan of cars, dozens of them, drives down, that road, each passenger bearing a photograph, but none of them the same. They are the parents of missing children, some recently disappeared, some gone a decade or more-all brought together by word that childrens grave sites are being discovered along the Mother Road.
Kathy Mallory drives with them. The child she seeks, though, is not like the others. It is herself-the feral child adopted off the streets, her father a blank, her mother dead and full of mysteries. During the next few extraordinary days, Mallory will find herself hunting a killer like none she has ever known, and will undergo a series of revelations not only of stunning intensity--but stunning effect.


Maybe it is because the book belongs to a series of Kathy Mallory or it just has to much pages. However I thought it really took me a long time to finish the book. Kathy Mallory strikes me as partly disturbed with an odd behavior. Mallory´s roots play a huge role in this plot as well. She's searching for her father or better, she drives the road her father used to drive on. During this ride she entraps into a series of killings of little children. The killings go back up to 40 years and the bodies were buried at Route 66, the road her father used to drive on.
Let by old letters her father wrote, Kathy meets one dead body after another. The FBI comes into the game as well and all becomes a huge mess when a steadily growing group of parents with "lost" children begins driving the same road.

I was surprised when at the ending the superdetective finally showed emotions that made her likeable. I've got another book of this series somewhere in my pile and I will read it. Maybe there is more to this series then what I've read.

Visit Carol O'Connel.

ISBN-13: 9780425217870
ISBN-10: 0425217876
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 10/2/2007
Pages: 544
Book Type: Paperback

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

James Patterson - Hide and Seek (Audiobook - Unabridged)

It was the trial that electrified the world. Not only because of the defendant, Maggie Bradford, the woman whose songs captivated the world's heart. Not only because of the victim, Will Shepard, the world's most glamorous athlete. But also because everyone said Maggie had murdered not just one husband, but two.
And because in Maggie's world--the world she feared and despised but could not escape, the world of the powerful, the rich, and the ruthless--both death and life could never be what they seemed.

I´ve always been reluctant to buy anything by James Patterson or any author that publishes more then once a year. I´m even reluctant when an author publishes once a year and I think know why.
During the last days I´ve listened to the audiobook "Hide and Seek" in the unabridged version. I can´t say I didn´t like it but I can´t say it is good either. It is predictable to the core. Rarely surprised I listened to the voice of Kimberly Schraf reading a story good enough to listen to during chores. I actually began liking her voice but it is a bit monotone, lacking the passion needed to express for example anger or fear.

The story begins with Maggie Bradford, sitting in a prison cell. She sort of begins reading her own story from the begining of how she got there. She killed her first husband in self-defense. Her boyfriend died of an heart attack and her second husband´s a psychopath and murderer. Now she awaits her trial.
During her reading a lifetime of fear, insecurity and mistrust unfolds around her personality which makes her likeable because it is fully understandable.

The (audio)book clearly missed deepness and gives the impression it would have been ok to publish it as series in a newspaper but doesn´t deserve any hype at all.

Visit James Patterson.

Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (December 1, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446603716
ISBN-13: 978-0446603713

Friday, January 4, 2008

Michael Prescott - Comes The Dark

Erica and her little brother, Robert, were the only survivors at the scene of the crime. The police discovered the children huddled together in a closet. Shivering in their pajamas. Hiding from the nightmare that turned their happy home into a slaughterhouse.

Erica is a successful art dealer, a strong woman who has managed to bury the past and build a new life.
Her brother, Robert, however, still hides in the shadows of his own shattered mind.
He lives in a remote cabin in the woods. He plays in the dark caves on the outskirts of town. And when a local girl is gruesomely murdered, Robert is the first person the police suspect.

Erica goes looking for her brother. The police go after them both. And now, with the setting of the sun, comes the terror, the blood, and the truth...


As mentioned in the book's description, Erica and Robert are the only survivors at the scene of crime. Decades later Erica's become a well known and liked antique dealer in her hometown, inherited a huge heritage after her mother was shot.
Her brother Robert's become a weird loner in the woods. He´s only seen once a months for groceries in town.

When young Sherry Wilcott is found dead with a cut throat everybody suspect the loner Robert. Erica vanishes in the woods while searching for her brother. She gets captured by Sherry Willcott's murderer. Strapped down in a cave begins her fight for life.

The burnt out town sheriff, Ben Connor, fears for her life and their love while trying to figure out which part of Erica's disappearance her con-artist husband Andrew and her brother are playing.
When Erica's car is found, an officer is shot in the wood, the plot spins and turns. The reader learns pretty early who's the beast in the woods.
The novel offers a lot of secrets, goes back into the past of two scared children and unravels another gruesome crime.

Visit Michael Prescott.

ISBN-13: 9780451192509
ISBN-10: 0451192508
Publisher: Signet Book
Publication Date: 2/1/1999
Pages: 396
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback