Maggie O’Dell is a FBI agent, who as the story opens, has been asked to speak at a conference on her specialty: forensics. But when she arrives in rural Nebraska, Maggie receives a call from her boss telling her to put the conference on hold a day to help local law enforcement. In many small midwestern towns cows often outnumber the people living there. This makes it difficult for these towns to afford their own forensic departments, so they must rely on state and federal resources for assistance. That said, Maggie finds it odd to be called on to investigate a cow mutilation. Even more unusual is the fact the carcass is completely drained of blood, with one eye missing and the poor animal’s legs raised towards the sky.
What is thought to be a government cover-up by the cattle ranchers, and part alien invasion by more creative residents, has Maggie stumped. And when local teenagers begin to die under mysterious circumstances Maggie decides to stay on to further her investigation, conference or no. Later, when the body of yet another teen is found she is so puzzled Maggie feels the need for a break. Running down a secluded country road Maggie turns to see an old truck pulling to a stop at the top a hill. It guns its’ motor. Within seconds Maggie is run down, electrocuted, and kidnapped.
Meanwhile, across the country a strange outbreak occurs in Norfolk, VA and moves through several schools, making elementary students violently ill. Maggie’s boyfriend, Colonel Benjamin Platt races the clock to discover just what is making the children sick, and hopefully discover an antidote.
How the author links these seemingly random events makes Hotwire an exciting read. Maggie O’Dell is a resourceful character with lots of experience from which to draw and being independent as well means she doesn’t depend on her boyfriend to rescue her from the kidnappers.
I enjoyed Hotwire. It was a fun, fast-paced novel, with enough science and real life scenarios to keep me guessing. While the epilogue didn’t pull all the events together as well as I would have liked, I was still satisfied with the results. I plan to read another Maggie O’Dell novel, just to see what happens next!
Reviewed by Leigh
“I am a person with secrets. And I guard them carefully. Keep them locked in a box inside myself. I rarely opened the lid of my psyche to look inside…shame was a thick cloak that I wrapped around myself and hid beneath. It was dark and lonely but at least it was safe.”
From the first page of In the Blood, I was captivated by the story of Lana Granger, whose father murdered her mother and enlisted the help of his young child to conceal the deed. Lana, now an adult at Sacred Heart College, learns her trust fund is drying up – at least until her 30th birthday. She accepts a position babysitting Luke, a young boy with whom Lana develops an immediate connection.
As Luke draws Lana into his disturbing world, the hidden events of Lana’s past threaten to immerge and when Lana’s best friend Beck disappears, all eyes turn in Lana’s direction. Her roommate Ainsley, Beck’s parents, and even the police suspect Lana knows more than she is saying. But if Lana comes clean, if she tells, her carefully constructed persona will collapse, pulling Lana down in its’ wake. Lana Granger has lied so much, and her past is so deeply hidden, even she can barely discern the truth.
Lisa Unger’s In the Blood is a thriller with a very dark side. The book is not gory nor is it filled with a horrific description of events, but it is psychologically gripping. Unger is very skilled at creating tension, fear, and concern for her characters. If you want a delicious guilty pleasure read, this is it.
No Cats Allowed
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime, 2016
I have been on the waiting list since February for this book – maybe even earlier – and was not disappointed in having to wait so long! Another cozy mystery starring the beautiful Maine Coon, Diesel and his human, Charlie Harris. Charlie works as an archivist in the library of Athena College in Athena, Mississippi cataloging rare books and collections. He loves his job and takes Diesel with him every day – in fact Diesel goes with him practically everywhere in town! The library has a new interim director, Oscar Reilly, whom everyone loves to hate. He is an obnoxious, know-it-all bully and has no problem stirring up trouble wherever he goes. Is it any wonder he gets murdered? After a couple of chapters of his noxious nonsense even I was ready for him to be killed off! As in the previous Diesel mysteries, murders just seem to follow Charlie around and he is on hand to help the local cops figure it all out.
This is another fun book to read. I had my suspensions early on who the killer might be; I think the author made it a little too obvious in this one. But that didn’t stop my enjoyment of reading the book. Even though I figured out who did it, I didn’t know why so that was a mystery until the end!! I enjoyed getting caught up with the familiar characters from the other books and reading how their literary lives are moving on. I’m hoping Charlie and Helen Louise finally get married in the next book and it’s a shame I’ll have to wait a year or so to find out!! I love this series and haven’t come across a bad one in the bunch!!