Category Archives: thriller

The Searcher, by Simon Toyne

searcher

The Searcher, by Simon Toyne

A plane crashes near the town of Redemption, in the Arizona desert, and out of the smoke walks a bare-footed albino without any memory of who he is. The only clue to his identity is a label in the back of his jacket giving the name of Solomon Creed. His only possession is a memoir of Redemption’s town founder, Jack Cassidy. Uninjured from the crash, Solomon is filled with a sense of urgency to save James Coronado; a man he finds out is already dead. Undeterred, Solomon turns his attention to Coronado’s widow Holly, whose home has been burglarized. The plane crash, it seems, has started a whirlwind of events that come together to form a firestorm, one that soon centers on Solomon and Holly. The past and present tie together as Solomon comes to understand how Jack Cassidy’s life from the past ties in with James Coronado’s in the present. The tensions mount as Solomon faces a final battle for Holly’s life, and for the life of the town.

“The Searcher” is the first book of a new series, and Solomon Creed is a fascinating character. He is an unknown, but clearly he has abilities beyond those of mortal men. He is smart, and filled with almost endless knowledge. He has heightened senses, and seems to know how future events may play out. The story is a straight-up mystery/thriller, but hint of the supernatural adds a nice bit of spice. Very enjoyable, and I will definitely read the second book in this series.

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The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon

Most of us have lost loved ones, and we have grieved the loss. Some people carry the weight of their grief far longer than they should, and a very few let their grief consume them. Sara Harrison Shea is such a person. When her eight-year-old daughter, Gertie, is found dead at the bottom of a well, Sara is overwhelmed by her grief. But for Sara, Gertie’s death may not mean an end; for Sara may know of a way they can still be together. Yet, what is the cost of Sara’s knowledge, and how far will other people go to get it?

“The Winter People” is a ghost story set in West Hall, Vermont, a quiet little town whose quaint appearance hides dark secrets, all of them centered on a local landmark called the Devil’s Hand. Sara Harrison Shea, from the past, is the keeper of the secrets, and she passes them on in her diary to those in present day. Ruthie and Katherine both learn Sara’s secrets, and together they learn a bitter truth: knowledge of dark secrets demands payment, and the payment may change more than just you own life.

Jennifer McMahon is a master storyteller and she deftly drew me into her story. The story is compelling, and I literally couldn’t stop reading it. Creepy, and thought provoking, this is a book that maybe you don’t want to read in the dark.

The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Doubleday
Published: Feb. 11, 2014
ISBN: 9780385538497

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Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

If you’re a Gold, you rule. If you’re a Pink, you love. If you’re a Yellow, you heal. If you’re Red, you labor. Darrow is a Red, living underneath the surface of Mars with the rest of his people, toiling to mine helium-3 from the depths so that one day, Mars might become habitable. Under the surface of Mars, Life is brutal, and death comes early. Yet, the Reds toil on, because without their vital work, Mars remains a lifeless place, uninhabitable for future generations. Darrow, a Helldiver who operates one of the giant drilling machines, is content with his life. He excels at his job, he loves his clan, and he adores his wife. Then, one day, his wife is killed, ordered hanged by command of a Gold. It is then that Darrow learns a terrible truth: Mars is already habitable, home to a thousand cities. The Reds are little more than slaves. To save his people from eternal servitude, Darrow must become a Gold and find a way to bring their rule to an end.

Red Rising is going to be compared to the Hunger Games. I haven’t read the Hunger Games, so I can’t say if the comparison is fair. For me, this book was closer in tone and style to “Blood Song,” by Anthony Ryan, a book I highly recommend.  Red Rising is a commentary on society, sure, with its class structure determined by color. But it’s more than social commentary; it’s also a battle book, where strategy, loyalties, strength, and skills all play a role. Add in an excellent writing style, fast-paced action, and a wealth of strong characters, and you have a heck of a book.

First of a trilogy, the second and third books cannot come out too soon. I am eager to read how Darrow, a Red in disguise, continues to rise among the unsuspecting Golds. Will he be able to remain a Red at heart, or will he have to become something more?

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Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey

Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey

Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey

Nick Cooper is a special government agent who tracks down terrorists, and when the story opens, he is hot on the trail of a very talented computer hacker. Sounds like it could be the opening of almost any thriller available today, right? Wrong. The computer hacker is a Brilliant…a person gifted with extraordinary talents well beyond those of normal humans. What is a Brilliant? Think the powers of an Idiot Savant–the ability to compute the value of Pi out to 1000 decimal places without effort–but without any of the other mental handicaps. And for some reason (maybe the emergence of Big Hair and rock bands), Brilliants begin to be born in the 1980’s; their arrival means a great change in the world. How do you deal with a man who can make $300 billion in the stock market as easily as the rest of us add two plus two? How can you fight against people who can out-think, out-plan, and out-maneuver you without even trying? Can society as we know it survive? The answer to this is complex and thought provoking. Is this a literary social commentary? No, this story is the X-Men, without the spandex, crossed with a Tom Clancy political thriller.

Nick Cooper is a Brilliant himself; he can tell, from minute physical “tells,” what a person is going to do next; run, dodge, kick or punch. The longer he watches someone, he can also get a good sense who they are; liar, thief, assassin, murderer. He is very good at what he does. Yet, for all his talent, he is soon to find out that he is simply a pawn on a chessboard; who the players are is the real question. When a terrorist strikes and the New York Stock Exchange is destroyed, hundreds are killed. In an attempt to finally catch the man responsible, Nick will go deep undercover. It is then, he meets Shannon–the girl who can walk through walls–and through Shannon, Nick begins to understand how deep the rabbit hole goes.

This story is a page-tuner–fast paced, with compelling characters. The first of a trilogy, I look forward to the next book.

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King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are ex-Secret Service agents, now turned private eyes. The story begins with a chance meeting with a teenaged boy, running through the streets. The pair follow, as Michelle wants to make sure the boy isn’t in any trouble. Turns out, the boy, Tyler Wingo, has just learned that his father, an Army Special Forces officer, has been killed in Afghanistan. Something about the details of the Sam Wingo’s death seem off to King and Maxwell, and when Tyler gets an email from his dad, sent after he “died,” the young man asks the duo to investigate. What starts out to be a simple investigation turns into something much more when they draw the attention of some powerful government agencies that have deemed Sam Wingo to be a traitor. With the help of Edgar, their friendly computer whiz, and Dana, Sean King’s ex-wife, King and Maxwell embark on a mission to clear Sam Wingo’s name, uncover the true traitor, and keep everyone alive while doing so.

This is my first David Baldacci book, and so this is my first exposure to King and Maxwell. It is the sixth book in the King and Maxwell series, but you can read this as a stand-alone title. I enjoyed the book, as I enjoyed the relationship between the two detectives as well as the fast-paced action of the story. Baldacci’s writing is confident, and he deftly weaves the various political plot threads together in a way they all make sense. The one thing I found lacking was the motivation of the villain…I had trouble believing that this person could hold such a serious grudge for so long. I suspended my disbelief, in this case, as the rest of the story was well-told. I do think I’m going to have to read the previous book in the series, as I would love to read Edgar’s back story; he seemed a fascinating character.

 

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