Sunday, March 30, 2008

John Benedict - Adrenaline

Murder is the ultimate rush. When patients start dying unexpectedly in the O.R. at Mercy Hospital, anesthesiologist Doug Landry finds himself the focus of the blame. Is it really his fault. . . or is there something more sinister going on?

As Doug struggles to clear his name and unravel the secret of the mysterious deaths, one thing is certain - someone will stop at nothing to keep him from exposing the devastating truth. Doug becomes trapped in a grisly race against time to prevent more deaths - including his own.


Coming from a medical field myself I especially enjoy reading medical thrillers which do require a bit of a medical background which is why I enjoyed reading the book. As it comes to the story itself it could have been much better.

Doug Landry and his friend Mike Carlucci work at Mercy Hospital. They both are employed as anesthesiologist when Mike suffered a terrible loss in the operating room. Doubting himself he's taking all the guilt to himself until Doug has a similar experience in the OR.
Meanwhile news are, that Pinnacle Anesthesia wants to take over the anaestehsia department through direct contracting with the hospital for a fixed fee. They are known for employing questionable, low salary, non board-certified staff. So rumors are that if Pinnacle takes over the department the staff will be diminished.

When more strange occurrences happen Mike discovers a reason what might going on and his knowledge is killing him besides one of the nurses that accidentally discovered someone slipping outside the OR while it was unused.

All on his own Doug has to pt the pieces together to unravel what had happened to his friend and himself. Fighting for himself, his reputation and the lives of patients he finally lies in front the killer, paralyzed by a poisoned coffee.

Besides this there is a lot of private stuff going on in Doug's life. Not at all important to the plots story seeming to be invented to give a thin book a few more pages.

Visit John Benedict.

Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Sterlinghouse Publisher (July 30, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1563153556
ISBN-13: 978-1563153556

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mo Hayder - Ritual

Just after lunch on a Tuesday in April, nine feet underwater, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand.

The fact that there is no body attached is disturbing enough. Yet more disturbing is the discovery, a day later, of the matching hand. Both have been recently amputated, and the indications are that the victim was still alive when they were removed.

DI Jack Caffery has been newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol. He and Flea soon establish that the hands belong to a boy who has recently disappeared.

Their search for him - and for his abductor - leads them into the darkest recess of Bristol's underworld, where drug addiction is rife, where street-kids sell themselves for a hit, and where an ancient evil lurks: an evil that feeds off the blood - and flesh - of others...


So this is the third DI Caffery novel and it did not hold what has been promised. I read Birdman and The Treatment and personally consider the latter one of the most gripping and shocking books I've ever read in this genre. However, Ritual doesn't hold up to the first two books.

Surprisingly I couldn't get into it. The story is based on Muti killings, which are occasions of murder and mutilation associated with some traditional cultural practices, in Southern Africa. More correctly known as medicine murder are not human sacrifice in a religious sense, but rather involve the murder of someone in order to excise body parts for incorporation as ingredients into medicine and concoctions used in witchcraft.
Hayder made the protagonists characters quite insignificant and halfhearted which is sad. Caffrey had a complicated character before but this time he seems to be just inanimate. Still suffering and stuck in feelings of revenge for his lost brother he's still some sort of searching for him and seems to be lost.

Flea's in a similar situation, having lost her parents in a diving accident, they both find a connection to each other which isn't really significant to the plot or deeper mentioned.

However, Hayder got a bit back to her former writing through switching to the poor boys suffering before and after loosing his hands. The descriptions is intense, similar to those in The Treatment but far away from being that graphic and hurting.

All in all I am not happy with the whole story. I caught myself putting the book to the side in the midst of the ending where the book should have been at it's highlight, just to play a cheap game on my laptop.

Visit Mo Hayder.

UK edition:
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam Press (10 Mar 2008)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0593056418
ISBN-13: 978-0593056417

US edition:
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (September 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0871139928
ISBN-13: 978-0871139924

Friday, March 21, 2008

John Jakes - North and South (Book One, North and South Trilogy Series)

From America's master storyteller and writer of historical fiction comes the epic storz of two families - the Hazards and the Mains.
Seperated by vastly different ways of life, joined by the unbreakable bonds of true friendship, and torn asunder by a country at the threshold of a bloody conflict that would change lives forever...


After watching the TV series for several times I always wanted to know if the film adaption meets the book and if there isn't much more to the book than the love between Orry Main and Madeline. I am so pleased that the book rarely is about their love but much more about the Civil War, the facts and peoples adaption to it. The love thing between Orry and Madeline's running completely alongside without much bla.
Instead John Jakes wrote a novel that almost feels like written by a contemporary witness.
Orry and George's and later Charles' and Billy's education at West Point was quite impressive. Especially that they actually had to learn things that aren't required in todays education to become a soldier. Also the changes between North and Southeners in the years between the first generations education and than the second one. In a few years West Point changed from a sligth hostile place against Southeners to a place where nation's were already divided due to their way of living.

The book tells a lot about the differences, and the reasons about the secession. It also tells about fears and patriotism nevertheless.

A few funny things need to be mentioned. They were completely left out of the series or changed:
For example Elkanah Bent is described as a small, fat man with an affection not only to women but young girls and boys as well.
What was missing in the series is the reason why Bent hates Charles as much as he hates Orry. They got a history and honestly a much mnre shocking one than what happened between Orry, George and Bent at West Point.

Orry lost one arm while fighting against the Mexicans.

George's been a ladies' man. He ssed to pay quite a bit for his entertainment during his West Point years.

Cooper, introduced in the third part of the TV series is Orry's brother, who lived in Charleston. They were pretty near later in the book but also, Cooper is a huge part of the book as well. He was completely left out of the series until he suddenly appeared as the bad brother.
In the book he isn't bad at all. In fact he's quite critical with the Southener way of life and slavery. He's likeable.

I could write more but you've gotta red the book. It was an eyeopener to me.

Visit John Jakes.

Paperback: 816 pages
Publisher: Signet (June 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451200810
ISBN-13: 978-0451200815

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jodi Picoult - Nineteen Minutes

In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents.

Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. The superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case, Alex—whose daughter, Josie, witnessed the events that unfolded—must decide whether or not to step down. She’s torn between presiding over the biggest case of her career and knowing that doing so will cause an even wider chasm in her relationship with her emotionally fragile daughter. Josie, meanwhile, claims she can’t remember what happened in the last fatal minutes of Peter’s rampage. Or can she? And Peter’s parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, ceaselessly examine the past to see what they might have said or done to compel their son to such extremes.


On March, 6th, 2007 an explosion announces the unbelieveable happening at Sterling Highschool:
A day in the lives of many that would change their whole life and future.
When the first student drops on the floor nobodys knows that rampage and revenge has only just started.
After his first killings Peter Houghton sits in the cafeteria, finishing a bowl of cereals, gets up and continues his killing spree.

After the death of 10 people and 160 shot bullets the police finds him huddled up in the gyms locker room, together with his unconscious childhood friend Josie and her dead boyfriend.


Peter's childhood and youth partly reads itself as many do. Those which are "unfortunate" to be different and don't want to or can't be like the mainstream are the outsider, therefore often the targets of mocking and malice. Tackling the circumstances that might lead to school shootings I found the book a bit too much to be a dripping cliché.
Of course it is interesting to see through the shooter's eyes but I never felt that would justify what the main character Peter did. More important to me would have been a focus on his parents (whose faults also felt like the typical cliché), not only in the past but preferably in the present but that's just my opinion. Instead we get a denying father and a mother only asking herself what she did wrong.

To come to the plot itself I found a lot of characters far fetched and just too unbelievable to really have happened.
The ending is absolutely unrealistic and unbelievable. It seems forced and stands out of the rest of the book. Although the book is fictional it relates on facts and research of actually happened School shootings in the past. Why the writer felt the ending must not match the rest of the book is an unsolved mystery to me.

Overall, I didn't like it but I didn't dislike it either. For me it was just a collection of other facts about school shootings, circumstances and trial journals.
The book might be something for students to read in school and maybe learn about their everyday actions in school.

Visit Jodi Picoult.

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (February 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743496736
ISBN-13: 978-0743496735

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jonathan Santlofer - Anatomy Of Fear

NYPD sketch artist Nate Rodriguez possesses a remarkable gift. From the smallest clues—an off-hand comment, a brief flash of fear in a victim's eyes—he is able to create an uncanny likeness of the assailant. Now Detective Terri Russo needs his help to solve a particularly shocking series of murders, perpetrated by a psychopath who enjoys drawing pictures of his crimes before committing them. Nate is being asked to enter the dark, twisted mind of a monster—to re-create a face that no one has lived to identify. But as a portrait slowly begins taking shape in Nate's mind and on the page, an electrifying game of cat and mouse reaches an unexpected new level—as a brilliant killer uses his own unique talents to turn the investigation in a terrifying new direction...

A breathtakingly original novel of suspense, Jonathan Santlofer's Anatomy of Fear mixes prose and pictures to create a story that burns its way into the brain and brilliantly revitalizes the crime fiction genre.


What made this book very original and revitalizing was the usage of self drawn pictures by Jonathan Santlofer. The writer didn't describe the crime scenes. He drew them in an excellent but not too graphic way. He lets Nate add to the face every now and then and the reader is automatically drawn to his way of drawing. Shades and lines forming a subjects face until it is finished. I thought the idea to include such pictures in a mystery novel is impeccable gorgeous.
The story itself has it flaws, isn't perfect but I didn't really care. I already decided to read the next Nate Rodriguez novel which will be published in May, 2008.

What Jonathan Santlofer has to say about Nate Rodriguez:
"Next it will be spring and I will have a new book out, THE MURDER NOTEBOOK. It’s the second Nate Rodriguez book. When I wrote ANATOMY OF FEAR I wasn’t sure I would write another, but there was more to say about Nate. Now I’m thinking there could be many Nate books. He’s a man who cares about humanity, and he leads me into unexpected places."

There's more to come. :-)

Visit Jonathan Santlofer.

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (January 29, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060882026
ISBN-13: 978-0060882020

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Richard Laymon - Savage

Whitechapel, November 1888:
Jack The Ripper is hard at work. He's safe behind a locked door in a one-room hovel
with his unfortunate victim, Mary Kelly.
With no need to hurry for once, he takes his time gleefully eviscerating the young woman. He doesn't know that a fifteen-year-old boy is cowering under Mary's bed...

Trevor Bentley's life would never be the same after that night. What he saw and heard would have driven many men mad. But for Trevor it was the beginning of a quest, an obsession to stop the most notorious murderer in history.
The killer's trail of blood will lead Trevor from the fog-shrouded alleys of London to the streets of New York and beyond. But Trevor will not stop until he comes face to face with the ultimate horror.


Readers of the horror genre will be mighty disappointed by this novel even when used to Lamony's view of writing novels. Despite the interesting book description I actually got to read my very first western novel which isn't exactly my favorite genre. All the time while I went from page to page I expected something to happen but all I got was some cheap western dialogues, some love relationships, desperado's and gun fire.

I really liked the first third which actually held the part where Trevor hid under Mary's bed and the beginning of his chase of the gruesome ripper. Without telling too much, after the third part of the book the Ripper vanished somewhere in New York thinking Trevor's drowned but he isn't. Sometime later Trevor reads in a newspaper about some horrible killings in Virgina and begins his long way towards his nightmares. A 15-year-old kid thrown into the wilderness, bound to become a man or die.

He finally meets the Ripper on the last 50 pages of the book.

Absolutely likeable Laymon used the old manner of speaking. Trevor has such a nice way of speaking that I could almost imagine hearing his British accent talking to some desperado's. Lovely !

Visit Richard Laymon's webpage.

Note: Richard Laymon died from a massive heart attack on February 14, 2001. His works include more than sixty short stories and more than thirty novels, many of which were published posthumously. Most of his writings were firmly in the horror genre.

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Leisure Books; Reprint edition (October 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0843957514
ISBN-13: 978-0843957518