Dean Koontz is one of the world’s best paid author’s (bringing in more than twenty five million annually!), which means everybody who’s interested in...moreDean Koontz is one of the world’s best paid author’s (bringing in more than twenty five million annually!), which means everybody who’s interested in books has probably read him–which is why I didn’t choose to review one of his more popular works like Watchers.
Eyes of Darkness isn’t my favorite Dean Koontz book, but it was one of his early ones, which I think is a good place to start with Koontz. If you don’t know, DK fist began writing sci-fi, and was sometimes publishing up to eight books a year under pseudonyms such as Deanna Dwyer, K. R. Dwyer, Aaron Wolfe, David Axton, Brian Coffey, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Owen West, Richard Paige, and Anthony North. His first big breakthrough novel was Whispers in 1980. Eyes of Darkness was the next one, published in 1981. The book focuses on a mother, Christina Evans, who sets out on a quest to find out if her son truly did die one year ago, or if he was still alive–somewhere. It’s pretty typical Koontz, with a lot of suspense, strong good vrs. evil themes, and an interesting plot. If you haven’t read it, I’d say pick it up and give it a go. You won’t be wowed, but you won’t be disappointed either.
What I really want to say about DK, however, is how his writing has changed. In Eyes and other early and mid work–I’d say up to the mid-nineties–he focused on the story, which is why I liked him. But when you become as big as he is, you have a lot more freedom with what you do. This can be good or bad. In Koontz’s case I think it is bad. I know a lot of people will probably disagree with me, but I find a lot of his recent writing too preachy and too focused on the language at the expense of the story. Koontz can get away with it because he is simply a good storyteller, but every time I read a sentence along the lines of “His blue eyes were seas where sorrow sailed” I’m convinced a little book fairy somewhere falls down dead.(less)
For centuries, treasure hunters have sought the lost horde of the notorious English pirate, Edward Ockham. Clues led to the mysterious water pit on Ra...moreFor centuries, treasure hunters have sought the lost horde of the notorious English pirate, Edward Ockham. Clues led to the mysterious water pit on Ragged Island, Maine--but a curse left behind by the long-dead pirate still seems to be working. Every expedition has failed--with the treasure seekers dying in gruesome fashion. Now, however, a new expedition has been mounted with state-of-the-art computer technology and backed by millions of dollars. It will all be worth it if the treasure is found. But modern technology may not be enough to overcome the deadly secrets of the water pit.
Sound good? That's the blurb. A little back story: the English pirate Edward “Red Ned” Ockham apparently hid a vast treasure on an island off of the coast of Maine in a deep, man-made shaft, which was booby trapped to kill anyone foolish enough to try to steal the loot. That shaft, or water pit, is a real creation. It was found by an old man in the 18th century underneath a block and tackle. He started digging and at ten feet found a wooden platform. He kept digging all the way down to one hundred feet--when the shaft began filling with water. Nobody since has ever excavated the entire thing, though many have died trying.
Well, nobody has succeeded in real life. In the novel, however, a group of treasure hunters do just that, seeking the two billion dollar payout. If you're into treasure hunting, murder and betrayal, some history and science thrown in, and pretty good writing, give this one a try! (less)
I'm sometimes asked who are some author's who have influenced my writing. I always had a stock answer: Stephen King, simply because he's the King and...moreI'm sometimes asked who are some author's who have influenced my writing. I always had a stock answer: Stephen King, simply because he's the King and is one of the best writers of the last thirty years. And Scott Smith, because his A Simple Plan was one of the inspirations for White Lies (a regular person in a simple situation that snowballs out of control).
Now I will likely add Kellerman to that list, and largely because of his writing style. There might be better writers out there, but I haven't read them. The best way to describe Kellerman's style is: confident. The way he can twist a sentence from mundane to special, and the frequency with which he does it, is pretty damn impressive.
Something as simple as this (describing a waitress):
"...chopped red hair and a sliver of torso, glasses riding her nose..."
And there's the humor too, which comes so naturally, and isn't forced like, say, Koontz's newer stuff:
"We traded Y-chromosome chuckles" or, in regard to his buddy's massive sandwich, "It was so big it required a building permit"
All in all, A Cold Heart is typical Jonathan Kellerman, a well-plotted, well-written and well-enjoyed journey into the world of investigative psychology. I enjoyed this one, but from some of the reviews I've read, some people didn't. If you've never read a Kellerman, I suggested browsing a few titles and choosing one that sounds interesting to you. (less)
Memories of Midnight (1990) is a sequel to The Other Side of Midnight (1973), what many people consider to be one of his best novels. Memories, howeve...moreMemories of Midnight (1990) is a sequel to The Other Side of Midnight (1973), what many people consider to be one of his best novels. Memories, however, holds its own mixing revenge, greed, justice, and romance.
I think it's a sign of a good book if, after some ten odd years, you can read it again and remember nearly all of the characters. That's what this one was like for me.
Demiris, the vengeful Greek billionaire; Chotas, the brilliant lawyer; and Catherine, the amnesic who just wants to fall in love (the weakest character of the bunch, imo).
Nevertheless, Sheldon is a master of plot. In fact I don't know anyone who writes as breezy as he does (a good thing), while throwing in as many twists and turns.
I think part of James Patterson's success is due to his incredibly short chapters. Like them or not, it just makes you feel like you're flipping the pages faster (and you are because of all the white space!) Similarly, part of Sheldon's success I think is due not to short chapters but his short paragraphs. Anywhere he can fit in a break (#) he does. It's a good technique to keep things moving, and it allows him to jump all over the place and get inside everyone's head seemingly without effort.
More than any of Sydney Sheldon’s novels, Memories of Midnight shows that the author comes from the movie and television script writing with its short scenes and generic descriptions of people and settings.
The late Sydney Sheldon was the author of eighteen bestselling novels. He wrote more than 200 television scripts and twenty-five movie scripts and six Broadway scripts. He started writing novels at the age of fifty.
The Unwanted is not my favorite John Saul novel, but I wanted to get him on this list. His books are classified as horror, though I would say they cou...moreThe Unwanted is not my favorite John Saul novel, but I wanted to get him on this list. His books are classified as horror, though I would say they could also be filed under psychological suspense. His plots involve the supernatural or sometimes bizarre, but at the same time they are also character-driven, and deal just as much with family dynamics, small town life, etc. His protagonists are almost always children, and he is one of the best at getting inside the heads of kids/teenagers.
Here’s the blurb: Cassie Winslow is sixteen. She has just lost her mother in a terrible accident. Now, lonely and frightened, she has come to live with the father she barely knows and his new family in tiny False Harbor on Cape Cod. For Cassie, the strange, unsettling dreams that come to her suddenly in the dead of night are merely the beginning. Very soon, Cassie Winslow will come to know the terrifying powers that are her gift. And in the village of False Harbor, nothing will ever be the same.
One of Saul’s strongest skills as a writer is his pacing. He is excellent at building suspense slowly, adding subtle layer upon subtle layer, making his novels extremely tough to put down. Some of the plot developments are fairly predictable, but that just keeps you off guard for when he does throw you for a loop.
In an age when a lot of writers use gimmicks (clichéd cliffhangers or one line paragraphs or short chapters), or try to wow you with techno-babble or over-the-top scenes (a la Hollywood blockbusters which are just as often colossal failures), John Saul keeps the suspense old school. Reading one of his books is almost like watching an old Cohen Brothers movie like Blood Simple: quiet and unpretentious but probably one of the best darn movies you’ve seen in a while.(less)
I've been meaning to get to this book for a while, but I haven't had much time to read lately. I zipped through it in a couple sittings! I don't often...moreI've been meaning to get to this book for a while, but I haven't had much time to read lately. I zipped through it in a couple sittings! I don't often read science fiction, but a lot of people I know have been recommending this book, and I'm glad I gave it a go.
It's actually the second in a series, the first being CassaStar. This one picks up twenty years later. There's a lot of suspense, action, and some romance. Also of note, there is well-paced humor here and there which I always enjoy in a novel (and it's a lot more difficult than it sounds balancing humor and suspense!). If you enjoy Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, or other character-driven stories set in space, you'll definitely get your money's worth with CassaFire.
I'm looking forward to the next in the series when it comes out (just as long as it's not titled CassaNova lol). Finally, I strongly recommend checking out the trailer, as it's one of the best I've seen for any book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...
Barry and Maureen have just been approved as tenants by the Association. Pity they never read the fine print on the lease. It could be the death of th...moreBarry and Maureen have just been approved as tenants by the Association. Pity they never read the fine print on the lease. It could be the death of them...
That's the blurb of The Association, and if you live in a gated community and hate your local homeowners association, this is the book for you!
I read the novel about ten years ago and enjoyed it a lot. I found it at my parent's place while visiting for Christmas and decided to give it another go--and I still found it an engrossing, fun read. Bentley Little is very good at the slow build: he begins his story slowly, with innocuous events, and gradually ups the suspense and gets under your skin. He's also well-known for taking the mundane--such as a nosy homeowner's association or whathaveyou--and turning it into something dark and terrifying.
Both Stephen King and Dead Koontz have praised Little, so if you like horror, you should check this book out. Be warned: the plots often lead to the bizarre and can be rather graphic at times. (less)
i really enjoyed this one! it was my first by michael palmer... im not really into medical thrillers, but the pacing and plotting were great he's a very...morei really enjoyed this one! it was my first by michael palmer... im not really into medical thrillers, but the pacing and plotting were great he's a very talented writer.... he sometimes goes a bit over the top with his medical descriptions, but it doesn't distract from the story too much highly recommended!(less)
I have a soft spot for adventure stories–and an even softer spot for archaeologists and/or others running around tropical jungles. I know these types...moreI have a soft spot for adventure stories–and an even softer spot for archaeologists and/or others running around tropical jungles. I know these types of stories have become cliché, but there’s something mysterious and romantic about the prospect of Central/South American jungles and lost treasures that keeps authors writing them and fans reading them.
Having said that, the blurb of The Jaguar Mask: An archaeologist named Leo is on a dig deep in the heart of the Mexican jungle uncovering another centuries-old Mayan city. Meanwhile in France another man named Declan Carberry is trying to solve a string of ritual serial murders. Without giving too much away, the storylines explore the history of the Conquistadors and the Mayans of South America, old rituals and modern codes, blood-letting and immortality. I never heard of this author before I read this one, and I can’t even remember where I picked up this book, but it had a cool cover, so I gave it a shot (yeah, I do sometimes judge a book by its cover!). In sum, the author is not up there with James Rollins or Clive Cussler (but who is?); however, if you’re an adventure fan, and haven’t heard of Easterman, give him a go.(less)