BOOK REVIEW #06: BREAKNECK × ERICA SPINDLER

*SPOILER-FREE*

 

The first victim is murdered in his bed. A clean-cut college boy with no criminal record. Then a second victim is killed in the shower, then a third…each one striking closer to home for M.C. When loved ones become targets, M.C. must walk a fine line between upholding the law and taking it into her own hands. At stake is her job, her relationship with Kitt, and possibly, her life. The key to finding the emotionless killer lies in the stolen computers of the victims – a secret network of false identities and true evil where no one is who they seem. If M.C. hopes to capture Breakneck, she’ll have to put her own neck on the line. – From the book

 

OWN REVIEW

It’s a fast-paced story that doesn’t disappoint. The entire story happened in less than a month (January 11, 2009 – February 05, 2009) but it’s very well-written. I’m drawn to stories that have mystery in them that’s why I loved this book. It’ll keep you on the edge until the moment of revelation. It’s kind of difficult to figure out who Breakneck is (at least for me). Anyone can be Breakneck.

The book’s genre is suspense-thriller. The writer wanted the readers to formulate their own opinion who Breakneck is based on the available information. It’s good that she did write the book that way because it hooks the readers to read more and more of it until they find the answer. It gives the book the kind of mystery you just can’t ignore. You’ll keep on picking the book up until you’re done with it.

The branching stories in the book are mostly sad but I appreciate more of Joe and Kitt’s relationship. They show what two people need to do and sacrifice to keep each other. They chose each other every time. I also like the relationship M.C. and Kitt have. They’re more than partners and friends – for me, they’re sisters. ❤

I finished the book in 2 days and I plan on buying another one from Erica. Looks like most (if not all) of her books have the same genre so I’d definitely get a hold of her writings. I bought this one for 75 PHP ($1.50) at Booksale (not brand new).

 

CHARACTERS

MARY CATHERINE (M.C.) RIGGIO: She went through a lot in here and she defines the words ‘strong’ and ‘brave’. It’s traumatizing to handle a case wherein the victims were family members but she has handled this with a clear head.

KITT LUNDGREN: M.C.’s partner and is older than her. She has her own troubles but I admired her loyalty to M.C. It’s difficult to be lied to numerous times but she stuck with M.C. even if it may cost her the relationship she has with Joe.

SPECIAL AGENT JONATHAN SMITH: He worked together with M.C. and Kitt to capture Breakneck. The Feds have been working on their case for quite a while. It was the first time M.C. and Kitt saw someone from the FBI who’s not a total a**.

DAN GALLO: M.C.’s fiancé. A loving boyfriend. Unfortunately, their upcoming wedding didn’t push through.

JOE LUNDGREN: Kitt’s husband. They were trying to fix their marriage after Sadie passed away. He’s a very understanding man and a patient husband.

ERIK SUNDSTRAND: Dan’s best buddy. Handsome and rich. Has a good reputation. A perfect guy. He created Kids in Crisis to help families who can’t afford the hospital fees for their kids.

GINA DE LUCA: M.C.’s cousin and Erik’s assistant. She and M.C. resented each other since their younger days.

TOMMY and SAM MARIANO: Brothers. M.C.’s cousins. She babysat them when they were young so they’re both close to her. Tommy was the good boy and Sam was the opposite.

ZOE PETERSEN: Tommy and Sam’s friend. She played a crucial role in this story.

 

BOOK INFORMATION

Pages: 240

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback

ISBN: 978-0-312-36391-8

Website: http://www.ericaspindler.com

 

OTHER BOOKS

Last Known Victim

Copycat

Killer Takes All

See Jane Die

In Silence

Dead Run

Bone Cold

All Fall Down

Cause For Alarm

Shocking Pink

Fortune

Forbidden Fruit

Red

 

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BOOK REVIEW #05: RELIQUARY × PRESTON AND CHILD

Authors: Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: Aloysius Pendergast
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 1997
Media Type: Paperback
Pages: 480
Preceded by: Relic
Followed by: The Cabinet of Curiosities

 

PLOT (Wiki)

The story picks up where the epilogue of Relic left off. Two headless skeletons are found in the Humboldt Kill. When further decapitated bodies follow, there is suspicion of a second Mbwun monster. Major characters from the original book team up with new ones to solve the puzzle. The mystery soon leads underground to the Mole people, and even deeper towards enigmatic beings called the Wrinklers. In the end, it is revealed that the Wrinklers are led by Frock, who has refined a modified version of the Mbwun plant, created by Kawakita to regain the use of his legs. Kawakita also gave the drug to the people who were to become the Wrinklers, later made into his tribe by Frock. After going underground, the group kills them with an explosion, vitamin D infused water and a flood.

 

OWN REVIEW

If you are a fan of thriller/horror/suspense films, you’d definitely dig into this series. The book follows the point of view of different main characters so it’s not boring to read. I especially love that my dear AXL Pendergast is here – not the main character but was given enough spotlight to showcase his versatility.

 

The story was also well made, though there are a lot of scientific references which I’m not sure if accurate or feasible (I hope not). It was also obvious that the duo liked Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work because Sherlock Holmes’ The Hounds of Baskerville was alluded to here together with his popular quote ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’

 

I had a difficult time imagining the underground place where the moles lived, I think it’s because I haven’t seen one. The underground was so deep that there’s a high level of methane down there. Despite this difficulty, I still enjoyed the book.

 

You don’t need to read Relic to understand this book but you may since a few times the ‘Event’ on Relic has been mentioned here. It also gives you a background of how the Wrinklers came to be so it is a good thing to read that first, but not required.

 

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BOOK REVIEW #04: GIDEON’S SWORD × PRESTON & CHILD

I bought this book because I wanted to read more works from this terrific duo. I fell in love with Aloysius X.L. Pendergast and, really, I was not ready to let go of the character when I finished the last book in his series.

 

So, I bought the next book giving the next character a chance to dominate my world the same way AXLP did. Well, he did not surpass my expectations (I still love AXLP) but he has a characteristic that’s very fascinating. He is more ‘human’ than Pendergast (who has weird and somewhat ‘out of this world’ skills).

 

The story introduces Gideon Crew, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who is also a former art thief/master-of-disguise. He learns from his mother that his mathematician father—who had developed a flawed encryption—had actually warned his boss about the flaws, only to be murdered. Gideon exacts revenge from his father’s murderer. As a result of this, he is recruited to be a freelance operative by an ultra-private security/engineering firm working for the Department of Homeland Security. His mission: to trace and retrieve plans for a mysterious super-weapon being brought to the United States of America by a Chinese scientist before the Chinese can recover them. (Wiki)

 

You’d expect a lot of action in this book (guns, dressing-up, murder, etc…). The parts where Gideon has to change characters were enthralling – it’ll take you a while to realize it was him (if you are a bit slow like me :p). There are a lot of bad guys but one was the main villain – Nodding Crane. The way he kills his adversaries suggests that he was ‘monstrous’. I imagined him to be like the guys from ‘See No Evil’, ‘Jason Goes to Hell’, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, etc – you know, monsters. No feelings, cannot talk and created to be a killing machine. However, he was mostly ‘human’ like Crew. I thought Gideon was facing an adversary that cannot be killed but I was wrong. Maybe there was something wrong with me understanding how he was introduced in the book.

 

The writing style was, as always, perfect. There are lots of gripping moments which made me finish the book in one sitting. I also approved of the way it ended – Crew did the right thing (in my opinion). I look forward to the next book to know what’s in store for Gideon’s character.

 

BOOK INFORMATION (Wiki)

Authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: Gideon Crew
Genre: Thriller, Science fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: February 22, 2011
Media type: Print, e-book, audiobook
Pages: 342 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-446-56432-8
Preceded by: Fever Dream
Followed by: Gideon’s Corpse

 

GIDEON CREW SERIES
The Ice Limit (2000) Series Prequel
Gideon’s Sword (2011)
Gideon’s Corpse (2012)
The Lost Island (2014)
Beyond the Ice Limit (2016)

 

 

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LIBRARY

Here’s the list of the books I have read (owned, barrowed, online):

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Ransom Riggs
  2. Hollow City | Ransom Riggs
  3. Library of Souls | Ransom Riggs
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexandre Dumas
  5. The Spy | Paulo Coelho
  6. Hide | Lisa Gardner
  7. Timeline | Michael Crichton
  8. Cleo | Helen Brown
  9. Devious | Lisa Jackson
  10. Dance of Death | Preston & Child
  11. Reliquary | Preston & Child
  12. Relic| Preston & Child
  13. Gideon’s Sword | Preston & Child
  14. Cold Vengeance | Preston & Child
  15. And Your Little Dog, Too | Melissa Cleary
  16. Scarlet Nights | Jude Deveraux
  17. The Five People You Meet in Heaven | Mitch Albom
  18. For One More Day | Mitch Albom
  19. Forever | Jude Deveraux
  20. Memoirs of a Geisha | Arthur Golden
  21. Digital Fortress | Dan Brown
  22. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl | Anne Frank
  23. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volumes I and II | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  24. The Harry Potter Books 1 – 7 | J.K Rowling (borrowed)
  25. Vanishing Girls | Lauren Oliver (online)
  26. The Girl On The Train |  Paula Hawkins (online)
  27. Disclosure | Michael Crichton (borrowed)
  28. Me Before You | Jojo Moyes (online)
  29. Fifty Shades of Grey | E.L James (online)
  30. The Da Vinci Code | Dan Brown (borrowed)
  31. The Cabinet of Curiosities | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  32. Still Life with Crows | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  33. Brimstone | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  34. Dance of Death | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  35. The Book of the Dead | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  36. The Wheel of Darkness | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  37. Cemetery Dance | Preston & Child (borrowed)
  38. Fever Dream | Preston & Child (borrowed)

 

BOOK REVIEW #03: THE SPY × PAOLO COELHO

I was trying to find another good book to read when I heard Spotify’s advertisement of The Spy. I heard it several times before I decided to purchase one.

The cover was very impressive. The texture and color were different than the books I already own. I was never fascinated about a book cover until I saw this.

The story is about a girl named Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” Zelle MacLeod, known best for her stage name Mata Hari. She was accused of being a German spy and was assassinated by firing squad.

Her life was far from ideal. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to live in that era as an exotic dancer and courtesan. But she strived and became famous because of her dancing and charisma.

Those same attributes became her drawback when she was accused of passing information to her Germans clients.

The story was short – I finished it in one sitting, approximately 2-3 hours – but it was very powerful. I was teary-eyed when I finished the book. Paulo Coelho did very well in outlining Mata Hari’s struggles.

It shows that even from the early years, politics and the politicians are corrupt. They work for power and can easily do whatever they want because they are in the position to do so.

But Mata Hari was a brave woman. She faced her detractors and she even blew a kiss to her firing squad before they pulled the trigger. As one of the nuns stated, it looked like she had a good night sleep before her execution.

There were a few inspirational quotes from the book, but my favorite was this:

Flowers teach us that nothing is permanent: not their beauty, not even the fact that they will inevitably wilt, because they will still give new seeds. Remember this when you feel joy, pain, or sadness. Everything passes, grows old, dies, and is reborn.

This reminds me that everything changes, even change. Nothing is permanent. Whatever we are feeling right now will pass. So let it be and it will be gone soon.

 

BOOK INFORMATION

Pages: 208 pp.

Publisher: Knopf; First Edition/First Printing edition (November 22, 2016)

Language: English

 

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BOOK REVIEW #02: DISCLOSURE × MICHAEL CRICHTON

I chanced upon this book because of my friend. She’s generous enough to let me borrow the book. It sat on my table for a few months before I started to read it.

The story is about Tom Sanders, the head of advanced products manufacturing at DigiCom. He was betrayed and lied to by the people he considered friends.

What I liked about the character was that everyone thinks he’s fragile and timid but he has a fighting spirit of a tiger. He pursued the path that most of us would not dare. Because of what he did, they were able to discover the truth about Meredith and their plan to oust him in the office.

It has also taught us that love can conquer all. Tom’s wife was put in a very difficult position but did not desert him. She let Tom fix things his way but still stood by him though far away. She accepted that Tom may have made some mistakes but the love is still there.

There are also people that would turn their back on you when the going gets tough. These are the people you don’t need in your life. And there are people who’d stand by you no matter what because they know you too well.

As for the writing style, I was confused about some of the terminology used. I’m not a technical person so I did not fully understand when he described the chips and why they were not functioning correctly. If you look past those jargons, you will definitely enjoy the book. Besides, there are only a few confusing moments there.

The story tackled sexual harassment of a lady boss to her subordinate. This does not usually happen but it does not mean that it does not. Most men would just let it slide and others may treat it like one of their greatest achievement in life. Tom, the main character in this novel, decided to do what’s right, even if it means putting the limelight on him and his family. He asked his wife to get the kids and go somewhere far whilst he deals with the sexual harassment case. It was very brave for him to do that. Sometimes, the right thing is the most difficult thing to do.

I did not know that this is already a motion picture which starred Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. The release date of the movie was December 9, 1994, and the book was released in January 1994 under the Publishing Company Knopf. Wow. And I am writing this blog in 2017. 🙂

 

 

BOOK INFORMATION

Country: United States
Genre: Crime Novel
Pages: 597 pp.
Preceded by: Rising Sun
Followed by: The Lost World

 

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BOOK REVIEW #01: TIMELINE × MICHAEL CRICHTON

 

‘If you did not know history, you did not know anything. You were a leaf that didn’t know it was part of a tree.’ – Edward Johnson, 1990

What if you can go back in time? Will you do it? What will you do? How about Time Paradoxes?

It started with a man who showed up on a desert and died a few hours later. It could have been a normal death, only that the man died under strange circumstances.

On the other part of the world, a professor ‘time traveled’ into a different era from where he has to be saved by his most trusted students.

Timeline discusses French History at 1357. The book’s chapters are named after the location the current story takes place. They are Corazón, Dordogne, Black Rock, and Castelgard.

I must admit; it was quite difficult to picture other country’s past. I don’t know anything about French History. However, Crichton was very clear with his narrative and somehow, I was able to glimpse a different country’s past.

By page 64, it is not quite obvious yet who are the main characters. They were revealed later on at page 116.

One interesting fact I gathered from this books is French wore their belts under their clothes. It was supposed to hold the linen undergarment so it will not slide. With all the details discussed, I’m not quite sure which are a work of fiction and which are part of the truth.

He was good in building the reader’s curiosity. He stops at the right time so you will continue to read until you satisfy yourself. I finished the book in just 2 days of binging over it.

Crichton used a third party Point Of View which I think is relevant and it made the story-telling comprehensible.

One question I have in mind is why was history not altered when one 20th Century person was left in that era for quite some time. And why was Marek able to marry Claire, who lived 600 years ago? I probably did not understand how Time Paradoxes happen.

I would definitely recommend the book to anyone interested in Science and History. There’s a great deal of them in this book. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Just be sure you won’t try to replicate what the characters did here so you can ‘time travel’. Because that does not exist.

 

BOOK INFORMATION

Author: Michael Crichton
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Science fiction, historical fiction
Publisher: Fredrick
Publication date: November 1999
Media type: Print (hardcover)
Pages: 464
ISBN: 0679444815
OCLC: 39348527
LC Class: PS3553.R68 T56 1999
Preceded by: Airframe
Followed by: Prey

 

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