The dead rise…
A mysterious incident in Russia, a blip buried in the news—it’s the only warning humanity receives that civilization will soon be destroyed by a single, voracious virus that creates monsters of men.
A lawyer, still grieving over the death of his young wife, begins to write as a form of therapy. Bur he never expected that his anonymous blog would ultimately record humanity’s last days.
The end of the world has begun…
Governments scramble to stop the zombie virus, people panic, so-called “Safe Havens” are established, the world erupts into chaos; soon it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves. Armed only with makeshift weapons and the will to live, a lone survivor will give mankind one last chance against…
I was in the mood for another take on the Zombie Apocalypse, so I picked up Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro (a Spanish practicing lawyer & author based in Pontevedra, Spain). With an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon (and 1,083 5 star reviews!), I figured this should be a good buy.
Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End unfortunately didn’t quite live up (to me) to the promise of its 4.2 stars, but if you like Zombie stories, it’s still an okay (if redundant) read. My main problem with the book was that it didn’t really offer anything new to the genre – the author was pretty faithful in his characterization of the zombies, and the plot is the usual survival story covered many times before (by better authors). The setting of the story at the author’s native Spain did keep it bit more interesting for me in the beginning, same with the origin of the Zombie plague beginning somewhere in Dagestan. Book-Putin’s response was also classic – I think Putin’s government would react the same way 🙂
The main character in the book is a yuppie lawyer who initially starts blogging as a way of dealing with his grief after the death of his wife, and ended up chronicling his harrowing experiences in a personal journal during the Zombie apocalypse. I thought that the blogging style worked well in the beginning, when the lawyer was slowly waking up to the real threat while trying to go about his ordinary life (going to work, shopping, etc). I was still okay when it got switched to writing a journal (the internet dies during the apocalypse, y’all) – after all, the guy was stuck alone in his home surrounded by zombies. Plenty of time to write one’s thoughts down on paper.
But I did have to suspend disbelief that the lawyer supposedly continued writing in the journal so faithfully (reporting EVERYTHING that happened to him almost daily), even after he went on the run (and spoiler alert! got captured). I mean, it’s kind of hard to think of myself taking a break every now and then from the Zombie mayhem to write down all my previous 24-hour experiences. It really got silly around the last third of the book for me – oh, hey, a horde of zombies have killed a bunch of us! I might die next! but hey, I’ll write down first about what happened in detail starting from this morning…
Personally, if the author was really dead set on the journal aspect, I thought the character should’ve just remained stuck in his home, while he fought going cabin-fever crazy while trying to figure out a way to survive the Zombies. Less travelling / adventuring / gathering companions (including a possible love-interest character whose age – 16/17? – gave me the creeps), and more going into the psychology of survival of a lone wolf-type character maybe.
Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro, translated by Pamela Carmell (AmazonCrossing) is available on Amazon.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is a 2013 crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.
Okay, I never heard of The Cuckoo’s Calling until it leaked out that this was really by JK Rowling writing under a pseudonym. When I found out, of course I had to get my own copy (together with a LOT of her other fans, sending the book up the bestseller lists!)
So, after practically devouring the book for the last three days – what can say? I liked it, really liked it – I forgot that this was written by JK Rowling even. I have no idea how some people are saying that they recognize JK Rowling’s style, since I couldn’t tell at all… Honestly, I’d had liked it even if it really was written by a debut author named Robert Galbraith.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is a good old-fashioned whodunit in the vein of PD James and Agatha Christie, very English – London front and center – with a complex-enough puzzle, plenty of interesting suspects, good characters who I cared about almost from the start, and good story-telling that just sucked me into the page … in short, I really look forward to the next installment!
More reasons why I’m recommending this!
- Very likable detective in the PI Cormoran Strike – he reminded me a bit of Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody (from the Harry Potter books) but maybe only because I knew this was JK Rowling going in
- Very engaging (and smart!) sidekick in Strike’s temporary secretary Robin (she was my fave character – and I’ve got high hopes that she’ll play a more prominent role in future books)
- Surprise (to me) ending – I had NO IDEA who the killer was (even with the plentiful clues). I like being surprised 🙂
- And, a nice break from the gory details, violence and sex that’s pretty typical of the Scandinavian crime novels I’d been reading recently!
The Cuckoo’s Calling (book 1 of the Cormoran Strike series) by JK Rowling (Writing as Robert Galbraith) (Mulholland Books) is available on the ff sites: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes iBooks, Diesel, Sony and The Book Depository.
Jonathan Kellerman’s “psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix” (Los Angeles Times), and this intensely thrilling blend has never been so powerful as in the acclaimed author’s new novel of murder and madness among the beautiful dreamers, seductive predators, and doomed innocents adrift in the glare of Southern California’s eternal sunshine.
A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale L.A. neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case—and draw out the disturbing truth.
Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation — all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface — a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacrifice.
Before their work is done, Alex and Milo, “the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes” (Forbes), must confront a fanatically deranged mind of such monstrous cunning that even the most depraved madman would shudder.
It’s 2013, and for Jonathan Kellerman fans like me – the new year means that Mr Kellerman will have a new book out. It’s like clockwork with him. And it didn’t take him long too – Guilt, which is book #28 in Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, was released just this February, and I wasted no time in getting myself a copy 🙂
In Guilt, Alex and Milo are initially called in for a super cold case – the decades-old remains of an infant is found accidentally during a backyard renovation. But things do come in three’s, don’t they, and two more bodies – a woman and another set of infant bones – are discovered in a nearby park. Are the two cases somehow connected? Alex and Milo dig into both the past and the present, and end up entangling with Hollywood (including a pair of Jolie/Pitt-esque suspects).
I finished this one pretty quickly (in two days flat) and as a long time fan of the series, I was okay with it (except for the bland ending). It’s not the best I’ve read from Mr Kellerman, but definitely not one of the bad ones (i.e. Deception). Warning to fans who really prefer the earlier Alex Delaware books, the latest one is still more of a police procedural than a psychological thriller, so skip it if you feel really strongly about it. And my problem with the ending? It lacked suspense and danger (Very Important for crime thrillers), and involved characters I was meeting for the first time. Ergo, a distinct lack of emotional punch for such a horrible crime (baby-killer).
I did appreciate that Mr Kellerman seems to be trying to bring back the psychology aspect, even if in a peripheral or subplot way like it is in Guilt. (The previous book Victims had Alex Delaware’s psychology skills more front and center.) I personally prefer Alex when he is contributing more as a expert psychologist (like in the early books, especially when he’s working with children) instead of just being Lt. Milo Sturgis’ sounding board &/or driver &/or Google-surfing police sidekick.
Another thing I liked with Guilt was that Alex Delaware was (finally!) humbled by being very wrong about many of his conclusions. That sounds odd, I know, but I was getting fed up with how ‘Mary-Sue’ the character was, as this super-sleuth who was always right, while there seemed to be a dumbing down of Milo. I mean there was an actual scene in the book where Milo’s boss tells Alex that he’s the better detective (?! – I was very offended on Milo’s behalf).
One mistake changes everything…
In the middle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train. Despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one noticed when the girl was taken. Her distraught mother was left behind at the previous station in what seemed to be a coincidence. The train crew was alerted and kept a watchful eye on the sleeping child. But when the train pulled into Stockholm Central Station, the little girl had vanished.
Inspector Alex Recht and his special team of federal investigators, assisted by the investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman, are assigned to what at first appears to be a classic custody fight. But when the child is found dead in the far north of Sweden with the word “unwanted” scribbled on her forehead, the case soon turns into the investigation team’s worst nightmare — the pursuit of a brilliant and ruthless killer.
“Expect Ohlsson to join Nesbo on most readers’ can’t-miss lists.” –Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Kristina Ohlsson is a counterterrorism officer in Europe and has worked as a security police analyst for the National Swedish Police Board.
I wanted to try out other Scandinavian mystery writers, so I picked up Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson (together with the sequel Silenced). This police procedural got starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, so I was really looking forward to reading it although I did have my apprehensions since the victims here are all children (not my favorite topic).
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to say I’m pretty disappointed with this one. Hopefully, the next book will be better (since I already bought it!)
I figured out pretty early on what all the victims and their mothers had in common, so I was just waiting for the investigators to get around to it in the end (while wondering what was so supposedly legendary about the chief Investigator Alex Recht). Which you have to admit is pretty boring (when reading a crime thriller).
I did like that they finally figured out the killer in the end just using good old-fashioned police work. It didn’t make for much excitement, but it did ring as realistic to me. Which is more than I can say about the characters.
Because, really, my main problem with Unwanted was with the poor characterization – I didn’t like any of the investigators! I thought they were so flat & one-dimensional, and just didn’t seem like real adult people to me at all. They acted like they were emotionally aged thirteen or something like that. It was so weird – maybe it was a translation problem?
The first new Wallander novel for a decade, and the final installment in the bestselling series from the godfather of Swedish crime.
On a winter day in 2008, Håkan von Enke, a retired high-ranking naval officer, vanishes during his daily walk in a forest near Stockholm. The investigation into his disappearance falls under the jurisdiction of the Stockholm police. It has nothing to do with Wallander—officially. But von Enke is his daughter’s future father-in-law. And so, with his inimitable disregard for normal procedure, Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility, making promises he won’t keep, telling lies when it suits him—and getting results. But the results hint at elaborate Cold War espionage activities that seem inextricably confounding, even to Wallander, who, in any case, is troubled in more personal ways as well. Negligent of his health, he’s become convinced that, having turned sixty, he is on the threshold of senility. Desperate to live up to the hope that a new granddaughter represents, he is continually haunted by his past. And looking toward the future with profound uncertainty, he will have no choice but to come face-to-face with his most intractable adversary: himself.
About the Author
Internationally bestselling novelist and playwright HENNING MANKELL has received the German Tolerance Prize and the U.K.’s Golden Dagger Award and has been nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize three times. His Kurt Wallander mysteries have been published in thirty-three countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe.
* Note, the book cover I embedded here is from the UK edition – I just like it better than the US cover
Dang, there’s a part of me that really wishes I didn’t read The Troubled Man – the final installment in Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander Mystery series. Reading this beook just made me feel so depressed afterwards – especially with the way things ended for Kurt [sob]! I won’t spoil details, but man, that was cruel… Yeah, I’ve definitely gone a long way from initially disliking Kurt immensely in the first book to now being brokenhearted by his ultimate fate in this final book.
So, obviously The Troubled Man really packed an emotional wallop for me (see emoticon above)… but I have to admit that the mystery per se wasn’t as good as in Henning Mankell’s previous Kurt installments. Maybe it’s because I just don’t care much for Cold War espionage mysteries, but I found this case involving the disappearance of an old man, sleeper spies, and mysterious foreign submarines back in the 1980s just – well – boring. And I didn’t even have the emotional satisfaction of the case being wrapped up definitively since nobody even knew that Kurt had solved the mystery in the end.
I wanted Kurt to have an exciting and meaty mystery for a send-off, but I didn’t get that here.
Warning for fans, the whole atmosphere in this book is really extra mournful and depressing. Mankell made me feel like being aged 60 (Kurt’s age here) is more like 80 what with the preoccupation with death, regrets and goodbyes that happen throughout the book (Example, people from Kurt’s past resurface only to say goodbye like a dying Baiba, an alcoholic Mona, etc.) Didn’t Mankell get the memo that 60 is the new 40 nowadays? (Exhibit 1: Liam Neeson)
The Troubled Man (Kurt Wallander Mysteries) by Henning Mankell is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition, Paperback edition and Audible Audio Edition. * Also available in Amazon UK
Today, we have author Alana Woods featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her debut award-winning best-selling suspense legal thriller Automaton and follow-up suspense espionage thriller Imbroglio.
‘It’s difficult to decide where to begin with Automaton. This is an exemplary novel by a master of the craft. Set in Australia, it is so deep, so well written, so intelligently thought out and flows so smoothly that I felt like a participant and personal observer within the events, rather than a reader who was sitting comfortably in my office as the story unfolded. Woods’ experience as a Court Reporter makes her tale as authentic, intriguing and interesting as any you’ll ever read. It’s not a quick, shallow read – it’s a real novel … Regretfully, I can only give this one 5 stars. I assure you I’m waiting for Alana Woods’ next novel.’
‘Alana Woods’ suspense novel Imbroglio. This lady can definitely spin a tale … In short, it’s what any card-carrying crime fiction fan is looking for … ‘
Alana Woods writes :
So, when is a good guy a good guy, or a bad guy a bad guy, or good bad, or bad good?
And when is a girl telling the truth or taking you for a sucker?
That’s the question occupying Robert Murphy and David Cameron – the aforementioned good guys, or are they the bad guys?
Let’s take Elisabeth Sharman and Robert Murphy first because they’re the main players in my debut novel Automaton, an award-winning best-selling legal suspense thriller.
Murphy is Sharman’s instructing solicitor in a murder trial, but he’s having a hard time of it. She’s prickly, unfriendly and downright uncommunicative until the night she lets him take her to bed. Problem is, the next morning she goes right back to being prickly, unfriendly and uncommunicative. He can’t help but think she seduced him to keep him quiet. But he’s hooked and when all’s said and done, they both have the interests of their client to look out for. A client who’s only 19 and allegedly can’t remember committing the crime he’s on trial for.
There are so many skeletons stuffed into the closets in Automaton they rattle.
A book store manager once remarked to me about Automaton ‘It’s quite literary, isn’t it’. I considered it to be a terrific compliment.
Not easy, I’ve been told. Valentine saves Cameron’s life and finds herself in a resulting spiral into trouble that has her head spinning. She’s already on very shaky mental ground because of something in her past. She desperately needs to care about something and her choice just maybe couldn’t have been worse. But when the bad guy’s gorgeous, it can be hard to see straight, let alone think straight, right? There’s car crashes, sharks, guns, traitors. It’s a wonder anyone survives until the end.
More on Alana Woods!
When I first started work, it was as a publications typist at a weapons research establishment. It helped put me in the right frame of mind when I wrote Imbroglio some years later.
Later I spent five years in court reporting. That’s when the idea for Automaton occurred. I’d sit in court and watch the accused and their families. Some were lost, had no idea what was going on. The words spoken may have been familiar but the language used was foreign. My heart used to break for the parents especially.
In fact, my jobs generally have been good sources of material for books. I’m working on a corporate crime novel at the moment that’s a direct result of my years as an editor and subsequently Director of Publishing at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. I’m tossing up whether to make it a trilogy. I know series are popular and sell well, but I also note a trend to short novellas in series. I like long books, so if I do decide on a trilogy I’d like each one to be the length of a traditional novel, which requires a bit of work!
Born in England but an Aussie in heart and soul, at the moment Alana Woods has a hankering to buy a masseria in Puglia and go live there. The food and wine are to die for. She just has to convince her other half … and learn Italian.
Writer, editor, book reviewer, reader, traveller, food and wine lover – all of these describe Alana.
Alana Woods’ books are all available in Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon. Samples are available on her Scribd.Com page (and also embedded here)
You might also like to check out her 25 essential writing tips: guide to writing good fiction that she wrote after critiquing manuscripts for many years. It’s aimed at aspiring authors but if the reviews are anything to go by seasoned authors are also giving it the thumbs up.
You can also check out Alana Woods’ Amazon author page for more info and her other books.
[tweetmeme source=”randomizemeWP” only_single=false https://randomizeme.wordpress.com%5D
Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!
Read an embedded sample of “Automaton” and “Imbroglio” after the jump!
Indie Saturday – Author James A. Anderson on his Thrillers ‘The Daily Express Chronicles’ (Deadline and The Scorpion)
Today, we have author James A. Anderson featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his planned trilogy of thrillers ‘The Daily Express Chronicles‘ which are set in a fictional Toronto newspaper. He has self-published two of the books already : Deadline and it’s sequel, The Scorpion.
James A. Anderson writes :
Thanks for the invitation to address your readers. I hope you enjoy books as much as I do. I’m an avid reader and have been all my life.
I am a retired Canadian journalist, 64 years old, with a 35-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor. It was an extremely satisfying and fun career and I use a lot of my experiences in my novels. Many of the news stories in both books are real cases fictionalized. I started writing thrillers two years ago after I retired.
I’ve been writing stories since I was about 8-years old. But I seriously began writing in my teens and sold my first short story to a Canadian teen magazine when I was 16. I wrote my first novel, a spy thriller when I was 18 but it didn’t sell or get published. It really wasn’t very good and too derivative of James Bond. But I enjoyed the challenge of writing a novel.
I became interested in journalism and pursued a 35-year career as a reporter and editor for weekly and daily newspapers after university. But it didn’t leave much time for fiction writing so I put it on the back burner until I retired four years ago and started to write thrillers based on my newspaper experiences.
My current release is The Scorpion and is a sequel to my first thriller Deadline. It contains murder, action and romance woven around a series of sub-plots which gives readers an insight into how daily newspapers operate and pursue their stories. It is the second of a planned three-part trilogy.
Deadline, my first novel, combines murder, action, and romance, with a glimpse into the world of big city media. This thriller, set over a 24-hour period in a fictional Toronto newspaper — the Daily Express, follows four central characters in Toronto and Afghanistan as they cope with both personal and professional deadlines in their lives.
A serial killer — The Wolfman – prowls the streets of Toronto kidnapping young professional women, then targets crime reporter Katie Cannon who has been writing about his rampage.
Meanwhile, Trevor Trevanian, a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, is abducted by al-Qaida and taken on a perilous journey to Pakistan to face an uncertain fate.
I originally planned this as a single novel but reader reaction has been so great and I received many requests in reviews and emails to continue the series. People wanted to know what happens to these characters. So the idea for The Scorpion was born. The Toronto Daily Express chronicles continued, picking up a year after where Deadline left off, bringing more news stories, more murder, action and romance.
This fast-paced, page-turning thriller will keep readers on the edge of their seats as the novel, like its predecessor, carries multiple alternating story lines involving a murder trial, a mad hospital bomber, and newspaper managing editor Braden Young who is facing a health crisis, a diagnosis of prostate cancer. The book follows one week in the life of the newspaper.
The Scorpion is a terrorist. A nameless, faceless killer leading a team that plans to attack North America bringing death and destruction in a daring scheme called Operation Saladin. The central plan is to blow up the CN Tower in Toronto with a suitcase nuclear device. A sidebar to the operation is an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister of Canada at his official residence 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.
Reporter Katie Cannon and Daily Express Publisher Andrew Chase are planning their wedding with the reception to be held in the revolving restaurant atop the CN Tower, but their happy day may bring more than they expect.
Foreign correspondent Trevor Trevanian, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda and taken to meet and interview a high profile Al Qaeda leader in Deadline, has left Afghanistan and is now stationed in London, England. He meets a mysterious young lady Lynne Whitfield, allegedly another journalist, but actually an MI-6 agent who is assigned to follow him hoping he will lead them to Al-Qaeda contacts. She and Trevor attend the wedding in Toronto and play a key role in trying to prevent the CN Tower attack.
In writing The Scorpion, I decided to make the series – now subtitled The Daily Express Chronicles – a trilogy. I plan to start writing book #3 this fall and will wrap everything up. I then want to try something new.
More on James A. Anderson!
My favorite author is probably Michael Connelly. Like me, Connelly is a former newspaper reporter who writes fast-paced, page turning thrillers. I can only hope to some day write as good as he does. Selling millions of copies also would be nice.
I like to listen to classical music when I write. Mostly Mozart or Beethoven. I find them soothing, inspirational and great background music.
I usually write every morning from 9-12. I’m retired so don’t want to do it full-time. I have family, dogs and other interests. The afternoons and evenings are usually free for those things. But mornings are my writing time. It’s also when I’m at my freshest.
The books that have most influenced my life and creative writing are thrillers, mysteries and spy novels. Love ‘em. My favorite writers are Michael Connelly, Lee Child, John Le Carre, Ian Fleming and others of that ilk.
Before I release my novels I have them read by critique partners or beta readers. My spouse, family and friends and former journalism colleagues read my early drafts and are most helpful in spotting my flubs and making suggestions to improve the manuscript or the story line. You need that independent input because as author you are often too close to the story.
Thanks for reading this and if you try my novels, I hope you enjoy them. I always appreciate reader comments and suggestions for future works. You can find my email in my author profile on www.amazon.com or Facebook me at: James Anderson or Twitter me at: @janders003.
James A. Anderson is a retired journalist and graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He lives in London, Ontario, Canada with his wife Sherry and two basenjis, Remba and Wakili. They have two married children and four grandchildren.
[tweetmeme source=”randomizemeWP” only_single=false https://randomizeme.wordpress.com%5D
Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!
Read an embedded sample of “The Scorpion” after the jump!