Thursday, September 29, 2011

Audio Version of Karin Slaughter's Fallen Provides Great Dramatic Reading!


By Karin Slaughter

I listened to Fallen via AudioGO

Narrated by Shannon Cochran

A note about the narration: Shannon Cochran does an outstanding "performance" as she maneuvers through the many different characters, giving each a personality that we could begin to "recognize." I was amazed at her ability to move from character to character so fluently that there was no disruption to the listener...Shannon certainly added greatly to the enjoyment of this book!

 I included Karen Slaughter as a favorite author many years ago, so was happy to find her audio version of Fallen offered to Amazon Vine members. Listening to the book in audio form was a completely enjoyable experience, although it is not as easy to review, since you have no easy and immediate way to highlight spots within the book--I confess, I've turned down the corner of thousands and thousands of pages over the years, LOL...

Karin Slaughter never fails to provide a wonderfully satisfying read!

And Fallen is just as exciting and intriguing as her readers fully expect!

I think one of the main things I noticed about this novel was that there was no emphasis on one main character. You might say that police officers were spotlighted...but not all of them were "good cops."

Evelyn Mitchell had been an officer but had retired under suspicion. In fact, many of the officers under her command had been arrested for corrupt activities, including skimming money from the various scenes of busts they made. But there had not been sufficient evidence to indict her, although many had felt she was just as much on the take as those who had been arrested. Instead, she had just retired and quietly the whole issue had died.

Except for another cop, Will Trent, who also happened to be now partnered with Faith Mitchell, Evelyn's daughter. Trent had been part of the earlier investigation and had never been willing to accept that Evelyn had gotten off. At the same time, he was committed to his partner Faith. And so when she was faced with the toughest situation she would probably ever have to face, Will was dedicated to help Faith through it all...

Because her mother was missing--kidnapped or already dead. All Faith knew was that she had come home, saw blood on the exterior door, walked in and saw a dead man...on to find a man beating another man. She shot the first man and when the other ran out of the house and fired near neighborhood children, she had killed him. Her mother was gone! She had found her baby locked into the gun storage facility, undoubtedly placed there for safety by her mother as she armed herself. But she had been unable to fight off the men who had invaded her home...

Faith was off the case, SOP for the two kills she'd made...While police officers stayed there at her home to handle the potential call from kidnappers, Faith of course began her own investigation, not sharing what was happening with anybody, including Will. For Faith had discovered that the abductors were making contact with her son via Facebook!

Faith had never believed that her mother had been on the take, so when the investigation turned toward somebody trying to get back some of the money she had earlier stolen, Faith did not accept this as a possibility. She knew her mother had no major source of money! Still, what had been happening in her mother's home? Tatoos on those killed proved that drugs and gangs were involved in this...but how, and why, were they after her mother now after so many years of her being retired?

A delightful, yet heartbreaking side story spotlights a developing relationship between Will and the ME, Sara Linton. Sadly Will is married to a woman with whom he'd had a relationship as they had both gone through children's services. Both had been terribly hurt and Will had once thought he loved her enough to marry. But his wife had never moved past that destructive environment and now was abusive to Will, whenever she chose to come home. Readers will find this love story a wonderful highlight and a needed break in the tension...

The surprise ending caught me completely off guard...I love when that happens! Full of action and suspense, Slaughter covers several important social issues, including child services and police corruption, that once again reveals an excellent and compelling drama that pulls you completely into the tale until the last page! If you haven't read Karin Slaughter yet, try the audio'll become so involved that I guarantee that you'll miss at least one turn if you're listening while driving...Enjoy!

Book received via
Amazon Vine


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Read This Novel Then Send It To Your Congressional Representatives!

Pedestrians along Stone Street, near the Main ...Image via Wikipedia
"The sky behind the concise line of gray clouds moving
south above downtown Dallas was a brilliant shade of
blue with not one puff of cloud to blemish its perfection.
The leaves of the large pin oak and Bradford pear trees in
each yard rustled gentle in the slight breeze that coursed
through the air. Everything was green. Everything was
fresh. The lawns were well-manicured, as if the neigh-
borhood were immune to the events that plagued the land.
"No doubt they're in there, Derek thought as he peered
into his periphery at the quality brick homes, all lined with
the distinctive Texas flags and the twenty-nine star red flag
of the Republic. They're in there cowering under their
tables. Red bastards should've thought twice before
messing with Uncle Sam's war wagon.

The Twenty-Nine

By J.M. Richardson

I was happy to have the opportunity to meet Jordan Adams of Winter Goose Publishing online and learn of their new available books. Choosing to read The Twenty-Nine, I was told, "Twenty-Nine is a good choice, as it is a fantastic book! I think this will be a hit and we are blessed to have it. It is a long book but reads quickly and is well written."

With that in mind, I began to read... 

At first, as I studied the cover, I wasn't quite sure what it fully represented, and then as I read, I started to see,  "March, Fifteen months before the bomb." I realized what the cover was--a nuclear bomb--and prayed that we'd never see it in reality!

After a brief glimpse into the heart of the story in the first chapter, as illustrated by the above brief excerpt, the author takes us into the lives of Derek and Kyle, two young boys who were just out of high school--one on the way to college, the other in a dead-end job and thinking of the military as a way to better pay...

It was so routine that it even became a bit boring; the average life we all have faced...

But that was before...

We all watch it on TV, hear it on the radio,  or read about it in various forms. It just occurred recently and we were warned that the federal government would be shut down at any second... We all yawn and go on our way to work, or to wash the dishes after dinner. We all are tired of the constant arguments in Washington and wish all the "crap" would just...stop!

However, in the latest election, a "first" for the United States had occurred. The first...female...had been elected.

"There are those who said...that this day would never come. They said America wasn't ready for this...But this is not a victory for women. This is not a victory for the Democratic Party. This is a victory for all who are tired of the corruption in Washington and tired of their elected officials not working in their best interests, as they were chosen to do. It's for the overtaxed single mother working working two or three jobs...It's for those of you who are tired of decadence on Wall Street and in the halls of the US Congress...It's for the common family..."

"In contrast, the Republicans of the country who had not already turned off their televisions were staring into the screens with expressions of doubt, disappointment, frustration and even malice. For some of them, this was not over..."

"This is a decision that pains us all," Governor Spencer spoke from behind a podium on the front steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

"All of us who are involved in this act are ardently patriotic Americans. We believe in the constitution...And it is precisely for this reason that we have taken this action. Like our ancestors in 1861, we believe that we should remain loyal to our Federal government only as long as they are true to the original concept of our nation...
"It is for this reason that twenty-nine states have successfully given notice to the U.S. government that they are no longer
our lords..."

And so, because of the need to protect the nation, the new President was forced to take action against the new Republic.

Derek and Kyle, forced into a civil war, where they would fight against each other. Pulled into a civil war between the twenty-nine republican states and the federal government.

"One Blue soldier clutched the throat of his opponent pinned to the ground, and then successfully drove his utility knife through the man's chest...
"What the hell are you doing?" his comrade grabbed his arm. "That's Mitchell--he's in your own bunk!"
...A shutter of remorse and sickness to the stomach overtook him. He had just murdered one of his own..."I can't tell who's who!" he answered. "Everyone is wearing the same goddamned thing!"

Readers will enter into a world of devastation--destruction of buildings, statues, stores, and homes...from bombs, from tanks rolling down the streets of America. It might be about places where you have visited, for instance, in Washington D.C., or it might be someplace where you once lived, or have relatives there. Fortunately, neither side of this war wanted to destroy life, but when there is a conflict, there is also much blood shed, no matter how good the intentions were.

You know, I can't help but think that this civil war could be taking place right now... How long can America continue to live with "blind" party loyalty, without regard to the good of the country? This book is a wake-up call, don't you think?

I found the publisher to be totally accurate in his description of this book. But I would also add

As Scary as the worst horror you've ever read...

As exciting as any action adventure movie you've every watched...

As realistic as I am sitting here typing this review...

A remarkable tale of the potentiality--the reality of our future!

Read this book...then send copies to your state's congressional representatives...This is a must-read in my opinion!

Book provided
by publisher


Should we all become Independent - In Thinking?! 2007

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Please Welcome Guest Book Reviewer (and Author) Aaron Paul Lazar!

Pirate King

Author: Laurie R. King

Publisher: Random House
ISBN-10: 0553807986
ISBN-13: 978-0553807981
Price: $13.99 hardcover; $12.99 Kindle
Author’s website:

About the series:
I have long loved Laurie R. King’s books, from my first taste of her writing in THE MOOR, to Kate Martinelli’s dark mysteries, including A GRAVE TALENT. Without fail, I preorder each new release, looking forward to the hardcover arrivals to treasure and store on my bookshelf. Lately, I’ve also ordered the Kindle versions, just to have the books close at hand when a stray chance to read presents itself.
Mary Russell, originally an apprentice to Sherlock Holmes and now his wife and partner in solving puzzles around the world, is featured in these books with her erudite and delightful husband, in a world of high culture and gentle civility. Of course, things are not quite so civil when they run across villains. When that happens, all bets are off.
The series is most appealing because of its intellect combined with delectable humor, particularly shown through the pithy dialogue of husband and wife. Mary Russell’s voice is strong – profound, most definitely British, and delightfully independent. Her relationship with Holmes, while they dash across the globe to solve mysteries and rescue innocents, is what hooked me from the beginning, particularly its dry humor and subtle eroticism.
What amazes me most about this author is her ability to set a story in the voice and time of the early 20th century, in such a way that readers feel an integral part of that era. And yet, she also has perfected the art of writing contemporary genre crime stories, such as TO PLAY THE FOOL and the other Kate Martinelli mysteries. I’ve loved them all, including the standalones, but what astounds me the most is King’s ability to switch between these distinct and very different writing styles so effortlessly. Both series have garnered high awards in the literary world, and both have found space on my bookshelf.

About the new book:
In THE PIRATE KING, the eleventh Mary Russell book, Russell is challenged to uncover secrets in a nest of villainous characters spanning the misty shores of Lisbon to the heady-scented harems of Morocco.
Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard convinces Russell to go undercover in the film company, posing as an assistant to the director. What happened to the missing secretary? Why were her shoes found near a ledge, but no suicide note? And what about these rumrunners, cocaine dealers, and arms sellers who seem to be linked with every silent Fflytte film that’s ever been produced?
With Holmes unavailable, Russell is rushed undercover in this colorful, crazy world of silent filmmaking, where she is immediately put in charge of a bevy of blonde actresses and is the primary peacekeeper and runner of errands.
A band of real pirates is hired in Lisbon to act in “the film about a film about pirates” loosely based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. (Although quite complex, the story within a story didn’t bother me, since one of my own books involves a deeply layered story with multiple actors, their roles in a musical, and the story behind the story that inspired the musical. I was used to thinking in these convoluted terms!)
Vibrant characters, subtle hints, questions that layer one upon the other, they weave a tight and fascinating tapestry. Suffice it to say that a complete plot description would take up too much room here. You can read more details in the product description on Amazon, or on King’s website at
As an aside, I did have one minor complaint about PIRATE KING. I missed Sherlock Holmes in the first two-thirds of this book. Mary writes letters to him, but he doesn’t write back, so we don’t hear his voice or see him for much of the story, and I yearned for their witty repartee. He does finally show up, however, and it’s at that point where the suspense and action really pick up. Yes, PIRATE KING has a different feel from the previous novels, but is enjoyable in its own right.
Mary Russell’s voice is distinct and unique; it’s what stamps the eleven books with King’s signature, book after book. As an example, see the following excerpt from a letter penned to Holmes.
“It may not have escaped your notice that this missive contains a dearth of data concerning the true reason for my presence, namely, a missing secretary and the illicit selling of cocaine and firearms. Perhaps that is due to the circumstances of my employment, which is rather that of a person attempting delicate surgery whilst standing in a hurricane.
I shall persist.”
It is Russell’s sardonic wit exemplified in lines like this that always make me laugh out loud.
Some of the lovelier aspects of PIRATE KING—aside from the fun of meeting all of the actors, pirates, and staff—are the delicious descriptions of Lisbon and Morocco. Exotic and intriguing, the sights, sounds, and aromas tantalize. It’s clear that the author has been in these locales (you can read about it on her Mutterings blog at
In addition to the intricately woven plot, King paints delightful portraits of her featured characters, such as Mr. Pessoa, based on a real Portuguese poet from the same time in history.
“All this talk about pirates had made Mr. Pessoa’s gaze go far away. Two lengths of ash had dropped unnoticed as his monologue unfurled. Then he looked at me as if in expectation of an answer, to a question I could not begin to recall. I felt an absurd urge to lay my head down on the table and go to sleep. Or to weep.”
One aspect of King’s writing that thrills me is the use of certain verbs, such as “…his monologue unfurled.” How appropriate (since we’re reading about sailing and sails unfurling), and what pure poetry. I love the thought of words unfurling from a poet’s lips.
Russell’s humor continues, never failing, even in the most dire situation.
“It was getting on to eleven o’clock; I had not slept a full night since leaving London; I had not eaten a full meal in that same time. I was exhausted and cold and so hungry that the plate of fly-specked objects on a shelf (pies? Boiled eggs? Bundled stockings, perhaps?) made my mouth water.”
I still laugh when I picture whatever it was on that shelf. Eggs, pies, or stockings?
My favorite line in this entire story, however, again comes from one of Russell’s letters to Holmes.
“Holmes, I am awash in a sea of megalomaniacs.”
And indeed, she was. Surrounded by film directors, actors, pirates, poets, and spies, this staunch and feisty young woman took on more than her share and made Holmes and her readers very proud.
If you begin to read the book and wonder where the threats are, where the mystery is, when the action will start, don’t despair. Although the first section is a bit different from other Mary Russell books (albeit enjoyable in its own right), the last pages will woo you with dazzling tension, heart pounding action, and wonderful imagery. I’ll never forget the image of Russell hanging outside a Moroccan jail cell on a silk rope thirty feet above the cobblestones below, having in-depth conversations with the prisoner inside; it was sheer delight.
If you haven’t read a book by Laurie King, please check them out now. Whether you’re a modern day crime aficionado or a British mystery fan, both genres will fill your days and nights with superb writing and entertainment. You can find all the books on her website.

 - reviewed by Aaron Paul Lazar
Visit Lazar's blog by clicking the Title of This Article!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dark Thriller Takes You Where You May Not Want To Go...

Sorry buttonImage by ntr23 via Flickr



By Zoran Drvenkar

Translated by Shaun Whiteside

I'm not totally sorry I read this book, but I do caution readers...this is a very dark thriller in my opinion. Be advised...

There are, basically, two separate stories that merge almost immediately. From then on, there is constant movement--action, if you will--that allows readers to see each character's "take" on the story. Specifically, the story moves from the point of view of various characters and also moves from the past to the present. If you don't sink into the story, you could become lost. At the same time, sinking into the story may be difficult and chilling...

Four childhood friends, at a specific point in their adult lives, fatefully meet again. Each of them has a past that has left them hesitantly looking toward the future, wondering what they can do. Kris is the one that comes up with the idea...after just losing his job, he nonetheless found himself talking to a woman and helping her through her own problem, sharing the right words that, in truth, should have come from the individual who had hurt her.

Later, as each of his friends arrive at his apartment, he remembers what had happened and realizes that he has a skill, the ability to say, "I'm sorry." And that is how the four go into business--a business, where individuals can pay to have somebody else apologize for something you've done. It was aimed toward businesses especially, such as when somebody was fired...

Without little effort, the business becomes a success!

And then You entered the story...

"You" is the character that hires the company, to apologize to a woman... But when everything is arranged and the trip is made to the woman's home, she is found hung on the wall, nailed by her hands and head... Still, Kris and his friends had been threatened, they tape the "apology" read to the deceased for their client who then adds... Oh, and while you are there...get rid of the body...

"You" begins to tell his story to readers, about how he was once a young boy with a close friend, who called themselves Butch and Sundance. But one day while they were out playing, a man and woman find them and take Butch away. He is returned later, changed... A month later they come again. Sundance wants to go in place of Butch, but they want Butch... They threaten the lives of their parents if the boys tell. It goes on for years...

Readers: Enter cautiously into the world of child physical and sexual abuse and his pedophile companions...

"Then Butch sobbed. Once, loudly. Karl immediately drew a knife from his belt. Butch fell silent. Karl tapped the tip against Butch's nose. He ran it over his cheek and wiped the tears away with the blade.
"Would you like me to pop upstairs to your parents and cut their lousy hearts out?"...

What happens, though, when an abused child becomes an adult?

Can justice occur? Can an apology suffice?

This book is very suspenseful and it fulfills the best of whodunits, simply because there is so much violence. It must be seen as uniquely well-written. Interestingly, in the acknowledgments by the author, you will see: "I've tormented you over and over again with this novel, until you found out how much I was tormenting myself with it and took me aside and told me it would all be OK"...or "I was full of doubts, because you love the darkness and forgive me my evil self..."for the thoughts that shouldn't be."

There are many thoughts that shouldn't exist in this world, especially about what ultimately happens to children. But it does happen and I believe this book portrays what could and probably has happened as a result. For that reason alone, I applaud the efforts of this author. But I can only recommend it to those who are willing to experience what happened to Butch and Sundance... You decide...

Book received via
Amazon Vine


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Lantern Is A Beautifully Wrapped Literary Gift!

"And then, I saw it. Low on the ground,
riding a run of the path, a flame flickered
through the sparse hedge of firs. I felt the
old start of the heart. How could this be?
All logic denied the probability that this
was real, but there it was. I drew closer,
stared, blinked. There it was: the
candlelit lantern.
"Our signal. In the happiest year of my
life, the lantern on the path was the
sign that my fiance', Andre, was waiting
for me...
The candle bloomed inside the lantern.
I was astounded. It was the very same
lantern he once used... My fingers were
almost on the loop on the lid...
"The lantern flew away down the dark path."

The Lantern

By Deborah Lawrenson

Two women saw the lantern sitting on the ground outside. For one it brings happiness; the other dread...

The cover here is not what we received as our advanced readers' copy, so I'm disappointed that you will not see what I did! For me, after reading the novel, I prefer the gift package I now own!

First, let me highlight that The Lantern is clearly literary fiction. Because it is, frankly, so different from many of the books we routinely read, I wanted to include the definition of exactly what this means (footnote below).

For me, the wordsmith who provides us with literary fiction is recognizable immediately. It is a signal to me, this lover of mystery, suspense, action and adventure. It means: "Whoa...slow down and settle in for the duration...this writer wants us to savor her story, to merge into the setting and to garner from each word the pleasure of its meaning and the fluidity of its being selected to move us forward, seductively, rather than through edge-of-the seat drama... So, I did indeed settle in...

In fact, I don't think I've ever been suspended in suspense as long as I was in The Lantern... The author shares a morsel, a tidbit--just enough to give you another clue, but not enough to pull you away from the atmosphere, the rich, deep evocative... haunting...of her story...

Eve met Dom in a maze on the shores of Lake Geneva. However, in many ways, Dom kept her in a maze for many years thereafter. He admitted that he had been married before, but he would not talk about his wife or any part of their life. But Eve had fallen deeply in love and so when Dom started talking about moving, her friends and family were afraid she had lost her head, "and of course [she] had. Head, heart, mind and body. I wanted him and, miraculously, he wanted me."

"Les Genevriers. The name of the property is misleading, for there is only one low-spreading juniper, hardly noble enough to warrant such recognition. There is probably a story behind that, too. There are so many stories about the place.
"Up in the village, a wooded ten-minute climb up the hill, and the inhabitants all have tales about Les Genevriers: in the post office, the bar, the cafe, the community hall. The susurration in the trees on its land was their childhood music, a magical rustling that seemed to cool the hottest afternoon. The cellar had once been renowned for its vin de noix, a sweet walnut liquer. Then it was shut up for years, slumbering like a fairy castle on the hillside, and prey to forbidden explorations...
"Dom caught my hand. We were both imaginging the same scenes, in which our dream life together would evolve on the gravel paths leading under shaky oak, pine and fig trees, between topiary and low stone walls marking the shady spots with views down the wide valley, or up to the hilltop village crowned with its medieval castle. Tables and chairs where we would read or sip a cold drink, or offer each other fragments of our former lives while sinking into a state of complete contentment.
But there was already an occupant of Les Genevriers. She stopped from drifting through the rooms where she had lived all of her life...and gaze at the new visitors. "She is sure she has never seen them before...The strangeness is that they stare straight into her face, just as they look around her so intently, into the corners of the rooms, up to the cracked ceilings, the fissures in the walls, yet they don't acknowledge her presence..."

As the past and present collide there in Provence, readers move from the new life Eve and Dom have started, back decades to when Benedicte and her family lived and worked the land at the hamlet. Benedicte still haunted the place, endlessly trying to understand what had happened to her sister who had, after an argument with their brother,  refused to allow their home to be sold and the money divided...and disappeared...

Then as the past comes into the present--the lantern appearing on the roadway where Eve saw it, the smell of lavendar and other scents that came via the wind, and, finally, the figure of a woman, watching, Eve becomes desperate to learn more, to talk to Dom about what is happening. But she has learned that, somehow, there is a connection to Dom's former wife...and Dom is still not talking...

Come, readers, let us visit where it all happened:

"October winds post crisp deliveries of dry leaves, torn petals,
pine needles, and grit-rolled insects under sun-shrunken doors.
For generations, we women swept them up with the brush and
pan, on our knees. Twice a day, when the mistral raged.
There are one hundred and eighty different winds that blow across
Provence, all with their different and special names..
In case, you haven't haven't guessed by now, The Lantern is highly recommended!

Book Received Via
Amazon Vine



Literary fiction is a term that came into common usage during the early 1960s. The term is principally used to distinguish "serious fiction" which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction (i.e., paraliterature). In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more upon style, psychological depth, and character.[1][2] This is in contrast to Mainstream commercial fiction, which focuses more on narrative and plot. Literary fiction may also be characterized as lasting fiction — literature which continues to be read and in-demand many decades and perhaps centuries after the author has died.

What distinguishes literary fiction from other genres is subjective; and as in other artistic media, genres may overlap. Even so, literary fiction is generally characterized as distinctive based on its content and style ("literariness", the concern to be "writerly"). The term literary fiction is considered hard to define very precisely [3] but is commonly associated with the criteria used in literary awardsand marketing of certain kinds of novels, since literary prizes usually concern themselves with literary fiction, and their shortlists can give a working definition. You may read further here...

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Friday, September 16, 2011

A Must_Read for Court Officials, Police, Legislators...Those Concerned About Domestic Violence!


The Safehouse

By T. Thomas Ackerman

It’s been several days since I finished The Safehouse and yet the dramatic irony of this novel haunts me. It is unsettling that I cannot find a satisfactory conclusion, a feeling that this story has ended. Perhaps it was that the author wrote in what might be used in a true crime novel—concise, straight-forward, factual manner, with little strong emotional impact at appropriate times...

In the midst of anguish and turmoil, the fear and h
ate that develops during violent attacks, there is only time for emotional reaction. But once away from the abuse, what then?

"No!" Alison shouted as she put one arm
over her eyes and started to cry.
Then he slapped her face. "Don't let me find
out that you are!" he hollered as he got up...
"Please God, no," she said as she continued
to cry. After a few seconds she turned and
opened the drawer to her nightstand. Out of
it she took the card that Jessie had given her.
Detective Jessie Warren is a cop assigned as liaison for all domestic issues. Having her own personal history of an abusive relationship, she has become a vigilant advocate for women and children and faithfully attends to their needs.

Domestic violence normally is an ongoing activity. Often Jessie has been called to a home a number of times, and becomes familiar with the families involved. She helps make arrangements and provides everything necessary to get women and children to a shelter, to court... But, sometimes she gets there too late...

Sometimes after a wife has left, the husband will begin to follow until they find where they are staying. It is at that time that Jessie discusses the need to move on to The Safehouse...
Domestic Violence, as shown in these drawings that are now in the public domain has been going on for ages...This crime is not new. "With all of the increased public awareness, the domestic violence occurrences never seemed to lessen. It always seemed...that the number of incidents increased. The laws and all the promises weren't working, at least not for the victims. It was clear...that if any of these women were ever going to have a chance at a normal life, she [Jessie] would have to help them find it, no matter what that would involve." 

The Safehouse is not the normal type of shelter. Few people ever stay there. Anybody who follows visitors there will never abuse anybody else... 

Is this the only way to end domestic violence? Many may think so...

This book should be considered must reading for all court officials, police officers, and legislators. Do we, as a nation, as a world, want to see The Safehouse truly being the only answer? I hope not... and each person reading this book will have to decide... You know, I watch Law & Order, SVU all the time and have often sympathized with the officers who must deal with this issue day after day... Until I read this book, I never knew that I could not, though, empathize with them...I hope I would not be Jessie...but...

After studying Alison's face for a few seconds
more and then running a finger down the deceased
woman's cheek, Jessie left. On her way back to the
station she kept seeing Alison's face. It was obvious
that this case was bothering her more than usual,
more than other cases had bothered her. Maybe
John Larsen reminded her of her husband. A man
she once loved. A husband that she had to get rid of
before she ended up like Alison...


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wow! This Performance Shows the Professional He's Become! Landau, My Favorite, Wins!

I was soooo excited by this performance last night...Before

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. won!!!!! (America's Got Talent)

Getting the moves on with Patti LaBelle sure made me think that if he had grooved like he did earlier, he would have been even a bigger star! His earlier songs were wonderful, but I loved his singing last night...

Worth this special Congratulations! Right!?!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unique Plot Makes This A Favorite For Me...

Authentic Egyptian mummy in Rosicrucian Egypti...Image via Wikipedia
"What do you hope to learn from this CT scan tonight,
Dr. Robinson?"
Robinson's face suddenly lit up with enthusiasm,
"Learn? Why everything? Her age, her health. The method
of her preservation. If we're fortunate, we may even
discover the cause of her death."...
That isn't what happened," said Maura.
Robinson blinked. "What do you mean? That has to be
the explanation."
"The damage to that leg wasn't postmortem. It happened
while this woman was still alive."...
"Dr. Isles?" said Robinson, "Whom are you calling?"
"I'm arranging for transport to the morgue," she said.
"Madam X is now a medical examiner's case."...

The Keepsake

By Tess Gerritsen

I so much enjoyed last night's season conclusion of Rizzoli and Isles that I thought today was the day to tell you about one of my favorites from Gerritsen's series! Have you read The Keepsake?

Tess Gerritsen was already a favorite author, but I really enjoy the characters of Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. Rizzoli is the primary character in The Keepsake; However, it was Isles' keen eye that had identified the issue as...murder...

The Keepsake: A Novel (Rizzoli & Isles Novels)A mummy had been found in the basement of the Crispin Museum. They had dubbed her "Madame X" and had proceeded to work to learn more. The museum was a small family-owned enterprise since the family for generations had been involved in seeking treasures from across the world, either through personal exploration or purchase...and many times receiving items through donations. In truth, the collection had gotten out of hand because the former curator had held the position long after he was capable of dealing with it. New staff were performing an inventory and that was when Madame X had been discovered, although they had no records to support how she came to the museum.

Arrangements had been made to have a CT scan done to assist in learning more about the mummy. But what they learned was not what had been expected. Instead of having a perfectly preserved mummy from ancient times, they discovered, first a bullet in her leg. The "unwrapping" revealed that her mouth had been sewn shut, something that would never had been done during mummification...and something was in her mouth...

If one murder was bad, when they started to investigate the location where the mummy had been found, they discovered a hidden space. Another victim was found, preserved in a totally different manner...a shrunken head was revealed... Later another woman, stuffed into the trunk of a car, had been preserved as a "bog lady."

As the investigation begins, it becomes clear that this serial killer wants to keep, preserve the women in his life! And it all goes back to one woman who had once got away.

And, somehow, it all seems to be associated with one of the curators, working there at the Crispin:

"Why does she make you uneasy?"
"She doesn't. There's just a caginess about her. Like she's trying to stay one step ahead."
"Of you? Or the killer? From what I heard, the young woman had every right to be afraid. A body was left in her car. It almost sounds life a gift from the killer--an offering, if you will. To his next companion."
His next companion. That phrase raised goose-flesh on Jane's arms...

Tess Gerritsen writes in a language all her own--each word is tense, edgy, ready to move you forward word by word! Adding the archaeological component of ancient burial and death rituals, readers are immersed in a  learning experience that becomes grisly when associated with murder... still, it fascinates and presents a unique psychological suspense aspect that I found compelling.

I thoroughly enjoy the TV show, but Gerritsen provides so much more in a novel! And The Keepsake is a great one to start with if you haven't read the author, Tess Gerritsen! Highly recommended for mystery suspense lovers!

Pulcillo swallowed. "By then it's lost about seventy-five percent of its weight. The cavity is stuffed with linen and resin. The mummified internal organs might be returned as well. And... "Shestopped, her eyes widening as the final wrappings fell away fromthe head.  For the first time, they saw the face of Madam X.  Long black hairwas still affixed to the scalp. The skin was stretched over prominent cheekbones. But it was the lips that made Jane recoil. They had been sewn together with crude stitches, as though joined by the tailor of Frankenstein's monster.
Pulcillo shook her head. "That--that's all wrong!"
"The mouth isn't usually sewn shut?" asked Maura.
"No! How would you eat in the afterlife? How would you speak?This is like condemning her to eternal hunger. And eternal silence." 
Eternal silence. Jane looked down at the ugly stitches and wondered: Did you say something to offend your killer?  Did you speak back to him? Insult him? Testify against him? Is this your punishment, to have your lips bound together for eternity?"


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

This Story's Waiting to be Made into Movie!

Charles BronsonImage via WikipediaThe Lonely Mile

By Allan Leverone

Bill Ferguson is my kind of matter how many stories I may read with a somewhat similar plot, I immediately think of Charles Bronson to play the lead character... He has been the intense, protective parent and has the skills to back up his activities... There are others who could play the part as well, but Bronson is always the first one to come to mind for me...this book almost reads/plays as a movie and I am sure you will easily visualize the dramatic scenes!

But this time, it is both the father and daughter who are the heroes! Cool!

The Lonely MileThere was a serial killer plaguing the area who had been dubbed the I-90 Killer by the news people. He would abduct young teenage girls, normally blond and slender athletic types, seemingly with no problem or interference. He was invisible in our invisible world where nobody pays attention to anybody else. He knew this and took advantage of it, sitting, drinking coffee among all the other travelers until he spotted...her! His next companion... Martin Krall had actually killed his first few victims after he finished with them, but then he found a deal that resulted in his being paid--and there were no bodies to be found.

Instead he spent a week with his latest, and then he passed her on to be sold overseas, never to see the United States, her parents ever again.

But Bill Ferguson happened to be traveling I-90 at the same time that Martin Krall was out looking. They stopped at the same rest stop. Things might have proceeded normally, if Bill had been a different type of man. For one, he was armed. He owned two hardware stores and often traveled with money to make bank deposits, so he was fully licensed to carry...

Most of all, however, he paid attention to his instincts... and when Krall went into action, Ferguson had actually stopped, turned around, and seen the gun being placed near the young girl who was being guided out of the rest stop. He went into action immediately, but the place was so crowded that he had trouble getting to where he could safely act to save the girl--by that time, Krall knew Ferguson was behind him. When Bill finally had to yell "freeze!" all hell broke out, but he did manage to back the kidnapper to the door and reach the girl, only to have her shoved into him, both hitting the floor. Krall escaped, but the girl was safe...

Ferguson followed as soon as he could, but it had seemed too long...but then Krall drove right past, looking him directly in the eyes...the truck was old, poorly painted and oil smoked up, preventing Bill from seeing the licence plate...

Still, he was declared a hero...and, of course, that meant television interviews... and Krall soon learned Bill Ferguson's full name, that he owned two hardware stores, and from the internet found he was divorced...but had a daughter...

And, as soon as Bill could get away from all that happened after this event, he wanted nothing more than to go hug his daughter Carli...

But Krall had missed having his new companion and he blamed Ferguson... So Krall soon found a picture of Carli and, in his twisted mind, felt that Carli was truly who he was to have and that fate had arranged him losing the other girl so that he could find Carli... But he was still angry enough that he wrote a letter to Bill, using Carli as the unknowing messenger, and taunted Ferguson of what was to happen next!

I mentioned earlier that Carli was also a hero--and you'll see why! Readers will ride that Lonely Mile with Carli after Krall does indeed manage to kidnap her...but she believes only one thing. Her father will find and come get her! The action and suspense keeps you closely reading. I must admit I didn't pick up on the clues for the real monster of the story, so I'll only predict that the final climactic ending will set you rocking!

A final note: Leverone includes the appalling statistics of kidnapping into sex trade here in the U.S. We must all be on the alert against this horrific crime that now surpasses any other happening, in many ways, in my opinion! I applaud the author for effectively bringing this important issue once again into the forefront by his book...Read and enjoy, but, understand clearly...this fiction is based upon true crimes happening today, right now, somewhere near YOU! I consider this a must-read, a learning tool if you become more alert and concerned!

...According to our own statistics compiled by the U.S. State Department, between six and eight hundred thousand people are trafficked against their will each year across international borders. Of that number, seventy percent are female and as many as half are children. And the majority of these victims are forced into the commercial sex trade.”
Bill stared at the young FBI agent in horror. “That’s unbelievable.”
“Believe it,” Miller said simply. “Worldwide, human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity, behind only the drug trade and arms trafficking, with an estimated seven billion dollars in profits earned annually.”
“But right here? In the United States?”
“Oh, yes,” Miller answered. “We’re not unaffected. Much of the trafficking occurs in developing nations, where little if any barriers to the practice exist. But American girls are prized in certain parts of the world, particularly blonde, fair-skinned ones. (p. 250)

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Different Kind of Book Review: Guest Reviewer: Owen - A Cat Lover Special!

catImage by emildom75 via Flickr
Easton gave me a practiced celebrity-greeting
the-little-people smile. Unpack one of those
computers just for him? When pigs fly, I
Unfortunately, it wasn't a pig that suddenly
launched itself onto the conductor's head.
It was a cat.
My cat. Owen.
For a moment Owen perched on top of Easton's
head, tail twitching, like some sort of kitty
Davy Crockett hat. Before any of us could
move, he leaped over to the top of one of the
bookshelves, shook himself and gave us a
wide-eyed stare. What was he doing at the
library? How the heck had he gotten into my
bag without my noticing?

Curiosity Thrilled
   The Cat

A Magical Cats Mystery
First in Series
"Something Whiskered This Way Comes..."

By Sofie Kelly

Hello! My name is Owen and I'm one of the two main characters in this book! I'm the one that...disappears...

Actually, I think I was asked to tell the story about the murder because I set up the storyline, sort of... You see, I jumped and appeared on the head of Gregor Easton. No, it wasn't a head statue, it was the real guy, who just happened to be criticizing my Mom at the time! I had to do something, didn't I?

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat: A Magical Cats MysteryMom had been hired to become the head librarian and oversee a major renovation to The Mayville Heights Free Public Library. It was almost done but the contractor seemed to be taking sooooo long. And that had caused Gregor Easton, a well-known composer and conductor who was guest artist for the Wild Rose Summer Music Festival, to be frustrated because no internet access, as promised in the new brochure, was yet available!

Although things became calm and Easton finally left, Mom was concerned enough to get up early the next day and go to find an independent contractor, Oren, to ask for his help in getting the computer tables put together and try to move the renovation along while the main contractor handled the power. She knew Oren worked mornings at the Stratton Theatre. But she couldn't find Oren right away and started looking. She found, instead, Gregor Easton...He was dead!

Worse, a note was later found that indicated that Mom had invited Gregor to meet her at the Library, where the police found other clues that revealed that he had probably been killed there!
Mom was in bigggg trouble, so Herc and I knew we had to help. We took turns guarding Mom because she decided she was going to try to find out what was really going on since she knew she was a suspect! But while we were doing it, Mom caught on to our secrets big-time! We were busted! But Hercules was to blame! Let her tell you...

"My knees started to shake. I sat down. Hard. Hercules had vanished. He hadn't darted past me. He hadn't run around the corner. He'd walked through a solid wooden door just as if it wasn't there. I could see it again in my head without closing my eyes. He'd vanished through that door and it was almost as though there was a faint pop as the end of his tail disappeared..." Hercules," I called. "C'mon, puss. Where are you?" There was silence and then a faint "Meow" from the other side of the closed door. He was in there. Somehow he was in there. I grabbed the doorknob. Locked. I twisted the knob in frustration. Of course it was locked. The room was part of a murder investigation..."
You all will see that both Herc and I found many clues--even though Mom didn't realize what they meant right away. Then she began to put things together until, wow, a killer came after her! Well, needless to say, we were right there to save her life. While Herc went for help, I took a flying leap--well, let Mom tell you, I get mad just thinking about it!

"Owen appeared in midair, teeth bared, ears flattened against his head. He landed, yowling on [the killer's] head and dug in his claws..." Mom took over once she was able and then help was coming!

I have to tell you, folks, that this was really a very complicated case. The police were trying, and we were gathering clues, but it was Mom who, after her own life had been saved, finally put together who had killed Easton. A truly great whodunit for all you readers!

Oh, Mom thinks that you might want to know a little more about me and Herc. Well, Mom came to visit an old abandoned mansion near to her new home when we were just kits. We recognized her love as soon as we saw her and followed her home! But she didn't know we could do tricks...and, frankly, I'll bet she wonders sometime if we are ghost cats, since that old mansion is supposed to be haunted...

I just know we'll be back at BRH in the future, cause the owner here loves cats too and even collects cat mystery books! How Cool is That! She said to add that this book is highly recommended as a great whodunit, especially for all of you who love cats too!

Thanks for Inviting Me!

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