Tag Archives: Charm

Play Dead by Richard Montanari

Play Dead

From the Dust jacket on the hard cover version:

In each soul, a secret…

Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano’s first assignment from the Cold Case files is the brutal murder of a young runaway. The lifeless body of Caitlin O’Riordan was found carefully posed in a glass display case in the desolate Philadelphia Badlands but, as Byrne and Balzano rapidly discover, she was just the first pawn in the killer’s twisted game…

A mysterious phone call leads them on a scavenger hunt for a second victim. This time a young girl has been dismembered, her body parts left in three boxes in the basement of a deserted house. More clues lead to other victims and, as the body count rises, it becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose, hell-bent on completing the ‘performance’ of a lifetime.

As more runaways vanish, Byrne and Balzano come to realize that the homicidal mastermind plans to complete seven depraved tricks in his dark and dangerous magic act. With Balzano increasingly obsessed by a case that haunts her, and Byrne struggling with a loss of his own, the stakes are mounting. But this is one game they can’t afford to lose…

Play Dead is the latest installment (that I have read, anyway) in the Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne series of books. Again, this one was sent to me by Charm, of the Book Club Forum (one more to go, Charm?), so to her I say “Thank You!”. I like Play Dead better than I did the last one in the series, not that The Skin Gods was bad in any way, mind, I just liked Play Dead better!

There are certain murder/mystery novels that I can sit down to start reading & not get back up again until I have finished – they are rare & only a few authors have had the ability to draw me in like that. Jeffery Deaver is a prime example – I never want to put his books down until they are completely read. Well, this is what Play Dead was like. I sat down to read it one weekend when I was home from work & practically didn’t move; I had to finish reading it before anything else could be done that day. This book had me gripped from start to finish & while I did eventually figure out who done it (managed to not read the ending first with this one), I only figured it out just before the killer was revealed! Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book & would say  that it was the best Monanari I’ve read so far!

So, Charm, when are you sending me the last one in the series? lol!


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Broken Angels ~ by Richard Montanari

Broken AngelsCome and Play……………

When the first body is found, mutilated and strangled on the riverbank, Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano suspect yet another case of random urban violence. Then it happens again. And again.

Carefully dressed and posed, each victim seems to tell a story so gruesome that Byrne and Balzano struggle at first to make sense of the killer’s dark and twisted imagination. But when they stumble upon a collection of old fairy tales. the fragile link between the murders suddenly becomes clear – and with it the terrifying conclusion of the killer’s plan.

Desperately, they try to anticipate the madman’s next move, but as the body count rises, the killing spree spirals out of control…

Broken Angels is the 3rd in the installment of books centering around Detectives Byrne & Balzano & as a series, the books are getting better as they go along. The book begins in the past, in 2001, with Detective Walter Brigham dreaming about the murders of two young girls, dreaming that they are alive, well & happy young ladies. He then wakes up & realizes that this isn’t actually the case, but hopes that one day he will catch their killer.

Flash forward to 2006 & a body is discovered on the banks of the Schuylkill River, behind an abandoned warehouse. Besides the obvious, that there is a murdered body, there is something very wrong with this murder scene, and this is just the beginning!

As mentioned, this is the third book in the series & the third I have read. They get better as the series goes along & I am really looking forward to reading the next book. I have really come to love the characters of  Balzano & Byrne & their developing professional relationship, though I do have to admit that this book doesn’t seem to have much of that – at lease not like the last 2 have had. I sailed through this book, gripped by what was going on (until I got to the end but that was because I was trying to make this book last because I am going to be reading my next book with a group of ladies from the Book Club Forum & not all of them are ready to read that next book).

The last part of this book is most definitely by far the best part of the book. The action reaches a fever pitch & I really can’t say any more than that because that will give it all away!

All I will say is that I thoroughly enjoyed this book & would recommend the series to anyone who enjoys reading murder/mystery thriller type novels. Go and buy the books!

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The Rosary Girls ~ by Richard Montanari

the-rosary-girlsI finished The Rosary Girls on Tuesday night & while I initially struggled with this book (I really don’t know why, but I struggled with the first couple of chapters) once I got to the part where they introduced the female detective I got hooked & thank god for that because I HAD to like this book, lol 🙂 . I mentioned in an earlier post about the World Book Day book swap that was taking place on the Book Club Forum & this was the book I received, which was from my dear friend, Charm. She loved it & I didn’t want to let her down, so I had to love it!

The Rosary Girls is about a serial killer who is targeting Catholic School girls. Each of the girls he kills is mutilated, posed, their hands bolted together  & has a rosary in her grasp. The story follows Kevin Byrne & his rookie partner Jessica Balzano as they try to track down the depraved man who’s committing these horrible acts of violence. Kevin & Jessica are really well written & compliment each other very well. I have to admit, I expected to hate the character Kevin, but found myself warming to him, then rooting for him to solve the crime!

There are a few surprising twists that shocked the heck out of me!  I was not expecting the ending, for the killer to be who it turned out to be & I certainly never expected the connection the killer had to his last victim (or attempted victim). There was what, to me at least, seemed to be a vein in the book that was leading me to believe that the killer was someone incredibly close to Jessica & while it turned out it wasn’t, it did leave me wondering what had been the point of this particular thought process in the book. (though perhaps I am the only person who thought she saw a killer where it turned out there was none, with regards to this person) Who knows? Must remember to ask Charm if she had ever thought this person was the killer!

ANYWAY!!!! In short, I did love this book – the writing is great & once I got past my initial resistance (still no idea what caused that!), the book flowed & I found myself wishing I had only another hour to keep reading every time I picked up this book! So, to Charm, I thank you for introducing me to  Kevin & Jessica & I shall be buying The Skin Gods very soon! Thanks Charm!

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World Book Day 2009


Tomorrow is World Book Day. How is it possible that someone who reads as much as I tend to, didn’t know that there was such a thing as World Book Day? Odd! I know that the title says “World” – but this actually seems to be a British thing. From what I can see, it  is done in several other places, but the version of World Book Day which I am taking part in is a phenomenon created by Tony Blair in 1998. But, apparently World Book Day was originally organised by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing & Copywrite & was first celebrated in 1995, 0n the 23rd of April & was called World Book & Copywrite Day. So why the 2 different days? Why did Tony feel the need for the British to promote it on a different day? Do Brits “celebrate” World Book Day twice? So confused!

Anyway, doesn’t really matter! Just wanted to tell you about the great idea that Kell at the Book Club Forum had. The idea was that a bunch of us signed up saying where we were & where we were willing to send a book to, then she paired us up & we swapped books with our partner! Charm was mine & I sent her the 1st ever book I read that was written by Jeffery Deaver, called Blue Nowhere. I loved it & am really glad that I had the chance to introduce it to someone else. I only hope she loves it as much as I did!  As I type she still hasn’t received the book – I really hope it arrives in time! (I really hope she doesn’t read this before her book arrives!) The book she sent me arrived at the weekend, but is currently sitting on the arm of my sofa waiting to be opened ~ it just seemed like the right thing to do, to wait until hers from me had arrived at her house………..come on Amazon, don’t let me down!

So, if you read this tomorrow (or tonight after the book stores have closed, lol) & want to get involved but didn’t know about World Book Day (UK), you can still join in on April 23rd, with UNESCO. In fact, I think I might celebrate both!

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Darkly Dreaming Dexter ~ by Jeff Lindsay

darkly-dreaming-dexterI finished reading Darkly Dreaming Dexter late last night & I thought it was a brilliant book! Thank you to Charm from the Book Club Forum for sending it to me.

The blurb on the back of the books says “Dexter Morgan appears to be the perfect gentleman. He leads a normal, quiet life working as a forensic officer for the Miami Police. He has a nice, shy girlfriend and is like by her young children. But Dexter has a secret hobby. He’s an accomplished serial killer. So far he’s killed dozens of people and has never been caught, because he knows exactly how to dispose of the evidence. And there are those who would rather he wasn’t caught at all, because Dexter is a serial killer with a difference. He only kills the city’s bad guys. Then Dexter’s well-organised life is thrown into chaos. Another serial killer is invading his territory – and he wants Dexter to come out and play…….”

Dexter, in my opinion, is a brilliant character! He’s charming, likable, funny and ………a mass murderer! In the debut Dexter novel Dexter is haunted (or is it hunted) by a serial killer who’s killing prostitutes in the Miami area. This killer seems to know a lot about Dexter & his hobby & uses this knowledge to his advantage.

Through the course of the novel we learn a lot about what makes Dexter tick – and it is somewhat shocking what has made Dexter become the person he is – the guy who blends in, has a girlfriend, seems normal, quite human. Only, Dexter’s not human, he’s a monster, but a monster with a conscience?

I found myself laughing out load in many places & racing through the pages needing to know what was going to happen next! I already have the 2nd in the Dexter series & I can’t wait to get it started!

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