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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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Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Best Books of the Year So Far

Click to Visit Amazon’s 2015 Best Book List

Solitude Creek is the fourth book in the Kathryn Dance series and not my favorite. The idea of a killer that sets the stage for people to cause their own death is thought provoking…. Would it be every man for himself, a literal dog eat dog type mentality? Sadly, time and again it plays out just that way. When local roadhouse patrons try to escape what they think is a fire, only to find the exits blocked, several are killed and numerous others injured, as fear and panic replaced rationale and human decency. All to the delight and amusement of “event murderer,” Antioch March.

California Criminal Investigations Detective Kathryn Dance has been placed on Civil Division Duty, unable to carry a weapon or work criminal cases. Forced to the sideline as the gang related drug smuggling case she was heading moves forward without her. However, she is able to stay in the loop on that case and consult with local authorities on the Solitude Creek stampede. And her usually mild mannered, well behaved kids (a son and daughter), pick now to start acting different…causing Mom a few more worries. Oh, she also has two men vying for her time and affection.

It felt to me like Deaver just tossed things on the wall and hoped something would stick. Compared to the Lincoln Rhyme series, Kathryn Dance doesn’t measure up. True they are very different characters, and that is great, but where Rhyme is a well rounded character, Dance feels like a bunch of strings that never form anything. With the first book, Bone Collector, I cared about the participants and what transpired in both their professional, as well as, their personal lives. Again, there’s a disconnect between me and Dance. Solitude Creek could have been a really good book, but not with Kathryn Dance in the lead. Having the audio version made it a lot better, because the narrator did an exceptional job keeping me in the moment, whereas left on my own with the hard copy I would have had a difficult time finishing it.

**Antioch March is an “event murderer”, meaning he causes the event, but the choices people make cause their deaths.

Visit Jeffery Deaver’s Website

Visit Hachette Audio’s Website

Happy Reading,

RJ
Goodreads

The Bone Collector

The FIRST Lincoln Rhyme novel


Overview
Jeffery Deaver, “the master of manipulation” (Associated Press) and “the most creative, skilled and intriguing thriller writer in the world.” (Daily Telegraph, UK) returns with the new, long-awaited, Kathryn Dance thriller.
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire.
Kathryn Dance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. She and her team must race against the clock to find where he will strike next before more innocents die.
Details  Unabridged Audio
  • ISBN-13: 9781478903598
  • ISBN-10: 1478903597

Radiant Angel (John Corey Series #7)

 

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Along Came A Spider & Kiss the Girls


Author:  James Patterson (Alex Cross #1)
Narrator:  Charles Turner
ISBN-13: 9781619694125
ISBN-10: 1619694123
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
approx. 12 hrs (listening time)
Hachette Audio
audiohachette.jpg


For all the loyal Alex Cross fans out there, Hachette’s release of Along Came A Spider will be a Must Have! Charles Turner’s narration adds a new dimension to the novel that will put chill bumps ontop of your chill bumps. This book introduced the world to Detective Alex Cross and there’s been no looking back. Built like a boxer, a smooth ladies man who enjoys playing the piano, Cross is a loyal friend, loving son, dedicated father and relentless pursuer of justice.

Gary Soneji is the polar opposite of Cross, he’s evil to the core and has one desire..”to commit the crime of the century.” Soneji is a master manipulator, skilled liar and one of the most beloved teachers at the D.C. private school for children of the rich and famous. So when the mild mannered, popular math teacher abducts two students, the secret service is caught with its proverbial pants down…and for this embarrassment someone’s head is going to roll.

Along Came A Spider is the disturbing story of a brilliant, psychopath matching wits with a hard nosed detective. James Patterson knew the one thing that made this killer truly terrifying was his normalcy. This guy was accepted in elite circles, admired by children and worked everyday in the presence of the United States Secret Service…what could be more frightening?

I’ve read this book a couple of times, but the audio book was a new experience for me I really enjoyed being able to sit back, relax and just listen. Charles Turner is an incredible narrator, that gives Alex Cross a strong, well defined voice, while allowing Soneji’s thoughts of himself to sound stronger than his actual voice. It’s a very entertaining audio experience!

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2010’s Best

CLICK HERE to visit NY Times 2010 Best List

BEST OF 2010

AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE. By David Goodwillie. (Scribner, $25.) A bombing unites a blogger and a beautiful eco-terrorist in this literary thriller, an exploration of what motivates radicalism in an age of disillusion.

ANGELOLOGY. By Danielle Trussoni. (Viking, $27.95.) With a smitten art historian at her side, the young nun at the center of this rousing first novel is drawn into an ancient struggle against the Nephilim, hybrid offspring of humans and heavenly beings.

THE ASK. By Sam Lipsyte. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) A deeply cynical academic fund-raiser fighting for his job is the protagonist of this darkly humorous satire, a witty paean to white-collar loserdom.

BOUND. By Antonya Nelson. (Bloomsbury, $25.) For Nelson’s complacent heroine, the death of an estranged friend elicits memories of their reckless youth.

COMEDY IN A MINOR KEY. By Hans Keilson. Translated by Damion Searls. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22.) Set in Nazi-occupied Europe, this novel, appearing only now in English, is a mid-century masterpiece by the centenarian Keilson, who served in the Dutch resistance.

DOUBLE HAPPINESS: Stories. By Mary-Beth Hughes. (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14.) Hughes likes to juxtapose her characters’ relative passivity with the knife edge of evil within or, more often, outside them.

FOREIGN BODIES. By Cynthia Ozick. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.) This nimble, entertaining homage to Henry James’s late work “The Ambassadors,” in which an American heads to Paris to retrieve a wayward son, brilliantly upends the theme, meaning and stylistic manner of its revered precursor.

FREEDOM. By Jonathan Franzen. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.) Like Franzen’s previous novel, “The Corrections,” this is a masterly portrait of a nuclear family in turmoil, with an intricately ordered narrative and a majestic sweep that seems to gather up every fresh datum of our shared millennial life.

FUN WITH PROBLEMS: Stories. By Robert Stone. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.) Our enduring central struggle — the battle between the head and the heart — is enacted again and again in Stone’s collection.

GIRL BY THE ROAD AT NIGHT: A Novel of Vietnam. By David Rabe. (Simon & Schuster, $23.) In this tale of war and eros, two young people from opposite ends of the earth are caught up in events far beyond their control.

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. By Stieg Larsson. (Knopf, $27.95.) In the third installment of the pulse-racing trilogy featuring Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the pair are threatened by an adversary from deep within the very government that should be protecting them.

GREAT HOUSE. By Nicole Krauss. (Norton, $24.95.) In this tragic vision of a novel, Nadia, a writer in New York, faces a wrenching parting when a girl shows up to claim an enormous desk that has been in her safekeeping for decades.

HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE. By Charles Yu. (Pantheon, $24.) Yu wraps his lonely story of a time machine repairman in layers of gorgeous meta-science-fiction.

HOW TO READ THE AIR. By Dinaw Mengestu. (Riverhead, $25.95.) Mengestu’s own origins inform this tale of an Ethiopian-American tracing the uncertain road once taken by his parents.

I CURSE THE RIVER OF TIME. By Per Petterson. Translated by Charlotte Barslund with Per Petterson. (Graywolf, $23.) This novel’s lonely Scandinavian protagonist grapples with divorce, death and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

ILUSTRADO. By Miguel Syjuco. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) A murder mystery punctuated with serious philosophical musings, this novel traces 150 years of Filipino history, posing questions about identity and art, exile and duty.

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS. By Tom Rachman. (Dial, $25.) This intricate novel is built around the personal stories of staff members at an improbable English-language newspaper in Rome, and of the family who founded it in the 1950s.

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE. By Julie Orringer. (Knopf, $26.95.) Orringer’s protagonist is a Jewish architecture student in late-1930s Paris forced to return home to Hungary ahead of the Nazi invasion there.

LISA ROBERTSON’S MAGENTA SOUL WHIP. By Lisa Robertson. (Coach House, paper, $14.95.) In these intellectual poems, the experimental curtains suddenly part to reveal clear, durable truth.

THE LIVING FIRE: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2010. By Edward Hirsch. (Knopf, $27.) Hirsch’s “living fire” is an irrational counterforce with which he balances his dignified quotidian.

THE LONG SONG. By Andrea Levy. (Frances Coady/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) Levy’s high-spirited, ambitious heroine works on a plantation in the final days of slavery in Jamaica.

THE LOST BOOKS OF THE ODYSSEY. By Zachary Mason. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24.) The conceit behind the multiple Odysseuses here (comic, dead, doubled, amnesiac) is that this is a translation of an ancient papyrus, a collection of variations on the myth.

THE LOTUS EATERS. By Tatjana Soli. (St. Martin’s, $24.99.) The photojournalist heroine of Soli’s Vietnam War novel ponders whether those who represent war merely replicate its violence.

MATTERHORN: A Novel of the Vietnam War. By Karl Marlantes. (El León Literary Arts/Atlantic Monthly, $24.95.) In this tale, 30 years in the creation, bloody folly envelops a Marine company’s construction, abandonment and retaking of a remote hilltop outpost.

MEMORY WALL: Stories. By Anthony Doerr. (Scribner, $24.) These strange, beautiful stories all ask: What, if anything, will be spared time’s depredations?

MR. PEANUT. By Adam Ross. (Knopf, $25.95.) In this daring first novel, a computer game designer suspected of murdering his obese wife is investigated by two marriage-savvy detectives, one of whom is Dr. Sam Sheppard.

THE NEAREST EXIT. By Olen Steinhauer. (Minotaur, $25.99.) The C.I.A. spy in this thriller is sick of his trade’s duplicity, amorality and rootlessness.

THE NEW YORKER STORIES. By Ann Beattie. (Scribner, $30.) This collection of tales dating back to 1974 lets readers imagine their way into a New Yorker fiction editor’s moment of discovery.

ONE DAY. By David Nicholls. (Vintage, paper, $14.95.) Nicholls’s nostalgic novel checks in year by year on the halting romance of two children of the ’80s, she an outspoken lefty, he an apolitical toff.

THE PRIVILEGES. By Jonathan Dee. (Random House, $25.) In this contemporary morality tale, a family stumbles along, rich and dysfunctional, without ethical or moral responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in ♥Best Sellers♥, ♥BOOKs♥, NY Times

 

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Interview: author, PC Cast

Mills & Boon Nocturne

Visit Author, PC Cast on~line


  • *Can we expect the same mix of ancient and modern mythology that have become such an integral part of your other novels?

Yes, sort of.  In THE AVENGER my modern heroine travels back to 60 AD Briton and Boudicca’s time.  I very loosely follow historical events, with a touch of magic and mysticism.

  • *Would you call yourself a student of ancient history and myth? Do you enjoy the research necessary to keep the characters “honest?”

I would call myself a fan of mythology.  I am intrigued by certain periods of history, and I do enjoy researching, but I would by no means call myself a historian.  I think history translates more easily onto the page through mythology, and much can be learned about a people through the myths they tell.  For instance, what you learn about me through the myths I create is that I believe in empowering and valuing women.

  • *The Avengers is hotly anticipated – many writers have said this type of anticipation makes them very nervous – fear of not measuring up to the “hype” – how do you feel?

I’m used to being a bestseller and have found that it works for me not to pay attention to hype or critics.  Every time I write a book I set out to tell the story I’d most want to read.  I believe in doing my best each time and letting the cards fall where they may…


  • *The series centers around strong, female lead characters that return to ancient periods to retrieve pieces of a medallion that could alter history – how did you come to select Briton?

I was approached to write one of the Time Raiders novels for Nocturne because I am a military veteran (all of the authors of the TR series are vets).  I was interested because the idea of vets writing with military heroines sounded fun, and then when I saw that Boudicca was one of the choices proposed for time travel I was intrigued as I had been researching her because I decided her daughters would begin the House of Night Dark Daughters.  So I happily signed on!

  • *Do you find it easier to write as part of a team or solo?

Actually, I don’t really co-author with Kristin.  She serves as my teen voice editor.  I do all the writing, and when I’ve finished she goes through the manuscripts and comments on voice and pop references

  • *If you had a chance to work with any writer (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Ray Bradbury!  He’s a genius and I’d love to observe his writing process.


  • *What’s the best advice you have ever been given by another writer?

Just sit down and write the damn book.

  • *Here’s the: “on a deserted island question” – If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have 3 books to read for the rest of your life, what three books would you select?

Well, first of all, three wouldn’t be enough so I’d have to write lots of my own.  But let’s pretend like a series counts as one book, so I’d choose:
1) Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER books,
2) All of Christopher Moore’s books,
3) Tanith Lee’s THE SILVER METAL LOVER

  • *Can you give us a hint about what is next for PC Cast?

Beginning in December my Goddess Summoning Series will be released in the UK, starting with GODDESS OF CAMELOT.  I love this books and hope my UK fans will enjoy them, too! I’m working on pre-production for a film adaptation of one of my Goddess Summoning Books, GODDESS OF THE ROSE, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Thank you, for stopping by The Den and sharing a few minutes with us – Can’t wait to dive into “The Avengers!”

Visit PC Cast Online

Visit UK Publisher Mills & Boon


“You are about to enter a place of power, a place beyond imagining.”

Alex thought communicating with the dead was the worst of her troubles. She couldn’t have been more wrong!

She’s just been sent to 60 AD by a secret army unit to recover missing pieces of a medallion that could change the world.

Alex must use her gifts to entice Druid Caradoc into helping her. Yet soon she’s torn between duty and the man who’s been haunting her dreams. Returning to the present is the noble thing to do, but her heart tells her to stay in this enticing new world of goddesses and warriors.

TIME RAIDERS
Only they can cross the boundaries of time; only they have the power to save humanity.




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Celebrating 50 Years of Literary Excellence To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – pick up your copy today!

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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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2010 Edgar Nominees

AND THE NOMINEES ARE……….

2010

Best Novel:
· The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
· The Odds by Kathleen George
· The Last Child by John Hart
· The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
· Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett
· A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn

Best First Novel by an American Author:
· The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
· Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley
· The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
· A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
· Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
· In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

Best Paperback Original:
· Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott
· Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano
· The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill
· Body Blows by Marc Strange
· The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler

Best Fact Crime:
· Columbine by Dave Cullen
· Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn
· The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr
· Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
· Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

Best Critical/Biographical Work:
· Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James
· The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler
· Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak
· The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar
· The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent

Best Young Adult:
· Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
· If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney
· The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford
· Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low
· Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Best Juvenile:
· The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett
· The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil
· Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds
· Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn
· The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer

Grand Master Award:
· Dorothy Gilman

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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in 3R♥s, book awards, News, novel, NY Times

 

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Breathing Water by Timothy Hallinan

Breathing Water by Tim Hallinan

Breathing Water
A Bangkok Thriller

Timothy Hallinan

ISBN 10: 0061672238
ISBN 13: 978-0061672231
Hardcover, 352pages

www.timothyhallinan.com

William Morrow
an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

A Nail Through the Heart (book 1) {review}
The Fourth Watcher (book 2) {review}

Breathing Water is the third novel in the Bangkok Thriller series from best selling author Timothy Hallinan, and the story keeps getting better and better…for the reader…which translates to fictional chaos and danger for our favorite travel writer, Poke Rafferty, his beautiful wife Rose and their adopted daughter, Miaow. As with the two previous installments, Breathing Water stands alone, independently strong, full of colorful characters and real world dilemmas delivered with a degree of realism that reaches off the pages into the heart of the reader. However, as a series, each book builds upon the last, taking you deeper into the lives, psyche and history of the characters, for this reason I highly recommend reading all three.

The scene opens on a late night poker game, orchestrated by Poke’s friends at the police department. Unbeknownst to some of the players the game was set up as a training exercise. When Khun Pan joins the table, he is not amused and a misunderstanding puts Arthit’s career on the chopping block. To save his best friend, Poke makes a bet with Khun Pan and wins! The prize? Pan’s biography, sought after by Thai journalists and writers for years, Pan had never before agreed to allow, much less participate in such a project. Making this a once in a lifetime opportunity. A flamboyant and controversial figure, Khun Pan is loved and admired by those who view him as a champion of the poor and absolutely despised by the affluent, many of whom are threatened by his political ambitions. Of course nothing is ever easy for Poke and word travels fast about the impending biography – While one side is paying for the book to be written, Poke is contacted by the opposing side and informed the cost of writing this book will be the lives of his beloved Rose and their daughter Miaow. Thus pitting the Rafferty family against some of Bangkok’s most powerful and influential people. And these ruthless people will do whatever it takes to maintain their status and keep their secrets hidden…whatever it takes!

In the background of this high stakes face-off is yet another link in the organized crime chain, stolen babies, modern-day-slavery and sex tourism. It is within this web we meet a young farm girl named Da and are reunited with Miaow’s long lost friend, Boo.  Captured and forced to beg on the streets of Bangkok, Da is dumbstruck when she’s given a baby to care for. Bewilderment gives way to fear when she discovers the baby, she named Peek, will only be with her temporarily, used on the streets as a prop until it is sold to a wealthy family. Boo, a tough, young lad we met in A Nail Through The Heart (first novel) as “Superman,” now, a few years older and much the wiser, is the leader and protector of a group of street kids and holds the key to Da’s escape.

Hallinan merges the two storylines effortlessly, as he reunites Boo with the Rafferty family.
Together with Arthit and his friend Kosit, they formulate a complex, multilayered plan that has no room for error, each step must be executed with military like precision in order to be successful…all of their lives depend on it.

Breathing Water is an exceptional novel – showcasing Hallinan’s appreciation and understanding of Thai culture which is masterfully translated through the narrative, allowing readers a front row seat on a 300 page journey through Bangkok. (For many, like me, this is as close to Bangkok as we will ever get.) His portrayal of Bangkok brings the city right into your living room, which is no simple task as this is a city of fluid contradictions, where you can visit a message parlor type of establishment and pray on your way out at one of the many beautiful statues. For years Thailand has been teetering on the brink of civil war or total collapse, awash in every conceivable type of corruption, as organized crime bosses maneuver, manipulate and control all aspects of Thai life, from the street vendor to the political arena, but because of its dependence on tourism and this underworld control we are not likely to see such reports on CNN. Hallinan delivers the story with an unbridled passion that is intoxicating, addictive and incredibly entertaining. If you are looking for a genuinely good book, written with heart and doesn’t assume the reader lacks intelligence, look no further…Breathing Water is a rock solid selection you will not regret! (And pick up the first two installments while you’re at it! You won’t get much sleep for the next several days, but it is so worth it!)

I could say the third time is the charm – but that would insinuate that the two previous books were in some way lacking – and lacking is something you will not find in a Hallinan novel. The characters are drawn with such meticulous detail that it is impossible to distinguish fiction from fact, the emotional attachment the reader forms with the characters and your involvement with the story itself becomes a part of your life, a relationship that is missed with the closing of the cover. But is quickly rekindled with each new release…So, until the fourth installment…I wait and wonder what’s next for the Rafferty’s…

9780061257223PB Nail A Nail Through The Heart
(book 1 – Bangkok Thriller series)
Read our review of “Nail”

9780061257261fourthwatcher pb The Fourth Watcher

(book 2 – Bangkok Thriller series)
Read our review of “Watcher”

9780061672231breathingwater Breathing Water
(book 3 – Bangkok Thriller series)

William Morrow an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

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Book 4 coming Summer 2010

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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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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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New from Brad Thor

* * * COMING JULY 2008* * *
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From Simon & Schuster Publishing

Visit Brad Thor’s high-tech website click here

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CYOA – Volume One

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Golden Path Volume 1
Into the Hollow Earth

by Anson Montgomery
Youth Adventure/Fiction
ISBN 10: 1933390816
ISBN 13: 978-1933390819
Chooseco *(CYOA)

Some may find it hard to imagine how, with a printed book, the reader can actively participate in the adventure…but it’s true. The popular Choose Your Own Adventure has been revamped, re-energized and relaunched, to the utter delight of parents and young adults everywhere. With this ingenious series, the reader has the opportunity to make multiple choices throughout the novel, which changes the plot twists, the characters that you will meet and at what stage you will interact with each. The right choices will lead you, as one of the main characters, into a secret world that exists beneath the Earth’s crust.

As one of the main characters, you (the reader) are, quite literally caught up in the action and your choices effect the other characters and the progression of the story. The Golden Path: Volume One opens with an interesting, scientific prologue, which sets the tone for the scenery, ideologies and difficulties that the people in author Anson Montgomery’s future face on a daily basis. The first chapter opens with a scene every student can relate too…three friends, in the library, studying for a big exam. And through the creative imagination of CYOA, you (the reader), are one of the three. The heart of the story revolves around your parents archaeological dig at Carlsbad, New Mexico and a very odd shard of pottery your friend Peter found outside the dig site. Convinced the artifact once belonged to a culture that predates the American Indians and utilizing the individual talents of each of your friends, the three of you receive special permission from your teacher to work together on the AP History project. It’s true that history effects the future, but you and your friends had no idea how that piece of pottery would devastate your present and put your future in jeopardy.

When you receive a frightening, cryptic email from your Mom, sent from a dead letter drop, you are given the first of many choices…do you follow the instructions from your Mom or go to New York City? Of course your selection will alter the story’s progression, as will each of the decisions you make throughout the adventure. What began as a quest to find your missing parents, quickly spins into a web of questions, that has government officials hot on your trail and could well be the difference between life and death for you all.

Choose Your Own Adventure is an entertaining adventure series that engages reader, however, flipping back and forth, skipping numerous chapters only to go back to them later may be confusing for younger readers. A mix of ancient history, futuristic adventure, scientific learning and creative imagination, woven around three best friends who must use their individual strengths to solve problems together. Utilizing age appropriate narrative, the book deals with family issues, friendships, loss, jealousy, grief and ultimately survival, understanding and healing. I would recommend this book (*& the series) to children who enjoy a book that doesn’t fit the normal definition of “book.” The characters are believable, with just enough futuristic karma to grab the attention of today’s high-tech kids. With four story lines developed to move from Volume One to Volume Two, your individual choices play-out before your eyes. I think parents should be made aware that it is necessary to purchase both volumes, because without the second volume some “choices” are not available, thus changing the outcome. With the website, more information should be available and it allows the kids to participate in activities related to the stories. Definitely worth reading, a solid 3.5 and destined to get better with each new installment.

Happy Reading!
-RJ

 

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Matala by Craig Holden

To listen to 3Rs review of Matala by Craig Holden in audio format – click “HERE”

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Double Cross by James Patterson

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Double Cross
James Patterson
ISBN 10: 0316015059
ISBN 13: 978-0316015059
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group USA
www.HachetteBookGroupUSA.com

www.jamespatterson.com

Patterson has a unique gift for making you feel all the joys and pains experienced by Cross, who is one of the best protagonists of the suspense thriller genre. Reuniting fans with beloved, as well as, despised characters, while continuing to press the boundaries, Patterson shines brighter than ever in this hard hitting double header!

Self-imposed retirement, a gorgeous new girlfriend and a quiet romantic camping trip, what could possibly go wrong? Well, when Alex Cross is around the answer is an unequivocal–anything and everything! Hot romance is quickly cooled when Bree is ordered to return to DC after the very public murder of famed author Tess Olsen. Dubbed the Audience Killer, for his propensity for attention, this psychopath seems to have no fear of being discovered, growing more brazen and arrogant with each successive murder. He thrives on the media attention his dastardly deeds afford him and relishes in the panic his murderous acts create. In the midst of the carnage and chaos, Cross receives a disturbing call informing him Kyle Craig had escaped from the maximum security prison in Colorado, where he had been housed for the past four years. Prior to his incarceration, Craig had been a respected FBI colleague and a genius in his own right. Craig was patient, resourceful and vicious, a formidable adversary now methodically making his way through the list of those he deemed responsible for his imprisonment. Of course, Alex Cross was at the top of his list.

Two murderers, one seeking fame, the other bent on revenge, yet they shared a common goal…the elimination of Detective Alex Cross. In this particularly well delivered novel, Patterson weaves an intricate, multi-layered plot, that moves seamlessly between opposing forces, while hurdling toward an unavoidable showdown. There are no twig-like stereotypes or bland settings, as Patterson showcases his unparalleled ability to create three dimensional characters that are diabolical, yet very real and disturbingly interesting. With his omniscient voice, taut narrative and vivid detail, the reader is immersed in this carefully crafted, highly imaginative world, from the very first page. One of the most popular literary characters of the century, Alex Cross is a hard hitting, tough as nails detective, with an almost sixth sense ability to get inside a killer’s mind. But it his personal struggles, as a son, father and lover that continue to bring the character off the page and into the heart of the reader.

Chock full of action, short, crisp chapters and a few teasers thrown in to wet your appetite for the next installment – Double Cross is a double shot of Patterson at his thrilling best!

Happy Reading!
BIGsmily_thumb.jpg– RJ
FBtinyF_thumb.jpg tinytwitterT.jpg


RJ McGill, EzineArticles.com Basic PLUS Author


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Alex Cross has that certain, something special –an undefinable quality often referred to as the “it” factor, which sets him apart from garden-variety detectives and keeps fans turning pages. Picking up the latest Cross novel is much like getting together with family you only see a couple of times a year. You plan for, anxiously await the arrival date, excitedly interact– savoring every moment and lingering over every detail, for far too soon, your time together comes to an end. So it is with our beloved Alex Cross – we wait for what seems like forever for the next installment and devour it with the kind of passion usually reserved for new lovers…Patterson understands our relationship with this character, and always provides a few hints and teasers which ease our discomfort and immediately put us back into the “anxiously awaiting” phase of the relationship.
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Interview: author, Barbara Worton

Friendly Fireside Chat with Barbara Worton, author of 
BedTime Stories, the short, long & tall tales of a sleepwriter. Read the rest of this entry »
 

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re: BedTime Stories by Barbara Worton

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To listen to the audio version of this review click “HERE”

BedTime Stories: The short, long and tall tales of a sleepwriter.
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