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31 December 2012

The Black Sun (Tom Kirk #2)

The Black Sun by James Twining is the second book in his Tom Kirk series. Kirk is an ex-art thief who used to help the CIA on occasion, but has retired and now helps people recover stolen art.

When a synagogue in Prague is broken into, it looks to Kirk like the thieves were using the racist graffiti to cover their actual target - a painting by Bellak, a Jew who was killed during the holocaust.

In Maryland, the National Cryptology Museum was broken into and a German Enigma machine was stolen. The Enigma is what created the coded messages the Germans used to communicate during WWII.

In a hospice care, two men break in, kill a holocaust survivor and cut off the arm with his numbered tattoo.

Using these seemingly random acts of violence/crime, the FBI, the CIA and Tom Kirk will follow a trail of clues that will lead to the discovery of an elite troop of SS who were in charge of stolen art during the war.

Twining has a gift for weaving a love of art, our history and a suspenseful plot that will keep readers coming back for more. Fans of mystery, espionage, historical fiction, and suspense will love this series.

Twining, James. (2006). The Black Sun. New York: HarperCollins.

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19 December 2012

Breaking Point (Crashers #2)

Breaking Point by Dana Haynes is the second book in his Crashers series about a group of National Transportation Safety Board - people who investigate airplane crashes.

Tommy Tomzak, Kiki Duval and Isaiah Grey are about to board a flight to Seattle. But that flight will crash in Colorado.

Another team of Crasher will be sent to Twin Pines, Colorado to investigate before they even realize that their coworkers were on the flight. What they do not know is that a man - who is responsible for the downing of the aircraft - walked among the survivors to ask if they knew why the plane crashed. And anyone who had even a clue that all of the power went out, was killed by that man. A man who will do anything to make sure no one finds out what brought down Flight 78.

Haynes is a brilliant writer who knows the ins and outs of the NTSB. His books are thrilling from beginning to end. And this book has ever thing that can go wrong happen to the main characters. This is a great read.

Haynes, Dana. (2011). Breaking Point. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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15 December 2012

Back Sun (Danielle Laidlaw #2)

Black Sun by Graham Brown is the second book in his Danielle Laidlaw series. Laidlaw works for a branch of the US government, the NRI, that is like the science and technology CIA. They find, steal, or create new technology before other countries can use it against us.

Two years after Laidlaw risked her life in the Amazon and recovered a stone that seems to create energy, she is pulled back into the agency from retirement. Professor McCarter, who was with her in the Amazon, is going after other parts of the Mayan prophecy that tells of a major change (not destruction) in the world in December 2012.

While Danielle and McCarter are in Mexico at a Mayan sculpture deep in the wilderness, they are attacked by a group of Chinese men. Danielle is captured and taken to Hong Kong to a "business" man who sent the team.

With a stone in US custody that seems to be counting down to December 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm, and Danielle - the only one who may be able to figure out what the count down is leading to, the head of the NRI begs ex-CIA agent Hawker to break Danielle out of Hong Kong and find McCarter in Mexico - all in the next week before the potential end of the world.

Brown has taken ancient Mayan legend and created a contemporary thriller that will keep readers on edge until the last page.

Brown, Graham. (2010). Black Sun. New York: Bantam Books.

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10 December 2012

Black Rain (Danielle Laidlaw #1)

Black Rain by Graham Brown is the first book in his series featuring Danielle Laidlaw. Laidlaw works for a shadowy government branch whose job it is to come up with the latest technology through development, theft, espionage or other means.

Laidlaw is being sent to the Amazon to look for an ancient Mayan city. In spite of the theory of the Maya in the Amazon being likely laughed out of any academic setting, Laidlaw is tasked with setting up a team of researchers, mercenaries for protection, and one ex-CIA pilot to trek up a branch of the river to a place the natives avoid like the plague.

In this James Rollins style adventure thriller, the scientists have to fight against the jungle, the native tribes, and some strange quirks of evolution to find the site they are seeking and come out alive - if, in fact, they do live.

Laidlaw is a great character who will catch the attention of readers and be followed through many adventures. Hopefully, others from this book will make appearances in the future as well. Can't wait to see where she goes next!

Brown, Graham. (2010). Black Rain. New York: Dell Books.

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05 December 2012

Able One

Able One by Ben Bova is a thrill ride from page one to the last word - not surprising considering how many of his books have won awards.

ABL-1 is a Boeing 747 outfitted with a high powered laser that - in theory - can shoot missiles out of the sky before they can land on their targets. It is still in the test phase. And after an explosion in an earlier prototype, they have been exiled to an airbase in Alaska for tests far from civilians.

When the North Koreans launch a satellite into orbit, analysts in the United States are surprised at their technology - North Korea is not known for its accuracy with missile launches. Then, when all civilian and non-hardened satellites lose power it appears that the launch was not of a satellite of their own, but a weapon that disabled most the world's GPS, Internet, TV and Cellphone networks.

With two more missiles sitting on a launch pad in North Korea, ABL-1, or Able One, just went from a training flight to an understaffed mission to save the US from a potential nuclear missile strike. With the President on his way to San Francisco to give a speech, he is counting on both the inability of North Korea to have the technology to reach him and of Able One to stop any incoming threats.

Bova has created a tense situation for both the technicians and Air Force on the plane and the government team in conference. As launch begins to look eminent, analysts hope that they can prevent a potential world-wide nuclear war. Techs on the plane fight to get their laser up to speed and get into position to - hopefully - be able to help out. Great technological thriller.

Bova, Ben. (2010). Able One. New York: Tor.

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02 December 2012

The Inexplicables (Clockwork Century #5)

The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest is the fifth book in her Clockwork Century series - an alternate history of the US Civil War period.

Rector Sherman grew up in an orphanage. He was a child of the Blight - a poisonous gas that was released when a tunnel machine broke through an underground cavern - but now he is turning 18 and will have to make it on his own.

Rector uses Sap - a drug form of the gas - to escape his ugly life. But when he is high, he is haunted by the ghost of a young man he led into the ruined city of Seattle. As he has to begin a new life anyway, he decides to make his way into Seattle and find the body of his friend so he can be at rest.

Zeke, however, is not dead. He is living underground in the sealed off parts of the city. When people go above ground they must wear gas masks to prevent the gas from effecting them - and turning them into Rotters.

Fans of Priest will enjoy catching up with characters of previous books in the Clockwork Century series in this ode to the city of Seattle. Her steampunk is great - she is considered one of the best steampunk writers of today. If you have not read any steampunk and would like to begin, start with her book Boneshaker.

Priest, Cherie. (2012). The Inexplicables. New York: Tor.

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