Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

*Rating* 3.5
*Genre* Suspense/Mystery
Faith Mitchell is a Special Agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and has been partnered with Will Trent for the past 2 years. Faith is late arriving at her mother's home to pick up her 4 month old daughter Emma thanks to a seminar that went on too long. As Faith is driving towards her destination, she is unable to connect with her mother either by email, or by phone.

When she arrives at her mother’s home, she finds it destroyed and two men are still alive in the house. A shoot out soon occurs, and Faith finds that she is being questioned as a suspect, and not as a police officer with nearly 20 years’ experience.

*Positive* - It’s nice to actually see more of Faith as the main character in a story. She has the capability to lead an entire novel without anyone worrying that she will stumble or bumble along and mess things up. There are some family secrets that are finally revealed to Faith as well, and a closer look into her past as a rebel rousing teenager which nearly broke her family apart. Faith is real to me. Her struggles with her own health, trying to raise her two children in the best way possible, as well as the discovery of a secret past that surrounds her own mother, were way more interesting than the blooming relationship between Will and Sara.

Special Agent Will Trent has a sorted past with Faith’s mother Evelyn Mitchell. There are those who still question how Will and Faith can remain partners for the past 2 years after his investigation led to her mother’s resignation from the Atlanta PD. Will’s solo act as well as his sometimes brazen techniques, have left fellow law enforcement officers at arm’s length not wanting anything to do with him. He often finds that he works solo in trying to solve cases while often getting things wrong because of his inability to read. This time around he ends up stuck with his boss Deputy Director Amanda Wagner who is an enabler and couldn’t tell Will the truth even if it bit her in the ass. Wagner is also a life long friend of Evelyn Mitchell as they came up together as police officers.

Will has tried extremely hard to hide the fact that he is dyslexic from his fellow co-workers. (Sara, Amanda and Faith all know) Will is extremely smart which is typical of Dyslexic people who tend to be very creative and intuitive and are very good at hands on learning. Will is also stuck in an abusive relationship with his wife Angie; one that I sincerely hope Slaughter finds a way to end soon.

*Positive* - One of the reasons I started reading the Georgia series in the first place is because of Will Trent. Will has had such an awful upbringing, and his abusive wife just drives a stake thru his heart each and every time with her subtle threats and refusal to go away permanently. He is surrounded by bossy women, including Faith, and Amanda, who he can’t seem to get away from. Will seems to know instinctively things that no one else does. He and Amanda have a son/mother relationship that is often harsh in content, while Faith and Will are more like brother and sister.

Dr. Sara Linton once worked in her own private practice for 12 years. She was also the part time Grant County coroner while married to Chief of Police Jeffrey Tolliver. Sara has since moved to Atlanta to work for Grady Hospital. It has been 4 ½ years since the incident that changed her entire life and she is still struggling with moving on. Sara ends up in the middle of the investigation because of her concurrent relationship with Will and Faith as well as a target of Angie Trent who she comes face to face with in the book.

*Undecided* - I’ve had a problem with Sara for some time now and I’m not sure if Fallen has made me change my mind about her or not. She just seems to get involved in things she shouldn’t have access to. It’s not realistic. I know she was one of the main characters of the Grant County series from inception to finish, and now with the combined Georgia series she seems to be thrown into the mix as almost as a tertiary character who knows it all and who is having a change of heart regarding Will and their ongoing relationship.

She often comes across as smarter than everyone else no matter what setting you put her in. Or maybe it’s because I still hold resentment at what happened at the end of the Grant County series and haven’t been able to move onward with Sara in the picture. I have no problem with Sara moving on with her life after 4 ½ years of self-pity and self-doubt. I’m just not sure if I care one way or the other if Sara and Will find happiness together.

Fallen is the third book in the Georgia series by Karin Slaughter and continues the story of characters from the Grant County and Will Trent series. If you haven’t read any of the previous books by Slaughter including Undone, or Broken, I would definitely recommend that you read them before attempting to read Fallen. There’s a lot of back story including why Sara Linton is working for Grady Hospital now, and how she ended up connected with Will Trent and Faith Mitchell.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hellbent by Cherie Priest

*Rating* 4 stars
*Genre* Urban Fantasy


Hellbent is the second novel in the Cheshire Red Reports series by Cherie Priest. Our protagonist is Raylene Pendle who is a thief and a vampire who drinks blood but can’t fly nor can she be exposed to the sunlight. She is often mistaken for a man since international intelligence officials who have been hunted her for years; find it hard to believe that a woman could actually be such an accomplished thief, or as she calls herself--acquisitions specialist.

Raylene currently has two children living with her--8 year old Pepper and 14 year old Domino. Raylene took them in after the events of Bloodshot. Also living with Raylene is Ian Stott a blind vampire for whom Raylene has a friend with benefits relationship with. Ian was experimented on by the government and lost his eye sight permanently. Lastly, there’s ex-Navy SEAL Adrian deJesus who is a drag queen better known as Sister Rose. Adrian continues to hold out hope that he will one day find his vampire sister Isabelle who was last seen in Atlanta.

Raylene lives in Seattle, Washington where she has had to change sceneries and locations after the FBI raided her warehouse where she stored a lifetime of items she either stole or collected over the years. Having used up so much of her own fortune and capital in acquiring her new place, she agrees to work with Horace Bishop who is her pimp/agent if you like.

Bishop is the director of acquisitions for a NYC auction house and has discovered some rare and highly valuable Baculum or penis bones while at an auction house. Bishop offers Raylene a substantial finder’s fee for the cigar box filled with the bones. The only problem is that Raylene is in a race against a schizophrenic genius named Elizabeth Creed who used to work for NASA and who just happens to be a powerful sorcerer when in possession of the bones. Creed has her own plans for the bones that includes changing past events.

If chasing bones around the country weren’t enough to keep our OCD with several neuroses occupied. Raylene also has to find a way to keep Ian away from his former House in San Francisco where he was once a major player before he was captured, blinded permanently, and experimented upon by the government and Jeffrey Sykes. With the death of his “father” he is now in line to become the new Judge of the house of Renner. Something he has no desire becoming which is why he has stayed undergound for the past 10 years.

I adore Raylene’s humor, snarkiness, determination, as well as her motherly tendencies towards Ian, Adrian, Domino, and Pepper. Raylene is far from done collecting lost souls, and soon adds Isabelle in an attempt to keep Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta away from Seattle.

I also appreciate that the snarkiness between Raylene and the other characters isn’t overly overdone as in other novels. There is a serious issue that underlies this series and that is the fact that Raylene wants to get even with Jeffrey Sykes for what he did to Ian, Isabelle, and other vampires he captured, and also stand up and help her fellow vampires in their time of need.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series whenever it becomes available, and thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me access to this book before it is to be released.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Review - Those Across the Water

*Genre* Horror/Fiction
*Rating* 4.0


Those Across the River, by Christopher Buehlman, is a strange, disturbing, and yet fascinating journey through the eyes of World War I veteran Frank Nichols as he and his fiancé nee wife to be, Eudora Chambers, travel to Whitbrow, Georgia where they hope to start a new life together.

Frank has been ostracized from the academic community because of his actions concerning Eudora’s current relationship with him while he was a teacher at the university. By moving to Whitbrow, he hopes to write a novel based on his great-grandfather Lucien Savoyard's life and exploits as a member of the Georgia 18th Cavalry during the Civil War. There have been disturbing stories concerning Lucien’s treatment of his own slaves, and his refusal to set them free when Union forces closed in on Atlanta. Frank also wants to have tell the story of the slave survivors.

Instead of paying attention to his Aunt Dottie McComb’s warning about staying where he is, and selling the property to whomever wants it. Frank and Eudora end up in Whitbrow anyway and end up in the middle of a decades old hatred that goes back to the Civil War and slavery. Continued bad choices will changed their lives forever; especially Eudora's.

There are undercurrents afoot across the river and in the woods where Frank is warned to stay away from. Anyone who goes into those woods doesn’t return the same way. Frank ignores the fact that there is bad blood here, and even though he personally wasn’t responsible for what happened during the Civil War, memories die hard in the Deep South and Frank just happens to be the one outlet for justice for those who survived his great-grandfathers atrocities.

The story takes place during the early 20th century (1935 to be exact) when there is still strong hatred towards those with the wrong skin color or who are different. Hostilities continue to be at a tipping point where one man’s innocence or guilt is measured by hanging the condemned until he is dead.

The language is somewhat offensive at times and anyone who harbors any reservations or resentment over the use of derogatory comments, may be turned off by the use of them. But, without it, the story would have been a farce since any story that takes place in the deep south must contend with the reality of the time period and those who are still dealing with racial hatred.

The story development is slow at first, but necessary to the overall understanding and mindset of the main and sub-characters as they move through a course of action that puts them in direct conflict with the monsters in the woods. The only real surprise is what these monsters really are and why they end up going after certain people.

The second half of this book will boggle your mind after things are set in motion by the townsfolk decisions in regards to sending pigs into the woods. Because of this decision, people end up dead and missing and a desire for payback stews in the residents counteractions. This, of course, leaves Frank and Eudora’s lives forever changed; especially Eudora’s.

I highly recommend this book, but warn potention readers that you must put away pre-conceived notions of what you are going to read about. I would put this book squarely in the horror genre as to it's content and expectations.

ARC Accepted on 07/11/2011. Expected publication: September 6th 2011 by Ace Hardcover