Monday, August 18, 2014
This is the author's first novel in the series about DC Scott Cullen. He has been a full detective for only a short period of time, and has a very strong ambition to move higher within the Department. He is assigned a missing persons case, which turns out to be that of a young and recently-divorced mother. Friends relate she had a date with a new man in her life, but she never returns to pick up her son and is never seen again - alive.
When DC Cullen investigates her case, which has now become her murder after her brutalized body is found, he discovers a tangled web of deception, and as the body count rises, finds his own life caught up in this twisted scenario. Someone is using an Internet social media site, Schoolbook, to manipulate the victims' lives and set them up for the kill. Who is the Ghost in the Machine?
I couldn't put this one down. The storyline is a very well crafted mystery and the characters are believable and engaging. The police procedural aspect of this novel never becomes routine or stale and it clearly illustrates how a police investigation can never be done in a straight line. Around every corner is a new twist and clue. At times, the police can continue to move forward; however, most times, they are thrown ten steps back and need to regroup and begin again at square one.
What brought an especially fascinating sense to this story was the inclusion of current technology. The Internet, with all its promise and available knowledge, can also be used to obscure and confuse and harbor dark secrets. The police use technology to aid in their investigations, but killers use it too for their own evil purposes. Is there a balance between the two? Does one serve to counter the other? Who can say...
I recommend Ghost in the Machine to anyone who loves a classic mystery and enjoys tagging along with the police (via the printed page, of course) as they investigate a series of murders. There are others in the series, and information can be found on the author's website here. Check it out for all his work and sign up for his newsletter to get word on his new releases. I did!
Friday, June 27, 2014
When you have the owner of an auto restoration garage with a bullet in the back of his head, an unidentified nude dead man in an empty lot, and a convenience store robbery with a dead clerk, who do you call? Turner Hahn and Frank Morales, of course; two homicide detectives from the South Side Precinct.
Turner and Frank are long-time partners, as well as close personal friends. They are that rare kind of team, each of them possessing dogged determination to solve their assigned cases, yet each without the destructive ego factor that would fragment and undermine their investigations. They think as one and they function as one, and with their latest, they will need to draw heavily on their collective strength, instincts and experience.
During their investigations, doors long closed will be opened and secrets revealed, including some from their personal lives. Victims' painful memories will touch their lives, and they will discover yet again that evil wears many faces.
Join Turner and Frank on this 24/7 ride-along, but keep your eyes open and make sure you stay sharp. These two never hitch a ride on the safe train. They go wherever a case leads them, and dark and dangerous surprises await them with their latest. Will they be able to untangle the web of lies and deceit that waits for them at the end of the line, or will they become victims themselves as conspiring and powerful forces converge?
B. R. Stateham takes you inside the mind of both cop and killer, and doesn't set you free until you've had the grand tour of both. Don't start this one until your calendar's free because you can't put this one down until it's done. You can get your copy here.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
That evening began much like any other. Luc and Beth Jordan on holiday, not only recuperating from an attack on Beth by a mugger, but taking a break from the stresses of purchasing their new home. They were on their way to have dinner at a favorite restaurant, Beth at the wheel, and Luc amused at something on his cell. The road ahead was clear, and all was well. Beth looked away from the road for a brief moment, her gaze meeting Luc’s, and in that split second, her life would be changed forever.
After striking the camper, their car flipped upside-down. She smelled gasoline, and knew she had to get them both away from the vehicle. Severely injured and confused, she made her way out of the car and onto the road. She crawled toward the sound of footsteps on gravel. Was it another driver who had come upon the scene and stopped to assist them?
Lying face down on the roadway, as she turned, she could see a pair of feet and tried to cry out. She was weak and it was more and more difficult to keep her head up, all the while fighting to remain conscious. She must tell whoever is there that Luc is still in the car, suspended over the airbag. She raised her head and saw someone standing in front of her. As soon as she tried to speak, a foot swung back and kicked her square in her face. Before she sunk into total darkness, she heard the crack of her teeth and jaw as they shattered.
When she next awoke, she turned and saw Luc on a gurnee next to her. Paramedics and emergency vehicles had arrived. She also saw a crowd nearby, kept back by yellow police tape, all leaning in to get a closer look at her and Luc. She turned back to her husband again, and in the midst of his pain and confusion, she heard him mumble “Sorry…”.
Beth could now see the crowd holding up their phones to film the grisly scene. Rage gave her the strength to stagger to her feet and head straight for the ghouls who were recording the most horrific day in hers and Luc’s lives. She lunged at them, prepared to strike, and they retreated, yet continued to record. She heard the med-evac helicopter arriving as she was restrained and returned to her gurnee by paramedics. Mercifully, she lost consciousness.
Weeks later, on awakening from coma, she learned her husband did not survive the crash. On discharge from the hospital, she would be staying at her brother’s place, and it was from her brother that she learned film clips of the scene of hers and Luc’s accident had been uploaded to the Internet. It was traumatic and heartbreaking for her, but she knew she had to see them. It was then her real nightmare began.
Something in the clips is all wrong. Beth’s questions do not bring answers--only more questions. Those she seeks the truth from disappear or are murdered, and she soon finds herself the target of a stalker. The closer she gets to uncovering the details and reasons behind the events of that night, the closer she gets to crossing paths with a brutal and unrelenting killer. Still, she must solve this puzzle--for the sake of her husband’s memory, and to save her own life.
Stalk Me is a dark peek into the dangerous side of technology. We all have phones, we all have the Internet. These are wonderful tools for accessing and sharing information. However, given the depraved curiosity some humans possess to record and share with the world the pain, humiliation, suffering and death of their fellow creatures under the guise of entertainment, these tools can prove deadly in their own right.
You witness a shocking event, you record it, and you post it so your friends can view it and you can sit back and regale them with tales of what a precarious position filming that occurrence put you in. What you fail to remember is that once your ‘work’ is out there, viewing it is not restricted to you and your buddies. Anyone and everyone can see it--even those involved in the event, and it can be traced back right to your front door…
Richard Parker thrilled us with Stop Me and Scare Me, and he has hit the heights yet again with this, his third stand-alone novel. Stalk Me will draw you in, it will excite you, it will upset you, and it will terrify you. Most definitely another must-read from Richard Parker.
Available today from Amazon here.