The Promise(Elvis Cole #16, Joe Pike #5, Scott James and Maggie #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: November 10, 2015

Format: Audio

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, in the new heart-stopping thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Robert Crais.

Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he’s led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn’t ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.

As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive.

For all of them, the night is only beginning.

Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim — and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed.

Review –

“Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole is joined by K-9 cop Scott James and his battle-scarred German shepherd, Maggie, in the search for a woman out to avenge the killing of her son in a suicide bombing in Nigeria.

The woman, Amy Breslyn, is a chemical production engineer working for the government who disappeared with $460,000 in company money and a newly purchased gun. Cole is directed to a bungalow in Echo Park, where James encounters him after a man is beaten to death inside, surrounded by a stash of munitions and explosives. We learn that Amy has infiltrated the arms-dealing culture hoping to get close to people who know the identity of her son’s murderers. Persecuted by the LAPD, Cole and his taciturn partner, Joe Pike, slowly unravel bad information and false identities—helped by James reluctantly at first, since he’s not sure Cole isn’t dirty, and then wholeheartedly after attempts on the lives of both the K-9 officer and his Afghanistan-traumatized dog (introduced in the 2013 stand-alone Suspect). After 20 novels, Crais remains one of crime fiction’s smartest and most effortless plotters. The story unfolds with supreme ease, energized by the enigmatic presence of mercenary Jon Stone. James’ undying love for Maggie can be a bit much, as can Crais’ decision to narrate a nightmare sequence from the dog’s point of view. But the book speeds along at an agreeable clip, lifted by the author’s command of the setting, and those military canines do deserve their plaudits.

Not Crais’ deepest or thorniest mystery but another solid outing with a host of involving characters.”(taken from KirkusReviews) because I couldn’t have said it better.

Fantastic read!!

The Hypnotist (Joona Linna #1) by Lars Kepler

Book Description:

Published: June 21, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

Review –

The novel opens with a horrific crime: A father, mother and their 5-year-old daughter are butchered. The couple’s son, 15-year-old Josef, survives but has been stabbed hundreds of times and is unconscious. He may be able to identify the attacker and thus save other lives, so police summon a hypnotist in the hope that he can communicate with the boy despite his being in a coma.

Erik Maria Bark, the psychiatrist/hypnotist, is a man of many sorrows. He vowed 10 years earlier to give up hypnotism because of a tragedy that is not at first explained. He’s addicted to painkillers, his marriage is falling apart and his 14-year-old son has a blood disease that requires constant treatment. Even worse travails lie ahead once Bark breaks his vow and uses hypnosis to communicate with the survivor of the massacre.

In one of the first of the novel’s many surprises, Josef confesses under hypnosis to killing his family. Of course, the subconscious mind works in strange ways, and the confession may not be true. The boy then escapes from the hospital and may or may not be involved in the next horror, when Bark’s ailing son is kidnapped.

Bark teams up with a detective named Joona Linna to find both youths, one perhaps a mass murderer, the other possibly in the clutches of someone who hates his father. Suspects in the kidnapping include a group of violent criminals whom Bark had treated with hypnosis therapy and who were not always grateful for his efforts. 

The deftly plotted story barrels along in more than a hundred short, swift scenes; it moves about as fast as a 500-page novel can. In one scene, Bark’s wife and her father are about to enter the basement of a house where her son may be held by his kidnapper.  As the woman and her father descend into the darkness — with the reader shrieking “No, no, stop, you fools!” — the beam of their flashlight falls upon “the glass of a framed movie poster.” I take that poster to be homage to Thomas Harris’s landmark thriller, Silence of the Lambs,which as both book and movie was another memorable blending of evil and suspense.

I won’t tell you the ending but it’s worth the reading.

Great on the edge of your seat foreign crime drama. Loved it!

 

Guilty Minds (Nick Heller #3( by Joseph Finder

Book Description:

Published: June 7, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The chief justice of the Supreme Court is about to be defamed by a powerful gossip website called Slander Sheet, which specializes in dirt on celebs and politicians. Their top reporter has written an exposé claiming that he had liaisons with an escort, a young woman willing to appear on video and tell the world her salacious yet convincing tale. But the chief justice is not without formidable allies, and his greatest supporter is determined to stop the story in its tracks.
     
Nick Heller is a private spy—a private intelligence operative based in Boston, hired by lawyers, politicians, and even foreign governments. Known as both a maverick and a dedicated, high-powered investigator, he’s called to Washington, DC, to help out in this delicate, potentially explosive situation.
  
Nick has just forty-eight hours to prove the story about the chief justice is baseless. But when the call girl is found murdered, the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn, and Nick resolves to find the true mastermind behind the Slander Sheet story before anyone else falls victim to the maelstrom of political scandal and ruined reputations predicated upon one carefully concealed secret.   

Review –

In his third time out, Heller is tasked with his biggest challenge yet–discrediting a news report that claims Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin has been sleeping with an expensive, upscale prostitute.

The website running the “hit piece” article is called Slander Sheet, which is a step below Gawker (who knew that was even possible!) and TMZ. You know, the kind of site that everyone checks out on a near-daily basis but will never admit to.

Heller is called in to meet with a Washington legend who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and has golfed with every president since Lyndon B. Johnson–and who also happens to be close friends with Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin. He’s told about the article that Slander Sheet is set to run, then hired to discredit the call girl’s testimony. 

Short on time, Heller gets right to work but soon discovers that the story itself may just be the tip of the iceberg. An even bigger conspiracy is hidden deep within Slander Sheet‘s report, one that nobody–not even Nick Heller–could have possibly seen coming. From there Finder takes the reader speeding down a path of twists and turns, with nonstop action and suspense along the way.

Guilty Minds is a blistering tale of deceit, corruption, and power–and Finder dazzles by delivering a story that seems all too possible in today’s world. To say the pacing is fast would be like saying Brad Pitt is just a “good looking” guy. The book starts off like a drag race and doesn’t slow down for even a second. If you love thrillers, then clear your schedule and strap in… you’re in for one hell of a ride! 

Fantastic read!

 

 

Vanished (Nick Heller #1) by Joseph Finder

Book Description:

Published: August 18, 2009

Format: Audio/Library Book

Lauren Heller and her husband, Roger, are out to dinner one night when they’re brutally attacked. Twenty-four hours later, Lauren awakes in the hospital to find that her husband has vanished without a trace. The only one who has any chance of finding him is his brother, Nick, a high-powered investigator with a private intelligence firm.

Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. Trained in the Special Forces, he specializes in digging up secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He and his brother have been estranged ever since the imprisonment of their notorious billionaire father. But Nick will do anything to protect Lauren and her son. He never backs down. Even if it means taking on the most lethal enemies he’s ever had to face.

Plunged headlong into a desperate chase, Nick begins making shocking discoveries about his brother’s life — and about the giant defense contractor he works for. Now, in order to keep Lauren and her teenage son alive, Nick must take on a powerful and deadly conspiracy that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets.

Review –

Vanished starts off at a run and picks up speed as the mystery starts to unfold and by the end, your head is spinning.

The action is fast paced, the mood, mostly somber but there is humor thrown in here and there by Nick Heller(thank heavens). It was a bit too convoluted for me but a good read none the less.

Does Nick figure out the mystery? Does he find Roger? What happens to Lauren and Gabe? Who is the librarian?

You will just have to read Vanished to find out.

 

Daddy’s Girl by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: March 13, 2007

The unlikely heroine of this Lisa Scottoline thriller (which follows 2006’s Dirty Blonde), mousy University of Pennsylvania assistant law professor Natalie “Nat” Greco, finds herself in way over her head when an unintended visit to a minimum-security prison in nearby Chester County puts her in the middle of a deadly uprising — and places her at the center of an elaborate plot that involves an incarcerated crime boss and more than a few improbable conspirators.

Greco’s classes at Penn Law — the History of Justice, for example — aren’t nearly as well attended as those taught by charismatic and handsome prof Angus Holt. Greco herself is far from immune to Holt’s charm, so when he asks her to accompany him to Chester County Correctional Institution to lecture to inmates involved in an externship program, she quickly agrees. But the professors’ visit soon turns deadly; a riot erupts, and amid the chaos Greco finds herself alone with a dying correctional officer who has been stabbed through the heart with a metal shank. His last words are a cryptic  message to his wife: “It’s under the floor.” Soon thereafter, Greco is inexplicably set up for the murder of a state trooper and is forced to become a fugitive from justice while she tries to unravel the mystery of the dying man’s words.

While not as sexually supercharged or frenetically paced as Dirty Blonde, Daddy’s Girl derives its power from the subtle and compelling coming-of-age of protagonist Greco, a sheltered and socially naive woman who, when faced with the ultimate adversity, discovers herself.

Review –

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I have mixed feelings about this book, though overall positive I did find it a bit daunting to keep up with all of the action., if you can believe that. I mean, it had a prison riot and break out, road blocks , a vice dean on her case, plus family and boyfriend trouble. It wore me out. It’s really just an adult Nancy Drew mystery.

The end had a surprise twist and even though it was a bit cliché, it was still perfect.

Not the best but not the worst.

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The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Book Description :

Published: March 1, 2016

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

Review  –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This book is a roller coaster ride of new identities, new cities, new “friends” and new secrets .

Once I started listening to this book l found it enthralling and very hard to stop listening to, but  if I’d been reading I know I would have finished it in one siting.  It is that good.

Though Tanya,Amelia-Debra is not a saint she is NOT a murderer and as she moves from tow to town and takes on new names to hide in plain sight, we learn what brought her to this point inc er young life.  She was only seventeen when she was forced to go on the run by her mother and the father(a very rich influential man) of the boys also in the car at the time of the “accident”. Now it’s been ten years and she’s on the run again and this time someone is trying to kill her and a handsome sheriff in Wyoming is trying to help her.  Which one will get to her first?

Action packed, very fast paced, a bit (or a lot) on the unbelievable side  and a heart thumping read that will stay with me for a long time.

I HIGHLY recommend it!  Five Stars *****

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Private Paris (Private #10) by James Patterson and Mark T. Sullivan

Book Description:

Published: April 21, 2016

Paris is burning–and only Private’s Jack Morgan can put out the fire.
When Jack Morgan stops by Private’s Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from his client Sherman Wilkerson, asking Jack to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run from a brutal drug dealer.

Before Jack can locate her, several members of France’s cultural elite are found dead–murdered in stunning, symbolic fashion. The only link between the crimes is a mysterious graffiti tag. As religious and ethnic tensions simmer in the City of Lights, only Jack and his Private team can connect the dots before the smoldering powder keg explodes.

Review –

 Another new foreign office, another series of local challenges to go along with an assortment of story lines.

 It is a fast paced thriller complete with tension, mayhem,murder and terrorism and will keep you turning pages or listening for many hours at a time.  I believe this is one of James Patterson’s better books in the series but if I had been reading instead of listening I would have stumbled over most of the French names of people, places and things. Thank heavens for the audio book.!

The next in the series is Private Rio which come out later this month.

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Police (Harry Hole #10) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: October 15, 2016

The police urgently need Harry Hole . . . A killer is stalking Oslo’s streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated but failed to solve. The murders are brutal, the media reaction hysterical.

But this time, Harry can’t help . . . For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the center of every major criminal investigation in Oslo. His dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But now, with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry is not in a position to protect anyone.

Least of all himself . . .

Review –

Another great chapter in the Harry Hole Series by Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbo.

In this one Harry is no longer employed by the Oslo Police Department ( I don’t know why because I haven’t read the book in order) but they need his help in solving a rash of serial killing where the victims are police officers.

His romance with Raquel is still going strong and her son Oleg is no longer a young boy,

This is a great story with fast paced action and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

I highly recommend this series!

ADDITION as of 06/21/16

Having read Phantom (Harry Hole #9) I now have a greatly understanding of this book.

Harry is not introduced into the story until Chapter 16 and at that time is working as a lecturer at the Police Academy. Up until now he has been in a coma at a hospital under police guard night and day because they are afraid whoever tried to kill Harry in the previous book will want to finish him off if it’s leaked that he is still alive.

 

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The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: May 10, 2011

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

Review –

This book was recommended as a winter read with spooky overtones and I couldn’t resist. It is  translated from the Norwegian and I had the audio book so I didn’t have to worry about wrongly pronouncing the names of people, places and things.

The story grabs you by the neck from the first few words and doesn’t let go.  I love a good “who-dun-it” but add in creepy snowmen at each crime scene and what could be better? I’m looking forward to listening to or reading more by this author.

Excellent!!

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Private Down Under (Private #6) by James Patterson and Michael White

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2012

The world’s most exclusive detective agency opens a new office – in Australia!

With the best detectives in the business, cutting edge technology and offices around the globe, there is no investigation company quite like Private. Now, at a glittering launch party overlooking the iconic Opera House, Private Sydney throws open its doors . . .

Craig Gisto and his newly formed team have barely raised their glasses, however, when a young Asian man, blood-soaked and bullet-ridden, staggers into the party, and what looks like a botched kidnapping turns out to be a whole lot more.

Within days the agency’s caseload is full. But it is a horrific murder in the wealthy Eastern Suburbs and the desperate search for a motive that stretches the team to the limit. Stacy Friel, friend of the Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, isn’t the killer’s first victim – and as the bodies mount up she’s clearly not the last . . .

Review –

I never thought I’d read or listen to the Private series by James Patterson and his co-writers, but when I was faced with no audio book while driving all over town doing my errands I was desperate.  I stopped at a local Hastings store and found this audio book on sale for a very good price and so bought it and continued running my errands while listening to the story unfold.

Miracle of miracles, I actually liked it, so, when I got home I looked on Overdrive to see if any were available and found a few and have since listened to three more.  None of them are five stars but they are entertaining. 

The premise of the stories are all about the same-some horrible crime occurs and Private is called into action to save the day. Like I said, it makes for an entertaining listen or read.

I recommend the series if you have an afternoon or evening with time  on your hands.  

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