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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