Book Review: Riker’s Calling by Rico Lamoureux

About the Book:

From school bullies to the crime-ridden streets of his hometown of Los Angeles, Jeremy Riker has always felt the need to do something about the injustice surrounding him. Just as he sets out on his journey as an urban warrior, he unknowingly gives rise to an obsessive adversary, who ends up becoming one of the most notorious serial killers the city has ever known. Dubbed by the news media as The Spyderco Killer, the methodical psychopath roots himself deep into Riker’s life for the long haul, until his own madness propels everything into an intense climax.

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My Thoughts:

 I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The first thing I would like to emphasize on is that this is a novella. A short read, packed with a fast paced plot, action and murder! Lots and lots of killings…. yes! you guessed right, we have a serial killer on the loose. Dubbed by the media as the “Spyderco killer”, he haunts our protagonist, Jeremy Riker. This about sums up the two main character’s in the plot.

The story starts off with an action packed scene, thus introducing our hero in a rather interesting manner. This is then followed by some of his history, an explanation as to how he got into his current situation. The author then introduces our serial killer, but keeps his identity hidden even from the readers. Until this point the story remains consistent. We meet many interesting characters who support Riker and the plot twists are intriguing in places.

By the second half, we see more deaths happen, people close to Riker are killed and it becomes clear that this is personal. However, the author doesn’t develop much of the investigation Riker conducts nor are we given any insight into his feelings or thoughts about what is happening. Riker seems to be dealing with everything rather differently, and for a PI, he is busy with other cases. Even though the second half seems a little bit of a let down, the story comes to a clear conclusion with the ending leading to a follow-up novella.

A little into the story, we are also introduced to Jamie, Riker’s “niece”, and we watch her as she grows from a little girl interested in her grandfather’s tattoo business to a young tattoo artist herself. She is also integral to the story, but doesn’t seem to contribute much. Here I think the author could have developed a little more of her role in the story.

Overall, in spite of some of the few hiccups, the story is a good read and can be read rather quickly. It is well written and the style of writing contributes well to the pace of the story. I would recommend this book to those who love a fast paced action thriller with some mystery thrown in.

Book Review: The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan

Book Blurb:

The Gauguin Connection (Genevieve Lenard, #1)

Murdered artists. Masterful forgeries. Art crime at its worst.
As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing – not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills – prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life. It started as a favour to help her boss’ acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.
My Thoughts:
I picked up this book not quite sure what to expect. The synopsis speaks of an plot filled with action and some rather interesting characters. At first I was confused and the story seemed to move at a very slow pace. As I continued reading, however, the pace of the story seemed to pick up. The story has a good plot and well developed characters. However, Genevieve is portrayed as a perfect human being as well as highly intelligent. In some ways it is a little scary that someone can be that perfect, but overall, she does fit into the concept and the story well. Her carefully constructed routine comes crashing down when she is asked to consult on a case being investigated upon by her boss’ friend. This is followed by her encounter with and the introduction to our other protagonist, a thief who is now trying to find those behind the same murders. Working together, after slowly gaining Genevieve’s trust, they work to uncover the truth. What follows is a race against time to solve the mystery and prevent any more deaths.
After a while, the plot’s pace increases some and it becomes quite interesting. The author uses Genevieve’s condition very well and demonstrates her behaviour and that of the people around her as a result of this. The author also brings out the contrast in natures of the main protagonists and we watch as Genevieve grows from her usual recluse self to someone slightly more comfortable around people (within reason and some limits of course!). Though it feels as though a lot of emphasis is given to this and many a time there is repetition of things that have already been mentioned and explained, one can overlook this and read on without much discomfort. Also brace yourselves for a glimpse into the artistic world and some insight into certain artists and their style of painting. Overall this is a decent, one time read!

Review: Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs

About the Book:

Bones of the Lost (UK)

When Charlotte police discover the body of a teenage girl along a desolate stretch of two-lane highway, Temperance Brennan fears the worst. The girl’s body shows signs of foul play. Inside her purse, police find an airline club card bearing the name of prominent local businessman John-Henry Story, who died in a horrific fire months earlier. How did Story and the girl know each other? Was she an illegal immigrant turning tricks? Was she murdered? Was he?

Tempe must also examine a bundle of Peruvian dog mummies confiscated by U.S. Customs. A Desert Storm veteran named Dominick Rockett stands accused of smuggling the objects into the country. Could there be some connection between the trafficking of antiquities and the trafficking of humans?

As the complications pile on, Tempe must also grapple with personal turmoil. Her daughter, Katy, grieving the death of her boyfriend in Afghanistan, impulsively enlists in the army. Meanwhile, Katy’s father, Pete, is growing frustrated by Tempe’s reluctance to finalize their divorce. As pressure mounts from all corners, Tempe soon finds herself at the center of a conspiracy that extends all the way from South America to Afghanistan and right to the center of Charlotte.

My Thoughts:

I started reading Kathy Reichs’ novels from a very young age and have always been a fan of the series and genre. Hence, I believe that not many words are needed to describe a Kathy Reichs novel.

The author effortlessly binds together the plot with murders and mystery as well as medical details brought in which are explained in a way that even the layman would understand. A well written novel, the author has continued to do justice to the character she created and to the entire series. The back story remains strong and the characters continue to develop. We are shown different shades of some of the characters which show how they have evolved over time and with each story.

The story is set in different places taking us and Temperence to as far as Afghanistan. As usual while doing her usual job, she gets drawn into an investigation and makes it her personal responsibility to get to the bottom of things. Temperence is a strong women and if we should draw inspiration from anyone it is her. She is compassionate as well as vigilant, striving to work towards setting things right. She is also portrayed as a normal human facing the same personal problems that all of us can relate to.

Even though this is the first time I am writing a review of a book by Kathy Reichs, I will not talk about the plot in detail like I usually do. Instead, I will just assume that all of you have at some point read at least one of her books and know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t read the books, you may have  heard of the English Television series Bones. That is based on her books and the characters she created.

This story is wonderful and will keep the reader hooked until the very end. For all Temperence Brennan fans this is yet another treat.