Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Buzz: Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

Outstanding! This isn't the first in Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series, but it's the first one I've read. Keeping up with the story was no problem because the pertinent back story was all filled in nicely. After thoroughly enjoying Ice Cold, I'll pick up the others in this series, too.

Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles travels to a Wyoming medical conference in the middle of a very harsh winter. Plagued by personal issues, saddened by her current relationship, it seems a good opportunity for her to put her head back on straight. At any rate, it's a chance to have a little fun with a charismatic, good-looking man from her past who resurfaces at the same venue. Within a day of their meeting, though, they are isolated in blizzard conditions and are fighting for survival in a ghost town (really, a ghost town!) where circumstances suggest that something unthinkably sinister has happened to the town's ill-fated former occupants. With no viable options to return to civilization, Maura could very well be the next one to mysteriously disappear for good . . . unless she can figure out just what the hell is going on.

"Winter" seems to be a character in this book. The setting is so huge a part of the action and the imagery so well-developed that I felt like I was stranded in the snowy Wyoming valley with her. This made it a great novel to read in Texas in August. :-)

Recommended for fans of female protagonists, medical thrillers, and just plain creepy stuff.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Excerpt Friday: Dead Lift

Stiletto Gang authors are running a series of excerpts, and today I'm up. There's a sneak peek at the opening pages of Dead Lift over there. Hope you'll stop by. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Buzz: The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan

It's no secret that I'm a big Tim Hallinan fan. I've said so here and here and here and here. His latest Poke Raffery thriller, The Queen of Patpong, comes out on Tuesday! I had the good luck to read an early copy, so right now I feel kind of like I do when there's a dessert in the kitchen and I tell my kids to let Mom have the first bite to make sure the cookies aren't spoiled or anything. This here's some gooood cookies. :)

Hallinan delivers another gripping page-turner in his latest Poke Rafferty novel, The Queen of Patpong. There's a new man in Bangkok--pure poison, evil to his core--who has it in for Rafferty's wife, Rose. And in typical Rose fashion, she's too stoic and independent to tell Rafferty just what the hell is going on.

The novel switches between Rafferty and Rose's present day danger and Rose's private history, which we learn was both tragic and heroic. Readers will come away from The Queen of Patpong with a whole new respect for Rose, guaranteed. Other favorite characters--Arthit, Kosit, Miaow--are back too. Fans of the series who remember Miaow's obsessively parted hair will smile when you see what she's done to it now. :)

In this beautifully written story, Hallinan once again uses brilliant characterization and the backdrop of an amazing city to subtly show us another perspective of a misunderstood community in the streets of Bangkok--the girls and young women who dance in bars and support their families via prostitution. As he says in his author's note, and portrays through Rose's story, many of these women have done the best they can with a very limited number of choices. What Hallinan does here is strip away the collective grouping of "bar girls" and "hookers" and instead let us spend a few hours with Rose, Fon, Oom, and Nit. I found that, just like in real life, once you know people as individuals and begin to understand where they came from, a situation you thought you understood can appear in a whole, new light.

That's Hallinan's hallmark--making huge statements through the lives of his characters. This is an entertaining, tense thriller with sophisticated prose and characters about as human as they come. Fans of Poke Rafferty won't want to miss it, and new readers can start here if they like. There's enough back story to bring everyone right up to speed.