The Woods – Harlan Coben

The Woods – Harlan Coben
An oldie yet still a goodie from Harlan. Well only 9 years old but when an author releases a book or 2 a year 9 years is a long time and many books ago. Fortunately Harlan really hit his stride many years ago so this book really holds its own.
Paul’s sister was murdered along with 3 others years ago at a summer camp and his mother ran off not long after. For years his father would go into the woods and dig looking for his daughter, When Paul’s father dies he feels its time to let it all go and move on that. That is until he gets called in to ID a body that body turns out to be that of one of the kids murdered at that camp years ago, but how can that be,  could his sister also be alive. Paul’s attempts to get to the bottom of this really show just how far a family will go to protect its own.
This is another of Harlan’s stand alone novels but it has a recurring character loren muse who appears in several stand alones. A great character that i love reading and i love the fact that it implies all this stories occur in the same literary world. This book has the usual roller coaster of twists and turns before the shocking end.

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury
Picked up the first book in this series along time ago but never read it. Didn’t even know it was part of series back then, i just saw it involved the Templars and thought it might be in a similar vane to Da Vinci code.
The Last Templar
The story in the is broken into 2 plot lines. The first set in the modern day world follows on from a heist at The Metropolitan Museum, where men on horseback dressed as Templars steal an artifact and the second plot line is set in the past first starting in 1291 and follows the Templars as they try and hide the artifact, as the city of Acre falls to invaders. Both lines do not initially discuss the nature of the artifact we find that out later.
What follows is very Da Vinci Code style hunt for treasure with Archaeologist Tess Chaykin(who was in the museum when it was robbed) and FBI Sean Reilly which leads them to a shocking discovery about the artifact. Which then leads us to the most disappointing part of the book. Tess talks about her job as an Archaeologist as uncovering the truth and how it is important to let the people decide etc, but then when she discovers what the artifact was she lets it be destroyed because it could upset some religious people, what a joke, a betrayal of her character. I just couldn’t believe this hogwash ending it just felt so wrong it almost turned me off the whole series luckily i persevered
The Templar Salvation
This book follows a similar vane with the same duo from the first book hunting down another Templar artifact. This time with a crazed Iranian hit man after them and the treasure. I never thought i would hope for a terrorist to win but after the bullshit ending in the first book i wanted the terrorist to find the artifact and reveal it to the world which was his intent.  Fortunately when the duo uncover it they too decide to share it and luckily it includes a copy of the artifact lost in the first book so their idiocy was undone
The Devil’s Elixir
I was disappointed to find that  this book goes on a different path and has nothing to do with the Templars. This one deals with figures from Sean’s past coming back to take him down and also to dispense a knew drug to the world with crazy hallucinations properties. I liked this one a lot, i thought it was going to go a bit too crazy with some of its mumbo jumbo but turned out there was a very logical basis for it. Very creative writing by the author.
Rasputin’s Shadow
My favorite book so far, the first book was the authors debut and now 8 years later with this book you can really feel how much the author has come into his own writing style and groove. This is much more structured and has the characters behaving in logical ways. Far better writing to be honest. The plot follows A Russian who is the son of a man very close to Rasputan, as he discovers a shocking secret behind Rasputan’s powers and builds a weapon following designs left by his dad. Realizing its power could be used by the wrong people he destroys it and flees to the US. Now in his last years of life he has been found and begins a race between the US n Russia to capture him and this deadly weapon before it is used
While originally i thought this was a series about Templar knights, its actually about Tess and Sean, which works since they are very like-able people and aside from some stupidity in the first book are quite fun to read. There are some issues from Seans past that are being slowly pieced together over these 4 books and looks like coming to a forefront in the next book. I’m really looking forward to it as i feel the author has come into his stride the characters make logical choices now and the plots and intrigue are just sucking me in each time. This series is very Da Vinci Code like for the first two books and then delves into a more thriller/adventure story as the themes move away from the Templars and focus more on Sean than Tess’s vocation.

No Second Chance – Harlan Coben

No Second Chance – Harlan Coben
Found another thriller by Harlan Coben in my to read pile. A man is shot and almost killed, when his wife is gunned down and his kid kidnapped. The ransom letter arrives and says no cops, no second chances but he makes the rookie mistake all people do in movies etc and calls the cops. Naturally an inside man tips them off and boom kidnappers disappear.
A year passes the investigation has pretty much stopped the man has tried to move on with his life when another ransom arrives. Will he make the same mistake as before or follow the instructions.
Great read loved every minute of it, the twists and turns. The heart wrenching conclusion. definitely one of my favorites of his works.

Stalin’s Hammer: Rome – John Birmingham

Stalin’s Hammer: Rome – John Birmingham
Continuing on from the epic Axis of Time trilogy,  John returns us to the world he established but a few years later. The year is now 1955 and the world has changed. The Allies won world war 2 (again) but with different outcomes, German cities being Nuked and finished earlier than expected.  The technology from the future has been in their hands for 13 years now and great leaps and bounds are being made.
Stalin’s Hammer is scheduled to be broken into 3  books, Rome being the first, Cairo and Paris being the other too and these books catch us up on what has been happening. Turns out Stalin not happy to hear his communist party doesn’t survive to the turn of century and sets out to fix this. Whatever that may mean….
Let me be clear i’m not an ebook person. I could ramble on about the smell, tactile sensation or how awesome a full bookshelf is but that’s beside the point. I prefer books on the shelf but since john has been screwed over by publishers he is going out on his own. As such the only (read cost effective) way to get the books is in ebook format. These are just novellas so quite short but i loved the world he created and just had to get them. Since my favourite characters from Axis of Time return such as Prince Harry, it is a fantastic (short) read.
He intends to release part 2 and 3 for free on his mailing list first so defiantly jump in there and sign up if you like freebies. http://cheeseburgergothic.com/

Fool Me Once – Harlan Coben

Fool Me Once – Harlan Coben
Been a fan of Coben for a few years now and each time he releases a new book i grab it day one. Here we have another great thriller with twists and turns right up until the end.
Maya is a war veteran who seems to have a bit of PTSD going on. Her world falls apart when her husband is killed. Now a single mum, she is fiercely protective of her daughter and so a friend trying to help buys her a nanny cam so she can watch her daughter when she is with the nanny.
One day reviewing footage she sees something that cant be real, she refuses to accept it, but the evidence is there in front of her. Her dead husband is on the footage…..
What happens next is a rollercoaster ride that leads us to a shocking ending.
This book is great, not just from having a female protagonist but also for dealing with PTSD. Harlan goes on to thank and acknowledge the many veterans he has spoken with in regarding to dealing with PTSD. I thought that was a nice addition
A definite must have for the thriller lovers out there

Hurricane Fever – Tobias S. Buckell

Hurricane Fever – Tobias S. Buckell
Awhile back i read a book called Arctic Rising and after adding it to my bookshelf on Goodreads i noticed it was part if a series. Goodreads had another book listed as Arctic Rising #2. So i’m like cool ill grab it, having really enjoyed the world set up in Arctic Rising.
However the story only follows ONE character from the original and not even the main character. Once that disappointment subsided i did enjoy the book, the suspense of a looming hurricane and the desire to solve the mystery of who killed his friend before it hits was real and palpable. His friends death was just the beginning and is now tangled in something far worse.
I didn’t expect the book to end as sudden as it did. Really felt more could of been added to it. Still thinking back to the world established in the first book.  I wouldn’t mind another book from this series if the author feels like writing another

What Remains Of Me – Alison Gaylin

What Remains Of Me – Alison Gaylin
One of my favourite authors tweeted a new book being published. I don’t know if he was contractually obliged to do it, or if he even knew the author. But he made a tweet and said i should read it, So i did
Cheapest version i could find was a $34 paperback. Like what the heck, $34 bucks for a paperback, what a joke. But i bought it anyway. Turns out it was a large font book. Didn’t even know this was a thing, While the book size wasn’t much bigger than others, the font was huge and so had less lines per page. Made me feel like i was reading a kids book.
I did like the story in that she had flashbacks to her youth in 1980 and then events in the current time of 2010. With chapters alternating between the two times and both moving forward was interesting to follow as the pieces to the story came together.Some parts were obvious, why does an author always write a troubled teen, means an abused teen. Think that train of thought is over used these days. So i guessed straight away there was some abuse involved. The careful wording characters used to describe douchebag 1 (We will call him that to not spoil the book) made it obvious to me as the reader he was a kiddy toucher. The twists and double twists were still great as i was putting the picture together.
Though since many of the main characters were female, at times i just couldn’t understand their thought process or why they were behaving in a certain way. I really did enjoy the book. Definitely another great female author i will be keeping my eye on.