Thursday, July 26, 2012

Death Match by Lincoln Child

cover of Death Match by Lincoln Child
Death Match by Lincoln Child really grabbed my interest. The premise was super couples, matched by a dating/partner matching service called Eden, were committing suicide. Super couples have a 100 percent match in compatibility. The genius behind Eden is Richard Silver, a computing genius who created a system called Liza. Well, you could say that Liza is the genius behind the matches. Silver made Liza self-aware, and with Liza, Eden was able to quickly match up perfect couples. With Eden, you found your soul mate. Christopher Lash, former FBI profiler, was called in to help Eden solve the mystery of why the couples are committing suicide. Lash was troubled by the suicides because the couples were happy, and they definitely didn’t fit the profile of someone who would commit suicide. As Lash continued his probe, he became more sure that the the couples were murdered. The more he researched, the more his own life seemed to unravel. Was there a connection between his research and the problems?

Death Match was a great read. Of the three Lincoln Child books that I read recently, I enjoyed Death Match the most. I suspected who the murderer was midway through the book, but that didn’t ruin the story or the suspense for me. I was wondering how things would progress, and Child kept the suspense on the high burner. I wound up returning to work late because I became engrossed in the story over lunch. I am so glad that I found Child, and I cannot wait to read more!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Deep Storm by Lincoln Child

cover of Deep Storm by Lincoln Child
I now have two reading piles. One is of physical books; the other is on my Kindle. I just finished reading Deep Storm by Lincoln Child on the Kindle. As I mentioned earlier, I love Michael Crichton thrillers, and Lincoln Child writes his thrillers with a scientific bent, just as Crichton did. Deep Storm is about a US government search for something buried deep within the planet. During an oil drilling test, the workers noticed some unusual signals. Saying that they are looking for the Atlantis. However, there is something else, something buried, perhaps by an alien race. The US government sends down scientists and military to the deep ocean floor in a secured facility that is only accessible by mini sub once a day. Things get tricky when some of the folks in the facility start to show signs of illness. The problem is that the illnesses don’t have a common thread. To help them explain the problem, Dr. Peter Crane is called in to investigate. Crane quickly figures out that the Atlantis story isn’t right. Can Crane find out what is causing the illness, and can he answer troubling questions over the signals being received from the thing beneath the Earth’s crust?

One thing that I noticed right away is that the action in Deep Storm is very similar to The Third Gate. The hero is kept in the dark about what is going on, has to figure out a complex problem, and then finds himself in life-threatening situation. Oh, and not only is he in the life-threatening situation, all the others on the expedition are also in trouble. So many authors who write in a particular genre follow a formula or template. Child obviously does that, unless I just happened to read the two books that were eerily similar. Does that mean that I didn’t like Deep Storm? Nope! I loved the book. I found myself unable to put it down. I really didn’t figure out who the saboteur was, although in hindsight, I think I should have figured it out. A good thriller, and I recommend Child if you want an action filled page-turner.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

cover of Matilda by Roald Dahl
There are many childhood classics that I somehow missed reading during my childhood. It’s easy to understand because I didn’t have anyone to help guide and nurture my reading. Of course, I have no problem with reading children’s books as an adult, so I am always quick to remedy the situation. Matilda is one of those books that I haven’t read. Yes, I saw and LOVED the movie, but I never thought of the book. Well, I saw the movie again a few weeks ago. I got the book from the library and started to read. Roald Dahl’s story is very heartwarming. Matilda is a little girl who really doesn’t fit into her family. She is very smart. Matilda loves to read. Her family loves to watch mindless television. Matilda doesn’t like it when her father or mother do things to demean her, so Matilda gets back by pulling pranks, like putting hair bleach in her father’s hair tonic and hiding a talking parrot in the chimney so her parents think the house is haunted. When Matilda goes to school, she meets a kindred spirit in Miss Honey, but she also meets her arch-enemy, Miss Trunchbull. Miss Honey realizes that Matilda is something special,and she tries to get others to see Matilda’s worth. Instead, Miss Honey runs into roadblocks. Matilda’s biggest problem is the Trunchbull, who terrorizes all the children. When the Trunchbull starts to terrorize the kids in Matilda’s class, Matilda finds out that she has the power to make a glass of water tip over with energy from her eyes. She tells Miss Honey about her powers, and Miss Honey tells Matilda how her mother’s sister cheated Miss Honey out of her home and money, and possibly even murdered her father. Well, Matilda practices her powers, and when the Trunchbull shows up to terrorize the class, Matilda is ready for her. The story has a great ending with Matilda and MIss Honey living happily ever after. It is such a heart warming story!

I really loved reading the book, and I could see some of my childhood experiences in the book. My parents and brother did not read. They didn’t understand how I loved to read. The difference is that my parents took me to the library, and even though they didn’t understand it, they let me read. When I was six, my father gave me a dictionary so I could understand all the words inTom Sawyer. If you ever feel a bit down in the dumps, or needing some cheering up, I would strong recommend reading Matilda. Timeless, classic stories aren’t defined by the age of the reader; they are defined by the experience the reader gets from the story.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Third Gate by Lincoln Child

cover of The Third Gate by Lincoln Child
Since Michael Crichton died, I’ve been looking for an author that would give me a thriller with some science thrown in. I tried Lincoln Child, starting with his brand new book, The Third Gate, and I was not disappointed. The Third Gateonly has a hint of a science background. The protagonist in this story is Jeremy Logan. Logan investigates the paranormal or unusual claim. Logan has been to Loch Ness, and he’s investigated haunted houses. In this case, Porter Stone, a famous explorer and archaeologist, gets Logan to investigate abnormal happenings on one of his digs. Stone has gone to the swamps of the Sudd to search for Narmer’s tomb. Narmer is the pharaoh who united North and South Egypt into one. Stone believes that Flinders Petrie had discovered the location of Narmer’s tomb and the royal white and red unification crown, but that Petrie wasn’t able to get the funds to start the search before Petrie died. Weird sightings have been seen in the state of the art facility, and the people are starting to get jumpy. Logan travels to the area with Ethan Rush, a former ER doctor, who investigates NDE (near death events) since his wife, Jennifer, experienced her own NDE. Well, things get really crazy when Rush starts having Jennifer try to channel Narmer so the team can locate the tomb AND bypass the warnings and threats if someone tries to cross the three gates to Narmer’s tomb. They do locate the tomb, and they also locate evil that can sabotage the whole mission.

The Third Gate was a great thriller. I found myself engrossed in the story, and read it quickly over the past weekend. Child gave just the right blend of information with thrills. Of course, you do have to suspend some sense of reality with the possession aspect with NDE, but the story moved quickly. Yes, there was a woman archaeologist who at first was an antagonist, and later an aide in solving the mystery. All around, I was satisfied with the thriller aspect of the book, and I look forward to reading other of Lincoln Child stand-alone books. Child also writes with Douglas Preston, and Preston & Child have a whole slew of books with FBI Special Agent Pendergast. I haven’t read any of those books, so I have a lot of books to add to my to-be-read piles.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Witch by Barbara Michaels

cover of Witch by Barbara Michaels
I’m slowly making my way through Barbara Michaels’ books, and I just finished Witch. This is another of the earlier books that I think are far superior to the books from the 1990s and later. Witch has another one of those atypical Michaels heroines. Ellen March is divorced and in her later thirties. She has been taking care of her sister’s kids, three boys, after the sister’s death. Ellen and her daughter, Penny moved in with Jack and his sons, and although Ellen felt love for Jack, she kept the feelings to herself. As the boy all go over to college, and Penny, at the age of 16, is headed to a trip to Europe for the summer before heading to boarding prep school, Ellen decides to look for a house of her own. Jack, a career diplomat with foreign services, is headed to Europe, so it’s the best time for Ellen to look for her own house. After looking around, Ellen found the perfect house, off in the woods. Ed Salling, sales the house to Ellen, but warns her to keep away from the folks in the village. As Ellen learns more about the house, which used to belong to the local witch in the 1700s. The witch was the wife of a wealthy landowner, probably Spanish, who was also probably Roman Catholic. Ellen doesn’t learn much about the witch, other her love of animals and her death by hanging. Was is suicide or murder? Is the white cat that Ellen sees around her house, a ghost of the witch’s cat. What’s the shadow that haunts Ellen at night in her bedroom? Ellen becomes involved with her neighbor Norman and his nephew, Tim. Tim seems to be a troubled boy, and Ellen tries to get his uncle to help him. It also doesn’t help when the narrow-minded, extreme religious sect in the town starts to think Ellen is a witch.

The story really kept me on the edge of my seat. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, and I was eager to see what would happen with Ellen and Tim, and if Jack would ever realize that he and Ellen were the perfect couple. Everything works out in the end, but the book is one heck of a thrill ride. I would definitely recommend the book. There’s not that much woo-woo, but there is the haunted overtone. I wish Michaels would have written more books, or could still churn them out as she did in the 1960s through 1980s.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels

Cover of Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels
I just finished reading Barbara Michaels Here I Stay, and I have to admit that I feel emotionally drained. The tracks of the tears that I shed over the last 30 pages are still moist on my cheeks. Here I Stay was about Andrea Torgeson, who inherited a huge house from her cousin Bertha. Andrea’s brother, Jim, was in a bad auto accident, that almost killed him and took his leg. Andrea thought that opening the house as a hotel might be just the thing that both she and Jim need to get them both on their feet. Of course, there was a sense of a presence in the house. It was warm and welcoming to some, like Martin Greenspan, who came to hotel for an extended stay while writing his book. Martin fell in love with Andrea, who was too closed off to live and emotion to see how she was short changing both herself and Jim. There was a presence. Andrea felt it as beating wings. Another house guest felt it too, but Reba, the local restaurant owner and friend to both Andrea and Martin, felt it the most. The presence was so strong that Reba became physically ill in the house.

This book was a slow mover at first. Michaels set the scene and got the reader interested in the characters hopes and fears. There wasn’t a strong woo-woo effect in this book, but it was slowly and strongly growing. As I said, I became engrossed in the final third of the book, unable to put it down. I could just feel the impending doom, and when it finally came, I admit that it hit me hard, hence the tears. I thought that the book was one of Michaels’ best. I don’t know if others might give it the time that it deserves since the tension slowly builds. The book meandered just as life does. Not much seems to happen, but when you look back, you realize that so much has passed unnoticed. If you read the book, give it a chance to pull you in. You won’t regret it.