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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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Memory Man by David Baldacci

Memory Man by David Baldacci


Memory Man
by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781478929987
ISBN: 1478929987

*Also available in hardcover

David Baldacci (Website)

Hachette Audio (Website)

Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.

Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.

Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.

That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold  has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.

I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Goodreads
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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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Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child

Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child
  • ISBN-13: 9781478904250
  • ISBN-10: 1478904259
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

audiohachette.jpg
Narrated by Rene Auberjonois

visit:  Preston & Child online

Best Books of the Month
Named an Amazon Book of the Month

I’ll not waste time repeating the dust jacket or give away spoilers, this is simply my thoughts about Blue Labyrinth.

The suspense/thriller genre is crowded with interesting, exciting protagonists, but Agent Aloysius Pendergast, is in a class of his own. A Chongg Ran practitioner, with an extensive knowledge of food and wine, and unparalleled verbal skills. His appreciation of finer things always on display – designer suits, handmade shoes, a grand mansion on Riverside Drive, a lovely apartment in the Dakota, and his chauffeur driven 59 Rolls Royce.

Blue Labyrinth is the 14th novel in this series and while all of them have been “good”, some definitely shine brighter than others, as I’m sure is true of any long running series. The story weaves together the murder of Pendergast’s son, (Alban), and that of a Museum of Natural History technician. It was great to see P&C return to the roots of the series. But I still expected Agent Pendergast to be the star of Blue Labyrinth. He is not. Fighting for his life on the sideline, the spot light shifts to long time friend, Detective Vincent D’Agosta (NYPD), Dr. Margo Green (Curator, MSH) and Constance Greene (Pendergast’s ward). These three beloved characters take center stage as they try to assemble a puzzle with seeming unrelated pieces in time to save Pendergast. It was an entertaining read that revealed more about the characters than it did about the villains.

Blue Labyrinth is a solid read, with vivid depictions, three dimensional characters and plenty of the eccentricities I’ve come to expect from Preston and Child. Rene Aberjonois has one the most distinctive voices in narration. His ability to breathe life into fictional characters takes the listener inside the book from cover to cover. He uses tone, tempo, accents and pitch to make each character an individual and every setting a beautifully drawn scene. Blue Labyrinth is a good book and even better audio experience. There are flaws, but none so flagrant as to turn me away from the series. At times it felt like the authors were preparing for the demise of Aloysius Pendergast and maybe that was their intention. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in Blue Labyrinth, so there’ll be a #15.

Happy Reading,

RJ



Also available in hardcover

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455525898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455525898
 

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A.D.30 by Ted Dekker

audiohachette.jpg

Often referred to as the Christian Thriller author, Dekker seems to have embraced the title and run with it – right onto the best seller shelf with A.D. 30. Both thriller and biblical fiction, this incredible piece of work will have you on the edge of your seat from Maviah’s exile, through her perilous journey across the Nafud dessert, right to the court of King Herod. Dekker’s depiction of the dessert is so vivid you can almost feel the heat rising from the sand as the camels lumber across the dangerous terrain. During Maviah’s conversations with Yeshua Dekker’s talents truly shine, as he weaves the gospel of Jesus seamlessly into the fictional world of A.D. 30.

Dekker’s characters are strong, believable, and easy to care about. A.D. 30 is Biblical Fiction at its finest. Ellen Archer’s narration brings the words to life. She utilizes pitch and inflections to differentiate the various characters and their ways. The audio book is an incredible listening experience, not to be missed.

Happy Reading!

RJ 🙂

also available in Hardcover

  • ISBN-13: 9781599954189
  • ISBN-10: 1599954184
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 432

 

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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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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!

To Kill a Mockingbird

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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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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

Morrow_Avon Logo-thumb-300x120-1863

Book 4 coming Summer 2010

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Promise of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst

Promise of the Wolves by Dorothy HearstPromise of the Wolves
Dorothy Hearst

ISBN 10: 1416569987
ISBN 13: 9781416569985
Hard Cover, Fiction, 352 pages

Simon & Schuster
www.simonsays.com

www.dorothyhearst.com

Available July 7, in Paperback

Dorothy Hearst’s debut, Promise of the Wolves takes you inside the realm of these beautiful, secretive and long ranging animals. Since the dawn of man we have been fascinated by the strength and charisma of the wolf – now, Hearst, delivers a heartwarming tale of friendship and adventure that will leave you longing to run with the pack!

A prehistoric fantasy, set 14,000 years ago, centering around the mythical society of the wolf and demonstrating that even at this early stage of organization and communication, mans impending effect on the ecological and environmental systems were showing. Part legend, part lore and all heart, Dororthy Hearst has struck fiction animal fantasy gold.

A young member of Swift River pack, Kaala is finding acceptance in her adoptive family elusive. The moon-shaped mark on Kaala is thought to be a sign of bad luck and therefore, Ruuquo, the leader, doesn’t trust her. And her desire to be with and interact with humans breaks the most important law…”never associate with humans.” However, the more alienated Kaala becomes -from the pack, the stronger her need to be with the humans grows. Unbeknownst to anyone, Kaala is guided by a spirit-wolf that obviously shares her desire to bring the humans and wolves together, so that they can coexist peacefully. With the help of her pack-mates, a silly raven named Tlitoo and otherworldly guidance from Spiritwolf, Kaala learns the value of friendship and that the future cannot depend solely upon the legends of the past, that there are no absolutes and that survival may well depend on their ability to embrace change. But can she convince the Greatwolves? Or will her need to bridge the divide between wolf and man destroy both of them?

Well researched, historically accurate, but more importantly, the animal personalities and respective voices are so point-on, you can’t help but wonder if Hearst consulted Dr. Dolittle while writing this book. Laying the foundation for such an imaginative trilogy can be cumbersome, run long and become overly factualized, however, Hearst manages to sidestep each of these pitfalls and deliver an interesting, invigorating story that familiarizes the reader with the characters and concepts, yet holding enough back to keep us wanting to know more. I look forward to continuing this series and for a few hours, embracing the fantastical!

Happy Reading!
RJ McGill, resident indie reviewer, 3Rs Den
-RJ McGill

Follow @MrsRJ


Paperback available July 7, 2009

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A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley

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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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If Truth Be Told

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Re: Power Play by Joseph Finder

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power-play-by-joe-finder.jpg Power Play
by Joseph Finder
ISBN:0-312-34748-0
fiction * 384 pages
St Martin’s Press
www.josephfinder.com

 Power Play is a clever, action packed read that’s firing on all cylinders…intelligent, intriguing and absolutely entertaining– a boardroom blockbuster that demands to be read in single sitting and leaves you breathless, yet wanting more. 

When CEO, Peter Rawlings, suffers a fatal heart attack while golfing at Pebble Beach, Cheryl Tobin is named as his replacement. In Hammond Aerospace’s male dominated executive suite, this wrinkles more than a few oxford button downs. Then a competitor’s newly designed plane crashes in a ball of flames during an air show in Paris. Which results in millions of dollars in new contracts, as customers scramble to get in line for the new Hammond jet. Because of this unexpected development, VP, Michael Zorn is unable to attend the annual executive retreat. On the day of their scheduled departure, his assistant, Jake Landry is summoned to attend the event in his place.

The lodge is located on an isolated Canadian lake, hidden deep in the vast British Colombian wilderness, where guests are treated to all the perks with none of the disturbances. Miles from the nearest cell phone or laptop King Chinook Lodge was the ideal place to brain storm and bond. Unfortunately, it was those very same characteristics that made it the perfect target for a high stakes kidnapping. And as fate would have it, the assistant, that wasn’t supposed to be there is the executives only hope for survival and the string that unravels a well planned ransom scheme.

This was one of the best books I have read (in any genre) and will certainly remain in my top 10 for a very long time.

The author has gone to great lengths to ensure the dialogue is as accurate as possible…the result is a wholly engrossing, exciting story that’s nearly impossible to put down! Modern issues, such as corporate kidnappings and glass ceilings, money laundering and sabotage are written with a depth and understanding that lend an unusual air of credibility to this novel.

 King Chinook Lodge is an integral part of the story, both allowing the danger to present itself and propelling the situation to its climatic and unavoidable culmination. Throughout the novel, fragments of the past are revealed, allowing the reader to become emotionally connected and invested in the story. Disturbing and thought provoking “Power Play” is a top notch thriller that is immensely satisfying and wildly entertaining!

We all hope there’s a Jake Landry character on our bus or staying in our hotel…or in the next Joe Finder novel! I can’t wait!

Happy Reading!
RJ
3Rs-Real Reader Review
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The Penny

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The Penny
Joyce Meyer & Deborah Bedford
Audio CD (abridged version – 5CD)
ISBN-10: 1594839352
ISBN-13: 978-1594839351
Hachette Book Group USA
www.hachettebookgroupusa.com
www.deborahbedfordbooks.com

Also available in Hardcover

How many times have you walked past a penny on the ground without so much as a second thought? Jenny Blake did just that, and then for some unexplainable reason, turned, ran back and retrieved the penny from the hot asphalt. At the tender age of 14 Jenny had no way of knowing the significance of her actions on that blistering summer day in 1955. The Blake family lived in St. Louis, which during the 50’s and early 60’s was a hotbed of racial tension. So when Jenny, a white girl, befriends Aurelia, a black girl recently integrated into the same school, she must keep the friendship a secret. Although Aurelia’s family welcomes Jenny into both their home and church, the same acceptance could not be found within the Blake household. Jenny’s father in an abusive, horrible man, that mistreats his daughters in every conceivable way. Working for Miss Shaw, the local jeweler, Jenny begins to see Christianity at work, in small ways that others barely notice. Yet, no matter how hard she prays, her fathers abuse continues and she struggles to understand why God seems to be ignoring her pain. With Miss Shaw’s guidance, and Aurelia’s unwavering friendship she continues building her faith, one step at a time. Little by little God’s truth is revealed to her…..”God doesn’t always make something go away because we pray, He often gives us the strength to stand up to it.” And that knowledge changes her life and that of those around her.

The authors indelible ability to recognize the miraculous wonders of God, even the smallest of details, is but one of the many things that makes “The Penny” a beautifully moving reading experience. Despite your religious convictions, this is a wonderful story where the authors reveal their inspirations subtly and slowly, never preachy, over-bearing or offensive, “The Penny” is much like the soft-spoken, loving direction one receives from a beloved parent. There’s something for everyone in this heart-felt, inspirational story. The narration is exceptionally well delivered, adding depth and conviction to the reading experience. I highly recommend this novel to any reader that simply enjoys a strong, powerful story. (Just make sure you don’t start listening (or reading) until you have several hours of free time… you will not want to put it down.)

Happy Reading!
  -RJ

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The Secret of The Lonely Grave

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The Secret of The Lonely Grave
By Albert Bell, Jr.
  Youth
Paperback: 160 pages 

ISBN-10: 1932158790
ISBN-13: 978-1932158793
Ingalls Publishing Group
Trade Paper
July 2007

Although middle schoolers are the primary target audience, The Secret of The Lonely Grave is a strong, thought provoking read, that easily grabs the attention of book lovers of all ages. Set in Western Kentucky this is an entertaining story that tackles controversial, difficult and painful topics in meaningful, age appropriate ways. While the characters are dealing with contemporary issues such as child abuse, single parent homes and school bullies, there’s a valuable history lesson at the heart of the book, that shines the light of truth on racism, slavery, bigotry and the indelible human spirit.

Walking to and from the bus stop, best friends, Steve Patterson and Kendra Jordan pass the old cemetery where Kendra’s sister Moniqa is buried. They have visited the cemetery many times and have always been curious about one particular grave, that of six year old, Amanda, buried in the mid 1800’s. The grave was set off by itself, some distance from all the others, for that reason they nicknamed it “the lonely grave.” When they notice flowers on the forgotten grave, they decide to stake out the cemetery. Thinking if they identify who is visiting the grave they can solve the mystery.

The friends soon discover the identity of the mysterious visitor– a recently widowed college professor, named Doc. Intelligent and kind, he too had been intrigued by the “lonely grave.” Doc guides the two friends as they spend the summer researching church and historical society records and talking with local residents. When they find evidence that suggests the infamous Underground Railroad may have passed through their small town, they realize this mystery goes far beyond the little girl’s grave.

Steve’s grandparents are anything but enthusiastic about his detective exploits and demonstrate a hush-hush attitude. It now seemed entirely possible that his family had taken part in the betrayal of a local family that had assisted many escaped slaves well over a hundred years ago.

Confronting difficult topics with a stylistic flair that educates and entertains, Bell utilizes modern themes and incorporates present day challenges into the lives of the characters. The story provides a forum for open discussions about the impact of slavery, equality and the power of the human spirit.

An informative, entertaining and thought provoking read, I recommend this book to all young readers. It would be beneficial for middle school history classes to add this book to their reading lists.

Happy Reading!
RJ xx

 

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