Just when you think you're relaxing on the beach in beautiful, placid Cape May, things get creepy. And just when you think creepy is the only place yo...moreJust when you think you're relaxing on the beach in beautiful, placid Cape May, things get creepy. And just when you think creepy is the only place you're headed, things go way beyond that. You will enjoy this one as a family's vacation becomes something more than they bargained for.(less)
This is the kind of book that you should take to a party or bring the next time you get together with friends. The zany vignettes are best read aloud....moreThis is the kind of book that you should take to a party or bring the next time you get together with friends. The zany vignettes are best read aloud. Laugh along with your friends as you take turns "performing" these little skits. A good time is guaranteed. The book is a quick read, very enjoyable, and I highly recommend it.(less)
Kudos to Mr. Pearson for another exciting thriller!
It's difficult to say much about a thriller without giving away twists in the plot, so I will highl...moreKudos to Mr. Pearson for another exciting thriller!
It's difficult to say much about a thriller without giving away twists in the plot, so I will highlight the points about this book that I found particularly excellent without giving too much away.
"Cop Killer" is the story of a man who transfers from an extremely dangerous police district to one viewed as relatively tame because of a little girl -- his niece, Lacy. Danny Owen, the story's protagonist, has become guardian of his niece after her parent's death and doesn't want her living in the kind of place where he used to work, so he transfers to District One. That single decision begins the sequence of events that leads to the thrilling ride that this story eventually becomes. In fact, Lacy and Danny's feelings for her are what drives the plot at crucial times to its ultimate conclusion. Their relationship is one that is very subtly drawn yet remains a persistent motivation that gives definite believability to the tale.
The main characters are nicely fleshed out and not stereotypical. Each has nuances that add that special feeling of grayness we all possess. We are not cookie-cutter people and these are not cookie-cutter characters. That same grayness carries over in the way things play out. Things are never just right or wrong, good or bad. There are no strictly winners or losers. What is right for one turns out to be wrong for others. What is bad on the face of it seems good in the end. The ones who are supposed to have won, did win but at what price?
The pace is excellent, and the action is intense at times. This is not a book for the faint of heart (or children). The resolution at the end is well thought out and satisfying. I highly recommend this excellently written and well-plotted thriller to all who enjoy the genre.(less)
“Eyes of the Many” is a thriller that takes place primarily in California. The protagonist is a man, formerly of the LAPD, whose life is in a shambles...more“Eyes of the Many” is a thriller that takes place primarily in California. The protagonist is a man, formerly of the LAPD, whose life is in a shambles following the death of his wife in a car accident some years back. Unable to accept that she died because her body was never recovered from the river into which the car plunged, he is haunted by her memory until he finally discovers a clue that there might have been something overlooked during the accident investigation. This discovery leads him into a web of intrigue and danger from which there is no turning back.
The story is a well-written mix of high-tech intrigue, thrilling action, and personal emotional conflict that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters, both major and minor, are nicely flushed out and tell their part in the story each from their own points of view in a way that is both satisfying and interesting. The plot is believable and interesting, without obvious holes or flaws. And the descriptive prose (especially scenes describing flowers, landscapes, and such) is very nice.
It’s a joy to read a work of this caliber. I highly recommend “Eyes of the Many” to anyone who enjoys police procedurals, thrillers, and mysteries and look forward to Kelly Graham’s next work. (less)
Teddy Roosevelt was a renaissance man of the type you just don't see any more. He was a writer, a naturalist, an explorer, a politician, a soldier, an...moreTeddy Roosevelt was a renaissance man of the type you just don't see any more. He was a writer, a naturalist, an explorer, a politician, a soldier, and President of the United States for two terms. This story takes places after his unsuccessful run at a third consecutive term (back when that was still allowed) and he was sorely in need of something outlandish to refill his bruised ego. What better than go exploring an uncharted river in the jungles of Brazil?
At that time in history (1913) the Amazon jungle was a fairly mysterious and unexplored place and full of danger and adventure, perfect for a man like Teddy Roosevelt. The exploits of his expedition as portrayed in this book are based on the actual ill-fated Roosevelt 1913 expedition with, of course, the addition of the Mighty T-Rex and some intrigue and suspense within the various characters in between.
As you read this story, you will find yourself traveling down the River of Doubt in a dugout with Teddy Roosevelt, swatting away the millions of biting insects, admiring the famous president’s unique leadership and acumen, looking out for danger around every bend, and wishing there weren’t so many impassable rapids between you and your destination.
What I found most interesting in Jacobs’s telling of this tale was not the build-up to the moment when they were confronted by a dinosaur, it was the weaving together of the overwhelming hardships of such an expedition, the bravery of the men facing them, the politics of keeping it all together, and the nuanced interplay of human relationships that make for an overwhelmingly likeable story. And, of course, the Mighty T-Rex!
All in all, a wonderful story that I highly recommend to everyone. (less)
This tale follows the life of Ben, the illegitimate son of Jed and Adelaide, a boy raised in the logging country of disputed lands between England and...moreThis tale follows the life of Ben, the illegitimate son of Jed and Adelaide, a boy raised in the logging country of disputed lands between England and the United States in the 1800s. The historical setting is true to the time, though the characters are fictional. It's a heartwarming story of unflagging love and determination against the elements and in the face of unsavory men with ill intentions. Very strong on character development, I enjoyed Wilder's portrayal of life in the primitive village and along the river and the interactions between the native Americans, British, and Yankees.(less)
A scary enjoyable story told from the first-person perspectives of the two main characters, Darkening Danger holds a mirror up to the thoughts of the...moreA scary enjoyable story told from the first-person perspectives of the two main characters, Darkening Danger holds a mirror up to the thoughts of the two protagonists who see only darkness reflected within the glass. I liked their struggle to retain sanity as the world comes apart around them and I particularly liked the open-ended final scene leaving us with the potential for a sequel.(less)
I enjoyed Water Witch immensely for its story line - a person of power being used by people of uncertain motives - but what I found most excellent was...moreI enjoyed Water Witch immensely for its story line - a person of power being used by people of uncertain motives - but what I found most excellent was the compelling and complex character portrayals, not only of the witch, but of the minor characters as well. I love character-driven literature, especially fantasy, and I highly recommend Water Witch to those of similar tastes.(less)
“An Uncommon Family” is about just that – a six year-old girl who lost her mother in a car crash and still has nightmares about it, her aunt who survi...more“An Uncommon Family” is about just that – a six year-old girl who lost her mother in a car crash and still has nightmares about it, her aunt who survived a failed marriage and remains bitter and distant in her relationships with men, and an artist whose marriage ended in the tragic death of his wife. The story is about the intertwining of their lives from when Karla, the young girl, is six until her twelfth birthday. At the outset, she and Anna, her aunt and guardian, by chance, encounter Jonas, the artist, who offers to give Karla art lessons. From there, the relationships develop between Karla and Jonas, Karla and Anna, and Anna and Jonas in a steady, deliberate, and delicate way that I appreciated greatly.
Set primarily in Switzerland, the book has a nice local flavor that complements the story well and is interjected unobtrusively at various points as the plot moves forward. In terms of point of view, the story is seen through the eyes of the three main characters and, as such, the narrative is superb. This book is no lightweight by any means. The main themes of the story are trust, betrayal, honesty, loss, and love. Applicable in some degree to each of the three, the handling and development of these themes was top notch.
If you like stories of ordinary people thrown together into uncommon situations, I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I recommend it highly and look forward to reading Polkinhorn’s next installment. (less)
"A Man Overboard" is a delicately laced story of hope, love, suspense, and intrigue, and one you'll surely find as much of a page-turner as I did. I e...more"A Man Overboard" is a delicately laced story of hope, love, suspense, and intrigue, and one you'll surely find as much of a page-turner as I did. I especially liked the characters of Jack and Stacey, portrayed realistically and believably, and the overall story is one that is so very enjoyable and full of mystery. I highly recommend this one!(less)
An interesting premise – a vampire soldier – and before “V Trooper” is over, you’ll be glad Boyd on your side. He doesn’t change into a bat and he doe...moreAn interesting premise – a vampire soldier – and before “V Trooper” is over, you’ll be glad Boyd on your side. He doesn’t change into a bat and he doesn’t shy away from crosses, but he does have superhuman senses, strength and speed, which make him a lethal weapon for covert missions. He also has the vampire thirst for blood, and that makes him a dangerous animal at times to everyone around him.
Thomas Drinkard plays this well in “V Trooper,” by making you constantly aware of the particular dangers of each mission and the persistent dangers of being in a war zone. This is mixed skillfully with the unfathomable danger of having a vampire around – even it he is on your side. The prose is tight and well done. The story moves at a good clip. The premise is carried out perfectly. It’s a quick read, not just because it is a novella, but also because the story drives forward with a fixed intensity that makes it hard to put down.
I enjoyed “V Trooper – First Mission” and look forward to the next installment. (less)
“Simple Simon” is a fast-moving thriller that is difficult to put down. Superbly written and well thought out, the book was a pleasure to read cover t...more“Simple Simon” is a fast-moving thriller that is difficult to put down. Superbly written and well thought out, the book was a pleasure to read cover to cover. It is a techno-thriller to be sure, but the most beautifully written part is the portrayal of the character of Simon. An autistic teenager, Simon’s life has been highly regulated and structured by his parents and doctors to provide a mechanism for him to cope, to interact with people, and to function within the bounds of his own little world. When that world is suddenly thrown into chaos, Pearson does a wonderful job of showing us how Simon struggles in his own way to keep his life on track and consistently simple despite the absolute whirlwind of destruction spinning around him and everyone with whom he comes in contact. Ironically, he becomes the one point of consistent sanity in a world gone mad. I particularly liked the interaction with his new friend, Art, a man who clearly feels inadequate, but who ultimately rises to the task. I highly recommend “Simple Simon,” and thoroughly enjoyed it. (less)
“Confessions” is an artfully written thriller from a true first person point of view. What you see is only what Father Jerome see...moreA Thoughtful Thriller
“Confessions” is an artfully written thriller from a true first person point of view. What you see is only what Father Jerome sees. The story only leads you to where Father Jerome goes, and what you think is true is only what Father Jerome believes has happened. This faithfulness to perspective is just one of the things I enjoyed immensely about Ryne Douglas Pearson’s work.
There is a spiritual struggle within this story that is laid out beautifully in the thoughts of Michael Jerome: a questioning of Canon Law, a questioning of faith, a questioning of belief and purpose. It’s a timeless puzzle for people of faith and one which most struggle with at some point in their lives. And it is this struggle that is skillfully woven into and works to its own conclusion as the mystery of his sister’s death unfolds. Father Michael Jerome is ever asking himself the same kinds of questions you might ask yourself in your most secret moments.
But there is also an emotional struggle going on amid this: with his family, with someone from his past, and within himself. He is trying to answer life’s “Who am I?” question, while answering the puzzling whodunit of his sister’s murder. It is a fascinating look into a troubled mind.
For me, the focus on self within this story really makes it unusual and an interesting. It makes it very difficult to put down, very easy to follow, and very, very interesting. The ending is stunning and unexpected, but once you read it, you will understand. I loved it. Wonderful book. (less)
Sometimes things can get complicated. Life is like that. You never really plan for it, you never hope for it, and you never really know quite how to...more Sometimes things can get complicated. Life is like that. You never really plan for it, you never hope for it, and you never really know quite how to handle it. When something does happen, something unexpected, you make a choice and you live with it. Maybe your choice wasn’t the best. Maybe you could have done things differently. But you made it, you can’t undo it, and the next part is living with its consequences.
That, from my reading of All for One, is the essence of this wonderfully written and tragic tale of six children and their teacher caught up in the mystery of the death of a classmate. As you follow the course of this tale from their simple decision made at the beginning through the intricate web of its consequences, you too will find yourself drawn into it as I was. Each of the characters has his own story. Each is constructed by Pearson with a depth of detail that I found captivating. And each, as you will discover, is both intriguing and heartbreaking.
I was told before reading this book that it was “dark.” As descriptive of a complex human tragedy, that is exactly what this story is. As such, you must be willing accept that there are dark places in the human soul, places that most would turn away from rather than glimpse. You must be willing to walk the path of fear and darkness to its end. And you must be willing to stand at the precipice and watch its conclusion with eyes wide open. If you are so willing, be not afraid, you will find yourself having read a truly wonderful book. When I have read a story of this power, I am left with but two words for the author. Thank you. (less)
Simple enough. You need work done around the house. You bump into a guy at Home Depot who does it cheap. You hire him. Three simple things – who could...moreSimple enough. You need work done around the house. You bump into a guy at Home Depot who does it cheap. You hire him. Three simple things – who could imagine that they would have anything to do with a convoluted mystery that has wrapped itself around the Havelock family and begins to strangle the life out of it. But it seems like every time their new found worker Manteo does something wonderful at the house, a piece of their life unravels somewhere else. His simple manners and straightforward attitude become the only things that haven’t started breaking down. Then, comes the part you won’t read in this review, the part that turns Wrecker into a thrill ride that you can’t put down.
Read this book. It’s a fine piece of mystery/thriller writing that you will love and think about long after you’re done. (less)