2012.23 REVIEW – The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O’Brien

The Lincoln Conspiracy
by Timothy L. O’Brien

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 296
Read: Sept. 10-18, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly count: 23
Format: E-Book
Source: Review copy through NetGalley

Blurb: A nation shattered by its president’s murder
Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy
A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him

From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy-and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War-era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends-and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions-Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping,The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents-and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.


Review: I originally saw this book on LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program a couple of months back. I was immediately intrigued – pretty much anything with the name “Lincoln” will get my attention. I was incredibly sad when I didn’t snag a copy. I checked to see if my local library had a copy on order – they didn’t. Then I decided to see if maybe it was available on NetGalley (a service that I rarely use because I really do not like reading e-books). I was encouraged when I found that it was listed – and was even more thrilled when I got accepted for a copy! I got my Nook Color out, dusted it off, charged it up (because I honestly don’t think I had turned it on in over a year) and loaded the book onto it. Then I let it sit. For weeks. Finally I realized that if I wanted this review to get done around the release date, I would have to get on it.

My feelings on this book overall are mixed. I need to start out by saying that, for me, this book started out extremely slow. Like to the point where if it hadn’t been a review copy, I probably never would have finished it just because the beginning was that tough to get through. But I carried on … and I can honestly say that I am very glad that I stuck with it. It was about 75-100 pages in when it started to really get interesting.

While reading this book it didn’t really feel that much like a historical novel. Obviously it was, seeing as how it was set in 1865, but there was something about the language that didn’t make it seem historical. The context was there, but the language was not, I suppose it the best way for me to describe it. Personally, I liked that. I tend to shy away from anything that has flowery descriptions of things or that has wording that is harder for me to understand because of the differences in the wording we use today versus what was used in the past. This book didn’t have that feel to it (which might have some historical fiction fans upset). I’m not 100% sure, but I think part of the reason why I get that vibe from this book is simply because it was written by a man. All the historical fiction that I have read (and trust me, my experience with the genre is limited) has been authored by women. Either way, it doesn’t really matter because I enjoyed the book.

I liked the characters. Temple and Fiona are a good couple, they definitely compliment each other perfectly. Poor Temple, he was always ruining his boots – much to the chagrin of Fiona!! I liked Augustus as well. Having a black man play such an important role in a white couple’s life during the 1860s was quite interesting. They truly considered him a friend and I liked that, particularly since it was set in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. I don’t think that made much sense, it’s really hard to find the wording for my feelings on this.

The “mystery” of this book was interesting. It obviously revolves around the diaries that are mentioned in the blurb above. It was neat seeing the cipher be broken bit by bit throughout the book. And there sure were a lot of people in D.C. that wanted those diaries covered up! It definitely made for some exciting moments. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have had more information on what was in Mrs. Lincoln’s diary than what the reader sees.

The ending of the book …. oh, how do I explain this without giving too much away. Let me start with this – the ending frustrated me! I guess I wanted more closure than I felt like I got. We never know who Maestro really is. I have a pretty good guess just by the clues that are given about him, but I have no concrete evidence as to if my suspicion is correct. And that irritated me! However, having said that, I suppose it adds to the suspense of the overall story.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. I’m glad that I persevered through that slow beginning and finished the book. It might technically be a historical fiction book, but I really think it will appeal to the thriller/suspense crowd as well.

 

2012.22 REVIEW – DiSemblance by Shanae Branham

 

 

DiSemblance
by Shanae Branham

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 369
Read: Sept. 4-8, 2012
Challenge: The Eclectic Reader 2012, Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly count: 22
Format: Print
Source: Review copy provided by author

Blurb: As a computer prodigy, Jason has spent his life with limited social contact due to his father’s secretive work on a hologram machine that can create digital immortality. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, Jason is targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. Having spent much of his youth living in the virtual world his father created, he must now go on the run if he is going to save himself, his brother, and the beautiful girl next door.


Review: I was contacted directly by the author to review this book.

My faithful readers know that I don’t read a lot of young adult books. But when I was pitched this book, something about it really caught my attention.

I finished this book this morning. And I’ve been sitting on it trying to figure out how to best review it. Let me start with this: nothing is as it seems in this book. There were times where I couldn’t even tell what was real life and what was happening in the machine.

There is truly so much that could be said about this book, but I want to be careful and not give too much away, because I think that it would be very easy to say too much about this particular book.

Generally, I  have a pretty low tolerance to unbelievable things. This pretty well explains why I usually dislike anything paranormal or science fiction. But for some reason this book didn’t bother me. And it should have; seriously, a hologram machine? Whatever the reason, it worked for me.

The characters were well developed. I especially liked how Bruce and Angela were at odds throughout the entire book. I personally felt as if that made things feel so much more believable. Jason and Isaac seemed to be your typical teenage brothers. And while the story really belonged to Jason, I felt as if Bruce was a truly great supporting character. His part in the story was integral to the whole book. I felt like he was really the hero in this book. Definitely an A+ for this book in terms of character development.  (I guess I should mention that character development is HUGE for me).

My one complaint is that there were a few minor typos. I’m just such a stickler for perfect grammar. But I’ve determined that just about every single book on the market has typos. It makes me have flashbacks to senior year in high school when I was feature editor of our school newspaper and I had to edit so many mistakes out of every article that crossed my desk! But in reality, I only noticed two typos, not bad in a 300+ page book.

So what does all this rambling have to do with my thoughts on this book? I liked it. A lot, actually. I found it fast paced and engrossing. I would start reading and realize that I had flown through 50 pages before I realized it. I’m definitely glad that Ms. Branham stumbled across my blog and sent me her pitch, I would never have found this book otherwise. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read. It’s not just for the young adult crowd or the science fiction crowd. It’s definitely a book that will appeal to a wide variety of readers and I highly recommend it.

 

2012.21 REVIEW – Fireproof by Alex Kava

 

Fireproof
by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 307
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 13-21, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly Count: 21
Format: Print
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer

Blurb: When an abandoned warehouse in Washington, D.C., bursts into flames on a cold winter night, the first investigators on the scene instantly spot similarities to a string of recent fires in the area. There is one difference, however: This one has a human casualty. The local team insists the murder is an isolated incident, concluding that the culprit must be a bored young man suffering from an uncontrollable impulse to act out anger and sexual aggression. But when Special Agent Maggie O’Dell is called in, everything she sees indicates that this is the work if a far more dangerous and calculating criminal.

Jeffery Cole, a reporter looking for his big break, is also at the scene of the crime and decides to make Maggie part of his news piece, putting the spotlight on her and digging up aspects of her past she would rather forget. Maggie’s half brother, Patrick, is back in D.C. too, working for a private fire-fighting company, and he is frequently called in as these fires continue to light up around the city.

As the acts of arson become more brazen and bodies keep turning up, Maggie’s professional and personal worlds begin to collide dangerously. She starts to fear for Patrick’s safety as he is sent into the flames set by this madman again and again, and Jeffery is becoming a very unwelcome distraction. Meanwhile, the arsonist-murderer may be much closer than Maggie imagines.


Review: I received this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.

This is the 10th book in the Maggie O’Dell series. After being a little disappointed in the previous two installments, I was a little unsure about this book. I still wanted to read it, but I went into it not knowing if it would live up to the expectations I so badly wanted out of it.

Luckily this book was as good as I wanted it to be. Maggie is back and better than ever, in my opinion.

The  identity of the arsonist is not really all that shocking, and easily detected quite early. But that didn’t really bother me. I was a lot more interested in seeing a possible love interest for Patrick and the possibility of a serial killer. I am assuming that this will be the direction that the next book goes in.

But what I really appreciated about this book was that Maggie was back front and center. My complaint about the two previous books was that Maggie felt more like a supporting character rather than the main character. That was not the case in this book. And that was definitely a much needed move for this series.

While this book is the 10th in the series, I felt as if it had enough background to stand somewhat on its own. However, I think it would most definitely make you want to read the previous books.

Overall, I’m glad I got the opportunity to read this book and I would highly recommend it to others.

2012.20 REVIEW – Blowback by Brad Thor

Blowback
by Brad Thor

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 568
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 30 – Aug. 11, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly Count: 20
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: Scott Harvath’s counterterrorism career has just crashed and burned – thanks in part to a ruthless senator with her sights set on the White House. But when the war on terror takes a chilling turn, the president has no choice but to secretly bring Harvath back inside. Deep beneath an Alpine glacier, an ancient weapon designed to decimate the Roman Empire has been unearthed – and a shadowy organization intends to use it for America’s downfall. Racing across Europe, Harvath must secure the ultimate instrument of destruction before it brings the United States and the rest of the world to its knees.


Review: This is the fourth in the Scot Harvath series. I read the first three last year and then took a big break. These books are not easy reading. But I have enjoyed all four books in this series.

I’m still trying to figure out what to say about this book. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But as I stated above, Mr. Thor’s books are not easy to read. They definitely take a lot more concentration to get through. So with everything going on in my life, I am pleasantly surprised that I was able to get through this book as quickly as I did. I say this because I actually tried to read this book earlier this year and actually had to set it aside because I simply didn’t have the concentration for it (pregnancy brain at it’s finest!) However, I am very glad that I decided to pick this book back up when I did. Because I found it to be a very exciting read.

I sometimes struggle with books that have terrorist aspects. There’s no particular reason for this, other than it’s outside my comfort zone. But in this book, it didn’t phase me at all. There were a few times throughout the book that I struggled to understand what was going on, but that was always when they were discussing the weapon that is at the heart of the plot.

As I stated earlier, this is the fourth book in the series. While I always prefer to read books in order, I do not think that it would be a requirement for this book. I felt as if it could have read as a stand-alone just as well.

I like Scot’s character. Mr. Thor has managed to make him quite appealing in my opinion. First he’s married to his job. But he’s also not a womanizer. And it was in this particular installment that the reader really gets to see that Scot may be regretting not being settled down. I am definitely anxious to see where Scot’s romantic life takes him in subsequent books. There’s just something about his character that fits perfectly in my opinion. It’s hard for me to put into words what I feel about this.

Another thing that I like about these books is that Mr. Thor always seems to have a very strong female secondary character. This complements Scot quite well. And it also fits my tastes perfectly. I hate the whole damsel in distress thing, so I enjoy seeing Scot interact with women who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.

Overall, while these books may not be for everyone, I enjoy them quite a lot and would definitely recommend them.

2012.18 REVIEW – Sly Fox by Judge Jeanine Pirro

Sly Fox
by Judge Jeanine Pirro

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 289
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 9 – July 22, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly Count: 18
Format: Print
Source: Review Copy from Hyperion Books

Blurb: In Westchester, New York, young assistant district attorney Dani Fox is investigating a series of brutal crimes against women and children, cases that male prosecutors don’t care about. It’s a man’s world in 1978, and as the only female prosecutor in the office, she’s shunned by her peers, dismissed by judges, and ignored by detectives. Using her legal acumen and razor-sharp wit, she outmaneuvers her critics both in and out of the courtroom.

Fox stumbles upon one of her most challenging cases when she goes after a successful businessman who has been secretly molesting his beautiful young daughter for years. While handling this politically tricky prosecution, she learns that the accused is hiding an even more sinister crime: the murder of his second wife. Her death was ruled a suicide at the time, but Fox uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise. Proving his guilt is tougher than she imagined, as even murderers have friends in unexpected places, and there are times when the legal system – her fellow prosecutors, judges, and the police – may not be on her side….


Review: I was contacted by Jonathan Bernstein, Social Media Manager of Hyperion Books, about the opportunity to read and review this book.

You know what I find to be the best part of being a book blogger? Being introduced to great books that I might never find on my own. This book fits that bill for me.

When this book was pitched to me, it was likened to Nancy Grace’s book, The Eleventh Victim. I enjoyed that book and was immediately intrigued by the description of this book. I honestly don’t read very many books with strong female protagonists, so I was definitely looking forward to giving this book a chance. And it definitely did not disappoint.

This book is set in 1970s New York. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with it being from this time period. But I was a little more than shocked, to say the least. I knew that a woman prosecutor in the 1970s would have trouble with the proverbial glass ceiling. And I also knew that the police department would be a boys club where everyone covered for everyone else. But what I didn’t know was that it was actually still legal for a man to beat his wife!! Say what?! I could see that law still being on the books in the 1950s, but the 1970s definitely surprised me.

I liked Dani Fox’s character. She felt very real to me. Of course that is probably due to the fact that the author, Judge Pirro, really drew upon her own personal experiences in the legal field. This fact also really helped develop the plot, in my opinion.  I was finding myself getting increasingly frustrated With the kind of injustice that the victim was experiencing. It was quite disheartening, actually. It’s really good to know that there are so many victim advocates out there, because this book really illustrates the need for them, in my opinion.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The characters were well developed, the plot was interesting to me, the writing was enjoyable. I think it will appeal to a wide variety of readers, but if you’re a fan of the legal fiction genre, I would definitely recommend giving this book a chance.

 

2012.17 REVIEW – Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

Scarpetta
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 579
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 26 - July 5, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly Count: 17
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes an assignment in New York City, where an injured patient in Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward has specifically asked for her. While Scarpetta examines him, she listens to one of the most bizarre stories she has ever heard.

Oscar Bane says his injuries were sustained in the course of a murder … that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixated on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed, and stalked by the actual killer? The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered – and more violent deaths will occur…

In the days that follow, Scarpetta, her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city. It is an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew but also much, much too close to home.


Review: Okay, here’s the deal: In 2010 I went kind of bonkers and read the first 15 Scarpetta books pretty much back to back. I got burned out. Big time. In fact, I wrote a pretty negative review of the 15th book in the series, Book of the Dead. I made it relatively clear that I was burned out in that review and that I was not impressed with where this series was going. Fast forward a year and a half later and I decided to pick up book 16, Scarpetta. It was more curiosity than anything. I remembered perfectly clearly that I was unimpressed by the previous book and that I was especially ticked off with the direction the character development was going in. Oh and the fact that Dr. Scarpetta could not stay put – she was constantly moving, two new cities in two books! For me to remember that clearly so long after reading it why I hated that book speaks volumes – I must have really not liked it. However, I was determined to give her one more shot (two actually, since I’ve still got The Scarpetta Factor on my shelf).

So what do I have to say about this book? Well, it read pretty quickly for me – and when you have a 5 week old baby in the house and you are able to read “quickly” it must not be too bad of a book.

First I want to discuss the characters. I still am not impressed with Pete Marino and how Scarpetta handled (or rather, pretty much chose to ignore) the situation that occurred between the two of them in the previous book. I knew she would forgive him when she really should not have even considered such a thing. Lucy wasn’t nearly as obnoxious in this book and I think Benton is going to start coming around (hopefully) in his relationship with Kay. The supporting characters were good in this book. Jaime Berger was pretty prominent in this book (it is set in NYC, which is where Berger has always been) and I’m confident she will figure prominently in the future books as well.

The storyline was interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where dwarfism played a part in the plot. That was kind of interesting. I was also impressed with the who-dun-it part. When the blurb says things hit too close to home, well that is spot on accurate in this case. The who-dun-it part was a surprise to me, I couldn’t believe how it ended up unfolding in the end. I will say that I was a little disappointed in the overall ending. When you’ve got a 500+ page book, I kind of feel that the ending sometimes needs more than 5 pages. I know there has to be some kind of a happy medium between too drawn out and too rapid, but this particular ending was lacking a little bit in my opinion. However, I will say that everything was wrapped up relatively nicely – I didn’t think it had too much of a cookie-cutter feeling, but questions were answered at the end.

So what is my overall opinion of this book? I enjoyed it. I’m not entirely sure I’m back on board with this series yet, though. I think I will take it one book at a time. I also think that having such a long break since reading the previous book helped my opinion of this one. I went into it with a more open mind, rather than still being irritated from the last installment. Without a doubt, the early Scarpetta books are wonderful, but this one wasn’t too shabby in my opinion. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I would highly recommend this book, but I wouldn’t discourage people from giving it a shot (if they’ve read all the previous books and have become burned out like I did).

2012.16 REVIEW – Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews

Jack 1939
by Francine Mathews

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 358
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 19 - June 26, 2012
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly Count: 16
Format: Print
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program

Blurb: It’s the spring of 1939, and the prospect of war in Europe looms large. The United States has no intelligence service. In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt may run for an unprecedented third term and needs someone he can trust to find out what the Nazis are up to. His choice: John F. Kenedy.

It’s a surprising selection. At twenty-two, Jack Kennedy is the attractive but unpromising second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt’s ambassador to Britain (and occasional political adversary). When Jack decides to travel through Europe to gather research for his Harvard senior thesis, Roosevelt takes the opportunity to use him as his personal spy. The president’s goal: to stop the flow of German money that has been flooding the United States to buy the 1940 election – an election that Adolf Hitler intends for Roosevelt to lose.


Review: I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program.

I was immediatley intrigued by the description of this book when I first saw it on LibraryThing’s website. I am a JFK junkie; anything with John F. Kennedy even remotely mentioned will immediately draw me in. So I was definitely more than thrilled to learn that I had managed to snag a review copy.

I will say that historical fiction is not my usual genre. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, because for the most part I do, it’s just not something that I read a lot of (which is funny, I was a history major in college, so you would think that I woud read more historical fiction just because of that). And while this is historical fiction, I use that term loosely, because when I think of historical fiction, to be completely honest, I think a lot farther back than 1939. But that’s a discussion for another time :)

Okay, so on to the nitty gritty about this book. I enjoyed it. I was sucked in immediately, pretty much from the first page. I was very pleased with how Ms. Mathews portrayed JFK. He was a Kennedy – so he was charming, smart, funny, well-traveled, etc. But she also portrayed him as somewhat of a romantic. And she didn’t hide his illnesses either – something that he seemed to work very hard at hiding throughout his public life. I think she was really able to get to the gist of who JFK really was.

The story line was very interesting. I never realized there was no intelligence agency back then. I guess I thought the CIA had been around longer than it obviously has. So I found it quite interesting when the President of the United States recruited his own “spies.” It was also quite eye-opening to realize that Roosevelt was in the precarious situation of not being able to trust certain people around him. That would be extremely hard for the President to have to deal with. And J. Edgar Hoover – well we all know just how difficult he was.

My only complaint with the entire book comes with an issue I had near the end of the book. At this point Jack is hopping from place to place all over Europe. And I had trouble keeping track of where he was and where he was going. It might have had more to do with the fact that I was trying to read and take care of my 4 week old son than the book itself though. :)

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. I think that it will appeal to a variety of readers – historical fiction lovers, mystery lovers, spy/intrigue lovers, there’s even some romance. It definitely appealed to my obsession with anything JFK.

Bottom line: Enjoyable read, highly recommendable.

2012.15 REVIEW – Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb

Immortal in Death
by J.D. Robb

Copyright: 1996
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 8 - June 19, 2012
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge; Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly Count: 15
Format: E-Book
Source: Library

Blurb: It is 2058, New York City. Lieutenant Eve Dallas uncovers a world where technology can create beauty and youth, but passion and greed can destroy them.

She was one of the most sought-after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted -even another woman’s man. And now she’s dead, the victim of a brutal murder.

Police lieutenant Eve Dallas puts her life on the line to take the case when suspicion falls on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the facade of glamor, Eve finds that the world of high fashion thrives on an all-consuming obsession with youth and fame-one that leads her from the lights of the runway to the dark underworld of New York City, where drugs can fulfill any desire, for a price


Review: It has been forever since I read the first two books in this series. I recall being less than thrilled with the second one, which is probably why I never got around to the third one. Most of my problem stems from the fact that these books are set so far in the future (2058) that I have a hard time getting past all the futuristic parts involved. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

To be completely honest, because of that big gap in between reading book 2 and book 3, I was a little more than lost when it came to the characters and any previous development/interaction. But overall that doesn’t really take away too much from this book. While it is obviously a series, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it stands well as a stand-alone, but it definitely wasn’t too hard to follow in my opinion.

The storyline in this installment was very good. I was just as stumped as Eve was about who the killer was until it was revealed at the end. And honestly, it was a surprise for me – something that doesn’t necessarily happen every time, but something that I really like in a book.

To be completely honest, this book was a great distraction for me. It was an easy read. I read the majority of this book on my iPhone during Garrett’s middle of the night feedings. I’m going to have to fire up my Nook in the future, because the iPhone screen is not the easiest thing to read a book on! (Or I could just wait until I get my iPad next month for my birthday!!)

So what’s the bottom line here? It was a good book, provided me with some great distraction when I needed it most and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series (I already put myself on the waiting list for the e-book through my library).

2012.14 REVIEW – The Wrong Man by David Ellis

The Wrong Man
by David Ellis

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 466
Rating: 5/5
Read: May 27 – June 13, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly Count: 14
Format: Print
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program

Blurb: When Jason Kolarich agrees to defend a homeless Iraq War veteran accused of murdering a young paralegal, his course seems clear: to mount an insanity defense for a man suffering so badly from post-traumatic stress disorder that he has no real memory of the crime. But as Kolarich digs deeper, he realizes that, unlikely as it seems, his client is probably innocent … and the murder was no random crime, but a targeted hit. As Kolarich races to find the truth in time to save his client, he’ll find himself embroiled in a mystery involving the mob, a mysterious assassin, and a conspiracy of wealthy international terrorists with explosive plans for his city.


Review: I received this book courtesy of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program.

I have to admit that I normally resist picking up a book that is part of a series without reading the books before it in the series. This is usually a big pet peeve of mine. But I was just so thrilled at getting the opportunity to get this book I didn’t really care that it was the third in the series. And honestly, it stands relatively well on its own. There were a few places where I felt like knowing a little more background could have been helpful, but knowledge of what happened in the previous books really is not an issue with how this book reads.

All that aside, how can you go wrong when you’ve got the mob, an assassin, and terrorists involved? And the courtroom action was very interesting as well – I got a big kick out of how Jason perceives the Judge in the case and what his rulings will be. But of course I am a sucker for good courtroom action in any book.

Overall I found this book to be very interesting. The storyline was good and current. The writing and grammar were perfect (I think I saw one grammatical error, but my copy is an advanced reader copy). The characters were well-developed, as they should be for being the third in a series. And there’s a pretty big twist at the end. I had a sneaking suspicion something was a little off, but when I realized what exactly the twist was I was pleasantly surprised.

Bottom line: Definitely pick up this book if given the chance. And I look forward to meeting Jason Kolarich from the beginning sometime in the future.

2012.13 REVIEW – Tick Tock by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Tick Tock
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 387
Rating: 4/5
Read: May 25 – May 27, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly Count: 13
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: A bomb set in one of New York’s busiest places is discovered before it explodes. But relief turns to terror when the police realize it is just a warning of greater devastation to come. The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside vacation with his ten adopted children and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine – leaving his entire family open to attack.

Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Beth Peters. His affection for Beth grows into attraction and then something stronger, and his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. Another horrifying crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer’s pattern — and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan.


Review: I can always count on a James Patterson book for a great escape. For whatever reason, I always seem to fly through his books. And luckily, this one was no different. I had actually picked this book up last year and tried to read it but never got very far into it. So I decided to give it another shot and the pages just flew by.

I’m a sucker for Mr. Patterson’s books. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like him or his work. I have to admit that when you put out a gazillion books a year with your name on it, it is a little hard to make them feel authentic. And while a lot of people have issues with how he uses so many different co-authors, I don’t seem to mind at all. I just like the fun that usually comes with a Patterson book.

For me, while I like the Michael Bennett series, it’s not my favorite. However, there was something about this book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I like where Mike and Mary Catherine might be going. I like how the kids (yes, all 10 of them) each manage to have a small role in the book. And, as usual with Mr. Patterson’s books, it was a fun roller coaster ride of a story.

While these books will never win any great literary awards, I would definitely recommend this series, but definitely start with the first one (Step on a Crack).