Friday, August 3, 2012

Thrilling stories for your summertime reading

The Storm by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Kirkus Reviews –

Cussler (Devil's Gate, 2011, etc.), with co-author Brown, dips into the NUMA Files for another Kurt Austin action-on-the-sea escapade. Austin and his friend Joe Zavala, are National Underwater and Marine Agency Special Assignments Team troubleshooters. Dirk Pitt, head of NUMA, dispatches the pair to uncover the fate of the three-person crew missing from a NUMA research vessel found adrift in the Indian Ocean. Austin and Zavala link up with Paul and Gamay Trout, husband and wife NUMA techie team, in the Maldives, and the group's examination of the vessel reveals the missing NUMA scientists were victims of "microbots"--"A hundred could fit on the head of a pin." There in the Maldives, Austin also rescues Leilani Tanner, sister of one of the dead scientists, from a kidnapping, and she tags along. The microbot trail soon leads to Yemen and Jinn al-Khalif, a Bedouin camel trader's son grown immensely wealthy through ruthless, bloody ambition. Jinn hired scientists to modify the microbots, the not-quite-ready invention of circuit-board-genius Elwood Marchetti, meant to consume ocean pollution. The microbots now not only eat organic matter, but also self-replicate into the trillions. Programmed to blanket the Indian Ocean, the nefarious plan is to alter the world's climate by lowering water temperatures. That means more rain in dry places, which will create immense profits for Jinn and his financial backers, assorted Chinese, Pakistani and Egyptian evildoers. The narrative ricochets from the Maldives, to Yemen, to Egypt (the Aswan Dam is in peril because Jinn didn't get his money from a corrupt general), and finally to Marchetti's gargantuan movable man-made island, Aqua-Terra, for a shoot-'em-and-explode-what's-left ending. That the microbots can consume human beings like so many oceangoing piranha makes for more than one hairs-breadth escape, but that Leilani is actually Zarrina, double agent for Jinn, nearly stymies Austin and Zavala. Classic Cussler: testosterone-driven action, over-the-horizon technical wizardry, beautiful and talented women and exotic locations.

The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry

Library Journal –

In his first stand-alone thriller since 2005, Berry (The Jefferson Key) takes advantage of the enigma that was Christopher Columbus to create a fascinating blend of legends, fables, contested historical facts, and imaginative fiction. Tom Sagan, a disgraced journalist of Jewish descent, is about to commit suicide when he is coerced into a plot to decipher secrets hidden in the coffin of his father. Sagan's estranged daughter, Alle, has fallen into the hands of ruthless Zachariah Simon, a wealthy Orthodox Jew in search of a treasure supposedly hidden by Columbus somewhere in Jamaica. Simon has temporarily allied himself with Béne Rowe, a Jamaican Maroon, descendant of runaway slaves, who has his own reasons for finding the treasure. But does it exist and, if so, what exactly is it? Many will risk their lives to learn the truth. VERDICT Thriller readers—from fans of Dan Brown's ciphers to Clive Cussler's fantastic adventures—will savor this intoxicating amalgam of Taíno (indigenous) myth, Maroon legend, the history of Jews in Jamaica, the peregrinations of Temple treasures following Titus's sacking of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., and Columbus's mysterious deeds in the West Indies. Sure to be another best seller.

11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Overview –

Your best friend

Lindsay Boxer is pregnant at last! But her work doesn't slow for a second. When millionaire Chaz Smith is mercilessly gunned down, she discovers that the murder weapon is linked to the deaths of four of San Francisco's most untouchable criminals. And it was taken from her own department's evidence locker. Anyone could be the killer—even her closest friends.

Or a vicious killer?

Lindsay is called next to the most bizarre crime scene she's ever seen: two bodiless heads elaborately displayed in the garden of a world-famous actor. Another head is unearthed in the garden, and Lindsay realizes that the ground could hide hundreds of victims.

You won't know until the 11th hour

A reporter launches a series of vicious articles about the cases and Lindsay's personal life is laid bare. But this time she has no one to turn to—especially not Joe. 11TH HOUR is the most shocking, most emotional, and most thrilling Women's Murder Club novel ever.

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