Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
Library Journal –
Alex Cross arrested hotshot plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with underage girls, but Creem is now out of prison and has used his skills to change his face. Meanwhile, a young woman is found hanging, having just given birth, but the baby is missing. And Alex doesn't realize that he is being watched. I think we can guess where this is going. With 75 million copies of his books in print, Patterson is the king of crime.
Bad Blood by Dana Stabenow
Kirkus Reviews –
A clash of family cultures may be behind a series of murders. The Alaskan villages of Kushtaka and Kuskulana share a salmon-filled river and a deep-rooted mutual hatred. Kushtaka natives, mostly Macks, adhere to the old ways and live in near poverty. Across the river, the Kuskulana residents, mostly Christiansons, reap the benefits of modernity. When state trooper Sgt. Jim Chopin is called in, Roger Christianson takes him to the Mack fish wheel, where the body of Tyler Mack has been found. Although Tyler's family considered him a lazy schemer, they're covering up evidence and plotting revenge. Jim's girlfriend, private eye Kate Shugak, a Native Alaskan with many family connections in the vast area known as the Park, quickly becomes involved. No sooner is Tyler's death ruled a murder then the body of Mitch Halvorsen is found sealed up in the house he's building on the Kuskulana side of the river. Mitch's brother Kenny demands revenge against the Kushtakers. Jim is sure that Mitch and Kenny were smuggling in alcohol and possibly drugs for the nearby mine workers, but his questions produce only silence and lies on both sides of the river. In the meantime, Ryan Christianson and Jennifer Mack, who have fallen in love, are secretly meeting even though their romance is certain to cause more trouble. Kate (, 2012, etc.), along with her half-wolf, Mutt, works her own angle and takes steps that may put her in danger in more ways than she can imagine. To her usual atmospheric detection, Stabenow adds more than a hint of Romeo and Juliet, or the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Bloodfire Quest: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Kirkus Reviews –
The second book in Brooks' ongoing Dark Legacy of Shannara epic-fantasy trilogy. Brooks continues the adventure begun in his last book, 2012's , set in his long-running Shannara fictional universe. In the last installment, the young Elven Druid Aphenglow Elessedil helped assemble a group--including her relative, the magic-wielding Ard Rhys Khyber Elessedil, and Railing and Redden Ohmsford, who could summon the magical wishsong, among others--for a quest to find and recover the legendary missing Elfstones in order to keep them from those who would use them for evil purposes. Some of the questing party wound up outside of their own land and in the grim Forbidding, where, at the start of this book, they find themselves trapped; there they face dangerous creatures, including giant insects and Goblins. Meanwhile, those on the other side of the Forbidding wall, including an airship-piloting Aphenglow, her sister Arlingfant, Elven Hunter Cymrian and an injured Railing, face battles and challenges of their own. As with many fantasy trilogies, this second book is a bit heavy on exposition at times and seems to serve mostly as a buildup for more dramatic events in the third and final installment. That said, Brooks mixes things up here with several sharp battle scenes, for which he brings his distinct talent, giving a true grandeur to clashes involving terrifying creatures and powerful magic. Brooks' fans, it also bears mentioning, will have a relatively short time to wait for a resolution to the story, as the final book of the trilogy, , is currently set to be published in 2013. A fine middle chapter to Brooks' latest Shannara adventure.
Breaking Point (Joe Pickett Series #13) by C. J. Box
Kirkus Reviews –
Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett, who attracts trouble the way carcasses attract maggots (, 2012, etc.), gets in the line of fire between an old friend and the Feds. When two EPA agents, sent all the way from Denver to take contractor Butch Roberson into custody. are shot to death, Butch himself is the obvious suspect. But Joe, who saw Butch only hours before he disappeared, can't help wondering why the EPA was so interested in Butch, whose attempt to build a new house for his family in Aspen Highlands blew up in his face, and why the new, race-baiting EPA regional director Juan Julio Batista has taken such a personal interest in the case. Joe has no time for any speculations, though, before he's pressed into service to lead an ill-equipped EPA party searching for Butch up the mountain where he was last seen. Little does Joe know that he's not the only one on the hunt. His old nemesis, ex-Sheriff Kyle McLanahan, has heard the rumor of a big reward for bringing in Butch and has gotten Dave Farkus, a clueless employee Butch fired, to lead him and Jimmy Sollis, the no-account brother of slain deputy Trent Sollis, to Butch first. Box doles out complications and misfortunes with masterly control; each time you're convinced things can't get any worse for Butch or Joe, they do, usually in unexpected ways. And every twist tightens the analogy between the shiftless vigilantes after Butch and the Feds determined to capture or kill him, two parties that are not only equally villainous, but villainous in exactly the same way. Its basis in a real-life conflict makes Joe's 13th case one of his most tendentious, but it's Box who makes it one of his most exciting.