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The Bones of Paris: A Novel of Suspense
Laurie R. King

Public Anatomy

Public Anatomy - A. Scott Pearson As a fan of the medical thriller genre, I have to say that Public Anatomy is an outstanding cross between this and standard crime thrillers. Whilst it is perhaps less of a true-medical thriller, it certainly competes with the likes of Tess Gerritsen in the crime thriller genre. The writing style of Pearson is tight and concise, and the book is gripping and full of suspense, particularly near the end, where you constantly feel the ‘ticking clock’. Also, there are lots of little details included in the narrative, which make the plot more complex and interesting, as does the inclusion of the robotic surgery technology. Overall, an amazing thriller that I will happily read again. Full of suspense and with a clear, concise writing style. If there was any criticism of this book, it would be that it was perhaps slightly too easy to guess the identity of the killer, although this did not diminish the suspense for me. I am looking forward to reading his previous novel Rupture, which features the same central character.

Diagnosis Death (Prescription for Trouble)

Diagnosis Death - Richard L. Mabry Diagnosis Death is written by Richard Mabry, a qualified doctor who specialises in ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), and has practiced in several major hospitals in Texas. Since retiring he has turned his hand to medical thrillers, and as a medical thriller fanatic, I had to take a look at this, the third book in his Prescription for Trouble series.Dr Elena Gardner is a physician in fear, after the death of her husband on ICU a series of phone calls accuses her of performing a mercy killing. When the deaths continue, and Dr Gardner cannot remember where she was when the deaths occurred, rumours start to spread. Is Dr Gardner killing patients or is someone trying to set her up?Slow to start, the pace picks up quickly and the story is beautifully crafted to ensure that there is suspense at every turn, and a ever-present sense of danger and disaster. This makes it a page-turner, and means that it is very easy to read, despite at times an odd-writing style and over-zealous medical exposition. The medical exposition, whilst at times a bit much, is as well-researched and believable as you would expect given Mabry’s medical background. Mabry also avoids the common mistake in many who-dunits of making the plot to easy to guess, and as such it keeps you guessing right till the end.There was a very strong Christian theme running throughout the book, as well as a romantic sub-plot. The latter makes this a more cozy/happy thriller than most, and whilst the former does not detract from the reading experience for me, it could put off some readers, and should be considered. The story would have worked just as well without the Christian element, but I do understand that the author is staying true to his own beliefs. Being the third book in the series, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to follow the plot without reading the previous two instalments, thankfully this wasn’t the case and Diagnosis Death works perfectly as a stand-alone novel. The reason why the real killer was committing the crimes was not adequately explained, and this left me feeling slightly frustrated at the end. As I have yet to read the other books in the series I do not know if the motive was implied in the previous novel.Overall an exciting read, with dollops of suspense, and a creative and intriguing plot. It is a bit frustrating that the killer’s motives are not more satisfactorily explained, and for some hardened genre fans the romance may be a bit much. The Christian theme is strong but does not distract the reader from the plot. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Mabry in the future.

The Lost Tales of Power, Volume I: The Enemy of an Enemy

The Enemy of an Enemy - Vincent Trigili The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili is a sci-fi space adventure which follows protagonist Vydor through his encounters in the Empire. It is intended to be the first in a series of three novels by Trigili set in the same universe. "Everything seemed to be going Vydor’s way, until the Dragon Claw was sent on a rather unusual assignment to investigate a minor incident deep within the Empire’s space. That would send Vydor down a path filled with fantastically powerful enemies and extraordinary friends that would obliterate everything he ever understood to be true and threaten the very foundations of the Empire itself."First impressions are not good but the cover is very misleading, it gives the impression of a cheap and trashy sci-fi outing, when in fact it is an entertaining read, with a well-developed plot.Whilst the plot is good, the book is severely let down by it's simplistic, often child-like, writing style, which means that it reads more like a Young Adult book rather than the adult fiction it is. Hopefully this will be improved in the rest of the series. The simplistic writing style is countered by the brilliant pacing of the novel, particularly near the start, which makes this a sure page-turner.

Exposed (Maggie O'Dell Novels)

Exposed - Alex Kava When O'Dell and Cunningham receive a coded threat, they expect a bomb has been planted in a suburban neighbourhood. The truth however is even more frightening when they find a seriously ill woman and are exposed to a deadly virus nicknamed 'the slate wiper'. O'Dell finds herself locked away in isolation whilst a calculating killer goes about setting off an epidemic. Will O'Dell figure out who the killer is in time to prevent a crisis? Exposed had the potential to be an outstanding example of a mainstream medical-thriller, indeed the premise is a intreging one. Unfortunately the execution of the novel did not live up to its promise, leading to a rather mediocre example of the genre. The book starts well, with the reader thrown straight into the action with the description of Waheem, followed quickly by O'Dell's and Cunningham's grisly discovery, but the plot quickly falls away after that, with the focus bizarrely being put on the minutiae of the character's lives rather than on advancing the plot. To be quite honest I was bored, with the gaps between plot advancement long enough to allow you to forgot the last major event. This wasn't helped by the plethora of characters involved, nor by the hints of back story that were not fully explained, making this a frustrating book for those who have not read the earlier books in the series. The plot wasn't all bad, and a points I found myself eagerly awaiting the next page, regrettably these moments were few and fair between, and at the end you feel as though nothing has really developed since around Chapter 11. On a more positive note Kava's research is clearly evidenced by the detailed, accurate information on the disease and USARMID. Anyone who has read Richard Preston's The Hot Zone in particular will recognise snippets of that book throughout Exposed, although at times perhaps too obviously for my liking. In any case, medical/science geeks will definitely not be rolling their eyes at this novel. Overall this is a weak example of both the genre and Kava's writing. The lack of pace, poor plot development and almost constant flipping back and forwards between a large cast of characters, made it more of a chore than an pleasure to read. Possibly one for fan's of the series, for whom the focus on character relationship will be more appreciated, but it doesn't work as a stand-alone story for me. This is a real shame as the premise was interesting and promised to be a exhilarating read.

Wildcard

Wildcard - Ken McLure After reviewing Lost Causes at the weekend I felt like I needed to re-read a better example of McClure's work, so pulled out, electronically, Wildcard which is the third book in the Steven Dunbar series. We're thrown straight into the action when a man becomes violently ill on a flight from Africa, bleeding from every orifice of his body. Soon others who came in contact with the man fall ill and die. The government think they are in the clear until other cases start appearing all over the country - Manchester, Perth, Wales - all wildcards with no know source of the illness. Will Steven Dunbar figure out the connection between the wildcards before the whole country is infected? What will the personal cost be?Wildcard is a wonderfully paced read which takes you straight into the action, with the unveiling panic on the aircraft, and the action and suspense hardly lets up until the final page. McClure carefully balances story progression with holding enough of the truth back to keep you guessing into the last few chapters, and weaves in a beautifully bitter-sweet sub-plot which reveals some stark truths about Dunbar. The medical information contained in the book is spot-on, ensuring that the story is believable throughout; a hallmark of McClure's work. The only downside I can see is that it is so fast-paced that reading the book only takes a matter of hours and leaves you wanting more.Overall this is a fantastic example of the medical thriller genre, which is so well written that fans of the genre and non-fans alike are likely to find it an engrossing and enjoyable read.

Lost Causes (Dr Steven Dunbar, #9)

Lost Causes (Dr Steven Dunbar, #9) - Ken McClure I couldn't wait to get my hands on the newest edition to the Steven Dunbar series by Ken McClure, Lost Causes. We arrive upon a different Dunbar than in the previous instalment, disillusioned, he has quit his job at Sci-Med, and moved in with girlfriend Tally, he's even got rid of the Boxer. It is obvious however that this situation won't last, and he is soon called back to Sci-Med to face an impending public health crisis and investigate the re-emergence of a old threat.I have to say that as a McClure fan I was disappointed with this offering. Unlike many of his other books, the plot in this one is a bit to predictable for my liking. This stems from the fact that Lost Causes is a sequel to Requiem, one of McClure's earlier, non-Dunbar novels. Whilst you don't have to have read Requiem prior to reading this, indeed the first third of the book is taken up with describing the prior events, I do think if you have read Requiem before the plot is too easy to guess, and this takes away from your enjoyment of the book. The exposition at the start of Lost Causes also leads to a slow start, uncharacteristic of McClure's work, but once the story gets going, around Chapter 8, it goes with a bang and there is non-stop action till the end. The last few pages however seem rushed, and this detracts from the ending, and almost makes it seem like McClure had a page limit he had to stick to, with a disappointing "afterwards the characters did..." paragraph on the final page. On a more positive light, one the story gets going, you are literally dragged along with it, and as such it only took me a little over 3 hours to finish the book. There are also some great moments of suspense, which unfortunately were not exploited enough.Overall this is not the best example of McClure's work, with a slow start, and the feeling that really this was a much longer novel that had to be squeezed into a set number of pages. However, if you have not read Requiem (or cannot remember what happened in Requiem) Lost Causes will provide a gripping read with moments of suspense, in a believable political setting. Above all else I would not recommend re-reading Requiem before this, as it will spoil the plot for you. Although don't let this put you off reading it afterwards, as it is one of the best examples of McClure's writing with a plot so suspenseful it will knock your socks off.

Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her

Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her - Kate McCann, Gerry McCann As a follower of true crime, it is only right that I read and reviewed Madeleine, especially as I have previosuly reviewed another book, Vanished by Danny Collins, also about the abduction. For those of you who have not followed the story, British 3 year old, Madeleine McCann went missing whilst on holiday with her family in Portugal in 2007. It is not known what happened to her, and she has not been seen since, the popular theory is that she was abducted from her bed, whilst unsupervised in the apartment one night. Kate McCann's book is, as you might expect, very emotional and puts across Madeline's parents views on her disappearance and the subsequent police investigation. Of course this means that the abduction theory is the only one presented in the book. At times, particularly when discussing why she left her children alone in the apartment, it comes across as over-justifying her and her husband's actions but essentially seems like an honest and not over-exaggerated account. There is a particular focus by McCann on her family's treatment at the hands of the police when they were declared suspects in the disappearance, and at times it is easy to see how horrific it must be to be publicly accused of such a crime, and feel that the real abductor was getting away. The despair is palatable.However, the book does not answer many key questions surrounding the case and, as expected, is very one sided. There is also a lot of criticism directed at others involved in the case, such as the hotel staff, police and other residents some of this unjustified and which comes across as a ploy to increase the reader's sympathy for the McCanns. Overall the book is vivid and detailed, although some of the recollections are dubious because of their detail, and although it presents a one-sided view of events, it is very readable. The purpose of the book is dubious, the official line is that it will raise awareness and the profits will go to the fund to help find Madeleine, however, from some of the content, it seems more like retaliation for all the police leaks about the investigation, at a time when the McCanns, by Portuguese law, could not speak out. I wouldn't recommend this if you want a broad, unbiased overview of the case, but it does provide a good insight into her parents' feelings and actions.

Pet Noir

Pet Noir - Pati Nagle Whilst Pet Noir originally sounded right up my street, especially as I am rather fond of cats, the reality was disappointing. The book follows Leon, a genetically engineered cat, who solves a range of cases along with his human companion Devin. That is perhaps the book's biggest downfall, as it is actually five short stories rather than one novel, which interrupted the flow when reading it. Some of the cases were predictable and felt rushed towards the end. My one other major criticism is that the characterisation, at times, is unbelievable. Leon and Devin, are beautifully written, and it is a shame that the other characters are not written with such care.I did however like the idea of a cat detective, and Pet Noir did make me laugh in places. As a final word, I would warn hard-core Sci-Fi fans that this is only really Sci-Fi in context, and the plot is rather more humour-based than heavy science-fiction. Overall, I finished the book but didn't really like it, although that could be just that it wasn't what I expected. I wouldn't read this again, and I would only recommend it to fans of this particular sub-genre or perhaps the teenage reader, who wants something different.

Dirty Little Angels

Dirty Little Angels - Chris Tusa Dirty Little Angels is a gritty contemporary novel which follows down and out teenager Hailey Trosclair, who, through her twisted view of the world and religion, teams up with a violent religious criminal, Moses, which places her and her brother in great danger. The novel is as dark as the blurb would suggest, and has a perpetual feel of helplessness threaded through the narrative. Although slow and awkward to start, the story itself is compelling, and makes you want to keep reading, and Tusa is a wordsmith, who's metaphors in particular, are superb and add to the reading pleasure. However, the violence and profanity, at times, detracts from, rather than adds to the stories, and this, despite it's length, is not a Young Adult novel due to the content. The background of the character is a real strength of the writing, and Tusa gives a very realistic description of a family spilt by depression and addiction. At a few points, the characters seem almost 2D, with stereotypical responses and a needy/greedy voice, this jars you as a reader, but this type of characterisation is in the minority in the book, and is countered by the realistic and believable character portrayals in the rest of the novel. Overall, this is a well crafted novel that in places is let down by characterisation and an over-zealous approach to violence (particularly towards animals) and profanity. I enjoyed the journey the book took me on, although I was let down by the lack of happy ending, which leaves you with a slightly depressed feeling.[Cross-posted to tomesofthesoul.blogspot.com

Ratticus

Ratticus - Raymond Birdsell The premise of Ratticus: A True Tale from Critter Corner was admittedly a little strange, it is purely the true tale of one family’s experience of a rat problem in their home, and would’ve been blog-fodder in the days before self-publishing. Still I gave it a go. Despite my scepticism Ratticus is actually an amusing and fast paced read. The frustration of the householders is palatable, especially when trying to find the mysterious creature that was destroying their white goods. The author’s vivid description gives an hilarious mental-picture of all out war between him and the rat. At times it felt more like fiction than non-fiction, not a bad thing at all.I like the idea of a blog providing extras to the book, something that has been suggested for several years in order to add value to e-books. In this case however I do not feel the minimal blog content actually adds to the account, and could have benefited by being linked to certain events/pages in the book.Overall, whilst short (a ten minute read at most), it is a hilarious and well written account. It may be lacking real information (for a non-fiction book) or a complex plot (as a piece of fiction) but this does not affect the enjoyment for the reader, as long as the reader does not expect too much.

The Sex Club

The Sex Club - L.J. Sellers The Sex Club is the second L.J. Seller's novel I have had the pleasure to read, and like The Baby Thief it is a gripping thriller. It starts as a bomb goes off at a Planned Parenthood clinic, which young teen Jessie narrowly misses, however her luck runs out when she is found dead in a dumpster. Planned Parenthood worker Kera is intrigued and begins to uncover a secret 'sex club' amongst the city's young teens. As another teen is found dead, and more bombs are threatened, Kera must discover the links before it's too late.The Sex Club is an enjoyable read, that kept me gripped throughout. However there are some elements that detract from the overall reading experience which has reduced the rating. The major problem is that the plot is too readily reveled, it becomes clear to the reader early on what is happening and the rest of the book, whilst enjoyable, is spent waiting for Kera and Detective Jackson to figure it out, rather than waiting to discover it yourself. In addition, the 'sex club' plot, is just a little too unbelievable the way it is presented, I'm not saying teens don't have sex, but the way the idea of the 'sex club' is set up is just too much of a stretch for me. The book falls apart towards the end, as while it's dramatic, the plot becomes even more stretched, and some character's become less believable.It was very hard to rate this book as I really enjoyed it and feel that it would make a great holiday-read for many people. On the other hand there are plot and character issues that I feel would frustrate many readers, and did irritate me at points. Therefore I am giving it 3 and a half stars, although I do recommend you give it a go as it is only 69p from Amazon.

On the Edge

On the Edge - Charlie Carroll I have an embarrassing secret, I absolutely love 'reality TV' books, you know the ones, following the life of people doing everyday jobs. They are often trashy and written by cynics disenchanted with their careers but they are the perfect book when you don't want a long detailed plot, just something to read. Monday Books seems to be the preferred publisher of this genre, and I have read most of their books in one form or another.On The Edge: One teacher, a camper van, Britain's toughest schools appealed to me right from the start, having taught in secondary schools myself and follows the journey of Charlie Carroll, a supply teacher, through a journal style look at his year travelling around teaching in the countries 'toughest' schools. The narrative is well written and you soon feel that your there in the author's freezing cold camper van or in the classroom where the pupils simply don't care. However it lacked the humour of previous books in the genre and only briefly confronted the reasons behind poor behaviour and under achievement in schools. The events recalled in the book are not as shocking as the title might first suggest, and generally it just shows how life really is for supply teachers in comprehensive schools up and down the country. There are some wonderful moments when Mr Carroll connects with the pupils which is heartening to read. It is a must for anyone considering either teaching or supply teaching in the UK to get away from the 'rose tinted' view given during recruitment. Overall, not what I was expected but a great read and true to life.[Cross-posted from tomesofthesoul.blogspot.com]

In Stitches

In Stitches - Nick Edwards In Stitches: The highs and lows of life as an A&E doctor by Nick Edwards is an autobiographical account of a doctor's life in a busy A&E department. The hospital is representative of any number of A&E's up and down the country and Dr Edwards uses a journal style to deliver a series of humorous snapshots of what life is like. It is full of tongue-in-cheek humour and sarcasm, especially directed at the ever increasing bureaucracy, as well as touching moments such as allowing a elderly patient to die with dignity. It came across as a believable portral of life as an A&E doctor.It's a gripping read which I got through within a few hours and often whilst laughing out loud. My only criticism is that the frequent rants about the bureaucracy and future of the NHS becomes wearing over time, and depending on your politics could become annoying by the end of the book. The humour does little to soften the political message in parts.Overall a very funny and engrossing read.[Cross-posted from tomesofthesoul.blogspot.com]

Columbine

Columbine - Dave Cullen When Columbine happened I was still a child and so I only had a vague recollection of what happened, two gunmen, drove to the edge by bullying, went on a rampage through their high school killing many. However, after reading this book I have realised there is a lot more to the event than that, particularly Cullen disproves the widely held notion that the killers were victims of bullying, instead providing evidence of depression and psychopathy. This is a big strength of the book how it debunks so many of the myths surrounding that day including the involvement of the 'Trenchcoat Mafia', and addresses how these myths got started.The books is comprehensibly detailed and switches between the events of that tragic day, the years leading up to it and the police investigation and public recovery afterwards. Sources of information are clearly stated and easily checked for those who read non-fiction for reference rather than pleasure. Cullen does not shy away from the tough aspects of the events, how police and psychologists missed warning signs in the killers, how one victim was left to bleed to death by the SWAT team and how one victim's religious legacy comes from a simple confusion in the chaos. He also stays away from vilifying the killers and parents, showing that they were human not evil, which gave a more balanced view to the book.David Cullen has a website that accompanies the book, which not only contains some of his information sources, but also has detailed resources for educators teaching Columbine as part of the curriculum. Although I would say the contents of the book was not appropriate for younger teens.I got through the book in under a day as it is gripping, vivid and readable, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone wishing to know the truth about this tragedy, as well as those who like true crime books.[Cross-posted from tomesofthesoul.blogspot.com]

Life Games

Life Games - Trine Daely I must admit I'm not a fan of poetry but this book stood out for me as it reminded me of my mother, so I gave it a go. I am very pleased that I did. The collection spans a number of years from 1989 - 1998 , the poetry, whilst in places dark, shows glimpses of the author's hope and often weaves these two together in a remarkable way, like in the poem Orphan's Lighthouse, my favourite from this collection.I personally find it very difficult to communicate my feelings on poetry, as I believe it's interpretation is individual to the reader, so instead I have selected some of the parts that spoke most deeply to me, these are only extracts the full poems are much longer:Lean into the windand wed with a nodYour body turns coldas you dote on the sod WendigoHe showed to me the future,he showed to me the pastWhere the greatest knowledge could be foundand the greatest treasures stashed. Down to the River I lay waiting, fearfully at timeshe is coming tonightLike he does every nighthe waits while my candle burnshe waits in the kitchenat every corner I turnHe is quiet buthis laughterrings loud in my head.He is the one that youhave always knownyet come to know thatyou can never really know him He is the darkness The fire that killed us moves on in strifenow we rejoice, for in death we found life. Orphan's Lighthouse As I have said before I am very glad I took the time to read this, as I usually skip past poetry collections. It is well written and contains some beautiful and emotional pieces. I debated weither to rate the work due not to it's quality or my enjoyment, but because perceptions of poetry are very individual. In the end I decided to rate it and would implore others, who maybe are not regular poetry readers, to take a chance on something a bit different and to share how the poems made you feel. [Cross-posted from tomesofthesoul.blogspot.com - rating at TotS - 4.5 stars]

Vanished: The Truth About the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Vanished: The Truth About the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann - Danny Collins The case of Madeleine McCann gripped Europe during 2007, when the three year old went missing from her holiday villa never to be seen again. Her mother, Kate McCann has recently released a book telling the family's version of her disappearance and I thought it was an opportune time to read the earlier published account of the disappearance by investigative journalist Danny Collins.Whilst at first glance the book seems to be an impartial account of the case, it soon becomes apparent that it is really written from the position that the McCann's were completely innocent of any wrongdoing, even in leaving their children unattended, and focuses on discrediting the police investigation and criticizing the media; slightly hypocritical of a investigative journalist. At points the writer goes off on a tangent, telling tantalising stories about other missing children, even those who have been missing for decades and bear no relevance to the McCann case, abuse in children's homes or accusing all gypsies of being child abductors who frequently traffic children across Europe to use in begging operations.Overall the book could have really been half the length, detailing the facts of the case, and many of the chapters seem out-of-sequence and almost cut and paste from random articles on child abduction, rather than being an analysis of the investigation. As it was published in 2008 it is also woefully out of date, although progress in the case has been slow, and Madeleine has still not been found. It's only redeeming features are is it's ease to read and that it supports the less sensational theory that Madeleine wandered off from an unlocked and unsupervised villa rather than being abducted from her bed. It's rating is given as I did manage to finish it, albeit skipping paragraphs near the end, but other than that was not a joy to read, and a waste of £4 considering all the information could readily be found online.[Cross-posted from tomesofthesoul.blogspot.com - Rating at TotS - 1.5 stars]