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    1. The Confession: A Novel
    2. Watchlist
    3. Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery
    4. Last Light (Restoration Series
    5. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's
    6. Cross Fire
    7. Code Blue
    8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    9. Crush
    10. The Girl Who Played with Fire
    11. Dead or Alive (Jack Ryan)
    12. Full Dark, No Stars
    13. Hell's Corner
    14. Hide in Plain Sight
    15. Blood of the Wicked
    16. Room: A Novel
    17. Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)
    18. Worth Dying For: A Reacher Novel
    19. Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
    20. Conspiracy in Kiev (Russian Trilogy,

    1. The Confession: A Novel
    by John Grisham
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $28.95
    Asin: B0042XA37Q
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 1
    Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    An innocent man is about to be executed.

    Only a guilty man can save him.

    For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

    Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

    Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

    But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?

    From the Hardcover edition.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo!
    I am an avid reader and have read countless legal thrillers over the years. As a retired Federal Judge with 24 years of experience, I can tell you that you will never find a more realistic portrait of how the legal system works and, more importantly, how often it does not. Run do not walk to your bookstore and grab this one. You won't be sorry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Roller Coaster Ride of Suspense.
    This has been an awesome novel by Grisham. A must have for any Grisham fan's collection. The story is non stop action and seat of the pants suspense
    as they race against time to save an innocent man. It makes you really wonder just how many people have been executed or is sitting on Death Row that are truely innocent. Through DNA testing, many people have been exonerated or freed for crimes they didn't commit. Kinda makes you wonder just how bad our legal system is in many places. A speedy trial with little or no evidence has convicted many a person. How many lives of those that were freed and exonerated have been totally destroyed just because people still think they are guilty or how can one person mentally cope with the outside world after being in prison for so long. This book brought light on our legal system and just how easy it is to convict an innocent person of a wrongful crime.

    Grisham is truely a master of suspense as he takes you on a ride to fight to save an innocent man. Two thumbs up!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars In the tradition of great writers, Grisham has produced a novel that seeks to end an injustice.
    You have to admire John Grisham. For decades, he has occupied a permanent position on bestseller lists around the world. Since 1991, the 24 books he has written have sold hundreds of millions of copies, but he seems reluctant to rest on his success. In recent years, he has broken away from the genre of "courtroom fiction" that made him a household name. In 2006, he wrote his first work of nonfiction, THE INNOCENT MAN: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, about a man who was wrongfully sentenced to death in Oklahoma. Research and writing about the case made Grisham a vociferous and vigorous public opponent of the death penalty.

    In his latest novel, THE CONFESSION, Grisham takes his opposition to capital punishment to a higher level. In the spirit of Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell, Grisham has written a thriller about the race to save a wrongfully convicted man from execution. Along the way, he uses the pages of his book to indict a process that Justice Potter Stewart characterized in 1972 as "... cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual because those who are given the death penalty are among a capriciously selected random handful." While THE CONFESSION is fiction, it is based upon fact. Grisham has changed some names and locales, but the abuses of the criminal justice system recounted here are real and easily recognizable to anyone with knowledge of the death penalty and access to a computer search engine.

    Dont� Drumm is just days away from execution for the murder of Nicole Yarber. Her body was never found, but that fact did not prevent authorities in Texas from convicting Drumm and obtaining a death sentence. Clearly Grisham has chosen Texas as the book's venue because of its abysmal record in death penalty cases. This fictional case has elements of many horrendous examples of injustice that permeate the Texas legal system. Readers who shake their head in amazement at the accounts in THE CONFESSION should be forewarned that many of the outrages described by Grisham are based upon actual events in the Lone Star State.

    As Drumm awaits his fate, Keith Schroeder, the pastor of a small Lutheran church in Topeka, Kansas, receives an unusual visitor. Travis Boyette is a career criminal diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and has only months to live. Boyette bares his soul to Schroeder and confesses to Yarber's murder. His account is bolstered by his knowledge of where Yarber's body is buried. As the clock ticks towards Drumm's execution, Boyette furnishes additional details establishing that he did indeed kill Yarber, and the State of Texas is preparing to execute an innocent man.

    THE CONFESSION is an extraordinary narrative, because Grisham, through his advocacy against the death penalty, has become knowledgeable of the flaws and foibles of capital punishment. He uses the novel to expose those who are uninterested in justice and see the death penalty as a vehicle for achieving a political agenda. Included here are spot-on portrayals of the various participants in the death penalty drama and the contributions they make to create injustice. It starts with police officers who view the Constitution with disdain and believe that a hunch of guilt justifies any action that results in conviction. The harrowing steps to obtain Drumm's confession may be shocking, but they represent actual occurrences countenanced by the legal system. Sadly, that system is made up of prosecutors who view executions as a means to secure re-election and by judges who recognize that upholding Constitutional protections is not a way to win elections.

    Grisham recognizes that, in recent years, resources have been allocated to defend those on death row, but their lawyers have too many clients and not enough time. In addition to the actors in the system, there is a media culture that sensationalizes the crimes but pays little attention to the defects in the process. Grisham is spot-on in portraying to readers the flaws in the system that lead to injustice, and even worse, the killing of individuals who are factually innocent. He also is vivid and cryptic in his detailing of the final hours leading to execution. As the clock ticks and the lawyers fight to save Drumm, the tension can almost be felt from page to page. That an innocent man faces death only adds to that tension.

    John Grisham is to be applauded for accomplishing a difficult task. Many will read THE CONFESSION and surely ask questions about the death penalty and its application in American courts, and some minds may change. In the tradition of great writers, Grisham has produced a novel that seeks to end an injustice. The death penalty has been placed on trial in the pages of THE CONFESSION and stands convicted.

    --- Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman

    5-0 out of 5 stars A story to reckon with
    The Confession: A Novel
    A story to reckon with

    I'm a ghostwriter of nonfiction books, e.g. NYT bestseller "Son of Hamas" (SaltRiver, 2010). And when I write a book review, I usually stick to my genre. Some books, however, manage to straddle the lines.

    John Grisham's new offering, "The Confession," is fiction because the dust jacket says so and because the copyright page assures us that "Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental."

    Okay, but I live in Texas, which has lethally injected 464 people--more than any other state--since capital punishment was reinstituted in 1976. And "The Confession," while admittedly having one foot in fiction, has the other planted firmly in this troubling reality.

    Some readers might even accuse "The Confession" of being an apologetic, a finely-crafted, albeit thinly-veiled, advocacy piece for abolition of the death penalty.

    One thing is certain, if you're not willing to take an open-minded look at capital punishment, you'd do better to use your $28.95 to buy a skinny cinnamon dolce latte and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin for you and your significant other.

    "The Confession" puts a name and a face and a family on the 130 innocent people who have been released from death row since 1973.

    Dont� Drumm, accused of raping and murdering a cheerleader named Nicole Yarber, is the African American echo of Dr. Sam Sheppard, the Cleveland neurosurgeon convicted of beating to death his pregnant wife, Marilyn, in 1954. Sheppard spent nearly a decade in prison before his conviction was overturned in 1966. Like the Sheppard case, which inspired the TV series and motion picture "The Fugitive," the trial and imprisonment of Dont� Drumm is a travesty from the first.

    The police never found the bushy-haired murderer described by Dr. Sam. But Nicole's real killer comes forward just days before Dont�'s scheduled execution, confesses to the crime and tries to save the life of the innocent man. John Grisham masterfully builds the tension as serial rapist Travis Boyette tries to stop and reverse the well-oiled wheels of justice. It's another page-turner to add to the author's impressive bibliography.

    But "The Confession" lingers after all the loose strings are neatly tied up in the Epilogue. It nags you and tugs at you. It plays over and over in your mind like summer re-runs, refusing to disappear until you deal with it. It refuses to let itself be just another entertaining read.

    It has a definite aftertaste. Not unpleasant, but insistent.

    Even if you manage to put it out of your mind, it will be there, staring you in the face, the next time the evening news announces the pending execution of another death row inmate. And it will look you in the eye and ask, "What if they're wrong again?"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Vintage Grisham
    Another amazing tale by John Grisham. The characters are so real and easy to identify with. I was not only entertained and captivated by the story but forced to think about the issues and examine my feelings on them. My father was on a jury several years ago for a murder case of a teenage girl. It was one of the hardest things I ever saw him go through. I am much more able to understand why they came back with the life sentence without the possibility of parole now. Thanks Mr. Grisham for the insight into the world of death penalties and appeals! Some may not like "the lack of closure" in the endings of Grisham's books. I find it refreshing. We don't generally get the exact ending we are looking for in real life either plus it gives the reader the opportunity to write the rest of the story on their own. Great read!! ... Read more

    2. Watchlist
    by Jeffery Deaver
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $25.95
    Asin: B003719FZK
    Publisher: CDS/Vanguard Press
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Watchlist is a unique collaboration by twenty-one of the world’s greatest thriller writers including Lee Child, Joseph Finder, David Hewson, S.J. Rozan, Lisa Scottoline, and Jeffery Deaver, who conceived the characters and set the plot in motion; In turn, the other authors each wrote a chapter and Deaver then completed what he started, bringing each novel to its startling conclusion. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed
    I saw this book in the library and recognizing a few of the writers, thought I'd give it a try. I couldn't put it down. The novellas were written 2 years apart yet the story easily flowed. I loved the way each writer moved the story in another direction, leaving the following author to pick up the plot and add his/her own twist. Jeffery Deaver wrapped up both stories. Now I'll be looking for books by the authors I didn't recognize and I hope they'll do this again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Reminder Of Why I Stopped Reading Thrillers
    I stopped reading mysteries and thrillers a few years ago because they weren't as good as this. Lately though, I've been stumbling on more and more books like Watchlist. Fast paced, catch your breath moments, can't put it down.
    I downloaded this when it was free and feel like I've won the lottery.
    I highly recommend to anyone.
    If it can make a chick-lit lover happy, I suppose this book could make just about anyone happy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An experience you do not want to miss
    The idea behind the two short novels that comprise WATCHLIST --- THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT and THE COPPER BRACELET --- was truly groundbreaking. Take the concept of a somewhat shadowy organization called the Volunteers (headed up by a late middle-aged, ex-war crimes investigator named Harold Middleton), whose purpose is to hunt down war criminals and prevent new crimes from happening. Open and close a book with chapters written by Jeffery Deaver, the creator of the concept, then let the world's top thriller authors each contribute a chapter, taking the story in a never-ending set of twists and turns from beginning to end.

    There have been similar projects --- though not quite of this scale --- done in the mystery, romance and science fiction genres, but what is truly groundbreaking here is the manner in which THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT was released. Not only was it an original audiobook (one that earned a 2008 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year), it also released a chapter at a time on a weekly basis, thus truly earning classification as a "serial thriller." Not content to rest on those considerable laurels, Deaver, accompanied by a stellar cast of thriller authors, did it again in 2009 with THE COPPER BRACELET. WATCHLIST brings both works together for the first time in print, the result demonstrating that the experiment works as well, if not better, in the traditional book medium.

    THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT, as one might guess from the title, is concerned with classical music, at least peripherally. Middleton is bequeathed with what appears to be an original handwritten score composed by Frederic Chopin that heretofore has never seen the light of day. The score is both more and less than it seems, however. Practically from the moment it passes into Middleton's possession, it begins to set off a chain reaction of events that puts Middleton --- as well as his pregnant daughter --- in terrible danger. He barely arrives in Washington, D.C. from Warsaw before he is on the run, accused of murdering two policemen even as he is pursued by a shadowy group of thugs who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the document in his possession.

    The only people whom Middleton can truly trust are his fellow Volunteers, who themselves are hamstrung by government officials who seem to be operating at cross purposes to them. Events reach a climax when the work in Middleton's possession is scheduled to be performed by a young woman who is a virtuoso on the violin. Her performance of the long-lost work will herald either a new cultural era or provide the signal for the opening of an unthinkable disaster.

    While THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT is more of a plot-driven work, THE COPPER BRACELET focuses more on Middleton and the personalities of the characters involved, without detriment to the pacing, which, as with its predecessor, moves along at breakneck speed. As indicated by the title, the Copper Bracelet is the focus of Middleton and the Volunteers as they race to prevent what appears to be the sabotage of a major construction project that is fraught with adverse political ramifications. The key to the plot seems to be contained in the drawings of a bracelet worn by an assassin, and its discovery sets off a chase that leads from Paris to Moscow to Kashmir.

    Middleton, aided by the Volunteers --- one of whom is his former lover --- has few other allies, and betrayals and death are his constant companions. What he discovers is that the plot involves far more than he originally imagined, with ramifications that will extend beyond a disputed border and across the world.

    A great deal of the fun involved in reading the novellas that comprise WATCHLIST is the experience of having your favorite thriller writers --- Lee Child, Gayle Lynds, P. J. Parrish, David Hewson, John Miller and Brett Battles, among many others --- treading far outside of their comfort zones and riffing in unfamiliar territory. It's kind of like walking into a small club and finding several of your favorite musicians taking successive solos around a common theme. The plots are fast-paced and the paragraphs fly by so fast that a seat belt should be included in the binding. It's an experience you do not want to miss, not only for the names with which you might be familiar, but also for the ones that you don't know.

    --- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub ... Read more

    3. Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1)
    by Lorena McCourtney
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B002B3YBZO
    Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    She's not your average crime fighter!Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it's only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation.Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can't resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities' attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor's match-making schemes can't slow her down. But will the determination that fuels this persistent, quirky sleuth threaten her very safety?"I laughed out loud. McCourtney's charming mystery debuts a voice both enchanting and startling."-Colleen Coble, author of Without a Trace"McCourtney's skill at blending whimsy, quirks, and questions into a lead character makes Invisible a must read."-Lois Richer, author of Dangerous Sanctuary"Invisible is a treat! Ivy Malone is a heroine with spunk and determination!"-Carol Cox, author of A Stitch in Time ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A light mystery book with a heaping helping of religious sauce
    "I'll just read the first few pages."

    Or so I thought as I began Chapter One of INVISIBLE at 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night. But I hadn't figured the heroine-spunky Ivy Malone-or her humor-laced story, into my plans.

    Four hours later, I was reading the last lines of the book through gritty, but determined eyes, wishing very much that I could claim Ivy Malone as my grandmother, or at least my next-door neighbor.

    To say this book is delightful is hardly sufficient. Written from a first person point of view, which is a different voice from McCourtney's past offerings, INVISIBLE is an absolute triumph. Wit and wisdom, pathos and perseverance, and downright eccentricity flow from Ivy's first vision of Nixon in her tomato patch, to her race with flying bullets, really bad bad guys, and the Hound of the Baskervilles in a grungy auto wrecking yard.

    And while the tone of the story is humorous from start to finish, a number of deep questions are also addressed. Questions about the goodness and reality of God in the face of death, loss, and injury. Questions about what's right and what's wrong when justice must be served. Questions about where and how to belong in a world that seems to have forgotten you, or perhaps never noticed you in the first place.

    In Ivy Malone, readers will find a combination of wacky humor, endearing stubbornness, and unconventional sincerity. In Ivy's story, readers will slink through torn up gravesites, take a dive inside a murdered woman's closet, and watch the stars with a cute guy named Mac. And that's just the beginning!

    INVISIBLE is a wild and highly entertaining ride from the first chapter to the last word.

    I can't wait for the release of the sequel, IN PLAIN SIGHT, where I'm sure Ivy, and her big white Thunderbird, will cruise into more mayhem, mischief, and maybe even some good old fashioned romance.

    Ivy, you go girl:)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A romping good mystery.
    Ivy Malone, a spunky, grey-haired widow, realizes the world is passing her by, leaving her unnoticed and invisible. She, however, has no intention of silently growing old and passing away.

    Deciding to put this newfound inconspicuousness to good use, she determines to snare some local vandals, who have been violating the cemetery. Little does she know that there are more forces at work than mere vandalism. Throw in the murder of a neighbor and soon danger is knocking at Ivy's door as well. Will Ivy's snooping land her in trouble too deep for her to handle? Or will the resourceful Ivy Malone be clever and "invisible" enough to not only save herself, but apprehend the bad guys, as well?

    There's nothing invisible about McCourtney's irresistible humor, clever story-crafting, or delightful characters. After having read Invisible, one can't help but hope that this new series will be a long one. A romping good mystery.

    Craig Hart - Magazine

    5-0 out of 5 stars McCourtney is a skillful writer
    Lorena McCourtney is a writer of romance and mysteries. Hailing from the State of Oregon, she and her husband love the outdoors. She graduated with a degree in agriculture from Washington State University. She is a woman of faith and has dedicated her later books to Christian values.

    Ivy Malone has just lost her best friend, Thea. Thea rented part of her home to a beautiful and circumspect woman who went by the name of Kendra Alexander. Just as Ivy is feeling like a LOL (Little Old Lady) who is invisible to most people, circumstances conspire to change her life. A country cemetery is vandalized, and when the short-handed police haven't the resources to investigate, Ivy engages in nocturnal sleuthing. But then Kendra's apparent disappearance sharpens her naturally inquisitive mind, and when Kendra's murdered corpse is discovered in a nearby river, Ivy goes into action:

    "Well, I was here to investigate. The circumstances did not appear to be ideal, but I figured I may as well start investigating. I pulled my photo of the person

    I knew as Kendra out of my purse. 'Do you know this young woman?'

    'The woman shook her head. 'Who is she?'

    'Possibly a friend of Kendra's.' I brought out the photocopy of the young man's photo. 'What about him?'

    Another shake of the head. 'What's this all about?'"

    For a woman who is on Social Security, Ivy Malone has guts. She also has a wry sense of humor, attracts fellow senior males easily, and isn't afraid to launch herself into dangerous, and at times, hilarious situations. She is constantly mindful of her faith, which could interfere with the story but doesn't. She is an inspiration to those around her, and it could be a sign of the times that even older women refuse to be shunted aside.

    INVISIBLE is an entertaining mystery which is a whodunit, as well as a "who does this corpse belong to?" McCourtney is a skillful writer with definite ideas and an inventive mind. It is no surprise that she is a popular author. INVISIBLE is lots of fun!

    Shelley Glodowski
    Senior Reviewer

    5-0 out of 5 stars Alot better than I thought it would be...
    As a senior citizen most of the time society pays you little attention; to most elderly people this is peaceful, but to some like Ivy Malone, it is a great advantage to get want she wants. In Ms. Malone's case, it's useful for going unnoticed (hence the title "Invisible") during any of her investigations. So when a local cemetery where her aunt and uncle are buried is found vandalized, she plans to avenge her relatives and decides to spring into action.
    Thea, the next door neighbor and best friend of Ivy Malone has just died. Before she went she rented part of her home to a young lady by the name of Kendra Alexander. During this time Ivy feels as though everyone in the world is passing by her, or as if she really has no importance in life. However, as soon as she learns of the police deciding not to investigate a local cemetery being vandalized she feels a great breath of inspiration and starts taking action by herself. Soon the investigation seems to get more and more dangerous for Ivy Malone, as shortly after deciding to take the case young Kendra Alexander is reported missing and eventually found murdered in a nearby river. Using her "invisible" status, Ivy Malone does some great sleuthing until she eventually finds the vandals and they are apprehended by the police.
    There are many things that make Invisible good book. One of them is the fact that although it's a mystery, it uses a humorous tone all throughout. So not only are you pulled in by the captivating tale of the mystery, but also by the comedy that will keep you even more entertained. In addition to those reasons, the book also discusses deep topics on things such as religion and about where you belong in society. I would recommend Invisible to anyone willing to have a good read.

    Lorena McCourtney does a good job of implementing comedy into her mystery. This comedy keeps the reader entertained while also making the reader anxious to continue to get a good laugh. Some examples of this humor are when she finds the Hound of the Baskervilles in a junk yard, when she envisions Nixon in a tomato patch, and when she has a race with flying bullets. The humorous tone of the book made me really enjoy it.
    Ironically, a humorous tone is not the only thing included in Invisible, but also deep topics that make you think. For example, one deep topic is when Ivy Malone feels as though she is no longer important to society because she is an elderly lady. Is that necessarily true or not? Another is during the book, Ivy Malone still continues to praise God although all these bad things start happening in her life. Some people always speculate if there is a god then why do bad things happen to good people, and this shows another case of that. This attribute of the book makes it more versatile and attracts an even wider audience than the usual mystery and comedy fans.
    The main reason I liked this book is because of the story of the mystery itself. I thought it was pretty cool how the author used Ivy Malone's old age as a way to go unnoticed through her investigations. I also liked how the motivation for the protagonist is set up, by having her uncle's and aunt's tombstones vandalized and her feeling inspired and vengeful.

    Invisible uses a good mix of humor, mystery, and description that keeps the reader interested. In addition, it discusses deep topics that include religious beliefs and the difference between right and wrong. Overall, Lorena McCourtney's book is a well rounded mystery, while also incorporating in other genres such as comedy and religious writing to make it even more interesting and better.

    (...) ... Read more

    4. Last Light (Restoration Series Book 1)
    by Terri Blackstock
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $14.99
    Asin: B000FCKH9C
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    What if America suddenly lost all its electrical power, its communications, its transportation, its financial system, its government leadership, and its media? What if an upper middle-class neighborhood of families who hardly know each other's names, suddenly had to form a functioning, self-contained community? How would people in the 21st Century, spoiled by microwaves and fast food, air travel and speeding cars, television and air conditioning, learn to function if they no longer had cars that ran, grocery stores, postal service, running water, computers, big screen TVs? If they had to hunt to eat or grow their own food? If they had to dig wells for water? If they had to learn to wash their clothes in the nearby lake? If they had to establish a neighborhood school and a neighborhood church? And what if the crisis created looters and killers who thought they could rob and murder without consequences? This series combines elements of Growing up Gotti with Little House on the Prairie. After an unexplained catastrophic event in the atmosphere knocks out all electronics in the world, these well-to-do families who've accumulated so many things are suddenly left helpless. Their Mercedes and BMWs sit in their driveways, useless. Their expensive, well-appointed homes have no electricity, no refrigeration, no phones. Even their battery-operated electronics don't work. No one is certain whether the country is under attack. Without communication, there is no way to find out. One family of Christians--the Brannings--realizes the needs of those around them. After wrestling with their own anger, fear and despair, and struggling in prayer with the Lord, they begin to realize that they have a job to do. They begin trying to unite the neighbors in a common effort to survive, and instead of hoarding, they realize that Christ has called them to sacrifice and give. But a couple is found dead in their neighborhood, and they realize that there is a killer among them. As they struggle to protect their own family and property, their 22-year-old daughter Deni falls prey to the killer, and takes off with him across the country, desperate to make her way to the East Coast where she thinks her life will be better. It doesn't take long for her to realize he's the killer and that she's in danger. But getting back home is more difficult than she ever imagined, and she is forced to turn back to Christ in repentance and humility, knowing He is the only One who can help her get home. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting
    I have to be honest, I had no idea "Last Light" was written by a "Christian Writer" when I bought this book. To be completely honest if I had known this book was written by a "Christian Writer" I don't think I would have purchased it. I would have been worried that instead of a taut Sci-Fi/Thriller that the book's jacket promised, I would be buying a 300+ page sermon. My normal reading fare falls more along the lines of Stephen King, James Rollins or Dean Koontz, which if they feature a character strong in faith, it's usually a precursor to the evil they do, and tells the reader they are not to be trusted. So when I got home and found I had bought novel by a "Christian Writer" I wasn't exactly thrilled. I started the book, and got hooked pretty quickly. The idea of living without all of our electric and mechanical conveniences was a pretty cool idea. The characters are pretty well drawn, especially the quick tempered Deni, who like it or not we all can relate to very easily. The pace of the book is quick, and the murder mystery carries the story along nicely. I see other reviews that say they didn't care for the murderer storyline, but liked the rest of the novel. I don't quite understand that, as the murder mystery is easily 1/2 the book if not more. Most of the key action revolves around who the killer may be, and neighborhood's reactions to the killer's presence. I believe Mrs. Blackstock gives an honest portrayal of they way people would react in the circumstances surrounding the catastrophic events that take place in her novel. I didn't plan on liking this novel, and there were a few times I felt the book got too "preachy", but "Last Light" kept me turning pages and coming back for more. And though this seems to be the first book in a series, it's not a cliffhanger. The story stands on it's own without leaving you with unanswered questions that require reading the next book in the series. I will most likely pick up the follow up novel, and recommend this book to fans of suspense novels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another great Blackstock series launched with "Last Light"
    Those who have read any of Terri Blackstock's more than two dozen books can attest to the undeniable fact that she is truly an extraordinary writer. Her suspenseful novels meet or exceed the best of this genre; while remaining true to her deeply held Christian faith (her books are always '...lovingly dedicated to the Nazarene'). "LAST LIGHT," the first of four books planned for her current 'Restoration' series, sets an even higher standard, with her challenging theme of our planet being stripped of its electricity, and other forms of power which most of us take for granted. After reading "LAST LIGHT," the only disappointment is having to wait for the remaining books in what promises to be yet another great series! --RON HOWE (a.k.a. Toby Martin II).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scared Me
    I have read most of Blackstock's books and have enjoyed them a great deal. I was very excited when this one came out and started reading it right away. Although the murder mystery part was not as captivating as some of her other novels, I was totally drawn into the Brannings "new" world. It scared me at times just thinking about what could happen and at other times I wondered if that's not what we need to have happen. I loved the book and can't wait for the next one to come out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific read lots of suspense
    I gotta say, Terri Blackstock is quickly becoming my favorite author with each new book that I read. I have read quite a few, and this one is excellent. I couldn't put it down, stayed up late to finish, if you like suspense, you will like this. Also, its great for giving you pause for thought about your own spirituality. As a christian, I am finding the christian suspense genre to be a wonderful reading category on dual layers. Get the book, it will be worth it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Real-to-Life Fiction
    If you remember Hurricane Katrina, then you will want to read "Last Light"! Terri Blackstock let her mind wander in late 2004 thinking of the "what ifs" if a major catastrophe were to strike America, only to find herself and her family thrust into that very reality on August 29th 2005 in her home state of Mississippi, along with their neighbors in Louisiana and Alabama. Her all-to-real fictional depiction of devastation will have you thinking what would you do if ever confronted with such a crisis in your community. In addition, as a mystery writer, Terri keeps you turning the pages as you wonder who is responsible for the needless deaths occurring under such horrific circumstances and why. "Last Light" is superb and definitely worth your time to read. Kudos to Terri Blackstock for a job well done!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Last Light
    I watch for new every title Terri publishes. Each book of her many series stands alone, yet keeps you hungry for the next in a series. As soon as I finished Last Light I immediately ordered Night Light (Book#2.) Others have written about the Last Light story line, basically I concur. But I had a couple of issues with the reality side of such an event. The biggest disconnect with me was the failure of all engines with a computer chip, from cars to home generators. That's certainly true in theory. But I can't believe that even in a smaller community a few bright mechanics or engineers could not tinker with these things and figure out a way to by pass the fried electornics. In Book 2 someone finally gets a brain and realizes that older cars (classics) still run. In the Branning's upscale neighborhood, don't tell me that someone didn't have an old Porche or restored '57 Chevy in their garage. Granted, it would take a lot of tinkering to get a modern SUV running when the chip(s) goes bad, but a couple of shade tree mechanics with a lot of time on their hands and a big incentive to succeed could certainly gerry-rig a bunch of direct wires and fire that sucker up. It might run rough, but it would run. Same for the home generator. For the sake of the story itself, which was about the people dealing with the crisis, it was probably better for the author to ignore these ideas. Still, it hurt my reading enjoyment as I placed myself in the character's shoes. Oh yeah, I went and stocked up on batteries and other "Hurricane items" after reading the book.... just in case! Lou Sauer, Raleigh, NC

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting
    The concept of this storyline is fascinating and made me realize just how complacent we have become in the world due to our modern conveniences. The characters are well-written and believable, and you can really fall into the story as if you are there. I find this to be the case often with this author's books. I really appreciate a novel that can bring tears to my eyes due to the realism of the characters.

    I also appreciated the Biblical concepts and the way she applied them within the story. When challenged by hardships beyond our comprehension, how would we handle passages like James 1:2-8 or Matthew 5 & 6?

    Recommended if you like adventure/suspense/mystery novels. I just ordered book 2 in this series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT . . . GONE. NOW WHAT?
    I'd heard of Terri Blackstock. Knew she was a Christian fiction writer. Figured she wrote prairie romances.
    As I became more involved in the business of writing and trying to create my own fiction, I sought out other writers works to read. I stumbled across this novel, Last Light, and was intrigued by the cover. Picked it up, read the back cover blurb thought it might be really interesting. Read the first few scenes and . . . bought the book.
    A man and his adult daughter step off an airplane in Alabama. Moments later everything turns silent. Another plane crash lands on the runway near them. A second plane falls, bursting into a fireball.
    How could I not by a book like that? What happened? I had to know.
    The story follows the Branning family (specifically the oldest daughter Deni) as they learn to live without modern amenities. All modern amenities. Something has happened which makes all technology expensive doorstops. Various storylines develop to move the story along. The major one is a murder. Suspects abound and the community basically has to take matters into their own hands to catch the killer. This is book one in a series called Restoration, however, the major treads that weaves this story together are tied up by the end making it a somewhat stand alone novel. The only thing really unresolved is the power outage and Deni getting back to DC. The second book in the series, Night Light is out now.
    Blackstock's writing as great. Here characters, believable.
    If you like stories of technology gone awry and the relational struggles that ensue, this is a story for you. I look forward to seeing how the Brannings fare as the plot thickens over the long haul of a series.
    One thing that really impresses me is reviews I've read by those who are no Christian fiction readers. They've had good things to say. I've always believed, and try to practice with my own writing, that if you write a good story (as opposed to a sermon masquerading as a novel) you'll reach a broader audience with a message of hope.
    Well done, Terri.
    ... Read more

    5. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
    by Stieg Larsson
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $27.95
    Asin: B0031YJFCQ
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 5
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy

    Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

    Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

    From the Hardcover edition.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Conclusion to an Almost Perfect Trilogy
    Just as Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" is held up as the trilogy to which all fantasy trilogies are inevitably compared, I've little doubt that Larsson's Millenium series will play that benchmark role for mystery thrillers over the next few decades.

    "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" is an incredibly worthy successor to the previous two books in the trilogy. And toward the end, there will be moments when tears are brought to your eyes. Larrson knew precisely how to play with timing, rhythm, and wording to pace the story and its ending just right. I'm hard pressed to even guess how else he could have ended this series.

    The story follows the natural conclusion of the events in the first two books as everything dovetails toward a "behind-closed-door" trial. Larrson did a very good job of the first part of this book that takes place in the hospital where Lisbeth is recovering. I really enjoyed reading things from her perspective, then spinning out to others involved and each of their limited pieces of the evolving puzzle. And things just get better as the book moves along.

    Frankly, once you hit part three of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. I picked it up just once...just to read a chapter or two in the second half of the book...only to find that three hours had gone by and the book was over.

    Larrson's tying up of many loose ends throughout the book - and this is key - throughout the book (not all in the last few chapters like so many other writers) is masterful. And that emphasizes the one tragic aspect of this final book: knowing that we will never again be graced with Larrson's storytelling mastery.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Complex, Satisfying, Clever, Moral; Evil Versus Good
    For those of you who have not read the first two volumes of this trilogy, I urge you to start on Volume one and proceed. The characters are so complex and real that an understanding of their background seems to me to be a must. The first two novels set up the reader for this wonderfully clever conclusion. The tale of good versus evil is one that is a history in time, and Stieg Larsson has given us a treat to savour.

    The first one hundred pages of the third novel brings us up to date, and then we start the real read. More characters are introduced and at times during this 600 page read, I wondered if I could keep them straight. For the last two hundred pages, this book is very hard to put down. This is a tale of a series of conspiracies and how they come to cloud the Swedish democracy. How did Lisbeth Salander become the abused young woman, and will the people and times trying to destroy her win? And, Mikael Blomkvist, the journalist, will he be able to expose through his words, the wrongs that have been done. Will he regain Lisbeth's confidence?

    Lisbeth Salander is in the Intensive Care Unit, she has been shot in the head. Her father is in a room down the hall, reportedly shot by Lisbeth. How did this come to be. Why are the Swedish Secret Service surreptitiously going in and out of his room? Why do we pick on those we do not understand? It is easier for us to believe those that are in power than to question the truth. The theme of the trilogy is that women are equals. There is no unnecessary overt sex and even though there is violence, it is believable. Blomkvist is a hero, he is the main antagonist and the muscle behind the investigation. He is out to assist Lisbeth Salander in becoming the woman she is meant to be instead of the woman who was looked at as the mad lesbian killer. He says, "When it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it's about violence against women, and the men who enable it." The characters who surround them are wonderfully sketched out. We can picture in our mind's eye their faces and their countenance. This novel sums up the story of Lisbeth Salander, but leaves us wondering what is to be. Unfortunately, Stieg Larsson. because of his death, won't be continuing the series, it is up to us to find her rightful place.

    It is easy to understand why this trilogy of Stieg Larsson's has become such a phenomenon. The search for justice and truth from a young, abused woman who has the nerves and strength of steel gives us all hope. We can believe through this wonderful narrative that the world is indeed a good place.

    Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-13-09

    The Girl Who Played with Fire

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Third Volume in the Series -- No Spoiling This Volume
    This is the third book in what is now a trilogy of novels centered around the character Lisbeth Salander. Salander is unique -- a deeply flawed but also incredibly resourceful individual who will fascinate you. This book begins where the previous volume (The Girl Who Played With Fire) ends, with Salander brought to the emergency room of a hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, with three bullet wounds, including one in her head. One of the persons who tried to murder her later comes into the same hospital into a room two doors from Salander, bearing grievous wounds that Salander herself inflicted.

    You will have to read the first two volumes of the trilogy to understand the storyline in this volume. That should be no problem, because the first two volumes were hard to put down. This third volume is the longest in the series, but it reads even faster than the first two. The first half of this volume sets up a situation involving legal charges against Salander that seem irrefutable, especially as police and prosecutorial resources are marshaled against her. Because of the charges against her, Salander is locked into her hospital room with no access to a computer and only very restricted access to information from outside. This lead-in creates tremendous tension, as the reader is allowed to look into the careful measures that Salander's friends and foes are taking to prepare for a courtroom denoument.

    If you have already read the first two volumes in this trilogy, you will not need any coaxing to buy this third volume. It contains much less explicit descriptions of sexual behaviors than the second volume contained -- all to the good in my view. I found it to be the most exciting of the three volumes. It is rumored that a fourth volume in the series exists, but it is in need of editing and may also be locked up a long time in litigation regarding the deceased author's estate. Whether a fifth or sixth volume exist in outline form is anyone's guess, but we are unlikely to see anything beyond a fourth volume anytime soon, and even getting at the fourth volume in our lifetime may be a stretch. All of which is to say, get this book and enjoy it. It may be the last we ever see of Lisbeth Salander.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tips on How to Read a Stieg Larsson Novel!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    It was bittersweet to finish the last novel of Stieg Larsson's about Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest". What a unique and fascinating character Lisbeth has been throughout the three novels. This last of the triumvirate begins the very moment that the last one leaves off. I highly recommend that one reads these novels in order for the best effect. I've enjoyed them all thoroughly and found the conclusion to be immensely satisfying.

    Others reviewers have summarized the plot, and described the qualities and shortcomings of the novel, but I would like to take a moment to help readers who may be a bit daunted by Larsson's work. So here are my Tips on How to Best Read a Stieg Larsson "Girl" Book:

    * Read it in hunks of time. Larsson's books aren't amenable for dipping in and out of in 5 or 10 minute increments. If you do that, you'll spend most of your time backtracking to get back into the complicated flow and plot. It's best to devote some time so that you can keep up with the pace.
    * Don't be embarrassed if you need to make a character "cheat-sheet" - it's difficult to remember all the characters and it's cumulative; "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" has all the characters of the first two novels in addition to its own set! Larsson had nothing on Tolstoy for a long list of characters...and with the Swedish names being unfamiliar to the average American reader, it can be even more confusing. Just look at some of the "B" names: Blomqvist, Berger, Bublanski, Bjork, Bjurman, Bodin, Beckman, Berglund, Billinger, Badenbrink, Bladh, Borgsjo...then there is a Niedermann and a Nieminen and a Malm and a Malin...too similar to keep straight. Which are the cops, which are journalists, which are villains, which are heros?
    * Don't be discouraged by the techno-babble. The first book has a comprehensive description of International Business standards and practices, the International Banking system, as well as specific Swedish business practices. The second book has a long and technical section about computer systems and hacking processes, the third book goes into great detail about the Swedish Secret Police and Sapo operations and super-secret sub-ops. Don't feel daunted by these, you don't need to understand every nuance to enjoy the story!
    * Suspend judgment on the Swedish justice system and some of the "morals" of the characters. It would be, in my opinion, unpleasant to read these books while constantly thinking: "That wouldn't happen in the US!" or "We do things better in the US." so don't. As for the character's "morals"...there are villains who are 100% villains in these books, but there are no "heros" who are 100% heroic or fault free. Sweden never had the Puritans like we did, so their views on sex might be a little different than the average American's. All this is part of what is interesting , educational, and intriguing about these novels.
    * Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars If the series had to end, this was the perfect conclusion

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I came to this novel with great trepidation. I'd loved the first two novels in the series and was understandably saddened by the premature end due to the author's untimely death. Aside from that, I was worried that the novel would end with some terrible cliff hanger as the previous one had. For what it's worth, I'm happy to report that if this series had to end now, I'm completely satisfied with how the story of Lisbeth Salander, Mikeal Blomkvist, et al wraps up.

    As mentioned above, The Girl Who Played with Fire ends on a cliff hanger. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest picks up exactly where it ends off. I'd liked the second novel in the series much more than the first because it dealt far more extensively with the eponymous character. That is also the strength of Hornet's Nest. I just can't get enough of Lisbeth Salander. She is endlessly strange, fascinating, endearing, and resourceful.

    This final novel strikes the best balance of the three between Lisbeth's story and Mikeal's story, which essentially converge at this point. But other characters get their fair share of narrative time and a subplot involving Erica Berger particularly captured my interest. Every storyline allowed Larsson to show off new facets of his established characters.

    One of the most fascinating things about the plot of this book (which obviously I'm being incredibly vague about) was that in another novel, the good guys and the bad guys could have easily switched places. There are no cookie-cutter heroes and villains in Larsson's world. Sure, there are people to root for, but there's a lot of moral ambiguity involved. All of which makes for complex and smart story-telling. And Larsson's plotting is as strong as it ever was. This novel is his best yet.

    At nearly 600-pages, I plowed through the book at breakneck speed, my interest never flagging. It is sadly clear to me that Larsson had further stories to tell about his girl. Not every loose thread is tied up, but the important bases are covered. The novel's end was as satisfying as anything you could ask for.

    Rest in peace, Stieg.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hornet's Nest and Trilogy
    Have been reading since age 4 (am now 68) and mostly fiction for the past 50 years. A novel a week. This trilogy is, in my opinion, the finest series I have ever read and Hornet's Nest may be the very best piece of fiction I have ever read. I found myself purposely slowing down in my reading because I simply did not want it to end. These are not stand alone books. Read them as 1-2-3 and you will never forget the experience. The biggest problem is what to read when you are finished. Everything else pales by comparison by virtually every measure. I envy those of you who have not started the journey or who are looking forward to the second and third novels. I almost look forward to the possibility of Alzheimers so I can read these over and over for the rest of my life. I may do so anyway.

    BR ... Read more

    6. Cross Fire
    by James Patterson
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B003UBTX6I
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 4
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Wedding bells ring

    Detective Alex Cross and Bree's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.'s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories--is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?

    A murderer returns

    The case explodes, and the FBI assigns agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that they are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims' movements--information that only a Washington insider could possess.

    Caught in a lethal cross fire

    As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in D.C. and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good. With a supercharged blend of action, deception, and suspense, Cross Fire is James Patterson's most visceral and exciting Alex Cross novel ever.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars What Alex Cross Doesn't Know Might Hurt Him
    Author James Patterson tells the reader something crucial early on, but it's not revealed to the key character, Detective Alex Cross. I found myself wondering exactly how and when Cross would find out for himself. Of course, I'm not going to give you any clues, but this mystery did keep me turning the pages.

    The novel is largely about a series of murders in Washington, D.C., Cross's base. The victims include a corrupt politician, a crooked lobbyist, and a venal tycoon. These were people hated by many, but Cross is determined to solve the case. While investigating the murders, he finds a complex math formula in a most unusual place, gets a big lead from a submerged Suburban, and makes a life-long commitment.

    Also in the picture is Kyle Craig, Cross's long-time nemesis. Patterson does a good job constructing Craig as a total monster.

    This is the twelfth book written or co-written by James Patterson that I have reviewed for this site. It's near the top of the list. The prose is skillfully crafted. The pages fly by.
    ... Read more

    7. Code Blue
    by Richard MD Mabry
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $13.99
    Asin: B004CRT7SI
    Publisher: Abingdon Press
    Sales Rank: 92
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    In the first book of the Prescription for Trouble series, Code Blue means more to Dr. Cathy Sewell than the cardiac emergency she has to face. It describes her mental state as she finds that coming back to her hometown hasn t brought her the peace she so desperately needs. Instead, it s clear that someone there wants her gone...or dead.

    Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town...or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff Dr. Marcus Bell really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will s father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? When one of Cathy s prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It s soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Not really a medical thriller...
    This book involves a doctor who is being harassed and that's about as "thriller" as it gets. Mabry's book is really a book about re-finding one's faith in God and learning to trust fellow humans and the church in times of crisis. I would not have downloaded the book if I had known that in advance as I thought I was getting a true medical suspense/thriller book. Also, the writing is not as good as it could be although it's a decent first effort. I won't be reading any more books in this series--I read the synopsis for the second book and it sounds exactly like this book with a different set of characters. It would be nice to see Mabry put his obvious wealth of medical knowledge to use in a different plot formula.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect dose of Medical, Suspense and Romance!!!
    When I think Christian fiction, I always automatically think female authors, and very rarely do I associate a male author. I think female authors because they create characters that are unforgettable and with whom I can undoubtedly relate to in some way or another. But I must confess and say that I am super pleased with Richard Mabry's work. CODE BLUE is a terrific start to a new medical series written by a highly talented male author.

    In CODE BLUE,book 1 in the Prescription for Trouble series, we get a healthy dose of crisis, suspense, faith tested and of course, romance! Inject that with a bit of humor and mix it up for the perfect drug! It will cure any ailment! The characters in this particular story blend well with the plot of suspense. This plot is one that grips your soul and puts you right in the middle of the medical action! I loved the thrill of not knowing what was gonna happen next to Dr. Sewell, and I also loved the feeling that Mabry created by those perfect injections of God's love and faith. It certainly made for better entertainment than those TV medical dramas!

    My advice to you? Read CODE BLUE. It's 5 star worthy, like Candace Calvert's Mercy Hospital Series....BETTER than any Grey's Anatomy, ER, or House episode could ever be. I can't wait for a second dose of medical mystery and fast paced thrills with this amazing series! And we'll get that with Prescription for Trouble's book 2: MEDICAL ERRORcoming in September of 2010!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this one STAT!
    Richard Mabry, MD has retired his stethoscope and now writes novels instead of prescriptions. And he has quickly earned a spot on my shelf next to Harry Kraus MD, Candace Calvert, and Hannah Alexander as an author of great medical fiction. Code Blue is so fast-paced, suspenseful, and authentic that I could practically hear the sirens! Dr. Cathy Sewell longs to establish her practice in her hometown, but the obstacles mount. Obstacles such as the sacred "good old boys" club that seems determined to thwart her at every turn. And the fact that someone apparently wants her permanently removed from the scene, causing her to interact more often with the local EMTs as a patient than as a physician. When she treats the local banker for a heart condition and his prescription results in his coming perilously close to death, even those who supported her begin to question her competency. Will her career be resuscitated or will it flatline before it even begins? Grab a copy of this compelling book; it's just what the doctor ordered!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Code Blue: Good medicine for readers of medical thrillers
    Do you like to settle in at night with a great book? Get ready to lose some sleep if you pick up Code Blue. Each twist and turn of this debut novel is bound to keep readers turning pages as retired doctor-turn-novelist Richard Mabry ratchets up tension chapter after chapter.

    Main character Dr. Cathy Sewell returns to her hometown in Texas to start all over, only to face unyielding opposition. People she grew up with seem to hold grudges. And someone might even want her dead. The cast of potential villains is staggering as Dr. Mabry does a great job of casting suspicion upon just about everyone who crosses Cathy's path. Even the man she once loved. She must fight for economic and physical survival as one mishap after another begins to tear her world apart. She begins to question everything--even her relationship with God.

    This novelist has taken a lifetime of experiences in the medical field and created a page-turning medical thriller that is hard to put down. This novel is just what the doctor ordered.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Code Blue resuscitates Christian Medical fiction single handedly
    Dr. Cathy Sewell is finding her hometown reception cool when she returns to practice medicine. Several near misses cause her to wonder if she is being paranoid, a victim of mental illness as her mother was presumably so, or on someones hit list. The list of prospects that would want her gone-in one sense of the term or another-grows and getting to the bottom of who has the most against her takes time, patience, and nerves of steel.

    Accented by a host of supporting roles-Will, his parents, Marcus Bell, and the always helpful Jane-Code Blue is an intense ride along side Dr Cathy as she relentlessly tries to establish her practice in spite of the odds stacked against her. I've worked the ER and have participated in treatment scenarios first hand and found my pulse quickened and racing during some of the medical drama's. Not many writers can recreate medical situations so closely that they adequately stir the adrenaline that accompanies the pace. Mabry not only sufficiently describes and stimulates the precise emotions, as a writer, he is superior at creating a fictional recipe of medical drama, thrills, and romance. By page 50 or so, I was so enraptured by the action, characters and plot, I did a speed read to get to the end, and then felt sad to close the last page. As a reader you will fall in love with everything about the book-from characters to story lines. I also appreciate an author that keeps his scenes short because that keeps the pace rolling along. And, need I say it again, am indebted to any author that is not afraid to mention a Christian lifestyle in their novels and incorporate it effectively so that the story revolves around God, not vice versa. I respect Mabry for capitalizing on Christianity by showing love in action, not condemnation.

    Code Blue, the first in the Prescription for Trouble series, is a promising start to what I believe will be a long standing writing career for Mabry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fresh New Voice In Christian Fiction
    Cathy Sewell doesn't just find herself a woman doctor in a man's world. She is a family doctor in a town ruled by specialists. And she has to prove herself and her abilities to gain the hospital privileges she needs to best help her patients. But someone doesn't want her to succeed.

    I enjoyed watching Cathy prove her worth over and over. But would it be enough?

    Richard L. Mabry, MD is a writer to watch. He brings a fresh new voice to Christian Fiction and medical suspense.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, refreshingly authentic medical mystery!
    I admit, as an RN/nursing supervisor, I'm usually skeptical of medical-related fiction. But Dr. Mabry's CODE BLUE had me in the first few paragraphs. His use of medical knowledge and details is accurate, but not overwhelming; in-depth, but not over-powering. The storyline captivated me, too. I really felt Cathy's struggle with learning to trust again, and her relationship with Will was believeable, tender, and inspiring. This is a perfect snuggle-under-the-covers-and-stay-there-'til-you're-finished mystery. I read this in one day becuase I couldn't put it down, and can't wait until his next book is released!

    5-0 out of 5 stars quick flowing light thriller!
    found it hard to put this book down. fun and inspiring look into a new doctors life in a small town. good character development, and a hard to figure out who done it until the last page turn. ... Read more

    8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    by Stieg Larsson
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $14.95
    Asin: B0015DROBO
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 6
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's The Girlwith the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financialintrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.

    HarrietVanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty yearsago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hiresMikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction,to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander.Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars This Swedish bestseller deserves to be a blockbuster here too.
    A 24-year-old computer hacker sporting an assortment of tattoos and body piercings and afflicted with Asperger Syndrome or something of the like has been under state guardianship in her native Sweden since she was thirteen. She supports herself by doing deep background investigations for Dragan Armansky, who, in turn, worries the anorexic-looking Lisbeth Salander is "the perfect victim for anyone who wished her ill." Salander may look fourteen and stubbornly shun social norms, but she possesses the inner strength of a determined survivor. She sees more than her word processor page in black and white and despises the users and abusers of this world. She won't hesitate to exact her own unique brand of retribution against small-potatoes bullies, sick predators, and corrupt magnates alike.

    Financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist has just been convicted of libeling a financier and is facing a fine and three months in jail. Blomkvist, after a Salander-completed background check, is summoned to a meeting with semi-retired industrialist Henrik Vanger whose far-flung but shrinking corporate empire is wholly family owned. Vanger has brooded for 36 years about the fate of his great niece, Harriet. Blomkvist is expected to live for a year on the island where many Vanger family members still reside and where Harriet was last seen. Under the cover story that he is writing a family history, Blomkvist is to investigate which family member might have done away with the teenager.

    So, the stage is set. The reader easily guesses early that somehow Blomkvist and Salander will pool their talents to probe the Vanger mystery. However,Swede Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is no humdrum, formulaic whodunit. It is fascinating and very difficult to put down. Nor is it without some really suspenseful and chillingly ugly scenes....

    The issue most saturating The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that of shocking sexual violence primarily against women but not excluding men. Salander and Blomkvist both confront prima facie evidence of such crimes. Larsson's other major constituent elements are corporate malfeasance that threatens complete collapse of stock markets and anarchistic distrust of officialdom to the point of endorsing (at least, almost) vigilantism. He also deals with racism as he spins a complex web from strands of real and imagined history concerning mid-twentieth century Vanger affiliations with Sweden's fascist groups.

    But Larsson's carefully calibrated tale is more than a grisly, cynical world view of his country and the modern world at large. At its core, it is an fascinating character study of a young woman who easily masters computer code but for whom human interaction is almost always more trouble than it is worth, of an investigative reporter who chooses a path of less resistance than Salander but whose humanity reaches out to many including her, and of peripheral characters -- such as Armansky -- who need more of their story told.

    Fortunately, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in English translation will be followed by two more in the Millennium series: The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Air Castle that Blew Up. I can't wait. Larsson also made a 200-page start on a fourth book, but sadly he succumbed to a heart attack in 2004 and his father decided the unfinished work will remain unpublished.

    I recommend this international bestseller to all who eagerly sift new books for challenging intellectual crime thrillers, who luxuriate in immersing themselves in the ambience of a compellingly created world and memorable characters, who soak up financial and investigative minutiae as well as computer hacking tidbits, and who want to share Larsson's crusade against violence and racism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book of the Year

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a masterwork of fine craftsmanhip. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. The characters are too intriguing for this to be the end. Apparently this was the first novel in a trilogy by the brillant writer, Stieg Larsson, who unfortunately died in 2004: the book contains a tribute to him and his career. I cannot wait to read the sequels scheduled for release in the USA in 2009.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an international best seller and is set in Sweden. It takes a little effort to get accustomed to all the Swedish names and places but then the story moves with lightening speed. There are two key plots happening simultaneously. In one, a Swedish financial investigative journalist publishes a libelous attack about a powerful industrialist and is sentenced to jail, fined a ruinous sum, and has his career torn to shreds. Another industrialist, Vanger, hires the journalist to investigate the 36 year old disappearnace of his then 14 year old grand niece. There has been no trace of her in all these years and she is assumed dead. Yet, every year on his birthday, he receives a mysterious gift of a pressed flower, mimicking a gift his missing grandniece used to give him when she lived there. Vanger, an old man, is tormented by the flower gifts, and wants one more chance to find out what happened to her and who killed her. What the journalist uncovers about the Vanger family's hitherto unknown secrets and connections to the Nazis, will have you hanging on the edge of your seat.

    The book is titled after yet another character, Lisabeth Salander, a societal outcast and social ward of the State, uncivilized without any desire to obey societal norms, and replete with piercings, tattoos, and a goth/biker appearance. In short, at first glance a totally undesirable and unsympathetic person. She is a researcher with a corporate security firm and ends up working with the journalist. In truth, she is a survivor of abuse in all forms with low self esteem, and an inablity to trust. She is a genius with Asberger's Syndrome, a form of autism, who sees patterns in things ordinary mortals miss and uses incredible computer hacking skills to accomplish her goals. She is fascinating: ruthless and tough to a fault, yet internally vulnerable, struggling to comprehend her own feelings. She has an appeal that draws you to her, rooting for her, and wanting to understand her. Lisabeth is unforgettable, unlike most characters that populate mystery thrillers. There is such depth here.

    The book is a thriller on many levels: The story about the Vanger family itself, the journalist's crusade to redeem his reputation, Lisabeth's vendettas and development, and of course, the truth about what actually happened to the missing Vanger heiresss. This is a superb novel and impossible to put down. Utterly stunning. Probably the year's best book. SUMMER 2009: SEE MY REVIEW OF THE SEQUEL, "THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE", ANOTHER OUTSTANDING BOOK.
    ... Read more

    9. Crush
    by Alan Jacobson
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $7.99
    Asin: B002RBWF2G
    Publisher: Vanguard Press
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Fresh off the most challenging case of her career, The 7th Victim heroine and renowned FBI profiler Karen Vail returns in an explosive thriller set against the backdrop of California’s wine country. Hoping to find solace from the demons that haunt her, Vail makes her first trip to the Napa Valley. But shortly after arriving, a victim is found in the deepest reaches of an exclusive wine cave, the work of an extraordinarily unpredictable serial killer. From the outset, Vail is frustrated by her inability to profile the offender—until she realizes why: the Behavioral Analysis Unit has not previously encountered a killer like him. As Vail and the task force work around the clock to identify and locate him, they’re caught in a web knotted with secretive organizations, a decades-long feud between prominent wine families, and widespread corruption that leads Vail to wonder whom, if anyone, she can trust. Meanwhile, as the victim count rises, Vail can't shake the gnawing sense that something isn't right. With the killer’s actions threatening the Napa Valley’s multi-billion dollar industry, the stakes have never been greater, and the race to find the killer never more urgent. And through it all, a surprise lurks…one that Karen Vail never sees coming. Meticulously researched during years of work with the FBI profiling unit and extensive interviews with wine industry professionals, bestselling author Alan Jacobson delivers a high-velocity thriller featuring the kind of edge-of-your-seat ending that inspired Nelson DeMille to call him "a hell of a writer." ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Crush was good, but it doesnt end.. You have to buy next book for the finish. Not that great.n
    I wish I would have purchased it at 0.00, but it's a good book, however, the ploy is to entice you to read Velocity, which I didn't care for and didn't like the price. You have to read it because it is the 2nd part of this book. I thought the 7th victim was really great, but I don't like to be forced to buy a new book to read what happens in the book I was reading. So Free is a great price but just keep in mind if you want to finish the "book" you will have to read velocity which is 17.00 hardcover and 13.00 on kindle.
    Next time author please just finish the book and let your readers decide if they want to read another. And, yes I did see your video.. Still don't agree. There was so much fluff in the 3rd book it could have easily been the end of Crush.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Crush...the Killer in Napa

    Length:: 1:10 Mins

    I just finished reading "Crush" by Alan Jacobson and have recorded a short video about my experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Blood is Flowing in Wine Country
    After the runaway success of Jacobson's first Karen Veil novel, The 7th Victim, our impressive FBI profiler is back in the fantastic follow-up, Crush. While the pressure may be on Jacobson to make his second Karen Veil Mystery be just as good as his first, in my opinion, Crush is better. Jacobson is now comfortable in writing Veil and lets her explore her boundaries and limits, coupled with having the agent be in a foreign place.

    At the start of the book, Veil is on vacation in the beautiful wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties. After the stress, pressure, and near-death experiences of The 7th Victim, Veil can certainly use the break, and has been so ordered by her ASAC. But as Veil and her boyfriend, Detective Robby Hernandez, are about to enjoy a very expensive wine tour, they are told it's been canceled and they'll receive full refunds. Veil's curiosity gets the better of her and she soon finds that a dead body is the culprit. Her profiling skills automatically kick into gear as she strategically maneuvers herself onto the task force, leaving Hernandez by the wayside. But this is who she is.

    Now on the Napa County Major Crimes Task Force, Veil teams up with Investigator Roxxann Dixon, as soon more bodies are discovered each with telltale signs of the "Crush Killer." Then the killer begins contacting Veil, threatening not just her life but that of her son, if she doesn't do exactly what he says. But the wine industry is an important part of the nation's economy, and the political issue of whether to release the details to the press creates more enemies for Veil. Ultimately, it will be up to her to manage and keep the task force together, and catch this Crush Killer before he gets to anyone else.

    Jacobson has not only written a full-throttle thriller that will keep readers hooked to the very end, but also educates them in the niceties of wine tasting and drinking, as well as some of the different kinds of wines offered by our wine country; not to mention the number of real locations used the in the book. Crush is a story that will have you entranced, causing your mouth to dry up in a craving for that tasty red liquid; and after finishing the book you'll feel the urge to check out Napa and Sonoma counties to see if they really are as beautiful as Crush says they are. ||Check out Episode 19 of BookBanter featuring a recent interview with Alan Jacobson. [...]

    Reviewed by Alex C. Telander

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully crafter thriller !!
    I have been a reader of thrillers for many years. My favorites have been Nelson DeMille, Robert Ludlum, and Robert Forsyth. Alan Jacobson is my new favorite. After reading The 7th Victim, I could not wait for Mr. Jacobson's next book. Not only was Crush a wonderful and riveting book, but the fact that it takes place in the beautiful Napa Valley provided additional intrigue. I rarely read a book in a couple of sittings, but I could just not put this one down. I am so impressed with the level of research Mr. Jacobson does when writing a book. I was definitely rewarded with Crush, not only with a wonderfully crafted thriller, but with the opportunity to increase my understanding of the wine industry, computer technology, and of course profiling.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An awesome read that won't disappoint!
    I'm not going to give you a readers digest version of what this book is about because you can read that above and in most of the reviews below. I'd more like to review the author and his storytelling ability; and also the 1st question I ask someone who is suggesting I read a book. Not if the storyline is good or the characters unique; but can the author tell a story in a way that will make me "honestly" stay up all night because I can't bare to wait another day for it's conclusion. Is the author someone worth losing sleep over? In this case I have to say YES!!!

    I've had the pleasure of meeting the author; Alan Jacobson and I have to tell you he is as genuine a person as he is a creative storyteller. I read his first Karen Vail novel "The 7th Victim" and was impressed that an author had invested so much time doing research before penning a book. The only comparison I could think of was Dan Brown, and I immediately found myself comparing Alan to him. Then I read "Crush" (which I just started and finished last night) and found he had surpassed any other author in research and stands alone in his field....or in this case "vineyard". To me the sign of a great author is not only to weave a whodunit but to make the reader feel like they are actually at the location the story is taking place. The ability to make the reader feel like they are part of the story. Alan possesses these rare abilities and is able to incorporate them all in "Crush". Too many times I've read suspense novels where it was too easy to figure out who the villain was, but I defy anyone to figure out who it is in "Crush". "Crush" was a thrilling ride from the very fist page and a ride that I was sad came to an end at 3:45am this morning.

    I think the greatest compliment I could give Alan Jacobson would be to compare his writing ability to the author "I" feel is the greatest story teller of all time...Pat Conroy. Although they don't write the same kind of books, they both have the ability to draw you in, make you laugh, bite your nails, lose some sleep, and above all...captivate.

    BRAVO!!!! ... Read more

    10. The Girl Who Played with Fire
    by Stieg Larsson
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $15.95
    Asin: B001NLKT60
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 11
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel.
    Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past. 

    From the Paperback edition.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Better than "Dragon Tattoo," a high-voltage sequel
    This is the second in the late Steig Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy. I was so hooked by the first in the series, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," that I decided to send away to for this sequel, because I was not willing to wait until July for the U.S. release of an English-language version. These days, the pound has been kicked around as badly as the dollar, so I ended up paying largely what I'd pay in the U.S., and the shipping fee was minimal.
    I really couldn't wait to crack the 700-page volume to revisit the characters: Mikael Blomqvist, the heroic investigative journalist; Lisbeth Salander, a petite powerhouse afflicted (or gifted) with Asperger's syndrome; Erika Berger, the fearless editor and Blomqvist's sometime bedmate; and the intrepid staff of the magazine, "Millennium." Whereas "Dragon Tattoo" was largely about Blomqvist and his search for a presumed-dead heiress, this sequel focuses squarely on Salander and her difficult adjustment with society. At the end of the first book, she abruptly walks away from the faithless lover Blomqvist. She continues her aversion in "The Girl Who Played with Fire," ignoring him, hanging up on his cell phone calls, tossing out letters, and otherwise pretending he doesn't exist. He's broken her heart and Lisbeth Salander is not one to forgive.
    However, she soon learns she needs friends--plenty of them--as an ever-tightening noose of danger tightens around her, made up of her evil legal guardian Nils Bjurman, a cadre of nasty social-service doctors and psychiatrists, some rogue cops, members of a Hells-Angels-like motorcycle gang, and a shadowy figure known only as Zala. When one of Blomqvist's best reporters and his wife, are gunned down, police find Salander's fingerprints on the gun and the hunt is on--with the entire police force, plus the host of the other bad guys after her.
    Larsson keeps the pace breathless throughout the story, which hinges on a seamy sex trafficking trade. Even when he stops to explain what is at stake and how "Millennium" will cover the story, he never slows the movement. You'd think that in a novel of this length there would be myriad subplots, but there really aren't too many threads to follow. Salander's sad past is deconstructed chapter by chapter, and Blomqvist gets to the bottom of police malfeasance and international espionage. But nothing takes the focus off the chase that Salander eludes so brilliantly.
    I'm sure there are things that a savvy editor could do to tighten Larsson's prose. He adds a love affair too many and drags out the tense ending to a breaking point. Also, it may not seem odd to Swedes, but Larsson's habit of using the last name for every character becomes extremely confusing, because everyone is an Andersson or an Ericsson or a Nilsson. The sameness becomes mind-boggling. It's impossible to even know the gender of the character.
    I know about this problem personally, for my own grandfather changed his last name because there were too many Nilssons in the army. He chose a name that was a little more distinctive. Larsson could have learned a lesson there. Using a few first names now and then also would solve the problem nicely.
    But these are nitpicks. I'll be waiting for any news that an English version of the final version of the "Millennium" trilogy is available. These books are just that good.

    5-0 out of 5 stars '...Dragon' on Amphetamines
    This is the follow up to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I suggest you read that one first, though this novel is reasonably self-contained.

    This book opens with Lisbeth Salander enjoying her newly ripped of wealth lazing in a hotel in Granada. No one knows where she is (as usual), and back in Sweden, Millenium magazine are preparing a an expose of the sex slave business in Sweden. The journalist who is preparing the expose is murdered, along with his partner, and Salander's legal guardian. Salander, now back in Sweden is the prime suspect, and the police hunt is on.

    To say things get complicated from this point is an understatement. There are multiple investigations (Salander's of course, the police and Millenium's), multiple suspects, more murders, red herrings galore, and just general mayhem. Dark as all this is, it is actually quite funny in places: the police have no idea at all what is going on, despite a well meaning and competant detective in charge.

    This is all tremendous fun for the reader. It is as anything remotely boring (and probably realism suffers) has been left out, yet despite the novels sheer page turning ability, (I read this too fast, I will need to read it again), it still has the power to inform.

    So buy it, read it once, and then read it again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wild ride
    It's a tragedy for world literature that Stieg Larsson is dead, and we'll never have more than three books with Lisbeth Salander as the heroine. She's an absolutely fascinating creation. This is the second book in the series, and every bit as riveting as The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo.

    In the eyes of Sweden's social services system, Salander is a deeply disturbed person who needs a guardian to supervise her and handle all her affairs. But unbeknownst to the authorities, she's a world-class hacker with a photographic memory, brilliant at chess, wildly rich from an Internet coup - and a vicious fighter. For relaxation, she has sex with men or women, as the spirit moves her, and reads books on spherical astronomy and higher mathematics. All this in a very small package: Salander stands less than five feet tall and weighs 90 pounds.

    The plot of this book is too complex and full of twists and shocks to summarize. But to oversimplify, three people are murdered because of a book two of them are writing about sex trafficking, and Salander, by a quirk of circumstantial evidence, becomes the prime suspect.

    Salander is in hiding for much of the book, baffling all the cops, well-wishers and thugs looking for her, while doing her own highly irregular detective work.

    In her twenty-five years of life, Salander has come in for a lot of sexual abuse. But she also has a genius for pay back. Her unique display of brains and aggression is utterly satisfying.

    The characters in this book are wonderfully drawn, the pace breathtaking and the fight scenes terrific. I can't wait to read the third book in the series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Second Time Is The Charm
    In the first of the series, originally titled in Swedish "Men Who Hated Women", Larsson did a magnificent job in setting up an absolutely unforgettable literary character -- Salander. Where part one of this trilogy fell short was in the too often sideways plotting, i.e. too many red herrings that added little, too many subplots, plus an inability to avoid multiple endings. However, in "The Girl Who Played With Fire (and I would love to know what the original Swedish title is), Larsson, in addition to layering depth to Salander's incredibly unique character, at once creating backstory and thus motivation, he also writes (yes, even at 649 pages in the British paperback edition I read), a very tight plot where virtually all the clues, surprises, and discoveries are well earned. This one is the masterpiece of the two -- so far -- as there is the third and final book to come. Still, it's necessary -- and no less rewarding -- to read "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo first. You'll not be disappointed in either. You'll even learn a bit about Swedish politics, but most importantly about gender politics in the context of a first class literary thriller.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lisbeth Salander Takes Charge
    In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander electrified the story, even though she had a relatively small part in the plot; here, in the second novel of the series, she is given center stage to Blomkvist's secondary role, making The Girl Who Played With Fire much tauter, more exciting than the first book. Larsson begins to expose what makes Salander tick, and the result gives her character an interesting vulnerability, one that makes her more human and less crazy.

    But let's get one thing straight; even with the more humanizing portrait, you would not want to corner Salander in a dark alley. Nor do you want to give her access to your computer. She is every bit as gritty and clever as she was in the first, and her stark determination to live by her own moral code drives the plot. When a journalist working for Blomkvist and Berger and his PhD candidate girlfriend are murdered, it's bad enough, but when those murders are linked to that of Salander's sadomasochistic guardian, Salander becomes the only suspect. On the lam, she seems to make no attempt to clear her name and instead gets in deeper. Throw in a "blond giant" (similar in many ways to the albino monk of The DaVinci Code), the seedy underpinnings of the sex trade, and returning characters, and you've got a suspenseful, likable, satisfying thriller.

    As a pure thriller, The Girl Who Played With Fire is stronger than its predecessor because it has fewer meandering subplots, more unrelenting suspense, and more deftly drawn characters, even if Larsson occasionally resorts to types. The author seems to have found his narrative stride with this. If you liked the first, you'll love the second. I just hope Larssen's third manuscript was polished enough before he passed away to build on his already finely-tuned skills as a novelist.

    -- Debbie Lee Wesselmann ... Read more

    11. Dead or Alive (Jack Ryan)
    by Tom Clancy, Grant Blackwood
    list price: $28.95 -- our price: $15.55
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0399157239
    Publisher: Putnam Adult
    Sales Rank: 14
    Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    For years, Jack Ryan, Jr. and his colleagues at the Campus have waged an unofficial and highly effective campaign against the terrorists who threaten western civilization. The most dangerous of these is the Emir. This sadistic killer has masterminded the most vicious attacks on the west and has eluded capture by the world’s law enforcement agencies. Now the Campus is on his trail. Joined by their latest recruits, John Clark and Ding Chavez, Jack Ryan, Jr. and his cousins, Dominick and Brian Caruso, are determined to catch the Emir and they will bring him in . . . dead or alive. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back Jack!, December 7, 2010
    Dead or Alive is missing the edge of modern thrillers like Gods of Ruin or similar, but it is a welcome return from one of the world's best authors. There's a lot of catching up to do for Clancy and for readers who hadn't read his books since the Sum of All Fears (Jack Ryan was president?). But, while Dead or Alive brings back many of the characters from previous books (Ding Chavez, John Clark, and Ryan's son), it is a safe stand alone book (though who doesn't know about these characters from Clancy's earlier works?).

    The plot is pretty straightforward: Jack Jr.'s The Campus intelligence group finally gets the go-ahead to track down "The Emir" who is basically a fictional representation of Osama bin Laden. What the reader gets is a personal account of the mission to take out The Emir--a mission which no doubt has parallels in modern intelligence/warfare. Like all Clancy novels, there is material in here about special-ops experience that you wouldn't get from even the best news sources. No doubt much of the material is thanks to the co-author of this book, Grant Blackwood, a former Navy guy.

    Clancy doesn't really bring into the fray the moral questions that arise with such stories--I think people would love this--but the insight and the action are good enough to make this a gripping, entertaining book. Any Clancy fan will enjoy it and anyone who likes to read military-thrillers will find this to be a quintessential addition to their library.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Nice to have Tom Clancy back, December 8, 2010
    The Amazon description has the book at 848 pages, but my copy, purchased at retail, is 950 pages. And--as with all the other Clancy books after Red October--I was the first one in line, and read it through on the first day. Harry Potter fans have their vices too, so I'm told.

    "Dead or Alive" is in most respects exactly what you expect from Clancy--globe-trotting special agents whose names are now familiar. Exquisitely researched, down to almost mind-numbing detail on everything from internet protocols and encryption procedures, to the operation of weapons systems, and the layouts of neighborhoods half a world away.

    It is a terrific book, and will be embraced by Clancy fans all over. It falls somewhat short of five stars for several reasons. Without giving away too much of the plot, I found the big targets in "Dead or Alive" to be implausible: why not go after Chicago or LA, given the ultimate objective to kill as many people as possible? Why target a huge South American oil refinery, when all of East Houston will do just as well? Just me, though.

    But the second objection was what I consider a glaring, and most uncharacteristic mistake by Clancy. In providing background on Iranian army moves along the Iraqi border, he describes the Iraqi Shi'a population as a minority, and subject to persecution by the Sunni majority. In fact, it's the other way around. 80% of Iraq is Shiite, but Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, which is the primary reason the Sunni countries in the Middle East--which is all the others except for Iran--almost uniformly opposed his removal. It was unimportant to the plot, but I'm surprised that it survived what was probably double- and triple-checking by the editors, and no doubt by Clancy himself.

    The Clancy books are superb, each for different reasons: "Red October" for naval and submarine operations; "Cardinal" for espionage tradecraft; "Clear and Present Danger" for small-unit combat operations; "Debt of Honor" for the workings of the financial markets, and so on. "Dead or Alive" doesn't have quite the intrigue those books do. And it is perhaps unfair to Clancy that he himself has set such a high bar with his previous work, that "Teeth" and "Dead or Alive" can't quite get to the same level that his previous works did. The technological detail is evident, as is the character development. But the sense of dread and foreboding and emotion that was conjured up before just isn't there. John Clark going after a drug ring that use prostitutes as drug mules (Without Remorse), or a psychotic setting off a nuke during the Super Bowl (Sum of All Fears), or another developing a strain of Ebola that is released in a dozen cities at a time (Executive Orders)--those books simply don't allow the reader to put them down. Also in those, he did a great job of developing the characters of the victims--the women used by the drug gangs, the traders and portfolio managers whose world was being turned upside down for reasons they didn't understand, the Secret Service agents who sacrifice their lives to protect a nursery full of toddlers, traveling salesmen whose insides were being ripped apart. They were deeply emotional, thrilling and exciting. "Dead or Alive" is very good, but not as good as those.

    All that said, I'm already looking forward to his next one.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Ponderous, plodding, and predictable, December 18, 2010
    I have a First Edition hardback copy of "Hunt for Red October", published by the Naval Institute Press, which was Clancy's first-ever book. I bought it new the day it hit the bookstore shelves in 1984. That's how long I've been a fan of Tom Clancy's.

    Unfortunately, for a number of years now Clancy has chosen to go the James Patterson route of becoming a book mill using "co-authors", and the quality of his releases has suffered accordingly. I haven't even bothered reading his stuff for quite a while now.

    So when I saw this book that promised to bring "Together for the first time, an all star cast of Clancy's characters..." (from the book jacket), I snapped it up with high expectations.

    I wish I'd saved my money. What a bore!

    First of all, the story line isn't anything new or inventive at all. Pretty standard fare about Islamic fanatics trying to blow things up. Been there, done that. Now, obviously that is a current and timely theme in this day and age, but there's nothing at all original about the execution in this book. Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp does it about a hundred times better.

    Far too many characters with exotic Middle Eastern names for me to keep track of without a scorecard, and none of these jokers is at all unique or distinguishable. I'd think to myself, "Didn't this guy get killed off about 80 pages ago?", then I'd go back and find out that, no, it wasn't this guy, it was another guy with a weird and unmemorable name and no distinguishing characteristics. They were about as interchangeable as lug nuts.

    The pacing is awful; there's never at all any buildup of tension or excitement. It's like watching paint dry. Clancy (and his minions) seems to have forgotten that "Red October" was only 387 pages long (my copy), but was a good enough book to propel him to the top of the bestseller charts. Yes, several of his later books were quite long, but they were also vastly better-plotted and -written than this monstrosity. Just adding filler does not a good book make, any more than doubling the amount of flour in a cake recipe makes for a better cake. All you end up with is a dry, tasteless, crumbly mess.

    Even the characters who are part of the "all-star cast" have seen better days. Mr. Clark was a man of mystery in his early appearances, one of the more intriguing characters in Clancy's panoply. Now he's turned into a pretty mundane and boring guy about whom we know too much; and his sidekick "Ding" Chavez hasn't fared any better, having morphed into Ozzie Nelson with a gun. The other characters are all pretty two-dimensional - at best. Even Jack Ryan, the original "star" of the series, has lost his oomph and charisma, fretting about whether or not to run for President. This is the guy who took on the Soviet navy as a young CIA officer, and the IRA later on? You kidding me? What happened to him? He get his gonads shot off somewhere?

    Save your money. This book's a waste of time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE MAN IS BACK! GREAT READ!, December 8, 2010
    Okay, seven years is a long time to wait, and while I wish it hadn't taken this long, I have to say DEAD OR ALIVE is worth it. Yeah, I was a bit wary when I saw a co-author (Grant Blackwood) listed on the cover, but my worries were quickly blown away by the story. How much is Clancy and how much is Blackwood I don't know, but DEAD OR ALIVE is the kind of TC book I've been hoping for: Big plot, great characters, tons of action, and the good guys besting the bad guys in the end. It's got a little less of a military component, but plenty of intel/espionage/covert ops stuff -- enough that you really feel like you're following Jack Ryan Jr. John Clark and the others as they hunt down the world's most wanted terrorist.

    For those of you who are worried that Mr. Clancy lost his mojo or a co-authored Ryan-verse book can't be as good because it's got a co-author, think again. DEAD OR ALIVE rocks!

    Good to have you back, Tom.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's Been a Decade but TOM CLANCY IS BACK, and this is AS GOOD AS IT GETS!!!! Five Stars, December 7, 2010

    With Clancy it's simple, you either love what he does or you don't, and if you are fan, then it's been a long time, about ten years since he has been on the Best Seller list, but once again that is where he is headed. Clancy is the master of his genre because he takes the time to learn technical aspects of what he is writing about. This means when you read Clancy you are reading the real thing. Facts are checked, scenarios are discussed with technical aspects, and nothing is left to chance or done offhandedly.

    When he talks weapons, he goes into the detail that a munitions dealer would deal with. In this novel we see operators using a Knights Armament M110 Sniper System. He tells you it's the best because he has done the homework. It is facts like this that the master storyteller weaves into the tapestry of his books that many readers including myself find fascinating.

    I am not going to discuss the plot in detail because that's why we read the book. Here's what you need to know. This is a big blot book which is what most of Clancy's books represent. In this case, Jack Ryan is a retired President of the United States. His son Jack Junior is running a secret independent anti-terrorist agency that his father the President started.

    It is called The Campus, and it has been successful for years going after the bad guys. The current President seems to be weak on terrorism and is more concerned with guaranteeing the legal rights of the bad guys than protecting the country. You are already seeing the subplots develop.

    Clancy puts us in the thick of it. We as readers are in the game. When Delta Force operators and Rangers go into the caves of Afghanistan we are with them. We breathe the odors; we hear the sounds, and we feel the tension. We find ourselves silencing our own voices because we don't want the good guys to be caught, and that is classic Clancy.

    In this book there is evil in the world, and in DEAD or ALIVE, an evil man in the world is at lodge. He has wreaked havoc on the Western world. We call him the Emir, and his objective is to deal a devastating terrorist blow to the United States. The book takes you around the world while Ryan Junior, and his father's old hands John Clark and Ding Chavez join Ryan along with Brian and Dominic Caruso with Mary Foley.

    It's a race for time, and for America. Will the good guys win, and where is the Emir? Is he in a cave 8,000 miles away or is he right here among us? You will have to read the book to find out and oh what an ending.

    Why I Love Clancy and you will too?

    Please allow me to give you a feel why Clancy is the absolute best writer in his fiction segment. It is his incessant ability to weave odd important facts into his stories, and to weave reality into the fabric of the plot:

    * His description of the computer setup at the National Security Agency is without equal.

    * There are 125,000 cranes in the world and currently Dubai has 30,000 of them currently building and rebuilding the city. Who knows things like this?

    * Plans do not survive the first contact with the enemy.

    * Laziness has consequences. If you are a sentry, if you pause, if you hesitate, if you light up a cigarette, you are DEAD.

    * You don't have to like it; you just have to do it.

    * The FBI Urban Tactical Training Facility is preeminent in the world. They are the best of the best. See why in the book.


    This is a great read, all 848 pages of it. You start the book and you can't put it down, and in the end isn't that why we read Clancy. We just keep going until we are finished, and when we are finished we are ready for more. That is why 10 years is too long to wait for a Clancy novel. Read it today and see for yourself, and thank you for reading this review.

    Richard C. Stoyeck

    1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing return by Tom Clancy, December 13, 2010
    I have been waiting for an original book by Tom Clancy since the "Teeth of the Tiger" and purchased Tom Clancy's "Dead or Alive" the first day it was published. Honestly, I had forgotten how much space the author devotes to the bad guys. I found that part of the book boring. Unfortunately, it seemed to be most of the book. The book jacket implies that some of the old characters were coming back in this new book. Unfortunately, most of them were background characters. I am hopeful that this is just an interim book leading to future excellent books like, "Hunt for the Red October, Executive Orders, and The Bear and the Dragon."

    3-0 out of 5 stars More Dead than Alive, unfortunately!, December 13, 2010
    When the word spread that Clancy was retreating from his string of co-authored novels and best selling video games, and actually writing a book - indeed, an extension of the Jack Ryan series-- I could not wait to pre-order it. It reached my Kindle before Costco launched its entry way promotional and my husband and I read it together in a single sitting. I might just as well have waited or at least taken a nap somewhere around the midpoint. The book is not a waste of time, but it not something to run to the bookstore to buy. It suffers from the author's effort to incorporate, and thus, reintroduce most of the major characters from the Jack Ryan series, when what it needed was new vitality that Jack Junior almost, but not quite, provides. There were too many subplots and way too many characters. And forgive me, but the emergence of another secret Black Ops entity designed to avoid oversight is becoming way too trite, far less than what a reader expects from Clancy. There is not enough vacant land in the Beltway to accommodate them all, and frankly, Cussler does it better. Ding and John Clark are always colorful, and they added adrenalin to an otherwise uninspired storyline. And Clancy writes his best when he speaks as Jack Ryan, so I will probably take the bait and buy the next one, just to see if Jack really does run for President (again).

    2-0 out of 5 stars Long-time Tom Clancy fan: Time to retire, December 9, 2010
    I'm a long-time Tom Clancy fan. I own every book he's written, some of them multiple copies. I've enjoyed every one of his books (and would give them all five stars, except Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan) was a three star and The Teeth Of The Tiger (Jack Ryan) was a four star) up until this one. As I often do with books like this, I read it in one 11 hour sitting the day after it came (after having pre-oredered it from Amazon).

    And I did enjoy this one, but it was no different than any other 10 cent thriller by a whole myriad of skilled authors. It was lacking that special Tom Clancy touch; the plot was not a bit riveting. After reading all 900+ pages, I was left feeling just a bit cheated of my time. This is not the Clancy of yore. Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) was scarily prescient, The Hunt for Red October ground-breaking, Red Storm Rising grand and monumental, The Bear and the Dragon (Jack Ryan) was a very relevant what-if and well-written and interesting, The Teeth Of The Tiger (Jack Ryan) was even interesting because it was a new concept, but Dead or Alive could have a dozen different authors names slapped on it and no one would notice the difference. Sad.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Kill me, December 23, 2010
    I have always enjoyed Tom Clancy's books and remember looking forward to each book as it came out. This current book is absolute torture. While I would usually read one of his books in 1 to 3 sittings, I am about to scream trying to get through this boring, muddled mess of a book. I am on page 600, so it's really too late to abandon the book, but I can barely get through 25 pages at a time without my mind wandering. I don't know who edited this piece of garbage, but they should be shot and Clancy should simply leave the good storytelling to Vince Flynn and Lee Childs.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not the Tom Clancy I know., December 16, 2010
    I got to page 223 and for the first time ever, I put down a Tom Clancy novel and started reading something else. If after 200 pages I still don't know what the plot is there is a definite problem. Boring, Boring. And that is from a former die-hard Clancy fan! This was eagerly anticipated and a very sad let-down. ... Read more

    12. Full Dark, No Stars
    by Stephen King
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $14.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439192561
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 19
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    "I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

    In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

    "Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

    When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.

    Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars King delivers
    I admit, I'm a fan of SK, but that doesn't stop me from NOT liking one of his books if I find it uninteresting. There have been a few-- like Rose Madder, Insomnia and Bag of Bones-- that I just didn't like and couldn't finish reading. Not that they're bad books, just not to my tastes. FULL DARK, NO STARS is one Stephen King book I'm putting in my great list. It was absolutely enthralling and very, very frightening. I'm not real big on bloated books that are more filler than sizzle, but the short novels in this book are lean and mean. I highly recommend this book.


    Now, as far as all the Kindle owners complaining about the price... back in the day, before the convenience of ebook readers and the wonder of having your reading collection all in one 4 ounce e-ink device, if someone could not afford a book they wanted to read, they went to the library and checked it out. They didn't protest in front of the bookstore. They didn't disparage a writer's reputation. They bought it used at a second-hand book shop, waited to find it at a yard sale or borrowed it from someone who is more affluent.

    But back in the day, people had a little more pride, and they didn't think they should get everything for free, or next to free, just because they wanted it. Have a little dignity, people! Stop yapping like you think you're the star of your own little reality TV show. If you can't afford it, wait for the price to drop.

    The review section is for book reviews, not for pricing complaints.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is not a book to lull you to sleep, unless you enjoy double-checking the locks and looking under the bed before you turn in
    Here's my two cents (or my $14.99). These are some of Stephen King's best stories ever, and I've been a fan since I read "Carrie" in Junior High (when is was first published in paperback, kids couldn't afford hardback books back then!). Like most King books, I devoured this one in less than 48 hours. "A Good Marriage" and "Big Driver" are particularly disturbing, maybe because they both have female protaganists whose stories seem very real. Like it or not, Stephen King tells the living s&%# out of a story.

    Which brings me the price issue. People are certainly within their rights to bitch about the price of anything-gas,food, education, Ferraris, etc. But for me, fifteen bucks is a small price to pay for something that I really, really enjoy. I spend a lot more on stuff is don't enjoy near as much. I have read and re-read virtually everything King has written. There may come a point in my life when Mr. King dies (morbid, I know, but one of us will go first). Outside of people I actually know, his demise would probably be the only one which would actually leave a personal, lasting void in my life. So I say, live long and prosper, Mr. King. I hope I can give you (or your evil publisher) money for many, many more years.

    Oh, and just to make it clear, I will buy the hardback, too. The kindle version is just for convenience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic King
    I usually put in my reviews some explanation for why I selected a book. I think/hope it helps folks who are reading the review know if I'm coming from the same place they are -- if I have the same hopes or expectations. There are times when it feels ridiculous to give that explanation. I selected this book because it's written by Stephen King, and while I haven't loved every word and some books have gone unfinished, he's still a darned good bet, isn't he? I think few people don't have some pivotal and lasting memories of either his books or movies made from his books, and my memories span my childhood into middle age, and involve people who are now gone. I also love both short stories and novellas and when I look back at my favorite Stephen King stories, these are well-represented. So, I bought the book and it freaked me out.

    The afterword begins: The stories in this book are harsh. You may have found them hard to read in places. If so, be assured that I found them equally hard to write in places.

    I thought, thank God. I did find these stories to be hard to read, intense, uncomfortable, heebie-jeebie creating. I was a little concerned that like my newly discovered acid reflux when in the presence of spicy food, my disinterest in roller coasters, and my increased habit of watching scary movies through my fingers, that this was just another sign of getting older. Good to know this stuff was really as intense as I thought.

    1922: A man kills his wife over land and that's just the beginning and a fraction of the horrors in this tale. It reminded me a little of A Thousand Acres: A Novel, complete with lots of stuff Shakespeare would be down with -- only different. The murder of the wife is brutal and vividly portrayed, but what happens next is something that the main character Wilf couldn't even begin to imagine, except for the parts he may or may not have imagined. As another Stephen King character once said, sometimes the soil of a man's heart is stonier.

    Big Driver: This was a pretty tough read for me in parts. Since a man wrote it, it would be uncharitable to say that the feelings it evoked are a "girl thing," but I do think that part of its effectiveness was being able to put myself in the main character's shoes, especially while she is walking after being assaulted, only keeping enough distance to berate her over certain decisions, but more about that later. The horror here is grounded in the plausible, even if toward the end it goes to a more fantastical place where justice is served in a rather "Rose Madder" way. I don't begrudge Mr. King this story, it was compelling, but Tess's option is not how it works in the real world, fortunately or unfortunately.

    Fair Extension: Interestingly enough, I've been reading an anthology called Sympathy for the Devil which contains stories about -- guess. It contains Stephen King's The Man in The Black Suit, for that matter. This story would have fit right in, and would have been a really welcome substitution in many cases. The stories about deals with the devils and fiddles against your soul never get old, because they're about temptation about the darker sides of who we are. They ask the questions, what would you do in that situation, really? For me, this story is about how you can choose to not give up your soul and still give up your soul, how some decisions are a case of six of one, half dozen of another.

    A Perfect Marriage: I wonder if Mr. King deliberately went boy-girl-boy-girl on the arrangement of these stories. Like Tess in Big Driver, Darcy finds herself in the middle of the trauma of a lifetime. Interestingly enough, like Tess, she also decides what to do or what not to do based on "what would the neighbors think?" I wonder if that's a coincidence. I think Tess and Darcy would understand each other just fine. Looking over all the stories, I think this is the one that satisfied me the most from start to finish. Any way I can think of to elaborate on that is a spoiler. Almost anyone who has been married a while will understand where Darcy is at in her marriage right before it all comes crashing down.

    There was a story called Button, Button by Richard Matheson "back in the day" which was made into a Twilight Zone (the eighties incarnation of TZ) with a different ending. It was also the inspiration for the wildly divergent Cameron Diaz movie, The Box. The short story -- and if you're going to ever read it, stop reading THIS now -- ends with the line "Did you really think you knew your husband?" Darcy can relate and good question -- does any human being know another human being? After reading Perfect Marriage I made it clear to my husband I was on the look-out for secret cubby holes.

    Bottom line, loved this, loved all the stories, best King I've read since -- wait, does Joe Hill count? -- I don't know when. The stories will stick with me and join the other King stories and memories. I know there's a battle over price right now. I don't rate books on price, because I figure you can see that for yourself and I want to tell you something you don't already know. I respect that others do feel that some ebooks are over-priced and I agree that we all have to make decisions on what we will and will not pay. I felt this was worth the price, which could be entirely different by the time you read this, and think this is some really impressive work whether you shell out the cash now, wait for the price to lower, or visit your library.

    ... Read more

    13. Hell's Corner
    by David Baldacci
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B003UBTX7C
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
    Sales Rank: 13
    Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Oliver Stone and the Camel Club return in #1 bestselling author David Baldacci's most stunning adventure yet.

    An attack on the heart of power . . .

    In sight of the White House . . .

    At a place known as . . .


    John Carr, aka Oliver Stone-once the most skilled assassin his country ever had-stands in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, perhaps for the last time. The president has personally requested that Stone serve his country again on a high-risk, covert mission. Though he's fought for decades to leave his past career behind, Stone has no choice but to say yes.

    Then Stone's mission changes drastically before it even begins. It's the night of a state dinner honoring the British prime minister. As he watches the prime minister's motorcade leave the White House that evening, a bomb is detonated in Lafayette Park, an apparent terrorist attack against both leaders. It's in the chaotic aftermath that Stone takes on a new, more urgent assignment: find those responsible for the bombing.

    British MI-6 agent Mary Chapman becomes Stone's partner in the search for the unknown attackers. But their opponents are elusive, capable, and increasingly lethal; worst of all, it seems that the park bombing may just have been the opening salvo in their plan. With nowhere else to turn, Stone enlists the help of the only people he knows he can trust: the Camel Club. Yet that may be a big mistake.

    In the shadowy worlds of politics and intelligence, there is no one you can really trust. Nothing is really what it seems to be. And Hell's Corner truly lives up to its name. This may be Oliver Stone's and the Camel Club's last stand.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Wild ride of politics and intrigue
    I haven't read the other Camel Club books but this stand-alone thriller interested me after reading the highly recommended Gods of Ruin: A Political Thriller. Hell's Corner is the park accross from the white house that is guarded by DC police, Secret Service, and park police and is the hub for tourists and protesters. I wasn't sure why it was called that until all hell broke loose when the protagonist, Oliver Stone (a dig on the director?) was caught in gunfire and an explosion when meeting his band of patriots at the park.

    When Stone awakes from getting knocked out, he's got a new mission: find out who was behind the attack at Hell's Corner. He teams up with a Brit and gets help from his Camel Club peeps as he investigates first a Mexican drug cartel, then the Russians. During the investigation, one government bureaucracy after another gets in the way.

    If you like "Gods", which has a better premise, you'll like Hell's Corner. It's got political commentary, action, and it's well-written (better than Baldacci's earlier works).

    5-0 out of 5 stars You will not be able to put this book down
    Oliver Stone has led so many lives he lost count. For all the losses he has suffered there has been the gain in his friends and cohorts known as the Camel Club. A group of people that are as different they come together and make one large, right group. They solve crimes, take care of each other and never fail to have one another's back. But this latest case is one Stone has to handle on his own and no one including him is happy about it even though the President of the United States is asking for his help.

    But before Stone can do his work for the President a bomb goes off across the street from the White House creating the scenario where conclusions are drawn, angles are worked and assumptions made. While everyone is running to the right the masterminds are veering to the left and keeping everyone off balance including all the alphabet agencies in Washington, DC. Stone is drafted back into the service of the government with the promise that all past indiscretions would be erased yet the problem for Stone is that his sins have been of such huge proportion he is not sure this is a statement based in fact. But Stone finds himself partnered with an MI6 agent who is as cunning as he is and keeps up even while running after him. The Camel Club goes from upset at being turned away to forcing its way into the investigation and from that moment on the determination to capture the criminal and figure out what is really going on grows to a proportion even Stone can't control.

    But the agency he is now working for is throwing him off with smoke and mirrors, bodies are piling up, misconceptions abound and everyone becomes a suspect. Stone wants the nightmare to stop but for every decision he makes that draws a resolution to the case another one shows up to prove to him the last one was way off base and leads blow away with the wind.

    Without his group Stone knows he can't solve this case but in this particular situation is the gain of apprehension worth the answer to who did the deed?

    This series blows me away every time because the characters have so much depth and they are written with such clarity that you feel they just passed you on the street and said Good Morning. Stone may lead this merry band of misfits but he is not their leader he is a member of a close knit, well thought out group of people that can easily carry any book on their own and have proven that in the past. Mr. Baldacci knows how to write a great story and this one stands out in that it will scare you to realize the fiction he is proposing is probably fact and I hope there is a retired Agent Stone out there protecting us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Give the author a break
    I have read all the Camel Club books, and I enjoyed all of the others more than this one. The club takes a back seat in this novel, and it is just Stone/Carr against the world as he plods through this overly complicated plot.

    Missing is the personality development and the interactions between the various members of the club, which made Baldacci's other novels so entertaining.

    If you are a fan of the Camel Club books, you will have to read this one, just so you will know where all of the characters are starting from in the next novel - but, rest assured, this will not turn out as one of your favorites.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another great cutting edge novel from Baldacci
    As a very loyal Fan of Mr Baldacci, I bought this book as soon as it came out, but it was very disappointing. The president himself begs an aging (60+ graveyard caretaker who doesn't even speak Russian) to stop the Russian Government from destroying America by flooding the country with drugs. Because NO ONE in the CIA, or any other organization has the special skills to Before he has a chance to do it, He is embroiled in determining who tried to kill the British Prime Minister, To do this he is paired with the Super Sexy British spy(who makes James bond look like a week girl scout, In any good spy thriller, the basic premise should at least be plausible but this goes way beyond the limits of believability. The dialog is boring. that action is boring, the whole book is boring!!!!

    ... Read more

    14. Hide in Plain Sight
    by Marta Perry
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $5.50
    Asin: B001R4GNT0
    Publisher: Steeple Hill
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    "Please God, if you're listening, keep Rachel safe." She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need. So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn. But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone—even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine—was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to the series
    Andrea Hampton is used to the safety and security of her big city job. However, nothing will keep her from running back to her sister's side after Rachel is involved in a horrific accident. But helping Rachel and her grandmother open up a bed and breakfast? Ridiculous...and yet that is the position she finds herself in. Carpenter Cal Burke seems willing to help. Just what is going on with this rash of accidents plaguing the inn and its owners?

    I read the first two books of The Three Sisters Inn series out of order, but the overall beauty of this series remains intact; HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is the first book and an excellent start to the series.

    Marta Perry creates such beautiful settings for her tales. HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is set in the heart of Amish country. The peaceful setting provides a sharp contrast to the increasingly dangerous attacks on the Hampton family. In fact, the atmosphere accentuates the danger that lurks in this seemingly tranquil environment.

    Marta Perry develops characters the reader wants to revisit over and over again. Andrea's transformation over the course of the book is a joy to behold. The issues of faith are sensitively addressed through the eyes of both Andrea and Cal. The importance of family and friends is especially notable in HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT.

    HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is yet another fantastic book from Marta Perry. I am quickly becoming a fan of both Marta Perry and the Love Inspired Suspense line as both evoke such strong emotions. Easily recommended!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Romance and Suspense. Good Read
    Andrea Hampton is the successful sister; important job, important opinions, important woman. Sister Rachel stayed home with their grandmother and is determined to turn the family home into a bed and breakfast. Andrea doesn't approve. But when Rachel is injured in a hit and run accident, Andrea drops everything to hurry to her bedside. You take care of family.
    Unfortunately, Andrea has to swerve to avoid an Amish buggy on a dark road and ends up in the ditch. Calvin Burke rescues her and takes her to the hospital to see Rachel. Andrea is grateful until she learns he is her grandmother's tenant. Not everyone in town wants another bed and breakfast, and things begin to happen, some of them very dangerous. Andrea, who is used to doing everything herself, has to learn who she can trust.
    Hiding in Plain Sight is a suspenseful story of intrigue and romance, salted with a strong faith message. Things aren't always the way they seem and it's easy to trust the wrong people. Fans of Marta Perry will enjoy Hiding In Plain Sight. ... Read more

    15. Blood of the Wicked
    by Leighton Gage
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $13.00
    Asin: B001E0KW62
    Publisher: Soho Crime
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Blood of the Wicked manages to pack a huge amount into a spare three hundred pages; power politics, petty violence, sexual scandal, saintly courage, staggering poverty and obscene wealth. A book that makes you care about its large cast of characters, even when you know that they are going to die—frequently horribly. This is a novel as rich and complex as Brazil itself, with villains who make you want to spit, and heroes whose goodness is heartbreaking.”—Rebecca Pawel, Edgar Award-winning author of Death of a Nationalist

    In the remote Brazilian town of Cascatas do Pontal, where landless peasants are confronting the owners of vast estates, the bishop arrives by helicopter to consecrate a new church and is assassinated.

    Mario Silva, chief inspector for criminal matters of the federal police of Brazil, is dispatched to the interior to find the killer. The pope himself has called Brazil’s president; the pressure is on Silva to perform. Assisted by his nephew, Hector Costa, also a federal policeman, Silva must battle the state police and a corrupt judiciary as well as criminals who prey on street kids, the warring factions of the Landless League, the big landowners, and the church itself, in order to solve the initial murder and several brutal killings that follow. Justice is hard to come by. An old priest, a secret liberation theologist, finally metes it out. Here is a Brazil that tourists never encounter.

    Leighton Gage is married to a Brazilian woman and spends part of each year in Santana do Parnaiba, Brazil, and the rest of the year in Florida and Belgium. This is his first novel.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
    It is very rare indeed when I feel the Amazon peer review system has guided me to a book I don't enjoy as much as the other reviewers. This unfortunately is one of them.
    First off, it isn't a mystery. You'll know who the villain is just a few pages in. Second, the background of Silva, the federal policemen investigating the crimes, was overly melodramatic and contrived. Indeed the whole book is melodramatic and predictable. The only surprise is the continued brutality, which admittedly may be a part of Brazilian land disputes, but here only helps in tallying up the number of innocent victims. The overall tone is preachy and in only a couple of instances admits that the solutions to Brazil's land problems lie in some sort of compromise. The rest of the book is full of brave landless peasants fighting against evil landowners and corrupt cops with only the help from their friends, the equally brave Vatican defying Liberation Theology spouting priests (there are evil priests here too). I don't want to ascribe any politics to Leighton Gage, since I don't know much about him, but if the next book also has an overtly social reformist tone it'll be a disappointment as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars fascinating but violent Brazilian police procedural
    In a classic sh*t rolls down hill, the Pope calls the Brazilian president twice; in turn the president pressures the Director of the Brazilian Federal Police Nelson Sampaio to resolve the matter ASAP; in turn Nelson orders Chief Inspector Mario Silva to uncover the identity of the person who assassinated Bishop Dom Felipe Antunes at a church mass in front of a crowd at Cascatas. Mario understands he is to drop everything else and personally handle the investigation in the remote town and capture the felon yesterday.

    Silva travels immediately to Cascatas only to find angry townsfolk as the affluent landowners and the reform minded Landless Workers' League are in a brawl over sharing the wealth. Each side's leaders demand Silva investigates a local case that has raised tensions to a point that hostilities seem imminent if he wants any cooperation on the Bishop homicide. The son of a local landowner, Orlando Muniz Junior vanished without a trace. His father and his allies believe the league abducted and probably killed him. The League believes the lad is on holiday.

    Silva is a fascinating character as he has enough personal issues and a difficult case without getting involved in the local tsunami, but cannot keep out of it as more kidnappings and murders occur. He makes little progress on either investigation and what he does learn like the church is involved in protecting its own when pedophile accusations surface make him wonder if the Bishop's death is related. Although extremely violent as the title is not false advertising, fans who have a strong stomach for gore will enjoy this Brazilian police procedural.

    Harriet Klausner

    5-0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful story of frontier justice south of the equator
    In a carefully crafted mystery-thriller debut Blood of the Wicked, Leighton Gage reveals a little- seen side of Brazil. This is not a beach book of tanned and toned bodies moving to a languid bossa nova rhythm along the sandy shores of Rio de Janeiro. Nor is it an Amazon adventure. This story takes place in the pantal of the southeastern region. It is a gristly tale of greed, torture, murder, and of personal and institutional corruption in a country where one percent of the population owns half of the arable land, and where much of the peasantry is condemned to a life of involuntary servitude.

    The story reveals the region to be a breeding ground for strife and Gage loses no time throwing us into the fray. Enter Dom Filipe Antunes, Bishop of Preidente Vargas, descending by helicopter on the town of Cascatas do Pantal to bestow blessings on the new church of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres. The bishop is greeted by a ring of townspeople, a crescent of banners of the Landless Worker's League and a posting of State Police. The delegation of local officials approaches at an annoyingly slow pace and a bullet from a high-powered rifle finds the bishop's heart as he stands alone.

    Who did it? Was it landless workers upset that Christianity was not being practiced on its most fundamental level? Or was it wealthy landowners looking for another excuse to persecute the land-reform agitators?

    Enter the institutions. The Vatican is upset. Powers in Brasilia demand a politically balanced solution. The job falls on the shoulders of protagonist Mario Silva, Chief Inspector for Criminal Matters of the Federal Police of Brazil.

    Mario Silva knows a lot about criminal activity in Brazil -- urban variety, anyway. In the book's early pages we learn how his father was murdered by robber after making a fatal mistake -- stopping for a red light. We also learn how Mario Silva found the robber and exacted justice, urban Brazilian style. Subjects of Silva's investigation included pawn brokers, street kids, hoodlems and policemen who supplement their income by shaking them down. Silva's action did not involve arresting his father's murderer and bringing him to trial. However, distinctive feature's of the robber's tatoo and the uniqueness of the stolen object made Silva absolutely certain that he had gotten and dispatched the right man.

    Investigating the murder of the Bishop in provincial city of Cascatas do Pantal, Silva is not able to take such decisive action. He is hamstrung by bureaucracy, blocked by the uncooperative Colonel of the State Police, and is hampered by people's fear to speak. As Silva investigates systematically we learn many interesting facts the way. We learn about the "Theology of Liberation" which was once advocated by rural priests and has now found the disfavor of the Church hierarchy. We learn of the vast fazendas (rhymes with haciendas), some as large as Connecticut. We learn that the constitutional allows for seizure and purchase of unused portions of these large holdings by populist movements. We also learn that the legal process is complicated and that the judges are for sale.

    In Blood of the Wicked, Lieghton Gage serves up a strong brew of horror story, police procedural, slasher novel and whodunit. It would defy classification were it not a true and never- ending story. It is the story of a land war and frontier justice, south of the equator. A landowner has his overseer nail a protesting peasant to a tree. A group of hooded vigilantes rousts the landowner from bed, butchers his overseer in front of his eyes, then carts the landowner off to be buried alive at the top of a hill. We learn that the commandant State Police is not just a bureaucratic short-timer, but is one of the bad guys. The priests, we learn, come in several flavors besides Jesuit and Franciscan. Escalating violence gets way ahead of Chief Inspector Silva's procedural investigation of the initial crime. The struggle becomes a combination of range war and Mafia turf fight with many players lending a hand. When the dust settles, justice is served, but mainly because Silva the only honest man left standing and because national TV cameras are poised to broadcast the story.

    The "ripped from the headlines" quality of Blood of the Wicked is the result of the author's wide experience with the Brazil, which includes marriage and frequent visits to the country.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you're not faint of heart, Blood of the Wicked satisfies on many levels
    First Line: Something took the helicopter and shook it like a jackal worrying a carcass.

    Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the Federal Police is called upon to travel to remote Cascatas to investigate the assassination of a bishop. When he arrives, he finds himself in a veritable vipers' nest of crime and corruption: the bishop's assassination, the disappearance of a wealthy landowner's son, the continuing conflict between the landowners and the Landless Workers League, the deaths of homeless street children, drugs... the list seems endless. With Colonel Ferraz of the State Police in Cascatas firmly against Silva, will the inspector be able to solve any of the crimes in this remote area of Brazil?

    I was bowled over by this book. First and foremost, what impressed me was how thoroughly Gage immersed me in modern Brazil. Until picking up Blood of the Wicked, the books I'd read about this country centered on a bit of colonial history, and lots of Amazonian exploration. In reading about present-day Brazil, I became acquainted with favelas (shantytowns), with the fact that dead street children are referred to as "hams", with the age-old struggle between the Haves and the Have Nots, and with a degree of police corruption that made me ill.

    Although the book is excellent armchair travel, it had to be coupled with believable characters and a strong story line to get this sort of reaction from me. Chief Inspector Mario Silva is a man of principle. As a young man facing total police disinterest in finding the men responsible for the deaths of his parents, Silva took the investigation-- and the law-- into his own hands. This serves a dual purpose. The reader does become unsure of Silva's reactions and methods in Cascatas, but there is also the belief that he will fight for justice in the face of any amount of corruption.

    Another character stands head and shoulders above all others: State Police Colonel Ferraz. He literally became a man I loved to hate, and I couldn't wait to see what Silva had in store for him.

    Blood of the Wicked can be very brutal-- murder, torture, the corruption of absolute power, the desperation of poverty-- but the depiction of the country and the dedication of Chief Inspector Mario Silva kept me mesmerized to the final page.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
    Blood of the Wicked

    I started reading this book on a whim because my kids are finally asleep and I wanted to relax with a good book. It was a great choice. This book keeps me on my seat. I don't know much about Brazil, and this book introduce me to a Brazil beyond bikini-clad bodies. I find the tidbits about Brazil very entertaining.

    This is a crime book, and it's written well. Sure the body count is high, but it's part of the story. Some innocents die; that's real-life too. A book should entertain, and this book does it very well.

    I hope it makes it to the movies. I got the same excitement reading this book as I did reading Hostage by Robert Crais. It's got that same can't-peel-my-eyes-off-the-pages quality. ... Read more

    16. Room: A Novel
    by Emma Donoghue
    Kindle Edition (2010-08-27)
    list price: $11.99
    Asin: B003YFIUW8
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 13
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

    Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

    Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read in Years - WOW

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I was a fan of Emma Donoghue since reading Slammerkin many years ago.

    I started this book this morning and just put it down. I was glad it was a holiday and I had nowhere to go! I just couldn't stop going back to it until it was finished.

    I was hooked upon reading the first paragraph, 'Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. "Was I minus numbers?"'

    And the story of Jack and Ma begins. The entire story is told from the perspective of Jack, a just-turned five-year-old who is living in Room with his Ma. The only thing Jack has known is Ma and Room. His day is spent utilizing the few things they have, the songs and stories his Ma remembers and the five picture books he's had read to him over and over.

    Imagine being a parent living in an 11 x 11 foot room for years, trying to survive while keeping your baby growing, safe and entertained. Imagine Jack, a child who has only ever known Ma (and the late night visits from 'Old Nick' who he only sees from his vantage point in a wardrobe). Life is good for him since he knows nothing else. Empty egg shells become a snake when threaded together, empty toilet rolls become a maze when taped together, Phys Ed is sometimes Track which goes around Bed from Wardrobe to Lamp.

    For Jack, his days were filled with 'thousands of things to do'; for his mom, her days were filled with the knowledge of what was outside of Room before her captivity.

    Two different perspectives, two ways of looking at life.

    Donoghue has done an amazing job of letting us think like a isolated, innocent boy whose life is turned upside down when he learns that Outside of Room is a big world. Up until his 5th birthday, his world was balanced, controlled and he missed nothing since he didn't know of anything else. Everything beyond the room was Outer Space. Once he was told that the there was so much more out there, fear of the unknown crept into his world.

    What a wonderful job of creating their little world, of letting us into how Ma's imagination taught Jack, kept him safe, and kept him entertained. If you have children and have ever had to wait in a doctor's office or somewhere else for a few hours, it is sometimes an exhausting job of coming up with games to play to pass the time. Imagine that feat everyday, all day for years.

    I had such respect for Ma as she taught Jack about so many things in a world he didn't know. Her imagination for passing the time with games using so few resources was incredible. Her love of Jack so deep and primal it made me hug my kids many more times today than usual.

    And just when you think that escaping is the best thing for them, imagine what it feels like to a boy who has only known Room.

    This was a fantastic story, imaginative, creative, unique and beautifully written. I never tired of reading from Jack's perspective.
    I was reminded of what the world could look like from the perspective of a small child. It makes a parent want to be more kind with their words, more respectful of what their child's needs are, and more understanding when things seem confusing.

    And if you think this is really contrived and just not possible, just google the name Josef Fritzl - a real life horror far greater than Room.

    A wonderful book from an already favorite author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    "Room" the new novel by Emma Donoghue, is, in a word, riveting. I've never read anything quite like it. There is a part near the middle where I absolutely COULDN'T, WOULDN'T stop reading, it was that intense. It's a pleasure to give this unique novel a five-star rating.

    The story is told by 5 year old Jack, who is one of the most adorable, horrifying, precocious, interesting, pathetic and heartbreaking child narrators I've ever read. To see the world, even one as skewed and unreliable as Jack's, is to have one's eyes opened in a new way. Jacks discovery of the world awakens our own understanding.

    Jack and his "Ma" live in Room. Most of the things in the room have their noun for their names. For example, the chair is Chair and the bed is Bed. In Room there is Wardrobe where Jack sleeps when "Old Nick" visits Ma at night. I'm guessing that Donoghue got some of her ideas from several recent true abduction cases and built this fascinating and horrific scenario from them.

    The sense of dread builds exponentially as Jack reports on his daily life in Room. The reader, who is smarter than a 5 year old, begins to understand the gravity of the situation. The suspense builds beautifully and the pages keep turning. Donoghue masterfully creates a sense of horrible dread as well as any vintage Stephen King!

    She also builds a story of familial love and support that alternately both breaks and warms the reader's heart. When the scene shifts, what happens "After" is as interesting, suspenseful and touching as what happened in Room.

    I'm intentionally leaving out as many plot points as I can because part of the enjoyment of this story is wondering what will happen next to Jack and Ma.

    I highly recommend this unique novel.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Room Is Just A Room--Unless It's The World

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    A unique and challenging experience, Emma Donoghue's "Room" may be one of the biggest surprises I've had all year. Told in the language of a five year old boy with an extremely limited world view, my initial reaction to "Room" was not entirely positive. Within the first few pages, I was worried that the tone and cadence of this "child-speak" might be too precious, too constructed. But a funny thing happened rather early on as more of the story unfolded--I quit reacting to the novel intellectually and started to be affected viscerally and emotionally. I knew little of the plot in advance, so as the mysteries unraveled I became more and more invested. I am NOT a particularly sensitive reader (people would definitely describe me as unsentimental!), but halfway though "Room"--I was literally weeping.

    The less you know about "Room" going into it--the better. So, for my part, I'm going to only lay out the basic premise. The protagonist Jack, in his five years of life, has never been outside of this one room. It is his entire existence, everything he knows. He and his mother have constructed a daily and weekly regimen to maintain as much normalcy as possible within the confines of their situation. A mystery as well as a thriller, a tribute to the human spirit, an ode to mother love, a character study--"Room" taps into any number of subjects quite successfully.

    There are so many powerful sequences within "Room." Jack is such a fascinating and believably frustrating lead. When you don't know what the world has to offer, how can you miss it? The unknown and the unknowable play such a huge role in Jack's life, is there a way to relinquish everything you know for the chance of something better? There is a real dignity to Jack and his mother. As they confront their demons, real and imaginary, their journey is both harrowing and heartfelt. I won't soon forget this emotionally exhausting experience. Emma Donoghue has crafted, easily, one of my favorite books of the year--one that will stick with me for quite some time!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reading this book will change the way you look at the world
    I heard a piece on NPR about "Room" yesterday, so I used my magic Amazon Prime and received the book this morning. I just finished it. I am writing this review now because I am trying to capture how different I feel after having read this book. I feel like I am somewhere else, things look very different to me. Much like Jack when he returns to Room and it is no longer familiar to him. Using Jack's voice, Donoghue makes it not so hard to understand how something so horrific could become normal and safe to someone. Everything is about context. There are some mixed reviews on this book. Regardless of how you feel after you read this book, you will feel something. That is pretty spectacular in itself. ... Read more

    17. Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)
    by Robin Parrish
    Kindle Edition (2006-07-01)
    list price: $13.99
    Asin: B003F77BU2
    Publisher: Bethany House
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Grant Borrows' life has just taken a drastic left turn. There's another man in the world wearing his face and living his life. What's more, the man he sees in the mirror is a stranger.

    Somehow, he's been Shifted -- his whole life fundamentally altered, in the space of a single breath. But the changes don't stop at skin-level. Inexplicably, he's able to affect objects around him by simply thinking about them. And as he soon learns, he's become the central figure in a vast web of intrigue that stretches from an underground global conspiracy to a prophecy dating back over seven thousand years, that tells of his coming. Enemies and allies find him at every turn, but one thing they all learn very quickly is that you don't want to push Grant Borrows too far...

    Can destiny be undone?

    The players are ready. The game is in motion. And the pace is Relentless.

    In the allegorical tradition of Tolkien and Lewis comes a powerful new myth for a new generation. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible Debut Novel
    Collin Boyd's life is unremarkable--his job, his apartment, even his clothes. But everything changes when he switches bodies with Grant Borrows. In one terrifying moment his entire identity vanishes, and he has no idea how or when it happened. All Collin knows is that when he stepped off the LA Metro bus, he became a new man. Now his name is Grant Borrows, a man with an entirely different physique, lifestyle, and bank account. And someone is trying to kill him and those he loves.

    Running for his life, Grant rescues his sister, Julie, but she doesn't recognize him. When he finally convinces her he really is her brother, together they begin a quest for answers. Just who is Grant Borrows? How is he able, when provoked, to manipulate objects with his mind? And why won't the strange gold ring he's wearing come off?

    It's only when Grant and Julie discover others who've experienced the same "Shift" that Grant experienced, that the puzzle pieces start dropping into place. Those Shifted have several things in common. They all wear rings like Grant's, and they all have unique abilities. From photographic memories, mathematical prowess, to the ability to convince others they're seeing things. But the real question for Grant is: why has this happened to any of them? And could Grant really be the one called the Bringer, prophesied about some 7,000 years ago?

    Robin Parrish has been compared to Ted Dekker, and I can see the similarities. They both know how to create vivid and imaginative plots. Both can hook readers on page one and never release them until the last paragraph. But frankly, I enjoyed Parrish's writing style even better than Dekker's. Where Dekker often seems to thrive on shock value and how far he can push the envelope of violence, Parrish shows a little more restraint, which I appreciated. There's just enough backstory woven in that we understand and care for the characters, but not so much that it bogs anything down. Grant Borrows is the type of guy you want to root for, and his villains you want to hate. But then again, looks can be deceiving as to who's a villain after all...

    Bending genres, Relentless' speculative, almost sci-fi plotline is reminiscent of The Fantastic Four movie, but it could also be classified a thriller. As many Infuze readers know, the story upon which this book is based originally appeared at Infuze as a serialized novel called Prodigy. The finished product does sometimes have a serialized feel as practically every other chapter ends with a twist, which makes for fun reading indeed. And although it might seem slightly muddy in the middle when Grant tries to grasp the reality of what's happening to him, perhaps this was an intentional way to mirror Grant's uncertainty.

    There's a reason why this novel is titled Relentless. With each page I found myself sucked deeper into the vortex of Relentless' F5 tornada pace, never knowing for sure what was around the bend. This is blockbuster movie material, folks. And lucky for us it's also Book I of a trilogy. Laden with adventure and intrigue, you're sure to be begging Robin Parrish for the second installment, due next summer.

    --Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for Infuze magazine

    5-0 out of 5 stars You Won't Want to Put Down This Fantasy Thriller
    On that particular rainy morning, Collin Boyd was walking down a rainy street on his way to work and sees himself across the street. We're talking the same clothes, same briefcase, everything. As Collin runs to catch up with himself, he catches his reflection in the mirror and sees...a complete stranger staring back.

    As he stares at the new him, a woman appears and warns him and he is now part of something huge. He must figure out who are his friends and who are his enemies because there is an assassin after him. And with that warning, she vanishes.

    Thrust into a world he hardly knows, the now named Grant Borrows must figure out what is happening to him and how to control the powers he suddenly seems to have. Because the answers hold the key to a long ago prophecy that he just might fulfill. If he can stay alive long enough, that is.

    I've had this book since it came out, but only picked it up recently. I wish I had picked it up sooner. I was hooked on page one. And just when I got one answer or Grant survived one problem, two more took their place. As a result, I had a very hard time putting it down. The characters were interesting. And the multiple view points added to the story.

    This is a fantasy novel of sorts. While most of the action involves fantasy, it takes place to real humans in modern day Los Angeles. I certainly enjoyed the aspect of watching the action take place in a world I knew. And there is a conspiracy behind things that I have a feeling will become much bigger in future books.

    The only weakness is the writing. It was obviously a first novel, and at times it could have used a tad more polish. But it was still highly readable. I certainly flew through the pages.

    I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next two books in the series and see where Grant's path truly lies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Birth and death? This COULD get interesting!
    So, is there is mystery behind all the 4 star reviews for this? Probably not, because this did indeed end on a cliff hanger, and I'm ready for a lot more of Robin Parrish! So, I've seen the 4 star reviews, and at least one of them is fair. Maybe one with less might come off a bit jealous, but hey! I loved it! And I really don't buy the talk about this being like Star Wars. X-Men I never really got into, (I actually HATED X-Men) so that means I actually got to read this with an OPEN MIND!!

    What the heck would YOU think if you wondered off the local bus, and saw yourself standing across the street? HUH? Well, Grant Borrows will answer that question for us. He's been given quite the unusual gift, and he uses it quite well. He knows how to fight too. Lots of fists and kicks and blood in this. But that's not exactly the main idea here. Go take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, "WHO AM I?" If you can grasp that concept, you just might get the idea. And while Grant certainly has his enemies, he also has his allies, some he might not have a clue about.

    Fans of Ted Dekker shouldn't be let down by this. I didn't know what to expect going into it, but I really enjoyed it! Robin Parrish has stepped into a most unusual octagon, and when the referee commands, "LET'S GET IT ON!!!" Oh believe me, it is on! If you listen closely, you might here the sounds of both birth and death. You listening? Oh yeah, this could get quite interesting! Robin Parrish is indeed RELENTLESS, charging on at a FEARLESS pace!! ... Read more

    18. Worth Dying For: A Reacher Novel
    by Lee Child
    Kindle Edition (2010-10-12)
    list price: $28.00
    Asin: B003EY7IWC
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Sales Rank: 25
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    “Jack Reacher is the coolest continuing series character now on offer.”—Stephen King, in Entertainment Weekly

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child follows the electrifying 61 Hours with his latest Reacher thriller—a story that hits the ground running and then accelerates all the way to a colossal showdown.

    There’s deadly trouble in the corn country of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved case of a missing child, already decades-old, that Reacher can’t let go.

    The Duncans want Reacher gone—and it’s not just past secrets they’re trying to hide. They’re awaiting a secret shipment that’s already late—and they have the kind of customers no one can afford to annoy. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they’re just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world.

    For Reacher, it would have made much more sense to keep on going, to put some distance between himself and the hard-core trouble that’s bearing down on him.

    For Reacher, that was also impossible.

    Worth Dying For is the kind of explosive thriller only Lee Child could write and only Jack Reacher could survive—a heart-racing page-turner no suspense fan will want to miss.

    From the Hardcover edition.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Jack's back
    Who'd have thought it? Jack Reacher survived an explosion that can be seen from space. Read this in a few hours. Usual Reacher, breaks bones with scientific accuracy and speed. Utterly ruthless and barely a suggestion of sarcasm. Can't help thinking that if I was that good, I'd be sarcastic as hell. The Vegas villains seemed to be portrayed as if they were in a Cohen Brothers film. Stylish but stupid and incompetent. It made their outcomes fairly assured from the moment they were introduced. The ending tells us that the East Coast may be an eventful journey and personally I want to be on board. Jack Reacher is a character for our times. I've passed some time trying to work out who would play him on the big screen and the problem is there really isn't anyone who comes close. Russell Crowe? Too short and getting too old for the series (of films), but has the look. Making of the film would be fairly inexpensive as the action is real world, well, real Reacher world. Keep em' coming

    5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Ruthless Jack Reacher - Great Fun!
    Great fun!

    Not only is this good vintage-style Jack Reacher, it is among the stronger books of this excellent series. The writing is tight, the pacing is excellent, the characters are fleshed out and believable. The cascade of events leading to the inevitable transition to violence happens in a measured, gripping, and believable fashion.

    Some of Lee Child's books stand out more than others. This is true for any prolific writer. "Worth dying For" is among the best of the Jack Reacher novels. Familiar readers will likely recapture the thrill and suspense that drew them into Mr. Child's works in the first place. New ones will be in for a unique treat.

    Jack Reacher, as a character, displays refreshing ruthlessness in this book. Mr. Child's uniquely practical lessons in the application of violence are both informative and entertaining.

    Finally, the underlying mystery of the situation unfolds in a creeping, and creepy, progression. The clues add up, the circumstances evolve, and readers will likely suspect the truth bit by bit, right alongside the protagonist.

    Read this book when you have some time - it is a page turner that will keep you up late.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading far into the night
    Lee Child's 15th Jack Reacher book is a milestone of sorts. A nominal sequel to 61 HOURS, which was published in May, it picks up shortly after the earlier novel. Reacher is a bit banged up as the result of his escape from what seemed to be a certain demise at the conclusion of 61 HOURS (in WORTH DYING FOR, he explains how he managed to remain intact), but his residual stiffness and limitations serve as a reminder that he is neither invincible nor invulnerable. He certainly possesses a skill set that makes it difficult to remember that he might have a few weaknesses. Nonetheless, Reacher retains enough to triumph against overwhelming odds here, utilizing his considerable mental and physical abilities to right some extremely horrific wrongs.

    WORTH DYING FOR finds Reacher dropped off in the middle of a nowhere called Nebraska, with little around him but a deserted motel. A series of events puts him crossways with the Duncan family, who for a couple of generations have run the local farming community as their own little fiefdom, utilizing a combination of terror and economics. They handle all the trucking of the surrounding farmers' goods to market, and no one dares to use an alternative transport system. As far as they're concerned, it's either their way or the highway. The Duncans also traffic in other goods, and Reacher's arrival is both the fly in the ointment of their latest shipment and a convenient excuse when the delivery to their customers in the south is unexpectedly delayed.

    Reacher soon finds himself to be the target of some very big and dangerous people, including the Duncans' de facto security force, which consists of some alumni of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, and enforcers representing different links in the sales chain, of which the Duncans are merely the first step. Reacher has few places to hide; his area has a whole lot of nothing, and the Duncans have most of the folks around there too terrified to help him. There are a couple of exceptions, however, including a woman victimized in the worst way by the Duncans several years before. Reacher would be just as happy to move on to where he was heading to begin with --- Virginia, for a rendezvous that may or may not happen --- but winds up staying, in part because of a mysterious tragedy that screams for resolution.

    And thus we come to the strongest parts of the book. Reacher's combat skills consistently offer triumphs against his adversaries, but it's the mystery --- and Reacher's resolution of it --- at the core of these novels that makes the series worth reading. Here this process proceeds along two tracks --- one in which Reacher slowly unravels a horrific series of events in the Nebraskan cornfields, the other in which he takes the forces rallied against him and points them at each other. The result may or may not be the best Reacher book to date, but it certainly is his most satisfying.

    I'm not sure what Lee Child has against the Nebraska Cornhuskers --- that his choice for a group of strong-backed and weak-minded associates would be best served by, say, alumni of the University of Michigan --- but regardless of your football loyalties, you'll find WORTH DYING FOR worth reading far into the night.

    --- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Reacher
    I admit that I'm terribly biased towards Jack Reacher. I love this character. This book is typical of the early books. The crime at the center of the book is very obvious from the beginning, but it doesn't detract from the pacing. I liked the "professionals" and thought those characters added something new to the story. I would rate it four stars, but it earns an extra star for fair pricing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Reacher story.
    So glad that Reacher didn't end up dead after 61 hours. Even knowing that Lee Child was writing another Reacher novel didn't give me confidence that our hero was gone, since he has written other books that were prequels to the series.

    The action was tight and not too predictable. He is one of the few authors that 1) I purchase his book as soon as it comes out and 2) I can't always anticipate what the character will do. I love that!

    ... Read more

    19. Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
    by Ken Follett
    Hardcover (2010-09-28)
    list price: $36.00 -- our price: $18.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0525951652
    Publisher: Dutton Adult
    Sales Rank: 35
    Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh-as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

    Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits...Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House...two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution...Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London...

    These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

    In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Expert Storyteller/Enthralling Tale!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I thoroughly enjoyed Ken Follett's epics, "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End". Though they are hefty tomes, the pages flew. Thus I jumped at the chance to read and review Follett's latest epic, "Fall of Giants" which promises to be the first in The Century Trilogy. When it arrived from Amazon at ~1000 pages and 4 inches thick, I found myself contemplating one of the advantages of having a slim Kindel (I don't). When the thing comes out in hardback in September it could be used a murder weapon!

    But we all know that size doesn't matter when you've got an expert storyteller weaving an enthralling tale. I became so engrossed that I'd look up and 100 pages would have flown by. What is it that makes Follett so consistently "readable"? In "Fall of Giants" it's because the book is so well researched about the period (early 20th century especially WWI) with information on coal mining, trade unions, women's suffrage, protocols and manners of the minor royalty, politics, government, revolution and war. The story flows from this rich period but the riveting characters are at the forefront. Even the largely unsympathetic characters, such as the Earl, are made at least understandable because Follett thoughtfully portrays their motivations. There are few totally good or evil characters here, as it should be. (Though Follett seems none too fond of Russians and priests - be they Catholic, Anglican or Orthodox!)

    In past reviews I have criticized authors that I believe would benefit from more editing (e.g., Steven King, John Irving) so why don't I find Follett's book to be too long? Because there are no slow spots, no political point pushing, and no self-indulgent purple prose.

    I learned a great deal about WWI reading this novel, what led up to it and how it set the stage for WWII, which I hope is the subject of the next volume. It was fascinating to read about how the media and the governments of all the countries involved, lied to their people about how bad it was.

    One other thing that I believe readers should know going in: as mentioned, this is Part One of a promised trilogy but, like "Pillars" and "World" it is a stand-alone novel. The reader is not left gripping a cliff at the end. I recently very much enjoyed Connie Willis' "Blackout" which DOES end with a cliff hanger and I am glad I knew that going in; some readers didn't and felt cheated. You will not feel at all cheated at the end of "Fall of Giants". Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating epic tale!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    This is a fantastic epic, the first in a planned trilogy by the author of The Pillars of the Earth (now a miniseries) and World Without End. I simply raced through the pages, unable to put this book down even though it was a hefty nearly 1000 pages.

    The story moves seamlessly and logically, starting in 1911 and ending in 1925, and has a large cast of characters -- all so beautifully developed that the reader comes to care about each one -- the good and the bad. A helpful CAST OF CHARACTERS is provided at the beginning of the book that may be copied and used as reference, but it is really not needed as the reader is introduced to each and they are so memorable that it's easy to keep them straight. The families are American, English, Scottish, French, German and Austrian, Russian, and Welsh. There are Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Kings, Queens, Earls, Dukes -- even the servants, miners, and other assorted people populate this work of fiction. The author has also inserted real historical figures into the story, and their interaction with Follett's characters is very well done.

    Book one of the CENTURY TRILOGY is set in Europe before, during and after World War I. From a mining town in Aberowen, South Wales, to the drawing rooms of the privileged aristocracy in Russia, Britain, Germany, and to the War Room in the White House of Woodrow Wilson -- the narrative captivates as it tells the tale of the people involved in the conflict and their lives during this period of change in the world.

    The story is intriguing and complex, but eminently readable. The violence and gore that were present in Follett's previous works is absent here, and the action is fast and the storytelling fantastic. I have a fondness for historical fiction, and this work does not disappoint as the author has obviously thoroughly researched the era and has rendered it beautifully.

    I won't provide a detailed synopsis of this book since the product description on this page does that, but will say that it's a drama about life and love during these fateful years and I promise you that this will go down as being one of the best books you've ever read.

    I cannot recommend it highly enough and can't wait for the sequel! This book, however, has a very satisfying conclusion and can stand alone as you are not left with unanswered questions at the end! Historical fiction at its best.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable, Well-Researched, Memorable Trip Back In Time!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Fall Of Giants is another mammoth-size work of historical fiction from Ken Follett that you won't want to put down once you start reading it. I got so caught up in this 985 page advance reader copy that I finished it in about a week, which is super fast for me. Fall Of Giants, the first book in The Century Trilogy, follows the lives of five interrelated families as they move through the events of WWI, the Russian Revolution and the women's suffrage movement. Follett's characters are so richly developed and his narrative abilities are so strong that I felt that I was right along side each of these families as they moved through the major events in their lives. I highly recommend Fall Of Giants to you so that you can enjoy traveling with Follett's characters as they move from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering palaces of the super wealthy, to the corridors of power and to the bedrooms of the mighty. Do yourself a favor and be one of the first on line to get yourself a copy of this very entertaining, well-researched and memorable book. But be aware that your enjoyment won't come cheap -- the retail price of Fall Of Giants is $36. I think you'll find, however, that it is worth every penny.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Solid from the first page.

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    When Ken Follett's Fall of Giants arrived I was stunned at the size of the book. Nearly a thousand pages were before me. Then I wondered why I was surprised. We're talking Ken Follett here. Regardless of size, Follett's books are imminently readable and Fall of Giants is no different. Perhaps the most amazing fact is that Fall of Giants is simply the first installment of a promised Century trilogy. Amazing, but not surprising. I can't wait.

    The story revolves around five European families from 1911 to 1925. This period of time encompasses the First World War. The period of late the Victorian Age was a time when society was rigid with "manners". The upper classes new their place and weren't shy about letting everyone else know their place as well. If the code of conduct was firmly set for the upper classes and royalty, so was it set for the lower classes as well! If you were a member of the "working" class you knew who your "betters" were and behaved accordingly. Life was hard and took its toll on the masses. Follett does a masterful job at describing the world as it existed at that time and he spends a good deal of time examining the class struggle which went on in much of Europe during this time.

    His characters are so numerous that he provides an index of them at the book. In most cases he provides us with clear descriptions of those who inhabit his fictional world. I can only assume that character development will continue in the two additional books we are promised. I thought this was a strong point in Pillars of the Earth.

    The Fall of Giants is a sweeping novel not because of the time period it covers, only 14 years, but because of the story he is telling and because of the era in which it happens.

    Of all the authors I have read over the years it is James A. Michener that I remember most fondly. His stories are so complete that after finishing one you really felt as though you had accomplished something. You also learned because of reading them. The Source really gives one the sense of the complexities in the Holy Land. Texas, Poland, and Centennial, and others, not only told a story that entertained, but also taught the reader something. Ken Follett is, in many ways, the same. You will be much richer after reading Fall of Giants.

    I don't even think the length of the book is a negative. I suspect that a competent editor could have found a way to pare down the size. But some stories just take a while to tell. Cutting is always an option, but only so much "fat" can be cut before you're into the meat, and this book is meaty.

    Try reading Fall of Giants, I think you'll be glad. If you don't want to buy it, check it out from your library. I don't think you'll be sorry for the effort.

    I highly recommend.

    Peace always.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A riveting history of modern Europe in the first third of the 20th century
    Don't let the length of 985 pages put you off from reading this highly readable book. I easily read it in less than a week (while taking care of 3 grandchildren during the daytime). I have a KIndle but chose the hardback because the e-version was more expensive than the ink version. I was very impressed with the format of the book in hard-back; light smooth pages, that lay open without effort on the reader's part.

    Ken Follett tells the story of WWI, it's causes and the class conditions from the point of view of England, Russia, Germany and the United States. I have stayed away from war novels before but this one focused on all points of view without casting judgment on any one country. The class conditions in England, Russia and Germany that contributed greatly to the war are observed through the stories of families in all 3 countries. I came away with a feeling that WWI was a totally political war, and not worth the millions of lives that were lost. Mr. Follett is reputed to be writing 2 more books in this trilogy and I anxiously await to see how he will treat WWII and the holocaust, which seems to be a far more "just" war.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It Swept me Away - Loved It!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I've been on a bit of a Ken Follett roll, have just recently completed Pillars of the Earth, which I LOVED. So needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to read and review, Follett's new, Book One of the new Century Trilogy, Fall of Giants debuts on September 28th. What did I think? It is wonderful!

    Book One spans a period of about 14 years, beginning in 1911 and covering the period before, during and after World War I. In this installment, five families: American, German, Russian, English and Welsh, all related in some way, must endure the effects of both the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Without going into all the characters (I think I counted 12), or the entire plot of this mammoth work, I'll just mention a few of the key players. There is Billy Williams who is just 13 when he is off working in the mining pits of Wales. Grigori and Lev Peshkov are orphaned Russian brothers, whose lives take dramatically different paths in life. There's the Fitzherberts who are wealthy aristocrats, and Lady Maud, finds herself falling in love with a Russian spy. Ethel, (Billy's sister) is the housekeeper for the wealthy Fitzherberts, challenging class distinction by having an affair with the earl for who she works. Gus Dewar is an American Law student, and son of a US Senator who finds himself in the War Room of Woodrow Wilson's cabinet.

    I'm extremely happy I didn't let the nearly 1,000 pages of this novel deter me. The pages practically turned themselves, and I was not disappointed. The review copy had a lengthy list of the cast of characters which was very helpful to refer back to. I am sure the finished copy will have something similar as well. There is a lot to take in with this novel, but I especially enjoyed reading about the underdogs of this novel: servants, miners, factory workers, and peasants alike. Class distinction is vividly portrayed. I thought all the info on WWI was interesting, and a lot to take in, as I am very rusty on this time in history. I liked that the author used some actual historical names in Fall of Giants: President Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Kaiser Wilhelm, Lenin and Trotsky. By doing this, it made the story all the more engrossing and realistic. Another sweeping Follett epic, set in another place and another time - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    This novel's release date is September 28, 2010. This book would be a great choice as an eBook selection for those who have an eReader. It can be tiring on the hands if you read and hold the 3+ inch thick book for long periods. DON'T MISS THIS ONE!
    ... Read more

    20. Conspiracy in Kiev (Russian Trilogy, Book1)
    by Noel Hynd
    Kindle Edition (2008-12-30)
    list price: $14.99
    Asin: B001N97XWU
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    A shrewd investigator and an expert marksman, Special Agent Alexandra LaDuca can handle any case the FBI gives her. Or can she?While on loan from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alex is tapped to accompany a Secret Service team during an American Presidential visit to Ukraine. Her assignment: to keep personal watch over Yuri Federov, the most charming and most notorious gangster in the region.Against her better judgment---and fighting a feeling that she's being manipulated---she leaves for Ukraine. But there are more parts to this dangerous mission than anyone suspects, and connecting the dots takes Alex across three continents and through some life-altering discoveries about herself, her work, her faith, and her future.Conspiracy in Kiev---from the first double-cross to the stunning final pages---is the kind of solid, fast-paced espionage thriller only Noel Hynd can write. For those who have never read Noel Hynd, this first book in The Russian Trilogy is the perfect place to start. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Surprising Best Read of the Year

    This is probably one of my surprising reads of the year. I had been a bit wary of this book because it was an unfamiliar author and I'm usually not a big fan of books that take place in Eastern European countries. However as soon as I started reading the book, I was hooked in completely. Alex is a character that I absolutely adored from the beginning. She's the type of heroine that you want to be, and that you like very much. She's strong, yet you can see her weaknesses. I really enjoyed all the historical facts that were presented in this book. As a historian, I appreciated how the author used real history and didn't create events to make the story better. It's interesting how real life events can be just as interesting (or even better) in comparison to fictional tales. Some readers might find these bits boring, as the history of Ukraine and the former Soviet Union are told in details but they are relevant to the plot of the story and shouldn't really be skimmed over. The story is extremely well researched and I actually felt like I had traveled to Europe along with Alex. With so much going on in the book, one would think the storyline would be hard to follow. However it's not and it makes for a very fast paced read. One other thing I really liked is that even though the author is male and writes as a first person female, Alex acts like a rational woman and does not fall into cliched stereotypes. I personally enjoyed the downplay of romance in this book.

    There is quite a bit of violence in this book. The story is very action packed and many characters do die. In fact, it seemed that there was someone that died in almost every chapter. Characters also do drink socially throughout the story. This book felt very realistic in the way situations were handled. Events that take place in this book could pretty much be ripped from headline news. To be honest, I don't consider this book Christian fiction at all. It may be by published by a Christian publisher, but the story doesn't really project anything preachy. Alex does grow stronger in her faith but it is not a main focus point. In fact I would just consider this book to be a good international suspense thriller. By far and away this was one of the best suspense books I've read all year. Tight storyline, thrilling action sequences, an engaging heroine and a page turning read make this one of my favorite reads of the year. VERY HIGHLY recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Conspiracies Abound as the Body Count Mounts
    Well, I was certainly surprised at what I could get for nothing, zip, free from Amazon for my Kindle. That's the way the book came to be downloaded. This and another of Hynd's books, Midnight in Madrid also fell into my Kindle.

    So, Conspiracy in Kiev begins with a bang. As the body count mounts, the central character Alexandra LaDuca, an agent with the Treasury Department finds herself pretty much all over - Kiev, Venezuela, New York, Paris.

    While she's globe trotting and shooting her way out of house and home, there's a sub plot in Rome. Goodness, I thought, how does it all come together?

    And to Noel Hynd's credit he does finally bring it all together.

    I think any test of a book, especially fiction and a thriller shoot 'em up is, "Did the book entertain me"? Well, it did.

    However this is perhaps the first that religion, and Christianity was central. I say that because it was central to Alex.

    I've read other books where religion is central also, as The Name of the Rose which takes place in an Italian Monastery in, I believe the 15th or 16th Cent. Monks all over the place. Recently finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson in which a serial killer uses biblical quotations from Leviticus. Or the Gabriel Alon series, two books I think center on the Vatican and the Pope.

    Still, for some reason the Alex's religiosity did seem to jar when I began encountering it. In the books previously mentioned religion/God seems to be part of the plot.

    In Conspiracy it seems to be a character, as I mentioned, it is Alex's character.

    Something else that struck me, only because of my age and my memory for a particular movie: There is an exchange between Alex and her new best friend, Ben (note; I'm not giving any of the story away) who is a veteran of the Iraq war and who has a leg prosthesis. Ben describes how he puts the prosthesis on his leg. That rocked me because I recalled a scene from the 1946 Movie, The Best Years of Our Lives,in which Harold Russell a veteran of the WWII who lost both arms describes how he has to put his prostheses on to Teresa Wright who is in love with him.

    Anyway, I wouldn't let a little thing like Christianity stand in the way of a good read.

    So, Conspiracy in Kiev (by the way, my mother's family left Ukraine in the first decade of the 20th Century) gets the coveted 5 stars because it my simple criteria for fiction. It entertained me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced, exciting read
    This is Noel Hynd's first book with Christian publisher Zondervan, although he has a significant back-list of books in the general market.

    Special Agent Alex DaLuca of the US Treasury is assigned to follow up the business dealings of Yuri Federov, a notorious but charming Ukrainian gangster. Accompanying a US Secret Service team (that includes her fiance) on a presidential visit the Ukraine is the start of a well-written, fast-paced adventure that utilises all Alex's skills and stretches her faith.

    This book is well-researched and well-written, and I look forward to reading more of Hynd's releases for Zondervan. This is the first of a trilogy - the second is "Murder in Madrid".

    My copy of this book had an advertisement for "The Enemy Within" at the back. Please note, "The Enemy Within" was not written for the CBA (Christian) market, and has some "colourful" content that would not be approved by a CBA publisher.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I have Read in a LOOONG time!
    This review is actually made by Sarah Gilbertson, I am using my husbands account. :)

    I just finished this book yesterday. I have to say it was almost IMPOSSIBLE to put the book down (I know people always say that but this time it's true!). The ending was so fabulous I actually shrieked "THIS IS SO COOL!", it just made you THAT much more excited to read the second book Midnight in Madrid. Noel Hynd KNOWS how to write characters, they are so intricate and different and REAL; it makes the whole thing so much more satisfying to read and so much more fun.
    One thing I must point out about the protagonist is that she is so supremely believable, she's so real and so three dimensional you really feel like you know her. Plus the fact that she's size 10 not size 3 (and yes I have to point that out because I am a girl and I am sick of people writing characters who are size 3, I don't have anything against size 3 girls AT ALL but you must admit there are a lot more of them around in media than size 10 which is actually the average.) and she has a size 9 shoe! The story is perfectly paced and all in all just one of the most fantastic books I've ever read. Another thing I loved about this book was how much we got to travel with the main character (Alex). We get to go to some amazing places, and I felt like I was there with her every time.
    I definitely would recommend this to everyone I know, and most especially I would recommend it to YOU, the person reading this right now! (That was very reading rainbow I realize...but I am willing to sound corny if it will get you to read this. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Noel Hynd's books never better!!!!
    Conspiracy in Kiev, marks Noel Hynd venture into christian fiction a hugh success.
    This book is written in such a way that keeps the reader wanting
    to get to the next page.The characters are well developed and the plot is slowly unfolded so as to provide suprises through
    out the book.The twist and turns keep coming and coming.You will find very quick that it is fast paced,well written,and
    long hours of research have gone into this spy novel. The action will satisfy action fans, but it is the backdrop that provide's the crux of this book, along with the great characters whom are not cardboard, but seem to be real people right out of the spy world.This book is so engrossing it will leave midnight readers with buzzing brains. This book
    rates right along with his other bestsellers such as [Flowers from Berlin]
    There are two more coming in this series. Run to the book store and get this one , you will not be disappointed!!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Conspiracy in Kiev
    I bought a Kindle at the end of 2009. Conspiracy in Kiev, which is book one of the Russian Trilogy, was provided as a free book for a limited time. I have been downloading many of the Kindle free books and have discovered many new authors. Noel Hynd has become one of my favorite authors. His books on Kindle are very reasonably priced and a good investment because I will read the whole trilogy again. I have to admit that I read pretty fast because I was dying to know what was going to happen! I'd like to read it again more slowly to appreciate the details. His work is easy to read and exciting. I liked the characters and the way things were described. Also, it was easy to follow as it flowed well unlike some books that I just get frustrated reading because it jumps all over and I get confused.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Three Jewels in a Row
    This trilogy has three fine novels complete in themselves and are entertaining reads; but the three together are greater than the sum of each by itself. Actually, I read the middle novel, Midnight in Madrid, first--didn't know any better. Then the first novel, Conspiracy in Kiev (for me, the prequel.) Finally, the Countdown in Kiev. It works just fine.

    Some reviewers objected to the Christianity in these novels. But, Alex's Christianity is a fat thread in the complex personality of a main protagonist. These are not Christian novels as I read them. So please don't let the Christian thingy be off-putting. As with most ethical systems it proves to be a help and a hindrance in the character's response to her situations. it is just a real part of who she is.

    She? Would I send a woman out as the pointy-end of a project? I'm old school--not sure that I would. Here it works. (I was sure that she would get bagged and tagged several times.) Read the novels and see if it works for you.

    The characters are well crafted and very interesting. The bad guys are not one-dimensional or dirt-bags. They are competent, cosmopolitan, and scary. Approach with caution.

    And Noel Hynd, thank you for the great reads and for publishing on Kindle.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spymaster Masters Me Again
    I was a little nervous reading this book. I'd really enjoyed Midnight in Madrid (another in this trilogy), but that was my first Kindle read, and I didn't know then that these books are published by a Christian publishing house. Starting this one, I was afraid my positive impression might have been contaminated by first-timeism (I liked reading on the Kindle) and I have to assume that Christian publishing would prove to be, you know, programmatic and rule-based and therefore shallow.

    This book has two parts, and part one had me completely. A good spy novel, for me, has to lead the reader to the same spot as the protagonist, wondering whom to trust, what's real, and if she's actually working for the good guys. Hynd's writing does that for me in (sorry) Spades. He is utterly convincing with his takes on the world's actual ambiguity, which he backs up with utterly reliable and detailed rich descriptions of the situations where our hero, Alex, finds herself. Including all the historical and political background you might need to leave what you thought you knew - for the purposes of the story - well and far behind.

    Hynd's world is a complex place, full of spy v. spy, cynicism on the part of the 'good' guys, themselves doing illegal and nasty thing; and good hearts at the core of 'bad' guys, who have nothing good at all in their brutish resumes. You give him a pass for making Alex impossibly attractive and talented and dedicated. It makes it conceivable that she could actually be that clear-eyed about what she's up against. She's been hit on, competed against, cheated, and uses what she's got in a world where she's utterly alone and without family. She looks good because she has to, and makes a triumph of it.

    I almost gave it up in the second half though, where the complexity of a world where America is not very certainly good, starts to break down. You sense flags waving, missionary certainty regaining an upper hand, and you remember that this is just a page turner where the ugly people are bad, and the pretty people good. As though all it might take is prayer and determination and style to move from one side to the other.

    The second half presents a billionaire in flat relief, who's doing good by virtue of spending money on spreading God's word to indigenous people, sure along with stuff they wouldn't need without having had their world upset by that same impulse in the first place. The protagonist shrinks, in this reader's estimation, by her apparently unthinking willingness to abide by her judgments of people's hearts, regardless of the harm they wreak by their actions and by their omissions, or how they throw around their money and power.

    And then, in the most blatant of possible heavy handed, programmatic and didactic moves (surely worthy of a Christian author writing Christian books), the prayerful Alex gets saved by a medallion of the cross, given her by a pure hearted and surprisingly talented child. Oh please! I thought this was a reader's book, written by a writer.

    Most spy novels don't afford the reader tears, remaining focused instead on the adrenaline and mind games. This one does, again in part one, which is both surprising and a good clue to what sets the work apart. So, I'm cutting the author some slack, and here's why: the reader actually gets a chance to rise a bit above the book's protagonist. We can't be anywhere near so beautiful, so multi-lingual and muli-talented, and only James Bond himself could be so good a shot. Never mind that we would do something other than make lots of money doing missionary work to console ourselves for our pain and loss. Our choices are not so, well, lavish.

    But we do understand, by the author's own recounting, just exactly where she was lead astray by her own gullibility in service to a flag and to a missionary cause whose principals were never, in any way, willing to take the risks that she did on their behalf. Unless for vanity.

    The author shows how the carnage directly results, in reality, from these disingenuous self-serving moves, and reminds the reader of the Church's missionary atrocities in the name of evangelism across the centuries. You don't know where the author stands (I'm giving him back his writer's stripes), but you're pretty sure, as reader, that you're not going to be so gullible as Alex was. You're pretty sure that you're real and she's not. Which is a nice thing to be reminded of, by a book that draws you in so completely.

    Then theres the matter of prayer. The stimulus-response of God's hand in apparent "answer" to prayer was so heavy handed that you have to assume it to be an announcement on the part of the author that he's not God, even in relation to the book. It's a reminder to the reader that it is just a book, and that in real life the miracles are never quite so obvious. What choice did the author have? ... Read more

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