Showing posts with label thrillers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thrillers. Show all posts

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Book Reviews of the Forensic Instincts Series


Series Book #1 Available on Amazon
by Andrea Kane

The Forensic Instincts team is a group of private investigators who achieve the impossible, often pushing ethical and legal boundaries to accomplish it. They take on cases that ~ for one reason or another ~ law enforcement cannot solve or doesn't have the necessary time to devote to it.  


The team consists of a behaviorist (Casey), a former Navy SEAL (Marc), a techno-wizard (Ryan), an intuitive (Claire), a retired FBI agent (Patrick) and an FBI trained human-scent-evidence dog (Hero).  Together they are amazing, accomplishing what others cannot.

In addition to the team's outstanding abilities (each member having been hand-picked by their leader, Casey Woods, not only for their unique attributes, but also for their ability to work cohesively together as a team), we are also introduced  to some of the personal lives of each member, making them more appealing as people besides the traits that make them very good at their jobs.



The Girl Who Disappeared Twice 


The series begins with The Girl Who Disappeared Twice.  At that time, the team consists of just Casey and her two outstanding cohorts Marc & Ryan. As the story unfolds and the case involving a kidnapping of Family Court Judge Hope Willis' 6-year-old daughter, Krissy, we are introduced to Claire and Patrick who later become the newest team members of Forensic Instincts. We also meet FBI BAU profiler Kyle 'Hutch' Hutchinson from Quantico, Virginia, who is romantically involved in a long-distance relationship with FI team leader Casey Woods who lives and works in New York City.

Even though local police and the FBI are involved in this kidnapping case, Judge Willis has hired Forensic Instincts due to the bizarre circumstances of her twin sister having been kidnapped (and never seen again) 32 years ago. FI soon figures out that the two kidnap cases are related. The ending is a surprise you won't see coming.  


This is Author Kane's first Forensic Instincts book and her most popular. If you read this book, you will be  hooked, as I was, and want to read the entire series!

The Line Between Here and Gone

 

In The Line Between Here and Gone, the Forensic Instincts team becomes involved in a frantic search for an elusive father whose infant son is battling a rare immune deficiency condition. Baby Justin's only hope for a cure lies with his father who everyone thought was brutally murdered before mom Amanda even realized she carried his child.  Then an emailed photo changes everything. The photo looks exactly like Paul - the missing and presumed dead father.  Every second counts in this search for a 'ghost'.  



The Stranger You Know 

 

The Stranger You Know involves the case of a series of college-aged girls with long red hair who are brutally murdered.  The crime scenes are identical to those of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life—a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts. Now the Forensic Instincts team is in a frantic race to discover, and stop, the killer who is selecting targets who have been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey Woods, team leader.  And it soon becomes apparent that the killer is closing in on Casey as the ultimate target.
 


The Silence That Speaks

 

In The Silence That Speaks, the story revolves around Casey's associate Marc Devereaux, the former Navy SEAL, and involves the only girl he ever loved - Madaline. She's a nurse at Manhattan Memorial, and she's terrified because someone is trying to kill her.  Madeline turns to Marc and FI for help and protection.

At the hospital, Manhattan Memorial, there is turmoil.  There is a merger in the works, and the staff is in shock over their hospital administrator's sudden death—during heart surgery performed by Madeline's ex-husband, Conrad. A surgery at which Madeline was present. The killer seems to blame both Madeline and Conrad…

Who is the killer who has the greatest incentive to want Madeline dead?  The FI investigative team has the resources to discover just that, working inside the law—and outside it. Another on-the-edge-of-your-seat Forensic Instincts thriller.
 


The Murder That Never Was



Given the opportunity, would you assume someone else's identity and leave your old life behind? In The Murder That Never Was, A strange set of circumstances gives Lisa Barnes, a down-on-her-luck job seeker, and Julie Forman, a personal trainer to an Olympic hopeful, exactly that opportunity. Problem is, a cold-blooded killer who is a megalomaniacal genius will stop at nothing to eradicate anyone who threatens the success of his medical breakthrough, and he wants Julie dead to protect it. Except, Lisa Barnes has become Julie ... and she's terrified.  

The unorthodox criminal investigative team of Forensic Instincts takes on the case and is forced into uncharted territory to protect their client. The team has grown to include a former pickpocket who is now their receptionist and Girl Friday and who ends up playing a pivotal role in the solving of this case. 


A Face to Die For


Ready to Pre-Order


The newest Forensic Instincts book in this popular series (A Face to Die For) debuted September 19, 2017.  This time, author Andrea Kane explores the urban legend of the doppelganger, as the readers' favorite team of investigators (Forensic Instincts) find themselves in a conflict of interest between two clients.

I need to get this book next, having now read the entire series and become a huge fan of Andrea Kane.








Author Andrea Kane


Andrea Kane is a bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including thirteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. 

She lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She's an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she's either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.  You can read more about Andrea Kane and see her other books on her website AndreaKane.com.


Kane's Forensic Instincts series is about a dynamic, eclectic team of maverick investigators who continue to solve seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement.  These are definitely in the 'thriller' category and have, without a doubt, captured my interest and attention. 


If you like suspenseful thrillers, you will enjoy the Forensic Instincts series. 





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Thursday, January 19, 2017

John Sandford Extreme Prey Book Review

First off, a confession. I have not read a SINGLE solitary John Sandford book. There are, however, many of them in my household.

Over the course of the last couple of years, my husband Chris discovered John Sandford and worked to collect and read his way through every single one of Sandford's books. I have a feeling there will be a Sandford book in my future.

Chris' most recent read was Extreme Prey and what follows is his review, which I thought I would share with you here.

John Sandford’s Extreme Prey is an exceptional read.

In the previous novel, the protagonist Lucas Davenport was leaving the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) with his daughter Letty asking, “What are you going to do next?” Extreme Prey flawlessly transitions Davenport from a badge carrying cop to a private citizen doing a favour for the state governor Elmer Henderson; a favour that finds Davenport investigating a potential threat against a presidential candidate. The fact that Davenport is not carrying a badge and has no authority kicks the story up a notch. Davenport uses old contacts and his reputation to gain support from local police while trying to convince others that there is a real and credible threat. Of course the threat is real and time is short, so the action is non-stop.

As the story unfolds, Davenport chases loose threads of evidence as he puts pieces of the puzzle together until the climactic scene arrives that is so engulfing that it will make you miss your bus stop; at least that happened to me.

For long-time fans of John Sandford, Extreme Prey effectively interweaves characters from previous books into the action as well as providing cameo roles for characters from the Virgil Flowers and Kidd series, also by John Sandford. If this is your first time reading a John Sandford book and don’t insist on starting at the beginning of a series, you will find a great read that can stand alone. Sandford gives you enough information to introduce every character without slowing down the action or distracting from this story.

Extreme Prey is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who likes police mysteries. For current fans of the “Prey” books you will find it an exciting surprise as Lucas Davenport adapts to not having a badge and the official support of the BCA. Personally I am already looking forward to Golden Prey scheduled for release in April 2017 to see what’s next for Lucas Davenport.

Extreme Prey definitely sounds like an excellent read to me and I have to thank my husband for the introduction to another author and for writing this post. I am especially thankful that he shared the fact that this book caused him to miss his bus stop. What a hoot!

Will there be a John Sandford book in your future?

Happy Reading!
Brenda & Chris

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Steve Berry's Amber Room reviewed.









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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Steve Berry's The Amber Room Book Review

Steve Berry's The Amber Room Book Review If you love thrillers like Ian Fletcher's James Bond stories, you will likely enjoy Steve Berry's books. If you have been to St. Petersburg, Russia, or you are going there, you will definitely want to check out his first book as shown here, The Amber Room. If you are going to Russia and you have the chance, I would definitely recommend reading the book before your trip.

Steve Berry's fictional work The Amber Room is especially fascinating because it is based on the existence of a man made marvel and World War II mystery the site of which you can actually visit in Russia. The book is a mystery thriller, set in the world of art and based loosely on the true story of the Amber Room, which legend says the Nazis took when they invaded the Soviet Union.

I was particularly interested in The Amber Room because I had the opportunity to visit the port of St. Petersburg, Russia, for two days on a cruise. St. Petersburg was my favorite port and it was while on a cruise ship excursion to the truly resplendent Catherine's Palace in Tsarkskoe Selo that I learned of the existence and saw first hand The Amber Room.

The Amber Room that we visited that day in Catherine's Palace is actually a replica of the original Amber Room, recreated by Russia and Germany after the war because the original room is still missing. However, even this replica of the original room was beautiful as I suppose it should be since it cost $6 million dollars to create.

This book was interesting and entertaining but be warned that it also contained violence, sex and profanity. With regard to  profanity, Berry has since said that this is his only book that has excessive profanity. He said, "It was an experiment, as there's a character in that story who says just about anything. He was fun to write but I learned that excessive profanity is not all that necessary." In any case, I am sure that this book would be rated R, if they rated books in the same way that they rate movies. If it had been a movie, it would have probably been too violent for me although the idea of this book as a movie is actually intriguing.

If you can tolerate the issues, I do recommend this book. I have since enjoyed many more Steve Berry novels. If you are a reader and looking for a new author to 'consume,' do check him out.  The Amber Room and his other novels are available in all formats from hardcover through to Kindle. You can click here to order your copy of The Amber Room from Amazon.

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review of Selected Books Dealing with Murder, True and Fictional

Murder: True or Fictional?

I have been an avid reader of murder mysteries for many years. In 2013, I started to read true crime books because I thought maybe it would be better to see what really happened rather than reading what only occurred in an author’s imagination. Either way one gets to follow a detective's thinking, but the novelist can make the book turn out any way he or she wants. The detectives can’t do that with the real cases they try to solve.


My exposure to true crime began with several true crime stories by Ann Rule, including “A Rose for Her Grave,” “Campbell’s Revenge,” and “The Hit Person: Equal Opportunity Murder.“ Fictional murder mysteries I've enjoyed include many James Patterson novels and several J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) books from the “In Death” series. One of the most recent crime thrillers I've read is Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross. (Keep reading for more on this book)


So what’s scariest? For me it’s realizing how wicked people are, without anyone needing to embellish the facts. Men do really kill do woo and then kill wives who live trustingly with them just for the insurance money. (Randy Roth, Washington State.) Rape victims are brutally slaughtered, along with children and neighbors who happen to be present, by their paroled rapists. (Charles Campbell, Seattle area.)

These are things we pass quickly over in the news. The killers whose crimes I am most familiar with from the news are the California Zodiac Killer who was never caught, Richard Ramirez, (the Night Stalker) and Charles Manson and his “family.” I followed those cases in the papers and heaved a sigh of relief when Ramirez and Manson were finally behind bars. 

Gary L. Stewart claims that he discovered the identity of the Zodiac killer when he tried to find out who his father was. He believes his father, Earl Van Best, Jr. committed the Zodiac murders. His book explaining what led him to this conclusion, The Most Dangerous Animal of All, was published in 2014.  A related book, The End of the Zodiac Mystery: HowForensic Science Helped Solve One of the Most Infamous Serial KillerCases of the Century, was published at about the same time. I hope to read one of both of them soon. I once thought I had a clue, myself, thinking it might be someone I had known in college, but, fortunately, I was wrong. 

I pay attention to parole hearings. A Manson Family member is currently up for parole, and that gives me the shivers because I just read Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross. I'm sure it's a novel based on the Sharon Tate and other murders committed by the Manson Family, changing the names and moving the setting of the murders to Santa Barbara. (The author, Andrew Gross, even states in an interview that he once met Manson in his father's home before he became a murderous cult leader and that part of the idea for this book came from that incident. )

In Eyes Wide Open, Charlie, is told his son Evan has commit suicide. His brother Jay, a successful surgeon in New York, comes to visit him in California to try and help him through his grief. Both suspect foul play rather than suicide, even though Evan was bipolar. Jay decides to see if he can find out the truth about whether Evan had jumped from high on Morro Rock into the Bay, as the police believe, or whether he had been pushed.

Charlie has always been unsuccessful and disturbed. He and his wife have lived dependent on the state for support for years. As the book unfolds, Jay learns Charlie had decades ago lived as “Chase' on the Riordon Ranch with Russell Houvanian (The Charlie Manson figure) and his followers, and had helped the police investigators find the evidence they needed to convict Russell and the others.

 Charlie and another woman at the ranch who were not in the inner circle and not participated in the murders both cooperated with police. At the very beginning of Eyes Wide Open, readers witness the brutal murder of Sherry, that other woman, who had put that past long behind her to move on to live a productive and normal life. The reader doesn't understand that murder until the book is over half over. As we get into the book, we discover that one of Houvanian's accomplices, Maggs, had been released from prison after serving a thirty-year sentence. Dead bodies continue to pile up until the climax of the book is reached. I highly recommend this book to those who love thrillers, but I won't spoil it for you by telling you more. Even with what I've said, you won't be able to put the book down until you finish it. You can get Eyes Wide Open as an audio CD, but I suggest you keep the lights on while listening. 

Back to true crime. Like many living in Southern California in the 1980's, I was nervous about leaving my windows open in the summer until Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker, was apprehended and locked up. He used to kill his victims by entering houses through unlocked doors and windows. I wouldn't have what it takes emotinally to read the account of his evil deeds and twisted mind, but a highly reviewed and well researched book on Richard Ramirez by Philip Carlo is available. I also lived in the Seattle area for a time when the Green River Killer, later found to be Gary Ridgway, was still on the loose. Several true crime books about the Green River Killer are also available.

The true crime books lay all the events and facts and trials out factually. Those happenings as they played out in people’s real lives seem more terrifying than any made-up crime that never happened. We all know these crimes happen and to stay sane we have to not actively think about having them happen to us, even though we know anyone can be a victim.

Naturally, we all need to take reasonable precautions not to be a target of violent crimes, but we also know that a good percentage of victims have taken those precautions to no avail. I deal with these facts by realizing that God will not let anything happen outside his control and that He will give the grace to deal with any situation when it’s needed. We need to live our lives wisely and leave the rest to God.

To get back to the books, I think the main difference between true crime and detective novels is that the novels allow one to escape reality for a bit, whereas the true crime books bring you face to face with reality. Bad things do happen to good people because sin is in the world and God has allowed men to choose to do evil rather than good. People make that choice to do evil every day. All of us do evil occasionally, but most of us just make less violent choices than the criminals do. Our weapons of choice are often just words that hurt or thoughts that aren’t fair to someone.

Some evil exists in every human heart. Sometimes it just takes the right situation for us to be able to see it in ourselves, or worse yet, to turn evil thoughts to evil actions. All evil actions began as wicked thoughts. Most of us deal with them before they become actions that will hurt someone else. Some of us take those things to God when we examine our hearts and find them, and we ask him to deal with our sin in those areas of our lives. We know he will forgive us for our sins against him and others. We trust him to cure our problem at the heart level.

Some people, though, the ones that become violent criminals, either have no sense of right and wrong or their emotions or peer pressure overrule conscience. Others give up control of their minds and bodies to substances that alter their thinking and judgment, leaving their natural impulses in charge of their actions. People such as these are loose on our streets. We see them in the news every day. We want to avoid having our names in the news with them, so we are as careful to avoid them as we know how to be.


It's No Mystery Baby Doll Fitted T-ShirtTrue crime books help us to know the kinds of things that can happen and the minds of the criminals. The novelists offer us some escape from that reality by giving us a situation that is controlled and where justice is usually done for the victims. Which do you prefer to read? 









This It's No Mystery Baby Doll Fitted T-Shirt is available in many other styles for men, women, and even children. 






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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review of Detective by Arthur Hailey

Review of Detective by Arthur Hailey

Politics for Police Detectives

I have never read a book by Arthur Hailey that I could put down for long to do something else. This one was no different. As usual, Hailey is using a book to expose what goes on behind the scenes in different professions and occupations. In this book he tackles police and homicide detectives and the politics at work in police departments.

Police Work VS Family: Why Malcolm Must Go to Florida


As the book opens,  Detective Malcolm Ainslie is called to work at a crucial time in their family life because of a call from the Miami Police Department. He is supposed to be leaving the next morning to fly with his family to Toronto to visit his wife’s parents to celebrate her father’s 75th birthday and their son Jason’s eighth  birthday.  His family has been looking forward to the vacation for weeks.


Review of Detective by Arthur Hailey



Yet late on the night before Malcolm is to leave for Toronto he gets a call  from the prison chaplain at the Florida State Prison in Raiford saying that the serial killer Malcolm helped arrest, “Animal” Doil is scheduled to be executed in the morning and that he wants to confess. Doil and the prison chaplain both know that Malcolm had once been a Catholic priest and that he had left the priesthood before going into law enforcement.

The prison was located eight hours away from Miami and there was barely time to make it before the execution. The only reason Malcolm wants to go is because some of the murders were not tried, since only the one that could be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt was taken to court. Malcolm is hoping to find out about the rest of them. One of them had not fit the pattern of the rest. Malcolm was afraid that killer still might be at large.

The department furnishes a driver to leave with Malcolm immediately. His boss promises to try to get him a flight to Toronto from Jacksonville  so that he can still make the family party, although a bit late. Malcolm’s wife Karen had been more than a little upset about the change in plans. He was seriously afraid missing this trip might be the last straw in their marriage.

Prison Priest VS Former Priest


Another conflict rears its head between the prison chaplain, who is jealous of his territory and wants to be sure Doil doesn’t think Malcolm is still a priest who can do anything for him spiritually. Malcolm has no intention of acting as a priest. He only wants the kind of confession that will let him know what really happened.

Malcolm arrives in the nick of time to see Doil before the execution. The priest was wasting time interfering religiously until they were able to get him to leave the meeting. Doil confesses to every one of the murders except the very one Malcolm himself has doubts about – the murder of a former colleague Cynthia’s parents.

 Doil gives Malcolm some information about a murder they didn’t know he committed so they could verify it. Doil wants Malcolm to witness his execution, and when he does, he notices Cynthia is also there to witness, along with her new boyfriend, a novelist, Patrick Jensen. Malcolm had had an affair with Cynthia earlier, but had broken it off when Malcolm would not leave Karen for her. Cynthia had found subtle ways to get her revenge since then.

The rest of the book deals with the confession of Doil, the execution, the party, which Malcolm does get to, the history and details of the serial killings and Malcolm’s quiet investigation into the murder of Cynthia’s parents. Readers will need a strong stomach as they view the crime scenes with the detectives.  I could have done without that part, since they were grizzly. What is most interesting are the undercurrents in relationships and politics on the police force and the influence they have on the cases and how they are handled.


My Analysis


As a thriller this did not disappoint me. Although I thought I’d solved the case, there were still some twists and turns toward the end I did not expect. What most disappointed me was the human weakness Malcolm displayed at the end. I was very disappointed that he seemed to have learned little from his past experiences in human relationships.



 Detective
This is a first-class thriller with complex well-developed characters. It also offers insight into how police departments operate in large cities. If that's the sort of book you appreciate, you should definitely read Detective.



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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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