Suspense/Thriller

Book Review: Missing You by Harlan Coben

missing you

Rating: 4 / 5

NYPD Detective Kat Donovan’s best friend has decided that Kat needs to ‘get out more’ and creates a profile for her on a dating site.  While Kat is perusing the possibilities, she sees one profile which catches her eye, and catches her off guard. She is sure it is her ex-fiance, Jeff.  It’s been 18 years since they broke up, but Kat has always thought that Jeff was the one that got away.  Wondering if there is still something between them, Kat reaches out to him, only to get shunned.  As Kat investigates further, she realizes that although she is positive the picture is of Jeff, there is a sinister conspiracy going on, and people that have reached out to Jeff on the dating site have disappeared.

Harlan Coben’s forte is suspense, and Missing You doesn’t disappoint.  There are two parallel story lines, one about Kat’s personal life and possible reconnection with an old flame, and the other about Kat finally solving her father’s murder.  Both are equally compelling, and each bring out a different side of Kat, making her likable and easy to relate to.

Missing You clocks in around 400 pages, and if you’re holding onto a physical copy, it seems a bit on the lengthy side, but trust me, once you start turning the pages, it’ll be hard to stop.  Before you know it, you’ll easily clear half the book in a sitting or two.  Missing You isn’t a deep, thought-provoking novel, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  Coben is one of the best with the fast-paced, suspenseful, and engaging novels, and Missing You is a solid thriller.

Book Review: ‘A Better World’ by Marcus Sakey

a better

Full disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 / 5

A Better World is the follow up to Brilliance (my review of it here), and it hits the ground running.  I don’t know how well A Better World is as a stand alone, but I highly suggest reading Brilliance before diving into this installment, as much of the groundwork is laid out in the first book.  In the late 1980s, it was discovered that 1% of the children born were abnormal in that they had special abilities.  Although the abilities are non-violent, a chasm was slowly created between the “abnorms” or brilliants, and the normals.  As a result of the tension, the world’s richest man, Erik Epstein, also a brilliant, founded a settlement, the New Canaan Holdfast, in Wyoming, where abnorms could live amongst each other.  Not much is known about why some people are born normal and some are born as brilliants, but a measure to implant a chip in the necks of all abnorms has been gaining traction.  In response, a small terrorist group, the Children of Darwin, has literally shut down three American cities.  America’s best bet in brokering a deal between normals and brilliants is Nick Cooper.  Cooper is weary, though, since the last time he tried to help he didn’t realize he was being used as a pawn in someone else’s ulterior motives.

A Better World is action-packed, which makes reviewing it difficult without giving away spoilers.  What I can say is that A Better World picks up where Brilliance left off, and is equally as compelling and engaging as Brilliance.  I was a bit skeptical with Sakey’s ability to continue to storyline, as so much happened in Brilliance, but A Better World perseveres, with more character development and more action without the “been there, done that” feeling.

It is so easy to classify the Brilliance series as a thriller since on the surface it is a book that moves quickly, with war, fighting, government, and politics.  But dig just a little deeper, and it’s a book that will get you thinking about the broader implications of the “us versus them” mentality, and treating people differently based on disparities rather than working together to embrace their differences.

A Better World is a continuation of the thrill ride that began with Brilliance, and I honestly cannot wait for the third book.

Book Review: ‘Kill Fee’ by Owen Laukkanen

fee

Rating: 4 / 5

In downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, a billionaire is killed by a sniper.  FBI special agent Carla Windemere and state investigator Kirk Stevens are witnesses, and soon brought on to help solve the case.  While in pursuit, they realize that other random acts of violence across state lines are linked to this, and the killer has multiple identities. When they discover that there is a website where people can pay to have someone eliminated, Stevens and Windemere are pressed for time to prevent the next murder from happening.  Going against them are the fact that they don’t know who the sniper is, where he is from, and who he is working with. (more…)

Book Review: Runner by Patrick Lee

funner
Rating: 4.5 / 5

He faced forward and thought, Say antelope if you’re hearing this.
“Antelope,” Rachel said.

I pretty much figured I’m going to thoroughly enjoy Runner after reading those lines, and wasn’t disappointed in the least.  Sam Dryden is a retired Special Forces officer, quietly living his life, which consists solely of figuring out how to go on with life after the tragic death of his wife and daughter.  Out for a run late one night, a young girl, Rachel, stumbles upon him.  She is running away from heavily armed men and needs Dryden’s help.  After evading capture, Dryden realizes that the girl has been help captive because of a special power, and while she has escaped, she can’t remember anything past the last 2 months of her life.  As Dryden helps her unravel her past, they must also stay one step ahead of the people with unlimited resources and motivation to hunt her down.  (more…)

Book Review: In the Blood by Lisa Unger

blood

Rating:  4 / 5

Lana Granger is currently a psychology student at a small college in upstate New York.  With her trust fund almost depleted, she becomes a nanny for young boy, Luke.  Luke has behavioral issues, and has been known to manipulate his peers into doing harmful acts.  Lana has some experience with this, for she has a past that she’s hidden from everyone, and has told so many lies about her childhood that she’s not even sure what is real and what are lies. When one of Lana’s friends and roommate goes missing, and Lana is the last one to see her, suspicion is cast on Lana’s past, and everything she has tried so hard to hide. (more…)

Book Review: Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

brilliance

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Beginning in the mid 1980s, an exception 1% of children born in the US were exceptionally gifted.  These “brilliants” although small in number, were seen as threatening to “normals.”  There is a small sector of the US government, known as the Department of Analysis and Response, and its smaller subset, Equitable Services, were born from the need to deal with brilliants who became terrorists.  Nick Cooper is the top agent at Equitable Services, and is also a brilliant, also known as an abnorm.  For the last several years, his main target has been John Smith, reportedly the leader of a terrorist faction of abnorms.  After the bombing of a financial Exchange, Cooper realizes that the only chance he has to hunt down Smith is to pretend to go rogue, and hopefully attract John Smith’s attention.  His payoff for doing this would be that his daughter, who he already knows is a brilliant, will never be sent to an academy, but will get to live out her childhood as a normal. As Cooper dives into the underworld, events occur which make him question the price of loyalty and faith, and the lengths parents will go to protect their children. (more…)

Book Review: The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

g of g

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Mickey Haller latest client is Andre La Cosse, a digital pimp accused of murdering a prostitute.  La Cosse has requested Haller since his alleged victim, Giselle Dallinger, mentioned that Haller has helped her out in the past.  It turns out that Giselle used to be known as Gloria Dayton, and Mickey not only represented her in court, but thought he had given her enough money to leave her life in Los Angeles and begin fresh elsewhere. La Cosse maintains he is innocent of murder, even though he confessed to authorities that he was at Dallinger’s apartment the night she was killed, and they had an argument. As Haller investigates the incident, he not only begins to believe La Cosse, but realizes that Dallinger’s death is tied to the last time he helped her, almost seven years ago. (more…)