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Books 94-95: The Killing Room and Undead and Unstable

Book 94: The Killing Room (Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne 06).
Author: Richard Montanari, 2012.
Genre: Police Procedural. Serial Killer. Crime Thriller
Other Details: Hardback. 358 pages.

"In the heart of Philadelphia's badlands, Homicide Detectives Byrne and Balzano are called out to a particularly chilling crime scene. Once the pillar of the neighbourhood, an abandoned church has become a killing room. At first it looks like a random act of violence. But then a second body is found, and a third. Each crime scene more disturbing than the last, each murder more brutal. And it soon becomes horrifyingly clear that a cold, calculating and terrifyingly precise mind is at work. With very few leads, and a mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead, Byrne and Balzano are faced with challenges they could never have imagined as they race against time to hunt down their killer, before it's too late . . ." - synopsis from Richard Montanari's official website.

This is the sixth in this series of very dark and brutal police procedurals. It has a strong religious theme, as did the first in the series. Montanari is quite good about not giving many spoilers for the plots of the previous novels, allowing them to be read as stand-alones. However, I always find that reading a series in order gives me a better appreciation of the individual characters arcs and evolving setting.

I found it a very gripping thriller though was slightly perplexed by the final few pages of the novel which moves 30 years into the future. I wasn't sure if this meant that Montanari had decided to wind up the series or whether he was just teasing his readers with a future glimpse, leaving us wondering what events had taken place in the intervening years. Only time will tell but I shall be keeping an eye on Montanari's future projects. Currently The Killing Room is only available in UK edition.

Book 95: Undead and Unstable (Queen Betsy Book 11).
Author: MaryJanice Davidson, 2012.
Genre: Paranormal Chick-lit. Vampire Fluff.
Other Details: Audiobook. Unabridged; Length: 7 hours, 22 mins. Narrated by Nancy Wu.

My most recent audiobook in the car has been the final book of a trilogy within this on-going vampire-lite series in which Betsy continues to sort out all the timey-whimey problems that began when she and Laura went on a romp through time in Book #9 (Undead and Unfinished) and returned to a very different present day.

I found this slightly better than Books 9 & 10. I had thought that Davidson had pretty much painted herself into a corner and so she was having Betsy waffle on and on about nothing much at all for most of this book. Yet by the end answers had been provided and a resolution reached. I'll be interested to see what happens next year if MJD continues the series. Hopefully a return of the humour of the earlier novels now she's got this story-line played out.

I enjoy this kind of fluffy short novel for my in-car audio as they don't interfere with my driving and I can listen for fairly short periods without losing the narrative thread. The cover art for the audio books used to be quite cute but the last few have been unattractive. I think Betsy is suppose to be looking sad but just looks pissed off to me.
Tags: audio book, gritty, paranormal, police drama, religion, romance, vampires, werewolves, zombies
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