30 September 2013

Audiobook Mini Reviews: Death Angel by Linda Fairstein & The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Title: Death Angel
Author(s): Linda Fairstein
Genre(s): Crime, Thriller
Publisher/Date: Dutton Adult / July 30, 2013
Series: Alexandra Cooper (Book #15)
When the body of a young woman is discovered in Central Park, the clock begins ticking for Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to find the killer who has breached this haven in the middle of New York City. Is the body found in the lake, under the unseeing gaze of the Bethesda angel, the first victim of a deranged psychopath, or is the case connected to other missing girls and women in years past whose remains have never been found? Just as the trio gets their first lead, the investigation is almost derailed when Mike and Alex become embroiled in a scandal. As Alex attempts to fight the accusations leveled against her and Mike, she follows clues that range from the park’s most buried — literally — secrets all the way to the majestic Dakota, which has experienced its own share of tragedies. When another young woman is attacked in the park, a new question arises: is this enormous urban park a sanctuary—as it seems to the thousands of New Yorkers and tourists who fill it every day—or is it a hunting ground for a killer with a twisted mind? (synopsis from Goodreads)
Summary Prognosis
My dad and I have been listening to this audio series for years and we love it. It's like Law & Order: SVU meets CSI. Her books combine crime, drama, mystery and intrigue and SMARTLY written characters all in one deliciously intense game of cat and mouse. Oh yeah. I'm a sucker for that stuff. Plus, I adore narrator, Barbara Rosenblat. She's consistent with her voices, each one distinctive and wholly appropriate and I love listening to her.

To date, Death Angel is my favourite book in this series. The grizzly murders and cold-case kidnappings, all set in the backdrop of New York City's Central Park, was the perfect combination. And while it might seem like there's a lot going on---rape, the murders and a kidnapping---it's never too much. Fairstein knows exactly when to bring on the intensity, making the cases bizarre but still believable. She's got a killer eye for detail and protocol, which is simply fascinating.

As a dedicated fan, I love watching the relationships between the characters grow, but as a new reader, I have no doubt they'll reel you in. Plus, I've been waiting a long time for this Mike and Alex thing to come to fruition (which it finally does!), so there's definitely a swoon factor too. Death Angel is fast-paced, action driven and full of twists and turns. Every time I thought I knew who the killer was, she'd throw me off kilter, so predictability was never a problem. And here's the bonus: while there are a few references to events in prior books, you don't need to read them in order to follow. 

Rating: ★★★★  

Read It: AmazonBarnes & Noble | Audible
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website

Title: The Looking Glass Wars
Author(s): Frank Beddor
Genre(s): Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher/Date: Dial Books / September 26, 2006
Series: The Looking Glass Wars (Book #1)

Alyss of Wonderland? When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly! Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss' story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. (synopsis from Goodreads)
Summary Prognosis
I'm always down for updated takes on classic fairy tales, especially when they involve serious action and violence. The Looking Glass Wars is chalk full of potential, fusing the Alice in Wonderland we know with the historical Alice Liddell. Beddar takes the Wonderlandian characters with which we're familiar and tells their real story, because, apparently, Carroll got it all wrong. But so did Beddar.

While I think the bare bones of the story were really clever, overall, the story was a bit childish for my liking. I sort of expected the silliness, because c'mon, it's Wonderland, but not to that degree. The book is highly imaginative so Beddar could've afforded to go a bit more futuristic with his tale. A steam-punk take on Alice would've been really appropriate here. 

The Looking Glass Wars is a tad too long, cheesy and somewhat predictable but it's undoubtedly fun. The violence and lessons learned here is reminiscent of Harry Potter, only lacking that special something. Beddar does a lot of telling and not enough showing. It's not that this was a bad book, per say, it just wasn't my cup of tea and I'd recommend it to a much younger crowd. 

Rating: ★★½  

Read It:  Amazon Barnes & Noble Audible
Discuss It:
GoodreadsAuthor's Website


  1. Nice reviews. I need to listen to a book on audio. I have a Linda Fairstein book on Mt TBR. I have heard good things. I'm a big fan of Law & Order anything so I think I'd like her work. The Looking Glass Wars sounds like it had potential, too bad it was lacking.
    Thanks for the reviews!

    1. Thanks, lady! I HIGHLY recommend the Alexandra Cooper series from Fairstein. Barbara Rosenblat is a fantastic reader and if you enjoy Law & Order, then I have no doubt you'll love it. I don't know if you've read anything by Patricia Cornwell, but these books are very similar to her Kay Scarpetta series.

      As for The Looking Glass Wars --- it was, meh. A lot of fun but I think it skews a little too young for me.


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