Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roses Are Red (Alex Cross #6 ) by James Pateterson

The Mastermind orchestrates a series of bank robberies that are notable for their precise demands-and their explosive violence when demands are not met exactly. Detective Alex Cross takes on the case and recognizes that a particular kind of criminal mind is at work. Cross's investigation gets under the Mastermind's skin, and he makes it his personal goal to take revenge on Cross and his entire team.

Amidst all this, Cross's relationship with his girlfriend Christine is falling apart, and his beloved daughter Jannie is hospitalized with unexplained seizures. The pressure rises on every front, culminating in a shocking and explosive climax.GOODREADS

This is my first James Patterson book and I have to admit it's pretty amazing. I've come across this guy's name on goodreads and I've skimmed through one or two of his books in the library( I'm ashamed to admit). I always assumed he was just another thriller writer. I was sourly mistaken, he is indeed a thriller writer but he's done something to make this genre  his own. Paterson has created one of the most compassionate, sympathetic, upstanding, humane , accomplished and  kindest male leads I've ever met in fiction.

Roses Are Red  is a thrilling emotional roller coaster ride. A moving book filled with action, crime, drama and some romancing ( I guess). Alex gets drawn into a case by his friend/colleague , Kyle Graig. The case involves bank robberies and murders. The person behind this calls himself the Mastermind. The very first chapter starts off with the first robbery. They get the money but kill the managers family (who they were holding as hostages) , at the second robbery they kill the people in the bank, then there's the third attack , this time a kidnapping of a bus load of people, who they let  go alive. There's no pattern, and this confuses Cross and the other cops on the case. Eventually they get a lead and catch Fredrick Szabo. Catching Szabo and the evidence that proofs he's the Mastermind is only the beginning of the game: "are you the mastermind". When Cross catches Szabo, his words to Cross  are "you've got he wrong guy" .They later follow another lead  (inspired by the inconsistencies of the Masterminds description). This leads them to Dr Francis, Szabo's psychologist. They go to take him in but he runs and then kills himself. What are his last words to Cross? you guessed it : "you got the wrong guy". So then who the hell IS the Mastermind?!

Other then catching the bad guy the book also focuses on Cross's family life , his daughter ends up in the hospital after having seizures and his relationship with this woman Christine is on the rocks. At first I thought the whole thing was unnecessary information but after a while , it turns out Cross's family life and other relationships with people is important to understanding Cross himself and what motivates him to work. Cross wants to make his side of Washington (his neighborhood) a safe place again. He does his best because he doesn't want to disappoint his family. In a way this is a moving book. Cross is a moving character.

There's this scene where Cross finally accepts Besty's (fellow FBI agent) offer to "get a drink" they end up in her hotel room and Cross breaks down. All the stress , his daughter , Christine and the Mastermind. He breaks down and cries.

"Let's just hug "she said. "I think we both need hugs. Hugs are good."

I'm not a hugging person, but at this point even I needed a hug.

It's a wild and interesting ride to catch the Mastermind, there are some running after the bad guys scenes, a scene where the FBI and local authorities take down the  bad cops, and the part where the kidnappers lead Cross and his team on a train to drop off the ransom money, all the while wearing them out. It's written really well and the situations are described well . The chapters are all relatively short and the book is divided into 6 parts. The first part (prologue) is called ashes to ashes  and part five is called all fall down. I mention this because it's eerie and because it correlates with the title. Roses Are Red. If you remember the nursery rime:
Ring-a-round a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down.1

Then we have the other titles in the Alex Cross series: like the earlier books all seem to have names from nursery rhymes or fairy tales.  The nursery rhyme "Roses Are Red" is also one of Cross's daughters  favorites in this book, she often sings it while dancing/twirling with the cat ( or so it's described in the book, I hate cats).

So how does it end? after all that, is the reader then left with no resolution? because that's how I felt. It didn't add up. I just couldn't believe any of those guys were the Mastermind. Throughout the book we get glimpses into the guys head. but do not fear, there was an epilogue fittingly titled The Right Guy. I can't say I was surprised or shocked, because I'd expected it to be a cop ,somebody on the inside. but I was pissed. the Mastermind is none other then........... Kyle Graig, Cross's friend! this is where you punch the book ( literally). I've gotten so attached to Cross that finding out that Graig, his friend, could hurt him is just infuriating!! It's unjust, mean, evil. goddamn! But all that being said this was a wonderful ride and introduction into the Alex Cross series (although this was book 6 ).

*no books were hurt during the writing of this review


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hunting Fear ( Bishop/Special Crimes Unit , #7 ) by Kay Hooper

There's a new psychic on the scene, and he's ready for action: introducing Lucas Jordan, the latest addition to Noah Bishop's crackerjack Special Crimes Unit. 

Lucas Jordan has an extraordinary psychic skill that police all over the country find invaluable: he locates missing people. And since being recruited by Noah Bishop for his FBI Special Crimes Unit, Lucas has learned to hone his remarkable ability so that what he does seems little short of miraculous.

He's called in on what appear to be a series of ordinary kidnappings-for-ransom, but almost immediately Lucas realizes the situation is far from ordinary—and more deadly than anything he's ever faced before. Because a brilliant, twisted madman is out to win a sick game, matching his wits against the best hunter he can find: Lucas.GOODREADS

Finally picked this up from the library.  I reviewed book #9 Sleeping with fear earlier on . I had picked it up randomly ( something new to read) hence the disorder. Although that's all it takes to grow fond of this series, one book. You don't even have to read them in order, they are as good standalone as a whole. Although if you're like me and hate not having some background information then I suppose it will be a bit annoying but not so much as to ruin the book.

This one was better than Sleeping with fear because they were in a bigger state (setting) and there were more characters ( list of suspects). It wasn't as predictable as the previous book I'd read and not so much centered around the romance. Lucas comes to investigate a series of murders and Sam ( former lover) shows up. Sam is a great female lead, she's intelligent, confident, strong , straightforward and a smart ass. Lucas is a tight ass, but he isn't an unpleasant character. He just has issues ,which Sam helps him overcome. So enough about asses

The thing about a mystery thriller is trying to figure out who the killer is . Give up now, you'll never figure it out as a reader ( I didn't). The mystery in Sleeping with Fear was easier and lacking compared Hunting Fear because  of the small setting and the small cast. Hunting Fear is way better and not so easy to figure  out. The killer turns out to be a victim from a last cast Luke had worked on. Who set up this well thought out game to lure and emotionally break Lucas. He did this by kidnapping and ingeniously killing them. Building machines ; like a guillotine, or a tank to drown his victims. Even getting Sam was a move on the killers part, only it backfired on him because he didn't expect Sam to help Lucas.

Then there's the mysterious Bishop. Who has Lucas and Sam tailed by other members of the BS/CU and who also shows up at the end to tie up the knots. Yeah, he's mysterious I'll give him that but I don't know if I should like the guy or not.

The book isn't very lighthearted . There's death, lots of nosebleeds, kidnapping , past issues. At some point in the story a Female cop gets taken by the killer and Lucas finds her but too late to save her. The suspense keeps  building up , because the povs switch from between  the characters. One moment you're with Lindsay (female cop) while she's in the tank about to drown but still alive and the next you're with Lucas looking at the tank with Lindsay's body floating in it. There' are also some povs from the killer ( only one if I remember right).

It's a relatively happy ending I guess. They kill the killer but his partner ( his son) gets away. Sam joins the BS/CU and marries Lucas.

All around great book. except for this one thing. It's probably really obvious or maybe an ambiguous thing . but the last line. Sam offers to tell Lucas his fortune ( BTW Sam is a psychic who use to work as a fortune teller).  To which he says ( the last line of the book)

"No need, I already know how the story ends"

How does the story end!?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Think out Loud #6

Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!

Right , so Halloween is coming or has gone by. I never know when it's Halloween until the actual day or day after when somebody points it out. It isn't a thing that's celebrated in my country. Anyways getting dressed up as a scary person or now and days it's just getting dressed up in costume. So this week how about a small (virtual) Halloween party. Actually I just wanted to share my ideas of what I'd dress up as for Halloween.
I'd either go as Jane Rizzoli , female character from  the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen or as Evelyn
 from The Mummies Return! I love her cuz she's a  librarian. Although I might not wear the skirt.

                    Jane Rizzoli

Yeah, yeah, technically those aren't costumes.I don't care!
What or who would you go as?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sandman , Vol.1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death.GOODREADS
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator(s): Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg
Letterer: Todd Klein
Series: The Sandman  

How would you feel about life if Death was your older sister?

As a whole this makes a fantastic collection of the Sandman comics. Rich with several  mythological characters and famous figures from the comic world.

 Volume 1 consists of issues 1-8. It follows Dream as he's accidentally kidnapped by a wizard ,who then out of fear imprisons Dream in a glass bottle. When the wizard had summoned Dream I was disappointed because the thing that had appeared was not what I expected Dream to look like. He looks like an alien with a flies head. Only later do we see that it was Dreams mask (one of his objects of power) which is taken from him later. I was thrilled and surprised because The Sandman looks a lot like Neil Gaiman or maybe Mr Gaiman goes around dressed as The Sandman. Unruly hair ,long dark raincoat. Or maybe he is The Sandman.

#1 and #2 follows the Sandman as he is captured and imprisoned in the bottle . While he waits to exact revenge he sits silently watching his captives while the world sleeps restlessly. Years pass and the Sandman finally escapes and then takes his revenge but must still find his lost objects (the ruby, helmet and pouch) #2 Imperfect Hosts, is where the sandman goes back to his world to find it in ruin. He then summons the Fates to inquire about the whereabouts of his lost objects:
The pouch is with one of my  favorite Englishman, John Constantine . The helmet with a demon in hell and the ruby with a member of the Justice League . This issue also sports a cameo of Batman and Robin. Notable figures are the Fates and Cain and Abel.

#3 Dream a Little Dream of Me, Constantine's appearance was something I was looking forward to but it was a bit disappointing. Then again that might not be saying much because I liked Keanu Reeves as Constantine. I have read one of the Hellblazer issues: in comparison, it's the same Constantine . The same level of cynical and depressing atmosphere. Dream finds Constantine and they go look for the pouch , which Constantine's ex-girlfriend stole. Although it wasn't what I expected it's one of my favorite issues (in this volume).

#4 A Hope in Hell, This is another of my favorites from this volume. Dream goes to hell to retrieve his helmet. He encounters Etrigan (a demon and half brother of Merlin), dream also finds hell in a different state. Lucifer is no longer sole ruler. He shares his rule with Beelzebub and Azazel. When Lucifer is introduced I was shocked because he looked like one of the damn  Bee Gees! That's not what a person expects, you know? . The demon who has Dream's helmet challenges him to a duel for the helmet. Dream wins , but Lucifer questions him "why should he let him leave  unscratched or leave at all". Dream blows me away with the  manner he escapes , he is a hope in hell and that's the reason they should let him leave.

#5 -#7, Passengers, follows the search for the Ruby. Doctor Destiny escapes Arkham asylum and hijacks a car with a woman in it. Doctor Destiny is going to get the ruby which he's altered to only work for him. Dream finds it first but the ruby resists him and takes some of his energy . Doctor Destiny shows up and takes the ruby. He plans to make the world go mad and be the king . #6 24 hours, Doctor Destiny's killing time in a diner while the world goes mad. He keeps the people in the diner there for 24 hours driving them mad and making them kill each other. Doctor destiny is twisted and really insane. Only after all the crazy has happend does Dream show up.  #7 Sound and Fury, dream challenges Doctor Destiny to a fight in his world. Dream tricks him into destroying the ruby, which gives Dream his powers back. Dream restores the world and returns Doctor Destiny to the asylum. and the world sleeps soundly.

#8 The Sound of Her Wings, This is my number one favorite. We get to meet Death, Dreams sister. She dresses in all black and has the same black unruly hair as her younger brother. She's death but she's full of life.    This issue follows dream and his sister while she reaps the living.

This comic is rated 18+. It does have some nudity and graphic scenes where people kill each other and are murdered .  There's a lot of death. The sandman has a lot of names. Morpheus, King of dreams, Dream and others I suppose. There's even a martian from the Justice League who knows him (which says something about his age). This comic has a lot going for it, good writing, good characterization and the art is pretty good if not creepy at times. It's also fun to read and meet characters you've know from other stories.So why wouldn't you read it?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Moon Called ( Mercy Thompson #1 ) by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself.

This has been on my TBR list for a  while now and turned out to be exactly what I had expected. A fun , fascinating and engaging world of shapeshifters and other supernatural beings.

Mercy is a great character . I love her personality and the way she handles things. She's intelligent, practical and has some good instincts. She's also very kind but not a push over.And independent. I love the fact that she's a mechanic and there are also some other female characters with interesting jobs . They're  two other female pack members. One of which is a fire fighter and the other a teacher.

The book is set in a society that knows that there are supernatural creatures and later in the book the werewolves make themselves known to the society. Mercy is a skin walker and can change into a coyote but she was raised by werewolves, this makes for an interesting dynamic between her and the weres. All the females hate her, because she's not a were and she's beneath them. Wolves trump coyotes I guess. It's also fascinating to read about the dominance issue. Female pack members have to be submissive to the male members (because they're the dominant ones). Mercy has a good understanding about the chain of command in a pack and plays along.

The plot was engaging: Mercy's neighbour is a werewolf (alpha to the local pack) and has a daughter. She's close with them. They get attacked and the girl gets kidnapped. Mercy takes Adam to Bran (the alpha to the pack that raised her). Then there's speculation about motive to the attack and kidnapping of Jesse. I like a bit of mystery to a book, because I'm also speculating and guessing along .  But I was all confused and nothing made sense so I had to take back seat and be Watson while Mercy plays the role of Sherlock .

Mercy's eclectic circle of friends was pretty attractive. She's friends with werewolves, a gay werewolf (Warren) , a gremlin,vampires and a cop . Her circle is only going to grow in future books.

This is also suppose to be a romance book, but here wasn't much of that going on. At least not in my opinion. We are introduced to her background in this book, friends ,family. ex-lover and by the end she's dating or goes on a date with Adam.

There is a sub-plot ( a small) one where Mercy tells Kyle (warren's boyfriend ) that Warren's a werewolf and that's why he's sometimes distant.

I'm happy I finally got around to reading this book and it was fulfilling. I'd recommend it to anybody who enjoys all the drama in True Blood . There isn't any sex in this book ( in case you're one of those) but then again this is only book one in the series. It just kinda reminds me of True Blood only I prefer this series to a blond crazy person.

Also that cover is awesome!


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