Friday, May 25, 2012

New page turners for those long summer days!!

Phantom (Alex Hawke Series #7) by Ted Bell

Kirkus Reviews –

Strange disasters are occurring around the world. These disasters include the unexplained explosion of ABM missiles in their silos in Alaska and the unlikely sinking of a U.S. cruise ship by a Russian submarine in the Caribbean. The supervillain behind the mishaps is a monolithic supercomputer called Perseus, which sits 2001-like beneath the Persian Gulf. In his latest fanciful globetrotting adventure featuring British counterintelligence star Alex Hawke, Bell (Warlord, 2010, etc.) projects a future in which Artificial Intelligence has advanced to the point where its human creators can only hope to contain it. In fact, Perseus' increasingly nervous quadriplegic inventor, Dr. Darius Saffari, who answers to the government of Iran, can only pretend to control his creation anymore. The world is at risk. Before Hawke can short-circuit the evil black tower, he must survive a dangerous personal mission in Siberia to rescue his true love Anastasia, long thought dead. In a previous adventure, he killed an old-style imperialist ruler embraced as the new Tsar. Here, vengeful soldiers who remain loyal to the Tsar target both Hawke and Alexei, the 3-year-old son he never knew he had.

A long novel that is short on suspense but still keeps the reader involved with its charmingly unflappable hero and narrative quirks, as well as the ease with which it unfolds on multiple continents, on land and sea and in air.

Force of Nature (Joe Pickett Series #12) by C. J. Box

Kirkus Reviews –

The dark past from which Nate Romanowski's hidden for so long and so successfully finally catches up with him and his friend, Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Cold Wind, 2011, etc.). "The Five. They've deployed," Nate's pal Large Merle tells him with his dying breath. As soon as he hears the news, Nate knows that his years of living off the grid in Wyoming's Twelve Sleep County—no job, no bank account, no Social Security number—haven't buried him deep enough. Setting his beloved falcon free and abandoning or destroying most of his meager belongings, he high-tails it out, pausing only to shoot three locals who draw on him first. Joe Pickett, tangling once more with Ten Sleep County Sheriff Kyle McLanahan over his responsibilities as government official, witness and friend of the fugitive Nate, is pulled so completely into the triple murder investigation that at one point Luke Brueggemann, his new trainee, asks him, "Does that mean we're going to get to do real game warden stuff?" Nate, meanwhile, makes the rounds of all his closest friends and relations from his days in Special Forces and finds that those who haven't recently died are in serious danger of getting killed before his eyes. Clearly John Nemecek, the master falconer from Special Forces who taught Nate everything he knows before sucking him into an improbable intrigue that led to a catastrophic screw-up for the federal government, is determined to keep his secret at all costs. The secret is preposterous but serviceable, and the strenuously unnuanced story moves like greased lightning. Box has done much better work, but this high-casualty actioner is just fine.

Fall from Grace by Richard North Patterson

Publishers Weekly –

Legal questions hang on every twist and turn of this tightly woven nonlegal thriller, bestseller Patterson’s best novel since 2009’s Eclipse. After 10 years away from home, Adam Blaine returns to Martha’s Vineyard after his estranged father, world-famous writer Benjamin Blaine, is found dead at the bottom of a high promontory overlooking the sea. Survivors include Adam’s mother, Clarice; his gay brother, Teddy; his old girlfriend, Jenny Leigh; and his father’s movie star girlfriend, Carla Pacelli, all of whom had reason to have shoved Ben off the cliff. Ben’s recently amended will leaves million to Carla, million to Jenny, and ,000 to Adam, who’s also named the executer of the estate. Clarissa and Teddy inherit nothing. The mysterious Adam, who’s ostensibly working for an agriculture company in Afghanistan, must figure out who killed Ben and break the will. Readers will enjoy unraveling the tangled mystery alongside Adam right up until the last revelation.

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Kirkus Reviews –

An impressive thriller by first-time novelist Pavone, with almost more double-crosses than a body can stand. Dexter and Kate Moore move to Luxembourg with their two young children so Dexter can make a pile of money working as a security consultant for a bank. Unknown to him, Kate has been working for the CIA but has recently quit, disgusted by her role as an agent occasionally called on to terminate wayward enemies. In Luxembourg they meet Bill and Julia, an attractive couple with whom they begin to socialize, but, as in all good thrillers, nothing is as it seems. Bill and Julia are FBI agents hot on the trail of the seemingly innocuous and nerdy Dexter, whose knowledge of bank security--trying to find breaches in the system--also allows him to find cunning access points, and it seems he may have stolen €50 million. That her husband has a secret life he hasn't been sharing surprises Kate...who, of course, also has a secret life she hasn't been sharing. Kate pushes herself to try to find out whether Bill and Julia are right about Dexter or whether they're trying to run a scam of their own, for it appears that Julia in particular is not to be trusted. The novel switches chronology from a series of flashbacks to how Kate and Dexter's life unravels in Luxembourg and how Julia and Bill catch up with the Moores in Paris a year later. While Kate occasionally has to rely on former CIA contacts to help straighten out the mess she finds herself in, she shows herself quite capable of ruthlessness and venality. A thoroughly competent and enjoyable thriller with unanticipated twists that will keep readers guessing till the end.

Chasing Midnight (Doc Ford Series #19) by Randy Wayne White

Kirkus Reviews –

Bad guys want to corner the caviar market in Doc Ford's 19th. Can Doc foil them? It's a tall order, since the no-goods involved are rich, powerful and exceptionally amoral. On the other hand, Doc's not your run-of-the-mill marine biologist either. He has skill sets mostly found among the Special Forces population, especially those licensed to kill. It's a place not unfamiliar to Doc. During certain unexplained absences from his customary Florida haunts—Sanibel Island, Dinkin's Bay—he's gone there at the behest of a grateful government. Meanwhile, to the billion-dollar caviar trade, the beluga sturgeon is the sine qua non, and on Vanderbilt Island, not far from Sanibel, interested parties are convening to discuss various means of exploitation. Doc, who views the sturgeon protectively and the "often corrupt caviar industry" with marked suspicion, has wangled an invitation. As has Tomlinson, his erratic, beyond-brilliant friend and companion through 18 previous adventures (Night Vision, 2011, etc.). That turns out to be a fateful decision. Suddenly, an explosion rips through Vanderbilt, taking out its communications capability and placing it under the control of a weird but well-armed extremist group named the Third Planet Peace Force. Unless its demands are met, Third Planet Peace Force will kill a hostage an hour, beginning at midnight. Can Doc and Tomlinson rise to the challenge, thwart the terrorists and save the beluga? White's fans will eat this one up.

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