Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

About the book: Meet Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. Chet might have flunked out of police school ("I'd been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn't remember exactly, although blood was involved"), but he's a detective through and through.
In this, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of Madison, a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. A well-behaved, gifted student, she didn't arrive home after school and her divorced mother is frantic. Bernie is quick to take the case -- something about a cash flow problem that Chet's not all that clear about -- and he's relieved, if vaguely suspicious, when Madison turns up unharmed with a story that doesn't add up. But when she disappears for a second time in a week, Bernie and Chet aren't taking any chances; they launch a full-blown investigation. Without a ransom demand, they're not convinced it's a kidnapping, but they are sure of one thing: something smells funny.
Their search for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locals, with Chet's highly trained nose leading the way. Both Chet and Bernie bring their own special skills to the hunt, one that puts each of them in peril. But even as the bad guys try to turn the tables, this duo is nothing if not resourceful, and the result is an uncommonly satisfying adventure.
With his doggy ways and his endearingly hardboiled voice, Chet is full of heart and occasionally prone to mischief. He is intensely loyal to Bernie, who, though distracted by issues that Chet has difficulty understanding -- like divorce, child custody, and other peculiar human concerns -- is enormously likable himself, in his flawed, all-too-human way.

My thoughts: What can I say, I'm a sucker for a dog book. Chet the dog, from whose point of view the story was told, was a fun character. Sometimes Chet had trouble understanding people, and he had LOTS of favorite things, like the laughter of children. I'm already invested in these characters and hope there is another book soon!

Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters

About the book: Convinced that the tomb of the little-known king Tutankhamon lies somewhere in the Valley of the Kings, eminent Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson and his intrepid wife, Amelia Peabody, seem to have hit a wall. Having been banned forever from the East Valley, Emerson, against Amelia's advice, has tried desperately to persuade Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter to relinquish their digging rights. But Emerson's trickery has backfired, and his insistent interest in the site has made his rivals all the more determined to keep the Emerson clan away.
Powerless to intervene but determined to stay close to the unattainable tomb, the family returns to Luxor and prepares to continue their dig in the less promising West Valley -- and to watch from the sidelines as Carter and Carnarvon "discover" the greatest Egyptian treasure of all time: King Tut's tomb. But before their own excavation can get underway, Emerson and his son, Ramses, find themselves lured into a trap by a strange group of villains ominously demanding "Where is he?" Driven by distress -- and, of course, Amelia's insatiable curiosity -- the Emersons embark on a quest to uncover who "he" is and why "he" must be found, only to discover that the answer is uncomfortably close to home. Now Amelia must find a way to protect her family -- and perhaps even her would-be nemesis -- from the sinister forces that will stop at nothing to succeed in the nefarious plot that threatens the peace of the entire region.

My thoughts: I loved the sense of time and place in this book. The twenties during "The Season" in Egypt when the archaeologists searched for tombs.I found Amelia to be a great character and the interactions between the family members funny at times and touching sometimes. While there was a great deal I liked about this book it seemed to drag a lot.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

A novel about holding on, letting go, and learning to love again.
Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.
The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!
Cecelia Ahern, the 22-year-old daughter of Ireland's prime minister, holds a degree in Journalism and Media Communications. She has completed her second novel, Rosie Dunne, and is at work on her third. She lives in Dublin, Ireland.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this, it was sweet and sad. The family and friends were priceless. Now I have to go see the movie. I hope it is as good.
Chick Lit, loss of spouse, romance, Ireland

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Relentless by Dean Koontz

Bestselling novelist Cullen “Cubby” Greenwich is a lucky man and he knows it. He makes a handsome living doing what he enjoys. His wife, Penny, a children’s book author and illustrator, is the love of his life. Together they have a brilliant six-year-old, Milo, affectionately dubbed “Spooky,” and a non-collie named Lassie, who’s all but part of the family.
So Cubby knows he shouldn’t let one bad review of his otherwise triumphant new book get to him—even if it does appear in the nation’s premier newspaper and is penned by the much-feared, seldom-seen critic, Shearman Waxx. Cubby knows the best thing to do is ignore the gratuitously vicious, insulting, and inaccurate comments. Penny knows it, even little Milo knows it. If Lassie could talk, she’d tell Cubby to ignore them, too.
Ignore Shearman Waxx and his poison pen is just what Cubby intends to do. Until he happens to learn where the great man is taking his lunch. Cubby just wants to get a look at the mysterious recluse whose mere opinion can make or break a career—or a life.
But Shearman Waxx isn’t what Cubby expects; and neither is the escalating terror that follows what seemed to be an innocent encounter. For Waxx gives criticism; he doesn’t take it. He has ways of dealing with those who cross him that Cubby is only beginning to fathom. Soon Cubby finds himself in a desperate struggle with a relentless sociopath, facing an inexorable assault on far more than his life.
Fearless, funny, utterly compelling, Relentless is Dean Koontz at his riveting best, an unforgettable tale of the fragile bonds that hold together all that we most cherish—and of those who would tear those bonds asunder.
My thoughts: I've been a Dean Koontz fan for years and would be hard pressed to name one favorite book of his. So, I really liked this book. Cubby reminded me a little of Odd Thomas with his sweet nature and goodness. I would have liked to have known more about his ability that saved him as a boy and think it could have been put to use. I couldn't get enough of Lassie and the strange episodes she brought to the story. I found it to be witty, riveting, and suspenseful.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

About the book: For Jack McEvoy, the killer named The Poet was the last word in evil. Think again, Jack.
Jack McEvoy is at the end of the line as a crime reporter. Forced to take a buy-out from the Los Angeles Times as the newspaper grapples with dwindling revenues, he's got only a few days left on the job. His last assignment? Training his replacement, a low-cost reporter just out of journalism school. But Jack has other plans for his exit. He is going to go out with a bang — a final story that will win the newspaper journalism's highest honor — a Pulitzer prize.

Jack focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer from the projects who has confessed to police that he brutally raped and strangled one of his crack clients. Jack convinces Alonzo's mother to cooperate with his investigation into the possibility of her son's innocence. But she has fallen for the oldest reporter's trick in the book. Jack's real intention is to use his access to report and write a story that explains how societal dysfunction and neglect created a 16-year-old killer.

But as Jack delves into the story he soon realizes that Alonzo's so-called confession is bogus, and Jack is soon off and running on the biggest story he's had since The Poet crossed his path years before. He reunites with FBI Agent Rachel Walling to go after a killer who has worked completely below police and FBI radar—and with perfect knowledge of any move against him.

What Jack doesn't know is that his investigation has inadvertently set off a digital tripwire. The killer knows Jack is coming—and he's ready.

My thoughts: I haven't read The Poet so I didn't know Jack or Rachel but I came to like them quickly. I found this book scary on at least two levels. First of course is The Scarecrow himself, a serial killer who has been at it for years. On another level there is the technology that he uses. You've seen it at the show. The Scarecrow (or whoever) can ruin lives just sitting behind a computer. Even though you know from early on who the killer is, the suspense is still there. There were no big twists, no big surprises but it was a good solid thriller. I'll have to read The Poet next. Out of order of course.

View the trailer with Michael Connelly:

thriller, murder, serial killer, computer hacking,FBI

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Terra Incognita by Ruth Downie

Synopsis : Army doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso strikes out for the uncivilized borders of Roman Britain in this highly anticipated sequel to Ruth Downie's New York Times bestselling debut.
It is spring in the year 118, and Gaius Petreius Ruso has been stationed in the Roman-occupied province of Britannia for nearly a year. After his long and reluctant investigation of the murders of a handful of local prostitutes, Ruso needs to get away. With that in mind, he has volunteered for a posting with the army in Britannia's deepest recesses calmer place for a tired man.
But the edge of the Roman Empire is a volatile place; the independent tribes of the North dwell near its borders. These hinterlands are the homeland of Ruso's slave, Tilla, who has scores of her own to settle there: Her tribes people are fomenting a rebellion against Roman control, and her former lover is implicated in the grisly murder of a soldier. Ruso, filling in for the demented local doctor, is appalled to find that Tilla is still spending time with the prime suspect. Worse, he is honor-bound to try to prove the man innocent and the army wrong by finding another culprit. Soon both Ruso's and Tilla's lives are in jeopardy, as is the future of their burgeoning romance.
Terra Incognita shines light on a remote corner of the ancient world, where Ruso's luck is running short again.
My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Medicus, in this series so was anxious to read this one. I was not disappointed. I loved the historical feel gleaned while reading this mystery. I like Gaius Ruso. He is a good guy trying to do the right thing. His poor luck sometimes brings comic relief to the story. The relationship between Ruso and Tilla is telling. Neither one can understand the other, being from different cultures. They share affection but are often annoyed due to these cultural differences. I will be reading the third in this series. I "read" this on my iPod.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sail by James Patterson & Howard Roughan

From the jacket: A perfect family vacation turns into a life-or-death nightmare.
SET SAIL Only an hour out of port, the Dunne family's summer getaway to paradise is already turning into the trip from hell. Carrie, the eldest, has thrown herself off the side of the boat in a bid for attention. Sixteen-year-old Mark is getting high belowdecks. And Ernie, their ten-year-old brother, is nearly catatonic. It's shaping up to be the worst vacation ever.
SOAK UP THE SUN Katherine Dunne had hoped this trip would bring back the togetherness they'd lost when her husband died four years earlier. Maybe if her new husband, a high-powered Manhattan attorney, had been able to postpone his trial and join them it would all have been okay....
PREPARE TO DIE-Suddenly, a disaster hits–and it's perfect. Faced with real danger, the Dunnes rediscover the meaning of family and pull together in a way they haven't in a long time. But this catastrophe is just a tiny taste of the danger that lurks ahead: someone wants to make sure that the Dunne family never makes it out of paradise alive.
With whiplash plot twists, speedboat pacing, and an eye for the evil that can lie behind even the most gorgeous setting, James Patterson delivers Sail–the wettest, most explosive ocean adventure since Jaws.

My Thoughts: This was a good quick read, somewhat suspenseful and entertaining. There is not much mystery here as you know who the bad guy is early on. There didn't seem to be much depth to this story, it is what it is. Escapism at its best.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Collectors by David Baldacci

About the book: The assassination of the U.S. Speaker of the House has shaken the nation. And the Camel Club has found a chilling connection with another death: the body of the director of the Library of Congress's rare books room has been found in a locked vault.
The Camel Club's unofficial leader, a man who calls himself Oliver Stone, discovers that someone is selling America to its enemies one classified secret at a time. Then Annabelle Conroy, the greatest con artist of her generation, struts her way into the club and gives it a sexy new edge -- one it needs. Because the two murders are hurtling the Camel Club into a world of espionage that can bring America to its knees.

My thoughts: This was a good mystery with its two sub plots working side by side to come to an end. First there is a death by seemingly natural causes of the head librarian of the Library of Congress, and the assassination of the speaker of the house. Second there is a con woman who is trying to con casino owner (who had murdered her mother) out of over 30 million! The second is what brought Annabelle to the Camel Club but had little else to do but leave an opening for the next novel. I found this to be an entertaining read and I really do like the members of the Camel Club!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Death Match by Linclon Child

Book overview: Everyone’s looking for the perfect match, a life-long partner, and Lewis and Lindsay Thorpe have found theirs, thanks to hi-tech matchmaker Eden Inc. But when the happy couple’s life together ends in what looks like a double suicide, Eden Inc. has some explaining to do. So they hire forensic psychologist Christopher Lash to figure out what went wrong. And then another perfect match ends in death....

My thoughts: I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did Child's first solo novel, Utopia, but it was still a good suspensful read. The characters seemed real like people, not super heroes. They are written well enough that you care for them. There were a couple of twists. The one at the very end was a little scary and sad at the same time.

mystery, techno thriller, computer, AI

Sunday at Tiffany's by James Patterson

About the book: As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her. She does have one friend—a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael—but only she can see him. Years later, Jane is in her thirties and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again—as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.Sundays at Tiffany's is a love story with an irresistible twist, a novel about the child inside all of us-and the boundary-crossing power of love.
My Thoughts: This was a sweet, light, quick read and I loved it! The idea of imaginary friends being real and having the job of helping children really caught my imagination. What a great beach read it was!

Savage Run by C.J. Box

About the book: Joe Pickett returns to his slightly offbeat duties in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains in C. J. Box's Savage Run. Joe is called to the scene when an exploding cow kills a famous ecoterrorist, Stewie Woods, and his bride of three days, who were peacefully spiking trees. A visit to the cow's owner leaves Joe defensive, angry, and curious: Why doesn't the rancher ask any questions about the bizarre accident that happened on his land? Then Joe's wife, Marybeth, begins receiving phone calls from her high-school boyfriend—-the peculiarly healthy-sounding Stewie Woods. Stewie may or may not be alive, but his old pal Hayden Powell and other environmental activists are all turning up deceased in strange circumstances. As the body count climbs, Joe tries to sort out the bad guys, the good guys, and the truly dead guys in this sometimes funny, sometimes angry sequel to Box's award-winning first novel, Open Season. Box depicts the spare beauty and cussed individualism of the intermountain West with the sure hand of a seasoned writer.
My Thoughts: This is actually the second novel in the Joe Pickett series, but as usual I've read them out of order. Joe is a good guy trying to do his job and I like him. This novel is a bit gruesome at times as you see in the beginning with the apparent murder of eco-terrorist Stewie Woods. The descriptions of the Wyoming wilderness are wonderful and the chase through it is exciting. I would love to see Pickett grow some confidence to go with his good guy status. All in all another great read! I will be reading more books by C.J. Box.
I read this on my Kindle.