Before I begin, I guess I better post two things. 1) Most of you who follow my reviews, or read my reviews every now and again, know that I post spoil...moreBefore I begin, I guess I better post two things. 1) Most of you who follow my reviews, or read my reviews every now and again, know that I post spoilers and give my opinion. 2) You also know that I usually only read fiction.
So this review is going to be a bit different. First, the book is non-fiction. Second, I'm not posting spoilers - I'm urging you to get out there, get the book, and read it! It's very possible that I would probably have never read this book, because it is non-fiction. I haven't read non-fiction since I graduated high school over 15 years ago. With that said, I will forever thank Alan Sakowitz for asking me if I'd like a copy to read and review. This book will hit the heart of you - "on the right side."
The title, "Miles Away ... Worlds Apart" fits the book exactly. I don't think Alan could've have given it a better title. Not only do you get the selfish, egotiscical, greedy, manipulative world of Scott Rothstein, you get the mirror opposite of Alan's world - filled with heartfelt stories of the selfless, decent, compassionate people who are his family, his friends, and his community.
After reading the book, the one saying that keeps coming to mind is: where there's smoke, there's fire. I sincerely sort-of feel bad for the investors that got sucked in by Rothstein's image. And the reason I state "sort-of" is because, like Alan, those red flags should have been setting off alarms by the dozen. If they chose to ignore the warnings completely, then they kind of deserve to be in the position they are now. They had the choice to walk away. They didn't.
Alan, I commend you. Not only did you take those red flag warnings to heart, you chose not to brush it aside like I'll bet others did; out of sight, out of mind. No, you chose to do the selfless, decent thing: you chose to blow Rothstein's scheme right out of the water. You protected countless others who might have been sucked in if Rothstein had a chance at them. I'll bet there are hundreds of people out there who are proud of you. I know I am. And there's another reason for that as well...
Those of you who know me personally know that I have a hard time reading anything that includes religion. I am Roman Catholic. That will never change, no matter if anyone argued until they were blue in the face. I have a hard time reading books that push other religions; as if stating that I'm completely in the wrong and this is the way it should be. But Alan didn't do that. Not one iota. With the wonderful stories that he included in his book, he didn't press upon his religion. Any mention of it was more like for the benefit of the reader, so that the reader better understands his religion. What he did press upon, was humanity; on kindness, selflessness, compassion, decency. Plain and simple. No matter the religion, people all over the world should be like this. Acts of kindness, of decency, should be done because a person is in need. There shouldn't be an ulterior motive. It shouldn't be because it makes you feel good. It should be all about the person who needs it. Any acts of kindness I've done, any that I know I'll do in the future, have nothing to do with me and how I feel. If someone asked, would I admit that those acts made me feel good? Of course I'll admit it - I'm not a liar. But I didn't do it for me. To know that, whatever help I gave, was appreciated, to know that person will be okay, that's more than enough for me. I don't need anything in return. I don't even need a smile, or a thank you. Because, in my heart, I know I did the right thing, the decent thing, and that's all I need.
When my children are older (as we are French, my children haven't started taking English classes as of yet) I will have them read Alan's book. I know they will learn from it. I know I did.(less)
**spoiler alert** A terrific read from an incredible story-teller!
**Spoiler Alert!** If you plan on reading the book, do not continue reading this rev...more**spoiler alert** A terrific read from an incredible story-teller!
**Spoiler Alert!** If you plan on reading the book, do not continue reading this review. … Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After ten years of battle and war, Tier is finally on his way home. Coming to a village a few days from home, thoughts of a warm meal and comfortable bed are waylaid when he passes a pyre on fire - with a dead Traveler in the center of the blaze. Thoughts of leaving are reinforced when he walks into the local inn only to come upon the "trial" of the dead traveler's sixteen year-old sister, Seraph, also a Traveler, a Raven of the Clan of Isolda the Silent. He feels her magic stirring when she becomes furious, for the innkeeper believes she cannot pay the outrage sum against her. She is now being sold to whomsoever will pay the wage. Tier comes to her rescue, and they quickly leave the village. But the nobleman who had intended on buying Seraph for himself has every intention of taking her back... And loses.
Tier has every intention of helping her find her another Traveler family, bought plans are waylaid again when he gets home to find his mother abed and sick. He has the bakery to run, even though his sister and brother-in-law had been doing just fine. He's asked to stay a few weeks at least, so spend time with his mother before her passing, but the more time he spends at home, the more he wants to get out. Restless after so many years of battle, the thought of a monotonous life is too much to bear. And he comes to Seraph's rescue once again. After yet more harrassement from Tier's sister, Seraph's anger gets the better of her and unleashes a wave of destruction in the front room of the bakery, breaking everything. Once they were married, he buys a plot of land believed to be of little value, and becomes a farmer.
Twenty years and three children later, Seraph is happy, even though the guilt of eschewing her people's responsibility ways on her, even through her little family's having rough times. Tier has gone on another winter's hunting trip, and he's late in returning home. When a hunter arrives, bringing news that he believes Tier to be dead, Seraph is getting the feeling that something is most definitely not right. Now she must tell her children what exactly they are. There are 5 Orders of the Travelers; her children were all born into different Orders. Something that had never before happened.
Unearthing the bones, Seraph is sure that the bones do not belong to her husband. Another Raven, Hennea, finds them and explains what she believes is happening. Rinnie, her youngest child and only daughter, gets kidnapped, and all four: Seraph, her son's Jes and Lehr and Raven Hennea, discover where she is and get her back, leaving her with Tier's sister. Seraph believes that Tier has been kidnapped much for the same reason: for his magic. While Tier wasn't born of the Order, he is a Bard: he can keep people calm with his voice, he can absolve an argument, and his songs can create pictures with his words. Travelers are dying. The Masters of the Secret Path are stealing magic with every intention of unleashing the Stalker. And as a Raven of the Order, Seraph cannot let that happen.
Patricia Briggs is a Master Story-teller. She weaves a suspenseful mystery plot with excellent characters, great action scenes, and feelings. You can feel the inner battles of the main characters, from Seraph and Tier to Lehr and especially Jes. Every word pops the picture in your mind and you can swear you're right along with each character, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel. What I also really liked wsa the ending of the book. Even though this is the first book in her Raven duology, it doesn't leave this huge cliffhanger ending. While the book can be read as a stand-alone, only a couple of the plot lines are left unresolved, which does leave you wondering, but not frustrated. If you like fantasy novels, you will definitely like this one.(less)
**spoiler alert** *Please note: I cannot quote anything from the book. I'd won and received an ARC copy through the contest on the author's website.
N...more**spoiler alert** *Please note: I cannot quote anything from the book. I'd won and received an ARC copy through the contest on the author's website.
NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon has been all over Europe for almost six months. His on the trail of a serial killer, one that sends postcards and pictures to the newspapers before and after each killing.
But it's for sure the murders are being committed by a serial killer. Victims are of young couples in love, either boyfriend/girlfriend, engaged, or newlyweds. The victims are drugged, murdered (throats slit), and posed, and polaroid pictures are taken and sent to the same person they previously sent the postcards to. The murders are committed once, in one city, then the killer moves on.
Jacob is on the hunt for what he calls The Postcard Killers, and won't stop until they're caught. At every murder, he becomes more and more frustrated, and despair is crashing on him. You see, he'd sent his daughter on vacation to Rome with her fiance, and she was one of the Postcard Killers's victims. Guilt-ridden, he's determined to catch them, no matter the cost.
Dessie Larsson, a Swedish reporter, received a postcard and wonders what it's supposed to mean. But then the polaroid arrives, and she's dragged into the case, against her wishes. She's persuaded by the police to write a letter and publish it in the newspaper, meant to capture the killers' attention. It does, in a gruesome way, and now Dessie feels responsible for the second set of victims, believing that, if she hadn't written the letter, the killers would have moved on and the victims in Stockholm would still be alive.
Together, Jacob and Dessie comb through the evidence, the postcards, the polaroids. There's a pattern, but just when it seems obvious, it floats away. One picture in particular haunts Dessie, for the posed victims remind her of something. After talking to her ex-husband, she's figured out what all the polaroids have in common; the victims are posed to immitate reknown paintings, famous paintings.
When clues fall into place, pictures of the killers are released to the media, and a widespread manhunt ensues, only to have the tables turned on them. The killers give themselves up, acting like a pair of tourists caught in the middle of the whole fiasco. Jacob is sure they are the killers, but there's not enough evidence. No prints, no DNA, no nothing.
But when they're released, Jacob loses it. He needs to find evidence it's them, and decides to investiage their pasts - in Los Angeles. The more people he talks to, the more he's certain that Sylvia and Malcolm Rudolph, twins, sister and brother, are the killers.
As more clues fall into place, he returns to Dessie, and together the find another clue: a website created about their art group. One page needs a password to access, and no matter what they try, the password is denied. That is, until they hit the right password. What they find, is indescribable.
The killers aren't just Sylvia and her twin brother, Malcolm, but several other people, all over Europe. All part of the same art group, and art group formed by Sylvia and Malcolm.
Jacob and Dessie are hot on the twins's trail, through northern Sweden, where Dessie had enlisted the help of her cousin to see if they could find and track the twins. When news of a second car theft reaches them, Dessie passes on the information to her cousin, and the car gets spotted.
The climax of the story is swift and brutal, but the epilogue is very sweet.
**Not your garden-variety killers. Ha! (If you read the book, you'll catch the pun, LOL!)
I liked Dessie right from the beginning. Even though she was a small-time reporter, she didn't want to be reknown. That wasn't for her. She didn't care if her byline was under the biggest story. She wasn't in it for the prestige. Her morals and beliefs grounded her, and I liked that about her very much. When the police persuade her to post a letter to the killers, offering them a large sum of money for an interview, she's viewed in the media as unethical and immoral, and this really disturbs her.
Jacob is on a one-track mind: to find his daugther's killers, no matter the cost. Severely depressed by guilt, believing that if he hadn't sent his daughter and her boyfriend/fiance to Rome on vacation, she'd still be alive, he'll stop at nothing to find and capture her killers. I liked his tenacity, even if I found him to be immoral at times. For him, morality flew out the window the minute he confirmed his dead daughter's body was his daughter's. I also loved how the walls he built around himself came crashing down when Dessie came into the picture, and how her face kept coming to mind while he was away from her. I think Dessie was his "saving grace."
The killers, Malcolm and Sylvia Rudolph... what a pair of psychotics. I think the most disturbing to me was watching them interact with their victims. *shudder* Reading a murder-mystery, you expect gruesome crime scenes, so I was prepared for it. But you don't really get into the killers minds, you just see them interact with everyone around them, how they act with their victims, how they "put on a show" about being simple art students and tourists, taking in the sights and museums... that was disturbing.
The climax was perfect. And the epilogue was sweet. One thing, though... I'd have liked to see Jacob "say goodbye" to his daughter with Dessie beside him.
Another perfect James Patterson novel. No unneeded details or descriptions, vivid descriptions bring mental pictures to mind that make you shudder, characters that are complicated with simple words, and short chapters make this a quick, but very enjoyable, read. Highly recommended!(less)
David Bolden is late getting into work, with one hell of a hangover. While in the bathroom trying to get himself together,...moreA debut novel worth reading!
David Bolden is late getting into work, with one hell of a hangover. While in the bathroom trying to get himself together, a horrific accident kills everyone in the office - leaving him the sole survivor. Survivor's guilt and memories keep him awake, but he doesn't dwell on them.
Enter Thorrin, a rich man who does what he wants, when he wants. He's absolutely positive that David is good luck, and is determined to prove it. Through a series of near life-threatening events, they believe David is filled with good luck. David doesn't see it that way. But past events, even during his childhood, look like scenes of luck, when David believes them simply coincidences.
Definitely a story you can get into. David is like every other Joe Blow, a regular guy with a regular job that gets blown to hell when an accident kills everyone in the office but him. Now he has to decide what to do, and some decisions aren't easy to make. A very likeable character, he could be your brother or your neighbour, a good guy that gets mixed up with rich men who like to cause nothing but heartache and mind games. The suspense of "game" outcomes have you hold your breath a time or two, and you root for David, hoping that he can get out of the situation he finds himself in. You can't help but wish David good luck for the future.