Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Novel”

Book Review: The Games by James Patterson

btn3-square-1536I just finished The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan and it was excellent. This novel was perfectly timed as it deals with two major sporting events, one of which is right around the corner: the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. There are two parallel storylines at play in this novel, neither of which I’ll divulge in my review because I don’t want to spoil either of them. However, I can tell you that the storylines are compelling and that both are brought to satisfactory conclusions. As with all of James Patterson’s thrillers, the pacing in this book is tremendous. The pages fly by and no words are wasted. Every page and chapter move the story and the characters forward, toward the novel’s thrilling climax. The Games is one of my favorite James Patterson books, and I highly recommend it.

Book Synopsis

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil–home to beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous women, stunning natural beauty, and the world’s largest Carnival celebration–knows how to throw a party. So it’s a natural choice to host the biggest spectacles in sports–the World Cup and the Olympics. To ensure that the games go off without a hitch, the organizers turn to Jack Morgan, the unflappable head of the renowned international security and consulting firm Private. But when events are this exclusive, someone’s bound to get left off the guest list.

Two years after the action nearly spilled from the field to the stands during soccer’s championship match, Jack is back in Rio for the Olympics. But before the cauldron is even lit, the only thing more intense than the competition is the security risks. When prominent clients he’s supposed to be protecting disappear, and bodies mysteriously start to litter the streets, Jack is drawn deep into the heart of a ruthless underworld populated by disaffected residents trying to crash the world’s biggest party. As the opening ceremonies near, with the world watching in horror, Jack must sprint to the finish line to defuse a threat that could decimate Rio and turn the games from a joyous celebration into a deadly spectacle. 

Book Review: Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Most WantedA couple days ago I finished reading Lisa Scottoline’s newest thriller, Most Wanted. This book’s fascinating premise reeled me in from the start, but did it keep me compelled from the first page to the last? Watch my book review below to find out:

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Book Review: Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

91xiR2VC2qLI recently finished reading Harlan Coben’s newest thriller, Fool Me Once. As many of you know, Harlan is my favorite author. However, does his latest novel live up to his tremendous reputation? Watch my book review below to find out whether or not you should pick up a copy of Fool Me Once:

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Lee Child Interviewed By Linda Fairstein

This fall Lee Child’s 21st installment in the Jack Reacher series, Night School, is being released. For those of you Reacher Creatures needing a Lee Child fix between now and then, check out the two videos I shot below of Lee from last year’s event at the Free Library of Philadelphia where he was interviewed by best-selling author Linda Fairstein. The first video is Linda interviewing Lee and the second one is Lee conducting a Q&A with the audience. Enjoy!

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Book Review: Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline 

 Last night I stayed up late to finish Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline; I’m glad I did because it was the best legal thriller I’ve ever read and one of her finest books.

What made this novel so compelling? Well, for starters, it featured excellent character development. From the protagonist to the client she represented, nearly all of the key players in the book faced realistic internal and external struggles that made them relatable, mature and human. 

I also enjoyed the romantic subplot and how it intersected with and influenced the main storyline. It was tastefully written and heartfelt, and I’m eager to see how it evolves in future novels in this series. 

Corrupted has an interesting structure as well, with portions of the book taking place in the past and others in the present. Scottoline wisely doesn’t jump back and forth more than necessary, and events that take place in both time periods are seamlessly woven together as Corrupted escalates toward a thrilling climax that is unpredictable, plausible and immensely satisfying. 

If you need a new book for the new year, pick up a copy of Corrupted. It’s a finely crafted tale that makes one thing clear: Lisa Scottoline is at the top of her game. 

Book Trailer: Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

91xiR2VC2qLMy favorite author, Harlan Coben, has a new novel coming out in the U.S. on March 22 (and in the U.K. on March 24): Fool Me Once. Based on the book trailer below, it looks like it’s going to be another terrific, mysterious thriller from Coben:

I Finally Started My Novel

Well, kind of. A couple days ago when I downloaded the Dragon Anywhere app on my iPhone – which I’m using right now to write this blog post – I decided now was finally the time to start outlining my novel. What will it be about? I can’t say just yet. How long will it take to write? Who knows. All I know is that it won’t get done if it doesn’t get started. One of the things I’ve learned from the myriad of successful authors I’ve interviewed and befriended over the past several years is that outlining a book before you write it can be incredibly helpful. I’ll keep you posted on how my journey is progressing and any key milestones along the way.

Book Review: Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross

IMG_0004I recently read Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross and it was terrific. The story is fast-paced, the characters are well-developed and it kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. My only complaint about the novel is the ending. It ran too long, concluding with a cliff hanger, leaving it open-ended for a potential sequel. It would have been far more satisfying for it to have ended after the climax came to a close. Instead, it dragged on too long and left me confused and disappointed. Despite my distaste for how Eyes Wide Open ended, I still recommend that you read this book because it’s well-written, compelling and full of suspense.

Book Review – Laguna Heat by T. Jefferson Parker

Laguna Heat

I just finished reading a book that came out the year I was born: 1985. Entitled Laguna Heat, it’s the debut novel by T. Jefferson Parker. I met the author last July at ThrillerFest and immediately liked him after seeing his hour-long interview with D.P. Lyle. This interview provided me with insight into Parker’s writing style, motivations and interesting behind-the-scenes information about his impressive body of work. I picked up a copy of Iron River while I was there so he could autograph it, but I decided that the first book of his I would read was Laguna Heat, mainly because I think the title sounds great.

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Book Review: Everything To Lose by Andrew Gross

Andrew Gross - Everything to Lose

Late last night I finished Everything to Lose by Andrew Gross. Prior to this, I had read most of the novels Gross co-wrote with James Patterson, my two favorite being Lifeguard and Judge & Jury, as well as three books he wrote on his own. Having completed Everything to Lose, I can say with confidence that it ranks right up there with his work with James Patterson and that it’s superior to his 2013 thriller, No Way Back, which I also enjoyed. The premise of the novel, a woman finding a bag full of money on the side of the road and having to deal with the internal ethical turmoil that ensues, resonated with me. As I read it, I thought to myself, what would I do if I were in her shoes? This is a clear sign of effective writing and Gross had me hooked from the start. While there weren’t any mind-blowing surprises along the way, I found the story compelling from start to finish.

However, like any book, it’s not perfect. I don’t care for stories where the point of view changes so much that it makes me stop reading so I can reorient myself, and the same goes for jumping back and forth through time; I think it’s OK to start off in the past and then let the rest of the story happen in present day. But to jump back and then jump forward is distracting to me. These minor quibbles aside, Everything to Lose is a riveting tale that kept me up way past my bed time, and I highly recommend you pick it up.

Synopsis 

A determined, (down on her luck,) mother caring for her handicapped son becomes entangled in a murderous conspiracy to keep a twenty year old secret buried in this blistering thriller, set during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, from Andrew Gross, the New York Times bestselling author of 15 Seconds and No Way Back.

While driving along a suburban back road, Hilary Blum, who’s just lost her job and whose deadbeat husband has left her alone to care for her son with Asperger’s, witnesses a freakish accident. A car ahead of her careens down a hill and slams into a tree. Stopping to help, she discovers the driver dead—and a satchel stuffed with a half a million dollars.

That money could prevent her family’s ruin and keep her special needs son in school. In an instant, this honest, achieving woman who has always done the responsible thing makes a decision that puts her in the center of maelstrom of dark consequences and life-threatening recriminations—a terrifying scheme involving a twenty-year-old murder, an old woman who’s life has been washed out to sea, and a powerful figure bent to keep the secret that can destroy him hidden.

With everything to lose, everything she loves, Hilary connects to a determined cop from Staten Island, reeling from the disaster of Sandy, to bring down an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep what that money was meant to silence, still buried.

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