Archive for the ‘Suspense’ Category

Love You More

October 3, 2012

Author: Lisa Gardner

Title: Love You More

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 412

Geographical Setting: Boston, Massachusetts

Plot Summary: In this fifth book of the Detective D.D. Warren series, the veteran detective pairs up with former lover Bobby Dodge to solve what seems at first to be an open-and-shut case. State police trooper Tessa Leoni appears to have shot and killed her husband Brian Darby in self-defense, and she has the bruises to prove it. However, what happened to their six-year-old daughter Sophie? There’s more than meets the eye in this compelling, fast-paced tale, where plot twists abound, suspense constantly builds, and secrets shock as they are unraveled. D.D. and Bobby have their hands full trying to understand the motives behind Brian’s death and the little girl’s disappearance; meanwhile, readers are exposed to Tessa’s stories as told from her point-of-view. At the same time the detectives get closer to solving the case, readers begin to approach their own understanding of what’s really going on through Tessa’s unfolding tales.

Subject Headings: Warren, D.D. (Fictitious character) – Fiction. Police – Massachusetts – Boston—Fiction. Boston(Mass.) – Fiction. Mystery fiction.

Appeal: Fast-paced, suspenseful, multiple points of view, flashbacks, plot twists, investigative, compelling, series (characters), chilling, layered, psychological, flawed characters, engrossing, plot-driven, intricate

Three appeal terms:  Suspenseful, plot twists, investigative

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag

Down the Darkest Road is a crime novel that is suspenseful, compelling, and fast-paced – all the same appeal as Love You More. Engrossing and plot-driven, this book keeps readers on their toes and unable to put the book as they follow the outcomes of the disturbing case. Lauren’s 16-year-old daughter went missing, her husband killed himself, and now she has only her younger daughter, Leah, and the desire for a fresh start to keep her going. Lauren takes her daughter and moves them to the safe haven of Oak Knoll, but soon she finds out she’s not the only one who has relocated to this peaceful town…

Survivor in death by J.D. Robb

This is another fast-paced mystery book bursting with thrills and suspense, with a little romance thrown into the mix. Lieutenant Eve Duncan is on the case of the murder of the Swisher family in New York City, and brings in her partner Peabody and her husband Roarke to help investigate. Meanwhile, she’s guarding the family’s only survivor – a nine year-old girl named Nixie. Readers who enjoyed Love You More will likely enjoy the appeal of familiar characters working together in to solve a crime in an urban setting, but might also like the more emotional aspects present in this book.

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

Fans of suspenseful thrillers will find plenty of edge-of-your-seat twists and turns in Karin Slaughter’s Fallen. Police officer Faith Mitchell seeks the help of her partner, Will Trent, and trauma doctor Sara Linton after walking into a deadly hostage situation in her mother’s home. As Faith tries to find answers and locate her missing mother, she goes on a whirlwind journey to uncover the truth behind what happened and save her mother (and herself) from a deadly fate.

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

A Cold Case by Philip Gourevitch

Almost thirty years after an unresolved case of a brutal double homicide in New York, determined investigator Philip Goeurevitch revisits the case, focusing less on the murders themselves and more on the lives and minds of the killers. The investigative appeal that readers enjoyed in Love You More is present here in Geourevitch’s book, only in a different type of murder case. In Love You More, the detectives spend time pondering the whys of murder to understand Tessa’s reasoning and motives. What could drive her to kill her six-year-old child? In A Cold Case, Gourevitch questions what can drive one man to kill and another to hunt murderers.

If Looks Could Kill by M. William Phelps

Fact is often stranger than fiction, which is one reason why fans of Love You More might be drawn to this suspenseful true story. In 2001, Jeff Zack was murdered execution-style in Akron, Ohio, and former beauty queen Cynthia George was implicated in the crime. This non-fiction thriller packs anticipation as the saga unfolds and builds up to the final verdict. An editorial review on Amazon.com says the book “reads like a well-plotted crime novel,” and will likely please readers who enjoyed the suspenseful, crime-solving aspects of Love You More.

Skyjack: the hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray

This is a fast-paced, compelling true crime story about the search for a hijacker named D.B. Cooper, who vanished after parachuting from a plane in 1971. Cooper was carrying $200,000 in ransom money with him when he disappeared, and was never to be found again. The story includes elements of mystery and suspense, as well as fast-paced storytelling and intriguing characters, making it a relevant readalike for Love You More.

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Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

October 3, 2012

Author: Sidney Sheldon

Title: Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 337

Geographical Setting: Many international cities including Berlin, Paris, and mainly Manhattan

Time Period: Modern times; 2004?

Plot Summary: A series of suspicious murders wracks the scientific world. Four murders occur within hours of each other, and upon further investigation, it is found that all these murders are linked through the ultra-secret, super high powered think-tank Kingsley International Group. Two widows of the murdered scientists meet in Manhattan with the head of KIG to beg him for assistance in finding their husbands’ killer, and he promises he will. Yet the longer they stay in New York, the more terrifying their lives become as multiple murder attempts are made on both their lives. Scared for their lives and not knowing who to trust, the widows begin a death defying adventure to uncover the secrets of their husbands’ deaths, and who is behind KIG.

Subject Headings: Widows, Think Tanks, Environmental Disasters, Weather Control, Murder, Attempted Murder, Escapes, Conspiracies, International Intrigue, Spy Stories, Romantic Suspense, Suspense.

Appeal: Plot Driven, Suspenseful, Urban, Violent, Dangerous, Foreboding, Paranoid, Romantic, Murderous, Evil, Thrilling, Fast-paced

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Plot Driven, Suspenseful, Romantic

Similar fiction authors and works:

Brown, Dan. The Lost Symbol When symbologist Robert Langdon discovers his friend has been abducted, he is out to solve the mystery and bring her to safety. This story is full of intricate plot twists and conspiracies that keep the reader guessing. Readers who liked the pacing and the conspiracy aspects of AYAOTD will enjoy this read.

Brown, Sandra. Lethal Like Are You Afraid of the Dark?  Lethal centers around two widows who are previously unaware of their husbands’ involvements in shady dealings. It is also fast paced and intricately plotted, with many twists and shocking revelations to keep the reader begging to know what happens.

Clark, Mary Higgins. Before I Say Goodbye This story deals with a corrupt business venture, similar to the corruption in Are you Afraid of the Dark?  It is suspenseful and plot driven, and takes place in New York City. There are also romantic aspects of this novel, although not as heavily as in AYAOTD.

Similar nonfiction authors and works:

King, David. Death in the city of light: the serial killer of occupied Paris Readers who enjoyed discovering who the killers were, and trying to work along with the plot twists, will enjoy this true crime. This would also be a good pick for readers who enjoyed the exotic locales as it is set in Paris.

Owen, David. The conundrum: how scientific innovation, increased efficiency, and good intentions can make our energy and climate problems worse Readers who enjoyed the aspects of environmental technology and climatology will enjoy this title.

Pooley, Eric. The climate war: true believers, power brokers, and the eleventh-hour fight to save the earth   Readers who enjoyed the big business and think tank aspects of this story as it relates to environmental well being, and the conspiracy theory aspects, might enjoy this title.

Last Rituals

October 3, 2012

Author: Sigurdardottir, Yrsa

Title: Last Rituals: a Novel of Suspense

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 314

Geographical Setting: Reykjavik, Iceland

Time Period: 2000’s

Series: A Soul To Take: a Novel of Iceland- second novel after Last Rituals about the lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir who becomes a private investigator.

Plot Summary: The author was named by the English Telegraph: “Iceland’s answer to Stieg Larsson,” and it is undeniably one of the best books about witchcraft and crime set in 21st century. Harold is a wealthy German exchange student living in Iceland. Obsessed with witch hunting, torture, Medieval and Renaissance spells and exorcisms, he is brutally murdered while working on his master’s thesis. The macabre scenes and occultism of circumstances of the murder are the reason for a deeper private investigation. The main character Thora, the young, divorced mother of two, struggling with financial crisis, decides to take over the case encouraged by the money proposed by the German student’s family. The intelligent, witty, and very sympathetic woman takes an offer determined to uncover the murder behind shadowy Icelandic history, together with her new, handsome and sophisticated German colleague, sent by the family of dead student. The romance, in spite of the story plot – the humor, reality of modern Iceland, sufficiently researched and shocking history of sorcery and inquisition in the Nordic country- makes it an intriguing read you don’t want to end.

Subject Headings: Murder Investigation, Occultism, Witchcraft, Women Lawyers, Scandinavia, Nordic Noir, Reykyavik, Iceland.

Appeal: atmospheric and provoking; Iceland’s dark medieval past; spells; brutality; sorcery; shocking action-oriented storyline; modern murder history; compelling; realistic characters; multilayered plot; contemporary Iceland; perfectly paced narrative.

Three Terms for Book: sharp and penetrating suspense novel, evocative and compelling Icelandic past, and chilling page-turner.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  1. Indridason,      Arnaldur, Jar City – The Reykjavik detective      uncovers the unsolved mystery from forty years ago with modern techniques      in criminology and genetics. Suspenseful, intelligent, compelling, and      well paced mystery fiction. The 2002 Nordic Crime Novel Award.
  2. Lackberg,      Camilla, The Ice Princess – This      chilly and character driven mystery fiction from Sweden is the first of two      volumes about solving the serial crimes by Erica, who is a writer and her      future husband, Swedish policeman. Dark, psychological portrays and      descriptive insights of the characters. Another great translation after      Stieg Larsson novels by Henning Mankell.
  3. Larsson,      Asa, – Until the Wrath Be Past – Fast      paced, Suspenseful, Swedish Fiction. Remarkable story about the human      desires and its consequences. Two women, the inspector and the prosecutor      are going back in time to the small Swedish village during the WWII to      unsolved complex mystery. Super natural elements are in consequence      original and engrossing.

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

  1. Brown,      Nancy Marie, The Far Traveler:      Voyages of a Viking WomanAdventure      and History Nonfiction piece of writing about the Viking saga heroine.      With the support of technological innovations in modern archeological      world, the author discovers truths from the past worthy of a historical      novel award.
  2. Gaskill,      Malcolm, Witchcraft – a Very Short      Introduction – The history of witch hunting, paganism, and Goddess      religion are only further encouragement to discover this surprisingly and      striking piece of the past, which still nowadays is a world-wide      phenomenon.
  3.   Holm,      Bill, The Windows of Brimnes-an      American in Iceland – author and the American essayist, explores the      Icelandic ancestors in his hometown in Minnesota, later on to travel and      live in little cottage in northern Iceland. Descriptive, sharp and      provocative essays about life in America      and Iceland.

 

 

Tell No One

October 3, 2012

Tell No One by Harlan CobenTitle: Tell No One

Author: Coben, Harlan

Publication Date: 2001

Pages: 339

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Modern Day

Genre: Suspense

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: For eight years Dr. David Beck has been living under the shadow of his wife Elizabeth’s abduction and murder.  It was supposed to be a celebration, a trip to the family’s private lake commemorating the anniversary of the first kiss they shared when they were twelve years old.  What followed instead was a scream piercing the placid summer night and Beck’s last view of his wife before she was taken from him forever.  Unable to move on, Beck has thrown himself into his work at a pediatric hospital serving New York City’s poor.  But the absence that is Elizabeth cannot be filled.  That is until he receives an email containing information that only Elizabeth would know.  With only this one piece of desperate hope, Beck plunges into the middle of a web of secrets, lies, and hidden truths that all lead back to one central question: Did Elizabeth die all those years ago, or is there something else afoot?  Coben really moves the story along with quick chapters that shift viewpoint from first-person (Beck) to third-person.  Vivid language that verges on poetic draws the reader into the space of the novel.  Characters, both good and bad, doing all manner of surreptitious and shadowy things, populate the pages and lead the reader on a twist-filled sprint that is at the same time heartbreaking and hopeful, ruthless and tender.

Appeal Characteristics: Compelling, Breakneck, Intense, Dramatic, Multiple points of view, Plot twists, Suspenseful, Action-oriented, Cinematic, Details of New York City, Vivid, Complex, Descriptive, Heartbreaking, Resolved Ending

Subject Headings: Missing Persons, Murder, Frameups, Betrayal, Physicians, Husbands of murder victims, Serial murderers, Father and adult daughters, Husband and wife

Three Terms Best Describing this Book: Compelling, Dramatic, Action-oriented

Similar Fiction: 

Vanished by Karen Robards

This novel also features the return of a missing person presumed dead, this time the protagonist’s young child.  The plot is fast-paced and suspenseful like Coben.  But where Coben’s novel contains light romantic elements, Robards is downright steamy.

High Crimes by Joseph Finder

Betrayal and conspiracy feature high in this novel where a woman must learn the secrets of her husband’s past in order to defend him in a top-secret, military court-martial.  The examination of the relationship between husband and wife as well as the breakneck speed with which secrets are unveiled will appeal to readers of Coben. 

Money to Burn by James Grippando

Another wife who disappeared under mysterious circumstances may have returned from the dead, but this time, she’s out to financially ruin her husband.  A tale of corporate espionage set against the backdrop of Wall Street, this novel contains plenty of twists and deceptions to boot.

 Similar Non-fiction:

The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn

Mysterious and unsolved cases set against the backdrop of New York City.  This book offers an intriguing look at the detectives who work to solve cold cases against the obstacles of time, technology, and department politics.

The Company We Keep: a Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story by Robert Baer and Dayna Baer

Here readers will find the true story of a couple who met while on a mission for the CIA that echoes the theme of husbands and wives under difficult circumstances.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

Scientific discovery and murder collide in this Edwardian era true mystery.  Those who appreciated the technology aspect of Coben’s novel may find similar ground in this non-fiction.

Name: Jessica

Still Life

October 3, 2012

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Author: Joy Fielding

Title: Still Life

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 369

Geographical Setting: Philadelphia

Time Period: Present (2009)

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Casey Marshall, a woman has the perfect life, a perfect husband, a booming business and a close knit group of friends, but one day that all changes. After meeting her friends for lunch Casey gets into a car accident and ends up in a coma. While Casey is in the coma, nobody surrounding her knows that she can hear them, but she is unable to respond or see her friends, family and other people. Casey realizes from her sense of hearing that the car accident may not have been an accident. Will she to be able wake up from the coma before it is too late?

Subject Headings: Women interior decorators; traffic accidents; women coma patients; sub consciousness; suspicion; dishonesty; married women

Appeal: builds in intensity, closely observed, compelling, contemporary, disturbing, emotionally charged, engaging, flashbacks, intricately plotted, intriguing,  moody, plot driven, psychological, suspenseful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: suspenseful; psychological; engaging

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

– Tavalaro, Julia, 1935- Look for Yes (true story of woman in coma, wrongfully diagnosed her as brain-dead and she could hear others but could not respond back)

– Metz, Julie, Perfection: a memoir of betrayal and renewal(compelling, somebody close to her was not honest with her)

– Carpenter, Kim, 1965- The vow: the Kim & Krickett story (coma patient, dealing with car accident)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

– Flynn, Gillian, Gone Girl (suspenseful, psychological, disturbing, mysterious marriage)

– Clark , Mary Higgins, I Heard that Song Before (suspenseful, plot-driven, suspicious of husband)

– Adler, Elizabeth (Elizabeth A.), In a Heartbeat (suspenseful, intricately plotted, almost killed, main character is unable to respond to people while in hospital)

Name: Samantha Biegel

The Homeland Directive

August 8, 2012

Author: Venditti, Robert & Huddleston, Mike

Title: The Homeland Directive

Genre: Graphic Novel / Action Thriller

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 148 p.

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: Orwellian present

Series:

Plot Summary: This political/medical thriller takes place in a dystopian present setting where Dr. Laura Regan, head of the National Center for Infectious Disease, is a dedicated researcher and authority in the viral and bacteriological field. Her research partner is suddenly murdered and she is framed for his death. Soon she is drawn in the middle of a dangerous bio-terrorist conspiracy and has no option than evade law enforcement in order to uncover the truth. With the help of three rogue federal agents Dr. Regan manages to escape mercenaries and invasive cyber-detectives before the threatening scheme takes a dangerous turn against the lives of all Americans. In The Homeland Directive readers will find a page-turner government frame-up story with visually sophisticated artwork.

 

Subject Headings: Women researchers; Virologists; Murder investigation, Intelligence officers; Political crimes and offenses; Conspiracies; National security United States; Fugitives; Communicable diseases; Frame-ups; Civil rights.

Appeal: Cinematic, fast-pace, paranoid, intriguing, thought-provoking, thrilling, dangerous, suspenseful, action-oriented, plot-centered, political, unique artwork.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  Cinematic, fast-pace, intriguing.

Similar Fiction Authors and Works

Edmondson, Nathan. Who Is Jake Ellis; The story follows Jon Moore, a mercenary spy runaway, and his psychic invisible protector Jake Ellis. This is another fast-pace, action-packed and cinematic graphic thriller featuring a fugitive, secret agents, and suspense.

Willis, Connie. Doomsday Book; Kivrin is a time-traveling history student stranded in the Middle-Ages with the Black Death around the corner. To complicate the situation, a virulent influenza epidemic has also erupted at the Oxford research facility of her original time period.  This interesting science fiction plot deals with biological threads to civilizations and appeals to readers interested fictional apocalyptic stories associated with infectious, viral and bacteriological diseases.

Edmondson, Nathan. Activity. A military fictional thriller that follows a highly-trained and secret unit that gathers global conflict related intelligence to defend American interests. Just like The Homeland Directive, this graphic novel centers on advanced and secret missions and operations connected to potentially real larger threads to society.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism. A historical account focused on the issue of war and biological weapons from a military and political angle. This book includes information about biological agents and disease transmission, as well as the threat of bio-terrorism proliferation and national security.

Ventura, Jesse. American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells Us. An account of controversial government conspiracies and cover-ups.For those who enjoyed the intriguing political aspects of The Homeland Directive, Ventura’s investigative work provides insight to real acts of deception in America.

Solove, Daniel J.. Understanding Privacy. A comprehensive overview of the concept of privacy, its complexity, and the boundless debates it generates in today’s evolving technological society.  The Homeland Directive tackles the question of personal privacy vs. national security; this thorough look at this relevant subject may interest those who would like to explore the topic further.

Fanny Camargo

Brimstone

July 24, 2012

Brimstone

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Title: Brimstone

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 752

Geographical Setting: Italy

Time Period: Modern Era

Series: Part One of the Diogenes Trilogy

Plot Summary: This story follows Agent Pendergast in one of his most puzzling and foreboding cases where it seems a murder victim may have entered into a “Faustic” pact with the devil leaving only smoldering remains along with hoof prints singed into the floor. Pendergast knows that everything points to the super-natural, but he is not so sure.
This story is definitely a mind blowing adventure that is face paced, yet filled with twists and turns. Follow Agent Pendergast is his thrilling quest to find out if there truly was a pact with the devil or a man who might be the devil himself. This is the first book in the Diogenes Trilogy.

Subject Headings: Italy – Fiction; Mystery — Fiction; Serial Murders– Fiction; Super-Natural – Fiction; Suspense – Fiction

Appeal: Super-natural, Psychological, Thrilling, Action, Adventure, Dangerous, Dark, Creepy, Suspenseful, investigative, Serial murder, Cerebral, Fast-paced

Three appeal terms: Super-Natural, Psychological, Suspenseful

Three read-alikes:

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
This story is a psychological suspense-thriller. It follows Alex Cross as he tries to outsmart a psychopathic serial kidnapper and murderer who terrorize government agencies. Twists and turns abound in this gripping story.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Lisbeth Salander is a computer hacker who does background investigations when she gets mixed up with financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist who has just been convicted of libeling a financier. Lisbeth is not opposed to her own interesting forms of retribution against those who harm her. She helps Carl unravel the sick mystery behind a missing girl where twists and turns abound. This book also deals with violence against women and psychological trauma. This is the first book in the Millennium Series.

The Suicide Effect by L.J. Sellers
Sula works at Prolab, a company that develops drugs. When she overhears the shocking truth behind a drug being developed by her company she is indecisive about what to do. The drug’s lead scientist disappears, so it’s up to Sula to expose the truth. Many people’s lives are at stake but her CEO is desperate and will do anything to stop her from telling the truth about the new drug.

Three related non-fiction titles:

Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Marc Olshaker
This book follows the twenty-five year career of John Douglas with the Investigative Support Unit. This is a true look into some of his most gruesome, dark, and chilling cases.

Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by George Jonas
This is the true story of five every-day Israelis who are tasked to hunt down and kill the PLO terrorists responsible for the attacks at the Munich Olympics in 1972. A true story filled with suspense and secrets.

Florida Pulp Nonfiction: True crime in the Sunshine State by Bob Norman
Journalist Bob Norman writes about true crimes in Florida. Everything from terrorists, gun-smuggles, drug lords, and off the reservation federal agents. This book is a great read to look into the ugly heart of the sunshine state.

– Charles Ford

Kill Me if You Can

July 23, 2012

Author: James Patterson & Marshall Karp

Title: Kill Me if You Can

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 361

Geographical Setting: New York City; Paris; Amsterdam

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Not applicable

Plot Summary: Matthew Bannon’s life changes the day he is at Grand Central Station and finds a bag filled with diamonds. An ex-marine and a struggling art student, it seems like his luck is changing, until he realizes that two of the world’s greatest assassins Marta Krall and the elusive Ghost are hunting him and his girlfriend, Katherine. Now his and Katherine’s lives are at stake, and as they try to stay two steps ahead, Matthew learns the price of trying to change his luck. An unraveling, suspenseful plot that from the first paragraph grabs the reader’s attention. The worldwide manhunt for Matthew Bannon keeps him and the reader’s on their toes. The plot twists are unexpected and unfold at the height of the action, only causing the action to increase tenfold. The romance, the assassins, and the antihero protagonist are all a hook that will cause any reader to become addicted to Patterson’s work.

Subject Headings: College students — Fiction. Art students — Fiction. Assassins — Fiction. Diamonds — Fiction. Revenge — Fiction. New York (N.Y.) — Fiction. Suspense fiction. Suspense fiction.

Appeal: compelling, gritty, hard-edged, suspenseful, multiple points of view, vivd, plot twists, multiple plot lines, sexually explicit, strong language

3 terms that best describes this book: breakneck pacing, action-oriented, engaging characters

3 Nonfiction Read-a-likes:

Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob has Invaded America, by Robert Friedman

A journalist tells the story of the Russian mob during the fall of Soviet Russia to their infiltration of the United States. The book discusses the mob’s role in the financial world, drug trafficking, weapons sales, etc. If you were interested in the Russian mob in Kill Me if You Can, then this book will is great for background history.

Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones, by Greg Campbell

A freelance journalist describes the destruction done to the community surrounding the Sierra Leone diamond mines. Three to four percent of all diamonds sold are smuggled and mined in war zones, at the expense of the resident’s lives. The diamond trade plays an integral role in Kill Me if You Can, and this book will help Patterson readers understand about this black-market business.

Making the Corps, by Thomas E. Ricks

Follow a platoon through their first year of Marine Corp training, from when they arrive at Parris Island, to their first year as members of the Corp. In this tenth anniversary edition read the new afterward from the author. Matthew Bannon learned all his fighting skills from the marines, now read about real live marines who endured the same training

3 Fiction Read-a-likes:

Rules of Deception, by Christopher Reich

After the death of his wife, Dr. Jonathan Ransom receives a mysterious note that sets in motion a world-wide manhunt for him. Along the way, he discovers that his wife had many secrets that he struggles to unveil. A good choice if you liked Kill me if You Can’s fast-paced manhunt.

The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum

An amnesia victim wakes up to the name Jason Bourne, hired by a U.S. Government agency to assassinate his rival Carlos. A good read-a-like for readers who like to read about hired assassins like in Kill Me if You Can.

What Doesn’t Kill You, by Iris Johansen

CIA operative Catherine Ling is on the hunt for Hu Chang who creates a deadly drug that others are hunting him for. Now Catherine has to try and protect Hu Chang, her mentor growing up, from those who want to take the new drug for themselves. A good read for those who enjoy the break-neck speed of Patterson’s work and stories about assassins.

Name: Alison Kulczak

Semper Fi

July 23, 2012

 Author: W.E.B. Griffin

 Title: Semper Fi (The Corps #1)

 Genre: Military Adventure

 Publication Date: November 1, 1986

 Number of Pages: 352 (Paperback)

 Geographical Setting: Shanghai, China and United States

 Time Period: The 1930’s and WWII (20th Century)

 Series: Book 1 of Griffin’s Corps Series, a 10 book series about different battles and time periods in the United States Marine Corps from the point of view of the Marines themselves.

 Plot Summary: In this novel we are introduced to Ken McCoy, a marine corporal, who is recruited into intelligence work in Shanghai in early 1941. He is involved in some action and sent back to the States, goes to Officer Candidate School and returns to the Pacific via Hawaii and the Philippines immediately after Pearl Harbor.  This book is not your average war adventure story however as it shows a more entertaining and historically grounded view of life from the inside of the Marine Corps. The flood of profanity within the novel, while it may be realistic, should be noted for those who are more sensitive readers. The constant specificity and jargon in referring to a character’s rank, or the make and model of weapons may come across as annoying at first but is effective in bringing the reader into the mindset of a marine.

Subject Headings: United States Marine Corps; Marines, WWII; The Thirties (20th century); Men – Friendship; Military bases, American; Military History – 20th century

Appeal: Character-driven; Intricately plotted; Fast-paced; Suspenseful; Dramatic; Compelling; Richly-detailed; Military jargon-filled; War story; Adventure story; Friendship story

3 Terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, Compelling, Character-Driven War story.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit by Tom Clancy

A unique inside view of the Marines, including their history, recruitment, training, arms, equipment, and strategies. His main focus is the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The USMC maintains seven MEUs, rapid-response units that patrol the sea while waiting for the president to send a “911” call for armed intervention. Clancy’s vivid detail works to add some real life context around some of the military jargon in Semper Fi.

2) Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the United States Marines by H. Avery Chenoweth and Brooke Nihart

For those interested in the historical side of the Marines before and after the time period depicted in Semper Fi, this book offers a look at the Marines through over 1,000 pictures and text. From their founding in 1794 to their most recent actions-including the second battle of Falluja-the entire history of the U.S. Marine Corps comes to life in these illustrated pages.

3) Code Talker: the first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII by Chester Nez

Another side of the Marine Corps of WWII and the role they played in winning the war on the Japanese front, this memoir tells the first person story of retired Marine and Navajo Indian Chester Nez who describes his experiences as one of twenty-nine top-secret codetalkers during World War II and how his life growing up on the Checkerboard Area of the NavajoReservation prepared him for service.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  Victory by Stephen Coonts

Like Semper Fi, this is a fast-paced, suspenseful and richly detailed WWII stories. It’s a collection of original WWII stories that include contributions by authors like Ralph Peters, David Hagberg, and Harold Robbins.

2)  Silent Thunder by Iris Johansen

This novel is a tale of the Marine Corps as well, set in modern times. Like Semper Fi, it’s suspenseful, fast-paced and a character-driven adventure story about marine architect Hannah Bryson who must discover the mystery behind a decommissioned Soviet submarine, Silent Thunder, that was recently purchased by the U.S. government for use as a maritime museum after her bother dies mysteriously.

3) The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Like Semper Fi, this is a richly-detailed suspenseful WWII adventure story about the European warfront told from the perspective of the Germans. In this story, a small force of German paratroopers lands on the Norfolk coast during 1943 and attempts to kidnap Churchill who is visiting nearby. It’s is a convincing alternate history with detailed characters.

Name: Bridget Optholt

Beat The Reaper

July 23, 2012

Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown #1)

Author: Josh Bazell

Title:  Beat the Reaper

Genre:  Suspense, Thriller

Publication Date: January 7, 2009

Number of Pages: 310

Geographical Setting:  Manhattan, NY

Time Period:  Present day

Series:  Peter Brown #1

Plot Summary:  The first novel by Josh Bazell (who is also a medical resident) follows a single, horrible day in the life of Pietro Brwna, an emergency room doctor and witness-protection program participant, living under the name Peter Brown. Flashbacks reveal that after Pietro’s grandparents (his only family) are murdered, he is taken in by David Locano, a mob boss and father of Pietro’s childhood friend, Adam. Fuelled by his hunger for vengeance, and aided by the Locanos’ resources, Pietro finds and murders his grandparents’ killers, and eventually becomes a hit man for the Locano family.  A falling-out with the Locanos causes Pietro to enter the witness protection program, and to later become a medical resident in the worst ER in Manhattan, where a former mob associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out.

Subject Headings:  Assassins, Federal Witness Protection Program, Hospitals, Organized crime, Physician and patient, Physicians, Pseudonyms and anonyms, Secrets

Appeal:  Fast-paced, relentless, dangerous, hard-edged, humorous, menacing atmosphere, suspenseful, eccentric, character-driven, strong secondary characters, action-oriented, cinematic, flashbacks, details of ER procedure, anatomy, and contract killing.

3 terms that best describe this book:  Fast-paced, Dark Humor, Suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

 1)    Plugged by Eoin Colfer

“When his girlfriend and several people close to him are murdered, Daniel McEvoy finds himself targeted by the New Jersey mafia, corrupt cops, and an eccentric neighbor.” — NoveList Plus

2)    Crisis by Robin Cook

“Shocked and humiliated by a medical malpractice lawsuit, physician Craig Bowman receives help from his estranged brother-in-law, medical examiner Jack Stapleton, who discovers trouble after exhuming the body of Craig’s alleged victim.” – NoveList Plus

3)    The Contortionist’s Handbook by Craig Clevenger

John Dolan Vincent is a talented identity forger, on the run from both the cops and the mob.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1)    Hospital Survival: Lessons Learned in Medical Training by Grant Cooper

“This book relates some of the countless, colorful stories that have occurred during the first year of clinical rotations and presents them in a manner that will not only entertain but will also mentor with the hope that the lessons of others will allow a smoother path for the next generation of students.” – Amazon

2)    The Mob and Me: Wiseguys and the Witness Protection Program by John Partington and Arlene Violet

            “This revealing first-person narrative, by one of the founders of the Witness Protection Program and a personal protector to more than five hundred informants, offers an eye-opening, dead-on authentic perspective on the safeguard institution.” – Amazon

3)    Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier’s Life in the Gambino Crime Family by Dennis Griffin

This book chronicles the life of Andrew DiDonato, who began his criminal career at the age of 14 under the watchful eyes of the local mob.  But by 1996, DiDonato had run afoul of both the law and his friends, turning him into a hunted man on two fronts.

Name:  Vadim Seyfer