Crime thriller ‘The Thirst’
keeps readers guessing
(Alfred A. Knopf), Jo Nesbo
It all starts with
a Tinder date in a bar appropriately called Jealousy and ends with death
on an ice-covered fjord. In between, “The Thirst,” the latest Harry
Hole crime thriller by Jo Nesbo, is filled with horrific murder scenes
intensely detailed enough to chill the blood in your veins.
The women of Oslo,
Norway, are being killed by what appears to be a vampire — the
perpetrator is drinking their blood — and Hole, now sober and lecturing
at the Police College, is drawn into active duty to run a parallel
Nesbo’s cast of
characters is filled with potential suspects, careerist cops and Hole’s
family and friends. They include his wife Rakel, who is suffering
headaches, and her son Oleg, who is attending the Police College; a
tabloid reporter, Mona Daa, and a policeman who is leaking details to
her from the investigation; a criminal forensics expert, Bjorn, and the
lead detective on the case; and Katrina, who recently split up with him,
as well as a police chief with suspect motivations.
enough with a killer on the loose, but in “The Thirst,” even the good
guys have secrets. Hole struggles to keep control of his fragile mental
state and his drinking as the killer exsanguinates his victims — and
Harry even comes face-to-face with the murderer but is forced to let him
The story is filled
with enough side plots — a victimized child, a sick wife and a convicted
murderer — to keep readers guessing about the serial killer’s identity
and to keep Hole obsessed and afraid for his own family.
“The Thirst” begins
with the brutal killer sinking rusty metal teeth into a victim’s neck,
and with that gruesome murder, you’ll want to sink your teeth into “The
Thirst” and not let go. (AP)
‘The Mask of Sanity’ is a suspenseful story
“The Mask of
Sanity” (The Permanent Press), by Jacob M. Appel
Dr. Jeremy Balint
is a man who has it all. He’s a respected community leader, a
cardiologist with a thriving practice and a family man with a beautiful
wife and two lovely young daughters. But when he discovers that his
wife is having an affair with one of his colleagues, he begins
methodically planning to take the man’s life.
Balint pretends the
colleague is his best friend and feigns ignorance of his wife’s
infidelity. To avoid any hint that he has a motive for murder, he
allows the affair to continue for months.
He studies murder
cases, both real and fictional, to learn how to avoid mistakes, always
careful to leave no trace that could lead back to him.
Finally, he decides
that the best way to avoid being caught is to make it appear that the
murder he is planning is just one in a series of random attacks by a
deranged serial killer — which means he has to kill six or seven times.
As Balint begins
his rampage, draping each victim with a green ribbon as the killer’s
“signature,” he is somewhat surprised to discover that he can bash and
strangle without remorse.
That’s the premise
of “The Mask of Sanity,” a novel that is both a suspenseful yarn and a
chilling portrait of the mind of a high-functioning sociopath.
The author, Jacob
M. Appel, knows his subject well. He is a physician, an attorney and a
former Ivy League professor who has made a study of sociopaths. And his
crisp, muscular prose comes as no surprise from a prolific short story
writer who has been shortlisted for the O’Henry Award and whose first
novel, “The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up,” won the Dundee International
Book Prize in 2012. (AP)
‘Four Legendary Kingdoms’
is complex saga
“The Four Legendary
Kingdoms” (Gallery Books), by Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly’s hero
Jack West Jr. returns in “The Four Legendary Kingdoms,” a non-stop action
fest that bleeds action and thrills on every page.
History knows of the
Great Games, but the details have fallen to myth. The fourth game is about
to begin to save the world from a catastrophic event that will eliminate all
life on Earth. The three previous winners were Osiris, Gilgamesh and
Hercules, and the time has come for a new set of challenges with 16 warriors
entering the contest. Only one can emerge victorious.
West wakes up in a cell
with a shaved head and an explosive implanted in the back of his neck. He
has no knowledge of what he’s about to do, but he must learn quickly. His
daughter and some of his friends are being held hostage to ensure his
participation, and walking away will result in the immediate termination of
both West and the people he holds dear.
Most of his opponents
are familiar with the Games and know how to cheat the system in order to
stay alive. Jack has to keep ahead of death, and the further he makes it
into the tournament, the more he puts a target on his back.
Reilly’s fans will love
this over-the-top story that mixes “The Hunger Games” with Greek mythology.
The author also brings
elements from his previous books, creating a wonderfully complex saga that
seems to fit perfectly into Jack’s earlier tales and Reilly’s other series.
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