Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Natalie R. Collins - Wives And Sisters

Decades ago, young Allison Jensen and her best friend Cindy were separated in the woods. Cindy disappeared forever. Allison survived amid a web of small-town secrets and lies that greeted every anguished question she asked about that fateful afternoon.Years later, Allison has come home to the bedroom community of Farmington, Utah-back to the devout tyranny of her father, back to the close-knit society she rejected, and back to the conspiracy of silence that has plagued her with nightmares of guilt and loss. Out of her patchwork memory, the truth is emerging. So is Allison's rage-and her hunger for justice. Now, in a courageous and terrifying voyage of self-discovery, it's up to Allison to avenge the guilty...


I literally bored myself through this book. Instead I learnt a lot about the Mormon community, their favor of avoidance instead of confrontation within their own families and church. This whole might have been a bit one/sided but gave a pretty good impression of the writers antipathy.
All in all the book is terribly boring. The writer didn't invent a main character much likeable and her writing in first person doesn't help much.


Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (March 7, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312933665
ISBN-13: 978-0312933661

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

George D. Shuman - 18 Seconds

Thirty years after a deadly traffic accident landed Earl Sykes in prison, he is back on the streets of Wildwood, New Jersey -- and back for revenge. He is also feeding his perverse appetite for abducting young female victims -- the same crimes he committed years ago for which he was never caught.

Police lieutenant Kelly O'Shaughnessy is bewildered by the disappearance of several young women from the boardwalk -- crimes horrifyingly reminiscent of unsolved cases from the seventies. Reluctant to ask for help but desperate to stem the bloodshed, Kelly enlists investigative consultant Sherry Moore. Blind and beautiful, Sherry has the extraordinary ability to "see" the deceased's last eighteen seconds of memory by touching the corpse. As they join forces to discover the killer's identity, the women unwittingly become the hunted -- each step drawing them closer to the deadly clutches of a homicidal monster.


A bit disappointing as I expected much more then a sometimes confusing plot. In the end everything ran together but I missed the excitement. I found the ability to look into the last 18 seconds of a murdered person intriguing plot wise but it doesn't really focus on the ability itself or the ability to solve the crimes. As an introduction to a series, the second book Last Breath has just been published in Aug. last year, I would have expected a better introduction of the main character Sherry Moore, which played more a featured part in the novel. Few of the elements felt original to me.

Visit George D. Shuman.

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star (March 27, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743277171
ISBN-13: 978-0743277174

John Grisham - The Appeal

After such a long time finally there is another court novel by Grisham. Basically the story is about the town Bowmore, where people are warned to drink the local water. Where clean water is trucked in to replace the colored, stinky and obviously life threatening water. A town where cancer is almost in every family and where the cancer rate is 15% higher than the national average.

Wes and Mary Grace Payton are lawyers and so far, the only once that sued the Krane Chemical Corporation for 30 years of relieving cancer causing chemicals into Bowmores ground. They give everything, their live savings, their house, their office in those five years it took them to get a verdict.
So in the case Janet Barker vs. Krane Chemical Corp. the jury decides against Chemical Corp in all points:

Guilty for causing the death by Chad and Pete Barker, Janet's son and husband. Liability $500.000 for Chad and $2.500.000 for Pete.
Guilty for the intentional imposition of punitive damages. Liability $38.000.000

Of course there is an appeal and Carl Trudeau, millionaire and owner of the Krane Corp. hires a suspicious firm that promises to find a good candidate for the upcoming judicial elections to replace the most liberal Judge in Mississippi's Supreme Court. Until then a decision in Krane's case isn't expected anyway. Krane pays for these services and a young, clean, ambitious and most of all conservative lawyer is found in Ron Fisk, husband and father to three children. They build him up. They collect the money for his campaign. The money comes from the big business. Companies like Krane Chemical Corporation, churches and private people.
Ron speaks for families, about the death penalty and that sexual predators and killers aren't executed, he's pro gun possession and against gay marriage.
After what seems for Ron to be an easy campaign he is elected and takes his place in the Supreme Court. Mississippis Supreme Court holds 9 people. Five of them protect corporate wrongdoers by limiting their liability and verdicts are reversed one after another.

When it is time to decide about the Krane Corp. Appeal Ron experiences his own tragic family disaster after his son got hit by a baseball that leaves him with a fractured scull and likely permanent damage to the brain. He experienced how those people whose verdicts were reversed by him must have felt when their loved once got hurt or even died.


A long, depressing read that kept me thinking all the time. It isn't fast paced but there is no necessity to that. The mills of justice grind slowly. So the reader is dragged into the tragedy of Bowmore and corporate behavior and the inability to vouch for their liabilities. In a world of money there is no such thing like responsibility. There is only the question how to get out of the mess with the least damage.
It was shocking to even read about settlement plans for Bowmores aggrieved party where the loss or illness of a child is worth much less than adults because they have no record of earning power. That young fathers are worth more because of the loss of future wages. Negotiations about still alive people, how long each would live, how much they will suffer, likelihood of survival and death. It was distressing to read about that.

It is also distressing to read about the ways money is risen and used to mislead the voters. The whole process of half-truths, statements taken out of contexts just to make a point for the own campaign is disgusting.

Of course the book is based on fiction but it has a lot of truth and at times like these, where Americans are about to elect their new president, it is even more something each and very voter out there wholeheartedly should consider.

Visit John Grisham.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (January 29, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385515049
ISBN-13: 978-0385515047

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Steve Hamilton - Night Work

Two years ago, probation officer Joe Trumbull's fiancée was murdered, just days before their wedding. Still aching from the loss, Joe decides it's time to move forward, so he accepts a blind date, which goes surprisingly well—until he learns the next day that his date, too, has been murdered.
Suddenly the past two years of his life swim into sharp focus, as Joe realizes someone is shadowing him, striking when he least expects it, in a way designed to make him feel the maximum amount of pain. This is a fine stand-alone thriller from the author of the popular Alex McKnight series. It's smartly paced with well-drawn characters and a constant claustrophobic sense of evil, as though something is about to lunge out of the darkness at us.


Probation officer Joe Trumball takes his first steps back into life after the murder of his fiancée Laurel, two years ago. He finds himself liking his blind date until his friend, police officer Howie, tells him she's killed. Knowing he's the last man that saw her alive, he does everything possible to help in the investigations. After a second and third woman, connected to him, are killed, police investigations take a turn at him as a possible suspect.
The murdered women are connected in more then one way to him: They did not only see him recently, they are strangled with things of his possesion.

The heat is on, Joe needs to find the murderer that killed three women and probably his dead fiancée as well.


An easy, short read without lots to think about, written in first person. All in all I am not very impressed and it didn't take long until I figured out who the killer is. While Joe goes into his old cases and tells us what these kids did and what they were, it just felt like the author needed to fill some more pages. In the end this is still a pretty thin Hardback.

Visit Steve Hamilton.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur; First Edition edition (September 18, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312353618
ISBN-13: 978-0312353612

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kenneth Johnson - V: The Second Generation

Millions thrilled to Kenneth Johnson's hugely popular mini-series "V," an action filled drama of alien invasion, a TV event that was also a number one bestselling novel. Now, in a new novel based on the sequel miniseries currently being developed for TV, the tension between The Visitors and Earth's human inhabitants has reached a boiling point.

The reptilian Visitors, who cleverly portray themselves as Earth's protectors, are anything but. Our oceans are being drained in order to fuel the aliens' motherships, and our scientists are treated like wanted criminals. And they have pods of preserved humans destined for even more sinister purposes.

But hope is not lost. A small, yet resourceful Resistance risks everything to undermine the Visitors' stranglehold on Earth's people. Despite their heroic efforts, without more help they will be crushed by the Visitors and their human militia. Just when Earth's doom seems inevitable, agents of an alien civilization from another planet arrive in answer to humanity's desperate call for help. But can these other aliens be trusted? Or might we defeat one alien overlord, only to be delivered into the hands of another, equally as oppressive?

Time is running out for the Resistance, for when the Visitors' Leader arrives, the aliens will complete their mission on Earth, with devastating consequences for all life on the planet.


It has been over 20 years since the Visitors' arrived with high promises such as helping to find cures against cancer. They offered protection and their high technology for just a little share of Earth' resources, mainly water.
What Earth got is a global race separation, corruption, punishment and death. It took a while until humanity noticed the Visitor's weren't what they had promised. Hiding behind human faces is a lizard like animal, taking everything Earth and humanity has to offer.

Since than everything has changed:
You are either pro visitor or against them. If you let someone know you are, you are most certainly dead.
The Visitors' work is almost finished. They collected most of Earths' water resources for their own, they collected human bodies to either eat them or transform them into soldiers.
People live in constant fear to be blackmailed by someone without having done something against th Visitors' rules. They just take you away and nobody will ever see you again.

The Resistance still exists, lead by Julie Parish, now 20 years older but still fighting with everything she got. Still there are those of the Visitos' that don't agree with the cause of the Visitors'. They work for the Resistance, putting their life's on the line each and every day.

When the news break that the big leader finally will arrive everyone in the Resistance fears the ultimate fight and end of their war but they find new allies in very old enemies of the Visitors'. They are the Zedti. An insectoid race that fought their war a long time ago and almost lost. Now they have come to Earth to help humanity and ultimately defeat the Visitors'. They soon ally with the Resistance fighters to fight side by side but still, there is some inconsistency that makes their help a bitter medicine.
Can they be trusted ?


Oh, I loved it and waited so long for it !
The continuation of the Visitors' is a wa-woooom one ! V was first aired in the 1984-1985 but got cancelled very soon. A year after this a mini series was aired. At the same time the series was aired the first books have been published. 16 books in number.
V: The Next Generation is the 17 one and kept me on the edge of my seat. It felt good to know about some of the old Resistance fighters. While reading I had their faces in mind which made the book even more enjoyable.
So there is Willy and Harmy. Willy was one of the first Visitors working for the Resistance. The love between Willy and Harmy was difficult in the beginning. Practically Willy's a lizard and Harmy's a human.
Then Julie and finally Mike Donovan !

The book has something that definitely cheers the V-fan up. A must read for everybody who enjoys Science Fiction or likes the V series in general.

Visit Kenneth Johnson

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (February 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765319071
ISBN-13: 978-076531907-4

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lee Hunt - The Vampire Of New York

The Past Belongs To The Night
1863: During a shipwreck in the frigid waters off the coast of North America, one man dies and a demon is rechristened.
Enoch Bale, once known as Count Draculiya, reaches America´s shores.
On the eve of the New York Draft Riots, Echo Van Helsing comes to the city to avenge the mysterious murder of her father by a hideous creature out of ancient myth. Instead she is met by conspiracy, unholy terror and a terrible truth.

The Night Belongs To The Dead.
The Present: Archeologist Carrie Norton makes a startling find in a historic Manhattan site: the mummified corpse of a Civil War-era homicide victim.
Cold-case detective Max Slattery sees something more: gruesome, uncanny parallels to a recent series of brutal slayings.
Their investigation is about to take them places neither expected, because while the man responsible may be long dead, he is no longer gone.


When the past reaches into the present, when New York faces the repetition of gruesome murders, when a 150 year old body's found with lips sewn together, no one thinks there might be a connection to the past.
So an Antropologist and a successful NYPD police cop are assigned to do some research about the old body. They soon discover that recent murders and the almost mummified corpse do have similarities. Their research takes them back to New York's past, partucilarly into the year 1863, where similar murders happened and when their John Doe has been killed.

In the year 1863 Count Draculyia arrives in New York, prepared to fight a "death-threatening" fight with a Damphyr, the fallen, brutal angel, Adam Worth.
With Echo and Matthew Van Helsing, seeking revenge for their fathers death, breathing down his neck, he tries to correct the wrongs of their past.


An ok book if you're not demanding something that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The book is all about New York, it's past, the civil war and very picturesque. I caught myself skipping all this descriptions about surroundings and how New York has been built and structured back in 1863.
Due to all this descriptions the plot fell a bit short without much substance.


Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Signet (January 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451222792
ISBN-13: 978-0451222794

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thomas Cook - Taken

Three people know the truth.
Three families will be changed forever.

In the last days of World War II, a strange phenomenon saves a doomed Air Force pilot named Randall Keys - and plunges him into torment.
In a place called Roswell, New Mexico, a man named Owen Jones is drawn to a bizarre crash site in the desert, and into a government cover-up.
And in a remote Texas town, a lonely woman named Sally Marsh finds a stranger hiding in her barn, and reaches out to touch him.

As the lives of three people are changed in an instant and the consequences are played out over three generations of harrowing encounters and unexplained events. While the government lies, and nation doubts, three families know they have been touched, know that something has been taken from them... something that will change their lives forever.


In 1945 Russell Keys and his aircraft crew almost died after a direct hit. They didn't understand why they woke up in a wheat field - unharmed.
He doesn't know he had his first alien encounter - neither does he know that his son and his son's son will suffer the same haunted life like he's gloing to live.

In 1947 Sally takes in a stranger she found in her barn. There seems to be something about him that makes her fall in love with him but he has to leave soon. But before he leaves Sally learns, that he's not from our world. He leaves her pregnant with a child.
Sally doesn't know her son and his daughter will live a haunted life as well.

At the same time several people in Roswell called in to notify authorities of strange light sightings. A flying saucer is found with five seats. In it four gray aliens. The soon leading Captain Owen Jones is laying the path for the investigation. Neither does he know that his whole family and descendants will suffer from the same obsession.

Over a period of 50 years these families are haunted by aliens. Taken out of their life whenever they are in danger or when the aliens need them for more experiments.
The three families aren't the only ones taken. Around the world people are taken every once in a while. Sometimes they aren't bothered for years,sometimes they are all taken at the same time. Only to come back without any memory of the past hours.

What is their goal and is the last offspring of two taken human's the answer to all the suffering ?


What I liked about the book during the first half was it's fast paced plot. Jumping from one character to the other I always felt I want to know what's going on with the character in the chapter before. This feeling lasted until the second generation died. After that I grew a bit tired to the whole scenario.
The characters became a bit mushy and I'm happy to finally have this book finished. Not much highlights in a story which should have been much more dramatic.


Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Dell (October 29, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044024126X
ISBN-13: 978-0440241263

Monday, February 4, 2008

Gayle Wilson - Victim

She has nothing left to lose…

Like all clichés, this one is true at its core. Racked with grief over her son Danny’s brutal death, Sarah Patterson steels herself to take revenge on his murderer. When detective Mac Donovan stops her from shooting Samuel Tate on the courthouse steps, he risks his career—and the case against Tate—to protect her.

With a serial child-killer now walking free, New Orleans is taut with anticipation of his next savage crime, and the police and FBI are helpless. But Tate has developed a sick fascination with Sarah Patterson—and he’ll kill to keep her attention. With Mac’s help, Sarah positions herself at the center of a dangerous operation designed to stop Tate for good.

Nothing can bring Danny back…but Sarah is hell-bent on ensuring that no other mother will suffer as she has at the hands of his murderer.


After a judge discarded evidence in a series of the murders of more than a dozen adolescent boys, Samuel Tate, the so called "murder kit" is set free. Leaveing the court house as a free man he faces the mother of Danny Patterson, one his victims. He looks into her eyes and into the muzzle of the gun she's holding when detective Mac Donovan steps in to prevent her from shooting Tate and facing a murder trial herself.
Soon after that Tate vanishes and police and FBI are clueless about his whereabouts.

When Sarah receives a message of Tate on her answering machine, her ex-husband is killed in her apartment no one except Sarah and Mac believe this might be the work of Tate stepping out of his patterns. Only after a little boy is killed where Sarah used to walk her dog and lately had her new little friend Dwight accompany their play and walk, the police begins to react and make a plan that can cost Sarah's life which the selfless puts on the line for getting Tate.

Had I known this book is from the romantic suspense genre I would have been suspicious but so I wasn't and was greatly disappointed after the prolouge which began a bit graphic with the abduction of Sarah's own son and the thoughts of Samuel Tate. So the prolouge kept me on the edge of my seat and after that it just went flat. Finding neither some excitement in the plot nor finding much romance the book seems to be unfinished and leaves the reader with his own imagination about the serial killer. I definitely read better books by Gayle Wilson.

Visit Gayle Wilson.

Paperback Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Mira (February 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778323943
ISBN-13: 978-0778323945

Friday, February 1, 2008

Merry Jones - The River Killings

Single mom Zoe Hayes has a knack for being in the wrong place at the worst time -like in the Schuylkill River late at night, clinging to a capsized sculling shell and surrounded by floating corpses.
In her second Philadelphia adventure, Zoe, a therapist, and Susan, her best friend, have taken up rowing for pleasure and exercise, but their boating mishap dumps them among the casualties of a human trafficking ring.

Homicide detective Nick Stiles, who now lives with Zoe and her six-year-old daughter, Molly, says he's on the case, but remains secretive, despite a break-in at their home and the carjacking of Susan's vehicle. As the bodies pile up, Zoe realizes the danger may be far closer than she previously imagined. While Jones keeps the plot zipping along at a fast pace, readers may occasionally cringe at Zoe's naïveté and the surfeit of coincidences. Those who enjoyed Zoe's first outing, however, should stick with her, as the best is probably yet to come.


There isn't really much to add to the already known book description. It's been a while since I read the first book "The Nanny Murders" so I was glad to read some repetitions of Zoe's and Nick's past and why they fight with issues.
All in all the story isn't overly exciting or elaborate but very cozy as the character of Zoe is very likeable even with some flaws that leave the mystery reader almost speechless or uncomprehending. Sometimes it seems her little adopted girl has a more grown-up point of view then her adoptive mother.

And her stairmaster's still sulking with dust and disuse ! :-)


Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur (October 3, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312330413
ISBN-13: 978-0312330415