Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ice by Linda Howard

     I truly don't know which Linda Howard book was the first one I read.  Even looking back over her lengthy list, I can't pinpoint it.  I do know that whenever I see a new title from her, I rush to pick it up and I don't put it down till the story ends.  And this was equally true with Ice.
     This book deals with just two kinds of ice - the one that falls from the sky and the one that is cooked up in illegal, unmarked labs all over our country.
     Lolly has been targeted by a couple of meth addicts simply because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  They spot her and follow her to her family's isolated house in the wooded mountains of Maine. Lolly has come to prepare the house for sale since her parents now live in Florida and she has moved to Portland. 
     Gabriel McQueen has come home to visit his seven year-old son and see his parents.  His dad is the sheriff and considers it his job to keep everyone safe even if it means sending Gabriel up the mountain in the teeth of an ice storm to check on a distant neighbor with whom there has been almost no contact for ten years.
     Gabriel is not excited to see Lolly again as they were not exactly friends in high school and Lolly was always considered stuck-up and stand-offish.  However, Gabriel is not about to tell his father "No," so he takes off, thinking it will be only a few hours until he is back.  Once he realizes that Lolly has been taken captive, all his combat training kicks in and the battle is on. 
     Between falling Ice, falling temperatures, falling trees, and falling in love, Gabriel and Lolly have plenty to keep them occupied to say nothing of outwitting a couple of meth addicts. 
     This one will keep you reading to the very end.
     Here are some other books by Linda Howard that I really liked.

Now You See Her (c1998)
Dying to Please (c2002)
Cry No More (c2003)
To Die For (2004)
Drop Dead Gorgeous (c2006)
Up Close and Dangerous (c2007)
Death Angel (c2008)
Burn  (c2009)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Allison Brennan - An Overview

     I don't remember which Allison Brennan book I read first.  I do remember that I could not put it down.  I went on to read other authors and then, one day when I was browsing the shelves at my local library, I came across several of her books and I checked out maybe three.  I was hooked!
     The book I just finished, Sudden Death, was another page turner.  A team of serial killers is on the loose and they seem to be targeting veterans of one Special Forces team which had been assigned to one mission in Afghanistan.  FBI special agent, Megan Elliott, is assigned to the murder of a homeless veteran in Sacramento only to have the case removed from her jurisdiction 24 hours later.  Megan is not happy about that but she plays by the rules and strictly within the system so, of course, she releases the body and all the evidence.  Meanwhile the killers have moved on to a tiny border town in Texas and brutally murdered a member of Jack Kincaid"s team.  Jack is a soldier-for-hire and he will employ any means to find the killer.  Megan and Jack are on a collision course when they find themselves on a national task force to bring down these serial killers even as the body count climbs. Sparks fly between Jack and Megan not only because she follows the rules of investigation and he follows his instincts but also because they seem to ignite each other.
     Although it isn't necessary to the understanding of Sudden Death, you might enjoy reading the other Allison Brennan books first as many of the supporting characters have appeared in previous books.  Some of them even have a book of their own.  One supporting character who appears in many of the books in Hans Vigo.  Hans is a profiler for the FBI and he has been called in on many of the cases.  He first appeared off-page, then as a very minor character.  In Sudden Death he plays a larger role and some of his background is revealed.  Hans had better be careful or he will end up as the main character soon and that isn't like him!
     I have given you a list of Ms. Brennan's books in order of publication so you can follow the characters as they expand and grow.  Even though some of her titles are in series form, the author is consistent with her characters and many of them appear in each book.

The Prey (c2006)  introduces Hans Vigo off-page
The Hunt (c2006)
The Kill (c2006)
Speak No Evil (c2007) first introduction to the Kincaid family but not Jack
See No Evil (c2007) more about the Kincaids
Fear No Evil (c2007) mostly about the Kincaids, Hans Vigo is back, Jack Kincaid introduced
Killing Fear (c2008) features Will Hooper and Robin McKenna, includes Carina Kincaid and Hans Vigo
Tempting Evil (c2008) Tyler McBride and Joanna Sutton, introduces Mitch Bianchi, Hans Vigo
Playing Dead (c2008) Mitch Bianchi and Claire O'Brien, introduces Megan Elliott, Hans Vigo
Sudden Death (c2009) Jack Kincaid and Megan Elliott, meet J.T. Caruso and Kane Rogan
Fatal Secrets (c2009) Dean Hooper and Sonia Knight, more Rogans, Hans Vigo
Cutting Edge (c2009) Duke Rogan and Nora English, the Rogans and J.T. Caruso
Original Sin (c2010) starting a new series, mostly new characters
Carnal Sin (c2010)
Mortal Sin ( was to be released in the fall of 2010)
Love Me To Death (Dec. 28, 2010) about Lucy Kincaid
Kiss Me, Kill Me (Feb. 22, 2011)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Cry by Beverly Barton

     I can see why Don't Cry(c2010) by Beverly Baron spent time on the best seller list.  The twisted plot, growing list of suspects, electricity between J.D. Cass and Audrey Sherrod, and dark secrets in the past combine to keep the action and the romance moving.  Audrey's baby brother was one of several toddlers kidnapped over 20 years ago and never found.  Now several women have been abducted, murdered, and, when their bodies are found, the skeletal remains of babies are in their arms. 
     J.D. Cass is an agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assigned to help the Chattanooga Police Department find the killer.  Audrey Sherrod is a grief counselor with close ties to the CPD.  J.D. and Audrey hate each other on sight, but Audrey befriends J.D.'s fourteen year-old rebellious daughter which brings J.D. and Audrey together more often than they would like.  Audrey's Uncle Garth and her best friend, Tam, are the lead investigators on the case for the CPD and neither of them are happy with J.D. as he puts together various lists of "persons of interest." 
     The plot is nicely complicated and well-paced.  As the clues slowly build, both reader and J.D. realize there is something more here than just a serial killer and kidnapped toddlers from 20 years ago.  Don't Cry is a statement on how adults can use the trust of children for their own misguided purposes, however, this is not a message book.  It is a really good page-turner that will keep you reading into the night.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cold Dawn by Carla Neggers

     I was looking on the "What's New" shelf in my local library a couple of days ago and found Cold Dawn (c2010) by Carla Neggers.  It had been awhile since I read her but I remembered that I really got caught up in her characters and plots, so, I picked it up.
     Although  you can read this as a stand alone, it is book #3 in the Black Falls series and you will do yourself a favor if you read the others first.  I found myself knee-deep in characters and a little adrift in the plot.  This is not to say that I didn't enjoy Cold Dawn and it did keep me turning the pages, but as I have stated so many times, one of the most enjoyable experiences for me in reading a book is watching the characters grow and change as they interact with events and with each other.  I want to know what happened before so that I know why a character is reacting to this situation in this manner.  Everyone reads in a different mind set, so if you are not so much into characters, then go ahead and get acquainted with Black Falls, Vermont through Cold Dawn
     In Cold Dawn, the inhabitants of Black Falls are just beginning to once again feel safe in their beautiful New England village.  Nick Martini has arrived, he says, to search out Rose Cameron and see if their first encounter, back in Beverly Hills, was more than just a one-night stand.  On his first morning in Black Falls, he finds Rose but, unfortunately, she finds a badly burned body and the stage is set for more than just a pleasant romance.  Nick, a smoke jumper, also is sure that an arsonist is on the loose, leaving a trail from Vermont to California to Washington, D.C.  The suspense builds as Rose and Nick, along with a host of friends and relatives, rush to stop the arsonist before he, or she, can claim another victim.
    Once this case is solved, I'll bet you will find yourself going on a hunt for the first two books, Cold Pursuit and Cold River, and eagerly looking forward to the next Black Falls adventure!

Books by Carla Neggers:
Black Falls Series

Cold Pursuit
Cold River
Cold Dawn

BPD - FBI Series

The Widow
The Angel
The Mist
The Whisper

U.S. Marshall Series

Cold Ridge
Night's Landing
The Rapids
Dark Sky

Maine Series

The Carriage House
The Cabin
Stonebrook Cottage
The Harbor