Thursday, March 30, 2017

Man Overboard

Title: Man Overboard
Author: J. A. Jance
Published: March 21st 2017 by Touchstone
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Ali Reynolds #12

I read these books solely for Leland Brooks, how dare J. A. Jance ship him off, I understand the reasoning behind why he left, but these books will be less entertaining without him there.

There is definitely a creepy factor to this book; the ability to develop Artificial Intelligence to the point that cyber stalking has no limits definitely has me worried. I do not know how much is real and how much is speculation, but J. A. Jance is riding a sharp edge here.

Roger McGeary was the only friend that Stuart Ramey, High Noon’s cyber genius, had at school. They were a united front when it came to the bullying that was directed at them. They lost contact after high school, so when Roger’s aunt Julia tracked town Stu to find out what had happened to her nephew he could not say no.

Children of a parent that has committed suicide are more likely to commit suicide themselves and psychiatrist Dr. Amelia Cannon has been studying this phenomenon for years. When her electronic files have been hacked, she decides that this is a good time to walk away from her practice and to care for her dying mother, unaware that the hacker, Owen Hansen and his alter ego, are using this information to cyber stalk her patients. Owen wants to see them die at their own hands and now it is up to Ali Reynolds and the team at High Noon Enterprises to stop him before there are any more deaths.

This high stakes game has Stuart going non-stop. The action is intense and the technical knowledge is heightened. Jance takes her readers into a backdoor of this technology that will leave you wondering how secure your smartphone is and who has access to your most personal information.

Though it appears that Jance is closing the Leyland door, she has giving you more insight into Stuart and Cami, two characters that are important, yet did not have their background stories fully told. A new character, or two, has been added so we will have to wait and see what they will have to offer. I just hope that the humor that was all Leyland Brooks can be brought out in other ways.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Awakening

Title: The Awakening
Author: Amanda Stevens
Expected Publication: March 28th 2017 by Mira
Format: eBook, Paperback, 416 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Graveyard Queen #6

That is one of the most intense endings that I have read in a very long time. After meandering through most of the book, the ending was a blur, which I had to read twice to make sure that I had grasped it all.

Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer, has taken on Woodbine in Charleston, South Carolina. A forgotten cemetery where the well-to-do bury their secrets --namely their mistresses and illegitimate children. A far corner has called out to Amelia, a corner that is sheltering a marker in the shape of an old-fashioned baby crib with an epitaph that reads Shush…Lest She Awaken. There is no name on the memorial that dates back fifty or so years, yet Amelia is drawn to it. Maybe it is the fact that she is a ghost seer, a death walker or just the plan fact that the dead reach out to her and want her to act as their detective. Amelia has a love hate relationship with her talent that she refers to as a curse, yet she cannot turn away when a child is involved.

As she returns to her work, the grave continues to calling out to her. Mercy - is that the child’s name or what she is asking for? Coincidently, as the ghost is calling out to her she is experiencing remembered moments and conversations. How or why are these disjointed memories related to the grave? What is she being told that she yet does not understand?

John Devlin is back. He and Amelia are no longer together. John has taken on the family business. A business with a shady side, but John is not doing this just for himself. He has others to protect and this is the best way to keep those that he loves safe. He is now engaged, or is it a business relationship, to Claire Bellefontaine, and with her comes her creepy older brother Rance Duvall. Dr. Rupert Shaw is still a mentor and friend to Amelia, yet he is hiding secrets. As Amelia discovers the truth, their relationship is at a crossroads. Whom was he really trying to protect?

The Conge, which was revealed in the previous book (as a reminder, the books need to be read in order even though there are small bits of rehashing in each one) is back in full occult force and out to rid the world of unnaturals like Amelia.

Dread is looming over Amelia. She cannot tell if it is something, or someone, coming for her or if something else is ending. Either way, she has to prepare. She has to be ready so her secrets are not revealed or the people that she cares the most for are not held accountable. As I said, you will muddle through the middle of this book, but the ending is not to be missed. There is a great deal going on and Amanda Stevens ties up quite a few of her characters. By the time that you get to the end, you just might find yourself wanting to read it again to see all the breadcrumbs that had been left for you.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Chalk Pit

Title: The Chalk Pit
Author: Elly Griffiths
Published: February 23rd 2017 by Quercus UK;
May 30th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt US
Format: ebook, Hardcover 384 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Ruth Galloway #9

I think that I am having my own version of a love affair with this series. A new book in the Ruth Galloway series forces me to put everything else aside and devote the day to nothing but reading. I love the people and the places that Elly Griffiths takes us to and there is just something about Ruth that makes you want to cheer her on even though her outside relationships tend to lead her only to troubles and heartache.

Ruth, a forensic anthropologist who loves a good intellectual puzzle, is called in when bones are discovered after an architect starts excavating for a new underground restaurant. The bones look old and possibly pot polished. Turns out that the bones are newer than she thought and with local rough sleepers going missing or being murdered, there are too many questions being asked and not enough answers.

With a shakeup at the station, DCI Harry Nelson is battling his own hell on earth with a new woman boss. Superintendent Jo Archer seems to be under the misguided belief that Nelson is ready to sit in an office and do paperwork instead of joining his investigative team. How can he do that when bones have been discovered at the restaurant site and there are well-used tunnels branching off? Tunnels that seem to be running all over town and one has recently caved in due to a sinkhole.

When it comes to investigating DCI Harry Nelson and his team are being pulled in many directions. What does Archer want them to do? Follow the tunnels, find the missing women who may have gone underground, figure out who is killing the men living on the street that seem to have too much information or find Clough’s partner that has just gone missing.

This book is nonstop from the beginning. Dealt a devastating blow, Ruth once again is questioning her relationship with her parents. She has tried to do the best that she can but raising a daughter on her own and having parents that have their own views has never been easy. It is on a narrow ledge that she walks and seeking comfort in Nelson has its own drawbacks. Little does she know that Harry was about to make her life easier only to discover that his own life just got more complicated.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Forever, Again

Title: Forever, Again
Author: Victoria Laurie
Published: December 13th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Format: Hardcover, 360 pages
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal

After a somewhat dull and plodding storyline that was reminiscent of books that I had read in the late 70’s - Victoria Laurie ventured down the reincarnation highway and took an odd turn at the end.

High school junior Lily and late 80’s Amber are see-sawing their stories. Lily Bennet has been having the same reoccurring nightmare since she was four years old. It is not until she has moved back to her father’s hometown, and through the help of hypnosis, that she reveals that she is the reincarnation of Amber Greeley. The same Amber Greeley that was rumored to have killed her boyfriend and then committing suicide thirty years before.

There are many ridiculous points to this book. How old is Lily’s mother and when did she finish medical school if she is only now doing her residency? I would love to know what program that Amber’s best friend went through that she should get an associate’s degree in architecture and then jump to a master’s and the of all things a PhD. Not to mention some silly FBI-in-training program for high schoolers that made Lily’s current boyfriend a prodigy when it comes to police investigation. To top it off, exactly how many teens in the 1980’s were able to run out and get life insurance on their own. Really, Ms. Laurie, a bit of research would have been helpful.

The only reason that I gave this book a chance was due to Ms. Laurie’s enjoyable prior attempt at young adult writing - ‘When’ - Disney Hyperion (January 13, 2015). ‘Forever again’, on the other hand, felt “fill in the blank” from the beginning, with nothing new or unique and at times repetitious with over the top teen angst.