Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cheap Thrills by @mrneil98

For months I anxiously awaited the release of Zero Day by David Baldacci and Micro, Michael Crichton’s last thriller completed by Richard Preston, and I had resigned myself to shelling out the $12.99 I’d paid for previous new releases on my nook. I was shocked, to say the least, when I found that each e-book was listed at a “special price” of $14.99. There was nothing special about the price. Neither of the books rival the length of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 or any of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, and in any case what cost is extra pages to an ebook? In fact, what added cost could have possibly made these more expensive than the latest Rollins, Berry or Pendergast book. Somehow this price seemed excessive, crossing a previously unrealized line. Couldn’t this $15 be spent more efficiently on a greater quantity (and equal quality) of thrills?

With the gauntlet cast down, my wife and I set out to two of our favorite thrift stores, armed with a note pad, pencil and $15 in cash. Each store charges $1 for hardcovers and $.70 for paperbacks. The rules are simple and I make them up as I go. I am looking for thrillers that I have not read but would be interested in adding to my To-Be-Read list, which already stretches into the next life.

There are 47 hardcover thrillers between the two stores, of which I had previously read only 9. There are 48 paperbacks that filled the bill, forty of them I had yet to read. Most of the authors were recognizable and the titles were best sellers. It’s very difficult but I manage to narrow my selection.

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Predator by Patricia Cornwell
Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn
Honor Among Thieves by Jeffery Archer
Saint by Ted Dekker
Raising Phoenix by Kyle Mills

The Eight by Katherine Neville
Dead Watch by John Sandford
Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Path of the Assassins by Brad Thor
The Keepers by Heather Graham
Dear Irene by Jan Burke
Play Dirty by Sandra Brown

Total for Hardcovers = $7, Paperbacks = $5.60; so I need two more paperback. I select two older thrillers by a couple of popular authors; Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton and Saving Faith by David Baldacci. Final total = $15. Now all I need is the time to read them.

Thrift stores are not the only option for “cheap” thrills. The 99CentNetwork has countless books priced $.99 - $2.99 by indie authors, many of whom are a part of the IBC. There is also the upcoming 99CentBookEvent by the WLC and IAN.
One final note: After the first two weeks of release at the “special price” of $14.99, Baldacci’s Zero Day is now selling for $12.99. What was special about the first pricing?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Asylum Lake by R. A. Evans

Review by Michelle Scott

Note: The ThrillersRockT welcomes Michelle to the team. You can follow her on twitter , Facebook and/or her blog.

Asylum Lake (Parting the Veil) by R. A. Evans is a gripping, fast-paced thriller that left me with chills. Unfortunately, problematic flashbacks, spelling errors, and poor formatting undermined the tense plot and eerie setting.

In early 1970’s, a series of gruesome murders rocks the quiet, little town of Bedlam Falls, Michigan. But what’s even more disturbing than these terrible crimes is the fact that the perpetrator is a twelve-year-old son of a respected minister. The town, knowing that the culprit has been locked away, breathes a sigh of relief until thirty years later when the horrible acts are played out once more. Now, news reporter Brady Tanner stumbles across some disturbing family history that may help solve these mysteries and end the cycle of horror.

For the most part, I found this book to be entirely absorbing. At times, Evans’s writing leaves the reader breathless. Some events, such as the graphic murder sequences, left images in my mind that will not soon be erased. Other scenes, such as a time in which a foursome of teenagers decided to go for a nighttime swim, were wonderfully tense.

But not every scene is so well rendered. Clunky back story mangles the opening chapters of the book, and further on, the flashbacks are so poorly handled that it can be confusing to know what happens when. Also, there are many formatting troubles including such things as oddly-indented paragraphs and strangely-placed chapter headings.

Asylum Lake is the first in a series of books by R.A. Evans. It is a good first attempt by this author, but I hope that some of the problems with flashbacks and formatting will be fixed in the next books.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dance of the Winnebagos by Ann Charles

Here at Thrillers Rock Twitter we love #thrillers. We read #thrillers. We watch #thrillers. Some of us write #thrillers. But this weekend we are honoring our men and women in uniform, past and present, who live #thrillers every day. Our brave soldiers protect and serve our nation, far too often at their personal risk. Their brave families wait at home far too often not knowing if their beloved is safe and sound or in the midst of armed conflict. We can never do enough to honor and thank these awesome men and women.

Nov. 11 - Nov. 14 the Indie Book Collective is sponsoring Blog Tour de Troops, in honor of our soldiers and veterans. If you visit any of the participating author sites on the tour and comment with an email address you will get a FREE copy of one of the authors books. You can also designate a FREE copy to be sent to a soldier or veteran. eBooks, Kindles, and other goodies are also being gathered to send to our troops, and many of the authors have contests and other prizes for their commenters.

Visit the Blog Tour de Troops website for more information, then join us in a #thrilling blog hop with over a dozen FREE eBooks and a chance to win a Kindle! Get FREE eBooks for yourself and send them to your loved ones who serve our nation so selflessly.

Dance of the Winnebagos by Ann Charles

Reviewed by Maxwell Cynn

Dance of the Winnebagos by Ann Charles is one of the most fun books I've read in a long time. The rich cast of characters, and their antics, had me flipping pages - at times embroiled in the deliciously romantic cozy mystery, at others to find out what hilarious stunt would happen next.

Claire is a thirty-something who still hasn't found herself. She's tagging along with her grandfather and his buddies to keep an eye on them. They have their Winnebagos parked in an RV resort where they have invited every retired floozy on the internet to meet them. It's like the AARP version of a party at the Playboy Mansion. But Claire soon finds herself involved in a mystery - and with the handsome Mac who makes her toes curl just walking in the room.

The story is filled with twists and turns on all fronts. The romances and personal intrigues had me guessing almost as much as the mystery. Everyone seems to have an agenda and no one is completely open. As the silver haired sex-pots prance around in the desert heat, dark secrets are unveiled and the danger builds for Claire and Mac even as the heat between them ignites. This one gets two thumbs up and a stand ovation for laughs, sighs, thrills, and a excellently crafted mystery.

Whatever your favorite type of mystery, this one has it all - from romance to thriller - you're gonna love Dance of the Winnebagos. I can't wait to read more from Ann Charles. She is also the author of the award-winning Deadwood mystery series - Nearly Departed in Deadwood and Optical Dellusion in Deadwood.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

British Invasion - A Thrilling Fab Four by @mrneil98

For those thriller fans going through withdrawal since the release of Rollins’ The Devil Colony and Berry’s The Jefferson Key early this summer, I offer an alternative from across the pond. I have been enjoying the novels of several British authors over the last five years whose style and subject matter is consistent with the works of Berry, Rollins and Dan Brown. They are my Fab Four.

First up is Andy McDermott, the most prolific of the quintet. His debut, The Hunt for Atlantis, introduced his two recurring characters, Dr. Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase. Dr. Wilde is an American archeologist who continues to seek and solve many of the world’s greatest mysteries. Eddie Chase was hired originally as a bodyguard but their relationship has changed dramatically (and romantically) over the seven novels. McDermott’s novels are an entertaining diversion, reminding me of Matthew Reilly’s works.

David Gibbins is a writer who uses his educational background, a PhD in Archeology from Cambridge, to create believable scenarios and add credible historical background to his thrillers. His debut, Altantis, introduced his recurring cast of characters lead by Jack Howard, a marine archeologist, who is now beginning his sixth adventure. Gibbins books contain an excellent balance between historical background and modern day espionage.

Will Adams is the author of four thriller’s featuring archeologist Daniel Knox. His debut was The Alexander Cipher, followed by the superior Exodus Quest. Adams’ mixes historical knowledge with his own creative possibilities to create plausible storylines involving many of the world’s mysteries including Alexander the Great, Moses, Minos and Eden. (Note: Beware the changes in title from the original British to the American release name, i.e. The Exodus Quest becomes The Moses Quest.)

Last of the Fab Four is Tom Knox, not to be confused with Adams’ character Dan Knox. Knox is the nom de plume of British journalist Sean Thomas, who differs from the other authors by not involving recurring characters. Each of his first three thrillers create unique central characters and thrust them into life altering, as well as life threatening, situations. His debut The Genesis Secret dealt with fascinating findings in the oldest known settlements of Gobekli Tepe. Knox’s second The Marks of Cain was even better and truly demonstrated the incredible research that he conducts for each of his novels. I have been following him on Twitter @Thomas Knox and he has been documenting his excursions for his fourth and fifth books.

To fill the void until the next Rollins (summer 2012) or Berry (next Cotton Malone not until 2013!), you might want to try one of these British thriller writers. They educate with historical information while they thrill creating likeable characters thrust into death defying situations.

NOTE: I was originally going to review David Baldacci’s new thriller Zero Day but could not bring myself to pay $14.99 for the e-book on my Nook. The price crossed the line in my opinion. There are far too many books priced at less than one third the cost providing nearly as much entertainment. I almost balked when The Jefferson Key was $12.99 but in the end I caved. Not this time, especially since it is not an Oliver Stone and the Camel Club adventure.