I finished an excellent thriller this morning. I'll update that and also provide the synopsis of the book that I'm starting next. Finally I'll continue my look at the Sci-Fi novel.
"Lynn S. Hightower is one of those gems I discovered a few years back. I first read The Debt Collector, the last book in her Sonora Blair series and I've also enjoyed No Good Deed, the 3rd book in the series. She hasn't published a whole heck of a lot of books, 14 books since 1986. I've had considerable difficulty finding them. Anyway, I finally managed to get the first book in her Lena Padget mystery series, Satan's Lambs. All I can say is Wow!
Lena Padget is a PI who works in Kentucky. She became a PI when her sister and young nephew were murdered by her sister's husband Jeff Hayes. She takes on special cases, helping women escape from abusive marriages. These women return the favor by feeding Lena, helping her with information, etc.
Lena finds out from cop, Detective Mendez, that Jeff has been released from prison. At the same time, Jeff's partner-in-crime, Archie Valletta, has also been released. Archie has threatened his ex-wife Eloise and she hires Lena to protect her and her son, Charlie. Jeff starts intimidating Lena with phone calls, secret visits. Archie kidnaps Charlie and Lena now must try to find him before something worse happens. It turns out that both Jeff and Archie had been part of a group of Satan worshipers.
So that is the gist of the story, a tense, at times disturbing, thriller. Lena uses every resource possible to find Charlie and to stop Archie and Jeff. These include her ex-husband Rick and his wife, the various people who she's helped in the past and also Detective Mendez with whom she has conflicting feelings. It's a scary story that will keep you turning pages to find out what happens but it's also filled with such fascinating characters, bad ones but at the same time, wonderful characters and friends who you will find yourself becoming invested in. There is so much about this story that I loved. Hightower spins a wonderful yarn and will draw you in. I'm so glad that I discovered her and I will read her other stories if I can find them. (5 stars)"
"A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it.
When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels..."
The Science Fiction Novel - Andy Weir
a. The Martian (2012).
"I've had The Martian by Andy Weir on my bookshelf for awhile now. I'm glad I finally read it. As a few of my friends have indicated, it's a bit technical at first, but it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the story.
Mark Watney is part of a scientific landing on Mars. He's part of a group of six astronauts / scientists. Because of a sudden disastrous sand storm, he is abandoned on Mars, assumed dead. Of course, he isn't or it would have been a very short story. Watney is injured but manages to survive and to eventually contact Earth. A plan is put into effect to try and rescue him. Watney has to find a way to survive while the plan is put into effect; he uses his scientific skills and his ingenuity to grow food, to ensure he has sufficient water and so on.
There is an interesting mix of personalities; we move from Watney's journalising back to NASA where they monitor Watney and try to come up with solutions for his successful return, to his other crew members, who are returning to Earth. It's quite an interesting story and an nice, comfortable, entertaining read. Just don't get to lost in the technical portions. Enjoy the adventure. (4 stars)"
All of Weir's books can be found at this link.