Monday, September 16, 2013

(49) Gone Missing

Title: Gone Missing: A Thriller (Kate Burkholder Novels) by Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur Books
277 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Amish

Synopsis: Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.
A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep. Kate and state agent, John Tomasetti, delve into the lives of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this sinister puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?

Review: I am fascinated by the Amish culture and love these books.  This latest book in the Kate Burkholder series I couldn't put down. Fast paced, and haunting I loved every minute of it.

In search for someone who is abducting young Amish girls John enlists Kate to help him by speaking to the families of the missing girls. What Kate uncovers starts to hit a little too close to home.  Most of the girls were rebellious, didn't feel they fit into the Amish community and had considered leaving.  For John the case hits close to home because the girls are close to the age that his children would have been had they not been murdered along with his wife several years ago.  Fighting their own demons Kate and John must now find a serial abductor who is working within the Amish community.  Given that the Amish don't trust the English and are loathe to give any details that might make their children look bad (or normal to most people's standards) it is hard to find a connecting thread that ties all the crimes together to give them a good enough lead to find them.  As more women are abducted Kate finds herself personally involved.

I'll leave it there because the ending was really good and I don't want to slip up and give anything away.  If you are as fascinated by the Amish as I am these books are a good fit.  You catch a glimpse inside the plain life and learn that evil doesn't necessarily skip them just because of their beliefs.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

(48) The Troop

Title: The Troop by Nick Cutter
Publisher: Gallery Books
368 pages
Genre: Horror

I received an advanced e-copy of this book through  This title is due to be released January 7 2014. 

Synopsis: It begins like a campfire story: Five boys and a grownup went into the woods...

It ends in madness and murder.And worse...

Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bio-engineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected…and one another.

Review: This book just got creepier and creepier and its going to be hard to write this review without giving too much away.

The "bio-engineered nightmare" left me completely freaked out.  I found myself covering my mouth and inspecting my food many times while reading this book hoping I wouldn't catch it. Lets just say I won't be eating spaghetti for a while.  Some of the scenes may have pushed the limits of my suspension of disbelief but I quickly got over them with the fast pace of this book.

Although quite a few of the boys on this trip I wanted to smack several times over, I also could relate to them.  I have met people like them...well most of them.  The horror of what happens on that island and the aftermath leave me with the creepy crawlies.  It makes you wonder, could it really happen? Scientists have a way of doing things without forethought and then in hindsight try to justify their reasoning despite the fact that their research caused the deaths of many. Makes me think maybe Monsanto should read this book, but thats for a different blog.

If nothing else Nick Cutter exposes that sometimes the biggest danger is fear - although I wouldn't have wanted to catch what they had, fear led many of these kids to do some horrible things. Fear also seems to separates the weak from the strong, and sometimes the strong aren't who you think they would be.  (Never underestimate that nerd in the class!)

Overall this is a creepy read that left me wanting to douse myself in antibacterial soap and take a ton of antibiotics.  If a book can do that its got a thumbs up from me!

Monday, September 9, 2013

(47) The Road

Title: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Publisher: Vintage Books
287 pages

Synopsis: The searing, post-apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

Review: This is one of those books that I feel like everyone has read and they either loved it or hated it.  Most of the people I had talked to hated it so I never picked it up until my sister told me she loved it and passed it on to my partner who thought it was "ok" and passed it on to me. Now I felt obligated to read it and figure out for myself if it was worth all the hype.

I still don't understand all the hype around this book.  I didn't hate it but I didn't really like it either.  Its a very dark book, dark, desolate, desperate, with no hope.  The lack of grammar and the repetitive text made this book difficult to follow in parts.  You couldn't always follow who was speaking or if they were speaking or if they were just thinking. The whole book seemed a bit pretentious.  Even though the language was easy and the writing was easy, the lack of punctuation just fell flat for me.  I'm glad I read it just to cross it off my list but I have a very big TBR pile that I would have preferred to dive into first.
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