Nocturnal by Scott Sigler (Crown, $26) Scott Sigler’s debut novel, “Infected,” was a new York Times bestseller in 2008. In his latest book, San Francisco detectives Bryan Clauser and Pookie Chang are in search of a brutal serial killer. The hunt is hampered when Bryan begins to be haunted by prophetic dreams about the killer and the fact that DNA collected from the crime scenes are anything but normal. In fact, they suggest a killer who is inhuman. as the detectives dig deeper into the case, they are confronted by an ancient cult and roadblocks that seem to be the result of their superiors. A complex plot set against the backdrop of San Francisco, a cast of bizarre creatures, and action that is guaranteed to leave readers breathless are all part of this entertaining literary mix.
Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell (William Morrow, $25.99) ANCIENT MAYA PROPHECY:“If the covenant be kept on the night of December 21, 2012, then the Great Wheel shall grind the old world to dust, Kukulcan shall slow it beyond the Bacabs, and the followers of Kawa’il will rule in the age of Kings.” so reads the modern translation from the Lost Codex of Kawa’il, the foundation of an exciting new novel. according to Maya legend, December 21, 2012, will mark the final curtain for the world as we know it. At the center of “Beautiful Sacrifice” is Lina Taylor, an archaeologist at Houston’s Museum of the Maya. She splits her time between South American digs and classroom teaching. When some ancient artifacts are discovered missing, Lina’s structured, orderly life is suddenly in turmoil. Finding the missing artifacts is only the beginning of an adventure that will test the woman on almost every level of her being as the “dead” past and the present collide. Elizabeth Lowell had written an incredibly skillful story that is thrilling, suspenseful and even has a dash of romance.
Red Cell by mark Henshaw (Touchstone, $24.99) The CIA Red Cell was created in 2001 just days after 9/11 by its then director, George Tenet. The purpose was so Tenet would have access to even the most secret of intelligence. In this debut novel, two CIA outcasts are brought together to stop a secret Chinese weapon that threatens to trigger a world war. Henshaw is a decorated CIA analyst with more than a decade of service and his new book has a ring of authenticity. from CIA headquarters to the White House to a Navy carrier in the South China Sea, the action is tense. The author uses expert knowledge of the intelligence world to create a fascinating and totally believable pulse-pounding story.
Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central Publishing, $24.99) Seth Grahame-Smith, a new York Times bestselling author, has the uncanny ability to concoct a tasty literary treats that mix history with a little mystery to serve up an epic story. even though most of us know the story of The Three Wise Men of Bible fame, but what if they were men following a star to Bethlehem bearing gifts but infamous thieves on the run, escaping through Judea under cover of night? Add the presence of the dark, murderous Balthazar and you have a rollicking good story. This is fiction, of course, the greatest story never told. This is perfect summer reading. The author, who is responsible for two literary hits back-to-back, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” proves once again that he has one of the most fluent, lively, imaginative writers today.
The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, $29.99) Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-one suspense novels, three collections of short stories, a historical novel, and a memoir. To say that she is a gifted, seasoned writer is a little like saying Jack the Ripper had a problem with women. In her latest novel, Dr. Jonathan Lyons, a 70-year-old biblical scholar, finds an ancient parchment that may have been written by Christ. Stolen from the Vatican library in the fifteenth century, if authenticated it might be the most revered document in human history. The plot thickens when Dr. Lyons is found shot to death in his new Jersey home. His wife, an Alzheimer’s victim, is found hiding in a closet and clutching the murder weapon. The big question is whether people suffering from brain-altering diseases such as Alzheimer’s are responsible for their actions, even one has final and horrible as murder? Mariah, his daughter, believes that the key to the murder is the missing parchment. This is an exceptional piece of writing that has all of the elements of yet another best seller for Ms. Clark. The plot is brisk, the characters believable, and the action nonstop. The unexpected twists and turns make this a breathless murder mystery, the perfect story to add a few chills to a hot Arizona day.
Blowout by Senator Byron L. Dorgan and David Hagberg (Forge, $25.99) We’ve often heard a story described as one ripped from today’s headlines. consider this novel by a former U.S. Senator and a former U.S. Air Force cryptographer, a one-of-a-kind high-concept thriller about America’s dangerous addiction to foreign oil, a dependence that could cripple our economy and our ecosystem, and the possibility of discovering a new, highly inexhaustible source of energy that would cost very little and has the potential to dramatically show down global warming, and end our dependence on foreign oil. Dorgan, who has been a longtime supporter of alternative energy sources, pulls no punches in his new novel. Powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to sabotage new energy technologies including a cadre of oil hedge fund managers unite to attack the nation’s new experimental power station. The stakes are high. If these negative forces win, gasoline will soar to at least $20 a gallon putting an impossible strain on the country’s already fragile economy. This book succeeds on many levels. it is, indeed, ripped from today’s headlines but that is only part of its appeal. The thrilling plot with twists on almost every page will keep readers engaged until the climatic ending.
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (Harper, $25.99) Set in Vienna in 1913, Lysander Rief is an English actor who has traveled to Austria in order to consult with a psychoanalyst about an odd sexual problem. In the doctor’s office, he meets Hettie Bull, a high-strung sculptor, and he agrees to sit for her. When he arrives at her studio, he doesn’t realize that she hhas plans to seduce him. so begins a passionate affair which has an abrupt twist when he is charged with rape. Hettie is pregnant and her husband is not amused. The actor flees to London where he tries to restart his acting career. WWI erupts and he enlists. The narrative in this novel is almost seamless. Boyd is able to capture situations and characters set against the dramatic backdrops of war, art, theatre, upper-class life, and political agitation in Europe that even includes even a brief brush with Sigmund Freud. This atmospheric novel is elegantly crafted by a London writer who serves up a rich portrayal of human psychology and a plot that is both engaging and imaginative.
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