Night Sins - Tami Hoag

I've been living in Austin for ten years now. In all that time, I realized that I haven't made much of an effort to make new friends. I know, I know. I shouldn't be admitting that I'm a shut in, but hey, I have a blog about books so it shouldn't be a huge surprise that I'm not the life of the party! As part of my effort to branch out what I read, I decided to join a book club that I found on Tami Hoag's book, Night Sins, was the first book I've read for the book club and we met on Wednesday night to discuss it.

The book is about a young boy who disappears from outside a hockey rink while waiting for his mom to pick him up. A manhunt to find the kidnapper ensues in the small Minnesota town of Deer Lake. A new agent for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has just started her new job (and is the first female to be a field agent in the state of Minnesota) and she feels the need to prove herself as a good police officer. The chief of police is a man who has experienced losing his own son and wife in a reckless robbery by a drug addict. The two officers work tirelessly to figure out the clues the kidnapper continues to leave them. The parents of the little boy also have their own troubled marriage that threatens to break under the pressure of losing their son.

Overall, the story is pretty formulaic which I am starting to admit is very typical in the thriller novels I have read. Still, some are better than others, and this was one of them. I did enjoy the story and the writing even if there were some things that I didn't like. There was an inevitable romance in the book which I felt could have been left out. Others in the book club really liked that portion of the book though, so if this book sounds like it might interest you, don't let that stop you from reading it.

There is a sequel to the book called Guilty as Sin so keep that in mind when reading Night Sins. I had no idea there was a sequel and was a little unsatisfied with the ending. Needless to say, one of the members of the book club gave me the book because I did want to read it!

Are there any thriller authors any of you can recommend to me? I am completely open to reading new things lately so let me know!

Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris

After reading Endymion and The Kite Runner, I decided to read a few fun and easy reads. Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series definitely falls into that category. Dead to the World picks up with Sookie and Bill's breakup. Bill has been called away to Peru so there is very little Bill in this book. I was actually kind of glad because I am a proud member of "Team Eric." I was not disappointed. This fourth installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series is all about Eric and Sookie.

I know that Eric is a self-serving, narcissistic vampire, but I really like him. He is really funny and easy on the eyes (maybe I'm a little influenced by True Blood here...Eric is pretty easy on the eyes in the show) and is pretty a pretty straightforward, uncomplicated guy. He definitely is more exciting than boring Bill!

This book featured some new supernatural beings. Were-panthers and witches made the book a pretty fun read. Just like in most books with witches, there are good ones and bad ones in Dead to the World. A neighboring town full of shape shifters (one of whom wants to court Sookie) coupled with Eric's amnesia in the story made the book a little mysterious too. One character who I really like but is somewhat minor is Pam, Eric's second in charge. She is equally straightforward and somewhat funny which I really enjoy. She's a strong woman who is loyal to her employer/maker which let's be honest, isn't very common today!

Of all the Sookie Stackhouse books I've read so far, this one was fun, but probably my least favorite. I was kind of sad about it because I really am a big fan of Eric and was hoping for a more satisfying read out of an all Sookie-Eric book. The witches were kind of what soured the book for me a little. They felt a little out of place in the book. I'm not sure why I feel that way. Can any Charlaine Harris fans chime in on this? I just found them uninteresting as a whole. I think I might have liked the story more if they had been featured more prominently in the book. Their whole story isn't really known until the last few pages. There just wasn't much of a connection with them in either a good or bad way for me so I didn't find myself routing for them or loathing them much. On the evil scale they were about a three out of ten for me. Still, I really enjoy the series and will continue reading them. It's a nice break from some of the heavier reading that I've done this year (although I admit that I've been reading quite a bit of fluff this year).

Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs

A couple of my friends are huge fans of the Fox series, Bones. I have never watched it, but I did put it in my Netflix queue since I have been hearing so many good things about it. While it waits patiently in my queue, I picked up the first book of the Tempe Brennan books upon which Bones is loosely based.

Deja Dead is a pretty fast read, but not ridiculously so. I will say that I was able to put the book down when I wanted to and didn't necessarily ache to know what was going to happen next...that is, until about 2/3 of the way through the book. Once the story picked up, I stayed up pretty late at night reading it. I also got a little scared at one point in the book (I scare easily though).

Tempe Brennan is a Forensic Anthropologist that works with the police in Montreal. I was a little skeptical as to how a forensic anthropologist would put herself in danger and inevitably be chased by a killer, but Reichs somehow managed to do just those things. While investigating a series of brutal murders, Tempe gets caught up in a serial killer's web. Because she is working on the case and is closer than any of the police to solving the crime, the serial killer begins to stalk her. While her choices aren't necessarily any I would make (like investigating a possible murder site at the rain), it made for a thrilling read where danger was felt around every corner.

I felt a little annoyed at Tempe's wild abandon at chasing the serial killer in the book even though she has no real law enforcement experience outside of examining bones and tissue in the lab and at murder sites. I used to work in a lab, and there is no part of me that would pick up a scalpel and start operating on patients just because I worked with doctors. Well, Tempe Brennan is not like me. She is law enforcement all the way. After reading this book, I recommend that she go to the police academy and get her sidearm and just become police! She would certainly be a lot safer.

Even though I was annoyed with her choices, I will keep reading the series. It was engaging and fun enough that I want to try reading a few more of Kathy Reichs' books.  I will say that I think this is a better library book checkout or used bookstore purchase than getting it new. It was Reichs' first novel so I am confident that the books will improve over time.

I am enjoying reading thrillers/mysteries. If you have any suggestions of books or authors I should read, please leave a comment and let me know what your favorites are!

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