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