Category psychological suspense

2009: #105 – The Spire (Richard North Patterson)

spire Book #105 was The Spire by Richard North Patterson.  The back of the book reads:

Both a razor-sharp thriller and a poignant love story, this twisting tale of psychological suspense is Patterson’s most compelling novel in years

Mark Darrow grew up in a small Ohio town with no real advantages beyond his intelligence and athletic ability. But thanks to the intervention of Lionel Farr—a professor at Caldwell, the local college—Darrow became an excellent student and, later, a superb trial lawyer. Now Farr asks his still-youthful protégé for a life-altering favor. An embezzlement scandal has threatened Caldwell’s very existence—would Darrow consider becoming its new president?

Darrow accepts, but returning to his alma mater opens old wounds. Sixteen years ago, on the night of his greatest triumph as Caldwell’s star quarterback, he discovered the body of a black female student named Angela Hall at the base of the Spire, the bell tower that dominates the leafy campus. His best friend, Steve Tillman, was charged with Angela’s murder and ultimately sent to prison for life. But now, even as Darrow begins the daunting task of leading Caldwell, he discovers that the case against his friend left crucial questions unanswered. Despite his new obligations—and his deepening attachment to Farr’s beautiful though troubled daughter—Darrow begins his own inquiry into the murder. Soon he becomes convinced that Angela’s killer is still at large, but only when another mysterious death occurs does he understand that his own life is at risk.

I consider RNP one of the masters of the character-driven thriller. Here, he gets away from the politics of his last few books and takes us to a small college campus (a particularly compelling venue for me). Mark Darrow is being called back to the place where he found himself, Caldwell College. The current president is caught up in an embezzlement scandal, and Darrow, now a corporate lawyer, is being asked to take his place.

It’s not exactly a happy reunion. Darrow has had his share of personal tragedy, and returning to campus brings back the memories of an awful murder that his best friend was convicted of. He is supposed to be devoting his time to pulling the college out of its doldrums, but instead he can’t stop himself from trying to prove his friend’s innocence. And along the way, well, he just happens to fall in love with his mentor’s daughter.

I like how RNP gives every character a secret. No one is black and white, even the most minor character. The story does turn out to be a little predictable… I realized who the bad guy was going to be almost immediately, and the final confrontation is a giant cliché that you expect as soon as the location is declared. But all of that doesn’t take away from another winning story.

This book was a review copy.

Other reviews:
Julie’s Jewels: The Spire

Page count: 384 | Approximate word count: 105,600

2008: Dexter in the Dark (Jeff Lindsay)
2007: Rules of Prey (John Sandford)
2006: Amber Beach (Elizabeth Lowell)

Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; A-Z 2009 Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010;

2009: #96 – A Circle of Souls (Preetham Grandhi)

circlesouls Book #96 was A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi.  The back of the book reads:

The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. With the murderer on the loose, the police desperately look for any clues to lead to his identity. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist in a nearby hospital is also in a desperate search to find the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings’ devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya’s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope. When these two situations converge, they set off an alarming chain of events. In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.

Grandhi gives us a very interesting combination here… We’ve got a little bit of Caribbean folklore mixed with some Indian mysticism (I hope that’s the right term) in a story that takes place in rural(ish) Connecticut. The concept here, that young Naya is having dreams where she’s speaking to a murdered girl, could have been really unbelievable, but Grandhi makes us believe. He also does a really great job showing us the relationship between Naya and the psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Gram.  Unfortunately, that ease doesn’t quite transfer to the relationship between Peter and the FBI agent, Leia.  You can tell that he is trying to create some romantic tension there, but it’s not quite enough. The pacing in the book is also rather interesting, with a lot of switching back and forth between Peter’s and Leia’s stories. I think I would have preferred to stick to each storyline a little longer before switching each time, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story.  One thing he does exactly right is create a very believable suspect that I was questioning until the very end. Despite those few flaws, I thought this was a great debut novel.

Page count: 339 | Approximate word count: 84,750

2008: The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2007: World War Z (Max Brooks)
2006: When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Lawrence Block)

Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; 2009 ARC Reading Challenge;

2008: #95 – Sweetheart (Chelsea Cain)

sweetheart Book #95 was Sweetheart, the second book in Chelsea Cain’s Archie & Gretchen series.  The back of the book reads:

With Heartsick, Chelsea Cain took the crime world by storm, introducing two of the most compelling characters in decades: serial killer Gretchen Lowell and her obsessed pursuer Portland Detective Archie Sheridan. The book spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnered rave reviews around the world. But the riveting story of Archie and Gretchen was left unfinished, and now Chelsea Cain picks up the tale again.

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland’s Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the last time they found a body there, more than a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. This body can’t be one of Gretchen’s—she’s in prison—but after help from reporter Susan Ward uncovers the dead woman’s identity, it turns into another big case. Trouble is, Archie can’t focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison.

Archie hadn’t seen her in two months; he’d moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he’s relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all.

Chelsea Cain has topped her own bestselling debut thriller with this unputdownable, unpredictable, edge-of-your-seat read.

I think that Chelsea Cain has really explored an area that is rarely seen in suspense fiction… What happens to the victims?  What happens to those who have been attacked, tortured, nearly killed?  How do they cope?  Is it possible to live your life like nothing happened? When this book begins, you think that maybe Archie has started down a new path… He’s taking fewer pills, he hasn’t seen Gretchen in months, he’s moved back in with his ex-wife and kids… But then Gretchen sings her siren song, and once again Archie can’t help but to come running. I think in this book, more than in Heartsick, you learn a little more about who Archie really is, and of the true nature of the relationship between he and Gretchen.

There are no “heroes” in this book, but there is a lot of obsession.  Archie is obsessed with Gretchen, who is in turn obsessed with him.  Henry is obsessed with keeping Archie away from Gretchen.  Susan is obsessed with the chase for a story, and not a little obsessed with herself.  Everyone has their own personal motives, and these motives push the story along. But in the end they manage to work together to bring about what may not exactly be a happy ending, but is at least some closure.

I think the Senator Cassell (sic) mystery gets a little buried under all of the Archie & Gretchen stuff, but it still has an interesting ending.  A third book in this series is due next September, and I can’t wait!

Page count: 336 | Approximate word count: 100,800

2007: The Spellman Files (Lisa Lutz)
2006: The Lost Boy (Dave Pelzer)

2008: #38 – Hide (Lisa Gardner)

13706961 Book #38 was Hide, the second Bobby Dodge book by Lisa Gardner.  The back of the book reads:

You have good reason to be afraid. . . .

It was a case that haunts Bobby Dodge to this day—the case that nearly killed him and changed his life forever. Now, in an underground chamber on the grounds of an abandoned Massachusetts mental hospital, the gruesome discovery of six mummified corpses resurrects his worst nightmare: the return of a killer he thought dead and buried. There’s no place to run. . . . Bobby’s only lead is wrapped around a dead woman’s neck. Annabelle Granger has been in hiding for as long as she can remember. Her childhood was a blur of new cities and assumed identities. But what—or who—her family was running from, she never knew. Now a body is unearthed from a grave, wearing a necklace bearing Annabelle’s name, and the danger is too close to escape. This time, she’s not going to run. You know he will find you. . . .

The new threat could be the dead psychopath’s copycat, his protégé—or something far more terrifying. Dodge knows the only way to find him is to solve the mystery of Annabelle Granger, and to do that he must team up with his former lover, partner, and friend D. D. Warren from the Boston P.D. But the trail leads back to a woman from Bobby’s past who may be every bit as dangerous as the new killer—a beautiful survivor-turned-avenger with an eerie link to Annabelle. From its tense opening pages to its shocking climax, Hide is a thriller that delves into our deepest, darkest fears. Where there is no one to trust. Where there is no place left to hide.

I really liked this. Gardner does a great job of throwing you twists and turns and red herrings. Just when you think you’re getting it figured out, a new detail emerges that changes everything. This was so suspenseful that it had me listening on my morning *and* afternoon commutes — I’m usually an afternoon listener only. I’ve liked the Bobby Dodge books a lot more than Gardner’s Quincy/Rainie series — hopefully she’ll write a few more.

Page count: 480 | Approximate word count: 110,942

2007: The Night Gardener (George Pelecanos)
2006: Case Histories (Kate Atkinson)
2005: I’m Not the New Me (Wendy McClure)

2008: #33 – Those Who Trespass (Bill O'Reilly)

14800496.JPGBook #33 was Those Who Trespass by Bill O’Reilly. The back of the book reads:

One by one, high-level executives and correspondents are being murdered. Soon it becomes clear that the killings are linked, the work of a bitter former newsman exacting revenge on those who derailed his career. Tommy O’Malley, a tough but warmhearted New York City detective, is assigned to crack the widening, high-profile murder cases, but encounters competition from a beautiful and tenacious tabloid reporter, Ashley Van Buren. As the story unfolds, Tommy and Ashley quickly discover they’ve got much more in common than a knack for solving crimes.

Those Who Trespass combines suspense, action, psychodrama, and romance with a fascinating glimpse into the harsh realities behind the delivery of our daily dose of television news–a picture only Bill O’Reilly could bring to life.

This was better than I was expecting. The story line was fairly solid, and I found the peek into journalism interesting, since I don’t read much that provides any insight into that world. However, you really have to get past the writing style. Or rather, the lack of one. It reminds me of something I would have written in high school or college. Just not very sophisticated at all. If I hadn’t been grabbed by the plot, I wouldn’t have finished it.

Page count: 307 | Word count: 98,883

2007: The Monkey’s Raincoat (Robert Crais)
2006: Origin in Death (J.D. Robb)
2005: I is for Innocent (Sue Grafton)

2008: #18 – Triptych (Karin Slaughter)

14319257.JPGBook #18 was Triptych by Karin Slaughter. The back of the book reads:

In the city of Atlanta, women are dying–at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frenzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread–and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael’s lover before she became his enemy.

But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer’s trail in the most coincidental of ways–someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open…

I thought this was brilliant, and I’m going to try to express that without giving too much away! When you start the book, it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle that you’re trying to put together without the picture. When the pieces started falling into place, I almost felt betrayed, because you’re set up to like one character and then you begin to see that he’s not what he appears to be. It’s been a while since I read a book whose title was so apropos. By the time the final picture is revealed, you’ve been left breathless.

Page count: 512 | Approximate word count: 128,000

2007: Fool Moon (Jim Butcher)
2006: Incubus Dreams (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2005: The Big Bad Wolf (James Patterson)

2008: #7 – Gone (Lisa Gardner)

24382854 Book #7 was Gone, the 5th book in Lisa Gardner’s Quincy/Rainie series.  The back of the book reads:

When someone you love vanishes without a trace, how far would you go to get them back?
For ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, it’s the beginning of his worst nightmare: a car abandoned on a desolate stretch of Oregon highway, engine running, purse on the driver’s seat. And his estranged wife, Rainie Conner, gone, leaving no clue to her fate.

Did one of the ghosts from Rainie’s troubled past finally catch up with her? Or could her disappearance be the result of one of the cases they’d been working–a particularly vicious double homicide or the possible abuse of a deeply disturbed child Rainie took too close to heart? Together with his daughter, FBI agent Kimberly Quincy, Pierce is battling the local authorities, racing against time, and frantically searching for answers to all the questions he’s been afraid to ask.

One man knows what happened that night. Adopting the alias of a killer caught eighty years before, he has already contacted the press. His terms are clear: he wants money, he wants power, he wants celebrity. And if he doesn’t get what he wants, Rainie will be gone for good.

Sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, it’s still not enough.
As the clock winds down on a terrifying deadline, Pierce plunges headlong into the most desperate hunt of his life, into the shattering search for a killer, a lethal truth, and for the love of his life, who may forever be…gone.

Once again, I’ve inadvertently jumped into a series, but this stood pretty well on its own. You find out there’s a bunch of backstory, but it’s really not needed. It was a good, suspense-filled story with just the right amount of red herrings and wrong turns.

Page count: 352 | Approximate word count: 101,698

2007: The Dark Tower (Stephen King)
2006: Whiteout (Ken Follett)
2005: Twisted (Jonathan Kellerman)

2008: #5 – I Heard That Song Before (Mary Higgins Clark)

13708637 Book #5 was I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark.  The back of the book reads:

In a riveting psychological thriller, Mary Higgins Clark takes the reader deep into the mysteries of the human mind, where memories may be the most dangerous things of all.

At the center of her novel is Kay Lansing, who has grown up in Englewood, New Jersey, daughter of the landscaper to the wealthy and powerful Carrington family. Their mansion — a historic seventeenth-century manor house transported stone by stone from Wales in 1848 — has a hidden chapel. One day, accompanying her father to work, six-year-old Kay succumbs to curiosity and sneaks into the chapel. There, she overhears a quarrel between a man and a woman who is demanding money from him. When she says that this will be the last time, his caustic response is: "I heard that song before."

That same evening, the Carringtons hold a formal dinner dance after which Peter Carrington, a student at Princeton, drives home Susan Althorp, the nineteen-year-old daughter of neighbors. While her parents hear her come in, she is not in her room the next morning and is never seen or heard from again.
Throughout the years, a cloud of suspicion hangs over Peter Carrington. At age forty-two, head of the family business empire, he is still "a person of interest" in the eyes of the police, not only for Susan Althorp’s disappearance but also for the subsequent drowning death of his own pregnant wife in their swimming pool.
Kay Lansing, now living in New York and working as a librarian in Englewood, goes to see Peter Carrington to ask for permission to hold a cocktail party on his estate to benefit a literacy program, which he later grants. Kay comes to see Peter as maligned and misunderstood, and when he begins to courther after the cocktail party, she falls in love with him. Over the objections of her beloved grandmother Margaret O’Neil, who raised her after her parents’ early deaths, she marries him. To her dismay, she soon finds that he is a sleepwalker whose nocturnal wanderings draw him to the spot at the pool where his wife met her end.

Susan Althorp’s mother, Gladys, has always been convinced that Peter Carrington is responsible for her daughter’s disappearance, a belief shared by many in the community. Disregarding her husband’s protests about reopening the case, Gladys, now terminally ill, has hired a retired New York City detective to try to find out what happened to her daughter. Gladys wants to know before she dies.

Kay, too, has developed gnawing doubts about her husband. She believes that the key to the truth about his guilt or innocence lies in the scene she witnessed as a child in the chapel and knows she must learn the identity of the man and woman who quarreled there that day. Yet, she plunges into this pursuit realizing that "that knowledge may not be enough to save my husband’s life, if indeed it deserves to be saved." What Kay does not even remotely suspect is that uncovering what lies behind these memories may cost her her own life.

I Heard That Song Before once again dramatically reconfirms Mary Higgins Clark’s worldwide reputation as a master storyteller.

This book had all the right ingredients for a good thriller — love, money, murder, drugs, blackmail… Instead it was a hot mess. Very choppy, very hurried in parts, characters you can’t relate to because you don’t *know* anything about them. Kay and Peter’s entire meeting, courtship, wedding, and honeymoon is covered in 4 pages, which makes it very hard to buy their devotion to one another. I finished it to see what the ending twist would be, but it wasn’t very enjoyable.

Page count: 336 | Approximate word count: 83,184

2007 – Up Island (Anne Rivers Siddons)
2006 – The Big Love (Sarah Dunn)
2005 – The Reptile Room (Lemony Snicket)

2007: #52 – The Apprentice (Tess Gerritsen)

Book #52 was The Apprentice, the 2nd book in Tess Gerritsen’s Jane Rizzoli series. The back of the book reads:

It is a boiling hot Boston summer. Adding to the city’s woes is a series of shocking crimes, in which wealthy men are made to watch while their wives are brutalized. A sadistic demand that ends in abduction and death.

The pattern suggests one man: serial killer Warren Hoyt, recently removed from the city’s streets. Police can only assume an acolyte is at large, a maniac basing his attacks on the twisted medical techniques of the madman he so admires. At least that’s what Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks. Forced again to confront the killer who scarred her—literally and figuratively—she is determined to finally end Hoyt’s awful influence . . . even if it means receiving more resistance from her all-male homicide squad.

But Rizzoli isn’t counting on the U.S. government’s sudden interest. Or on meeting Special Agent Gabriel Dean, who knows more than he will tell. Most of all, she isn’t counting on becoming a target herself, once Hoyt is suddenly free, joining his mysterious blood brother in a vicious vendetta. . . .

Filled with superbly created characters—and the medical and police procedural details that are her trademark—The Apprentice is Tess Gerritsen at her brilliant best. Set in a stunning world where evil is easy to learn and hard to end, this is a thriller by a master who could teach other authors a thing or two.

This book was merely ok for me. I’m not in love with any of the characters, and I don’t think Jane Rizzoli is developed very well. She’s pretty one sided. There’s a slight attempt at some romance but it’s not very compelling. And the climax of this book happens very quickly and is almost anti-climatic.

Page count: 344 | Word count: 95,521

2006 – The Winds of War (Herman Wouk)
2005 – Four to Score (Janet Evanovich)

2006: #107 – Chase (Dean Koontz); #108 – The Body Farm (Patricia Cornwell)

chase.gifBook #107 was Chase, by Dean Koontz. The back of the book reads:

Benjamin Chase, Vietnam War hero, finds himself the target of a sociopathic killer when he interrupts a murder in progress.

I listened to this in the car and while raking leaves, and was surprised at how short it was. I’ve previously mentioned my love/hate relationship with Koontz, and I think I can place this one on the “like” side of the equation. I wasn’t expecting the story to resolve so quickly — I expected Chase to play with the killer a while after he found him. Overall, a mildly entertaining read (listen?).

body.gifBook #108 was The Body Farm, the 5th book in Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. The back of the book reads:

When an eleven-year-old girl is found murdered, Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, gets another chance at stopping one of the most heartless and horrifying serial killers of her career: the demented Temple Gault.

Frankly, this one was very blah for me. The book was not so much about the case as it was about the relationships between Kay and Marino, Marino and Benton Wesley, Kay and Wesley, and Kay and Lucy. Oh, and Kay and her sister. Blah. Too much angst for a crime novel. And I figured out who the bad guy was waaaaaaaaaay early.

Book count: 108

Pages in book: 368
Page count: 44,802
Words in book: 92,855
Word count: 13,155,022

1,000,000 words surpassed — 2/2/06
2,000,000 words surpassed — 2/14/06
10,000 pages surpassed — 3/10/06
3,000,000 words surpassed — 3/16/06
4,000,000 words surpassed — 4/3/06
5,000,000 words surpassed — 5/30/06
50 books surpassed — 6/12/06
20,000 pages surpassed — 6/29/06
6,000,000 words surpassed — 6/29/06
7,000,000 words surpassed — 7/21/06
8,000,000 words surpassed — 8/18/06
30,000 pages surpassed — 9/3/06
9,000,000 words surpassed — 9/6/06
10,000,000 words surpassed — 9/27/06

11,000,000 words surpassed — 10/9/06
40,000 pages surpassed — 11/3/06
12,000,000 words surpassed — 11/4/06
100 books surpassed — 11/17/06
13,000,000 words surpassed — 12/5/06

2006: #99 – The English Assassin (Daniel Silva); #100 – Final Target (Iris Johansen); #101 – Vital Signs (Robin Cook); #102 – A Death in Vienna (Daniel Silva); #103 – Velocity (Dean Koontz); #104 – A Stroke of Midnight (Laurell K. Hamilton); #105 – Amber Beach (Elizabeth Lowell); #106 – A Place Called Wiregrass (Michael Morris)

The good news is, I’ve passed the 100 book mark! Bad news is, this is going to be a doozy of an entry because I’ve been slacking.

english.gifBook #99 was The English Assassin, the 2nd book in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. The back of the book reads:

Gabriel Allon had done much in his lifetime. A sometime Israeli spy by trade, an art restorer by preference, he knew more than he wanted to know about death and betrayal and secrets, but that didn’t keep him from being surprised by the scene before him now.

An assignment to clean an Old Master at the home of a millionaire banker had led him to a house in Zurich, and standing in the room now, he smelled the odor of salt and rust, felt the dampness of the carpet beneath his feet. He touched his fingers to the carpet and brought them to his face. He was standing in blood. And he knew his life would never be the same.

Before he is through, Allon will find himself swept into a spiraling chain of events involving stolen art, a decades-old suicide, and a dark and bloody trail of killings – some of them his own. The spy world he thought he had put aside will envelope him once again. And he will battle for his life against the assassin he himself helped train, and who will demonstrate to his teacher just how much he has learned.

Another good entry in this series. I wish they’d make one of these into a movie! The focus in this one moves away from the Israel/Palestine conflict and more into ramifications of the Holocaust. It’s a nice switch. My one complaint is that I didn’t really care for the female lead in this one. She was sort of on the flighty and annoying side. Not Gabriel’s type at all!

Book count: 99

Pages in book: 416
Page count: 41,720
Words in book: 88,629
Word count: 12,328,599

target.gifBook #100 was Final Target, by Iris Johansen. The back of the book reads:

No sooner does Melissa Riley arrive at her sister’s isolated Virginia country home than she finds herself drawn into a drama she never expected. Years earlier, her sister, the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley, had pulled Melissa out of the darkness of severe catatonic trauma. Now she’s attempting to do the same for the daughter of the President of the United States.

The last thing young Cassie Andreas saw was an organized team ruthlessly murder her nanny and the Secret Service agents on duty to protect her. And to free Cassie from the terrors in her own mind, Melissa and Jessica must risk their own safety and sanity and place their trust in a mysterious, charismatic man.

Michael Travis made his fortune in the international underworld. He risked everything to save Cassie during that terrible night of bloodshed. And he has entered into a secret bargain with the president to get revenge. But does he really want to help? Why? Or is his show of concern all a treacherous charade?

Melissa and Jessica have no choice but to accept Michael Travis as their ally – even when he proposes a dangerous plan that will put all their lives on the line. Because far away from the safety of Virginia, an international game of deadly intrigue is under way. It is a game of powerful and dangerous underworld figures whose specialty is getting what they want – and whose means to do it is murder. And of one killer in particular who is obsessed with the very thing at the heart of Cassie’s nightmares.

This was good, but not exactly what I was expecting. I listened to it in the car (and later discovered that I had the hardcover!), and I didn’t particularly like the female reader. I guess I just prefer male readers! Anyhoo, it was a pretty good story if you can suspend belief when it comes to the psychic stuff. I generally liked the interaction between Melissa and Michael, and a death about halfway through the book surprised me.

Book count: 100

Pages in book: 352
Page count: 42,072
Words in book: 77,170
Word count: 12,405,769

vital.gifBook #101 was Vital Signs, by Robin Cook. The back of the book reads:

Here is Robin Cook’s most controversial medical thriller-the shocking story of experimental fertilization, the passion to create life, and the power to destroy it.

This was typical Robin Cook. I’m not sure I found the main character’s obsession with finding the truth to be believable. Also, it was a relief when he finally introduced a colorful, likable character about 3/4 of the way through.

Book count: 101

Pages in book: 352
Page count: 42,424
Words in book: 116,548
Word count: 12,522,317

vienna.gifBook #102 was A Death in Vienna, the 4th book in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. The back of the book reads:

Art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon is sent to Vienna to investigate a bombing and uncovers a portrait of evil stretching across sixty years and thousands of lives-and into his own personal nightmares.

Much like the two before it, this book focuses not on Israel and Palestine, but on continued ramifications of the Holocaust. Another stellar entry in the series. New love interest for Gabriel in this one, who appears to maybe be more permanent. I still want Jacqueline to come back!

Book count: 102

Pages in book: 416
Page count: 42,840
Words in book: 91,482
Word count: 12,613,799

velocity.gifBook #103 was Velocity, by Dean Koontz. The back of the book reads:

Bill Wile is an easygoing, hardworking guy who leads a quiet, ordinary life. But that is about to change. One evening, after his usual eight-hour bartending shift, he finds a typewritten note under the windshield wiper of his car. If you don’t take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours.

It seems like a sick joke, and Bill’s friend on the police force, Lanny Olson, thinks so too. His advice to Bill is to go home and forget about it. Besides, what could they do even if they took the note seriously? No crime has actually been committed. But less than twenty-four hours later, a young blond schoolteacher is found murdered, and it’s Bill’s fault: he didn’t convince the police to get involved. Now he’s got another note, another deadline, another ultimatum…and two new lives hanging in the balance.

Suddenly Bill’s average, seemingly innocuous life takes on the dimensions and speed of an accelerating nightmare. Because the notes are coming faster, the deadlines growing tighter, and the killer becoming bolder and crueler with every communication-until Bill is isolated with the terrifying knowledge that he alonehas the power of life and death over a psychopath’s innocent victims. Until the struggle between good and evil is intensely personal. Until the most chilling words of all are: The choice is yours.

I have a real love/hate relationship with Dean Koontz. I don’t particularly care for some of his more supernatural stuff. However, this was just a good old-fashioned thriller. The situation Billy finds himself in is rather chilling, and the revelations at the end were surprising. It was good enough to bring me back to Koontz after a long hiatus.

Book count: 103

Pages in book: 416
Page count: 43,256
Words in book: 92,804
Word count: 12,706,603

midnight.gifBook #104 was A Stroke of Midnight, the fourth book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series. The back of the book reads:

I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. and Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Fairie. I have departed the safe haven of Los Angeles to face the peril and deception of my first home, the Unseelie court. There, my enemies are many, and my guards may not be able to protect me from the treachery of the unseen foes that will stop at nothing to keep me from the throne.

As for my quest to produce an heir and thereby save myself and all that is faerie from utter destruction – well, I am still trying. As pregnancy becomes ever more urgent, I must leave the protected beds of the Queen’s Ravens and lay with other men, men whose designs and allegiances remain in question. And a night of delirious passion will transport me and my new lovers to another place, the mysterious dead gardens – an event that portends great unrest in the forces of magic.

In order to save myself and those I love, I must walk into the very mouth of danger, and visit the Goblins in their lair – as well as the cunning King Taranis himself, who has an astonishing proposal for me. For I alone hold the power to rescue the universe, even if it requires aligning with my greatest and most dangerous of adversaries. But I’m running out of time. . . .

My comments on the last book in this series pretty much echo my feelings on this one: “This was pretty par for the course for this series. Lots of weird sexual situations, not much plot. You really don’t notice how *little* plot there is, until you get to the end of the book and realize that it only covered a couple of days. I wasn’t real fond of the way this one ended — it was very abrupt. No real resolution. I have a feeling that once I read the next one, I’ll feel like the two should have been one book.” Just change that last sentence to read “once I read the next one, I’ll feel like the three should have been one book.”

Book count: 104

Pages in book: 416
Page count: 43,682
Words in book: 142,952
Word count: 12,849,555

amber.gifBook #105 was Amber Beach, by Elizabeth Lowell. The back of the book reads:

Honor Donovan is a shrewd businesswoman, yet she has been shut out of Donovan International by her father and four brothers. When her favorite brother Kyle vanishes, along with a fortune in stolen amber, Honor’s questions are ignored by the Donovan males. Defying them, she heads to the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest in search of answers. Honor needs a guide because she knows nothing about running a boat — and she knows nothing about Jake Mallory until he answers her ad. One of the things she doesn’t know is that Jake is much more than a fishing guide. Until Kyle disappeared, Jake was brokering amber deals in the Baltic for Donovan International. Honor is completely unaware of the old wars, new politics, greed, and stolen amber that have lured ruthless, high-stakes players from around the globe. Jake wants no part of the intrigue, or of a Donovan woman in his life, but he suspects the Donovans have set him up to take the fall for Kyle’s treachery. The way Jake sees it, some Donovan is going to pay for his troubles, and it just may turn out to be Honor.

I thought this was just all right. I went into it expecting just a romance, so I wasn’t expecting much out of the plot. However, I was *so* glad when they finally had sex, because I was getting a little tired of the constant mention of the sexual tension. I really didn’t feel like reading about how tight his pants were every time he looked at her. What an easy guy! Really, this was very thin on plot, and the conclusion was too neat and tidy for my tastes.

Book count: 105

Pages in book: 384
Page count: 44,066
Words in book: 106,250
Word count: 12,955,805

wiregrass.gifBook #106 was A Place Called Wiregrass, by Michael Morris. The back of the book reads:

Erma Lee and her granddaughter, Cher, flee to the town of Wiregrass, Alabama, to escape the past and start over — or so Erma Lee thinks. Erma Lee forms an unlikely friendship with Miss Claudia, and elderly socialite who is hiding a few details about her own past. Life in Wiregrass is different for Erma Lee and Cher, for here they find mercy and promise — until, that is, the day Cher’s convict father arrives in town, forcing all three women to come to terms with buried secrets.

This was an excellent first novel. I found Erma Lee’s actions and thoughts very believable, considering what her life has been like. I did get a little frustrated with some of her behavior, and the book gets a little god preachy in the middle, but the rest of the book makes up for it. A sad but hopeful ending.

Book count: 106

Pages in book: 368
Page count: 44,434
Words in book: 106,362
Word count: 13,062,167

1,000,000 words surpassed — 2/2/06
2,000,000 words surpassed — 2/14/06
10,000 pages surpassed — 3/10/06
3,000,000 words surpassed — 3/16/06
4,000,000 words surpassed — 4/3/06
5,000,000 words surpassed — 5/30/06
50 books surpassed — 6/12/06
20,000 pages surpassed — 6/29/06
6,000,000 words surpassed — 6/29/06
7,000,000 words surpassed — 7/21/06
8,000,000 words surpassed — 8/18/06
30,000 pages surpassed — 9/3/06
9,000,000 words surpassed — 9/6/06

10,000,000 words surpassed — 9/27/06
11,000,000 words surpassed — 10/9/06
40,000 pages surpassed — 11/3/06
12,000,000 words surpassed — 11/4/06
100 books surpassed — 11/17/06
13,000,000 words surpassed — 12/5/06

2005: #65 – Silent Partner (Jonathan Kellerman)


Title: Silent Partner
Author: Jonathan Kellerman
Series: Alex Delaware #04
Pages:  512

The bestselling author of When The Bough Breaks, Blood Test, and Over The Edge delivers the most stunning novel yet and featuring psychologist-detective Dr. Alex Delaware. At a party for a controversial Los Angeles sex therapist, Alex encounters a face from his own past–Sharon Ransom, an exquisite, alluring lover who left him abruptly more than a decade earlier. Sharon now hints that he desperately needs help, but Alex evades her. The next day she is dead, an apparent suicide. Driven by guilt and sadness, Alex plunges into the maze of Sharon’s life–a journey that will take him through the pleasure palaces of California’s ultra-rich, into the dark closets of a family’s disturbing past, and finally into the alleyways of the mind, where childhood terrors still hold sway.

My thoughts:

Book #65 was Silent Partner, the 4th book in Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series.

I certainly wouldn’t call this book “stunning”. Maybe “stunningly weird”. I’m just not really enjoying these early books in the Delaware series. In fact, I think that if I had come into Kellerman’s work with these first few books, I never would have continued. I just felt like he was trying too hard. Everything in the book was overly complicated. And too much weird sex stuff. I just felt very “blah” about it. And of course, because I felt that way, it was one of the longest Kellerman books I’ve read. I didn’t think I was ever going to get to the end of it.

Book count: 65
Pages in book: 512
Page count: 23,251

15,000 page goal reached 6/14/05!
50 book goal reached 7/19/05!

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