Tag Archives: paranormal thriller

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Battle Ground

Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

Battle Ground (The Dresden Files, #17) by Jim Butcher (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s review

Since the last Dresden Files book, Peace Talks, ended on a dire cliffhanger, it comes as no surprise that Battle Ground picks up just hours after the action ended in the last novel.  The Unseelie Nations are forced to push their differences aside and ban together to stop an extra-universe invasion force; one that is led by the last of the ancient Titans, a being filled with hate and bent on destruction of everything. 

Harry is front and center as the Winter Knight, the battle commander of Queen Mab and Lady Molly, and finally accepts fully the power of the Winter Mantle.  He attempts to do so without allowing the power to overwhelm him and change his personality.  With this new ability he gains control over the forces of winter, along with the ability to sway humans under his control and the ability to know exactly where each of his “soldiers” is and how they’re faring on the battle field.

Harry comes close to losing it though, when SI cop Rudolph, who already holds a grudge against Dresden, kills Murphy in a blind panic.  Luckily, he has friends to stand by him and ground him, even if he would rather they remain safe than assist him.

There were a few moments in this book, which is really one epic battle that happens mostly over a day or two, where I thought that there would be no allies left to fight with Dresden by the end, and no bad guys left to fill the void.  However, Butcher planned his universe out well, because suddenly villains mentioned several books ago are on the scene, ready to snatch away the victory.

In the end, the battle may be won but the war has hardly begun, as the Supernatural forces are at odds with the Wizard’s Council, and humanity is all too aware of the supernatural community, which has done its best to remain under the radar till now.

I am sad that I have now caught up with all the published books in Dresden Files series, though one source indicated that Jim Butcher is considering a further five books to add to the saga.  I‘ll just have to wait patiently until the next release.  Meanwhile, I give this book five stars and recommend the series to any fans of urban fantasy, epic stories, and paranormal detective fiction.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Peace Talks

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s review

In this highly anticipated return to the world of Harry Dresden, in the first novel added to the series in several years, Harry is faced with a conference that can either bring about the end of hostilities between the supernatural nations, or see the world destroyed.

It doesn’t make things any easier for Harry when he discovers that the leadership of White Council of Wizards, to which Harry still nominally belongs even as he’s serving as the Knight of the Winter Queen, is plotting to remove Harry from their ranks and thus their protection.  Of course, at the same time, Harry finds out he is about to become an uncle to his half-vampire half-brother’s child, just as Thomas for reasons unknown tries to assassinate the King of one of the member nations of the Unseelie Accords.

With many of Harry’s friends and allies either unwilling to help or having their hands tied, he reaches out to the leader of the White Court vampires, Thomas’s half-sister, to help him pull off a rescue under the collective noses of the supernatural world.

Even these events must take secondary priority as it becomes clear that the Peace Conference is in reality the opening volley in a war between the accorded nations and the Fomor, an ancient enemy newly returned.  While several nations offer assistance for a collective defense, the Winter Court is unable to help as an assault of the universe is affected against the Outsiders, the enemy from beyond the universe.

This latest book, while exciting and containing enough action to satisfy many readers, left me thinking something was lacking in the storyline.  There are no resolutions to any of the major plotlines in this book.  Granted this story is much shorter than some of recent novels, those usually showed at least some type of closure to at least most of the major points by the conclusion; while this entire book read more like a setup for the next book, Battleground, which was released a few months later.  I have yet to read the last novel, but I hope the resolutions missing from Peace Talks will be presented here.  Perhaps if the author presented this book as the first of a duology it would have given readers an idea of what to expect.

I’m giving this paranormal thriller four stars because, while the writing is excellent as usual, the plot seems uncomplete.  Still, I will have to get the next book ( the last to date) in short order to see if it meets my expectations.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Old Bones

Old Bones by Douglas Preston

Old Bones (Nora Kelly #1) by Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child
Amy Caudill‘s review

The latest spinoff from authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child features two feisty alums from a handful of the Pendergast series books, Dr. Nora Kelly and newly-minted Special Agent Corrie Swanson of the FBI.

Readers of the series will remember Nora Kelly is an archeologist and the wife of the late investigative reporter Bill Smithback, another series regular who was (spoilers!) tragically murdered in an earlier book.  Nora has returned to her roots, working for the Santa Fe Archeological Institute, when she receives an offer to help find a lost camp of members of the infamous Donner party, where pioneers headed to California were stuck in a blizzard and resorted to cannibalism in an attempt to survive.

Meanwhile, Corrie Swanson, former Goth protégé of Pendergast, is a rookie at the FBI and anxious for her first real case.  What comes her way is a series of grave robbing’s and a murder that are inexplicably linked to the same camp, and the same group of pioneers, that Nora’s expedition is about to uncover.

A theft of human bones, uncovered at the dig site, as well as a presumed accidental death and a murder lead Corrie to closing down the dig, bringing her into conflict with Nora, as well as the rest of the party and local law enforcement.   However, events will soon occur that force the two strong women to rely on each other for survival.

This new book, the first of the planned “Nora Kelly series,” contains only a subtle hint of the paranormal energy that readers often encounter in books by these authors. An innocent child, a victim of the Donner tragedy and subject of campfire tales for the expedition, may or may not haunt members of the archeological support staff and render timely assistance on multiple occasions. However, in this case, as the authors are relying on real, historic events for their fictional plot, I think anymore of the normally present psychic energy would be a mistake.  The small amount they include is affectionate and respectful of the “haunting” subject.

As an avid fan of these authors and the main “Pendergast” series, I have followed the development of the vast array of characters that populate this universe and am happy to see these two women, both who have been friendly and at odds with Pendergast in the past meet.  Their introduction includes conflict and understanding, rivalry and mutual respect, and I am curious to see if Corrie Swanson appears again in the series.  If anything, Pendergast’s cameo in the last chapter of the book seems to foreshadow this.

I sat down and read the bulk of this book overnight, something I seldom have the luxury to do, which should indicate how much I enjoyed it.  Prior knowledge of the series/characters is helpful, but not necessary to enjoy it.  For the record, I am giving this novel five stars, and would recommend it to any readers of detective stories, historical fiction, and any readers who enjoy action stories featuring strong female protagonists. 

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Full Wolf Moon

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child
Full Wolf Moon (Jeremy Logan, #5)  by

50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review

In his avocation as an enigmalogist, Jeremy Logan has investigated the truths regarding hidden pharoahs’ tombs, spectral hauntings, and the catacombs of Romanian castles, but even he is skeptical when his friend Jessup suggests that a series of murders could be connected to the Blakeneys, who are suspected by many to be lycanthropes.  Logan’s search for the truth will bring him into several confrontations, including examining his own ethics and moral responsibilities to friends and the world at large.

In this fifth book of the Jeremy Logan series by author Lincoln Child, Logan travels to a retreat in the Adirondacks in an attempt to complete a paper related to his day job, as an historian.  Of course, due to a series of mysterious deaths, he is forced to use his “side line” as an enigmalogist to investigate.

An old college friend, now a forest ranger, approaches Logan about several hikers who have been literally torn apart in remote areas of Adirondack State Park.  The coroner cannot conclusively identify an animal as the culprit, and the few clues left suggest something more sinister is to blame.   The investigation reveals several suspects; including a paroled murderer who has committed gruesome murders in the past, a disgraced scientist who faked his death to continue his research in peace, and a local family that live in nearly complete isolation from the local community and keep entirely to themselves.

I was amazed at the author’s chilling description of the final monster-the sight, sound and smells he describes create a vivid picture of science and nature gone mad, in a way that perfectly paints the scene for the reader.  The confrontation itself was well done, and the chase at the end was exciting and poetic in its conclusion.

That being said, despite the numerous twists added by the various supporting characters; from the secluded Blakeneys, to the poet/woodsman Albright, the treacherous and naïve Feverbridges, and the philosopher/ranger Jessup;  the overall plot was disappointedly predictable at a few points.  I have read and loved the other books of the series, so perhaps I had certain expectations of how the main character operates and reacts, but the author seemed to draw on several devices from other stories, including ones he as co-written.

Still, the story is good, and fans and those new to the series will find this is an entertaining story, with elements of the paranormal, mystery, and action thrown in.  I give it 3.5 stars.

 

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Weakest Lynx

Weakest Lynx by Fiona Quinn
Weakest Lynx (Lynx #1) by

Fiona Quinn (Goodreads Author)
50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review

Lexi Sobado has lived an interesting life.  Only twenty, she is a Kung Fu master and has trained with police officers, spy masters, and master chefs.  She can shoot a bullseye, beat trained operatives on an obstacle course, and still appear as sweet and innocent as the girl next door.  She also has gifts that insure her life will never be the “normal” she craves.

Lexi is great at solving puzzles.  Her mentor, Spyder McGraw, a legend at the shadowy government agency Iniquus, trained her in secret to find connections no one else can.  But when Lexi is being hunted by a cruel, obsessive man she calls Stalker, Spyder is off on a secret mission and Lexi must turn to others for help.  She has attracted the attention of a very dangerous psychopathic drug addict who has already murdered six girls, and Lexi is his latest chosen victim.

While this story is definitely a thriller with a heroine who has paranormal abilities, I found myself caught up more by the lead character’s backstory than the plot itself.  For all Lexi’s gifts, she is honestly trying to create an ordinary life.  She spends her time, when she’s not being stalked or helping the Iniquus team sent to protect her, getting to know her neighbors and turning a fixer upper into a home to share with her husband Angel when he returns from Afghanistan.

Lexi’s desire to have a normal life helps make her character more appealing, more vulnerable, than the mysterious and gifted psychic undercover operative who is her alter ego, Alex.  Fiona Quinn managed to instill her heroine with a multi-faceted personality, while still writing a story that will appeal to both spy enthusiasts and paranormal romance fans.

I award this novel five stars and would recommend it to a large body of readers.