Posts Tagged ‘serial characters’

Hothouse Orchid

February 23, 2010

Author: Stuart Woods

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 294

Geographical Setting: Orchid Beach, FL (Fictional)

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): Holly Barker Series: Orchid Beach, Orchid Blues, Blood Orchid, Iron Orchid

Plot Summary:  The CIA sends Special Agent Holly Barker home to Orchid Beach for a long vacation after she allowed an international terrorist to escape twice.  Holly, the former police chief of Orchid Beach, is not home a day before when is attacked and finds herself embroiled in a serial rapist case. Holly finds herself confronting her former commander, Jim Bruno, the new Chief of Police of Orchid Beach, with whom she had charged with sexual harassment. Adding to the fray, is Lauren Cade who is working for the state police and is an investigator on the serial rapist cases.  She was once raped by Bruno who was acquitted of the crime. Is it just coincidence that there are a series of rapes occurring just when Bruno arrives in town?  Holly and Lauren set out to find the criminal behind these rapes that have now also turned into murder. Fast cars, high-speed boats and lifestyles of the well-to-do add to this rapidly moving story.

Subject Headings: Fiction, CIA-Fiction, Holly Barker- Fiction, Florida- Fiction, Police- Florida- Fiction, Police Chiefs- Fiction. Women-Crime Solving-Fiction

Appeal: contemporary, escapist, edgy, fast-paced, open-ended, plot-centered, investigative, multiple points of view, hard-edged, vivid, action-packed, corruption, strong language, dangerous, violent, serial characters, twists

3 terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, engrossing, page-turner

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz
The author tells the story of her and her Yale roommates’ attack and near murder by a man with an axe. No one is ever caught and the author goes back to the scene of the crime fifteen years later and learns about several other murders that took place that year within the area. A haunting story of a woman and her quest to find justice.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
A classic and Edgar Award winner, this book takes us through the life of the everyday homicide cop. The reader follows various homicide cops and their cases and the toll this type of life takes on them.

The Blooding: The True Story of the Narborough Village Murders by Joseph Wambaugh
The true story of the first serial murderer and rapist who was caught and convicted through the use of DNA. The book does not only focus on the use of DNA testing, but the hunt that the police go through to find the killer.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A False Dawn by Tom Lowe
Sean O’ Brien, a former Miami homicide detective, lives the lifestyle of the rich. Living on the St. John’s River in Florida, O’Brien has a riverfront cabin, a cabin cruiser and a life he loves. His life of leisure ends when he is a suspect in a string of rape/murders and he has to go back to work to prove his innocence.

Split Image by Robert B. Parker
After a high-ranking crime figure is found dead, Jesse Stone needs to get his act together to solve the crime.  Still battling his alcoholism, and his (latest) failed relationship with his ex-wife, Jess finds help in the form of Sunny Randall, a private investigator. Three plot-lines throw the two of them together in this continuing serial.

True Blue by David Baldacci
Two sisters, Mace Perry an ex-cop just released from prison and Beth Perry the chief of D.C.’s Metro Police, are out to solve the rape and murder of a noteworthy U. S. attorney.  If the two can solve the case, Mace feels that her name will be cleared and she will be reinstated as a cop.  A fast-paced read that takes the reader through the seedier areas of life.

Name: Noreen

Blueberry Muffin Murder

February 25, 2009

Author: Joanne Fluke


Title: Blueberry Muffin Murder


Genre: Mystery


Publication Date: 2002


Number of Pages: 319


Geographical Setting: Lake Eden, Minnesota


Time Period: Present


Series: Hannah Swenson Series #3


Plot Summary: Hannah Swenson is looking forward to this year’s Winter Carnival.  Lake Eden’s annual event means more business for Hannah’s bakery, she’ll get to visit with some old friends, and she’ll be able to meet cooking celebrity, Connie Mac, who will be visiting as well!  However, when Connie Mac turns out to be a terror and not the “Cookie Sweetheart” everyone thinks she is, the whole town cannot wait to get rid of her.  But, when Connie Mac is found murdered in Hannah’s bakery, the mystery becomes, who wanted to get rid of her the most?  Hannah decides to solve the mystery herself when she finds out her bakery is a crime scene and must remain closed during the busiest time of the year.  Now Hannah must track down the suspects and find Connie Mac’s killer!  Was it Connie Mac’s husband, her publicist, or her chauffeur?  Or, was it Hannah’s high school friend or even her love interest?  Only Hannah Swenson can solve the case!



Subject Headings: Women private investigators–Minnesota—Fiction, Swensen, Hannah (Fictitious character)–Fiction.


Appeal:  slow paced, light hearted, quirky, character centered, details of recipes, details of baking, serial characters, recognizable characters, strong secondary characters, realistic characters, smalltown, mystery series, romantic situations, mother-daughter relationship, sister relationship, fun


Similar Authors and Works:


Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:


Appetite for Murder: A Mystery Lover’s Cookbook, by Kathy Borich.  Enjoy some fine cooking with this cookbook, which is full of recipes that relate to English murder mysteries.


Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery, by Charles Higham.  Since the Roaring Twenties, the murder of legendary film director William Desmond Taylor has gone unsolved due to a major cover-up.  Now, as the clues are revealed, the reader will be shocked to discover that a famous actor was the murderer!  


The Vampire Cookbook: Ghoulish Recipes for Monster Appetites, by Kilmore Daily.  Humorously titled recipes that make cooking items fun.  The author provides tongue-in-cheek commentary to each recipe such as, “…for producing pleasant but unusual death.” 



Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:


A Peach of a Murder: A Fresh Baked Mystery, by Livia J. Washburn.  When Phyllis Newsom enters her peach pie in her town’s Peach Festival her only hope is to finally win first prize.  But she gets more than her slice of the action when one of the judges is found dead and Phyllis is a prime suspect.  Now she must prove her innocence and find the real murderer. 


Chocolate Dipped Death, by Sammi Carter.  When one of the townspeople is murdered and the murder weapon was sweets, Abby Shaw, the local candy shop owner is viewed as a suspect.  There is no way to sugarcoat it, Abby needs to solve this crime! 


The Chocolate Snowman Murders, by JoAnna Carl.  Specialty chocolate maker Lee McKinney Woodyard is serving as the treasurer for this year’s WinterFest, which isn’t as easy as it seems.  Between the egos and arguments, it is enough to drive someone to drink, literally.  Then when one of the guest judges shows up drunk, Lee must drive him to a hotel so he can sleep it off.  The next day, when the guest judge is found dead, Lee finds that she is a suspect.  Now she must hope that there is some magic in her detective skills so that she can solve the case!      



Name: Mike





Simple Genius

February 18, 2009

Author: Baldacci, David

Title: Simple Genius

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 407

Geographical Setting: Williamsburg, Virgina, Washington DC & Tennessee

Time Period: present day

Plot Summary: The latest in a series to feature former secret service agents turned private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. In this stand alone novel, both Sean and Michelle’s lives are falling apart. Michelle has admitted herself into a mental institution in an effort to escape some deeply buried personal demons. In order to foot the bill for Michelle’s psychiatric treatment and keep their PI business afloat, Sean takes on a job to investigate the murder of a scientist, Monk Turing, who lived in Babbage Town, where a secret enclave of scientific geniuses are working to surpass the capabilities of the most sophisticated microprocessor in the world. Michelle joins him and the two of them must wade through layers of lies that are shielding a world of elite mathematicians, physicists, war heroes and spies and get to the bottom of why and how Turing was killed. Sean and Michelle soon discover that they can trust no one but themselves, Michelle’s psychiatrist and Turning’s autistic genius daughter. Extremely engaging and fast-paced this book is a great choice for readers who enjoy thrillers with political conspiracy theories.

Subject Headings: secret service agents, murder investigations, man/woman relationships, emotionally disturbed women, conspiracies, political corruption, government investigators, think tanks, mathematical genius, code breaking, political suspense, mystery

Appeal: fast-paced, action-oriented, deliberate, engrossing, engaging, serial characters, recognizable characters, strong secondary characters, plot twists, dramatic, details of governmental agencies, investigative, realistic characters,  political, suspenseful

Similar Authors & Works:

First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader – political intrigue, missing child, political corruption

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown – Government murder, computer programs, code breaking

The Cove by Catherine Coulter – FBI agents and private investigators, serial characters, relationship between a man and a woman

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors & Works:

Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Code Breaking In WWII by Stephen Budiansky – In the author’s note, Baldacci mentions that he based events in the book on these true events. Deals with mathematical code breakers and WWII.

The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer by David Leavitt – A look into the life of the lonely genius Alan Turing who was filled with many secrets

FBI, CIA, the Mob, and Treachery by Rodney Stich – FBI and CIA cover-ups and corruptions exposed

Name: Sarah