NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Bone Thief

3.0 out of 5 stars Solid forensic science novel..., May 26, 2010

This review is from: The Bone Thief: A Body Farm Novel (Hardcover)
This fifth book in the Body Farm series was fairly interesting and moved quickly though a long drawn out scene at the end of the book seemed unnecessary and pointless. Suffice to say that before starting this one, you should have read the other 4 previous novels in the series in order to completely understand the characters and the plot.

In this work of fiction based loosely on the real life of the author, Bill Brockton -- somewhat the stereotypical "goody two shoes" -- is drawn into an investigation of body part snatching, tissue and organ donation scams, and transplant issues. He's recruited by the FBI to set up a sting operation and stumbles along helping to set up the unscrupulous and expose the nefarious deeds committed in the name of scientific advancement. His "Body Farm", though mentioned at the start, doesn't really figure much into the story line of this particular book in the series.

Dr. Brockton eventually outs the bad guys -- all too obviously portrayed from their introduction -- and this particular work ends on a positive note.

This isn't the best thriller series on the market, but it does provide a lot of forensic and anthropological science detail that I find interesting. The medical facts should prove scintillating to most fans and does provide that glimpse into the nature and process of decomposition and the study of the dead that many find fascinating.

Recommended for fans of the series.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, solid thriller..., May 12, 2010

This review is from: Pray for Silence: A Thriller (Kate Burkholder) (Hardcover)
This is the second book in a series to follow Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder) and it features Painters Mill Police Chief Kate Burkholder -- ex Amish Ohio native turned "English" when she decides to leave the church she was raised in at age eighteen. She's the kind of single woman cop I like -- tough but sensitive, damaged by her past yet still open to new relationships, and the most important characteristic: she's not perfect and has some endearing flaws that make her human and someone you'd like to know.

In this story, an Amish family of 7 is brutally murdered. The tragedy is magnified by the discovery that one of the children, Mary, was involved with an outsider. Could that association be what has led to her death? Chief Burkholder, aided by BCI agent John Tomasetti (also returning from the previous book) sets out to discover why someone would kill this family.

The plot moves along rapidly and is interesting and absorbing. I was captivated and enjoying every page until we get to the very last segment of the book. Then Kate decides to use herself as bait to lure in the killer -- NOW COME ON -- this device has been used ad nauseum in so many thrillers that you'd think the authors would avoid it. All the loose ends are tied up and a conclusion neatly reached.
(I had some issues with the fact that the two main characters were doing a lot of DUI and found it hard to believe they could function with the amounts of alcohol they consumed. And there was a lot of description about torture and sexual depravity that might not appeal to the more squeamish).

All in all, I enjoyed this second novel in the series and will look forward to the third installment. I like the fact that the story has much interesting background about the Amish -- it adds a dimension to the narrative and to the various characters.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Broken by Karin Slaughter

3.0 out of 5 starsNot a page turner..., May 8, 2010

This review is from: Broken: A Novel (Grant County) (Hardcover)

This is the second Grant County novel to feature Will Trent along with Sara Linton. His partner, Faith, is not in this novel except as a phone buddy as she is about to have a baby. Although the story line was decent enough, it lacked the pulse pounding suspense and true thriller sense that I usually get from one of Karin Slaughter's books. The narrative seemed to drag a little and I was a bit disappointed with this one. Two college kids are killed -- why? The murders seemed fairly brutal and a bit of overkill once the reader finds out the reason for them. The police think they have the murderer, a mentally slow man who commits suicide in his cell after giving a full confession. But something isn't quite right and GBI investigator Will Trent starts to wonder if the police are obstructing justice.

I was a little confused at first that Will and Sarah seemed so stiff with each other as I had thought that in the previous novel featuring the two of them -- Undone: A Novel (Grant County) -- that they had already sort of acknowledged, at least to themselves, that there was an attraction and the beginning of some kind of romance. Of course, as always, the ghost of his wife Angie, still looms large. I do wish that he would end things with her once and for all. It lessens him as a character, to me, that he allows her to manipulate him as she does. Other than that, I like him as as character, flawed with his pride and dysgraphia (or dyslexia) but how many times do we have to hear about his handicap and see him rescued. And Lena, she's up to all her usual tricks and scams. She is a hard character to empathize with, because even as she allows herself some humanity and does tell a bit of the truth to clear things up a bit, she never can bring herself to completely come totally clean and her motives are always questionable. Sara Linton is still grieving the death of Jeffery.

Several interesting revelations about the characters occur, and most of the loose ends are tied up at the end of the book. All in all, it was a fairly satisfying piece of crime fiction although not as thrilling as some of the previous books.