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Category Archives: mystery

Zoo by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (audio)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478906170/?tag=rjsviews-20

Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781478906179
  • ISBN-10: 1478906170
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: May 2015

the main character still trying to distance himself from his fathers’ legacy as a crackpot, is giving safari tours

Zoo is a half-baked, science-fiction suspense-thriller, that with some comedy relief and backwards humor could’ve been a very good “spoof,” I really wanted to like this book, but the one dimensional characters were impossible to care about. The artificial pacing and choppy dialogue made it difficult to stay immersed in the story. I have been a James Patterson fan since the  irst Alex Cross novel. Over the years there have been some books that weren’t as good as others, but in recent years there seems to be more bad than good. Only the name on the cover is familiar, – Gone is the masterful storytellers’ voice I had enjoyed so very much.This is especially true with Zoo. I understand this is a collaboration, that there will be a lot of Michael Ledwidge’s influence, however, in previous works I could at least recognize Patterson’s input. Zoo is not absolutely terrible, it’s ok. But with so many number one best sellers to his name, I expect more than okay.

Happy Reading,

RJ

http://www.facebook.com/rjsviews

Also available in Hardcover


    What’s on  RJ’s Wish List?

New Release from Best Selling Author Joseph Finder –
The Fixer


//

 

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The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari   Audio Book Review

Richard Montanari’s Website

doll maker

Wow, I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by Richard Montanari, but it certainly won’t be the last, I have already reserved Rosary Girls at my local library. Honestly, I really missed the boat with this author – but now that I have secured a quiet listening corner, I’m in for the long ride.

Although this is the eighth book in the series, it works as a standalone. There’s enough information about the characters to carry the reader through. And these are well drawn, three dimensional, and easily relateable. Philadelphia Homicide Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are interesting, work well as a team, and have a palpable respect for one another. Byrne is more experienced, kind hearted and determined. While Balzano is opinionated and shrewd, with an equally warm heart.  I particularly liked the absence of romantic entanglement.

Richard Montanari weaves multiple angles together into a disturbing tapestry of missing children, murdered children extravagantly posed on painted surfaces, and a convicted child killer weeks away from her final walk. Are they connected? Time is running out for Balzano and Byrne to find out. Throughout the reader discovers information only moments before the detectives. Montanari gives the reader credit and doesn’t spell everything out letter for letter. The Doll Maker is more about motives and concepts, than actual brutality and violence. The latter being the tools used to create his ‘art.’ The creepy tea dance invitations he leaves at each scene add yet another layer to an already colorful piece.

This is disturbing on so many levels – there were entire chapters that gave me goose-bumps (and I don’t frighten easy). Montanari has a gift – the ability to write realistically, believable stories that are the stuff nightmares are made of, but sadly could be the lead story on the news tonight. The Doll Maker is an outstanding book. Period. No matter what opinion you read, good or bad..if you enjoy suspense/thrillers – read this one for yourself.

*DO NOT form your opinion based on the prologue. Yes it is graphic, gruesome and extremely disturbing, but this does not fairly represent the rest of the story.

Happy Reading!

RJ

Goodreads

Hachette Audio

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The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
The Burning Room audio excerpt

audio excerpt

 The Burning Room
author: Michael Connelly
narrator: Titus Welliver

Hachette Audio Books

 

 

www.michaelconnelly.com

 

It’s hard to believe one of crime fictions most popular detectives is nearing retirement. Most 20 year veterans of the LAPD are ready to take it easy, maybe ride a desk – Not Harry Bosch. The department just assigned him a new partner, 28 year old Lucia Soto. She seems eager to learn and while Bosch accepts the role of mentor his sixth sense keeps nudging him…that something isn’t quite right. But Bosch has to put his uneasiness aside when they are handed the politically charged murder case of Orlando Merced. Shot, in a outdoor plaza nearly a decade earlier, Merced finally succumbed to his injuries. Although the shooter had never been identified, it was thought to be a gang bullet gone “astray.” But when the coroner removes the crucial piece of evidence the gang shooting or random violence theory is crushed.

While all eyes were supposed to be focused on the Merced case, Bosh discovers Soto investigating an unsolved arson/murder case. As a child, she survived the fire that claimed the lives of nine children and one woman, in an unlicensed, dingy, basement daycare. Being a bit of a softie, but more importantly being a seeker of justice, Bosh makes room on his crowded plate for this case. But as the two begin to dig into both cases, they become convinced that amidst an ever widening web of guns, fire, murder and politics is a common thread. We follow the rookie and the veteran as they pull the individual pieces together, providing a measure of justice for the victims and a replacement for Harry.

The Burning Room isn’t a bad book, but it certainly isn’t the action packed novel Connelly fans are accustomed too. I kept hoping the next chapter would change the tone and feel of the story, but sadly it seems Harry Bosch is tired, ready to take his gold watch and close the detective chapter of his life story.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Narration by Titus Welliver 🙂

Titus Welliver’s vocal talents are shining bright in The Burning Room. He brings each character to life by individualizing them with an array  of accents, pitch inflections, tempo and tone. With Bosch’s retirement looming, there’s almost a somber tone throughout and Welliver does an excellent job of making the reader “feel” it.

The Burning Room

 

  • Series: Harry Bosch (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455524190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455524198


Harry Bosch Series:

The Black Echo (1992)
The Black Ice (1993)
The Concrete Blonde (1994)
The Last Coyote (1995)
Trunk Music (1997)
Angels Flight (1999)
A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
City Of Bones (2002)
Lost Light (2003)
The Narrows (2004)
The Closers (2005)
Echo Park (2006)
The Overlook (2007)
The Brass Verdict (2008)
Nine Dragons (2009)
The Reversal (2010)
The Fifth Witness (2011) (one page brief appearance)
The Drop (2011)
The Black Box (2012)
The Gods of Guilt (2013) (one page brief appearance)
The Burning Room (2014)
The Crossing (November 2015)

 

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For the Dead by Timothy Hallinan

Poke Rafferty series by Timothy Hallinan

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616951146
  • ISBN-10: 1616951141
  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 347

Series: Poke Rafferty Thrillers

 

Comfy Corner Review by RJ

 

Heat up your cold winter evenings with this red hot thriller. IF you are familiar with and a fan of this series…you are in for an early Christmas treat – if you’ve never read a Poke Rafferty novel, you’ll be hooked after reading “For The Dead.”

The first novel, A Nail Through the Heart, made me an instant fan of this series. Timothy Hallinan is one   of the best, most creative writers of our generation. The lead character, Poke Rafferty rates right up there with other beloved protagonists (Alex Cross, Detective Pendergast, Jack Reacher, and Harry Bosch).  A travel writer, living in Bangkok he’s put together a happy family over the past six novels.  He married Rose, a beautiful former patpong dancer,  who now runs her own cleaning business, helping other women, like herself, escape the sex trade industry. Together they adopted Miaow, a street kid, much older than her tender age of thirteen. His family is the axis upon which Poke Rafferty’s world turns –and it gets turned upside down in this book.

Teenagers are moody, make poor choices and keep secrets – and Miaow is no exception.  She helps her boyfriend, Andrew, get a new phone on the sly and discovers photographs of two murdered police officers stored in the memory. Now, someone wants the pictures, phone and anyone who knows about it erased…permanently. What follows is an emotional roller coaster for readers – happy, sad, angry, shocked, frightened…there’s nothing missing here. Timothy Hallinan lives part of the year in Southeast Asia – he has a genuine love of the culture and for the people of Bangkok. He takes you behind the glossy brochure covers, revealing a nation struggling to find its way on the worlds stage. For centuries rural farming was the economic backbone of Thailand. But today, kids are kidnapped, sent by desperate families or simply run away, only to find themselves trapped in the vicious circle of the sex trade industry. Hallinan weaves  conspiracies, corruption and murders with a devoted, loving man determined to save his beloved Miaow, his wife and their unborn baby,

If you enjoy a truly good book, with plenty of spills and thrills, twists and turns – but, is believable, then For the Dead is definitely for you! 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Overview

After seven years in Bangkok, American travel writer Poke Rafferty finally feels settled: his family is about to grow larger, and his adopted Thai daughter, Miaow, seems to have found her place at junior high school at last. All that is endangered when Miaow helps her boyfriend buy a stolen iPhone that contains photographs of two murdered police officers. As Miaow’s carefully constructed personal life falls apart, Rafferty discovers that the murders are part of a conspiracy that reaches the top rungs of Bangkok law enforcement and beyond. Miaow’s discovery threatens the entire family, and in order to survive, they may ultimately have to depend on someone who has betrayed them in the past.

 

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The Competition by Marcia Clark

 

Author: Marcia Clark
Narrator: January LaVoy

ISBN-13: 9781478927228
ISBN-10: 1478927224
Publisher: Mulholland Books

audiohachette.jpg    

 

Make A Place for Marcia Clark on the Best Seller shelf…

Open to a San Fernando Valley, California high school where there’s been yet another school shooting. Special Prosecutor Rachel Knight and LAPD Detective Bailey Keller enter a horrific crime scene, knowing one thing … the heartbroken parents expect answers…and they deserved answers. But with each student interview the picture grows blurrier not clearer. The clues simply didn’t add up to the scene set before them. Survivors describe a Columbine copycat crime… two masked killers interrupted the pep rally and began shooting. Pandemonium erupted, terrified kids scattered, literally running for their lives, as the killers made their way out of the gymnasium, into the hallways, methodically murdering their fellow classmates. The gunfire ended in the library, with two final blasts, as the merciless killers apparently died from self inflicted gunshot wounds. However, when two masks, believed to be those worn by the shooters are discovered in the dumpster this case deviates from its predecessor.

From this point forward hang on to your nightcap, its’ gonna be a long night. Wow, what an incredible reading experience…Clark covered very sensitive and controversial subject matter respectfully, without ever holding back the hard truths that those investigating these crimes must deal with. It’s a chance to look behind the curtain and see the inner workings of these difficult cases.  Especially thought provoking was the dialogue with the forensic experts regarding the personality of a psychopathic killer. There are so many layers within The Competition  it could’ve easily gone awry. However, Clark weaves the various elements together and Clark has woven them together brilliantly. The plot driven style can be tedious and boring, which Clark danced on the edge of in her previous books. However, not this time..the extensive interviews are interesting and insightful, serving not only to move the story forward but to develop the characters as well. Bottom line, this is a good book!

Happy Reading!

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The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING EWAN McGREGOR & PIERCE BROSNAN

Ghost Writer by Robert HarrisThe Ghost Writer

by Robert Harris

read by Roger Rees
Audio 5CD’s

ISBN: 0743583043
ISBN: 978-0743583043

Simon & Schuster Audio

Visit author, Robert Harris



Click here to listen to an audio clip of The Ghost WriterCLICK HERE to Listen to
an audio clip of The Ghost Writer

Simon & Schuster Audio



Robert Harris’ latest novel, The Ghost Writer sounds like an insider’s account, with all the sordid, juicy stuff we all want to know but will not admit we want to know. Mixing some recent history with fictional characters, in a real world, easily recognizable setting and the result is an entertaining listening experience!

The retired, disgraced British Prime Minister tapped his trusted aide, Mike McAra to help him write his memoir. After the mysterious, untimely death of McAra, a new ghostwriter is hired to iron out the wrinkles, add a little more detail and put the finishing touches on. The ghost joins Lang and his entourage, which consisted of a small security detail, several secretaries, his assistant and many speculated mistress, and his wife, Ruth, on Martha’s Vineyard, where they have rented a mansion. Adam Lang has created this cocoon, surrounding himself with those who are necessary or wanted, eliminating everyone else, including the citizens who turned on him.

Adam Lang’s smooth, charismatic demeanor catapulted him to the top of the political ticket, where he enjoyed high approval ratings. Then the world changed, as the war on terrorism branched off in an unpopular direction, taking with it Lang’s political popularity and casting a long, dark cloud over his legacy. Already being tried in the court of public opinion, the people unabashedly blame Lang for their suffering, as the UK has been the repeated target of terror attacks. And then it goes from bad to worse…Lang may be asked to stand before the International Criminal Court and answer to the charge of war crimes.

Robert Harris is as light with his pen as Fred Astaire was on his feet! Giving us a view of the inner sanctum is like pulling the curtain aside, revealing to the world there is no wizard…when all is said and done we are all human. And that’s what is at the heart of this story…people…living, breathing and flawed.

Narrator Roger Rees brings the characters to life, painting each with stunning audio detail, making them memorable and believable. The audio will keep you riveted,  twisting your thoughts and emotions in a new direction with every chapter. You will laugh out loud,  nod your head in agreement and shake your head in dismay, often all three within moments of each other. Even if you have read the book, the audio offers you a whole new experience!

Happy Reading,

RJ

Love2Listen Accustomed to aging rock-stars, the ghost is out of his element in the political arena, however, he will soon discover the two have more in common than he ever imagined! Ugliness and secrets abide here too…the difference…politicians “bury their stories.”



Flippin' Pages

Author, Robert Harris allows us a bit of insight into his thoughts on the difference between good and bad books –

And what they have in common, these bad books, be they novels or memoirs, is this: they don’t ring true. I’m not saying that a good book is true necessarily, just that it feels true for the time you’re reading it.

– and he couldn’t be more right! The Ghost Writer definitely rings true, the characters are believable, displaying the kind of behavior we have come to expect from politicians. Of course, the actions aren’t always good and more often than not it is the mistakes, mess ups and out right corruption that catapult their memoirs to the top of the charts.

Additional covers:

The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris
Also by author Robert Harris, Conspirata –

Conspirata by Robert Harris (SS)National Bestseller

Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Description

On the eve of Marcus Cicero’s inauguration as consul of Rome, the grisly death of a boy sends ripples of fear through a city already wracked by civil unrest, crime, and debauchery of every kind. For Cicero, the ill forebodings of this hideous murder only increase his frustrations and the dangers he already faces as Rome’s leader: elected by the people but despised by the heads of the two rival camps, the patricians and populists.

Caught in a political shell game that leaves him forever putting out fires only to have them ignite elsewhere, Cicero plays both for the future of the republic and his very life. There is a plot to assassinate Cicero, abetted by a rising young star of the Roman senate named Gaius Julius Caesar — and it will take all the embattled consul’s wit, strength, and force of will to stop it and keep Rome from becoming a dictatorship.

Robert Harris once again weaves a compelling and historically accurate tale of intrigue told in the wise and compassionate voice of Cicero’s slave and private secretary, Tiro. In the manner of I, Claudius, Harris vividly evokes ancient Rome and its politics for today’s listeners, documenting a world not unlike our own — where the impulse toward dominance competes with the risk of overreach, where high-minded ideals can be a liability, and where someone is always waiting in the wings for a chance to set the world on fire.



Also from Simon & Schuster

Available June 1, 2010

The Starlet by Mary McNamara

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver *A Lincoln Rhyme Novel*

Simon &  Schuster Audio

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The Bone Chamber by Robin Burcell

 The Bone Chamber by Robin Burcell

  The Bone Chamber

  Robin Burcell

ISBN: 0061122297
ISBN: 9780061122293
Fiction/Pp400
Paperback

HarperCollins

 Visit Author’s Website

 

Calling all conspiracy, thriller, Da-Vinci Code readers…. Robin Burcell’s The Bone Chamber will keep you intrigued, guessing and reading way past bedtime!

Sydney Fitzpatrick is called to Quantico to put her special skills as an FBI Forensic Artist to work, recreating the face of murder victim. However, just as quickly as she had been summoned, she is dismissed. But Fitzpatrick doesn’t get dismissed quite so easily – the young woman she helped to identify was the daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The mystery is further compounded by the death of a mutual friend and colleague, in a supposed hit and run. Following agent Zach Griffin to Rome, Fitzpatrick finds herself a player in a very real game of life and death, dating back to the dawn of civilization and encompassing many of todays most hotly debated conspiracy theories.

The links to historical places, people and conspiracies are many, and taking apart the layers one by one, reveals new dimensions and takes the reader in unexpected, thrilling directions!

Robin Burcell’s The Bone Chamber is an exciting read that I found difficult to put down. (Even with heavy eyes and sleep beckoning me… I had to read just one more chapter…) Which of course, lead to just one more!

The author’s 20 year background in forensics and law enforcement adds a sense of realism that simply cannot be faked. Mixing arms dealers, Freemasonry, Templar Knights, terrorism and ancient plagues dating to the days of Moses is a tall order…and Burcell pulls it all together – the result…a highly entertaining read that will take you away from whatever is bothering you and set you in the heart of a mind bending race through some fascinating settings. Whether in the catacombs beneath Rome or the streets of Washington, you will almost swear you know this place – the detail is so spot on!

Grab a copy and quiet corner -  and Enjoy!

Happy Reading!
RJ

Product Description

Mysteriously summoned to Quantico to help re-create the face of a murdered, mutilated young woman, FBI forensic artist Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick knows immediately this is no ordinary crime. The hit-and-run death of the forensic anthropologist assisting her—a close friend—and Sydney’s abrupt dismissal from the case by covert government investigators only strengthen her need for answers. Now her hunt for a killer is carrying her from Washington to Rome to the hidden chamber of a legendary tomb—on the trail of a fabled treasure of the Knights Templar . . . and a curse.

For buried deep in the mysteries of the Freemasons and the Vatican’s Holy See is a secret that could rock the world. Suddenly an ancient map is pointing Sydney toward something the Templars wished to hide away forever—something that could unleash an unstoppable tide of blood and devastation.

 
This is Robin Burcell’s second novel to feature Forensic Artist Sydney Fitzpatrick

 

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Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Cemetery dance by Preston & Child 1600242650

Cemetery Dance
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

ISBN 10: 1600242650
ISBN 13: 9781600242656
Grand Central Publishing

Unabridged Audio, 12CDs, 13.5hr
Read by Rene Auberjonois’

www.prestonchild.com

Hachette Audio 

Cemetery Dance 

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have long been known for their ability to stand out amid a very crowded genre – and they certainly carved a niche’ with Cemetery Dance. Agent Pendergast has worked his share of interesting cases and had more than his fair share of close calls, but this time he has to risk much more than his physical safety…in Cemetery Dance, Pendergast dances with the devil, stepping in between the shadows on a journey that will take him places even he never imagined. 
 
The narrative opens on the remnants of a wedding anniversary celebration interrupted by a knife wielding assailant, that leaves New York Times reporter William Smithback Jr dead and his wife, Nora Kelly (Museum of Natural History anthropologist) clinging to life. There seems to be no question as to the identity of the assailant – several neighbors within the Upper West side apartment complex readily identified the attacker as one of their own, a neighbor, Collin Fearing. But that is impossible…Collin Fearing had been dead and buried for nearly two weeks.  Thus setting the stage for an intriguing tale that will take our team of detectives into the lair of a modern day cult in the heart of Manhattan.

Vodou rituals, mysticism, sorcery, within this realm the Obeah is the most dreaded and the most feared of all practitioners. The Obeah or Obeahman is believed to have virtually limitless powers, including the ability to resurrect the dead, which seems to be what someone wants the residents of New York to believe. Digging into this case, Pendergast will find some unusual characters hiding sinister motivations beneath the cloaks of the cult.

With several well known and beloved characters reprising their roles in Cemetery Dance fans are in for a real treat – however, as with their other novels, this one stands alone. So, there’s no reason to hold back – if you have never read a Preston/Child novel before, you can pick this one up and dive right in. Their writing is so spot on, detailed and character driven there’s nothing missing accept you! And with Rene Auberjonois’ providing the narration even those who have read the print version will be intrigued by his incredible presentation. His portrayal of Agent Pendergast breathes life into the fictional character, pulling him off the pages of the book and presenting him in living color. I was amazed by the depth and range Auberjonois employed throughout, going so far as to incorporate gutteral, zombie noises into the narrative. Which I must admit gave me a shudder and added a bit of “oh my” to the vibe. The audio version of Cemetery Dance (from Hachette Book Group) is exceptional and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting novel that doesn’t fit into any of the pre-determined, cookie-cutter classifications. Preston and Child do an extraordinary job delivering highly unusual material in an intelligent manner that enlightens the reader and engages your senses on a variety of levels. The information revealed in the novel was so provocative, it peeked my curiosity, prompting me to dig deeper into the topics. This is entertainment at its finest, from two of today’s most popular authors. Knowing this and accepting the story for what it was intended allows you to sit back, relax and thoroughly enjoy this unique work.

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

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Alex Cross’s TRIAL by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo

This title is on RJ's "Top Pick List"   

Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson & Richard DillaloAlex Cross’s Trial
James Patterson & Richard Dillalo
ISBN: 1600248535
ISBN: 978-1600248535

8CD’s, Unabridged
Read by Dylan Baker featuring Shawn Andrew
Hachette Audio

Available in Hardcover (Little, Brown & Co)

www.jamespatterson.com

The Cross family had more than one hero…”

Alex Cross’s TRIAL, bridges the gap between generations of Cross men – taking us back in time to a turbulent and frightening era in American History, when folks were separated by color and justice was in deed blind…

This novel is a departure from the strong crime drama Cross series – written by the fictional character “Alex Cross” (as was “Big Bad Wolfe”). Thanks to Nana-Mama’s memory and Ben Corbett’s personal journals, Alex was able to put this haunting story on paper and share it with the world. He writes in the introduction – “…it is a story that helps illuminate why so many black people are angry, hurt, and lost in this country, even today. I also think it is important to keep this story alive for my family, and hopefully for yours.” And he couldn’t be more right – it is important…no matter how painful our past, we must learn from it – because those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

Attorney Ben Corbett had made quite a name for himself, as a white man, the son of a prominent Mississippi judge, he represented defendants of color during a time in the nation’s history when to do so put your career, family and even your very life in jeopardy. The story opens with Corbett defending a black servant accused of murdering her wealthy white boss. Of course, it comes as no surprise when the all male, all white jury returned a guilty verdict. This sets the stage for an amazing narrative – that follows Corbett
back home, to Eudora, Mississippi on a special, top secret assignment, requested by the President of the United States. Corbett had served under Roosevelt in the military and the President trusted him to conduct an “off the record” investigation and report directly back to him. Rumors of lynchings, terrorist like activities, civil rights violations, etc., if the stories were true, the Klu Klux Klan was alive and well in the south. President Roosevelt gave Corbett the name of the man he wanted him to talk too…Corbett’s contact…Abraham Cross.

Ben Corbett is impressed by Abraham Cross from the moment they meet, he knows Cross is a very special and wise man. At first Ben has a hard time believing the horror he witnessed as a young man is still occurring, however, after one afternoon with Abraham ‘touring’  lynching sites he realizes the Klan is thriving and everyone knows it. As the story continues tragedy strikes the Cross family and the Klan comes calling to collect their “just dues” from Ben Corbett. Will he become a chapter in this secret story he was sent here to uncover? If the Klan has their way…the answer is a resounding and absolute YES!

An incredible, moving story, that hurtles towards the ending with such ferocity you feel as though you are standing on the edge of a mountain and could teeter off at any second.

James Patterson and Richard Dillalo have delivered a story that is as disturbing as it is exciting – the no-holds-barred narrative is so “in your face” it stings and the lynching scenes are drawn with such meticulous detail you can almost smell the lingering odor of death as you read these haunting depictions. The pain, heartbreak and fear is palpable throughout as the eyes of a nation fall upon Eudora, Mississippi. The text is so point on you cannot help but feel flushed with emotion. Alex Cross’s TRIAL is emotionally charged, action packed and tells the story of how a family’s struggle against injustice gave one man the strength to stand against his own for what he knew to be right…not for posterity, fame or fortune –  simply because it was right!

There’s nothing conventional about Alex Cross…narrators Dylan Baker and Shawn Andrew tell this story with heart, courage and absolute dedication to the characters, breathing life into it and with each succeeding chapter they draw the scenes and put you in the center of each…You will be angered by this story, you will probably tear up (or cry, I sure did!), you will feel the pain of those who are hurting and the joy and pride of those who find the courage to stand tall. In a nutshell, you won’t regret the hours you spend with this book.

Happy Reading,  
Mrs RJ
RJ McGill
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The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly (audio)

The Brass Verdict
Michael Connelly
ISBN: 1600244017
ISBN: 9781600244018
www.michaelconnelly.com

Unabridged, 10CDs, 11.5hrs
Hachette Audio
Read by Peter Giles

Hardcover, 432 Pages
Little, Brown & Company
 

New York Times Bestselling author Michael Connelly takes a leap of literary faith uniting two well known characters in one novel and lands softly amid adoring fans and rave reviews. Actor Peter Giles narrates, bringing the characters to life with special wording, accents and voice inflections, individualizing each, making the characters recognizable and believable.  

In 2005’s The Lincoln Lawyer, we were left with Haller’s promise that he would return – and return he has…albeit divorced, estranged from his daughter and recovering from both the gun shot wound and an addiction to pain killers. With his ex-wife (Lorna) as secretary/manager and her fiancée (Cisco), as his lead investigator, Mickey plans to slowly recoup his clientele and rebuild his rolling practice. Operating a lucrative law office from the backseat of a Lincoln town car was but one of his signature tricks and he was determined to reassert himself as the quintessential Lincoln Lawyer.

But his plans for a slow comeback are fast tracked when fellow attorney Jerry Vincent is found murdered in the parking garage adjacent to his office. Summoned to a closed door meeting with Chief Judge Holder, Haller is unceremoniously informed he has inherited Vincent’s practice and is responsible for his case load. A laundry list of cases was the last thing Haller wanted, so he quickly disposed of most of them. However, there was one case he hoped to maintain – that of millionaire, studio executive Walter Elliot, accused of murdering his wife and her lover. 

It would appear Vincent’s untimely demise handed Haller the goose that laid the golden egg, wrapped in box with a beautiful bow…but, then again, nothing is ever as it appears, is it?

Attorney Mickey Haller, from The Lincoln Lawyer’s and Detective Harry Bosch (33 year veteran of the police dept), from the celebrated Bosch series, share the spotlight in this murder-mystery-legal drama, sparring and teasing each other throughout with bits of carefully worded information meant to illicit more than it reveals. Forever questioning the intentions of the other, on the surface they seem to represent polar opposite points of view, but they have a great deal more in common than either is willing to acknowledge.
This novel barely scratches the proverbial literary surface of this brotherly relationship and I am anxious to see Connelly explore this further in the future.

Exciting, interesting and filled with twists that satisfy fully – “The Brass Verdict” is a solid good read!

Happy Reading!
BIGsmily
RJ McGill
WriterTweeter 

CLICK @HERE@ to read an excerpt from The Brass Verdict (via Open Book)

Brass Verdict = cop slang for an execution

 

 
 
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BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker

BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker

BoneMan’s Daughters
Ted Dekker

ISBN: 9781600246043
ISBN: 1600246044
Unabridged, 9CD, 10.5hr
Center Street Publishing
www.teddekker.com

Hachette Audio
read by Robert Petkoff

*Special conversation with author @CD9”
Ted Dekker, author of 20+ best selling novels, beloved by a dedicated following..so how is it possible that many booklovers aren’t familiar with this incredible body of work? Because Dekker’s books have been classified spiritual or Christian – and that tag caused readers to leave the book on the shelf, thus missing out on some of the most prolific, character driven writing penned in recent years. BoneMan’s Daughters showcases Ted Dekker at his dark thriller best!

Good vs evil? Right vs wrong? That fine line that divides the two sides, the one that is usually so easily defined, can, in the right, or should I say, wrong set of circumstances, blur – when confronted by the unimaginable, the impossible becomes not only plausible, but almost understandable, maybe even excusable, right?

BoneMan’s Daughters opens somewhere in the Iraqi dessert, with Military Investigator Captain Ryan Evans’ convoy being attacked. Evans is taken hostage and held in a bunker by a man named Khalid. The newspapers would refer to the kidnappers as insurgents or radicals, neither is accurate. The truth, is far more frightening, Khalid, like Ryan was a father, and his child was killed by a Coalition bombing. The anger and resentment that grew within this man was palpable and he would force Ryan to experience “collateral damage,” first hand! Khalid presented Ryan with a choice, murder an Iraqi child or sacrifice his family in the child’s’ place.

The events in the desert changed Ryan Evans – he realized he had neglected his family, that it would take a long time to heal the wounds his absences had inflicted upon those he loved, but he returned to Austin determined to make things right with his wife, Celine and their adopted daughter, Bethany and move on with their lives. However, fate had yet another twist in store for Ryan Evans, it seems Celine had already moved on…and into the arms of the District Attorney. As for Bethany, well, at 16, with images of NY City and a new modeling gig dancing in her head, she wasn’t interested in Ryan’s new found Fatherly love. With horrific images from Iraq haunting him day and night, divorce looming and losing his daughter, Ryan is on the verge and retreats into himself. And then, the story heats up, shifting into overdrive and barreling straight into Ryan Evans heart.

And the hits just keep on coming…

News Flash – notorious serial killer, BoneMan released from prison on a technicality… BoneMan, that single word conjured up disturbing, hellish memories for locals. The name refers to his method of murder, meticulously breaking the bones of his teenage female victims, without perforating the skin. After a two year hiatus, a teenage girl is abducted…BoneMan’s quest to find the perfect daughter continues. It would seem all eyes would be on the recently released prisoner – but not so…some very well informed investigators see the two year lull coincides quite nicely with Ryan Evans deployment. But Evans doesn’t have time to be upset or offended by such outrageous accusations…BoneMan has his daughter, Bethany and if Ryan can’t find her in time, she will suffer the same fate as the six young girls before her, becoming forever one of BoneMan’s Daughters.

A spine-tingling tale of family, betrayal, suffering, and survival. The narrator’s use of strong inflections, varied accents and emotional tones and speeds breathes life into these fictional characters, making each feel not only real, but personally familiar. Dekker’s use of current events and headline worthy subplots adds yet another level of chilling realism to BoneMan’s Daughters. A well written, well delivered novel that demonstrates Dekker’s ability as a first rate writer and assures us (readers) we have a lot to look forward too.

Happy Reading!
Msg from RJ: "Live, Laugh, Love & Read!"
RJ McGill

follow @MrsRJ Have we met on Facebook?

Also available in Hardcover & Large Print Hardcover
BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

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A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley

a-carrion-death-by-michael-stanley
A Carrion Death

Michael Stanley
ISBN: 0061252409
ASIN: B0010W500K
Fiction, 480 pages
Harper Collins
www.harpercollins.com

www.detectivekubu.com


Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, writing as Michael Stanley have penned an impressive debut novel, recognized as a Debut Dagger and 2008 Minnesota Book Award Finalist. These two African adventurers have enjoyed numerous safaris and are well versed in the ways of the bush. Extensive experience and distinctive writing flair combine to make A Carrion Death a good read!


Stanley introduces readers to the main character, the Assistant Superintendent of Botswana’s Police Department, David Bengu, aka “Kubu.” An appropriate nickname, considering his size and insatiable appetite, as Kubu is Setswana for hippopotamus. A strong, tenacious man, that loves his wife Joy and cares for his aging parents. He doesn’t mind going against the tide and still believes in the old-fashioned values of honor, respect and justice. It is these qualities that will endear Kubu to readers, because he’s a believable, three dimensional character, with strengths and weaknesses we can all relate too.

Detective Kubu is called out to the desert, where a group of scientists on a field trip , discovered a badly decomposed, dismembered body that has also been ravaged by wild animals. Kubu instinctively recognizes he’s dealing with a murder, which is later confirmed by the medical examiner. Investigating this death is compounded by decomposition and what appears to be specific mutilation, meant to hinder any attempts at identification. The search for information on this John Doe leads the detective to Botswana Cattle and Mining Company (BCMC), headed by Cecil Hofmeyr, who just happens to be a golfing buddy of Jacob Makabu…who just happens to be Kubu’s boss! And the plot thickens…

The tense dynamic within the Hofmeyr family is in stark opposition to the loving, warm relationships within the Bengu family. It’s soon revealed that Cecil Hofmeyr’s days running BCMC solo are numbered, as his niece and nephew, Dianna and Angus, will inherit their father’s share of the company on their 30th birthdays and he is concerned his many questionable deals will soon be uncovered. As the investigation continues, Kubu is reunited with old friends, begins to question the motives of some of those close to him and watches, seemingly helpless, as one after another of his contacts is found murdered.


A Carrion Death crisscrosses two genres, thriller and mystery, which at times seems to cause the story to run long and be unnecessarily complex, which is not unusual for a first installment. However, where this series differs is with the strength of their main character, as well as, the incredibly detailed and authentic African scenery, which set this debut apart, leading me to expect great things from Detective Kubu in the future.

Happy Reading!   😉
~ RJ
3Rs Reading Den
©


FYI:
From Wikipedia
*Carrion (from the Latin caro, meaning meat) refers to the carcass of a dead animal. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems and plays an important role in the circle of life. (Ex. Hyenas, Vultures, Black Bears, Bald Eagles, Raccoons, etc.)

An example of carrion in literature can be found in Julius Caesar, Act 3 scene 1, “this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial”, in which the word carrion implies that the bodies are rotting and infected with disease and bacteria. Another example: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, when the title character kills an unknown bird for food but finds “its flesh was Carrion, and fit for nothing.”

Read the Complete Text online or download PDF – click here for Robinson Crusoe

 

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Fourth Watcher by Tim Hallinan **


The Fourth Watcher by Timothy Hallinan

The Fourth Watcher
A Novel of Bangkok
Timothy Hallinan
ISBN-10: 0061257257
ISBN-13: 978-0061257254
Harper Collins Publishing
www.harpercollins.com

www.timothyhallinan.com

To say that Timothy Hallinan’s second installment in the Bangkok series starts off with a bang is…well, exactly what it does…from that initial blast to the closing words you are immersed Poke Rafferty’s world, where nothing is what it seems. Whether you’re an international traveler, well versed in Asian cultures or a homebody like me, The Fourth Watcher brings Bangkok to life. The vivid, lush imagery, believable characters and high stakes plot line will keep you turning pages. Hallinan utilizes every tool at his disposal to deliver a complete reading experience. Even the chapter titles add flavor to this remarkable read!

Poke is an ever-so- likable character you simply can‘t help but cheer for! He‘s quick witted and absolutely devoted to his fiancee’ Rose and their eight year old, adopted daughter Miaow. Determined to provide a better life for his two best girls, he decides to write an espionage thriller. Realizing he needs to be familiar with the topic in order to be authentic, he hires Ex-CIA Agent Arnold Prettyman to assist him with his research.  Stumbling upon information concerning a recent flood of counterfeit money from North Korea puts Poke and Rose in the Secret Service’s crosshairs. However, the plot thickens when Rose is accused of passing the fake bills through her cleaning business.

If this weren’t enough to complicate their lives, Frank, Poke’s estranged Father re-enters the picture after years of silence…and he isn’t alone. Poke is apprehensive, but Rose encourages him to give his father a second chance. As usual, where Frank is concerned, trouble is not far behind and this time his connections to the underworld have endangered Poke’s family too.

Throughout the novel Miaow is nothing short of a subtle hero. The adorable, street wise Miaow displays a degree of maturity that is far beyond her tender years. This child’s ability to rise above all the tough, lonely times she endured is amazing, but to do so without becoming jaded is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the healing power of love. The Fourth Watcher is masterfully written, highlighting Hallinan’s knowledge of the culture and his genuine affection for its people. Rich, alluring details draw the reader in, providing a deeply satisfying read. The characters have been assembled with the care of a loving parent and the scenic imagery is worthy of a spot in Louve. I recommend this book to all who enjoy an intriguing story with memorable characters, some easy to love, others, very easy to despise. And with the third book in the series releasing this summer, now is the ideal time to get to know Timothy Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty.
In a nutshell the title of chapter 14 says it best, “It’s not coming from the direction you expect.”

Happy Reading!
~ RJ
3Rs©


😉 A Nail Through The Heart (book 1, Bangkok series)

A Nail Through The Heart by Timothy Hallinan

CLICK HERE to read our review.


Check out both books in this Bangkok series!

Check out both books in this Bangkok series!

 

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Curse of the Bayou by Mary Cunningham (YA)

Cynthia’s Attic series – book #3 – from author, Mary Cunningham
Cover Image

Cynthia’s Attic, Book#3: Curse of the Bayou
by Mary Cunningham
ISBN 10: 1590805755
ISBN 13: 978-1590805756
Echelon Press Publishing

www.marycunninghambooks.com

Curse of the Bayou, Cynthia’s Attic series book #3

The third time really is the charm for author Mary Cunningham, as her latest installment in the Cynthia’s Attic series is the best of the trio. While books one and two are delightfully entertaining, within a few pages of book three, it is apparent that the writer has grown right a long side her two main characters. Blending parallel universes with very real human issues while allowing the reader to suspend the need for reason is a huge undertaking, and one that Cunningham has met and far exceeded with Curse of the Bayou.

On the edge of thirteen, in the year 1964, best friends and time traveling companions, Cynthia and Gus are at it again, drawn to the old trunk in the attic that magically melts the seams of time. The girls land in the year 1914, deep in the Louisiana swamp and quickly find they aren’t swimming with dolphins…it’s alligators! But, this is to be only the first of many heart stopping thrills as they search for Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Beau Connor, who was last seen traveling down the Mississippi River to sell produce.

The girls receive helpful hints from old friends and stern warnings from new ones. It seems the Mississippi River is home to the meanest, most orneriest pirate ever…one Buzzard Jack LaBuse. A long the way our gutsy tweenies find themselves facing off with shifting plants, scheming baddies and a thieving parrot, just to name a few. Traveling back and forth in time, the girls land in Southern Indiana, on the old Connor farm, where they discover a link between Beau Connor and pirate Jack. Could a family curse be the cause of Great Grandpa’s sudden and mysterious disappearance?

Curse of the Bayou is the ultimate stage for Cunningham’s cooky cast of characters to act out their story. Just as the most intricate web begins with a single strand, so it is with a good series…there’s a basic idea upon which each individual story is built. And while each must stand alone, it must be linked to the original. With three complete books in the series, the supporting cast and their respective back stories can get quite confusing, especially for the target audience, for this reason I would love to see a character list included with future installments.

There are so many directions the author can take with these characters and an endless list of issues, both real and imagined that can be filtered in, that not even the sky can limit this series…Kudos to author Mary Cunningham for delivering a good old fashioned family story, with all the sci-fi perks and jigs to light the imagination of today’s young reader.

Happy Reading!

– RJ

 

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Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel
Lisa Lutz
ISBN 10: 1416532412
ISBN 13: 978-1416532415
Fiction/416 pages
Simon & Schuster
www.simonsays.com

www.lisalutz.com

Warning: Spending time with the Spellman Family is highly addictive and produces uncontrollable bouts of laughter.

Two years have passed since Lisa Lutz’s debut novel introduced the lovably, dysfunctional Spellman Family and mesmerized readers from coast to coast with the kind of snooping, scheming and blackmailing that could only exist between parties who truly care for one another.

We rejoin Isabel Spellman (a.k.a. Izzy), in San Francisco, now thirty years old and once again working for her parents at Spellman Investigations. Enjoying independence living in Bernie’s (an ex-cop and friend) apartment while he was away became a short-lived vacation when he unexpectedly returns nursing a broken-heart, forcing a reluctant Izzy to move back home. Thus beginning the spin of an all new web of action-packed insanity.

Izzy becomes fixated on her parent’s new neighbor, John Brown. She’s plagued by unanswered questions…what’s in those bags of shredded paper? If you live alone, why lock doors inside your home? It just didn’t add up and her incessant probing makes Mr. Brown suspicious of her. One thing leads to another as she is convinced his landscaping business is merely a front or cover that’s hiding something much more serious. She investigates Mr. Brown relentlessly, until he finally gets a restraining order against her. Arrested four times in the past three months, Izzy is in jeopardy of losing her PI license and even though her parents disagree strongly about Mr. Brown, she steadfastly refuses to let it go.

All the while her father seems to be experiencing a “retirement age freak out” and her mother has taken to vandalizing a motor bike every night. Younger sister Rae has developed an intense friendship with Henry Stone, a police inspector with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The considerable age difference sparks the interest of Social Services, who despite the parents argument, simply refuse to see things quite so cut and dried.  So in order to protect Rae’s newly found “straight-laced way of life,” which everyone agrees should be credited to Mr. Stone’s obvious positive influence, big sister, is recruited and agrees to play along, pretending to be Henry’s fiancee’. It doesn’t take long for Izzy to discover Henry Stone is a really good guy, a little off, but a good guy non-the-less.

What follows is a laugh out loud, edge of your seat, knuckle crunching read that’s loaded with that special Spellman sassiness. The smart-mouthed, in your business, business of private investigating, has been laid bare for all to enjoy in Curse of the Spellmans. This is one of those books you just can’t seem to find a good place to stop – til you get to the last page. And then you can’t help but wish for more. Lisa Lutz has created an original series, that just keeps getting better and better. With a cast of kooky and oh so lovable characters that are both frustratingly nosy and eternally loyal readers are cheering, sneering and giggling their way through these delicious literary treats. Well written, funny and full of heart – Lisa Lutz has developed a signature series that above all else, entertains!

Kudo’s.

Happy Reading!
-RJ Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files: A Novel 
Lisa Lutz
ISBN 10: 1416532404
ISBN 13: 978-1416532408
Simon & Schuster
Feb 12 – 2008 (reprint)
Fiction/384 pages
www.simonsays.com 

 www.lisalutz.com

Lisa Lutz’s first novel, “The Spellman Files,” introduces readers to the lovable, albeit highly dysfunctional Spellman family. Be prepared to adore this zany cast of characters, that will butt their way right into your heart and have you laughing a long the way. A strong female protagonist with a meddling family may, at first glance, seem a bit blase’, but don’t be fooled, the writing, narrative and perspective work together like a well oiled machine generating the ideal reading experience…

Secrets, scheming and sneaking are all part in parcel of a good days work for a private investigator. Albert and Olivia Spellman have been spying on people for a living since shortly after they wed and their three children have been immersed in this environment all their lives. Even though David, the Spellman’s oldest son, left the family business to pursue a career in law, he can’t avoid occasionally being lured into one of his parents schemes. The youngest daughter, Rae, has been honing her spy skills from the tender age of six, when she convinced her parents to allow her to tag along during surveillance operations. Now a mischievous teenager, she utilizes this unique knowledge to conduct “personal surveillance,” on her friends.

Isabel, 28, is the stereo-typical middle child still trying to rebuild the bridge of trust destroyed during her rebellious teens. A sure-footed investigator, with sound judgement,  when it comes to business; however, the same cannot be said for her choices in men. Criticized by her perfect older brother, emulated by her younger sister and hounded by her parents, Izzy’s life borders on the edge of insanity, which she desperately wants to escape.

Sharp-tongued, Izzy Spellman has even reduced her failing love life to a list of wise-cracking facts- name, age, relationship length and ‘famous last words.’ Izzy discovers potential ‘ex-boyfriend #9’ while working the case of Daniel Castillo. Izzy is quite smitten with the Guatemalan dentist and knows the importance of keeping her family in the dark about her new love interest. And in a family of snoops that’s impossible! When she discovers her parents have Rae following her, it is the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and Izzy quits.

Of course, this hard-nosed, scheming family isn’t going to just wither-up and go away, so they offer Izzy a deal…solve this one last case and she is free of her contract. Catch? Oh certainly- there’s a big catch…The case they choose is that of a missing teen from Marin County that disappeared near Lake Tahoe some twelve years ago. Izzy hoped her grit and determination would light a fire under this cold case and thus dissolve the contract that had held her hostage in the family business. So she literally throws herself into this decade old case. However, while digging into the unsolved case, her little sister, Rae goes missing. She seems to have vanished into thin air and although Izzy and Rae bicker, as do all sisters, she loves the nosey little hellian and will stop at nothing to find her.

Sassy, witty and loaded with sarcasm, this fast-paced story swirls around the outrageously dysfunctional Spellman Family. Even in a house where it’s normal to find triple locks on bedroom doors, the Spellman’s hide their fair share of secrets. Lisa Lutz’s debut novel, “The Spellman Files” explores the inner workings of the family dynamic, from Izzy’s perspective. Revealing how just below the surface stuff… the snooping, scheming and wire taps, there’s a deep, heart-felt sentiment. Cleverly layered throughout the story is that familiar “something” we can all recognize…that “thing” bonds and unites families despite all the shortcomings and misunderstandings. “The Spellman Files: A Novel” is an entertaining read that unfolds with deliberate precision. Kick and crunch action is followed by off-the-wall, whip-smart punch lines that will have you laughing out loud more than once. Original, kooky and delightfully dysfunctional, Lisa Lutz gives readers a fresh new way to enjoy comedic crime novels. And readers can rejoice, there’s more zaniness to follow. So get acquainted with the Spellman’s and settle in for a truly enjoyable series.

Happy Reading!
   ~ RJ

 

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