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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Reading

An Unsettled Grave – Bernard Schaffer | A Book Review

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

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 By Bernard Schaffer | A Book Review

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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If She Wakes By Michael Koryta | A Book Review

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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Reading

Redemption By David Baldacci | A Book Review

Title: Redemption

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the fifth novel in a series following Amos Decker, a football player turned detective after a head injury cut his NFL career short. A man named Meryl Hawkins who was convicted of four murders thirteen years ago asks Decker to clear his name.

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

First impressions: I’ve enjoyed books by Baldacci in the past, so I was excited to read his latest novel. I like the title, cover, and premise.

Characters: The characters grew on me. They’re all flawed in some way. Decker is a complicated character with a difficult past.

Quote:

“I let circumstances beyond my control define me.”

Writing: The short chapters that end on cliffhangers help build suspense. I also loved the back and forth banter between characters. Baldacci does dialogue so well. He balances the darker scenes with light moments.

Final thoughts: The plot unfolded at a quick pace. Even though the ending ties up loose ends, I was left wanting more.

I suggest reading the previous books first because the book references past events. That said, it’s still possible to follow along. I highly recommend Redemption if you’re a fan of fast thrillers.


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Reading

Dark Sacred Night By Michael Connelly | A Book Review

Title: Dark Sacred Night

Author: Michael Connelly

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s part of a series that follows Harry Bosch and Renée Ballard.

I received a free copy of the book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I read Two Kinds of Truth and enjoyed it. So I was looking forward to reading another book by Connelly. I like the title. The cover is plain and simple.

Characters: Bosch and Ballard complement each other well. Renée has an interesting backstory.

There are a ton of secondary characters, but I found it relatively easy to remember who was who.

Quote:

“You’ve got scars on your face but nobody can see them.”

Writing: Even with the alternating viewpoints, the plot unfolds at a solid pace. I’m a fan of the short chapters and sentences. They help build suspense.

Connelly knows how to foreshadow. He also addresses relevant issues like the #MeToo movement.

Final thoughts: I read through the ending quickly. I messed to know who committed the murder of a young woman. I had no idea who dun it until Connelly revealed the their identity

I’m impressed with Connelly’s research, and it shows in his stories. I feel like I learn something new whenever I read his novels.

I highly recommend Dark Sacred Night to fans of suspenseful thrillers about crime.


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