Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Books

Best Fiction:
Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards
One Second After by William R. Forstchen
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Praise the Human Season by Don Robertson
A World Away by Stewart O'Nan
That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
East of the Mountains by David Guterson
Antarktos Rising by Jeremy Robinson
Traveler by Ron McLarty

Honorable mention:
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (2nd in series)
Greatest Thing That Almost Happened by Don Robertson (3rd in series)
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Contagious by Scott Sigler (2nd in series)

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Panic in Level 4 by Richard Preston
Secret Agents by Madeline Drexler
The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
Well Enough Alone by Jennifer Traig

Roses of Glory by Mary Pershall
Tsunami by Gordon Gumpertz
Places in the World a Person Could Walk by David Syring
Virus by Graham Watkins
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro

Books not finished:
The Shell Game by Steve Alten
Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley
Idlewild by Nick Sagan
Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers

Challenge wrap-up:
RIP IV, Peril the First, 4 books, Sept-Oct 31
Summer Lovin' - done 7/31/09
Chunkster- completed 6
TBR Challenge - 12 books required; read 18 from list and alternates
Just4thehelluvit (perpetual)

Ongoing challenges:
Critical Monkey (7 books; July 2, 2009 - July 2, 2010)
Random Reading challenge (12 random books Aug. 1, 2009- July 31,2010

2009 books -140 books; 56787 pages

January - 11 books, 3817 pages
1. Meg by Steve Alten, 278 pages, 1/5, no rating
2. Places in the World a Person Could Walk by David Syring, 200 pages, 1/7 rating: 2.5
3. Outside Valentine by Liza Ward, 301 pages, 1/10 rating: 3
4. Contagious by Scott Sigler , 438 pages, 1/14, rating: 5
5. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi 322 pages, 1/15, rating:5
6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, 371 pages, 1/20, rating: 4.5
7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, 500 pages, 1/22, rating: 3.5
8. The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, 428 pages, 1/23, rating: 4.5
9. EarthCore by Scott Sigler, 319 pages, 1/26, rating: 4.5
10. The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden, 335 pages, 1/29, rating: 4
11. The First Horseman by John Case, 325 pages, 1/31, rating:4

February - 14 books, 4997 pages
12. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, 748 pages, 2/6, YA novel, no rating
13. We Thought You Would Be Prettier by Laurie Notaro, 221 pages, 2/7, rating: 3.5
14. The Trench by Steve Alten, 296 pages, 2/8, no rating
15. A World Away by Stewart O'Nan, 338 pages, 2/11, rating: 5
16. Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan, 287 pages, 2/13, rating:5
17. Everyday People by Stewart O'Nan, 295 pages, 2/15, rating: 4.5
18. The Syndrome by John Case (pseudonym for Jim & Carolyn Hougan), 455 pages, 2/16, rating: 4.5
19. The Eighth Day by John Case, 378 pages, 2/18, rating: 4
20. The Murder Artist by John Case, 435 pages, 2/20, rating: 4.5
21. Ghost Dancer by John Case, 381 pages, 2/22, rating: 4.5
22. Why I'm Like This by Cynthia Kaplan, 212 pages, 2/24, rating: 3
23. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, 315 pages, 2/25, rating: 5
24. Secret Agents by Madeline Drexler, 316 pages, 2/27, rating: 5
25. Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child, 320 pages, 2/28, rating: 4.5

March - 15 books (2 not finished), 5344 pages
26. The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, 451 pages, 3/4, recommended
27. Gold BugVariations by Richard Powers, 150 pages, 3/4 , did not finish
28. Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny, 412 pages, 3/6, recommended
29. Drop City by T. Coraghessan Boyle, 444 pages, 3/9, highly recommended
30. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, 236 pages, 3/9, highly recommended
31. Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards, 371 pages, 3/11, very highly recommended
32. The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon, 324 pages, 3/14, highly recommended
33. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro, 535 pages, 3/18, highly recommended
34. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro, 336 pages, 3/20, recommended
35. Virus by Graham Watkins, 413 pages, 3/22, not recommended
36. 7 Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reilly, 392 pages, 3/24, recommended with conditions
37. The Shell Game by Steve Alten, not recommended/did not finish
38. The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly, 577 pages, 3/26, recommended with conditions
39. Panic in Level 4 by Richard Preston, 188 pages, 3/28, Very Highly Recommended
40. Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, 515 pages, 3/30, highly recommended for fans

April - 15 books, 4939 pages
41.When Science Goes Wrong by Simon LeVay, 304 pages, 4/1, highly recommended
42. Praise the Human Season by Don Robertson, 495 pages, 4/5, very highly recommended
43. Reaper by Ben Mezrich, 342 pages, 4/7, so-so
44. The Experiment by John Darnton, 422 pages, 4/9, highly recommended
45. Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall, 207 pages, 4/12, recommended
46. Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres, 363 pages, 4/13, highly recommended
47. Game Control by Lionel Shriver, 277 pages, 4/16, recommended, highly for fans
48. Well Enough Alone by Jennifer Traig, 257 pages, 4/17, very highly recommended
49. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, 454 pages, 4/20, recommended
50. Axis by Robert Charles Wilson, 355 pages, 4/22, recommended
51. Idlewild by Nick Sagan, 50 pages, 4/22, did not finish
52. Truth and Consequences by Alison Lurie, 252 pages, 4/23, so-so
53. Summerland by Michael Chabon, 500 pages, 4/27, YA novel, highly recommended
54. The Lost Night by Rachel Howard, 273 pages, 4/28, very highly recommended
55. The Known World by Edward P. Jones, 388 pages, 4/30, very highly recommended

May - 11 books, 4072 pages
56. These Granite Islands by Sarah Stonich, 310 pages, 5/4, highly recommended
57. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, 227 pages, 5/5, so-so
58. The Third Pandemic by Pierre Ouellette, 403 pages, 5/8, recommended
59. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 374 pages, 5/10, very highly recommended
60. The Host by Stephenie Meyer, 619 pages, 5/11, recommended
61. One Second After by William R. Forstchen, 350 pages, 5/13, very highly recommended
62. Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, 435 pages, 5/18, very highly recommended
63. The Blooding by Joseph Wambaugh, 288 pages, 5/19, very highly recommended
64. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, 258 pages, 5/23, very highly recommended
65. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, 355 pages, 5/28, very highly recommended, with caution
66. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult, 453 pages, 5/31, very highly recommended

June - 18 books, 5497 pages (6617 w/ photography book)
67. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows, 277 pages, 6/1, very highly recommended
68. Century by Bruce Bernard (Editor) 1120 pages, 6/2, very highly recommended for adults
69. Flu by Gina Kolata, 335 pages, 6/4, highly recommended
70. The Last Oracle by James Rollins, 448 pages, 6/7, Highly Recommended - Very for fans
71. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, 349 pages, 6/8, very highly reommended
72. A Treasure Deep by Alton L. Gansky, 350 pages, 6/10, recommended
73. Beneath the Ice by Alton Gansky, 320 pages, 6/11, highly recommended
74. Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell, 512 pages, 6/15, not recommended
75. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer, 321 pages, 6/16, very highly recommended
76. The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost, 272 pages, 6/17, very highly recommended
77. Die for You by Lisa Unger, 353 pages, 6/19, highly recommended
78. Neanderthal by John Darnton, 397 pages, 6/22, recommended
79. Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley 10 pages - did not finish
80. The Short History of a Prince by Jane Hamilton, 349 pages, 6/24, highly recommended
81. Summer People by Brian Groh, 311 pages, 6/25, so-so
62. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, 246 pages, 6/26, highly recommended
63. Tsunami by Gordon Gumpertz, 304 pages, 6/28, not recommended
64. Frameshift by Robert J. Sawyer, 343 pages, 6/30, highly recommended

July -20 books, 6794 pages
65. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, 148 pages, 7/1/09, did not finish (reread)
66. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 7/2/09, 215 pages, very highly recommended, reread
67. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, 250 pages, 7/2/09, very highly recommended, reread
68. Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams, 227 pages, 7/3/09, highly recommended, reread
69. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams, 204 pages, 7/3/09, highly recommended, reread
70. Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, 277 pages, 7/3/09, recommended
71. Watership Down by Richard Adams, 448 pages, 7/4/09, very highly recommended, reread
72. Roots by Alex Haley, 729 pages, 7/8/09, very highly recommended
73. Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by Judith Miller, William Broad, Stephen Engelberg, 384 pages, 7/10/09, very highly recommended
74. Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, 324 pages, 7/12/09, very highly recommended - one of the best - reread
75. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin, 307 pages, 7/13/09, very highly recommended - one of the best - reread
76. Second Genesis by Jeffrey Anderson, 371 pages, 7/15/09, recommended
77. Threshold by Ben Mezrich, 336 pages, 7/16/09 recommended
78. I Feel Bad about My Neck by Nora Ephron, 137 pages, 7/16/09, highly recommended
79. Camouflage by Joe Haldeman, 289 pages, 7/18/09, recommended
80. Antarktos Rising by Jeremy Robinson, 453 pages, 7/20/09, very highly recommended
81. Glasshouse by Charles Stross, 333 pages, 7/23/09, so-so
82. Hearts and Minds by Rosy Thornton, 437 pages, 7/25/09, highly recommended
83. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, 525 pages, 7/28/09, very highly recommended
84. We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver, 400 pages, 7/31/09, reread, very highly recommended

August - 11 books, 3438 pages
85. Coroner's Journal by Louis Cataldie, 352 pages, 8/5/09, so-so
86. Tying down the Wind by Eric Pinder, 280, 8/8/09, highly recommended
87. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, 365 pages, 8/9/09, so-so
88. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 181 pages, 8/12/09, unrated
89. Codex by Lev Grossman, 348 pages, 8/14/09, so-so
90. Ride with Me, Mariah Montana by Ivan Doig, 322 pages, 8/19/09, highly recommended
91. Prairie Nocturne by Ivan Doig, 371 pages, 8/22/09, recommended
92. Traveler by Ron McLarty, 280, 8/24/09, very highly recommended
93. Peder Victorious by O. E. Rolvaag, 340 pages, 8/27/09 very highly recommended
94. Their Fathers' God by O. E. Rolvaag 338 pages, 8/28/09, very highly recommended
95. That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo, 261 pages, 8/31/09, very highly recommended

September - 10 books, 3451pages
96.The Sum and Total of Now by Don Robertson, 290 pages, 9/3/09, highly recommended
97. Freaks of the Storm by Randy Cerveny, 371 pages, 9/5/09, highly recommended
98. The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, 268 pages, 9/6/09, very highly recommended
99. Flower Children by Maxine Swann, 211 pages, 9/8/09, recommended
100. Roses of Glory by Mary Pershall, 366 pages, 9/11/09, don't ask
101. Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel, 337 pages, 9/15/09, so-so
102. Blue World by Robert R. McCammon, 435 pages, 9/18/09, highly recommended
103. Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer, 319 pages, 9/21/09, highly recommended
104. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells, 416 pages, 9/22/09, highly recommended
105. Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall, with Lisa Pulitzer, 438 pages, 9/25/09, highly recommended

October - 11 books, 4399 pages
106. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, 656 pages, 10/2/09, not recommended
107. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, 448 pages, 10/5/09, very highly recommended
108. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, 391 pages, 10/8/09, very highly recommended
109. Greatest Thing That Almost Happened by Don Robertson, 268 pages, 10/9/09, very highly recommended
110. The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro. 225 pages, 10/12/09, not recommended
111. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos, 372 pages, 10/14/09, highly recommended
112. The Sanctuary by Raymond Khoury, 432 pages, 10/19/09, recommended
113. Spock's World by Diane Duane, 388 pages, 10/23/09, not rated
114. Kronos by Jeremy Robinson, 425 pages, 10/25/09, highly recommended
115. Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland, 299 pages, 10/27/09, highly recommended, but...
116. Book of Dave by Will Self, 495 pages, 10/30/09, so-so for me, but recommended

November - 12 books, 4877 pages
117. The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer, 524 pages, 11/3/09, recommended
118. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, 356 pages, 11/6/09, highly recommended
119. Amigoland by Oscar Casares, 357 pages, 11/8/09, highly recommended
120. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan, 307 pages, 11/10/09, highly recommended
121. A Texan's Honor by Leigh Greenwood, 353 pages, 11/11/09, no rating
122. Under the Dome by Stephen King, 1074 pages, 11/16/09, very highly recommended
123. Life after God by Douglas Coupland, 360 pages, 11/17/09, very highly recommended
124. Blind Pursuit by Matthew F. Jones, 244 pages, 11/19/09, recommended
125. Yucatan Deep by Thomas Morrisey, 368 pages, 11/22/09, so-so
126. Lost in Place by Mark Salzman, 271 pages, 11/24/09, highly recommended
127. Evening News by Marly A. Swick, 356 pages, 11/27/09, recommended
128. Seeing by Jose Saramago, 307 pages, 11/30/09, so-so

December - 12 books, 5162 pages
129. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon, 368 pages, 12/3/09 very highly recommended
130. The Bounty by Caroline Alexander, 512 pages, 12/7/09, highly recommended
131. Star Wars: Rebel Dawn by A.C. Crispin, 389 pages, 12/9/09, not rated
132. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, 569 pages, 12/12/09 recommended
133. East of the Mountains by David Guterson, 279 pages, 12/14/09, very highly recommended
134. Time Bomb by Jonathan Kellerman, 468 pages, 12/16/09, highly recommended
135. Flesh and Blood by Jonathan Kellerman, 437 pages, 12/19/09, highly recommended
136. The Murder Book by Jonathan Kellerman, 516 pages, 12/21/09, recommended
137. Rage by Jonathan Kellerman, 391 pages, 12/24/09, recommended
138. Gone by Jonathan Kellerman, 456 pages, 12/27/09, recommended
139. The Conspiracy Club by Jonathan Kellerman, 405 pages, 12/28/09, highly recommended
140. Twisted by Jonathan Kellerman, 372 pages, 12/30/09, highly recommended

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Twisted by Jonathan Kellerman
hardcover, 372 pages
Ballantine Books, 2004
ISBN-13: 9780345465252
highly recommended

Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor has helped psychologist Alex Delaware crack tough cases in the past, most recently in Jonathan Kellerman's New York Times bestseller A Cold Heart. Now the complex and wryly compassionate Petra is once again at the center of the action, in a novel of cunning twists and page-turning suspense.
Lifeless bodies sprawl in a dance-club parking lot after a brutal L.A. drive-by. Of the four seemingly random victims, one stands out: a girl with pink shoes who cannot be identified-and who, days later, remains a Jane Doe. With zero leads and no apparent motive, it's another case destined for the cold file-until Petra decides to follow her instincts and descends into a world of traveling grifters and bloodthirsty killers, pursuing a possible eyewitness whose life is in mortal danger.
Finding her elusive quarry-alive-isn't all Petra has on her plate: departmental politics threatens to sabotage her case, and her personal life isn't doing much better. If all that wasn't enough, Isaac Gomez, a whiz-kid grad student researching homicide statistics at the station house, is convinced he's stumbled upon a bizarre connection between several unsolved murders. The victims had nothing in common, yet each died by the same method, on the same date-a date that's rapidly approaching again. And that leaves Petra with little time to unravel the twisted logic of a cunning predator who's evaded detection for years-and whose terrible hour is once more at hand.
My Thoughts:

Twisted is a police procedural novel featured a clever plot, good characterizations, and while Petra Connor is a good character, the novel could only have benefited from more page time with 22 yr old genius Isaac Gomez. If Kellerman is planning, as it appears, to start a new series featuring Petra, he might actually consider keeping the character Isaac Gomez too. In Twisted, two separate series of murders are being solved - a mass shooting of four teens as well as a series of six unsolved murders that took place on the same day over six years.. While Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis are not around for those Kellerman fans who won't like any book without them, this really was a satisfying mystery all on it's own. After reading seven Kellerman novels in a row, I'm all Kellerman-ed out, although it was interesting to see shared phrases and descriptions used in all the novels. Highly Recommended


May brought azure skies and California optimism to Hollywood. Petra Connor worked nights and slept through the blue. She had her own reason to be cheerful: solving two whodunit murders. opening

Within days after closing both files, the loneliness set in. Petra had made the mistake of getting intimate with a partner, and now she was working and living solo. pg. 6

Working solo suited her just fine, but she knew it was only a matter of time before some new transfer was foisted on her.
After closing Yoshimura and Kashigian, she took a couple of days off, figuring on a little downtime.
Instead, she got a bloodbath and Isaac Gomez. pg. 8

A call from the station woke her up at one-fifteen a.m.
“Multiple one eighty-sevens at the Paradiso Club, Sunset near Western, all hands on deck,” said the dispatcher. “It’s probably on TV already.”
Petra flicked on the tube as she headed for the shower. The first network she tried was running the story.
A bunch of kids shot outside the Paradiso. Some sort of hip-hop concert, an altercation in the parking lot, gun-barrel poking out of a car window.
Four bodies. pg. 9

Isaac's neatly typed sheet lay flat on her desk. He sat in the metal chair by the side of her desk. Drummed his fingers. Stopped. Pretended to be nonchalant.
She read the headline again. Boldface.
June 28 Homicides: An Embedded Pattern?
....Below the title, a list of six homicides, all on June 28, on or near midnight. pg. 29

"...The truth is most poor people just want to live their lives, like anyone else. The problem isn't poor people, it's bad people who prey on the poor because the poor lack resources." pg. 55

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Conspiracy Club

The Conspiracy Club by Jonathan Kellerman
Mass Market Paperback, 405 pages
Ballantine, 2003
ISBN-13: 9780345452580
highly recommended

When his brief, passionate romance with nurse Jocelyn Banks is cut short by her kidnapping and brutal murder, Dr. Jeremy Carrier is left emotionally devastated, haunted by his lover’s grisly demise and warily eyed by police still seeking a prime suspect in the unsolved slaying. To escape the pain, he buries himself in his work as staff psychologist at City Central Hospital–only to be drawn deeper into a waking nightmare when more women turn up murdered in the same gruesome fashion as Jocelyn Banks... and the suspicion surrounding Jeremy intensifies. Now, the only way to prove his innocence and put his torment to rest is to follow the trail of a cunning psychopath.
My Thoughts:

Interesting... The Conspiracy Club received lower Amazon ratings than the last 5 of Kellerman's Alex Delaware novels I've read and yet it held my attention much more completely. Most of the complaints seemed to be from fans of the Delaware novels. I'm here to say that this was a very good mystery and I think it was better than the last several Kellerman novels I've just read. In The Conspiracy Club Kellerman's innate ability is really highlighted. He had great character development. He was still able to psychologically analyze the situation with his new character, Jeremy Carrier. Since Carrier did not have a "in" with the police department, he had to use his own skills and abilities to figure out the clues being presented to him - while actually holding a job at the same time. Plus, as a character, I found Jeremy Carrier a truly refreshing change of pace compared from Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis. Highly Recommended


Raging emotions, dead tissue.
Polar opposites was the way Jeremy Carrier had always seen it.
In a hospital setting, no two disciplines were less connected than psychology and pathology. As a practitioner of the former, Jeremy prided himself on an open mind; a good psychotherapist worked hard at avoiding stereotypes. opening

Not caring much if she responded, or not. It had been that way since Jocelyn. He didn’t even try anymore.
And the funny thing was, patients reacted to his apathy by opening up more quickly.
Grief had made him a more effective therapist.
Jeremy, flabbergasted, gave the matter some thought and decided patients probably perceived his blank face and statue posture as some sort of immutable, Zen-like calm.
If only they knew . . . pg. 7

Drop your interest in patients and patients talk to you more readily.
Mouth off at the honchos and gain collegial esteem.
Irony stank. From that point on, Jeremy found excuses for missing the meeting. pg. 9

The way Jocelyn had died - the image of her suffering - was plaque on Jeremy's brain.
He was never allowed to read the police report. But he'd seen the look in the detectives' eyes, overheard their hallway conferences.
Sexual psychopath. Sadistic. One for the record book, Bob.
Their eyes. To do that to a detective's eyes... pg. 11

"Fine. So let's cut to the chase. You're here because something happened. Something similar enough to Jocelyn to want to take another look at me." pg. 47

"...It's the combination of recklessness and cruelty that leads to your very, very bad behavior. And that's where environment comes in: take a child with the biological markers, expose him to abuse and neglect, and you're likely to create a ... problem" pg. 53

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Gone by Jonathan Kellerman
Alex Delaware Series #20
Mass Market Paperback, 456 pages
Ballantine Books, 2006
ISBN-13: 9780345452627

Synopsis from cover:
Missing acting students Dylan Meserve and Michaela Brand are found in the remote mountains of Malibu battered and terrified after a harrowing ordeal at the hands of a sadistic abductor. But forensic evidence soon exposes the abduction as a hoax and the kids are charged as criminals themselves. After examining Michaela, psychologist Alex Delaware is certain that there is more to this sordid psychodrama and his instincts prove dead-on when she is savagely murdered. Casting their dragnet into the murkiest corners of L.A., Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis unearth more questions than answers – and a host of eerily identical killings. What bizarre and brutal epidemic is infecting the city with terror, madness, and sudden, twisted death?
My Thoughts:
Although this was a satisfactory procedural novel, I will admit to becoming bored by the investigation and feeling bogged down during the majority of the novel. The conclusion of the investigation was gruesome, but it was pretty easy to figure out who was the final suspect early on in Gone. Still, Kellerman is a good writer and his fans will likely enjoy this addition to the Alex Delaware series. I have two more Kellerman novels waiting that do not feature Alex Delaware. Recommended


She nearly killed an innocent man. opening

The naked girl jumped out at him a lot faster than any deer.
Eyes full of terror, mouth stretched so wide Charley swore he could see her tonsils.
She ran across the road, straight in the path of his truck, hair blowing wild, waving her arms.
Stomping the brake pedal hard, Charley felt the pickup lurch, wobble, and sway. Then the sharp skid to the left, straight at the battered guardrail that separated him from a thousand foot of nothing. pg. 2

She was a kid, young enough to be his daughter. Granddaughter.
Those marks on her wrists and ankles, around her neck.
She screamed again.
She was right up to him, now, yellow hair whipping his face. He could smell the fear on her. See the goose bumps on her pretty tan shoulders.
“Help me!”
Poor kid was shivering. pg. 4

When Michaela Brand and Dylan Meserve went missing, no one seemed to notice. pg. 6

Couple abducted at gunpoint, found naked and dehydrated in the hills of Malibu. I played with the remote but no other broadcast added details. pg. 9

When the abduction became something else, the media started using names.
Michaela Brand, 23. Dylan Meserve, 24.
Mug shots do nothing for your looks but even with numbers around their necks and that trapped-animal brightness in their eyes, these two were soap-opera fodder. They'd produced a reality show episode that backfired. pg. 11

Faced with the evidence, the couple broke down, admitted the hoax, and were charged with obstructing officers and filing a false police report. pg. 12

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Rage by Jonathan Kellerman
Alex Delaware Series #19
Mass Market Paperback, 391 pages
Ballantine Books, 2005
ISBN-13: 9780345467072

Synopsis from cover:
Troy Turner and Rand Duchay were barely teenagers when they kidnapped and murdered a younger child. While Troy died violently behind bars, the hulking, slow-witted Rand managed to survive his stretch. Now, at age twenty-one, he’s emerged a haunted, rootless young man with a pressing need: to talk–once again–with psychologist Alex Delaware. But when Rand's life comes to a brutal end, his words die with him.
LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis suspects that either karma or revenge caught up with Rand, but Delaware’s suspicions run darker. As Delaware and Sturgis retrace their steps through a grisly murder case that devastated a community, they discover madness, suicide, and even uglier truths waiting to be unearthed. And the nearer they come to understanding an unspeakable crime, the more harrowingly close they get to unmasking a monster hiding in plain sight.
My Thoughts:
Kellerman makes it clear in Rage that Psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis are starting to feel the strain of the many years they've been working cases together. They also, for some unfathomable reason, ate a lot of donuts in this 19th book featuring the two working a case. While the identity of the killer may not surprise many astute mystery fans, the motivation was interesting. Rage is basically a satisfying novel, ran on a bit too-long, and Kellerman fans will like it.


On a slow, chilly Saturday in December, shortly after the Lakers overcame a sixteen-point halftime deficit and beat New Jersey, I got a call from a murderer. opening

Three figures exiting the mall at the east end. Nothing more; no cameras scanned the parking lot.
The tape was replayed as the D’s scanned for details. The larger abductor wore a light-colored T-shirt, jeans, and light shoes, probably sneakers. Short, dark hair. From what the detectives could tell, he seemed heavily built.
No facial features. The camera, posted high in a corner, picked up frontal views of incoming shoppers but only the backs of those departing.
The second male was shorter and thinner than his companion, with longer hair that appeared blond. He wore a dark-colored tee, jeans, sneakers.
Sue Kramer said, “They look like kids to me.”
“I agree,” said Fernie Reyes.
They continued viewing the tape. For an instant, Kristal Malley had twisted in her captor’s grasp and the camera caught 2.3 seconds of her face.
Too distant and poorly focused to register anything but a tiny, pale disk. The lead detective, a DII named Sue Kramer, had said, “Look at that body language. She’s struggling.”
“And no one’s noticing,” said her partner, Fernando Reyes, pointing to the stream of shoppers pouring in and out of the mall. People flowed around the little girl as if she were a piece of flotsam in a marina.
“Everyone probably figured they were horsing around,” said Kramer. “Dear God.” pg 5-6

Five more hours of neighborhood canvass finally ID’d the two boys. Both of them lived in a low-income housing project set like a scar across the scrubby park that paralleled the rear of the mall. Two hundred shoddily built, federally financed one-bedroom units distributed among a quartet of three-story buildings, ringed by chain-link fencing in which dozens of holes had been cut. A scruffy, prisonlike place well known by uniforms who patrolled the area—415 City, they called it, after the penal code for disturbing the peace.
The manager of Building 4 watched the video for a second and pointed to the smaller boy. “Troy Turner. You guys been out here before on him. Last week, matter of fact.”
“Really,” said Sue Kramer.
“Yeah. He smacked his mother with a dinner plate, busted up the side of her face.” The manager massaged his own unshaved cheek. “Before that, he was scaring some of the little kids.”
“Scaring them how?”
“Grabbing and shoving, waving a knife. You guys shoulda locked him up. So what’d he do?”
“Who’s the bigger one?” said Reyes.
“Randolph Duchay. Kind of a retard but he doesn’t cause problems. He done something, it’s probably ’causea Troy.”
“How old are they?” said Fernie Reyes.
“Lemme see,” said the manager. “Troy’s twelve I think, maybe the other one’s thirteen.” pg. 8-9

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Murder Book

The Murder Book by Jonathan Kellerman
Alex Delaware Series #16
Mass Market Paperback, 516 pages
Ballantine Books, 2002
ISBN-13: 9780345508546

Synopsis from cover:
L.A. psychologist-detective Alex Delaware has received a strange package in the mail. Inside is an ornate album filled with gruesome crime scene photos. When his old friend and colleague, homicide detective Milo Sturgis, views the compendium of death, he is immediately shaken by one of the images: a young woman, tortured, strangled, and dumped near a freeway ramp. The murder was one of Milo's first cases as a rookie homicide cop: a vicious killing that he failed to solve - and has haunted him ever since. Now, two decades later, someone has chosen to stir up the past. As Alex and Milo set out to uncover what really happened twenty years ago, their every move is followed and their lives are placed in jeopardy. The relentless investigation reaches deep into L.A.'s nerve-centers of power and wealth - past and present. While peeling back layer after layer of ugly secrets, they discover that the murder of one forgotten girl has chilling ramifications that extend far beyond the tragic loss of a single life.

My Thoughts:
Kellerman's The Murder Book features more chapters featuring Detective Milo Sturgis rather than mostly Dr. Alex Delaware. The plot starts out strong, gets bogged down in the middle, and concludes satisfactorily. It's definitely for fans of the series and maybe not as much for a casual reader. Alex Delaware comes across as a little annoying at times in this book. Fans will read the series no matter what and I'm going to finish the Kellerman's in my TBR stack.


The day I got the murder book, I was still thinking about Paris. Red wine, bare trees, gray river, city of love. Everything that happened there. Now, this. opening

The packages were a psychology book I'd ordered a while back, a free sample of toothpaste guaranteed to heal my gums and feed my smile, and an eight-by-twelve rectangle wrapped in coarse blue paper with Dr. A. Delaware and my address typed on a while label. pg 12

Page after page of the same cruel artistry and matter-of-fact prose.
Why had this been sent to me?....
I thumbed through the rest of the album, not focusing on the images but just searching for some personal message...
Forty-three deaths in all. pg. 15

For years, I'd preached the benefits of self expression but my tonic since childhood had been isolation. pg. 16

He studies several more photos, flipped back and forth to the initial shot then forward to where he'd left off. Resuming his inspection, picking up speed and skimming the horrors, just as I had. Then he stopped. Stared at a photo toward the back of the book. Chunky knuckles swelled the gloves as he gripped the album.
"When exactly did you get this?"
"Today's mail." pg. 20

No passing motorist had seen it, because when you were in a hurry, why would you study the dirt above the on-ramp? You never get to know a city unless you walk. Which is why so few people know L.A., thought Milo. pg. 33

Because Alex's mind could be a scary thing - cerebral flypaper; stuff flew in but never left. His friend was capable of sitting quietly for long stretches when you'd think he was listening - actively listening the way they'd taught him in shrink school - then he'd let loose a burst of associations and hypotheses and apparently unrelated trivialities that turned out too often to be right on. pg. 214

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood by Jonathan Kellerman
Alex Delaware Series #15
Mass Market Paperback, 437 pages
Ballantine, 2001
ISBN-13: 9780345508539
highly recommended

Synopsis from cover:
Lauren Teague is a beautiful, defiant, borderline delinquent teenager when her parents bring her to Dr. Alex Delaware’s office. Lauren angrily resists Alex’s help–and the psychologist is forced to chalk Lauren up as one of the inevitable failures of his profession. Years later, when Alex and Lauren come face-to-face in a shocking encounter, both doctor and patient are stricken with shame. But the ultimate horror takes place when, soon after, Lauren’s brutalized corpse is found dumped in an alley. Alex disregards the advice of his trusted friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, and jeopardizes his relationship with longtime lover, Robin Castagna, in order to pursue Lauren’s killer. As he investigates his young patient’s troubled past, Alex enters the shadowy worlds of fringe psychological experimentation and the sex industry–and then into mortal danger, when lust and big money collide in an unforgiving Los Angeles.
My Thoughts:

Another satisfying Kellerman novel featuring Alex Delaware. This time Delaware is taking the missing of former patient, Lauren Teague, personally. There is plenty of intrigue and psychological insight to keep you interested and the novel is fairly fast paced. When you are reading a series featuring the same characters you have to keep in mind that the character development has happened over many novels, so some drawbacks to just jumping into the series can be alleviated by starting the series at the beginning. I have previously read several Kellerman novels so I feel comfortable jumping back into the series but new readers might want to start with an earlier novel. Highly recommended


Sad truth: Had she been just a patient, I probably wouldn’t have remembered her.
All those years listening, so many faces. There was a time I recalled every one of them. Forgetting comes with experience. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.
Her mother phoned my service on a Saturday morning soon after New Year’s.
“A Mrs. Jane Abbot,” said the operator. “She says her daughter’s an old patient. Lauren Teague.” opening

“What exactly did he tell you to accomplish here, Lauren?”
“Get my act together, be straight—be a good girl.” She laughed, arced one leg over the other, placed a hand on a calf and tickled.
“Be straight,” I said. “As in drugs?”
“They’re paranoid about that, along with everything else. Even though they smoke.” pg. 6

The look in her eye when she recognized me - stripper's flaunt degrading to... imbalance. The uncertainty she's never shown as a teenager.
Now she was twenty-one. Legal. That made me laugh out loud. pg. 22

"Lauren, once you came to me for help, I had a duty to be there for you. Like a surrogate parent. I felt my presence caused you shame too, but it was my own embarrassment that got me out of there." pg. 27

"The problem I've got now is that I can't find her. She's been living on her own for a while, but this - it just feels wrong. By the third day I called the police, but they say she's an adult and unless there's evidence of a crime there's nothing they can do other than have me come in and file a report. I could tell they weren't taking me seriously. But I know Lauren just wouldn't take off like that. Not without telling me." pg. 30

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time Bomb

Time Bomb by Jonathan Kellerman
Alex Delaware Series #5
mass market paperback, 468 pages
Random House, 1990
ISBN-13: 9780345517807
highly recommended

By the time psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware reached the school the damage was done: A sniper had opened fire on a crowded playground, but was gunned down before any children were hurt.

While the TV news crews feasted on the scene and Alex began his therapy sessions with the traumatized children, he couldn’t escape the image of a slight teenager clutching an oversized rifle. What was the identity behind the name and face: a would-be assassin, or just another victim beneath an indifferent California sky? Intrigued by a request from the sniper’s father to conduct a “psychological autopsy” of his child, Alex begins to uncover a strange pattern–it is a trail of blood. In the dead sniper’s past was a dark and vicious plot. And in Alex Delaware’s future is the stuff of grown-up nightmares: the face of real human evil.

My Thoughts:

This is book 5 in Kellerman's Alex Delaware series. Fans will know that Kellerman combines good writing with intricate plots involving some psychoanalytical analysis. Time Bomb is no exception. Originally published in 1990, Time Bomb is showing it's age in some of the details and there were parts of the novel that seemed to move a bit slowly, but all in all it was a satisfying mystery.
highly recommended
(I'm going to be reading through all the Kellerman books thaqt were given to me several years ago.)


Back to school.
It evokes memories of the tests we've passed, or the ones we've failed. opening.

"...Recapping then, Nathan Hale Elementary School in the West Side community of Ocean Heights was the scene of a sniping that took place approximately forty minutes ago. No death or injuries are reported, except for that of the sniper, who is reported dead and remains unidentified...." pg. 2

"All these kids - it's a real mess. We could use you. I'll give you directions. Use your name with the uniform at the command post..." pg. 3

"But the view from the bluffs is often hazy. Fog, like complacency, seems to settle in and stay. pg. 4

She said, "That someone would do that to them. After all they've been through. But maybe that's why they're handling it okay. They're used to being hated."
"The busing thing?"
"The busing thing. And all the garbage that resulted from it. It was a match made in hell."
"Because of Massengil?"
More anger.
"He hasn't helped. But no doubt he speaks for his constituents. Ocean Heights considers itself the last bastion of Anglo-Saxon respectability. Till recently, the local's idea of educational controversy was chocolate-chip or oatmeal cookies at the bake sale. Which is fine, but sometimes reality just has to rear its ugly head." pg. 12

"I said, "The key is for them to make some kind of sense out of a crazy situation. In order to do that they'll need as much accurate information as possible. Facts. About the bad guy - presented at their level, as soon as possible. The mind abhors a vacuum. Without facts, they'll fill their heads with fantasies of him that could be much worse than the reality." pg. 17

Monday, December 14, 2009

East of the Mountains

East of the Mountains by David Guterson
Hardcover, 279 pages
Harcourt Brace, 1999
ISBN-13: 9780788196423
very highly recommended

It is mid-October, 1997, harvest time in the Columbia Basin of central Washington state, a rich apple and pear growing region. Ben Givens, recently widowed, is a retired heart surgeon, once admired for his steadiness of hand, his precision, his endurance. He has terminal colon cancer. While Ben does not readily accept defeat, he is determined to avoid suffering rather than engage it. And so, accompanied by his two hunting dogs, he sets out through the mythic American West-sage deserts, yawning canyons, dusty ranches, vast orchards — on his last hunt.
The main issues for Ben as a doctor had been tactical and so it would be with his death. But he hadn't considered the persuasiveness of memory — the promise he made to his wife Rachel, the love of his life, during World War II. Or life's mystery. On his journey he meets a young couple who are "forever," a drifter offering left-handed advice that might lessen the pain, a veterinarian with a touch only a heart surgeon would recognize, a rancher bent on destruction, a migrant worker who tests Ben's ability to understand. And just when he thinks there is no turning back, nothing to lose that wasn't lost, his power of intervention is called upon and his very identity tested.
Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, East of the Mountains is a bold and beautiful novel of personal discovery.

My Thoughts:

David Guterson, also author of Snow Falling on Cedars, is a wonderful, elegant writer. This is a far more personal story of one man, Dr. Ben Givens, a retired heart surgeon who, after learning he has colon cancer, decides to plan a hunting trip as a ruse to cover up his planned suicide. His wife had passed away 19 months earlier and he wanted to spare their daughter the pain of his decline and death. He is a man on a quest, facing his mortality, overcoming challenges, all while remembering his past. The singularity and purpose of the storyline is what made East of the Mountains so very successful for me. The characters and the landscape are well drawn, and you can easily visualize them. Guterson's writing is just so beautiful even while he tackles a difficult question.
Very Highly Recommended


On the night he had appointed his last among the living, Dr. Ben Givens did not dream, for his sleep was restless and visited by phantoms who guarded the portal to the world of dreams by speaking relentlessly of this world. They spoke of his wife — now dead — and of his daughter, of silent canyons where he had hunted birds, of august peaks he had once ascended, of apples newly plucked from trees, and of vineyards in the foothills of the Apennines. They spoke of rows of campanino apples near Monte Della Torraccia; they spoke of cherry trees on river slopes and of pear blossoms in May sunlight. Now on the roof tiles and against his window a vast Seattle rain fell ceaselessly, as if to remind him that memories are illusions; the din of its beating against the world was in perfect harmony with his insomnia. Dr. Givens shrugged off his past to devote himself to the rain's steady cadence, but no dreams, no deliverance, came to him. Instead he only adjusted his legs — his bladder felt distressingly full — and lay tormented by the unassailable fact that he was dying — dying of colon cancer. opening

These past nineteen months, since his wife died, he'd returned to a haunting, autumn pastime: he'd hunted birds to shoot on the wing for the first time since he was a teenager. This was a pursuit that stole his soul shortly after Rachel's death, after he'd turned from his work as a surgeon and found himself with too much idle time.
His face was weathered and furrowed, his eyes two dark shields. His coarse gray hair looked permanently wind-tousled, and he walked a bit gingerly, with a bowlegged gait, to keep the weight from his instep. He was so tall that, without thinking about it, he ducked his head to pass through doorways. His patients, in past years, had admired his hands: precise, large, and powerful. When he palpated their chests or listened to their hearts, they were infused with his professional confidence. pg. 3

He had visited his family the evening before, eaten dinner with Renee and Chris, his grandson, in the pretense that everything was ordinary, but in fact to service his end-game ruse. He was going over the mountains, he'd said, to hunt for quail in willow canyons, he had no particular canyons in mind, he intended to return on Thursday evening, though possibly, if the hunting was good, he would return on Friday or Saturday. The lie was open-ended so that his family wouldn't start worrying until he'd been dead for as long as a week — so none would miss or seek him where he rotted silently in the sage. Ben imagined how it might be otherwise, his cancer a pestilent force in their lives, or a pall descending over them like ice, just as they'd begun to emerge from the pall of Rachel's death. The last thing they needed was for Ben to tell them of his terminal colon cancer. pg. 10

His cancer had metastasized, traveling from the mucosa of his colon to the lymph nodes close to his tumor, and from there to sites in his liver. Each day he fortified himself once again to accept this intractable state of affairs; each day he started over. He was, he knew, incurable; he had seen too much in his years as a doctor to delude himself that things were otherwise. He knew exactly what to expect and could not turn away from meeting. pg. 15

The biology of the body, which he'd confronted every day, had not in the least taught Dr. Givens to disbelieve in God. On the contrary, he had seen that the body was divine, and he had witnessed the ceasing of its processes often enough to know that something holy left the body at the very moment of death. pg. 16

A dense black shroud lay over his consciousness, and he felt that his brain had been jarred loose. At the same time, he felt startled awake, infuse with adrenaline, raw. There was the giddy exhilaration experienced by those who survive accidents intact; there was a sense of freedom and good fortune, of his place among the blessed. pg. 21

It pained him to think that with his death the narrative of his time with Rachel would disappear, the story of their love expire. He could not explain it to anyone. It would leave the earth when he died. pg. 34

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Challenges, Challenges...

Here are the challenges I'm planning to start in January:

TBR Challenge 2010

1. Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks, 757 pages
2. History by Elsa Morante, 734 pages
3. The Human Stain by Philip Roth, 361 pages
4. The Boat of Longing by O.E. Rolvaag 304 pages
5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, 507 pages
6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, 247 pages
7. Too Far Afield by Gunter Grass, 558 pages
8. Recapitulation by Wallace Stegner, 278 pages
9. Pincher Martin by William Golding, 208 pages
10. The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright, 352 pages
11. The Van by Roddy Doyle, 312 pages
12. Double Fault by Lionel Shriver, 317 pages

The Stone Raft - Saramago
The Last Ship - Brinkley

100+ Reading Challenge

451 challenge Jan-Dec 2010; 7 books

Tale of Two Cities
t Expectations
Jane Eyre
Out of a Silent Planet

Tender is the Night
The Stand

Jan.-Dec. 2010; 6 books

book challenge
Jan-Dec. 2010; 3 books

42 Challenge Jan.-Dec. 2010
42 SciFi books,
movies, shows, etc.

Feb.2010 - Jan. 2011; 6 books over 450 pages

20/10 Challenge
Jan.-Dec. 2010; 20 books, 10 categories
1.Young Adult
2. T.B.R.
3. Shiny & New
4. Bad Blogger’s
5. Charity
6. New in 2010
7. Older Than You
8. Win! Win! (from another challenge)
9. Who Are You Again? (authors you have never heard of before)
10. Up to You!
9. Who Are You Again? (authors you have never heard of before)
10. Up to You!
(books assigned to me by Just Me)

What's in a Name
Jan.-Dec. 2010; 6 books 6 categories

Food - Seabiscuit
Body of Water - And the Sea Will Tell or Custom of the Sea
Title - Aunt Hagar's Children or Son of a Witch
Plant - Gunter Grass (author's name) or Ya Yas in Bloom
Place - English Creek
Music Term - Accordion Crimes

52 books in 52 weeks

Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge 2010 (read 3, 6, 12, 24 books)

Ongoing challenges:

Critical Monkey, 7 books you wouldn't normally read, July 2, 2009 - July 2, 2010
(Don't Be A-Hatin' Amendment)

Random Reading Challenge
- 12 random books Aug. 1, 2009- July 31,2010

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Hardcover, 569 pages
Simon & Schuster, 2000
ISBN-13: 9780743486224

From the Publisher:
When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy -- the Catholic Church.
Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.
Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.
An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.

My Thoughts:

I'm no fan of Dan Brown and Angels and Demons confirms this fact. I can't for the life of me figure out why The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons became huge best sellers - that were then made into movies. While both are certainly entertaining thrillers, Brown's not that great of a writer. The dialogue is awkward. Brown continues to play fast and loose with historical "facts". Yet again, it's absurd how the characters zip around chasing clues and making unbelievably fast deductions based on a few a few iffy facts. There were several parts of the story that simply had me rolling my eyes. OK, I thought the ambigrams were cool, but hardly unheard of enough to be this great historical mystery. It wasn't that unputdownable thriller that so many claim it was. Now, that said, it's recommended - as an airplane book or a vacation read. This mean it's a passable mystery that also has quite a bit to complain about so you won't mind so much if it gets left behind during a trip.

Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own. He stared up in terror at the dark figure looming over him. "What do you want!"
"La chiave," the raspy voice replied. "The password." opening

"My name is Maximilian Kohler. I'm a discrete particle physicist."
"A what?" Langdon could barely focus. "Are you sure you've got the right Langdon?"
"You're a professor of religious iconology at Harvard University. You've written three books on symbology and — "
"Do you know what time it is?"
"I apologize. I have something you need to see. I can't discuss it on the phone." pg. 3-4

The incoming fax lay in the tray. Sighing, he scooped up the paper and looked at it.
Instantly, a wave of nausea hit him.
The image on the page was that of a human corpse. The body had been stripped naked, and its head had been twisted, facing completely backward. On the victim's chest was a terrible burn. The man had been branded...imprinted with a single word. It was a word Langdon knew well. Very well. He stared at the ornate lettering in disbelief.
"Illuminati," he stammered, his heart pounding. It can't be...
In slow motion, afraid of what he was about to witness, Langdon rotated the fax 180 degrees. He looked at the word upside down. pg. 6

Langdon's aversion to closed spaces was by no means debilitating, but it had always frustrated him. It manifested itself in subtle ways. pg. 11

As the killer walked, he imagined his ancestors smiling down on him. Today he was fighting their battle, he was fighting the same enemy they had fought for ages, as far back as the eleventh century... when the enemy's crusading armies had first pillaged his land, raping and killing his people, declaring them unclean, defiling their temples and gods. pg.14

"The men and women of CERN are here to find answers to the same questions man has been asking since the beginning of time. Where did we come from> What are we made of?" pg. 25

Although accounts of the illuminati emblem were legendary in modern symbology, no academic had ever actually seen it. ancient documents described the symbol as an ambigram - ambi meaning "both" - signifying that it was legible both ways. pg. 31

"But in the 1500s, a group of men in Rome fought back against the church. Some of Italy's most enlightened men - physicists, mathematicians, astronomers - began meeting secretly to share their concerns about the church's inaccurate teachings. They feared the church's monopoly on 'truth' threatened academic enlightenment around the world. They founded the world's first scientific think tank, calling themselves 'the enlightened ones.' "
"The Illuminati." pg. 32

Over the years, the Illuminati began absorbing new members. A new Illuminati emerged. A darker Illuminati. A deeply anti-Christian Illuminati. They grew very powerful, employing mysterious rites, deadly secrecy, vowing someday to rise up and take revenge on the Catholic Church. pg. 34