Reading

The Last Trial – Scott Turow | A Book Review

The Last Trial - Scott Turow

Title: The Last Trial

Author: Scott Turow

Genre: Thriller

About the book: A criminal defense lawyer in Sandy Stern defends his friend, Kiril Pafko, who has been charged with fraud, insider trading, and murder. Pafko formerly won a Nobel Prize in Medicine and created a drug to help cancer patients. The Last Trial is part of a series, but you don’t have to read the other books to be able to follow the story.

I received an advanced reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’ve never read any of Turow’s previous works, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was excited by the premise, plus I love a good thriller. I also like the title and cover. The prologue is interesting because it reveals an important moment that happens near the end of the trial.

Characters: There are many different characters who all have their flaws and shortcomings. I grew to like Sandy Stern, his daughter Marta, as well as his granddaughter Pinky the most. Even so, the other individuals are dynamic and well-developed. The relationships were great because of their complexity.

Quote:

“We have an intuitive reluctance to accept the unknown.”

Writing: The author is very detailed and descriptive. As such, I learned a lot of legal and medical information. I also had a tough time predicting some of the events. It isn’t the quickest read but worthwhile nonetheless, especially when everything comes together at the end.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending as it ties up loose ends. If you’re a fan of legal thrillers, check out The Last Trial.


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Reading

Die Next – Jonathan Stone | A Book Review

Die Next - Jonathan Stone

Title: Die Next

Author: Jonathan Stone

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone about a young man named Zack Yellin who accidentally switches phones with a professional hitman in Joey Richter.

I received an advanced reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’m a big fan of thrillers, and the premise sounded interesting to me. The beginning jumps right in the action, which I appreciated.

Characters: I liked the characters, even Joey. They’re complex and dynamic in their own ways. Zack is a great protagonist, and I think Detective Lopez would also make for a good main character in another novel.

Quote:

“It was like a second kid—ordinary, unnoticed in the glow of the superstar, but in the absence of the first, you could get to know this one, get to love it, feel affection for the underdog.”

Writing: I enjoyed the cliffhangers, and the short chapters helped to create suspense. There were certain twists and turns that I didn’t see coming either. The pacing is quick, so I found the book to be a fast read. It’s a little less than 350 pages long.

Final thoughts: The ending surprised me but not in a bad way. Overall, the story went in a different direction than I expected, yet I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I highly recommend Die Next if you’re a fan of suspenseful thrillers that shed light on the advantages and downfalls of technology.


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Reading

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown | A Book Review

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Title: The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the second novel in a series following Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist, and Robert Langdon, a symbologist. They try to solve codes left behind by the curator of a museum who leaves behind a religious mystery that other people also want to uncover.

First impressions: I finally got around to reading this novel after hearing so much about it over the years. I haven’t read the first book or seen the movie, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. The story starts with the curator being murdered and goes from there.

Characters: I liked Sophie and Langdon. They’re different yet dynamic. I enjoyed following them on their journey across Eruope, being chased by the police as well as other characters.

Quote:

“…men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.”

Writing: It’s written in the third person, and readers get to follow the narrative through several perspectives. I loved the short chapters. Brown was descriptive and included a lot of detail about art as well as religion. In my opinion, the symbols and codes included throughout added to the reading experience.

Final thoughts: The ending tied up loose ends and was satisfying in my opinion. For fans of adventure-based thrillers with historical elements mixed in, check out The Da Vinci Code if you haven’t already.


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Reading

Framed – S.L. McInnis | A Book Review

Framed - S.L. McInnis

Title: Framed

Author: S.L. McInnis

Genre: Thriller

About the book: Beth Montogmery thinks she has the perfect life until her best friend from college, Cassie Ogilvy, asks to stay with Beth and her husband. Little does she know that Cassie is connected to a quadruple homicide following a botched drug deal that left an undercover cop dead.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love thrillers, so I was excited to read this novel. The cover is clever with an image of a piano, which ties in with the importance of music throughout the story. The quick pacing at the start drew me in.

Characters: The main characters are flawed with many having their own issues. I appreciate the backstories that came out later on in the narrative, as they shed light on why everyone made certain decisions.

Quote:

“In the end, he’s pretty sure nobody knows anything about anyone else.”

Writing: The chapters are short and suspenseful. It’s told in third person and alternates between the perspectives of Beth, Cassie, Beth’s husband named Jay, a police officer, as well as a criminal in Rick.

Final thoughts: I didn’t see the ending coming at all. It was unexpected and different.

I highly recommend Framed if you like suspenseful thrillers with unpredictable twists.


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An Unsettled Grave – Bernard Schaffer | A Book Review

An Unsettled Grave - Bernard Schaffer

Title: An Unsettled Grave

Author: Bernard Schaffer

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the second in a series following a young cop in Carrie Santero who investigates a cold case. Thirty years ago, a girl went missing, which led to one police officer being killed and another committing suicide.

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: Not long ago, I read the first book, The Thief of All Light, so I was curious as to what would happen next. The title and cover also piqued my interest.

Characters: Carrie is easy to root for and relate to. Jacob Rein, a former police officer who mentors Carrie, is an interesting individual as well.

Quote:

“Do something you love and be the best you can be at it.”

Writing: It’s written in the third person. The chapters are short and suspenseful. Some events take place in the present while others transpired in the past. I appreciate the contrast between serious moments and lighter ones.

The themes and language are mature. Bernard delves into issues like sexual assault, and he does a good job handling them. The writing is easy to follow, but the subject matter is more difficult.

Final thoughts: I didn’t expect the story to be so sad. That said, I liked the ending. I enjoyed the second book more than The Thief of All Light, but it’s best to read the former novel first.

I recommend An Unsettled Grave to fans of thrillers with a strong female detective as the protagonist.


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Reading

One Good Deed – David Baldacci | A Book Review

One Good Deed - David Baldacci

Title: One Good Deed

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Aloysius Archer, a man who served in the war and went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s 1949 when Archer gets out. After a murder happens in a small town, he becomes the primary suspect and has to figure out the truth.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’m a fan of Baldacci, having read many of his other novels, so I was looking forward to this one. It’s different from his previous works, specifically the historical setting. Even the writing struck me as more descriptive. The beginning doesn’t throw you into the action right away, but rather it builds the world slowly.

Characters: Once I got to know Archer and learn more about his past, I started rooting for him. The secondary characters are also an interesting bunch. The author did a great job making me suspicious of everyone. Even so, I couldn’t figure out who killed whom.

Quote:

“The turth not only can hurt, but also can have the capacity to destroy.”

Writing: Like I mentioned earlier, there’s more description and world-building than his other novels. A lot of attention went into detailing what characters were wearing.

Final thoughts: I always love seeing how Baldacci ends his stories. I almost never figure out everything perfectly. I liked this ending, even though I didn’t see it coming. The suspense takes some time to build, but the story gets better as the plot advances.

I highly recommend One Good Deed if you’re a fan of historical crime fiction. It’s a departure from his earlier books in a good way.


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Reading

The Thief of All Light – Bernard Schaffer | A Book Review

The Thief of All Light - Bernard Schaffer

Title: The Thief of All Light

Author: Bernard Schaffer

Genre: Thriller

About the book: Rookie cop Carrie Santero teams up with a disgraced veteran in Jacob Rein to find a serial killer who is imitating other famous killers.

I received a free copy of the novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love a good thriller as much as the next person, so when Schaffer reached out to me, I was excited. I like the title and cover. The beginning of the story starts off strong.

Characters: I will always adore strong female protagonists, and Carrie is easy to root for. I liked her development throughout the story. I hope she continues to develop in subsequent novels. Jacob Rein grew on me more than I expected. The secondary characters are also well fleshed out with their own backstories.

Quote:

“The only reliable thing in all of existence is entropy.”

Writing: The occasional banter between characters helps balance out the darker, tragic moments. I appreciate the lack of romance. Some scenes are violent and graphic in nature.

It’s a concise novel at a little under 300 pages with short chapters, so the plot unfolds at a quick pace. The author doesn’t drag anything out for too long.

Final thoughts: The ending answers many questions, but it also left me wanting to read more.

I’d recommend The Thief of All Light to adults who are fans of suspenseful thrillers about serial killers.


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Reading

If She Wakes – Michael Koryta | A Book Review

If She Wakes - Michael Koryta

Title: If She Wakes

Author: Michael Koryta

Genre: Thriller

About the book: Tara, a student, is in a vegetative state after being hit by a car while Abby, an insurance investigator, finds a young hitman after her when she starts looking into what happened.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I was intrigued by the cover, title, and premise. I haven’t read any books by Koryta in the past, but I enjoyed the beginning of this story.

Characters: The characters are well-written. Even though their circumstances are more extreme than anything I’ve been through, both Tara and Abby resonated with me.

Quote:

“You take your wins where you can find them, though.”

Writing: I liked the writing and pacing. The suspense kept me turning the pages because I wanted to know what would happen next. It’s written in the third person, so it alternates between the perspectives of multiple characters. Some scenes are more violent and graphic in nature that might not appeal to everybody. There’s no romance, which I appreciated.

Final thoughts: I read the last hundred pages or so in one sitting, and I haven’t done that in a long time. The ending didn’t disappoint at all. It was action-packed, yet hard to predict at the same time.

I highly recommend If She Wakes for fans of thrillers featuring strong female characters overcoming different obstacles.


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