Monday, October 15, 2012

Odd adventures are here!

Night Watch (Alexandra Cooper Series #14) by Linda Fairstein

Kirkus Reviews –

There's no peace for Manhattan Sex Crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper, whose vacation on the Riviera is interrupted by two crimes, one outside her bailiwick, one inside, and both very uncomfortable indeed. After a gratuitous brush with a handful of skulls left outside the restaurant owned by her sweetie Luc Rouget, Alex learns of a far more disturbing development when the body of Lisette Honfleur, who'd been helping Luc with the books at Le Relais a Mougins, is fished from Fontmerle Pond. No one's asking Alex to investigate Lisette's murder, but she can't help being concerned about how close the dead girl might have been to Luc, especially since she had a matchbox labeled "LUTECE," the legendary New York restaurant Luc plans to reopen, in her pocket. Before Alex can do more than wonder about the murder, she's abruptly reeled back to Manhattan by her boss, New York County District Attorney Paul Battaglia. Blanca Robles, a Guatemalan chambermaid at the Eurotel, has accused hotel guest Mohammed Gil-Darsin, head of the World Economic Bureau and aspiring president of Ivory Coast, of rape, and she's got the DNA evidence to prove it--or at least to prove that there was a sexual encounter. As Blanca's credibility plummets, Fairstein (Silent Mercy, 2011, etc.) creates a compelling narrative by the simple expedient of plundering news stories about the remarkably similar accusations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. But lest Alex assume she can forget about Lisette now that she's up to her neck in this new case, the corpse of unemployed waiter Luigi Calamari is pulled from Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal with a matchbox marked "LUTECE" in his pocket, threatening to cut off Alex's romance with Luc at the root. Not surprisingly, the case ripped from the headlines is much more absorbing than the tale of restaurant malfeasance and imperiled love. Alex's 14th is distinctly below average for this bestselling series.

Odd Apocalypse (Odd Thomas Series #5) by Dean Koontz

Publishers Weekly –

At the start of bestseller Koontz’s wry, offbeat fifth Odd Thomas novel (after 2008’s Odd Hours), short-order cook Thomas, who has prophetic dreams and can “see the spirits of the lingering dead,” has a vision while he’s a guest at a California retreat known as Roseland—of a blonde woman in a white nightgown on a black horse. Though unable to speak, this ghostly woman is able to communicate that her son, who’s also at Roseland, is in danger. Thomas embarks on a quest to avenge the woman’s death that will involve brutish piglike creatures that walk erect and travel in packs as well as secret discoveries by the legendary Nikolas Tesla. This supernatural thriller surely ranks as one of the series’ funniest. Even as Thomas fights the forces of darkness, he observes, “Of course, one must always remember that although The Sound of Music is the most feel-good movie musical of all time, it is crammed full of Nazis.”

The Spymasters (Men at War Series #7) by W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV

Kirkus Reviews –

The seventh installment of Griffin's Men at War series dramatizes a pivotal moment in the campaign against Hitler, who plans on hitting London with "aerial torpedos" laced with nerve gas--this while the U.S. is still developing the atomic bomb back home. The book opens in German-occupied Poland in the summer of 1943. Polish guerillas blow up railroad tracks to stop a train carrying scores of Jews to a death camp, only to a derail a private train with one car carrying a top Nazi officer. The incident sets in motion intelligence activities in Germany, Italy and Algeria designed to infiltrate the Nazis, turn some of Hitler's generals against him, and clear the way for the American invasion of Normandy--which Churchill steadfastly opposes, preferring to attack through the Mediterranean. There's also the question of who is selling Manhattan Project secrets to the Soviets. At the heart of the narrative are "Wild Bill" Donovan, headstrong chief of the Office of Strategic Services; his top agent, strapping 26-year-old Dick Canidy; Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Switzerland; and his sympathetic old friend, German industrialist Wolfgang Kappler, whose son Oskar is a die-hard member of the SS. Hitler's top scientist, Wernher von Braun, plays a significant role in developing the V-2 rocket, years before he was whisked to the U.S. Griffin and Butterworth, his son, are completely at ease mixing fact and fiction, skillfully piecing together pieces of their narrative puzzle. Their writing is straightforward to a fault, sometimes reminding you of a scholastic "You Are There" novel, but the book never sags, and the characters never lose our interest. A knowing thriller in which the world must be saved on several fronts from the fascist threat.

You Don't Want to Know by Lisa Jackson

Kirkus Reviews –

New York Times' bestselling author Jackson puts her touch on this dark thriller and tale of forbidden romance. Ava Church Garrison has it all. She's beautiful, a near-genius and wealthy. Married to a handsome attorney and living in her family's ancestral home on a small island off the coast of Washington, her future couldn't be brighter, except for one small problem. It appears to everyone, including Ava, that she's lost her mind. It all started when she lost her child. Two-year-old Noah wandered out of the house, and authorities believe he fell into the icy water and drowned. But Ava won't accept this. She keeps searching for Noah, her searches prompted by sounds and visions she can't control. No matter what she does, Ava keeps hearing Noah call for help and sees him toddling off toward the dock. To add to Ava's issues, she has her loony-bin-worthy family living with her. Her cousin, Jewel-Anne, wheelchair-bound following an accident that killed Ava's only brother, and the rest of her family treat her like she's a basket case. Even her best friend (who's Jewel-Anne's nurse) and the household help are creepy. In fact, everyone in the book qualifies as a character out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Plus, there's also the little problem of the escaped madman, who may or may not still be hiding on the island, and Ava's therapist, a woman she fears has grown too close to Ava's husband, Wyatt. Soon, the landscape is littered with bodies, and Ava is rapidly finding herself the target of a police investigation. With only the help of a newly hired hand on the estate, she tries to prove she's not crazy and find her son in the bargain. Jackson's book is crammed with suspects and a palpable air of creepiness, but readers will spot a number of inconsistencies in the story and ultimately grow weary of the way she draws out the action with unnecessary dialogue and details. Melodramatic and filled with a lot of pointless meanderings, but Jackson's many fans will still enjoy it.

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