[Book Review] Assassinations and the second-book syndrome

devils-dueDevil’s Due by Rachel Caine (Red Letter Days #2)

You know those brilliant first books where the mystery is explosive, the danger looming, and the characters thrown in the deep end, barely treading water? That was Devil’s Bargain. A fun, romantic suspense/action thriller that pitted ex-cop Jazz against her mysterious benefactor – a powerful organization with endless oogles of money that mailed her mysterious instructions in red envelopes. She could take the money and be a pawn, or she could throw it all away and be a target.

In book one, Jazz and her partner, Lucia, decided to be pawns. In this second (and, I think, last) installment of the series they chose free will (and the subsequent imminent threat to their lives). Told from Lucia’s perspective, Devil’s Due picks up at the end of Devil’s Bargain. Ben, his name finally cleared, is about to be released from prison, Lucia’s past rears its deadly head, and detective cases (and red letters with morally questionable instructions) keep on coming. And, of course, romance and suspense and action. Continue reading

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The Cover Made Me Read It: Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

This one is a little different. It’s not fantasy. It’s not Science Fiction. It’s not even speculative or young adult. It’s a suspense/thriller/assassin/romance. But just look at those covers. (You get two, because I couldn’t pick editions.)

The Book I Ended Up Reading. Cuz Cover.

Killing Sarai Killing Sarai2
Yeah.

The Plot: “Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.”

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TV Tuesday: Person of Interest–and books of interest

Each week, we’ll spotlight a current television show that we love, and the books that you just might like. Here are this week’s reading suggestions based on…

Person of Interest:

This show stands out for having an incredibly silly premise with a mind-blowingly fun execution. Reese (Jim Caviezel) is a modern-day Batman running around New York City battling crime bosses, saving lives, dodging his ex-CIA handlers, and hiding from the police. Oh and he stops cars full of bad guys with his rocket launcher.

In the meantime, his paranoid genius sidekick and tech support, Finch (Michael Emerson), uses a supercomputer to come up with the names of the people who are going to be killed in the next few days. It’s Reese’s job to stop that from happening.

And if Reese just happens to end up shooting a bunch of bad guys in the process, well, looks like the job has perks.

In books too, I have it bad for badass killer characters with traumatic pasts. Ever since Salvatore’s Drizzt D’Urden and Ludlum’s Jason Bourne, I’ve been infatuated with smart-talking, quick-thinking, fast-stabbing characters like Reese. There aren’t a lot of well-written badasses out there, so in my reading habits, I often default to other storylines to get my fix.

Here are a few character-driven book suggestions involving some seriously awesome protagonists:

Continue reading

[ Pitch Slapped ] When the Going Gets Rough…

…the Readers Start Running.

Birthright by RJ Palmer is a paranormal mystery and suspense novel. The problem? The blurb slams the reader with more than the allotted amount of mysterious; I quite literally had no idea what was going on in the book’s pitch.

For this pitch, I’d say it’s a case of not actually knowing what the story is about, and that’s surprisingly common ailment among authors. It’s hard for writers to condense their darling into just a few, bare sentences. When you are so close to your story, it isn’t easy to step back and talk about the main thrust of the narrative. So, let’s try to parse the blurb down into a tantalizing pitch.

 The original pitch: Continue reading