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Mary Chrapliwy / Reviewer's Diary (NJ, USA)

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Mr. Murder
Mr. Murder
by Dominique Auclères
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Koontz suspense!, 7 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Mr. Murder (Mass Market Paperback)
Martin Stillwater, dubbed Mr. Murder by a magazine, is a mystery writer. He has a beautiful life with wife Paige and two lovely daughters. Things couldn't get better for Martin. Yet, while dictating into a recorder for his novel he finds himself saying over and over, "I need..." That was slightly creepy.

Then comes the killer - a real Mr. Murder. He finds himself chanting the same phrase over and over as well. "I need..." The killer finds himself drawn westward. He doesn't know where or why, he just knows he needs to get there.

Once there Martin and the killer come face to face. They are dead ringers for each other. The crazed killer begins to believe that Martin has stolen his life with wife page and his two daughters ... that Martin is the impostor.

The book then takes off at lightning speed with twists and turns and truly hair-raising suspense as only Mr. Koontz could do it.

I have read a number of Dean Koontz books. This is one of his finest (my favorite Dean Koontz work is Lightning - I highly recommend that one as well). The only issue with this book that was a very slight negative is that I felt it was just a little longer than it had to be - about 50 pages could have been stripped away without losing any of the tension or story.

This book is definitely worthy of your time. I highly recommend it.


The Seventh Sense
The Seventh Sense
by T. J. MacGregor
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars - a few too many psychics ... still a good read, 7 Oct. 2007
This book opens with Frank Benedict, an infuriated lawyer who has just lost a multi-million dollar client for his law firm. He has had too much to drink. Driving home that night through a heavy storm, he sees a car up ahead and procedes to disobey every traffic law on the books and rams it intentionally with his BMW at high speed. Not satisfied, he backs up and rams the car again at very high speed. Our main character, FBI agent Charlie (short for Charlotte) Calloway, falls on the ground outside the car in the pouring rain. Benedict smugly thinks of her as some fat thing that fell on the ground amd speeds off toward home - hiding his own mangled car in the garage.

Meanwhile that "fat thing" Benedict saw was a very pregnant Charlie in the process of losing her baby, while her husband lies dead in the driver's seat.

The next morning Benedict manages to tell his wife about the accident and further convinces her to go along with a plan to cover up his crime. Benedict still feels absolutely no remorse, but his wife is eaten up with tremendous remorse regarding the crime and the cover-up scheme she and her husband created - making her an accessory to the crime. We watch Benedict's marriage begin the unravel - Benedict begins to scheme against his own wife.

Meanwhile, Charlie begins to recover from the loss of her husband and baby. She teams up with a fellow FBI agent who has managed to coax a psychic retired FBI agent out of retirement to hunt down the killer of Charlie's husband and baby.

Things really begin to take off at the point. We find out that something in Benedict snaps when he is angry. You'll have to read the book to find out the other things he does. Charlie and her team gear up and find out more and more from things the psychic agent can feel.

I would have liked to give this a 4-1/2 star review. It loses 1/2 star due to the mix of having Charlie develop some psychic skills and an old woman in the story also has some psychic skills. You know the saying, too many cooks in the kitchen .... well, too many psychics in this story took away 1/2 a star for me.

Still, I would recommend this as a good read - I read it in two sittings. I would have read it in one sitting if it weren't for the too many psychics thing - I had to put the book down and walk away at one point in the middle. Still, I picked it up the next evening and was completely engrossed in the story enough to stay put in one spot until it was finished.


Practical Magic
Practical Magic
by Alice Hoffman
Edition: Paperback

52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely different from the movie - beautifully written, 21 July 2004
This review is from: Practical Magic (Paperback)
The movie version of this story is one of the most fun, exhilerating movies - a favorite in this household. This book bears very little relation to the movie. The only similarities are that the main characters exist as they do in the movie, but they don't live with the aunts and magic is not quite the focus as it was in the movie.
Now, that said ...
This is one of the best books I've had the opportunity to read. Written in the beautiful prose Alice Hoffman is so well known for, it follows the life of Gillian and Sally as they go on their diverse paths. Sally is the stable widow with two girls in tow. She leaves the aunts in New England, leaving her sad life behind, and moves to a Long Island suburb with her two girls where tries to live a normal life. Meanwhile, Gillian is a bad girl who is in and out of relationships and in and out of trouble. She finds the awful, abusive Jimmy and eventually kills him accidentally while enroute to visit her sister. Unsure of what to do, she brings him to her sister's house dead in the passenger seat of the car - she thinks stable Sally would know what to do to keep her out of jail. Sally meets the situation with borderline hysteria at first, then the two decide to bury him in Sally's backyard. Gillian moves in with Sally and her girls and tries to forget the body in the back yard. Sally's boring, stable life changes dramatically while Gillian's naughty life changes to a more stable one. Meanwhile they are haunted by the evil spirit of Jimmy, threatening to destroy the tenuous stability they try to build.
This book is not written in standard chapters - instead it is written in four large sections. Fortunately there are enough scene breaks in each section that you can put it down and read it in separate sittings. The thing is, once you're drawn into the story, you won't want to put it down. You'll want to read this one in a day, in one sitting if you can read fast enough. It is so beautifully written with an edge of suspense and just a tiny touch of magic. It will become a treasure on your bookshelf and one you'll only loan to your most reliable friends. Excellent!


The Five People You Meet In Heaven
The Five People You Meet In Heaven
by Mitch Albom
Edition: Audio Cassette

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listened to unabriged audio and nearly cried in the car, 21 July 2004
I borrowed the unabridged audio version of this book from my local library. It's a short novel told in very few audio cassettes so I thought it would be a quick easy story to listen to on my daily commute to work. Though it was completed in a few days commute, it wasn't so easy - I found myself wanting to sit in the parking lot on arrival to work to listen to more and then looked forward to listening to more of it at the end of the work day on my commute home. If you read this with book in hand, you would never want to put it down.
This is the story of Eddie, chief maintenance person at Ruby Pier amusement park. He thinks his life has been a waste, that he hasn't impacted anyone. At the beginning of the story we meet the elderly Eddie, sad, lonely Eddie. He makes the rides safe for everyone, except one day something goes terribly wrong. In one last heroic act in his sad life, Eddie throws himself in front of a runaway roller coaster to save the life of a little girl who becomes caught on the track. But did he save her? Eddie's death is so sudden that he doesn't know if he saved her or not ... and neither do we.
Eddie procedes on his path in heaven meeting five key people throughout this engaging, heartwrenching story. It is told in a series of flashbacks through the eyes of those five people. The story is crafted so well and so beautifully that you may wish it was longer. I listened to the last portions of the story of Eddie's life and death with more than a slight glimmer of tears in my eyes. It is such a beautiful story that it will touch your very soul and leave a mark there forever.


Touching Evil: A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Novel
Touching Evil: A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Novel
by Kay Hooper
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.07

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too many psychics ...., 21 July 2004
This is the story of Maggie, a psychic empath who listens to crime victims horrible experiences and creates an exact sketch of the criminal. She's very successful up until she begins to help the police with their hunt for a serial rapist who wears a plastic mask and blinds his victims by gouging their eyes out.
John, a wealthy business mogul, joins the cast of characters in this story after his sister is victimized by the killer. After healing from the attack she commits suicide - at least that's what the police think - Maggie and John know better.
Enter the plot points that spoiled the story: Maggie's brother is also psychic and talks to someone who isn't named during the course of the story at all. Then John brings in two friends from an FBI special unit to help with the investigation. They are also psychic.
So there I was reading a thoroughly engrossing story when suddenly the story contained FOUR psychics. That was a bit much. I almost abandoned the book at that point, but didn't. The other spoiler was that all the characters said "Yeah" when they agreed with something - wasn't there an editor involved in this book? Fortunately the story was entertaining enough to finish, but it's not a keeper.


Hiding From the Light
Hiding From the Light
by Barbara Erskine
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will believe in ghosts ...., 21 July 2004
This review is from: Hiding From the Light (Hardcover)
... and possession and witches if you read this book.
I've been a huge Barbara Erskine fan since reading Lady of Hay. Unfortunately this book has not been released for sale in the United States yet. Fortunately I was able to order it through Amazon.uk.
This is a long, virtual door-stopper size book - at just over 540 pages, this hardcover is a hefty read. Though there were a few spots where it did lag a tiny bit, the plot was well done and the action continued to move at a brisk pace keeping my interest through the entire book.
Emma Dickson is a successful business woman living in London with her fianc? Piers. During a visit to her dentist, she leafs through a magazine and sees a cottage for sale on the Essex coast. It's a house she remembers from her childhood summers in the country. She immediately senses that she must buy the house. Piers wants nothing to do with it. He loves their life in London and flatly refuses to even look at the cottage. Emma goes out to the country herself, falls immediately in love with the house, and puts in an offer for it. She buys it against the wishes of her fianc?, quits her job, and leaves Piers behind in the city. ...the excitement is just about to begin for Emma.
The cottage Emma bought is haunted, as is the local shop, by long-dead spirits who were once in a heated battle - one was a witch (the ghost in Emma's cottage) prosecuted by the Witch Finder General Matthew Hopkins (the ghost in the local shop). The spirits of these people begin a war against each other using the living players in the tiny village, pitting one against the other. Slowly a tide of evil builds in the town. Senseless crimes are committed. Life in the village is thrown out of balance. To restore the balance the age-old battle between warring spirits needs to end.
I don't want to spoil the story by telling any more of this tale. Suffice it to say, this is a very well written ghost story. You will believe in ghosts when you read it. The tales of the persecuted witches is thoroughly engrossing, the glimpses into the past are seamless, and the ending is so well crafted that you will believe it could all so easily happen. This was a highly enjoyable read and is a keeper of the best kind.


God on a Harley
God on a Harley
by Joan Brady RN
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fable that will make you examine your own life ..., 21 July 2004
This review is from: God on a Harley (Paperback)
I got this little treasure from the library. I say little because it is very short, but it is jam packed with such truth, such faith.
It's the story of Christine, a burned out nurse who is lonely and downright angry with the way her life has turned out. She bases her life on whether she has a relationship or not and is increasingly miserable and angry at the start of this fable. I guess I could identify with it also on the level of knowing how burned out you can become when you are a nurse (I am one).
Then God arrives. He comes in the form of a handsome stranger on a Harley. Slowly, through this fable, he teaches her what she's been doing wrong and helps her find the meaning of life.
This short book packs a very heavy message ... one that will make you reexamine your own thought processes and the direction of your life. It's a story that will linger in your thoughts for a long time ... it will hopefully make you think ... make you change ... grow.


The Wishing Jar (Stokes, Penelope J.)
The Wishing Jar (Stokes, Penelope J.)
by Penelope J. Stokes
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching & simply beautiful ..., 21 July 2004
This is the story of Edith, Abby, and Neal Grace - three generations of Quinn women who all occupy the family's ancestral home. Edith, the grandmother is a widow who has recently suffered a stroke. Abby, her daughter and mother to Neal Grace, is a widow still mourning the loss of her husband. Neal Grace, Abby's daughter and Edith's granddaughter, has lost both her father and her grandfather. She also feels that she has lost her grandmother to the stroke that paralyses her left side and slurs her speech.
Edith is very depressed as she sees that Abby and Neal Grace don't relate to her in the same way. Neal Grace can hardly bring herself to even look at her grandmother - what she sees is just a shell of the Granny Q she always loved. Abby sees her mother as feeble and pays little attention to anything she has to say. Abby races off to her work as a journalist, continually worrying over whether mother will burn the house down or have some sort of accident while she is home alone. Neal Grace begins skipping school to see a boyfriend who is emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. Believing that her whole world has come crashing down around her ears with the death of her father and her grandmother's stroke, she clings to him like a life raft. Edith, left to mourn all her losses, wishes that the stroke had taken her life. So begins the story of loving and longing ... of three people occupying the same house, yet emotionally light years away from each other.
The wishing jar itself is not central to the plot. It's a jar passed down through generations of Quinn women. It symbolizes for them the ability to change as well as a symbol of prayers answered.
This inspirational story will grab at your heartstrings as the three generations of women begin to grow and change. They begin to find in each other the strength to go on, to move past their losses, to love and laugh again. I highly recommend this book - reading it will enrich your life.


The Memory Of Trees
The Memory Of Trees
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £6.27

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful - deserves more stars than I can give here, 21 July 2004
This review is from: The Memory Of Trees (Audio CD)
Firstly, I admit to being an ardent Enya fan. Still, some music touches your heart in ways nothing else can. This CD contains just such music. This music is atmospheric and uplifting. Enya has a voice like fine crystal, pure and beyond compare. The most beautiful track on this CD is Athair Ar Nearmh - it has crystal clear beauty of such quality that you can only imagine the angels of heaven being capable of achieving it - you just need to close your eyes and feel the beauty of it. I am in complete awe ...


Wait for What Will Come
Wait for What Will Come
by Barbara Michaels
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gothic mystery!, 9 Jun. 2002
American teacher Carla Tregellas is the last remaining heir to a huge mansion on the cliffs of Cornwall. When she arrives she is confronted by an elderly housekeeper who tells her the tale of one of her ancestors disappearing on a stormy night, apparently taken by a mysterious merman. Carla is the practical type who is not dissuaded by old legends and decides to stay the summer. She becomes entwined with the housekeepers grandson, the local vicar, a young doctor, the lawyer handling the estate, and a myriad of other interesting characters. Carla notices that they all seem very intent on her leaving and she stubbornly refuses to give in. Meanwhile she has dreams and some real horrors in the house. In spite of all that she falls in love with the old estate and plans to stay. That's when the real fireworks start. This was an excellent mystery keeps you guessing until the amazing conclusion. Great fun to read.


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