Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Death be not proud

A quick read concerning a body found in a Florida nature area.

Police ask the media to help because they aren't sure if it's homicide or a killing by a non-human, a Florida panther.

Emotions run high as sentiments differ TV reporter, Matt Barnes, who conducts his own investigation in this story.

He has a relationship with a girl nickanmed Cat. Is this a play on words with the story about the panther? Cat seems to manipulate Matt who shows a lack of being able to stand up to a number of people in the story-lowering my opinion of him as a strong character.

I found the story to be predictible. I would hope that in future work, the author would have more develped characters.

I do credit the author with presenting a story about an animal that is endangered.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"I want to walk away too. But I want you to say you're sorry." Lyrics

This is Australian author Michael Robotham's eighth novel and once again he shows his skills in creating suspense, building memorable characters and  writing a captivating story.

Two teenage girls go missing outside their homes in the outskirts of London.

Various theories arise but with no positive results until three years later when there is a double murder in the same house where one of the girls lived. This was during a blizzard and police couldn't react to the 911 call in time.

Soon after, the body of one of the girls is found.

Police ask clinical psychologist and Parkingson's disease sufferer Joe O'Loughlin's help in explaining the connection to the home and about what may have happened to the first teenager.

This is a very readable book where Joe peels down the layers of mystery and connection to the two murders  Since Joe has a fifteen-year-old daughter of his own, he adds an extra step in his vigilance in finding the missing child. He brings in his friend and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz to help the investigation and to provide some promised law enforcement money for his friend, as an incentive for Joe to take on the case.

I enjoyed the story and was totally surprised at an event late in the plot which was extremely well done. The author is quickly building up his reputation as one of the world's most acclaimed authors of thriller fiction.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too."

Douglas Brunt delivers an expose of the activities that were taking place at Bear Stearns prior to that firm being prominent in the mortgage collapse that caused bank failures.

Nick Farmer is a successful trader and as an income in the millions. We witness his lifestyle and those around him and his company refuses to accept the reality of bundled mortgages.

His work includes keeping the people he supervises happy and willing to work their fingers to the bone for Bear Stearns. Their lives are made up of their work and after duty celebrations that include alcohol, strip joints, cocaine and prostitutes. Eventually  this takes its toll on Nick's marriage. His wife wants the old Nick back, the Nick that wasn't corrupted by money and drugs. Eventually, Nick sees that he wants that too.

Fred Cook is a nerdy risk market analyst who predicts doom for Bear Stern's high mortgage backed securities  He is one of the few honest people in the story.

When Nick adds support to Fred's theories, no one listens.

The author has stated that the characters are a conglomeration of people he knew. His view of what was going on at his company paints a dismal picture of the live the employees experienced.

From the point of view of showing what was happening at Bear Stearns, this is a well done work and one with an important message.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings." Salvatore Dali

Maggie Mahoney is a partner at one of the top Wall Street firms.

She is an advocate for women's equality in her law firm but has senior partners blocking this from happening and acting as if any sexual activity is acceptable..

Maggie and her husband were on a skiing trip when her husband and another partner from the firm, died in an avalanche.

When she returns, one of the first people to seem to offer condolences is really making a sexually suggestive comment. She's still thinking about this when a senior partner asks her to look into he Gender Equity Committee and the treatment of women in the firm. What makes this seem less than sincere is that the committee is chaired by a man who is a noted womanizer.

Most businesses would show compassion when an employee's spouse died but life with this law firm isn't always fair and one of Maggie's husband's best clients takes their business to a rival firm without giving Maggie a chance to show them why it would be beneficial to work with her.

As Maggie spends more time with the Committee, she learns horrendous things that are happening to the women, some, beyond comprehension.

Maggie is the wrong person to make an enemy of and she documents the wrongs that are being done and approaches a condescending senior partner in a manner that exposes the firm for what it is.

The writing is well done without many additional flourishes and the plot moves along nicely. Maggie's actions at the concluding scene is something the reader will feel satisfied about.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"From this valley they say you are going...just remember the Red River Valley


R. L. Stine is a household name to teen horror genre and his "Fear Street" is the best selling horror series of all time.

With "Red Rain," he moves into the adult horror genre and continues to give his readers edge of seat suspense.

Travel writer Lea Sutter is at a small island off South Carolina, Cape Le Chat Noir. Her husband, Mark, is at a book signing on Long Island.

Lea is a blogger and through her postings, the reader views her thoughts. "Here I am on the island everyone calls mysterious and dangerous."

Lea meets an island resident named Marguerite who reveals that in 1935, before hurricane's were given names, there was a tremendous storm that left many dead on the island. However, it was only later that the nightmare took place.

The island returned to normal soon after the storm because the "old dead-those of centuries past-returned to help build the island again." These undead had no eyes, rotting flesh, bones that were yellow and broken, floated up from rain filled graves and went to work.

Just as shocking, the dead enjoyed the sunlight and it made them look almost normal. They blended in and remained roaming the island.

Lea is flabbergasted by this information and shocked further to learn that a new hurricane, Ernesto, is heading to the island. The storm is truly terrible and when it ends, she meets two twelve-year-old twin boys, who seemed to have survived the storm but tell her that their parents did not. In a compassionate move, she brings the boys back to Long Island, processing adoption papers as she goes.

This is a well written, nail biting horror novel with characters who are powerful, scary and frightening because we aren't sure who is undead.

The story is a quick and enjoyable read. The author provides a surprise ending that will make the reader recall such classics of horror as "Rosemary's Baby" and some of the Stephen King horror stories.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Most people who have achieved success have found themselves, at times, on the brink of failure.

The book started off with a bang. A foiled robbery attempt at the Library of Congress where robbers attempted to steal a document where our Founding Fathers foresaw the economic collapse of the country.

The scene shifts to Mexico where a number of people are meeting to discuss Japan's suit against the United States to have the United States redeem the bonds Japan has purchased from the United States. The payment must be in gold.

There is conflict with the members and we notice that outside the  area of the meeting, Texas Ranger Danny Cavanaugh is in Mexico contemplating suicide after being wrongfully accused of the murder of an FBI agent who Danny knew was dirty.

Danny is thinking of his own troubles when he sees Sydney Dumas trying to escape from a gunman. Danny helps her and learns of the economic plot against the USA.

Are these events connected? There is a lot going on and many characters seem to change their loyalty either to those wanting to benefit from the overthrow or to the United States.

The middle of the book is a cat and mouse chase with Danny and Sydney the targets, hunted by the evil forces who are members of The Group.

Things get more complicated when officials in Washington D.C. find a number of dirty bombs and learn what country was responsible for those bombs.

It is a highly puzzling plot where it is easy to get lost in the various ins and outs of the story.  I enjoyed the story but wasn't convinced of the likelihood of it being true or the coincidences that I found in the story.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Did I chase the glitz and glamour money fame and power?" Quote

Written by one of the masters of mystery literature, Elmore Leonard, "Glitz" tells the story of a Miami Beach cop, trying to find a killer in Atlantic City.

As the action begins, a gunman attempts to rob a man carrying groceries to his home. The thief didn't realize he was dealing with a cop and in the shootout that followed, the cop was injured and the robber died from his injuries.

The injured Miami Beach police officer goes to San Juan, Puerto Rico to recuperate  He spends much of his time with a lovely  but innocent prostitute named Iris. Iris has aspirations of moving to Atlantic City to be a hostess in a casino.

While the police officer is recuperating  another man arrives, hires a taxi and begins following him. He poses as a tourist and takes many photos. The cab driver thinks the photos are of the prostitute and when he wants to help the man, the killer realizes he's seen too much.

Teddy Mazyk is a deranged killer, recently released from jail and intent on gaining revenge on the cop, who was the man who caught him raping a senior citizen and caused his jail time.

We are able to follow the story as if it was unravelling right in front of us. The author's use of dialogue and condensed language makes it seem like we are in the midst of the action.

This is a carefully crafted novel that will entertain the reader right from the first page.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Our founders got it right in the Declaration of Independence, that our rights come from nature...and God.

James Wesley Rawles is a talented author and survivalist with a story to tell.
He believes that the world is heading for a financial disaster that will have cataclysmic results.

The plot incorporates the elements of the disaster. He describes the situation in Chicago, Washington D.C. and other cities as the price of oil becomes so high that it is unaffordable  The U.S. dollar falters and electricity goes off the grid, permitting gangs and outlaws to band together and law, as we know it, disappears.

Groups of people have prepared by having disaster action plan get together at various places to defend their freedom. Friends and family become two of the most important criteria. Other things that these people all seem to have in common are a faith in a higher being, a belief in freedom and a desire to do what is necessary to bring law and order back to where our founding fathers wanted.

The plot is complicated but well thought out and authentic. The author also provides hints of survivalist ideas and needs for people to consider.

The author has the unique ability to take characters from around the United States and weave them together into a story that will entertain the reader.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Killing me softly with each word." Song Lyrics

Once again, John Connolly gives his readers a unique and frightening story.

A construction crew unearths an unmarked cemetery in the upper Regions of Maine.

In that area, there had been a sheltered religious community a number of years ago. When the members weren't heard from for years, officials assumed that the community had moved to a different location.

PI Charlie Parker is hired to look into the death of a college student who was doing her thesis on religious groups in the area in northern Maine. The Aroostook Baptists history fascinated her. Claire had been to the offices of a religious community called the Fellowship. Shortly thereafter, the girl, Grace Peltier was found dead in her car, believed to be a suicide.

Charlie has had personal tragedies and hasn't taken cases like this since the loss of his wife and child to a deranged murderer in New York but is persuaded to do so.

The characters who he comes in contact with would make Bella Lugosi look like a librarian.  The story moves along nicely and we learn of the philosophy of the original Aroostook Baptists and their unrelenting leader, Rev. Faulkner.

The story is certainly original and Parker is a character who the reader can appreciate for his courage, bravery and as one friend says, he represents the dead as well as the living.

This is a captivating story that will hold the readers attention and be stored in their memories on those dark and stormy nights...perfect for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The words pierced his heart


This story is a follow up to the gripping masterpiece, "Burned" which featured investigative crime reporter Henning Jull who is still dealing with the death of his son and his desire to find his son's killer.

In  modern day Norway, Jull gets a call from a man in jail. The caller, Tore Pulli, tells him that he (Pulli) was framed and if Henning can get him released from prison, he'll tell Jull what he knows about the fire that killed his son.

As we follow the story, a side story is of a TV cameraman being manipulated by someone. The man's girlfriend tells him that she was interviewed by someone (a supposed reporter) who asked, how far she would go to protect her family.

As Pulli is being interviewed by TV concerning his appeal, he dies but with his death Jull continues to search into the facts of his case and speculate about what Pulli may have known about the arson fire in Jull's apartment.

The intense story will have the reader postpone whatever they are doing as try to find how the story concludes. With this centering on an investigative reporter in Norway, I saw similarities to Steig Larsson's novels and the terrific suspense in them.

There is a cat and mouse chase and another death results but Jull keeps on, even though his life becomes at risk.

The characters were excellently drawn and very realistic and the plot was absorbing. The author has a knack for dialogue and the conclusion was excellent.

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