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coverPower Down was the first book by Ben Coes that I’ve read. I really liked it. The book reminds me of the books of David Baldacci and Vince Flynn. The book is about terrorists attacking the power infrastructure of the United States.

I was caught up with the scenes about life on an oil rig. I’m pretty sure I haven’t read a book with that setting before. Dewey Andreas, a former Delta officer, is the rig chief, so when some of his own men turn out to be terrorists, Dewey fights back and effectively.

As the FBI and other agencies try to stop attacks against major American sites, Dewey finds himself on the run from the terrorists who think he knows more than he does. As he tries to get to safety, his efforts are thwarted by a terrorist mole in the government.

Power Down has lots of action and it was a great thrill ride. My only disappointment was that the character of the energy CEO who was a former Navy seal, seemed to be a loose end. I was looking forward to him getting involved in chasing down the terrorists, but nothing seemed to come of that story line. I’m hoping that the storyline continues in book 2.

The situation gets successfully resolved, but not before there’s a body count that would make Rambo blush. The ending also seems to set up the next book, which is on my to-read list. It looks like Coes has written seven or eight books with Dewey as the main character, and I’m looking forward to reading them all.

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Vanished_massmarketBefore I read this book I decided to try out a short story by Joseph Finder and his series hero, Nick Heller. I enjoyed the short story enough to give Vanished a try. This is the first book in the Nick Heller series, and as I write this article, I’ve also read the second book.

Nick Heller is a typical thriller hero. He’s tough, smart, and has Special Forces training. As this book opens, he is working for an investigative firm as their top fix-it man. As with many heroes, he has a back story. In Nick’s case, his father was a Bernie Madoff-type of guy who continues to scheme from behind bars. Most importantly, he’s a guy that you like and can cheer for.

Part of the reason for your fondness of the guy is seen early on when his nephew Gabe asks for his help. Gabe’s mother has been attacked and is in a coma and his stepdad Roger is missing. Roger is Nick’s brother.

Despite his poor experiences with his father and being estranged from his brother, Nick still believes in family and sets out to find his brother. Thus begins a convoluted search that keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. Finder does a great job at this, which is why I enjoyed the wild ride that the story took me on.

So, although Vanished is a lot like many good thrillers out there by Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben and the like, it doesn’t make it any less good. In fact, it puts Finder in good company.

The-Stranger-by-Harlan-CobenThe Stranger by Harlan Coben begins curiously enough with a stranger meeting Adam Price in a bar and relaying information that he seemingly shouldn’t know about Adam’s wife. The stranger tells Adam that his wife faked a pregnancy and miscarriage to keep him from leaving her. The stranger even offers Adam a way to verify the information. With that revelation, Adam’s happy life begins to unravel.

I was hooked on the story, which is not surprising since I am a big fan of Harlan Coben’s books. (I even read his YA series.) However, I realized too early some of the key plot elements. I’m not sure if that means I’m getting better at solving mysteries or Coben simply let too much slip too early.

While Adam’s encounter shakes his life apart, Heidi Dann’s encounter costs her her life. Her friend, who is a police officer, begins to investigate Heidi’s death and the investigation eventually leads her to Adam.

The story grows more complex with unknown players in the overall mystery, which leaves the reader wondering from time to time who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

I enjoyed the characters, but I felt some of them seemed too familiar as Coben characters. When the base mystery is solved (there’s more than one mystery that need to be solved), I felt it was so commonplace that it was a let down given all the heartaches and headaches that it had caused.

For someone who is considering starting to read Coben’s mysteries, this is probably not the book to get started with. My introduction to Coben was Tell No One, which is still one of my favorites and it’s also a stand-alone book that doesn’t use Coben’s series detective, Myron Bolitar.

And I do recommend reading Harlan Coben. His books are fast paced with great mysteries and just the right amount of humor.

thU0YI907XI’m a fan of Harlan Coben. I’ve read all his books and I would rank Six Years in the top 5, maybe even the top 3. One reason it won’t make my list as his best work is that it reminded my a lot of “Tell No One,” which I think is his no. 1 book. Both books begin with the heroes suffering from a tragic loss. After a large span of time (Guess how long it is in this book…), the heroes have recovered a bit and moved on. Then something happens that makes them believe their lost loved one is still alive. Then begins a series clues that are investigated and found with unsatisfying answers that lead to more questions and danger. The main difference that puts “Tell No One” at the top for me is that while both books are excited and keep you guessing, “Tell No One” has a last page twist that caught me off guard.

In “Six Years,” Jake Fisher learns that the man he watched the love of his life, Natalie, marry six years earlier has been murdered. He decided to pay his respect at the funeral, only to learn that the widow, who was married to murdered man for far more than six years, is not Natalie. In fact, no one knows Natalie. As Jake tries to understand what has happened and where Natalie is, he finds the past that he knew with Natalie unraveling.

It’s one of those books that you just have to keep reading because you want to find out what happens next. It’s one of Coben’s best.

9780752882161Is it any surprise that James Rollins was chosen to write the novelization of the last Indiana Jones novel? His Sigma Force novels are like modern-day Indiana Jones stories. I am enjoying reading them with their extrapolation of historical events.

The Black Order is the third in the Sigma Force series. It begins with storylines in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Himalayan Mountains and South Africa. In Denmark, Gray Pierce is attending a book auction for a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin that winds up sending him running for his life. High in the Himalayan Mountains a monastery of monks is slaughtered and Painter Crowe, the director of Sigma Force, is left with a disease that is slowly debilitating him. And on a game reserve in Africa, mysterious creatures are hunting and slaughtering people.

As Sigma Force begins the race to save Crowe’s life, they uncover a plan started by the Nazis that had been thought long lost or destroyed at the end of the war.

Rollins’ books are always interesting and a fun romp with lots of adventure.

James Rollins The Last Oracle is the second book in James Rollins’ Sigma Force series. After having read the first one and enjoyed it, I looked forward to this one.

It begins with a prologue about the attack on the ancient Oracle of Delphi in 398 A.D. It was interesting, but I spent most of the book wondering what’s it’s significance to the main story was. When I did realize it, I thought it made for some interesting historical connections.

The main story begins with a homeless man being shot on the Washington D.C. He then dies in Commander Gray Pierce’s arms after giving him an ancient Greek coin.

This sets the Sigma Force on a search for answers as to who the dead man was. It leads them into a conspiracy that dates back decades and pits them against not only international forces but agencies within the U.S. that want to keep the conspiracy below the radar.

The conspiracy also involves children with savant-like talents that have been enhanced with neurological implants.

While Director Painter Crowe fights to save the life of one of those children in Washington, Grey and a team begin trying to unravel the trail behind the Greek coin. There is also a mysterious third party, a man without a memory and a group of children, who are also working to help Sigma Force unknown to both themselves and Sigma Force.

The Last Oracle is another historical mystery by Rollins that is full of thrills. It has some interesting surprises that I won’t spoil for you. You can also enjoy this book without having read the other books in the series.

I’m a big fan of Harlan Coben’s. I like his stories and his writing style. His latest effort is Caught, which is a stand-alone thriller. At first, you’ll wonder how the different storylines connect, but when they connect, you won’t be disappointed.

A mother wakes up one morning to find that her daughter, who she has never had trouble from, is missing. A TV reporter who has made a career of entrapping sexual predators and shaming them on national television finds herself wondering about the guilt of her latest target.

As with most of Coben’s books, he never takes the apparent choice in his books. In Caught, just when you think you see where the stories are going, something gets thrown in the mix that changes your views.

What could have been a book about sexual predators turns into something much more—an examination of the cost of holding grudges and modern parenting.

Tell No One is still my favorite Coben book, but Caught ranks up near the top.

I like David Baldacci’s books, but Deliver Us From Evil read like one of those books you feel like you’ve read again or even seen at the movies.

Deliver Us From Evil is a sequel to The Whole Truth. It continues to follow the mysterious agent, Shaw, as he tracks Evan Waller, a Canadian businessman who sells children into prostitution and is planning on selling terrorists nuclear materials.

Reggie Campion is a British agent who works with a secret group that tracks down and executes war criminals. As the number of WWII criminals begins to diminish, the group begins expanding its scope to other criminals. Waller was once a Soviet officer known for his sadism and brutality.

With both Shaw and Campion hunting Waller, their paths begin crossing. They find themselves attracted to each other even as they try and hold each other at arm’s length in order to complete their mission. When their missions fall apart, the two assassins must team up in order to survive.

I didn’t find the characters as interesting as his repeating characters in The Camel Club or his male/female detective pairing of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell in books like Split Second and Hour Game. Still, Baldacci’s writing was exciting and the story moved along swiftly. The problem was that the plot didn’t seem all that exciting. I didn’t think that it even had a lot of interesting twists that could breathe life into a stock plot. I might have thought this was a good book from another writer, but I expect more from Baldacci.

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