Moreno Valley, CA, United States | Member Since 2010
Jack Morgan is a private detective and owner of Private, a super swank, high dollar, highly successful detective agency. He was hired to look into the disappearance of a beloved Hollywood couple, Thom and Jennifer Harlow, known for their countless works of Charity. The couple and their beautiful adopted children mysteriously disappear and everyone worries that the worst has happened. While beginning to search for them, Los Angeles is also threatened by a terrorist group of thugs who want revenge against a country and/or its avatars that made them into political ghosts. Jack Morgan and his company are also called in to consult with local law enforcement. This is the more interesting of the story threads. In this terrorist portion, the plot is good with a solid back story that solidifies the characters for this part of the chronicle. The Hollywood couple thread in the story depends on shock value to cement them into the narrative.
The narrative would benefit from adding more depth to the characters, especially Jack Morgan, there is an attempt to give both him and it the hard boiled, sepia tinted, moralistic and world weary style of Hammett. Of course, no one does Hammett like Hammett. However, the faint echo of Hammett is wonderful and gives one hope that the next book in the series will be more than an echo.
You have to love the ending, when the major dramatis personae in the Couple’s thread of the narrative are brought together, (a nod to the classic detective stories), and the innocents, the meek, and the guilty get their long awaited, and long over- due justice.
The narrator, Jay Snyder, gives a performance that elevates the enjoyment of this Private LA. The pros lags in spots but threads of the story are exciting. Overall, its worth the read if you like the series. This is a solid 3 ½ stars.
They Thirst is a classic vampire horror story. If you love Vampires, you’ll love this work. It is well plotted, a good story and the narration by Ray Porter only adds to its excellence.
It is a classic story that has shades of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and shades of The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In They Thirst as in classic Vampire lore, the ancient vampire of East European origin, in this case, Prince Vulcan, who was made a vampire at the age of 17 in twelfth century Hungary, comes to America in order to conquer it for the undead and to create a Vampire Army to conquer the world. While this sounds fairly vainglorious, Robert McCammon pulls it off. His narrative allows you to suspend belief just enough to buy into his plot and storyline. Though it is a little slow in the beginning, as it gathers momentum you soon are not able to put it down.
I love narratives where the allegory is the fundamental Good versus Evil. This is primarily seen at the confrontation of the four brave souls, Father Silvera, Wes Richer, Andy Palatazin, Tommy Chandler, who eventually confront the vampire in his lair, (in this case the lair is in the Hollywood hills). They have unexpected help, (divine assistance?) from Solange, a newly turned vampire and Wes’ girlfriend before her change, and Ratty, who lives in the tunnels that run below the city of Los Angeles. The fate of the future of the world and the future of the soul of man comes down to these six individuals and is won or lost by their actions. The hero in the journey is a LAPD Homicide, Detective Andy (Andre) Palatazin of East European origin who has had a brush with vampires early on in his life. Until the present confrontation, he has denied the reality of this earlier confrontation.
The scene of Palatazin’s early vampire confrontation informs the narrative, and plot in the story. The earliest scenes take place in the little Hungarian village, Krajeck, where Andy (Andre) Palatazin grew up. There have been unexplained deaths there, such as Ivon Griska. One evening, Andy’s father with other men of the village, go out to see if they can find and set right “the problem.” Of course, Palatazin’s father returns to he and his mother, but he is “changed.” When his mother realizes what has happenned, ("like a slap in the face"), she must shoot his father in order to help them get away. In this event Palatazin denies the fact that his father had become a vampire and his mother had to shoot him. Even as he and his mother are running from his, now, vampire father, they also run into Ivon Griska, standing in the road in spite of the fact that Andy has attended his burial. This underlies the fact that the problems in Krajeck are vampire related. Palatazin still denies. Until the present crisis in the City of the Angels, Palatazin has chosen to believe that his mother was insane in spite of what he witnessed as a child. His mother shot his father in the face with a shot gun and instead of dying, his father gets up again to chase them. Here again, McCammon communicates the idea that “the best defense for evil is our failure to believe in it.” McCammon makes this case again and again in They Thirst. As Palatazin, a resolute and stalwart soul, and others eventually begin to believe the full horror of what is happening, there are many more who continue to deny the truth of it. Will our heroes be too late to make a difference? Will enough people come to believe? This is what we must find out and cannot find out until the narrative culminates.
Another remarkable character in this novel is the supernatural sand storm that has been inexplicably brought into existence to make the painstaking and already dangerous journey to the Vampire’s Lair even more dangerous and difficult. The sandstorm mystically arises, suddenly, in the Mojave Desert and blows west over southern California, primarily Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Hollywood hills, East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, the Canyon areas, and the coastal cities. This is a sandstorm that can ground airplanes, strip the paint off of cars, blow cars off the highway, and smother you before you have gone three feet if you are unprepared. It hinders or kills the average person, and only aids the spawn of evil. This is a brilliant creative invention that allows one to experience the struggle of the characters in , yet, another dimension.
The story begins in Krajeck, Hungary and ends in the City of the Angels in Southern California.
The performance of Ray Porter is “aces high” and adds solidity to a well-produced narrative. This is a solid four star read.
Changes is a superb feast for the mind and heart. This is a solid 10 star read. The first scene and the first words of Changes, ("I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, 'They've taken our daughter), are captivating. After hearing this announcement from Susan Rodriguez, we are held hostage until the entire story has unfolded. There are many intense moments in Changes. One occurs in the very first scene. In this scene, Harry is told that his daughter, Margaret Angelica, is missing. Together, both Harry, (and you and I), hear about his daughter for the first time, ever. This scene informs the tone and intensity of the narrative. He first met Susan, his daughter’s mother in Fool Moon where they began dating briefly.
In Changes, aptly named, Harry’s entire universe changes. His car, the Blue Beetle, is destroyed; his home burns down; he is separated from his tom cat, Mister, in the fire; his office is bombed; he is uncertain about the dependability of Thomas, who has been yielding to the demon side of his nature; and his friend Karrin is in trouble with the FBI; and many members of the White Council have mysteriously become ill. He proves that he will go to hell and back to save one who is not known to him but is important and loved, because he has given her life, albeit unexpectedly, along with his unrequited love, Susan Rodriguez. He shows this by making a deal with Mab, Queen of the Winter Sidhe.
The war that is started with the Red Court of Vampires in Grave Peril is brought to a conclusion in Changes with a total absoluteness and grim finality. In fighting the cause of his daughter, he fights again for many who have been victimized by the Red Court. The Red Court has held evil Dominion over the parts of South American and Mexico where the Red Court dominates. This is an allegory for the victimizations and the abuses in life: physical and emotional abuse of children and adults, and even modern human slavery, (usually the slavery of women promised what they have hoped for but in the end are given so much less), perpetrated on specific factions in society by the powerful, whether criminal elements like cartels or otherwise. If only all evil-doers can be vanquished like the Red Court in one crusade by one pure of purpose such as Harry becomes in Changes. Changes is also the tale of a love story gone wrong. Harry and Susan once upon a time dated and unbeknownst to Harry, they had a child, Margaret Angelica. Margaret Angelica appears to be a “right” result of their relationship. The part that has gone wrong is that after all that they must go through; they will never be able to be together.
Themes such as third world victimization, the victimization of women, the development of the Stockholm syndrome, and the difficulties of being a parent in today’s world are considered in this modern allegory and gives us pause. Why the Stockholm Syndrome: While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as “Stockholm Syndrome” due to the emotional “bonding” with captors and is and was a familiar story in psychology, it had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations.
In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is well recognized. We see this, especially in the story of Alamaya. She belongs to the Red King and will do anything that she feels that he wants her to do. This includes offering Harry her body, not to please Harry, but to please the Red King and show that she is willing to do her duty. The bonding has occurred with individuals like Alamaya because having no power; this is their best way to survive one who has such little regard for human life.
The tale of Changes is impressive by virtue of its greatness. Though Harry overcomes many obstacles to save Margaret Angelica, in the end, not everyone can be saved. This again informs the reader and reminds one of life. Failure exists and we must rise above the struggle. Harry rises above the struggle and the price he pays is dear.
Changes, though a modern allegory, is also reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey and the many challenges that Odysseus encounters before he again returns to Ithaca. Odysseus after 10 years of trial and tribulation finally reaches home. The cost has been dear.
Changes rises to the status of icon and Harry becomes the avatar of justice. In its brilliant narrative it stands alone. It’s the most impressive novel of the series to date.
James Marsters is masterful in his narration. This is a solid 10 stars.
There is just something exceptional and magnificent about White Night. Harry Dresden is an Urban Wizard who meets fantastic creatures and has the most mind-blowing adventures that anyone can have in modern (the sci-fi/fantasy version) Chicago.
Harry’s story unfolds in the first-person and usually encompasses an epic grandeur in its scale. White Night is no different. He is a complicated character with many layers to his personality. When you encounter him in White Night you find that you want to find out exactly who he is. There is always something new to learn or experience about him. You know that he is a good person but finding out the many layers of “who” he is becomes more complicated. He is generally for the underdog, the down trodden, and of course there is a soft spot, (or achilles heel), for all women. In White Night we also encounter more of the love he has for his half demon brother, Thomas Raith, and the love his half demon brother has for him. We first met Thomas Raith in Grave Peril, even though we did not yet know that he was related to Harry. The story of Harry and Thomas is captivating. Harry has felt a special kind of loneliness believing himself to have no family until Thomas reveals their shared heritage in Blood Rites. Their story continues here. The fact that they both struggle to know each other and love each other adds a depth to each of their characters that enthralls the reader. It also gives a breadth and depth to both Harry and Thomas that we have not seen previously. It raises the questions in our own lives, if Harry can love his half-demon brother, Thomas, can we not expand our own capacity for love in our own existences.
One of the most entrancing scenes is where Harry almost drowns after being attacked by ghouls on Thomas’ boat, the Water Beetle. His brother, Thomas, dives into the icy water without hesitation, after the ice breaks due to rampaging ghouls and gun fire, (Harry has made it icy with magic to save the women and children who Thomas had gathered to keep safe from the “culling”), and gets him out of the lake and carries him to safety. Harry awakens just for a few moments and knows that he is “safe“ because Thomas “has him.”
One sighs in relief along with Harry after experiencing this scene.In the entanglement between Harry and Thomas, we see shades of Wuthering Heights, both Harry and Thomas mirror the best and the conflicted in each other and in us.
The new characters introduced are interesting but they are not as fascinating as witnessing the further character development of old friends like Karrin Murphy, Mouse, Thomas Raith, Carlos Ramirez, Molly Carpenter and Bob (the skull), if you follow this series. We even come to appreciate Mouse more. Mouse is Harry’s adopted Temple Dog with Foo dog ancestry and has special powers who works at looking like a "regular canine." We first met Mouse in Blood Rites. Mouse does a great deal to keep Harry and those around him safe. In White Night Mouse gains a canine admirer, Toto, a small dog who belongs to Abbey, a new and minor character in this novel. This lends comic relief since Toto in, miniature, is always trying to imitate Mouse. The comic relief is beneficial since in White Night there is death all around, treachery, and a dastardly plot to kill off, serially, the unattached female magical practitioners of Chicago and perhaps the world.
Once again, Harry, and company must stand in the breach between good and evil. He must take the fight for the protection, shelter, and security of those in need to the Conclave of the White Court of Vampires. There the cause is won, just barely, in a magical duel to the death.
White Night is fast paced with moments of heart stopping action. It is simply magnificent. The pros are lyrical. If you follow the series, you welcome back Karrin, Molly, Mouse, Ramirez, and Bob like old friends.
James Marsters has grown with the series. In White Night he gives a near flawless performance that continues to breathe life and drama into our most cherished characters. I highly recommend White Night and the series.
I highly recommend Concealed in Death. J. D. Robb is brilliantly captivating in Concealed. She manages to maintain the uniqueness of the story in spite of 37 previous books in the In Death series. The initial scene seizes your attention and holds you until the plot has completed its journey. Reading Concealed is like rolling down hill. The momentum builds and you can’t stop until the story has ended. It leaves you breathless for the next electrifying adventure in the life and times of Eve Dallas and Roarke and company.
One slow point, are the mildly erotic scenes between Eve and Roarke. I generally find that I want to skip these scenes to get back to the story. It could be that after 37 novels there is little new in this area for J.D. Robb. There is even a mild formula that you readily notice: If the novel is a three hour narration or abridged then there is usually one erotic full blown sex scene. If the novel is 8-10 hours then there are usually three. If you are new to the story of Eve and Roarke, then the erotic scenes may still be stimulating. I find that you can usually take the erotica or leave it.
Eve Dallas is often a favorite of mine, but in Concealed I think that Roarke becomes the favorite. It is his property, after all on which the multiple skeletons are found “wrapped in plastic.” He is in step with Eve in wanting to find the answers and get justice. Robb reminds us in Concealed of just how much the backgrounds of Eve and Roarke mesh. They both come from abusive backgrounds and both are survivors. Roarke had the help of Summerset who is the majordomo of his home and his most trusted friend, next to Eve. He gives credit to Summerset for having helped him survive his horrendous childhood in Dublin as a father substitute. We’re reminded of this in Concealed. Through the uncovering of his experiences in Dublin, we’re reminded of just how tough Roarke is. He is well matched with Eve. They are both warriors for the cause of the downtrodden, justice, and fairness.
In Concealed, as usual, you have to give a nod to Galahad, Eve and Roarke’s cat. He was rescued by Eve from the home of one of the murdered victims in Naked in Death. His actions in that story earned him the name of Galahad after the celebrated knight of the round table of Arthurian legend. He provides comfort to Eve, Roarke, and Summersett when its needed. The comfort he provides is felt by the reader.
Roarke mirrors the horrors that Eve Dallas faces in her day to day work as a “homicide cop.” She mirrors the horror that she often walks through, and he mirrors her and understands her, understands her soul. As with Eve, Roarke is also loyal to friends, wife and what he believes in.
There are many captivating scenes in Concealed in Death. One such is the scene where Roarke and the workmen uncover the skeletons. This is a strong scene with overtures of mystery, somberness and also horror. This is a forceful, potent, and melancholy moment. It initiates and informs the action of the novel. The symbolism in Concealed expresses a deeper and mildly spiritual meaning.
Another such scene is when Eve first speaks to the parent of one of the dead they have uncovered. This is stirring. You step into Eve’s shoes and want to be able to give the parent more than we “think we may have found your dead missing child.” We want to give them the hope of life, but all we can give them, along with Eve, is the promise and hope of justice. The emotional pain is stunning. It becomes your pain.
This is a great series. Concealed is a love story but grittier and a wonderful whodunit. I’ve never been disappointed. The narrator, Susan Ericksen, as usual, is inimitable.
The primary protagonist in this narrative is Earl Harbinger, the director –werewolf (with special status from the Monster Control Bureau) of Monster Hunter International. The plot is original; the backstory is fascinating and gives us the genesis of who Earl is and how he came to be. Earl's history is told through entries in a journal that he writes. This is a clear demarcation from the present action in which the narrative lives. It also gives a breadth and depth to Earl’s character that we have not seen previously. When Earl meets Heather, a New, [Werewolf], Turn and also the law enforcement officer of the Michigan town in which Earl finds himself, the seeds of love are sewn. However, this is not to be, at least, not yet, if the government has its say. There’s a shadow agency that is calling the shots with more power than the Monster Control Bureau.
Once again, MHI stands at the crossroads between total annihilation of the world as we know it and the continuance of life as we know it. Ghosts of the KGB and magically enhanced Mega Evil Werewolves, as well as the Monster Control Bureau serve the side of annihilation. Also, as in many of Correia’s books there is a shadow of Lovecraft that permeates the atmosphere of Monster Hunter Alpha.
Monster Hunter Alpha is fast paced, with heart-pounding, hold your breath moments. If you have met Earl previously, then you are ecstatic that Heather has come on the scene. She gives Earl and [we-the reader] hope for more happiness in Earl’s future. Earl is an avatar of strength, practicality, loyalty, and down to earth fairness and he has struggled with the loneliness and hardship of life for too long. In order to prevail, Earl must confront his fears and his own personal demons and the Mega demons that reside in Monster Hunter Alpha.
Monster Hunter Alpha is plotted well and a brilliantly ingenious read.
This recording and narrator are both enthralling and brilliant. I love the way Sands, through her pros style , elevates the struggle of every man’s search to find that perfect partner or soul mate to a real possibility. We read about vampires in Vampire Most Wanted, albeit god-fearing and enhanced with Atlantean Nanotechnology, but we recognize that we are reading about ourselves at the same time. Everyone struggles with the loneliness and hardships of life. Everyone fantasizes about “what if I could find my perfect partner?” “What if I could find the person to share the toils and tribulations of the journey of life?” Sands delivers this to you, at least for a little bit and lifts you above “the struggle.” She clothes the struggle in fantasy, humor, and sensuality.
She has a way of making the disenchanted struggles of Basha and hopeful struggles of Marcus, our struggle-every man’s struggle. Of course we are happy for Marcus, having met him, briefly, in other Sands novels, e.g. Vampire Interrupted and A Bite To Remember. You cannot help but be pleased that it’s his turn to finally find happiness. Basha and Marcus exult in the end, we are pleased.
The Narrator, Bebe Kaye, is perfect. Vampire Most Wanted is plotted well and an ingenious read.
When you start the Spellbound series it is like getting hooked on chocolate. You always have to go back for more. The characters are delightful and original; the plot is out of this world. Jake Sullivan, the loyal and moral ex-Con who believes in liberty and freedom is by far my most favorite character.
Each character must confront not only their own truths but their own fears, their own personal demons. Jake becomes the glue that holds the group together when they have to fight their inner demons and the evil in the world. He also is the glue that allows success in the end.
The audio version is hands over fists better than the print version. It is wonderful to sit back and have a talented narrator read to you. Bronson Pinchot is wonderful. Overall: This has become a favorite. The plot is new and fresh and mixes a stark originality with somber far reaching themes. Its as addictive as chocolate.
I am never disappointed with Larry Correia.
Skyler the young ( in both human and Carpathian therms), Lifemate to Dimitri decides to rescue Dimitri from his brutal imprisonment by the Lycans. She and her friends, Josef and Paul, make a plan to go and rescue Dimitri. Her sensual and psychic connection to Dimitri is so strong that she is able to find him when older Carpathians have failed. She has felt that the adults and the powerful in her world have left Dimitri to die. She and friends, who are all related to powerful Carpathian families, develop a plan to rescue him and hopefully, not start a war.
When Skyler, Josef, and Paul are wounded in the attempt, their powerful relatives suddenly know and come to get them. A war just might be started anyway.
The life lessons that one finds in the Dark Series are illustrative . The adult Carpathians and the Prince did not really forget about Dimitri and wanted to rescue him, they never included Skyler in their plans for this. However, in the end, they needed the “children “ to show them the way and in this vein have faith and trust in them. Dark Wolf is erotic when focused on the relationships between Lifemates. The beautiful and powerful sensuality only serves to underline the intensity of their “eternal” and matchless relationships.
The audio version is hands over fists better than the print version. It is wonderful to sit back and have a talented narrator read to you. Overall: This has become a favorite. The plot is new and fresh and mixes light hearted playfulness with somber far reaching themes.
I am never disappointed with Feehan’s Carpathian series.
Of course I would recommend this book to a friend. It is so unique, the initial scene grabs one's attention and holds you until the plot has played out. Every time I have read this book, its been like falling into a river-you can't seem to extract yourself from until the story has ended.
Eve Dallas is often a favorite of mine but Peabody, Roarke, and McNabb are very close seconds. Oh, I can't forget Morris. I think Eve Dallas because she mirrors the horror that she often wades through, but has a true warriors heart. Her motives are always pure, she is honest and always on the side of right. She is also loyal to friends, husband and what she believes in.
The scene where Dallas enters the bar to find all of the dead. This is a telling, breath taking, and somber moment. It sets the stage for the novel. Allegorically, it sets the stage for life.
The scene where the bartender can not believe that most of his "crew" is dead. His pain is brilliant. It becomes your pain, [you-the reader], when you share it. He mirrors the love, loyalty, honesty of feeling that Eve often shows but does not always readily recognise.
This is a great series. I can't think that I've ever been dissappointed. The narrator is "awesome."
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