Until the last few chapters, and just like the protaganist, I had no idea what on earth was going on in the unreal town of Wayward Pine...moreBLEW. MY. MIND.
Until the last few chapters, and just like the protaganist, I had no idea what on earth was going on in the unreal town of Wayward Pines. The pace was non-stop, the tension was growing, and I did not want to put this book down. I tore through Pines in 2 days, and have already checked out the second book from the Kindle lending library. If you like psychothrillers that keep you guessing and a good strong protaganist that does not give up, check out Pines.
Walt Longmire is more than just the sheriff of the fictitious Absaroka county in Wyoming; he’s a renaissance man well versed in the works of Shakespea...moreWalt Longmire is more than just the sheriff of the fictitious Absaroka county in Wyoming; he’s a renaissance man well versed in the works of Shakespeare and Dante, an old soul, a loyal friend, a Vietnam vet, a straight shooter with a mean right hook, and a softie when it comes to the women in his life. I’m not sure if it’s Walt, or the author, Craig Johnson, or maybe both, but the books keep getting better and better.
Years ago, when I first read The Cold Dish by the then unknown Johnson, I knew I had found an author and a lead character that would keep me engaged with each new book. Johnson’s writing is clever with a wry sense of humor, multi-layered in context, and his novels are peopled with characters so compelling with their individual temperaments and personalities.
His latest novel, A Serpent’s Tooth, begins when Walt discovers a young boy has been living in Barbara Thomas’ pump house, periodically breaking into her home to raid the fridge and repair whatever she has left on her to-do list for him. When Walt catches up to the boy, Cord, he discovers more than just a young man cast out from the Mormon splinter group, The Apostolic Church of the Lamb. He finds intrigue involving big oil, big guns, cults, the CIA, a missing woman, the rather extensive Lynear family with their rather large patriarch, and a cipher of a man claiming to be two hundred years old, blessed with immortality by Mormon leader Joseph Smith himself.
Walt’s job is never easy.
Thankfully, he has his loyal right hand man, Henry Standing Bear, AKA the Cheyenne Nation, and his under deputy, Vic Moretti, a woman who artfully drops F-bombs while she steals Walt’s heart. Henry and Vic make a wonderful yin and yang with Walt in the middle. And when Walt begins to spend time at the jail to keep an eye on Cord and the two hundred year-old Orrin, Vic is jealous he is sleeping more on the office floor with Dog, the dog, than her house. Their relationship has definitely grown and taken a more passionate turn than when he first hired the displaced cop from Philly in the first book.
In true Longmire fashion, Walt is able to use his brains and fearless determination to rid his county of the murderous trespassers. And while the ending is dark and bittersweet, with an unexpected twist, I will never tire of Craig Johnson’s storied world of Walt Longmire and Vic and Henry Standing Bear and Dog. (less)
It's been a long time since I've read a first novel that enthralled and tested me like Robert Pobi's "The Bloodman"; an intriguing, complex thriller t...moreIt's been a long time since I've read a first novel that enthralled and tested me like Robert Pobi's "The Bloodman"; an intriguing, complex thriller that twists it's way through a four day period in quiet Montauk, New York. Special Agent Jake Cole has come home after walking away from his abusive and alcoholic father twenty-eight years ago. His father, a talented painter now tortured by dementia, horribly maimed himself in a mysterious fire. Over the years, after battling his own demons, the anger and hatred Cole felt toward his father is now superseded by a numbing apathy. But as the only child to his widowed father, Cole feels it is his duty to attend to his affairs.
The night Cole arrives at his childhood home, now full of garbage and scotch bottles, he receives a call from the local sheriff. They found two bodies in a house up the beach from his father's place, a woman and a child both skinned alive. For Cole, this is a gut punch. The horrific scene at the crime is familiar, he recognizes the murderer's work from his own tortured past. Desperate to quickly finish his father's affairs and run home to his own wife and son, Cole now feels compelled to stay and work on this case. His eidetic memory, commonly referred to as photographic memory, allows him to reconstruct three-dimensional crime scenes in his mind, and provides him with an unusual skill that can assist the overwhelmed small town police force.
Everything about Agent Cole is unusual. A recovering substance abuse addict with the entire text of Dante's "Inferno" tattooed on his body, he can verbally shred an officer foolish enough to laugh at a crime scene, mentally suppress the graphic "pornography" of his job, and still come across as a devoted husband and father. He is a master at solving the puzzles left behind by murderers. With demons lurking in the corners of his own mind, he can relate to and decipher the thoughts and intentions of the monsters he is trained to hunt down. It is both a blessing and a curse.
Compounding the murders and the enigma of thousands of crazed paintings littering his father's house is a Category 5 hurricane headed directly for Montauk. With the storm pounding Montauk back to the stone age, Cole is desperately pursuing answers and the killer. It is a thrilling combination of events and puzzles and character drama that had me guessing up to the final haunting twist at the end.
Unbelievably, this being Pobi's first novel, he has presented a fiercely complex masterpiece with riveting scenes and compelling characters. The author has also cleverly painted clues into the layers upon layers that make up the final picture. There are puzzles within puzzles throughout the book. But his writing evokes clear images, whether of a graphic murder scene or a quiet moment between Cole and his wife. And I found myself anxiously tearing through the last 100 pages as the hurricane's destruction of the town starts to mirror the anguishing devastation of Cole's life as he knows it.
This is an incredible book that kept me thinking even after I finished. I hope it does well as the author definitely deserves kudos for his work. And, when he writes his next book, I will be in line ready to buy it.(less)
For a book that starts with the sentence “Alex is in heaven”, the recently translated novel, Alex, by French author Pierre Lemaitre quickly descends i...moreFor a book that starts with the sentence “Alex is in heaven”, the recently translated novel, Alex, by French author Pierre Lemaitre quickly descends into a nightmarish hell for the young woman in the title. While walking home one night after dinner, Alex is kidnapped by a stranger who beats her, calls her a whore, strips her naked and then crams her into a tiny wooden cage suspended from the ceiling of cold, damp warehouse. When she begs “why me?” the man simply stares at her and responds, “Because you are you”.
Commandant Camille Verhoeven is called in to investigate the kidnapping. For him, this case is incredibly painful as his pregnant wife was kidnapped and murdered four years ago. Preferring to work only the non-violent criminal division for the past four years, the lonely Camille finds himself drawn back into his previous line of work, especially with his former team members Louis and Armand. Despite his extensive education, multi-lingual background and family money, Louis is a humble man. Armand, however, proudly wears his second-hand clothing like trophies while he borrows pens, cigarettes, newspapers, and never pays his part for any restaurant bill. At five foot eleven inches, Camille is the size of a thirteen year-old, but has a colossal temper and razor sharp tongue that can slice even the largest of men into cowering wimps.
Each day, the stranger brings Alex with a handful of dog kibble and a small bottle of water. He lowers her cage so he can take a picture of her with his cell phone, tells her he is going to watch her die, and then leaves. Beaten, filthy and starving, Alex is forcibly curled into a constant fetal position that cramps her muscles while the rough wooden cage cuts into her skin. Then, the rats start to converge. These chapters with Alex are brutal, intense, horrifying, and definitely not for the squeamish.
For the first third of the book, Alex keeps wondering “why me?” And then, at this point, there is a huge twist that makes the reader start asking “why?” It is an astounding jaw-dropper that very few readers will see coming. And that is only one of the mind-blowing twists of many in this ingeniously written tale of conflict and revenge. To divulge anything that happens after the first chapter would ruin the experience for other readers. But, be prepared for a book full of clever, inspired curveballs that culminates with a well-planned, and satisfying, sucker punch. Although this book is heartbreaking, it is an incredible read.
Apparently, this is the first book of a trilogy and if the following books are anywhere near as phenomenal as Alex, I will certainly be the first in line to buy them. I highly recommend this book. (less)