Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Undone", by Karin Slaughter

Also published under the title "Genesis"

Book 1, in the Georgia series

Fans will surely be pleased with this thriller, Ms. Slaughter's new series joins well-known characters from her other two bestselling series to create a captivating and suspenseful saga that will without any doubt become another addictive read.

The story opens with a car accident and the woman injured being transported to the trauma center in Atlanta. The attending physician, Dr. Sara Linton soon discovers most of the wounds were not caused in the crash but rather appear to be the result of torture, brutally administered long before the car accident. With the Doctor's medical assessment it is obvious there is foul play involved so, Special Agents Will Trent and his partner Faith Mitchell are assigned as lead investigators in the case.

A search near the accident site reveals the woman was not the only one held captive and tortured so the hunt for second victim is launched with the hope she may be somewhere near by.....When a third woman with the same physical features is abducted in broad day light, there is no time to waste, it becomes a race against time to see what the connection is between them and track down the serial offender before other victims surface. Hindering the case is an ongoing turf war and lack of communication between them and the local police force.

One of the riveting aspects and key elements are the mood setting and detailed descriptions of the abductees and what happened to them. The characterization is striking and is one of Ms. Slaughter's strong points; she creates realistic protagonists showing their strengths and weakness and never holds back when describing their emotions which can be quite intense at times, this goes a long way in creating a strong atmosphere. This story is very suspenseful and superbly plotted with many twists and turns that are totally unpredictable. This is a recipe guaranteed to please most readers and the cliff- hanger ending left me hungry for more.

"Virals", by Kathy Reichs

Book 1 of the new series featuring Tory Brennan

This novel is written with young adults in mind, the story is told by Tory Brennan the 14 year old niece of anthropologist Temperance Brennan, the well-known protagonist in Kathy Reichs' adult series "Bones". The story is not complicated and does not bog done with tech talk although some is used to stimulate young minds in the science of forensic. Ms. Reichs has added a touch of science fiction, supernatural elements and humour into her mystery to appeal to a younger segment of readers.

The story starts with Tory moving in with her father on Morris Island, S.C. after her mother's death. She has trouble adapting to her new surroundings in an elite private school but fortunately, it is her love for science that creates a bond with three boys who are science geeks much like herself.

One day, Tory finds an Arm Forces identification tag (dog tag) that is old and almost impossible to read and becomes obsessed with finding its owner. Tori and her three new friends (aka the Pack) break into the university lab to clean the tag. The Pack's curiosity is heightened when the name on the tag reveals a link to a decade old missing person, a suspected murder that someone has been working hard to cover -up for years. Tory and her friends use their smarts and new found ability to uncover the truth......

As a side plot, while in the university lab, the "Pack" also looks for clues to the whereabouts of a missing wolf/dog and stumble upon a restricted part of the lab, where questionable experiments are being conducted. To their surprise they find the dog in a quarantine section and unknowingly to them become infected by a strain of canine parvovirus which slowly invades their bodies and modifies their DNA, changing their lives forever.....

This novel is quite engaging even for adults. It was hard at first to adjust to the choppy narrative, but once into it, the tale proceeded beautifully into a captivating mystery with a different twist. Tory, is a smart cookie, kind of a modern day Nancy Drew, a smart and loveable protagonist. The boys behave like boys and adults are perceived as un-hip and coming from another planet. This novel has a cliff-hanger ending and I can honestly say I even enjoyed it more than some of the tedious "Bones" novels.

I think this novel will appeal to the Young and the Young at heart.

"The Bricklayer", by Noah Boyd

1st novel in the Steve Vail series

Noah Boyd's debut thriller is truly exciting, some described it as an explosive and truly spectacular entrance into the world of thriller novels; I couldn't agree more with their assessments. The author, a former FBI operative himself, provides the sparks, colour and the gritty details to make it a most captivating and stunning read filled with non-stop action.

Steve Vail is the new man in town, an ex-FBI agent whose job was terminated 3 years previously for not following the line. His handle "The Bricklayer" comes from his new job but his old profession is the one dearest to his heart.

The story opening is highly cinematic with bank robbers being thrown through glass windows. It proves to be an explosive start to a roller coaster-ride that entertains the reader to the end. The storyline moves briskly with FBI deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon persuading Steve to take back his badge and assist them in finding a rogue agent suspected of absconding with two million dollars of federal money. The agent went missing while delivering a ransom to the "Rubaco Pentad" gang; a group that has already killed some prominent people and threatens to continue unless their demands are met...Steve accepts the challenge and when the gang learns the FBI has a new member they request he make the next drop. Steve runs into a myriad of obstacles that have him jumping hoops with astonishing ability.....His Rambo action mixed with Jack Bauer's agility has him narrowly evading all traps. The final plot twist is a script right out of "Mission Impossible".

This hyper action novel is a little farfetched and rather ridiculous at times but I found it highly entertaining. I like the interaction between the two main characters; it has a romantic tone of a 40's film noir. I can see endless possibilities in the bond between Steve and Kate. The pacing of this multilayer plot is very well done; there are just enough twists in the suspense to keep the reader on the edge throughout. This is a solid first novel and I am looking forward to reading the next installment "Agent X"

"Don't Look Twice", by Andrew Gross

Book2, in the Lieutenant Ty Hauck series

This is the author's follow up to "The Dark Tide", its storyline is captivating enough although heavy on old clich├ęs and a touch formulaic in style. It nevertheless has some of the elements to make it a page turner and leave most satisfied and happy.

This story opens with a bang and keeps a steady pace throughout. It starts one morning with Ty and his daughter waiting in line at the cash of an Exxon station when out of the blue a drive by shooter sprays the establishment with bullets missing them but killing a federal prosecutor in line behind them. Everyone thinks at first it is a revenge gang attack but Ty has other suspicions.

Ty is not only a witness but he is the head detective in the area and is assigned the case. His initial suspicions are quickly confirmed, there is more to this murder investigation than first meets the eye. He realizes he is on a trail of cover-ups and corruption, a deadly maze linked to a dangerous gambling ring with political connections which eventually lead to devastating results in his own family.

This story follows much the same pattern as the previous novel. The first similarity pops up when Ty's investigation reveals the widow of the deceased prosecutor was oblivious to her husband's shenanigans. Another is when he is distracted by a young restaurateur who is being harassed by troublemakers. His urge to become a knight in shining armor and his elevated testosterone are bound to get him in trouble sooner or later.....

I found this novel lacks in character development and originality. After reading the previous novel the structure is predictable and Ty has become a cookie cutter investigator. Nevertheless, I did find the tale interesting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner", by Elizabeth George

Book 10, in the Inspector Lynley’s mystery series

Elizabeth George hasn’t lost her touch and her work continues to be amazing. She is one of the true masters at spinning webs of intrigue. A swift pace and an engaging protagonist had a stimulating effect on my imagination; it was quite exhilarating trying to guess the next move. This is a mind-absorbing fiction, as powerful and provocative as all the previous ones.

This intricate plot and complex tale has D.I. Thomas Lynley on the scene of a grisly crime, in which a young man and woman have been brutally murdered and their bodies found in the wilds of Calder Moor. The case is also a sensitive one, it happens that one of the victims is, Nicola Maiden, the daughter of a former undercover officer and one of Lynley‘s past mentors.

D.C. Winston Nkata is his lead assistant on the case. His usual partner, Barbara Harvers, has been demoted to Detective Constable for an incident the previous summer and ever since, both have suffered from a strained relationship. Although in the dog house for over stepping her boundaries, Barbara is determined, she is a woman of strong character and not the type to sit on the sideline. With this in mind, she clandestinely starts her own investigation, hoping to prove to Lynley that her renegade attitude can bring positive results and be an asset to his team….When Lynley found out what she was up to, my first reaction was can he take the grrr out of the tiger and get her to follow orders….

As they dig deeper into the life of the two victims, a disturbing pattern emerges, suspects are plentiful, nothing is as it seems and everyone appears to be concealing something. The tension grows as each layer of deceit is peeled away, the result created an intense mystery populated with great characters.

I found myself totally engaged till the end, it is a large book but I enjoyed every moment spent with it.