Review: Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton (2017)

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My Rating: 4 stars                                          Read: 5/3/2017

Release Date: June 1, 2017

Blurb:

Michael Crichton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Jurassic Park, returns to the world of paleontology in this recently discovered novel—a thrilling adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition.  But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions.  With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

A page-turner that draws on both meticulously researched history and an exuberant imagination, Dragon Teeth is based on the rivalry between real-life paleontologists Cope and Marsh; in William Johnson readers will find an inspiring hero only Michael Crichton could have imagined. Perfectly paced and brilliantly plotted, this enormously winning adventure is destined to become another Crichton classic.  Continue reading “Review: Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton (2017)”

Review: The Mermaid Murders by Josh Lanyon (2016)

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My Rating: 5 stars                                          Read: 4/11/2017

Release Date: 2016

Audiobook narrated by Kale Williams released June 2016

Blurb:

Special Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.

The Huntsman is still out there…and the killing has begun again. Continue reading “Review: The Mermaid Murders by Josh Lanyon (2016)”

Review: The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney (2017)

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My Rating:stars                                          Read: 3/31/2017

Blurb:

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal. Continue reading “Review: The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney (2017)”

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (2017)

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My Rating: 4 stars                                          Read: 3/25/2017

Blurb:

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

My Review:

This domestic thriller about an abusive husband is an interesting but fairly long read. The novel has several times lines and POVs which add interest.

The story is told out of order with flashbacks to the past to follow the development of Lindsey and Andrew’s relationship, from happy newlyweds to the years of abuse and finally to Lindsey’s desperate night flight from the marriage with young Sophie.

These flashback sections are interposed with the story being told in the present (2017), when Andrew has been released from jail and shows up where Lindsey and Sophie now live, on an island near Vancouver. In this present-day section, the POV moves from Sophie, now a teen who wants to know her father and thinks her mom is paranoid and/or exaggering about how bad he was, and Lindsey, who is terrified that Andrew still wants to kill her.

A series of threatening events begin to happen around Lindsey which she is convinced are caused by Andrew, but she can’t prove it to the police or Sophie. But is it really Andrew? Or has he sincerely changed? The reader becomes less sure about who is doing what as the story progresses.

There are some twists and turns and red herrings. I guessed who was behind everything at about 70%, but the ending was still fairly satisfying.

I found the writing unremarkable. There was no attempt at being poetic or literary in its descriptions of setting or tone, and the dialog was very basic. I’ve read some really amazing writing lately, such as Andrew Pryer’s “The Only Child”, so by comparison this style felt flat. However, the writing didn’t detract from the story and it never felt “off”. The motivations, words, and actions of the characters felt on target, even in those of the teenaged girl, Sophie.

But, of course, in a thriller, the main thing is the plotline. I thought the portrait of the marriage was quite good and subtly terrifying. Andrew was less a physically abusive husband (though that happened a few times) than a controlling and threatening one. He did not want his wife, Lindsey, to have other friends, a job or money outside what he provided, and he watched her constantly. He drank and could fly into jealous rages. The parts of the novel that were flashbacks to their relationship were quite disturbing and, unfortunately, realistic.

If I have one complaint about the book it’s that it felt quite long. There was a period in the book, from about 50% to 80%, after a certain character is removed, and before the final climax began, that really dragged for me and felt redundant. It slowed the “thriller pacing” quite a lot and became more of a slog than a page-turner. It’s too bad that hadn’t been tightened up as it might have been a 5 star read otherwise. But then the ending picked back up again and I enjoyed the rest of the book.

Overall this is a good solid read if you like domestic thrillers.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC for review.

Booklinks:

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

Review: The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark (1980)

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My Rating: 5 stars                                          Read: 3/22/2017

Blurb:

A minor road accident landed county prosecutor Katie DeMaio in Westlake Hospital. That night, from her window, she thought she saw a man load a woman’s body into the trunk of a car…or was it just a sleeping pill induced nightmare? At work the next day, Katie began investigating a suicide that looked more like murder. Initial evidence pointed elsewhere, but medical examiner Richard Carroll saw a trail leading to Dr. Edgar Highley. He suspected that the famous doctor’s work “curing” infertile women was more than controversial — that it was deceitful, depraved, and often deadly. But before Richard could tell Katie his fears, she left the office for the weekend and an appointment for routine surgery…in Dr. Highley’s operating room. Continue reading “Review: The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark (1980)”

Review: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld (2017)

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My Rating: 5 stars                                          Read: 3/21/2017

Release date:  September 5, 2017

Blurb:

A haunting, richly atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.

“Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or—is it possible—you are still alive?”

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight-years-old by now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as “the Child Finder,” Naomi is their last hope. Continue reading “Review: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld (2017)”

Review: The Only Child by Andrew Pyper (2017)

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My Rating: 5 stars                                          Read: 3/18/2017

Release date: May 23, 2017

Blurb:

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.

As a forensic psychiatrist at New York’s leading institution of its kind, Dr. Lily Dominick has evaluated the mental states of some of the country’s most dangerous psychotics. But the strangely compelling client she interviewed today—a man with no name, accused of the most twisted crime—struck her as somehow different from the others, despite the two impossible claims he made. Continue reading “Review: The Only Child by Andrew Pyper (2017)”