2nd Chance is the second of James Patterson's Women's Murder Club mystery series, and as with most of his books, the action is fast and furious.
After book number one, First to Die, Lindsey Boxer has been promoted to lieutenant. She now heads San Francisco's homicide division. The calm of San Francisco shatters when it appears that a serial killer is again at work. At first, the targets are black and they seem to be random shootings. But Boxer figures out that all the victims have ties to the police. The killer leaves a trademark: a drawing of an unusual sort-part lion, part goat and part snake. The Women's Murder Club (Lindsey and her three gal-pals) discover that this is the symbol of a white supremacist hate group from prison. But they're especially upset to learn that this just might be an inside job. As with most Patterson books, just when you think the story has ended, there is a lot more still left.
One interesting aspect of 2nd Chance is that it gives the reader a look inside the politics of a homicide case. The African-American residents of San Francisco demand justice. The mayor pressures the chief of police to make a quick arrest. The chief of police breathes down the neck of Boxer and her staff for a quick solution, while his PR people try to put a positive spin on things. The longer the case goes unsolved, the more victims there are. And the FBI is forever on the sidelines, waiting for the chance to muscle in on the case. I'm sure it's something that goes on during all high-profile cases in big cities, but of which most of us are unaware.
Readers who were wooed by the first installment in Dodd's contemporary Prescott sisters trilogy, Just the Way You Are, may be disappointed by this unlikely, terrorism-based tale. Orphaned, separated from her siblings and shuttled through foster care, landscaper Pepper Prescott relies on her inborn wiliness and the militaristic self-help strategies of author Jennifer Napier, an active U.S. General, to overcome life's challenges. But when she witnesses her idol shooting an aide who threatens to expose her sale of government secrets, Pepper flees to the Idaho ranch that once provided her only stable home. Her ex-boyfriend Dan Graham, now an undercover Special Forces agent, is keeping up the ranch in an attempt to draw out an international terrorist intent on killing him. Despite mutual deceptions, the two rediscover both trust and passion before the General, Dan's terrorist prey, two of Pepper's long-lost siblings and a passel of U.S. forces converge at the ranch for the melodramatic denouement. An excess of unrealistic plot points and purple prose ("she screamed out loud, an incoherent cry of inexpressible fulfillment") mar the story, and the character of garden-loving, gun-toting Pepper never quite gels. Still, the starkly beautiful setting and the raw sexual bond Dan and Pepper share will please readers with a taste for the dramatic.
The Angel is tired of seeing known criminals not only get away with crime, but repeating the same offense. The Angel has become an avenging angel who is punishing the evildoers who manage to cheat justice.
Jimmy Brewer, a retired Baltimore cop and investigator for the prosecutor's office, lives in Juno Beach, Florida. Jimmy is trying to find peace after being burned out by his "The Bright Eyes" case and the destruction of his marriage. His friend and lover, Liz Mckinley asks him to help her on her current assignment. He reluctantly agrees to help her locate teenager Randy Arminger and his girl friend Holly Haskins. Randy, a genius with straight A's in school, killed his father, his sister, his teacher and his spouse, and Holly's father. Holly killed her mother. The police have no leads except for the filming of the killings that Randy loaded onto the internet. Jimmy is determined to end the teens' reign of terror and with a little assistance form the Angel, he might succeed.
Bad Chemistry revolves around Kate Theodorus, a former beat cop turned social worker. After a discomforting opening--a party at which a dog is mysteriously set aflame--Kate's husband Joel heads out to a convenience store for some microwave popcorn. Hours pass, then days, and still he fails to return. Has Joel been kidnapped? Has something gone seriously wrong with his importing business (which does, after all, sell "natural" pharmaceuticals from the Amazon basin)? With the aid of the most unappealing 14-year-old computer hacker in existence, Kate takes the case into her own hands, swiftly stumbling across cybercrime, robbery, and a selection of corpses. As the mystery of Joel's disappearance unravels, Krist keeps the pages turning very nicely. What's more, he makes the missing-person motif work metaphorically, as a figure for all of our inherently ambiguous relationships: "What a mystery marriage is," Kate thinks, "any marriage, every marriage. You try to make it good, but you never really know if you're succeeding." Fusing psychological insight with a cops-and-robbers plot isn't easy, but for the most part, Krist has pulled off this bit of literary chemistry with admirable expertise.
Pregnant women play key roles in this bone-chilling fourth novel in Gerritsen's edgy, suspenseful series of thrillers featuring Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles and Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli. Both of the usually gritty crime fighters are uncharacteristically vulnerable. Rizzoli is carrying her first child, and Islesdivorced and alone at age 40 and suddenly, unsettlingly aware of her biological clockis experiencing decidedly unspiritual feelings for her priest. As the novel begins, Islesan adopted child who never knew the identity of her birth parentsis confronted by the corpse of a murdered woman who is apparently her identical twin. Another detective, Rick Ballard, comes forward to say that he knew the victim and is certain her killer is a powerful pharmaceutical baron known to have stalked her. Isles falls for the handsome Ballard, but she isn't convinced by his theory, and she launches an investigation into her sister's past, following the trail to a state correctional facility and a schizophrenic inmate who may be her mother. This opens the cobwebbed pages of a nightmarish family album and leads Isles to a remote cabin in Maine where the long-dead body of a pregnant woman is discovered buried in the woods. The killer, Isles discovers, has been murdering pregnant women for decades, making periodic sweeps of the country. Meanwhile, brief scenes chronicle the diabolical kidnapping of an affluent pregnant housewife who is kept buried in a crude coffin. An electric series of startling twists, the revelation of ghoulishly practical motives and a nail-biting finale make this Gerritsen's best to date.
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Exciting romantic thriller, February 15, 2001
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner - See all my reviews
In 1978 Southern California, with the help of a nurse, Kurt kidnaps thirteen-year-old Harlow Grail, daughter of a renowned actress and a popular plastic surgeon. Also abducted is the six-year-old son of the Grail family housekeeper Timmy, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Kurt learns that the Grails talked to the police and the media, he suffocates Timmy and slices off Harlow's pinkie. Knowing Kurt will kill her once he collects his ransom, Harlow escapes.
In 2001 New Orleans, author Anna North still suffers from nightmares from when Kurt kidnapped her twenty-three years ago when she was Harlow. However, hell has just begun as Anna's mother inadvertently reveals that Harlow is a best selling author of mysteries living in New Orleans. Murders are beginning to hit the city turning the Big Easy into the Big Scary. With a pinkie sliced off one of the victims, Anna thinks Kurt is back to finish his job and only homicide detective Quentin Malone stands in his way.
BONE COLD is an exciting romantic-psychological police procedural that will entertain fans from both genres. The story line is fast-paced and filled with twists, keeping the reader on edge while wondering what will happen next. Though the twists require some acceptance, the audience will find it worth the leap as the suspense keeps growing until the reader finishes best selling author Erica Spindler's latest thriller
In his extraordinary debut novel of psychological suspense, Thomas OCallaghan proves himself a worthy successor to Thomas Harris as he introduces one of the most compelling and terrifying serial killers since Hannibal Lecter in a book where every harrowing page crackles with the white-knuckle feel of a race against time and the gritty authenticity of a real forensic investigation.
A housewife snatched in broad daylight. A tattooed drifter displayed under a boardwalk. A wealthy, high-society heiress left in a city dump. A busy, young mother on her last errand.
The women seem to have no connection except one: they have all been the victims of the Bone Thief, a twisted madman who slays his victims and steals their bones as gruesome trophies.
Since tragedy struck his own family, Lieutenant John W. Driscoll has been a man on the edge of both sanity and life. But now, with New York City in the grip of panic, Driscoll is needed more than ever. With time running out and the stakes rising every hour, hell have to guide a troubled team while battling his own demons in order to hunt and catch the most cunning predator hes ever faceda serial killer who is the very soul of evil and whose most shocking revelation is yet to come
Barton (Killing Her Softly) is a veteran of romantic suspense, and it shows in her latest, a well-paced love story interwoven with a graphic portrait of a serial killer and rapist. When the body of a young, raven-haired beauty is found brutalized in Adams County, Ala., levelheaded sheriff Bernie Granger and her new chief deputy, divorced former Memphis detective Jim Norton, work overtime to prevent the killer from striking again. When a nearly identical crime is committed, the peaceful county goes into a tailspin. As Jim and Bernie work longer hours together, their feelings for each other deepen, especially as Bernie becomes involved in the life of Jim's son, Kevin. When a third local woman is killed, Bernie and Jim pull out all the stops to find the killer"before he gets bold enough to target them. The sleepy Adams County setting makes for a pleasant contrast to the unspeakable crimes committed there, and Barton captures the bucolic feel of smalltown life"complete with its shallow pool of eligible (and desirable) romantic partners. Barton succeeds in keeping the killer's identity a guessing game, making this a fun and satisfying page-turner. (July)
Another serial killer is wreaking havoc in New Orleans, and it's up to detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya, the protagonists from Jackson's previous thriller, Hot Blooded, to reign him in. This time around, the detectives are joined by Olivia Benchet, a reluctant psychic who hails from a highly dysfunctional family. Olivia's visions of a priestly killer who tortures and sacrifices young females provide Bentz and Montoya with their best clues, but Olivia may be the next victim if Bentz doesn't shrug off his cynicism concerning visions and romantic entanglements with the wild-haired psychic. Twice burned by his former wife, who had an affair with his half-brother, Bentz now lives for work and his rebellious, 19-year-old daughter, Kristi. The hunt for the murderer escalates when Olivia realizes her visions are a two-way mirror, and the killer has Kristi and Olivia in his sights. Jackson's sanctimonious serial killer, who refers to himself as The Chosen One, is stock, but the dynamics between her protagonists, particularly between Bentz and Olivia, are a welcome counterpoint to the violent action. Although some readers may be repulsed by the killer's sexually sadistic crimes, which are depicted in graphic detail,others will be intrigued by Jackson's portrayal of the grotesqueries that result when faith and family are perverted.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Seventeen years ago, government agent Joshua Kendall was part of the raid on the cultlike Young Believers. His own bullet killed an innocent girl, and he has lived with the guilt ever since. But a new assignment will reveal that the most shattering incident of Josh's life was nothing more than a lie.
Elizabeth Marcum was that girl. She survived the bullet from the botched raid and now lives under a new identity in rural Vermont, hiding from the cult leader who has managed to elude capture all these years. But she's tired of running, tired of hiding. If Mordecai Young tracks her down, so be it.
When Josh is sent to protect Elizabeth--and realizes who she is-he will do anything to keep her alive, including lying about who he is. But as Mordecai descends back into their lives they become targets in a deadly battle that threatens to shatter their last chance at life and love.
Pleasant, but not as good as her best, July 28, 2006
Reviewer: Zift6 "Zift6" (Molokai, Hawaii, USA) - See all my reviews
Like some of her previous novels, Binchy offers a collection of stories from several different characters living in a small community, anchored by a beginning and end piece to tie them together. The idea is that we get to learn what's going on behind their facades, appreciate why some people seem cold, aloof, etc. This approach was far more effective in "The Evening Class," one of her best books, IMO. In that novel, you really got a sense of how several very different people came together for a shared experience.
In this case, the shared environment is Shancarrig, a one-horse backwater in central Ireland, a place that kids leave as soon as they can to go work in London factories. Like all of Binchy's settings, this one breathes so convincingly that you can picture the entire town in your mind as you read.
These individual stories, while interesting and full of her poignant realism, don't really go anywhere and in some cases seem shallow and forced. They also become somewhat repetitive. But in most cases, I felt like they all needed about 10 more pages to bring some kind of meaningful conclusion.
The ending, which was supposed to tie these threads together, also felt quite artificial and tacked on.
Despite the weaknesses in the overall plot integration, Binchy's style is always engaging. I think she could write a refrigerator manual and make the pages flow like music.
Once upon a time, Jaffe comfortably occupied a fictional territory pretty much all by herself: such bestselling fare as Class Reunion and The Last Chance sated readers' appetites for sexy domestic melodramas. But others moved onto this turf, many with franker and more graphic tales to tell. So now Jaffe may strike some as a trifle tamer, her small talk a little smaller. Her story of a wealthy department-store clan once held together by their summer manse but now scattered across the country seems almost familiar: nods of recognition may greet the Millers' criss-crossing encounters (at funerals, bar mitzvahs and the like), their grievances and their assorted peccadilloes. Twice-divorced cousin Olivia and her longtime companion Roger, veterinarians who share an N.Y.C. home, a practice and a comfy if unexciting life, anchor the proceedings; Roger strays and returns, Olivia does the same. But fictional familiarity can breed contentment, and though these cousins' distance from one another at times distances readers, too, the good news is that Jaffe has not lost her wit, her keen eye for human frailties and her ear for the small but telling remark. Though not bursting with excitement, Olivia and her relatives are an altogether agreeable lot. 60,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; author tour.
Crime School fills in the blanks with this complex tale about Mallory's efforts to solve the attempted murder of the knife-wielding prostitute who once sheltered and later betrayed her--a copycat crime nearly identical to another that occurred two decades ago. Fans of this series and its unique, complicated, steely protagonist will welcome O'Connell back to the bestseller lists after a protracted absence, while those who've been waiting for the emergence of a kinder, gentler Mallory, able to return the affections of those who love her--like Charles Butler, the quirky criminologist whose unrequited adoration of Mallory knows no bounds, and her partner, Riker, who's known her since his old friend Markowitz plucked her off the streets--may be disappointed. --Jane Adams --This text refers
Two years after the accidental death of her husband and son, Sara Martin is still wearing her wedding band, using it as a shield against a future without love. Then a persistent prank caller shatters her fragile peace of mind and brings detective Eric DAngelo into her life. Eric reminds her of the passion she never thought shed feel againand the idea of surrendering to it scares her. But Sara will soon discover that she never knew the meaning of the word fear . . . until now.
Even for a seasoned detective like Eric DAngelo, the rash of murders haunting the city of Austin seems unbelievably grisly. Still, hes worked enough of these cases to know that eventually, even a killer as meticulous as the Sinatra killer make a mistake. Then Sara becomes the madmans target. Between fighting off the ghosts in her past and the monster in her present, Eric is forced to wonder if their hopes of a future together will ever see the light of day. . . .
From Publishers Weekly
At the start of this gut-wrenching police procedural from Shamus Award winner Hightower (Satan's Lambs, etc.), Cincinnati homicide cop Sonora Blair and her partner, Sam Delarosa, must investigate a dreaded "home invasion." At the crime scene, they find dead three members of the Stinnet family, father Carl and two children. Then Sonora discovers the wife, Joy, nearly disemboweled under a bed clutching her unharmed baby girl and repeating the "Hail Mary." The dying Joy claims the "Angel" saved them. This nearly undoes the tough but vulnerable cop, who has her own problems as a widow with two kids. When two suspects are picked up, Barty Kinkle and Lanky Aruba, everyone is relieved, except for Sonora, who believes the "Angel" is real and at large. Kinkle is about to make a deal, but he's killed while being transferred from jail. At the same time, Sam is badly wounded. When Aruba is shot dead through his psych ward window, Sonora becomes more than ever convinced that a third person was involved. As Sonora engages in an increasingly dangerous duel of wits in her pursuit of the phantom angel, Hightower builds the suspense to an almost unbearable pitch. The domestic concerns of police and victims, Sonora's budding romance with Sam's ER doctor and her rock-solid partnership with Sam offer relief from the gore.
Though less experimental than his debut thriller, Impulse (1993), which featured three narrative voices, Weaver's second novel is every bit as gripping, a fast-paced, brutal and kinky tale that mixes crime and political intrigue with aplomb. Rising Manhattan artist Gianni Garetsky, 38, is drawn back into the American and Sicilian underworld of his youth when he's strong-armed by two men who claim to be FBI agents but who begin to torture him to reveal the whereabouts of his boyhood pal, Vittorio Battaglia, a minor mobster whom Gianni hasn't seen in 20 years and has presumed dead. Killing his two accosters, Gianni, who's soon joined by Vittorio's ex-lover, the beautiful and equally dangerous Mary Yung, moves between Europe and the States as his hunt for Vittorio and his race to save his own skin quickly involves a small child and other innocent victims, a world-class contract assassin and possibly the balances of political power in the U.S. and the world. Enhanced by strong, sinewy writing, numerous plot twists and a potent melding of sex and violence, this expertly wrought novel proves that Weaver knows what most thriller fans want?and can deliver it in spades. Audio rights to Time Warner AudioBooks; major ad/ promo.
Navy Seal John Nilsson is summoned to Washington DC by the FBI to help negotiate a hostage situation. But the last person he expected to see holding a foreign ambassador at gunpoint is Meg Moore. John and Meg were in love once, but he hasn't seen her in years. He's certainly never forgotten her, or stopped loving her. Now, John learns that a terrorist group has kidnapped Meg's daughter, and they've chosen Meg to assassinate the ambassador. John could lose his career if he helps her escape. And Meg will lose her life if he doesn't...
It is a story of a young boy in a rural Georgia town who comes to understand who/what he is. From terrifying and suspense-filled bathtubs to a tree house providing sanctuary to those willing to climb a ladder, this novel filled my mind with imagery and thought provoking feelings like no other.
... Nevertheless, Deliver Us From Evil had me checking my back and cautiously glancing around a brightly lit room full of people in the middle of the day.
To escape her abusive husband before he can kill her and her unborn child, Liz Harper fakes her own death. Months later, she has made a new life under a new name and things seem to be good, until Richard finds her. At the same time, a cop from her former home state of Hawaii arrives, looking for her. Though initially, she doubts Jack McQuinn, soon, he's her only hope of escape. As they run for her life, the two bond, and begin to fall in love, but Richard is obsessed. No matter what Liz and Jack do, or how much time passes, Richard just keeps coming. What can they do to be free to live and love?