Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Where have all the flowers gone?" Song lyrics

This powerful story begins with Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy, in their days as newlyweds in Brooklyn, New York.

They seem relatively happy and are characters that the reader can relate to. Then their jobs are lost due to the economic downturn and magazines eliminating jobs.

Nick gets a message from his sister, Margo, who is at their hometown in Missouri where she is caring for their parents whose health is deteriorating.

To help his sister and have something positive to do, Nick moves back to Missouri, against Amy's wishes.

He opens a bar and is well respected in his hometown. Quietly, Amy increases her resentment that she is being taken for granted and that she was forced to move away from the opportunities in New York.

On their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears.

In alternating chapters we read of Amy's diary and see the relationship falling apart. then we read of Amy's being tired of being the "Amazing Amy," to a woman who catches her husband doing something and wants revenge.

In the other chapters we see what Nick is going through after Amy's disappearance and his reaction as he begins to piece together what is really happening.

Both parties seem to be responsible for what goes on and the author does an excellent job of describing the marriage and the characters.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"I need you darling, come and go with me." Song lyrics

Lisa Scottoline provides a view of the depth of a mother and step-mother's love and the extent that a mother might go to in order to protect her family.

Jill's former stepdaughter, Abby appears at Jill's home in a distraught manner and announces that her father, Jill's former husband, William, has been murdered.

Jill is a pediatrician and learns that William died four days ago from a heart attack brought on by mixing perscription drugs and alcohol. Abby thinks he was murdered and since Jill is a doctor, she could check into William's death.

Jill is moved by Abby's sadness. When she and Megan, Jill's and William's daughter attempt to attend a memorial for William, his other daughter, Victoria, demands that she leave and accuses Jill of abandoning them.

Megan is a young teenager and asks her mother for an explination. Jill explains that when Jill and William were wed, he stole from her, even took perscription pads which could have ruined her as a doctor.

Reluctantly, Jill does investigate the facts surrounding William's death and comes to certain conclusions while Abby acts like a pampered, selfish, dislikable brat. Jill excuses her behavior and overlooks everything in her love for her.

Things are going in what seems to be a predictable manner when Lisa Scottoline demonstrates her story telling skills with a wonderful change of direction. The concluding part of the novel will make the reader sit up in their seat and cheer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"That'll be the day." Song lyrics

"Redemption Day" Steve O'Brien A novel can present a puzzle but be written in an intelligent manner which compels the reader's attention immediately. Steve O'Brien's "Redemption Day," fits this category. Supreme Court Justice Silvio Caprelli is kidnapped by a group of right wing militarists called Posse Comitatus. This group is intent on creating a massive incident that will lead to reshaping the United States.

Nick James had been a terrorism analysist for the Department of Homeland Security. Just prior to the kidnapping, Nick is fired.

Nick is called by a co-worker that a sheriff from West Virginia remembered him from a seminar and wanted to meet. They agree to meet at Nick's home where the sheriff had information to share. However, Nick arrives to find the sheriff shot dead in front of Nick's home with Nick's weapon, making him the lead suspect. He feels that he has a better chance to prove his innocence if he investigates things himself so goes into hiding.

Tension mounts as the story moves back and forth from the members of this group to Nick and the officials trying to stop them. As Nick follows a lead into West Virginia the kidnappers become alerted about him. This has Nick being sought by the officials and kidnappers. It's always a noble thought to see what one man can do when faced with tremendous odds.

The action is well described and as we read of the terrorists closing in on their success, the author provides scenes with excellent cinimatic effects that are powerful enough to have us put the novel aside momentarily, just to contemplate.

Overall a wonderful novel with excellent, well developed characters and a compelling plot. Giveaway rules:

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Giveaway ends May 5th.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains to the sky. Behind and before me is God and I have no fear." Helen Keller

In this dark novel, a drug trial for fear response seemed to have failed ten years ago with the death of one of the participants.

Even though the other participants of the trial have had their lives ruined, a pharmaceutical company and a U.S. senator have become interested. This adds to the craziness of mad scientist's who is running the trial.

The story is complicated and packed with characters who make an appearance with no explanation of who they are.

Since paranoia and fear are at the base of Dr. Sebastian Biggs's experiment, it is little wonder that a number of characters use aliases which add to the story's complexity.

As a whole, the characters were unlikable and their motivations not sufficiently justified. It was as if reading a novel where most of the characters are insane.

Certainly a unique story and it did pick up midway through the book but not sufficiently to justify the jumble of the first half of the book.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"He will raise you up on eagles wings." Song lyrics

Margaret Coel visits C.J. Box's Wyoming area to tell this story.

At the Wyoming Wind River Reservation, Araphos meet for their powwow when their tribal chirman, Henry Castle, is discovered, murdered.

Fr. John O'Mally, SJ meets with his assistant who wonders if the murder had to do with the oil on the reservation. O'Mally also understands that there was an argument about buying back the Cooley ranch where ther might be additional oil that could help the financial plight of the Indians.

Fr. O'Mally is a historian and is asked to look into the historical documents of the Araphos and this adds insight into the tribal members. The police seem to think that the murder could have been personal but O'Mally comes upon evidence that it might have more to do with Indian history.

There is also a Romeo and Juliet atmosphere, tenderly described as we learn of a youthful romance between Henry and a wealthy white rancher's deaughter, this is carried on to today where Henry's nephew and the daughter of Henry's old girlfriend have developed a romantic relationship.

The story mixes drama, history, and momance mixed with the pathos of life on the reservation. Those interested in American Indian history and Tony Hillerman fans will enjoy the story.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"There's a kind of hush, all over the world." Song lyrics

In western North Carolina sits Marshall, a quiet, protective mountain town, where the inhabitants are skeptical of outside interference.

Three people narrate the story. The first is Sister Adelaide, an elderly church member who objects to the handling of snakes and poisonous drinks to prove a member's faith.

Jess Hall is the second narrator. He's an innocent nine-year-old who is curious about what goes on behind the covered windows of the church. His brother, Christopher, known as Stump, is age thirteen. Stump doesn't talk and Jess attempts to look out for him.

The final narrator is the sheriff. He's a good man named Clem Barefield. When he gets word that a child has been killed at the church, his feelings become known. Like Sister Adelaide, he doesn't accept some of the deadly practices of the church and thinks that church officials should be held accountable for what goes on there.

Clem and is considered an outsider to the local people. He investigates Carson Chambliss, the church pastor. He discovers that Carson had been in prison for drugs and was present when a teenage girl died. Chambliss claims that he's found God and has such power over his congregation that Clem wonders if he will get anyone to give evidence against them.

There is a particularly powerful scene just after a child's death when church members try to force themselves into the man's home, in order to speak to the child's mother. The father blocks their way and a physical confrontation results. It reminded me of a scene in "The Grapes of Wrath," where officials try to force their way into a social event in order to stir up trouble but are turned away.

The writing is superb and this story will pull at the reader's heart and leave them thinking about the events in the novel for a long time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." Martin Luther King, Jr.


C.J. Box has been entertaining his fans with the activities of Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett with twelve previous novels.

In the region of the Bighorn Mountains, a friend of Nate Romanowski uses his last words to say, "the five, they've deployed." Nate was sorry for his friend's death but knew they'd be coming for him.

Soon afterward, three local men make an unsuccessful attempt on Nate's life. When the body of these three men are found, it stirs a local uproar.

Nate had been in a specialized military unit and done some things that he'd rather forget. Unfortunately, the leader of this group wanted to make sure that Nate didn't disclose what he knew.

It is interesting to follow Nate as he travels through the picturesque mountain ranges of Wyoming and surrounding areas. It makes the reader consider if this is one of the few places in America that stands as it was when our forefathers were arriving in America.

Nate meets a few of his select friends but his enemies seem to know of his movements.

His friend, Joe Pike, a game warden in Wyoming, is given a recruit to train and is dealing with his daughter, Sheriden's life as she enters college.

Nate and Joe's paths connect and lead the reader through an adventurous mystery. In addition, we are given some important lessons of life, including the appreciation of loyalty and friendship. The opposite of friendship, betrayal, is also dealt with.

There were a few loose ends left open for future stories in the series and although some of the action was predictable, this was an interesting and enjoyable read.


This is for an advanced review copy

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5. Giveaway ends March 20th.

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