Monday, May 27, 2013

Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman

Started: 5/24/13
Finished: 5/27/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 320
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The closing of their favorite romantic rendezvous, the Fauboug Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a sad occasion for longtime patrons Alex Delaware and Robin Castagna. And gathering one last time with their fellow faithful habitues for cocktails in the gracious old venue makes for a bittersweet evening. But even more poignant is a striking young woman-alone and enigmatic among the revelers-waiting in vain in elegant attire and dark glasses that do nothing to conceal her melancholy. Alex can't help wondering what her story is, and whether she's connected to the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel.
"Two days later, Alex has even more to contemplate when police detective Milo Sturgis comes seeking his psychologist comrade's insights about a grisly homicide. To Alex's shock, the brutalized victim is the same beautiful woman whose lonely hours sipping champagne at the Fauboug may have been her last.
"But with a mutilated body and no DNA match, she remains a mysterious in death as she seemed in life. And even when a tipster's sordid revelation finally cracks the case open, the dark secrets that spill out could make Alex and Milo's best efforts to close this horrific crime not just impossible but fatal."
Opinion: The characters continue to be well developed and pick up just like you would expect them to. Great little twists and turns throughout the book.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

Started: 5/15/13
Finished: 5/23/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 451
Genre: Horror
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The Pendlerton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartlan city, a Gilded Age palace built in the 1800s as a tycoon's dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents-a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager among them-the Pendleton's magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.
"But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in the strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton's past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a deadly tide from which few have escaped."
Opinion: A decent horror book with several characters-different from his traditional couple with a dog facing an unknown demon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style by Brad and Barry Klinge

Started: 5/12/13
Finished: 5/13/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 223
Genre: Biographical
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The unusual is business as usual for brothers Brad and Barry Klinge, founders of Everyday Paranormal. With their state-of-the-art mobile ghost lab, the Klinges take a high-tech approach to investigating America's most notoriously haunted places, which has yielded some of the most definitive proof of ghosts' existence to date.
"In Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style, Brad and Barry reveal the events that led to the formation of Everyday Paranormal and their television show, Ghost Lab. They recall the eerie early experiences that convinced them that ghosts really do walk amond us, and vividly re-create their first forays into ghost hunting, their mishaps and close calls, and the bizarre characters they met along the way-both living and dead.
"A nonstop ride through America's haunted hotels, crumbling mansions, abandoned prisons, and other infamous sites, Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style is sure to captivate cynics and believers alike-and to change the way you think about ghosts."
Opinion: An interesting look at how the Klinge brothers became involved into studing the paranormal. I've always like their scientific approach to debunking and truly finding what out what is going on in "haunted"locations.

Good People by Marcus Sakey

Started: 5/4/13
Finished: 5/12/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 316
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Blurb (from back cover): "Tom and Anna Reed are young, middle-class, and in love. But financial pressures and the struggle to have a baby are wearing them down. So when they find $370,000 in their tenant's apartment, 'happily ever after' seems one risky decision away.
"But before the week is over, they'll know exactly where the money is from-and come face-to-face with brutal men who have been double-crossed. Men who won't stop until they get revenge.
"Nothing in life is free, and for Tom and Anna, happiness may cost more than they can bear to pay."
Opinion: A simple conflict taken to a whole new level. And it being done in a fantastic way. This is the first book that I read by Sakey and I will be reading more.

Chosen Prey by John Sandford

Started: 5/3/13
Finished: 5/9/ 13
Year: 2001
Pages: 294
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from book jacket): "An art history professor and writer and cheerful pervert, James Qatar had a hobby; he took secret photographs of women and turned them into highly sexual drawings. One day, he took the hobby a step further and...well, one thing led to another, and he had to kill her. A man in his position couldn't be too careful, after all. And you know something? He liked it.
"Already faced with a welter of confusion in his personal life. Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport decides to take this case himself, hoping that some straightforward police work will clear his head, but as the trail begins to take unexpected turns, it soon becomes clear that nothing is straightforward about this killer. The man is learning as he goes, Lucas realizes, taking great strides forward with each murder. He is becoming a monster-and Lucas may have no choice but to walk right into his lair..."
Opinion: A decent thrill ride where the reader would think that it was solved much earlier on and then a surprise twist.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Started: 4/29/13
Finished: 5/3/13
Year: 1999
Pages: 379
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): "Assaulted by the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, the American-born Dr. Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist for the Province of Quebec, digs for a corpse where Sister Elisabeth Nicolet, dead for over a century and now a candidate for sainthood, should be lying in her grave. A strange, small coffin, buried in the recesses of a decaying church, holds the first clue to the cloistered nun's fate.
"The puzzle surrounding Sister Elisabeth Nicolet's life and death provides a welcome contrast to discoveries at a burning chalet, where scorched and twisted bodies await Tempe's professional expertise. Who were these people? What brought them to this gruesome fate? And where are the children?
"Homicide Detective Andrew Ryan, with whom Tempe has a combustive history, joins her in the arson investigation, From the fire scene they are drawn into the worlds of an enigmatic and controversial sociologist, a mysterious commune, and a primate colony on a Carolina island. Tempe is overwhelmed by the case, confused by her mounting attraction to Ryan, and plagued by worries about her sister Harry's search for spiritual awakening."
Opinion: Some unique cases that are magically tied in with each other. Even though it is fiction, it contains some great detailed forensic work.

Before I Say Goodbye by Mary Higgins Clark

Started: 4/23/13
Finished: 4/29/13
Year: 2000
Pages: 332
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from book jacket): "When Adam Cauliff's new cabin cruiser, Cornelia II, blows up in New York harbor with him and several close buisness associates aboard, his wife, Nell MacDermott, is not only distraught at the loss but wracked with guilt because she and Adam had just had a serious quarrel and she had told him not to come home.
"The quarrel was precipitated by Nell's decision to try to win the congressional seat long held by her grandfather Cornelius MacDermott. Orphaned at age ten, she had been raised by 'Mac,' as she called him, and was always at his side on Capital Hill. Politics was in her blood, and Adam had known her ambitions when they married. Suddenly, however, he became opposed to her plan to run for Congress.
"Nell, like her great-aunt Gert, possesses psychic gifts, which her grandfather scoffingly dismisses as "flights of fantasy.' As a child she had been aware of the deaths of both her parents and grandmother at the exact moment they died.  She knew because at that very moment she sensed their presence near her.
"Even though Nell has the rare gift of extrasensory perception, she is much too level headed to accept most of the claims made by many so-called psychics and is skeptical about Aunt Gert's fascination with mediums. After Adam's death, however, Gert begs Nell to see a medium, Bonnie Wilson, who has contacted her, claiming she is in touch with Adam. Still regretting her last angry words to Adam, Nell agrees, hoping that she will be able to reach him through the medium and part from him in peace.
"As the investigation into the boat's explosion proceeds, Nell is shocked by the official confirmation that it was not an accident but the result of foul play. Adam, an architect, had been involved in a major construction project on land he had recently purchased and which had since had a spectacular rise in value.
"Was Adam the target of the explosion? Or was it Winifred Johnson, his self-effacing, fifty-two-year-old assistant, who knew too much about bribery in the construction business and who was openly in love with him? Or was it Sam Krause, a builder with a questionable reputation who was involved in the new project? Or Jimmy Ryan, the debt-ridden construction foreman whose wife, after his death, discovers money hidden in their home? Or was it Peter Lang, the wealthy man-about-town real-estate entrepreneur, whose minor traffic accident caused him to miss the fatal meeting on the boat?
"As Nell searches for the truth about Adam's death, she carries out instructions from Adam transmitted through the medium. What she does not know is that she is being closely watched, and the nearer she comes to learning what actually happened on the boat that night, the nearer she is to becoming the next victim of a ruthless killer."
Opinion: This story had an interesting little twist near the end that in hindsight, should have been predicted.

Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love by Norine Dresser and Fredda Wasserman

Started: 4/19/13
Finished: 4/23/13
Year: 2010
Pages: 198
Genre: Psychology/Grief
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed it off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love consists of moving narratives about end of life and grief. These personal histories are complemented by practical guidelines for those caring for their loved ones through the last stages of life. For those who are grieving, the true-to-life-stories demonstrate how others have navigated through the tidal wave of emotions and reactions that chracterize the grief process. For health care professionals and those who are offering support to grievers, Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love provides a new perspective on the challenges of caring for the dying and living with grief."
Opinion: This book deals with dealing death of a loved one who does not die suddenly. Some great personal stories and some good guidelines of how to attempt to deal.

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

Started: 4/16/13
Finished: 4/29/13
Year: 1997
Pages: 293
Genre: literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up. For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters Hollis-the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her-the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited. This dark romantic tale asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes you. The answers that March Murray discovers are both heartbreaking and wise, as complex as they are devastating-for in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious. But is is something altogether different here on earth..."
Opinion: The ending seemed very rushed and certain characters didn't make sense in sticking together.

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

Started: 4/10/13
Finished: 4/16/13
Year: 2002
Pages: 385
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed it off the TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): "She was a 'Jane Doe,' an unidentified white female whose decomposed body was discovered near a quarry off California's Highway 1.  The case fell to the Santa Teresa County Sheriff's Department, but the detectives had little to go on. The woman was young, her hands were bound with a length of wire, there were multiple stab wounds, and her throat had been slashed. After months of investigation, the case remained unsolved.
"That was eighteen years ago., Now, the two men who found the body, both nearing the end of long careers in law enforncement, want one last shot at the case. Old and ill, they need someone to do the legwork for them, and they turn to Kinsey Millhone. They will, they tell her, find a closure if they can just identify the victim. Kinsey is intrigued with the challenge and agrees to work with them.
"But revisiting the past can be a dangerous business, and what begins with the pursuit of Jane Doe's real identity ends in a high-risk hunt for her killer."
Opinion: This book fits right in with Grafton's Alphabet series. It was fun returning to Kinsey's life after not having visited in a long time. Lots of little twists and turns.