This week we’re looking at arguably the closest Rick Chesler has come to date of telling a tale one would nearly swear could have been written by the late great Michael Crichton. This week, we’re looking at Extremophile by Rick Chesler.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Welcome To Our Ool. Notice There Is No “P” In It. Seriously though, after reading this book you’re never going to look at getting into a pool the same again – and certainly will be particularly careful about any sudden urges to just urinate in one. 😉 Overall a very fun, nearly Crichton-esque, adventure tale of a biotech CEO desperate to save his company and willing to go literally anywhere in the world to do so. And that ending. It won’t be for everyone, but dayum I loved it. Great, fun near future scifi adventure and a relatively short read at 230 ish pages. Perfect for a bit of summer thrills and escapism. Very much recommended.
Solid UK Police Procedural Thriller. I picked up this book because I was invited to based on my reviews of other similar books, not knowing that it was number four in the series. As such, it was readily apparent in the beginning that if this was the start of a series there would likely be prequels down the road… or this was deeper into the series (which turned out to be the case). That noted, for me it was still easy enough to follow along with where each member of our police team was in their journeys. Though for those more sensitive to any hint of a “spoiler”… eh, you’ll want to make sure to start with Book 1.
What I *did* find in this book is that for the most part, if you are a fan of this subgenre of mystery/ thriller, you’re going to like this book and (likely) this series as well. If you’ve never experienced this subgenre before, this is a pretty solid example of it with a compelling mystery, tense thriller moments, and relatable characters.
Overall a solid work, and I look forward to seeing what Lodge has in store for the team next. 🙂 Very much recommended.
This review of Little Sister by Gytha Lodge was originally written on July 5, 2022.
You Think You Know Me. This is a con artist/ revenge tale where if you think you know either of our main characters… well, you need to read through the end of the tale. 😉 I found it close enough to thriller territory to warrant that label, as I was constantly wanting to further uncover exactly what was going on. Despite some other reviews claiming the contrary, there actually are a few twists… though I fully admit they are more of the “no narrator is honest” type, as the text openly admits. Ultimately I had fun with this tale, and that is all I really ask of a book. Very much recommended.
This review of The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark was originally written on June 22, 2022.
Strong Cat And Mouse Tale Actually Harmed By Final Reveals. There is no escaping writing about my feelings about this book without up front stating that while the first of two final reveals was a decent twist – not great, given the story to that point, but serviceable enough – the second one in particular was just lackluster, lazy, and didn’t fit with the rest of the book at all. And for it to be the epilogue of the book only leaves the reader disappointed.
Which is sad, because the book before that point, and even during the course of the first reveal, is a nail biting cat and mouse game that had me invested from the very beginning. A man comes back to his hotel room in NYC from getting his family pizza… only to find barely a shred of evidence that they were ever there to begin with. From here we get a dual-timeline-ish tale where we see both husband and wife and the one’s efforts to find the other while the other tries desperately to hide from the one seeking them, and this part of the tale is deftly told showing Palmer’s usual skill at maintaining a solid level of tension throughout the tale. With a better ending, this tale could actually have been one of Palmer’s stronger ones. As it is, it is simply middling. Which is still a great tale from a great storyteller, simply not this particular storyteller at the top of his game. Still very much recommended.
This review of My Wife Is Missing by DJ Palmer was originally written on May 4, 2022.
This week we’re looking at an atmospheric and visceral mystery that turns into an edge-of-your-seat survival thriller. This week we’re looking at Disappeared by Bonnar Spring.
Atmospheric Mystery Turns Nail Biting Thriller. This is one of those visceral, atmospheric type tales where you truly feel immersed in the (for most readers) exotic locale. Spring does a tremendous job of showing the breadth of Morocco, from its urban and more modern (ish) areas to its much more remote and tribal areas, from its dazzling seascapes to the bleak Saharan Desert. Much of the tale is a mystery of a woman trying to find her sister, who she arrived in-country with but has now disappeared. Later revelations turn the tale into a desperate attempt to survive and to flee the country, and this is where the book begins to take on much more of its thriller vibe (though there was at least some tinge of foreshadowing of this during the more mystery-oriented section of the tale). Truly a remarkable work, and very much recommended.
Atmospheric Tale Of Survival When There Is Little Atmosphere To Be Had. “What better place for a killer to hide than in the death zone” indeed. This is a book both for fans of survival thrillers and for nonfiction high altitude survival tales ala Krakaur’s Into Thin Air. McCulloch, inspired by her own real-world ascent of the very mountain she bases this tale on, crafts a story that shows the breadth of who goes up these mountains and why, and what they encounter when they get there. The physical dangers are ever present, the psychological challenges are daunting, and when it begins to leak that the resident legend may not be so legendary after all – and that there may be a killer on the mountain to boot – the tension ratchets up as high and tight as it can get. Excellent tale excellently told, and very much recommended.
This review of Breathless by Amy McColloch was originally written on May 1, 2022.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a fun, quick thriller that shows the range of the author without going into her horror alter-ego territory. For this blog tour, we’re looking at 214 Palmer Street by Karen McQuestion.
Fun, Quick Thriller That Could Have Used Better Editing. This was a book that starts slow – nowhere near as slow as The Great Gatsby, but definitely on that end of the speed spectrum. But like Gatsby, the writing and pacing eventually get much stronger and towards the back of this already shortish (280 ish page) book, the pace very much picks up into a quick sprint to the finish, followed by perhaps too much epilogue after the climax – but any runner will tell you that cool down is important, and such an extended epilogue does that well and likely reduces any book hangover here. Indeed, the only real complaint I have here is that particularly early, the transitions between character perspectives could use a LOT more clarity – one of the things that helps the back parts of the book is that these become more clear by that point, and it is much easier to see who we are following along with at any given moment in these later sections. Still, not enough of a problem for me to drop a star, though I could see others doing so and it is at minimum worthy of mentioning. Overall still a good book that provides a nice brief escape from reality, perfect for those times when you need something to occupy 3-4 hours or so. Such as maybe when a kid or spouse is at some sports practice or some such? Very much recommended.
Below the jump, the media pack including book description, author bio, and a buy link 🙂
Continue reading “#BlogTour: 214 Palmer Street by Karen McQuestion”
Conventional Story Of Unconventional Therapist. If you enjoy slow burn-ish domestic thrillers where the front half builds the intrigue and the back half (and particularly the last 15% or so) ramp up the thriller/ action side… you’re going to love this book that is 100% within that mold. If that’s not your thing… this is still a solid story, but not everyone likes everything. 🙂
The unconventional – and unlicensed because of it – therapist really stole the show for me. Mostly because of just how realistic (yet extreme) she is portrayed. Yes, she is invasive bordering on criminal, contract or not. But dadnabbit, she gets results as much as any Detective out there and for similar reasons. Which actually arguably gets to why I liked this so much – one can almost read this tale as a police procedural, with a profiler taking center stage in the tale. The side story with Big Pharma is all too realistic, and the web of lies turns out to be far larger than anything anyone – be it our therapist or the reader themselves- could have guessed.
But maybe I’m a bit of a sucker for unconventional yet conventional. You should read this for yourself and make up your own dang mind. *After* you *finish* the book. Very much recommended.
This review of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen was originally written on March 11, 2022.
Sick, Demented, Twisted… But A Slow Build To Get There. This is one of those stories where the description sounds intriguing and the prologue certainly does its job of dragging us into the book (Do *not* skip it, as it is essential)… but then we get more of a slow burn mystery build through the front half of the book. Not far into the second half, things pick up with a particular revelation, and then the snowball begins rapidly rolling downhill. The final chapters become utterly riveting, with revelation after revelation and so many twists you’re not going to want to go too fast down this mountain road. And then everything gets wrapped up tidily as one would generally expect in the genre. Indeed, if there is any qualm to be had here it is that this particular story could likely have done well with a much more open and speculative ending – but I know I’m in the minority of readers in appreciating those (when appropriate). Very much recommended.
This review of Unmissing by Minka Kent was originally written on February 16, 2022.
This week we’re looking at the second book in Daniel Pyne’s Aubrey Sentro series of spy action thrillers. This week we’re looking at Vital Lies by Daniel Pyne.
Fast Paced Action Thriller. This is a spy thriller for those who like more of the pacing of a Jeremy Robinson / Matthew Reilly / James Rollins action thriller. It isn’t *quite* so action packed / always-on-the-move as those guys, but it is a solid blend of their style of insane and unexpected action combined with a more Robert Ludlum (Bourne series) level complex spy game.
Whereas the first book focused to a certain degree on Sentro’s older child, here the focus is more with her younger child as Sentro continues to try to repair their broken relationships… while getting drug into the very life she is trying to leave.
There are elements here that will give some pause – including a fairly brutal yet also passing/ flash-in-the-pan rape scene that works within the context of the story being told – but overall this is a great read for those who like a *touch* of thinking with their action… without having to be a Stephen Hawking level intellect to keep track of everything. Truly a great read, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Pyne takes this next. Very much recommended.