Archive for the ‘mystery’ Category

Code: a Virals Novel by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs  ISBN 978-1595144126 (read by Cristin Milioti )

When many people see the name Kathy Reichs, they think of “Bones” an adult mystery/suspense series revolving around a forensic specialist, Temperance Brennan.  Tory Brennan is the niece of the Temperance and in every book there is a phone call to the esteemed scientist for help with scientific information and translation.

cover art for Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

cover art for Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

This was a book that I thought was great because I like the concept of mutations and shape-shifting and extra powers; however my teenage son was less than thrilled about … but it could have been the reader that he really didn’t like.  Also, though the teens acquire the heightened olfactory abilities of the wolf and speed — they actually don’t change.  Their eyes just turn color and really where is the cool factor of yellow eyes?

I like this series because Tory and her friends are just your average every day teens who are smart and live in isolation on this island off the coast of South Carolina.  Their families live on an island owned by the University and their families are all co-workers.  The kids take a ferry to school on the main-land and they need to go by boat anywhere they want to travel.  This series shows a group of youth with initiative and intelligence.  A group of teens that like each other and though they may not always agree, willing to work towards common goals.  They overcome hardships and issues and remain committed to the pack.

I would recommend these books to tweens and teens who like to read about the what might have beens.  The ideas of science and questions of solidarity are important recurring themes.

These books are great and may fall under the category of best read if you are sensitive to voices on audio…

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-9-Months ago, 14-year-old Tory and her friends accidentally acquired supernatural abilities while attempting to solve a decades-old cold-case murder. Now, the group has discovered a geocache, left behind by someone they know only as the “Gamemaster.” The Gamemaster leads the gang on a scavenger hunt peppered with puzzles, codes, and riddles. As the treasures they find become increasingly dangerous, Tory and her friends suspect that one geocache may be a ticking time bomb. The Virals must race against the clock to find it before it detonates and kills innocent people. While this sci-fi/mystery mash-up has some plot inconsistencies and implausible moments, it will appeal to fans of the first two books. The four Virals-Tory, Shelton, Ben, and Hi-are well defined in the course of the story. Though they are all intelligent and protective of one another, their actions are not always prudent or legally sound. The group’s “save the world” mentality thrusts them into plenty of perilous situations, and simply letting law enforcement handle the Gamemaster is never a real consideration. Still, the friends admirably stick together and will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich ISBN 978-0345542885

I appreciate Janet Evanovich’s humor and characters, they are fun and a great way to relax when the snow is falling far too much and winter is just surreal.  Is this intellectually stimulating?  No, but it wasn’t intended to be it is meant to be fun and happy and ridiculous at times.

In an interview given at one of the end of the audio books, Janet said that she plots out which characters are going to be the supporting roles in the book.  In “Takedown Twenty” — the supporting roles fall to Ranger and Grandma Mazur, in my opinion a great combination.

Stephanie has a file on “Uncle Sunny” — he is FTA for running someone over … twice.  Uncle Sunny is Morelli’s godfather and protected by the mighty Bella.  It seems that everyone wants to keep quiet about the whereabouts of her FTA.

Ranger is searching for someone who has killed the mother of his client and because of Stephanie’s many connections he calls her to help him track down the killer of old women.

Grandma Mazur turns out to be the key to all the investigations and in her usual quirky sense provides many chuckles.

Overall a pleasant read beside the wood stove on a winter day.

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The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner

cover art from The Third Victim

cover art from The Third Victim

I had heard Lisa Gardner speak at a conference and since was sounded so interesting in person, I felt I had to read her work.  So off to the InterLibrary Loan site and I requested “The Third Victim” on audiobook.

It opens in a small town in Oregon.  Rainie Connor (short for Lorraine) is one of two full time officers in Bakersville.  She has grown up there and was only away a few years when she went to college, but she returned a few years ago and lives in the home she grew up in.  She has just finished her lunch in a small diner when an emergency call comes in concerning the school.  Her boss calls her via radio and asks her to take lead and says he will meet her there.  As a single woman with no children, she has no immediate ties to the school and she does have a hard time trying to gain order in the parking lot and the surrounding area.  Keeping frantic people out of the school, investigating to see if the perpetrator is out of the building, to see about getting injured people out, and otherwise securing the crime scene.

As it turns out there were three victims: two students and a teacher.  The alleged suspect was the sheriff’s son.

Because of the small town jurisdiction the State Police were involved and because it was a school shooting an FBI serial crime expert was called in.  Most of the book seemed to be about the three parties and how they did and didn’t work together.

Another aspect of the book was how the small town dealt with such a blow.  Feelings were high and though the investigators felt that the youth didn’t do it all by himself, finding the one who helped was very hard work.

Rainie also had to deal with demons in her own past.  Her mother had been brutally murdered in her own home and her good-for-nothing boyfriend who many suspected as the possible murderer was not found.

This was a fine mystery with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing all the way through.


“A suspenseful, curl-up winter read, this thriller teems with crisp, realistic dialogue and engaging characters.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Riveting, hold-your-breath suspense.”
— Iris Johansen

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Sour Apples (an Apple Orchard Mystery) by Sheila Connolly

cover art from Sour Apples

cover art from Sour Apples

I have loved the Apple Orchard mysteries by Sheila Connolly and this is a wonderful addition to the series.

Meg Corey is finally feeling settled. She has survived her first harvest. She has eked a small profit from the orchard and is interested in expanding her varieties and holdings. She is getting to know many of her neighbors and is making friends. She is planting her own roots.

Then into the midst of this settling, her friend from Boston calls and asks if she can visit and if she can introduce her boss who was a classmate of Seth’s and currently running for Congress. Seth does not have fond memories of his former classmate and won’t speak to Meg about it. At this same time of the whirl wind visit of the Congressional tour, a dairy farmer ends up dead, presumably kicked by her cow. However, when the autopsy is performed it is discovered that she was murdered; at first, the husband is suspected. The cows had been ill and when blood work was done, everything turned out normal in one test and very wrong in another test — it is hard to believe that these two tests were the same animals.

A long story of small town politics comes out in this novel. Environment, long family histories and close-knit communities come to full circle in this novel and I look forward to the next in the series.


“A wonderful slice of life in a small town.”—The Mystery Reader

“”Meg is a smart, savvy woman…just the kind of protagonist I look for in today’s traditional mystery.”—Meritorious Mysteries

“A likeable heroine, an attractive small town setting.”—Lesa’s Book Critiques

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Open Season (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C. J. Box

Open Season

This author was recommended by a patron who was amazed that I had never read C.J. Box.  I had seen this author go out a great deal and mostly to my male readers and so I promised that eventually he would make his way to my to read pile: an ever-growing pile.

So he did.

I did enjoy it and if my pile ever slackens I will look up more books by C.J. Box.  I can honestly recommend him to any patron that passes by and likes suspense / mystery; however, I do not need to manipulate my to read pile to purposefully place him at the top.  I do not need to finish the series before the next one comes out so I can eagerly await it.  Yet I liked him and I do have great respect for his characters.

Joe Pickett is a game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming.  This is a culmination of his dream.  He lives in a home owned by the state and is paid just enough to get by and his wife is pregnant with their third child.  He is worried about making ends meet.  He refuses to accept bribes so he looses access to forms of compensation previous game wardens have used to supplement their income.

Joe is going through his normal every day life preparing for hunting season and long days on the trails, when a man ends up dead near his wood pile.  Unfortunately for Joe this raises situations both professionally and personally since this man had taken his gun from him and an investigation started.  He is suspended from work.  He is offered a job that is too good to be true from his former boss working for a gas company that wants to build a pipe line through town.  People try to convince him it would be good for it would bring jobs to town and Twelve Sleeps could use all the help it can get.

This is a great book for the characters are amazing — some, like Joe are wonderful good people and then some, like his former boss are just plain sleezy.  The story is great — part thriller part environmental head line.

Do yourself a favor and read C.J. Box.  He may become your next favorite author!

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Mr. Monk Goes the the Firehouse (Mr. Monk #1) by Lee Goldberg

Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse

I have watched a few of the TV shows and enjoyed them, this is the first time that I had actually listened to the book.  I found it rather amusing.

To be honest, I listened to this because of my experience with “The Heist” which he co-authored with Janet Evanovich.  I wanted to know whose voice was more prominent in that book.

Mr. Monk is an obsessive compulsive consultant to the police.  He was a homicide detective until his wife’s brutal murder that he was unable to solve and that threw him into a case of OCD that he was unable to go back to work and now has need of a personal assistant to help him through society’s demands.

The book is written in the voice of the assistant, Natalie, a widow with a pre-teen daughter.

I enjoyed listening to this book and have ordered the next one on InterLibrary Loan.  It deals with the complexities of friendship and the difficulties of murder investigations.  It has great insight into the life of a person with OCD and what ‘normal’ people would consider everyday activities like going up elevators and garbage disposal.

I do look forward to the next in the series.

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The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (read by Scott Brick)

The Heist

This is a complicated book to review for many reasons:

it is co-authored by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.  I have listened to many of Janet’s books and heard very little of her voice in the book.  I have listened to one of Lee’s book and I get the impression that he did more of the writing.

I listened to it on audio book and Scott Brick does an okay job and by the end I thought he fit, but the first few tracks were hard to get into (and an acquaintance of mine just stopped listening to it for she said she almost fell asleep).  When you are expecting a person of the caliber of Lorelei King and get Scott … it wasn’t a thrilling beginning.

Kate O’Hare is an FBI agent who has made the last four years of her life a mission to catch Nicholas Fox, a con man extraordinaire.  She actually does succeed in catching him, when she hears that he escapes on his way to the court-house.  She prepares to follow him again when she is told by superiors to go on a vacation.

Ultimately this is a story of what happens when the fox and the chicken are forced to work together by people in authority.  Nick has access to people who the FBI wants and so Kate follows Nick around and together they hatch plans to catch bigger fish.

The characters are fun and there is a great tension between Kate and Nick which I can see in future books being a wonderful story aspect.  They are imaginative and classy.  The suave Nick and the rather to the point Kate are humorous foils to each other.

This is a great start to a new series; but do not open this book thinking this is another Janet Evanovich book.  This book has its own voice and is wonderfully entertaining but if you open it thinking Janet — you will be disappointed.

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The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan ISBN 978-0765332585 — To Be Published September 10, 2013

I have read all of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s books thus far and I can honestly say they are getting better and better.  I enjoyed The Charlotte McNally series — they were very interesting with a wonderful heroine in Charlotte and some great story lines in pertinent timely news stories.

“The Other Woman” introduced us to a new set of characters who seem a little grittier and more real to life.  Jane Ryland was a rising star in the TV news room until she refused to reveal a source and was unceremoniously dumped.  Through her connections she was able to take a job in a newspaper and helped scoop a great story just in time for the election.

Now it is winter in Boston and she is dealing with sleet, ice and snow.

In “The Wrong Girl” Jane’s friend is on the search for her birth mother.  There is a brutal murder and children are the only witnesses.  There are mysterious deaths and breaking and entering at an adoption agency.  Jane’s apartment is broken into and her cat is snatched.  This is a rich story full of questions, richly developed characters and great endings.The Wrong Girl

Highly recommended for anyone with a love of the Boston area, mysteries and a little hint of romance.  This book will be released in September and I hope everyone gets it onto their to read (or to listen to) list … you won’t be disappointed.

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Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones ISBN 9781250001542

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

cover art from Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

I have written the reviews for the previous two books in the series and this third one has not disappointed.  Charley has a missing case that she is trying to investigate between cups of coffee.  She refuses to allow herself to fall asleep because every time she sleeps Reyes visits her and he isn’t happy.  So she has kept herself awake for 13 days and sometimes is acting even more loopy than usual.

In amongst her grim reaper activities, ghost whispering, and investigating — she has been told that she is going to cause the death of a friend and going to get a guardian.  So she is looking around wondering which friend is going to die for her mistakes.

She responds to her sister’s text message only to discover herself kidnapped by the elusive Reyes in the flesh.  This leads to a whole cat and mouse chase with Marshall’s police officers and bad guys.

As usual — a great funny adventure.  I recommend this series to anyone who likes a laugh.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Charlotte “Charlie” Davidson hasn’t slept for 13 days. Every time she closes her eyes, Reyes Farrow appears and takes her on a sensual adventure. The problem is, private investigator Charlie is the Grim Reaper, the portal to the good afterlife, and Reyes, son of Satan, is the portal to hell. Reyes is furious that Charlie has bound his corporeal body to his spirit, so for her, their surprise sexual encounters are not only exciting but also a bit terrifying. The saga of the unlikely lovers continues in the same sassy style as Jones’ first two books, First Grave on the Right (2011) and Second Grave on the Left (2011). With Misery, her aptly named Jeep; a 13-year-old ghost spy; a parade of undead clients; and, of course, the silent, elderly Chinese spirit who lives in the corner of her living room, Charlie continues to fascinate. Readers will be dying to know where the fourth grave is. –Shelley Mosley –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Tripwire by Lee Child ISBN 9781568959125

Tripwire by Lee Child

cover art Tripwire by Lee Child

Jack Reacher itinerant investigator and problem solver, has taken up residence in a broken down hotel in Florida for 3 months and he has been digging swimming pools and worked nights at a strip joint as a bouncer.  He keeps his name to himself and bothers no one — he is quietly drinking his water between work sessions when an older gentleman comes in looking for him.  He asks the bartender and even speaks to Jack but Jack pretends not to know who this Reacher character is … later at the strip joint two tough guys come in and make a hard time for the girl at the door taking the cover charge and he follows the two men to the dead investigator.

So in typical Reacher fashion, he gets a handsome lady to drive him to the airport and he goes to New York City wondering why someone he doesn’t know is looking for him and sent an investigator to seek him out.

He finds the answer at the funeral of a friend and that leads us on a merry chase through New York, New Orleans, Texas, and Hawaii.  This book is one misconception after another as a grieving set of parents seek out the story of their son who went missing in Vietnam first went to the friend and now after his death ask Jack to help.  When Jack agrees to see what he can find — he is agreeing to far more than he could ever have guessed.

Personally I have only read 2 other Lee Child books and I think this is the best.  Maybe because we learn a little more about his past and we learn that he does indeed have feelings and is not just a tall investigative automaton.   So there are questions posed in this book that are left hanging and so I will have to track down the next one … and I will do so eagerly.


Book Description

Publication Date: January 5, 2011 | Series: Thorndike Press Large Print Famous Authors Series
On the publication of Lee Child’s debut novel, the multiple award-winning Killing Floor, critics nationwide marked its success. His last book, Die Trying, inspired the Chicago Tribune to call him “a suspense writer to be reckoned with.” In Tripwire, Reacher is settling into lazy Key West when his life is interrupted by a stranger who comes looking for him. When the stranger turns up beaten to death in the Old Town cemetery – fingertips removed – Reacher knows whomever the man was working for is not a friend. Reacher follows the trail to New York, where he confronts the people who dispatched the dead man: an elderly couple still mourning an all-American son lost in Vietnam; an alluring and intelligent woman from Reacher’s own haunted past; and at the center of the web, an opponent more vicious than any he’s ever faced. Lee Child confirms his early acclaim with this new tale, as swift and stylish as any suspense novel being written today.

–This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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