Friday, November 23, 2012

1st To Die ( Women's Murder Club #1 ) by James Patterson

Inspector Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department suddenly finds herself in the middle of two horrifying situations: The first is that she s just learned she has an often-fatal blood disease. The second is a double homicide case she s now heading up that involves the murder of newlyweds on their wedding night. Burdened with Chris Raleigh, a new partner reassigned from the mayor s office, Lindsay finds that she has too much to deal with and turns to her best friend, Claire, the head ME on the case. Claire offers helpful advice and human, friendly contact amid a job filled with violence, cruelty, and fear.

Soon a fledgling newspaper reporter, Cindy, makes contact with Lindsay looking for a career-making story. Although Lindsay can t officially comment on the case, the two women form a rapport, and Cindy joins Lindsay and Claire for their weekly meeting. When a second pair of newlyweds is murdered, and later a third, the investigation leads to a prominent crime writer, Nicholas Jenks, who has a history of spousal abuse and a predilection for kinky, dangerous sex games. With the help of an understanding assistant D.A., Jill Bernhardt, Lindsay tries to make a case against Jenks, who even had an affair with one of the slain women. Eventually Jill joins the Murder Club, and the four ladies share private interdepartmental information in an effort to track and stop the killer before he strikes again.GOODREADS


Terrific …a great thriller… what’s not to love about a “club’ formed by four women to catch a psycho killing newlywed couples? - Providence Sunday journal

Well, I don’t know, maybe the “psycho killing newlywed couples” part but I can see how that makes this a great thriller. This is my second Patterson book and the guy is winning me over book by book. 1st To Die is also the first book in the Women’s Murder Club where we meet the first member, Lindsay boxer.

The book starts with a prologue where we meet Boxer in not the best of state. Starting the book like this was engrossing. Boxer’s on the verge of shooting herself in the head, she’s on the balcony with her gun to her temple. Reasoning with herself how easy it would be to pull the trigger or call her friends. They’d say all the right things but she’d still be where she is next week or month. This draws my attention because "what's the benefit of talking out your problems when you already know what people will advise you to do". Although I don't think this is what Patterson is saying because in the end Boxer talks about her troubles and asks for help which leads to a somewhat happy ending. I gradually began to like Boxer a lot. She’s not what I expected. She’s a female working in a profession where the majority is formed by men yet she can still hold her own. Much like one of my favorite characters Jane Rizzoli (from Rizzoli & Isles series) only that’s where the similarities end. Boxer’s an inspector but she’s also very feminine as well whereas Jane’s a bit more of a tomboy. This was new and surprising. I prefer Rizzoli because she’s stronger but still Boxer’s a individual character as well who’s definitely in my book of great, independent female leads.

Boxer gets diagnosed with Negli ,a typed of blood disorder, which she is told can be fatal. Patterson builds on this , Boxers emotional state and how she uses negli to motivate her to catch the killer. Because of negli Boxer is made somewhat vulnerable and yet she’s determined to catch the killer. So she decides on an unorthodox way to find leads. She forms the Women’s Murder Club with Clair (medical examiner) and Cindy (reporter) ,the first two members.

“We could reassemble whatever clues came out of the official investigation, share what we had, cut through the political cover-you-ass and the bureaucracy. Three women, who would get a kick out of showing up the male orthodoxy, more important, we shared a heartfelt empathy for he victims” pg 140-141

The Women’s Murder Club was born

This is indeed a terrific book. The plot is great, the different pov’s  makes the reading process very dynamic, in the way that we can follow what’s happening and the clues from different people, we also get into the killers mind. And there are twists and turns and more twists. The chapters are also short and end with little cliffhangers, before you know it the books done.

The fourth member in the club, is Jill Bernhardt (DA). Half way through the book I realized there was still more pages left but they had already found (who they thought was) the killer. So of course they’d need a lawyer in the club. They are all independent, hard working women.

So you must be wondering who the killer is? All the leads pointed to Nicholas Jenks, a famous author. Later there’s a lot of incriminating evidence found at his house. The rings from the murder victims, cloths stained with the victim’s blood. And a book Jenks wrote in the beginning of his career about an Author who killed newlywed couples to really experiences it and write the story called Always a Bridesmaid. So every story has to have a villain right. So let me described Jenks for you: he’s a douchebag. He likes dominance, he’s a narcissist, has an ex wife he dumped after she practically supported him during he’s writing career, has an abusive history with current wife and the last one. He's arrogant and thinks all women want him. Later he screams he's not the killer and somebodies trying to frame him. Refusing to believe it could be his ex-wife because he's under the impression she still loves him and he's too awesome . The most unbelievable and ridiculous thing to happen in this book, well one of them, is Jenks escapes custody! because of an earthquake  I know this is fiction and Jenks could escape, but it would have been ridiculous but the earthquake, using that as instrument for his escape makes it plausible and more believable. Although it's still a "what the hell" twist. 

The first unbelievable and ridiculous thing : I'm really starting to fear that Patterson is turning me into an abusive bookworm. I again wanted to punch this book. Like with Roses Are Red, the same thing's done here. Patterson builds characters so well I end up liking them so much that when they DIE or something bad happens, the injustice is felt! In 1st To Die Boxer has a life threatening disease to deal with and she gets saddled with another partner  Chris Raleigh. This leads to a romance. It was so lovely. Even I started to wonder if Chris had soft hands. Boxer and Chris were so good together, they loved each other. Of course I was suspicious . It was to good to be true. Something bad is going to happen. and it did but it was too abrupt! too unfair! why?!

The climax happens when Jenks escapes and is kidnapped and brought to the place he married his second wife. oh and he's also being held at gun point by said wife. she turns out to be the real killer. Boxer ends up having to kill her. However this is not the important event here for me) . Chris dies! he gets shot and I know what to expect , he's going to die of course:

"I got her , ChrisChessy Jenks was the killer"
He managed to nod his head. "That's my girl," he whispered.
Then Chris smiled faintly and he died on me.

 No! smile and die?! really?! not only is that annoying , the irony of this. Boxer's the one diagnosed with a life threatening disease. She later gets told that the treatment is working, she'll live and then Chris dies! Although Moved by violent emotions I did not punch this book.

Epilogue: Chessy Jenks was the killer? oh no, Nicholas Jenks after the terrible ordeal has published his book, has sold millions. He doesn't have to share his money with his ex wife or possibly lose any if he were to get divorced because both women are dead. Jenks visits Boxer at her apartment and confesses to orchestrating the whole thing, the brains behind the whole thing and tries to kill Boxer. Boxer kills him and the last words he hears are "burn in hell".

Another wonderful book by Patterson with a satisfying ending all the same  and a great new series to check out.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13 ) by Janet Evanovich


Dickie Orr. Stephanie was married to him for about fifteen minutes before she caught him cheating on her with her arch-nemesis Joyce Barnhardt. Another fifteen minutes after that Stephanie filed for divorce, hoping to never see either one of them again.


Doing favors for super bounty hunter Carlos Manoso (a.k.a. Ranger). Ranger needs her to meet with Dickie and find out if he's doing something shady. Turns out, he is. Turns out, he's also back to doing Joyce Barnhardt. And it turns out Ranger's favors always come with a price...


Going completely nutso while doing the favor for Ranger, and trying to apply bodily injury to Dickie in front of the entire office. Now Dickie has disappeared and Stephanie is the natural suspect in his disappearance. Is Dickie dead? Can he be found? And can Stephanie Plum stay one step ahead in this new, dangerous game? Joe Morelli, the hottest cop in Trenton, NJ is also keeping Stephanie on her toes-and he may know more than he's saying about many things in Stephanie's life. It's a cat-and-mouse game for Stephanie Plum, where the ultimate prize might be her life. Dust jacket

This was one hell of a ride, easiest book I've ever read. Stephanie is awesome and the situations she gets into are ridiculous and unbelievable. The humor is one of a kind and puts a smile on your face. Stephanie's a bounty hunter and the things she does on the job , the trouble she gets into, the people she meets and her family,  friends, arch-nemesis that make for a great cast,  makes the whole series something else.

This is book 13 in the series, but some of you might have already  seen the movie One For The Money , which is based on the first book, in which you've  met certain characters already: Morelli, Ranger, Lula and Stephs family . All of them are in this book too, can't say anything about new characters as I'm new to the series. Lean Mean Thirteen is crazy, we got steph getting tazed (twice), rodents exploding, steph stapling some goons balls together (oh yeah, and it was an electric stapler...ouch),steph's ex-hubby's girlfriend stalking her, running through graveyards and a whole lot of other crazy stuff.

Steph partners up with Lula a lot. I like the situations they get into and I like Lula because she reminds me of my friend Lola. 

There's this one scene where steph and Lula work on this one assignment to bring in a guy who robes graves, they  go looking for the guy at his house and this guy has a snake;
"I don't think  anybodies home " Lula said." I didn't see any cars in the yard.""I'm going to snoop around anyways. are you coming?""I suppose, but if I see that snake, I'm outta there. I hate snakes. I don't care if that snake wraps itself around your neck, I'm telling you right now, I'm not staying to help"

Yeah, just like my friend Lola, she hates snakes too and would probably do the same or push me toward the snake and run. run like hell.

There's a lot to like about this book, like Bob. Morreli has this dog ,Bob. I don't like dogs or cats or kittens. I tell people this all the time. I even tell Lola, but Lola doesn't seem to understand this, she's always posting these ridiculously 'cute' pictures of cats on my FB wall. It's annoying. Lola has to be stopped. Maybe I should get her a snake....... that explodes. Anyways back to  Bob, clearly the number one reason to like him is his name, 'Bob'.

Description of Bob:
 "He has a routine. He eats the couch. He takes a nap. He gnaws on a dining room table leg. He takes a nap. He spreads the garbage all over the kitchen floor. He takes a nap."
Naps!! I love naps! Bob loves naps!! I love Bob, I could totally love Bob as a pet. He loves naps and he's fictional. How much attention could he need and he'd never die on me.

So between Lula's crazy character, the trouble Steph gets into and her crazy family. There's also this triangle situation happening between her , Morreli and Ranger. I hate triangles, they're stupid. But this situation is entertaining and fun. Steph and Morreli are a couple now, and Ranger helps Steph out but also shamelessly flirts with her. He cares about her. It's a crazy entertaining trio.

Everything gets resolved in the end , turns out Steph's ex was being protected by Morreli cuz he knew something about the firm he worked for. Steph saves the day and there's clean laundry. But there's a time bomb waiting to happen. Because when Morreli finds the underwear with Rangers name on it there's gonna be some Italian arguing happening. So if you're in the mood for something light and entertaining , this is your book.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Confession by John Grisham

An innocent man is about to be executed.

Only a guilty man can save him.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?GOODREADS


Lawyers.........I've never liked 'em. Although Grisham sure knows how to make them look human and make them look like the damn blood sucking vampires that they are. The confession is a great book and argument about why the death penalty shouldn't be allowed. There are arguments pro and contra. I enjoyed reading this , the setting is great and the characters diverse:  moving and repulsive. You know that feeling you get when something unjust is happening, a feeling of anger mixed with confusion and shock that it's happening. There's probably a word for that. Well there's a lot of that going on, it's just ridiculous. Donte Drumm gets convicted for murder. There's no body. The confession itself is bogus. Even I can see that and I don't even know what the insurance certificate to my car looks like! Then there's the actual confession in the book, you have Donte "confessing" and while he does this the officer interrogating him keeps "correcting" him. He's leading the confession, how can he know the details better than the alleged killer! come on!!.  that's not even the half of the bullshit , during the trial it turns out the judge is having an affair with the prosecutor and they frigging cross examine a dog, they put an actual dog on the witness stand! yes, this happened  in Taxes, but somebody should have been smacked upside the head!

Then there's Boyette. The actual killer, he goes and confesses to the priest who then takes it on to bring Boyette to Texas to try and stop the execution. I should have known better! I freaking got my hopes up! I thought Donte would be saved. We read a lot about Donte's live , he had a promising future, comes from a good family.He always knew he was innocent, his family had faith in his innocence and so did his Lawyer Robby flak. Donte is portrayed as an innocent man and a good kid that got wronged by the system and spent the rest of his life  in prison for something he didn't do. And just hours ,minutes before the execution when Boyette reaches Texas , confesses and Flak tries to make an appeal for more time. Just a couple of more hours,that's all that was needed, to investigate and exonerate Donte Drumm. Bureaucracy got in the way and wouldn't allow that, Donte Drumm gets executed. A innocent man gets murdered by the state.

He's memory gets justice when Boyette takes them to the body. This brings a backlash to the judicial system and   questions the death penalty. The thing that people have always feared has happened. It still isn't enough to abolish the death penalty.

Although I have a slight dislike for lawyers doesn't mean I hate them. I have an uncle who's a lawyer and I've grown to like Robbie Flak, he's a compassionate lawyer who defends the small people against the corporate monkeys or bad guys trying to rip them off. Flak also has a good character , he defended Donte free of charge even puts his own money on the line, he believed in Donte's innocence and saw that the whole case against Donte was BS. Flak grew close to the Drumm family and to Donte and felt the loss just as hard as they did. Flak's a great character and amusing one, he holds a record for being held in contempt for calling prosecutors and judges (you know the monkeys) SOB's ,he even called the dog that was on trial on the Drumm case a SOB. Who wouldn't love his character.

There's also a racial tint to the story, I suppose Donte being black was also easier to accept, "ofcourse the black guy could kill the girl". Following the execution , this caused some tension in the town between the whites and the blacks. Nobody got shot tho. this didn't  escalate into violence either, the situation was taken down in a peaceful way. The Donte brothers go to the school and try to calm things down through the football teams, following Boyette's confession, Donte's mother asks the town people to stop. The victims mother, I don't know how I should feel about her. She loved her Daughter ,would hog any publicity to show how distraught she was and blatantly emphasized on the fact that only Donte and no other person was the killer. When the truth was out, it's hard to say if she took it well.

So we got a bogus trial based on a bogus confession. Innocent man gets executed. But wait, there's politics involved. Lawyers and politics a very bad dish indeed. You got the prosecutor who only cares about retiring with successfully winning a case from Flak and a governor who's worried about how much votes he's up in the polls. These people are so casual about the fact that a girl was murdered, that they might have sent an innocent man to jail, so worried about losing their positions that the fact that they lied and cheated mean nothing to them.

This is a great book that touches on a controversial topic, should any state or country be allowed to execute people? is this even a relevant question,seeing as it's already something  happening in many countries and is now normal. Or is it just stupid to argue it now because we have ethical problems with it? I don't pay taxes, but would you be comfortable knowing your money is going to inadvertently allow the state to kill another person, yes a criminal, are criminals not people anymore? I think it was also mentioned that it costs more to be able to execute people,whereby people have to pay more taxes. The priest in the book stayed in the background  all he did was bring Boyyette to Texas. He witnessed Donte get executed. He was just a priest, never preached about anything controversial. He was neutral but after this experience with Boyette. He found something to preach about. I found something to think about and two lawyers I might actually like (which is probably not saying much seeing as one's my uncle and the other one is fictional). This book has something to say, so why not pick it up

*the level of objectivity in this review (might be) is zero


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