Why would someone build a lighthouse in the middle of the woods? A curious landmark for years, given its location in an isolated stretch of eastern KeWhy would someone build a lighthouse in the middle of the woods? A curious landmark for years, given its location in an isolated stretch of eastern Kentucky, the strange, pulsing light in the abandoned mining country hasn’t warranted much attention until recently. The creation of a large-cat sanctuary nearby changes things, however. Wyatt French, builder of the lighthouse, is not happy that the sanctuary will bring visitors to his neck of the woods; Audrey Clark, owner of the sanctuary, is not happy that the lighthouse illuminates the area so brightly. Things come to a head when French places cryptic calls to deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble and local journalist Roy Darmus before committing suicide. He wants Kimble to investigate his suicide and he wants Darmus to keep the light on.
LOVED this book!!! Part ghost story, part mystery–all thriller. The mystery hooked me–why was the town drunk obsessed with accidents occurring within the vicinity of Blade Ridge, why was he terrified of the dark, and why did he kill himself when he obviously didn’t want to? The supernatural feel was perfect–an eerie blue flame that appears to a select few, the reaction of the cats to their new home, the troubled history Darmus discovers as he researches the maps and photos French had pinned up on his unfinished walls. I could not put this book down....more
For 16 books, readers have known Anna Pigeon as a courageous and resourceful Park Ranger with a bit of a loner streak and a tendency to drown her sorrFor 16 books, readers have known Anna Pigeon as a courageous and resourceful Park Ranger with a bit of a loner streak and a tendency to drown her sorrows in alcohol. Before Anna entered the Park Service, however, she was a happily married Stage Manager in New York City. In The Rope, Barr takes us back to the very beginning of Anna's new life away from the hustle & bustle of the big city. Grieving the death of her husband Zack and needing to escape the city they shared together, Anna takes a seasonal position at the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Her inexperience shows as she sets off on a challenging hike wearing city clothes/shoes and carrying far too little water. Somehow, she ends up at the bottom of a natural pit with no memory of how she got there. Fighting thirst and delirium, she struggles to piece together what happened: did she fall or was she pushed? Meanwhile, her coworkers assume she's decided the National Park Service isn't for her and returned to the city - someone has removed her belongings from the cabin she shares with Jenny.
I always find it difficult to set aside an Anna Pigeon novel but this was absolutely impossible to put down - I mean, Anna's at the bottom of a pit in the desert and no one even knows to look for her. Yowza. Her wilderness survival skills are zero but she's smart - and now that she's facing death, she realizes that she does want to continue living, even without Zack. I loved seeing Anna's transformation from someone just going through the motions of life to the strong, determined character we know today. I also loved seeing this former city-girl learn to love nature. Jenny and Buddy are awesome - I love how Buddy makes Anna realize that there are companions she would share her last drops of water with. As always, Barr brings the beauty of our parks to life but I was surprised at how well she tied Anna's former life in the theater to her current circumstances - Anna's use of her theater background to plan her escape was brilliant.
Barr's always been skilled at crafting a solid mystery but she outdoes herself this time, planting a good bit of misdirection. I reread The Rope almost immediately after finishing it because I wanted to catch the clues I hadn't fully appreciated the first time around. I remain convinced that there is more than one villain in this story - one was just less twisted than the other....more
In 2014, cures for the common cold and for cancer have been found but together they combine to create something far worse: a viral infection that reanIn 2014, cures for the common cold and for cancer have been found but together they combine to create something far worse: a viral infection that reanimates the dead. Believing reports of zombies to be hoaxes, the traditional news media doesn’t follow up; bloggers do. By the time siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason are ready to launch their own blog, blogs have become the news medium most people trust. Senator Peter Ryman recognizes this and invites their team to join him as he treks across the country, campaigning for the Presidency. Zombie attacks follow but when it comes to Zombies Vs. Politicians, the politicians are still scarier.
I could not put this book down—I LOVED it, even when it made me cry. Grant has done an amazing job creating a believable world that includes zombies but it’s far more than a book about the ravenous, reanimated dead. The heart of the story revolves around Georgia, Shaun, journalism & politics and Grant explores each facet well. Exceptional world-building, strong characters and snappy dialogue. I’m definitely reading the next book in the trilogy, Deadline, and anxiously awaiting the third book, Blackout....more
Katniss never intended to become a catalyst for revolution, let alone the symbol for it. However, after years of oppression and sorrow, the starved diKatniss never intended to become a catalyst for revolution, let alone the symbol for it. However, after years of oppression and sorrow, the starved districts of Panem were drawn to her when she volunteered to take her sister’s place in the mandatory Hunger Games. Everyone was further intrigued when her fellow arena contestant Peeta declared his love for her. Her genuine expression of grief at Rue’s death awoke something in those forced to watch the deadly games. Her decision to eat poison berries rather than follow the rules and kill Peeta stirred the rising feelings of rebellion.
Katniss is rescued from the arena but Peeta is captured by the Capitol. Having been subjected to the Hunger Games twice, knowing that Peeta is still in President Snow’s clutches, and knowing that her hometown has been obliterated, Katniss is shell-shocked. As much as she hates the Capitol, she’s not entirely sure that she can trust her rescuers either. She was rescued to be the cover girl for the revolution but she sees herself simply as a teenage girl who’s barely managed to survive by wit and sheer determination and she’s horrified by what she’s experienced. Acting as the revolution’s cover girl is the only hope of saving Peeta though, so she accepts the role and allows herself to be used in the rebels’ propaganda.
Some reviewers have expressed disappointment with Katniss’s detachment but I found that it effectively conveyed the horror of the story: the girl has witnessed unbelievable atrocities. Katniss has never seen herself as a leader but she feels responsible for the Capitol’s revenge on the Districts, rebels and bystanders alike. She’s seventeen and she’s breaking. Mockingjay is a heartwrenching read that juxtoposes mankind’s potential for cruelty against its capacity for redemption....more
A forest fire is raging in northern California and park ranger Anna Pigeon is on the scene. This time around Anna is volunteering as a medic for the fA forest fire is raging in northern California and park ranger Anna Pigeon is on the scene. This time around Anna is volunteering as a medic for the firefighters battling the blaze. An approaching snowstorm seems to promise relief but delivers a firestorm instead, leaving one firefighter dead from the flames—and another dead from a knife in his back.
The combination of wreckage from the firestorm and bad weather conditions isolates Anna’s group. Trapped for days in cold and fog with few resources and the knowledge that one of them is a murderer, tempers flare and violence threatens.
Wow. Instead of an insider’s view of a national park, we receive an insider’s view of a firestorm and it is a scary, scary thing. The isolation of the group takes the suspense to a new level. Great characterizations, intriguing mystery, solid thriller....more
Monkeewrench is back, baby! Monkeewrench is a haunted, eccentric, close-knit team of computer geniuses who’ve turned their skills from creating computMonkeewrench is back, baby! Monkeewrench is a haunted, eccentric, close-knit team of computer geniuses who’ve turned their skills from creating computer games to developing anticrime software. Harley Davidson, Roadrunner, Annie and Grace must a) crack the code killers are using to communicate online b) create software which will separate staged murders from the real thing and c) trace the online snuff films to the killers. Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are along for the ride, as is series newcomer FBI agent John Smith.
Shoot to Thrill offers a chilling premise and some moments of intense suspense. I love the series regulars: they are among my favorite fictional characters. Although we didn’t see much of Annie or Roadrunner this time around, Grace has a surprise for us—one that I’m still puzzling over. Hopefully another Monkeewrench title is already in the works . . . . Shoot to Thrill can be read as a standalone but you’ll have a better appreciation for the characters if you read the preceding novels....more
In Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta defied the Capital by refusing to kill one another; instead, they popped poisonous berries into their mouths. The GIn Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta defied the Capital by refusing to kill one another; instead, they popped poisonous berries into their mouths. The Game announcer interrupted their planned joint-suicide by declaring them both winners and the audience breathed a sigh of relief when the star-crossed lovers spit out the berries.
In Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta must now pay for that act of defiance. They, their loved ones and District 12 are under close scrutiny from the Capital. President Snow visits Katniss and warns her that she must convince everyone that the berry-incident was nothing more than the desperate act of a girl unable to face life without her lover. Even as he issues his warning however, President Snow has already initiated a series of events intended to punish Katniss and quell any stirrings of rebellion in the districts.
Once again, I could not put this story down! Excellent character-development; compelling themes of survival, sacrifice, morality and love....more
In this post-apocalyptic novel, the United States is gone. Its replacement, the Capitol, has imposed a cruel punishment for past District insurrectionIn this post-apocalyptic novel, the United States is gone. Its replacement, the Capitol, has imposed a cruel punishment for past District insurrections: each year, every District must send two teenagers to compete in a Survivor-like televised competition. The competition is a battle to the death.
When Katniss’s sister is selected by lottery to be sent to the Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The teenage boy selected from her District is Peeta, the boy who gave her food when her family was starving. Turns out, Peeta has had a crush on Katniss since he was 5 years old. The Gamemakers like the drama the star-crossed lovers angle brings to the games—at first.
It’s hard to imagine such a cruel regime but Collins makes it convincing. The characters make this a compelling read: despite their daily struggle to survive, there is a sense of community in District 12. There is hope that some of the contestants will “find a way to retain their humanity” despite everything the Gamemakers throw at them. There is also hope that some of the contestants will defy the rules of the Games . . . .
I read this book in one sitting . I’m not quite sure how the cameras managed to capture everything the contestants were up to but that is a trivial point. Highly recommended!...more
**spoiler alert** 20 years ago Nell witnessed the murder of her boyfriend---her testimony led to the conviction/imprisonment of Alvin DuPree. A recent**spoiler alert** 20 years ago Nell witnessed the murder of her boyfriend---her testimony led to the conviction/imprisonment of Alvin DuPree. A recently-discovered videotape now proves that DuPree was elsewhere at the time of the murder. As Nell tries to determine how she could have made such a mistake, she turns to her husband of 18 years for help (he was the lead detective from the case at the time)---but his increasingly odd behavior has her wondering if he knew of DuPree's innocence all along . . . .
Intriguing premise with at least one really good twist (Nell discovers DuPree at the scene of another crime). That said, the characters just didn't draw me in---DuPree, while innocent of the Blanton murder, is a dangerous, scary and unsympathetic character; Nell seems one-dimensional. The 'epilogue' second ending bothered me....more
What secret experiment was smuggled out of Breslau, Poland at the end of WWII—and what does it have to do with a present-day bookstore in Copenhagen,What secret experiment was smuggled out of Breslau, Poland at the end of WWII—and what does it have to do with a present-day bookstore in Copenhagen, a monastery in Nepal and a game reserve in South Africa???
The infamous experiments of the Nazis provide the backdrop for this present-day thriller. Rollins effectively blends historical mystery, scientific theory and modern-day espionage into a fast-paced read. If you like Dan Brown or Clive Cussler, you’ll probably like James Rollins.
Other Sigma Force novels: Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Judas Strain, The Last Oracle...more
The Descent is based on the premise that Satan is an actual person(s)–not necessarily a fallen angel but someone who has interacted with people througThe Descent is based on the premise that Satan is an actual person(s)–not necessarily a fallen angel but someone who has interacted with people throughout history–the question is, is he one immortal person or is he a succession of like-minded individuals??? Another premise of the book is that an entire subterranean species of homo sapiens has co-existed alongside–and alternately influenced and preyed upon their surface cousins throughout history.
Did I like this book? I can’t really say yes or no. I found the premise intriguing, the characters interesting, the description of the subterranean world wonderfully imaginative, the violence disturbing. I had difficulty understanding the behavior & motivations of the “hadals”–I’m not sure if that’s just me personally or if the author intended to make them indecipherable....more
Deeper is the sequel to “The Descent”. I like the fact that it answered questions raised by the first book–I’m still horrified by the Hadal culture buDeeper is the sequel to “The Descent”. I like the fact that it answered questions raised by the first book–I’m still horrified by the Hadal culture but I understand it better after reading this follow-up. Where the first book was characterized by a lot of description, the second is characterized by its fast pace: a mass kidnapping of children by the Hadals has taken place and there’s a race to find them.
Two characters return from The Descent–and a new bad guy reveals himself–spoiler alert, Satan may actually be an immortal being with terrifying powers . . .
I will definitely read the next installment–the reviews indicate that this is meant to be a trilogy.
Check out these links for the author’s ‘inside scoop’ on both novels: