Setting and Mood is dark and gritty in Silent City

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Pete Fernandez is a mess. He’s on the brink of being fired from his middle-management newspaper job. His fiancée has up and left him. Now, after the sudden death of his father, he’s back in his hometown of Miami, slowly drinking himself into oblivion. But when a co-worker he barely knows asks Pete to locate a missing daughter, Pete finds himself dragged into a tale of murder, drugs, double-crosses and memories bursting from the black heart of the Miami underworld – and, shockingly, his father’s past. Making it up as he goes and stumbling as often as he succeeds, Pete’s surreptitious quest becomes the wake-up call he’s never wanted but has always needed – but one with deadly consequences. Welcome to Silent City, a story of redemption, broken friendships, lost loves and one man’s efforts to make peace with a long-buried past to save the lives of the few friends he has left.  (From Goodreads)

What I liked about this one is the setting and the overall mood of the book. It’s gritty, very noir, and it suits the plot. It shows the other side of Miami besides the beaches and the bustling city we are all familiar with. It’s great writing and really sets the tone throughout the story.

The plot was interesting if a little far fetched. So someone comes up to you and asks you to help find their daughter. Okay. Any other person would go straight to the police right? Although I suppose this is to show Pete’s ‘investigative’ reporter spidey senses and it piques his interest as he delves further into a downward spiral. So maybe that’s what got him going further. Now I understand (without providing any spoilers here) it gets a little more personal later but I expected maybe a little more from it. Perhaps because I’m used to other books where there’s more twists and turns, some more shocking moments, etc. This one just gets down to business and it’s pretty much cut and dry – which is fine for those that enjoy this type of story. However, there is plenty of action which does make the plot move forward.

Pete does take quite a beating in the book but I just could not really like him. He’s gone through a lot, true, but he’s just been on the pity party train and it got old and aggravating. However when he reached the point of no return and when there’s nothing to lose, something sparked in him and he managed to climb out of it (for a bit) but then you have to wonder if he’s going to go back into that void again. Meh.

The supporting characters weren’t that great or likable either. I’d suppose the only one that had something was Mike. Emily wasn’t that great and I found her an annoying pest. And Kathy. She was a piece of work and not that likable either.

I might keep going further into this series. Not sure yet. I did like reading this but at the same time I wanted more out of it. It was enough to get my attention but I really did like the mood and theme of the book. Perhaps I’ll give the second one a try and see how it goes.

I give it a 6 out of 10.  

 

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Where is Book three??? I need it..now!!!

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When a high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome with a carriage full of dead bodies, Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli, a fierce detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe of her own, is called to lead the investigation. After receiving a message claiming responsibility for the killings and announcing more murders to come, officers turn their attention to a small group of Islamic extremists. But Dante Torre believes authorities are being misdirected. For him the Islamic link is a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has been committing murders all over the world for years: a woman who calls herself Giltine, after the mythological Lithuanian goddess of death. After further carnage, Giltine’s murderous plans escalate to macabre heights, and only Dante and Colomba can stop her. (From Goodreads)

***Contains spoilers. You’ve been warned***

Oh lordy. Lordy lordy lordy. I don’t know what to say except, yes one more time. Lordy. I finished this book and screamed. And it’s a good reaction.

This book doesn’t disappoint. It sets the bar higher than the last one, Kill the Father. It would be best if you do read them in order as you do need the background information surrounding Dante. Plus, it does add more substance to the characters.

This one was definitely more action packed than previous. As it involves a great deal more victims and there’s definitely more layers to peel once the mystery starts to unravel and we get closer to Giltine. And it’s not yet over! There’s giant revelations at the end and you’re left with a heart stopping ending.

There are many twists and turns to go through in the book; old and new characters are mentioned, and of course Colomba is in a bind and goes through very hefty events and you marvel at her mental and emotional strength. Dante is likable in his own quirky way and both him and Colomba work so great as a team, even though they have their differences. There’s a more deeper level of understand between the two of them and there is a hint of a romance. I don’t see it myself as I’ve always seen Dante and Colomba more as a sibling like relationship. (I would have liked to see Dante and Brigitte together, they seemed like they could go along well!)

There’s some major blindsiding happening in the book, you realize Giltine is both victim and perpetrator. There’s still more to uncover in the mystery and by the time we do come to the conclusion it would be a massive atom bomb waiting to drop. However on a side note, I do enjoy how Dazieri brings in these references to various historical events (Chernobyl for one) and various conditions and illnesses to make you think and realize there’s actual conditions out there that exist and people do suffer from them. It makes the plot different and substantially prominent to make this book memorable.

The plot is very engaging and you’re pretty much on the edge in the last third of the book. The last few chapters really pack it in and they were one of the most exciting chapters I have ever read in a book so far. I’m still overwhelmed and blown away by the last page. Gah! I can’t wait for the next book!

Definitely recommended. The series is going to be one of the best I have read so far in my lifetime.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

 

No Kiddos for Me Thanks…

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Meet Hanna. She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good. Meet Suzette. She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.  (From Goodreads)

This was such a good book I stayed up until 2am to finish it. Even then I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was floored!

What really makes a huge impact in this book were the characters and the tension created between all of them. A beautifully created house wasn’t so lovely on the inside and what you think is a lovely happy family is really not what it seems.

The plot itself was good. You follow the points of view of Hanna and Suzette. Hanna. Oh my goodness. All you can think of how is it possible that she can be such a horrid rabid creature who does whatever it takes to push Suzette to her limits. Her actions are shocking and it’s hard to believe she’s could be this sweet little girl (or at least to Alex she is). You are constantly guessing what she might have. A psychological disorder? Or is there something more malicious out there? (ie: paranormal).

At times you feel for Suzette. She’s at her limit and she tries to justify Hanna’s actions, blaming herself at times because she thinks it’s due to her lack of being a mother. Now I can understand how she can lash out and snap sometimes at Hanna but sometimes I thought her behavior went too harsh and it didn’t help matters, in fact it escalated and made it worse. There were times when she got whiny and it’s hard to sympathize with any side at this point (Although you could sympathize for Alex as he’s caught in the middle of this ordeal).

This book may not be for everyone, it’s definitely chilling to see a child act like this. Again you have to wonder if there’s something much darker underlying her behavior. I loved the ending, it was so perfect for this book. Definitely recommended for those that want a chilling novel where kids run amok. Keep in mind some parts can be pretty disturbing.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Thank you St Martin’s Press for a copy of the book!

 

Grisly murder scenes and Mind Fawkery

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Troubled San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart is planning a rare weekend away from the job when she gets the call. A body has been found. A woman, brutally murdered. And the cryptic note left by the body is addressed to Valerie. The victim is unknown to her, but as Valerie analyses the scene, the clues begin to point in a deeply disturbing direction: to a maximum security prison where a woman called Katherine Glass is awaiting execution for a series of gruesome killings. And Valerie was the cop who put her there. The last thing Valerie wants to do is re-enter Katherine’s twisted world, but when a second body is discovered, with another puzzling clue, she realises she has no choice. Katherine Glass holds the key to the killings, and Valerie needs to find out what she knows before the murders come even closer to home. Even if it means playing a deadly game where once again, the psychopathic killer holds all the cards. (From Goodreads)

This can be read as a stand alone if you come across this book although it’s highly encouraged to read the first one only because it’s just as good!

This time around, Valerie doesn’t get pummelled all over the place and you don’t cringe as much when she gets hit by something (whether it’s a bullet or a hit to the head). The plot held up to the same standards as the first; fast paced, filled with scenes of gratuitous violence and some sexual content here and there. This may not be for some readers as it does get graphic but I think without it, it would be hard to describe how heinous the crimes are.

Throughout the novel, Valerie has these tete a tetes with Katherine and they’re well written. You feel the tension between them and the mind games Katherine plays are subtle and sometimes even frustrating because she’s maddingly brilliant and manipulative. You’re running along with Valerie trying to catch this killer and you follow through the chase filled with puzzles and cryptic notes and gifts (none very nice gifts either…). The killer is brilliant and when you think he’s this one person, he ends up being someone you didn’t realize and it’s  mind blowing considering who this killer ends up kidnapping.

And just when you think everything’s done there’s more extra twists happening. This is what makes this novel so quick and fast to read. You’re deeply engrossed in the plot and in the chase to find this killer but you forget he most likely has a plan B and you’re blindsided again. This is what makes this book so good!!!!!! I loved every minute of it!!!

The only concern I have is, how much more can happen in this series before this starts getting repetitive. I love the way it’s going and I hope the series can stay fresh and exciting like it’s been so far. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next, given there’s a bit of a teaser at the very last page of the book.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

 

Everything Runs Amok in PDX

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24 hours.

That’s all it takes.

A new kind of war has begun.

 

* * *

Pak Han-Yong’s day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he’s labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate.

Brendan Chogan isn’t a hero. He’s an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there’s a foreign enemy on the shore, a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.Brendan must do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide.Strangers whose survival depends upon each other’s skills and courage. (From Goodreads)

So let’s start with the actual review first. This book was a quick read and an enjoyable one. It was action packed and although it’s a thin book to start with, it makes the reading even quicker.

Those who love plot hooks where the world runs amok and hell breaks loose will love this book. It immediately starts in the first few chapters and sets the ball rolling. The background story as to how the world (or to be exact the USA) goes downhill is explained by having North Korean hackers finding a way to plant viruses into the web which pretty much breaks down society. It’s a good “what if” scenario and further chapters show how fast society just crumbles when things we rely on daily vanish before our eyes.

There’s a variety of characters in the book that are easy to follow. Each have their own share their own spot in the plot and eventually converge and meet together (albeit a bit coincidentally but well, they’d have to meet somewhere right?)

My favourites would have to be Brandon, Vailea , and Carmen. Although the survivors of the crisis have their own strengths, these three stood out for me the most. They’re likeable, and as mentioned before showed their strengths to survive to protect their loved ones (or avenge them in some cases)

Orion and Xandra would be my two least favorite ones. Orion because he was just so whiny, Xandra because although I know she’s supposed to be analytical and a computer whiz, her personality was blah and just downright unlikable. She has her uses but she’s not really someone I would ideally have tea with if I had a choice.

So overall, a really good plot, filled with action and fun to read. The ending does result in a cliffhanger but it was a really good one. I’d love to know what’s going to happen next. It does play out almost like a movie and it’s well done.

Now for the next part of my review. Why did I like this so much? Well considering I just moved to Portland, it got me recognizing street names, bridges (still haven’t memorized all of them yet) and asking my husband (who’s lived in Portland all his life) all sorts of questions (ie: “Where is <enter name of street here>” in which  he replies with a sigh and says: “Oh god you’re reading a book that’s set in Portland aren’t you?!?!?”) so because I’m familiar with the setting, it even made the reading experience twice as special.

I greatly enjoyed this one. I can’t wait for the second.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Thank you FSB Associates for providing me a review copy of the book in exchange for a review!

 

Quietus unfortunately falls short…

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On a stormy winter night, a small plane bound for Boston goes down in the treacherous White Mountains of New Hampshire. Through a haze of morphine, Kylie O’Rourke awakens in the hospital to confused and harrowing memories of the crash. Though trapped within the wreckage with her husband, she recalls wandering the icy mountainside and speaking with the other passengers, including one who had died on impact. As the bizarre aftermath becomes sharper in her mind, it appears more ominous, along with the unshakable feeling that her survival somehow defied fate. Reassured by her doctor that the disturbing memories had been caused by her sedation, Kylie returns to her life in Boston, but the aftermath of the tragedy proves unbearable. As her husband slips away from her into his own world of survivor’s guilt and deceit, Kylie is seized by a growing paranoia that someone is stalking her every move. In her nightmares, the predator is a specter crossing over from the mountaintop to reclaim her. Then a sudden and freakish tragedy sends Kylie’s world toppling. While those around her fear she is losing her mind, she finds herself caught up in a chain of events she cannot escape.  (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers you have been warned***

I was absolutely into the first half of the book. I loved the dark setting, the dark descent of madness for poor Kylie and trying to figure out what is happening to her and her world. The mood and the setting is dark and meant to be so, this part is excellent and sets the tone of the book. You get the eerie creepy feelings and the writing style is good enough that it could be played out like a movie in your head.

So Kyle as a character is all right. She has her flaws, her marriage has flaws but I’ll be honest to say I really did like her and Jack together. You knew they had major flaws and issues that should have been resolved but they just never got around to it. But their chemistry was excellent and you could feel their love even though sad to say, it was going on a path that just wasn’t meant to be. Although their relationship wasn’t that great to begin with, love was never a problem and they looked and seemed great together but it just wasn’t meant to be.

So let’s get to the plot. It started off on the right foot. Lots of creep factor. The plane crash incident well done. Kylie’s recovery, and the slow descent to what looks like madness (but isn’t) and the book tries to explain this to you while you read. Okay. I can handle this. I wanted to know what happens next.

Then we come across this incident in Kylie’s past that’s coming back to haunt her (see what I did there? Har har) okay. It’s pretty traumatic, and well you did send the guy to death because of a crime he committed so I get it.

Julius though….This guy was a grown man while Kylie was a little girl when he died and all of sudden he’s going all creepy touchy feely and managed to induce this semi wet dream/alternate reality sequence with present day Kylie while she was on public transportation. Yeah. Ok. And stop calling her Kylie Rose. It’s annoying but also creepy in a Pedo kind of way.

So after being introduced to Julius the incubus ghost wannabe the plot just slides down the hill and it becomes almost a chore to read through. I can’t believe this book has to be 608 pages as we already know what’s going on with Kylie and her crew about 200 pages in. It gets too descriptive, too mushy and it attempts to do some sort of surreal thing about life after death yadda yadda yadda.

I tried to like it. I can’t. If you cut the book in half and redid the ending so it wasn’t one long dreary part then the book would have been much better and more enjoyable to read. But this falls so short and it’s unfortunate the theme had promise and even the characters had potential.

I give it a 2 out of 10.

Thank you FSB Associates for the review copy! Even though I didn’t enjoy the novel as much as I wanted to, nevertheless I appreciate it!

 

Mister Tender ain’t so sweet

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How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender? At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels. Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear… (From Goodreads)

This was a really good thrilling read. I enjoyed the twists and the overall feeling of the book really gave you the feeling you were being observed just like Alice felt throughout the novel.

Depictions of anxiety, of Alice breaking down and feeling defeated, her constant fear of being watched and followed, there’s a lot of emotions in the book and you can’t blame her as she went through a real rough patch in her past. It’s amazing she’s able to do the things she does (like owning a coffee shop for example). Alice is a very strong and determined character with considerable vulnerabilities.

I wasn’t really much into the guessing game as to who’s the one doing the following here. I was much too engrossed on how Alice was faring throughout the story as it seemed she was going to snap at any moment.

However, let’s get to the last third of the book.

Holy jeez. I don’t even know what to think.

You ever get that horrible creepy feeling when you come across something so terrible and bizarre and the only thing you can do is keep reading about it until your curiosity either gets the best out of you and you can’t sleep for the rest of the night or you turn away (but your curiosity hasn’t been satiated and you go back to step one)

That’s how I felt while reading the last third of the novel. To even think something like *that* actually exists out there (and worse) is frightening.

Now there were some unanswered and strings that weren’t really tied together or finished. Some characters just vanished without a trace and you’re left wondering what’s going to happen to them or if Alice is going to keep in touch with these particular people. Or maybe, Alice is just going to start fresh again ? who knows. I just didn’t like that some of them were just left there forgotten.

Other than that little bit, I enjoyed reading this book. You’d be surprised what awful twisted things lurk out there in the world and they’re probably just watching without us even knowing it. Great suspense and thrills. Worth a read!

I give it a 7 out of 10.