NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swimsuit by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

3.0 out of 5 stars Murder as entertainment..., September 25, 2009
By Denise "DC" (Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
I am kind of laughing while reading these reviews. Hey folks, lighten up. This book isn't that bad -- it was gory, yes, and full of lots of unnecessary violent killing -- but isn't that why you like this genre and why you picked up this Patterson novel? It's exactly the book you've come to associate with him and his team of co-authors. Fast-paced, short chapters, interesting premise with a twist, blood and guts murdering, and a nicely wrapped up ending?! You got what you wanted in this one.

This novel was about Ben Hawkins, an ex cop turned author and reporter, who meets up with a serial killer and ends up as his partner when the killer wants a true crime book written about his life and times. Henri is a snuff film killer who makes movies of the murders he commits and sells them to a group he refers to as the "Peepers". The tale is definitely suspenseful with the reader only wondering who is going to be killed next and assuming the worst. Everybody!

The reader never gets to know the supporting characters (the murdered ones) very well so there isn't a lot of agonizing over the serial deaths, but there is suspense and action -- and as said -- lots of gore as the descriptions of the killings are detailed.
This book was a quick read, definitely in the psycho thriller killer genre. Don't give it a lot of thought except to maybe wonder how many people like Henri are out there in the big bad world.

Get it from the library or borrow it from a friend -- I still think it will sell well!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Intervention by Robin Cook

2.0 out of 5 stars 3 for idea; 2 for execution; 1 for ending; , September 22, 2009

First things first -- this is NOT a medical thriller. This is a combination of anti-alternative medicine rant and a diatribe against Christian zealotry -- or, even worse, a conspiracy story of mediocre proportion.

There are two things going on in this novel: the original plot line of Jack investigating an untimely death caused by chiropractic cervical manipulation (producing VAD) and his subsequent out of control behavior when confronting the issue and trying to educate a sanguine group of consumers who spoke of alternative medicine in glowing terms despite his trying to tell them that it was not science and that it was dangerous. The other plot was about a couple, one an archeologist and old friend of Jack's named Shawn, and the other a DNA scientist, who buy a codex while at a conference in Egpyt and steal an ossuary that purportedly contains the bones of Mary, Mother of God from St. Peter's Tomb in Rome. If this wasn't enough, we learn that Jack and Laurie have a newborn afflicted with severe neuroblastoma.

The entire story was running parallel for a short time and then Jack dropped his obsession with the investigation of alternative medicine and attached himself to the couple who was examining the bones and the codex in labs provided by Jack's superiors in the medical pathology/examiner's building in New York. Once back in the USA, the couple gets far enough along in their work to make an amazing discovery.Unfortunately, a third friend of theirs -- conveniently the Archbishop of New York and a Cardinal named James, is upset about Shawn and his wife possibly revealing that Mary wasn't assumed into heaven after all and thus demonstrating that papal ex cathedra decree is infallible after all! In a panic, James hires a zealot to try to talk Shawn and his wife, Sana, into keeping their discovery a secret and not publishing the story.

For awhile I was really liking this book. Wondering why there were so many negative reviews. Well, the last 25 pages showed me why.
Oh my gosh, what a horrible ending and what a cheap way to end a book. I was very disappointed.

Don't buy this one. I don't know why Robin Cook doesn't write straight forward medical thrillers anymore. It saddens me since it is my favorite genre.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Darker Side by Cody McFadyen

4.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying mystery thriller..., September 20, 2009
By Denise "DC" (Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
Smoky Barrett is not your typical FBI agent. Unlike the typical man-hunting heroines in other thrillers of this nature, Smoky is emotionally and physically scarred and was mutilated by knife wounds inflicted by a killer who murdered her husband and daughter. In this third outing (after Shadow Man and The Face of Death, she's called into a case by Rosario Reid, the wife of a potential presidential candidate, after her son is found dead on an airplane -- killed at some point during the flight. The case is complicated because the son was actually a transsexual who called himself Lisa and who was living as a woman. This unusual murder proves to be just the tip of the iceberg with a serial killer who calls himself "the Preacher" admitting to the deaths of many other women. More murders are committed in the name of God and the killer insists that he kills because of the sins of the victim --sins that had been kept secret and never confessed. There is a religious component to the story.

Smoky and her team -- Callie, Alan, and James -- examine all possible leads and sources to track down the killer. The story is part police procedural and part psychological study. I like the interplay between the characters who all seem to have flaws that make them more endearing.

Although you don't have to have read the other two in the series in order to appreciate this book, I find it more satisfying to have seen the changes that the characters have undergone through the novels to this point. Definitely they are more than stereotypes and are not just one dimensional "good guys" hunting down the criminals.

Enjoy this one and be on the lookout for #4 in this great series, Abandoned: A Thriller (Smoky Barrett), due out this October, 2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Stitches: A Memoir by David Small

5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this!, September 17, 2009

OK, I confess, this was only the second or third graphic book that I've read. And the first and only memoir. It really was amazing how David Small used the art to convey the helplessness, anger, angst, and pain felt by a young boy who really didn't understand the life he was living or the condition he had. At age 14, a large "cyst" and a vocal cord were removed that left him basically mute and sent him on a dangerous trajectory in his young adult years. His parents were borderline fruitcakes and I'll let you discover why so as not to spoil it for you.
Thank heavens he had his artistic talents to give him some way to communicate.
I love David! This was a lovely story and I am so happy that the author was able to tell it. Very fast read.

I have this in my library at the high school and the teenagers LOVE it. High interest and drags in even the most reluctant reader.

Today's review

Queen Takes King: A Novel (Hardcover)
by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Predictable and mindless..., September 17, 2009

Nothing new here. The title pretty much explains the entire plot of the book. I was hoping for a new twist to the old "War of the Roses" story, but there's not a character or a subplot that is refreshing or originial. You've already read this book under another title.

The Power couple, Jacks and Cynthia are stereotypes and caricatures of the rich and famous who think that money and looks can buy anything and that youth lasts forever. Their answer when the divorce battle begins -- get what they want through fair or foul means -- efforts at one-upmanship that actually seem petty, rather than clever, in this case. The relationships between all of the characters seems shallow and undeveloped. It's the age old story of the beaten down wife who makes good after she finally escapes her egotistical and needy husband. The fact that the couple is extremely rich, talented and connected only increases the scale of the war - not the purity of it. There's no moral here as all of them play fast and loose with the truth and their feelings. They act up and act out in ways more suited to teenagers than middle-aged adults. The ending comes abruptly and is as unrealistic as the rest of the novel.

I tried to find some humor in the book at least, or at least a bit of sentimentality, but alas, both were lacking in a rather mundane and trite book that leaves the reader wondering why the story needed to be told...again. This book is one that might be enjoyed in a mindless sort of way, but only if you don't ask yourself too many questions about it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today's review

The Hour I First Believed
By Wally Lamb

5.0 out of 5 stars
Not "why" or "if" we believe, but "how"...

Although quite long with many subplots, this story of a middle-aged man's search for something to believe in has deeply touched me. The book is divided into several sections, each dealing with different aspects of the lives and choices made by the many characters in the novel from friends to relatives to persons who lived during the time and era being described. The saga spans the periods of years from the 1800s to present day and includes sociological, cultural, and historical perspectives.

In the first part of the story-- and the one that causes the significant conflict for the main character in the book-- the somewhat unsympathetic and unlikable narrator Caelum Quirk is an English teacher off tending to a dying aunt and his wife a part-time nurse at Columbine High School in Colorado at the time that the massacre of students takes place there in April, 1999. (Though the facts of the rampage are presented in the context of fiction, this is an incredibly moving section of the book.) His wife Maureen (Mo) cannot recover from surviving that terrible day and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. Unable to function, she withdraws and finds solace in illegally obtained prescription drugs. Without going further to convey more plot details, suffice to say that the marriage falters and Caelum is forced to deal with many issues, not the least of which is confounded when historical documents and old letters belonging to his aunt reveal a family history contrary to what he thought he knew.

Part mystery, part expose, the story of Caelum's quest to find out the truth of himself and his family will urge the reader forward until the very last page is turned. This is a novel that draws one in and never lets go; the search for hope and faith, the profound wish that life has meaning and that there is a purpose for it all -- the good or the evil.

Other reviewers have remarked that the plethora of extraneous and/or historical information, the author's lengthy descriptions of certain aspects of the Civil War, and the dissertation written by one of the characters that he included might be off-putting, but I found the detail and description interesting. This is a saga that spans several generations and involves keeping straight many characters and their relationships to each other. There are many details to keep in mind and thus, I just couldn't put it down so as not to get too confused.

Highly recommended. This is one to remember long after the last page is turned.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I am reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.
Review coming soon...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hey there!

I've been reading a lot of YA and posting it on my Celtic Librarian site! Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today's review...

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan #1 in series
4.0 out of 5 stars Have fun investigating this one..., September 1, 2009

What more can you ask for when you're wanting a fun suspense story with minimal gore and no blood and guts? In
PRIME TIME, you get a 46-year-old intensely competitive investigative TV news reporter, an interesting crime, and a little romance. This is the initial offering in what is so far a four book series featuring Charlotte McNally and her producer Franklin. Working for Channel 3 News, they uncover what appears to be some type of white collar crime. Unfortunately, the whistle blower who sent Charlie the initial email dies or is murdered before he can reveal the details of the crime or name the perpetrators. Racing against a November sweeps rating deadline, Charlotte and Franklin team up to uncover a cunning get-rich scheme that surpasses that of many recently indicted criminals we've heard about in the news.

Enjoy this fast-paced mystery, the clever internal dialog that Charlie has with herself, the humor with her pithy quotes about J-school, and the pleasantly original plot. Then order the next books in the series as they are published, Face Time (Charlotte Mcnally Mysteries), Air Time (Charlotte McNally Mysteries), and Drive Time (slated for a 2010 release).

The novels won't give you chills or nightmares, but I think you'll enjoy the character of Charlotte McNally and her escapades. I usually go for the more hard core chiller thrillers, but this one was a very nice diversion.