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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recent Reads

Crash and Burn by Lisa Gardner is a review I will save for later, as it isn't to be released until February, but I am going to mention that I liked it a lot, and just returned from the library with a couple more books by Gardner.  Crash and Burn is a page-turner from NetGalley.

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.  

Nicole Frank survives a car crash...that may not have been an accident.  In fact, Nicky has had several mishaps recently, and Sergeant Wyatt Foster finds a number of things problematic about Nicky's accidents.

An intriguing mystery with lots of suspense; I can't wait to get started on my library copies (Say Goodbye and Catch Me) from two different series by Gardner.
NetGalley/Penguin Group

Mystery/Suspense.  Feb. 3, 2015.  400 pages.

The Red Room:  A Risk Agent Novel by Ridley Pearson is the third in a series featuring John Knox and Grace Chu, operatives for Rutherford Risk, but this is the first one I've read.  Hmmm.  Knox and Chu are assigned to a case/mission that is considered NTK (Need to Know), and nobody seems to know much.  Danger-Escape-Danger-Escape, and so on. 

I gather that fans of Pearson's other series were not impressed with this one, and I can see why.  Maybe I'll try one of his other books at some point, but this one didn't do much for me.

Library copy.

Thriller?  2014.  400 pages.

Last year, I received The Ninth Girl by Hoag from NetGalley.  The suspense and the characters both appealed to me, so when the publisher offered Cold, Cold Heart, the latest from Tami Hoag, I was up for it!

The detectives I liked in the previous novel make only a brief appearance in this one, but the mystery and suspense are every bit as engrossing.  Dana Nolan was an aspiring television reporter before her abduction by a serial killer.  (Her abduction is mentioned in The Ninth Girl as a kind of side-bar.)  Her horrific injuries include brain trauma, and even after a long recovery, she struggles with the after-effects of her experience.  There was the Before Dana, beautiful, cheerful, confident, and going places.  And there is the After Dana, suffering from the effects of PTSD and brain trauma, scarred, dealing with gaps in long and short term memory, and angry.

The residual problems from her brain injury feel real and watching Dana struggle with her memory is intense in itself, but as Dana finds focus in her determination to discover what happened to her high school friend who disappeared the summer of their senior year, the tension increases. What happened to Casey?  What she an early victim of the serial killer who later abducted Dana?

Just a warning, though, the prologue is violent; it sets the scene for the injuries (physical and psychological) that Dana will have to live with after escape.

Another compelling suspense novel from Tami Hoag.

NetGalley/Penguin Group/Dutton

Suspense/Mystery.  Jan. 13, 2015.  390 pages.

The Second Guard  from NetGalley won't be published until April, and my review will be scheduled for closer to that time, but it was a YA fantasy from Disney-Hyperion that I enjoyed.

Another NetGalley offering that I'll review later, Doctor Death is a historical mystery by Lene Kaaberbol.  Kaaberbol is the co-author of several novels with journalist Agnete Friis, including The Boy in the Suitcase which won a number of awards:

The New York Times Book Review Notable Crime Book of 2011
Strand Magazine Critics Award Nominee
Indie Next List November 2011 Pick
Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel
Harald Morgensen Award for Best Danish Thriller of the Year
Glass Key Crime Fiction Award Nominee

She has also written a number of children's fantasy novels and won the Nordic Children's Book Prize in 2004.

Set in 1894 in Varbourg, France, Madeline Karno is the daughter of an early forensic pathologist and assists her father when he deems it appropriate.  Not even her father feels that a young woman should be involved in some of the aspects of his work.  A mysterious death of a young girl, the murder of a priest, and several unusual characters.  

NetGalley/Atria Books

Historical Mystery.  Feb. 17, 2015.  304 pages.


  1. I haven't read anything by Lisa Gardner yet, but I definitely want to. I tried a Tami Hoag novel once and just couldn't get into it. It was a blend of romance and suspense that just wasn't my cup of tea. :-)

    1. I read that Tami Hoag started with romance/suspense before she began her crime novels. No romance in either of the ones I've read, but plenty of suspense.

  2. I hope Doctor Death is as good as it sounds. I read The Boy in the Suitcase earlier this year and liked it; I wouldn't mind reading another book by this author. So, Happy Reading....and Merry Christmas!

  3. I liked Doctor Death and Madeline Karno's character. There are some unusual elements in it, but they are kind of spoilers. I'll certainly read the next one in this new series.

    Merry Christmas, to you, too, Lark!

  4. Glad to hear that the Lisa Gardner book is a good one. I've been looking at it for a while because her PR people are doing such a good job for her...may pick it up yet.

    1. It was good, and I'll have a review scheduled for closer to the release date. :)

  5. I have enjoyed the Tami Hoag books I have read. Cold, Cold Heart sounds like a good one. So does the Lisa Gardner one. I'm trying to remember if I've read anything by Ridley Pearson. It's kind of sad when I don't remember, isn't it?

    1. Cold, Cold Heart was interesting in several ways. I liked the way it connected to the previous book, but only is the slightest way, and I liked Hoag's treatment of traumatic brain injury.

      I sometimes have to look back at reviews to remember if I read an author before! When you read a lot of books, some of those aren't going to be immediately accessible to memory--only those that make the deepest impression. I'm afraid the one by Ridley Pearson won't have made that big of an impression.

  6. I don't think I've read anything by Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag; I suppose I wasn't really interested at that point but I might pick them up again if the blurbs interest me.

    Doctor Death sounds intriguing! :)

    1. Both Hoag and Gardner have written some suspenseful novels, and I will be reading more by each of them. Dr. Death is intriguing--novels about early forensic efforts tend to be.

  7. I like the cover for The Second Guard.

    1. Yep, I like the cover of The Second Guard, too. It is definitely YA, but I liked it enough that I'll look for more by J.D. Vaughn.

  8. I Love Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag even though they are new to me. I am sticking to Hoag's mysteries. I don't read many romances. Your reviews are wonderful.

    1. Since I wrote this review, I've read a couple more of Hoag's earlier books in this series featuring Kovac and Liska. I like this series, even though Kovac and Liska just made a token appearance in this novel.

  9. Oh lots of good thrillers to add to my list! I do think I have Crash & Burn on my Kindle thanks to NetGalley. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday!