This is a debut work, and without mincing words let me say it- it's first class. I have never been fond much about corporate thrillers/financial thrillers. Save for some works by Christopher Reich and E.L. Burton’s Soft Money my knowledge in this mystery sub genre is limited.

But for the first time I am reading a thriller where the protagonist is a genius computer hacker- detective, (but not a Net junkie mind you.) The novel starts very much like a Hollywood thriller. Mild, diminutive John Reynolds is suddenly fired from his job. Enraged he kills the CEO and simply disappears. The police have no clue where he is, and a frustrated Michael Worthington, the son of the murdered CEO calls upon PI Frank Taylor to bring back Reynolds alive or dead. Taylor is surprised at being given the assignment, for the relation between Worthington and Taylor is far from cordial. However, the lure of big money proves irresistible and Taylor and his online girlfriend Jane Boswell, a schoolteacher jumps into investigating the matter. What follows is superior hi-fi action, and slowly Frank Taylor finds himself becoming the hunted, instead of being the hunter….

Great action, thrilling chases, crosses, double crosses and triple crosses galore; On the Run provides exciting reading for the lover of suspense mysteries.

The Black Ice by Michael Connelly

Publisher: Warner Books ISBN: 0446613444

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan 

“Don’t look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together.”                                                                                    - Harry Bosch. 

The work that catapulted Michael Connelly into fame, and made Harry Bosch a familiar name in contemporary mystery writing, right alongside Inspector Rebus (an Rankin), Derek Strange (George Pelecanos) and the lot.

            Following the success of The Black Echo, Connelly’s LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is called into action, investigating the apparent suicide of Narcotics Officer Cal Moore. There are no apparent clues, but Bosch’s investigation slowly links Moore’s name to a street drug, commonly known as “Black Ice”. The deeper Harry investigates, the more are the obstacles in his path-  deadly drug mafia and the even more deadly dirty cops- all thwart his way. But battling all odds, Bosch investigates and what follows is action, action and more action that will make happy the fans of suspense/whodunit thrillers.

            But is The Black Ice, the best Connelly novel? Personally my favorite Connelly works are The Poet and The City of Bones. The Black Ice would come a close third.

Fear Itself  by Jonathan Nasaw

 Publisher: Pocket Star ISBN: 0743446526

FBI Agent Pender is just two weeks away from retirement when he receives a letter from a woman who believes that a serial killer is at work killing off people with phobias who had all attended a conference together.   His method of murder is using one's own phobias against the victim.  Pender can't stay away from this last case, and with the help of Agent Linda Abruzzi, they have no trouble identifying the madman.  But as the body count rises, and with their own lives in jeopardy, they must face their own fears if they are to survive.

Nasaw’s latest once again proves him a master at the creation of the worst kind of villain.  This one is as creepy as I’ve read in a long time, and the shock left in his wake is substantial.  On the other hand, his creation of the charming and always disheveled FBI Agent Pender is to be applauded as well.  And while the suspense and ever increasing dread will most likely leave most readers looking over their shoulders, the sweetly engaging love affair was warmly and perfectly rendered, a perfect antidote to absolute terror.  And as far as suspense goes, this is found in spades as well, making this a quick read full of worthy characters, fast-paced plotting, and moments of pure spine-tingling fright.  Lock your doors and enjoy.           

 

The Best Revenge  by Stephen White

 Publisher: Delacorte Press;  ISBN: 0385336195

When FBI Agent Kelda James helps clear a man on death row, and then refers him to Dr. Alan Gregory for psychiatric care, it appears to Dr. Gregory that he may finally have an motivating case to spark his failing interest in his work.  Seeing Agent James as well, for an ever-increasing questionable pain in her legs, Dr. Gregory is soon put in the middle of one of the most extraordinary and confusing cases of his career.  It seems everyone’s motives are questionable, as well as their innocence, and it’s up to him to make sense of it all before more deaths occur.   

It seems that very few authors can consistently continue to put out well-written novels this deeply into a series, yet Stephen White has managed this feat with yet another extraordinarily suspenseful novel featuring Psychiatrist Dr. Alan Gregory.  And although Dr. Gregory’s role is almost secondary in this latest, the main cast of characters is so well written that he is hardly missed.  He also adroitly juggles the themes of justice, revenge, and the personal need of victims to feel resolution, but who may have to deal with an imperfect justice system instead.  All leading to the ultimate quandary of how far some will go to balance the scales according to their own version of retribution.  And a word of caution, don’t be thinking that all is finished when it seems the bad guys are caught, because there are more surprises in store until the very end.  This thrilling novel is simultaneously stimulating and thought provoking, making this one very worthy read.      

And for a great interview conducted by Tami Hoag, please visit a wonderful site called Bookreporter.com.  For Stephen's interview:  Stephen White

 

Delusion by by G. H.  Ephron

 Publisher: St. Martin's Press  ISBN: 0312993528

When forensic psychologist Dr. Peter Zak is called to a crime scene to help calm the victim’s husband, he is drawn into a plot more sinister and frightening than he could have  ever imagined.  The wife of computer game inventor Nick Babikian has been found dead floating in the couple’s lavish swimming pool, and the primary suspect is Nick himself.  While Nick denies all involvement, his odd and suspicious behavior leads Peter to suspect that there is more going on than meets the eye.  Meanwhile, Peter and those he loves are the victims of a stalker who knows just what buttons to push, throwing everyone into a tailspin of terror and mistrust.  Could it all be connected to the brutal slaying of Peter’s wife three years prior, even with the perpetrator safe in jail?  As Peter searches for answers, danger closes in on himself and those he loves.

A deep and dark exploration of paranoia, this latest psychological treat from Ephron satisfies on many levels.   Intellectually, its look at paranoia and delusion is both frightening and realistic, and the reader may just find themselves looking for conspiracies and threats in every corner themselves.  Emotionally, Dr. Zak, his girlfriend Annie, and his mother, are all characters one feels engaged by, drawing the reader even further into the story.  The final ingredients of top-notch suspense and a delightfully devilish plot make this a fast and furious read that’s recommended for those who like their psychological suspense with an emphasis on the psychological.     

 

Adrenaline by John B. Olson

Publisher: Bethany House ISBN: 0764228196

Reviewed by © Phillip Tomasso III

As a fan of co-author Randall Ingermanson and John B. Olson's Oxygen and The Fifth Man, I was not sure what to expect seeing Olson out solo.  What I discovered was not so shocking, as much as expected.  Olson's Adrenaline is an intense medical thriller, comparable to any Robin Cook novel, when Cook was writing in his prime, and even more so.  

James Parker is the main character who suffers from a crippling disease that leaves him limited and restricted to life in a wheelchair.  As a brilliant scientist he hopes to find a cure to the rare disease.  He is not as interested in curing himself, as he is his sister.  She is not as fortunate as him.  Where he can get around in the wheelchair and work on lab experiments, she is often sick and bedridden a hospital.  

At a time when all hope looks lost, his sister looks like she might not live out the year, and he is ready to quit wasting his time in order to spend the remaining days by his sister's bed, his years of research looks like it might off.  A strain of his concoction has turned lab mice into mighty mouse creatures.  

His breakthrough could cure others inflicted with the illness…

His adopted lab partners, Darcy and Jason get caught up in the excitement of the discovery.  Though he has a thing for Darcy—he knows it can never work out.  After all, he's in a wheelchair.  To make matters tenser, she is Jason's ex-girlfriend.  When Parker takes an injection of the invention the unexpected and unexplainable happens.  But one thing becomes crisply clear …

His breakthrough could be worth billions …

Parker immediately realizes that nothing is as it seems.  Everyone around him has secrets.  He has trouble trusting his lab partners, the police and the faculty.  His lab has been broken into.  His lab and Darcy's have been destroyed, notebooks burned.   In a race to stay alive Parker, Darcy and Jason must figure out who is after them, who they can trust and how is it they will survive a nightmare where everyone is seemingly against you …

Adrenaline is an amazing, and powerful tale.  John B. Olson is a talented and creative writer.  He keeps his chapters short and tightly paced with action that never slows and tension that constantly builds.  Like his other books, I recommend Adrenaline to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted thriller.

 

Shot by Jenny Siler

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Inc.; ISBN: 0805072039

When Lucy Greene’s husband dies mysteriously and suddenly in a car accident, her seemingly placid life is thrown into a tailspin involving government conspiracy and biological warfare.  Joining her quest for answers is her old boyfriend, a now disgraced journalist, and a female ex-con who has her own scores to settle.  Together, they race across the country with a hit man on their trail, trying to find answers that could save their lives. 

To put it simply, Jenny Siler is a master of her craft.  She’s able to pack more emotion and meaning in one sentence, in what would take a less accomplished writer a couple of chapters to achieve.  So although her novels are on the short end, each one seems to be a much larger and profound work than the number of pages would imply.  This particular novel, just as good, or perhaps better, than the previous novels more than lives up to her infinite promise.  Unbridled suspense and emotional impact are what separate this from the average.  So set aside a block of time, say no to any distractions, and read this beauty of a book.  You won’t be disappointed in this highly evocative read that resonates long after the final page.

 

If She Should Die by Carlene Thompson

 Publisher: St. Martin's Press ISBN: 0312983131

It was three years ago when willful and headstrong Dara Prince disappeared from her home in Winston, West Virginia.  Most believe she just ran away, but Christine Ireland, who spent some years in Dara’s family home when her parents died, suspects otherwise.  And when a body turns up, Christine is convinced it’s Dara’s.  So when Jeremy, Christine’s developmentally disabled brother, discovers Dara’s diary, the list of suspects responsible for her death only grows.  And as Christine starts digging, with the help of Deputy Michael Winters, everyone she knows and trusts is suddenly to be feared as it seems everyone has a reason for wanting to see Dara dead. 

Suspenseful and fast-moving, this is a tale of intrigue that will easily keep the reader engaged until it’s exciting climax.  And with so many suspects, and so few clues, the guessing game is challenging and worthwhile.  Thompson has a fine record for suspenseful and romantic reads, and doesn’t disappoint yet again.  Recommended, this latest should easily please many.