Posts Tagged ‘thrilling’

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.

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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

The Vampire Lestat

August 8, 2012

The Vampire Lestat

Author: Anne Rice

Title: The Vampire Lestat

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 1985

Number of Pages: 496

Geographical Setting: Louisiana, France

Time Period: Modern Era/ Pre-Revolutionary France

Series: Part Two of the Vampire Chronicles

Plot Summary: This story follows the vampire Lestat, going from his mortal years through his transformation and present day. Lestat awakens after fifty years of being asleep and decides not to lead a secretive vampire existence, but to become a rock star! He also tries to find the origin of his vampire species and to waken those who are still asleep. Lestat was originally introduced in the first book of the Vampire Chronicles, Interview with a Vampire.

Subject Headings: France – Fiction; Rock — Fiction; Vampire– Fiction; Super-Natural – Fiction; Horror – Fiction

Appeal: Super-natural, Psychological, Thrilling, Action, Adventure, Dangerous, Dark, Creepy, Suspenseful, Character-Driven, Even-Paced, Philosophical

Three appeal terms:  Super-Natural, Creepy, Dark

Three fiction read-alikes:

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

This story is book one in The Twilight Saga. It follows Belle Swan when she moves to Forks to live with her father. There she meets Edward Cullen, a vampire. He has kept his identity as a secret till he reveals himself to Bella, and now she is in danger and he must protect her.

Helsing by Kohta Hirano

This is a Japanese manga focusing on Helsing. Helsing is part of a secret organization in England tasked with taking on monsters and vampires. It doesn’t hurt that Helsing himself is a vampire with a special pistol with silver bullets.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

This story follows Ben Mears, a writer, who returns home after twenty-five years to write about the old Marsten House. When all of a sudden it seems there is a vampire outbreak in the town. A very gripping and suspenseful horror story told by the master of horror Stephen King.

Three related non-fiction titles:

Dracula the Price with Many Faces: His Life and Times by Radu R Florescu and Raymond T. McNally

This book is the true account of Vlad Dracula king of Romania. He was nicknamed the Impaler, because he would impale his enemies alive and leave them as a warning to other would-be enemies. One of the cruelest rulers ever to be king in Europe, but honored by his country-men.

The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of The Undead by J. Gordon Melton

This encyclopedia of Vampires covers the lore of the legendary creature. It goes in depth on the Vampire’s history, as well as, its influence in literature, and modern incarnations of the Vampire myth.

Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture by Mary Y. Hallab

This book looks at the enduring popularity of the Vampire myth and why it is so. It also looks at the original Vampire legends and myths, as well as, literature and movies created from it.

Charles Ford

Jurassic Park

July 30, 2012

Author: Crichton, Michael

Title: Jurassic Park

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1991

Number of Pages: 399 p.

Geographical Setting: Multiple Locations in the United States and Costa Rica

Time Period: 1989

Series: Has a sequel, The Lost World

Plot Summary: In this thrilling, fast-paced science fiction story, a genetic engineering corporation, InGen, successfully clones 15 species of dinosaurs.  Hoping to feature these previously extinct creatures in the greatest theme park of all time in an island off the west coast of Costa Rica, the visionary of the project, John Hammond, brings a group of people to evaluate it, including a paleontologist, Alan Grant, a paleobotanist, Ellie Sattler, an investment banker, Donald Gennaro, a mathematician, Ian Malcolm, a computer system analyst, Dennis Nedry, and Hammond’s two grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy.  While the theme park initially lives up to its fascinating premise, the underlying instability and chaos of the organization are apparent when an employee turns off the park’s power and security grid to steal dinosaur embryos for a competing genetic company, Biosyn.  The action that follows is a nightmarish fight for survival against several Tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptors, and other dinosaurs as every character tries to leave the island alive.  The novel alternates between the points of view of many different characters, although Ian Malcolm and his illustrations often serve as the main narrator and framework of Michael Crichton’s concerns regarding unregulated science and technology. As in many of his novels, Crichton uses clear language and technical details to tell a suspenseful and compelling story about the dangers of bioengineering and people’s desire to use science and math to control nature and the world.

Subject Headings: Genetic Engineering; Clones and Cloning; DNA; Dinosaurs; Prehistoric Animals; Amusement Parks; Business Sabotage; Scientists; Eccentric Men; Billionaires; Islands — Costa Rica; Science Fiction; Suspense Stories; Adventure Stories; Thriller Stories;

Appeal: fast-paced, compelling, dangerous, dramatic, foreboding, menacing, suspenseful, thought-provoking, thrilling, multiple points of view, flawed and recognizable characters, strong and interesting secondary characters, sympathetic characters, action-oriented, cinematic, violent, imaginative, issue-oriented, descriptive, detailed, informative, intelligent, persuasive, scientific, thoughtful, unique, vivid, well-crafted

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: unique, thrilling, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan is an intriguing book about the politics and legal issues surrounding a real significant dinosaur discovery and excavation.

A Clone of Your Own?: The Science and Ethics of Cloning by Arlene Judith Klotzko is an informative and thought-provoking book about the moral and legal issues and history of stem cell research and cloning.

Blindsided: Surviving a Grizzly Attack and Still Loving the Great Bear by Jim Cole is a fascinating book about a grizzly bear that attacks the author during a trip to Yellowstone National Park and how despite his injuries, he still has empathy for grizzly bears and other animals that are still trying to survive in the wild.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston is an action-oriented, detailed science fiction thriller about Tom Broadbent who receives a journal from a dying man, Stern Weathers, in New Mexico that a murderer and the government is determined to get because of its description of the location of a special completely preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Shock by Robin Cook is a suspenseful and thought-provoking story about two Harvard graduate students Joanna Meissner and Deborah Cochrane, in Boston, Massachusetts, who investigate the use of their eggs at a fertility clinic and in the process, confront firsthand the hazards of cloning.

Esau by Philip Kerr is a fast-paced scientific story about Stella Swift, a paleontologist, who receives a fossilized skull from America’s greatest mountain climber, Jack Furness, and organizes an expedition to the Himalayas to investigate the possible new species that the skull represents.

Gil’s All Fright Diner

July 19, 2012

Gil’s All Fright Diner

Author: A. Lee Martinez

Title: Gil’s All Fright Diner

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 268

Geographical Setting: The fictional county of Rockwood in Texas.

Time Period: Contemporary.

Series: Standalone

A vampire and a werewolf are driving down a road and come across a diner where the owner is facing a major problem.   It seems that the dead from a nearby cemetery are rising.  The diner, as it turns out, is the target of a vicious plot to start an all-out Armageddon, and it is up to Earl, Duke, and Loretta to put a stop to the evil shenanigans.

Subject Headings: Zombies – Fiction; Vampires — Fiction; Werewolves – Fiction; Magic – Fiction; Ghosts – Fiction; Restauranteurs – Fiction; Diners (Restaurants) – Fiction; Horror Fiction; Humorous Fiction

Appeal: Quirky, fantastic voyage of the mind, clever, rooting for the heroes, hilarious, tongue- in-cheek look at supernatural, weirdness abounds, wry, thrilling, strong atmospheric western setting, warped, and gonzo.

Three appeal terms:  action filled, buddy adventure, odd phenomena.

Three read-alikes:

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Waitress Sookie Stackhouse gets involved with Bill Compton, a vampire, who is a suspect for the murders occurring around the small town of Bon Temps.  Will it lead to her demise?  This snappy, southern flavored tale of vampire love introduces a beloved series of mystery and romantic mayhem.

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

King Verence makes the mistake of inviting a band of vampires to a ceremony and they’re determined to stay.  The witches of Lancre must wage war if they ever want to regain their peaceful home, and the poor officiating Reverend Mightily Oats is entrenched in the feud.

Lullabye by Chuck Palahniuk

Carl Streator has stumbled across a ‘culling song’, which was created to kill whoever listens to it.  Now he and his unlikely posse, which includes hard-edged realtor Helen Hoover Boyle, her Wiccan secretary Mona and Mona’s slacker boyfriend Oyster, are traveling together with the goal to gather all the copies of the song and destroy them – and try not to kill anyone along the way.

Three related nonfiction titles:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

To the hitchhiker he and his pal pick up in the desert, Hunter S. Thompson confides, “I want you to know that we’re on the way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream.” (6) Thus encapsulates the incredible drugged odyssey of reporter Hunter S. Thompson and his Samoan attorney on a very important assignment.

Weird Texas: Your Travel Guide to Texas’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Wesley Treat, Heather Shade, and Rob Riggs.

You don’t need a constant supply of hallucinogens to find that the west is indeed a bizarre place.  This compendium contains tales of alien abductions, ghost sightings, and quirky roadside attractions, all submitted through the channels of local folklore.   Stories range from the Donkey Lady by San Antonio to the mysterious Marfa lights to Texas’s own Eiffel Tower and Stonehenge II, and some of the illustrations are downright chilling.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach

Is the soul a physical substance, and, if so, what is it made of?  What is ectoplasm?  What would ghosts be capable of and how would they influence the living?  Mary Roach examines these questions without agenda or preconceived notions, applying a scientific mind to what happens after someone dies.

— Kate Jelinski

Kiss the Girls

February 22, 2012

Author: James Patterson

Title: Kiss the Girls

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publication Date: 1995

Number of pages: 458

Geographical Setting: Chapel Hill, NC/Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: Present

Series: Alex Cross mysteries #2

Plot Summary:

Fans of serial killer villains get two for the price of one in Patterson’s second Alex Cross thriller. Forensic psychologist turned detective Alex Cross has found himself at odds with a brutal serial killer once again, and this time it’s personal.  When his niece goes missing, he quickly realizes that she has been taken by a vicious killer going by the name of Casanova. His most fervent hope is to find her alive. Assisted by one of Casanova’s escaped victims, Cross scours Chapel Hill, NC for clues. As he searches, a reporter across the country is killed while researching another string of murders. The killers are connected in some way. Are they competing with each other? And will Cross find his niece alive?

Kiss the Girls is by turns suspenseful and thrilling, and is a compelling, plot-driven mystery. As Detective Cross plays cat and mouse with the killers, we are given a glimpse into each of their heads. These alternating viewpoints contribute to the intrigue. In addition, Cross’ close relationship with one of the victims adds extra tension to the story. The storytelling shifts between taut anticipation and heart-pounding action, and while the novel ends with a clean resolution, fans of the main character can rejoice knowing that another Alex Cross title is just around the bend.

Subject Headings: African-American detectives, African-American psychologists, Missing teenage girls, Police, Police Psychologists, Serial Murderers.

Appeal: African-American protagonist, suspenseful, thrilling, fast-paced, action-filled, multiple points of view, multiple plotlines, disturbing, spare writing.

Three appeal terms that best describe the book: suspenseful, disturbing, fast-paced

Relevant nonfiction works and authors:

Serial Killers: the Method and Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky.  Vronsky recounts a varied history of serial murders from ancient Rome to modern times. Readers wanting to know more about serial killers will find this book to be comprehensive and riveting.

The Measure of Madness by Cheryl Paradis. Those attracted to forensic psychology will be interested in this title, in which the author  gives a background on the subject as well as looks back on the varied and fascinating cases she has handled.

The Sociopath Next Door: the ruthless versus the rest of us by Martha Stout.  Readers interested in the inner workings of sociopaths, how to recognize them, and how to forearm themselves against them may find this book interesting.

Relevant fiction works and authors:

Eyes of Prey by John Sanford. Readers may also enjoy this thriller, as it is also about a serial killer who mutilates his victims, and utilizes psychological suspense. Fans of series books will appreciate that it is one in a long series of titles.

Smash Cut by Sandra Brown. Smash Cut is a suspenseful thriller involving  a serial killer as well, but it also adds elements of romance and a “film buff” frame.

Amnesia by G.H. Ephron. Forensic psychology enthusiasts will enjoy this novel which follows a doctor assisting his patient in remembering a vicious crime that has been committed against her.

The Da Vinci Code

February 22, 2012

Author: Dan Brown

Title: The Da Vinci Code

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 454

Geographical Setting: Paris, France and London, England

Time Period: Present

Series: Angels and Demons (Prequel), featuring Robert Langdon

Plot Summary: The mystery begins with the shocking murder of Jacques Sauniere, the elderly museum curator for the Louvre in Paris.  Upon dying he leaves behind a bizarre set of symbols, written in his own blood, as a clue to his allies.  This triggers a hunt for the murderer in which Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology, and Sophie Neveu, a French cryptologist, must search below the glass pyramid of the Louvre, to uncover a perplexing puzzle emanating from a work by one of the world’s greatest artists, Leonardo DaVinci.  But can Langdon and Neveu solve the mystery before it is too late?  Full of action and suspense, this thriller, now a major motion picture, is sure to have you on the edge of your seat!

Subject Headings: 1. Art museum curators — Crimes against — Fiction 2. Cryptographers — Fiction 3. Grail — Fiction 4. Secret Societies — Fiction

Appeal: atmospheric, suspenseful, descriptive, fascinating, intricately plotted,  compelling, thrilling, religious tie-ins, gripping, page-turner, historical aspects, cinematic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: cinematic, page-turner, intricately plotted

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Lost City of Z, David Grann – for readers who enjoy a mix of history and mystery.  This is a non-fiction book about the British explorer, Percy Fawcett.
  2. The Way of DaVinci, Jay Williams – for readers who want to know more about Leonardo DaVinci.
  3. Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thorton – this book provides a look at the world of contemporary art today through interviews and narratives.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Fire, Katherine Neville – Suspenseful, female protagonist, and involves cryptic codes and puzzles.
  2. The Breath of God, Jeffery Small – Compelling, though-provoking, and for readers who want more Christianity-themed fiction.
  3. Timeline, Michael Crichton – for readers who like books set in Paris, also richly detailed and incorporates time travel.

Malice

February 22, 2012

Author: Lisa Jackson

Title: Malice

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: March 2009

Number of Pages: 480/ Number of Compact Discs: 13 unabridged

Geographical Setting: Southern California

Time Period: Present

Series: Bentz/Montoya, New Orleans Series

Plot Summary:

Malice is a suspenseful, fast-paced story that takes a straight-shooting police officer and places him in an impossible situation. Upon awakening from a coma, Rick Bentz is haunted by sightings of his ex-wife Jennifer. The same woman whose body he identified in a fatal car crash 12 years earlier. When he receives a package with fresh pictures of Jennifer and a copy of her birth certificate with a question mark written on it, Bentz journeys back to California and a sorrowful past he left behind there. His presence sets off a string of murders, menacing phone calls, and more sightings of his dead ex-wife.

Malice is an action-oriented story that pulls the reader along thanks to Jackson’s concise writing and knack for creating intrigue. The reader is implicitly invited to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together, gaining access to other perspectives besides the main protagonist. Jackson combines multiple plot threads and threats in short, sparse chapters that keep the material from being confusing or complex. This is the sixth book in a series, and offers a more in-depth look at a popular character’s past, which in turn makes it a touch more psychological than other bestseller of the week suspense tales. It is moody and serious. The plot is sprinkled with romance as it explores both Rick’s marriage to his current wife Olivia, but the book is focused on suspense and intrigue as Rick races to solve the mystery of why he was led to southern California.

Readers who enjoy clear-cut characters and closed-endings will be happy to know characters are generally familiar and recognizable as good or bad. The ending is definitively closed and ties up all the plot threads neatly.

Subject Headings: Detectives, Serial murders, Husband and wife, Widowers, Secrets, Murder suspects, Serial murderers

Appeal: suspenseful, plot oriented, concise, familiar characters, closed ending, menacing, mysterious, puzzling, thrilling, action filled, multiple plot threads, different POVs (including serial killer), haunting, psychological

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, menacing, thrilling

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

Dangerous Women: why mothers, daughters, and sisters become stalkers, molesters, and murderers, by Larry A. Morris – Jennifer is a compulsive cheater who propels Rick Bentz to return to Southern California and find out if she is still alive and plotting revenge against him for her death 12 years earlier. Readers may enjoy this exploration of what causes women to behave psychotically.

Mistaken identity: two families, one survivor, unwavering hope, by Don Van Ryn – Rick spends nearly the entire book second-guessing his identification of Jennifer’s body at the scene of her car accident. Ryn’s book follows a true case of mistaken identity thanks to a car accident.

In the Still of the Night, by Ann Rule – It is revealed in the prologue that Jennifer did not kill herself but was instead being stalked by someone who may have murdered her. Rule’s true crime story follows the investigation of a death ruled as a suicide but may have been a murder.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Drop, by Michael Connelly – Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch investigates a serial killer and deals with office politics and corruption in this fast-paced but more character-driven mystery story also set in California and focusing on a long-unsolved mystery.

Cold Vengeance, by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child – FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast tries to figure out the details of his wife’s bizarre death 12 years ago and begins to believe it may have been a part of a greater conspiracy in this plot-driven, suspenseful tale that delves into ideas of the occult. (Note: this is a part of a sequence in a larger series; readers may want to at least start with the preceding book, Fever Dream).

Stealing Shadows, by Kay Hooper – Readers who enjoy the psychic yet realistic character of Olivia Bentz may also like Hooper’s protagonist Cassie Neill. Neill is a member of the LAPD who has used her telepathic powers to try and stop serial killers in this fast-paced romantic suspense tale.

The Perfect Husband

October 5, 2011

Author: Lisa Gardner

Title: The Perfect Husband

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: 1998

Number of Pages: 404 p.

Geographical Setting: Arizona (Nogales), U.S. East Coast

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): Pierce Quincy Novels

Plot Summary:  Abused by her father as a girl, gentle and obedient Tess Williams believes that she is saved when police officer Jim Beckett appears in her life and marries her, only to discover that life married to sadistic and controlling Beckett is even worse than life before.  Upon discovering that her ‘perfect husband” is actually a serial killer, responsible for the brutal deaths of ten young women, Tess is instrumental in helping the police department put him behind bars.  At the beginning of the novel, Jim Beckett has escaped from prison and is determined to track down and take his revenge on his wife, killing her and taking away their four-year-old daughter Samantha.  Knowing that the police cannot protect her from such a man as Beckett, Tess leaves her daughter in a safe-house and travels to Arizona to enlist the help of ex-marine, retired mercenary and troubled, alcoholic widower J.T. Dillon and his icy, strong-willed FBI Agent sister, Marion.  What follows is a fast-paced and engrossing suspense novel, which takes you alternately between lust, romance, and sheer terror, as J.T. Dillon and Tess struggle to prepare for Beckett’s attack, fall in love, and fight their individual demons along the way.

Subject Headings:  Serial murderers’ wives, escaped convicts, Men/women relations, Revenge in men, Self-defense for women, Married people, Former Marines, Serial murderers, Domestic Violence

Appeal: Suspenseful, fast-paced, thrilling, psychological, character-centered, frightening, sexy, romantic, nerve-shattering, plot-driven, engrossing, multiple points of view, dramatic, menacing, violent, grisly, steamy.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, engrossing, sexy.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed American:  The true, historical account of the serial killer of H.H. Holmes who preyed on young female fair goers of the Chicago 1893 World Fair. A non-fiction work that reads like a gritty and grisly fast-paced suspense novel.

2) Roger Depue, Between Good and Evil: a master profiler’s hunt for society’s most violent predators: A former FBI serial killer profiler and investigator shares his experiences in law enforcement and as a member of the clergy who counsels convicts, describing his part in the creation of new law enforcement programs and techniques.

3) Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders: The prosecutor of the Tate-LaBianca trials presents the inside story behind the Manson killings, explaining how Charles Manson was able to make his “family” murder for him, chronicling the investigation, and describing the court trial that brought him and his accomplices to justice.

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1) Tami Hoag, Deeper Than the Dead: Like Gardner, Tami Hoag’s novels frequently read like movie scripts and are full of the thrills, chills, and fright that Gardner readers have come to expect.  This novel also contains a serial killer in a small town.

2) J.D. Robb, In Death Series: Lisa Gardner and J. D. Robb both write romantic suspense featuring fast-paced investigations that pit investigators against a range of deadly criminals. Both offer the satisfactions of on-going series characters, detailed settings, fascinating investigations, and romantic interest

3) Harlan Coben, Tell No One:  Lisa Gardner and Harlan Coben write fast-paced, suspenseful mysteries that are well-plotted but also feature intriguing characters and accurate details about crime-solving.  Tell No One also involves a serial killer and male/female relationships.

Name: Rebecca C.

The Shining

April 14, 2010

Title: The Shining

Author: Stephen King (narrated by Campbell Scott)

Genre: Horror/Audio-book

Publication Date: 2005

Discs: 14 discs

Geographical Setting: Colorado and Rocky Mountains

Summary:  Jack Torrence lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Wendy, and young son, Danny.  Due to a recent incident involving alcohol and an extreme use of authority toward a student, Jack was fired from his teaching job at a local affluent high school.  Additionally, Danny has been talking to an imaginary boy that lives in his mouth, along with seeing terrifying visions that aren’t physically present.  However, Jack is soon offered a job as the winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, an exclusive resort nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, and must live there the whole winter through in exclusion with his son and wife.  While living in alone in the hotel, Danny’s visions begin to mount as he begins to see corpses in the hotel, topiary animals come alive, and the word, “REDRUM” constantly flashes into his field of vision.  Jack also becomes increasingly irritable and emotionally isolated as he begins to see visions as well, but doesn’t admit it out loud as Danny does.  As the winter progresses, the Torrence family incurs the pressure of physical isolation from society, from the contact that they only have with each other, and from the torment of the suspicious feeling that someone or something is in the hotel with them.

Subject Headings: Horror, Audio-Book, Ghost Stories, ESP, Familial Relationships, Alcoholism, and Haunted Hotels.

Appeal: Suspenseful, thrilling, masculine, cryptic, macabre, hidden, superstitious, spine-chilling, frightening, gripping, character-centered, mother/son and father/son relationships, descriptive, and slow-paced.

3 terms that best describe this book: Eerie, wondrous, and nail-biting

Fiction:

  1. House by Frank E. Peretti (good vs. evil, haunted hotels, suspense, familial relationships)
  2. Black Creek Crossing by John Saul (horror, young adults, suspense, familial relationships, haunted house/buildings, dark history, murder)
  3. The Resort by Bentley Little (haunted resort/building, horror story, familial relationships, evil forces, good vs. evil, father and son relationship, husbands and wives)

Nonfiction:

  1. ESP by Patricia D. Netzley (ESP, telepathy, paranormal activities)
  2. Haunted Hotels by Sarah Parvis (haunted hotels, murder, history, ghosts)
  3. Ozark Ghost Stories by Richard and Judy Dockrey (ghost stories, mountains, supernatural occurrences)

Jillian