Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Kill Room by Jeffrey Deaver is a great mystery/thriller with surprisingly intense suspense and action scenes.  I found the characters extremely interesting, particularly the villains who were well-drawn, complex and chilling.

This is my first time reading these characters, and while I’m sure there is much background and history I am lacking, I had no trouble relating to them and picking up on the relationships.  The story itself was nicely complex with several twists and turns that keep you paying close attention along with the investigators to follow the clues back to the perpetrators.  While the crime is revealed in the opening pages, the full motives behind it, as well as how it was accomplished and the role of each of the villains is gradually revealed.  Several false starts and dead ends keep you guessing along with the lead characters, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs.

The book alternates viewpoints between the good guys and the bad guys.  This plot device can be overdone, but Deaver uses it well here creating both misdirection and suspense without overdoing it.  One of the villains, Jacob Swann, is particularly chilling in a Hannibal Lecter sort of way.  He is intelligent and equal parts fascinating and horrifying.  

I was truly on the edge of my seat due to the intensity of some of the passages.  Very minor quibbles with the overuse of certain terms.  It is impressive that this many books into a series, the characters feel so fresh and the storytelling is so crisp.  This is a quick read and a book certain to please long-time fans as well as win new ones.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines

I really enjoyed Peter Clines first zombies vs. superheroes book, Ex-Heroes, but he really takes it up a notch in the second book, Ex-Patriots.  

The action in this book moves from Hollywood to a secret army base near Yuma, Arizona, where a group of super soldiers has survived and is protecting the small base.  Cline takes some of the common zombie tropes (like never trust the army in a zombie film/book) and turns them, not quite upside down, but on their side.  He does this in a self-referential way so that the reader is in on it with him.  

Cline maintains the same style of shifting first-person accounts, as well as alternating between “then” and “now” to fill you in on the backstory and reveal some of the motives and the plot twists along the way.  The best part about Ex-Patriots is that being the second book in the series, there is not as much exposition needed and that leaves more room for action.  A lot of action.

The first part of the book does a good job of setting up the story, creating suspicions and doubts as to who the good guys really are.  That leads to the second half of the book as disaster strikes and a nice, long, well-written battle takes place.  Some parts are forecast a little bit, but Cline does a good job of meting out the twists and surprises that make the whole story come together.  Sometimes things get a little over the top and testosterone-filled, but we’re talking about superheroes and super soldiers and zombies.  A little over the top is to be expected.

The characters here are worth rooting for which is what really makes the book work.  Along with the new characters, you get to know some of the core characters from the first book even better.  This is a great, summer, escapist read.  Both this book and the series thus far.  I can’t wait to see what the third book has in store.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.