Date: March 8, 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by JD Robb

Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by JD RobbEchoes in Death by JD Robb
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 7, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

Well I don’t know what to really say except that I found this whole book except for a couple places to be extremely disappointing. I really do think that it would be better if this series either ends soon or does a jump forward in time or we follow another person to take up the “In Death” mantle like Nikki Swisher from the “Survivor in Death” book which was# 24.

That gets me on another topic can you believe it’s been a year since the timeline from that book to this book which is #44 in the “In Death series”. I sometimes just want to grab my hair and despair because besides the continuity issues long time readers have noted, it’s unreal to have Eve investigating this many serial murders and rapists in a year.

I don’t know what else can be done at this point to make the series at least for me more gripping. I still read these (I try to always borrow from the library now these are no longer auto buys for me) and I know that you’re probably all wondering why do I still read these books and my answer is because I have such affection and love of the first couple of books (I was really happy with the series until around Thankless in Death) and I keep hoping for a return to what made these books an always buy for me.

One of my really good friends loves to read the series still and she’s another reason that I still keep reading cause she loves having somebody to discuss it with. However, even she’s now starting to see problems with things based on the last few books and she really disliked this book as well.

“Echoes in Death” deals with a serial rapist one of many that appears to live in New York City. Eve and Roarke are back from a couple days away to one of the private islands that Roarke owns and she’s feeling rejuvenated after the last couple of cases that occurred over Christmas and New Years (see other reviews). As they’re driving home a naked woman who is bloody and beaten wanders into their path and just like that Eve now has another case to investigate.

I really wish that this book had just stayed away from Eve and the need to check up on her every 5 seconds looking at you Dr. Mira and Rourke. At this point I don’t know why anybody let’s Eve out of the house since she only seems to drink a lot of coffee, get headaches, feel stressed and forgets to eat or is too sick to eat unless Roarke is there to force food on her. At this point I loathe reading any cases dealing with rape because it’s a paint by numbers for Robb at this point. The only time that I saw the older version of Eve I would have to say is when she’s interviewing. Robb can still when she wants to develop characters we are never going to see again but I found myself more interested in the victims in this one than any of our main and recurring characters.

Roarke barely has anything to do in this one, not that I mind because it still irks me to this day that he’s even involved with many of these cases. I don’t really get the whole he’s an expert consultant thing. I’m still wondering why no defendant has ever in trial accused her husband of planting evidence due to his money and wealth. That would be if an interesting “In Death” book if Roarke’s ties end up compromising a case. That be an interesting dynamic to bring to the relationship. But we don’t get that here. We have Roarke helping run lists, pick out Eve’s clothes, feed her, and they have I recall three romantic scenes. Other than that, not much here.

Peabody irked the life out of me in this book. I found the whole trajectory of her character in the last couple of books to become seriously ridiculous and more unprofessional by the day. Due to Eve being really dressed up for a night out with Rourke where they decide to go to the victim’s home instead of Eve calling it in and going home to change, she instead has Peabody bring her a change of clothes. Peabody then keep talking forever about sexy and hot Eve looks dressed up and loses it over her shoes. Don’t even get me started on her talking about trying to protect Eve’s shoes with maybe stealing a shoe bag from the victim’s home. And by the way Peabody’s talking about this while a dead body is sitting right next to them and has the nerve to say well it’s not like he’s going to care. And at this point she realizes that the victim’s wife, the same one who Eve and Roarke almost ran into earlier is beaten and raped in the hospital. I’m starting to think Peabody is a sociopath or just clueless, I’ll go with either one of those guesses. And then it even hurts me more when they go to interview people later on and Peabody sits down and gets her face made up. I just I don’t even know why Eve puts up with her at this point because I don’t see Peabody bring anything to their partnership. She goes between acting like an even more useless Watson, to just being a comic foil at times and she’s not even funny. She’s merely there to heap praise upon Eve and soak up the fact that Eve gets special treatment every place that they go because she’s Roarke’s wife. Old Eve would have slapped the taste out of Peabody’s mouth for even going around being happy about them having VIP access. This Eve ignores it.

I’m also very disappointed with the fact that unless Dr. Mira is taking front and center in the story she’s pretty much become useless. She is now Eve’s Greek chorus merely telling Eve things that she already figured out for herself. At this point I don’t even know why she goes and talks to Dr. Mira except for Dr Mira to sit there and cluck and coo over Eve and wonder how the case is affecting her emotions.

Everybody else puts in a minor cameo appearance (McNabb, Feeney, True heart, and Baxter) we either hear about them (such as Mavis and Nadine) or they’re not mentioned at all (Louise and Charles). And some other readers even pointed out the fact that Robb made a huge boo boo in this one and she does and I won’t spoil it too much for you but when you read about the serial killer and how he was able to pick his victims there’s no way that Louise and Charles would not have been on this great list that Eva’s talking about. Eve once again is frantic and scared that something could happen to Dr. Mira or Mavis and I rolled my eyes.

The writing in this one was very repetitive. I think that you can just take pieces or prior books and you’re going to get the same interaction and dialogue among Eve and other characters that we’re used to. You know you’re going to get Eve saying something that’s a cliché or phrase wrong and somebody’s going to correct her. You know that Galahad’s going to come and probably pass out or rub up against her as she falls asleep bonelessly into bed. You know that she’s going to say something like got it in one to someone or someone will say it to her. You know Eve is going to talk about baseball and give some amazing stat to Roarke. You know that Eve and Roarke will have a fight (they almost had a fight in this one thank God we were spared having to read about it). You know Roarke is going to talk about the button that he got off of Eve’s jacket. You know that Peabody is going to go on and on about how heavy and fat she is. One new thing and I hope to God we don’t read about it anymore is that Eve and Roarke’s bedroom has been redecorated as well as Eve’s office. So I hope you have fun reading about that because I was seriously annoyed. You know that somehow Eve going to compare herself to a really hot woman and talk about how Roarke made a bad choice. At this point it’s like you know what’s going to happen so it’s just better to borrow these books from the library if you really feel the need to continue just to see if anything interesting happens.

The flow was really bad on this one and I do think it’s because honestly I even clued in to the fact that there seem to be two cases happening here at once. With the initial statement from the victim and the crime there are a lot of holes there. And I have to also say I totally clued to who the killer was because you literally only meet one person this whole book that could actually fit who did this and it doesn’t even make sense because the guy seems to be pretty well-known and or has a recognizable face and when you find out about his attempts to harass the women that he’s potentially going to rape later I don’t understand how nobody recognized him. Don’t even get me started on this whole back story dealing with why this guy became a serial rapist and murderer there were too many flags for me and I just found myself getting more and more annoyed. To see how he is in public and in all of a sudden he’s in an interrogation room and turns into a woman hating man and women are just whores just totally threw me for a loop. I think at this point Rob just wanted to end the book and get to the next scene where she I think thought she was going for a little twist, but once again like I said I saw that one coming and I called crap on it because I don’t think Eve has the authority to do what she did it all.

The setting in this one of course is in New York City but it’s in New York City during a blizzard. Robb has a really good opportunity to showcase how technology fits into this new world and they even have you talking about having hologram interviews and then of course that gets thrown out the window with Eve deciding to go into work and driving an all-terrain vehicle. I felt really disappointed with that and other dropped threads in this book, like with Eve not talking to one of the victim’s first wife, with Eve not talking to the victim’s parents, with Eve not even checking in to make sure that after she asked Roarke to look into the Mira’s at home security to see if and what he would recommend that they have upgraded to fix. Also can I say that I got really bored with the fact that we were just reading for pages and pages about how Roarke, Peabody, and Eve just going through list of potential victims and how apparently this was so draining to have to do this and move them to potential victims. I still don’t understand what they were doing and I was at a loss. It feels like it’s just filler at this point.

And of course “Echoes in Death” is pretty much linking Eve’s rape by her father as a child and her subsequent killing of him to these cases was a huge reach. This case is not at all what happened to Eve and I just hate as I said earlier anything that deals with rape it ends up being traumatic for Eve and she thinks about everything that happened to her. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t think about it or not have any emotions about it or still need to talk about it but either she needs to get into one-on-one therapy with Dr. Mira and not investigate anymore.

one-star

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. CareyThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit on February 14, 2017
Genres: Sci Fi
Pages: 70
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

Wow. I had no idea how much I was missing “The Girl With All the Gifts” until I read this free extended preview of “The Boy on the Bridge.” This is not a sequel they say, but it takes place in the same post apocalyptic world that Carey wrote about in “The Girl With All The Gifts.”

We seem to be following another team that is out to figure out how to combat the hungries in a changed world. We start off following the POV of a character named Dr. Khan who I imagine is going to be just as important to the boy on the bridge as was Miss Justineau was to Melanie in “The Girl With All the Gifts.” I won’t reveal what I read so far since I don’t want to have spoilers out there for everyone, but I read enough to be demanding even more. I need this book so badly right now. I am worried about Khan and a boy named Stephen Greaves who seems to not be a typical boy who is along with this science team.

The writing was lyrical and sad at times. Carey definitely gets you in the right headspace of a world that is slowly dying and or dead. That humanity is about to be wiped out and there’s nothing that anyone can do to turn the tide. I wonder after the events of “The Girl With All the Gifts” what this new crew of men and women are going to do when they eventually find out about what happened.

I can’t really speak much about flow. I thought this was a bit disjointed, but I am not going to ding this preview for that. It will probably get better when the full version is up for reading. I think I liked being in Khan’s POV much more than Stephen’s. Yes I love the character of Melanie and don’t see how anyone else is going to surpass her.

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five-stars

The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt

The Shivering Sands by Victoria HoltThe Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt
Published by Fontana on 1969
Genres: Gothic romance
Pages: 320
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

The new novel by the modern mistress of romantic suspense is set on the coast of Kent, at a great estate overlooking the infamous "shivering sands" - quicksands that have swallowed entire ships unfortunate enough to sail into them. Caroline Verlaine, a young widow, comes to work at the estate hoping to discover the cause of the mysterious disappearance of her sister, who had been studying the nearby Roman ruins. Caroline found her employers a strange family, haunted by tragedies of the past, scarred by distrust. Yet she found herself irresistibly attracted to them - especially to the family's dark, moody young scion. But not until she had retraced her sister's fatal last steps could she answer the crucial questions about the family's past - and her own future.

I get that Holt is writing Gothic romances, but she always seems to take the worst parts of Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre) and Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and uses that to make the male heroes in these stories. I think Heathcliff was terrible by the way for anyone that is ready to jump at me in the comments. I think due to the last book and this one I am going to pass on Holt for a second even though most of her books are available to borrow at my library right now.

Besides the above mentioned issues I had with the hero, “Shivering Sands” has one of the most nonsensical plots I have read this year. And don’t forget, I read “Holly” by Jude Deveraux so that’s saying something.

We follow the character of Caroline Verlaine as she goes about investigating (poorly) at Lovat Stacy to find out more about her older sister’s Roma’s disappearance. Though for most of the book she just blunders along and runs around defending Napier Stacy (sorry getting ahead of myself here.

The book starts off a bit off (at least to me) when we find out that Caroline is a widow. Caroline we find is a bit of an odd duck. She comes from a family of archaeologists, but she has a natural aptitude for the piano. Her family is not very rich, but they manage to send her off to Paris to get lessons. There she falls in love with a self absorbed man who she says repeatedly was a genius (Pietro). Due to Pietro being a genius she is told by a teacher and even by her husband in his actions and words that she is there to merely prop him up and tell him how great he is. He does not want her playing the piano since that would in some way take away from his awesomeness. I was really happy when Pietro died.

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Recovering from Pietro’s death then has Caroline going off to see her sister who is near Lovat Stacy looking into some Roman ruins that are nearby. The action does not get going until after we have Caroline finding out about her sister’s disappearance. She then through a ridiculous circumstance is given the opportunity to teach the piano at Lovat Stacy for three young women who live there and the nearby vicarage.

Caroline feels something is off at Lovat Stacy after finding about the the estranged son of the Stacy household (Napier) is finally back, ready to marry a ward of the Stacy household, Edith. Even though Caroline is told countless stories about Napier and how he caused his older brother’s Beau’s death, she feels angry anytime tells her about what a bad guy he is. There interactions are also short and often leave her angry. He has a way about him that is reminiscent of her dead husband’s. I honestly didn’t get the romance here at all. We eventually get an explanation regarding Napier that I had a hard time believing, it didn’t even make sense.

We get additional characters in this one that may be hard to follow. Besides Caroline and Edith, we also get Sylvia, Allegra, and Alice. After a while my brain just started getting overloaded to switching between them and the other characters (like the Stacy housekeeper) and I think Mr. Stacy’s sister who was off as well.

The writing was okay, it definitely made me think of books like Jane Eyre. I just wish I cared more about anything that was happening.

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The flow was not good in this one though. If you are waiting for anything to happen, just skip to the end (honestly I did to see who was behind things and then went back to reading again) and read the ridiculous explanations that follow.

The setting of Stacy Lovat could have been something with the so-called “Shivering Sands” but I felt blah towards it. I just got down reading “Murder is Easy” and the village of Wychwood under Ashe felt more mysterious and dark.

As I said above, I booed the ending since for me I wish that Holt had her heroine realize that running off with a facsimile of her dead husband maybe wasn’t a hot idea.

two-stars

Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie

Murder is Easy by Agatha ChristieMurder is Easy by Agatha Christie
Published by William Morrow on June 1939
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320
Source: Borrowed: print book
Goodreads
four-stars

A new 'signature edition' of Agatha Christie's thriller, featuring the return of Superintendent Battle. Luke Fitzwilliam could not believe Miss Pinkerton's wild allegation that a multiple murderer was at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood -- or her speculation that the local doctor was next in line. But within hours, Miss Pinkerton had been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Mere coincidence? Luke was inclined to think so -- until he read in The Times of the unexpected demise of Dr Humbleby...

I love me some Christie. She is getting me through some bad times right now. I plan on reading the rest of her backlist and didn’t realize until after the fact I grabbed up the Superintendent Battle series (this is number 4) and am reading out of order now. I will correct that later.

“Murder is Easy” confused me a bit since I recall this being a Miss Marple television episode. So when I started reading about Luke Fitzwilliam and there was no sign of Miss Marple anywhere I was not pleased. But the story grabbed me and I found myself rushing to finish it.

Luke is back in England after being a policeman out East. He ends up talking to an elderly woman named Lavinia Pinkerton who proceeds to tell Luke that she is going to Scotland Yard to report someone she thinks is a serial killer in her village. Luke though he doesn’t say it to Ms. Pinkerton’s face thinks that she may be imagining things. However, the names that Lavina provides him stick in his head, especially a man she said would be the next victim, Dr. John Humbleby. Luke puts the whole thing out of his mind until he reads how Ms. Pinkerton was killed by a hit and run driver. And when he then reads later that Dr. Humbleby is dead as well he decides to dig deeper into Wychwood under Ashe.

Due to a connection that Luke has, he is able to pretend to be a cousin of a woman named Bridget Conway that lives there and is to be married soon to Gordon Whitfield.

I honestly liked how Luke goes about investigating whether a potential killer is on the loose in Whychwood under Ashe. He pretends to be there to investigate some potential witchcraft/death ceremonies that I don’t know how in the world anyone bought that. I would have been all:

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Luke ends up getting a lot of gossip and feelings and starts to think that Lavina was right that there is something darker going on with one of the residents. Of course Christie throws in some some random I hate you, but I love you story-line between Luke and Bridget and it doesn’t quite work because I honestly don’t even get why either one of them is attracted to each other.

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Hmmm, I may go watch the Notebook later. And I tend to loathe all things Nicholas Sparks.

So we have Luke trying to figure out who killed previous residents and also barely able to contain his loathing for Bridget’s ridiculous fiancee.

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I loved the writing in this book. The atmosphere that Christie evokes in the village is creepy as anything. I maybe turned on more lights while reading this book. I just felt like someone was reading over my shoulder and had a very sharp knife ready to stab me with it.

The flow in the book is a bit off though. I think that’s because we have Luke running around and then we go to Bridget for a bit and then back to Luke. And we get a quick appearance by Battle who does nothing really in this book.

The ending and reveal of the villain was creepy and very well done. If I were Luke and Bridget I would have thrown some holy water at the murderer, they were one of the most memorable villains in one of Christie’s books for me.

four-stars

Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Crooked House by Agatha ChristieCrooked House by Agatha Christie
Published by Minotaur Books on March 1949
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 259
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

The Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.

Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiancé of the late millionaire’s granddaughter

Honestly I don’t have that much to say here besides the fact that I really really love this book.

This was one of Agatha Christie’s favorite books and I can see why.

There are a lot of twists and turns and I thought I figured out the perpetrator, but per usual, I was wrong.

“Crooked House” follows the character of Charles Hayward, as he goes about investigating who could have murdered his potential fiance’s (Sophia) grandfather, Mr. Aristide Leonides.

Christie sets up the book so readers get to read about Charles and Sophia and their time together before the war (WWII) before the book transitions over to post war England with both of them back dealing with the aftermath of Sophia’s grandfather’s death.

Due to Charles’s father having a high position at Scotland Yard he is called upon to go down and determine if he can figure out just by watching and listening who killed Sophia’s grandfather. Sophia smartly realizes they cannot have a future until it is determined who murdered Mr. Leonides.

We do get some interesting characters in this book such as Sophia’s younger sister Josephine, and her younger brother as well. Also Sophia’s father is kind of a cold fish and her mother is an actress which apparently means drama drama drama. There’s also an interesting uncle and aunt as well as the great aunt of Sophia’s grandmother that still lives with the family. I like that Christie does a very good job in just a few short scenes of showing who all these characters are and what ultimately moves them by the end of the book.

Christie’s quite smartly lays out a couple of clues that if you’re paying attention you could figure out who the murderer is, but honestly I didn’t notice any of this till the very end. One thing that I did like though is that you get to see Charles hypocrisy in a couple scenes with him feeling bad for Sophie’s step-grandmother and just kind of ignoring the signs of what type of woman that she really is.

The writing is top-notch Christie. I know this is no “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” but I can definitely see myself re-reading this again and again in the future.

five-stars

Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by JD Robb

Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by JD RobbApprentice in Death by JD Robb
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 375
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Nature versus nurture...

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

Well this is probably going to go down as one of my least favorite “In Death” books.

I think the main reason is because after reading a lot of Jeffery Deaver and Michael Connelly the past two months, reading a JD Robb mystery/crime/romance novels is just not going to ring my bell. Usually I’m all for watching Eve, Rourke and their friends tracking down the bad guys. however, this book tells you who the perpetrators are at about the 24% point and then a major part of the book is just trying to catch the bad guys. I just lost all interest. And we all know that none of the main characters are ever going to bite the bullet so I wasn’t running around freaked out that somebody close to Eve was going to die like Eve did towards the tail end of this book.

I was honestly bored by Eve in this book. There was once again a nonsense fight per usual between her and Roarke in involving Summerset that was just really dumb. I felt like yelling at all parties concerned that maybe their petty little crap can wait till later considering the fact that they were standing around after at least 20 people had been killed. Also Eve hating the new bone doctor needs to stop, I’m over it, she’s acting proprietary over someone that she has no business acting that way towards.

And Roarke irked the crap out of me. There were two separate scenes where Eve was injured in a minor way and he didn’t give a s*** and wanted everybody to drop everything and attend to her and it was just…Lord I wanted to slap him that’s all I got.

I am going to say that Eve, Roarke, Peabody, McNabb, Dr. Mira, Baxter, Trueheart, and others were just the same characters that they’ve been playing throughout these many in death books. So there’s really no surprises there. I honestly just felt kind of bored by the sameness. I really do need to just see something different soon before I just lose all interest in this series. I don’t want to see a death happened just to have a death happened. But maybe Peabody goes off and works elsewhere. Maybe Peabody and McNabb get married and have a baby. Maybe Mavis moves away.

Something has to give soon because unlike with other mystery crime novels, these books are getting super stale like The Women’s Murder Club and Stephanie Plum series. Deaver and Connelly keep me engaged even when I’m yelling at the main characters. Also Deaver and Connelly are not afraid to let their main characters mess up and just be wrong. It’s boring having Eve always be right and or having a psychic dream or something that leads her to an answer.

I think the writing wasn’t as great in this one just because the book didn’t know what it was trying to do I think. We have Eve investigating these two snipers throughout this book, but then there are scenes with Rourke telling Eve about how a bed he wants int heir bedroom has a mysterious take behind it and tells Eve about it. Rourke also stop s the show to show Eve potential designs of her new office. I literally could not give two craps what Eve’s office and/or her bedroom looks like. And it also felt a little heartless that they were thinking about that with the whole city afraid because there was mass shootings happening. And all it did was remind me of how annoyed that the last book even had this whole Eve office redesign be a fight between Eve and Roarke.

Also speaking of the writing, JD Robb needs to figure out what is going on with the continuity in this series. At this point it’s maybe been a year and there’s been about 20 plus books in that timeframe. That means that there must have been a murder that Eve was investigating about every other week in the past year which makes absolutely no sense. At this point everybody should be fleeing from New York because you’re going to die since that seems to be were all the serial killers go. And maybe that would not have bothered me so much except the last three books based on the timeline have maybe happened just a couple days apart. At this point Eve should be burned out, exhausted, tired, and/or somebody else should be driving her caseload. I’m still unsure how she always keeps catching all these high-profile cases and none of them seem to get shuttled off to other lieutenants in the department.

I think the flow was not thay great in this one due to them going back and forth between scenes of mass shootings, to Eve investigating, then Eve consulting with Dr. Mira (who really didn’t add anything at all to this book) to romantic scenes with Rourke, to Eve and Roarke talking about the redesign of their bedroom and other rooms, then to Bella’s first birthday party, and then back into interviewing the suspects it just felt bizarre.

I thought that the ending was kind of blah and even though I already have a hold on “Echoes in Death” I’m kind of not looking forward to it. Here’s hoping that one is much better than “Apprentice in Death.”

two-stars

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake CrouchDark Matter by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown on July 26th 2016
Genres: Sci Fi
Pages: 342
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Honestly I think that for the most part I was bored by this book. I think the fact that I am a girl that has grown up reading Stephen King, none of the plot points in this book were surprising to me.

Dark Matter follows the character of Jason Dessen after he is abducted by a mysterious man in a mask and finds himself in a place that’s familiar but is altogether different than the world he is use to. Jason spends most of the book trying to find his way back to his beloved wife and son. I do wish that I’ve got a better sense of Jason I feel like Crouch did not do a good job developing him. The only thing that this book is focused on is Jason and his family. And I think the way that his wife is elevated into this book into this prize is just a bit off-putting but thank goodness Crouch redeems himself in the end with that whole storyline.

We do get an interesting side character that is Jason’s companion throughout his adventure but then disappears halfway through the book which disappointed me. I had so many questions left about this character and what their ultimate fate was.

Jason’s wife Dani unfortunately wasn’t developed as much as I needed her to be. We get glimmers of this character’s strength, her ability to see beauty, her artistic ability, but I needed more if I had gotten more I think this would have easily been a 4-star book.

I thought that the mysterious man was kind of a joke because I kind of called who this had to be and once again this person’s justifications for what they did was total crap. I kind of rolled my eyes a bunch thousand since all this book did was made me long for Futurama who did better with this same type of dilemma.

I kept waiting for this infamous twist that everybody kept talking about and it just was kind of a joke to me. Anybody that has watch Futurama would have definitely gotten there before the main character did.

 

I do think that though the overall plot was interesting, I wish that Crouch had pushed things a little bit more. I wanted to see more darkness in the story.

The writing was okay I think Crouch tried to explain the science behind this whole book, but I am always of the mindset that you don’t need to over explain things to readers, it just often leaves you with plot holes like I saw by the time I got to the end of this book. The flow was really off after about one third of the book and it didn’t really adjust itself until almost the very end.

The book taking place in Chicago was interesting to me and I really do wish that Crouch had use the setting a little bit better. He initially did use Chicago very well in the first couple of chapters and then it just kind of became a backdrop with nothing behind it. I could almost see this being staged in a theater somewhere and you would see a backdrop and the words with Chicago written on it to represent the city.

The ending is I think supposed to leave you with hope but all I did was leave me with more questions than answers.

three-stars

The Broken Window (Lincoln Rhyme #8) by Jeffrey Deaver

The Broken Window (Lincoln Rhyme #8) by Jeffrey DeaverThe Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver
Published by Simon & Schuster on June 10, 2008
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 414
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

When Lincoln's estranged cousin Arthur Rhyme is arrested on murder charges, the case is perfect -- too perfect. Forensic evidence from Arthur's home is found all over the scene of the crime, and it looks like the fate of Lincoln's relative is sealed.

At the behest of Arthur's wife, Judy, Lincoln grudgingly agrees to investigate the case. Soon Lincoln and Amelia uncover a string of similar murders and rapes with perpetrators claiming innocence and ignorance -- despite ironclad evidence at the scenes of the crime. Rhyme's team realizes this "perfect" evidence may actually be the result of masterful identity theft and manipulation.

An information service company -- the huge data miner Strategic Systems Datacorp -- seems to have all the answers but is reluctant to help the police. Still, Rhyme and Sachs and their assembled team begin uncovering a chilling pattern of vicious crimes and coverups, and their investigation points to one master criminal, whom they dub "522."

When "522" learns the identities of the crime-fighting team, the hunters become the hunted. Full of Deaver's trademark plot twists, "The Broken Window" will put the partnership of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs to the ultimate test.

Well after a kick butt book #7, I had high hopes for book #8, instead this one floundered a lot IMHO. We also have Sachs in my opinion being a total nitwit for how she handles an inappropriate relationship with someone she is close to. And I have to say that this book was highly repetitive from beginning to end. I think that Deaver was trying to tell three stories in this one, and they all get pretty lost. The ending I found to be off and just setting things up for the next book in the series. At least I got off my butt  and place a hold on that book.

In “The Broken Window” we have Rhyme focused on a mysterious case in London. No you will have no idea at all what that is about until the end of the book so feel free to skim any references to that, I know I did. Of course I guessed at the reveal though of why Rhyme was so interested in this case, I just don’t know why Deaver hid it (badly) from readers.

When Ryhme’s cousin’s wife (his cousin’s name is Arthur) comes to visit him though, Sachs and Rhyme agree to look into Rhyme’s cousin’s arrest for a rape and murder he claims that he is innocent of. Within a few short chapters readers are then made hip to that fact as well. Though of course, Rhyme reveals something about his cousin that calls that all into question (not for readers though since we all get a POV of the guilty party in this one). This is what I mean by the book floundering.

It would have been cool to not reveal the POV of the killer in this one. It would have been nice if Deaver had the book segue back from the team investigating (Rhyme, Sachs, Pulaski) and Rhyme’s cousin Arthur who is in detention and is pretty close to a nervous breakdown. Then readers can wonder about Arthur once we have Rhyme revealing something to Sachs about why Rhyme has not been in contact with his cousin in 10 years. The rush to show that Arthur is clearly being set up and Rhyme and Sachs just trying to catch the bad guy made the book boring to me.

We get the killer’s POV in this one, and honestly I had a hard time with it. Besides being a murder and rapist he seems off the reservation entirely. I don’t know how a person like this is able to do what he does in this book without anyone being able to stop him. I know that “The Broken Window” is a cautionary tale by Deaver about how everything is being digitized and if someone wanted to they could ruin your life, but this was way too much like “The Net” for me, but somehow more terrible….and yep, going to lower the star rating on this one again as I sit and think about that.

We also have the POV of the character of Pam in this one (and please let this be the last time). This is the teen that Rhyme and Sachs have a connection to due to the events in “The Bone Collector.” Sachs has taken the girl under her wing and even though Pam has a foster family, she practically lives with Rhyme and Sachs at both of their places and Sachs looks on her like a daughter (a daughter that badly needs a lot of therapy). The story-line could have been okay, but when we find out that Pam is involved with a 40 year old man she loves and Sachs doesn’t have the fool arrested I just shook my head. Readers definitely understand Pam’s past, but I had a hard time with her telling this grown man that she would see him if he got divorced from his wife. He has two kids younger than Pam and ugh, I just maybe banged my head there and I have to move on. This whole story-line ticked me off and wrecked the flow of the book.

The writing got way too repetitive for me while reading. You will read a lot of references to Kathryn Dance in this one. I started to want her to make an appearance since I was sick of Rhyme talking about how Dance has shown him how to look at people to tell if they are lying. Also Pulaski is a fav or mine, but I am getting really tired of reading about how his ears burn when he gets upset or embarrassed. I really want to see some growth with this character. We get echoes of it here and there, but his POV’s ultimately started getting on my nerves.

The ending just kind of happens and then of course jumps back to the case that Rhyme was interested in going on in London. I hope the next book brings things back up a notch.

three-stars

Cold Moon (Lincoln Rhyme #7) by Jeffrey Deaver

Cold Moon (Lincoln Rhyme #7) by Jeffrey DeaverCold Moon by Jeffrey Deaver
Published by Simon & Schuster on June 26th 2006
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

On a freezing December night, with a full moon hovering in the black sky over New York City, two people are brutally murdered -- the death scenes marked by eerie, matching calling cards: moon-faced clocks investigators fear ticked away the victims' last moments on earth. Renowned criminologist Lincoln Rhyme immediately identifies the clock distributor and has the chilling realization that the killer -- who has dubbed himself the Watchmaker -- has more murders planned in the hours to come.

Rhyme, a quadriplegic long confined to his wheelchair, immediately taps his trusted partner and longtime love, Amelia Sachs, to walk the grid and be his eyes and ears on the street. But Sachs has other commitments now -- namely, her first assignment as lead detective on a homicide of her own. As she struggles to balance her pursuit of the infuriatingly elusive Watchmaker with her own case, Sachs unearths shocking revelations about the police force that threaten to undermine her career, her sense of self and her relationship with Rhyme. As the Rhyme-Sachs team shows evidence of fissures, the Watchmaker is methodically stalking his victims and planning a diabolical criminal masterwork.... Indeed, the Watchmaker may be the most cunning and mesmerizing villain Rhyme and Sachs have ever encountered.

I really enjoyed the seventh book in the Lincoln Rhyme series. This one also gives us a first look at a character that Deaver spins off into her own series, Kathryn Dance. We get to see the science side of things and also how Dance uses her expertise in kinesics, which is the science of body language, nonverbal gestures, postures and facial expressions. Dance works at the California Bureau of Investigation and gets pulled into this case via Lon Selitto who believes that Dance can help out Rhyme and Sachs as they hunt down a man known as “The Watchmaker.” There is a bit too much science (there were whole paragraphs that made my eyes glaze over) and I have to laugh again at the constant Red Herrings, but I do love the callbacks to “The Bone Collector” in this one.

What I found interesting in this one is that we have Sachs investigating her first homicide solo and also assisting on “The Watchmaker” cases. It’s not often that we get to see Sachs independent from Rhyme while they are investigating. Due to Sachs running her own investigation, you would think her focus would be split, but I got a kick at seeing how she was handling things. However, due to one of the cases (not telling you, no spoilers here) Sachs gets a huge revelation spilled her way.

Rhyme is his typical self. However, he gets thrown a bit with Sachs off doing her own investigation and tends to act petty as hell. I do love that with Sachs running a case though, we get to see the rise of Officer Ron Pulaski that readers met in the last book. Pulaski became a favorite while reading this book.

I also loved the character of Kathryn Dance too. I do wish that we got more details about her though. I know she’s a widow with two kids. I still have no idea how her husband died though. And I really wish we got to see her showcase her abilities more in this one. She was great in every scene and I enjoyed it.

Per usual, Deaver shows us the police trying to track down The Watchmaker. But instead of being in that character’s head, Deaver instead gives us the third person POV of a man assisting The Watchmaker. I have to say that this character, Vincent, was grotesque. I maybe got a bit sick reading about him. I will have to say though that Deaver got way too repetitive with this character though. All Vincent thinks about is “the hunger” and eats a lot. “The hunger” in this case is that Vincent likes to rape women, so yeah, you kind of hope he gets a cement block up his skull eventually.

We also get a reappearance of a character that I haven’t thought about since “The Bone Collector.” That was a nice little reveal that Deaver gives so this quickly pushed the book up to 5 stars for me.

I would say that “The Cold Moon” is typical Deaver. A lot of science with some great dialogue and Red Herrings thrown in. The ending leaves things with Rhyme having a nemesis though. I liken it to Holmes versus Moriarty. I started reading the next book in the series after this, and was glad to see how Deaver continues with this in “The Broken Window.”

 

five-stars

The Crossing (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly

The Crossing (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael ConnellyThe Crossing by Michael Connelly
Published by Little, Brown and Company on November 3rd 2015
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 400
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Six months ago, Harry Bosch left the LAPD before they could fire him, and then hired maverick Defense Attorney Mickey Haller to sue the department for forcing him out. Although it wasn't the way he wanted to go, Harry has to admit that being out of the game has its benefits. Until Mickey asks him to help on one of his cases, and suddenly Harry is back where he belongs, right in the centre of a particularly puzzling murder mystery. The difference is, this time Harry is working for the defense, aiming to prevent the accused, Leland Foster, from being convicted. And not only does the prosecution seem to have a cast-iron case, but having crossed over to 'the dark side' as his former colleagues would put it, Harry is in danger of betraying the very principles he's lived by his whole career.

This book feels pretty fragmented to me. I think Connelly missed a great chance to showcase both Bosch and Haller in this one. Instead we primarily follow Bosch around as he acts like he is being tortured to investigate a case for Haller. And we weirdly have POV’s showing the killers in this one so you don’t have any kind of surprise when Bosch eventually finds out what is going on. I really hate mystery books that do this since you as a reader are just waiting for the protagonist to catch a clue about what is happening. I hope this is not a new thing that Connelly is going to include in the Bosch series.

I feel like I am missing a book between this and “The Burning Room.” We have a Bosch who is officially retired again, but is also suing the LAPD since he believes he was set up to lose the money that was owed to him when he came back under the Deferred Retirement Option Plan that the LAPD started. Bosch’s half brother, Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) has taken up Bosch’s case and believes that in the end that he will get Bosch a great settlement. Bosch though is at loose ends and has no idea what to do with himself.

Haller then meets with Bosch and asks him to take a case investigating for him. Haller believes his client is innocent and that he is being set up by the police. Bosch of course doesn’t believe this, because the LAPD is always on the side of truth and justice (honestly this whole thing throughout the book with Bosch not wanting to work for a defense attorney was a crock to me) and refuses to officially investigate, but will take a look at what Haller has.

I totally just lowered this book another star because I found my ire rising just typing. Look, I don’t know who this Bosch is that Connelly is now writing. But look at how many cases Bosch was involved with that involved the LAPD doing something not sanctioned and or criminal? It doesn’t ring true at all with him being reluctant to investigate. He is supposed to be the one that cares about making sure the truth is found. Heck, that was the main premise behind “The Drop” was that Bosch was brought in by his main nemesis in the series (Irving) to look into Irving’s son’s death. Irving doesn’t like Bosch, but does not believe he would be used by the police in order to make Irving look bad. To me, Bosch’s reluctance to take this case up investigating for Haller does not ring true. And also reading pages and pages of Bosch studying the case, looking at photos, and a murder book do not a good book make. This book was boring from beginning to end even with what was going on.

We have appearances by characters that long-term readers should know by now: Maddie, Lucia Soto, and a woman that was investigating Bosch in “The Black Box” and his love interest from the last book too. Maddie still sucks so it was not awesome reading about her. She acts like Bosch is a serial killer or worse because he is investigating a case for the defense. Which of course begs the question of how Maddie treats her cousin (Haller’s daughter) when no one is around.

The writing was not as clean in this one. I honestly think the whole book just dragged. I did get my interest peaked a bit with Haller. But Connelly has me wondering what his deal is. Haller sounds like a creep who drinks and hits on women who are interested in him. I never got that impression from the movie (The Lincoln Lawyer). My plan was to read the Mickey Haller series and the books that showcase him and Bosch together after I got caught up on the Bosch series. Now I am kind of reluctant to even do that.

I have to say though that the ending for Connelly I guess was happy. We have Bosch interested in another woman, his daughter actually proud of him and not acting like a brat, and Bosch content that he did something that ended up being the right thing. I don’t get a sense of anything from Haller with this one unfortunately.

two-stars
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