Posted in Blake Crouch, book reviews, books

EERIE

EerieEerie by Blake Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really thrilled to get this book. I am a huge Blake Crouch fan and I was looking forward to this first collaboration with his brother, Jordan Crouch. They certainly didn’t disappoint me. I started reading this book late one night and couldn’t put it down.

From the first chapter, I was captured by the story that started unfolding. At first, it seems like a conventional thriller. A car accident. A brother and sister left orphans. A promise to a sister from her brother to “always take care” of her. Jump to the present, 31 years after the accident. The brother, Grant, is now a detective with the local police department and locates his estranged sister, Paige, by happenstance through a police investigation lead he follows up on. Grant discovers she is now a high priced prostitute for wealthy business men. Grant arranges to meet her posing as a new client. Paige is taken completely by surprise as she opens her front door to find her brother standing on the threshold. She attempts to close the door and shut him out without success. And this is where the conventional part of this thriller ends, as Grant discovers there is something unnatural going on in Paige’s bedroom. Something is under her bed…

Do you remember the stories you heard as a child about the monster under your bed? Or the Boogeyman? Well, this story did an outstanding job in transporting me back to that childhood. I was truly unnerved and I admit maybe just a little bit afraid to look under my bed. The progression of this story drew me in page after page with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to reach the end to see what monster lay in wait under Paige’s bed.

I really did enjoy this book. A lot. Not a typical horror/thriller/gory type story. But I found it creepy and, well, eerie. That was until I got to the end. The end wasn’t bad. But it was definitely not what I was expecting and I was a tad bit disappointed. I won’t say anymore then that so I don’t spoil it for anyone.

Overall, I feel this book is definitely worth reading. The ending will appeal to some and for others, like me, it may not. If you haven’t read any of Blake Crouch’s books, you really should. He is a fabulous writer and story teller.

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Posted in book reviews, books, Robert Gregory Browne

TRIAL JUNKIES

Trial JunkiesTrial Junkies by Robert Gregory Browne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What draws a person to pick up a particular book? Is it an eye catching or intriguing cover? Is it a famous author’s name that everyone knows? Or is it the opening line or chapter of a book? An unusual cover will usually cause me to stop & pick a book up or perhaps the brief synopsis of the story might cause me to stop & ponder if it’s something I want to read. But truth be told, the first few lines of a book will “make it or break it” for me. If I can’t be hooked from the beginning, I know I usually won’t make it past the first couple of chapters.

I can honestly say when I read the first couple paragraphs of TRIAL JUNKIES, my interest was piqued.

“They found her body in Dearborn Park. She had been left to die in a vacant lot on Clark Street, lying in a pool of her own blood, multiple stab wounds to her chest and abdomen, her face slashed, her throat slit ear to ear.”

How could you not be just a little bit curious after that opening paragraph?

The main character, Hutch, is a washed up actor who discovers his college girlfriend has been murdered. He returns home to Chicago after a 10 year absence for her funeral & reunites with his old college friends. While there, the police finally arrest a suspect, who just happens to be one of Hutch’s friends. And this is where things get interesting. As facts are introduced & evidence revealed, it looks like it’s a slam dunk for the prosecution. Or is it?

I read this book in two days, although I would have finished it in one day if I had had the time. I was totally captured by the story & just had to see what happened. Mr. Browne has woven just enough mystery & intrigue to tease you into saying “Just one more page. Just one more chapter.”. And then there was the ending. An ending that I certainly did NOT see coming.

I cannot wait to see where Mr. Browne takes us in the next installment of TRIAL JUNKIES. If you haven’t read any of Mr. Browne’s books, you should try this one. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t!

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Posted in book reviews, books, Brett Battles, favorite authors

THE DESTROYED (Jonathan Quinn #5)

The Destroyed (Jonathan Quinn, #5)The Destroyed by Brett Battles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As an immense Brett Battles fan (and shameless advocate), I am always looking forward to Brett’s next book. Whether it’s the next Quinn installment or something new to try, I can always rely on a good read from Brett. The Destroyed is no different.

In the fifth installment, we find an entirely different Jonathan Quinn. Not the cleaner extraordinaire that we’re used to but a man who has taken a sabbatical from his job as a cleaner, attempting to re-discover himself in Thailand after his last job; after his mother & sister are put in danger. After he realizes that the steps he took to protect his family and keep his true profession a secret were not enough. At the same time, we discover that Nate is no longer an apprentice, but a full-fledged cleaner, having taken over for Quinn while he is in Thailand. But that is not the crux of the story…

In the opening chapter, it’s discovered that someone who Quinn “cleaned” has somehow come back to life, raising several questions about a job that was supposed to have been ordinary. Quinn is forced from the peaceful routine he has found back into his profession. With aid from Nate, Orlando, and a new character (who I really love), Quinn is forced to rectify a problem that should not have resurfaced.

I enjoyed this book immensely and the plot was easy to follow, even though it switches back and forth between the present and the past. Sometimes that transition throughout a book can be confusing. It was also pleasant to see Nate’s character go from apprentice to cleaner.

If you have read the previous Quinn books, this one will not disappoint you. It’s filled with the same action & drama as the other Quinn books, but I think Brett’s writing has matured and you can see that in this story. If you haven’t read any of the previous Quinn books, well, you should, even if you read them after this one.

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Posted in book reviews, books, Brett Battles, favorite authors

NO RETURN

No ReturnNo Return by Brett Battles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In between writing shorts stories & the next book in his Quinn series, Brett Battles has found time to write, yet, another standalone novel, NO RETURN. NO RETURN is a thriller with a mystery wrapped up in it. As a prodigious fan of Brett’s, I always look forward to his books & what new stories he has to offer.

This story takes place in Brett’s hometown of Ridgecrest, CA. Our main character, Wes Stewart, who also happens to be from Ridgecrest, returns after 15+ years while part of a filming crew who is shooting an episode for a TV series. While filming a segment near China Lake, they are witness to a Navy F-18 plane crash, which they are also able to catch on film. Wes races to the scene of the crash hoping to render help. He finds the pilot unconscious but alive. Wes successfully revives the pilot but finds that the pilot’s harness is stuck. Wes runs back to his vehicle to get a knife & returns to the cockpit. But not before there is an explosion engulfing both pilot & cockpit. The Navy soon arrives to investigate & asks them for the film so they can review the footage of the crash. The next day, the local paper recognizes Wes as a hero, though he does not feel that he is. Wes discovers the photo of the deceased pilot in the newspaper’s article is not the man he attempted to save. A mystery Wes can’t let go. The events that unfold after that fateful day entwine Wes & his crew in a mystery involving the Navy, a possible cover up, and a reunion with an old friend, Lars, who now works for the Navy. And finally, a secret that Wes had thought he had left buried behind many years ago resurfaces. Why is the Navy trying so hard to convince Wes that he is confused about the pilot’s photograph? Is Lars a part of this cover up? Can Wes uncover the truth about the true identity of the pilot?

Brett has managed to create a tale of suspense and mystery with his usual flair for excitement. The characters are interesting & likeable, the situation plausible, and the suspense builds to a crescendo to an ending that surprised me. Even though the story starts out with a bang (the plane crash) its pace is slightly relaxed for the first couple chapters until Wes starts uncovering facts that just don’t make sense.

I appreciated Brett taking a journey back home and sharing his memories, although altered for the story, with me, the reader.

I finished this book in two sittings (I would have finished in a day if I’d had the time) and enjoyed every minute of it!! I absolutely LOVE Brett’s Quinn series (can’t wait for #5 to come out in a couple of months!!!!) but I also really enjoy reading something that involves a different story line & characters I haven’t met before. I can always depend on Brett to give me a page turner that will keep me up all night!!
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Posted in book reviews, books, Brett Battles, favorite authors

EXIT 9 (Project Eden #2)

Exit 9 (Project Eden, #2)Exit 9 by Brett Battles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Daniel Ash returns in EXIT 9, the sequel to SICK. As many have previously said, you don’t really need to read SICK, but you should not only because it’s a great book, but it gives you some background information about Ash & Project Eden. But I digress…

Will the end of mankind, with the exception of a few who believe they are the elite, become reality in EXIT 9? Will Daniel Ash & his team be able to stop Project Eden from releasing the Sage Flu before ID, Implementation Day? These questions and more will be answered in EXIT 9.

I have been waiting for EXIT 9 to come out since I finished SICK (which I read in a day). EXIT 9 is no different. I read it in a day as well. This series is about a group of elite few who run what is called Project Eden. Their goal is to wipe out all of humanity (with the exception of their group) with a virus they developed called the Sage Flu. They are not fanatics or zealots by any means, but well organized, rational people. This conspiracy is intriguing and credible. Fighting against Project Eden is a group calling themselves the resistance, which includes Daniel Ash who first appears in SICK. In the beginning of EXIT 9, Ash is living in the suburbs with his children under a new identity, hoping the resistance doesn’t call upon him to help. Which would mean only one thing – Project Eden is ready to release the Sage flu worldwide. That hope ends one day when two men show up on Ash’s doorstep, sent by Matt Hamilton, head of the resistance. The entire book is a thrill ride, counting down to Implementation Day, ending in a VERY surprising climax.

EXIT 9 is definitely a page turner. Brett has developed his characters well and the progression of the story gains momentum with each chapter. I won’t lie about being an enormous fan of Brett’s, which makes me somewhat biased. But even with that bias, I loved EXIT 9! I have yet to be disappointed by any of his books! And you won’t be disappointed either!

I cannot wait for #3 in this series! I’m dying to find out what happens!!

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Posted in book reviews, books, Brett Battles, favorite authors

EVERY PRECIOUS THING

Every Precious Thing (Logan Harper, #2)Every Precious Thing by Brett Battles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to be chosen to read & post a review for Brett Battles’ newest novel, Every Precious Thing, which is book #2 in his Logan Harper series.

Logan Harper is asked by a family friend, Callie Johnson, a lawyer, to help her locate Sara Lindley. Sara is the wife of a client who disappeared on a weekend getaway in Tijuana, leaving a cryptic note for her husband. With help from his dad, Harp, and some of Harp’s friends, they embark on a journey to find out why this woman disappeared, leaving her husband & child behind without any explanation. Just prior to this investigation, Harp receives an old book that belonged to his brother who went MIA in WWII. Along with this book comes a letter which Harp refuses to discuss with Logan, at least for the time being. This letter, although it’s content is not revealed, gives the reader some insight in the relationship between Harp & his brother. And through this Logan’s relationship w/Harp grows.

I really enjoyed this book. Although it is not as fast paced as the first book, Little Girl Gone, I found I was intrigued by the plot & wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to the characters. I liked the fact that the story stayed in the United States this time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the exotic places Brett takes us to in his other novels. This was just a nice change to that. I also found the characters & plot believable. This book has just the right mixture of suspense & thriller all rolled into one. I actually stayed up one night so I could finish it. =)

I look forward to book #3 (and any future books Brett writes!).

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Posted in book reviews, Brett Battles, favorite authors

THE PULL OF GRAVITY

The Pull of GravityThe Pull of Gravity by Brett Battles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Brett asked me to read this & then write a review, he warned, not just me but others as well, that this book was different from his other books. Not a thriller. He was right. This was entirely different then his Quinn series (which I love), Little Girl Gone, & Here Comes Mr. Trouble. Different, but in a good way.

The story starts off with an introduction to Jay, who has returned to the Philippines & a part of his past that still haunts him. With a new life waiting for him, Jay has come back to sell his part in a bar where he worked as a papasan & where he hopes to find answers to the past. A past where he met a bargirl named Isabel who he forms a special bond with. More than with his other bargirls. Where Jay meets & befriends Larry, a customer who’s new to the Philippines bar scene; where the three form a friendship that will end in tragedy. Although these three people are not the only ones involved in this story, they are the main players in this tale of love, friendship, jealousy, betrayal.

Brett does such a wonderful job in describing the location & scenery where this takes place; I was immediately transported to it. I could imagine myself being there in the middle of Angeles City. Sitting in the bar he ran as a papasan. Watching the customers mingle with the bargirls & feeling like I was a part of the story. And then there are characters. The people that make this location & the scenery come to life.

I found these characters opulently written; full of color & life. I related to these people as if they were friends I knew. I was moved by their emotions, touched by their hardships, saddened by their loss.

This is a superb example of Brett’s adaptability as a writer. I love this new novel & though it is not fast paced & action packed like The Cleaner, it moved me. It will move you.

Thank you, Brett. I hope I get to read a few more like The Pull of Gravity.

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