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Review: The Apprentice by Tess Gerristen

Title: The Apprentice
Author: Tess Gerristen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles 2
Genre: Crime thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: Public library
Pub. Year: 2003
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
It is a boiling hot Boston summer. Adding to the city’s woes is a series of shocking crimes, in which wealthy men are made to watch while their wives are brutalized. A sadistic demand that ends in abduction and death.

The pattern suggests one man: serial killer Warren Hoyt, recently removed from the city’s streets. Police can only assume an acolyte is at large, a maniac basing his attacks on the twisted medical techniques of the madman he so admires. At least that’s what Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks. Forced again to confront the killer who scarred her—literally and figuratively—she is determined to finally end Hoyt’s awful influence . . . even if it means receiving more resistance from her all-male homicide squad.

But Rizzoli isn’t counting on the U.S. government’s sudden interest. Or on meeting Special Agent Gabriel Dean, who knows more than he will tell. Most of all, she isn’t counting on becoming a target herself, once Hoyt is suddenly free, joining his mysterious blood brother in a vicious vendetta. . . .

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Thought to consider: Read for the emotions instead of the serial killer

The second book in the Rizzoli and Isles series doesn’t disappoint very much. We are introduce to more characters that appeared in the TV show and a love interest for Rizzoli. The same serial killer, Warren Hoyt, is back to torment our main character and company. His perspective is still creepy.

This book introduces Dr. Maura Isles or also known as Queen of the Death. I was looking forward to her appearance but she is not like in the TV show because she doesn’t have the camaraderie with Rizzoli yet. Detective Korsak comes into the picture as well. Gerristen constantly reminds the reader that he is overweight. Rizzoli constantly describes him as greasy, sweaty, plus with unhealthy coffee habits. I’m not sure if I’m fond of the repetition of him being overweight.

Let’s talk serial killer. In this segment, Hoyt and unknown serial killer team up (after Hoyt escapes from prison) and attacked women. Technically, they only killed one woman together but nonetheless, proceed to play psychological games with Rizzoli. I personally like the in-deep analysis behind Rizzoli. It makes her more human than in the first book. The Surgeon was about Rizzoli proving her worth in a male-dominated business whereas this book focuses on the scars she obtained from Hoyt and how it affects her life. I find this to be an important step because events leave fragments in people and it is important to acknowledge that those memories change our way of thinking or perspective of life.

There was this emphasis on portraying Rizzoli’s vulnerabilities as a woman in terms of her family and her job. Her family considers her the black sheep in the family which is quite sad. She performs her duty as a daughter yet it is the absentee male son that her family prefers. It is really hurtful and adds to the complexity that is Jane Rizzoli. Her family life isn’t the only place where her vulnerabilities are seen. The FBI agent Gabriel Dean also wants her to admit her status as a victim because she is a woman who was tortured by an unsub. He classified her as a damaged woman and tried to get her to admit this fact in a confrontational and psychological conversation which she obviously did not respond very well. I have to admire that; she will not see herself as a victim even if certain behavior allude to this fact. A romance does develop between them which I like because she deserves some something happiness in her life.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the romantic relationship develops between Rizzoli and Dean or if it is going to drop dead in the next book. With the intro of Dr. Isles, I’m wondering how Isles and Rizzoli become friends outside of the morgue.

I realize that I didn’t emphasize the serial killer so I’ll end with him. I was not expecting all the bureaucracy that this particular unsub brought. It was interesting because it was a war criminal. Very similar to the serial killer in the second book of Dexter. He was definitely not as creepy as the serial killer from Dearly Devoted Dexter though.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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21st book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Serial Killer, Second in a Series, Rizzoli & Isles,

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Review: Killing Faith by Eric Meyer

Title: Killing Faith
Author: Eric Meyer
Series: Gabriel De Sade # 1
Genre:  Crime Thriller
Source: Amazon
Format: E-book
Pub. Year: Sep. 21, 2011
Purchase:Smashword/ Amazon/ B&N/
I received this book free from Amazon in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Smashword:

When dismembered bodies turn up in New York City, the search for a serial killer begins. Leading the hunt is Afghanistan vet Gabriel de Sade, a Manhattan detective. What should be a simple murder investigation escalates as more bodies are found. The nightmare is just beginning for the Delta Force trained cop. The pursuit takes him to Moscow with his FBI partner, Special Agent Faith Ward.

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What I will remember: The novel asks for the reader to suspend rationality

It was a fun read but not what I expected. This book promise me a serial killer instead I got a Russian mafiya lord who did ritualistic kill females but he also killed people who got in his way of controlling nuclear weapons. Basically, he’s a terrorist so it’s a little unfair to say he is just a serial killer. I don’t classify the Russian man as such.

There is no red herring in this book. Within 20 pages or so (It is an estimate since it is an e-book), the identity of the serial killer is revealed and he’s the only suspect that the FBI places major emphasis on. I’m not a fan of that but let’s move on.  Can an FBI agent really be on a mission in a foreign country? I know a CIA agent can but an FBI agent, I’m not so sure.

Gabriel de Sade is a very tough detective and likes to work outside the law. He has definitely committed some illegal acts that should land him in prison. Faith Ward is the FBI agent  assigned to Russia because there are no CIA operatives in Russia. Plus, Russian priests are badass; they are so tough and apparently wield a lot of power in Russia. Interesting.

I thought Faith was going to be a strong female character but instead, she ended up being bait most of the time. Faith had moments where she was a strong character and quite useful but she was captured twice by the enemy, raped, and later had a near hanging. While I don’t like what happen to her character, I thought Meyer did a decent job handling her rape. No details were given but she was still traumatized by the incident, she didn’t ignore that she was raped but she didn’t wallow in misery. She was actively trying to work through her emotions. Plus, Gabriel did acknowledged her situation and was actually respectful in not trying to push her to “talk” about it. Am I wrong here in saying that it was a good thing that Gabriel didn’t push Faith to talk about her rape? When bad situations happen to me, I know I don’t like talking about it until I’m ready to so I think the situation was handled right. Either way, Killing Faith is highly misogynistic.

There is a lot of action in the book so it was highly entertaining but it’s also highly unrealistic (in my opinion) that any of those events could happen under the radar. Or maybe they could and I have no idea. There is also grammar issues and typos so be forewarn in that department. It annoyed me to no end. It’s very misogynistic so it’s not about female empowerment. Just be aware that there is no strong females in this book. The final verdict on this book is 2.5 butterflies.

2.5 BB- Look for in the library

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12th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a series, Self-Published, Ebook, Why buy the cow? and Where are you reading?-Russia.

Review: Trouble Brewing by Edward Winslow

Trouble BrewingTitle: Trouble Brewing
Author: Edward Winslow
Series: Standalone
Genre: Crime Novel, Comedy
Source: Amazon
Format: E-book
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ Smashwords
I received this book free of charge from Amazon in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Dave’s no superhero, even if he does have a very unusual talent. But when a major New Zealand crime lord comes looking for two million dollars that Dave’s wife embezzled, he needs to learn to act like one.

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Cover Love: When I first saw the cover of Trouble Brewing, I was positive it was going to be about coffee. Lol, I was way off. It’s TEA.

This was such a refreshing read because as serious as it could be, it was a really lighthearted story. Dave is the protagonist and he really doesn’t have much of a backbone but he does grows into it later in the book. Dave is just down on his luck and appears to be a really miserable man because of his current situation. He works at a job he hates and not only did his wife, Belinda, pulled a Ponzi scheme but the people she ripped off are looking for their money back. They want it from Belinda or Dave one way or another.

I really like the supporting characters. Jean was hilarious with his flamboyant personality. Liza was rough around the edges but she was really cool. She completely decided to help out Dave and all he did for her was helped  her gather her stuff from her ex-girlfriend’s place.  She was somewhat of a selfless character and the brains of the operation to gain two million dollars. The plan is to steal a diamond necklace worth that much money. (I would have never about that, I think I would have rob a casino or  a bank. Where else am I going to get two million dollars). The way he robs the necklace is pretty sweet.

I thought the  power to heat up and cool down tea as a power was a little lame that it was funny. “I’m a superhero but I can only work with tea.” Umm, okay. Winslow showed that Dave could be badass using tea only, he totally prove that controlling tea is not a lame power but very useful.

My one problem with this book is the second diamond heist. The first diamond heist is committed by Dave in order to pay off the two million dollars. The second diamond heist is committed by Dave (again) because he doesn’t want Crowley to use the diamond he (Dave) stole to seal a deal with another major criminal.  For a guy with no backbone, he is sure hell bent on retrieving that diamond. I’ll suspend disbelief in this area for now but man, it’s a 180 degrees from the weakling Dave was.

Overall, it was a funny contemporary story about a guy who uses his tea heating ability to steal a diamond necklace.

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4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

2nd book in150+ Reading Challenge

Qualifies for Why Buy The Cow?, Self-published, E-book and Where Are You Reading? -New Zealand

Review: The Surgeon by Tess Gerristen

Author: Tess Gerristen
Title: The Surgeon
Series: Rizzoli & Isles # 1
Genre: Crime thriller
Source: PaperbackSwap
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2001
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N

Goodreads blurb:
A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The victims are killed in a particularly nasty way: cut with a scalpel on the stomach, the intestines and uterus removed, and then the throat slashed. The killer obviously has medical knowledge and has been dubbed “the Surgeon” by the media. Detective Thomas Moore and his partner Rizzoli of the Boston Homicide Unit have discovered something that makes this case even more chilling.

Years ago in Savannah a serial killer murdered in exactly the same way. He was finally stopped by his last victim, who shot him as he tried to cut her. That last victim is Dr. Catherine Cordell, who now works as a cardiac surgeon at one of Boston’s prestigious hospitals. As the murders continue, it becomes obvious that the killer is drawing closer and closer to Dr. Cordell, who is becoming so frightened that she is virtually unable to function.

But she is the only person who can help the police catch this copycat killer. Or is it a copycat? To complicate matters even further, Detective Moore, often referred to as Saint Thomas as he continues to mourn the loss of his wife, is getting emotionally involved with the doctor.

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What I will remember: Women’s insecurity in a male dominated world

I’m a fan of the TV show, Rizzoli and Isles, so I decided to pick up the first book in the series. I was concerned at first because the blurb let me to believe that Detective Moore was the main character and Rizzoli would be a minor character. Turns out, this is not the case and like Dexter, it doesn’t disappoint much.

I really enjoyed the duality in the book. Throughout this book, we switched perspectives from Detective Moore and Detective Rizzoli while maintaining the third perspective without confusion. We can see the internal battles that they have. Moore dealing with the fact that he is crossing the line with Dr. Catherine Cordell (witness) and Rizzoli struggling being the only woman in a male profession where the men don’t care for her opinion. I liked her perspective more than Moore’s because I can relate to her  and see where her insecurities come from.

I did generally like almost everything about this book but what I didn’t like was Dr. Catherine Cordell. She was the one the unsub wanted all along as she is vital to the book. I dislike her character, she was just really cold to me. I do understand it has to do with her past, I’m sympathetic to her and I admired her because her because she is a survivor. I just can’t relate to her. That being said, Gerristen, did an excellent job portraying Catherine’s inner turmoil.

Rizzoli was not what I expected. In the show, she is more likeable and has more respect from the men. In the book, she was cold at times and constantly complained about being a woman in a male profession. It almost felt like she did not like being a woman because it was affecting her job. I hate that because she is falling into the belief that being a woman is a hindrance to her job and as a woman, she should strive to break those misconceptions (or at least not accept it). There will always be gender inequality in the work force but we shouldn’t promote it. Rizzoli has image-problems as well as acceptance problems which make her a complicated character.

Gerristen really let the unsub/serial killer evolve and it shows. She showed how he became more confident with each kill and inventive as well. The parts of the unsub speaking are creepy but well done. It does bother me that there is no background history on how came to be. Gerristen implies through the book that he was simply born to be a serial killer and I disagree. No one is born to be a serial killer, they are created. Still, her serial killer was fleshed out.

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4 BB-Ready for capture

Review: Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Author: Jeff Lindsay
Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Series: Dexter # 1
Genre: Crime thriller
Source:Paperback Swap
Format:Mass papeback
Pub. Year: 2004
Purchase: Amazon/B&N

Book blurb:
Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened — of himself or some other fiend.

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What I will remember: Dark humor that hits the mark.

I am a huge fan of the TV show, Dexter, so I really wanted to read the book that started it all. And I have not been disappointed. It is a great book that just needed a tighter finale. Nonetheless, a great sarcastic, dark humor infused book. We all know Dexter is a sociopath and he is a serial killer that is very charming with his quick wit that hides his true nature.

I find this book really interesting because it is entirely from the perspective of a serial killer instead of the (insert any government agency name here) agent that is trying to catch him. I say “him” because most serial killers tend to be men and most authors write serial killers as men. A woman is quite capable of being a serial killer as well. Since it’s from Dexter’s point of view, we are invested in him not being captured because he is the main character and without him, there is no book. Technically, as readers, we are on the wrong side of the law because we don’t want him to get caught. His sarcastic thoughts are very entertaining which make him charming. I love that we are the wrong side of the law because it’s refreshing for me and it’s reality. The fact is not all serial killers are caught and there is no reason why we shouldn’t read about it.

As the blurb says, someone is copying Dexter’s method of killing and Dexter is very interested in finding out who he is. The dilemma comes when he doesn’t know whether to turn the serial killer into the police or help him which is one of the main conflicts of the book. Dexter is fighting what he is, a serial killer, and what he portrays himself to be, a regular man. Lindsay does a great job of portraying the inner turmoil Dexter feels especially when his adopted family comes into play. For a serial killer who is not supposed to feel as much, he feels a lot because he is confined by the laws of Henry, who helped him control his Dark Passenger. The laws of Henry have helped keep Dexter under the police radar but he has a moment of doubt that is really thrilling.

The one problem I have with this book is the ending. It is tied up in three pages and it’s confusing at first plus it doesn’t help that details are left out. The details that are left out are implied in a way by what happened in the previous chapter. It still leaves a sense of confusion because it is up to the readers to figure out what truly happen. It ends with a funeral, I will tell you that. I’m pretty sure I understand what happened after reading it a few times. So, that’s my advice on the ending.

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4.5 BB-Ready for capture