An excellent standalone thriller by Rankin, who really, I feel, ranks as one of the top thriller writers, in addition to being a top-notch mystery writer as well, of the Rebus detective series. Taking place mostly in California , but also moves to London and Scotland , the main character, Gordon, here is a former Special Forces soldier who’s brother has committed suicide. Once Gordon arrives in California to take his brother home to the UK , he finds out that, most likely, it was not suicide, but rather murder. Fast-paced and very well-written this one is a must for all thriller lovers and British mystery fans!

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DOWN TO THE WIRE  by David Rosenfelt

Rosenfelt, known for his Andy Carpenter series, introduces a new character in Chris Turley, a good, but not great, small town newspaper reporter who lives in the legacy of his famous newspaper reporter father. He is looking for that one great story that will net him the Pulitzer and erase any comparisons to his dad.
An anonymous tipster phones with possible information regarding corruption at a high level government office. Turley is asked to meet the anonymous caller in the parking lot of a nearby medical center. Upon arrival, Turley is unable to meet up with the tipster, but instead witnesses the explosive destruction of the medical building. He is able to run into the building to save several people before the building collapses. Instant fame follows as every TV tabloid and news show clamors for an interview with Turley.

He learns quickly, however, that the “madman” responsible for the explosion is not finished with his killing spree. Through almost daily anonymous phone calls, he utilizes Turley as his pawn and “mouthpiece” to report on his ongoing random murder spree. Turley complies as his continued reporting may lead to the coveted Pulitzer. Turley is also wondering about the motive for the killings, and why he was selected by the crazed killer.
Rosenfelt’s writing is succinct and to the point. The story is suspenseful and often surprising. As is the case with many of the popular crime/thriller authors, the ending is a disappointment and not very satisfying. However, the ride there is a thrill.
Rosenfelt is known for his Andy Carpenter series of crime novels. In this book, he keeps the humor of the Carpenter series, but loses the omnipresent golden retriever. Still a good read with enough believable plot twists and turns to make it worth the read.
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It’s hard to say I loved The Hurt Locker since it is such a disturbing and brutal movie. I will most likely never watch this film again. It’s not the kind of movie you want to re-live over and over again. And, it’s also not the type of film I would usually be drawn to. But, all I know is that I felt moved after seeing it…and that it affected me more than any film has in a long time. I think one of the reasons I was drawn to this film was that no matter what the subject, no matter how brutal or violent, good filmmaking is universal and stands out over all of the hype and other elements of the plot or story. The Hurt Locker is filmmaking at its finest. Never having been to war or even war-torn areas, this film is what I, as a naive civilian, imagine combat to be like. It is gritty and dismal and bleak and, at times, boring. There are men quarreling and having everyday personality issues like you and I do in the workplace. There are anger issues and missing family. There is death. Unlike some war films where the action and personalities of the soldiers and even the violence seems contrived, this film just seemed, to me at least, authentic. Revolving around soldiers in a bomb disposal unit in Iraq, the main character here is reckless and careless. But, he’s good at what he does so others around him are able to mostly excuse his free and easy behavior, especially because they do not want to do what he does. He’s the one who puts on the protective bomb gear and gets up close and personal with bombs. He might be a rebel, but in his dangerous job, rebellion is more of an asset at times than a liability. Like I said, I have no military experience so this feeling of authenticity is not based on anything specific…it’s just what I felt as I was watching the film—that this what be what it is really like over there. Then, on top of the intensity and drama of the film, The Hurt Locker also morphs into a thriller. As nail-biting (probably even more so) as any thriller made in Hollywood today, this war drama will not let up…even after the credits start to roll. With so many trite, predictable films being made today (some even about the war in Iraq), The Hurt Locker stands out among not only other war dramas, but among all other films.
The Hurt Locker: directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. The Niles Public Library owns copies of this title on DVD.

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THE STAFF OF THE ADULT FICTION DEPARTMENT AT NILES PUBLIC LIBRARY HAS CREATED ITS LIST OF THE “BEST NOVELS OF 2009.”

STAFF PICKS—BEST OF 2009

A GATE AT THE STAIRS—MOORE, LORRIE
A SMALL TOWN GIRL WORKS AS A NANNY IN A MIDWEST COLLEGE TOWN

A TRACE OF SMOKE—CANTRELL, REBECCA
SET IN 1931 BERLIN, A CRIME REPORTER SEEKS OUT THE STORY BEHIND HER BROTHER’S DEATH

BEAT THE REAPER—BAZELL, JOSH
A YOUNG HITMAN ENTERS THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM AS A MEDICAL INTERN

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER—WEINER, JENNIFER
TWO GIRLHHOD PALS RECONNECT FOLLOWING THEIR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

BLACK FRIDAY– KAVA, ALEX
FBI PROFILER MUST PREVENT A TERRORIST PLOT TO ATTACK THE MALL OF AMERICA ON BLACK FRIDAY

BORDER SONGS–LYNCH, JIM
QUIRKY BORDER PATROL AGENT’S SUCCESSFUL BUSTS ON THE CANADIAN/US BORDER

FEAR THE WORST—BARCLAY, LYNWOOD
CONNECTICUT CAR SALESMAN IN SEARCH FOR HIS DAUGHTER WHO MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED FROM HER SUMMER JOB

THE HELP—STOCKETT, KATHERINE
A SOCIAL ACTIVIST COLLECTS THE STORIES OF BLACK WOMEN IN JACKSON, MS. RAISING THE CHILDREN OF WHITE FAMILIES

HEROIC MEASURES—CIMENT, JILL
A WEEKEND IN THE LIFE OF AN ELDERLY COUPLE AND THEIR DACHSHUND HOPING TO SELL THEIR EAST VILLAGE APARTMENT AFTER 45 YEARS

HOME SAFE–BERG, ELIZABETH
A POPULAR AND PROLIFIC WRITER HAS LOST THE ABILITY TO WRITE FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND

HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET—FORD, JAMIE
A CHINESE AMERICAN IN SEATTLE IN 1986, HAVING LOST HIS WIFE TO CANCER, REFLECTS ON HIS LIFE IN AMERICA DURING WWII

ICE LAND—TOBIN, BETSY
SET IN ICELAND IN A.D. 1000, THE STORY IS A FLIGHT THROUGH SCANDINAVIAN MYTHS

NEW TRICKS—ROSENFELT, DAVID
DEFENSE ATTORNEY ANDY CARPENTER TAKES ON A CANINE CLIENT WHO IS CONNECTED TO THE MURDER OF AN EXEC. IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

STARDUST–KANON, JOSEPH
A RECENTLY RETURNED WWII CORPSMAN TRAVELS TO HOLLYWOOD TO INVESTIGATE THE UNEXPLAINED DEATH OF HIS BROTHER

STILL ALICE—GENOVA, LISA
AN ESTEEMED HARVARD PSYCHOLOGIST COPES WITH THE ONSET OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE–BRADLEY, C. ALLEN
IN A SLEEPY ENGLISH VILLAGE IN 1950 AN 11-YEAR OLD SCIENCE PRODIGY DISCOVERS A MURDER AND SEEKS TO SOLVE THE CRIME

TWENTIES GIRL—KINSELLA, SOPHIE
A MODERN STORY ABOUT THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN TWO GIRLS. HOWEVER, ONE OF THEM IS A GHOST FROM THE 1920’S

VANISHED—FINDER, JOSEPH
A CORPORATE INTELLIGENCE SPECIALIST INVESTIGATES THE DISAPPEARANCE OF HIS OLDER BROTHER

THE VINTAGE CAPER—MAYLE, PETER
A LAWYER INVESTIGATES THE THEFT OF A FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD LAWYER’S TREASURED AND EXPENSIVE WINE COLLECTION

WOLF HALL—MANTEL, HILARY
THE STORY OF HENRY VIII AND HIS CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCH IN HIS DESIRE TO DIVORCE HIS QUEEN AND MARRY ANNE BOLEYN IS TOLD THROUGH THE PERSPECTIVE OF HIS CLOSEST ADVISOR

WORST NIGHTMARES—BRIANT, SHANE
A SUCCESSFUL WRITER FINDS AN UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPT THAT TELLS THE STORY OF THE HOMICIDAL ‘DREAM HEALER’ WHO SNARES HIS VICTIMS VIA HIS WEBSITE

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An excellent thriller — my first read from Fielding. It was a true page-turner. I could hardly put it down — even for sleep! About a journalist who gets suckered in to write the memoirs of a sadistic child killer, Fielding really has a way of increasing the suspense as the story progresses. Strong characters and a good, trick ending make it a must read for any thriller fan. Not exactly the most intellectual read ever, but for thriller fans, I would say it’s a must! I’m going to try another Fielding soon and see if she’s always this good!

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“FEAR THE WORST” by Linwood Barclay.

Those Brits always have the best names! Anyhoo, Barclay, the #1 bestselling crime novelist in Britain, brings us his third novel.

Timothy Blake, a salesman at a Honda dealership in Connecticut, is an ordinary man. He’s middle-aged, has an ex-wife who is living with a car dealer rival, and has a 17-year old daughter, Syd, who might toss him a “Good Morning” on a GOOD day.

Syd is staying with Blake for the summer and has taken a job at Just Inn Time, a local hotel. Syd fails to return home from work one evening and Blake drives to the hotel to find that no one there has ever heard of her. The nightmare begins…..

This compelling and fast paced thriller follows Blake through the fright, fantasies and rage of a parent whose child faces uncertain danger. The plot is plausible and deals with the timely social issue of human trafficking. Several subplot twists in the book that are never resolved in the end may leave the reader a bit disappointed.

All in all, a good and suspenseful read.

 

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In doing some random Hitchcock searching, I happened to stumble across THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK WIKI.
Aside from being totally stunned that I have not uncovered this treasure trove before, I was giddy with excitement at this site. It’s like HEAVEN in a website form for any Hitchcock afficiando (there are other words I can substitute here, but I will skip it).
YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT!

http://www.hitchcockwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page

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Dr. Tony Hill is a psychologist. A pretty dang quirky one. He talks to himself. He tries to work out his cases by posing as both the criminal and the doctor. He’s a little strange…but boy is he clever. He plods and thinks and analyzes and examines and will not stop until he has solved the puzzle…always one step ahead of both the criminal and the police. Working with him is Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan who has a pretty major crush on Dr. Hill (and vice-versa) but neither will ever let anything happen. They are both too professional for that. But, as a crime-solving duo, they work together flawlessly. DCI Jordan calls Dr. Hill in on special cases…stumpers — mostly multiple murder cases or serial killings. Hill can almost “get inside” or see inside the brain of the killer. In the first case, Dr. Hill gets more than he bargains for when he helps DCI Jordan on a serial killing case and he gets targeted by the killer and captured and tortured. Does Jordan save him in time? Well, let’s just say that the series goes on.

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A fast-paced, exciting show that keeps the audience on their edge of their seats; this show is about the British organization MI:5…which is the spy agency that handles all activities WITHIN Great Britain (MI:6, where James Bond works, is responsible for the activities OUTSIDE Britain). If this show is even 10% accurate on what a spy goes through and what spies have to deal with, it is frightening. Taking spying into the 21st Century, this show does a great job of utilizing all of the new technological gadgetry and true-life terror threats as background in their episodes. A great cast helps push this show over the top…it’s provocative, insightful, very topical and fascinating.

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