Posts Tagged ‘suspense’

The Martian by Andrew Weir

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

(Find this book in our catalog) This brilliant debut novel, though classed as science fiction, will appeal to a larger audience than just those readers who enjoy the science fiction genre. It is a story of survival in one of the most inhospitable environments, Mars. Mark Watney, engineer & botanist, is left on Mars, presumed dead, when the rest of the mission evacuates the planet. The reader cannot help but be engaged by the charming, humorous, determined Watney. We share his hopes & fears, & as the tension mounts & his days on Mars count down towards the end, we cannot help but root for this hero. Mark is a great character, his creativity & positive attitude in the face of adversity make you want him to survive, but will he, when so many things can go wrong. Thrills, suspense & real science combine in this wonderful story of humanity & survival.




Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Friday, December 6th, 2013

(find this book in our catalog)  Here is a terrific book that looks from the cover rather like a cozy mystery.  Don’t be fooled!  This is a suspenseful, action adventure thriller that pulls no punches!

From the setting in upstate New York during a three-day ice storm that closes the whole area down, to the main story of a desperate attempt to rescue a sick kidnapped girl who is key to the conviction of a drug king-pin, this mystery keeps the adrenaline pumping.

Complex plot elements, including the difficult love affair of police partners Hadley and Kevin, a dubious undercover DEA operation, the rocky relationship between newlyweds Clare, the local episcopal priest and Russ, the chief of police, give the reader plenty to think about and enjoy.

The crises just keep on coming: it’s a struggle between the forces of law and order both against the weather and against a group of stupid but vicious criminals.  The action is non-stop but totally convincing, with plenty of details of weaponry, police procedures and innovative survival skills.

Who will prevail - the ultimately stupid but heavily armed criminals or the outnumbered Russ and Clare with their combat training from Vietnam and Iraq?  Like most mysteries, the story examines the nature of good and evil, but there are no easy answers or pat conclusions.  Editor

Book to TV – Flowers in the Attic

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

V. C. Andrews’ 1979 novel, Flowers in the Attic (Find this book in our catalog) has been adapted as a Lifetime movie, to air on January 18. Ellen Burstyn is cast in the role of the evil matriarch.

Click here for trailers.

Here’s what it says about the book in our catalog:


“The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives — a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before.

Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents’ fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn’t told them.

She hasn’t told them that their grandmother considers them “devil’s spawn” who should never have been born. She hasn’t told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn’t told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it’s only for a few days….

Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength — a love that is almost stronger than death.” (Simon and Schuster)


Top Horror Fiction of 2012 – 2013

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan (Find in our catalog).  “”Forget the cud. They want blood. It began with a cow that just wouldn’t die. It would become an epidemic that transformed Britain’s livestock into sneezing, slavering, flesh-craving four-legged zombies. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fate of the nation seems to rest on the shoulders of three unlikely heroes: an abattoir worker whose love life is non-existent thanks to the stench of death that clings to him, a teenage vegan with eczema and a weird crush on his math teacher, and an inept journalist who wouldn’t recognize a scoop if she tripped over one. As the nation descends into chaos, can they pool their resources, unlock a cure, and save the world? Three losers. Overwhelming odds. One outcome . . . Yup, we’re screwed”– Provided by publisher

Hitchers by Will McIntosh (Find in our catalog).  “Two years ago, on the same day but miles apart, Finn Darby lost two of the most important people in his life: his wife Lorena, struck by lightning on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and his abusive, alcoholic grandfather, Tom Darby, creator of the long-running newspaper comic strip Toy Shop. Against his grandfather’s dying wish, Finn has resurrected Toy Shop, adding new characters, and the strip is more popular than ever, bringing in fan letters, merchandising deals, and talk of TV specials. Finn has even started dating again.

When a terrorist attack decimates Atlanta, killing half a million souls, Finn begins blurting things in a strange voice beyond his control. The voice says things only his grandfather could know. Countless other residents of Atlanta are suffering a similar bizarre affliction. Is it mass hysteria, or have the dead returned to possess the living? Finn soon realizes he has a hitcher within his skin… his grandfather. And Grandpa isn’t terribly happy about the changes Finn has been making to Toy Shop. Together with a pair of possessed friends, an aging rock star, and a waitress, Finn races against time to find a way to send the dead back to Deadland… or die trying!” – (Perseus Publishing)

Monster: a novel of Frankenstein by Dave Zeltserman (Find in our catalog).  “The supernatural, unmissable new novel by the ALA Best Horror award nominee. In nineteenth-century Germany, one young man counts down the days until he can marry his beloved. Until she is found brutally murdered, and the young man is accused of the crime. Broken on the wheel and left for dead, he awakens on a lab table, transformed into an abomination. Friedrich must go far to take his revenge –only to find his tormentor, Victor Frankenstein, in league with the Marquis de Sade, creating something much more sinister deep in the mountains. Paranormal and gripping in the tradition of the best work of Stephen King and Justin Cronin, Monster is a gruesome parable of control and vengeance, and an ingenious tribute to one of literature’s greatest “– Provided by publisher.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Find in our catalog).  Summary:  “Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things like a misplaced bracelet, a missing photography or answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country. Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing and terrifying playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up Vic’s own son.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Find in our catalog).  “Sussex, England.  A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.” -(HarperCollins)

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy (Find in our catalog).  Summary:  “They live among us. They are our neighbors, our mothers, our lovers. They change. When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is. Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and hours later stepped off it, the only passenger left alive, a hero. Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but he is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy. So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge…and the battle for humanity will begin.”

Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Find in the catalog).  “Total - For 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels. Now, he has written a book that surpasses all of them. ZOO is the thriller he was born to write.

World - All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.

Destruction - With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it’s too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, James Patterson’s ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from “One of the best of the best.” (TIME)” – (Hachette Book Group)



What to Read When You Have Finished Inferno

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown (Find in our catalog).  Review in our catalog:  “In a twisty, evolving, and cleverly shifting thriller Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon returns to Italy, this time to the stunning cities of Florence and Venice. He awakes in a hospital bed, suffering a head wound from a bullet, and cannot remember anything that has happened to him in the last few days. Saved from a relentless assassin by one of his doctors, he escapes the hospital and flees into the city—haunted by visions of a woman commanding him to seek and find. Soon Langdon is caught in a puzzle and must navigate Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy, and the Chart of Hell Botticelli created to illustrate Dante’s terrifying world, and a series of clues spread through works of priceless art and stunning architecture. Tracking his every move are others intent on beating Langdon to the answer at the heart of Brown’s high-stakes plot: where has a brilliant and desperate scientist hidden the seeds of a new and terrifying plague? The pace is fast and engrossing, the art and architecture are glorious, the history is compelling and integrated well, and the twists are never ending.” (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (Find in our catalog).  Annotation in our catalog:  “In 1865 Boston, the literary geniuses of the Dante Club – poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields – are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy and preparing to unveil Dante’s remarkable visions to the New World. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing that the infiltration of foreign superstitions into American minds will prove as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor.

The members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, but their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno. With the lives of the Boston elite and Dante’s literary future in America at stake, the Dante Club members must find the killer before the authorities discover their secret.

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and an outcast police officer named Nicholas Rey, the first black member of the Boston police department, must place their careers on the line to end the terror. Together, they discover that the source of the murders lies closer to home than they ever could have imagined.” – (Blackwell North Amer).

Not as quickly paced as Inferno, the draw of this book for Brown fans will be the way details of the poem are worked into the story, the strong sense of place, and the clever plotting.

Our catalog includes reading group questions for this book.

The Paris Vendetta by Steve Barry (Find in our catalog)

This book, part of a series featuring Cotton Malone, a former U.S. Justice Department operative, is characterized by a winning blend of rocket-fueled modern thriller action intertwined with an historical mystery involving conspiracies, lost secrets, and fascinating clues.

Summary in our catalog:  “Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone isn’t looking for trouble when it comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. But narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally–an American Secret Service agent–and help him stop the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for the legendary lost treasure of Napoleon Bonaparte can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy.”


Military Dogs

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Departing from his series characters, Joe Pike and Elvis Cole, Robert Crais’s new book, Suspect, (Find in our catalog), features a character of the canine persuasion; a military dog named Maggie, who is traumatized after losing her handler in an explosion.  This is what it says in our catalog: “The explosive new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author. LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty–until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler to an IED, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them to touch: the identity of the men who murdered Stephanie. What they begin to find is nothing like what Scott has been told, and the journey will take them both through the darkest moments of their own personal hells. Whether they will make it out again, no one can say.”

You may like to read these other books about military dogs:

Sergeant Rex: the unbreakable bond between a Marine and his military working dog. “In Iraq we put our lives in each other’s hands (and paws) day after day. We took care of each other no matter what. Rex and I have a bond that will last for the rest of our born days. If ever there was a marine who lived up to Semper Fidelis, the motto of the Marine Corps, it’s Rex.” Deployed to Iraq’s infamous Triangle of Death in 2004, Sergeant Mike Dowling and his military working dog Rex were part of the first Marine Corps military K9 teams sent to the front lines of combat since Vietnam. It was Rex’s job to sniff out weapons caches, suicide bombers, and IEDs, the devastating explosives that wreaked havoc on troops and civilians alike. It was Mike’s job to lead Rex into the heart of danger time and time again, always trusting Rex to bring them both back alive. Dowling had turned twenty-five and Rex three just after they arrived in Iraq. Neither of them had any idea what to expect, and no training could fully prepare them for this job. An animal lover since childhood, Dowling had fostered and trained dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and he was determined to serve in the military’s K9 unit after joining the Marines. On their first patrols in Iraq, Rex suffered a seemingly incurable fear of explosions and gunfire, but with Mike at the other end of his leash, Rex gained the courage to perform his duty. Filled with harrowing tales of knife-edge bomb-detection work, including an extraordinary baptism by fire, Sergeant Rex is a heart-pounding account of how an unbreakable human-canine bond helped Mike and Rex to stay focused on their mission and save countless lives. Dowling takes us into the searing 130-degree heat, the choking dust, and the ever-present threat of violent attack that seemed to permeate Iraq’s streets. We experience Dowling’s visceral fear of walking down an IED-laden alley where dismemberment or death can come with any footstep, only his trusted partner, Rex, by his side. Loyalty is one of the hallmarks of any good Marine, and nowhere is that quality more evident than in this astonishing account of Mike Dowling and Rex’s wartime experiences. A moving story of how a man and a dog developed complete trust in each other in the face of terrible adversity, Sergeant Rex is an unforgettable tale of sacrifice, courage, and love.”

The Dogs of War: the courage, love, and loyalty of military working dogs. “Military working dogs gained widespread attention after Cairo participated in the SEAL Team 6 mission that led to Osama bin Laden’s death. Before that, few civilians realized that dogs served in combat, let alone that they could parachute from thirty thousand feet up. The Dogs of War reveals the amazing range of jobs that our four-legged soldiers now perform, examines the dogs’ training and equipment, and sets the record straight on those rumors of titanium teeth. You’ll find heartwarming stories of the deep bond that dogs and their handlers share with each other, and learn how soldiers and civilians can help the cause by fostering puppies or adopting retirees. An incredible story of the largely unseen but vital role that dogs play in our armed forces, The Dogs of War is a must-read for animal lovers everywhere.”

Soldier Dogs: the untold story of America’s canine heroes. “A leading reporter offers a tour of military working dogs’ extraordinary training, heroic accomplishments, and the lasting impacts they have on those who work with them. People all over the world have been riveted by the story of Cairo, the Belgian Malinois who was a part of the Navy SEAL team that led the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. A dog’s natural intelligence, physical abilities, and pure loyalty contribute more to our military efforts than ever before. You don’t have to be a dog lover to be fascinated by the idea that a dog-the cousin of that furry guy begging for scraps under your table-could be one of the heroes who helped execute the most vital and high-tech military mission of the new millennium. Now Maria Goodavage, editor and featured writer for one of the world’s most widely read dog blogs, tells heartwarming stories of modern soldier dogs and the amazing bonds that develop between them and their handlers. Beyond tales of training, operations, retirement, and adoption into the families of fallen soldiers, Goodavage talks to leading dog-cognition experts about why dogs like nothing more than to be on a mission with a handler they trust, no matter how deadly the IEDs they are sniffing, nor how far they must parachute or rappel from aircraft into enemy territory. “Military working dogs live for love and praise from their handlers,” says Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association and a former marine scout dog handler. “The work is all a big game, and then they get that pet, that praise. They would do anything for their handler.” This is an unprecedented window into the world of these adventurous, loving warriors.”


The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro

Monday, November 19th, 2012

(Find this book in our catalog) The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro.

This book is a novel but it reads like a true crime expose of the world in which the story is set – the world of fine artists, museums, collectors and dealers.  This is a fascinating alternative history of the relationship of the famed socialite Isabella Stewart Gardner, benefactor of the famous Boston museum that bears her name, and the even more famous Edgar Degas, painter and member of the Impressionists.  It is also Shapiro’s version of what happened to a group of paintings and drawings which have never been seen nor heard of since they were stolen in real life from the Gardner museum in 1990. The robbery really happened and there is still a $5 million reward out for the art works.

The Art Forger is the story of how Claire Roth, a recent MFA graduate and an aspiring painter in classical oils, has the dubious fortune to become embroiled in the fate of one of the missing paintings, Degas’ After the Bath.  Claire has recently been tainted with a scandal involving the attribution of one of her paintings (it’s a long story and hinges on her ability to copy virtually anyone’s painting style).  All galleries and museum painting competions have boycotted Claire, and so she is scraping a living copying classic pictures for collectors.  They are legitimate reproductions commissioned by a firm called  Claire is a certified copyist of Degas.  One day the sexy owner of a fashionable art gallery visits Claire to give her a dangerous commission: copy Degas’ After the Bath, which he says he is selling for mysterious underworld clients to a collector who knows it is stolen property.  The plan is to pass off Claire’s copy as the original and then return the real picture to the museum.  As the scheme unfolds Claire comes to realize that there is more to this scheme than meets the eye.

This is a very clever plot with many twists and turns.  It is set in a milieu where appearance is everything, ambition is rampant, and sincerity is in short supply.  The book’s setting is believably authentic and will appeal to readers who like to learn about artists and the art world.  It gives a fascinating glimpse into how works of art become commodities and are used sometimes literally as currency financing international criminal deals.  It is the underworld owners of the “original” who up the stakes and turn a clever scam into a desperate struggle for Claire to save, not only her reputation, but the life of the man she loves.

This would make a good book group book – there would be so much to talk about. Adjectives used about the book have included, “pleasurably suspenseful,” “clever,” “provocative,” “enthralling,” and “blazingly good.”  Booklist called it, “classy.”  I have to agree!


Editor’s Picks – Suspense and Thrills for Summer

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

  The Third Gate by Lincoln Child (Find in our catalog)

“Summary: Believing he has discovered the burial chamber of a near-mythical Egyptian pharaoh and a mystical double crown, famed archaeologist Porter Stone and his team suffer bizarre accidents that Professor Jeremy Logan is brought in to investigate.”

  Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (Find in our catalog)

“From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code comes the book that started it all–the first explosive adventure for world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon. World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization–the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth…the long-forgotten Illuminati lair. Angels & Demons is a major motion picture from Sony Pictures–starring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, and Ayelet Zurer, and directed by Ron Howard.”

  Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (Find in our catalog)

“”As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . .” Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love’all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life.” “An amnesiac attempts to reconstruct her past by keeping a journal and discovers the dangerous inconsistencies in the stories of her husband and her secret doctor.”


Stalker in the Shadows by Camy Tang

Monday, March 26th, 2012

  (Find this book in our catalog)  Nurse Monica Grant has a passion – her desire to help children in her hometown of Sonoma California by building a free children’s clinic. Her efforts to get this clinic built involve applying for grants and holding fund raisers.

At the various fund raisers she has this eerie feeling that someone is watching her.  Things get serious when she starts receiving threatening letters.  One even had a dead snake with it!  Afraid that she’ll end up dead like the snake, she seeks the help of former lawman Shaun O’Neill, who has issues of his own.  His former job was as a border patrolman.  When a border crossing went wrong and he couldn’t save the people he decided to leave the job and come back home to rethink a few things.

In going over the clues left by the stalker Shaun comes to the astonishing conclusion that this same person murdered his sister five years ago!  He is determined to protect Monica and help her get her children’s clinic built even if it means personally drawing out this “Stalker in the Shadows”.  You may be surprised who this stalker is and why he is doing this.

posted by Christy

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

  The Expats by Chris Pavone (Find in our catalog)

If you liked the early works of Ken Follett or Frederick Forsyth, you will enjoy this skillfully plotted spy thriller with a twenty-first century twist.  It is clever, suspenseful, with plenty of twists and turns that will fully exercise your intellect and your emotions.  The story is told from the perspective of Kate, an ex CIA  agent who gave up her career to have a family.  Her husband thinks she was a political analyst, but we quickly learn that she actually worked in black ops.  Along with Kate we also begin to suspect that her husband, whom she had made up her mind to trust when they married, is living some kind of double life.  Kate sets out to use her old trade craft and connections to find out just what Dexter is hiding from her and what is the truth behind his relocation of his family to Luxembourg.  The story is decidedly up-to-date with its view of the life of expat Americans in Europe, of the world of international banking and of computer security and hacking.  Just like any 21st century professional woman, the female spies want to balance career and family – they want to have it all but sometimes get bogged down in picking up kids from preschool or trying to put together kid-friendly meals.  There are so many twists and turns as Kate and Dexter roam all over Europe that you will be kept guessing until the very last page in this well-crafted, sometimes amusing, well-written story of deception on every level.