Bites

Published: August 1, 1997
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

On an overcast night in Washington D.C. a group of highly trained killers embark on a mission of shattering brutality. A shocked country awakens to the devastating news that three of their most powerful and unscrupulous politicians have been brutally murdered. In the political firestorm and media frenzy that follow, the assassins release their demands: either the country’s leaders set aside their petty, partisan politics and restore power to the people, or be held to deadly account. TERM LIMITS is a tour de force of authenticity and suspense, an utterly compelling vision in which the ultimate democratic ideal – a government of the people – is taken to a devastating extreme. (goodreads.com)

This was a freebie through BookShout and a few people whose opinions I trust really like Vince Flynn so I figured why not. TERM LIMITS is his first book and it’s not a Mitch Rapp book. If I’m not mistaken this is the title that Flynn self-published that basically rocketed him to author stardom.

Initially I was a little skeptical. It started out with the killings which is, of course, exciting and edge of your seat type of stuff. But that quickly flashed to budget conversations among the president and his people and it had me going uhhhh. But between the writing style (that was a little mediocre and over-telling at times, but largely engaging) and the shitbaggy characters I didn’t have a problem staying with it.

Luckily it didn’t take much more than that before the action really started and even more people started dying and I couldn’t stop flipping through the pages. I think what really did it for me, though, was how relevant the story is. Like eerily relevant. This is a twenty year old book. Yet considering what’s in office and the current political climate I couldn’t help but make the connections. Sometimes elements were so relevant they gave me goosebumps. I’d love to @ the president with my review, but considering the number of dead people and the blackmailing and everything that happened with the plot I don’t want to have the secret service knocking on my door because of some implied threat. Besides, it’s not like Trump reads anything other than tweets and the scrolling marquee on Fox anyway.

I did like how a lot of the intrigue and the tension wasn’t action-packed. Yes, there were a few deaths and toward the end there were certainly moments. But the majority of the book was focused on the dynamics of individuals, the mounting tension between people, and the secrets everyone was keeping from each other. Definitely a political thriller. And probably my first. The thrillers I read are usually more action-based, but the way Flynn writes certainly makes all of this intriguing.

As for his writing I did say it was mediocre at times. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s almost like Flynn has trouble trying to describe something or transition a character so he resorted to very basic writing, outlining in the most basic way what was going on. It would be like “this character moved over here. he picked up x. he walked back over to the other person.” Almost stilted, but just rather . . . stereo instructions. Not all the time. But when a moment got slow is when I noticed this. Granted I’d prefer this to flowery prose considering the source, but it’s description that the reader didn’t need. Lighting cigarettes and all of that.

Overall I liked TERM LIMITS. Definitely enough to dive into the actual Mitch Rapp series. There was a snippet from one of the post-humous titles at the end of this book and there are a couple of characters who were introduced here who have stayed on for the long haul. I’d like to see how they all grew up. Now I can add political thriller to my repertoire.

4

To quote myself:

Gardner really capitalizes on blending the realistic with the astronomical with the gruesome and the compelling and weaves it all together into a story that sucks you in and doesn’t spit you back out until the very end.

You can read the rest of my review here.

FIND HER’s protagonist, Flora Dane, is a survivor. After being kidnapped and held by her captor for over a year, anyone would say that her matriculation back into a “normal” life was an all-around success. But normal isn’t exactly how Flora feels. When a college student–who reminds her far too much of herself–goes missing in a strikingly familiar fashion, Flora knows that she must do something to help, despite that fact that it could mean putting herself in danger. Flora is the only one who knows what a captor like that is capable of, even after all these years.

The search to find the kidnapper at large and unravel Flora’s past twists together in a compelling dual-narrative. Gardner dives into the dark underbelly of Boston’s nightlife while also casting light onto one of the lesser-known branches of the FBI, Victim Specialists.

FIND HER in its trade paperback format will be the beach bag accessory of the summer. It’s a perfect introduction to Lisa Gardner for new readers and an exciting addition for dedicated fans.

April 18, 2017

Published: December 18, 2007
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

With his hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man struggles to remain upright as he’s dragged along a deserted stretch of San Juan Road in Phoenix’s South Mountain Preserve. It’s the perfect place to drive a man to his grave — literally. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance from the remains, a killer begins crisscrossing the Southwest on a spree of grisly murders.A hundred miles away, Ali Reynolds is grieving. The newscasting job she once delighted in is gone and so is the philandering husband she loved and thought she knew. When a member of the family who gave Ali a generous scholarship for her education decades earlier suddenly asks her for a meeting, Ali wonders what it can mean. Before she can satisfy her curiosity, though, Ali receives another startling call: a friend’s teenage daughter has disappeared. Ali offers to help, but in doing so, she unknowingly begins a quest that will reveal a deadly ring of secrets, at the center of which stand two undiscriminating killers…. (goodreads.com)

I liked how it was set where I live. I guess she does that fairly often because Jance lives down in Tucson. But I like being able to really picture where everything is because I’ve actually been there. What I didn’t like was that it felt like there wasn’t enough to really support the main plot so there were all these subplots fracturing out from the main plot that I felt were just distracting.

So you have the dragged dead person plot, the missing girl plot, the pedophilia plot, the rest stop beatings plot, the MC adjusting to her new life plot, the MC meeting her son’s girlfriend plot, and MC taking care of said missing girl plot. There’s just a lot going on here and a lot of it not necessarily connected to each other. There were effectively two separate books in this one title and I felt like they were smashed together because their stories are decent, but there just wasn’t enough for them to stand alone.

On top of all of that there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on. A lot of sitting in a house, writing blog posts, sitting in a hospital waiting room, driving around, meeting people at their houses. It was just stagnant for most of the time. The characters were compelling enough. I didn’t not like any of them. Each individual story in here was interesting and I found myself following it all along. But there wasn’t nearly enough action to balance out all the mundane storytelling going on in order to get the characters from point A to point B. HAND OF EVIL didn’t hold me like a Lisa Gardner novel regularly does.

It was kind of difficult for it to hold my attention because it kept flopping around to a bunch of different plots. If the book had a little more focused maybe I would have liked it better. Again, neat that I could actually picture where the characters were because I live around here. And there’s some good storytelling here. But the plotlines fractured too much, there was too much going on, and not enough actual action to sustain it. I was never bored by the book; I just couldn’t really connect with it at all. I felt like I was reading interconnected short stories as opposed to one cohesive novel.

I’m not about to write Jance off entirely. I’m pretty sure I have more of her books in my pile. But if this is regular plotting for her then I’m not going to be on the train much longer. I can handle a couple subplots, and fully expect them in any book I read. But HAND OF EVIL just felt aimless.

3

February 7, 2017

Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Angry Robot
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Miriam is trying. Really, she is.

But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.

It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear. (goodreads.com)

Ugh. I love Chuck’s writing. Like seriously. It’s so gritty and raw and sometimes it just scrapes my eye drums the wrong way yet I can’t help but love it. Plus he has a really spectacular way of spitting out insults that really just tickles me down in my cockles. Like this gem:

He said peen.

The Miriam Black books are laced with these kinds of genius word orgies and I can’t get enough of them.

MOCKINGBIRD, book two in the Miriam Black series, was everything I expected with a little bit of meth dusted on there for good measure. Also, I didn’t think smoking meth out of a light bulb was actually a thing. Knowledge is power.

I did find myself, as times, thinking Miriam to be a bit too much to handle as a reader. She’s rather huge on self-sabotage for the sake of self-sabotage and it felt a hint plot-serving at times, but it wasn’t enough to throw me out of the story. Miriam’s a tough character. Sometimes she’s downright unappealing and I kind of revel when she takes a boot to the head. But most of the time you see how damaged she is and how she’s doing the best she can (most of the time) with the hand she’s been dealt.

As for the plot, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster and at times I did feel like I was going to vomit. That would have been unappealing at work. It just got a little graphic in places. Nothing I couldn’t handle. There was one point where it seemed like the story was wrapping up, but I still had a good chunk of pages to get through and I’m like HUH? And then it kept going. Like I was on a rollercoaster in a black tunnel and couldn’t see the drop coming. My stomach’s still at the top of the hill.

Reading MOCKINGBIRD it makes me wonder where the story’s going to go next in THE CORMORANT. Because MOCKINGBIRD went in a hell of a weird direction and it was a little disorienting, but totally thrilling. And inappropriately hilarious (PEENS). It makes me itchy to keep reading in the series.

So if you’re looking for a super gritty yet incredibly witty story about a completely grungy woman that shits on herself more than life does, who drinks and smokes too much and treats the people who care about her pretty crappily but feels really bad about it, be sure to read MOCKINGBIRD. I mean start with BLACKBIRDS first because you can’t start in the middle of a series (I don’t care what anyone else says) and then read MOCKINGBIRD for more Miriam goodness. And Wendig wittiness.

4.5

January 10, 2017

Published: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Dutton
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

A young woman is found strangled in the stairwell of a college library, only her sneakers missing. With no physical evidence, no signs of sexual assault, and no witnesses, all the police have to go on are the three men who were in the library with her: her boyfriend and two campus security guards . . . all of whom have secrets, none of whom can be proven guilty.

Five years later, ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife, former police officer Rainie Conner, agree to consult on the still-unsolved case, delving into deep background to comb for any clue that will lead to the woman’s murderer. But with no leads and the case colder than the body, will they be able to build a case against one of the three suspects, or is there a fourth man out there? And if the killer has eluded the police this long, how far will he go to ensure justice is never served? (goodreads)

This is a super short story that gives you a peek into the Quincy and Rainie series of books Gardner has out and I have to say, I liked it. So far I’ve only read the DD Warren books and while they’re all interconnected in some way, this series focuses on two different characters in Gardner’s work and they were just as intriguing.

The story focuses on the interrogation of suspects in a cold case and that’s all you get, but I was still riveted by the story. Through her characters Gardner paints incredible scenes. I saw everything playing out as the characters talked and they never left the interrogation rooms. They picked apart stories and the characters leapt onto evidence previously overlooked and word after word it was just hook after hook.

Gardner’s storytelling is evident even in these few short pages and now I have yet more books to add to my reading list. Hooray!

4.5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.