Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Terri Persons - Blind Spot

FBI Agent Bernadette Saint Clare's gift of second sight allows her to see things others can't. But some things are better left unseen...

The FBI has never know quite what to do with Agent Bernadette Saint Clare.
Not always easy to work with, she's been assigned and reassigned to FBI offices all over he country.
Shortly after she's placed at a desk in the basement of he off-site St. Paul office, bodies begin to appear along the sandy banks of the Mississippi. Soon she's called on to do what she does best: use the personal effects found at a crime scene to see through a killer's eyes.

In some cases her sight has been astoundingly accurate; in others, the results have been less than perfect. The agent in charge of this case, Tony Garcia, aware of Bernadette's spotty record, is unsure if he should follow her lead, and the tension between them makes for an uneasy alliance.

Complicating matters still further, Bernadette becomes involved with her new upstairs neighbor. She allows him into her life despite her reservations -- there's something about him she can't quite put her finger on, especially when he offers her a key clue to the killer's identity.


Terri Persons introduces a new character to the mystery genre:
Special Agent Bernadette St. Clare, to most co-workers uncomfortable. With her two different colored eyes she's got an ability that makes people around her uncomfortable.
Often her ability to see through a killer's eyes helped her to solve high-profile cases but also there were times where she was totally wrong with her sights. Her ability drains her, her sight is often cloudy and flimsy and almost always leaves her with the killer's emotions - good or evil.
She's got the huge package of seeing her own twin sister's death in an car accident on her shoulders. She saw her die through the drunken drivers eyes who caused the accident.
After her husband hanged himself after 13 years of marriage she pretty much kept to herself and now, once again, got transferred to another town:

Cut off hands are found on the sandy shores of the Mississippi river. Not far away the rest of the dead bodies is found, neatly tied up with a fisherman's knot. It soon is discovered that the bodies were alive when the right hands where chopped off and thrown away.

Bernadette and her new friendly, but vary of her abilities, new boss Tony Garcia are working the case and Bernadette directly tries to sense something about the murderer. She sees him reaching with his hands to a sick women in a hospital bed. Her first lead brings her to the local hospital but it is the right lead ? Can she trust what she saw ? Is the killer a doctor, a male nurse ?

And then there is August, her new neighbor from above, who seems to know so much about her and the affections between them seem to be so much deeper than the usual one night stands Bernadette had for a while.

Meanwhile the killer gets a new "assignment" and is on his verge to his next victim but killing this men seems to be the biggest mistake he's ever done.


At first I thought I had, once again, grabbed a book with an agent with special abilities but there is something unique about the way Bernadette's and Garcia's relationship and their characters develop during the book.
From the beginning there seems to be a bit of a curiosity on both sites which is also overshadowed by disbelieve in the others trust. Terri Persons introduced Bernadette in a way like you've met her on the streets and you're getting to know her and her flaws which makes her and Tony Garcia very well memorable characters. Actually they both have a funny way to talk to each other which gave the book the notch to be so good. Not only because they are the *beeping* FBI. ;-)

The ending was plausible and so much surprising and suspenseful ! Finally Bernadette discovers who August is and meets her co-worker agent Creed ... . :-)

The second book in this new, inspiring novel is going to be published under the name Blind Rage on May, 20th. Enjoy !

Visit Terri Persons.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (March 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385518692
ISBN-13: 978-0385518697

Sunday, April 27, 2008

John Katzenbach - The Wrong Man

Ashley Freeman is a promising art-history student passionate about every aspect of her life. One night, the twentysomething Bostonian meets Michael O'Connell, a handsome, dark-haired stranger whom she readily forgets after a single steamy session between the sheets.
But Mike, a street-smart psychopath who stalks women for sport, has no intention of letting Ashley go. He watches her every move from the shadows and sends her countless e-mails professing his love. Ashley's family and friends shrug it off as a crush, until O'Connell, an ingenious computer hacker, reveals the damage he can do: he sabotages the reputation of Ashley's professor father with a stinging accusation of plagiarism and nearly gets her mother, a lawyer, disbarred. Bribes and threats do nothing to deter him, and when a private investigator assigned to the case turns up dead, the Freeman family takes extreme measures to quash O'Connell's relentless pursuit.


- Would you like to hear a story ? An unusual one. But first you must promise that you will never let on where you've heard it. And if you do, you will conceal enough of the story so that it can never be tracked back to me or the persons I am going to talk about. No one will ever know if it is true or just a writers fiction. -

Imagine your child or a person you dearly love happens to meet a twisted mind, capable of shadowing you with every step you take, invading your life, penetrating your job, reputation, your whole existence and the people belonging to you.
This is how Scott, Sally and her girlfriend Hope feel when daughter Ashely opens up to them that she's got a problem with a boy stalking her.

Michael O'Connell fell in love with Ashley after a one-night-stand. It was nothing for her, it is the world for him. His possession drives him to follow her very step wherever she goes, whatever she does. There is no "No" acceptable for him, so Ashley's rejection just isn't valid to him. She is meant for him.
Confronted with this problem that began with nightly calls, later dead flowers, Ashely's family decides to buy her out of this problem but Michael doesn't function like he's supposed to. Instead his anger and rage focus on Ashley's family and they begin to realize there is no way out of this.
The family feels trapped, not knowing what he might do or might not do. Victims become conspirators driven by fear, the love for their child and a deadly plan is made. A plan that will hunt them for the rest of their life, a plan that won't let them sleep well for the rest of their lives.


Let me say, this isn't a past paced book. It's a lot about insecurity, not knowing how to handle a situation in which you know you and the persons you love are in danger but you don't have anything in hand to make authorities to listen to you. It is about standing against a wall and the only way out is something you never considered you are capable of.
The book is a slow process into the life of a almost normal family:
Parents divorced, the mother, a lawyer, shifted her affectations into sharing her life with a woman, the daughter graduating in art, the father a teacher of history with a highly regarded reputation.
But when danger lingers settled minds start to spin.
It is a terrible imagination for everyone and that is exactly what the writer had in mind. He creeps you out and leads you slowly into the life of this family, scaring you by just imagining how easily it is to find yourself in a similar situation.

Well thought-out by Mr. Katzenbach. The books gets you at your deepest fears which no one likes to know they even exist.

Visit John Katzenbach.

Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 29, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345464842
ISBN-13: 978-0345464842

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gwen Hunter - Sleep Softly

Four little girls - each blond, each on the verge of adolescence - stolen from their families.
Their bodies discovered months later in shallow ground surrounded by trinkets they never owned, clutching a scrap of paper they bearing a cryptic verse.

As a forensic nurse in rural South Carolina, Ashlee Davenport Chadwick acts as both caregiver and cop, gathering evidence from anyone who arrived in the local E. R. as the result of a crime.
It's a tough job, both physically and emotionally draining, but deeply satisfying.

Then a child's red shoe is discovered on Davenport's property. The evidence leads Ashlee to the body of a missing girl and her work suddenly invades every aspect of her life.
An an expert and a witness she must call upon all her resources. And when the killer's eye turns to her, she becomes intimately involved with a crime that tests her mind and her spirit... and the price of failure will be another child's life.


Out in the county of Columbia, South Carolina, where family values are still very high lives middle aged Ashley Davenport Chadwick, longtime nurse, lately working as forensic nurse.
When one of her dogs brings her an unusually toy for a game of fetch she first thought this is nasty until she takes a second glance at the red sneaker her dog brought her. It isn't only the smell that's suspicious, inside she find a little toe with a colored nail. A little girls toe.

From there on Ashley's huge family is suspect in a murder investigation and Ashley is invited to join the task force together with Jim, her pretty fresh FBI boyfriend.

Girls are kidnapped and dead girls are found on different Chadwick graves or monuments.
How's putting down little girls, leaving them together with a blonde ballerina doll and a poem on self made paper ?

TV and newspaper cover the serial killer's story and Ashlee comes into the killer's focus. She might just be the perfect person to play the role of the mother in his gruesome, insane game.


An enjoyful suspense thriller with a small lovestory that doesn't intrude or hurt the main plot.
The strong sense of large family and settings make this book an unforgettable dive into the Southern living mixed with some funny slang and strong family values.
The plot is gripping and the whole book a great work of suspense, uncommon for the romantic genre.

Visit Gwen Hunter.

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira (February 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778324648
ISBN-13: 978-0778324645

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tina Wainscott - What Lies in Shadow

A secret identity...
Jonna Karakosta's blog is one of the hottest on the Web, a place where she can be herself and talk anonymously about her most private needs and desires. Not even her wealthy, new husband knows about her online persona.
And when Jonna learns that he may be cheating on her, she needs her online community more than ever....

A tempting Liaison...

Enter "Dominic", a frequent guest on Jonna's blog who seems to understand her like no one else. She finally agrees to meet him face to face, and he turns out to be better, and more attractive, than she could have imagined.
But when Jonna has a change of heart and decides to fight to save her marriage, Dominic refuses to take "no" for an answer.

A dangerous obsession...
Now Dominic will do anything not to lose Jonna, even if it means bringing her deepest, darkest fears to light and taking her world apart piece by piece.


Jonna, aka "Montene" plays a dangerous game:
Convinced her husband of eight months is cheating on her, she cries her pain out into the internet. Her blog is her way to cry out all her suspicions, fears and private dreams.
Once again convinced Rush, her husband, is cheating her with his former flame she decides to meet Dominic. He online kind and understanding friend.
Self-doubting her decision she meets him, a man looking like just cut out of a catalogue.

Unfortunately he's emerging as not so pleasant as time goes by. Invading her privacy, spying on her she tells him to leave her alone but "Dominic", so his online name, doesn't take "no" for an answer. So Jonna lives in fear all the while comforted by her best friend Beth, who still thinks what Dominic's doing is so romantic.

A death later it comes to a point where Jonna thinks Rush is planning to kill her, Rush thinks Jonna is planning to kill him, Dominic wants Jonna one way or the other all the while someone else is having a huge plan with all of them.


Out of the romantic suspense genre, full of twist and turns this book kept me reading. It wasn't so much fr the suspense which kept me intrigued but for Jonna's sweet character. Only 26 she's full of self-doubt if the man who married her really loves her or if the decision to become husband and wife was rushed. They both, each of them for their own reasons, haven't really opened up and connected to each other like husband and wife are supposed to.

The book has a warning for all those people trying to find love over the machine. It tells a story about how easy it is to meet the wrong person that just might be a nightmare hardly to wake up from.

Visit Tina Wainscott.

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks,(February 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312941641
ISBN-13: 978-0312941642

Monday, April 14, 2008

S. Andrew Swann - Zimmerman's Algorithm

The Theft
It began on a deserted interstate in Virgina.The entire operation took less than twelve minutes. The result - one supercomputer hijacked, one highway patrolman dead...

The Sting
Washington, DC, Police Detective Gideon Malcolm had been given a tip about the stolen Daedalus supercomputer. Yet no one was willing to give him the backup he needed to check it out.
So Gideon turned to the one person he knew he could count on, his brother, FBI Agent Raphael Malcolm.
Together they set up their stakeout. When no one showed, they went in to check out the seemingly abandoned warehouse - and stumbled into the midst of a deadly ambush...

The Payback
Now Gideon wanted answers, and he wasn't going to stop until someone paid for what happened to him and Rafe.
But the powers that be were equally determined to force Gideon - and the world - to forget this covert operation gone totally wrong.
Yet Gideon refused to be blackmailed, threatened, or bought off. And what began with a stolen computer led him to the trail of a mysterious woman, Dr. Zimmerman, whom everyone seemed intent on finding. For Zimmerman's knowledge could compromise not only U. S. security but that of every nation in the world.


After detective Gideon Malcolm lost his brother, FBI Agent Rafe Malcolm, in a major screw-up caused by the Secret Service he's determined to find out why his brother was shot. Barred of information about the ongoing investigations he follows the only lead he's got: Lionel, a small light selling drugs on the streets but Lionel is shot, other leads are shot as soon as he finds them, helping hands are killed and what's left is a blank business card with a red sign on it: The Aleph, the sign of infinity.

Searching for the truth he's chased by the NSA, Israelis and an obscure cult calling themselves the New Pythagorean Order, led by Dr. Julia Zimmerman, a mathematical genius, driven to find God in algorithms, gathering the computational equivalent of the atomic bomb for other forces.

A self developed entity spread in million programs in million computer systems the Deadalus is supposed to bring the entity together.


I don't say the book is a waste of time but I clearly missed any excitement. The author, not very eloquent in wording, bombards the reader over pages with highly mathematical phrases which bored the heck out of me. I couldn't find much highlights either but clearly liked the whole idea of the book.

Visit S. Andrew Swann.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: DAW (January 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0886778654
ISBN-13: 978-0886778651

Cody McFadyen - Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett Series, Book 1)

Once, Special Agent Smoky Barrett hunted serial killers for the FBI. She was one of the best–until a madman terrorized her family, killed her husband and daughter, and left her face scarred and her soul brutalized. Turning the tables on the killer, Smoky shot him dead–but her life was shattered forever.

Now Smoky dreams about picking up her weapon again. She dreams about placing the cold steel between her lips and pulling the trigger one last time. Because for a woman who’s lost everything, what is there left to lose?

She’s about to find out.


Smoky is a shattered FBI Agent. She witnessed her husband and daugthers killing, was tortured and raped. She's literally standing on the brink and there is just one step missing when the death of her beloved highschool friend jerks her back into life and into what her core once was: A fierce dragon, hunting serial killers having a fabulous team on her side and her god-child Bonnie now depending on her.

When it becomes clear the killer is fixated on Smoky to the point of sneaking into her home, bugging her phone and car time is getting precious. He already initiated personal attacks on the rest of her team and threatened future ones against the people she loves - she has left.


A powerful writing that kept me reading. Smoky's background sounds so convincing that the reader truly wishes the Smoky Barret series would have begun with her past but it didn't take anything away from this thriller. This is Cody McFadyen's first novel and it certainly has it's few downs but mostly it was fast paced and thoughtful.
I kept wondering who might be the killer because he always knew so much about what was going on, who was where etc. . For me it became pretty clear the killer must be an insider with access but in the end it became a bit predictable.

For me it is hard to imagine this being the first novel by Cody McFadyen because the characters are such credible, multidimensional and memorable. I once had the same feeling with the first Kay Scarpetta novels by Cornwell.

There is a new writer on his way to the top if he keeps up what he's done in 'Shadow Man'.

A sequel has already been published with a third thriller on the go, scheduled for publishing at the end of September 2008.


Visit Cody McFadyeb.

Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Bantam (March 27, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553589938
ISBN-13: 978-0553589931

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Steve Alten - The Shell Game

The events of September 11th, 2001...the invasion of Iraq...the threat of radical Islam...an impending showdown with Iran. What do these situations have in common?

Oil. And the world is running out.

The SHELL GAME is far more than a thriller, it is a MUST-READ cautionary tale that exposes the next “9/11 event” a deception that will lead to a retaliatory chemical weapons strike on Iran and the terrorist elements the regime supports. Though the novel is written as fiction, it is filled with all-too-real details provided by insiders in the oil industry, military, and Middle Eastern affairs that extrapolates real events from the past and present that will lead us down a path of self-destruction...unless we stop the insanity now!

The story opens in 2007 when two CIA spooks meet with an American Colonel in military intelligence. The war is going badly, and President Bush, who steadfastly refuses to back down, remains unchallenged at home as Democrats and Republicans continue to toss verbal grenades – positioning themselves for the 2008 elections. Meanwhile, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy will yield enriched uranium within five years -- uranium that can be used to manufacture suitcase nukes.

The United States’ military is too drained to invade Iran, and a preemptive strike is out of the question...unless a nuclear detonation were to occur on in American city -- the enriched uranium traced back to Iran. A U.S. reprisal would strike a death-blow against radical Islam, quell the insurgent violence in Iraq...and yield more oil. Yes, the cost is unthinkable – but if we sit back and do nothing then one day a dozen suitcase bombs could go off in a dozen American cities – bringing with it anarchy and the collapse of Western civilization.

December 2011: Ashley “Ace” Futrell is an oil expert working for PetroConsultants, married to Kelli Doyle, a former National Security Advisor and one of the CIA spooks from the opening scene. When Kelli threatens to expose the plot, Ace finds his existence hurtling down a rabbit’s hole of deceit where the orchestrated lies of the powerful few could lead to the darkest days of human existence... and the death knell for billions.


When it comes to political novels it's always a challenge to learn about what's the truth and what's the author's fiction. Considering that this book is mainly about the U. S. and Saudi Arabias Oil dealings I did a lot of research to get deeper into this topic. It actually made me think and afraid to think about what really happens if some day there just isn't enough oil left. That might not happen tomorrow, next year or in the next 30 years but in the end that's what really will happen. Ask yourself what you could do to preserve and ask yourself what your government does or not does.

Coming back to the book, I also read a lot of reviews and it seems that a lot of people just forget it is a piece of fiction written almost like it might become truth. A frightening thought but think about it. In my opinion it's not too far fetched.

I really liked the embedding of true facts prior and past 911 but it also was a lesson to research and learn more about false flag operations. Also the environmental issues mentioned, alternative sources of energy etc. were greatly researched.

The book is researched, plausible, overwhelming and unsettling and in my opinion it is absolutely recommended. Some one did his work ! Thanks !

Visit Steve Alten.

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Sweetwater Books; First U.S. edition (January 22, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599550946
ISBN-13: 978-1599550947

Watch the trailer !

Barbara Hambly - Renfield, Slave of Dracula

Renfield emerges from the shadows in a terrifying reinvention of Bram Stoker's classic novel...

Renfield, confined to an asylum - obsesses in his diary, pen letters of insane passion to his wife, and still answers his Master's calling.
Ordered to hunt and kill Van Helsing and his friends, Renfield complies, setting the stage for the ultimate battle between good and evil, the living and the dead.
It will take him from the dark crypts of Dracula's castle to the more personal darkness of his own descent into madness, and shocking truth of where it all began.


Reading Bram Stoker's Dracula from a completely different angle is like experiencing something old completely new, developing a more interesting character like Renfield was described by Bram Stoker. Having played a very small, crazy and mean role in the original novel by Stoker, Hambly gave literally life into Renfield's small creature.

Beginning in Dr. Seward's lunatic asylum Renfield exists between Laudanum, a narcotic, eating flies and spiders. Little does anyone know to bother that he has a connection to what is coming whilst thinking of his beloved wife and daugther all the time. I is dreams he can see what happens to Lucy and Mina.

The story takes a twist when Dracula's three Valkyries take an enraged turn against their master, seeking revenge because he left them in charge of the castle while he himself goes after Mina.

The reader will discover a new, more important Renfield, embedded in an almost unaltered, old storyline. Assigned to kill those that try to safe Mina Harker's life he struggles between being the servant and being what he always has been: a good, caring man and husband.

A good work and a great addition to all Vampire libraries !

Visit Barbara Hambly.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (October 2, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425217892
ISBN-13: 978-0425217894

Thursday, April 3, 2008

George D Shuman - Last Breath

Following close on the heels of his celebrated debut 18 Seconds, George Shuman returns with yet another remarkable thriller featuring investigative consultant Sherry Moore--a blind woman with an uncanny ability to view the final living moments of any dead body she encounters.

A ruthless serial killer with an unthinkable MO has left a trail of tortured, murdered women in western Maryland and seems to have gone to ground in the backwoods of Pennsylvania. With no leads or any sign of a suspect, investigators must call on the woman whose talent inspires skepticism, but whose results are unparalleled. When she is put in contact with the hand of any dead body, she relives the memory of the departed's final experience. While investigating this case, she is privy to the most savage and terrifying scenes imaginable. However, because the killer is aware of her methods, he keeps his identity just beyond her reach until she resolves to put herself directly in harm's way. When the fiend sets his sights on Sherry, this seemingly helpless woman must demonstrate an almost inhuman strength of will and of body as she attempts to capture the deranged killer without having to pay the ultimate price in exchange.


Not much to add to the already good description of the book. After my personal disappointment in the first Sherry Moore novel, "18 Seconds" I'm glad to have given the series another try. I am not disappointed.
With friend John Payne out of the readers way, the author finally concentrates on a finespun thriller with no too much personal Sherry mumbo jumbo. Instead he embedded Sherry's life in the plot without much boredom.

God job and hopefully more to come !

Visit George D. Shuman.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (August 7, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416534903
ISBN-13: 978-1416534907

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fred Rosen - When Satan Wore A Cross

The shocking true story of a killer priest.

In 1980 in Toledo, Ohio -- on one of the holiest days of the church calendar -- the body of a nun was discovered in the sacristy of a hospital chapel. Seventy-one-year-old Sister Margaret Ann had been strangled and stabbed, her corpse arranged in a shameful and stomach-churning pose. But the police's most likely suspect was inexplicably released and the investigation was quietly buried. Despite damning evidence, Father Gerald Robinson went free.

Twenty-three years later the priest's name resurfaced in connection with a bizarre case of satanic ritual and abuse. It prompted investigators to exhume the remains of the slain nun in search of the proof left behind that would indelibly mark Father Robinson as Sister Margaret Ann's killer: the sign of the Devil.

When Satan Wore a Cross is a shocking true story of official cover-ups, madness, murder and lies -- and of an unholy human monster who disguised himself in holy garb.


True crimes sometimes seems just like a real mystery novel, keeping you on the edge of your seat. This story is incredible and seems all too fictional except that it is all true and documented.

Today we know that priests aren't exceptional. That they aren't always what they seem to be that they are what they are - man like females are females. More shockingly is that the times where priests were priests, holy, unmarked and of good nature aren't too far away. The author catches this issue due to going through some real Hollywood movies hits where the priest is shown as the good one, solving crimes and being the helping hand etc. . I thought it was a great thing to do so and explain why the nature of a priest as being a good human has been deeply positioned in the American consciousness.

In April 1980, 71 year old sister Margaret Ann is found strangled and stabbed in the sacristy of the hospital chapel. Until the Crime Scene unit arrived the scene had been compromised by more than a few persons.
From the beginning more than one finger points to father Gerald Robinson as the only possible person that would have a grudge of her and therefore kill her.
He's been interrogated, his home has been searched and with this search came the letter opener which in the end will lead to a conviction 24 years later although it comes back clean, too clean without blood evidence from the murder victim.

The author mentions a lie detector test but unfortunately doesn't go deeper into the questions that were asked besides key points such as where he was in the murder timeline which I think would have been a great addition.

The story switched then to Marko Damon, which confused me in the beginning when ritual abuse was mentioned. I couldn't quite figure out what this had to do with Margaret Ann's case. It all comes together when Gerald Robinson is mentioned.

It is then that the case has a revival and the investigations begin to run again and Margaret Ann is exhumed. No DNS was found but the letter is an exact fit to boney defects and Robinson is charged guilty.

I was surprised to learn that Kathleen Reichs, bestseller author, testified for the defense in the trial. She's one of only 50 forensic anthropologists certified by the board of Forensic Anthropology.


Overall, in the beginning I didn't expect too much but when the case switched to Marlo Damon, it kept me edgy. But I'm still weary of the circumstantial evidence. The jury convited Robinson without knowing of Marlo Damon and one might think that the boney defects might have been caused by the forensic specialist herself, like Kathy Reichs mentioned during the trial. I'm not sure if I could have wholeheartedly said this person is guilty.
Also there was male DNA found under her fingernails and on her underwear but it didn't match Robinson's DNA.

Now that I've read the book and know more about Gerald Robinson, the years after the murder, the ritual abuse etc. I think he is guilty but I can't agree on the DNA having left on the victim after she was murdered.


Visit Fred Rosen.

Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper (October 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061239860
ISBN-13: 978-0061239861

New Releases 2. Quarter 2008