NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Monday, October 12, 2009

Today's review

3.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying but not thrilling..., October 12, 2009

Another satisfying outing from John Sandford. The series has gone on for quite a long time, lost its edge as part of the psycho thriller chiller genre, but still an enjoyable read. John Sandford has quite the character in Lucas Davenport, but I do miss some of the old associates or past partners in crime, namely the nun. Anyway, this one is interesting but I feel that perhaps the whole series might be winding down and need to be retired.

In this book, Lucas is faced with tracking down a sophisticated robbery ring who stop at nothing, even murder, to get what they want. In addition, he's dealing with a side story about a guy who is possibly setting himself up to assassinate someone at the Republican convention in Minnesota - maybe even John McCain himself.

I like the setting -- it's always fun to read a book set in a city that one is familiar with. I'm comfortable with the cast and crew -- some of whom I miss but others who have been around a long time. Weather still there as faithful wife -- not sure how she has enough energy to operate day after day and they don't seem to have much marriage going on -- but it seems to work. A glitch and an annoyance in this book was that of the ward, Letty. They are supposed to be adopting her -- she's 14. Frankly the fact that she is allowed to be running around Minneapolis and St. Paul unsupervised as she does is completely unbelievable from a parent's standpoint. Letty is involved in yet another side plot with a paraplegic pimp and his hooker. I did find that somewhat disconcerting and took it into consideration when rating the book.

All in all, it's a decent read and fans of Lucas and John Sandford won't miss the latest in this "prey" series. I do wish he'd get back to writing edgy thrillers though.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Today's review

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, predictable mystery, October 5, 2009

This was an OK mystery story but was predictable with no real surprises. I believe it was the first of a new series. I am not a big fan of suspense thrillers where the investigative reporter protagonist solves the crime before the police do. I usually find that the novel is a bit of a cliché and a tad unbelievable -- and it was so in this case as well. The story -- Jack Gannon, veteran newspaper reporter and past Pulitzer nominee, is on the trail of a psycho serial ritual killer whose motivations appear to be that of punishing sinners and those he deems "guilty" -- all women, and usually current or ex-prostitutes, drug users, etc. The sadistic, mentally deranged killer kidnaps these women, holds them prisoner, and then kills them. Who will he take next? Where is he taking them? Why is he doing it? The narrative is a bit convoluted as we move back and forth in time and the character development is quite shallowly done. The story moves fast, really not that much to it. I didn't care that much about our intrepid hero -- who always "sticks with it" nor the victims -- too one-dimensional. All in all, it's a mindless read and would probably be enjoyed by those who like the suspense serial killer genre.
(for amazon vine program)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Today's review

5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and compassionate family story..., October 2, 2009

I loved this book on many levels. The complex and finely drawn characters were easy to love even though each was flawed and affected by trials, tribulations, unfulfilled hopes, and unattainable dreams. This is a family story, and all members of the McKotch family have a story to tell -- their own version of the ties that bind and, ultimately, how that binding can't ever be completely undone no matter what happens.

The parents, Frank and Paulette, and their children: Billy, Gwen and Scott, have not ever come to understand themselves or each other. They are trapped in self destructive patterns that prevent them from seeing themselves clearly. Their choices and behavior reveal how those delusions prevent them from forming long lasting relationships. The family, whose ties were already fraying, comes completely undone after Gwen is diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome during the summer of 1976. The resulting fallout from that discovery, and the affect that her 'condition' has on the family members, is painful for each. The lack of communication, the manipulations, and the betrayals force the family to a final confrontation that brings a satisfying conclusion to this poignant novel.

This is definitely one that would be perfect for book clubs as it begs discussion and will provide many hours of thoughtful consideration long after the last page is turned. Enjoy!