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  • Vicky Simon
  • July 24, 2015 08:57:39 PM
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A Little About Us

If you are a lover of thrillers, especially thrillers involving forensics, medicine or technology and you like it spiced up with a bit of science, then this book review blog is for you.

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Review of R.J. Corgan’s Latest Novel, Meerkat Murders

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  R.J. Corgan has recently released book #2, Meerkat Murders, to the...

So watch your back Timon, no hakuna matata for you.

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  R.J. Corgan has recently released book #2, Meerkat Murders, to the Kea Wright series.


Did you know that the cute and cuddly meerkat, made famous by the Disney movie The Lion King is the most murderous mammal known to science?  A 2016 study published in the journal Nature found that Suricata suricatta, also known as meerkats, beat out 1,023 other mammals at being the most murderous. They found that approximately 20% of all meerkats will be killed by one of their own. Sounds like a good topic for a good murder mystery, eh? Well, R.J. Corgan does just that with his latest addition to the Kea Wright series, Meerkat Murders.

So, is the Meerkat Murders about a murderous band of meerkats? Well, yes and no. Yes, meerkats are murdered, but the real focus of the novel is not the murders of Suricata suricatta, but that of Homo sapiens. After the excitement that geologist Kea Wright experienced in the first book of the series, Cold Flood, she takes a trip to Botswana to visit an old friend, Tamaya, who is a biologist studying the meerkat population of the Kalahari Desert. It is not to long after Wright’s arrival that Tamaya’s husband is fatally bitten by a spider. The circumstances behind his death seemed rather suspicious which raised Wright’s sleuthing radar. It’s not long until another death takes place and Kea is now all gung-ho to find out who done it.

This is more like a cozy murder mystery than a thriller, though there is some action, it is not quite the constant action packed thrills you would expect in a good thriller. Overall this is an enjoyable read with one exception, Wright’s methodology of interrogation of potential perpetrators is rather accusatory without having any real proof, which makes for some rather cringe worthy moments.  Also, Corgan began his series with a geological slant to it and I thought that would continue, but in the Meerkat Murders there wasn’t really much geology at all. There is, however, some interesting information on the lives of the adorable meerkat and that alone makes it all worthwhile.

To learn more about the series check out the Kea Wright series.


Review of Iris Johansen’s Latest Novel, Dark Tribute

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Iris Johansen recently released book #24, Dark Tribute, to the Eve...

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Iris Johansen recently released book #24, Dark Tribute, to the Eve Duncan series.


As a fan of thrillers, most of the books that I read are rather intense; blood, gore, murder–the whole nine yards. But the Eve Duncan thriller series is my diversion from all of that. Oh yes, there may be blood, gore and even murder, but to be honest it is hard to take any of it too seriously. The reasoning is that the characters are just way over the top. Every character has their very ‘special’ talent, whether it be Seth Caleb with his vampire-like behaviors or Margaret Douglas’ ability to ‘talk’ to animals and, of course, the occasional spiritual visits from the Duncan’s murdered child, Bonnie.  These novels are the perfect beach read and after finishing one, I will put it down and think, “Well, that was fun”. That was until Dark Tribute came along.

Dark Tribute predominantly features Cara Delaney and Jock Gavin. As with all characters within this series Delaney and Gavin have their ‘special’ talents. Cara Delaney is the granddaughter of a ruthless mob boss and was taken on as a ward by Eve Duncan and family when one of Duncan’s forensic projects lead her to Delaney, who was trying to flee from an evil mother that wanted her dead.  Delaney’s special ability is that she is a violin prodigy which she seems to have inherited from her mob boss grandfather. Gavin, on the other hand, is an assassin-extraordinaire, who would very much like to surrender his ruthless past and just be a regular guy, but unfortunately he just can’t do it. Gavin met Delaney in Hide Away, when Delaney was still just a child and became good friends. In Dark Tribute, Delaney is all grown up and her longtime friendship with Gavin has turned into something more 😉 , but is interrupted when Delaney is kidnapped by a psychopathic serial killer that has a vendetta against Delaney’s loving mob boss granddad. This sounds like it could be a good setup for a thriller except that everyone, with one exception, wants to be the lone hero.

It seems that everyone wants to put an end to the psychopathic serial killer, even Eve Duncan’s 6-year-old son Michael, but with one caveat, each person wants to do it alone. Eve doesn’t want her husband Joe Quinn to be involved. Joe, Cara, and Jock don’t want Eve to be involved. Jock doesn’t want Cara to be involved and vice versa. Michael wants to be involved and has to run away from home to do it. This back and forth melodramatic heroism went on and on throughout the entire novel to the point I almost couldn’t finish it. The only one that seem to have a level head about the whole affair was Delaney’s mob boss grandfather. You know it is bad when you have to side with a mob boss. I have now chalked this one up to be the worst Eve Duncan novel in the series.

To learn more about the series check out the Eve Duncan series.


Latest Update On Newest Released And Soon To Be Released Thrillers-July 2019

Normally, I post my update on release dates for the newest additions to the series that I have reviewed at the beginning of the month, but Lyme Disease put a damper on that one. Sorry about that, but as the saying goes ‘better late than never’. Soon to be Released Iris Johansen – Smoke Screen...

Normally, I post my update on release dates for the newest additions to the series that I have reviewed at the beginning of the month, but Lyme Disease put a damper on that one. Sorry about that, but as the saying goes ‘better late than never’.

Soon to be Released

Iris Johansen – Smoke Screen

Expected Release Date 7/30/19

An Eve Duncan Novel

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan journeys to Africa to help families torn apart by a violent attack deep in the jungle–but she may be putting herself in more danger than she knows.

A journalist shows up on Eve Duncan’s doorstep with a plea for help. Jill Cassidy has just come from a small African village with a heart wrenching story: half the villagers–many of them children–have been killed in a horrific attack by guerilla soldiers, the bodies burned beyond recognition. Now, the families desperately need Eve’s help to get closure and begin to heal.

But when Eve arrives in the remote jungle, she begins to suspect that Jill’s plea may have been a cover story for a deeper, more sinister plot. Isolated and unsure who she can trust, Eve finds herself stranded in an unstable country where violence threatens to break out again at any moment and with only her own instincts to rely on if she hopes to get home to her family alive . . .


David Lagercrantz – The Girl Who Lived Twice

Expected Release Date 8/27/19

A Millenium Novel

“What will you do now?”
I shall be the hunter and not the hunted

The girl with the dragon tattoo is finally ready to confront her nemesis, the only woman who is evidently and in many ways her match. Salander will not wait to be hunted. When she strikes it will be a double blow: vengeance for recent atrocities, and the settling of lifelong scores.

For months now Salander has been closing in on her target. She has moved from Stockholm, her hair is newly styled, her piercings are gone. She could pass for any other businesswoman. But not all businesswomen have a Beretta Cheetah beneath their jacket. They do not wield the lethal power of a hacker’s genius. They do not carry scars and tattoos to remind them that they have survived the unsurvivable.

The new episode in David Lagercrantz’s acclaimed, internationally bestselling continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo series is a thrilling ride that scales the heights of Everest and plunges the depths of Russian troll factories. It begins with the discovery of Mikael Blomkvist’s number at Millennium magazine in the pocket of an unidentified homeless man who died with the name of a government minister on his lips.

Blomkvist, at extreme risk to himself, tracks down his old friend and will protect her as far as he can. But he is powerless to crush her enemies on his own.

And for Lisbeth Salander, the personal is always political – and deadly.


Casey Hill – Fallout

Expected Release Date 10/30/19

A Reilly Steel Novel


The Savage Deeps – Timothy Johnston

Expected Release Date 11/19/19

A Rise of Oceania Novel

War has come to the darkest depths of the deepest oceans.

Mayor Truman McClusky of Trieste City is at war with the world’s superpowers. Laying claim to the resources of the ocean and its floor is the only way to survive in a world where Global Warming and rising sea levels ravage the surface. But when a Trieste City spy ends up dead―his body beaten beyond recognition―Mac realizes that his city is in mortal danger. The occupying force in Trieste knows more about his plans for independence than he thought, and they will stop at nothing to control Trieste and her people.

Mac flees with a small team that includes scientist and newcomer to the underwater city, Dr. Manesh Lazlow. Together they head for a secret base in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where they plan to create new technologies to fight the superpowers for dominance over the oceans. But the French have picked up Mac’s scent and will stop at nothing to kill him. Mac must elude the French, protect his citizens against sabotage and spycraft, and discover the identity of a spy in his midst if he is going to save his city and compete with the superpowers. But he’s just a tiny player in the grand scheme of ocean politics. . . .

. . . unless he can get his new deep-sea engine working. With it he’ll be able to forge deeper than any other sub in the oceans. And if that happens, then all hell is about to break loose.

At six kilometers down.


Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child – Crooked River

Expected Release Date 3/5/20

A Pendergast Novel

Before he can return to New York from Miami, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is called to investigate something very strange that has happened on the west coast of Florida. Dozens of human feet, identically clad in blue have washed up on beaches. All exhibit unmistakeable signs of violence. Beyond that, nothing is known about the feet, except that they are fresh and haven’t been in the water long.

Pendergast reluctantly makes his way to the barrier islands off South Florida to investigate a case he believes to be outside his area of expertise and his interest. Once there, he finds the case both disturbing and intriguing, and is drawn into the mystery almost against his will. A preliminary pathology report indicates the feet were chopped, torn, or even wrenched from their bodies in the crudest of ways. Over the next few days, still more continue to wash in, until the number tops one hundred.

Soon the case begins to take a most surprising and complex turn, and Pendergast finds it necessary to call in Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon for a risky and very specific undercover assignment. And when, at last, the true origin of this awful gift from the sea becomes clear, the former partners are forced to confront an enemy, and a horror, more powerful and deadly than any they have faced before.


James Rollins – The Last Odyssey

Expected Release Date 3/10/20

A Sigma Force Novel

For eons, the city of Troy—whose legendary fall was detailed in Homer’s Iliad—was believed to be myth, until archaeologists in the nineteenth century uncovered its ancient walls buried beneath the sands. If Troy was real, how much of Homer’s twin tales of gods and monsters, curses and miracles—The Iliad and The Odyssey—could also be true and awaiting discovery?

In the frozen tundra of Greenland, a group of modern-day climatologists and archaeologists stumble on a shocking find: a medieval ship buried a half mile below the ice. The ship’s hold contains a collection of even older artifacts—tools of war—dating back to the Bronze Age. Inside the captain’s cabin is a magnificent treasure that is as priceless as it is miraculous: a clockwork gold atlas encircled by an intricate silver astrolabe. The mechanism is signed with the name of its creator, Ismail al-Jazari, a famous Muslim inventor considered to be the Da Vinci of the Arab world—a brilliant scientist who inspired Leonardo’s own work.

Once activated, the moving globe traces the path of Odysseus’ famous ship as it sailed away from Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal an underground river leading to a hidden realm underneath the Mediterranean Sea. The map indicates that this subterranean world is called Tartarus, the Greek name for Hell. In mythology, Tartarus was where the wicked were punished and the monstrous Titans of old, imprisoned.

When word of Tartarus spreads—and of the cache of miraculous weapons said to be hidden there—tensions explode in this volatile region where Turks battle Kurds, terrorists wage war, and civilians suffer untold horrors. The phantasmagoric horrors found in Homer’s tales are all too real—and could be unleashed upon the world. Whoever possesses them can use their awesome power to control the future of humanity.

Now, Sigma Force must go where humans fear to tread. To prevent a tyrant from igniting a global war, they must cross the very gates of Hell.


Kathy Reichs – A Conspiracy of Bones

Expected Release Date 3/17/20

A Temperance Brennan Novel

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?

With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…


Mary Lawrence – The Lost Boys of London

Expected Release Date 4/28/20

A Bianca Goddard Novel

In the twilight years of Henry VIII’s reign, alchemist’s daughter Bianca Goddard uses her skills to aid the living, and help seek justice for the dead . . .
 
While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London’s sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twisted around the child’s neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Fisk, the impish little son of Bianca’s acquaintance, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim . . .
 
There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, dark-stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. But the expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever . . .


Just Released

Danielle Girard – Expire

Released on 7/9/19

A Dr. Schwartzman Novel

San Francisco medical examiner Annabelle Schwartzman has spent eight years looking over her shoulder. Stalked by her vengeful ex-husband, Spencer, she’s always known they’d meet again. Has her nightmare come true? Abducted, blindfolded, yoked, and tethered, she’s being held prisoner in an isolated cabin in Idaho. But it’s the unknown that terrifies Annabelle now. Because the man’s voice in the dark, though eerily familiar, is not Spencer’s.

Annabelle’s partner and lover, Inspector Hal Harris, knows in his gut that Annabelle’s disappearance is tied to the past. Except Spencer is fifteen hundred miles away. To save Annabelle, Hal is tracking every move Spencer makes. But is it drawing him closer to finding Annabelle? Or is it luring him farther from her desperate cries for help?

As a cruel game of retribution begins, Annabelle must rely on her wits, her will to survive, and a plan of escape. But time is running out. And her captor’s three chilling words make her fear that the worst is yet to come: sweet dreams, Bella.


Eric Bernt’s – The Sound of Echoes

Released on 6/4/19

A Speed of Sound Novel

After going on the run—for what he knows and has created—autistic Eddie Parks is back in Harmony House, the think tank that has been his sanctuary for sixteen years. With his miraculous invention, an “echo box” that excavates sounds from the past, Eddie achieved the only thing he wanted: to hear his late mother sing. But where Eddie sees good, others see infamy. Because no conversation ever held will be a secret again.

For Bob Stenson, leader of the American Heritage Foundation, whoever controls the echo box controls the future. To seize the game-changing device, he has to get Eddie where he’s most vulnerable: by kidnapping Dr. Skylar Drummond, the only person in the world Eddie trusts.

But Stenson has underestimated his prey. Eddie has the power of echoes on his side. Now he must follow them—into the most dangerous places he’s ever ventured—to save Skylar and the country.


J. David Core – Testify

Released on 5/20/19

A Lupa Schwartz Novella

A legal loophole may free a killer, unless a motive can be established in the execution-style murder of a local councilman. 

Shot and left for dead in a ditch after an evening meeting, Councilman Ed Soigne was a devoted husband, father, and public servant. Having spearheaded an initiative to keep fracking outside of the borders of the town he loves, Soigne has made more than a few political enemies, but would any wish him dead? The DA thinks he has an airtight case against George Bond, a local farmer who stood to lose millions due to the ban; but that motive, and therefore that case seems to be slipping away. Now it’s up to Lupa Schwartz, the headstrong investigator the county has hired, to prove to the judge that the case holds water; but the PI seems unwilling to play by the court’s rules. 

Part legal thriller, part murder mystery, Testify is the first stand-alone novella-length story ever released in the Lupa Schwartz universe. If you enjoyed My Cousin Vinny and Runaway Jury, you’ll love this exciting genre-bender.


Eliot Peper – Breach

Released on 5/14/19

An Analog Novel

A hacker is drawn out of hiding and into an epic geopolitical showdown in the frighteningly plausible conclusion to Eliot Peper’s critically acclaimed Analog Series.

When you’ve betrayed your revolutionary cadre, an off-grid fight club on a remote tropical island is a good place to hide—or die.

For notorious ex-hacker Emily Kim, the outcome of each fight makes little difference. Black-market blood sport is the perfect self-imposed penance. But when she stumbles on a plot to overthrow the corporate empire that provides the ubiquitous global feed, Emily discovers her old friends have been targeted. Warning them will force her out into the open, back on-grid, and directly into danger. Emily can’t escape the past. But can she seize the future?

Emily’s quest for redemption spirals into an all-out shadow war. What constitutes justice in a world run by algorithms? The feed—and Emily—must be reinvented. Or destroyed.


R.J. Corgan – Meerkat Murders

Released on 5/12/19

A Kea Wright Novel

When an old colleague calls in a favor, Kea Wright travels into the Kalahari Desert and joins a team of scientists studying a colony of meerkats. Surrounded by these adorable creatures, Kea finds herself quickly seduced by the amenities of a well-funded research expedition: a luxurious lodge, state-of-the-art equipment, and daily baskets of fresh muffins.

In fact, it didn’t resemble any fieldwork she had ever done.

Until people started dying…


T.A. Ward – Victors of Liberty

Released on 5/3/19

A Children of Wrath Novel

In a world of Obcasus, no war is safe.

The United States has reached a level of darkness unmatched in years prior. When Bryan Powell issues a universal death penalty for all living Inexorables, costs mount to terrifying proportions for the cohort. War or surrender is inevitable. The only problem? The darkness is as much inside of A.K.’s own mind as it is in the outside world. Plagued by memories of the past and audible hallucinations, A.K. is as much a threat to the revolution as he is an ally. If the cohort wants any hope of survival, sacrifices must be made, lies must be told, and betrayals must be confronted head-on. Victors of Liberty is the final book in the Children of Wrath Trilogy.


Review of Danielle Girard’s Latest Novel, Expire

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Danielle Girard will soon release book #4, Expire, to the Dr....

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Danielle Girard will soon release book #4, Expire, to the Dr. Schwartzman series.


Danielle Girard’s previous book in the Dr. Schwartzman series, Expose, ended in an explosive cliff-hanger. So if you haven’t read Expose, stop right here and read it, because it is significant in getting a better appreciation of Expire. With that being said, the ending of Expose left us with the knowledge that medical examiner Annabelle Schwartzman has been kidnapped with the assumption that her psychopathic ex-husband, Spencer MacDonald, is the kidnapper. Schwartzman’s love interest, detective Hal Harris, assumes that as well, and is hell-bent on getting MacDonald to lead him to where he is hiding her. But MacDonald is a master of deceit and puts up roadblocks for every step that Harris takes.

The theme throughout the series has revolved around Schwartzman’s dysfunctional relationship with her abusive ex-husband, Spencer, and trying to convince everyone around her that Spencer is psychopathic and dangerous. It has been difficult for her, as Spencer is wealthy, outwardly charming, and has an outstanding reputation among those that know him. Even Schwartzman’s mother sees Spencer in a positive light and believes that her daughter is making mountains out of mole hills when it comes to dealing with her ex-husband. The one person that does believe her is homicide detective Hal Harris whose relationship with Schwartzman has been developing throughout the series and finally comes to fruition at the ending of Expose. Harris, who is very aware of Spencer’s dark side, knows that it was him that kidnapped Schwartzman. Or was it?

For the most part, I felt that Expire was predictable and moved rather slowly. Harris is desperately doing everything to find Schwartzman whereas Schwartzman is having to deal with her captivity. One of Schwartzman’s hurdles during her imprisonment is getting enough fresh water that is not drugged. The first couple of chapters that dealt with this predicament was interesting but by the third and fourth chapter with her trying come up with new methods to get fresh water got really old. Worrying about Schwartzman getting dehydrated didn’t quite have that ‘on the edge of your seat’ thrill to it. Even though Expire did move at glacial speeds it did have an exciting ending which makes it a worthwhile read especially for those that have been following the series.

I would like to thank NetGalley for my copy of Expire.

To learn more about the series check out the The Dr. Schwartzman series.


Review of Alberto Hazan’s Dr. Vigilante Series

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. —Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University The above line is from the modern day version...

Alberto Hazan

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. —Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University

The above line is from the modern day version of the Hippocratic Oath which can be summarized as ‘do no harm’. Alberto Hazan’s lead character in his Dr. Vigilante series must have mumbled this line when he took the oath because after working at his job at St. Jude’s Hospital helping the sick, he is combing the streets of New York City to give a tough lesson to the sexual predators that inhabit the Big Apple. Read More


Thriller Release Alert!-The Sound of Echoes

You have probably have heard of the phrase ‘if these walls could talk’ when referring to a place where something dramatic or historical has occurred. Well in Eric Bernt’s The Speed of Sound series the walls actually do talk. Eddie Parks, an autistic savant, has created a device known as an echo box which can...

You have probably have heard of the phrase ‘if these walls could talk’ when referring to a place where something dramatic or historical has occurred. Well in Eric Bernt’s The Speed of Sound series the walls actually do talk. Eddie Parks, an autistic savant, has created a device known as an echo box which can recreate any past conversations that have been spoken in any room. Needless to say, there are folks out there that would love to get their hands on the echo box, even if it means murder. Bernt releases today the second and last addition to the series, The Sound of Echoes.

After going on the run—for what he knows and has created—autistic Eddie Parks is back in Harmony House, the think tank that has been his sanctuary for sixteen years. With his miraculous invention, an “echo box” that excavates sounds from the past, Eddie achieved the only thing he wanted: to hear his late mother sing. But where Eddie sees good, others see infamy. Because no conversation ever held will be a secret again.

Eric Bernt

For Bob Stenson, leader of the American Heritage Foundation, whoever controls the echo box controls the future. To seize the game-changing device, he has to get Eddie where he’s most vulnerable: by kidnapping Dr. Skylar Drummond, the only person in the world Eddie trusts.

But Stenson has underestimated his prey. Eddie has the power of echoes on his side. Now he must follow them—into the most dangerous places he’s ever ventured—to save Skylar and the country.

Available in hardback, paperback, e-book, and audio.


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