Archive for the ‘Simon and Schuster’ Category

Review: An Evil Mind – Chris Carter

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter
Publication date: 31 July 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781471132193
Length: 496 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: 4.5 Stars

A freak accident in rural Wyoming leads the Sheriff’s Department to arrest a man for a possible double homicide, but further investigations suggest a much more horrifying discovery – a serial killer who has been kidnapping, torturing and mutilating victims all over the United States for at least twenty-five years. The suspect claims he is a pawn in a huge labyrinth of lies and deception – can he be believed?

The case is immediately handed over to the FBI, but this time they’re forced to ask for outside help. Ex-criminal behaviour psychologist and lead Detective with the Ultra Violent Crime Unit of the LAPD, Robert Hunter, is asked to run a series of interviews with the apprehended man. These interviews begin to reveal terrifying secrets that no one could’ve foreseen, including the real identity of a killer so elusive that no one, not even the FBI, had any idea he existed … until now.

Having read most of his books in literally one sitting, I think it’s safe to say that whatever Chris Carter writes I fall in love with within seconds. An Evil Mind wasn’t any different. Although it’s very different from anything he’s written before, it’s just as tense and captivating as his other novels – but in a completely different way.

In case you’re not familiar with his writing, his previous books were famous for being of the nail-shredder, race-against-time variety and being on the gorier side. I enjoyed every second of every story but they were not for the faint-hearted. All his books featured various serial killers on the loose and Detective Robert Hunter trying to chase them down. So how is this book different, then? In An Evil Mind, the killer is already in FBI custody. We already know who he is and the fact that he’s guilty. What we don’t know is how many people he killed, who they are, and why he did it. All we know is that he knows Robert and refuses to talk to anyone else. So, once again, it’s up to Hunter to put the pieces together and figure out if Lucien is telling the truth and whether he has any other tricks up his sleeve.

Other than the fact that Carter’s writing is brilliant, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where you know who the killer is right from the start (solving the mystery alongside the detective is part of the fun, right?) so I was intrigued by the premise of Carter’s novel. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.

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Review: One by One – Chris Carter

One by One by Chris Carter

Title: One by One
Author: Chris Carter
Publication date: 15 August 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780857203052
Length: 512 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

The most terrifying TV show ever is about to begin…

It’s an ordinary day on the job for Detective Robert Hunter of the LAPD Robbery Homicide Division, when out of the blue comes a phone call. A voice instructs him to log on to a certain URL. Intrigued, Hunter does so, only to find live footage of a hostage bound to a chair in a large tank. The caller then presents him with a grim choice: the hostage will either be drowned or burned alive, and Hunter must choose. Hunter votes for neither, but the caller insists: either Hunter decides or he will. Either way, the hostage will die. Hunter refuses to be drawn, so the caller suggests ‘burned alive’. Desperate, Robert Hunter requests ‘drowned’ as the less brutal option. And before his eyes the tank begins to fill…

So begins Detective Hunter’s most horrifying case yet. Along with his partner Garcia they are forced to watch as victim after victim is plucked, seemingly at random, and placed before a webcam, their final moments broadcast live on the internet, the viewing public offered the chance to vote on the method of death. You watch, you vote, they die.

My thoughts

This, my dear friends, is how you write an exceptional, cold-blooded thriller readers won’t be able to put down. I’ve only read one of Carter’s previous books so far but it instantly became one of my favourite books this year and put Chris Carter right on top of my ‘favourite crime writers’ list. But even though I knew One by One would be just as brilliant as The Night Stalker (and I’m sure most of his previous books) was, I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to top that level and write something even more intense, more twisted. Well, he did. One by One is no doubt one of the scariest books I’ve ever read and one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.

I suppose one of the things that makes it so terrifying is that Hunter’s team is dealing with an incredibly smart killer this time. You know, Hannibal Lecter and Jigsaw smart. Someone who is always one step ahead of you and knows how you would react to his traps, someone who is (nearly) impossible to outwit and someone who isn’t likely to make mistakes. So how do you catch such a killer? How do you catch someone who’s been playing a cat and mouse game with you from the very beginning and who is always ready for your next move? Oh, it’s a clever idea.

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Review: The Night Stalker – Chris Carter

The Night Stalker by Chris Carter

Title: The Night Stalker
Author: Chris Carter
Publication date: 1 March 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-85720-297-0
Length: 453 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

When an unidentified female body is discovered laid out on a slab in an abandoned butcher’s shop, the cause of death is unclear. Her body bares no marks; except for the fact that her lips have been carefully stitched shut.

It is only when the full autopsy gets underway at the Los Angeles County morgue that the pathologist will reveal the true horror of the situation – a discovery so devastating that Detective Robert Hunter of the Los Angeles Homicide Special Section has to be pulled off a different case to take over the investigation.

But when his inquiry collides with a missing persons’ case being investigated by the razor-sharp Whitney Meyers, Hunter suspects the killer might be keeping several women hostage. Soon Robert finds himself on the hunt for a murderer with a warped obsession, a stalker for whom love has become hate.

My thoughts

I loved this book for so many different reasons, I don’t even know where to start. I literally haven’t been this excited about discovering a new (to me) author or series since S.J. Bolton’s Now You See Me. Technically it’s the third book in the Robert Hunter series but I haven’t read the first two and I didn’t feel as if I was missing something. They can all be read as standalone novels, so even if you haven’t read any of Carter’s books you should be fine.

Before I even talk about the writing itself, I have to say that one of the things I loved about the book is that it has pretty short chapters. I hate having to stop halfway through a chapter before going to bed or going out (and I know I’m not the only one), so short chapters are always an added bonus. Also, I love how every chapter ends with a cliffhanger of some sort. It’s such a clever idea. You know how we all tend to say “all right, just one more chapter and I’m going to bed”? Well ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you that in this case, you’re not going anywhere. You’ll be glued to the book until 1 am and nursing a book hangover the following day.

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Review: The Wish List – Jane Costello

 The Wish List by Jane Costello

Title: The Wish List
Author: Jane Costello
Publication date: 11 April 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-85720-556-8
Length: 481 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository

Synopsis

There are six months left of Emma Reiss’s twenties. . . and she has some unfinished business.

Her career is all wrong, her love life is a desert and that penthouse apartment she pictured herself in simply never materialised. Moreover, she’s never jumped out of a plane, hasn’t met the man she’s going to marry, has never slept under the stars, or snogged anyone famous – just some of the aspirations on a list she and her friends compiled fifteen years ago.

So, as Emma hurtles towards her thirtieth birthday, she sets about addressing these issues. But, as she discovers with hilarious consequences, some of them are trickier to achieve than she’d thought…

My thoughts

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the first few chapters is why on earth have I not read any of Jane Costello’s books before? After several cringe-worthily predictable and dull chick lit books I read in the past few months, I was starting to wonder whether I’d ever find one which is genuinely entertaining and impossible to put down. Well, considering the fact that it’s been four days since I finished reading the book and some of the jokes (Mr Matt Itchypants Taylor, to name my favourite one) still make me laugh, and the fact that it was so gripping that I just had to stay up until half past one in the morning two nights in a row, I guess we can say The Wish List ticks both these boxes.

Possibly the main reasons why I loved this book so much is the main character’s personality. I just loved Emma. If I had to describe her, I would say she’s a bit like Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, two characters I absolutely adore, by the way. She’s just as clumsy as Bridget and just as sarcastic and funny as Becky, the combination of which makes for a brilliant and entertaining story. Another thing that makes it as good as it is is the fact that Emma’s friends are so relatable and well-written. They’re not shallow or two-dimensional at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s not just about Emma either. They all have their own little sub-plots within the story and you actually do feel for them and want them to succeed and be happy. Or at least that’s how I felt, especially about Asha.

And if being hilarious and making me laugh out loud God knows how many times throughout the story wasn’t enough, I should also add what both Hannah and myself found great about the book: short chapters. Oh, how I love them. I’m quite a slow reader so long chapters always make me feel as if I’m not making any progress. Short ones, however, result in me not being able to put the book down and staying up until the crack of dawn with a stupid grin on my face, congratulating myself for reading so much. Big thumbs up for short chapters!

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Review: Seeing Cinderella – Jenny Lundquist

Title: Seeing Cinderella
Author:
Jenny Lundquist
Publication date:
2012 March 20
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (Imprint: Aladdin)
ISBN:
9781442429260
Pages:
240
Genre:
Middle grade fiction

Pre-order on Amazon | Pre-order on Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Meet Calliope Meadow Anderson, an average sixth grade student… with not so average looks. With her red hair, teeth the size of piano keys and huge freckles, she is the weird kid at school – everyone laughs at her and calls her Polka Dot. And it only gets worse when it turns out that she needs to wear glasses – but not just any glasses… Super huge and super freaky glasses! However, during her first day in seventh grade, Callie makes a discovery: her glasses have magic powers and they let her read other people’s thoughts. With the help of her glasses, she finds out what her best friend Ellen and her crush Scott really think of her, that the most popular and most beautiful girls who make fun of her at school were not always as perfect as they want to make us believe and she comes to the conclusion that sometimes you have to come out of your shell and stand up for those who you really love.

It takes a lot to render me speechless but Seeing Cinderella left me in complete awe. It’s been a long time since I read anything from the middle-grade genre but I’m so happy I was offered an advanced review copy of this book because it was brilliant. Lundquist’s work is so much more than a simple “fairytale” for young readers. No matter where you live or how old you are, you will be able to relate to this story and its characters.

Callie was my absolute favourite. I loved Callie because she reminded me of myself back in primary school. I didn’t have to wear glasses, I didn’t have freckles or red frizzy hair, but there were many times when I thought, “I know exactly how she feels”. She’s a quiet, reserved girl who prefers staying at home and writing stories to socializing and going to school events. She prefers to stay in the background, to stay almost invisible – and that’s exactly how I was when I was her age, and maybe how I am even today. In spite of her age, Callie is very smart. I think one of the most powerful and most expressive parts of Callie’s story was when Dr. Ingram, the optometrist, asks her whether she finds reading a book or writing a story in her journal easier than making new friends and she says “Books and journals can’t make fun of you or call you names”.

With its great character development, likeable characters, witty remarks and entertaining dialogues, Seeing Cinderella is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who is looking for an adorable read. It’s definitely something I’d give to my children but it’s perfect for anyone of any age – so make sure to pick up your own copy, lean back and prepare for something extraordinary. But don’t forget to put on your glasses and to read between the lines in order to understand the true meaning of the story: believe me, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn’t, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in Northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world’s whiniest cat.

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