April 30, 2009

Book #32: A Secret Rage

A Secret Rage by Charlaine Harris is one of her few stand-alone novels. (The new Sookie Stackhouse book comes out May 5!) I find myself having a harder time connecting with her characters that are not in a series.

Nickie Callahan is a former model who’s returning to her Southern roots, and leaving New York City to move in with her best friend to go back to college in Tennessee. A lot of this book is about what it’s like to come back to the South after having been away for a long time. Part of you loves to be home, to see the familiar plants and trees growing, hear the familiar accents, but part of you is appalled at how much it hasn’t changed, and how small minded the rural South can be.

Upon moving back to Tennessee, Nickie hears about the recent rape that occurred on the college campus that she’ll be attending. Before she knows it, there are more and more victims, herself included. But Nickie decides that she doesn’t just feel victimized, and scared, she also feels enraged. She joins up with one of the other victims and they start making lists of all of the men they both know (both of them convinced the attacker knew them) and they begin investigating on their own.

Nickie slowly begins to get her life back, and embarks on a new romance, but she knows she’ll never be the same person she was. The ending was realistic, but somewhat unsatisfying. I guess I don’t like too much reality intruding in my stories.

April 21, 2009

Book #31: Immortal in Death

Okay, final re-read for a while (I’ve been waiting for the second Francesca Cahill novel to arrive. Damn thing wasn’t available on Kindle). Immortal in Death is the third Nora Roberts In Death book.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPD would rather face armed drug addicts than go shopping for a wedding dress. Lucky for her, she gets plenty of brutal killings to investigate (including having her best friend as a suspect), but still ends up having to get married.

I like how realistically gritty New York City is in 2058. Guns have been outlawed, prostitution has been legalized, but there still manages to be amazing amounts of crime. I’m also fascinated by the procedure and the detail involved in investigating homicides. It appeals to my organized nature.

To find out how Eve gets a new partner, catches a serial killer, and marries a billionaire, you’ll have to read the book.

Book #30: Glory in Death

In Glory in Death, the second novel in Nora Roberts’ In Death series (and one I’ve read a dozen times already), futuristic homicide detective Eve Dallas has to get used to being a billionaire’s girlfriend, while also hunting a serial killer. You know how it is.

Eve is wary of how serious her relationship seems to be becoming with formerly shady Irish billionaire, Roarke. Plus she’s always believed cops are a bad bet relationship-wise. She’s also hunting a serial killer who is murdering high profile women in NYC, women frequently in the media, like Eve herself.

Eve tries to use herself as bait for the serial killer, while also balancing her increasingly serious love affair. Just as Eve catches her killer, and agrees to give up her independence and live with Roarke, he decides he’s going to need more of a commitment… Dum dum da dum.

April 13, 2009

Book #29: Naked in Death

Naked in Death is a re-read, and a book I seem to read at least once a year. It's the first book in Nora Roberts' (writing as J.D. Robb) incredibly popular futuristic detective In Death series, and it's one of my all time favorites.

Eve Dallas is a homicide detective in the mid part of the 21st century. They've outlawed guns, but they can't seem to get rid of murder. Eve is an orphan who barely has any memory of her life before she was 8 years-old and found abandoned in an alley in Dallas. She's spent ten years on the New York City police force building her tough reputation.

Eve is appointed to investigate the murder of a high class prostitute, who also happens to be the grand-daughter of a vocal, conservative senator. And the killer warns her this is only the first of six murders.

In the course of the investigation, Eve meets Roarke, a gorgeous, mysterious billionaire originally from Ireland. She finds herself immediately attracted, but she also finds her investigation constantly leading back to him.

I love this gritty and fun, yet emotionally intense suspense series. The characters are incredibly well drawn, and the setting is interesting and believable. It's a struggle to not re-read the entire series, when I meant to be reading new material.

Book #28: Sweet and Deadly

Sweet and Deadly is the first book I've read by Charlaine Harris that wasn't part of a series. And now I understand why she seems to prefer to write serials. This novel seemed spare and lacking in character development compared to her usual stories.

Catherine Linton is the social reporter in her tiny Mississippi town. Since she moved home after her parents' tragic accidental (or homicidal) deaths, she's gotten a reputation for being an eccentric loner. That reputation is not helped by her finding a dead body on her property.

Catherine uncovers many secrets in her small town, while trying to solve the murder. But I never felt like we really got to know or understand her as a person.

I really can't wait until the new Sookie Stackhouse book comes out in May.

April 06, 2009

Book #27: Secret Life of a Vampire

It's Ms. Vampire Girl to you. Book number six in the Love at Stake series by Kerrelyn Sparks, is Secret Life of a Vampire. I haven't read one from this fluffy series in over a month. So it was a nice to revisit this complete departure from reality.

Lara Boucher is a former Miss Louisiana who decides to become a police officer after a near fatal car crash leaves her with a head injury and the wish to do something important with her life. She's fresh out of the police academy and working the night shift in New York City when she meets a very strange, yet incredibly good looking guy, who tries to wipe her memory.

Jack Venezia is a 200 year-old vampire, private investigator for a supernatural security agency, and the son of the infamous lover, Casanova. Jack has always been conscious of not living up to his father's legacy, but he's a very romantic vampire at heart. As with all of Kerrelyn Sparks' vampires, he has to have a catch-phrase epithet. Jack's personal favorite is "nine circles of hell". I think I prefer it over "God's blood".

The heroine of course doesn't get a personalized catch-phrase, so she has to use the often abused (at least in this damned series), "rascal". Argh! You're killing me Kerrelyn.

April 05, 2009

Book #26: Deadly Love

Deadly Love is the first book in Brenda Joyce's Francesca Cahill Romance series. I object a little bit to the "romance label", since this is obviously a suspense novel, with just a little bit of romance (which pretty much every suspense novel has).

Francesca Cahill is a bluestocking in New York City in the early 1900's. She's lucky enough to come from an extremely wealthy family but is very concerned with the political issues of the day, such as the living conditions of the city's working poor, and the corrupt police department. At 20, Francsca's parents are anxious for her to get married, but she's more concerned with obtaining a degree from Barnard College, where she's secretly enrolled.

Francesca meets Rick Bragg, the new city police commissioner, at a fancy party at her parents' house and find herself uncharacteristically flustered by him. It's not long before a child is kidnapped and Francesca is insinuating herself into the police investigation.

The nice thing about this series is that since it centers on one person, everything doesn't have to wrap up neatly by the last page. The case is solved, but we don't know what will happen between Francesca and Rick, and whether Francesca will pursue her hairbrained scheme to become (presumably the first woman) private investigator.