Category Archives: Suspense/Mystery

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

patient zerioPatient Zero (Joe Ledger, Bk 1)

by Jonathan Maberry

I seem to be on a major zombie kick lately.  It is fun, I haven’t read too many yet, but this book is more of a non-stop thriller, FBI-ish procedural, save the world from megalomaniacs and terrorists. But these are well-funded with nasty smart scientists who mess with mad cow type diseases to create, yep, you guessed it, zombies.

This book is serious and seriously messed up.  But Joe Ledger is an awesome nearly superhero-esque character with amazing cop, warrior and army skills and also armed with snarky comments.

“He finished his cookie and took another vanilla wafer. I’m not sure I could trust a man who could bypass an Oreo in favor of vanilla wafers. It’s a fundamental character flaw, possibly a sign of true evil.” (pg 13)

The timeline is crazy fast because you read about Joe’s inclusion in a super secret government agency, as well as the six days ago count-down to present day movements of the terrorists. If you can keep it all straight in your head, you are revealed tantalizing bits of information that no mere mortal could possibly thwart…except for that fact that Joe is so kick-ass.  His new boss is a bit of a scary bastard, mostly because you don’t get in his head to know how or why he does things.

“That wiped the smile off everyone’s face. We all knew he meant it, and I was starting to get a pretty good idea that he was a total whack job.

But he was our whack job.” (pg 116)

I really enjoyed this book, it was a mile a minute, wild ride that just happened to include the possibility of a zombie apocalypse.  There are some extremely violent scenes, but the people involved are human, they have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact they just had to kill a bunch of civilians that had been changed.  Maberry juxtaposes real people who are genuinely trying to do good with money hungry jerkwads that don’t care except how much money they are going to make. Maberry doesn’t really let you get that immune to the violence because his characters can’t wrap their heads around it very well either.  Plus there is a psychiatrist in on the top secret save the world stuff helping them cope.

“He turned back to me. “I hope they’re not so tough that they’re hardened, Joe. We’re not just fighting against something…we’re fighting for something and it would be a shame to destroy the very thing you’re fighting to preserve.” (pg 135)

I am definitely going to pick up the other three books and his YA zombie books.  I am a fan! 4.5 stars, one has the virus, the other 3.5 are trying to shoot off its head before it infects them all.

Anyone have any good recommendations for other zombie reads?

Review – Immortal in Death (In Death #3)

I have been on a mystery kick lately.  These are always good and I think I have 30 or so to swim through…

Immortal in Death (In Death #3)

By JD Robb

Borrowed from a friend

These are mystery/police procedurals set around 40 years the future.  The police detective lead, Eve Dallas is about to marry her intense romantic interest Roarke.  They are really hitting their relationship stride in this book.  Eve fights his love less and since she is of course too busy to pick out dresses, flowers and the like, her best friend Mavis is helping.  Mavis brings Eve to Leonardo, a talented designer who will create her dress and who also happens to be Mavis’ new boyfriend.  I love Mavis, she is a free spirit, outrageous and has a heart of gold.  Unfortunately, Leonardo’s previous girlfriend Pandora wanted to end the relationship, (no one ever leaves her!), so she is going to start trouble for him.  Since she is a high powered model with tons of connections, she can ruin Leonardo before his career truly takes off.  Before you know it, Pandora is murdered and Mavis is in the wrong place at the wrong time and all the evidence points to her.  Eve is the lead investigator for the case, even though she is emotionally involved.  She has to use all of her skill to figure this one out.

“Eve’s life had never been easy.  In her career as a cop she had seen and done too many nightmarish things to count them all.  But nothing had ever been more difficult for her than taking Mavis into Interview.” (pg. 47)

I really enjoy these books.  I get a great mystery with police procedural with some steamy romance and it takes place in 2058, so things are just different enough from my world that it satisfies my love of fantasy/UF.  They are my new go-to for when I don’t know what else to pick up.

So this mystery was great.  There are only a few players and still figuring out who did what is difficult.  Helping Mavis, coupled with Eve’s remembering of the abuse she suffered as a child, this is the most emotion we get from her in the series so far.  She isn’t pushing people away as much and has almost come to terms with loving and being loved.  (So sweet and I think at one point I had tears in my eyes.)

There is a new drug on the street, this one with regenerative effects, but two big drawbacks.  It will kill you with repeated use for 4-5 years and it is highly addictive.  Models, street folks and designers all are interested in this drug.  Someone, with ties to the new drug, is killing people, Pandora included and Eve, with her team and Roarke’s occasional help, figures out the link and search for the supplier and ultimately the killer.

When the bad guy reveals him/herself I thought “Yes!  I knew there was something weird about that character”…they never sat easily with me, but I didn’t KNOW.  But the reveal doesn’t come easily and the last few hours before the wedding are touch and go.

These books keep me riveted.  What is the genre, Mystery/romance?  I like the combo, whatever it is.  Eve is growing on me, and Roarke is the ultimate fantasy man, gorgeous, loving, self-made super rich, brilliant and a bad boy.  Sigh.  I will be picking up the other books eventually, 4 stars.

Review – Jaidee, Out of the Ashes

Jaidee, Out of the Ashes

by Clint Morey

Book received from the author

Jaidee is a thriller/mystery about a PI who normally exposes philandering spouses but gets caught up in the sex trade handled by the mob.  Josh busts a husband found with an underage prostitute which causes him to get involved with Jaidee (a 14 year old) and soon finds them both fighting for their lives.  Unfortunately, Jaidee has entertained some powerful movers and shakers and they don’t want her to be able to ID them.  The cops place her in a home to help her start a new life, but when Josh finds out about a hit on her life, he extracts Jaidee just in time, which brings him and his friends to the center of the bulls eye.  There is a mole in the police department and Josh isn’t sure who he can trust.

This was a mystery/thriller with practically non-stop action.  Just when you think you can relax, something new happens.  You know who the bad guy is pretty quickly as the POV alternates between Josh and his crew and the bad guys and their machinations.  We don’t know who the mole in the police department is and it was a little bit of a shocker and super tension filled when they are revealed.  Love that.

Morey really worked the setting, Las Vegas was a perfect place for this novel as he utilizes construction sites, rollercoasters, wind tunnels, casinos and wedding chapels.  But, no Elvis impersonators were hurt during the book in case you were worried.

Jaidee is a strong character, funny, a bit misguided but loving and sweet.  I am excited to see how she develops as the series continues.  She and Josh have a funny back and forth dialogue and you can tell that these characters will be able to help heal the hurt that exists in both of them.  Morey really hits the idea of what a family is, both in a positive and a way to manipulate.  It really made me think about who I consider family, blood relative or not, and what I would do for them.  This was an enjoyable and tense book filled with intrigue, politicians and the mob.  Good stuff!  I give it 4 stars.

Review – Laurel Heights by Lisa Worrall 5+ stars

Thankfully for everyone around them, Detectives Will Harrison and Scott Turner aren’t partners.  The fact that these two can’t stand each other is clear for all to see.  The men have totally different personalities, and handle cases in completely different manners.  The one thing they do have in common is hiding the fact that their gay.  When they are assigned to work undercover on a murder in a gay exclusive neighborhood, secrets become a little hard to keep.

When I asked to review Laurel Heights by Lisa Worrall, I was hoping it would be good.   I was wrong however, this book was outstanding.  The characters are well written, and the plot is full of so many twists and turns that you will find yourself reading this book in one setting just to see how it ends.

Will and Scott are exact opposites in everything from how they dress to how they run a case. More than once the men end up bumping heads and their partners have to come in and pull them apart.  The tension between these two is so strong that it is easy for the reader to see the fine line between love and hate.  The reader also knows that with as strong as that tension is, the passion will be just as intense, and they are not wrong.  Watching these men go from enemies to lovers is something else.  The chemistry between them pops off the page and I loved the fact that the author threw a little bit of humor in.  When the men are caught making love by their partners the comments Scott and Will tossed back and forth about their sex faces made me laugh.

Unlike some stories that mix romance with mystery/suspense plot lines, Laurel Heights is wonderfully balanced.  The mystery subplot in this story involves the murder of two young men, members of an exclusive gay neighborhood.  When Will and Scott go undercover, moving into one of the available homes, the remaining members of the community are automatic suspects.  At first, as the neighbors are being introduced, it is hard to imagine any of them being a killer.  When everything is said and done and the killer is finally revealed more than one reader is sure to be surprised.

When I got to the last page of Laurel Heights I was shocked and went to the author’s blog in hopes of finding out when the follow up story would come out.  Unfortunately I did not find anything, so let me take this moment to say to Ms. Worrall, “Please.  Please.  Please.  You can’t let the story end there, there has to be more.”

Review – The Gallows Tree by RJ Scott – 4 stars

The Gallows Tree is an interesting story about a young man trying to keep from losing himself.  Cody Garrett comes from a wealthy family and while that wealth caused problems for him in the past it now is keeping him from going crazy.  Trying to stay one step ahead of an abusive ex, Cody finds himself in England.  Planning to see to the restoration of family property, Garrett hopes the time away from home will give him the strength to go on with his life.  He doesn’t expect to meet someone like Sebastian, or become embroiled in a centuries old mystery.

The author evenly distributes the romance between Garrett and Sebastian, and the mystery surrounding the Mill Cottage, throughout the story.  The attraction between Garrett and Sebastian is evident from the beginning, yet anyone who has gone through an abusive relationship can understand Garrett’s desire to stay away.   I liked that the author has Garrett seem wishy washy about his feelings for Sebastian as it lends an air of authenticity to the story.

The attraction between the two men is not the only thing that draws them together.  The men share a long ago connection due to a love that existed between their ancestors.  In some ways the mystery of Mills Cottage has a Romeo and Juliet feel to it.  It is easy to feel for the long ago young couple and their unborn child. Once Garrett comes clean about the things he has been seeing and hearing, he and Sebastian join forces to settle the mystery of Mill Cottage.

The Gallows Tree is another well written story by author RJ Scott, one that is sure to keep you reading until the final page.  I could not wait to see how the author planned on clearing up all the little side stories.  I was more than surprised by how Garrett’s ex was handled, but could not have come up with a more fitting ending.  If you have not yet read anything by this author, than this is a great story to start with.

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