Sunday, March 29, 2015

Season of Fear (Cab Bolton #2) by Brian Freeman

Book: Season of Fear (Cab Bolton #2)

Author: Brian Freeman

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ten years ago, a prominent gubernatorial candidate is publicly assassinated during a fundraising event. Present day, the same action is threatened when the widow is herself running for the same office. Who is behind these vicious crimes and why? Cab Bolton, at the request of his starlet mother, comes in to get the answers before history repeats itself.

My rating: Most of Mr. Freeman's books get 5 stars and me chomping at the bit to get my hands on the next one. Season of Fear was no exception.

My opinion: Having been a Jonathon Stride and Brian Freeman stand alone fan for years, I jumped at the chance to review this book and, as expected, was not disappointed. I read the first in the series, The Bone House, years ago, so it took me a bit to remember who Cab was.

One thing that stood out to me knowing both characters well is that Cab Bolton comes across as Jonathan Stride's alter ego. Jonathan is a bit laid back from Minnesota, while Cab is a handsome, well put together detective from Florida. This carries over to their personalities and upbringing, as well.

Aside from that,  Freeman's standard high quality writing wrapped up in another gripping story that had me page one coupled with nice twists throughout.

I will still admit that between Cab and Jonathan, Jonathan still has my heart. Cab isn't a bad guy though. Just a bit too flashy for me.  

Source: Quercus for review

Would I recommend? : Mr. Freeman is on my list of top five recommended living American mystery writers that I give to readers when asked for recommendations.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Second in Series. Read the series. Freeman's books are incredibly character driven, which is why they are so high quality. Characters are very easy to get attached to as past events are referred to frequently throughout his series.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Black House by Peter May

Book: The Black House (Lewis Trilogy #1)

Author: Peter May

Release date (if applicable):Published

Synopsis: Isle of Lewis becomes the scene of a brutal murder. It shows similarities to one that occurs in Edinburgh. Could there be a serial killer on the loose?

Police detective and Lewis native, Fin Macleod, is sent back to Lewis to investigate the murder. The victim just happens to be someone who bullied Fin when he was a child. While there, he must address his childhood demons to solve this grisly murder.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: I absolutely loved this book that is a first in a trilogy. Mr. May wrote a book that is solidly written with extensive character development and a rich story line partnered with scenery that is masterfully depicted.

Furthermore, Mr. May has set up the first book beautifully for the next two in series. I was reminded of an Scottish version of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is one of my favorite books.

Source: Review for Quercus

Would I recommend? : Yes, I already have.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Part of Trilogy

Bliss House: A Novel by Laura Benedict

Book: Bliss House

Author: Laura Benedict

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: When Rainey Bliss Adams becomes a widow after an accident that killed her husband and permanently disfigured her fourteen year old daughter, she decides to move back to her family homestead, Bliss House, in Old Gate, Virginia.

Bliss House isn't an ordinary farm. It has decades of mysterious disappearances and death. The most recent occurring the night of her homecoming party. Who is behind the murder? Will Bliss House give up its secrets?

My rating: 3 Stars

My opinion: Gotta say that I had more hopes for this book than delivered. I had more hopes for this book to be scarier than what it was. The premise of the book was creepy but what was given was far more mundane.

I must say that I expected a book similar to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, but the plot to the book was much too light to support the book's description. The book was more of a murder mystery than a paranormal thriller than I had expected. This was the source of the majority of my disappointment with it.

Source: Pegasus for review

Would I recommend? : Maybe, but there are numerous ones that I would recommend ahead of it.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

Book: One of Us

Author: Tawni O'Dell

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Dr. Sheridan Doyle is the "go to", TV friendly forensic psychologist in Philadelphia. He makes sure his  personal image matches his professional one. Back in his hometown of Lost Creek, he is still known as Danny Doyle, the shy, bullied young boy from a blue collar family of coal miners. An image that Sheridan would be happy to never see again.

He can't get that lucky when he is called back to Lost Creek to care for his grandfather. Unfortunately for him, the first thing he comes across is a body found at the now tourist place where four miners were hung over a hundred years ago. Danny partners with a detective from his youth to find the reason behind the murder. When the truth comes out, Danny finds that sometimes the past comes out to haunt in more ways than one.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: Another new author has come across my radar. This book was a treat. It flowed well and was concise in its storyline. The author knew how to utilize the right amount of dramatic scenes without going overboard. I love when an author can do that. These are the types of books that I can read in one day and this book was no exception.

This is definitely a series I will be continuing with.

Source: Simon and Schuster for review.

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book vs. Movie: Cold in July by Joe R. Lansdale


When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I decided I wanted to do something different with this review. The publisher was rereleasing this book as a result of the movie coming out. This was the first time that I could get a comparison between book vs. movie so closely matched from read time to watch time.

So, let's head into this!:

Book: Cold in July

Author: Joe R. Landsdale

Release date (if applicable): Original release date: 1989. Release date this version: May 27, 2014

Synopsis: Richard Dane is a small town Texan family man with a loving wife and a young son. When an intruder breaks into his home in the middle of the night, he defends his home and shoots him dead. Everyone knows it was self defense except for the burglar's father, Ben Russel,  and he wants revenge on Dane. A son for a son.  Problem is...the police lied to Dane. The man he killed wasn't Russel's son. What is behind the deception? Dane, Russel and an eccentric PI, Jim Bob Luke, are determined to find out and they may not survive the answer.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: This was my first read by Joe R. Lansdale and I loved his voice.

Lansdale wove a story of complex characters into a uniquely twisted, pulse pounding story that flowed quickly. I felt that his voice was a cross between author Jim Thompson and Quentin Tarantino and could make for a rockin' "cult" classic. This was a really dark and sad story that Lansdale masterfully kept lightened up in his character development. and interactions.  

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Book vs. Movie: While the movie was good, it garnered three stars from me, the book wins hands down. Cold in July is about relationships. The relationships on numerous fronts made this book awesome. One of the most important was the relationship between Dane and his wife.  The movie didn't touch on this at all. As a result, it washed out her character in the movie vs. having her be the strong woman depicted in the book. Furthermore, it deviated from the story too much to the point where it just didn't make sense some of the time or felt thrown together.

Cold in July is a perfect example of the old saying...NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS MOVIE!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Innocent Killer: A True Story of a Wrongful Conviction and Its Astonishing Aftermath by Michael Griesbach

Book: The Innocent Killer: A True Story of a Wrongful Conviction and Its Astonishing Aftermath

Author: Michael Griesbach

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Steven Avery was convicted of a horrible rape even though he had an alibi. An innocent man who spent 18 years in jail. for a crime he didn't commit. Two years after he was released and ready to claim millions of dollars for his false conviction, he is arrested for the brutal murder of a missing journalist. Did he do it or was he a victim of a justice system gone wrong?

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: Creepy and horrific in its own way. Sometimes the old saying that truth is stranger than fiction is true. This story is living proof. Living in the area, never heard of this case.

With the good comes the criticism. This book did have drawbacks. Periods of it were very dryly written, particularly the court room scenes. It is critical since these tend to flow well as just the nature of the beast is that court room scenes are dry. I tend to see this in books written by attorneys and Mr. Griesbach is a former prosecutor.

A second criticism is that the book had periods of being too wordy and "overwritten". It felt as though he was going too deep into the weeds. This made it a much longer read to me.

Had the author developed these areas in a more concise manner, yet engaging manner, this book easily would have been a five star read for me.

Source: Publisher for Review

Would I recommend? : Yes, I have. It is a very important story.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes

Book: I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

Author: Terry Hayes

Release date (if applicable): Released

Synopsis: Five people viciously murdered in different parts of the world. All five have one thing in common and it is the job of one man to find out what.

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: This book was just damned good. It started from page one and was intense until the last page. I am always a bit apprehensive when I say this given Hollywood, but I can't wait to see this turned into a movie.

This book is well constructed, well written and engaging to the reader.

A word of warning. This book is graphic. When I say graphic, I mean graphic. Be forewarned, so if you are a sensitive soul, you might want to pass.

Source:  Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : I have recommended this book too many times to count.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone