October 2nd, 2011

Reading - La Liseuse

September Books

25. Ed Brubaker, The Sandman Presents: The Dead Boy Detectives, Illustrated by Bryan Talbot, 102 pages, Graphic Novel, Paperback, 2008. A continued tale of the two ghost boys from Sandman: Season of Mists and the detective agency they run out of an abandoned tree house. 3.5/5

26. Charlaine Harris & William Harms, Grave Sight: Book 1, Illustrated by Denis Medry, 64 pages, Graphic Novel, Paperback, 2011 (Grave Sight, Book 1). Harper Connelly can detect the dead ever since she was hit by lightning as a girl. The first section of the first book in this series is nicely done, but not as satisfying as the original novel. 3/5

27. Charlaine Harris, Real Murders, 290 pages, Mystery, Paperback, 1990 (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 1). The monthly meeting of the Real Murders Club is derailed when one of their members is found murdered in the same way as that night’s topic. And so begins a series of murders and frame-ups as the killer toys with the club’s members and their family. Fun and easy to read. 3.5/5

28. Jim Thompson, Pop. 1280, 217 pages, Crime Fiction, Paperback, 1964. Set in the good-old-boy Deep South in the 1960s, the high sheriff of a small county starts to take care of the problems in his life. While the crimes and the cover-ups are well-written, I had a hard time with the racial and gender attitudes of the time. 2.5/5

29. Kathy Reichs, Spider Bones, 369 pages, Mystery, Paperback, 2010 (Temperance Brennan Series, Book 13). The case of an autoerotic misadventure leading to an underwater death comes back with an identification belonging to a soldier who died in Vietnam. So Dr. Brennan, forensic anthropologist, ends up in Hawaii to untangle the mystery of who was buried in the soldier’s grave. 4/5
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Books 95-96: Play Dead and The Echo Man by Richard Montanari

Book 95: Play Dead (Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne 04) .
Author: Richard Montanari, 2008.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural. Serial Murder.
Other Details: Hardback. 381 pages.

This was published in the USA as Badlands, which is the name of the area in Philadelphia that becomes the focus for a new serial killer. Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are currently assigned to the Special Investigations Unit, which handles among other things cold cases. It is one such case that opens this novel when a man telephones a tip line and confesses to the murder of a young runaway. Yet his intention is not to turn himself in but to tease the police and lead them in a series of scavenger hunts from one victim to another, each murdered and posed in a bizarre way.

Montanari uses the device of inserting chapters following the killer, which reveals their identity and the pattern they are creating with the murders. It had been some time since I'd read the last one in this series and I certainly enjoyed this macabre crime thriller with its many twists and turns and appealing lead characters. I moved swiftly on to the recently published Book 5.

Book 96: The Echo Man (Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne 05) .
Author: Richard Montanari, 2011.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural. Serial Murder.
Other Details: Hardback. 458 pages.

The novel opens with a prologue set 20 years ago in which Kevin Byrne, on one of his early cases, arrests a beautiful, gifted young musician for murder. Flash forward to the present day where in the Special Investigations Unit Bryne and Balzano are faced with a bizarre sadistic murder that proves to be identical to crime scene photos from an unsolved case eight years previously. This new murder heralds the beginning a a series of linked murders.

Again Montanari uses the device of mixing in the occasional chapter that reveals the killer's point of view, though only teases the reader about their identity. I actually didn't find this novel in the series as compelling as his others. I felt it was let down by a rather implausible 'Scooby-Do' denouncement. I've enjoyed Montanari's crime novels and so trust this was just a blip. On the plus side the character development for Balzano and Byrne was excellent.
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Books 34-38

#34: The Lost Hero: Heroes of Olympus Book 1 - Rick Riordan (2010, 557 pages)

It's
funny how you find a book by mistake and turn out to really enjoy it. I
picked this up thinking it was the first book in the Percy Jackson
series. Whoops.

While it is the first book in a series, it's
Riordan's second series of books that just happens to feature some of
the same characters and setting as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians
series. So...this is a bit of a backward read, but it's all good.
Whereas the Percy Jackson series features the children of Greek gods,
this new series tackles their Roman counterparts.

Jason wakes up
one morning on a bus with his best friend Leo, girlfriend Piper and
absolutely no idea who he is or how he arrived there. But the weird
doesn't end there. During the course of their fieldtrip to the Grand
Canyon, the trio finds themselves fighting venti, storm spirits, that kidnap their teacher. The teens' lives are saved when Percy Jackson's girlfriend Annabeth arrives.

Back
at Camp Halfblood, the trio are called upon by Hera for a very
important quest. If they fail, it means the end of the world. As they
defeat various monsters and outwit gods, Jason gains little bits of
knowledge about who he is. He even meets his sister, but still answers
elude him.

The Lost Hero follows very closely to
the Percy Jackson series. In fact, although I hadn't read the first
Percy Jackson book at the time, I can now say that the two are very
similar. They present a boy with no idea of where he comes from who is
put into a situation where he is responsible for saving the fate of the
world. While similar, both are pretty good. I'm just curious to see
where the remainder of the books in the two series go and if they will
diverge from similarity at any point. But it's not all bad. In fact,
this was such a fun ride, that I give it three out of five demigods.

#35: Summer Rental - Mary Kay Andrews (2011, 402 pages)

After
years of living their busy lives, three friends come together for a
month to recharge, rejuvinate, and relax at a house on the beach in
North Carolina.

Ellis, the one in charge, takes control because
she is unable to do so in her own life after having recently lost her
job. Julia is a model who realizes her time in front of the camera is
coming to an end but isn't quite ready to settle down and do the family
thing with her photographer boyfriend. And finally, there's Dorie, a
pregnant teacher whose husband left her for another man. The three
friends find themselves giving shelter to Maryn, a woman who clearly has
something to hide.

And what Mary Kay Andrews book would be
complete without a sexy gruff man. In this case, it's Ty, the landlord
of the falling-apart house the girls have rented for the summer.

If
you're an avid reader of Andrews' books, you'll find that this isn't
her strongest book. In fact, the twists and mysteries faced by the
characters were pretty easy to figure out in advance. While the setting
was different, the situations weren't. I had hoped for something a
little different, and the setting wasn't enough to satisfy me. I wanted
more from the situations the characters faced, and while Maryn's story
was different, it was very predictable, leaving me unsatisfied. I love
Andrews' books, but this one just didn't do it for me, which is why I
give it two and a half out of five chick lits.


#36: The Walking Dead, book 5 - Robert Kirkman (2010, 304 pages)

Book
four ended on a massive downer. The surviving heroes found their safe
prison overrun by zombies after an attack by the Governor and his men.
Many characters were killed, and Rick and and his son Carl found
themselves running for their lives through the woods surrounding the
prison.

What Carl doesn't know is that his father is dealing with
a serious infection following all of the injuries he's sustained from
the Governor. The two hide out in a house, where Rick then teeters
between life and death. He does survive, but he picks up a new habit,
his way of coping with the loss of his wife.

Once Rick is better,
he and Carl set off once more, this time they run into Michonne, and
soon into more of their friends. But the reunions do not contain joy as
the group witnesses still more of the depravity that man can display.
And sadly, more of our favorite characters are killed off.

Each
time I get my hands on one of these hard-cover books, I read it in just
about an hour. I devour the stories and want to know where things are
going to go for the group. I feel their pain and want so badly for them
to find a safe place where they can spend the rest of their days, but
with humanity gone and walkers constantly searching for human flesh, I
realize that is not going to happen. But man, it makes for a great read,
which is why I give this a perfect five out of five biters.


#37: The Walking Dead, book 6 - Robert Kirkman (2010, 304 pages)

I couldn't help it. Book 5 left me dying to know what was going to happen (no pun intended) to our weary group of travelers.

The
group is now heading toward Washington, D.C., with the promise that
things aren't quite so bad there. But of course, that simply isn't true.
And while the group should know that by now, it's hard not to feel any
sort of hope that somewhere someone has managed to figure this whole
zombie thing out and is working to bring things back to normal.

As
they move north, the group finds a few scouts for a community that
seems to have done just that. After being checked out, the group is
taken back to a refuge overseen by a Congressman who is trying his best
to rebuild a normal society. But as Rick and his friends settle in, they
cannot help but wonder if things are too good to be true.

I,
again, read through this book in an hour. It is sooooooo good! I am
loving this series of books, and I really need to get my hands on book
seven to see where things are going to wind up next. As I'm sure you can
tell, I'm giving this a perfect five out of five pipe dreams.


#38: Rot and Ruin - Jonathan Maberry (2010, 458 pages)

Zombies
have really been on my mind this summer, apparently. After flying
through the Walking Dead books 5 and 6 that I picked up from my local
Borders as it was going out of business (tear), I turned to the third
book that I had picked up from Borders: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

I had only read one of Maberry's other books, Patient Zero, but it was so awesome, that I knew this book would not disappoint. And luckily, I was right!

Unlike Maberry's other books, which are geared toward adults, Rot and Ruin is geared toward teens, but teens shouldn't be the only one reading this book. It's fantastic!

Benny
Imura has just turned 15, and in this post-zombie world, it's time for
him to get a job. Problem is nothing sounds interesting, and after many
failed attempts, he finally turns to his older brother for help. Tom is a
zombie slayer, but unlike the big, burly men who make a show out of
killing zombies, Tom is quiet and nimble and had a sincere respect for
those he is killing. The brothers are called upon by the town to help
save one of their own, Benny's best friend, who has been kidnapped by
two of the zombie slayers and is most likely being taken to fight in the
zombie version of Battle Royale.

I really loved this book, and
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel, which came out in
August. Maberry does a great job of giving you zombies from a different
perspective, that of a teenager who is really just learning about the
world in which he lives. The action is great, and you are left on many
occasions biting your nails from the tension Maberry's built up. I
absolutely love this book, which is why it gets a perfect five out of
five bites.


Total Books Read: 38 / 50 (76 percent)
Total Pages Read: 12,640 / 15,000 (84 percent)
*many more to come - I'm so behind on posting.
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