November 14, 2003
The 6 Messiahs by Mark Frost

The Six Messiahs by Mark Frost: the sequel to Frost’s adventurous The List of 7.

Ten years after the events of The List of 7 we find Arthur Conan Doyle a celebrated writer. He has been made famous by the creation of Sherlock Holmes, loosely modeled on Jack Sparks, his old friend who died pursuing his evil brother, Alexander.

Doyle is getting ready to embark to America for a book tour and taking his younger brother Innes with him to serve as his secretary. While on board their American-bound ship, Doyle becomes embroiled in a plot to steal a priceless religious book. This leads him to once again put his life on the line to help stop a terrible event from occurring.

The 6 Messiahs follows the same kind of formula as The List of 7, but I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed it for the same reasons I enjoyed the other book - lots of adventure and wonderful characters. I found this one easier to get into and also thought that it resolved some of the abruptness of the ending of The List of 7.

If you’re looking for rollicking good fun and an entertaining read, look no further.

November 11, 2003
The List of 7 by Mark Frost

The List of 7 by Mark Frost: a mix of adventure and occultism with a tiny bit of romance thrown in for good measure in Victorian England makes for quite an interesting book.

Arthur Conan Doyle is a physician of modest stature in the late 1880s in England. He has a few patients and submit manuscripts to local publishing houses. He also has a keen interest in the occult and spends a fair amount of time investigating spiritualists and mediums trying to find the real thing.

All this is abruptly thrown into disarray when he finds himself the target of a group of seven people that wish him dead before he can disrupt their plot - one he has unwittingly stumbled into.

At first, while I liked the book, I found it really hard to get into. It wasn’t until page 60 or so that I really started to enjoy the book and the direction it was taking. I was eager to see what would happen next and what the fates of various players in the book would be.

My only real complaint with the book is that at times it the prose was a bit windy. Also, while the book was set in Victorian England, I myself don’t know all their terms and slang. It would have been nice to have had some translations. The only reason that I knew that an alienist is, basically, a psychiatrist, is because of the excellent book by Caleb Carr The Alienist.

All in all, the novel contained quite the adventure and I look forward to reading the next book in the series The 6 Messiahs.

November 05, 2003
Stolen (Women of the Otherworld, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong

Stolen (Women of the Otherworld, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong: an absolutely stunning book that grabs you and never lets you go.

Elena, the world’s only female werewolf, is looking into the possibility that a human knows that werewolves exist and aren’t merely myth. She then discovers that it’s not only werewolves that aren’t myths but also vampires, demons, witches, and more. While trying to deal with this, she’s captured by an egomaniacal billionaire and ends up in his own supernatural menagerie.

I had enjoyed the first book in this series, Bitten, so I was prepared to like this one. However, I was surprised by how exciting it was and how much I loved it. I literally could not put this book down and stayed up reading way later than I should have.

From page one this book starts out with a deadly hunt and never lets up on the tension and excitement until the book is over, especially once Elena is kidnapped. Her fury and fear are so real that I could only begin to imagine how it would feel to be in somone’s personal zoo.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Bitten was good, but Stolen is one of the most exhilarating novels I’ve read all year. It really sinks its teeth into you, if you’ll pardon the pun.

November 03, 2003
Dead Girls Don't Wear Diamonds by Nancy Martin

Dead Girls Don’t Wear Diamonds by Nancy Martin: the second book in the Blackbird Sisters mystery series, picking up where How to Murder a Millionaire left off.

Nora Blackbird is dealing with her pregnant sister Libby and her on-then-off boyfriend Michael “The Mick” Abruzzo when one of her acquaintances, the wife of her old college boyfriend, ends up dead. At first it looks like suicide, but soon both her and the husband, Flan, end up as suspects. To clear their names, Nora begins an investigation into the murder which leads to jewel theft, intriuge, and the lies covered by high society.

When I read the first book in the series, How to Murder a Millionaire, I thought that while the book wasn’t all that great, it could definitely work itself into a pretty decent series. This book, however, was almost a carbon copy of the first and I found it almost a little too frothy for a murder mystery. I keep wanting more from both the characters and the story and I’m not sure if that’s going to happen.

While the book makes for quick, easy reading, it’s still not as good as one of Janet Evanovichs or Carolyn Hainess female mystery series. I guess the best I can say about this book is that it’s okay and I’m not sure if that’s enough to continue through the series.

November 01, 2003
The Halloween Man by Douglas Clegg

The Halloween Man by Douglas Clegg: another great novel by horror master Clegg dealing with devil worship in a small New England town.

At the beginning of the novel, we are introduced to Stony Crawford just as he’s kidnapped a small boy - a boy with amazing powers - from a compound of religious zealots in Texas. I was immediately prepared for Stony to be a bad guy and was surprised to find out that this wasn’t necessarily the case.

A large section of the novel is told in a flashback to the year that Stony was fifteen and in love with a beautiful girl, Lourdes Maria. During this flashback we learn who Stony truly is and why he had to kidnap the boy. Without giving too much away, the novel deals with “devil” worship, small town secrets, and the hidden nature of Stony.

I enjoyed this book a good deal, though for a while I wasn’t sure I knew where it was going. Luckily, the murky part of the plot cleared up and it was all the better for being a bit unclear. Clegg’s characters are very strong and the poignant way that he wrote about first love between Lourdes and Stony made me long to see them happy together.

At first I thought that I liked The Hour Before Dark (the last book I read by him) more, but the more I think about The Halloween Man, the more I like it and now I’m not sure that it might not be the better of the two. Highly recommended.