August 29, 2012

Review: Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf

One afternoon Arthur Carhcart comes home to find his wife held at gunpoint by an unknown man that forces his wife to provide him with answers to five questions. Once he receives the answers both Arthur and his wife are shot and left for dead. Arthur's wife is killed instantly and although Arthur was shot in the head he lives.

Now Arthur is intent on finding out who killed his wife and why so he convinces the detective on the case to allow him to pretend he was killed and goes on the hunt.

Dead Anyway has a really great premise but unfortunately for me the story line was just too unbelievable. Arthur is a mild mannered market researcher who is dealing with limited functionality from being shot in the head and once he goes on the hunt for the killer he becomes some bad ass that hunts down killers for hire.

It seems like every time there's an obstruction he easily overcomes it even though he can barely handle elementary math. Need money? Purchase a super expensive vintage guitar collection to sell off one by one for money. Need a disguise? Become an expert in costume make-up. Need a way to get someone to talk? Expertly build a diabolical cage with the equipment conveniently available to him. Need a bit of help ? Easily get someone you've just met to abandon her life and become your partner-in-crime. Overall it was just to unrealistic for my tastes and even though there is a good enough cliff hanger to intrigue me I won't be reading the next book in the series.

August 9, 2012

Review: Sex, Murder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis


When a mystery writer cries bloody murder, everyone blames her overactive imagination . . .

Thriller scribe Sophie Katz is as hard-boiled as a woman who drinks Grande Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos can be. So Sophie knows it's not paranoia or post-divorce, living-alone-again jitters, when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to reenact scenes from her books. The police, however, can't tell a good plot from an unmarked grave.

When a filmmaker friend is brutally murdered in the manner of a death scene in one of his movies, Sophie becomes convinced that a copycat killer is on the loose -- and that she's the next target. If she doesn't solve the mystery, her own bestseller will spell out her doom. Cursing her grisly imagination (why, oh, why did she have to pick the ax?), Sophie engages in some real-life gumshoe tactics. The man who swoops in to save her in dark alleys is mysterious new love interest Anatoly Darinsky. Of course, if this were fiction, Anatoly would be her prime suspect . . .

My Thoughts:
Sex, Murder and a Double Latte was my book club's August pick but it has been on my to-read list for a while now. I assumed the book was going to be somewhere along the lines of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series but I was a little disappointed. Sophie and her numerous friends have the potential to be hilarious but the writing just never gets to that level.

There was a huge build up to make you think one person is the murderer but you can see from a mile away that Sophie is wrong and it just seemed forced that she kept on with that line of thinking.

Overall I did enjoy the story and characters but I just wish there was a little more humor. I'm still going to give book two, Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights, a try and hope Davis works out the kinks.


I recommend this one as a library read for anyone who likes light, cozy-like mysteries.

August 8, 2012

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.

Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

My Thoughts:

The premise of Gone Girl is somewhat of a "ripped from the headlines" tale. I can easily picture one or two famous husbands in recent years that Nick could have been modeled after. That in itself makes the story believable.

Between Nick's narration and Amy's diary you learn that the marriage wasn't as perfect as it looked to the outside world but then things are shaken up and you're led down a completely different path that I didn't see coming at all. I was on a roller coaster ride thinking one minute that Nick killed Amy and thinking the next minute that she is either still alive or someone else killed her. Flynn is a master at zig zagging through the story while keeping the reader guessing the whole time.

The only reason my review is not 5 stars was the ending. Considering how masterfully crafted the rest of the story is I was severely disappointed by the way the book ended. It's almost as if a different author finished out the last chapter.

My Recommendation:

I recommend this one for anyone who loves the perfect whodunit.

August 5, 2012

Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep

I used to murder people for money, but lately it’s become more of a survival technique.
Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town anyway. Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back, she thinks he’s hers for the taking. Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.
My Thoughts:
After book six in the Elemental Assassins series, By a Thread, I started to wonder where the series would go now that Gin's nemeis, Mab Monroe, was dead but wonder no more. Estep just shook things up in a surprising way. Once again Gin is kicking ass and taking names but this time we learn that the bad guy isn't always what he seems and Gin makes a new friend however that tenuous friendship causes all sorts of trouble for Gin and someone close to her.
If you've been reading my reviews for any amount of time you might already know that Estep is one of my all time favorite authors. She's published in 3 different genres and I've read all her books and short stories and absolutely love her characters and story lines. With that being said there have been a couple of books that didn't meet my expectation and I even almost gave up on her Mythos Academy YA series but her writing is just so great that she always comes back with another awesome book that brings me back into the fanatic realm. I recommend everything Estep writes and highly recommend this series starting at book one, Spider's Bite, so you don't miss a juicy bloody detail.