Friday, September 08, 2017

Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum 23)

Turbo Twenty-Three (the 23rd book in the Stephanie Plum series) by Janet Evanovich is showing signs that the protagonist is coming of age at long last. She is more adept at catching bond-skippers, she actually shops for food, and even though she still keeps her gum in the cookie jar, she seems less scared of it.


I'm rooting for Team Ranger, BTW.






Blurb:
A killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts...
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has been on countless crime scenes, but this is definitely a first. Her fleeing target has left behind a truck loaded with ice cream and a dead body - frozen solid and covered in chocolate.
As fate would have it, Stephanie's mentor Ranger needs her to go undercover at the ice cream factory to find out who's killing employees. It's going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It's also going to be hard to explain to Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger...



The Switch - Joseph Finder

Another winner from Joseph Finder: this thriller keep you turning the pages for sure. Warning: it makes you want to spend a lot of money on gourmet coffee beans, too!






Blurb:
Michael Tanner is on his way home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong MacBook in an airport security line. He doesn’t notice the mix-up until he arrives home in Boston, but by then it’s too late. Tanner’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the owner is a US senator and that the laptop contains top secret files.    

When Senator Susan Robbins realizes she’s come back with the wrong laptop, she calls her young chief of staff, Will Abbott, in a panic. Both know that the senator broke the law by uploading classified documents onto her personal computer. If those documents wind up in the wrong hands, it could be Snowden 2.0—and her career in politics will be over. She needs to recover the MacBook before it’s too late.

When Will fails to gain Tanner’s cooperation, he is forced to take measures to retrieve the laptop before a bigger security breach is revealed.  He turns to an unscrupulous “fixer” for help.  In the meantime, the security agency whose files the senator has appropriated has its own methods, darker still—and suddenly Tanner finds himself a hunted man, on the run, terrified for the safety of his family, in desperate need of a plan, and able to trust no one.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I know a secret

I always look forward to Tess Gerritsen releases. One day, I hope to be on her beta-reader lists, but until then, I read her books the day they come out.


"I know a secret" is an Isles and Rizzoli thriller (the series is called Rizzoli and Isles, but to me, Maura Isles is the more fascinating character), with your usual-for-Gerritsen unusual serial killer, a good dollop of horror and a lot of character study. Loved it.






Blurb:
Two separate homicides, at different locations, with unrelated victims, have more in common than just being investigated by Boston PD detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. In both cases, the bodies bear startling wounds—yet the actual cause of death is unknown. It’s a doubly challenging case for the cop and the coroner to be taking on, at a fraught time for both of them. As Jane struggles to save her mother from the crumbling marriage that threatens to bury her, Maura grapples with the imminent death of her own mother—infamous serial killer Amalthea Lank.

While Jane tends to her mother, there’s nothing Maura can do for Amalthea, except endure one final battle of wills with the woman whose shadow has haunted her all her life. Though succumbing to cancer, Amalthea hasn’t lost her taste for manipulating her estranged daughter—this time by dangling a cryptic clue about the two bizarre murders Maura and Jane are desperately trying to solve.

But whatever the dying convict knows is only a piece of the puzzle. Soon the investigation leads to a secretive young woman who survived a shocking abuse scandal, an independent horror film that may be rooted in reality, and a slew of martyred saints who died cruel and unusual deaths. And just when Rizzoli and Isles think they’ve cornered a devilish predator, the long-buried past rears its head—and threatens to engulf more innocent lives, including their own.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Ginny Moon

Fresh voice. Easy to read, impossible to forget.





6:54 at Night, Tuesday, September 7th
The plastic electronic baby won’t stop crying.
My Forever Parents said it’s supposed to be like a real baby but it isn’t. I can’t make it happy. Even when I rock it. Even when I change its diaper and give it a bottle. When I say ush, ush, ush and let it suck on my finger it just looks dumb and screams and screams and screams.
I hold it close one more time and say, Nice and gentle, Nice and gentle, in my brain. Then I try all the things that Gloria used to do whenever I went ape-shit. After that I put my hand behind its head and move up and down on my toes. “All better. All better,” I say. From high to low like a song. Then, “So sorry.”
But still it won’t stop.
I put it down on my bed and when the crying gets louder I start looking for my Baby Doll. The real one. Even though I know it isn’t here. I left it back in Gloria’s apartment but crying babies make me really, really anxious so I have to look. It’s like a rule inside my brain. I look in my drawers. I look in the closet. I look in all the places a Baby Doll might be.
Even in the suitcase. The suitcase is big and black and shaped like a box. I pull it out from under my bed. The zipper goes all the way around. But my Baby Doll isn’t inside.
I take a deep breath. I have to make the crying stop. If I put it in the suitcase and put enough blankets and stuffed animals around it and push it back under the bed then maybe I won’t hear it anymore. It will be like I put the noise away inside my brain.
Because the brain is in the head. It is a dark, dark place where no one can see a thing except me.
So that’s what I do. I put the plastic electronic baby in the suitcase and start grabbing blankets. I put the blankets over its face and then a pillow and some stuffed animals. I’m guessing that after a few minutes the noise will stop.
Because to cry you need to be able to breathe.

7:33 at Night, Tuesday, September 7th
I ’m done with my shower but the plastic electronic baby is still crying. It was supposed to be quiet by now but it isn’t.
My Forever Parents are sitting on the couch watching a movie. My Forever Mom has her feet in a bucket of water. She says lately they have been swollen. I walk out into the living room and stand in front of her and wait. Because she is a woman. I’m a lot more comfortable with women than I am with men.
“Hey, Ginny,” my Forever Mom says while my Forever Dad presses the pause button. “What’s up? It looks as though you might have something to say.”
“Ginny,” says my Forever Dad, “have you been picking at your hands again? They’re bleeding.”
That was two questions so I don’t say anything.
Then my Forever Mom says, “Ginny, what’s wrong?”
“I don’t want the plastic electronic baby anymore,” I say.
She brushes her hair off her forehead. I like her hair a lot. She let me try to put it in pigtails this summer.
“It’s been almost forty minutes since you went into the shower,” she says. “Did you try to make it stop? Here. Hold this until we can get you some Band-Aids.”
She gives me a napkin.
“I gave it a bottle and changed its diaper three times,” I say. “I rocked it and it wouldn’t stop crying so I s—” Then I stop talking.
“It’s making a different sort of sound now,” my Forever Dad says. “I didn’t know it could get that loud.”
“Can you please make it stop?” I say to my Forever Mom. And then again, “Please?”
“It’s great to hear you asking for help,” my Forever Mom says. “Patrice would be proud.”
Far away down the hallway I hear the crying again so I start looking for places to hide. Because I remember that Gloria always used to come out of the bedroom in the apartment when I couldn’t get my Baby Doll to stop. Especially if she had a manfriend over. Sometimes when it cried and I heard her coming I used to take my Baby Doll and climb out the window.
I grab the napkin tight and close my eyes. “If you make it stop I’ll ask for help all the time,” I say and then I open them again.
“I’ll go have a look,” my Forever Dad says. He stands up. When he walks past me I recoil. Then I see that he isn’t Gloria. He looks at me funny and walks into the hallway. I hear him open the door to my room. The crying gets louder again.
“I don’t know if this idea is working,” my Forever Mom says. “We wanted you to see what it was like to have a real baby in the house, but this is not turning out like we planned.”
In my bedroom the crying gets as loud as it can get. My Forever Dad comes back out again. One of his hands is in his hair.
“She put it in her suitcase,” he says.
“What?”
“I had to follow the sound. I didn’t see it anywhere at first. She crammed it in there with a bunch of blankets and stuffed animals, zipped it shut and then forced it back under her bed,” he says.
“Ginny, why would you do a thing like that?” my Forever Mom says.
“It wouldn’t stop crying,” I say.
“Yes, but—” My Forever Dad interrupts her. “Look, it’s going to drive us all nuts if we don’t put an end to this. I tried to make it stop, but I couldn’t do it, either. I think it’s at the point of no return. Let’s just call Mrs. Winkleman.”
Mrs. Winkleman is the health teacher.
“She said she gave the emergency phone number to Ginny this morning,” my Forever Mom says. “It’s on a piece of paper. Check in her backpack.”
He walks into the hall and opens the door to my bedroom again. I cover my ears. He comes out holding my backpack. My Forever Mom finds the paper and takes out her phone. “Mrs. Winkleman?” I hear her say. “Yes, this is Ginny’s mom. I’m sorry to call so late, but I’m afraid we’re having a problem with the baby.”
“Don’t worry, Forever Girl,” my Forever Dad says to me. “This will all be over in a few minutes, and then you can get ready for bed. I’m sorry this is so intense and nerve-racking. We really thought—”
My Forever Mom puts the phone down. “She says there’s a hole in the back of its neck. You have to put a paper clip into the hole to touch a button and shut it off.”
He goes into the office and then he comes out again and walks down the hall into my bedroom. I start counting. When I get to twelve the crying stops. And now I can breathe again.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

After Room, how can Emma Donoghue possibly astound again? And yet astound she does, in her beautifully crafted latest novel, "The Wonder". Rich, poetic prose. Believable characters. Story that tugs at your heart and compels you to turn the pages. Themes of motherly love and being confined to a room. :-)



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Into the water

"Into the water" by Paula Hawkins:
  • Reader, it's good.
  • It's nothing like her debut, "The girl on the train".
  • The number of characters may be daunting at first, but the book will make you think.
  • As in, _really_ think.
  • I didn't expect the twist.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Mother's Reckoning

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold was surprisingly easily to read, given that it's about the Columbine High School shooting on 20 April 1999, and written by the mother of one of the shooters. It's also surprisingly difficult to review.


So many thoughts. So many questions. So much sympathy.


If you ever thought the parents were to blame in this tragedy, read the book. Read the book if you want to learn to recognise signs of depression in your loved ones. The author wrote it hoping she could help prevent another disaster.