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» Listings for January 2010

  1. James Patterson Worst Case

    My Rating: 4/5

    Detective Michael Bennett works in the busy city of New York. His wife died two years ago leaving behind their amazing ten adopted children. Michael Bennett's life is solely his work and his children. Thankfully he has the help of his Grandfather Seamus and Nanny Mary Catherine. Apart from his children the most important thing in his life is his work. He had previously come up against killers and cases that he has solved and this year is no different. A young man who has one of the wealthiest set of parents in New York is snatched and held hostage. 

    The only problem is that this killer doesn't want money. The killer insists on questioning the young man and it dawns on the hostage that money can't help him, only the correct answers can.Michael Bennett is called to the family home of the boy and then starts the race to find the boy before the killer makes it a murder case. Drafted in to help is Emily Parker an FBI Agent who is an Abduction Specialist. Between them they try to figure out the killer's next move. What they aren't prepared for is a killer that takes his beliefs to the extreme.Michael is not prepared for this case as well as managing his family brood without incidence. What he is even more shocked at is when his love life suddenly becomes part of the mix.

    I have read all of James Patterson's books and to be frank they can be hit and miss. Sometimes he can produce fantastic stories but in recent years it seems like he churns out so many books that sometimes the story doesn't have the author's whole focus. The Michael Bennett series is co-written with Michael Lewidge.This particular book I really enjoyed. I have also read the two previous Michael Bennett novels so I already had some background on the characters which always helps. 

    The second book in the Michael Bennett series (Run for your life) I rated at 4 out of 5 and to be honest this book was no different.The character himself is pretty good, he is clearly a family man but one who lobes his family and that comes across well with the writing. The added bonus of this book is the angle of the love life interest. The only thing was with this angle is that it felt very rushed, almost like JP/ML felt they had to introduce somebody. We don't hear as much about Michael's family which is a shame because his Grandfather Seamus was featured a little more heavily ion the previous book and he is a great character. 

    As for the killer himself, we see the story written from his perspective and to be honest this was the weakest are of the book. It almost felt a little rushed and there was no real depth to him. However as usual, James Patterson manages to balance out these flaws with his style of writing. His chapters are short and sharp and always paced quickly meaning they keep you a little hooked. I always find that no matter what my opinion of the story or characters I am always compelled to keep reading. Maybe this is why his books are such a success? Up until the release of `I Alex Cross' which was quite recent, I actually preferred the Michael Bennett series. After that recent release I again became latched with the Alex Cross character. I must say though that after reading this Michael Bennett book, he may not be my favourite of the JP characters but I definitely want to see more of him. 

    All in all James Patterson hasn't failed to deliver a good book. My only concern is that I never feel like it's a five star read lately like I have with other authors such as Dennis Lehane. I think that he produces so many books in such a short space of time that the reader never quite feels like he has immersed himself fully with one character and concentrated on that one book.Overall he is still a great author and I would recommend his books to anybody as they are an enjoyable read. JP had better watch out though, recently some great authors have been producing 5 star books which may threaten his status as the number one Crime Writer.

  2.  My Rating: 4/5

    We meet DCI Andrew Fenwick again who has featured in all of her books. This story is a complex case which involves the huge family run Wainwright business. Alan Wainwright, the owner of this empire is found dead and his death is ruled suicide. His only son is expecting to inherit his fortune but he, along with the rest of the Wainwright family are shocked, when half of his assets along with the company are left to Alan's nephew Alex. Alex is married to the elusive Sally who is certainly not popular with the family after a whirlwind romance and very quick wedding to Alex. When Fenwick initially looks at the case it seems that it is a simple case of family jealousy. When Graham starts investigating Alex's wife, he doesn't like what he finds. When a second Wainwright family member is found dead Fenwick smells the starting of a murder case. The only problem is that he has to prove it. He along with the trust sidekicks Cooper and Nightingale throw themselves into the case head first. The story takes a turn for the worse when Fenwick's family are directly involved.

    Unfortunately for me, I read Corley's books in the wrong order and I think this has maybe had an impact on my opinion of this book. I enjoyed Requim Mass which was her first novel and felt that the storyline was the strongest thing. However, my second book was then Grave Doubts which I gave a 5 star to and I absolutely loved. In reading Fatal Legacy I was in fact going back one step. I felt that the characters were under-developed (which is maybe why I enjoyed Grave Doubts so much) and that we didn't really get to know Fenwick, Cooper and Nightingale all that well. Aside from the characters themselves, the storyline was great (as usual), if like I said before a little complex. The book is based largely around the financial aspects of the company and Fenwick working out if the case is as simple as `Murder for Money'. Corley's descriptions of settings and scenarios are excellent and when you can feel the Detectives getting closer to the answers you can almost feel the tension rising in your body. In my (limited) opinion this makes for fantastic reading! Like her other books I felt I had to really involve myself in the story so I knew exactly who everybody was. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I would only give it 3.5 out of 5. The reason for this is that because I have read Grave Doubts (the follow up to this story); I know just how good her writing can be. I am now eagerly anticipating reading her latest book Innocent Blood. I think that with her development of the characters in the follow up book and her great storytelling her latest one should be an absolute corker.

  3. J A Kerley Little Girls Lost

    My Rating: 4/5

     I confess that I have never read any work by J A Kerley but the jacket info was enough to convince me it was worth a try. It comes under the Thriller/Suspense category and is justified to be there I can assure you. I picked the book up with absolutely no expectations and was really pleased that I made the choice to read this.

    This is apparently the 4th book in the Carson Ryder Series however I can only judge based on this book which can quite easily be read as a stand alone novel. Carson Ryder is a Homicide Detective in Alabama and he is called in to help with a case where young girls are disappearing. The only problem is that so far there are multiple girls going missing, but no bodies, no clues and nothing to even indicate what on earth is going on. Unfortunately for Ryder his partner Harry Nautilus is in hospital after being mysteriously attacked and left for dead.

    Connor Sandhill is an ex cop who now runs a restaurant and is know as the `Gumbo King'. Connor left the police force under circumstances that seemed highly suspicious although he has never confirmed or denied any of the rumours. With no leads and being on his own Ryder decides to enlist the help of Connor as he has a reputation at solving very difficult cases.

    At the same time Connor finds himself in the unfortunate position of being a babysitter for his ex-girlfriends sister. Little Jacy is only 9 and when Connor finally agrees to watch her he finds juggling that with working on the case. The nightmares he has regarding the missing children become an awful reality when he realises Jacy is missing. Both he and Ryder now have to face the fact that there is a good chance that these little girls will never be seen again. The question is can they wade through the murky waters of bent cops, angry citizens and the mayor to find the person responsible.

    I must say that the first 3 or 4 chapters were a little on the slow side but by chapter 5 I realised that I needn't have worried as the story flowed and I didn't want to put the book down. The story itself was good but the characters weren't as good as they could have been in my opinion. I absolutely adored Connor Sandhill as a cop that played the rules his own way to get the desired results. Carson Ryder was another story. He lacked something (which I can't put my finger on). It seemed like he never really came into his own and that was a little disappointing but didn't lessen the enjoyment for me. Overall I thought it was a great read and I would definitely recommend and certainly would read other books in the follow up series.