Jan 31, 2016

Ashley Bell (Ashley Bell #1)

Ashley BellAshley Bell by Dean Koontz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can't believe he is planning for this to be a series. When you read Koontz you expect weird, but this book is one of the weirdest, most confusing of his novels. It also drags out.

Bibi Blair is diagnosed with brain cancer and only given a short time to live, but then she is miraculously cured and sent on a quest to rescue Ashley Bell, but wait it's all a dream. BTW Ashley Bell isn't a real person merely a character in a book Bibi read as a child.

The dreaming Bibi realizes she is dreaming and remembers that she has the ability to cure herself through her imagination. As a child she imagined a character in a book to life. This event so terrified her she had her Grandfather hypnotize her into forgetting she had this "gift" but with her life on the line her memory is coming back. She uses her gift and awakes from the dream cured.

But wait, the villain she imagined in her dreams has taken the name Thomas Ripely and entered into our world. Or was Thomas Ripely the one who imagined the entire book?

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Jan 23, 2016

Cross Justice (Alex Cross, #23)

Cross Justice (Alex Cross, #23)Cross Justice by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really liked this book but there were a few problems with the plot in my opinion. This book takes everything you thought you new about Alex Cross and everything he thought he knew about himself and turns it upside down.

It's been 35 years since Alex left Starksville, North Carolina, now he is returning to help Naomi "Scootchie" Cross (she was in Kiss the Girls) defend their cousin Stefan Tate. Stefan a gym teacher at the local Middle and High School is on trial for the brutal murder of a young mixed race boy, Stefan had befriended (Rashawn) and the rape of a High School girl (Sharon Lawrence), who swears Stefan invited her to his home when his fiancee (Patty) was away, gave her booze and drugs and had his way with her. Conveniently Sharon kept her panties in a zip lock bag until she decided to come forward a week later after Rashawn was killed. The evidence is stacked against him, but Stefan maintains that it was planted, and he is being framed after getting to close to finding out who is producing and selling drugs in Starksville.

Meanwhile in Florida a cross dresser is murdering socialites after painting their picture and catching them at the pinnacle of their beauty. He enjoys creating the perfect ensemble out of the dead women's wardrobes.

(Spoilers)

Soon after he arrives Alex discovers that his Mother, Christina, didn't die from cancer like he believed but was smothered. His Father, Jason, was the cheif suspect. Jason didn't die from a drug overdose like Nana Mama was told but was drug through the streets by Marvin Bell (the local drug dealer) and then shot by police while trying to escape his body tumbled off the bridge into the gorge and was never recovered. Alex witnessed the shooting, but suppressed the memory. (OK I find it kinda hard to believe that Nana Mama didn't attend her son's funeral and never tried to visit his grave in the intervening 35 years)

While trying to deal with flashbacks from the past Alex also has to deal with Stefan and Patty's next-door neighbor getting shot practically in front of their eyes. It's assumed that Sydney Fox was shot by mistake and the actual target was Patty. But it's also possible that Marvin Bell's adopted son and Sydney Fox's ex-husband Finn used the opportunity to kill her

Alex and Bree are both shot at several times and warned to stay away from the case. But the final straw as far as Alex is concerned is when drugs are planted on Jannie. But another matter takes Alex to Florida just as things are heating up in Starksville. Alex's Uncle Clifford suffers from Alzheimer and has been baffled by everyone's insistence that Jason is dead several times. Something he says makes Alex wonder if there is more to the story of his Father's death than he was told. Cousin Pinkie (who for some strange reason Clifford confided in before getting Alzheimer's) reveals that Jason didn't die, but that Clifford found him, took him to his lake cabin and nursed him back to health and got him out of town, without telling a soul until he confided in Pinkie years later. Pinkie also reveals that a woman called Clifford and told him Paul Brown (the alias Jason Cross was using) committed suicide in back of her church. Alex leaves for Florida to see if he can find his Father's grave and learn more about him and his death.

Serendipitously Alex meets Detectives Johnson and Drummond. Alex helps them solve the socialite murders and Drummond helps Alex find the woman (Reverend Maya) who called Clifford. Reverend Maya takes him to Paul Brown's grave and tells Alex how she meet Paul Brown......................but she leaves a lot out of the story. Alex goes home where Pinkie and Bree have continued to gather evidence to exonerate Stefan.

With the evidence they have found Naomi gets Sharon to admit on the stand that she was lying about Coach Tate and that she was paid to lie by Finn. She also admits to planting the drugs on Jannie. The rape charges against Stefan are dropped. But they are no closer to finding out who really killed Rashawn.

Then Drummond walks into the courtroom dragging Marvin Bell by a rope. After being "persuaded" by Drummond Bell is willing to unburden himself, yes he deals drugs in Starksville he buys them from Caine the local fertilizer manufacture who sidelines in meth. And Caine killed Rashawn to frame Stefan and get rid of his "black bastard grandson" at the same time. And then the truth about Christina Cross's death comes out. Marvin Bell smothered her while Jason was to high to do anything but watch. He then forced Jason to work for him until he feared his control on Jason was slipping at which time he drug him through the streets and accused him of murdering Christina and then had the local police who were in his pocket, kill Jason on the bridge. How did Drummond know all this .........................He is Jason Cross.

I would like to see Jason get his own book. 



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Jan 19, 2016

Night Magic by Thomas Tryon

Night MagicNight Magic by Thomas Tryon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked the part that took place in Ancient Egypt the best. Once we moved to the present day it seemed to drag out.

An ancient Canaanite whose magical abilities come to the attention of an Egyptian Prince who dabbles in magic, has one eye removed in retaliation for stealing "the Eye of Horus" and is hung after the Prince becomes ill and the Canaanite takes the Eye of Horus from the Prince's body. The Canaanite then seemingly returns to life, learning from other magicians including Christ and Merlin. In modern day New York City he is known as Max and runs the Little Cairo Museum of Wonders with his assistant Lena who hears voices and allows others to take over her body and "write". She then tries to interpret the writings.

Max meets Michael a young street magician who wants to learn "Night Magic", Max uses his skills to entice Michael into his orbit and than offers to take him on as an apprentice. Max also used his magical abilities to steal the Eye of Horus from the Museum. Michael's girlfriend Emily doesn't like Max and resents the fact that Max has Michael move in with him and Lena and ends her sexual relationship with Michael. Emily tries to expose Max to Michael by working with them, but her efforts are futile. Michael is willing to give everything up to learn "Night Magic".

In the end Max somehow transfers his abilities to Michael in a dazzling magical display, in an effort to save Michael, Emily follows Max into the cabinet. When the show is over Emily is dead and all that remains of Max is his glass eye.

The plot itself was interesting but I found it hard to care about any of the characters.

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Jan 15, 2016

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant!!!!

Jacob grows up listening to his Grandfather Abe's stories and dreams of being an adventurer, but as he grows older he accepts his Father's explanation that Grandpa Abe made up stories because his childhood was so bleak, and that the fantastic people who populated Abe's stories were imaginary.

Than when Jacob is 16 Abe is brutally murdered by monsters that only Jacob can see, believing he is going crazy he puts Abe's last words out of his mind until his Aunt gives him a book (left by Abe for him) containing a letter from Miss Peregrine. Jacob decides to journey to Wales to meet her and learn more about his Grandfather.

Arriving in Wales Jacob learns that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was bombed during WWII and that everyone died, hoping to find clues to his Grandfather's past in the wreckage he finds photos similar to those his Grandfather possessed. And then he meets the children............

He learns they have been living in a loop and that he can visit them, but they can not stay in his time except briefly or they would age rapidly and die. Unfortunately the wight and the monsters followed Jacob to Wales, and are determined to capture Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet. Jacob, Emma and some of the older children visit the present in order to question Martin, who they think may have been murdered by a monster. The resurrected Martin confirms their fears but before the children can go back to the past the monster corners them. Jacob manages to kill the monster, but the wight enters the loop and captures Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet before the older children can get back. They set out to rescue Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet who was forced to take the shape of birds and stuffed in a birdcage.

Millard (who is invisible) was shot, but the children still manage to corner the wight, in the lighthouse. The wight throws the birdcage from the lighthouse onto a submarine. Emma and Jacob are able to rescue Miss Peregrine, but the other wights escape with Miss Avocet. Miss Peregrine is unable to take human form and the loop slips. Jacob chooses to stay in the past with the children and they set out to look for another loop and someone who can help Miss Peregrine.



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Jan 13, 2016

The Golem of Paris (Detective Jacob Lev, #2)

The Golem of Paris (Detective Jacob Lev, #2)The Golem of Paris by Jonathan Kellerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book picks up two years after The Golem of Hollywood ends. Jacob is still estranged from his Father and Bina's condition is unchanged, when Jacob comes across a file (with Mai's help) in the archive Mallick has him working in. When Bina sees the file she tries to communicate with Jacob put he doesn't understand her agitation at first.

Jacob finally talks to Sam and learns about Bina's time in Prague (as much as Sam knows) and that her time in Prague working for Mallick's friends changed her. He also learns that Bina is descended from the MaHaRal and Perel, through her Father. Jacob is descended from the MaHaRal through both his parents, who were unaware of their "family connection" until after Jacob's birth.

Jacob's investigation leads him to the Russian Doctor Tremsin (who tortured Bina and ordered her death) and takes him to Paris with Schott as his bodyguard. While Schott sleeps Jacob sneaks out of their room at the hostel and is followed by Tremsin's head of security Molchanov (who is one of the angel people like Schott and Mallick but working for someone else), he escapes from Molchanov by entering an abandoned synagogue and winds up spending a romantic interlude with Mai. Detective Breton dies (under mysterious circumstances) before he can share what he knows with Jacob, but one of his men (Vallot) tells him what he knows, shares information with him and warns him against Detective Pelletier who seems to be working for/with Tremsin.

After Jacob and Schott visit the Russian Embassy, Detective Pelletier picks them up and takes them to Tremsin's compound. Molchanov separates Jacob and Schott and Schott is killed trying to get to Jacob. Jacob is taken to Tremsin, where he discovers that Molchanov was the one who killed the Single Mother's and their children. Detective Pelletier injects Tremsin with a solution that causes a heart attack, similar to what happened with Breton. When Jacob notes the similarity Detective Pelletier tries to kill him. Molchanov kills Pelletier and then uses Jacob as bait to get Mai to rescue him. Mai nearly dies saving Jacob, but Jacob manages to get away and kill Molchanov (who turns to blue dust as did Schott), and uses his own blood to heal Mai enough for her to fly away.

Jacob recovers in the hospital and once he returns home Jan (from Prague) reveals that their was a similar killing in Prague during the time Bina was there. He also reveals Bina's connection to Majka (the woman who was killed in Prague) and Petr Wichs (who was a young boy at the time of the murder). Jacob and Sam visit Bina together and he tells Bina that Tremsin and Molchanov are dead. This seems to bring Bina some peace.

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Jan 8, 2016

Make Me (Jack Reacher #20)

Make Me (Jack Reacher #20)Make Me by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reacher stops at Mother's Rest because he is curious about the name. He is quickly embroiled in a dangerous situation when the residents of MR assume that he is working with Michelle Chang a former FBI agent turned private investigator. Her partner Keever has disappeared while working on a case in MR, after he called Chang in for backup.

First they have to discover what Keever was working on. Slowly they gather the information to find Keever's client (McCann), unfortunately McCann is murdered before they find him. Fortunately Reacher's quick reflexes allow them to escape the assassin. Their questioning of the next door neighbor reveals one clue McCann has a sister that he confided in. After talking to the sister they realize that McCann was searching for his son Michael, who suffers from anhedonia. And that he contacted the reporter Westwood because of his article on the Deep Web. Using Westwood's contact on the article they discover that Mother's Rest was advertising assisted suicides on the Deep Web. Just one problem Reacher doesn't think assisted suicides would net enough money to hire the muscle that was sent after them or have someone kill to protect, and of course he is right.

When Westwood, Reacher and Chang return to MR they discover that the people Mother's Rest promised to help die in a peaceful humane manner were instead being brutally murdered to make snuff films.

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Jan 2, 2016

Crimson Shore (Pendergast #15)

Crimson Shore (Agent Pendergast, #15)Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pendergast is seldom wrong but when he is, the consequences are disastrous for an entire town.

Percival Lake ( a sculptor Pendergast admires) entices Pendergast to investigate the theft of his wine collection. Pendergast takes Constance Greene with him to Exmouth to investigate the strange crime. He quickly ascertains that the thieves were there to remove a skeleton from the cellar and whatever treasure was buried with it, and that the removal of the wine was merely to cover up the true theft.

When Historian Morris McCool is found murdered in the salt marsh with carvings on his back similar to the Tybane Inscriptions black magic is suspected by most, but Pendergast investigation takes him to the research McCool was doing on the disappearance of the SS Pembroke Castle. When Dana Dunwoody is murdered a short while later in a similar fashion Pendergast springs a trap on Dana's brother Joe. It turns out the Dunwoody's ancestors took part in luring the SS. Pembroke Castle onto Skullcrusher Rocks in order to steal the cargo. Unfortunately the cargo was fallen women and their children who were ruthlessly murdered and the caption of the SS. Pembroke Castle was walled up in the lighthouse keeper's cellar. From McCool's research the Dunwoody's learned of the rubies that were suppose to finance the fallen women's new start in America and surmised that they had been buried with the skeleton. The brother's staged the theft in order to get their hands on the rubies. When McCool showed back up Dana Dunwoody got his mentally slow brother Duncan who no one knows about and who lives in the salt marsh to kill him. Duncan became convinced that his brother was trying to cheat him and killed him in a fit of rage and then tried to make the murders look similar. When Pendergast tells Sergeant Gavin that he knows who killed Dana and that he knows where he is hiding in the salt marsh in Joe Dunwoody's hearing, Joe goes to warn Duncan and Pendergast (who surmised someone was hiding in the salt marsh due to food missing from the Inn) follows him. Duncan and Joe are caught and everyone breaths a sigh of relief that the investigation is over.

Constance investigated the rumors of witches who fled the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and settled in Oldham, a nearby village that is now deserted. Pendergast dismisses the witch angel as superstitious nonsense, but Constance who spent years in the tunnels of the Riverside mansion reading Dr. Enoch Leng's (aka Antoine Pendergast) collection of books is convinced the rumors are true. After Pendergast rejects her romantic advances she sets out in the middle of the night to prove him wrong. She discovers tunnels beneath the ruins of the Oldham church and an altar, as well as a cell containing a Mother and Daughter. Unbeknownst to Constance someone helped Morax escape and he is attacking the people of Exmouth. Pendergast realizing Constance is missing and fearing for her safety surmises she went to Oldham to prove him wrong and sets out on the trail of the monster. Sergeant Gavin who is one of the witches sets off for Oldham in the confusion to try to fix things when he realizes that Morax's sacrifice was somehow bungled. Sergeant Gavin arrives and reveals to Constance that the Mother and Daughter carry a unique gene and that the are used to breed the demon Morax, who at times of peril is sacrificed to Lucifer. Sergeant Gavin tries to entice Constance to join the coven but when he realizes she doesn't plan to, attacks her. Constance uses Morax's arrival to escape from Sergeant Gavin. Pendergast finds her in the tunnels and together they escape from the tunnel. Just before they are attacked by Morax Pendergast warns Constance against making assumptions if he disappears and that the figure he saw on the dunes had something to do with Morax's escape. It seems that Pendergast's greatest enemy has returned from the dead. Pendergast defeats Morax with Constance's help but a badly wounded Pendergast disappears in the surf. Constance returns home and decides to live in the tunnels at Riverside again and someone subdues Proctor.

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