Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thriller And Suspense Reading Challenge Part Deux

I've read a few suspense novels since this challenge started in January and I just wanted to touch on them briefly for May's review post.  The challenge is to read 12 all toll for the year.
By Robert Crais
Paperback 237 pgs
Publisher - Crimeline

This was a great book.  The protagonist is Elvis Cole.  A Disney character loving Private Eye.  He has this smart ass attitude that comes out at very odd times.  Like when some guys are in his office ready to kick his ass.  Monkey's Raincoat is the first in the series, and Elvis takes on the case of a murdered man and his kidnapped son at the pleading of the victims wife, Ellen Lang and her friend.  He is quite hesitant in the begining about it, not knowing if she can even pay him.  Ellen has lived a sheltered life with her husband Mort, and she can't even write a check!  Mort is a talent agent in Hollywood and hasn't been doing very well.  Elvis has to go digging into some real garbage to get to the bottom of the murder and get Ellen's son back.

You also meet Elvis' partner in the agency, Joe Pike.  He is a very quiet, brooding, deadly man.  A Vietnam Vet, to say he has issues is an understatement, yet you can't help but like him.  Together Elvis and Joe work to solve this case, plenty of action, lots of suspense, well worth the read, and I will definitely continue with the series.

Victor Gischler
Paperback 352 pgs
Publisher - Touchstone

This book took a bit before it picked up for me.  At about halfway through I really started to enjoy it.  A murder/suspence mystery with a nice dose of humor in it, I laughed a few times as I read.  Allen Cabot is a College student who is going to spend some time in Prague doing research for pain in the neck Professor Evergreen.  Not too enthused about the mission, he begrudgingly goes and finds himself smack dab in the middle of a battle between a Society of Witches, Jesuit Priest commandos and Professor Evergreen's very mysterious very beautiful wife.  The ghost of alchemist Edward Kelly narrates the story and he pulls us back and forth through time with humor explaining the mystery of just what all these people really are doing in Prague.

Murder, power hungry people, a smidge of romance, serves up some suspense with a great close.  I liked this book, even though it took a bit to get going.

The Face of Death
Cody McFadyen
Paperback 624 pgs.
Publisher - Bantam

This is book 2 in Smoky Barret's series that McFadyen has weaved.  I have to say, as a man writing a woman's viewpoint, he sometimes does things that I don't think a woman would do.  He also has Bonnie, the 10 year old daughter of her friend from book 1, do and "say" things that I don't think 10 yr olds realistically would say or do, so I think I understand what my hubs was saying about the fluff in the book.  That said, it kicks off with a real bang right out of the gate.  Smoky has her vacation interupted by a call telling her a 16 yr old is requesting her specifically to speak to.  The girl, named Sarah, is holding a gun to her own head and her family has been slaughtered.  This killer or "The Stranger" as the girl calls him, killed her parents and has been doing bad things to her for 10 years now.  He is cutting a killing swath and Smoky and her team are on the case.  It was a good book.  Some of the parts are a little unrealistic.  Like Sarah at 9 being spoken too about grief like she's an adult.  As the mother of a 9 yr old, there is no way I would speak to her like that, even my 11 yr old who is an old soul in a kids body wouldn't merit being spoken to in that way.  Over their heads big time I don't care how "mature" or what the child went through. 

All in all, Smoky is a decent character, I don't have strong feelings for her one way or another like Kay Scarpetta, I don't know if I will or not, and the other characters are still not yet fleshed out enough for me to feel much for them yet.  Alan's wife Elaina just doesn't do it for me as the mother of everyone, and thank goodness Callie's honey-love was almost nonexistent, though if pushed to really choose, I think I like her the best so far.

You can find my other review of book 1 Shadow Man by clicking right on this word here : )  All together I've read 7 in the Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge.  I'm enjoying it, it has always been one of my most favorite genres!


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