Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Detective Stories

Hi.  It had been busy for a while.  I'm sorry for not writing any updates lately.  I hope this next soup review will make up for the inactivity in this blog.  I had a great time reading these books, and I hope that you can find time to read them too.

The Janus Reprisal by Jaime Freveletti

This is the ninth book in the series, started by Robert Ludlum, and this is Freveletti’s first contribution.  It was subtle, but refreshing to read Jon Smith in a more vulnerable character, he was fleshed out nicely.  Well, almost all of the characters were, which I think was good.  Seeing a different side of these characters is always welcome.  Yet, none of the actions was the second rate. 

Knowing that Jon Smith is an officer and doctor of the USAMRIID, there’s a biohazard involve.  Terrorists attacked a hotel in The Hague in time for an infectious disease conference, killing scientists and politicians alike.  From not too far, at the International Criminal Court, a bombing occurred followed by the escape of the Pakistani warlord Oman Dattar, who happened to have a great grudge on the US.  As always, Covert-One is a fast-paced, escalating, and an “edge-of-the-seat” experience.

I love this series, and, maybe, always will.  I have you know that Jon Smith is a fictional crush.

Book Details:
Title: The Janus Reprisal
Author: Jaime Freveletti
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Rating: ★★★★

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This novel is not a detective story, but there is a lot of detecting involved.  It’s a story of domestic violence gone viral.  Nick Dunne is the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance.  The way things are looking, a murder case may be slapped on his face, if he can’t find his wife soon.   He’s not sure of what to do, but he knows (without a doubt) that his wife is framing him.

To describe this story as totally sick is an understatement.  There’s something uncomfortable about the narrative and characters that urged me to aimlessly hammer out frustrations and vileness.  The complexities of the characters were great, and that makes Gillian Flynn a brilliant writer actually.  Using a unique narrative, she was able to accelerate her story into a well-built plot; keeping her readers guessing for the next thing to happen.  And I did like how she gave the intricacies of marriage those certain twists that the reader can either agree or disagree, adding to the mystery.

I already got Gillian Flynn’s other books, so, it will not be long before I read another story from her.  Thanks to Tricia, Lynai, Erika, Tin, Iris, Mei, Camille, and Mae for buddy reading with me.

Book Details:
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown
Rating: ★★★★

Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

This is Hannah Swensen’s second book in the series.  She is no detective by the way.  She’s a cookie shop owner and a wonderful baker, apparently not too busy to have time snooping around.  She has a knack for discovering dead bodies and detecting who did the deed, even though she’s perfectly aware of the danger involved.  Go ahead and imagine her as the adult version of Nancy Drew with great baking abilities.

This time a Dessert Bake-off judge, and a local news writer were murdered.  She didn't waste time and got onto the snooping business as soon as she knew that a friend might be blamed for the murders.  Hannah was pretty close to being murdered.  Only her smarts saved her by a hairline.

I love how I audibly say “whew” at the end of every Hannah Swensen mystery solved.  And I sooo love the recipes.

Book Details:
Title: Strawberry Shortcake Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke
Publisher: Kensington
Rating: ★★★★

The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr

When we speak of detectives, we either speak of Batman or Sherlock Holmes –the two greatest.  The Italian Secretary is a pastiche of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  I am no Sherlock expert, but this being written by Caleb Carr himself, I know it will be good, and I was not wrong.

The story focused on the ghost of David Rizzio haunting the Holyrood House.  Holmes and Watson were summoned by Queen Victoria through Mycroft Holmes, to investigate the murders that occurred recently in her Edinburgh residence.  A much diabolical plot lied underneath these murders, and it was not just up to Sherlock and Watson to capture the killers –the whole household of Holyrood House was involved.

It was a delight to read Caleb Carr’s prose once again. 

Book Details: 
Title: The Italian Secretary
Author: Caleb Carr
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Rating: ★★★★

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I saved this one for last because it seems difficult for me to write something about this without actually spoiling a thing or two in the story.  So let me just say these instead…

I love the whole story plot -the setting, the characters, and the twist at the end of the story.  Elizabeth Wein is a very gifted writer.  She was able to move the story forward in each chapter without revealing the final twist or any probable outcome.  All throughout my reading, I was fervently hoping, waiting, and biting my lower lip.  That doesn't happen often, it will really take very good writing to do that to me.  And it took me days to read this, absorbing the story carefully, lest I miss a clue somewhere. 

I believe that Code Name Verity is that kind of story I’ll never get tired of rereading.  I may have not cried a bucketful at the end of the story, but when I read the last “KISS ME, HARDY” in the story my eyes welled up and it was inevitable to hold it back.

Book Details:
Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: ★★★★


  1. I had a blast with the Gone Girl buddy read too. Looking forward to see how the movie adaptation will turn out. :)

    Added The Italian Secretary on my list. And Strawberry Shortcake Murder as well, I could not resist a title like that. It kind of reminds me of this old tv series from BBC that I used to watch. Pushing Daisies. The protagonist being a pie-maker who has the ability to bring the dead back to life. He later teams up with a PI and brings back murdered victims for questioning.

    Code Name Verity! The "Kiss Me, Hardy" Line! I. Just. Can't. :)

    1. Hi Tin. I hope you'll enjoy reading those books. I remember watching Pushing Daisies too, but I lost track of it when we changed the cable provider.

    2. I said BBC, when it should have been ABC! (I was thinking of Sherlock while writing that comment. The season 2 finale gave me a fit.) I was not able to follow Pushing Daisies till the very end as well. I kinda lost interest. But I do enjoy how the show was presented, visually. :)

  2. Hello, Louize! Woot woot for Gone Girl! I also enjoyed Flynn's earlier works (Sharp Objects and Dark Places). I can't wait for the movie!

    1. It was mentioned that Gillian Flynn is also the screenwriter, which I think is very beneficial for both the movie and writer. There will be no doubt that the movie will be true to the novel. But it will come out on 2015 pa!

  3. Echoing all the yays for Gone Girl! :) Adding up Code Name Verity to my to-read list, and I sort of miss Caleb Carr too so I might read The Angel of Darkness first and then The Italian Secretary. :)

    1. I believe you'll like Code Name Verity too, Lynai. ♥