Isle of the Dead
By Alex Connor
Isle of the Dead is an engaging thrill ride that keeps you hooked page after page. Though Venetians did their best to cover up the horrific murders attributed to Angelico Vespucci in the 1500s a warning has carried through to the modern day: "When the portrait emerges, so will the man." Titian painted a portrait of Vespucci that disappeared along with the notorious merchant. Now that painting has come to light, leading to a string of copycat murders spanning the globe. Only an amateur sleuth, assisted by his surrogate father's ties with the art world, is able to connect the murders and get at the truth of what is happening. The clock is ticking down toward the fourth murder...he knows when it will happen, but not the identity of the victim.
Whilst browsing through my favorite used book store I came upon a copy of this and was intrigued by the subtitle: "A sixteenth-century conspiracy. A modern day murderer." At just shy of 500 pages, it looked like a good book with which to kill some time. Having read numerous murder mystery novels, I figured it would be pretty run of the mill. I was pleasantly mistaken.
The author has a good narrative style without bogging down the action. She kept multiple plotlines going seamlessly; I never got lost in the plot. The characters were unique and easily remembered. The chapters are short, making it easy to plow through large chunks at a time - it's a hard book to put down, always leaves you wanting more. Just when I was thinking that it was going to wrap up in a nice bow there was a blindside thrown at me that was a complete surprise. Overall I commend the author's craft.
Full of twists and turns and edge-of-your seat action, Isle of the Dead gets a strong recommendation from me.
When an archaeology student jumps ship and lies to her parents in order to join a dig at a Mayan temple that she helped discover, it sets into motion more than just her over-protective and disapproving father's wrath. Her father uses his political clout to drag the FBI into the search, only to just as quickly turn agent Caitlyn Tierney away. He summons comrades from his war days and his band of mercenaries goes in search of his daughter...and something more.
In the meantime Maria (the archaeology student) has joined up with another student who works closely with the professor leading the dig. Disaster strikes and she finds herself stranded in the jungle pursued by killers. She stumbles upon a medical clinic and hopes she has finally found some allies. Little does she know the clinic harbors dark secrets both past and present. Maria may just end up being the next victim...
I picked this book up as the Mayan connection intrigued me. I would have liked to have this influence the plot more. I felt that the plot moved at a good pace (indeed, at times it fairly galloped) and almost every chapter ended with a cliffhanger, which made it a breeze to read. The plot had sufficient twists and turns, some unexpected and some I had an inkling of ahead of the big reveal.
Because the book clips along so quickly the author doesn't spend as much time on character development or descriptions as I would like. When I was reading I had a hard time envisioning the characters, as I had been given little to go with. Likewise the scenes were sometimes too vague.
Overall I would recommend this to fans of the mystery/thriller genre. This novel is packed with fast-paced action. I felt it was somewhat lacking in descriptions of the scenery and characters, along with character development. However, if you like a fast, engaging read this fits the bill nicely.
By Diana Gabaldon
I was very excited to read this book because everyone had told me how good it was. Unfortunately I cannot say I share the sentiment.
I will say that I did enjoy some of it. The world the novel brings the reader back to is enriched and fleshed out nicely. Prior to reading I knew little about the era in which the story primarily takes place so it was refreshing to read about something different. I enjoyed the development of the plotline and the various adventures on which the characters went, however it was very distasteful that graphic sex scenes popped up everywhere throughout. Definitely could have done without that.
Overall I enjoyed the concept and the rough hashing of it, but the invasive sex scenes I just could not get past.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
By Fiona Carnarvon
Being an avid fan of Downton Abbey, I naturally could not resist having a go at this book.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey offers a comprehensive look at the lifestyles enjoyed by the British upper classes. The read is a touch on the dry side, however the facts presented are fascinating for those with an interest in the topic.
Dead Woman Creek
By Buck Edwards
'Dead Woman Creek' is an engaging, fast-paced story that draws a reader in and refuses to let go until the dust has settled! Whether you are a die-hard western fan or someone new to the genre, you can't go wrong with this story. The characters are nicely rendered, made real by their emotions and personal histories. The style of writing presents a harsh but real landscape upon which the story plays out. I am looking forward to the sequel coming out in paperback!