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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Level 26

Level 26
Dark Origins
2009 - Hardback $26.95
By Anthony Zuiker & Duane Swierczynski
406 Pages

Sqweegel, the name given to the monster of all monster serial killers, by the FBI. He will attack and kill anyone, kill them by any means, and he is now the only serial killer classified as a level 26. The FBI typically classify killers from one to 25 but Sqweegel is so hianus in his crimes, he's given his own category and he has been killing for decades.

Steve Dark the only agent who has come eye to eye with the killer and not die or go insane refuses to go back into service, but is dragged back into the cat and mouse game world of the killer after a few years of retirement. Mind games, action, introspectin are all part of this fast story that will keep you turning the pages.

Warning, this is a very violent, explecit novel. If that's not your game take a pass on this one.

This being a "digi-novel" is the reason I gave it a shot. The concept is to go to a web page and log on with codes from the book and you get to watch short video clips from sceenes from the story. Some of the clips were truly creepy, but others flat and cheesey.

The story is fast paced but lacking in the plot line and a few holes in the research. The setting is ok and the dialog is good. I like books that make you turn the pages and this one did although it is predictable. On a five star rating system I would give it a solid 3.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Sandburg Connection

The Sandburg Connection

By Mark de Castrique 2011

Poisoned Pen Press

The Sandburg Connection opens in Flat Rock North Carolina. Sam Blackman and his partner/lover Nakayla Robertson are on the investigative trail of Professor Janice Wainwright. Janice claims a recent back surgery gone bad is the cause of her intense pain and is suing for 5 million dollar, thus the reason for the investigation. While following Wainwright up the trails on Glassy Mountain, Blackman hears a cry and reaches Wainwright to find her nearly dead but still conscious. Through her dazed mental state she tells Blackman “it’s the Sandburg verses”.

Of course since Sam is the first to find her he is the prime suspect. Later, after her death, through autopsy reports it’s found she had narcotics in her system but there is indeed evidence of the surgeon’s botched surgery.

A break-in at the Wainwright home and a stolen book of Sandburg’s volumes from Sam’s vehicle, lead Sam to believe there is something more to the death of Wainwright than meets the eye.

Sam and Nakayla travel the country roads of North Carolina and the mountain trails of the Glassy Mountain seeking the truth behind the death of Janice Wainwright and what the “Sandburg verses” is all about.

This is a great story unfolding methodically, and interesting to readers who enjoy southern history with a twist of treasure hunting to boot. I enjoyed the character Sam Blackman who reminds me of a mans man. He’s got an artificial leg and a smoking hot lover that is sure to please any fan of good character development.

The setting is real with plenty of detail for the imagination but doesn’t burden the reader with so much it makes for a tedious read. The dialogue is one of the best in the business as far as I’m concerned too. The only downfall of the story is I feel it needed a bit more development and detail thrown in for the treasure hunt, but then again, this is not supposed to be an adventure it’s a mystery. A great mystery it is!

By Bill Bennett

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Seduction by Design by Sandra Brown

Seduction by Design is a fast, light read. It's an old story, circa 1983, that has now been reprinted in hardback (2002), told on CD, and retold by Kindle. It's not a bad story at all. On the other hand it's not great either. It is a good, straightforward category romance from the days when that was all that Sandra Brown wrote. The author's talent for story telling and gentle hand shines through the character development and story pacing from the first chapter. The story has some quirks that left me scratching my head. The standard romance formula that begins with two distinctly different people who first meet and dislike each other - gets flipped on its head from the next chapter forward - when the man, amusement park owner Tyler Scott, tells the perky heroine and amusement park manager, Hailey Ashton, that he will seduce her. Of course, it's a romance story so he will accomplish that. He will also fall in love with her as she will with him. The genre requires an optimistic, happy ending and we aren't disappointed. There are some times in the story when the dialogue is not believable, even seeming to be inappropriate or offensive to present day sensibilities. There are some steamy moments in the story, but none that would require a rating beyond PG-13. It's a good story and worth a read if there isn't something more pressing on the bookshelf.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Safe Haven By Nicholas Sparks

Just when I thought I had the Nick Sparks formula down pat, here comes 'Safe Haven.' I was coming home from a business trip in New Orleans and had an 11 hour and change drive, so I picked up this unabridged audiobook. One of the things about Nickolas Sparks' writing is that there is usually a fairly narrow cast of characters - a fact that makes audiobooks a joy to read through the mind's eye. 'Safe Haven' follows a single woman, Katie, on a remarkable journey from savage abuse to triumphant Self-actualization. The journey is a heroes one, but with a decidedly feminine bent. Nurtured by a warm abd generous small community in North Carolina, Katie is able to fill the missing part of herself. When she meets Alex and his children, she reaches a crossroads - can she reveal the dark secret of her past and be accepted or will the evil that she's carefully hidden from all these months come bursting through? Fulfilling ones individual potential is a risky proposition no matter how you slice it. Nickolas sparks has created a real gem. The most interesting character, the one who helps Katie weigh her options and make the fateful decision, is one of the best drawn characters in the story. She's a no-nonsense neighbor who really shines. When the story reaches its climatic point, have no fear - all the loose ends are neatly pulled back together. That may be one of Nick Sparks' best traits - nothing is left undone. All his stories are complete, well-rounded and satisfing. Safe Haven is just the most recent addition to the list of well done works by this author.

The audiobook is very well done by Rebecca Lowman. She has an intersting voice and her ability to sustain believeable characters is remarkable. The audio quality is very good and won't disappoint.