4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell

Body of Evidence
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 1991
Pages: 403
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 20 – 23, 2010
Challenge:  2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Random Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 9

First Line: Dear M, Thirty days have passed in measured shades of sunlit color and changes in the wind. I think too much and do not dream.

When reclusive author Beryl Madison is found brutally murdered in her own home, Kay Scarpetta is on the case. Kay knows that Beryl has been having some issues with some menacing phone calls. In fact, Beryl had escaped Virginia altogether in order to get away from the harassment. While away Beryl is thought to have been writing a tell-all memoir about her life and her relationship to another reclusive author. But Kay also knows that that is a book that there are more than a few people who do not want it to ever hit the presses. While trying to track down the only known copy of the book Kay finds herself mixed up with a man from her past as well as the same stalker that Beryl was dealing with.

I read the first book in this series last year and was not real impressed by it. So I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get around to this one. But I have to tell you – I am glad I did read it! This book was so much better than the first one. The story was better, the writing was better, everything was better. It has definitely made me look forward to reading the third in this series. As a side note to this review, I just saw on CNN that it has been confirmed that Angelina Jolie has been cast to play Kay Scarpetta in an upcoming movie based on this series. I have to say – this is really wrong! From the descriptions that I get from reading the first two books, Ms. Jolie is too young, too tall, too skinny, just too wrong to play this character. That’s just my two cents on the matter. You can read about this here. (Of course I also didn’t like Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme either….)

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: Hotshot by Catherine Mann

by Catherine Mann

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 280
Rating: 3/5
Read: Feb. 12 – 16, 2010
Challenge:  2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010; Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010
Yearly Count: 8

First Line: Major Vince “Vapor” Deluca didn’t need to ask if there were Harleys in heaven.

Major Vince Deluca has just accepted his most difficult mission ever – to keep an eye on Shay Bassett, the daughter of his old mentor. But ever since they were teens Shay’s always had a way of making him lose his mind at times. So he knows it will be a tough assignment. Shay now works with troubled teens in Cleveland. She’s scheduled to talk to Congress about the problems that Cleveland’s teeangers face every day. But some people don’t want her to testify and will do anything to keep her quiet. And she will have to turn to Vince in order to stay alive.

Okay, let me first state that this is really not my favorite type of book. However, for some unknown reason to me I signed up to participate as a judge in the National Readers’ Choice Awards sponsored by the Romance Writers of America. When the books arrived in my mailbox I asked myself why I signed myself up to read these books, I guess I never thought I would be chosen. However I was and this was the first of the four books that I am supposed to read. This one had it’s good and bad parts in my opinion. Overall I liked the storyline, but all the romance got a little bit on my nerves (again not my cup of tea). But honestly, it wasn’t a really bad book. It was all just a little over-the-top unbelievable for my taste, but not a bad read at all.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: Black Friday by Alex Kava

Black Friday
by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 295
Rating: 5/5
Read: Feb. 7 – 11, 2010
Challenge:  2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish That Series Challenge
Yearly Count: 7

First Line: Rebecca Cory stood her ground despite another elbow shoved into her shoulder blades.

It’s the busiest shopping day of the year – Black Friday – everybody is enjoying great sales and the true beginning of the holiday shopping season. People were minding their own business in the Mall of America … until three bombs go off in the food court area. The three young men that are carrying the bombs think that they’re just carrying jamming systems to cause chaos in the stores, unfortunately they become suicide bombers by the man carrying the remote control for the bombs. Maggie O’Dell is called in to profile. But things get a little personal when Maggie finds out that her brother Patrick could have been mixed up in all this mess. But when an informant finally confides in Maggie about the truth behind the entire situation she realizes that there will be a second place and that she must find out where it will occur in order to stop it and save more lives.

I love, love, love this series!! And this installment was especially good in my opinion. I’ve been to the Mall of America numerous times, not on Black Friday, but it always seems to be packed inside that mall, I can’t even begin to imagine if a bomb was really to go off in that mall. I found the way that Kava brought Nick Morelli back into the picture a little far-fetched, the odds of the way they ended up at the same disaster was a little suspicious. Personally I feel like that attraction ran its course a few books ago. But I liked how she brought Patrick back into the story. Overall I really liked this book. If you’ve never tried this series before, I definitely recommend reading them in order.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, Review Book

REVIEW: 18 Billion by Jack Gresham

18 Billion
by Jack Gresham

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 337
Rating: 3/5
Read: Feb. 4-7, 2010
Challenge:  2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; Thriller & Suspense 2010
Yearly Count: 6

First Line: The man approaching teller number three carried a rectangular black leather briefcase.

Blurb from the back of the book:
In Washington, D.C., a cell of Afghan terrorists – armed with a nuclear weapon – conspire to rob the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of eighteen billion dollars. They plan to fund and curry favor with Mohammed of Babylon, an international negotiator and proponent of peaceful jihad who is rumored to be the Mahdi, the prophesied redeemer of Islam. Mohammed, shocked to find himself the center of religious extremism, attempts to right the wrong done to the United States without betraying the trust of his people. Meanwhile, the government’s investigation into the terrorist cell behind the threat uncovers a more frightening plot. An international corporation called Global Consultant Ltd. appears to be funding and manufacturing global terrorism for their own purposes. The corporation, driven by greed rather than ideology, has the feds wondering how far their influence reaches and what it will take to counter the terrorism already set in motion.

My opinion: (some SPOILERS are included)
I received this book to review from Maia Levenson from Phenix & Phenix Publicity. This would not have been a book that I would have ever picked up in a bookstore. This is a little bit out of my normal reading, and I think that that is what initially attracted me to this book. However, I was slightly disappointed in it. First of all, there were more than a few grammatical errors (I know I’m a stickler for that, but it’s definitely a pet peeve of mine). I also didn’t really care for the writing style, I found myself having to re-read a lot of paragraphs because I found myself losing track of who was speaking and what was really going on. Personally, I felt like the first half of this book was much better than the second. Pretty much everything that went on after the robbery at the Fed in regards to the government and their plans, well that was unbelievable to say the least. The overall story got a little bogged down for my taste with all the descriptions by the different government agencies in regards to how they were going to unravel the conspiracy behind the terrorists and the nuclear threat. There was so much jumping around between the different characters that it was a little bit confusing at times. I thought that Mr. Gresham could have made it a little more believable if some of the government agencies had made a few wrong turns here or there in regards to tracking the communications, the terrorists and the businesses involved. Everything went a little too smoothly for my taste – the robbery occurred, but the bombs were never set off – the money was returned – the terrorists were caught, etc. It was all just a little too cookie-cutter clean. Sure, this is the first book in a planned series, so maybe some of the answers are in subsequent books, but I’m not sure I would continue on with this series. Overall, I wouldn’t consider this a bad book, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: Final Breath by Kevin O’Brien

Final Breath
by Kevin O’Brien

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 436
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Jan. 27 – Feb. 3, 2010
Challenge:  2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2010; Thriller & Suspense 2010
Yearly Count: 5

First Line: “I swear to God, I’m going to killer her,” he whispered. 

The deaths appear to be random. There seems to be no connection whatsoever. But one woman is slowly realizing that there is indeed a connection – and it’s her. Television reporter Sydney Jordan begins receiving strange souvenirs. She has no idea what these souvenirs really mean, but she eventually begins to realize that people that she has previously interviewed for her television show are ending up dead – most of them are made to look like accidents. But she knows that something else is going on with these deaths. After leaving Chicago abruptly with her son for Seattle, she feels that it will be a new start, but these strange occurrences just keep happening. Someone is watching her and her son, someone who knows her quite well, someone who has placed Sydney as a pawn in a very deadly game. When Sydney finally puts all of the clues together, will it be too late?

I have read a few other Kevin O’Brien novels in the past and have always loved the intense thrills that he manages to write. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s just one of those authors who can give me goosebumps. This one had a few slow places, but overall I thought it was a really good book! I had no idea as to who Sydney’s stalker was until it was revealed in the last few pages, and it was definitely a surprise. There were clues placed throughout the novel, but like Sydney, I missed most of them. My one gripe was that there were a few grammatical errors (my biggest pet peeve). I highly recommend this one.