The Inquisitor – Mark Allan Smith (ARC from publisher)
[Technically I'd rate it 4.5 stars]
Geiger is a man who deals in a specialized commodity, truth....moreThe Inquisitor – Mark Allan Smith (ARC from publisher)
[Technically I'd rate it 4.5 stars]
Geiger is a man who deals in a specialized commodity, truth. And as his name implies, he has the ability to determine if an individual is telling the truth. By using unorthodox methods, usually a psychological form of torture, he retrieves information for his clients.
Mark Allen Smith introduces a protagonist that is very structured, disciplined, ruthless, and not without faults. The prologue begins with a scene describing the work environment Geiger lives and operates in. At this point I was almost hesitant to continue reading as I was not looking forward to 300 more pages of the same. Thankfully I am patient, and that coupled with a strong curiosity as to how the author would somehow make this character human, and possibly likeable, kept me reading.
Early on we catch glimpses of fissures in the hard veneer surrounding Geiger as he relates a reoccurring dream to his psychiatrist. Could it have something to do with his past, or is it a subconscious warning stemming from his current occupation? With the dreams come migraines and as everything else in his life, Geiger has designed methods to counteract these headaches. But no matter how much structure one lives by or incorporates, you can't plan for every contingency.
Hence the almost paranoid need for rules, and a filtered referral system that clients negotiate to even set up a proposal through an ex-journalist Harry Boddicker, Geiger's front man. Rule number one is no children, and another generally accepted rule is no asaps, or rushes, on a possible target. So when Geiger accepts an asap job, which Harry highly recommends, things turn quickly when the client brings in the intended target's son instead.
Two wrongs don't make a right as Geiger discovers after kidnapping the kid from the client and subsequently trying to reunite him with his mother. In the ensuing aftermath, kidnapping, chases, narrow escapes, and finally Geiger having the tables turned on him, become an increasing harrowing and page turning adventure.
I still can't say I really liked the character of Geiger by the end of the book, he would definitely make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, but I understood him a lot better, and could empathize with his situation and outlook.
Harry is the character whom I could relate to, and his relationship with his sister and his protective nature seemed to overshadow Geiger's, although they both looked after those not able to help themselves. The author did a great job with keeping the gray areas realistic throughout while developing strong individuals and contrasting viewpoints.
Overall, I would recommend this, but add a caveat on the methods described to the more squeamish of folks. Of course, if you're reading a thriller, one almost expects it, hence the 'thrill', and I'll be anxious to read more from Mark Allan Smith.(less)
Another fun and quick romp through the pages, and a great description of what happened in Hawaii. I laughed aloud a few times as Grandma manages to up...moreAnother fun and quick romp through the pages, and a great description of what happened in Hawaii. I laughed aloud a few times as Grandma manages to upstage even Lula, and still shake my head that after eighteen books, Stephanie still manages to get away without learning much about her profession, or her love life. Sign me up for the next one...(less)
It's refreshing to pick up a novel and read about a familiar locale, realizing that even with over half a century dividing the...more**a goodreads giveaway**
It's refreshing to pick up a novel and read about a familiar locale, realizing that even with over half a century dividing the then and now, it's easy to lose oneself in the sense of place as the author draws a vivid portrait of Seattle in the 1940's.
The story opens with a pair of women traveling by train to Minneapolis, and murder ensues.
Meanwhile, back in Seattle, Alan and Vera begin looking into the disappearance of a woman assumed to be on her honeymoon. Too many inconsistencies arise when the much younger husband arrives back in town shortly thereafter, with power of attorney, holes in his story, and a criminal past.
In the age before computers and cell phones, our two dogged investigators use their wits, skills, determination, and even a little charm to pursue leads in the case. The ending is a great twist and once again affirms the era of the story.
This is the third in a series of books by Mr. Low, and I broke my own rule of not beginning the series at the beginning. There is a lot of back story hinted at between the two main protagonists, and at times I thought of putting the book down to read the previous novels and catch myself up. The brief glimpses of what came before didn't quite satisfy my curiosity, and detracted slightly from my total enjoyment of the book.
I liked the characters, place, and especially the era of the novel, and look forward to stepping back and reading Thick as Thieves and then continuing with the rest of the series.
Four college friends, disillusioned by the banality of working life after graduation, decide to kidnap and ransom wealthy men. They've planned, studie...moreFour college friends, disillusioned by the banality of working life after graduation, decide to kidnap and ransom wealthy men. They've planned, studied their victim's routines, and only ask for a small portion of what their target is worth. With the implied threat of harm to the wife or children should the authorities be called, the ransom is paid within a short period of time and the kidnappee is returned to his family while the quartet moves on to another city.
Thus begins the introduction to The Professionals. As long as everything follows the five year plan laid out, in another three the four companions will enjoy early retirement on sunny, exotic beaches. But like an intricately laid out domino pattern, one light tap could send the entire floor of tiles tumbling down.
The first tap comes when the latest victim contacts the police, who in turn refer it to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Agent Kirk Stevens. No matter how well the planning, once Stevens begins to follow the trail, the dominoes continue to fall.
The newest target breaks his routine on the morning of his impending kidnapping, and rather than scrubbing their plan, another victim is hurriedly identified and becomes the mark. Donald Beneteau isn't cooperative, and appears to have the last laugh when the companions discover who his wife is.
From here on out there should be a disclaimer about buckling up, as the cat and mouse game intensifies between the different parties. The reader isn't blindsided by the outcome, yet you can't stop turning the pages. Like not being able to pull your eyes away from an impending wreck.
Laukkanen has successfully captured the idiosyncrasies of agencies attempting to work together, and the inability of individuals to give up hope even when facing insurmountable odds.
This isn't a story about good versus evil, but rather one of people caught in events beyond their control, using self-justification to try and shape a better world for themselves. It reads like watching a Die Hard movie. Sit down, strap in, and hang on.(less)
I did not care for the subject material, yet after reading the final notes by the author it put the novel in a different light. For that, I'll not sub...moreI did not care for the subject material, yet after reading the final notes by the author it put the novel in a different light. For that, I'll not subject Lolita to my prejudices and instead take a step back with a more critical eye to the style and prose. Hence, it's saving grace. (less)
This is the first book I've read by Asa Larsson, and the fourth book in a series featuring not one but two, strong, competent female leads: Rebecka Ma...moreThis is the first book I've read by Asa Larsson, and the fourth book in a series featuring not one but two, strong, competent female leads: Rebecka Martinsson, a prosecutor in Karuna, and Anna-Maria Mella, a Police Inspector. Both women are coming to terms with previous traumas, yet the author allows the reader enough information to easily jump into the story without feeling completely lost.
The story begins through the eyes of a drowned girl who visits Rebecka as a ghost in her dreams. When Rebecka discovers the recent victim of a drowning is her ghostly visitor, she teams up with Anna-Maria in a search for answers that leads both women back in time when the world was still at war, and Sweden sided with the Nazis. The shame of secrets long-buried, and the ever-present threat of retaliation to those that speak out, hampers the investigation, not to mention the local thugs, Tore and Hjalmar Krekula who are somehow involved.
The setting is beautiful as are the people throughout the story. Asa delivers a variety of rich characters populating a landscape both harsh and uncompromising, yet filled with everyday wonders. The people have adapted, although one feels the stark loneliness of the elderly creeping over the community as if the earth is waiting to reclaim it as future generations race away.
The whodunit turns into more of a whydunit as the mystery of the drowned girl and her boyfriend unfurls, mainly because there aren't that many bad guys to choose from. That still didn't slow the page-turning, nor lessen my enjoyment of the story.
Good dialogue, engaging story and characters, leads to another highly recommended Swedish author. I'm going to pick up the first three books in this series to sate my curiosity, and look forward to reading any others by Asa Larsson.(less)