Steve's Reviews

I first met Nancy when she was the manager of the highest grossing (per square foot) B. Dalton store in the country and I was still in the midst of a 40+ year banking and investments career. She introduced me to many authors that rekindled my love of reading. Spending a lot of time on airplanes (or waiting for them) was made a lot easier with my new "friends." I am now retired and split time between Florida and Indiana with reading and golf competing for my time. I have nine grandchildren and most of them are readers as well - one of my favorite things to do is take them to our local bookstore and turn them loose!

The Flight Attendant                             

 Author:  Chris Bohjalian                     Fiction                     

Cassandra Bowden is a flight attendant with enough seniority to fly internationally. She also has a major drinking problem, so much so that she frequently suffers blackouts during one of her binges. The book opens as she wakes up in a hotel room in Dubai, the man (Alexander Sokolov, hedge fund manager) who she met on the flight over and with whom she has spent the night brutally murdered lying beside her. She tries to remember what happened the night before, but all she can recall is a woman, Miranda, having visited them, but why she visited is a mystery to Cassie. She leaves the room afraid to call the police and joins up with her fellow crew members for the return flight to JFK, where she begins to weave a web of lies - to the crew, to the FBI which meets the plane when it lands in the US, and to her family. Cassie is pretty sure she did not kill Alex, but she has no memory of what happened. And if she didn’t kill him, who did? Quite honestly, Cassie was an unlikeable character to me given her alcohol issues and propensity to bend the truth, but Bohjalian does a great job of building suspense as the world closes in on our flight attendant. Way more to this story than I expected, and Bohjalian is an excellent storyteller. My thanks to Doubleday and Edelweiss for the advance reader’s copy for my review.

Dead Like You                                          

 Author:  Peter James                                   Fiction

This is the sixth book in James’ Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series. DS Grace is working on New Years Day after spending a quiet New Years Eve with his fiancé. The quiet morning is shattered by the report of a brutal rape. And a second victim is raped just a week later. The incidents are clearly related as both victims’ shoes have been taken. Grace realizes that these two cases are very similar to a series of rapes that occurred around Christmas time, 1997. The perpetrator in those cases was never arrested. Is it the same person or a copycat? When more seemingly related crimes are committed, Grace assembles a large team to stop the rapist (or rapists?) while reopening the cold case file to the earlier events. There are several suspects, each of which could be the one he is after. When yet another victim is taken, Grace and company must move quickly to stop the right criminal. A disturbing subject forms the basis for this crime thriller, and the description of some of the crimes is not for the feint of heart. I probably would have rated the book higher because of this. Nonetheless, I am a big fan of this series.

Sometimes I Lie                                           

 Author:  Alice Feeney                           Fiction             

The book opens with “My name is Amber Reynolds. There are 3 things you should know about me. 1. I'm in a coma. 2. My husband doesn't love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie.” Amber is in the hospital in a coma after an apparently horrific auto accident. While she can't move, speak or open her eyes, she can hear everyone who comes into her room. But the hospital staff and visitors don't know that. She cannot recall what happened the night of the accident, but suspects that her husband, Paul, had something to do with it. And her relationship with her sister, Claire, is also a little strange. The story alternates between the present (in the hospital), the week before the accident, and the entries in a diary from 20 years earlier. An interesting premise that started out well but became rather confusing as the book moved on. Or perhaps a better description is frustrating as I tried to figure who was who and who did what. I received an ARC from Flatiron Books in exchange for this review.


The Prisoner                                           

 Author:  Alex Berenson                 Fiction                     

This is the 11th book in Berenson’s John Wells series. A number of American intelligence operations have gone south. When an Islamic State prisoner in a secret Bulgarian prison is recorded telling another prisoner that a senior CIA official is passing information to ISIS, Wells and his former CIA boss, Ellis Schafer, try to convince now President Vinny Duto and other senior intelligence officials of the threat. Told it is unthinkable, Wells and Shafer plan a mission that requires Wells to reassume his former identity as a jihadi, to be captured, and to be sent to the same prison where the recording was made. After two months of imprisonment, Wells comes out without the specific information he sought, but the thread that will lead to an even bigger terrorist plot. Berenson is right up there with the best thriller authors today. The book is fast paced, has a plot line that is fairly realistic, and will keep you turning the pages.



Cross My Heart                                           

 Author:  James Patterson                 Fiction                     

This is the 21st book in Patterson’s Alex Cross series, and one of the few that he continues to author by himself. The book opens with Cross wandering through the streets of Washington having lost his family to Thierry Mulch, as the reader will discover a deranged criminal with an agenda. The next 500 pages then reveal what has happened. This was clearly a two book story given the ending, which really wasn’t an ending at all, just a teaser for the next book in the series. I began reading this series many years back with the 1st in the series, Along Came a Spider - thus my “dedication.” While a quick read while on a cruise, the commercialization of Patterson is wearing thin.



Life Support                                           

 Author:  Tess Gerritsen                  Fiction                     

I dug deep in my book collection for this novel, one of the first by Gerritsen, but this is the kind of book you want to read on a cruise. Dr. Toby Harper is the emergency room night physician at Springer Hospital just outside Boston. She is balancing her work with caring for her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. On a relatively quiet night in the ER, an old man is brought in suffering from symptoms which turn out to be those of an extremely rare disease. But before he can be diagnosed, he “escapes” from the hospital. When a second senior patient presents with similar symptoms, Toby begins to investigate which leads her to discover a sinister plot with noble intentions but less than noble results. And one which will affect her personally in more ways than one. I found the book to be incredibly fast-paced, and given the references Gerritsen cites, well-researched.