Think of a Number by John Verdon

by John Verdon

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Product Description:

An extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.

Arriving in the mail over a period of weeks are taunting letters that end with a simple declaration, “Think of any number…picture it…now see how well I know your secrets.” Amazingly, those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly. For Dave Gurney, just retired as the NYPD’s top homicide investigator and forging a new life with his wife, Madeleine, in upstate New York, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but quickly ignite a massive serial murder investigation.

What police are confronted with is a completely baffling killer, one who is fond of rhymes filled with threats and warnings, whose attention to detail is unprecedented, and who has an uncanny knack for disappearing into thin air. Even more disturbing, the scale of his ambition seems to widen as events unfold.

Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that leave local police in awe. Yet, even as he matches wits with his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney’s tragedy-marred past rises up to haunt him, his marriage approaches a dangerous precipice, and finally, a dark, cold fear builds that he’s met an adversary who can’t be stopped.

In the end, fighting to keep his bearings amid a whirlwind of menace and destruction, Gurney sees the truth of what he’s become – what we all become when guilty memories fester – and how his wife Madeleine’s clear-eyed advice may be the only answer that makes sense.

A work that defies easy labels — at once a propulsive masterpiece of suspense and an absorbing immersion in the lives of characters so real we seem to hear their heartbeats – Think of a Number is a novel you’ll not soon forget.

My thoughts…

I read this book quite some time ago, the plot still lingers whenever I see the book. This was definitely a pulsating thriller. As you read be very mindful of the clues that are scattered throughout the entire book. You may think you have it figured out just to find the author has added another striking twist to the story.

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A Plague of Iron

by Chuck Freadhoff

GR add to shelfWhen his son, Scott, is murdered in Tijuana, Wade Mauer vows to avenge his death. But Wade’s world is turned upside down a second time when he discovers that Scott was in love with a woman in Tijuana and that they had a son. Helped by his friend, Horn, a retired DEA agent, Wade undertakes a mission to find his grandson and the boy’s mother. The hunt takes Wade and Horn into a world of outlaw bikers, Russian mobsters and ultimately south of the border into the heart of the Mexican drug wars. As they prepare an audacious plan to rescue the boy and save his mother, Wade is forced to face his own dark secret. A Plague of Iron is a gripping thriller but also a story of family, and love and, ultimately, redemption.

My thoughts…

This is my first time reading Chuck Freadhoff’s work. I was thoroughly impressed with “A Plague of Iron.” It was very well written with exceptional plot timing and credible characters throughout. You will not stop reading until you’ve reached the very last page.

In Wade Mauer’s quest to find out why his son was murdered he uncovers a vast trail of drug wars and illicit gun running that his son may have been involved in.  Wade is helped by his long-time buddy to undertake the task of finding answers that lead him ultimately to discover that he now has a grandson.  This new-found fact gives Wade even more strength to pursue his mission to get the answers he needs to rescue his grandson and the boy’s mother from the treacherous outlaws that have abducted him.

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Political Suicide

by Michael Palmer

A massive cover-up gone awry

A prominent physician accused of murder

Uncovering the truth could put the entire country at risk

Dr. Gary McHugh, known around Washington, D.C. as the “society doc,” calls his longtime friend Dr. Lou Welcome in a state of panic, certain he is about to be arrested for murder. McHugh was found in an alcoholic blackout in his wrecked car after visiting a patient of his, the powerful Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Elias Colston. Soon after McHugh leaves, Colston’s wife returns home to find her husband shot to death in their garage. McHugh has no recollection of committing the crime and no one who would possibly believe in his innocence, other than Lou. As more facts come to light, even Lou has serious doubts. But something about McHugh’s story nags at him and as he looks into matters, pieces of the puzzle don’t point to his friend’s guilt so definitively.

With the help of Sarah Cooper, an ambitious attorney with her own reasons for hating doctors, Lou finds himself at the center of a deadly, high-level conspiracy where the difference between right and wrong is a matter of interpretation, and the words “whatever it takes” have a chilling meaning. If Lou and Sarah don’t uncover the real reasons Colston is dead, they may not survive themselves, and the entire country could be at risk for attacks that could destroy the very fabric of national security.

Once again, bestselling author Michael Palmer proves that he is the king of suspense in this page-turning thriller set at the crossroads of politics, the military, and medical science.

My thoughts…

Michael Palmer knows how to write a story that draws you in from the very beginning.  Dr. Lou Welcome is called by his good friend to help keep him out of prison for a murder he’s been accused of and has no memory of because he was suffering from an alcoholic blackout.  In the process of the sleuthing investigation by Dr. Welcome things don’t seem quite right.  Michael Palmer writes an amazing plot that takes many twists and turns that will keep you wondering until the very last page.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read “Oath of Office” where Dr. Lou Welcome is introduced but I think it’s going on my to be read list very soon.

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The Crowns Vengeance

by Andrew Clawson For 300 years, America has been under assault, the enemy silent, unseen. In the august halls of the Ivy League, a scholar uncovers shocking evidence of an unimaginable betrayal. Professor Erika Carr uncovers a Revolutionary era espionage report, lost for centuries in a cache of Alexander Hamilton’s private documents. Dr. Carr is … Continue reading

Utopia, Texas

by Michael E. Glasscock III

UtopiaTexasWhat happens when men of principle become men of violence?

In the quiet town of Utopia, Texas, life is simple. Monty Kilpatrick does his duty as a local game warden, catching poachers, smoking too many cigarettes, and trying to keep his marriage afloat. Most days he thinks about the loss of his young son and how to not be tempted to stray from his vows by one of the local girls.

But just across the border in Mexico, drug cartel kingpin Juan Diaz is running his empire with an iron fist. Utopia is part of the cartel’s main trafficking routes, and when Monty arrests Diaz’s brother during what he thought was a routine traffic stop, the men’s paths cross. In a moment, the formerly peaceful Utopia becomes a war zone.

Set in cartel haciendas and the rugged Texas landscape and featuring plenty of guns, explosions, and helicopters, Utopia, Texas pits Monty and Juan against each other, both bound by the opposing set of laws they’ve chosen to follow. In order to save his town, his wife, and his pride, Monty must be ready to lose everything he holds true.

My thoughts…

Utopia, Texas was a fast paced and strikingly authentic… the twists and turns will keep you guessing what will happen next and you’ll never believe how it ends…  Glasscock III has it all – suspenseful plot, magnificent scenery, and a hero who is tough but truly connected to his family.

For those who enjoy reading books authored by C. J. Box and William Kent Krueger will definitely enjoy reading Utopia, Texas.  Don’t walk run to your computer and download this fantastic read to your kindle while it’s still 99 cents.  It’s a great bargain and it’s so good that the author may decide to increase the price soon.

Happy reading

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Low Pressure

by Sandra Brown

Bellamy Lyston was only 12 years old when her older sister Susan was killed on a stormy Memorial Day. Bellamy’s fear of storms is a legacy of the tornado that destroyed the crime scene along with her memory of what really happened during the day’s most devastating moments.

Now, 18 years later, Bellamy has written a sensational, bestselling novel based on Susan’s murder. Because the book was inspired by the tragic event that still pains her family, she published it under a pseudonym to protect them from unwanted publicity. But when an opportunistic reporter for a tabloid newspaper discovers that the book is based on fact, Bellamy’s identity is exposed along with the family scandal.

Moreover, Bellamy becomes the target of an unnamed assailant who either wants the truth about Susan’s murder to remain unknown or, even more threatening, is determined to get vengeance for a man wrongfully accused and punished.

In order to identify her stalker, Bellamy must confront the ghosts of her past, including Dent Carter, Susan’s wayward and reckless boyfriend — and an original suspect in the murder case. Dent, with this and other stains on his past, is intent on clearing his name, and he needs Bellamy’s sealed memory to do it. But her safeguarded recollections -once unlocked-pose dangers that neither could foresee and puts both their lives in peril.

As Bellamy delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Susan’s slaying, she discovers disturbing elements of the crime which call into question the people she holds most dear. Haunted by partial memories, conflicted over her feelings for Dent, but determined to learn the truth, she won’t stop until she reveals Susan’s killer.

That is, unless Susan’s killer strikes her first…

My thoughts…

I would give this  three stars. I did enjoy reading Low Pressure and found it to be somewhat entertaining.  It’s just doesn’t measure up to some of past books I’ve read by Sandra Brown. Some other books I’ve really liked from Sandra are:  The Witness, Chill Factor, Hello Darkness, Smoke Screen, Ricochet, White Hot, and Play Dirty.

The Lincoln Conspiracy

by Timothy L. O’Brien

From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B & O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gas-lit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.

My take:

I wanted to like this book and did read it to the very end with some reservations along the way. I found that the characters were very hard to differentiate between, especially in the beginning. As the book progressed the characters were whittled down to the few manageable complex characters, this made it much easier to follow. Toward the end it finally felt like a mystery was forming and I looked forward to reaching the end of the book, but that turned out to be disappointing for me, maybe I expected too much. This would have been a great book if only the author had spent more time developing this mystery through history a little bit better based on the information gleaned from the two diaries Temple came to possess.

The Lincoln Conspiracy: A Novel

 

 

Only the Strongest Survive

by Ian Fox

Product Description:  The novel opens with a hair-tingling scene, as two men kidnap Emely Donnovan, one of the wealthiest women in America, and bury her alive.  What is behind this horrific crime?
Raised in a strict religious institution, Emely never knew her parents.  Fearing a life of poverty, she starts up a small business that deals mainly with buying and selling stocks.  Thanks to her extreme dedication and knowledge, the company grows over time into a major conglomerate. In her desire for ever greater financial security, this beautiful, ambitious CEO has accumulated a number of enemies.

But now she finds herself locked in the basement of a remote house in the middle of a forest, watched over by one of her captors who makes her buy and sell stocks for him so he can get rich. Her challenge to survive becomes even more complicated when Emely’s captor falls in love with her.

My Take:

Only the Strongest Survive was a very different type of mystery/thriller.  Most mystery/thriller books/novels spend most of the time on the introduction of how it happened, the back story of the individual(s), possible suspects, and so on.  Only the Strongest Survive dives right into the kidnapping of Emely Donnovan and very little time is spent on the back story, or even trying to actually find Emely for that matter.  In some instances I felt things were a little off because no one was looking for Emely, but as I kept reading it didn’t matter.  The whole of the book [to me] was what happened between Emely and her captors after she was kidnapped, and most of the characters in the book were well developed and memorable; others, not so much.

I received this book free from the author and was asked to give my honest opinion.  I did enjoy reading Only the Strongest Survive and would read other books by Ian Fox.

 

 

Damage Control

by Timothy Gilbert

Product Description:

When a Mexican drug lord sets his sights on celebrity money manager, Peter Hansen, a quiet terror is unleashed across suburban New Jersey. As Peter’s investment business morphs into a money laundering center for drug lord Julio Viola, friends, family and clients get caught in the wake.

Dr. Nick Johnson, Peter’s good friend, is appointed to serve on a high profile heart drug study, and is flattered and eager to further his stagnant career. But Nick’s excitement turns to terror when Julio discovers the valuable inside information Nick has about the pharmaceutical trial and unwittingly makes it known to Nick that the cartel has no plans to let him live in the end. Peter helps his friend Nick plan to fake his death so as to escape from the cartel, while Peter is soon forced to worry about his own family once Julio’s paranoia leads to several murders of Peter’s employees and clients.

Will Julio deliver on his death warrant for Nick? Will a celebrity client take vengeance on Peter for his lies? Once the money laundering outfit begins to unravel, Peter must act swiftly and harshly. The struggle Nick and Peter have in escaping from the deadly grasp of the cartel drives the energy of the novel.

My take:

The actual plot line could have made Damage Control a best seller if it didn’t lack organization of the plot and subplots, as well as better characterization of the players in the book.  I found it hard to follow and hard to know when one plot ended, when another subplot began, and when it returned to the main plot.  The author has a sequel to Damage Control called “Overload” that I have not had the opportunity to read, but was wondering if the author were to combine the two, would it make more sense?  Maybe I’ll have to get it.

Web of Evil

by J. A. Jance

Product Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of Edge of Evil is back with another masterful thriller featuring Ali Reynolds, an ex-television journalist who finds herself in a twisted web of mystery and murder.

Fired from her dream job as a Los Angeles new anchor and still recovering from the truth about her cheating husband, Ali is content to lick her wounds far away in Sedona, Arizona.  But before she can leave the past behind, she must return to L.A.: her ex, Paul, is in a hurry for a divorce so he can marry his very young, very pregnant fiancee.  But the day before the final proceedings, Paul’s bound and broken body is found in the Palm Springs desert.  Ali finds herself the sole heir to his wealthy estate – and the prime suspect in his brutal murder.  As the evidence piles up against her, she must navigate a torturous path strewn with danger – and bodies – to expose the real cold-blooded thriller.

Web of Evil is the first book I’ve read by J. A. Jance and I intend to read more by this author.  Web of Evil was a very thrilling, suspenseful read.  I’ve noticed other reviews that classify the book as “Hokey” but I thoroughly enjoyed reading of Ali’s adventures.