Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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The Shadow Protocol

The Shadow Protocol

If you were to take any of the “American spy working at the tip of the spear against a major terrorist threat”, and there are a lot of those books in the market, and add some kind of mental transference sci-fi angel, you get The Shadow Protocol.  It does add an interesting twist to the genre but not much additional substance. The book jacket compares this to Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series and there are definite parallels, although the character and the writing are both less interesting then what you find in Ludlum’s original books.   The actual writing of the book, the dialogue, characterizations, etc. are all pretty much on par with the average of this genre so that isn’t a big knock on McDermott’s work.  Ludlum does stand as the gold standard of the spy thriller genre so it isn’t fair to hold McDermott to that level. The added tech/sci-fi… Read more »

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Bad Guys

Bad Guys

Bad Guys is an old-school detective thriller featuring an odd couple like paring of FBI agents out to stop a secret mafia family.  While the book doesn’t give us anything we haven’t seen before at least what it does it does competently. A rouge agent out for justice and his partner trying to bring him back from the brink is about as cookie cutter as you can get.  And while both characters are like a how-to instruction for making cops in a thriller novel they are also both very likeable.  The loyalty Gibbons and Tozzi show each other is endearing and the interplay between them is usually pretty entertaining. The plot itself moves forward at a brisk pace as it checks off the cop vs. mafia checklist.  Plot twists layered on top of each other.  Check.  Tons of New Jersey jokes and references.  Check.  Low-life crooks.  Check.   Once again however,… Read more »

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Snowblind

Snowblind

Strange occurrences surround the return of a blizzard where years before many residents went missing.  On first examination Snowblind dredges up thoughts of ghost stories told around a campfire.  It however really isn’t that, at least not completely. For this kind of supernatural suspense book Snowblind is a lot more subdued and restrained then you find in most other mainstream books of the genre.  Sure there are scares and surprises but it tries to play with your mind more than hack and slash its way to horror.  It is more Stir of Echoes than it is Nightmare on Elm Street.  Because of this the pacing is a lot slower the some will be used to.  Not to say it is overly slow as this is the type of pacing you need to make a story like this work.  However this also causes the middle of the book to really drag. … Read more »

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Two for the Dough

Two for the Dough

Two for the Dough is another installment in the Stephanie Plumb series continues the mix of mystery and humor tinged with hints of Evanovich’s history of writing romance novels.  Don’t get me wrong, while this does have the undertones of a romance novel it is not that.  The sense of humor in the book along with a half-way decent mystery really elevates out of the chic lit arena into a fun read for everyone. The best thing about this book continues to be the characters.  All of the cast of supporting players are back and you can’t help but love all of them.  Plumb herself is incredibly endearing and the way the book revels in her complete ineptitude as a bounty hunter really wins the reader over.  You really want her to succeed. The mystery plot line in this is not quite as good as the first book.  While chasing… Read more »

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Easy Prey

Easy Prey

What starts off as a dicey crime scene and a dead supermodel becomes more confusing when the cops find a second body stuffed in a closed.  Drugs, artists, angry families and socialites make Easy Prey one of the more confusing of the prey series, but in a good way. While the last several installments of the prey series have been more action/thriller based this book swings the plot back towards the mystery side of the street.  While previously we have known exactly who the bad guy was in Easy Prey, Sandford keeps that information not only hidden but completely obfuscated with a truck load of red herrings.  Honestly I am torn between the two styles this series seems to jump between and each has their merits.  I will say it took me longer to really get pulled into this book then it has with his previous work.  I am not… Read more »

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One Rough Man

One Rough Man

A former black ops commando working for a secret taskforce struggling through a personal tragedy stumbles upon a major attack just days away from happening.  This is the first book in the Pike Logan series following a group known as the Taskforce as they try and stop terrorist attacks from before they happen. I am a fan of the military thriller genre, especially one that focuses on tactical fights and the “man on the ground”, so this book really worked for me.  To be clear this will never win any awards for being high art but it does succeed at being fun and captivating. The main character is fairly run of the mill for this type of book.  On the edge, a little bit angry, bucking the system and highly capable, pretty much what you always get in a military thriller.  The addition of Jennifer however manages to push On… Read more »

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The Fools Run

The Fools Run

In The Fools Run Kidd, the artist, computer expert and sometimes criminal, is hired to retrieve stolen technology and destroy the defense contractor responsible for the theft.   With a thief named LuEllen backing him up Kidd finds that there is much more at play then simple industrial espionage. This book involves computers and was written very early in the digital age, something that might bother a lot of people reading this book years after it was written.  While it doesn’t bug me I can see how the dated technology could throw some readers.  It is important to note that the computers in the book are a plot point and not the real focus of the book.  Like Sanford’s other work The Fools Run is more about Kidd’s ability to think his way around situations. This book really gives you what readers of other Sandford titles have come to expect; an… Read more »

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Never Go Back

Never Go Back

Review by Reynold Starnes Never Go Back is the eighteenth and latest Lee Child thriller featuring Jack Reacher.  For those new to the series, Reacher is a drifter who, often without intending to, finds himself against very bad people, which never ends well for the bad guys.  He is an ex-Army MP who is six feet, five inches tall and weighs around two-fifty.  He is an accomplished investigator, expert marksman, trained in hand-to-hand combat, and very smart. In Never Go Back, Reacher heads to the special MP unit he used to lead to see the new commander, a woman, whose voice he liked when he spoke to her on the phone.  When he gets to the post, he becomes involved in a conspiracy she has inadvertently touched. Like the other Reacher novels, this is a good read.  It isn’t a favorite, but it isn’t the least favorite either.  Middle of… Read more »

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