Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scott G. Mariani: Uprising

In Scott G. Mariani's debut novel into the paranormal genre he has created the Federation, an overseeing rule of Vampire, however, not all Vampires have accepted the rules (never harm a human, never fall in love with a human and never turn a human) and are prepared to do anything to turn things back to the old ways.

Alex Bishop is the top agent for The Federation in London, she knows the importance in keeping the Humans in the dark about vampire's existence and adhering to the laws of the Federation but Alex feels that there are more forces at work against the Federation even though her boss and the higher up Vampires believe it is nothing. Alex is certain that there is going to be a movement of vampire traditionalist. Joel Solomon is has a secret, he believes in vampires and has since he was very young when he witnessed he family murdered by one. Joel has put that image behind him but when a teenager recounts a gruesome murder that involves drinking of blood, Joel knows that he cannot ignore the existence of vampires any more. Alex and Joel have the same mission but different ideas of how it should end, Joel would prefer to see all vampires destroyed.

I am a big fan of Mariani's Ben Hope series and when I found out that he had written a vampire based one I knew that I had to pick it up. I think that Mariani has written an interesting story, but I do not think that it adds anything extremely new into the genre (and maybe at parts a little cliche but this did not distract me from enjoying this book). There were some interesting concept for example vampires able to take a pill that would allow them to go out during the day or a special chemical that would destroy a vampire with just a small tough. I appreciated that Mariani kept vampires true to their roots or being the evil creature and the need for human blood to survive. I understand that there are changes with the Vampire Federation being created but I think that Alex gets a little too much joy out of her job of scaring, hunting and killing to say that vampires are civilized creatures (though I'm sure that the Federation would disagree on that point).

I think that Mariani really excelled when he created the characters in this book for both good guys and bad and this lead to the over all believability of the book. The characters seemed so real that the world that Mariani created made me think that it could be real. I liked Alex as a character, yes in this book the female lead is the strong kickass type, but I did not find her annoying and I think that Mariani was able to have a strong lead female character (and be the kickass type) and not be the annoying character that I have found in many books in this genre. I think he found the right balance between strong female lead, kickassness and strong personality. I really enjoy learning about vampire's past when I read these types of books and I am glad that Mariani took some time to share parts of hers. I'm looking forward to see how much Alex can grow as a character and how her past will shape her future.

Joel is also an interesting characters and I found that enjoyed his parts more than Alex's chapters. I liked he rediscovery of vampires and that it was not something that he had made up when he was a child. I find that for Joel this novel was a coming of age one for him as he discovers his true calling in life and how he was not really doing what he was meant to as a detective.

I'm not sure how this book is classified at book store I know some people have stated that it is a horror book, I would not classify it this way. There are some detail that may be seen in a horror novel, but the whole book does not fit within that genre. I think Dark paranormal light might be the best way to describe this book (not sure if that makes sense or not though) I think that If you are looking for a good vampire read then pick this one up. It had the right mix of action, suspense, mystery and romance for those who enjoy this genre. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Amanda Kyle Williams: The Stranger You Seek

In her debut Amanda Kyle Williams takes the readers to Atlanta where it is part of a serial killers games to make sure that the whole city is on edge especially those who work within law enforcement.

Atlanta is not just suffering from a summer heat wave, a killer has emerged one where there appears to be no connection between the victims. The killer becomes more bold with each kill and taunting as the lead detective, Rauser, begins to receive letters from the killer with clues of who is next, but not enough information to stop it. This leads Rauser to contact his friend Keye Street, who was a profiler in the FBI before alcohol took away her job and her family. Keye does not know if she will be able to handle reentering the world of serial killer is this is what lead her to drink in the first place. But the choice is taken away from Keye when she becomes the target of  the killer and it is made clear that Keye is not going to get away from this case unscathed.

I enjoyed how this book began with a chapter that is from the point of view of the serial killer. This chapter sets the stage for the entire novel and it makes you want to look over your shoulder thinking that someone is watching you.

I really liked the way that Williams portrayed the serial killer and the chapters that were from the killers point of view. They were twisted, insane and offered up information to the reader that further lead astray but helped them determine who the killer was. Although I do not think that Williams introduced anything new into the serial killer genre, I think that Williams wrote a complex serial killer figure, and this was my favorite part of this novel.

Keye Street is an interesting character. She used to be a profiler for the FBI but was kicked out because she became an alcoholic, however, I think that this is a very real problem within any police or law enforcement agency. I appreciated that Williams never had Keye forget that she was an alcoholic and that Keye still craves what a drink could do for her. There are some parts in Keye's interaction with other characters is that a few state that Keye is basically of herself and that everything is all about Keye. I did not get this impression at all in any of the relationships that Keye had. If anything I think that the character who wanted every thing to be about him is Rauser. He is the one that is always needing Keye and her expertise, he is the one who becomes so involved in the case that it does eventually become about his career. There is also supposed to be sexual tension between Rauser and Keye, I did not feel it at all. I think that they work great together as a collaboration in a case, but as a couple, I do not see it.

I think that Williams is a new author to watch out for. I think her development of her serial killer character was really well done and I really enjoyed Keye as a character. I think that Williams needs to focus more on her interaction between characters so that they are better defined and more concrete, however, this book was able to keep me entertained. I look forward to reading another Keye Street novel.


NOTE: There are some descriptions of the murder scenes that may be disturbing to some individuals as many of them are sexual in nature.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Jonathan Maberry: Patient Zero

Jonathan Maberry bring us the start of a new series where war and biological warfare take on a whole new aspect and the government is willing to do anything to stop it.

Joe Ledger knows that it is going to be an interesting week when he is forced to kill the same terrorist twice, and he knows that there is nothing wrong with his ability to kill. Joe is Balitmore Police detective who is about to get offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to become part of a sercet government agency, but Joe does not know if he really wants to be part of something like that, nothing short of blackmail will make him take the job. Though Joe may be the new guy on the block he takes a no holds bar attitude and this is going to be put to the test as Joe's, get his first assignment before he has even joined the DMS, to stop a group of terrorist from releasing a bioweapon against America.

Ah Zombies, the ever so popular choice for the paranormal genre this year, at least it is alot harder to romanticize zombies than it was vampire a few years ago. Sometime people need to just get back to the basics of scary.

This book is a really good action adventure book with some great action scenes, suspense with a touch of mystery and a side of zombies. I think that the action scenes were really well laid and thought out. I was not scratching my head attempting to figure out how the characters within the book got out of situations or completed their "moves". I think that Maberry has a great ability to write actions scene that flow smoothly and keep the reader entertained throughout.

I think this book could have been written without zombie and still been a really interesting read, but does having Zombie in this book what makes this book special, in this day and age, No (Zombies are the new flavour), but if you like Zombies it is all the more reason to read this book. I think what actually set this book apart from other is the realism that something like this is possible maybe not zombies per say (but you never really know) but humans have had the ability to formulate many deadly pathogens in the past and really what is to stop one like this from being created or discovered (you can tell by the research that Maberry did in this book that he was trying to make it as real as possible).

There are several interesting characters within this book that I hope in time that Maberry will take the time to explore them further in future books. I liked Joe Ledger as a main character. He everything that I like in this type of book, a deadly individual who does not hesitate, but with his own set or right and wrong morals. Joe probably would be on the verge of being a psychopath if he was not able to keep his "three sides in balance" The Cop, The Warrior and The Modern Man. I think that this was a very interesting way in explaining Joe's personality as well as his ability to get the job done.

Actually one of my favorite character was Toys. I think he is one of the perfect bad guys that you would never see coming in real life. He plays all his parts well, and you begin to see that he is the true manipulator of the people around him and of his life.  I wish there would have been more of him in the book. I also liked how the mind behind the pathogen was a woman and that woman came from a middle eastern extremist culture view on women, therefore, I thought it was an interesting aspect of the book.

I think that this is a well written book that any individual who is fan of action adventure genre with a USA vs the Middle East Extremist vibe to it  will enjoy this book. If you are not a fan of zombie books but like action adventure then think of this book as using biological warfare and that should get you past the Zombie part. I am looking forward to reading more about Joe and more from Mulberry. I think this was a really good read.


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