OUT OF REACH by Patricia Lewin is #1 in Erin Baker Series and is 293 pages in hardback form.

Brief Description:
A rising star in the CIA, Erin Baker is driven by tragedy from her past. When she was a child, her eight-year-old sister, Claire, was kidnapped. Though Claire was miraculously found, she was changed forever. As was Erin, who now just might get what she’s always wanted: the chance to make a difference in someone’s life. But she must be willing to risk everything she holds dear.

When a child disappears near her home, Erin is certain there is a link to her sister’s cold kidnapping case. She meets Alex Donovan, an FBI agent on the hunt to find the missing boy, whose record for locating missing children is unquestioned. Suddenly Alex and Erin find themselves on a desperate pursuit – from the streets of America’s most peaceful neighborhoods to a horrifying underworld where children are stolen and trafficked. And as they get closer to the truth, they make their own lives, and the lives of everyone they love, into perfect targets for a killer.

My Review:

I thought this was a very good book with lots of action.  Some of the scenes were possibly a little over the top, but it is fiction and anything can happen.  Erin Baker is someone you would like to have as your friend as she is a very strong female, but still can be down to earth.

This was the first book that I have read by this author so was pleasantly surprised.  It seemed to be about the right length so you didn’t get tired of what was happening.  It is about kidnapping children though, so if that subject matter is not one that you like, then I would stay away from this one.

Even though Erin Baker is CIA, you don’t really have any spy stuff in this one.  There are some things that she does because of her training, but is mostly the hunt for the kidnappers.

I am giving this 4 out of 5 stars.  I liked it, but it wasn’t great!

THE 7TH VICTIM by Alan Jacobson is 415 pages in length and is the first in the Karen Vail Series.

Brief Description:
The Dead Eyes Killer lurks in the backyard of the famed FBI Profiling Unit. His brutal murders, unlike any others previously seen, confound the local task force, despite the gifted profiling skills of Special Agent Karen Vail. But along with Vail’s insight and expertise comes considerable personal and professional baggage.
On leave pending a review of her assault on her abusive ex-husband, Vail must battle forces determined to bring her down, as she fights to find Dead Eyes before he murders more young women. But the seventh victim is the key to all that stirs this killer…the key that will unlock secrets perhaps too painful for Vail to bear. These are secrets that threaten to destroy her, secrets that will bring down her storied and promising career. For Karen Vail, the truth rests at the heart of a lie. And uncovering it could get her killed…
With material meticulously researched during seven years of study with the Bureau’s vaunted profiling unit, Alan Jacobson brings refreshing realism and unprecedented accuracy to his pages, as he takes readers behind the scenes of the FBI Academy, where he worked with the actual profilers who have studied and interviewed twenty years’ worth of serial killers.

My Review:

When I first started to read this book, I thought I wasn’t going to like it, because it had another hot shot woman police officer at a bank robbery. I am glad I read more than the first two chapters and came to realize that was not the case. This book was an interesting perspective of what an FBI profiler does and how they make certain assumptions. I did enjoy this book, but thought the ending seemed a bit rushed. Like we came to the conclusion and everything had to be done quickly. In some books that makes sense, but I didn’t feel in this book it did. Or perhaps more information during the hunt for the serial killer would have made the ending better.

Still I found this author to be one that I would read the next book in the series. It was very interesting and I did enjoy it for the most part. 4 out of 5 stars on this one from me.

 

I am currently reading HOSTAGE by Robert Crais. This is a non-series book.

Brief Description:
Three young men gunning for action rob a minimart in a sleepy suburb north of Los Angeles. When things get out of control, and with the police on their tail, they flee the scene and invade a home in an exclusive gated community, taking a panicked family hostage.

Police chief Jeff Talley finds an all-too-familiar scene in front of the house where the criminals are holed up with a father and his two children. A former hostage negotiator with the LAPD’s SWAT unit, Talley is quickly thrown back into the high-pressure world that he has so desperately tried to leave behind. But Talley’s nightmare has barely begun, because this isn’t just any house; it holds the dirty secrets of L.A.’s biggest crime lord. And the people inside aren’t the only ones held hostage….

SPIDER BONES by Kathy Reichs is 306 pages in hardcover form. This is #13 in Dr. Temperance Brennan Series.

Brief Description:

One man, two deaths — four decades apart. A stunning story of deceit and murder can’t stay buried forever.

When Tempe Brennan is called to the scene of a Quebec drowning, shocking discoveries await: the victim — identified as one John Lowery — was engaged in a bizarre sexual practice when he died; and the same John Lowery was an American soldier declared dead in 1968, after a Huey crash in Vietnam. Who then, Tempe sets off to find out, is buried in the vet’s North Carolina grave? Exhuming the remains and having them analyzed at a military compound in Hawaii gets complicated when Tempe’s ex, Detective Andrew Ryan, appears . . . and when a Honolulu ME consults with her on who or what lethally attacked a young victim — a shark, or a more sinister predator? And when Lowery’s dog tags turn up linked to yet another corpse, Tempe must deconstruct a twisting tale of death that spans years, continents, and too many tragic losses.

My Review:

Every time I read one of the Temperance Brennan books, I learn something new.  I was not aware that if you are bitten by a shark an expert could tell what kind of shark it was.  That is simply amazing!  There is only one thing I don’t like about the books and that is they are filled with acronyms.  I wish there were generic names used or some other descriptor.

This was a very fast paced book and involved Detective Ryan and her daughter.  I certainly like the interaction between Tempe and Detective Ryan.  The eye rolls, the cute nicknames.  It makes Tempe more of a normal person.

I definitely enjoy the books more than the TV show and don’t really see that the show is about the books at all.  I see a forensic anthropologist but it ends there.  The books are filled with a lot more detail and facts as well as the human aspect.

I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars, as I did get lost in the acronyms at times and I kept getting confused about who was who.  I think that was the intent, but I found it to be off putting.

THE MAN FROM ST. PETERSBURG by Ken Follett is 305 pages in length in Hardback form. It would be classed as historical fiction with a little mystery thrown in.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION:

In 1914, Germany arms for war and the allies are preparing their defences. Both sides need Russia. The Earl of Walden and Winston Churchill plan a secret Russian alliance, but a man steals into England, intent on leaving his mark on history. Fate catches up with a beautiful woman, a young girl and a star-crossed lover, while the police close in on the man who might bring England to her knees.

MY REVIEW:

I loved this book.  It is very well written and makes you want to keep reading the next page.  This is my second book by Mr. Follett and I want to read everything he has written, as the history lessons are wonderful.  This concerned the time just before WWI was started.  There was a slight mention of Churchill throughout the book.  You didn’t really get to know him in this book, but he was talked about and did make some statements throughout the book.

The characters whether they were good or bad were very likeable.  In a way you could understand their point of view even though it might be radical in nature.  It was also interesting to hear about the Suffragettes and Mrs. Pankhurst the leader of the movement.

I am giving this 5 out of 5 stars as it was very well written.  I enjoyed learning all about the treaty that was made between Russia and England before the start of WWI.  The give and take on both sides to come to the agreement and how people were out to stop that alliance.

 

 

Brief Description:

In 1914, Germany arms for war and the allies are preparing their defences. Both sides need Russia. The Earl of Walden and Winston Churchill plan a secret Russian alliance, but a man steals into England, intent on leaving his mark on history. Fate catches up with a beautiful woman, a young girl and a star-crossed lover, while the police close in on the man who might bring England to her knees.

THE BOUNDLESS DEEP by Kate Brallier is 432 pages in length in trade paperback form.

Brief Description:

Philosophers have said that we travel through our lives, past and present, surrounded by the same souls, that we spend each new life trying to mend the hurts we’ve done to one another in the past. In The Boundless Deep, Kate Brallier explores this idea in a combination of strong storytelling and gifted characterization. Grad student Liza has long been plagued by vivid dreams of whaling. Offered the chance to trade her land-locked existence for a summer on Nantucket, the well-preserved heart of New England’s whaling trade, Liza jumps at the chance, eager to see how well her dreams mesh with historical reality. The answer is: all too well. Liza’s dreams become highly sexual; her visions of ship’s captain Obadiah Young grow increasingly intense. At times the past and present mix before her eyes, with automobiles replaced by horse-drawn carriages.Though skeptical of Liza’s claims of a past life, whaling museum curator Adam is drawn to Liza’s intense desire to know the truth-about herself, and about Obadiah, accused of murdering his beautiful, young wife.But Adam isn’t the only man with an interest in Liza-handsome Lucian, whose home Liza is sharing for the season, has designs on her as well.In a single summer, Liza must answer the riddle of her dreams, reunite lovers separated by death, solve a hundred-year-old murder . . . and figure out her heart’s desire.

My Review:

I found this book to be very good.  It had a little history, a little romance,  and a few paranormal features to it.  At times you felt like you were back in Nantucket in the 1800′s.  I found this to be fascinating as the present was combined with the past.  There are very interesting dreams that seemed to reflect what happened in the past and why the dreams kept happening, as if the story needed to be told again and forgiveness given.  This was the most important part of the book for me.

I enjoyed learning about whaling and what the men went through on the seas.  I also found it interesting that they would stay out for years at a time and then come to shore.  I figured it was weeks and not years.

To me this had a literary feel to it even though it clearly was a romance novel.  The words seemed to flow from page to page and I thought it was well written.  This author is an editor of books though, so that might be the reason why.

I am giving this 4 out of 5 stars as it seemed to be a bit long and there was a bit more romance than I like, but that is my personal opinion as I am not much of a romance reader.

THE BOUNDLESS DEEP by Kate Brallier

Brief Description:

Philosophers have said that we travel through our lives, past and present, surrounded by the same souls, that we spend each new life trying to mend the hurts we’ve done to one another in the past. In The Boundless Deep, Kate Brallier explores this idea in a combination of strong storytelling and gifted characterization. Grad student Liza has long been plagued by vivid dreams of whaling. Offered the chance to trade her land-locked existence for a summer on Nantucket, the well-preserved heart of New England’s whaling trade, Liza jumps at the chance, eager to see how well her dreams mesh with historical reality. The answer is: all too well. Liza’s dreams become highly sexual; her visions of ship’s captain Obadiah Young grow increasingly intense. At times the past and present mix before her eyes, with automobiles replaced by horse-drawn carriages.Though skeptical of Liza’s claims of a past life, whaling museum curator Adam is drawn to Liza’s intense desire to know the truth-about herself, and about Obadiah, accused of murdering his beautiful, young wife.But Adam isn’t the only man with an interest in Liza-handsome Lucian, whose home Liza is sharing for the season, has designs on her as well.In a single summer, Liza must answer the riddle of her dreams, reunite lovers separated by death, solve a hundred-year-old murder . . . and figure out her heart’s desire.

THE TURTLE MOUND MURDER by Mary Clay is #1 in a Daffodils Mystery. Daffodils stands for divorced and Finally Free of Deceitful, Insensitive, Licentious Scum.

Brief Description:

IS THERE LIFE AFTER DIVORCE? YOU BET Meet the DAFFODILS* (*Divorced And Finally Free Of Deceitful, Insensitive, Licentious Scum) ***TV/Movie Rights Optioned*** Rebecca Leigh Stratton is divorced, depressed, and thoroughly disgusted. Thanks to her two-timing, asset-hiding, lawyer husband, Leigh faces the prospect of starting over at forty-six. Fortunately, her sassy, Southern sorority sisters, Penny Sue Parker and Ruthie Nichols, are old hands at divorce. The three single-again ladies take off for New Smyrna Beach, their college-days haunt. What they don’t bargain for are old flames, fist fights, and gunfire. And, that’s just the first day!

My Review:

This was an interesting read and reminded me of the Southern Sisters Mysteries that were written by Anne George.  The reason this was so interesting is because it is set in New Smyrna Beach and is all about the area.  So places that were discussed were familiar.

The editing could have been a little better, but the story was good and I enjoyed it.  The story moved along and the people were interesting.  I would try the next one when I find it.  I really like the Southern side of it, because it is pretty believable.  I have experienced some of these Southern friendships and it brings fond memories of those.

I am giving this book 3 out of 5 stars, as I would have liked the story to have moved along a little faster, and there seemed to be a few too many characters to try and keep track of.  I enjoyed it and hope to find the 2nd in the series.

EARLY RETIREMENT(MURDER IN DAYTONA) by F C Henderson is 409 pages in trade paperback form. This is a self-published book by a local Ormond, Florida author.

Brief Description:

Richard and Veronica Stevens accept an early retirement offer from their employer so they can follow their dream of retiring in Florida. Wanting to give back to society, Veronica decides to volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter. There she meets Teracita, a young woman who was brought to the shelter brutally beaten. Veronica connects with Teracita and, despite her husband’s advice, gets personally involved. That decision costs Veronica her life. When her battered body is found in a sleazy beach side motel room Veronica’s husband is charged with the crime.

Detective Dan Brooks, Chief Homicide Investigator for the Daytona Beach Police Department, is days away from closing the book on a thirty year career in law enforcement. When the call comes in that a body has been found the detective rushes to the scene. What he finds changes his retirement plans indefinitely. Brooks puts his life on hold till the case can be solved.

Readers wind their way through a plethora of seedy scenarios and shady characters. They are introduced to an underworld over populated by sexual deviants, drug dealers, black marketeers, and corrupt cops. The story will take them from the barrios of Chihuahua, to the glitz and glamour of Miami Beach. From the snow covered rural roads of upstate New York, to the tough Irish neighborhoods of Kansas City. Everything culminates on a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, justice is served…

This was a difficult book for me to read because of the italics for dialogue.  I understand it was to call attention to the dialogue, but I found it to be inconsistent and at times it caused me some confusion in what was meant.  I think this book could be classed as erotica because there are some very strong sexual scenes.  Also, the book is very graphic in the details of the murder or murders in this case.

I believe this story could have been told in less pages because there were things that were added that just seemed to be incidental and didn’t really help or move the story along.   There were really no characters to like in this book.  There were certainly people to feel sorry for, but no one that you really cared about.  Perhaps Teracita in the beginning, but in the end, I didn’t care for her much either.

I am giving this 2 out of 5 stars.  I think the story could have been a little tighter and I also feel that the violence in the book could have been toned down, but still tell the terrible things that happen with domestic violence.   I think as a first attempt at writing and putting words on a page, it is good.  I believe the book needs to be edited a bit more or critiqued so that it could have been tightened up before publishing.