The frontier has long felt like a fixture of the collective American psyche, and literature featuring western characters facing the struggles of the rural life has been around since the late 1800s. These western novels often featured tough characters with a firm sense of moral justice and skill with a gun. This archetypical character has continued into modern writing, but in recent decades has made the leap out of the western genre and into thrillers and mysteries in the form of rural law enforcement. This can be seen in Sherriff Walt Longmire (created by Craig Johnson), Game Warden Joe
August Snow is a former Marine, police officer, and a product of a loving Mexican/African American family. He loves his hometown of Mexicantown, Detroit and hates seeing the decay, drugs, violence and corruption running through the city. He’s bought and renovated a number of houses on the street to bring them back to their former glory. After being fired by the police for uncovering high level corruption, August wins a $12 million lawsuit against the city for unfair termination. Traveling the world for year to regain his perspective and deal with his parents deaths, August yearns for his city
Recursion occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type. --Wikipedia
I first heard about this book on NPR and was intrigued enough to immediately put it on my holds list. You can find out more about how to make your own holds list here. Let me just say that this book did not disappoint!
Memory makes reality. That's the tag line of the latest thriller by Blake Crouch. Memory also makes you who you are. Remembering what you learned in school, a moment from childhood, your favorite Christmas, your first kiss; but what if what you remember isn't real?
Helen Abell runs four CIA safe houses for the Berlin Station in 1979. While performing routine microphone inspections she captures two important conversations that will change the course of her life. Helen knows her clearance does not allow her to investigate these agents, however a series of events leads her to uncover sinister cover ups within the CIA. In 2014, Helen and her husband are murdered in their Maryland farmhouse by their son. Anna goes home to bury her parents and discover what lead her brother to this horrific act. She enlists the help of a private investigator new to town, Henry
"You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."
Michelle McNamara’s book investigating the Golden State Killer is a truly masterful work. The author explains her obsession with this case and her hopes of discovering the identity of the killer. She presents a staggering amount of research and information in such an engaging and organized way, while her clarity of writing and ever-present empathy enhance the reading experience.
Foolishly, I was not prepared to read about the truly haunting crimes that the Golden State Killer committed in the 1970s and 1980s. The author never
The house where so much of The Girl Before takes place is a minimalist’s dream; a testament to how we can get by with barely any material goods. The latter may seem impossible to those of us who carry our many belongings with us wherever we go. Yet, reading this book, I can see the lure of an uncluttered life.
The house, in fact, becomes a character in the story. More than just a backdrop, the house affects the main characters and seems at times to be an extension of Edward Monkton, the architect of this rule-bound home.
Two women, separated by time, are deemed worthy by Monkton to live
The Last Star is the final book of The Fifth Wave trilogy and picks up six weeks after the events of The Infinite Sea. After the Others, an alien race, sent four waves of death they killed seven billion people. The final wave of brainwashed humans will kill off the remaining survivors including Cassie, Sam, Ben, Megan, and Ringer. This installment is darker and more desperate than the preceding two books and unfolds from multiple perspectives which add dimension and depth to this portion of the story. Strong characters and a fast-paced plot drive this story making it impossible to put down
Jim Brodie conveniently runs an antique business in San Francisco and a security company in Tokyo. He also speaks Japanese and is a martial arts expert. When a family is gunned down in San Francisco, Brodie is hired by the brother of the victim to find out who did it. The reader learns that Brodie lost his wife, who was Japanese, in a suspicious fire and that the same kanji (Japanese language character) was left at the scene of each crime. When the Japanese linguist he hired to research the kanji doesn’t return, Brodie and his assistant follow his path to a certain village where death and
What a fun novel! There's a lot of double dealing, a lot of humor at everyone’s expense and a lot of action!
Neal Graham is hired by his father to hide the mistress of a man who is the other half of a famous television couple, who purport to be happily married. When the mistress decides to end the relationship, the man refuses to take no for an answer and she brings charges of rape. She goes into hiding until the trial and Neal is charged with babysitting her. The television husband’s business partners start looking for her and it is not to bring her flowers!
Cambodia Noir is a full tilt boogie from the get go!
Will Keller is a photographer for a Cambodian newspaper and has lived in Cambodia for nine years. He has a drug and alcohol problem and just doesn’t care.
When a fellow reporter on staff goes missing, her sister comes to Cambodia to look for her. Unsuccessful, she offers the job to Will, who takes the job and begins the search. Let the fun begin! Everybody has a history and not everybody is who they say they are. Seeley does an excellent job of conveying atmosphere and building suspense. I enjoyed every page.
I really enjoyed this book! This is Howie Carr’s second novel and I am as impressed with this one as I was with the first. In what could be a nod to Hemingway, he titled this novel “Killers”, although Hemingway’s short story is “The Killers.” The author employs two alternating narrators to very good effect. One is Bench McCarthy, a businessman/killer who runs his own show but answers to Sally Curto, head of the local crime organization. Bench and Sally are under attack and they don’t know why. The other narrator is Jack Reilly, a private investigator hired by political forces trying to find
If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be in the middle of a drug war, then pick up The Cartel. Art Keller is a DEA agent living in Mexico and trying to bring down the drug barons. The reader is slowly drawn into the political and economic landscape of Mexico and the reality of the effects of the “war on drugs” on Mexicans. While educating the reader about this conflict, the author entertains with a sizzling plot that is full of violence and pathos. Particularly, the author delves into what the drug war between the factions in Mexico has done to Juarez and the surrounding area
Jack Till is a private investigator who helped a woman disappear six years ago. Now the woman’s ex-boyfriend is being set up for her murder, and Till must find her to prove to the District Attorney that she is alive. I really enjoyed the intelligent plot (in many ways, it resembles Narrow Margin, the 1990 film written and directed by Peter Hyams and starring Gene Hackman). When Till finds her, they have to avoid several attempts on their lives as they make their way back to Los Angeles. It is nonstop action as Jack Till negotiates his way against a full cast of tawdry characters.
This is a gritty urban tale but it is also a look at how newspaper reporters go about their business. This is a well-constructed thriller by a former reporter for the Washington Post. When the daughter of a judge is murdered, Sully Carter is assigned the job even though Carter has had problems with the judge in the past.(The judge lied, but Carter couldn't prove it.) Carter finds that things are not what they seem to be! Tucker has left deftly placed clues throughout the novel that point to a great ending. I admire the craft he used and thoroughly enjoyed the novel!
Set in 1986 in Nicaragua, Night of the Jaguar drops the reader into the turmoil of Nicaragua after the Sandinistas have won and are struggling to govern. Ajax Montoya, a former guerrilla, now a police captain, is literally haunted by the ghosts of his victims. He is assigned a case where a man is murdered in the same way that the Contras kill people. Nicaraguan State Security has also involved itself in the case, as has an American reporter, the American Ambassador, and an American senator. Everybody is watching each other and trust is just a word. It’s complicated. Gannon takes you to a
Annie O’Sullivan is a realtor heading out to show a house one summer afternoon. Near the close of the open house, Annie is abducted by a potential client, a stranger who drugs and transports her to a remote mountain cabin on Vancouver Island where he repeatedly beats, rapes, and terrorizes her. As the days and nights of her captivity begin to blur together, Annie is forced to conform to the whims of a psychopath, "The Freak,” and to sacrifice parts of herself in an effort to survive. When she resurfaces a year later, it is as a shell of the person she used to be.
Annie’s story unravels in a
James Swain has written a series of novels featuring Tony Valentine as the main character. Mr. Lucky is the fifth in a series that has been one enjoyable read after another. Tony is a retired Atlantic City policeman who runs his own consulting firm that assists casinos in determining if they have been victims of fraud. There is a lot in these novels about the culture of casinos and gambling which I find interesting. In Mr. Lucky, a new and different scam unfolds for our entertainment. Mr. Lucky is a guy (Ricky Smith) who wins at every casino game, and Tony Valentine must figure out how he
Beautiful Malice by Australian author Rebecca James immediately made me think of a teenaged take on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, except Malice came out first. Katherine has been keeping a secret about her dark past. Her very popular and pretty new best friend Alice has a lot of secrets, as well. There are so many secrets that I can’t say anything else without there being major spoilers! This quick summer read is filled with bad decisions, youthful indiscretions, and a psychotic stalker. Fans of books by the previously mentioned Flynn or Lisa Jackson will probably enjoy this escapist
Jake Fisher notices an obituary online and is swept up in a maelstrom of events. Six years before, Jake’s girlfriend Natalie married an “old boyfriend”, makes Jake promise to leave them alone and then disappears! When Jake sees an obituary for Natalie’s husband, he thinks it’s a new ballgame. But Natalie is nowhere to be found. Everything Jake does to find his missing love seems believable, and the mystery of Natalie evolves. Once Harlan Coben sets the hook, I just keep turning the page, and so will you!
High school seniors Tony and Ryan had a plan for after graduation. They were going to get jobs and an apartment and live together—Toni to get away from her mom who favored her younger sister, and Ryan to leave behind his alcoholic and abusive father. It all seemed so simple. But that's not what happened. Senior year the "mean girls" clique started harassing Toni, just to be mean. Then, unbelievably, Toni's little sister, Nicole, starts hanging out with the clique and harassing Toni too. Nicole has also changed a lot since starting high school; she's gotten secretive, and sullen, although
Cormoran Strike is a private detective who has just broken up with his on-again/off-again girlfriend of fifteen years. He's living in his office, where he gets almost daily calls asking for the money he owes for the business. Robin is a temp sent from an agency to help run his office, although she quickly discovers that there's not much to do because there's not much business. Out of the blue, in walks a man asking Strike to investigate the death of his sister, Lula Landry. She was a famous supermodel whose official cause of death was suicide, although her brother believes she was murdered
Tagged as a magical crime thriller, the movie Now You See Me is about four magicians (illusionists) who call themselves the Four Horsemen who get together to pull off some of the greatest tricks the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, most of the magic tricks happen to be of a criminal nature. Thus, the scenario sets up a fast-paced plot of cat and mouse between an FBI super sleuth (played by Mark Ruffalo) and the Four Horsemen (played by Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco).
Now You See Me is by far the most entertaining DVD I have seen in quite a while. The
Despite the blurbs on the back cover, Bret Anthony Johnston’s debut novel, Remember Me Like This, is not a thriller in the traditional sense. The elements are all here: a kidnapping, a possible murder, a family in turmoil. But to Johnston’s credit, his novel is partly about thwarting expectations—mostly the reader’s, and not always in ways that we’re accustomed to.
The story begins in noir mode with the happenstance discovery of a floating body in Corpus Christi, Texas, and its possible connection to a long-forgotten kidnapping. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Johnston is not
This is a very well-written thriller! The action starts when a plane goes down and Robert Harland, the only survivor, hears a cell phone ringing in the East River. He wades to the sound and finds his old friend from the CIA dead. Harland uses the phone and takes his friend's wallet, which just happens to contain some discs, for his widow. Robert Harland is a former British spy, now working for the UN. The explanation for the crash does not ring true to him and he suspects sabotage. But why? The answer lies in Harland's past!
The plotting is first rate, grounded and realistic. The action
The BBC America series Orphan Black is about...well, it's difficult to say what it's about without giving away spoilers. The first episode opens with a young, streetwise grifter named Sarah arriving at a train station, where she witnesses another woman folding her clothes carefully on the platform and taking off her shoes. The woman turns, looks at Sarah...and Sarah sees her own face looking back at her. Then the identical woman walks in front of an oncoming train to her death. Sarah steals the woman's purse and clothes, gets her name and address from her ID, and decides to sneak into this
In his Spero Lucas Mystery series, Pelecanos features a present day Travis McGee (series by John D. MacDonald). Lucas is a U.S. Marine veteran of the war in Iraq and the Washington D.C. setting is a character in itself.
People come to Speros when they want to retrieve something that would normally be irretrievable. He obliges them because he loves danger and he keeps 40% of the item's value. In The Double, second in the series,(The Cut is the first) the item in question is a painting that has been stolen, and the woman from whom it was stolen wants it back. Finding and retrieving the
Brutally raped and murdered, Kate Sumner’s body washes ashore on a remote bank in Southern England. Elsewhere, her 3-year-old daughter is found abandoned. The police are left to figure out why Kate was murdered but Hannah, a witness to the crimes, was left unharmed. Did the killer know or sense that Hannah was unable to speak and communicate the events she witnessed? Why was Kate so far from home, and why on board a boat when she hated sailing? Was Kate’s husband, William, really where he said he was, out of town on business? What about their relationship—was it as good as William describes
Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, tackles two entirely different character perspectives while taking readers on an adventure aboard a space ship traveling to a new Earth.
Amy was seventeen when her family decided to board the 300-year flight into space to find a new home for humans. While she did have a choice to stay at home or leave with her parents, Amy knew she could never leave them. She would sleep for 300 years, but only feel like seconds had passed.
Elder is sixteen years old and he has spent his entire life on the ship. He must follow the exact rules of his totalitarian-like
Yet another great science fiction thriller by Michael Crichton was published posthumously, completed by science and fiction writer Richard Preston. It tells the story of a group of promising Ivy League science students, who are lured into working for a mysterious pharmacological company, and who suddenly end up abandoned in a rain forest of Hawaii. They survive and find their way back only thanks to their knowledge of science and survival skills. The book contains plenty of suspense and great use of hard science. This fast read techno thriller will keep the reader who enjoys this genre on
Baldacci once again came through with a political thriller that had me guessing to the very end. Amazon reviews have not been very good on this title but I tend to ignore most reviews. Sean King and Michele Maxwell team up again to help King's lawyer friend, Ted Bergin, defend an alleged serial killer. And the alleged serial killer is an ex-IRS guy who has an extraordinary gift that the government wants to exploit. When Sean’s lawyer friend is found murdered, Sean and Michelle feel the need to solve the crime. In so doing, however, they find themselves contending with a plethora of federal