I’ve read Dean Koontz in the past with mixed feelings. Some are excellent and some I haven’t finished due to lack of interest. This one is somewhere in between. The differences in Koontz’s writing styles makes me wonder if he uses ghostwriters, or if he has multiple personalities.
Devoted is a mix
of fantasy, suspense, genetics SF, horror, psychological thriller, paranormal, and
maybe a “shaggy dog story” without the humor. It’s the story of an intelligent
dog, Kipp, and an autistic eleven-year-old boy, Woody, who has never spoken a
word. The boy screams a psychic cry for help that is picked up by “The Wire,” a
telepathic communication network for a group of dogs. Kipp comes to the rescue.
My biggest problem with this book is the characters all appear to be seen from the point of view of the dog. All the people are either very bad (haters, liars, greedy, etc.) or unbelievably good (loving, truth-tellers, sympathetic, loyal, etc.). The good people have no bad characteristics, and the bad have no good. And of course, all the dogs are noble.
The best part of the book is the hopeful ending.
My first taste of Lars Kepler, I found The Rabbit Hunter a dark and grisly novel, too much so at times. I
mostly enjoyed the plot, but it did get sidetracked from time to time, with
issues not necessary for the story. The characters held my interest, but the two
main ones were thinly sketched. Maybe because they’ve been around through
several books. More effort was spent on the chef and his son, and the killer.
The pace moved fairly slow in the beginning, probably
because either the authors or the translator (English translation) wrote too
much passive, not active. It picked up as the story progressed. The ending was
an obvious plug to try to get you to read the next book.
I always find it fascinating when two or more writers collaborate.
This husband and wife team work together seamlessly.
Hikers find a girl’s bones off the Appalachian Trail in
northern Georgia. They turn out to be the remains of a girl gone missing 15
years earlier, a suspected victim of dead serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. The incident
brings together a team of crime investigators, led by FBI agent Kimberly Quincy.
She recruits a group from Boston who have been tracking Ness’s crimes—police
sergeant D.D. Warren, civilian kidnap-survivor Flora Dane, and Flora’s sidekick,
computer guru Keith Edgar.
The book combines police procedural and thriller. The first
part, mostly procedural and introduction to the characters if you haven’t
followed the series, is a bit boring if you’ve followed Gardner’s novels. The
pace picks up as it goes along, and the crimes and criminals pile up. The last
few chapters are action-packed. The story pace feels like a train slowly
chugging out of the station, picking up some speed as it goes through the city,
then turning into high-speed rail.
The plot is chilling. Hopefully no real towns exist like the
one in this story. Gardner’s excellent writing kept me reading even through the
early slow chapters.
The pace and the proliferation of characters keep my rating
at 4 stars, not 5. I would prefer fewer POV characters. Four women carry the
story, each picking up separate pieces of information—Kimberly, D.D., Flora,
and a girl without a name or voice who is held captive by the bad guys.
Even with these flaws, When
You See Me is an excellent read. I recommend it, and I recommend that if
you haven’t read other Lisa Gardner books…do it now!
Not having read the previous books in the Monkeewrench
series, this was a standalone for me. It was well written, and I enjoyed it.
The characters, good and bad, are interesting, some with
unique backgrounds and personalities, but there are too many to follow. I was
almost to the end of the story before I had them all sorted out. It probably
would have helped to read earlier books in the series first. But they were
warm, sometimes humorous, and the baby in the office at Monkeewrench added
insight into some of the characters.
I won’t summarize the story; it’s covered many times in
reviews. The plot had many twists and turns, but I feel it overdoes the coincidences
and connections between crimes, like cop shows on TV. I can’t believe that
happens often in real life.
There were several bad guys in this story, and I spotted
them all early before they were revealed even though some were painted as good
or harmless. But there is a twist at the end.
“You ever notice that when it’s this cold, snow doesn’t crunch, it squeaks?” The bitter cold Minneapolis setting made me shiver, reminding me of my many years living in the north. I’m glad I now live in Florida.
Overall a good read. I would recommend it, but with the caveat
that you read other books in the series first.
A character-driven psychological thriller, this novel grabs
your attention and keeps it to the end.
Three children meet a monster in the woods—a huge, mean man
with a huge, mean dog. Rain fights off man and dog, runs, and hides in the
roots of a tree. Physically injured and traumatized, she stays hidden for hours,
unable to move, call out, or go for help. Her two friends, Hank and Tess are
dragged away by the monster. Hank is brutalized but survives. Tess doesn’t make
The story follows Rain and Hank as adults. Rain is a
journalist who has quit her job to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, and Hank
is a psychologist who treats traumatized children. Both lead fairly normal
lives but carry scars from their childhood abduction and loss of their friend.
Rain has a loving husband and a beautiful daughter that she adores. Hank is a
kind and gentle doctor helping his patients. But Rain carries heavy guilt about
not going for help to save her friends, and Hank has a second personality, cruel
and vindictive. Both Hank and Rain become involved in the investigation of an
apparent vigilante serial killer whose first victim may have been their
abductor. Enough of the plot. Any more would be a spoiler.
Unger’s character development makes this book outstanding.
She covers the two main characters in depth, good and bad. Unlike many books I’ve
read recently, their personalities, although warped, are believable and held my
interest from beginning to end.
An angry serial killer is loose, killing beautiful female
runners in the parks of Sydney Australia. In this third novel of Fox’s series
about police partners Frank Bennett and Eden Archer, I learned more about Eden’s
background and her vigilantism. Fox also focuses on Hookey, a teen who is
helping the police with her technical skills.
Eden and Archer spend more time together in this book. It’s
a bit hard to understand their relationship. Sometimes there’s between them and
other times distrust and even fear. All of the characters are twisted and
I enjoyed Fall
more than the second book, Eden. The plot
was less convoluted. The killer was not a surprise, but there was a major twist
at the end.
This mystery/thriller/crime novel takes place in the underbelly
of Sydney, Australia. The author creates unique descriptions of places and
characters, even the minor ones. A dark story filled with dark people—addicts,
prostitutes, gangsters, killers, corrupt cops, and more. The second book in a
series, I didn’t feel I missed anything by not reading the first, Hades.
Three girls have gone missing, and police detective Eden goes
undercover to a farm where all three have lived at different times. Her partner
Frank gets involved in a side job for Eden’s father, Hades, to identify a
stalker and to solve an old cold case of a missing woman.
Although grim, the story kept my attention to the end. I was
surprised by the ending.
(spoiler alert) I think Reacher is getting older and meaner,
less tolerant of the bad guys. He’s still unbelievably observant, sharp,
calculating, and very, very lucky. This book reads like a violent video game,
with a lot more mayhem than previous Reacher novels. And the girl who
accompanies him through the story is very tolerant of his murderous ways. I
found it difficult to believe he and a few friends could take out two whole crime
All that said, I still enjoyed this addition to the series. I
like Lee Child’s clipped style of writing and strange sense of humor.
Too Long! It could have been cut in half without losing any of the story. Like the title, it wanders. Classified as “thriller,” but didn’t thrill me.
I don’t usually post negative reviews here, but I spent so many days slogging through this one that I decided to pass on my overall impression.
I almost abandoned this novel after the first few chapters
because it bounced around too much in time and POV. First there was part of a
trial (2005), then a murder scene (2001), a scene with Cathie, the protagonist,
at work (2007), Catherine, an earlier version of Cathie, out drinking with
friends (2003), and finally it gets into the rhythm of skipping back and forth
between 2007 and 2003. At this point, I started to get hooked.
The personalities of Cathie and Catherine are entirely
different. Catherine (2003) loves to party, drinks too much, sleeps around.
Cathie (2007) suffers from severe OCD and PTSD. Catherine hooks up with sexy,
mysterious Lee, who becomes more and more controlling and abusive. Cathie starts
a cautious friendship with her neighbor Stuart, a psychologist who is
unbelievably understanding of her weird behavior.
There is no mystery. The trial at the beginning tells us
that Lee is the bad guy in the story. It’s obvious that Catherine and Cathie are
the same person. It’s also fairly obvious that Lee probably murdered the woman at
the beginning of the story (2001). At first, I thought the trial (2005) was for
But this is a well-written psychological suspense/thriller.
It kept me reading throughout to find out what happens next. Haynes follows
Catherine/Cathie’s personality changes in detail—Catherine’s downhill slide as
her relationship with Lee becomes more controlling and abusive, and Cathie’s
climb back to normality as she struggles to overcome her anxiety and OCD.
I would recommend the book to anyone who likes dark stories.