Friday, May 29, 2009

George D. Shuman - Lost Girls

Sherry Moore becomes embroiled in her most perilous and disturbing case to date and finds that the lives of hundreds of women hang in the balance.

Sherry Moore would do anything for her confidant and best friend, retired Admiral Garland Bringham. So when he suddenly asks her to assist a team of U.S. Navy SEALs in a daring high-altitude rescue on Mount McKinley, she doesn't hesitate and soon finds herself flying across the country to hang vertically off an Alaskan cliff, tethered to Captain Brian Metcalf. Sherry, renowned for her ability to see the last eighteen seconds of a deceased person's memory, takes the hand of a dead climber, hoping to ascertain the whereabouts of his missing climbing team. But what she sees leaves her with visions that will haunt her long past Alaska.

While rumors of slave girls being trafficked around the Caribbean have circulated for years, little credible evidence has been uncovered about these "lost girls." When detective inspector Rolly King George recovers the body of a young blond woman, naked except for a shocking tattoo branded onto her cheek, he knows she may hold the key to toppling this criminal underworld. Through delicate back-channel negotiations, Sherry arrives in Kingston, Jamaica, to see the deceased and finds that things are more complicated than she thought: the remains are of Jill Bishop, an American teenager last seen in a Santo Domingo marketplace.

Carol Bishop, relentless in her pursuit to find out how her daughter died, and Sherry, the distressing images from Mount McKinley still fresh in her memory, embark on a frantic hunt for clues from the Domincan Republic to the remote jungles of Haiti, racing against time to save others from Jill's fate. Along the way, Sherry must confront a legendary voodoo priest, who possesses abilities eerily similar to her own, and take on a man whose depraved practices give new meaning to the word evil.


While in the Dominican Republic young and rich Jill Bishop is kidnapped, tortured and gang-raped, Sherry Moore is called to help to locate a group of missing climbers that were surprised by a storm.
With her ability to see the last 18 seconds of what a dead person was thinking she touches the body of a dead man who tried to leave coordinates painted on a wall for rescue teams to find his team.
The group is found but Sherry's horror-stricken by what else she saw: broken and tortured women, a one eyed man hovering over them and leaving a tattoo on their face.
More surprisingly she later learns the background of this man who was running away from his father's legacy.

When Jill sees the chance to end her life with a jump out of a flying planes door and into the ocean, she is watched by a senior investigator on holiday who happened to be part of a convention talking about human trafficking issues and exactly the tattoo he finds on Jill's dead body.
Hiding the dead body he makes the right calls to the right man who bring back Sherry to touch Jill's memory.

It is a race against time and law, bringing to strong women together, leading them into a nightmare.


Lost Girls is the most impressing book I've read this year. I literally couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. Shuman like in his previous novels doesn't make Sherry the main attraction but the person connecting the dots and people.
Human trafficking has never been such visible and graphic for me. I mean I knew about it but did I really think about it ? I doubt it.
I had the shivers, I got frightened just by suggestions and my own imagination.
It's not easy to digest if you can't let go of what you think about and what your imagination shows you but if you do you are in for ride you won't forget easily.

I haven't forgotten my doubts after I read the first Sherry Moore novel, 18 Seconds, along came Last Breath which was quite good.

But Lost Girls leaves me with three words:
Excellent, frightening and unforgettable.

Visit George D. Shuman.

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416553010
ISBN-13: 978-1416553014

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Franck Thilliez - Die Kammer der toten Kinder

Friends Vigo & Sylvain have been laid off work some six months ago. After a nightly, childish visit at their former employers walls, armed with spray cans Vigo decides a little race with himself with turned off headlights might be just what they need.
Too late he sees the man stepping onto the dark street. The man is dead, his duffel bag filled with two million Euros.
Although Sylvain wants to call the police Vigo can coax him into silence. His plan is to clean the scene as best as they can, make the body disappear and take the money for themselves.

Lucie Henebelle always wanted to become a profiler but destiny gave her two twin daughters to raise all by herself besides her police job.
Luck has it that she becomes involved in the disappearance of professor Cunar whose wife frantically called the police that he hasn't returned home from his way to pay off his little daughter from the hands of a kidnapper. The girls dead corpse is found in the house next to the scene where evidence is found of an accident. The kidnapper must have seen what happened to the father and although must have seen the car that killed the professor.


Die Kammer der toten Kinder (orig. La chambre des morts) is a fast paced novel that just sounds right to be made into a grueling movie.
Thilliez throws in some new elements to the thriller genre and easily tricks the reader into a plot that wasn't expected from what the books description tells up front. Taxidermy isn't a topic that I have met often while reading. The more it is interesting to read about it. it sucks out ones breath to just think about a killer mounting his victims.

In the end what threw me off was the books ending which didn't met the standard the reader got used to by Thilliez but maybe that's just me who prefers to read English rather than my native language. Whatever it is, it was a fine read with great movie opportunities and a good Hannibal Lecter feel.

So far the book hasn't been translated into English yet.

Visit Franck Thilliez.

Perfect Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ullstein Taschenbuchvlg. (July 31, 2007)
Language: German
ISBN-10: 3548266673
ISBN-13: 978-3548266671

Friday, May 22, 2009

Barbara Delinsky - While My Sister Sleeps

An Olympic marathon contender, self-centered Robin Snow often rubs her younger sister, Molly, the wrong way. After many years in her sister's shadow, Molly takes out her resentment with petty actions, such as refusing to accompany Robin on a run. Fatefully, Robin has a heart attack while training and falls into a coma. As Robin's condition fails to improve, Delinsky digs tediously into the family's woes: Molly's touchy relationship with Robin's ambitious reporter ex-boyfriend; middle son Chris's dealings with a would-be blackmailer; mother Kathryn's trouble coming to terms with Robin's dire prognosis.


The two sisters Molly and Robin Snow couldn't be more different from each other. Robin, the elite marathon runner training for the Olympics, depending on her sister Molly's help managing her daily life and her job at the family plant and tree nursery.
Life changes when 32-years-old Robin suffers a heart attack that leaves her brain dead, forcing the family to come to terms with family issues, deeply hidden secrets and revelations. During the process deciding on what to do with the earthly remains of Robin, her mother Kathryn lives in denial while sister Molly becomes Robin's advocate and voice on what Robin would want.
Reading her sister's diary Molly sees a different side of her sister she's so often despised but never the less deeply loves but the journal also opens doors to revelations that could shatter the whole family.


While My Sister Sleeps
is one of those stories you live and feel while you are reading. I downloaded an excerpt which included the first chapter and I instantly wanted the whole story. The beauty of this book is in the non-dramatic way Delisnky tells us the story. Of course it is dramatic and sad but her way of telling is no nonsense, not overly tearful but mature.
I fell in love with this until now unknown author and will definitely read more of her novels.

Visit Barbara Delisnky.
Watch the trailer.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (February 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385524927
ISBN-13: 978-0385524926

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

C. J. Box - Three Weeks To Say Goodbye

Jack and Melissa McGuane have spent years trying to have a baby. Finally their dream has come true with the adoption of their daughter, Angelina. But nine months after bringing her home, they receive a devastating phone call from the adoption agency: Angelina's birth father, a teenager, never signed away his parental rights ad he wants her back. Worse, his father, a powerful Denver judge, wants him to own up to his responsibility and will use every advantage his position of power affords him to make sure happens.
When Jack and Melissa attempt to handle the situation rationally by meeting face-to-face with the father and son, it is immediately apparent that there's something sinister about both of them and that love for Angelina is not the motivation for their actions.
As Angelina's safety hangs in the balance, Jack and Melissa will stop at nothing to protect their child. A horrifying game of intimidation and double crosses begins that quickly becomes a death spiral where absolutely no one is safe.


Melissa and Jack McGuane went through the adoption process to finally receive their newborn daughter Angelina nine months ago. Life has changed but they are a happy family until the birth father and his father, a influential and powerful judge claim the child back due to never have signed the parental rights away.
Facing the legal loss of their daughter the McGuanes' are left with three weeks to say goodbye to the little girl.

Three weeks that fly by in an instant but not without the McGuanes' using own resources to find something on the judge to discredit him in court. But everyone is shying away in fear of the judge's grudge. Left with two dear friends they find worrying clues but nothing substantial.
With their daily life being messed with the parents know nothing good can come of the judge's family and they begin to fear for Angelina's life.


Three Weeks To Say Goodbye is a novel where you literally fly through. With a
no-brainer writing style Box catches the reader on a beach read that is enjoyable but not overly exciting. The missing surprises and the cliche-ish characters didn't match the usual standard I have gotten used to by C. J. Box.

Visit C. J. Box.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312365721
ISBN-13: 978-0312365721

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gillian Flynn - Dark Places

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnake, Kansas."
as her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer.
Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust fund created by well wishers who've long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details - proof they hope that may free Ben - Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she'll reconnect with players from that night and report her findings to the club ... and maybe she'll admit her testimony wasn't so solid after all.
As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby's doomed family members - including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have drive3n him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town.
Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started - on the run from the killer.


Libby Day's family was slaughtered when she was seven years old. Since then she's passed time living of a the fund well wishers built for her. 25 years is a long time and now the fund is at its end. With no education or working experience chances are that sooner or later she won't be able to pay her rent and what than ?
When Lyle Wright approaches her in the name of the The Kill Club, a society that of crime fans, approaches her and offers money just for talking in front of some people about her past she's more than desperate enough to accept the offer but soon learns that the majority of the club believes in Ben's innocence and thinks she was coached into her testimony against her brother.
Desperation brings her to agree to talk to people of her past for money and she soon finds herself thrown into a past she didn't know about. Beginning to believe that maybe she was coached she learns about the dark side of her brother's nature and the ultimate conclusion what really happened on January 2, 1985.


Dark Places is an easy, conclusive read, with three main characters: Libby in the present, Ben and Libby's mother Patty Day in the past. It is difficult to find any sympathy for the protagonists except for the mother but the lack of character doesn't hurt the whole story which is a great mystery.
Some things add up strangely and make the book especially in the end very weak but ultimately it kept me reading probably because it was such an easy read where one got everything served on a platter.

Visit Gillian Flynn.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books (May 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307341569
ISBN-13: 978-0307341563

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone crunching zombie mayhem. As out story opens, a mysterious plaque has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton - and the dead are returning to life !

Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent on the blood-soaked battlefield.
Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan ? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry ?
Complete with romance, heartbreak swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.


People who know me, know that once in a while I dive into a zombie novel enjoying some gore and flesh eating. This novel however didn't get me at all. Instead I gave up after about 30 pages. Instead of the usual zombie gore I got a huge zombie bore and still feel very disappointed in this novel.
I understand this book should have some sort of zombie humor in it but even this one I couldn't find.

In the end I believe this book is more for the original Pride and Prejudice fan than it is for the zombie fan. Romance fans probably don't have a clue about zombies and might find some humor in this one the zombie fan probably won't.

I liked the cover art. :-)


Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (April 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594743347
ISBN-13: 978-159474334-4

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Steve Alten - MEG: Hell's Aquarium

The Philippine Sea Plate:
The most unexplored realm on the planet. Surrounded by subduction zones and no less than six abyssal gorges - including the seven-mile-deep, 1,500 mile long Mariana Trench, the sea is also home to an incredibly anomaly, for hidden beneath its primordial crust lies the remains of the Phantalassa, an ocean that dates back 220 million years. vast and isolated, the Phantalassa is a purgatory of existence, inhabited by nightmarisch sea creatures log believed extinct.

Tanaka Institute, Monterey, CA:
Four years have passed since Angel, the 76-foot, 100,000 pound Megalodon returned from the Mariana Trench to birth her litter of pups - five females - far too numerous and aggressive to keep in one pen. As accidents mounts, one solutions presents itself: A Dubai royal prince is building the largest aquarium in the world and seeks to purchase two of the "runts".
The deal hinges on hiring Jonas Taylor's twenty-one year old son, David, to be their handler.
Jonas reluctantly agrees, and David is off to Dubai for the summer of his life, not realizing he is being set up to lead an expedition that will hunt down and capture the most dangerous creatures ever to inhabit Earth.


The Tanaka Institute located at the beautiful coast of Monterey, California, holds the most desired attraction for shark fans and therefore the most dangerous monster ever captured alive: Angel, the Carcharodon megalodon and her litter of five pups. Since the pups are getting too big for the aquarium and "casualties" have already happened, Jonas Taylor faces decisions on how to handle their space problem. The offer from Dubai to buy two of the pups and some submersibles comes just in time as the animals become more and more annoyed with each other. Maybe this will keep the activists threatening to boycott the aquarium away for a while.
He reluctantly agrees to send his young son David with the sharks to keep an eye on them and also to teach a group of pilots how to handle the submersibles.

David didn't anticipate that the main goal wasn't to get him as a teacher but rather get him into diving the depths of the dangerous Phantalassa. He is lured into the deep dive with more than the possibilty to never come back.

Jonas knowing what awaits his son deep down has to react when he learns his son's submersible is missing.


What an adventure packed in a single book that easily could have been two books with two themes ! I couldn't get enough of the happenings in the Institute and on David's
excursion into the difficult to imagine depths of the ocean.
Having read all of the MEG books I easily say this one is the best of them all.
The pups are food for your nerves, never letting you sit back in your seat and relax. The book mostly keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering how crazy one would be about a movie and a movie it should be.

Meet old characters of the Taylor family and their closest friends and get to know the new generation of Taylors' and their friends, most certainly building the foundation for more dangerous adventures.

All I can say is, that I want more and already took out the older novels to re-read them again.

Visit Steve Alten.

Hardcover: 342 pages
Publisher: Variance Publishing LLC (May 19, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935142046
ISBN-13: 978-1935142041

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gwen Hunter - Rapid Descent

The kayak trip was supposed to be a honeymoon. But when Nell and Joe Stevens are caught in a flash flood, Nell is swept under, trapped and looses consciousness. When she awakes, safe on shore, she finds a note from Joe, explaining that has gone for help. He never returns.

The search that follows raises more questions than it answers. About the family he never mentioned, who arrive in Nell's sleepy hometown. The enormous inheritance. And worse, the question whispered by locals: is Nell responsible ?

Always hoping for Joe's return, Nell tries to put the rumors behind her. But as years slip past, Nell craves answers. She takes to the river again in search of the truth and finds that jealousy, desperation and deception can pull you under faster than churning water - and you may never resurface.


Six years ago Nell Stevens husband Joe promised to get help for his injured wife after a kayak accident. he never returned nor was his body discovered by a search and rescue team.
Today Nell runs a river company specialized in kayaking and guided tours, her precious son turning out just like his father Joe.

Orson Lennox was just a young police man when he took part in the search and rescue team looking for Joe. Today, after an injury, he's one the verge to decide to either quit police work or go into the cold case squad. He asks for a job at Nell's and begins snooping around with Nell still being the prime suspect.
But there are other interesting leads he discovers. People with a motive. Not as strong as Nell but still.


Rapid Descent is a cozy mystery / slightly romance novel where the reader doesn't need to think too much and can enjoy the story unfolding.
The first part about Joe's disappearance and the search for him took a huge part in the book and could have been a but shorter, leaving more space for what happens in the present.
Otherwise enjoyable and relaxing.

Visit Gwen Hunter.

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira (February 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778326217
ISBN-13: 978-0778326212

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Van Ryn/Cerak: Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

Meet Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak: one buried under the wrong name, one in a coma and being cared for by the wrong family.

This shocking case of mistaken identity stunned the country and made national news. Would it destroy a family? Shatter their faith? Push two families into bitterness, resentment, and guilt?

Read this unprecedented story of two traumatized families who describe their ordeal and explore the bond sustaining and uniting them as they deal with their bizarre reversal of life lost and life found.

And join Whitney Cerak, the sole surviving student, as she comes to terms with her new identity, forever altered, yet on the brink of new beginnings.

Mistaken Identity weaves a complex tale of honesty, vulnerability, loss, hope, faith, and love in the face of one of the strangest twists of circumstances imaginable.


In April 2006 the Cerak family got note that their daughter Whitney was killed in a terrible car accident.
Meanwhile in the hospital the only survivor, Laura Van Ryn, has to recover from her injuries and a damage to the brain.
While the family Cerak took care of Whitney's burial and learnt how to live without their daughter, the Van Ryn family didn't leave Laura's bedside and watched over her slow recovery.
It takes five weeks for Whitney to voice that the Van Ryns' are not their parents.
The Cerak family learns that their daughter is alive and the Van Ryn family has to learn that their daughter died five weeks ago.


Maybe I am the exception but I thought the book was terrible and found myself skipping whole chapters, especially those where again and again the talk was about God. For someone who does not consider herself a Christian the whole Bla is difficult to stand, too much bore and alienating. I skipped almost all of the printed blog entries about the praising overdose.
I wanted to learn about the families, not God. About emotions and the difficulties they were going through. Instead I found their life wrapped in a bubble about God. It certainly would have been nice to have known that up front. I wouldn't have read the book then.
Of course what the families went through is terrible and saddening, there is no doubt in that but a more down to earth perspective would have helped the whole story.

In the end I should have known because just a few months and way before the paperback was released the book lay on B&N bargain table for a few bucks.


Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Howard Books; Second Printing edition (March 25, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416567356
ISBN-13: 978-1416567356

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tonke Dragt - Das Geheimnis des siebten Weges

And then ? What what happened then ? Five minutes before end of school teacher Franz begins telling his pupils adventurous tales about warriors and swords, dark castles, shipwrecks and unoccupied island.
Difficult to believe that one day one of his tales is coming to reality ! Together with his pupils he becomes entangled in a secretive complot.


Franz van der Steg teaches his new class for about three weeks, entertaining them daily with five minutes of adventurous tales about Franz, the red head. One day, when he's not really in the mood to tell tales he tells them that he's awaiting a secretive letter, not knowing from whom it will come and what it is about.
To his surprise he really receives a letter from Count Gradus Griesenstein who offers him a position as tutor for his nephew Gerd-Jan. To make the situation more mysterious for Fran,z who has never before heard the name Griesenstein, he meets members of the seven conspirators who claim he is the 7th member who is supposed to help and free Gerd-Jan from his uncle who keeps him inside the walls of the "Treppenhaus", their huge and more strangely mansion, full of stairs.

The centuries old prophecy tells that one day seven conspirators will help to find the hidden treasure that would free the descendant of Gregorious Griesenstein.

Franz soon discovers that uncle Gradus keeps Gerd-Jan in the house because he wants the treasure all for himself but Gradus never thought the prophecy might come true. Franz hair is red and the prophecy is quite green.


I have been planning to read this book for a long, long time. Actually since the book was made into a small TV series in 1982 when I was a child myself. Ever since I sort of thought about it every now and then.
No wonder it sucked me in from the first page on. This is a beautiful novel for children around 10-100, mysterious and suspenseful.
The character Franz van der Steg seems to be a little bit off, trying to be stern with his pupils. I don't remember a teacher talking to me like Franz van der Steg does in the book but then, when the book was published I wasn't even born for another 10 years.

Unfortunately this great book, De zevensprong (orig. title), was never released in english but it sure should be.


Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Beltz (March 20, 2002)
Language: German
ISBN-10: 340778063X
ISBN-13: 978-3407780638

Friday, May 1, 2009

Stuart MacBride - Flesh House

Killers have terrorized Aberdeen in the past - Detective Sergeant Logan McRae has the scars to prove it - but when body parts show up in a cargo container at the harbor, they kick off Scotland's largest manhunt in twenty years.
The last time they were searching for Kenneth Wiseman, a brutal killer who terrified the country and who was eventually caught only to be acquitted eleven years later on a technicality. Now he's gone missing, people are dying, and the police are certain he's at work again.

As the violence escalates, DS McRae is forced to work with the senior officers assigned to the original case who have returned to Aberdeen to finish what they stared. With decades of secrets and lies coming to light, the only thing that's certain is that the city will never be the same.


Aberdeen has had its share of psychopaths but when a mechanic finds body parts in a malfunctioning cooling container alarm bells are ringing. Especially since the container seems to come from a company who's owner is the brother-in-law of of Kenneth Wiseman recently acquitted from jail based on a technicality.
People know and fear Wiseman as being the Flesher, who butchered multiple people and left only joints of meat. Now that he is out he's vanished and police are trying to get a hold on him.

Detective Sergeant Logan McRae is part of the new investigation team, bound to let in the investigators from 20 years ago.
He soon begins to feel the maybe the3 investigation team was wrong from the beginning and although an evil man, Kenneth Wiseman might not be the killer they are searching for.


I haven't read the previous three novels so I don't really want to base anything on character development etc. . The plot in itself is amazingly good if it weren't that the book just seems to be too long.
Very enjoyable is the dialogue between the different police members, characterful, each with own likes and dislikes, they all seemed very normal.
The grim plot and the many twists kept me reading and finishing the book. However I probably won't pick up another book of this series.

Visit Stuart MacBride.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312382634
ISBN-13: 978-0312382636