Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

After I finally read Castillo's first Amish thriller, Sworn to Silence, just a little while ago, I have been waiting for this sequel. Officer Kate Burkholder and her fellow policemen have a new, more heinous case to investigate this time around - the mass murder of an entire Amish family. Being a former Amish girl herself, Kate feels particularly close to this one, as does her love interest, Tomasetti. Together they use all the gruesome clues to try to put together a profile of the killer, and just when you think the case is closed and the killer is taken care of permanently, new clues surface to pull us back in.

Pray for Silence is a very entertaining crime thriller. The wonderful pace and details in addition to strong characters like Kate and Tomasetti make this a wonderful choice for mystery, forensic, and thriller readers alike. Some of the details may be a bit graphic and gruesome for some, but those who don't mind a little blood and love shows like CSI and SVU will love this book, which moves along at a fast, TV-show like pace. Give Castillo a try, and you might be praying for the next sequel!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Yes, I am one of those geeky, middle-aged moms who love Twilight. I admit it. There you go. So, I couldn't wait for this new novella by Meyer.

This little bite of a book takes the character of Bree Tanner, who has a brief part in the end of Eclipse, the 3rd book in the Twilight saga. In expanding this character, we get an intersting look into the creation and vampire "life" of a newborn, or newly created, vampire. Bree is created by Victoria, Edward Cullen's female nemesis, as part of an army specifically formed for the Cullens' destruction. Victoria wishes to kill Edward as revenge for Edward's killing of her mate, James, in the first Twilight book. We get to witness the uncontrollable thirst that Bree and her cohorts experience, but we also see another of Meyer's society portraits, and this is where she really shines as a writer. This small society of newborn vampires is again, an interesting parallel of the real world and its history. Victoria is kind of a Hitler figure, creating soldiers through prejudice and fear, paralyzing the newborns so much that they feel they have no choice but to do her bidding, even though they don't even remember her. The "soldiers" really don't care about the people or other vampires that they must kill, they only care about saving themselves and quenching their thirst. Bree, of course, is a bit different, as Carlisle Cullen senses in the end. He offers to show her the value of a "vegetarian" lifestyle and to take her under the family's wing in order to save her and the others she might harm. Will the Volturi, or vampire police squad, go for this little humanitarian plan? You'll just have to read Eclipse or Bree Tanner to find out! And don't forget to catch the new Eclipse movie, in theaters next Wednesday, June 30th. I'll be there!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

False Mermaid by Erin Hart

From the time I read the review of this new mystery(with such a catchy title) by Erin Hart, I've wanted to read it, and it did not disappoint. It begins with the main character,Nora Gavin, who recently moved back to Minnesota from Ireland, where she "escaped" for three year after the brutal murder of her sister. She worked on solving her sister's bizarre case endlessly, with the help of a local detective, Frank Cordoba, but they were unable to find enough evidence to convict the sister's husband who they are sure did the crime.

Returning to Minnesota, Nora and Frank are able to uncover some interesting evidence in the form of blood-stained clothing and some seeds from a rare plant called "false mermaid". But they struggle with time as the killer plans to leave the country. The other really interesting facet of the book is the incorporation of the Irish "selkie" legends. These stories involve a seal who comes to land and removes her skin in order to be human for a bit.The catch is that if the seal skin is stolen by a man, the seal-being then must do whatever the human says, which usually means becoming his wife. Only if the seal skin is returned can she return to the sea, which she will do at any cost. You may think this is just a bizarre story and what does it have to do with murder, but it's so interesting because the author interweaves this supernatural element into the characters and it becomes sort of an eerie parallel between the murderer and the victim. I love it when a supernatural element can be interwoven  so faltlessly that it becomes believable; it makes the story just that much more magical and entertaining to me.

So if you enjoy legends and a bit of the mystical mixed in with a good old-fashioned mystery filled with angst and a love story, you'll love Erin Hart's new novel. After you check it out, don't forget to tell me what you think!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coban

I first got hooked on Coban's feisty main character, Myron Bolitar, when a patron at the library checked in one of his audio books and said, "Have you ever listened to one of these? They are hilarious! I almost drive off the road from laughing so hard!" At that time, I had only listened to one or two audiobooks before, and I still would have chosen to read instead of listen. But this amazing recommendation had me intrigued, so I listened to one of these Myron Bolitars in my car, and I was hooked.

Myron Bolitar is a retired/past injured pro basketball player who since has started a sports agency, representing clients from many different sports. He employs quite a menagerie of misfits, from Esperanza the former pro wrestler and her beefy friend Big Cindy, to his security and financial advisor, Win, who is not only shallow, smooth, and filthy rich, but deadly lethal with both weapons and his bare hands. These characters all come together to work for and support Myron, who is really just a fast-joking, smart, big kid who is trying to make the best of his life and relationships while always running himself into trouble. Yes, trouble always finds Myron, and he just has to investigate.

Darkest Fear, while not my favorite Bolitar novel, was probably the funniest. I couldn't read a page without cracking up at Myron and Win's constant bantering. The mystery in this one was quite complicated, and I thought the end was a bit rushed, trying to tie up too many clues at once. But overall, it was an extremely entertaining read.

Try some Myron Bolitar novels and see what you think! Then post, post, post!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Sworn to Silence is just the kind of book I love in the summer: it's fast and furious, has interesting characters, and the details and plot are so intense, you just can't put it down. This wonderful thriller by Castillo has been requested endlessly at the library, so I thought I'd give it a try, and it did not disappoint. It's about a former  Amish girl who was a victim of a crime during a scary murder spree by a serial killer who was never caught. The really interesting facet is that the girl later leaves the Amish community to become a cop and returns to defend her hometown, deep in Amish country. So, the author incorporates some great Amish flavor with a great mystery, mixed with some gory details and a little love, creating a great novel perfect for when you just want to sit and read and not put it down. Give it a try and tell me what you think!