Tag Archives: thriller

Review of Out of the Ice, by Ann Turner

I won a paperback copy of Ann Turner‘s Out of the Ice through Goodreads.

Description:

When environmental scientist Laura Alvarado is sent to a remote Antarctic island to report on an abandoned whaling station, she begins to uncover more than she could ever imagine.

Despite new life thriving in the icy wilderness, the whaling station is brimming with awful reminders of its bloody, violent past, and Laura is disturbed by evidence of recent human interference. Rules have been broken, and the protected wildlife is behaving strangely.

On a diving expedition, Laura is separated from her colleague. She emerges into an ice cave where, through the blue shadows, she is shocked to see an anguished figure, crying for help.

But in this freezing, lonely landscape there are ghosts everywhere, and Laura begins to sense that her own eyes cannot be trusted. Is her mind playing tricks? Has she been in the ice too long?

Back at base, Laura’s questions about the whaling station go unanswered, blocked by unhelpful scientists, unused to questions from an outsider. And Laura just can’t shake what happened in the ice cave.

Piecing together a past and present of cruelty and vulnerability that can be traced all around the globe, from Norway, to Nantucket, Europe and Antarctica, Laura will stop at nothing to unearth the truth. As she sees the dark side of endeavour and human nature, she also discovers a legacy of love, hope and the meaning of family. If only Laura can find her way…

Out of the ice.

Review:

I don’t use star ratings on this blog. But I do cross-post to Goodreads, and there I rated this book 2 stars. Let me say early on that my low rating is a reflection of the fact that I did not like the book, not necessarily that it’s a poorly written book. I suppose you could say that it’s a subjective, rather than objecting rating.

The issue was largely that, despite the stunning descriptions of nature, the book didn’t hold my attention. I was bored a lot of the time and I found Laura’s thoughts repetitive. Then, with about 100 pages to go, I set the book aside and read three other ones before forcing myself back to finish it. The problem was that in addition to the things I listed above, it became obvious that the hinted mystery was going to be a pedophilia ring and I both didn’t want to face reading it and felt horribly disappointed that Turner chose such an over-used, tritely salacious climax. All in all, I’m just glad to be finished with it.

Review of Blood Oath (Nathaniel Cade #1), by Christopher Farnsworth

I borrowed an audio copy of Christopher Farnsworth‘s Blood Oath from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he’s partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the President. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. Bound 140 years ago by a special blood oath, Nathaniel Cade is a vampire. He battles nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream, enemies far stranger – and far more dangeorus – than civilians have ever imagined.

Review:

This wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything new and inspiring either. I liked that Cade is so demonstrably inhuman. I thought Zach was funny. I liked the idea of the secret, crime-fighting vampire. All in all I enjoyed the book. 

My only real complaint, beyond there being nothing particularly new here, is that (as is SO OFTEN the case, especially with male authors) there are exactly 3 women in the book. They all play minor roles. Two are the lovers of more important male characters and one uses sex as a weapon and currency to get what she wants. 

Is it truly not possible to have a female character who isn’t characterized by who she has sex with or why? This book wasn’t really any worse than other books in the regard, but as always, it’s an irritant that you can’t unnoticed once you do. And once you start noticing, you realize how painfully frequent it is.

Bronson Pinchot did all right with the narration. I thought he played Cade too dryly. He sounded board for most of the book, instead of intense. But it wasn’t unpleasant to listen to, on the whole.

Review of Finders Keepers, by J. J. DiBenedetto

J. J. DiBenedetto sent me an audible copy of his novel Finders Keepers.

Description from Goodreads:
It should have been a simple job. All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple. 

And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake. Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts. The one that a team of international art thieves is after. 

Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves. And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.

Review:
This was utterly ridiculous. I won’t go so far as to call it bad, but it was just completely unfathomable. I found none of Jane’s reactions believable. Further, I didn’t believe international art thieves with a 6 million dollar/pound score would be so easily defeated or so plainly unthreatening. Jane never once seemed to really consider that they might be violent. And they weren’t, which made them mere cartoon characters. While the author explained why Jane took the actions she took, I couldn’t believe for a moment that a woman in her early twenties would do the things she did and have such amazing results.

Further, I was constantly annoyed by the references to Jane’s traitorous body and her willingness to trust a man she knew to be lying to her based on how attractive he was. Again, it was beyond belief. Plus, the love triangle fake-out was just annoying.

And there were just so many small things like this. Like her causing a traffic accident while traveling at high speed. This would have been unfailingly deadly in real life, but the reader is supposed to believe she hasn’t really hurt anyone.

Maybe a younger reader would have enjoyed the book more than I did. The writing is fine, as is the narration (by Cait Frizzell), but I spent a lot of time listening to the story and rolling my eyes, like “yeah right.”