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Archive for November, 2011

Bad Blood

Okay…so this week is a weird one. I told myself when I started this blog that I was only going to do POSITIVE reviews, and that’s what I’m going to do. But the book that I’m reviewing this week has a really tough topic, so I feel compelled to say that it might not be an issue that some of you want to read about.

Anyway.  The title of the book is Bad Blood, by John Sandford. I love him, have read all of his books (the “Prey” series with Lucas Davenport—they’re wonderful, check them out).  This was one of the Virgil Flowers series, and he’s a great character. Wit, smarts, self-deprecating, and a bit of a way-with-the-ladies. In this story, he’s called in from the big city to help with some small-town Minnesota murders and uncovers some very nasty stuff going on within a church/cult and their members. The nasty stuff has to do with young children and adults and the adults’ “interpretations” of the Bible. While there’s nothing graphic described in the book, it’s very clear that some young girls and boys are never going to have normal lives because of what’s been done to them in the ‘World of Spirit’. Ugh.

And without giving it totally away—does justice get served? Of course. Does Virgil save the day? Of course. Because we need happy endings, right? There’s a lot of strategizing and outmaneuvering and outsmarting some local yokels in this book, and it’s imperative that the good guys win in the end. There is even some humor and wiseass comments that are crucial to making Virgil who he is, and it lightens the mood in the book in just the right places.

So I can’t say that it’s the best book that I’ve ever read, because certain parts left me with a heavy feeling in my stomach. But one thing it definitely did—it made me realize how much I appreciate law enforcement and everything they are about. I like to stay in my naïve little bubble at times, and I marvel at how those people can see what they see day-in-and-day-out and get up in the morning and do it all over again. So kudos to you who afford me my bubble, I admire you tremendously.

Have a great week, everyone.  Happy reading!  🙂

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Trespasser

This week’s read was Trespasser by Paul Doiron, an author who is new to me. I “discovered” him on a table at a closing Border’s book store, and I’m really glad that I did.

Typically, I enjoy books with a pace at mach speed, so that my heart is racing and I’m nearly out of breath at the end of each chapter.  (I’m sounding horribly out of shape, aren’t I?)  This book was a nice change from my usual story. That’s not to say that it was boring; it wasn’t at all. But it had a smooth, steady pace that was extremely pleasant to read while still holding my full attention.

The main character in this book is Maine game warden Mike Bowditch. The story begins with a distress call about a woman who’s struck a deer on a cold March night, but when Mike arrives at the scene, the woman and the deer are nowhere to be found. After somewhat reluctantly handing the case over to a state trooper, the whereabouts of the young woman won’t leave Mike’s thoughts. For good reason. The twists and turns ultimately lead to the fate of the woman and also has similarities to a murder in the same area seven years prior. Many locals are screaming that the wrong man was convicted way-back-when and are worried that a killer is still on the loose. While trying to work with hostile law enforcement officials and juggle some major issues in his personal life, Mike is committed to getting to the truth in both cases.

One of the neat things about this book is that Doiron does a GREAT job of describing the beautiful state of Maine, in what he calls “mud season” — in other words, that period between winter and spring. While it is a gorgeous state, you can actually feel the cold and the chill in the air as he writes about battling the elements in The Pine Tree State.

Another thing that I really liked about this book is that I could identify with the characters. They weren’t superhero-esque; they had problems and flaws like we all do. I’m sold on Mike Bowditch and look forward to reading the next book!  Till then, happy reading my friends… 🙂

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The Zero Hour

This was a thriller by Joseph Finder about a planned terrorist attack on the city of Manhattan. Given its original 1996 copyright date, it was a little odd to read about an attempted fictional event in the city of New York, given the horrible day that we all witnessed in September of 2001.  Nonetheless, it was a great read and a reminder of all of the wonderful law enforcement people who place themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.

The main character in this book is FBI Special Agent Sarah Cahill, a brilliant counterterrorism expert and a divorced mother of an eight-year-old-boy.  When a digitally encrypted call is intercepted by the NSA’s spy satellites over Switzerland, Sarah’s expertise is called upon to foil an imminent attack on lower Manhattan.  Her team is in pursuit of an extremely dangerous man, known as the Prince of Darkness.  His escape from prison and subsequent backing by a multi-millionaire makes him a force to be reckoned with, and he leaves a trail of dead bodies in his quest to get on American soil.  While Sarah juggles a demanding work schedule with trying to be a good parent, she’s inadvertently duped by the terrorist mastermind, and the potential consequences will have your heart racing to the very end.

Finder has a wonderful way of describing Sarah as a “real” person despite her intelligence and high-profile position. He also does a great job explaining lots of “tricks” throughout the book—how to doctor a passport, how to retrieve an erased message from an answering machine, how certain bombs sense movement, how satellites intercepts work, things of that nature.  I doubt that I’ll necessarily need any of those tricks in my daily life, but they were interesting to read about.  So, if you’re searching for a book that will keep you reading well into the night, this will fit the bill.  Happy reading, see you next week!  🙂

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Cross Fire

My latest read was Cross Fire by James Patterson, and it was great!  Real shocker, coming from the man who’s a Guinness World Record holder for more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever.  His thrillers have sold over 240 million copies.  Ummmm, WOW.

In this story, Alex Cross finds himself reconnecting with an old nemesis, Kyle Craig, who Alex put in prison many books ago.  In this caper, Kyle has escaped prison and has one thing in mind—to take his vengeance on the entire Cross family.  The twist for the reader is that, through plastic surgery, Kyle takes on the identity of an undercover agent within the Bureau and actually works arm-in-arm with Alex in several parts of the book, with Alex none the wiser.  (Those sections truly make your skin tingle and your heart pitter patter just a little quicker than normal).  Combined with that storyline are two vigilante DC snipers who are out to rid the world of corrupt politicians, judges and the like, as well as a murderer who is leaving dead bodies carved with complex math equations in various parks around the city.  As you can imagine, Alex is a busy little bee throughout the twists and turns of the storylines.  And, oh yes, l shouldn’t forget to mention that he’s also getting married in this book.  When he finds the time… 

The chapters in this read are super-short, and Patterson does a wonderful job of keeping the pace at mach speed, which made it so hard to put down.  He owes me a few hours of sleep as a result.  It was one of those books that was great to finish but also disappointing because then it was over.  The End and all that.  The good news is that he has books coming out in both November AND December, so stay tuned.  I’ll be sure to get back to you with a sneak peek at those.  See you next week, happy reading!  🙂

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