Saturday, February 26, 2011

Worst Case

Goodreads Summary:
Best case: survival
The son of one of New York's wealthiest families is snatched off the street and held hostage. His parents can't save him, because this kidnapper isn't demanding money. Instead, he quizzes his prisoner on the price others pay for his life of luxury. In this exam, wrong answers are fatal.

Worst case: death
Detective Michael Bennett leads the investigation. With ten kids of his own, he can't begin to understand what could lead someone to target anyone's children. As another student disappears, one powerful family after another uses their leverage and connections to turn the heat up on the mayor, the press--anyone who will listen--to stop this killer. Their reach extends all the way to the FBI, who send their top Abduction Specialist, Agent Emily Parker. Bennett's life--and love life--suddenly get even more complicated.

This case: Detective Michael Bennett is on it
Before Bennett has a chance to protest the FBI's intrusion on his case, the mastermind changes his routine. His plan leads up to the most devastating demonstration yet--one that could bring cataclysmic devastation to every inch of New York. From the shocking first page to the last exhilarating scene, Worst Case is a non-stop thriller from "America's #1 storyteller"

My Review:
This was #3 of the Michael Bennett series and I want to first say that I didn't read the first two (and after reading this one I found that it's not necessary).

A well educated madman is snatching teens off of the street and Michael Bennett and his FBI counterpart, Emily Parker, are on a mad dash through New York city trying to save the kids before it's too late.

This was a good book, but not great. The biggest problem I had was with Bennett who didn't seem realistic. He did things and said things I can't imagine a cop doing and saying. This is a far cry from the Alex Cross books, however, it was still much better than other Patterson books that have been released in the last few years.
3/5 stars

Monday, February 21, 2011

Night Duty

Goodreads Summary:
Melitta Breznik's first novel opens in an operating room as a young female physician performs an autopsy on a man who had liver disease. This stark and clinical scene sets the stage for another kind of autopsy as the young pathologist reexamines her own life and the lives of her troubled family: her brothers, her dead mother, and her trying father now dying in a nearby hospital ward for alcoholics. Her reflections come to the reader as a stream-of-consciousness outpouring -- an "uncovering of one piece of memory after the other" -- that is at once dreamlike and yet utterly real, and all accomplished with a surgical care for detail and nuance. "This unerringly hushed narration, with its chillingly precise psychological gesture", wrote the Swiss news magazine Facts, "shows how liberating an insistent language can be when functioning as an engine of memory, when, both struggling against and accepting every last bit of pain, someone dares to plumb the all too familiar abyss of family relations".

My Review:
The only way I can describe this novel is as a type of formal stream of consciousness in the first person. It alternates between stream of consciousness and first person narration, which makes it unique and personal.

It's about a daughter who although her father was an alcoholic who was oftentimes absent, she has a love for him that is part need and part duty. Through her autopsies of others she is reminded and immersed into her past and autopsies her own life through both analysis and memories.

The writing flows nicely and the story is well developed. You get to know the protagonist, the daughter, as her work and family history defines her.

3/5 Stars

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dead Man: Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

Goodreads Summary:
Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life...until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld of unspeakable evil and horrific violence that nobody else does...

For Cahill, each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about...a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.

My Review:
This was a hold your breath, fly by the seat of your pants, page-turner. And every time I turned the page there was a new surprise. Very much in the style of Stephen King: the natural and supernatural exist in the same realm.

It's the story of a man, Matthew Cahill, who after going through a life changing experience returns only to discover that he is attuned in a special way, and is very much in sync with, those who are about to die. He has special powers that he does not yet understand and as the plot unfolds for the reader, it also unfolds for the protagonist, Matthew.

I would highly recommended reading this book. I read it in one sitting and even though I had a very tempting TBR pile, I never faltered from this book and simply couldn't put it down.

4/5 stars

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sister Carrie

Amazon Summary:
This epic of urban life tells of small- town heroine Carrie Meeber, adrift in an indifferent Chicago. Setting out, she has nothing but a few dollars and an unspoiled beauty. Hers is a story of struggle- from sweatshop to stage success-and of the love she inspires in an older, married man whose obsession with her threatens to destroy him.

My Review:
I was immediately hooked with this book. I can't believe a classic I knew so little about grabbed me so quickly. For me this book really wasn't depressing, but a realistic representation of the ways of the world when money is the center. Whether rich or poor every character in this book was focused on money and driven by little else.

I just loved this novel and the foreshadowing throughout sort of paralled the underbelly of the city. The protagonist, Carrie, steps off the train at the beginning of the novel as this naive country girl and in a very short time she figures out what her womanly wiles can win her, assuming she wants to live the life of luxury for free (don't we all)? But is there not always a price? Carrie subconsciously battles this question throughout the novel and the other characters take the ride with her. All the reader can do is brace himself or herself and try not to get hurt in the process.
4/5 stars

Friday, February 11, 2011


Goodreads Summary:
Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young scientist, is consumed by a fanatic desire to create a living being. He fashions an eight-foot-tall creature and succeeds in animating him, but, horrified by his visage, perceives his creation to be a monster and frightens him away. The monster, wandering in search of human companionship, is spurned and repulsed by all he approaches and learns to hate and to kill. He confronts his maker with a terrible choice: unless Frankenstein creates for him a mate, he will go on a rampage of destruction.

Frankenstein, a masterpiece of 19th-century Gothic horror and considered to be the first science-fiction novel, is a subversive tale about the corrupt tendencies in humanity's most "civilized" ambitions.

My Review:
I read this for the first time when I was 19 and it was immediately my favorite book. I re-read it a few times after that and always loved it. Now, several years later, I picked it up again and am viewing it totally differently. As with everything else in life, I guess it's me that's changing. I think sometimes we want things to stay just as we remembered them, and I don't know if that will be the case or not with Frankenstein. It took me two weeks to get to page 50 and now that I'm here and the story is really starting I'm beginning to enjoy it again.

***Spoiler alert***

It's hard not to make a correlation between The Salem Witch Trials and the trial of Justine...and her trial also makes me think of The Scarlet Letter for this reason: her acquittal would, if it occurred, condemn her to a life of judgement by her community and also because of the mentions of a scaffold.

Now is the complexity I missed in my teens: The monster is telling his story to Frankenstein who is telling it to Robert who is writing it in a letter to Margaret. Now it's hard to separate out my own reactions as I want to think about how the various characters are reacting (mostly Frankenstein). I really want to think about it from his perspective, not from an outside one that as a teen made me feel sorry for the monster. I still do in some ways, but there are greater complexities going on here.

And as he claims he was initially good and speaks of eating berries it makes me wonder does the initial donor of body parts play a role in who he is or would good nurturing have been enough to keep him from killing?

So if you had a baby and abandoned it at birth and it came back years later and hurt your loved ones for revenge whose fault is it? I think that depends on whether or not the person knew what he/she was doing was wrong. They are both accountable in different ways and to different degrees, I think.