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Maria Magenta

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Fear Nothing
Fear Nothing
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scary Story about a Boy and His Dog, 28 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Fear Nothing (Paperback)
Christopher Snow, called Snowman by his friends, is a twenty-eight-year-old writer who is doomed to a life of darkness because of a rare genetic disorder called xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP for short. He's normal in every way except that exposure to ultraviolet rays - even from fluorescent lights - could be fatal.

His father has just died. But when the hospital turns the body over to the mortuary, it's switched for one of a hitchhiker, who was a victim of a brutal beating that ended with someone plucking out his eyes. Snowman sets out to discover why and finds himself involved in a mystifying tale that involves all of Moonlight Bay, a quaint California coastal town.

Snowman goes to the mortuary but is discovered. There is a chase that wind up with Snowman following an intelligent cat into an underground drainage catacomb that's full of hundreds of animal and human skulls.

Snowman eases himself back into the darkness and goes home, where he gets his faithful dog Orson and heads out in search of answers. There are it seems, animals in town who are a whole heck of a lot smarter than they have a right to be. Some good, a troop of monkeys apparently not so good. In due course he finds out that his quiet little town has been a hotbed of DNA research and that his mother was involved in some sneaky governmental work that involved intra-species gene therapy. And he learns a little something about his dog.

This book is typical Koontz, a thriller as well as a scary read that grabs you from the first page and pulls you right into the story. I loved the characters, Christopher, Bobby, Sasha, but most of all I loved Orson the dog and I believe you will too.

When the Wind Blows
When the Wind Blows
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Children Can Fly When the Wind Blows, 28 Dec. 2007
This review is from: When the Wind Blows (Paperback)
The story starts with Max, a young girl, in desperate flight - literally and figuratively - from an evil group of men who want to capture her and possibly put her out of her misery, forever. She is a human-bird hybrid created in a high-tech genetic lab hidden in the wooded foothills. Max, it turns out, is not the only flying child created in this lab. She has a brother who also flies. They look like angels.

In short order, Max is spotted by local vet, Frannie O'Neill, who, becomes intent upon finding and rescuing the desperate girl. She is helped in her quest by rogue FBI agent Kit Harrison, who has spent the past few years tracking the doctors and others involved in this evil conspiracy.

The scientists and physicians who have created Max have violated every possible ethical norm and they are relentless in their pursuit of Max. What other evils have they been up to in the woods?

I've been a fan of James Patterson's for a long time and, though I liked this book, it didn't keep me reading till dawn the way most of his other thrillers did. Still, I finished it in two days and enjoyed it, maybe not five stars worth, but I liked it a lot.

Dead Even
Dead Even
by Brad Meltzer
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thriller that Reads Like a Movie, 28 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Dead Even (Paperback)
"Dead Even" is the story of two married lawyers, Sara and Jared Tate, working in New York City. Sara had been unemployed but after months of searching, she lands a job as an assistant district attorney - only to learn the mayor is gutting the DA's office. Fortunately, she gets a strangely high-profile, potentially career-saving case. Meanwhile Jared is pressured to defend the same man Sara is prosecuting.

From the beginning Sara and Jared believe they're battling over a burglary case, but it begins to look like murder and a web of conspiracy unfolds that eventually envelops Sara and Jared. Then they learn, independently of one another, that the other's life is at stake. The threat: Win the case or your spouse dies. The more they fight, the more they put each other in jeopardy.

Talk about a no-win proposition.

However you'll feel like a winner if you spend a night with this book. I know, it's probably not possible for a husband and wife to face each other as opposing counsel, because of conflict of interest, but still this was a very good read, kind of like watching a movie.

Havana Bay
Havana Bay
by Martin Cruz Smith
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Suicide isn't Painless, 28 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Havana Bay (Paperback)
Moscow detective Arkady Renko, out of work and miserable for the last half-dozen years, is called to the Russian Embassy in Havana to look into the mysterious disappearance of his old comrade Sergei Pribluda. Renko is fighting suicidal impulses, trying to survive despite a crushing personal tragedy, and the trip to Cuba is an opportunity to leave the gloomy and cold Moscow winter behind and get away from the constant reminders of better times. Unknown to his bosses he plans to commit suicide once he gets to Cuba.

But immediately after he arrives the Cuban police want him to identify a floater pulled from Havana Bay as his missing friend. Pribluda, a former KGB agent, who is currently the Russian Security Service's resident spy in Havana, has been missing for almost two weeks. The Cuban authorities want him to make the identification, acknowledge that the death was from natural causes, and return to Moscow on the next flight.

Renko says he's not sure it Pribluda, since the body is badly decomposed and the circumstances surrounding the death may not be as obvious as they seem. Renko wants the Cuban police to investigate, however they apparently won't. Renko regains his will to live and is determined to find out what happened to Pribluda, so he begins his own snooping. What he finds is more than he expected and certainly more than the Cubans wanted him to find. It seems the case has the potential to become an embarrassment for Castro's government and the Cuban's want the matter closed quickly and quietly.

As he's done in Renko's past adventures, Smith shows his readers a culture and country foreign to most in the United States. He depicts a Cuba learning to make its own way in the world, an island with rich customs where 1950s vintage American cars cruise seaside boulevards and many people practice the mystic Santeria religion. I couldn't put this book down and I can't recommend it enough.

Jupiter's Bones
Jupiter's Bones
by Faye Kellerman BA in Dentistry UCLA
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Suspects, Including a Gaggle of Gurus, 28 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Jupiter's Bones (Paperback)
L.A. Police Lieutenant Pete Decker is called in to investigate the death of a cult leader, the charismatic Father Jupiter of the Order of the Rings of God, the former famous astromoner, Dr. Emil Ganz.

There are suspects galore. Ganz had made a lot of enemies when he was a scientist and his leadership of the cult was coveted by some of his followers. Added to that are the relatives of people who have been lured into the cult. The police probably wouldn't even have been notified of Ganz's death, which had already been called a suicide by the other cult leaders, if someone hadn't told his estranged daughter. She, in turn, called the police.

Getting into the compound and getting cooperation from the members is difficult enough for Decker, but it's complicated by a struggle for power by the four privileged attendants, who are; Pluto, Venus, Nova and Bob. Brother Pluto is livid with anger because of the invasion of the police into their sacred sanctuary.

In addition to Jupiter's death, the police learn that two of the cult members, one a child, are missing. Pluto shifts between accusing the police and a cult deprogrammer of stealing these two from their happy home.

And as usual in a Faye Kellerman novel, there's problems on the home front. It appears that Decker's younger stepson, Jacob, is smoking pot and messing around with his girlfriend. For many parents that might seem like a teenage phase, but for Orthodox Jews it's a big deal.

Kellerman knows how to write a fast-moving, suspenseful story involving people the reader learns to care about. She also manges to educate the reader about her religion without seeming to preach. Somehow she does it, without it getting in the way of the story. All and all, a very good read.

Love Overboard
Love Overboard
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Stephanie, but a Darned Good Book Anyway, 28 Dec. 2007
I am a huge fan of the Stephanie Plum series, so I was very happy to get my hands on a copy of Love Overboard. This book was written well before Janet Evanovich had Stephaie Plum fully defined, but you can definitely see the beginnings of the girl we know and love here.

Love Overboard is a great tale of a girl with a mysterious past who leaves Jersey to open a Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Maine. Stephanie Lowe is the girl in question and she is in desperate need of plumbing work on her ramshackle B&B Inn. Lucky for her, a cousin of hers is married to a plumber. What will it cost her? Working on a sailboat for a week as the cook. She thinks this seems like a good deal and goes for it.

The good deal turns into a great deal when she meets and falls for the sailboat's owner, Ivan. Of course there are lots of funny circumstances and hi-jinx along the way. To top it all off, the ending will come as a surprise!

Love Overboard is a fun book that gave me the giggles more than once. If you are looking for a nice, lighthearted book to spend a weekend with, this is a good choice!

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