Review: City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare

2

The Mortal Instruments #4

SYNOPSIS: The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace. – via Goodreads

Okay, I am going to admit immediately that, of the four books in the series so far, this one is without a doubt the most uninspired. It could have ultimately been a short story, but instead was too long for a short story, but too short for a proper novel for this series (the books are longer). It was also totally unstructured and unsure of what it wanted to be, only starting to materialise with a point to the story near the end, which is a pity. Not the worst book to read, it just not have the oomph of its predecessors.

City of Fallen Angels blunders around. We finally get to read about Jace and Clary without that horrible sibling thing going on, and instead we get sulky teens avoiding each other and having no real idea what is going on. Like… they finally became the stereotype you fear in these kinds of books. There is no actual heat between them anymore (like there has been) and they are whining to everyone but each other. There is not really much character development in this one. Alec turns into a hot, jealous mess about Magnus, and it is not endearing or even funny. If anything, it will chap your ass because Alec has never been like this in any of the other books, which is so annoying. Why is this a thing now? Stop your crap Alec!

So no real plot or character development leaves the book feeling rather hollow. It is definitely lacks direction. I lapped up all the good bits I could, and will forever look at this as more of a filler book. No seriously scary villains in this (though really, there was all the potential in the world), and I feel that I have watched inordinate amounts of Supernatural because I called the instigator pretty much from the off, City of Fallen Angels is a step down from the other books, but certainly (EVENTUALLY) sets up for the story going back to some fantastic places. We shall see where it goes!

Review: Swerve – Vicki Pettersson

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swerve cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancé again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait. – via Goodreads

I rGRADE 7ead this after Kim over at By Hook Or By Book raved about it in her review. I was so happy when NetGalley approved my request, finished the book I was on and then got right on with this one. Swerve flows, so reading it is quite a quick task. It is a horror thriller type, and I could picture the whole thing like a movie. Why? It had scenes that were as predictable as any old horror movie, but it was good. Pettersson wrote this well, gave us something to chew on, although nothing as dramatic as I am sure some will be hoping for. While the villain was absolutely no shock to me, I was drawn in pretty much from the off of the novel. I have never read any of Pettersson’s previous work, but this book has convinced me to check out some more of her stuff. Swerve started chillingly, that chill subsides later, but that does not mean that this is a dull novel. I didn’t find the serial killer to be as intricate as I was hoping he would be, no real serious creepy issues or anything, and his reasons for doing what he was doing were also really shallow and weak. I did enjoy the way the novel raced through what was happening, drawing  us into Kristine’s panic, which works. The gore was also something fresh for me again, I haven’t read anything really bloody and nasty in a while, and dammit I know it sounds awful to say that it is exactly what I needed, but it was. Been reading a lot of books not quite so in my genre lately, so this was a refreshing change. The last third veered strongly into cliché territory, but for the story that had been set up before that, I don’t think it could really have gone any other way. I wanted more from the thriller aspect of this, but it does not mean that Pettersson failed, I just thought it would be a more in depth study as opposed to a cat and mouse game. The story is nothing we haven’t seen before, isn’t overly complex or perfect by a long shot, but it is entertaining, violent and brutal, demanding your attention from pretty much the off, and it is worth checking out, imperfections and all.

Review: Blue Smoke – Nora Roberts

7

nora roberts blue smoke cover

SYNOPSIS: Reena Hale at 12 is almost raped, her family restaurant burnt to the ground. In university, her boyfriend burns in his apartment. She becomes an arson investigator, haunted by obscene phone calls and horrific crimes. On the good side is Bo Goodnight, who sought Reena for years, and will not let her go. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Obviously this was a recommendation from Natasha, it would have to be 😉 Well, I must say that after the last few books from Roberts, I was a little sketch about reading anything else. Natasha insisted that I would likely enjoy this one, and that there was a bit more of a villain here. Seeing as Roberts novels are rather quick reads, I indulged. Something I learned here about the writer (the more that I read her work) is that she writes very well about big, Italian families that are all super involved with one another. It just comes across as more genuine than when she tries to write about single characters and small/non-existent family units. So on that alone I enjoyed this far more than any of the other ones I have read from her lately. Blue Smoke, while having its predictable moments, was not a bad read, and kept me entertained throughout. The villain is pretty obvious, and is typical with most books, the final confrontation was a bit of a cop out. Everything leading up to that was interesting though, which seems to be a flaw with most writers. Build up a story and a villain and get us invested and then fumble because they have no idea what to do now that the expectations are weighing up. Oh well. It just felt like the whole villain thing was a little convoluted and could definitely have been worked on a little more. I liked the fire aspect, and Reena was a much better female lead than most books can boast about – she is strong, on her own, dedicated, comfortable with herself and doesn’t need a man to define her. The relationship between her and Bo later on was something I expected a bit more from, and I thought things were a little hurried and unromantic there at times because of the setup we were presented with right in the beginning, but it doesn’t detract. I liked that, while the romance came in later and was important, this book didn’t feel fixated on banging each other and expressing undying love. It was centred strongly on the family, Reena’s career, the family restaurant and the ties between people. Time progressed nicely, and you never lingered anywhere longer than you had to. The characters were decent, too. Not too many got focused on too closely aside from Reena and Bo, but the supporting characters were entertaining and funny, serious, sweet, whatever they were required to be at the time. I was surprised by how graphic Roberts got about some things nearing the end – not because I mind graphic (I read far worse on average), but because this was so unlike anything I had ever read by her. There was more meat to this. Not a bad read, if you don’t mind some romance laced in between a light and simple suspense story.

Review: The Apprentice – Tess Gerritsen

5

the apprentice cover

Rizzoli & Isles #2

A year after the close of the Surgeon case, Detective Jane Rizzoli is haunted by the events of the previous summer,  yet still doing her best to work her job. She is a changed woman though, anyone could tell you that. While dealing with her near-death experience and the fact that her partner, Thomas Moore, married Catherine Cordell, the Surgeon Warren Hoyt’s obsession, she gets called out to an investigation which chills her to the bone. Detective Vince Korsak calls her in for input because someone is using the Surgeon’s signature and the crime scenes look eerily familiar yet with minor differences. Dr Maura Isles informs the police of a grisly turn of events in the case: necrophilia.

The FBI is called in, complicating the investigation intensely as everyone is playing cloak and dagger, smoke and mirrors. The latest killer on the loose is soon coined the Dominator due to the nature of his crimes. Attacking couples, horrific murders, teacups as warning systems while he forces the husband to watch the total desecration of his wife in front of him before being killed and the wife being taken. The situation becomes extremely aggravated when the Surgeon makes his grand escape after reading about the Dominator’s work in the papers. His long lost brother has been found, as he thinks, and a bloody plot of revenge to trap Rizzoli develops. Rizzoli is terrified but refuses to let the world see it, and her fights with FBI agent Gabriel Dean ratchet up.

After Dean apparently steps off the case, Rizzoli gets called off to Washington, where more past crimes are laid bare for her, and the case runs far deeper than even she initially suspected. She knew Dean had been witholding information from her, but the magnitude is shocking. Warren Hoyt is missing, and unknown subject is hunting and butchering couples, and there are absolutely no leads. The Dominator and the Surgeon are cut from the same cloth, and working together they will be unstoppable, something that certainly cannot happen. On top of all of this, it occurs to Rizzoli that they still might come after her, and fighting off two will be an impossibility. 

Will the serial killers come for Rizzoli? Will they ever catch up with Warren Hoyt and put him back where he belongs? Do the Dominator and the Surgeon identify with one another, and will they be a terrifying force to be reckoned with? What is Dean’s involvement with all of this?

GRADE 7.5I must say that I enjoyed The Apprentice. I thought that it was a step up a little from the last book in the way that Rizzoli certainly developed more as a character, and you don’t dislike her as much as you did. She has been broken, but I don’t really look at her as a victim, because she refuses to acknowledge that and rails against it constantly. Dr Maura Isles is a welcome addition of a character, and I liked her calm and cool attitude, though I do wish she had been included more. Then again, this is a simple introduction, and one that is subtle enough to work. I really liked Dean’s character, attitude and all, and I was really happy that Rizzoli eventually let herself be seen as a woman, too, and not just the cop. The passages about Hoyt were eerily similar to those from The Surgeon, but when you consider how closely linked these two are, it works. There were certainly changes from the last one, but much was the same. It worked, though, so I have no real complaints there. What I did have issues with is how some things were introduced and then fell away later on, got overlooked and forgotten (and here is specifically referencing the case she was called out on with the airplane man). Also, I felt that the conclusion, even though it was a triumph, was a little rushed and came to a screeching halt. It isn’t the worst thing. There was significantly more character growth in this one for Rizzoli, and I like the direction the books are headed in.

Review: The Surgeon – Tess Gerritsen

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the surgeon tess gerritsen cover

Rizzoli & Isles # 1

SYNOPSIS: In Boston, there’s a killer on the loose. A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician – a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.

But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful medic with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and attempted murder but she shot her attacker dead. Now she is being targeted by the new killer who seems to know all about her past, her work, and where she lives.

The man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her… – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Tess Gerritsen is a strange writer – sometimes she’s brilliant, sometimes she’s dull. The Surgeon is one of those that hits the spot. Nothing super amazing, but quite far from dull. The characters are not particularly fleshed out in this debut Rizzoli and Isles novel, aside from Thomas, Catherine, and Rizzoli. I know that Rizzoli is one of the leading characters, and I understand her struggle as a woman in a male-dominated environment, and I can understand how her upbringing also shaped her and how it has messed her up, but I think she is a bit selfish at the best of times, and a little hollow, too, even though I pity her. Moore is a character that I enjoyed and would have liked to have seen more of. The villain in this, though full of potential to be absolutely crazy, was not really given enough explanation when all was said and done. I had a few questions about the partnership, the meeting, the relationship, but they were not answered, and I felt it a cop out. Rizzoli also has a family that irritates me, they are equally as selfish and twisted as she is, and the family dynamic there is enough to just irritate me endlessly. I am sorry, but men are not the be all and end all in this world. Feminist in me coming out here, forgive me. The Surgeon flowed nicely, the writing was solid, but there was a lot of medical work and knowledge permeating the pages. Considering that Gerritsen was a doctor, that is fine, it lends her words credence, but sometimes there are things that are described in excruciating detail in the OR or ER and have no impact on the story or the plot/character development. The romance between Moore and Catherine didn’t jump up out of nowhere, at least, but it was also not the centre of the book (no, I am not a fan of Gerritsen’s pure romance side – so shallow). The Surgeon is a quick read, too, so if you are looking for a filler to pass the time or a new series to start on, I would say that this is a decent place to start.

Review: New Moon – Stephenie Meyer

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stephenie meyer new moon cover

Twilight #2

Bella Swan is being all moody and sour with her sparkling vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen on her birthday and is still miffed that he won’t turn her. His brother Jasper tries to eat her, and the Cullens move away. Nasty breakup ensues between Bella and Edward, she spirals into a deep depression like her family has been massacred, not like she has lost her boyfriend whom she has only been with for a few months. Months of obsession and depression after all that, eventually she starts hanging out with Jacob Black, an old friend. They get very close. He is in love with her, she cannot think further than Edward, but has no qualms crushing Jacob’s heart. Eventually Jacob goes on the fritz and she gets sour that he, too, would leave her. Turns out he is actually a werewolf (seriously). Huge misunderstanding at the end causes Edward to try out a suicide mission, and Bella runs with his sister Alice to stop it. Seems they just go back to normal, doesn’t matter about Jacob anymore, who is bitter because the Cullens are his tribe’s sworn enemy and he is in love with Bella, who loves his natural enemy, and he is a werewolf and has to protect his people from them.

GRADE 1Blah, blah, blah. Bitch, bitch, bitch. Moan, moan, moan. Me, me, me. Turn me, turn me, turn me. CRY CRY CRY. Breakup ensues. Depression. Mope, mope, mope. Edward, Edward, Edward. Longing. Suffering. Torture. Pain. CRY CRY CRY. Selfish up the wazoo. Bad writing. Descend on Jacob Black. Use him. Use him some more. Tug at his heart strings. Vampires, werewolves, panic. Edward, Edward, Edward. Mess Jacob around some more. CRY CRY CRY. Betrayal when Jacob has personal issues to deal with that don’t involve her. Sulk, sulk, sulk. More bad writing. Do some stupid stuff. More me, me, me. More moan, bitch, sulk, cry. Obsession, obsession, obsession. Depressed. Suicidal thoughts (because all these books seems to highlight is that losing a love is worth popping yourself over – especially after a few months). Bad writing. Romeo and Juliet references for Africa. CRY CRY CRY. Panic, panic, panic. Discard Jacob. Run to Edward. Edward, Edward, Edward. Obsession. Unhealthy. Unhealthy. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Fuck it. I will never get any part of my life back over this.

IT READS: ANDROID KARENINA (2010) BEN H. WINTERS

3

AK1

Linearly, first came “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith which, in it’s originality, made the NY Times Best Seller list and made Quirk Publications a zillion dollars. Then came “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters. I liked “PPZ” a great deal and then took on “SSSM” which I found very clunky. I didn’t find Winter’s style as hilarious as Grahame-Smith’s, so “SSSM” didn’t really do it for me (I’ll explain below). Since these made a LOT of money, and spawned dozens of imitators, it was announced at some point we were going to get more from Quirk. Next came “Android Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters (again). As always, I had no idea what “Anna Karenina” was about aside from “some Russian book some people have called the greatest novel ever written”. When this arrived at my door, I opened it up and was put off by a) it was co-written by Winters and b) it was almost 550 pages long. I normally just get to read in short spurts (unless the wife is reading something and we have “read time”) so I figured i would NEVER get into this or even finish it. But, mix in a sick day and the wife getting into a good book, and some dedication, I motored through “Android Karenina” and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed and entertained throughout.

If you are not familiar with “Anna Karenina” which I am not, and since there seems to be nowhere on the web for a “brief” summary, I’ll try and provide a short synopsis of “Android” here. (btw: “Anna Karenina” seems to roll in at over 800 pages… whew…) this follows a couple of years in the life of about fourteen 19th century Russian aristocrats and their intimacies with: politics, class, love, betrayal, religion, philosophy, marriage, death, births and, in the case of “Android”: robots, the Miracle Metal Groznium, interstellar flight, time travel, alien invaders, an anarchist group of underground scientists, gigantic worms, Emotion Bombs, duels to the death for position in government and, of course, Android Karenina. In “Android” this metal Groznium has been discovered and life as this century’s Russia knows it is filled with three different classes of robots who willingly do bidding for the human beings. There are small “Class 1s” which amount to things like dice, lights, wristwatches, lighters, door chimes, door knobs, stained glass windows, etc. Then came the “Class 2s” which are more humanly, performing things like butlery, serving, nursing, gaming, driving, etc. Eventually society and science have developed the “Class 3″ Beloved Companion robots, of which each dignified person of society receives when he or she turns 18. Android Karenina is a “Class 3″ to her companion Anna Karenina.

I think that’s about as brief as I can get without typing pages of text explaining what happens, but let me tell you it’s awfully funny. Despite having a dozen lead characters, and about 40 plot points, it’s not as complex as you might anticipate. It’s a very linear story of a bunch of people intertwining, politicking, having affairs, philosophizing, traveling to the moon or Venus and defending themselves and their Class 3s against both alien invaders and the Ministry of Russia itself (which is ruled by Anna Karenina’s forsaken and adultered-upon husband Alexei Karenin – whose face is half covered with a new and dangerous “Class 4″… that is rapidly taking over his mind!). It was kind of hard to get into it at the beginning, trying to map out the multiple characters with Russian names and their association to each other, as well as getting used to the way they describe the various types of droids, but after a while it got easier and was a fairly easy read. A beef: each character has at least three to four names in his or her “given name” plus, likely, a nickname, and the author(s) repeatedly call them by either their first, or first and last, or last, or nickname, which was kind of confusing until about page 200 when i was familiar with them all.

The only other thing I rolled my eyes at, is Winter’s use of “hey let me suddenly introduce something that should have been mentioned a long time ago, use it and then forget about forever”. He did that a lot in SSM and again here in “Android”. There’s no point to squeeze out an example here, but i think you get the point. I like it better when these types of “surprises” are planted in the past and then pop up unexpectedly. I will say that Winter’s storytelling was a LOT better this time around, to be sure. There are definitely some laugh out loud moments and something VERY funny and sarcastic happens on page 468. Then, when you’ve made it so far, through so many words and story development, the big payoff comes on page 508 – the VERY SATISFYING big reveal semi-conclusion (since the story goes on for another 30 pages).

All in all – a very enjoyable read, well worth it (if you’re interested) and the volume didn’t really take much to conquer.

AK2

IT READS: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: DREADFULLY EVER AFTER (2011) STEVE HOCKENSMITH

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PAPAZDEA

As a little back story to this feature – I use to be a very avid book reader before I got entangled in the world of blogging and just started reading blogs all day. I even had / have a book review site that I wrote on occasionally that I haven’t updated since January of 2013.  The other day I opened the bureau to get something out of it and I noticed the STACK of unread books I have sitting there and got nostalgic for the smell and feel of printed material and thought to myself, “You know what? I’m going to read a fucking book!” And, since I know Zoë is such a fan of book reading I told her about my new dedication and she was all “YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA YOU CHOP!!!!” and we discussed posting about it / them out here. Then we discussed my book review site and how I want to turn it down and we thought maybe we could put some of them out here on Zuts, not only to build her library but also to not just throw away all of that fucking typing I did.

So, today we present another installment of IT READS: and we’ll go with the entertaining and pretty hilarious PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: DREADFULLY EVER AFTER

P.S. This was actually written a few years ago so those of you familiar with my style my find this a little different. And – look at that naming convention!

***

Man oh man this book was great! HILARIOUS! Easy to read! It was so entertaining I could barely put it down and breezed through the 286 pages in five days. This guy, Hockensmith put out two superbly funny, smart, sarcastic, wry, smart ass books for Quirk, and I loved them both. I suppose this is the end of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series (but i sure hope not). Hockensmith has another series of books he has put out about two cowboy detectives in the “old west”, I have to check them out. Of course you know that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out a few years ago to HUGE applaud (and sales) and spawned DOZENs of imitators. If you search for it on Amazon you’ll see things like: “Jane Slayre”, “Little Vampire Women”, “Queen Victoria: Demon hunter”, “Little Women and Werewolves”, etc as well as the follow ups Quirk put out, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls” (the prequel) and now this one, the sequel. Again – i loved it.

Here’s the dust jacket synopsis: “When we last saw Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy – at the end of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – they were preparing for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Yet the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love – and for everyone to live happily ever after. Complete with romance, heartbreak, martial arts, cannibalism and an army of shambling corpses, Dreadfully Ever After brings the story of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to a thrilling conclusion.”

There you go – Darcy is bitten pretty early in the book and they call in their arch enemy, Darcy’s aunt, for help (Darcy’s Aunt hates Elizabeth because she had betrothed Darcy to her own daughter, Anne, in PPZ, but Lizzy won his heart). Oh, and Lizzy also bested her cadre of ninjas in a dojo single handedly and spread his aunt’s life. Anyway, the aunt Lady Catherine the Great hatches a plan to send Elizabeth, her sister Kitty, her father Mr. Bennet, a group of ninja assassins, a ninja named Nezu as a guide and a strange limbless man in a box to London to steal the miracle cure. To do so, they (the ladies) are going to have to seduce the scientist who created it, or his son and sneak into the lab and make out with the potion. By doing this, this will also show Darcy that his low class wife is a jezebel who seduces men while her husband lies sick and undead, thus making him fall in love with his frail cousin Anne once and for all.

Well, things get VERY FUNNY from here on out and the story actually takes an interesting route to the end. The previous two books were pretty linear (if I recall correctly) as in – here’s your story from A to Z, one route. This one takes at least four different paths: one of Elizabeth and her father, one of Kitty, Bunny (the scientist’s son) and the guardian Nezu, one of Mary (another Bennet sister) and the mysterious Man in the Box, one of Darcy and Anne back at the manor and then even one chapter about the most notorious and important Zombie in history (Mr. Cricket) – the one who ate King George the 3rd. So, as everyone goes off on their delightfully entertaining adventures that had me smiling and laughing constantly, he weaves the compelling back story of Darcy and Anne and the secret Anne hides. Catherine has falsified letters from Elizabeth, among other things, in the hope of driving the two together. Eventually, everyone ends up back at the manor, along with several new characters for what can only be called an appropriate and just ending.

Along the way, we get more wickedly funny woodcuts, cross dressing man servants and a whole lot of action! I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a good time filled with zombies, martial arts, and merry Olde English providence. Hilarious! Well done! For those of you who have read the prequel “Dawn of the Dreadfuls” you will probably get an idea of just who the man in the box is – if your memory is strong. I had an idea the first time they encounter “the box” and it stuck with me throughout and, even when I was absolutely positive who it was, when the big reveal came about, it was still very joyous.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book – all rights reserved to Quirk:

“When faced with discomfort, she did the Engish thing: she changed the subject.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

In this passage, Darcy has been given some of the serum that keeps the recently stricken clinging to life, and he wants to get out of his room:

…This was something he had to do himself. With a monumental exertion of will, he swung his feet off the bed and stood.

Then he fainted.

Sometime later he picked himself up of the floor and stood again. When he was satisfied that he could manage without fainting, he started shuffling toward the dresser.

Then he fainted.

When he regained consciousness, he started the process over. He stood, shuffled, fainted, found his clothes, fainted, stood, put on his trousers, fainted, put  on his shirt, didn’t faint, put on his waistcoat, didn’t faint, put on his stockings, didn’t faint, picked up his coat, fainted, stood, picked up his coat, fainted,  stood and finally decided he could live without the coat. After much (but faintless) effort,  he had on his shoes and cravat and was at last ready to leave his little tomb in which he had been interred for too long.

That’s it – the whole thing is full of fun just like that.

Here’s the trailer. It’s not quite as fun as the first one:

Review: Last to Die – Tess Gerritsen

1

last to die cover

Rizzoli & Isles #10

Here we are, my fifth book for the fifty book challenge. The encouragement knowing I have a total to work toward is very satisfying. This is also the tenth book in the Rizzoli & Isles series that I have been reading and reviewing.

Detective Jane Rizzoli is called in on her day off. Everybody has been called in, and Jane can only assume the worst. Arriving at a house, she is walked through a butchered foster family, and a surviving child, Teddy Clock, who managed to make it out. This is the second time he has made it out by the skin of his teeth. Two years prior to his foster family being wiped out, his actual family was murdered. She needs to make progress with him to see if there is any way that they can tie it all together.

Dr Maura Isles goes to Evensong to visit with Julian “Rat” Perkins, and is shocked by how truly isolated the school really is. Anthony Sansone owns and runs the place, but seems rather off with her, and it throws her somewhat. While there, Maura meets some other students, and her skin crawls when she realizes that all the students are what the board calls “survivors”. All victims of violence and brutality, they are the ones that made it out. Things worsen when she establishes that there are another two children in Evensong that had their biological families killed two years ago withing the same week, as well as their foster families now recently, both kids surviving both ordeals narrowly. Claire Ward is an oddball, and Will Yablonski a geek. Maura contacts Jane to inform her of the development, and Jane takes it upon herself to visit Teddy again. When there, an intruder breaks into the home and Jane is sure that Teddy was the target again. She calls Maura, and whatever Maura’s misgivings are about the school, she insists Jane bring him there to her after she hears of the second attack.

Maura and Jane need to establish what is going on and how these kids are involved and quickly link them together. Evensong may be a safe school, a type of fortress even, but it also makes the women think of sitting ducks, and the feeling is not assuaged when the school psychologist, Dr Welliver, takes a swan dive off the top of the building. Time starts ticking by too fast and too slow all at once, and Jane needs to find a way to investigate this. Lieutenant Marquette gives her a little leeway to find out what is going on when detective Darren Crowe closes the case of Teddy’s foster family’s slaying overly quickly. Bringing in her partner Barry Frost is all Jane asks for, and together they start hunting down answers that seem impossible to render complete.

GRADE 6.5The story was gripping in a way, but did not draw me all the way in. The writing was tight and neat and the story flowed effortlessly. However, I was expecting the plot twist to be far bigger than it actually was in the end, so I felt a little let down. I am glad that Jane and Maura finally sorted their differences out for the better part, and Anthony Sansone’s character was so different from usual in this book. Julian is doing so well, which is great, and it is awesome that Tess Gerritsen keeps that story nourished and on the go. The drama in the Rizolli family is reaching new level of crazy, and the more I read about it, the more I dislike her father, Frank Sr, and brother, Frankie Jr. What chops. Overall, a decent addition to the series,  but not one hundred percent what I was expecting to read.