Book Reviews: Gideon’s Corpse by Preston and Child, The Betrayed Wife by Kevin O’Brien

Hi, friends. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend and that your Tuesday is off to a good start. We had friends over on Friday for a small pool party then spent our weekend gearing up for a family reunion we’re hosting this coming weekend.

We had a scare on Saturday when we walked out front and realized our door was standing open. It was a windy day and when I opened it (about twenty minutes earlier) I must not have shut it tightly. The problem is I have a totally indoor cat. To say that I was spastic is putting it mildly. I looked all over for Raven, starting with her “safe spot” under our bed then went room to room while hubby looked outside. Five minutes of frantic searching without results and I was on the verge of blubbering. I decided to take one more look under the bed and there she was, tucked at the end, blissfully unaware I was seconds from a meltdown. Needless to say, she has been getting lots of extra fussing and cuddles.

And now on to this week’s book reviews, both of which garner five big glitzy stars from me.

Book cover for Gideon's Corpse by Preston & Child shows title in large lettering overlaying a file with tear, nuclear symbol in backgroundGideon’s Corpse
by Preston & Child
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’re probably aware I’m a HUGE fan of the writing team of Preston and Child. Gideon’s Corpse is the second novel in the Gideon Crew series (currently at five novels). I read the first when it was released a few years ago but wasn’t immediately smitten. Then a certain someone (ahem…Marcia) convinced me I needed to give book two a try.

Dr. Gideon Crew is a unique combination of con artist, ex-professional thief, and brilliant physicist. Recruited by a mysterious and powerful organization to run interference in impossible situations he routinely lands in a melting pot of danger. In Gideon’s Corpse, Crew finds himself acting as a liaison to the FBI when a former colleague and top nuclear scientist takes a family hostage at gunpoint. The outcome leads to a terrorist plot to vaporize a major American city in ten days—and the clock is ticking.

I remembered very little about the first in the series but had zero difficulty falling into the story. It starts off with a bang (the hostage situation) and moves at a blistering pace. Gideon pairs up with a strait-laced FBI agent. Much of the fun of the novel is watching the two work together, gaining respect for the other’s methods and for each other.

Clues build in a clever, twisty manner but just when you think you know where the plot is headed it does a complete 180 leading to an explosive, action-packed conclusion.

If you like your characters with a mix of trickster and quick-thinking brilliance, Gideon Crew is your man. He has a good heart, sometimes makes stupid mistakes, but somehow always manages to land on his feet. I will definitely be reading the rest in this series (thank you, Marcia!). Preston and Child once again deliver the kind of intelligent thriller that has become their trademark.

Amazon Link
Genre: Terrorism Thrillers > Medical Thrillers


Book cover for The Betrayed Wife by Kevin O'Brien shows the face and neck of a blond-haired woman from the nose downThe Betrayed Wife
by Kevin O’Brien

I can always count on Kevin O’Brien to deliver a juicy thriller, and he does not disappoint with his latest, The Betrayed Wife. This book has it all­—a not-so-perfect marriage, illicit affairs, dark family secrets, suspicious deaths, and an illegitimate child.

Shelia O’Rouke has had to overlook a number of her husband’s indiscretions, so when sixteen-year-old Eden shows up claiming to be his daughter, Shelia tries to make the best of it. She welcomes the girl into her home and encourages her three children to do the same. But Eden has an insolent attitude and a creepy boyfriend. It isn’t long before things start to go horribly wrong. Someone tampers with the breaks on Shelia’s car, rigs her washer so that she is almost electrocuted, and tries to poison her. An obnoxious tenant moves into the house next door, and an anonymous caller starts sending Shelia and her teenage son, Steve, mysterious texts. O’Brien has a knack for writing teenagers, and he juggles several successfully in this novel.

As usual, the deftly-orchestrated plot serves up plenty of misdirection to keep the reader guessing. Although I did (eventually) decipher the ending and motive prior to the conclusion, I followed several false trails before putting the pieces together. There are characters to hate, characters to love, and a multi-layered mystery that ties up neatly at the end. Riveting from start to finish, the book works as a psychological thriller, domestic thriller, and page-turning suspense novel. Finished in two sittings and highly recommended!

Amazon Link
Genre:  Domestic Thrillers > Serial Killer Thrillers

#FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72 – You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by @AuthorKevin

Welcome to another Friday Book Share! Anyone can join in. Just answer the following F.R.I.D.A.Y. questions based on the book you’re either currently reading or have just finished reading. Use the hashtag #FridayBookShare and remember to tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72)

early morning beach scene with sun breaking through the clouds over oceanFirst line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favorite line/scene.

~ooOOoo~

I just finished reading  YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE by Kevin O’Brien. Kevin is one of my all time favorite authors and I never miss one of his releases. I’d been saving this one to take to the beach with me the end of the month, but I finally caved and read it by the pool instead. I couldn’t resist any longer!

First Line of Book:

There was no backing out of it now.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb:

NO FORGIVENESS
Andrea Boyle moved to Seattle to give her seventeen-year-old nephew, Spencer, a fresh start after the death of his parents. Andrea has found her own new beginning with Luke, a successful playwright and father of a teenage son, Damon. The boys appear to have little in common, but in truth they share a private torment…

NO REMORSE
When a tragedy befalls Damon, it’s just the beginning of a nightmare that unfolds. But the worst is yet to come once a dark secret from Spencer’s past is exposed. And when Luke is brutally attacked, both of their futures are at stake.

NO SECOND CHANCE
Now it’s up to Andrea to prove Spencer’s innocence to the police—and to herself. Because for reasons she has revealed to no one, even Andrea can’t help questioning the truth—and fearing that she may be next to pay the ultimate price…

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Andrea Boyle—Loyal, determined, brave

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Book cover for You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Kevin O'Brien features close up of three old mailboxes on country road at night, middle box leaning to side

Audience appeal. Who would enjoy reading this book?

Anyone who enjoys suspense and/or psychological thrillers.

A favorite line/scene.

The camera panned from the front of the car to the back, where a thin, forty-something blonde was sprawled across the seat. A piece of duct tape covered her mouth. Squirming, she rolled over on her side. The camera zoomed in on her hands, tied in back of her. Then the unsteady camera panned up and moved in close to her face—until Spencer could see the terror in her eyes.

“I think some of you already know my mother,” Damon said. 

Amazon purchase link

What do you think? Sound like a winner? I recently devoured it and gave it 5 stars. Kevin always tells an exceptional tale, IMHO.

Summer Productivity by Mae Clair

I just came off a long weekend (happy belated Fourth of July to my U.S. readers) that wasn’t extremely productive. I spent a good portion of it goofing off, swimming, hanging with family and doing things around the house. Summer in general tends to be less productive for me when it comes to writing, though I do a lot spend a good portion of it reading, plotting and writing notes for my WIPS.

Case in point: I have notebooks I devote to each of my WIPS. They’ve been through the “war zone” of exposure to the sun and pool, constant handling and travel. The notebooks below are for A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS (pink, black and gold notebook) and A COLD TOMORROW (dark blue).

Two closed spiral notebooks, covers a bit battered

I have a weird system when I make notes that involves alternating pages of research (mostly right hand pages) and plot (left hand pages). I use different color ink and highlights to draw attention to various points I want to remember.

Two spiral notebooks open on spine with pages filled with writing and some passages highlighted

I started this system with the blue notebook and plan on maintaining it with the last book in my series, A DESOLATE HOUR. I’ve started making research notes while dreaming up plot points as I float around with foam noodles in the pool.

Open spiral notebook with blank left page and pen on top of page, right page filled with writing

As you can see, the left handed page for plot points is still blank. I know where I want to start but I’m still fleshing out the characters who will factor into the prologue which is set in 1777. Book three ties the curse of Shawnee Indian Chief Cornstalk to the legend of the Mothman and Point Pleasant.

In addition to plotting, I spend a good deal of my summer reading. As a habit, I read every night for an hour or two before I go to bed, but during the summer, I also like to read on my deck in between dips in the pool.

One of my favorite summer reads is THE TERROR by Dan Simmons.

Book cover for THE TERROR by Dan Simmons which shows an old clipper ship without sails surrounded by ice and glaciers

Although a massive book (my paperback copy is 955 pages) this is a story I want to read again, and I can’t imagine reading it during any season other than summer. The book is set in the artic, and fictionalizes the tale of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to discover the Northwest Passage in the mid-1800s. Although I originally read it two years ago, it remains one of the best books I’ve ever read, a bizarre and spectacular combination of history, horror, lyrical writing and myth. I’ve never encountered anything to equal it, and each time summer rolls around I think of reading it again.

My current read, however, is a bit different. I’m presently immersed in the WITCH OF LIME STREET, a nonfiction account of Harry Houdini’s battle to unmask medium Margarey Crandon as a fraud. Here’s the cover:Book cover for the Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher is black with lime green border and cameo photos of Harry Houdini and Margery Crandon

Imagine my surprise, when the first night after reading, I switched off the light and realized the cover was glowing. All that lime green you see to the right lights up as neon-glow-in-the-dark with the lights off. I tried to capture a photo of it with my cell phone, but unfortunately it didn’t take.

That aside, I’ve always loved things that glow in the dark—as far back as to when I was a kid and played with a “Dark Shadows” game that had glowing skeletons—so I’m thoroughly besotted with this clever cover. And, in case you doubted, the book is darn good too, especially if you’re a Houdini or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fan, or are interested in the spiritualist movement of the 1920s.

Next up?

downloadKevin O’Brien has a new release, YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE that releases on July 26th. I’ve already pre-ordered  my copy. Kevin is an am amazing author and on my automatic read list. If you like mystery, crime and suspense, you’re going to love Kevin.

In the meantime, I’ll content myself with this:

Book cover for DEVOUR by Kurt Anderson shows a cruise ship at night with lights and a huge monstrous mouth with teeth looming above it

 

 

 

 

I have a horrible weakness for creature/monster books (and movies) and have been saving this one for a while. DEVOUR is definitely a summer/beach read IMHO. Isn’t the cover grand? I can’t wait to discover what lurks within the pages.

So tell me…how productive are you during the summer? Do you plot, do you read? What’s on your TBR?

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS Reviewed by New York Times Bestselling Author, Kevin O’Brien

I’m so excited about this post I’m not sure where to begin.

As a reader (and writer) of mystery/suspense fiction I have long been a fan of Kevin O’Brien. I admire his work and regularly devour his books. He’s in an entirely different league of writers than me—an established author with a huge following and bestseller credits to his name. He also happens to be an author with Kensington Publishing, my publishing house.

Two days ago I received this email from the Director of Social media at Kensington:

Good morning,

I wanted to pass along a quote we’ve received for the first book in the Point Pleasant series.

New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien has provided the following blurb:

“A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is masterful, bone-chilling fiction that begins with a real-life tragedy on December 15, 1967: the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  46 people died.   Author Mae Clair has seamlessly woven fact, fiction and creepy urban folklore into one intense thriller.  The gripping story focuses on two witnesses to the disaster—fifteen years later.  Both Eve Parrish and Caden Flynn lost loved ones in the catastrophe and still carry the emotional scars.  After a long absence, Eve returns to Point Pleasant to bury her recently-deceased aunt, face some old ghosts, and reunite with her one-time “impossible-crush,” Caden.  But when Eve begins to investigate her aunt’s death, she’s plunged into danger and a nightmare world where scary urban legends are very real.  Full of suspense, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.”

~ooOOoo~

She went on to say Kensington will be adding the quote to all online retail pages, and it will be included in the copy they feed out.

I feel like I’ve crossed a bridge, taken another step in my author’s journey. The very thought that someone of Mr. O’Brien’s stature has taken the time to read and review my book has me embracing euphoria. Writers work hard at a craft we love. Without accolades and fanfare, we’d gladly do it each day. But when recognition does happen, it’s something to be enjoyed and savored.

Right now I feel a little childish, a little giddy. Part of me wants to scream “Score!” the other part is humbled and grateful to Mr. O’Brien for providing something that will certainly help enhance the sales of A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS.

Release date is April 26 but pre-orders are available now at all major online bookstores. Grab a copy and see for yourself how “fact, fiction and creepy urban folklore” weave together “into one intense thriller.”

Amazon 
Barnes and Noble 
iTunes 
Google Play 
Kobo 
Kensington Publishing

And how do you like these memes Kensington made for me?

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Look at this line-up of Kensington thrillers. A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS
is being promoted with Kevin’s latest and Lisa Jackson’s newest release! I love her stuff, too. Wow. Just wow.
#Suspense.jpg