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Thursday, March 29, 2007

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

There are many names out there producing some great fairy adventure at the moment. A new name has joined the ranks - Cassandra Clare, author of City of Bones, her first book as well as being the first in The Mortal Instruments trilogy.

A blurb on the back of the book from Justine Larbalestier, Magic of Maddness, claims that City of Bones has it all. While Holly Black, Valiant, says this book is ‘Funny. Dark. And sexy.’ Can one book live up to all this great press? Yes it can.

Clary Fray, short for Clarissa, is a normal girl in a normal world. When she sees a blue haired boy in a night club attacked and killed by a group of three strange looking teenagers, things change. But when a bouncer is called and no one can see the three but her, Clary starts to wonder what exactly is happening.

When Clary receives a strange phone call from her mom she rushes home to make sure that everything is alright. What she finds is an apartment in ruins and a demon waiting to eat her. But Clary isn’t a normal girl and she is able to barely hold her own against the demon. Soon enough she is rescued by one of the strange teenagers. Jace takes her to the Institute, a place of safety for his kind.

What is happening is that Clary is starting to regain her ‘Sight’, the power that enables her to see the world, and the things in the world, as it really is. Soon she learns that the three teenagers are Shadowhunters: men, women, and teenagers created by mixing the blood of angels with that of man so that they could hunt and kill demons. Alec and Isabelle, the other two strangers from the club, are brother and sister, and Jace came to live with their family when he was ten years old, after the horrific death of his father.

There is a lot happening in City of Bones. Featuring a full cast of characters, twists jump out with every turn of the page as Clary moves through the discovery of herself and the truth that is locked in her memories. Clary’s best friend Simon is one of the more human and believable characters in this novel; his awkwardness is easily recognized from any boy you went to high school with, making him even more lovable.

The Shadowhunters and their world is fantastic. Clear and all too believable, next time I go to a club I know I will be searching the dark corners for the things that go bump in the night. I might even find them.

If any of you are fans of the Modern Faerie Tales of Holly Black, Cassandra Clare’s writing group buddy, you will instantly recognize the small cameo some of her characters have in chapter ten of ‘City of Bones.’
'Clary saw a girl about her own age with a smoothly shaved head leaning against a brown-skinned boy with dreadlocks, his face adorned with a dozen piercings. He turned his head as the carriage rolled by as if he could see it, and she caught the gleam of his eyes. One of them as clouded, as though it had no pupil.' (page 174)

The appearance was totally unexpected and completely wonderful. I was thrilled to come across this small bit that ties a world of several authors I love into one.

But there are many things to love about City of Bones, including a cat by the name of Chairman Meow. The adventure can only get better as this trilogy progresses and I, for one, will be waiting eagerly for the next installment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NCIS: Blood Evidence by Mel Odom

Blood Evidence continues where Paid in Blood left off. Commander Will Coburn’s NCIS team is called in to rescue a Marine’s kidnapped daughter. The kidnappers are a local gang involved in illegal drugs and weapons. During the rescue, Will’s team discovers that they are also involved in the third world slave trade. There is a violent gun battle at the farm that ends with another gruesome discovery.

The body of a Marine, missing for seventeen years is found after an explosion. Found with him is a charm belonging to a girl murdered long ago. Her case is a cold case thought to have been linked to a serial killer that was caught soon after her murder.

At the same time all this is happening, Nita, the team’s medical examiner, is caught up in her own troubles. Her home life has deteriorated and she has turned to alcohol to numb the pain. This has come to Will’s attention and he finds he must deal with her marriage problems while still trying to come to grips with his own divorce.

The investigation ensues and they soon find it involves a powerful US Senator, the girl’s stepfather. Digging around for answers in the years old murder turns up plenty of skeletons long thought buried. It finds corruption, blackmail and murder in the corridors of power in DC.

As exciting as all the action and the investigation is, I was drawn more to the story of Nita Tomlinson. Her personal problems stem from a hard life as a child with a mother that was never there. She led a poor life and had no respect for her mom and as soon as she could, she left and never looked back. Her childhood trauma has affected her adult life in ways she could never have guessed and it is destroying her marriage.

She finds her mother and after a fight she watches as her mother is run down in an attempted murder. As her mother lies on the asphalt, moments from death, Nita uses her training to save her life. She knows she is destined to fail and finally, after years of running, faces her life. She prays for the first time and her mother fights back from death.

This epiphany leads her back home to her husband and child. The most memorable moment of the book follows soon after as she seeks to mend her marriage by admitting her weaknesses in front of her husband’s church. It was a very powerful scene.

The action and pace are as excellent as they could be. The characters are brought to life through the well thought and written story. Mel has included plenty of the science and methodology behind crime scene investigations but in a way that does not leave the reader feeling dumb. Another must read from Mel Odom.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Legend of Deathwalker by David Gemmel

Another story of Druss, this time telling of how he got the Nadir name Deathwalker.The popularity of the character can be seen in the fact that Legend, the first book, was published in 1984 and has never been out of print. There is something appealing about Druss that is hard to put into words. He is an indomitable force for good. His seemingly simplistic views appeal to something inside us. He believes in right and wrong, good and evil. He will not do evil, nor let evil be done. He will not compromise his code no matter what.

Druss is asked to be a representative for the Drenai nation to Gothir, a neighboring country. He replaces the Drenai fist fighter and quickly becomes a favorite. He is due to go against the Gothir champion, Klay. Klay is much like Druss. He is a fighter with morals and uses his wealth an position to help the poor.One of my favorite scenes is where a young boy comes to ask Klay's help with his mother. He say Klay do CPR on a person and brought him back to life. The boy thinks Klay is a God. He asks Klay to heal his mother of cancer, but it is impossible. The mother is going to die. Klay moves her to a hospice he owns. He tells his friend that "I have never wanted to be a God, until now." Powerful drama.

Klay is paralyzed saving Druss' life. Druss decides to go on quest to find two magic stones, the Eyes of Alchezzar. The stones have power to heal any injury. They are also the most sacred artifacts of the savage Nadir tribes. The stones are imbued with the magic of the Nadir lands. The prophesied Uniter is supposed to use them to bring the Nadir to ascendancy over the world.

Druss comes between the Army of Gothir, that is after the stones and the abliteration of the Nadir tribes and a group of Nadir warriors sworn to defend the shrine where they are supposed to be hidden. Druss does not like the Nadir, but the actions of the Gothir are evil and he is sworn to fight evil, so he joins the defence of the old shrine. He meets the spirit of the founder of the Nadir, Oshikai, and journeys into hell to help Oshikai find the soul of his lost love. There he gains the name Deathwalker, and a place in the Nadir pantheon of heroes.

In the end, they triumph against the overwhelming odds. Druss vows to return to his home in the Skoda mountains and fight no more. But we know he dies at the defence of Dros Delnoch in Legend.

Legend of Deathwalker is a wonderful story. All the Drenai tales build upon a rich tapestry, creating one of the finest fantasy worlds ever. The moral questions and themes Gemmell explores are wonderful and timeless. It is easy to see why they are so popular.

Bomb Squad - A Year Inside the Nation's Most Exclusive Police Unit by Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein

Join Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein as they delve into the world of terror and excitement with New York City’s most elite arm of the police department, the Bomb Squad. The squad is made of 33 normal guys who shy away from heroism, though they put their life on the line almost every day of the year meeting head-on the countless bomb threats — real and imagined — plaguing New York City with unnerving consistency.

The Bomb Squad’s roots were in the early 1900s when the Black Hand, an early group of thugs that preferred to use dynamite for extortion and terror, preyed on the Italian immigrants. An Italian-American detective named Giuseppe Petrosino from Salerno, Sicily was assigned to head up a five-man unit, “The Italian Squad,” that deported thousands of members of the Black Hand, and cut the crime rate against Italian-Americans by half.

The authors write:
The culture of the bomb technician, we came to learn, is not to be found in the five-inch-thick NYPD rule book -- the Patrol Guide -- or the regulations of any other police department. Nor is it explained in the volumes of explosives training material. It is a culture that has evolved over ten decades of trial and error on the part of police officers who donned protective gear, knelt down, said a prayer, and attempted to cut the correct wire, sever a circuit, remove a blasting cap, and defuse a bomb.

Imagine the destructive force of a super heated blast wave moving 26,000 feet per second. Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein train with the squad for a full year, working with the K-9 dogs and observe the men in Kevlar as they perform their magic on these improvised bombs.

Ditto what Ted Koppel said about this book, “Forget 24; this is the real thing.”Bomb Squad is an enjoyable book with a tremendous amount of information directing the ins and outs of this elite arm of the New York City Police Department. It’s packed full of interesting stories of the real-life heroes we should all applaud for their unselfish dedication to preserve the safety of our families, our way of life, and our freedom.

Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich

In revolutionary France, Ethan Gage, expatriate American and assistant to Ben Franklin finds himself on the receiving end of relentless pursuit by infernal characters coveting a mysterious coin he won in a poker game. Fearing for his life, and being framed for the murder of a prostitute he has the choice of prison or to take refuge with none other Napoleon Bonaparte on an expedition to conquer Egypt and unlock the mysteries of the Pyramids.

Banaparte, in search of more power, uses Ethan, this curiously engraved coin and 167 other scientists and engineers to unlock the mysteries of the ancient Pyramids. Wielding a Pennsylvania long-rifle and tomahawk, Ethan fights alongside the French in head to head battle on swash-buckling ships against the English and in the desert sands of Egypt.

William Dietrich’s Napoleon’s Pyramids is one of my favorite books. Dietrich uses the flavor of a French backdrop to throw you into the story with an invigorating American hero Ethan Gage to weave a story comparable to the Indiana Jones sagas. The reader will enjoy encounters with a spectrum of rich characters from scantly dressed hookers, to an enchanting Gypsy lover, to Napoleon Bonaparte and to a beautiful servant girl.

This was an impressive experience to read a historical novel with so much action and authentic characters. If you’re searching for a refreshing adventure novel, this is the one for you, especially if you enjoy history, mystery and a whole lot of fun!

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Destruction of the Books by Mel Odom

The sequel to The Rover takes place many years after Wick’s adventures. Wick is now the Grandmagister of the Vault of All Known Knowledge. The story centers around Juhg, Grandmagister Wick’s personally selected Third Level Librarian.

Juhg is on the trading/pirate ship, Windchaser, where he and the crew clash with a goblinkin ship. But there is rumor that there is a book on the ship. Driven by his creed of saving books at all costs, Juhg and his friend, Raisho, get the book past many nasty goblinkin. Upon returning the book to the Vault of All Known Knowledge and examining the magic of the book, Wick, Craugh the Wizard and Juhg unknowingly alert evil to Greydawn Moors. The location of the Vault of All Known Knowledge is no longer secret. The evil attack that follows is costly for the inhabitants of Greydawn Moors and the Library.

The Rover by Mel Odom

This is the book that started the Dweller adventures...

In Greydawn Moors stands a library tended by Wick, a Dweller. A halfer. He dreams of adventures that he has read about in the books in this library, The Vault of All Known Knowledge. His silly imaginings come to life as he is captured, while on an errand, and taken aboard a pirate ship. From there, his very real adventures become wilder and more dangerous, seemingly by the minute.

Being a timid Dweller, Wick is blown like a leaf in the wind from pirate ship to slavery; from one unsavory company to the next. He learns quickly that his knowledge gained from being a Third Level Librarian actually can make a difference in the cruel world he lives in. Wee Wick must prove his worth in knowledge and quick thinking to evade evil and fight humans, goblinkin and even a dragon.

The Rover a magical tale of the adventures of a halfer that discovers that some of those objectionable “professionals”, like pirates and thieves, may actually be a help to certain parts of his world. Just because they do seemingly dirty deeds and sometimes kill as a part of their day doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing a favor to society.

It’s always fun to see pirate speech on paper, and this is no exception. I just want to yell, “AARRRGGHH!!”.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quest for the Trilogy by Mel Odom

With the fourth book in his Rover series, Mel has done what few authors have done, hooked me on a fantasy world. Yet again, Mel weaves a compelling tale of fantasy and adventure full of wonderful characters. The story has two parts, Jugh in the present and Second Level Librarian, Wick in the past.

Juhg is now the Grandmagister of the Vault of All Known Knowledge. He is trying to reintroduce books and reading to the world. His passion to bring this knowledge is supported by his best friend, Raisho, and his most powerful ally, the wizard Craugh. The story opens with Juhg meeting a diverse group of humans, elves and dwarves on the mainland. He is asking for help to establish the schools and libraries on the mainland. He is met with both resistance by some and open interest by others.

Juhg is attacked by bogbeasts, a new type of enemy, and launched into another quest. Craugh has recruited him to finish a quest started years before by Jugh's mentor, Wick. The evil of Lord Kharrion has not passed. Kharrion's diabolical ambitions infected the world and still fester to this day. Someone betrayed the Unity at the last battle, and that betrayal has stained relations between the races ever since. For a thousand years, the Dwarven leader Oskarr has been blamed for the betrayal and his descendents have lived with that burden. Wick left three books hidden throughout the lands for Juhg to find and finally put the past to rest.

Wick's story is told in flashbacks and starts with Wick being shanghaied, again, by Craugh and the dwarven pirate crew of the One Eyed Peggy. Craugh needs Wick to help him find and defeat Kharrion's last weapon. To do so he must recover three magical weapons lost for a thousand years and finally solve the mystery of who betrayed the Unity.

Boneslicer is a magical battle axe imbued with the power of the Earth. Mastersmith Oskarr created it and the other weapons. He eventually discovered it was cursed at the last battle and was coveted by Kharrion. He hid it to keep Kharrion from using it as part of his great weapon.

Seaspray was a great magical weapon Oskarr created with Boneslicer. Wielded by the great human hero, Captain Duluan, it is imbued with the power of the Seas. It was lost at the last battle to the goblinkin, but later stolen back and hidden by one of Duluan's heirs.

Deathwhisper was the third weapon Oskarr crafted and is the great magical bow of Sokadir, Prince of the Elves. He is the last surviving hero and still has his bow. Deathwhisper has the power of the storms. Each hit is like lighting bolt. Sokadir has left the world of elves in grief over the loss of his sons at the last battle. He is haunted by the betrayal.

Wick must recover the magical weapons and reunite them to defeat Kharrion's Wrath. With the help of Craugh, Brandt and his band of thieves, the crew of the One Eyed Peggy and some not-so-helpful talking animals Wick finds the missing weapons and defeats Kharrion's Wrath. But he cannot put the mystery of the betrayal to rest. That task is left to Jugh, his apprentice and successor as Grandmagister.

Wick left Jugh three journals, hidden for safekeeping. These journals hold the evidence of who actually betrayed the Unity a thousand years ago and how that person could destroy the future Wick, Jugh and the rest have fought so hard to bring about. Juhg and Craugh must defeat the last remnant of Lord Kharrion's evil if the races are ever to rebuild the Unity and defeat the evil goblinkin.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Black Dragon River by Ben Whately

Author Ben Whately tells you right away that Black Dragon River this isn’t a travel book. Instead, it is a "journal of changing thoughts and opinions as I tried to accustom myself to living in a single, very strange, and not especially nice, place."

Whately goes to the city of Qiqihaer China to learn Chinese and to make sense of the "mystery of China." He is one of six native English speakers in a city of five million people. He starts out not even able to hold a conversation in Chinese, but by the end is conversing, if not easily then much less painfully. The change that happens in the book, as he becomes more comfortable with the things around him, is wonderful to read.

In chapter three Ben relates the story of finally meeting in person an American couple who teach English at the University he is studying Chinese at. He had found their home page while researching Qiqihaer and e-mailed them. Over time he had come to think of them as a "celebrity couple," having read all about their exploits in China.

When he finally introduced himself to Heather, one half of the American couple, she said "So you came? Why?" He would soon find that she wouldn’t be the only one to ask that question, to which he didn’t seem to have much of an answer beside mumbling "purity of the Mandarin accent."

While most of the book does take place in the city of Qiqihaer, the author does take weekend jaunts out into the more remote parts of Heilongjiang province, as well as Mongolia. The Heilongjiang province is named for the river that runs through the region. Translated it means "Black Dragon River."

In a town called Tazi, marketed as a tourist town in a 1989 guidebook for a wall from the Liao Dynasty that surrounds the city, Ben discovers that he is the first foreigner that many have ever seen. Brutally honest about China and his experiences, as well as being humorous, thoughtful, and ever hopeful, the author relates all his stories with a certain charm. Highly entertaining, you read from one chapter to the next picking up interesting facts about China that you might not find anywhere else.

My one complaint is that Black Dragon River was too short at only 180 pages. I feel as if there must be more to the story and I would love to know the rest. In that respect Ben Whately has achieved what every author should: he has left his audience wanting more.

I also got a chance to interview Mr. Whately and it can be read here.

The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend by David Gemmell

Druss the Axeman, the Captain of the Axe, the Silver Slayer, Deathwalker, these are the names legend has given him. Druss the Legend is an indomitable warrior, armed with the great battle axe, Snaga. Snaga the Sender, the Blades of No Return, an axe possessed by a demon that gives it the power to cut anything and makes the wielder almost unbeatable.

The first book telling of Druss was called Legend. It told of Druss in his sixties, called to defend his homeland against an invasion of barbarian hordes. It tells of his death and hints and his past. He is an unstoppable warrior with an iron code. He will not do evil, nor stand still while evil is done. His world is black and white and he has little tolerance for those that attempt to paint it in shades of grey. He is a man that has lived a life of violence, but has no remorse for it. He is a warrior without peer and a friend that will never flinch or falter.

The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend tells the story of his beginning. Druss is a young man, recently married to Rowena. He lives in a small mountain village on the frontier of Drenai. He is not popular in the town. The people fear him for his great size and temper. Rowena is the only person he has ever allowed close to him and he loves her dearly.

While he is working in the mountains felling trees, the village is attacked by bandits. Everybody is killed but the young women, who are gathered as slaves. Druss uses his axe to defend himself and a young woman and they are the only survivors. He returns in time to find his dying father, who tells him where to find a family heirloom hidden in the house for Druss has a secret. He is the grandson of Bardan the Slayer. Bardan’s axe and armor are hidden in his father’s house.

Druss is devastated by the loss of his wife. He dons Bardan’s armor, grabs the axe and heads off to the rescue. Before he can leave the town, he encounters Shadak the Hunter, whose son was slain by the same raiders. Shadak offers to help him, and in so doing gives Druss his own code for life. "Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These are things for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain lead you into the pursuit of evil." Druss adopts this code as his own and it lays the foundation for his actions for the rest of his life.

Druss follows the slavers and in a nighttime raid, they attack and he kills nineteen of the raiders, freeing the women. But his wife is not among them. She was taken by the raider’s leader Collan to Mashrapur. Druss continues to Mashrapur to find her. In Mashrapur, he enters a fight contest and fights Borcha, the local champion. He meets Bodasen, a Ventrian General who is in the town to hire mercenaries to fight a war. Bodasen sets up a meeting between Collan and Druss to get Rowena back, but Collan reneges on the deal and Druss gets severely wounded. Collan is killed but Rowena is taken away on a ship. Druss finds out later that the ship is sunk by pirates under the employ of the Empire of Nashaan. Nashaan is fighting Ventria and Ventria is losing badly. Druss decides that Nashaan is his enemy and he decides to fight for them.

Druss fights for Ventria, becoming the Emperor Gorben’s champion. Druss leads attack after attack and his status as a warrior grows, but the killing gives the demon that possesses Snaga power. The power of the axe drove his grandfather insane and it is starting to get to Druss, too. Druss’ iron code and indomitable will hold the madness at bay and Druss uses the power to lead the defeat of Nashaan’s armies.

Along the way he finds out that his wife is not dead, but suffers from amnesia. His hunt begins again. He finally finds her, but with her memory loss, she has married the General of the last Nashaanite army, Michanek. In the final battle, Michanek dies and Rowena attempts suicide. A priest saves her from the poison but her spirit is lost in the netherworld. Druss enters the netherworld to bring her back. Ultimately it leads to a confrontation with the demon in the axe. Druss defeats the demon and Snaga is no longer possessed. Rowena and Druss are reunited after seven years and they return home.

The last part of the book tells the story of Druss in his forties, standing with his countrymen against the Empire of Ventria. The Ventrian Emperor, Gorben, has been given a sword that is possessed by another demon, but has given in to the insanity. He has attacked and invaded the other countries and has turned into the same kind of evil that Druss helped him defeat years earlier. Druss stands against the Empire, fighting men that he calls friends. Druss and a handful of warriors defeat the Ventrians at Skeln Pass in a battle reminiscent of the Spartans defeating the Persians.

This book is more a series of short stories than a whole story. Each part is a self contained whole the only common thread is Druss’ search for Rowena. The last part seems a bit abbreviated, but still it does what it meant to do, which is tell the back story of Druss. I enjoyed the book and recommend it along with all the Drenai Tales series. Gemmell’s world is richly created and inhabited by wonderful characters. I actually feel saddened when I reach the end of his books, because I want more to read. Gemmell died last year, so there will be no more Drenai Tales written.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rogue Angel: The Spider Stone by Alex Archer

In a part of the Underground Railroad, a mystery has been uncovered…one dating back to the before the Civil War. The remains of several slaves have been found. But archeologist Annja Creed discovers that these aren’t just any slaves. She finds the Spider Stone, an artifact that reveals the existence of an olden African people…and possibly even a treasure!

Annja Creed is a woman’s rendering of Indiana Jones, but with a twist. She’s the possessor of the mystical sword of Joan of Arc. She has been called to investigate the mystery of the slaves that were left behind to die under a building in rural, northern Georgia. With her discovery of the Spider Stone, all hell breaks loose around the site and she is forced to call upon her skills of the Sword to defend herself and her colleagues.

Meanwhile, a violent African warlord is also interested in the Spider Stone. He is aware of its revived existence and the possibility of treasure to be found by deciphering the inscription on the Stone. So, as Annja’s investigation leads her across the Atlantic to Senegal, the action spirals upward as good and evil collide.

The Spider Stone is a fast and furious read with lots of action. Women kicking butt and taking names…It doesn’t get any more fun that that!

The reader is also treated to a historical education. In The Spider Stone, we learn much about the slave trade between Africa and North America and some of the realities that these unfortunate souls were forced to endure.

The Spider Stone is the third book in the Rogue Angel series, featuring Annja Creed as archeologist and the bearer of Joan of Arc’s sword.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Storm Force by Meredith Fletcher

Kate Garrett is a woman with problems. She is a wilderness guide with a so-so business in the Everglades. Her ex is a controlling jerk who, even after the divorce, likes to make her life miserable. He send the kids to stay with her right before a hurricane hits the Florida coast. From there her problems get worse. A bus full of convicts crashes, and her jeep gets stolen. Later those same convicts kidnap her and force her to help them escape through the swamps, while getting hammered by the storm.

Kate is a heroine with character. She has problems that many of us deal with every day. Her character is richly layered and if she were real, I would hang out with her. She is tough and resourceful. She does not run from her problems she tackles them and beats them. This story is excellent. The bad guys are great, the good guys are awesome. The setting is superbly done. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

Rogue Angel: Forbidden City by Alex Archer

Another installment in the adventures of Annja Creed. Annja is up to her neck in murder, mystery and mayhem again, this time from California's gold rush ghost town to the desert of Eastern China.
Annja is asked by Huangfu Cao to help find the remains of a Chinese immigrant who was murdered in Volcanoville, a gold rush shanty town in the hills around San Francisco.
Cao claims he is searching for the remains of an ancestor to return him home for burial. Annja agrees to help, because that ancestor happened to own an ancient plaque carved by the Scythian people thousands of years ago. When Annja finds the plaque she is targeted for murder by Cao. It seems no one is what they seem.
Huangfu Cao fails to kill her, leading to a chase through the forested hills. Annja'a knack for survival, not to mention the Sword of Joan of Arc, keep her alive an one step ahead of death. Annja escapes the killers and is rescued by park rangers.
The police try to protect her, but fail and she loses the plaque, but our girl is smart, she took pictures. Her investigation leads her to a local historian who knows something about the plaque and its curse.
No good Rogue Angel story is complete without Roux, who puts in an appearance. He wants the plaque also. The plaque is the key to an ancient city in China, the City of Thieves. The City of Thieves was home to a group of assassins that worked for the ancient Emperor of China, Qin. Qin fought and won wars and eventually forged the nation that is now China. He was a great warrior, who had the services of these assassins and their leader, Sha Wu Ying.
Sha Wu Ying betrayed Qin, but in doing so, led to his own destruction. His cabal of assassins died with him and the City of Thieves disappeared into history and mythology. Enough hints have survived that can lead back to the treasure of the thieves and Cao works for a ruthless Chinese crime lord, Ngai, that wants that treasure for himself. Roux wants the treasure also, but only to keep another mystic talisman from falling into Garin's hands. Garin aligns himself with Ngai and the hunt is on.
Another new character is Kelly Swan. Kelly is the daughter of a poor Chinese fisherman who is murdered by Ngai and she is out for revenge. Lucky for her, she is a CIA trained assassin who has the skills and drive to go for it. Her character is interesting. Interesting enough to warrant her own book or at least further appearances in the Rogue Angel series.
The only negative comment I have is the cover. It is spectacular artwork, but it shows Annja submerged in water, her head and sword barely peaking above the surface. But nowhere in the book is there a scene like that. As a matter of fact, the climax of the book is in a desert! Other than that one little thing, I loved the book. Good job,Alex.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson

Scent of Shadows has several positive reviews on the cover talking about how great a story it is. It had a pretty good premise and a decent plot, but I think some of the details left a bit to be desired. As action books go, it was pretty good. The pacing was good and the lead character was pretty well developed.

Joanna Archer is the daughter of a multimillionaire gambling mogul, Xavier. She was raped and left for dead in the desert outside Las Vegas when she was sixteen. By all rights she should be dead. As a matter of fact, the rapist intended her to die, but she did not. Joanna healed and turned the pain and fear into a weapon. She learned the Martial art Krav Maga, the martial art developed by the Israelis.

Over the years she has hunted for her rapist, intentionally putting herself in harms way, making herself bait for the evil that lurks in Vegas. It eventually finds her, but in ways normal people would never understand.

On the day before her 25th birthday she is assaulted by a homicidal serial killer, Ajax. She defends herself and is rescued by her old high school flame, Ben. One thing leads to another and they hook up for her birthday. But before their date, Joanna and her sister Olivia learn that Xavier is not Joanna's father. Bad news for the heiress, but it is OK she hates Xavier.

After her date with Ben, she visits her sister, only to be attacked by another homicidal maniac. The battle that ensues leaves her sister dead and her on the run. Why would one woman be the target of so many nutball killers?

Joanna is a Zodiac symbol. A mystical warrior, involved in a millennia long battle between the light and shadow. Each side is ruled by the twelve symbols of the Zodiac. She is the daughter of the Archer. Actually, she is the daughter of both Archers, the evil and good. Her birth and ascendancy have been prophesied. The Light wants to control her. The Dark wants to destroy her.

She is Light and Dark combined in one vessel and has the powers of both sides. She gets to choose which side she serves. The Dark killed her sister. Raped Joanna and left her for dead. So she is out for revenge. However, revenge is not that pure of a motive and the Darkness in her prevents the purity of Light.

Joanna turns it into a weapon. She finds the traitor in the Light Zodiac and destroys Ajax and a large part of the Shadow Zodiac.

All in all, it is a pretty good story. The problems I have with it are some of the details are too convenient or unexplained. It left me unsatisfied in parts. This is the first in a series of Zodiac books, so maybe she will fix this in her second book.

Rogue Angel: The Chosen by Alex Archer

This book has a different flavor from the others in the series that I have read. Annja Creed is an archaeologist that is a trouble magnet. That is due to the fact that she has been gifted with Joan of Arc's sword along with mystical powers, not to mention enhanced speed and strength.

Annja is drawn into the investigation of Santo Nino, the Holy Child, while on a dig in New Mexico. Also drawn into the mystery of the Child is a Jesuit priest, Father Robert Godin. He is more a religious troubleshooter of cop than a priest. His character is an interesting addition to the mythology of the Rogue Angel. His involvement becomes even more interesting when he is revealed to be the latest incarnation of the Inquisition. The resolution to the story leaves an opening for some interesting interactions between her and the Catholic Church. Garin puts in a small appearance, but there is no real development of that character.

Annja is stalked once again by monsters, both human and non-human. which leads to another confrontation between good and evil. The violence in this book is a little more intense than previously. It seems in this book, Annja is a little more ready to use the sword publicly than in other books. But that does not detract from my enjoyment of the story. It is another enjoyable installment in the series.

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress - Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Jane Gilman

In a book about 'growing up ambitious and engaging in some spectacularly imbecilic behavior,' Susan Jane Gilman’s Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, a follow-up to Kiss My Tiara, takes you from the very start of a wacky life to adulthood. I’ve got my fingers crossed for another book because it has been a long time since I laughed so hard while reading.

As Gilman further attests in the 'Author’s Soapbox' of a preface, this collection of names-have-been-changed true stories -- 'or at least, I’ve recounted them as honestly as I can remember them' — serves more than a single purpose:

I’ve written this book, in part, because it seems that all of us could use a good laugh these days. Yet I’ve also written it because so many stories women are currently telling are all about getting a man. Or getting over a man. Or about getting laid. Or about not getting laid. Or about not getting laid and not getting a man, but deciding we’re ok with it. While a few stories do involve a boy, a bra, and a booty call, mostly their focus is elsewhere - on other passions and delusions that we all experience in one form or another.

The stories that you find within this book are everything the author promises and more. Each one is something that any girl, or guy for that matter, can relate to.

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress is separated into three sections. Part One, entitled 'Grape Juice and Humiliation' contains, among others, ‘Nudie Hippie Kiddie Star’ and ‘A Girl's Guide to Bragging and Lying.' Part Two, ‘Not Just Horny, But Obnoxious, Too’ contains my favorite, ‘Mick Jagger Wants Me.’ And Part Three -- ‘Reality Says, “Hello”’ -- contains, among others, ‘I was a Professional Lesbian,’ ‘My Father the Park Ranger, My Mother the Nun’ and the title essay.

In ‘Mick Jagger Wants Me’ Gilman talks about how she fantasized as a teenager about Mick Jagger not only being her boyfriend but pulling up in front of her school in a black stretch limo. But he didn’t stop there; he would walk inside, come into her classroom and get down on one knee to tell her how much he has missed her for the last three hours that they have been apart. Of course the whole classroom would be staring opened-mouthed and some of the girls would have fainted between the desks.

I have to admit to having spent criminal amounts of time myself dreaming of my crush sweeping me out of school like in the movie Officer and a Gentleman. I also fantasized that I was taller with perfect skin and in a tight sparkly ball gown. If I’m dreaming I might as well dream big, right? Well Susan Jane Gilman thinks so and that is exactly how her life reads.

Not only will you laugh but you will cry as well. Susan Gilman takes everything that life has to offer and brings out the hilarious, sad, beautiful, and slightly odd things that all of us have experienced. Hypocrite is now one of my favorite books and whenever I have a chance this will be the book I tell my friends to read

Iron Tigers by Michael Farmer

After the events in Tin Soldiers, the new Iraqi government is a friend and ally to the US. The political ground in the Middle East has shifted, with the Saudi government distancing themselves from Americas political sphere to ally themselves with Russia.

The Russian government has turned hardline again and is looking to expand their sphere of influence. The Saudis, having lost prestige and power with the new Iraqi regime taking center stage in OPEC and the Middle East, are desperate to regain their former position. It is an alliance destined to take that part of the world into the flames of war.

The same cast of characters are back for this book, with the addition of a few new people. Most interesting is Rolf Krieger, an East German immigrant with a burning hatred of Russia and Phantom, a Jack Russell Terrier, that has fight and spunk. His story is an integral part of the book.

Yet again the tactics and story are sound and enjoyable. The pacing is fast and the action hard hitting. Another good read for fans of military fiction.

Tin Solders by Michael Farmer

Mr Farmer's first foray into military fiction is a fast paced enjoying read. Although the events of the past few years have rendered the plot premise obsolete, for the time it was written it was plausible and possible.

The events depicted within the book lead to another war with Iraq, although this time Saddam Hussein has been replaced by another leader and he has forged an alliance with Iran. The US forces in theatre must take on the might of a reorganized and rearmed Iraqi army. The US forces are outnumbered, out gunned and far from friendly support.

The American reinforced heavy armored brigade must fight to keep the Iraqi army from taking over Kuwait and potentially threatening Saudi Arabia. Which, to the US is one of the "very bad things" that could happen.

Mr Farmer tells a good tale, with the technical details being spot on. The weapons and tactics are believable and in the battles he writes, Americans fail and die, which makes it more believable. I enjoyed the book enough to by the sequel.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

Carved in Bone, the remarkable break-out novel by Jefferson Bass, is forensic fiction at its best. "Jefferson Bass" is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass, world-renowned forensic anthropologist, and Jon Jefferson, veteran writer/film maker. These two entangle the reader in a story about skeletons, literally and figuratively, from the very first page.

Page one introduces the “body farm” where Dr. Bill Brockton is pushing a knife through the back of one of his male cadavers for a murder case he’s working on. The body farm is a three-acre patch of ground located near the University of Tennessee, used for forensic science; it houses dozens of bodies in different state of decomposition.

A visiting Deputy from Cook County interrupts Dr. Brocton in the middle of his experiment with an interesting case: a mummified corpse of a young woman dead for 30 years has been discovered in a cave in the Appalachian Mountains.
Brockton’s investigation threatens to kick open the door of Cook County family skeleton closets and he finds himself on the wrong end of a gun more than once. Dealing with the death of his wife, Brockton is vigilant in solving the mystery of the dead woman.

This tale is thick with the typical forensic questions and has amazing detail when it comes to the subject of anthropology - not for the weak-stomached or the squeamish.

Carved in Bone has an array of compelling characters ranging from chicken-fighting FBI agents to attractive anthropology assistants and on to towering redneck sidekicks. The characters, setting and dialogue are all first-rate and compete with the best writers of today.

The book also includes an intriguing “Q & A” with Dr. Bill Bass, covering some of the “ins and outs” in the field of anthropology.

Next out for this series is Flesh and Bone.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The White Wolf by David Gemmell

The White Wolf by David Gemmell is one of the books in The Drenai Tales series of books. It introduces a new protagonist, Skilgannon the Damned. Another dark hero, he is a man in search of redemption, which is a common theme in Gemmell's books. Skilgannon was the greatest General and swordsmaster in the army of Queen Jianna, who walked away from his life when he discovered he could not live with the guilt of destroying an entire city.

As he left her service, he took with him the magical Swords of Night and Day. Jianna has put a price on his head for his defiance of her will. This is difficult for the two of them as they are old friends and love each other.

He becomes a monk in a distant monastery, changing his name to Brother Lantern. He spends three years trying to live up to the nonviolent ideals of the Source Priests. Eventually, the song of peace is disrupted by encroaching violence. A new evil has lifted its head and pull Skilgannon back into the world of power and politics he has tried so hard to leave behind.

Skilgannon is joined in this story by Druss, the Legend. Druss is the subject of previous Gemmell books. He is an unstoppable fighter, an axe wielder who deals death and violence with little remorse. But Druss lives by an iron code.

"Never violate a woman, nor harm a child.

Do not lie , cheat or steal.

These are things for lesser men.

Protect the weak against the evil strong.

And never allow thoughts of gain lead you into the pursuit of evil."

He imparts this code into Skilgannon and helps set his feet onto the path of redemption. Together with Druss and a small band of heroes they take on the source of the evil and destroy him. Skilgannon eventually meets and makes up with Jianna after he has found the inner peace he has been needing.

Lord of the Libraries by Mel Odom

Lord of the Libraries finishes the story begun in the Rover and Destruction of the Books. Be prepared for some surprising plot twists as Mel fills you in on the real story behind the wars to destroy the old world and all the libraries.

It finishes the story in grand fashion. Juhg defies the typical dweller stereotype and becomes a true hero, finding the four pieces to the Book of Time and rescuing Wick. Juhg fulfills his destiny to bring reading, writing and books back to the world, allowing the races to break out of the stagnant rut they had been in for thousands of years.

This is a much more mature book than the Rover. It has a darker feel to it, but it is also much more interesting and compelling. I had a hard time putting it down. Yet again, Mel's characters and world are rich and vibrant and his story telling superb. A must read for fantasy lovers.

Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen

Fred Saberhagen is an icon in the world of fantasy and science fiction writing. Some of the first sci-fi I read was his work. His style has evolved since the fist book in this trilogy, the Broken Lands.
The Broken Lands tells the story of Rolf, a farm boy whose family is murdered by the Eastern Empire army that has conquered his homeland. Rolf, while searching for his missing little sister. In his journey he joins the small resistance and gets swept into the search for the Elephant, a mythical beast prophesied to help free them.
The Elephant is part of the Old World. The story revolves around the fact that the world of technology was destroyed and the world of magic arose. The Elephant is a relic of the old world that still works, a nuclear powered tank that has remained hidden in a secure bunker for thousands of years. Apparently, technology from the Old World is far advanced of what we have today.
Rolf and his allies defeat the local Satrap of the East, but in the process, they lose the Elephant and all it's power. The book ends with the resistance preparing for a larger war against the Empire.
This first book has a fast pace, but leaves a lot of the details unexplained. It is a little unbelievable, but the pacing and characters are good, so it is a pleasant read. Luckily the next two books are much better.
In the Black Mountain, the Eastern Empire's local lord is Som the Dead. He is an undead sorcerer that has been given control over the Western lands. In this book, you see just how evil the East is. It is full of political infighting and deceit.
The story is told from Rolf's point of view as well as Chup, a former Satrap of the East who was captured by the resistance in the last book. Rolf and the resistance go up against Som and his demon minion, Zapranoth. In this book you see more of the technology and get a better idea of the fall of the Old World. The characters are much better defined and written. There is plenty of action, which I like.
This story is also about redemption. Chup turns from the path of evil and defects to the Western armies. To be honest, I like Chup's character the best. Chup has an iron code of honor and a blunt honesty that is admirable. He turns out to be the hero that defeats Zapranoth.
In Ardneh's World, we meet the Emperor of the East, an immortal named John Ominor. He has command of the most powerful wizards and demons on the planet. We also meet Ardneh, the Godlike being indirectly supporting the West. This book is the ultimate confrontation between the two.
The power of the east is anchored in the might of the demon Orcus, the most powerful being in existence. The story tells of the creation of magic and demons by the Old World.
There was a great nuclear war in the past. The scientists of the Old World developed a technology against nuclear war that changed the rules of physics. This change caused advanced technology to stop working and brought into being the powers of magic. Orcus was created by a nuclear explosion that went off at the same time that the rules changed. Any act of violence that happened at that exact moment created a demon. The more violent and powerful the act, the more powerful the demon. But the rules of magic were not fixed, and have slowly been sliding back to where science works again.
Which is where Ardneh comes in. Ardneh is a self aware computer designed to reverse the change and allow science to come back into ascendancy. Ardneh is a benevolent being who stands for all that was good from the Old World. He has set his course against the Empire of the East and all the evil that supports it.
Rolf is recruited by Ardneh to assist in the final battle against Orcus and the Eastern Armies. The story ends with the rules being partially reversed and Orcus is turned back into the nuclear explosion that birthed him. But the rules did not totally reverse. They are now equal. Science and magic powers coexist in the New World.
This story is a prequel to Fred's massively successful fantasy series The Books of Swords. It tells the back story of Ardeh and Draffut that figure so much in that series. Now that I have reread this trilogy, I am ready to reread the Books of Swords.

The Destruction of the Books by Mel Odom

The Destruction of the Books takes place many years after the Rover, with Wick as a supporting character. Mel puts Juhg, Wick's apprentice as the main character, with a rich supporting cast. Wick is a Dweller from the Island of Greydawn Moors, where the Dwellers are kept safe, along with the Vault of All Known Knowledge. Jugh was a slave in the Goblin's mines on the mainland. Since this book is told through Juhg's eyes, the world is a very different place.

Where the Rover was quite a bit more light hearted, the story here is more dark and foreboding. Mel's story telling is top form, his world is told in rich, broad strokes, filling in the details necessary to the story, but leaving much of it to the reader's imagination. An important note is that Mel has intentionally left off a map of this world. He wants you to use your imagination.

The Rover was young adults book. The Destruction of the Books is more mature. It deals with many issues that are darker and grimmer. The sociological points brought up in the story are well thought out and surprised me at the depth they impact the world and its history.
There is less action in this book as opposed to the Rover, but it is important to set up for the next book, Lord of the Libraries.

I enjoyed the book. It had a good balance of all the parts, good flow, and as always with Mel's books, great characters.

Area 7 by Matthew Reilly

If you are a fan of pure adreneline soaked action, this book is for you. If you want strong macho figures in do or die, no holds bar combat, this book is for you. If you like a plot that is remotely believable or if you want a story that has multiple layers that makes an enjoyable read, then this book is not for you.

Area 7 is built around the idea that the military has a super-secret installation that it uses for biowarfare research. Inside this base and it's sister base, Area 8, are technological wonders that we read about in Popular Science, wonders that just might be possible.

Matt Reilly takes all of the internet conspiracy theories and rolls them into the background of his book. Then he throws in the President and his Secret Service and US Marine protective details, a psychopathic Air Force general bent on a military coup. Throw in a rogue black ops team, a secret South African society bent on killing all the blacks in the world, the Chinese and a serial killer and you have, well, way too many bad guys. It is a good yarn for what it is, a non-stop action book. It has too much action and not enough real substantive story.

In my opinion, the premise of a secret society in the Air Force that would plan to assassinate the President and take over the Us Government was a good idea, but the bad guy came off as too much of a comic book bad guy to be believable, the Evil Genius Bent on World Domination that has way to much exposition.

Rogue Angel: Destiny by Alex Archer

Annja Creed is an archeologist with a problem. She is broke. She takes a job as a reporter for a cable TV archeological tabloid show called Chasing Histories Monsters . Her income helps to support her serious archeology work. She is the only person associated with the show that takes the history seriously. She is a professional and is disappointed that the others involved with the show are not.

The book starts off in France where she is searching La BĂȘte, a local mythological creature responsible for many deaths in the late 1600s. The book starts off with a great action sequence that introduces her main antagonist for this story, a vicious criminal named LeSauvage, who for his own reasons is searching for the monster.

Annja is a scrapper, and has been her entire life. She grew up in a Catholic orphanage in New Orleans. Her life has been a series of tests that have tempered her character into someone that you have to respect. A comparison may be made between her and Lara Croft, but I think that Alex's development of her intellect, drive and passion put her well above the level of the video game vixen.

In the course of finding the remains on La BĂȘte, she finds a mysterious medallion which holds the keys to several mysteries. Not only does LeSauvage want it, but so does a secret order of the Catholic church and the mysterious characters, Roux and Garin.

Ultimately Roux and Garin are instrumental in Annja gaining the Sword of Joan of Arc. The sword is a focal point for mystical or holy energies that allow Annja to become a hero. Roux is of the opinion that she was chosen by God to be an instrument of change, to defend weak and right the wrongs of the persecuted. The sword definately imbues her with power. She is faster and stronger, a true warrior.

I do not want to ruin the book for readers. It is a good read. Alex writes a fast paced book, woven throughout with interesting facts and places. The characters are wonderful, the bad guy is really bad and the hero is pure. I like that. After reading the book, I just have one request. I want more of Garin. His character was the most intriguing of them all.

Paid in Blood by Mel Odom

Paid in Blood is a novel based upon the NCIS television series. I have not watched the series on TV but that did not stop me from enjoying the novel. The book is independent of the television series so I did not have to know the background from the show.

The story follows Navy Commander Will Coburn and his NCIS team investigating the murder of a fellow NCIS agent.

The investigation into the murder leads them to a local crime ring that has ties to stolen military weapons and drugs that are being smuggled around the world on Navy vessels. One clue leads to another and the team finds themselves in the middle of a desperate battle to keep a homicidal terrorist mastermind from starting World War III.

It is an easy and enjoyable read. I picked it up and had read two hundred pages before I even thought to put it down. Mel writes in a style that is compelling and enjoyable. Mel’s characters were well written, dealing with real life problems while having to work in a stressful and hazardous world.

As in all Tyndale books, the Christian faith plays an important part. The characters all have to deal with their faith, or loss of faith, as the story progresses. The villain is Muslim extremist and the dichotomy between the two faiths is sure to provide some controversy.

Hunters of the Dark Sea by Mel Odom

Hunters of the Dark Sea is not an easy book to categorize. It is a historical novel set during the War of 1812. It is billed on the cover as "A Whaling Novel of Suspense." That is both an oversimplification and innacurate. This novel is historical adventure, horror and sci-fi rolled into one.

Aboard the whaling ship Reliant, Ethan Swain must overcome his haunted past and a cruel captain. During his tenure as first mate, he must follow his own code of honor while saving the crew from the perils of the sea.

Those perils include an uncaring and avaricious captain, an evil and viciously vindictive pirate, a British Man-of-War captained by England's worst and a horror never before seen on the high seas. Ethan must walk a tightrope of danger and mistrust while saving his men and himself from the worst that the dark seas can throw at him.

I was surprised by how much I liked it. Once I started erading it, I could not put it down. The setting was superbly done. Mel crafted an incredible story of sailing ships and the untamed sea with characters that are beatifully done. The story is a compelling read with plenty of action and high adventure. He captures the history and hardships of the whaling ships in great detail, it gives you the feel of being there. His telling of naval combat is equal to Master and Commander by Aubrey Maturin.

This book is one of the absolute best that I have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone.

Why Do Men Have Nipples? Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini

Why Do Men Have Nipples? Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, M.D.
Mark Leyner is an author with several humorous books to his name. Dr. Billy Goldberg is an emergency room physician. Together they have written a hilarious look into odd and obscure medical trivia. It is an easy read with facts presented in a humorous fashion. The book is written in an interestingly different style. Partly a funny story about drunken party they both attended, partly a copy of thier I.M. as they wrote the book, and finally the humorous questions and answers.
Most of the questions revolve around medical oddities, urban legends, folk remedies and wive tails. The answers are quirky, humorous, perverted and sometimes even informative. Mr. Leyner has an offbeat humor that is satisfying and Dr. Goldberg has a dry humor that has to be read to be appreciated.
While not a book for the seriously inclined, this book now has a welcome spot in my bathroom next my copy of The Bathroom Companion: A Collection of Facts About the Most-Used Room in the House
So why do men have nipples? Because in the first several weeks of gestation, all fetuses are female. At the tender age of 14 weeks post-fertilization , genetically-male fetuses begin to produce male hormones including testosterone. So, while our male fetus goes on to become a baby boy, he keeps his nipples, reminding all of us that people, male and female, started off the same way.

The Barbeque Bible by Steven Raichlen

The Barbeque Bible by Steven Raichlen was a Christmas gift to me from a co-worker. I have been using this book for a couple of years and I love it. Mr. RAichlen includes some great recipes from all over the world. This makes the title a bit misleading, since barbecue is an American phenomenon.

What this book has is grilling. Most people refer to any form of grilling outdoors as barbecuing, so I can forgive him for the mass marketing appeal.

He travelled the six continents gathering recipes, reaching across many styles of cuisine from Afghanistani to Uraguayan. Most of the spices are obtainable in the US, although he admits that some must be found in specialty ethnic markets. For spices that cannot be found in the US, he suggests alternatives.

I like how he includes every aspect of a meal for an outdoor party. He starts with mixed drinks then goes to appetizers, salads and the different kinds of meat.

Since he does call it "The Barbecue Bible", he includes many recipes from the American styles of barbecue. My favorites are the Memphis and Texas styles. He includes home made sauces and rubs. He also gives a good disertation on the history and differences in the four styles as well as pointers for grilling and smoking.

I See You by Holly Lisle

I recently read Holly Lisle's new book, I See You. I normally do not read romance books. Actually this is the first romance book that I have ever read.

I was referred to this book by Mel Odom, but I have read several of Holly's fantasy books. I like her style and enjoy her characters. To me, the characters will make or break a story. Of course it needs a good plot and pacing, but poor characters will make me put a book down and never look at it again.
Holly's two main characters, Dia and Brig, are very well written. They are people I would like and respect. They have tough jobs and both have had to deal with the pain that marriage can bring. Dia's husband died in an accident and Brig's exwife is a gold digger that divorced him looking for a BBD (Bigger Better Deal).
Dia is an EMT. Brig is a Ft Lauderdale Homicide Detective. In an aside, my grandmother lived in Ft Lauderdale and I have been around several of the places mentioned in the story. They are brought together by a serial killer. Dia is a first responder on accidents that he has caused. Brig is assigned the task of finding and capturing the killer.
Labelling this a romance novel is a diservice to the story. Yes, Girl gets Guy. Yes, there is some sex scenes. But this is a much richer suspense novel. I love the way she has written the sense of loss and betrayal. I thoroughly enjoyed the action.
Now to the part I did not like. I had a hard time with the killer. His motivation felt somehow contrived. His actions through the story were consistant to the way he was created and written, but I just could not get into him as a villian.
Don't get me wrong, I liked the book. Maybe I just don't like stories about serial killers. Actually, this is the first story about serial killers that I have ever read.
On a scale of 1-10, I give this a 7 1/2.
On a different note, My wife absolutely loved it. But then again, she likes stories with hot sex and serial killers.