BAPTISM by Max Kinnings

February 17, 2014

The only thing that may be more terrifying than a subway train taken over by terrorists  is a subway train taken over by religious zealots, especially when they want to die and take everyone with them, and that is the premise here.

Tommy and his sister have big plans to kill everyone on board the train by flooding the tunnel, the titular “baptism.” Ed is the lead negotiator with a unique skill set; he is blind, and can hear more in the timbre of voice than most people, and what he hears is truly frightening.

Tommy claims the train is wired with explosives, and he kills anyone entering the tunnel, causing the body count to soar and MI5 to pull back. Ed is convinced that Tommy’s religious beliefs are stronger than anything he has to offer, so he grasps at straws, contacting an engineer and a criminal to try to save the trainload of passengers when MI5 can’t.

Lots of violence and a high body count lead up to an exciting ending in this fast paced adrenaline read. James Patterson fans will find a lot to like here.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

2/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BAPTISM by Max Kinnings. Quercus; First Edition (February 4, 2014). ISBN 978-1623651022. 448p.

DEAD TO ME by Cath Staincliffe

January 25, 2014

A young woman is murdered in Manchester, England, and the Murder Investigation Team, headed by the formidable Gill Murray, gets the case.

Gill is good friends with one of her detectives, Janet Scott, a 25-year veteran who loves her job. Rachel Bailey is a young cop who has escaped a tough childhood, and she is smart and ambitious. Murray teams Bailey up with Scott and puts them on the murder case.

Scott is not happy with the arrogant and overzealous Bailey, and Bailey thinks there is something wrong with Scott because she has never tried for a promotion. They uncover a rape that may be related, find a roving drug dealer that may have been the last person to see the young woman alive, and investigate an unsavory boyfriend that the mother is convinced is the murderer.

Janet is a rules oriented, methodical detective while Rachel is headstrong and thinks and acts outside the box. Working together is a nightmare for both of them, but gradually they learn to respect each other as they work the case through to the shocking ending.

But this is much more than just a murder mystery; these characters are well developed, idiosyncratic and likeable, and that extends to their families and co-workers as well. Most reminiscent of the Cagney and Lacy TV series, this should appeal to readers who enjoy female buddy books like the Rizzoli and Iles series by Tess Gerritsen, the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro, or even Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & Associates legal series.

This book is actually a prequel to a popular British TV series, “Scott and Bailey,” now in its fourth season in the UK and airing on some PBS stations in the U.S. Visit the “Scott and Bailey” Facebook fanpage for more info.

Copyright © 2013 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

1/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

DEAD TO ME by Cath Staincliffe.  Minotaur Books (January 14, 2014). ISBN 978-1250038548. 400p.