Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wendy Roberts - Devil May Ride (Book 2)

A Ghost Dusters Mystery

Sadie Novak is blessed with the gift of second sight. More of a curse, really, since she's the owner of a crime scene cleanup company and can't get through a job without the ghost of a murder victim popping in for a chat.

Sadie and her sexy partner, Zack, find themselves knee-deep in trouble on their latest job when they stumble over evidence of a chilling cult ritual in an abandoned meth lab, and Sadie comes face-to-face with an evil spirit unlike any she's seen before.
And it's no coincidence that a depleted hoard of stolen cash turns up at her next crime scene just in time to convince a gang meth-deprived motorcyclist that Sadie made off with their money.

With a hell-raising band of bikers hot on her heels, Sadie has to act fast. She knows the threads are all connected, but how ? It's a shock to discover that everything is linked to her own family -- and a secret so dark it makes gossiping with ghost look like child's play.


Sadie Novak, owner of Scene-2-Clean, a crime scene mopping company, recently took up to clean meth labs in addition to cleaning trauma scenes.
So this time in an adjoining shed near a meth lab she's been cleaning with employee Zack, they find a newborn boy next to a freshly slashed open goat and an evil spirit claiming to be the mother that gave her body and newborn willingly to a cult.
At another scene Sadie finds evidence of ritualistic happenings and also a well hidden huge amount of money.
Sadie gets the sense that the labs are connected to each other without knowing that her dive into her brothers past brings her much nearer into the cults reign then she's ever imagined.


Devil May Ride is the second novel in about the Ghost Duster Sadie who because of the ability to speak to murder victims, gets deeply involved in solving the belonging case. Unlike The Remains Of The Dead, Devil May Ride couldn't keep up with the fun I enjoyed during the first novel.
I didn't find myself caring for the main plot but more interested in the story of Sadie's brother Brian who killed himself six years earlier.
In the end everything ran pretty much together but the end came fast and uneventful.

Visit Wendy Roberts.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Signet (December 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451225651
ISBN-13: 978-0451225658

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Richard Montanari - The Skin Gods

The streets of Philadelphia are blistering in the summer heat, the homicide rate is soaring and the nights belong to the mad. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are prowling the streets with a growing sense of unease. Where next will evil rear its ugly head ?

When a series of seemingly unrelated crimes shatter the silence of the city, their worst fears are confirmed. A beautiful secretary is slashed to death in a grimy motel shower. A street hustler is brutally murdered with a chainsaw. Piece by piece, a strange and sickening puzzle presents itself: someone is meticulously recreating Hollywood's most horrifying murder scenes, capturing them on film and inserting the clips into videos - for an unsuspecting public to find. While Kevin begins furtive investigations of his own, Jessica goes undercover to work the back alleys of Philadelphia, entering a violent world of underground film, pornography and seedy nightclubs, hidden to all but initiated. Discovering that none of The Actor's victims are as innocent as they appear, the two detectives arrive at a terrifying reality: they are not just chasing a homicide suspect. They are stalking evil itself.


Since the case of The Rosary Girls as been successfully closed, Detective Kevin Byrne has mostly recovered from the shot to his head and a six week induced coma. The decision to return to the force or not is his but when he gets news that Julian Matisse has been released from jail after having done only 2 years in jail the decision is made for him. His partner Jessica Balzano welcomes her partner and they are both assigned to a breathtaking, unbelievable case:
Someone stages killing scenes from classic movies, cuts the fictional scene from a VHS tape and puts the new and real scene in its place. The tape is then left at rental stores, waiting for an unsuspecting customer to pick it up.

While Kevin tries to figure out the reasons for Matisse's early release, Jessica's investigation into The Actor's case brigs her to the shady world of pornography, drugs and nightclubs. And more tapes are being found by customers.

Time is short, not only for Jessica to solve the case but also for Kevin who parallel searches for clues about Matisse and the kidnapping of his new love Victoria.

The Skin Gods is difficult to compare to the previous novel The Rosary Girls. There is again a subplot which is worked by Byrne and his amazingly gut instincts but it didn't get me as much as in The Rosary Girls. The investigation as a team between Jessica and Kevin comes way too short with Kevin moving around mostly by his own.
The scheme of newly discovered suspects being killed by the actual killer has been used again and I couldn't find much new ideas in this novel.


Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: William Heinemann (2006)
ISBN-10: 0434013943
ISBN-13: 978-0434013944

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get much out. Not because she's pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability". she can read minds. AHd that doesn't make her dateable. ad then along comes Bill.
he's tall, dark, handsome-- and Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life...

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs out with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of - big surprise - murder. And when one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears the next...


2 years ago the vampire community had its coming out, acknowledging to the world it is true, they are there and "alive". Since then Sookie Stackhouse has been waiting for the first vampire to enter her place of work, the "Merlotte's" in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She recognizes him instantly only because of his gorgeous looks but also because he is so quiet in his head. Sookie has this ability that makes her life very difficult at times: She read peoples thoughts. When they slowly get to know each other they both have to learn the other persons live is as difficult as their own although Sookie fears Bill's live is one of blood and murder.
Their love is tested when two women in town are found strangled. They both were too vampire friendly and had them suck their blood in the past. Sookie's relationship to Bill doesn't stay unnoticed by the towns people and when her grandmother is killed in a gruesome way it becomes clear that this relationship doesn't seem to sit well with someone vampire or human.


I got to read the first book of this series because I saw it on TV. I found it very frustrating how the TV series and book differ from each other and this fact alone took a lot of the fun away. Ultimately it was the series that made me want to read the book.
That aside, I think Dead until Dark is a fine read if you don't expect too much action but rather the difficulties between a mind reader and newly legalized vampire.

Good enough to pick up the second novel some time.

Visit Charlaine Harris.

Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Ace Books (May 1, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0441008534
ISBN-13: 978-0441008537

Monday, April 6, 2009

Scott Sigler - Contagious

Across America. a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but some malevolent intelligence.
Standing against this unimaginable threat is a small group, assembled under the strictest secrecy. Their best weapon is hulking former football star Perry Dawsey, left psychologically shattered by is own struggles with this terrible enemy, who possesses an unexplainable ability to locate the disease's hosts. Violent and unpredictable, Perry is both the nation's best hope and a terrifying liability.
Hardened CIA veteran Dew Phillips must somehow forge a connection with him if they're going to stand a chance against this maddeningly adaptable opponent. Alongside them is Margaret Montoya, a brilliant epidemiologist who fights for a cure even as she reels under the weight of endless horrors.
These three and their team have kept humanity in the game, but that's not good enough anymore, not even when the disease turns contagious, triggering a fast countdown to Armageddon. Meanwhile other enemies join the battle, and a new threat - one that comes from a most unexpected source - may ultimately prove the most dangerous of all.


4 months have passed since the triangle virus was first detected. Since then the life of Margaret Montoya, who became the leading epidemiologist, has changed. She travels in a mobile, following the CIA agents Dew Phillips who desperately tries to keep Perry Dawsey from killing triangle host. Physically recovered from his injuries the former football star's infection and bravery to fight it by all means, has left him with the ability to track the living hosts and kill them. Out of control Perry Dawsey needs Dew to help him understand how important it is to capture a living host to study the virus and develop a cure and also to locate the gates the hosts brood is trying to build.
Meanwhile the vector, an orbital hoovering undetected in the air releases a second kind of seed that infects humans, turning them into something else, even worse: protectors.
Under them is little Chelsea, a small child who adapts to the virus in the most promising ways. Chelsea is powerful and her goal clear: protect the hosts so that their brood hatches and can build the gate undisturbed by humans. When the orbital fails it is up to Chelsea to keep blocking out Perry from receiving any information about their whereabouts.


If asked if the book is good I'd say yes and no. I've had major troubles to get into the plot and it dragged quite a few times but when it peeked I was floored by the writers imagination.
I didn't like the role of the little angel like girl with gold locks thinking she'd communicate with God a bit too cliché-ish. If it was supposed to be frightening I pretty much failed for me. I couldn't imagine that girl being the pure infected evil it was supposed to be. Also very much cliché is Montoya's struggle to understand that sometimes people have to die for the greater good, especially when humanities survival is in the loop. It was very much annoying to me.
The ending unfortunately utterly predictable.

Last but not least the editor should be fired. It is one thing to oversee a spelling mistake, which certainly are quite a lot in the book, but missing whole letters is a bad thing for the readers eye.

Visit Scott Sigler.

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown (December 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307406318
ISBN-13: 978-0307406316