Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Petra Hammesfahr - Der Stille Herr Genardy

The friendly, unobtrusive, older man lives in a small apartment above a pet shop. Apparently he's not the kind who could do harm to anyone.
But every now and then, mostly on weekends, he drives his car far above land and approaches little girls...
Suddenly a little girl is standing all by herself outside in the cold. She's starring into the window of the pet shop, day after day. The older man approaches the child, gradually gains its trust and invites it into his apartment... .


Since Sigrid's husband died five years ago, she's been struggling to keep the house and home she and her daughter Nicole live in. Now she desperately seeks a new tenant for the other half of her house. The friendly, older man who likes to live in the apartment gives her the creeps but he's willing to pay more than the last tenant and even pays for using the garage. His name is Josef Genardy.

Sigrid doesn't know she's opened the door to her home to the Monster that killed her friends daughter. That the Monster has used and killed not only her friends child but another one, too. He's been abusing children his whole life and always got away with it because nobody ever suspected him.
But Sigrid is a very emotional woman that listens to her feelings and when her daughter's friend doesn't want to come to their house anymore, she suspects something is very very wrong, especially when she notices how eager Genardy is to touch children.

Der stille Herr Genardy is a German book that hasn't been published in English. So far there is only one book that has been published in English by Petra Hammesfahr: The Sinner (ISBN 1904738257, pub. 02/08). I haven't read it yet.

The tale about Sigrid and her daughter is very much depressing. Especially because of Sigrid's lack of confidence to speak up to others and act accordingly to her feelings, regardless if wrong or right. She even didn't do anything when she knew there is definitely something wrong with her new tenant. When she knew he is a pedophile.
I was mighty annoyed by her handling the situation so badly regardless of her past and what she went through with her dead husband.

The author picks up a topic most people don't want to talk or hear about. She makes the reader see into Gernardy's distrubed mind, teaching the reader that the Monster often is a victim of his own abnormal drive which leads much further than the usual thriller goes. A path I reluctantly agreed to walk on and I'm glad I came out of it unharmed.

Visit Petra Hammesfahr.

Paperback: 333 Seiten
Publisher: Lübbe; 1. Edition (June 13, 2006)
Labuage: German
ISBN-10: 3404155270
ISBN-13: 9783404155279

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Curtis Sittenfeld - American Wife

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president.
In her small Wisconsin hometown she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life.
More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with - and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husband's presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.


American Wife is based on the life and decisions of Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States. If loosely based or not is to be discussed by persons that are interested in the Bushs' autobiography.
The book most definitely has its up and downs and surely at times gets downright boring.
Especially disappointing to me was that the life in the White House and the presidency fell way too short and were stuffed with unnecessary information.
The middle part of the book was the best one to me but I didn't find myself caring for the characters which has nothing to do with the whole world knowing the Bushs' but the missing personality in the characters.
What I found beautifully captured are Charlie Blackwell's (George W. Bush) missteps in language. :-)

The questions that I'm asking myself is, the book obviously is not a biography, it is fiction but feels like a biography. As for the fiction part there just isn't enough to go with except that the author is very in favor of the female character.

Visit Curtis Sittenfeld.

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (February 10, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0812975405
ISBN-13: 978-0812975406

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban (Year 3)

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.
Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed> Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's it Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."
Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.


The news of Sirius Black having escaped from Azkaban fortress is a shock in the wizarding world. He is known of being the traitor and once best friend of James Potter, that led Lord Voldemort to the hidden Potters' and he is the murderer of 13 people with one single curse. The Ministry of Magic and the dementors, Azkabans terrible guards, are searching for him and because they know it is more than likely that Black will turn up at Hogwarts, the school becomes the most secured place on earth - so they thought.
Harry's new school year offers new subjects and and once again a new teacher in Defense against the Dark Arts: Professor Remus Lupin who soon becomes the most favorite teacher of all. Harry however has a lot more to worry about. For example there was this huge dog he saw when he fled the Dursleys' house and following this the reading his new teacher took from his tea cup, telling him about the Grim, a huge dog and the omen of death.

It is a challenging year at Hogwarts that not only tests Harry's capabilities as a wizard but also puts the friendship between Ron, Hermione and Harry to the test as well.


This book offers a lot insight to the life, friends and enemies James Potter had at Hogwarts. It pretty much seems that this books is fundamental for the following books although I haven't read them yet nor did I see the movies. It explains a lot about Snape's disliking of Harry Potter as well.

Most certainly the reader will meet certain characters of this novel in the following books. I'll let you know - soon. ;-)

Visit J. K. Rowling.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 11, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439136369
ISBN-13: 978-0439136365

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wendy Roberts - The Remains Of The Dead (Book1)

A Ghost Dusters Mystery

Sadie Novak has got the kind of job that kills cocktail chatter dead: She owns Scene-2-Clean, a crime scene cleanup company. And if wiping up after murders weren't enough, she can also see and talk to the ghosts of the victims.

When a grieving relative hires Sadie and her employee, ex-cop Zack Bowman, to clean up after the murder-suicide of Trudy and Grant Toth, Sadie figures she's bound to encounter at least one chatty ghost. But instead she finds herself talking to Kent, a man she meets at the scene who is very much alive--so much so that Sadie agrees to go on a date with him.

When a ghost does appear--the oddly silent Trudy-- the spirit seems determined to prove her husband's innocence, and inspires Sadie to track down the real killer. But as Sadie scours the crime scene, she quickly realizes that she's in way over her head, that Kent has a strange connection to the dead couple, and that someone wants her to give up the ghost ... for good.


Sadie Novak has a unique occupation that might seem to be disgusting for most people but for her is a salvation to do something good for those left behind. She mops up the blood and guts after a crime scene has been cleared from police. But her job goes far beyond mopping since she developed the ability to see and talk to certain ghosts who died innocently.
Her new assignment brings her and employee Zack to the house of Trudy and Grant Toth - and most certainly she excepts a ghost to show up. It is her goal to help those souls to move on and no longer hang on their earthly life.

But Trudy, the victim, is different. Obviously she was killed by her husband who later killed himself but when the strange, mute ghost tries to communicate with Sadie all she understands is that Trudy believes it wasn't her husband who killed her.
With that being understood Trudy moves on and leaves Sadie with doubts in the watertight evidence the police gathered. Did Trudy try to tell her that Kent, Grants best friend, killed her ?

Sadie begins to investigate on her own with a disastrous outcome, endangering the life of others and her own.


The Remains Of The Dead is a very easy and cozy mystery that nonetheless is entertaining and suspenseful.
Sadie's blunt way of dealing with the ghost and telling them they have to understand that they are dead so that they can move on shows, that she accepts that she has a gift but clearly could life without it. She is good at heart, helping those that suffer through their grief by not making it more difficult as it is.
Her partner Zack fell a bit short. He's the ex-cop who keeps everything in perspective. He knows of Sadie's gift but doesn't want to have much to do with it in the beginning.

All in all I enjoyed reading this first installment of a paranormal mystery series and am eager to follow up with the second novel Devil May Ride. A third publication in this series is planned for end of 2009 with the title Dead And Kicking.

Visit Wendy Roberts.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Signet (December 4, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451222687
ISBN-13: 978-0451222688

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Simon Beckett - Whispers Of The Dead

Recuperating from a near-fatal attack, forensic anthropologist David Hunter has returned to the renowned research facility where he first trained - the Body Farm in Tennessee. Still bearing physical and emotional scars, he hopes the trip will hone his old skills and restore his shattered confidence.

So when his former mentor invites him to assist on a murder investigation, he agrees. After all, he's simply there as an observer - what could possibly go wrong?

But even Hunter is unprepared by the gruesome nature of the killing. The victim has been bound and tortured, and the body has decomposed beyond recognition - far more so than it should have. Fingerprints at the scene appear to identify the killer; however Hunter is convinced that nothing is quite as it seems.

Then a second body is found, and suddenly the team are plunged into a nightmare of deception and misdirection, in pursuit of a macabre serial killer whose forensic knowledge seems disturbingly familiar. As the death toll rises and Hunter finds he has enemies even within the investigation, he begins to fear that they might be on the trail of a maniac who simply cannot be stopped... (Description taken from author's webpage).


Anthropologist David Hunter has come a long way since he was stabbed by Grace Strachan. With the scars that remind him from the outside, he deals with the aftermath of knowing a killer is on the loose who might or might not come back to him at any time. Separated from his girlfriend Jenny he searches for a sense in his life and if he still is any good in his job. He accepts the invitation by his old mentor Tom Lieberman, head of the unique, world famous Body Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, to study on some dead bodies.

Tom tries to give David a way back into his old occupation and motivates him to help in a gruesome new case: a decaying body was found in a cabin, stabbed to a table, covered with maggots the scene offers a shocking picture. Despite the heat coming from a red glowing heater directly next to the dead body the maggots stages of development don't match the timeframe when the cabin was rented. The maggots seem to be much older than they should be and the only evidence leads to someone who died six month earlier.
When Tom suffers from a heart attack leaving him in intensive care, David wonders if the killer deliberately left conflicting evidence to mock the anthropologist and was planning to get to him from the beginning.
But with Tom in the hospital and the killer's plan failed, his narcissism might bring him to look for another appealing target.


Whispers of the Dead
or Leichenblaesse, the German edition I've read, is the third installment surrounding David Hunter, following The Chemistry of Death and Written in Bone
Getting to know the author it is easily expectable that his approach to forensic studies is easily bound into the plot making it very understandable. The gruesome plot, twists and sudden developments the book is a very exciting read, as long as you don't read the German edition. I could vent for hours about the boring translation that is as far from British and American colloquial language as possible. In the end I found myself translating into English and got the tension I was waiting for.

In this third novel David Hunter seems more approachable as in the previous novels and the reader gets a more detailed sense of his personality.
For myself I could have been better off to not read the included view of the killer that made me guess the killer's identity way too early.

Overall I feel sad for the German readers. They really should consider reading the book in English. What I have found on excerpts, the book reads itself way better in its original language.
You just can't compare the dry German explanation of a decaying body with the 'colorful' explanation in English. :-)

Overall, it's the best novel in the series and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in forensics, a gruesome plot and the strength to take in one dead body after the other.

Visit Simon Beckett.

American Edition
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (May 19, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385340060
ISBN-13: 978-0385340069

German Edition
Gebundene Ausgabe: 416 Seiten
Verlag: WUNDERLICH VLG.; Auflage: 5 (16. Januar 2009)
Sprache: Deutsch
ISBN-10: 3805208669
ISBN-13: 978-3805208666

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Michelle Gagnon - The Tunnels

An old, abandoned tunnel system beneath a prestigious New England college becomes the gruesome stalking ground of a serial killer….

The crime scenes are both grim and otherworldly. The bodies of two female students are found mutilated and oddly positioned in the dark labyrinth beneath the school - haunting symbols painted on the walls above them.

In her decade tracking serial killers, FBI special agent Kelly Jones has witnessed terrible offenses against humanity. Yet the tragedy unfolding at her alma mater chills her to the bone. Evidence suggests that the connection between the victims --all daughters of powerful men. And elements of the killings point to a dark ancient ritual. As the body count rises, so do the stakes. The killer is taunting Kelly, daring her to follow him down a dangerous path from which only one can emerge.


FBI Special Agent Kelly Jones is called to her old alma mater where a serial killer favors young girls coming from powerful families. Her bodies hung up in a tunnel, their chest is carved open and rips severed from the spine. Behind them he leaves a painting with the blood of his previous victim.

The surprising involvement of Jake Riley, a former FBI agent no head of security of one of the victims father, in her investigations doesn't help either but word is, that Riley has to be involved in whatever happens in the investigations.

When more girls and suspects die, Kelly receives an invitation to follow the killer into the tunnels alone. Pressured to at least rescue the latest kidnapped girl she begins her descent.


I'm not impressed at all with this debut novel. In fact I'm happy to have finished it. The story is quite old and has been written a hundred times. Lacking new additions to the plot and main characters that just fell flat without much personality, this book feels like a timer filler that you pick up during commercials or while waiting in the doctor's office.
Don't get me wrong, the last third had a bit more excitement and the book got better but the ending came as expected: very unsuccessful and unimaginative.

Having the second novel of this series somewhere in my pile I'm tempted to give it away without even looking at it.

Visit Michelle Gagnon.

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Mira (June 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 077832446X
ISBN-13: 978-0778324461

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Linwood Barclay - No Time For Goodbye

The house was deathly quiet. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke that morning to find herself alone. Her family - mother, father and brother - had vanished without a word, without a note, without a trace. Twenty five years later, Cynthia is still looking for answers. Now she is about to learn the devastating truth.

Cynthia and Terry Archer still live in Milford, Connecticut, not far from the old Bigge house on Hickory Street. With a solid marriage and a young daughter, the Archers seem on track for a successful future. But the questions raised by Cynthia's past still haunt her, and her obsession to find the answers threatens to destroy everything they've worked for. For Cynthia, there can be no closure until she finds out why her family disappeared - and how they could have left her behind.

Terry thinks the segment on the popular TV crime-stopper Deadline is a mistake. But his wife hopes that someone watching will have a lead to her missing family. Sure enough, it's Cynthia who spots the strange car cruising the neighborhood, hears untraceable phone calls, and discovers the ominous "gifts". And as Cynthia's nerves begin to unravel, no one's innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time the first body is found, it's clear that her past is mre of a mystery than she ever imagined - or may ever survive.

Someone has returned to this Connecticut town to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And by the time Terry and Cynthia discover the killer's shocking identity, it will be too late even for goodbye.


Cynthia Bigge was 14-years-old when the morning after a terrible fight with her parents she woke up and her family was gone and never returned. With no evidence of a crime happened or not Cynthia is left to grow up at her aunt Tessa's house.

25 years later Cynthia's husband has his doubts in the TV show Cynthia decided to do. He is not sure it will really help Cynthia in her quest to find her family and believes it might just worsen the situation. And worsen it did.
It begins with cars Cynthia notices but hasn't she always had some car that looked suspicious to her ? A phone call she received but accidentally deleted from the phones history, the sudden appearance of her fathers old hat on the kitchen table when only she was the one who was in the house.
Terry begins to wonder if his wife might have lost it and probably suppressed the happenings from that night 25 years ago.

But when bodies turn up dead he knows for sure his wife didn't do anything of this.
Someone has come back to get to Cynthia, to finish what was forgotten 25 years ago.


No Time for Goodbye kept me reading. Narrated by the very likeable character of Terry it twists and turns and leaves you guessing what really happened just to be surprised in the end because you just didn't think of it being so easy but then, maybe it isn't easy at all.
The reader will suspect people that might know something, or even might have been involved but you just get snippets and hunches you can't really place.
Attention grabbing until the end.

Visit Linwood Barclay.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Bantam (September 25, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 055380555X
ISBN-13: 978-0553805550

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kay Hooper - Blood Sins (Bood Trilogy, Bk. 2)

Some sins can't be forgiven...because some sins no one survives.

Young, vulnerable, attractive Tessa Gray made the perfect victim. Which was why Noah Bishop of the FBI's Special Crimes Unit recruited her to play the rolw of grieving widow. As the supposed new owner of propert coveted by the Church of the Everlasting Sin, she'd be irresistible bait for the reclusive and charismatic Reverend samuel.
Hir fortified compound in the mountains near Grace, North Carolina, had been the last known residence of two women murdered in ways that defied scientific explanation.

Though hardly as naive or as vulnerable as she appears, Tessa knows she has a lot to learn about using her unique gift. She also knows that Bishop and the SCU have to be desperate to rely on an untried psychic agent in an undercover operation so dangerous. And desperate they are.
For the killer they're hunting is the most terrifyingthey've ever faced and shakes even the most seasoned agens: a soulless megalomanical cult leader who can use their own weapons, talents, and tactics against them.

By entering the cult’s well-guarded compound, Tessa will be exposing herself to the dark magnetism of a psychopath on an apocalyptic crusade of terror that spares no one, not even the youngest victims. And Samuel has protected himself within a fanatically loyal congregation, many of whom occupy surprising positions of power within the community. Even Grace'’s chief of police, Sawyer Cavenaugh --— a man Tessa will have to trust with her life--— may be unable to protect her. Because no one, not even Tessa herself, can guarantee she’s strong enough to resist temptation — or powerful enough to battle a killer who’'s less than human.


Since the books decription is quite correct I don't even want to spoil anything of the plot to the reader.
Blood Sins is the continuation of Blood Dreams in which Tessa Gray was first discovered as being a psychic. I didn't read Blood Dreams but listened to the audiobook which made it harder for me to recollect the happenings in the first novel. Despite of the authors note on her webpage that the trilogy can be read singlewise I wouldn't recommend it. Especially not when unfamiliar with the characters.

For me the book didn't hold a lot of surprises because over time I've become familiar to Hooper's writing style and her book concept. This book is no exception. The end comes fast, spectacular but is quite short. I certainly missed the investigation part in this one.
However, considered that I literally flew through the books and finished it on one day does mean is wasn't boring at all. I liked it and will be glad to get all questions answered with the third book.

Visit Kay Hooper.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553804855
ISBN-13: 978-0553804850
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Richard Montanari - The Rosary Girls

Veteran Philadelphia cop Kevin Byrne has been living on the edge for far too long. His marriage failing and his heart lost to mad fury, Byrne loves to take risks and break rules.
Now he and his rookie partner, Jessica Balzano, have just caught the case of a lifetime:
Someone is killing devout young women, bolting their hands together in prayer, and committing an abomination upon their bodies.
Byrne and Balzano spearhead the hunt for the serial killer, who in turn leads them on a methodically planned journey.
Suspects appear before them like bad dreams, and vanish just as quickly. Meanwhile, the calender approaches Easter, the day of the resurrection. The last rosary will be counted, and a madman's cruel judgment will be meted out unless someone stops his wicked, pitiless crusade.


It is Jessica Balzano's first day at the Philadelphia homicide unit with her new partner Kevin Byrne. With no time to acclimated they catch their first case together:
A young girl is found dead in the basement of an abandoned house. Her neck is broken, her hands wrapped with a rosary and bolted together like in prayer. With a second victim found not 24 hours later it becomes clear the killer favors young teenage girls attending Catholic schools and takes them in broad daylight.

Jessica and Kevin need all their instincts to follow the upcoming leads bringing them to a psychiatrist working for the Catholic schools. But something doesn't seem to fit when their only suspect is found hanged in his house. With his death the secret of the girls connection to each other and a lead to the killer seems to be lost forever.


Speaking of building characters Montanari introduces two cops that couldn't be a better match to each other. With Jessica being the wife struggling with her separated cop husband and Kevin the commited veteran cop a lot of their background flows through the book building a relationship to the reader.
This novel is so full of turns that it is difficult to keep up and as soon as you think you might have figured out who the killer is you're slapped square in the face.

Gruesome, dark and amazingly thrilling.

Following this first novel are three books in a series around Balzano and Byrne: The Skin Gods, Merciless and Badlands.

Visit Richard Montanari.

Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 28, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345470966
ISBN-13: 978-0345470966

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Neil Gaiman - The Graveyard Book

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.
He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated bu ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.
There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. An ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack, who has already killed Bod's family... .


For me it was an impulse to buy this extraordinary book. Actually I walked through B&N children's books when I saw the interesting, shining cover. Of course I had read about the book sooner on different forums so I bought it and din't really read the books description. :-)

The man named Jack enters quietly the house, leaving the father, the mother and the daughter dead. With only the little toddler left he makes his way up to the top of the house to find the toddlers crib being empty.
The boy is awaken by a crash in the house. His curious manners make crawl, walking isn't an option at this young age, out of his room, down the stairsand through the open front door.
The man named Jack sniffs the air. He sniffs through the house, outside the door and follows the child's scent.

Mrs. and Mr. Owens look down onto the little toddler that half naked just crawled through the graveyards gates. The approaching man seems to be its father but then they hear a shout the man is going to kill the boy. Mrs. Owens speaks to the voice and fading shadow that begs them to protect the child and take it into their midst.
Mrs. and Mr. Owens agree and the child vanishes in the mist leaving the man Jack alone on the graveyard.
The Owens have been dead for hundreds of years and so have their graveyard friends. It is decided that the boy stays on the graveyard to be safe and raised like their own. With his guardian the solitary Silas, the boy grows and learns the secrets and dangers of the graveyard but getting older he seeks for more then the graveyard can offer bringing him to the danger of the outside world and eventually exposing him to the man who has never stopped searching for him.


I find the book utterly charming and entertaining.
The idea of having a child raised by ghosts learning the ghost of all ages and the graveyards history and accomplishing ghostly abilities is fascinating and lovely described by the writer.
The character Silas and his whole role in the book almost demand of more of him and his following adventures and maybe his former life. Same goes for the man Jack and what drove him to end the lives of Bod's family.

The first chapter though seems for me a bit too graphic for the recommended age range. Being not an expert on children books or not being a parent myself I'd still recommend parents to read over it first and then decide if their child's development is far enough to handle graphic scenes. The chapter might has well have been taken from a cozy mystery.

Otherwise the book is perfectly safe, including everything a child might like: A little creepy, lots of love and friendship between the ghosts and their community and how much love they put into the boys education. Lovely and enchanting.

Visit Neil Gaiman.
Watch the trailer on You Tube.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (September 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060530928
ISBN-13: 978-0060530921

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gayle Wilson - The Inquisitor

The serial murderer dubbed the Inquisitor has already killed over a dozen women in various cities, and the authorities haven't a clue to his identity. He is organized, methodical and certain to kill again. And now he's set his sights on Birmingham psychologist Jenna Kincaid.

Convinced that the Inquisitor killed his only sister, ex-army Ranger Sean Murphy has been hunting for him with one thing in mind: revenge. If his instincts are right, Jenna Kincaid will lead him to his prey.

But Jenna has gotten to Sean in a way that no one has in a very long time. And now he's desperate to keep her safe - because the madman is taking a terrifying pleasure in the game unfolding. And if the killer wins, it's Jenna who will pay the ultimate price.


It happens once or twice a year that I pick up a book that I just can't finish. I quit reading after 158 dragging pages where literally almost nothing happened. It is a huge disappointment to me because the books I've read by Gayle Wilson were actually quite good.

Jenna Kincaid is psychologist in Birmingham. Shortly before Christmas she gives an interview to a TV reporter who asks her a non scripted question about recent killings in Birmingham. Not in the position to give an adequate profile Jenna gives back common knowledge but sound as if she would feel not only sad for the victims but the killer as well.

Sean Murphy is alarmed to see this interview on TV. Having followed the killers tracks for quite some time and his personal relationship to the killer of his sister made him restless and he wants revenge. With an appearance in Jenna's office he tries to set the fear into her mind because he knows she fits the killers pattern in appearance and just made herself his target that might be killed tomorrow, next week or next month.


What happened with this book ? 154 pages and all I got from it is what I've written above, a phone call Sean received and a gift box in Jenna's fridge. Coming from the romantic suspense genre I expected somewhat the suspense but got instead the unfolding, dragging and plain boring romance between the two main characters. Usually I do read romantic suspense when the suspense isn't overshadowed by the romance but this one ? Nah. It will take some time until I pick up another Wilson book.

Visit Gayle Wilson.
Other books reviewed by Gayle Wilson: The Suicide Club (pub. 07/2007) Victim (pub. 02/2008).

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Mira (July 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 077832320X
ISBN-13: 978-0778323204

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kim Pfaffenroth - Dying to Live: Life Sentence

At the end of the world a handful of survivors banded together in a museum-turned.compound surrounded by the living dead. The community established rituals and rites, to help them integrate into their new existence. In a battle against kingdom of savage prisoners, the survivors lost loved once, they lost innocence, but still they coped and grew. They even found a strange peace for the undead.

Twelve years later the community has reclaimed more of the city and has settled into a fairly secure life in their compound. Zoey is a girl coming of age in this undead world, learning new roles - new sacrifices. But even bigger surprises lie in wait, for some of the walking dead are beginning to remember who they are, whom they've lost, and, even worse, what they have done.

As the dead struggle to reclaim their lives, as the survivors combat an intruding force, the two groups accelerate toward a collision that could drastically alter both of their worlds.


12 years and the life as we know it has become a place in our heart, a valuable memory for the older ones, a memory of gore and rage for those who grew up in both and a confusing, questionable one for those who were born into this new world. Zoey was born the day after the world ended. She was raised in a museum whose borders in time have been grown due to the help of Milton their leader whose half-dead ability to lead the undead into fenced places to lock them away gave a piece of security for those desperate to survive.

Popcorn has grown up and began calling himself Will at one time. He's never forgotten what happened to him and the effects of what the prisoners did to him as a child and being a warrior at the age of 10 changed him. He prefers to be alone or out chatching zombie together with Milton.
He already noticed that some zombies are more gentle than others but when one particular male zombie shows more and more of a functioning brain his curiosity is huge. To learn that this exemplar understands what he says, can read and write impresses him. He bonds with the undead easier than with the living and after years enjoying more company of the undead than with his living companions he soon developes a friendship.

His name is Wade Truman. He doesn't remember what happened before he woke up on the pavement one day. He knows things, understands words and can read but sometimes the connection to what he reads seems to be missing. He doesn't understand the way those who speak are but he understands he's done terrible things to people and that must be the reason why he lives behind this fence.
But he feels lonely between those raging others of his who don't seem to care abut anything. He's glad he's got his friend Lucy who must have been a violin player a long time before all this started.
Befriending Will, the speaking one, is a nice change and being taken out of the fence for walks is such a pleasure for Lucy and him. Will seems to be so different from the other speakers.

The world outside of the fence is dangerous and soon Wade and Lucy have to learn that those who speak not only struggle against those they call zombies but also with themselves and those around them. Confusing as they are they even kill each other. Wade needs to make decisions beyond what he has done the last 12 years. A decision between saving the life of those that chased and put him away or just watching what happens.


Like the prequel Dying to Live: a novel of living amongst the undead" I had hard times to put this book down and time just flew by.
The sequel is on such a personal and deep level and very different from most zombie novels. Lacking the gore and survival tactics usually used in this genre, the novel makes a stride towards how the society formed into what I believe is the best possible solution but at the same time very idealized.
To know what is going on inside of a zombies brain, his slowly attempts to fathom what is going on an react to it, his caring and worrying are more than a lot of human survivors can offer.

Pfaffenroth might disappoint those who want to read the same story over and over again but he certainly gives the thinking reader some salty mind crackers. His philosophical angle, his turning of something old into something new is impeccable and leaves the reader satisfied.

Visit Kim Pfaffenroth.

Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Permuted Press (October 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934861111
ISBN-13: 978-1934861110