Category Archives: Suspense

Fractured by Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Allen Hott

FracturedQuite a story that illustrates not only how cops work but also how criminal minds work while they are plotting some of the terrible crimes that they perpetrate.

It begins with the Campano family being pretty well torn apart when the mother comes upon a crime scene and sees what she believes to be her daughter, Emma, in a horrible condition with a young man hovering over the girl. The mother, with tremendous force powered by her feelings for her daughter, overtakes the man and stabs him to death.

When the police come on the scene they find that the girl was not her daughter and the man was not the assailant! It turns out that the young man was a boyfriend of her daughter. He had earlier come into the house looking for the daughter, his girlfriend.

Prior Bad Acts (Kovac and Liska #3) by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Prior Bad ActsAnother very interesting book by Tami Hoag. A mother is found murdered in the worst possible way and two children are also found hanging from a ceiling beam in the basement of a home. They were found by a man seeking refuge from a tremendous storm that was inundating the area.

The story then moves to a courtroom fifteen months later where Judge Carey Moore decides that she will not pass sentence on Karl Dahl, a drifter who was apprehended near the scene and arrested primarily because of prior bad acts even though none of them were extremely bad.

When Moore decides that she will not sentence him, many in and out of the courtroom are up in arms. The prosecuting attorney basically condemns her for not doing her duty. One particular police Detective, Stan Dempsey, really gets upset because he feels Moore has done this too often in the past and has not allowed good police work to be rewarded by stiff sentencing of criminals.

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The President is MissingTwo celebrated folks collaborating on a story about the possibility of a worldwide internet attack. In this lengthy tale President Duncan, the president of the United States, is faced with a possible cyber terror attack that will shut down not only the United States electronic systems in total but also do harm to several allied countries as well.

However President Duncan who is a highly decorated former soldier and as he has basically been contacted directly by one of the terrorists he decides to work through this pretty much by himself. He does not allow hardly anyone and especially the press know anything about the supposed attack. He handpicks six of his closest advisers and several high tech folks to work with him on figuring out how to do this work.

The Ridge by John Rector

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Megan began to wonder if she was losing her mind. Is everything real or just part of her imagination? Can she trust anyone is this town?

Megan and her husband Tyler move to Chicago where he has accepted a job at the Institute, a research center and must remain there at least for a year.

Megan is not very happy with the move and the strange neighborhood. She believes that one of the neighbors, Rachel Addison, is trying to steal her husband. When Megan confronts Rachel everything goes awry. There was a terrible accident and Megan believes Rachel is dead. When she tells Tyler what happened, he goes to Rachel’s house only to find her alive and well. Is Megan losing her mind?

The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Last Mrs. ParrishAt some time in your past, you probably have looked at a celebrity and imagined yourself as that celebrity. After awhile, most of us realize that no matter how hard we try, we just cannot become that person. Even with a makeover and dieting, it just will not work. You won’t become that person.

Amber Pattinson obsesses over Daphne Parrish. She sees Daphne as perfect. To Amber, Daphne is who she wants to become. The beautiful, blond socialite and philanthropist exists with designer clothes including jewelry, travels extensively in their private jet and has a nanny For her two supposedly perfect daughters. She even has a charismatically handsome husband who happens to own his real-estate company. Of course, the family lives in their elegant homes, complete with servants and everything a woman could buy or desire.

Amber can only find one imperfection in Daphne. Daphne’s sister passed away twenty-years ago from cystic fibrosis. In her honor, she created a charity for those suffering from the disease. However, she still misses her sister.

After the Monsoon: An Ernst Grip Novel by Robert Karjel

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

After the MonsoonAfter the Monsoon is an engrossing, intense, and suspenseful multi-layered thriller set in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. From the tension-filled opening chapter, to the escalating conflict, and the palpable sense of dread sustained throughout the story, readers will be kept on the edge of their seats until the final page. The tale includes a number of illegal activities, such as piracy, terrorism, money laundering, torture, and espionage. Readers get a close look into the inner workings of organizations in charge of preventing these nefarious activities.

Imagine your life changing dramatically in the blink of an eye. This is exactly what happens to a Swedish family sailing around the world when their boat is hijacked by Somalia pirates in the Indian Ocean. The family is held hostage on a remote island, and the pirates demand payment for their release. Living conditions are deplorable, and the family’s bad situation worsens when their son runs low on his antiseizure medication. How long can they survive their inhumane treatment? Will the ransom be paid? Is there any chance of rescue?

The Victim’s Club (Kindle Single) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Victim's ClubA different approach in some ways. Deaver has written this book as a Novella and it is very interesting though short.

Jon Avery is a detective working in Monroe County Sheriff’s office and is given a case to help out on as the primary detective is away for a few days. Avery begins his work when the state calls with some info the other detective had requested on one of her cases. It turns out that a burner phone was used to photograph a professor from the local college. The pictures showed the lady lying on a bench and pretty much undressed but also appeared to be asleep.

Avery knew of the college and that it was well known for its sports programs as well as quite a bit of partying. In discussing the event the other detective had found that Rose Taylor, the professor, had been at a party where she had one glass of wine and had started the second when she really felt wiped out so she had laid down on the bench. When she came to she noticed how her clothes were all messed up but instead of reporting to the police or anyone at the party she headed home.

The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The DisappearedAs usual Joe Pickett, Wyoming’s favorite Game Warden, gets picked to move out of his normal bailiwick and has to work on a problem for the governor. But this new governor is not a fan of Joe nor is the governor’s right hand. Mainly because Joe is always solving problems but he is always causing other ones as he works. Usually he is not only tearing up state furnished equipment like trucks, etc. but he also tends to even run up against the legal system by doing things HIS way as opposed to by the book!

However because of the seriousness of the newest problem and because they have no one as good at solving problems the governor gives Joe an assignment that no one could solve. It seems that a very well-known British businesswoman has turned up missing instead of returning to England after her stay at a very exclusive guest ranch in Wyoming. And wouldn’t you know, Sheridan Pickett, Joe’s oldest daughter is working at the ranch as a wrangler after just finishing college. Joe is somewhat astounded by this since Sheridan was never the horse lover that her mother and sisters were. But it seems Box needed a “friend” in the right place for Pickett as the story evolves.

The Fallen (Memory Man series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The FallenAmos Decker, the Memory Man, is back in a new story but using many of his previous attributes as he goes about solving crimes. In this one, however, he does have some different kinds of problems with his fabulous memory. If you have read any of Amos’s previous stories you know he has a fantastic memory and though it gives him problems at times it is usually a great tool for an FBI agent to have.

This time he and Alex Jamison, his FBI partner, take a vacation to a small rust-belt town called Baronville to visit Alex’s sister’s family. While there they not only discover there are some major problems in the small town but invariably they get involved in working out some of the problems. It seems as though at one time a guy named Baron owned the town and was unliked by most residents. He supposedly left a fortune somewhere when he died but no one has ever been able to find it.

Now his last descendant lives in the old dilapidated mansion and he too is unliked by most everyone as they feel (a) he is a Baron which is reason enough to hate him and (b) he may know where the fortune is hidden.

Quicksand (Eve Duncan) by Iris Johansen

Reviewed by Allen Hott

QuicksandEve Duncan is still trying to find the person who killed her young daughter, Bonnie, years ago. And because it is still causing her some mental problems it is also bothering her forever lover, Joe Quinn. Joe and Eve had gotten the names of three potentials that seem to fit in as possible killers of Bonnie from a gentleman named Montalvo that had used Eve to do a forensic sculpting. Montalvo works in Columbia as a detective type in the military.

Joe, who is a former Navy seal and nationally known Atlantic detective, receives word from the sheriff of Bloomburg, Illinois that Henry Kistle, a fugitive and one of Joe’s three potentials is in Bloomburg. Joe takes off immediately for Kistle’s location but before he gets there Kistle somehow is able to capture and kill the sheriff.

And then Eve receives a phone call that begins with, “Do you still miss your little Bonnie?” The call comes from the sheriff’s phone. She knows right away that someone is aware of what happened to Bonnie and Eve immediately assumes it is the killer. While talking with Eve he admits to killing the sheriff and also admits his name is Henry Kistle.

Kistle does take off and is quickly being hunted in the woods outside of Bloomburg when both Joe and Montalvo with his aide get word from the local sheriff that they have tracked him that far. However even with all their accumulated forces they are unable to get him and he also kills the sheriff’s chief deputy.

When it appears he is still in the woods, Eve flies also to Bloomburg to be of any help that she can. However as part of the story it turns out that Montalvo has developed some sort of a crush on Eve and although she is fighting it she also has developed feelings for him. Her feelings however do not replace her feelings for Joe. What she feels for Montalvo (at least she believes) are because of his extreme care for her loss of Bonnie which Joe has never been able to develop.

From here Johansen has built an interesting story as the entire group of Eve, Joe, Montalvo, and his top aide join forces with legal forces chasing Kistle. Kistle makes many of the moves you would expect in a story of this type as he continues to not only run and hide but also he kidnaps a young girl. He knows that this will really get to Eve so he constantly phones her to tell her where he and the kidnapped youngster are.

If you read Johannsen’s stories about Eve Duncan you know that she is mentally upset and has been for years not only over the loss of Bonnie but also the fact that she has never been able to catch the killer. She never gets much help from Joe in this problem because he never knew Bonnie and isn’t overly sympathetic to past occurrences.

Will Montalvo’s caring cause a split with Eve and Joe? Will they finally catch Kistle? The only way to find out these answers is to read Quicksand. You will not regret doing just that!