4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book, SERIES

2013.27 REVIEW – Stranded by Alex Kava

by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 23-26, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

Blurb: Tired travelers and weary truckers have stopped at rest areas on the nation’s highways for decades to refuel, grab a bite, and maybe get some shut-eye, but one man’s rest stop is another’s hunting ground. For decades the defenseless, the weary, and the stranded have disappeared along the highways and byways, vanishing without a trace, but these seemingly unconnected incidents are no coincidence, and a madman stalks the freeways.

When FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell and her partner, Tully, discover the remains of a young woman in a highway ditch, the one clue left behind is a map that will send Maggie and Tully on a frantic hunt crisscrossing the country to stop a madman before he kills again.

As the body count rises and Maggie races against the clock to unmask the monster who’s terrorizing the nation’s highways, she turns to a former foe for help since he seems to know just what the killer’s next move will be. As she gets closer to finding the killer, it becomes eerily clear that Maggie is the ultimate target.

Review: I was over the moon excited when I found out that Alex Kava’s newest book was available to request on Edelweiss. I try not to request too much on Edelweiss or NetGalley. I’m not a huge fan of e-books in general, so I typically shy away from them altogether. However, Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell series is one of my absolute favorites and I couldn’t resist. You can imagine how excited I was when I was approved for it.

And let me tell you, dear readers, this was really a book I needed to read. I had been in a little bit of a slow slump, but I devoured this book in 3 days and loved every single word of it.

I don’t even know what to say about this book. The writing was good. The storyline was good. The character interaction and development was good. The killer was a surprise to me. I feel like Maggie O’Dell is back on top of the game with this book, and I was really excited about it!

I am really a fan of Maggie O’Dell’s character. She just seems so real to me. She’s likeable, she’s tough, she’s determined, she’s successful. And yet she’s flawed in some ways too, she has commitment issues. A few books back there was a big change-up with the characters, and at first I was not impressed. However, I must say that I really liked the direction Maggie’s boss is headed back in. There was very little mention of another character, highlighting Maggie’s commitment problem, so I’m kind of confused as to how Creed plays into the storyline in future books.

I’m excited to see what happens in future books. Between the introduction of Creed’s character and Gwen’s diagnosis, I am very interested in seeing where the series goes in the next book.

This is a series that I recommend to a lot of people, since for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to be as well-known as some other series out there. There are a couple of duds in the series, in my opinion, but overall the series itself is extremely good.

Overall a great and exciting book for summer reading! Highly recommended.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, Review Book, SERIES

2012.21 REVIEW – Fireproof by Alex Kava


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.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.41 REVIEW – Hotwire by Alex Kava

by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 288
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Aug 5 – Aug. 7, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 41
Format: Print
Source: Library Book

Blurb: On a crisp fall evening in western Nebraska, what started as a group of kids filming their drug-induced party ends in an explosive light show, leaving the victims apparently electrocuted, with odd scorch marks being the only evidence. While Maggie tries to make sense of what is real and what is hallucination, she realizes that the surviving teens are being targeted and systematically eliminated. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Army Colonel Benjamin Platt is at the scene of a deadly outbreak, desperate to identify the pathogen that has infected children at a Washington, D.C., elementary school. Despite the miles that separate them, the two cases collide as Maggie and Platt uncover secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the remote Midwest landscape.

Review: I was a little hesitant about this book since I was a little bit disappointed in the last book (Damaged). That being said I’m a little on the fence on this one overall. First of all, I should start out by saying that I really do enjoy this series, I like Maggie’s character. I especially like that we’re starting to see the possibility of some romance in her life. But this book and the previous book haven’t been as great as the other previous books were. There seems to be less profiling for Maggie (and that’s what her job description is!) and I honestly loved that aspect of the series. There were two storylines in this book that were supposed to be connected … but seriously, the connection required quite a bit of imagination if you ask me. The way that the two storylines were connected would not have been the way I would have connected them. But again, this is just my opinion. As I stated in my review for Damaged, the ending to this book felt a little rushed as well. Once again I felt the story being built up and up only to be wrapped up in 10 pages. I don’t know. Like I said, I’m a little on the fence. I enjoyed it, but if I was just picking this book up without having read the others first, it probably wouldn’t be a series I would continue with.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Damaged by Alex Kava

by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 255
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 25-27, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; Finish That Series Challenge
Yearly Count: 37

First Line: Elizabeth Bailey didn’t like what she saw.

Pensacola Beach is bracing for what could be a category 5 hurricane. The Coast Guard is routinely patrolling the Gulf of Mexico when they spot a cooler floating a mile offshore. Suspecting drugs, they recover it. Instead of drugs, it’s full of body parts. Profiler Maggie O’Dell is called in on the case. She is able to track down who the torso belonged to – a man who went missing during a previous hurricane on the other side of Florida. How did the body end up 600 miles away in the Gulf? Maggie must battle a serial killer in the middle of a hurricane to get all the answers this case has to offer.

This is the eighth in the Maggie O’Dell series and I must say, I was a little disappointed in it. First of all, Maggie didn’t even feel like the main character in this book; Scott and Liz did. And the story seemed to build up for the first 200 pages and then the ending was so rushed. The storyline seemed good, but not all that inventive, really. I have never read an Alex Kava book that felt so rushed. I just felt as if there was too much emphasis on the other characters, and not enough on Maggie, who is obviously the main character in this series. I still gave it a good rating because I just love this series and this author, but it’s definitely not the best book in this series.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Exposed by Alex Kava

by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 373
Rating: 5/5
Read: Jan. 7-10, 2010
Challenge:  2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; Finish That Challenge Series; RYOB 2010; Thriller & Suspense 2010
Yearly Count: 2

First Line: Waheem was already bleeding when he boarded the crowded motorboat.

FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell and Assistant Director Cunningham cannot believe what is happening to them until it’s too late – they have been exposed. Exposed to a very deadly virus. Stuck in quarantine, Maggie beings to wonder if there isn’t some kind of a connection with the victims. Cunningham thinks it’s personal. And it is – they just have to figure out how. With nothing to think of except what could be going on inside her body, Maggie has to get inside this killer’s mind. And she needs to do so before this becomes an epidemic.

I love the Maggie O’Dell series. I was a little late in getting around to this one, mainly because medical-ish books are not really my cup of tea. But I should have known better- Alex Kava has never disappointed me yet. Since it has been so long since I read anything in this series, it was a little difficult for me trying to remember what had happened with the characters in the earlier books. There’s just something about the way Kava writes. Her books are always full of such great suspense and of course I absolutely love the psychological aspects!! I’m definitely looking forward to getting  Black Friday from the library so that I can get caught up on this series again until July when the 8th book in this series is set to be published.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, Read in 2008, SERIES

A Necessary Evil by Alex Kava

A Necessary Evil
by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 413
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Aug. 3-9, 2008
Challenge: Series Challenge Season 2

First Line: Monsignor William O’Sullivan was certain no one had recognized him.

Someone is killing Catholic priests. When Maggie O’Dell is called in to profile, she is surprised by the clues. They discover that this might have something to do with a role-playing game that teens are into. But when she realizes that Father Michael Keller might have something to do with this case, she’s absolutely astonished. For four years she has been trying to track Keller down. And now when he contacts Maggie in order to help her, she really doesn’t know what to do. Should she make the deal with him to help stop the killings or should she just trap him?

I am soooo glad I finally got to read this one!! It was really incredibly good. I really regret reading 1, 2, and 4 last year and then 3 and 5 this year. I should have read them all in order last year. So I was a little lost in places, but I really really really enjoyed it! The way that this book ended makes me uncertain if there could ever be another Maggie O’Dell. It’s obvious what will happen next with Keller, but there are so many unanswered questions between some of the other characters. It will be interesting to see if Kava does indeed bring this back again or if she lets it be.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, Read in 2008, SERIES

The Soul Catcher by Alex Kava

The Soul Catcher
by Alex Kava
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 402
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 20-23, 2008
Challenge: Triple Eight – From my TBR Shelf Category; A Well-Rounded Challenge; Series
Challenge Season 2

First Line: Eric Pratt leaned his head against the cabin wall.

FBI Agent Maggie O’Dell thinks that there will be nothing more than routine when she begins to consult on two separate cases. But as she continues to work, she realizes that there might just be a connection between the two seemingly unrelated cases. And that connection is Reverend Joseph Everett, a charismatic leader of a religious sect. But Maggie is not at all prepared when she learns that her mother is part of Everett’s group. Unfortunately the only way that Maggie is going to be able to figure out what is going on with Everett is to use her mother as a pawn in a deadly trap.
I’m going to be honest here. There are currently 5 books in this series. Reading this third book in the series, brings me to a total of reading 4 of the 5. And although I read the first, second and fourth late last year, I vaguely remember them. And I hate to say it, this is the worst one I’ve read. I was just disappointed with this one. I was really flying through this one and enjoyed it right up until the end. The ending was just horrible! It sucked, to be honest. It was just a complete let down to end the book in such a fashion (a horribly unbelievable fashion). I have the fifth in the series on hold at the library and hope that it’s better.