A mystery with so many turns you feel like you’re in a maze, but there is a satisfactory end. Two bigger-than-life personalities matched perfectly. An unforgettable wedding that will have people talking for years. Not because of the Gaelic island setting or the $3,000 wedding cake or hell-raising pranks of the groomsmen, among other memorable sights and events. But because a murder happened during the wedding celebration. Who done it? You will eventually know, as each chapter alternates primarily among four key characters – the bride, the bridesmaid, the plus-one, the wedding planner, and the best man. A few interspersed chapters are told in the third person. The lively writing and well-developed characters make for a good read as well. Of all the weddings that have been going on this year, this is one not to miss. No RSVP needed.
I gave up my workout session to read the final chapters of this book and when I finished, I wanted more. Thankfully, this new book is the beginning of a new series, featuring Colter Shaw, a traveling survivalist whose job is to seek monetary rewards for, among other things, finding lost people. Based on his upbringing and his now-deceased parents’ rich assets, Shaw sounds like he could afford to choose which rewards to collect. The story starts with Shaw tracking a distraught father’s missing teen-aged daughter. The outcome leads to another missing person with the events mirroring a once-popular video game. True to Deaver’s style, this suspense story is one twist after another with subplots that are just as engaging as the main one. Additionally, the reader gets interesting insight about the gaming world and some survivalist know-how. Game on with this one!
Other books in the Colter Shaw series I’ve read and will update as I finish reading are listed below.
The Goodbye Man
The Final Twist
This is the second of a book series featuring Joe Ledger, a larger-than-life hero with amazing fighting skills. We are introduced to Ledger in Patient Zero, an action-packed thriller that hooked me to read more of the Ledger series. Although The Dragon Factory is only the second book I’ve read, I can see that the others will be just as fun because Ledger is a member of the “Department of Military Sciences,” a deep underground organization secretly sanctioned by the President of the United States. Ledger’s assignments basically result in saving us all from global destruction. What makes the series interesting are the kinds of evil created by misdirected geniuses. The Dragon Factory is about exotic transgenic monsters and cloning and the potential extinction of ethnic diversity.
I will update the Ledger book list below as I continue reading the series in the order written.
[Side note: My addiction to reading has intensified lately relative to writing and blogging. In time, I will get back to writing. . . I may sneak in a few posts here and there. . . but please keep checking in and reading prior content.]
The Dragon Factory
This is the second of a book series about an emotionally damaged savant, Dante Torre, who is unlike any other hero. The first book, Kill the Father, is when we are introduced to Dante, who as a child was abducted and spent much of his years growing up isolated in a silo. While there, he developed his skills and sharpened his senses, as means to survive and eventually escape. The second book has an antagonist whose years from birth to puberty resemble Dante’s early isolation. Unlike Dante’s, the antagonist’s fate takes an evil turn that results in multiple tragic events. Through Deputy Police Chief Colomba Caselli, a traumatized law enforcer who experienced her own share of violence earlier on, Dante finds himself once again helping solve a crime that begins with a train full of dead bodies. Set in Europe, the story is full of fascinating characters and twists that make you want to skip sleeping.
The list below is in the order I’ve read Dazieri’s books. Expect this to grow as I enjoy more of his work.
Kill the Father
Kill the Angel
The writer of this book has also written and directed two movies – Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99. His treatment of the book is not much different in how he evokes images of jarring violence and graphic gore. Here, such intensity is combined with snappy writing and colorful characters. The book tells a story about a disgraced detective, Jules Bettinger, who is transferred to the “armpit” of America. This is a place where crime is the mainstay; it’s safe to say the ratio of crime-fighters to criminals is comparable to one person’s chances of winning the lottery. Not wanting to see his family live in the same city where he works, Bettinger suffers daily through an 85-mile one-way commute from home to his “new” police headquarters. But his work is even worse. He soon finds himself in trying to solve a double homicide that causes a string of events of increasing violent consequences and shocking climax.
The story immediately sets up to what will lead to a murder and a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Toward the end, I didn’t want to put the book down because I had to know if the wrongly accused will be vindicated against the odds. This is a debut book by a lawyer who not only writes expertly on courtroom scenes, but in a very compelling way, too. The main storyline, intriguing subplots, and R-rated sex scenes all come together into a cohesive and smooth read. Weaved in are some interesting facts about pearls, a quirky scientific cellular material, and a way to cheat using technology. Although this is the writer’s first novel, he has published a short story in a literary magazine. What’s even more inspirational to me is that several years back, the author and I were in a writing group together, along with four or five other aspiring scribes. Today, three in our group have had at least one work published, so I am fortunate to have been in the company of talented writers.
Recommend the book to your local library. To read it immediately, go to Amazon.com:
Every week I go to the library to pick up movies or books I’ve reserved. I also do a quick browsing around to see if anything interesting might catch my attention, and this book sure did. I decided to start reading it as soon as I got home and I finished it close to four hours and 284 pages later. A pleasant surprise was finding that the different settings in the book included Budapest of all places, among other European countries I that I recently visited; it was interesting to recognize so many places. However, the story was equally captivating. It’s about a highly regarded forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Lily Dominick, whose life takes a twisted turn after seeing an unusual patient, a criminal who claims not to be human. Rather, he says he was artificially created by an ambitious, but misguided scientist.
The patient’s claim is not so much what makes Lily sees him as different from all the heinous criminals New York delivers to her office. Rather, it’s his claim of being at the scene when her mother was murdered. At only six years of age, Lily witnessed her mother’s violent demise. As their conversation continues, the details he provides, and his startling claim of being her father, starts the story spinning into a suspense full of uncertainty and supernatural events. The story also explains how the legends of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula came to be told.
Well-written and engrossing, the book makes me want to read more of what Andrew Pyper has written. This is a beginning of a new readingship. I am listing the books below as I finish reading them.
This book is the first of a series about an orphan who is raised and trained to be a lethal agent to handle covert missions for the U.S. government. After years of stealthily assassinating so-called dangerous people, our hero, Evan Smoak, starts to question if he’s really killing “the bad guys” and decides to leave the program. By doing so, he puts his handler, Jack Johns, into a precarious situation. An older man, turns out Johns is more than Smoak’s handler; he’s also the one who raised Smoak since childhood, growing fond of him along the way.
Smoak successfully escapes anyway and transforms himself into an undercover “fairy-tale godmother” by helping one desperate individual a year. Usually, the help involves ridding the bad forces that have made the individual’s life impossible. A bigger-than-life hero is what makes a thriller thrilling, and this story delivers such a character in spades. Prepare for all kinds of action and twists. The second book in the series is now available, The Nowhere Man, and I’m on it! (I just finished reading The Nowhere Man and it is even more action-packed than ever. Our hero finds himself close to being “no more man.”)
I must mention another book similar to this in many ways, and just as thrilling: Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri. For a full book review, read Bookidote. (This book is also the first of a new series.)
4/23/17: Subsequently, I’ve gone on to read more of Hurwitz’s books, as listed below.
Minutes to Burn
Don’t Look Back
The Nowhere Man (2nd of Orphan X series)
The Crime Writer
Trust No One
Don’t Look Back
Hell Bent (3rd of Orphan X series)
Out of the Dark (4th of Orphan X series)
Into the Fire (5th of Orphan X series)
Prodigal Son (6th of Orphan X series)
December is a month of multicultural holiday celebrations. If you’re considering exchanging gifts when celebrating holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Three Kings Day, then how about a book for that young, budding engineer?
Written by Matt MacGregor, a Dallas-based civil engineer and father of three, I Am a Sidewalk is about the lifespan of a neighborhood sidewalk winding its way through a quintessential American town. Over a period of years, from the initial pouring of cement until the very end, the sidewalk’s neighborhood undergoes gradual yet profound change.
On one level, children learn about the basics of road and sidewalk construction. At the same time, they learn that change is good and nothing in life stays the same.
An uplifting read for both kids and adults alike.
Illustrated by Don Huff
A quick horror read just in time for a Halloween scare. Because the book is based on the screenplay (by David Loucka) of a movie of the same title, the book’s words follow the film almost exactly. In the movie, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Elissa. She is the teenage daughter who, together with her mom, move to an affluent area in a house they can afford to rent only because of a murder that occurred next door four years earlier. Soon Elissa meets the not-so-dreamy boy next door, only to discover that the horror still lingers.