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$19.60 list($35.00)
1. The Da Vinci Code: Special Illustrated
$17.79 $5.99 list($26.95)
2. 3rd Degree
$18.45 $4.00 list($27.95)
3. The Last Juror
$7.19 $3.41 list($7.99)
4. Digital Fortress : A Thriller
$17.13 $11.72 list($25.95)
5. The Narrows: A Novel
$16.17 $8.10 list($26.95)
6. Twisted : A Novel
$15.36 $14.25 list($21.95)
7. Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized
$16.47 $10.95 list($24.95)
8. Skinny Dip
$17.13 $1.39 list($25.95)
9. Nighttime Is My Time
$16.50 $0.73 list($25.00)
10. Blind Alley
$17.13 $3.68 list($25.95)
11. Murder List
$10.20 $8.98 list($15.00)
12. Sacred Stone (Oregon Files (Paperback))
$16.98 $1.19 list($26.95)
13. Therapy
$17.13 $14.50 list($25.95)
14. Brimstone
$7.19 $3.56 list($7.99)
15. The Bourne Ultimatum
$16.47 $0.93 list($24.95)
16. Body Double (Gerritsen, Tess)
$16.98 $12.45 list($26.95)
17. Lost City
$16.76 $14.85 list($23.95)
18. Final Beginnings
$17.13 $1.29 list($25.95)
19. Just One Look
$18.45 $2.99 list($27.95)
20. The Big Bad Wolf: A Novel

1. The Da Vinci Code: Special Illustrated Edition
by Dan Brown
list price: $35.00
our price: $19.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385513755
Catlog: Book (2004-11-02)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 31
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2. 3rd Degree
by James Patterson, Andrew Gross
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316603570
Catlog: Book (2004-03)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 456
Average Customer Review: 3.66 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Detective Lindsay Boxer and Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt are enjoying a quiet afternoon in San Francisco when a townhouse across the street explodes in flames. A sinister note signed "August Spies" is found at the scene of the disaster, and the body of an infant who was asleep in the house at the time of the explosion cannot be found. Soon a wave of violent incidents, all with links to political terrorism and involving "August Spies," sweeps through the city. An upcoming economic summit of the world's most powerful nations will surely be a target. And it's up to the Women's Murder Club to get to the bottom of the violence before it's too late. Delivering the breakneck pace and never-saw-it-coming plot twists that have made James Patterson the most addictive writer at work today, 3rd DEGREE is another searing and unforgettable thriller from the nation's #1 bestselling suspense writer. ... Read more

Reviews (95)

5-0 out of 5 stars MUST READING!
Detective Lindsay Boxer is out for her morning jog when an explosion tears through the streets leaving a townhouse in flames and three people dead including the owner, an Internet millionaire. As Lindsay looks for any survivors she learns there was an infant in the house who has since disappeared and a mysterious letter has been left behind by those responsible for the explosion.

Another businessman is found murdered along with another message, this time a warning of what will come over the next few days. As Lindsay investigates the new murder, as well as the disappearance of the infant, her friend and fellow member of the Women's Murder Club, Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas begins receiving email messages from the killers. The messages contain brief descriptions of what will happen and minor clues to who the victims will be.

Lindsay, along with fellow members of the Women's Murder Club; Cindy, Claire Washburn of the medical examiner's office, and Assistant D.A. Jill Bernhardt, must work quickly to find out who is behind the murders and why they are intent on killing someone every three days, but the murder of one of their own will send the other women on dangerous mission to uncover the truth about a friend.

Yes, a main character in the novel does die...but you need to read the novel to find out who. '3Rd Degree' is a great entry in the Women's Murder Club series. As always, the pages turn fast as each new surprise comes flying at you. Genuine characters combined with powerful plot twists make this an unforgettable reading experience and further proof that James Patterson is truly THE master of writing a suspense novel. What can be said about a James Patterson novel that has not been said before...the writing top-notch, the twists surprising, the plots original, the suspense thick and the pace lighting fast. Put this on your MUST read list!

If you like conspiracy books here are a few. Having read the TOP books in the Government Cover-up Genre; "Unconventional Flying Objects" (NASA UFO Investigator for 30 years) by the scientist Dr. Paul Hill; my FAVORITE is "Alien Rapture" by Brad Steiger and Edgar Fouche (Top Secret Black Programs Insider) - (Great fiction-soon to be a movie); "Alien Agenda" by the best selling author of 'Crossfire' Jim Marrs; and "The Day After Roswell," by Colonel Corso - I'd say these books are fun and a MUST READ also!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast Mover
I read this book in one day, and like a previous reviewer stated, was disappointed it came to an end. Patterson has a unique style of changing the point of view from one chapter to the next, alternating third person perspective with the minor characters with first person when the chapter is about the main character. I found this approach interesting and refreshing. Also, Patterson likes to write short chapters, about 500-750 words per chapter. 3rd Degree has 111 chapters, but read quickly, with each chapter ending with a hook that pulled you into the next chapter. I wasn't real fond of the female detective club thing in this book, but found the story entertaining and never dull. His plot and the intertwining of current events relative to terrorism added realism to the story. I recommend this book to any fiction reader.

4-0 out of 5 stars I JUST LOVED IT!
IM NOT A FAST READER BUT THIS BOOK I READ IN 24 HOURS,I COULDNT PUT IT DOWN.I FEEL WHEN HE WRITES WITH ANDREW GROSS I ENJOY THEM MORE. I HAVE TO SAY I WAS VERY DISSAPOINTED WHEN ONE OF THE MAIN CHARACTURES WAS WRITTEN OFF,BUT IT STILL ENDED UP BEING A GREAT BOOK AS WERE THE FIRST TWO.IM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THE FOURTH BOOK. KEEP GOING WITH THIS SERIES EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT THESE BOOKS.

2-0 out of 5 stars 3rd time, not the charm
3rd Degree by James Patterson.

In this, the third book featuring the Women's Murder Club the story follows tough homicide detective Lindsay Boxer, as she struggles through a burning fire, apparantly started by 'August Spies' in an apparant terrorist attack. Starting a terrorism investigation, bringing in Deputy Director Joe Molinari of Homeland Security. Through all this Boxer also struggles through her deep feelings for good friend Jill Barnhardt, whose perfect marriage isn't so perfect after all.

This book truly was a matter of struggles. First you have to struggle with the slow pace of the book. It became almost painful to watch as Boxer was unable to put together simple concepts and come to clear conclusions.

The story, which actually became quite intereseting over the last 10 chapters, was stretched too thin. In fact, while reading this book, it felt as if Patterson just couldn't be bothered to write a compelling story. Rather, he wrote a novella length story and just fleshed it out, taking far longer to get interesting.

If you're stuck in an airport, with few other choices, you will want to pick this up. Otherwise, you should stick to more compelling stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fast-Paced Tale From the Number One Writer of Suspense
If you liked the previous stories in this series (1st To Die and 2nd Chance), you should love this one. It has the same women, Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer, of the San Francisco police, Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt, Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas. It has Patterson's brief chapters, terse dialog, and headlong rush through a tale of danger and suspense, It grabs you in the first chapter. As Lindsay Boxer jogs past a townhome, it explodes into a mass of fire, killing a corporate CEO. Three days later, another executive is poisoned, and the police find that they face a gang of terrorists that promise to kill every three days. The terrorists are smart, clever, and ready to strike back at the police. From this recipe, we get an intense story that races to a climax. ... Read more


3. The Last Juror
by John Grisham
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385510438
Catlog: Book (2004-02-03)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 235
Average Customer Review: 3.43 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In 1970, small town newspaper The Clanton Times went belly up. With financial assistance from a rich relative, it's purchased by 23-year-old Willie Traynor, formerly the paper's cub reporter. Soon afterward, his new business receives the readership boost it needs thanks to his editorial efforts and coverage of a particularly brutal rape and murder committed by the scion of the town's reclusive bootlegger family. Rather than shy from reporting on the subsequent open-and-shut trial (those who oppose the Padgitt family tend to turn up dead in the area's swampland), Traynor launches a crusade to ensure the unrepentant murderer is brought to justice. When a guilty verdict is returned, the town is relieved to find the Padgitt family's grip on the town did not sway the jury, though Danny Padgitt is sentenced to life in prison rather than death. But, when Padgitt is released after serving less than a decade in jail and members of the jury are murdered, Clanton once again finds itself at the mercy of its renegade family.

When it comes, the dénouement is no surprise; The Last Juror is less a story of suspense than a study of the often idyllic southern town of Clanton, Mississippi (the setting for Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill). Throughout the nine years between Padgitt's trial and release, Traynor finds acceptance in Clanton, where the people "don't really trust you unless they trusted your grandfather." He grows from a long-haired idealist into another of the town's colorful characters--renovating an old house, sporting a bowtie, beloved on both sides of the color line, and the only person to have attended each of the town's 88 churches at least once. The Last Juror returns Grisham to the courtroom where he made his name, but those who enjoyed the warm sentiment of his recent novels (Bleachers, A Painted House) will still find much to love here. --Benjamin Reese ... Read more

Reviews (335)

3-0 out of 5 stars Nothing really wrong, just very blah
This novel is sort of a combination of a two different novels, one about a trial, and nine years later. It is definitely typical of later Grisham. Predictable, short, but readable.

Grisham describes the life of a young man who moves to the south and buys a small county newspaper. The first part deals with a trial of a gruesome murder. The second part deals with a mysterious killer (though who the real killer is insultingly obvious). Along with it, Grisham uses this story to weave in other stories about racial integration, southern style, and families.

There is nothing wrong with this book except for the fact that it tries to be all in one and doesn't go into any great depth. Is it a thriller, a social commentary piece, or a law book? It tries to be all three and the result is very ho hum.

Definitely better than "The Street Lawyer" or "King of Torts". Doesn't reach the heights of "The Chamber" or "A Painted House."

It's a decent read, but very mundane.

2-0 out of 5 stars Grisham has lost his touch....
Drivel and more Drivel....Grisham has lost his touch. You can't write good suspense novels using Harlequin Romance Techniques, filling the pages with unsubstantial filler. If you liked "The Pelican Brief", and was unsatisfied with "The Bleachers", then you and I will agree on this one.

3-0 out of 5 stars Plot holes you could drive a truck through
For the most part, I found this entertaining. I was troubled by one thing, though:

The killer sneaked into the victim's house and hid in her closet, surprising her when she opened the closet door. He blindfolded her with a scarf, and cut her panties off with a knife before raping her at knifepoint. He made enough noise to awaken her small children, who came to see what was wrong. When the killer realizes the kids are there, he reacts, and the victim calls out the the kids to run. They run to the next-door neighbor. In the meantime, the killer has been recognized, and he slashes the victim's throat and flees. The neighbor goes to investigate and finds the victim, who has tried to follow the kids and collapsed. Before she dies, she tells him the name of the killer. The children are in shock and are eventually taken to live with realtives. They are too small to testify.

Now, some of this, like the scarf, the closet, cutting the panties could have been discovered during the investigation. But, when the DA cross-examined the killer, he knew things that only the killer, the victim and the children would have known, like that the victim had called to the children to run. The killer was, of course, denying that he was even there. The victim died before she could say more than who did it. The children were too traumatized to tell what they had see. So how, exactly, did the DA know?

2-0 out of 5 stars Last Juror
Nice book but not up to his previous work. Didn't bother to finish his work. Must have been in a hurry, under pressure from publisher. Would not recommend.

2-0 out of 5 stars It was so-so
I read this book and found that it is a little bland. I think that Grisham is just throwing books together now and not taking the time to make a great book. Still think his best book to date is a "A Time TO Kill" ... Read more


4. Digital Fortress : A Thriller
by Dan Brown
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312995423
Catlog: Book (2004-01-05)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 1116
Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant, beautiful mathematician.What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power.The NSA is being held hostage--not by guns or bombs -- but by a code so complex that if released would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in.Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.
... Read more

Reviews (405)

1-0 out of 5 stars He needed a computer tech advisor
There are so many inaccuracies in this book that it makes it difficult to keep reading. It gives a new slant to The Da Vinci Code. If that's as full of errors as this one, then the Catholic Church can rest its concerns.

I could enumerate them, but this book isn't worth the time or effort. I'm sorry I bought it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be a best seller!!!
This is the fourth book of Dan Brown that I read for the star given here. This book must his first novel. To my delight plus surprise, this book is great, definiteltly better than Deception Point which the last scene of attempting to rescue the heroin from the Triton reads like fake, and too cliche.

It is believable that TRANSLTR could break a 64-bit key or crack a 128-bit key in less than 6 hours, because it is a parallel computing machine of millions of processors.

As great as Da Vinci Code but less filling.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty typical thriller, story moves, mistakes annoying
The book was a very easy read, and if I didn't know anything about cryptography or the internet, I probably wouldn't have noticed the glaring errors. As it was, they detracted enough from the story for me that I have to give it a lower rating.

A few things that really irritated me:
A 64-Bit key does not require 64 characters, only 8 (maybe 11 if converted to printable text).

I don't know where he got the "Bergofsky Principle" about unbreakable ciphers, but I think Claude Shannon showed in 1949 that perfect secrecy is possible (a one-time pad is an unbreakable cipher if used properly).

A code-breaking program can't contract a virus just from decrypting something.

If you can break a 64-bit key in 5 minutes by brute force, it would not take you 10 minutes to crack a 128-bit key, it would take about 20 billion minutes, or about 38,000 years. The description of the translator sounded like brute force.

5-0 out of 5 stars Calm down guys, good plot
Hey, I actually thought this book was better than the Da Vinci Code. The plot twists and turns and the action never stops. It's easy to say things are predictable AFTER the fact. It's really not that predictable. More on this later. The cleverness of the plot overcomes the potential technical flaws. And by the way, some of errors people listed were not really errors. Fiction is not supposed to be entirely real, it just has to fit within the constructs of the reality they are in. Most things seemed to make sense and while not explained thoroughly, it was good enough of an explanation anyway. Just a few possible errors.

My chief complaint would be that in classic Dan Brown style, the protagonist is able to dodge bullets better than Neo from the Matrix. But hey that is only mildly ridiculous and kinda funny anyway.

Enjoyment of novels are really subjective anyway, so you really can't take anyone's word for it, but go with what you know, Dan Brown writes good books. That being said, I can now begin insulting other people who wrote comments.

POTENTIAL plot spoilers to follow:
People were complaining that shutting down million dollar devices came down to simply unplugging it. Brown sorta justified why devices of such complexity took some time to shut down, even if you think shutting down a giant computer is like shutting down a microwave. People have been saying "Just yank it out of the wall!" However, that's not the point. The point is an engaging plot with a reasonable amount of technical flaws which are acceptable BECAUSE IT'S NOT A TEXTBOOK.

By the way, to address another issue. Strathmore knew the original writer of the program could not trace the revised version because Strathmore ordered the original writer killed. Dead guy wouldn't know the difference right?

By the way, Strathmore didn't ask Susan to just come over to blow his cover (interesting word choice). Actually, He asked her over because he had trouble executing his secret plan and needed her genius to help. Besides she's hot. Wouldn't you want to be alone with a hot genius in a VERY SECURE NSA building with her boyfriend slated to die? Sounds like a good idea to me.

How could you say the plot was predictable? The end of one of the chapters has you thinking Hale is going to rape Susan, but then he buttons her blouse back up and it turns out Strathmore the old man is in love with her despite the horniness of Hale! How clever!

I'm an Electrical Engineer and unlike that software engineering guy I'm not trying to impose my 'expertise' on disparaging a great novel. Get a life dude! Enjoy good fiction!

2-0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian, though not the worst of its ilk
This being the 3rd of Brown's books that I've read, I probably won't pick up any more. Da Vinci left me a bit cold, if only because some of the puzzles were simple and all the "codes" in it were not from Da Vinci, but from a 2ndary character. 3 stars.

Angels and Demons attracted me since I'd recently been to Italy, and I enjoyed reading about some of the places I'd actually been, but the "awe and wonder" of the ambigrams felt a bit silly and contrived, since there are websites that can automatically create these types of things for you. 3.5 stars.

While I'm not saying Digital Fortress didn't have its moments, I feel it is the weakest of the three. When the reader sees the answer to the final puzzle immediately, and it takes the supposedly brilliant people in the book more than 20 pages to figure it out, that gets frustrating. I'm of certainly no more than average intelligence, so I expected more. The characters often very quickly jump to highly emotional conclusions/actions without considering other options. I also dislike the author's use of phrases similar to, " was absolutely certain that was true, there could be no other explanation!", when quite clearly there could be many other explanations. I've noticed he does that in every book, and it grates.

The more I read from Dan Brown, the more I suspect he's writing for younger people...maybe 8th grade or early high school. There is merit in this, but I guess it's just not for me.

All that said, if you loved his other work, you'll probably love this one, too. Characters are similarly drawn, similarly emotional, and the plot is similarly (i.e., "quickly") paced. ... Read more


5. The Narrows: A Novel
by Michael Connelly
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316155306
Catlog: Book (2004-05)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 409
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Private investigator Harry Bosch confronts the most terrifying killer he's ever known - the monster known to millions as the Poet. ... Read more

Reviews (94)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great writing, great reading
I first read Michael Connelly when I read "The Poet" with Terry McCaleb. I became an immediate fan and read all of his Harry Bosch novels and have kept up with that series and the Terry McCaleb series since then as well as Connelly's other books. I have never been disappointed. I thought "A Darkness More Than Night" with both Harry and Terry in it was one of his best.

"The Narrows" allows Harry and characaters from "The Poet" and the other McCaleb books to meet and work together to finally eliminate the Poet. Harry's efforts to find out who murdered colleague Terry McCaleb is a thrill ride filled with well-drawn characters and detailed policework.

Connelly is one of the best mystery writers out there and whether or not you've read any of his previous works, you won't be disappointed with this one. In fact, after reading it, I am now going back to reread "The Poet" and then reread all of Connelly's books. It doesn't matter to me (like it appears to matter to other reviewers) that we now know what happened to the Poet. It does bother me that one reviewer couldn't even get McCaleb's name right (they called him Gerry more than once!).

If you want a good, fast-moving, well-written mystery, then spend a few hours with "The Narrows". You'll become a Connelly fan--if you aren't already!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply, His Best!!
I have liked most of Michael Connelly's novels, but until this one, I always thought The Poet was his best. With this one, building upon that novel, Connelly has out done himself. Harry Bosch has agreed to look into the death of a good friend at the request of the widow. Everyone thinks it was a heart attack. Through careful sleuthing, Bosch comes up with a scenario which suggests murder, but no obvious reason or suspect. In the meantime FBI agent Rachel Walling, last seen in The Poet, has been drawn back into another search for the serial killer, whom all thought dead. The Poet was her mentor as an FBI agent and he clearly has plans for more killing. As the story moves between Walling and Bosch the lines of the story intersect and Bosch and Walling, while dealing with FBI higher ups that make your teeth hurt, follow the clues and find the truth. If you only buy one harcover book this summer, buy this one. It is flat, dead great.

4-0 out of 5 stars my first Bosch book
This was my first book by the author and for me it was a good read. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes good page-turning suspense. I wasn't aware this was the latest of a series, but that didn't bother me. Some of the plot development towards the end didn't garner four star ratings, but the writer is so good at what he does I could see myself re-reading this book in the future. I'd put this on the same level as James Patterson "1st To Die" Very Good!

3-0 out of 5 stars I dunno....tries to cover a LOT of bases
1) Tries to group all past characters and plots from past novels but it seems more like a contrivance to poke fun at Hollywood.

2) Author is usually terrific at making his books feel like they were conceived and written in one burst of energy, but this is more like a smorgasbord of ideas rather than a nice dinner.

3) Much of the book reads quickly.

4) Ending is exciting

5) Bosch does some decent detective work at the end...although it seems he's a little more lucky than he is smart.

6) FBI is still stereotyped as a bunch of media-hungry morons...if that's really true, it hasn't been presented with any originality.

7) I will still look forward to Connelly's next book...as always.

3-0 out of 5 stars GOOD BUT....
Alright, THE NARROWS once again proves why Michael Connelly is so successful. With an eye for narrative flow (both in first and third person), and a deep understanding of his characters (not always likeable), he continues to mesmerize. But isn't anybody else out there bothered by this novel's biggest flaw: we STILL don't know why Robert Backus (aka THE POET) killed all those homicide detectives in the THE POET. And now he's back and killing again, but with no real reason for these murders either. There is a slight mention of Backus' stern father and apathetic mother, so we understand perhaps why he's a serial killer, but Connelly let me down by not explaining the why of his victims. Connelly also should have brought Jack McEvoy back, as he was the real hero in THE POET.
Instead, we get the irrepressible Harry Bosch, hero of many of Connelly's books, paired with FBI agent Rachel Walling, who was a key player in THE POET. Connelly wisely uses the media again in that in this book they mention quite often the movie BLOOD WORK, which is based on Connelly's own novel, revolving around the heart-transplanted cop Terry McCabe. Buddy Longbridge's reference to Jeff Daniels' interpretation of his character is slyly brilliant. Which is a shame..Connelly is brilliant, and this book certainly entertains. I just wish I could understand why Connelly has let something so important be taken for granted without any supporting narrative evidence. Maybe we'll get it again? Anyway, definitely a must for fans, but if you're a new reader, you may be let down a little too. ... Read more


6. Twisted : A Novel
by JONATHAN KELLERMAN
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345465253
Catlog: Book (2004-11-23)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 348
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7. Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593150229
Catlog: Book (2004-04-08)
Publisher: CDs Books
Sales Rank: 316
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How to satisfy the endless hunger for information among the millions of readers caught up in The Da Vinci Code mania?Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code is the most comprehensive, literate guide available for interpreting the intellectual intricacies of Dan Brown's bestselling novel.

This unprecedented volume provides a wealth of fresh insight from the world's most respected authorities on the novel's controversial historical, religious, artistic, and scientific themes. Interviews and commentary from renowned scientists, theologians, archeologists, philosophers, historians, and art historians address such provocative topics as:

* What was the true identity of Mary Magdalene?Was Mary Magdalene a disciple of Jesus and did she write her own gospel?

* Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?Did they have a child together?

* In the late 1960s, the Church publicly reversed its 1,400-year-old position that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, but this revised history was never effectively communicated to the public.Has there been a "cover-up" of the role of women in church history?

* Did some geniuses of art and science--like Leonardo DaVinci and Isaac Newton--belong to secret societies that had the most compelling "insider information" in history?Did Leonardo convey some of the ideas in The Last Supper and other paintings?

Packed with excerpts from many original works, all-new material, and interviews with prominent scholars, Secrets of the Code will satisfy readers'curiosity, engage their imagination, and provide them with insights to better understand the multi-facted mysteries, secret codes, and messages embedded in the novel.Meticulously researched and compulsively readable, this volume is an excellent choice for book clubs and discussion groups.

CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE: Diane Apostolos-Cappadona * Michael Baigent * Esther de Boer * David Downie * Betsy Eble Bart Ehrman * Timothy Freke * Peter Gandy * Deirdre Good * Susan Haskins * Katherine L. Jansen * Karen King * Richard Leigh * Henry Lincoln * James Martin, S.J. * Richard McBrien * Laura Miller * Sherwin B. Nuland * Elaine Pagels * Lynn Picknett * Clive Prince * James Robinson * Simon Singh * Margaret Starbird * David van Biema * Kenneth Woodward

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dan Burstein is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author of six books on global economics and technology, including Yen! Euroquake, Road Warriors, and Big Dragon.The founder of Millennium Technology Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm that invests in innovative new technology companies, he has often written about the mysteries and complexities of the future.Secrets of the Code is his first book that explores mysteries and complexities of the past. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Justly Titled
Dan Burstein is a business executive pushing venture capital. Yet, he confesses that he found Dan Brown' The Da Vinci Code entrancing and unforgettable as a novel. He says it is because it is a novel of ideas. Thus, he set out to explore those ideas to see what, if anything, was behind Dan Brown's book.

A personal aside, whenever I read a book and the author gets something that I know wrong that should be obvious, I wonder about other stuff in the book where I don't know anything. In Brown's case, it was his geography of Paris on page 15. Having read "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" recently, I was familiar with the argument he was making, but still, I was skeptical.

Burstein has assembled experts and sources for Brown's book and put them into a readable form. In some cases, he selects excerpts from other books. In other cases, Burstein interviews authors and experts. Some of them support Brown's argument and others don't. Even Opus Dei is given a section. My favorite section was a review of the facts and mistakes in Brown's book by David Shugarts. In some cases, Shugarts finds evidence to support Brown. Some interesting facts include that the publisher has set up phony websites, such as the one for the Swiss bank in the book. The bank does not exist, but it has a website on the Internet.

There is also a glossary of characters and words mentioned by Brown with an explanation. In all, Burstein has put together an excellent collection of readings for anyone interested in The Da Vinci code.

5-0 out of 5 stars Find out what the secrets really are.
I had to laugh at the few low ratings by raving zealots on 'The Da Vinci Code.'. If you are a person, that has always asked "too many questions," then 'Secrets of the Code' is for you! Whether you are a Philosopher, Theologian, or Agnostic, this book is a welcome addition to your reference collection. This book makes you think, so Fun-dam-entalists should probably skip this one. Right or Wrong, this book will get your wheels turning...which is all that really matters, right?

As a voracious reader, I have read the best. Both 'The Da Vinci Code,' and 'Angels and Demons' which were both heart-stopping thrillers that keep you turning pages until you arrive exhausted at the end. You're truly "in on the chase." Improbable as it seems, Dan Brown has opened the doors of our curiousity which makes one almost compelled to examine the 'evidence' further. 'Secrets of the Code' is a book that teaches, makes you think, and entertains, all at the same time. Few authors can accomplish that. In this case many educated experts on the subject matter.

For those who say this book and Brown's books go against their beliefs and their dogma, consider this: The tip of the iceberg: Numerous authorities who had noted the errors in the K.J.V. such as William Kilburne (1650's) 20,000 errors, John Wesley (in 1755) 12,000 changes in the New Testament alone, the Revised Version of 1881 consisted of 36,000 errors and on and on. The NIV, RSV and The Living Bible are also replete with thousands of errors. Do some research!

If you are open minded and looking for those books begging for its pages to be turned...look no further. Read 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail,' and ANYTHING by Ken Follett! I just read a copy of Edgar Fouche's 'Alien Rapture,' which also blew me away. Fouche was a Top Secret Black Program 'insider', whose credibility has been verified over and over. Want to be shocked, check out Dr. Paul Hill's 'Unconventional Flying Objects' which NASA tried to ban. Buy this book, you will love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Job Explaining A Lot Of Mr. Brown's Hit Book!
First of all, like Mr. Brown's now world famous current novel, this is simply a great read! And that is my main criterion for any book! Just about everything in DA VINCE CODE is critiqued and analysed, from a photo of the book's inferences about some of the "clues" in the LAST SUPPER, with markings included, to real trivia like how near the Men's Room in the Louvre is to the road outside, and is the castle in Paris real.Or was the Agnus Dei headquarers in NYC given a high rating by Architectural Digest (etc.etc.) Sure, there are some holes in the book (DVC), which after all is a fictional novel, somewhat like an Umberto Ecco novel, but a much better and breezier read, and vastly superior narrative! Even while picking apart many trivialities, many of the commentators in SECRETS OF THE CODE note that many of the main premises have a lot of historical basis, such as that the books of the Bible were hand picked at the Niceon meeting (around 310 AD), and others tossed in the garbage (later discovered 1700-plus years in the Egyptian desert as the Gnosnic Books).The great thing about a book like MR. Brown's is it makes people think, something that has not been encouraged all the time by many organizations, not exempting religions. So read the DaVinceCode first, then check into this highly readable, but super well done guide!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview
If you are looking for a book that says "Nothing to see here, Da Vinci Code is all lies, nothing to see here! Go to Church, don't think, just accept!", as several reviewers seem to want, this book is not it. This is an exploration of issues brought up in "The DaVinci Code", not an apologeticists refutation.

While the book can get quite dry at times, it is a good overview of the issues and questions brought up by the "Da Vinci Code". No, DVC is not historical, it has flaws and errors, but it also challenges you to think about things that you have simply assumed were true, and that is always good. This book will continue that exploration. If there are specific points on which you want more information, it is also an excellent bibliography.

3-0 out of 5 stars If you must read a book on "The Da Vinci Code" read page 130
Because when you turn to page 130 you will find the biblical scholar Bart Ehrman providing ten reasons why "The Da Vinci Code" is conspiratorial, supersititious nonsense. For a start, first century Judaism did allow precedents for celibacy, so there was no reason why Jesus had to be married. The Nag Hammadi material does not emphasize Jesus' humanity. Often it does the opposite. By the time of the Council of Nicea, a large majority of Christians believed in Jesus' divinity. There is no evidence that Mary Magdalene came from the House of Benjamin, or that she was pregnant. And my favorite, the Dead Sea Scrolls are, contra Dan Brown, entirely Jewish and have nothing directly to do with Christianity at all.

This book is a collection of articles and interviews which look at the questions and mysteries the book raises. If you have little patience with Dan Brown's pseudo-historical tripe and are worried that other people might believe its preposterous fairy tales, there is much in this book that will satisfy you. There are a whole host of plot holes in the book. For a start the hero Robert Langdon points out an anagram in Latin that only works in English. Elsewhere a character reads an English Bible in a French church, while an anagram is made of "Mona Lisa" unaware that Da Vinci did not use or originiate the title of his most famous painting. For some odd reason Brown says the Council of Nicea was four centuries after Jesus' death when clearly it was less than three. Alexander Pope did not preside over Isaac Newton's funeral, though he did write an epitaph several years afterwards. There is also an article on the Plantard affair. Plantard claimed to have documents that linked Jesus, the Merovingian dynasty, the Knights Templar, the Masons, the Holy Grail and the Priory of Sion, which has supposedly been led by Da Vinci, Newton, Victor Hugo, Debussy and Plantard himself. From his documents came forth "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," and 20 years later "The Da Vinci Code." But as it turns out, Plantard had a history of financially dubious transactions and links to right-wing anti-semetic groups. There is no reason to believe the documents are anything other than forgeries.

Unfortunatley, the book is not a detailed refutation of Brown and there is a "balance" between serious scholarship and irresponsible credulous journalism. So on the one hand we get excerpts from a couple of books by Elaine Pagels, interviews with James A. Robinson, and excerpts from selected Gnostic gospels. We also have an interesting interview from a scholar who points out that Pope Gregory's conflation of Mary Magdalene with several women of loose virtue was an accident, not a misogynist conspiracy. We also have a debate between Kenneth Woodward and Karen King. Woodward argues that it is not clear that the letters to Timothy and the Gospel of Mary were written at roughly the same time. It is possible that Mary was written several decades afterwards. King, rather disappointingly does not respond to this point.

But you also have to look at an excerpt from "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," as well as some other pseudo-historical excerpts about the Templars and Mary Magdalene as Jesus' wife. Passages quoted by Timothy Freke show the flaws of this sort of scholarship. Freke describes Philo as a Gnostic (he was not). He refers to the "Jewish God Jehovah," when "Jehovah" is actually an attempt to prounce "YHWH" with the vowels of "Adonai" and "Elohim." He says the Gospels refer to Mary Magdalene as the "prostitute lover" of Jesus when in fact the Gospels do not describe her as either. Freke argues that Jesus never actually existed, a view not supported by any serious scholar, and decisively refuted in the first volume of John Meier's "A Marginal Jew." We get both sides of the debate over "The Last Supper," and not surprisingly Brown does not come out looking well. (If the person commonly believed to be John is actually a woman, than where is John? And which apostle doesn't show up at all? And couldn't any feminine qualities in John refer to his youth [he was by tradition the youngest of the disciples] and to Da Vinci's own homosexuality?)

People may think it is useful to compare both sides in a debate about history. But it is one thing to compare articles on the French Revolution. It is another to include serious scholarship and gratuitous nonsense and pretend to be neutral between them. Would we respect a book that included serious scholarship on the Holocaust with the ravings of apologists and neo-Nazis who pretend to deny it? Obviously the theories of "the Da Vinci Code" are not that malevolent, but they are not more intelligent. Still, though Burnstein loses points for cowardice, there is a certain pedagogic value in this book. ... Read more


8. Skinny Dip
by Carl Hiaasen
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375411089
Catlog: Book (2004-07-13)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 225
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Charles "Chaz" Perrone fancies himself a take-charge kind of guy. So when this "biologist by default" suspects that his curvaceous wife, Joey, has stumbled onto a profitable pollution scam he's running on behalf of Florida agribusiness mogul Red Hammernut, he sets out right away to solve the problem--by heaving Joey off the deck of a luxury cruise liner and into the Atlantic Ocean, far from Key West. But--whoops!--Joey, a former swimming champ, doesn't drown. Instead, as Carl Hiaasen tells in his 10th adult novel, Skinny Dip, she makes her way back to shore, thanks both to a wayward bale of Jamaican marijuana and lonerish ex-cop Mick Stranahan (Skin Tight, 1989), and then launches a bogus blackmail campaign that's guaranteed to drive her lazy, libidinous hubby into a self-protective frenzy.

You've got to hand it to Hiaasen: He's perfected a formula for crisply written, satirical crime fiction that makes the best use of imaginatively repulsive villains, as well as less thoroughly venal scoundrels and victims who ultimately overcome their antagonists, all while stumping for the preservation of Florida's environment, particularly the Everglades. In Skinny Dip, we find Chaz (who'd rather be golfing than puttering around the "hot, buggy, funky-smelling and treacherous" reaches of nature) falsifying water samples to help Hammernut turn the 'Glades into "God’s septic tank." That scheme, though, is endangered not just by Joey's sudden disappearance, but by the suspicions of a python-loving police detective and Chaz's own outstanding inability to tame his Viagra-enhanced tumescence. Even by assigning Chaz a baby-sitter--the hulking, hirsute, and painkiller-addicted Tool--Hammernut can't keep his pet biologist out of trouble. As Joey and Stranahan unfold their revenge plot, and Tool's conscience grows in competition with Chaz's ego, the reader can only marvel at the extent of the train wreck ahead.

As much fun as Hiaasen has delivering Chaz his climactic comeuppance, what's missing from Skinny Dip is a more complex, more credible development of Mick Stranahan's character and the relationship he builds with the much younger Joey Perrone. Like Erin Grant, fromStrip Tease, Joey has far more going for her than her bra-cup size; but "hero" Stranahan is of far less interest here than any of his fellow players. --J. Kingston Pierce ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Do not read this book at night next to your sleeping husband...I kept waking him up laughing out loud.

I don't want to give any plot away, so I will be careful here. Let's just say that this book is a typical but exceptional hilarious Hiaasen tale where everything goes wrong.

The characters include science challenged biologist Chaz, and his wonderful, rich wife Joey (who he throws off of a cruise ship on page one.) There is also an ex-policeman living on an island, a wild hairdresser with some interesting quirks, a behemoth bodyguard with so much body hair he was once shot because he was mistaken for a bear, a sleazy corporate bad guy, and a Vietnam vet who mistakes the people he meets for famous persons. Oh, and a detective who has two giant pythons.

Yes, this is a typical Hiaasen romp. And a good one.

Highly highly recommended. (Just not around anyone trying to sleep!)

3-0 out of 5 stars Skinny plot
Skinny Dip could make a decent even if politically correct 250-page read for the beach this summer -- if only the book weren't almost 400 pages long.

This is the first book I've read by Carl Hiaasen, who has made a name for himself with what I have read are bitingly hilarious narratives mostly set in my native Florida. I picked up Skinny Dip on a whim, looking for a well-told but light story to read in the summer heat, and I was only partially rewarded.

The story does have its moments. The story's feckless antagonist, a biologist called Chaz, is initially cast as a villain by explaining that he doesn't separate his papers and plastics for recycling. On the payroll of a rule-bending tycoon, Chaz fakes test results to mask fertilizer runoffs in the Florida Everglades and then he throws his wife over the side of the ship on an anniversary cruise to prevent her from discovering the deed. She survives only by grabbing onto a bale of marijuana that happened to be floating by, and vows to take revenge. It's not Ulysses, of course, but it was never met to be.

Where Skinny Dip falls short is in its pacing and its politics.

The poor rhythm of the tale comes from its length, which includes too many dead spots to make it the kind of page-turner it could have been with a more aggressive editor (see the lengthy and ultimately unsatisfying revenge plot of the cannabis-hugging wife).

And the politically correct characterizations -- however admirable they might seem at first -- are in the end tiring. Mr. Hiaasen seems more than a little earnest in the moral undertones he creates. The book's obvious environmental subplot, the use of a character who vows to never misuse the services of illegal aliens again, a host of smiling good guys who never drink and who will their assets to charity -- it's enough to make it seems like the obvious lessons and not the narrative are the point of the book. That may work with children's stories, but one presumes that adults' literary tastes are more involved -- even when they are lounging at the seaside.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hiaasen on top again!
Chaz throws wife Joey overboard on a cruise. She manages to survive and now the game begins!!! Hiaasen once again shows us how the Everglades is an important part of our environment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chaz is unique
Chaz Perrone is the most memorable character ever to come out of a southern writer's pen since Ignatius in "Confederacy of Dunces," or perhaps Strekfus Beltzenschmidt in "The Bark of the Dogwood." This is one messed up dude, folks. But as with all of Carl Hiaasen's characters, he finds the good, the bad, the ugly, and the humane. Leave it to Mr. Hiassen to give us a character that we hate, but at the same time want to follow around. The only other writers I can think of that achieved this were those who wrote "The Sopranos." As with all of his books, the characters are weird and loveable. Chaz just happens to be the most memorable since I put the book down yesterday. We can only hope that the public catches on to this great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Faster than a speeding bullet . . .
Frankly, I wasn't expecting any less from Mr. H. Having read everything he's ever put his name on, the fact that this book is a stellar read comes as absolutely no surprise. If you liked LUCKY YOU, BASKET CASE, and the host of other great Hiaasen reads, then you won't be disappointed by SKINNY DIP. Would also recommend two other fantastic books that I thoroughly enjoyed: SHADOW DIVERS, and THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. Both excellent yet completely different from SKINNY DIP. ... Read more


9. Nighttime Is My Time
by Mary Higgins Clark
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 074320607X
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 912
Average Customer Review: 3.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The definition of an owl had always pleased him: a night bird of prey...sharp talons and soft plumage which permits noiseless flight...applied figuratively to a person of nocturnal habits. 'I am The Owl,' he would whisper to himself after he had selected his prey, 'and nighttime is my time.'"


Jean Sheridan, a college dean and prominent historian, sets out to her hometown in Cornwall-on- Hudson, New York, to attend the twenty-year reunion of alumni of Stonecroft Academy, where she is to be honored along with six other members of her class. There is, however, something uneasy in the air: one woman in the group about to be feted, Alison Kendall, a beautiful, high-powered Hollywood agent, died just a few days before, drowned in her pool during an early- morning swim, the fifth woman in the class whose life has come to a sudden, mysterious end.

Also adding to Jean's sense of unease is a taunting, anonymous fax she has just received, referring to her daughter, Lily, a child she had given up for adoption twenty years ago, the offspring of a romance between her and a West Point cadet killed in an accident a week before graduation. She had always kept the child's existence a secret, so who has found out? And why the implied threat now?

Struggling to conceal her fears, Jean arrives at the hotel where the reunion is being held. One by one she sees the other honorees, including Laura Wilcox, the class beauty, whose dazzling exterior belies the fact that her television career is sinking, and the four men who, like Jean, had spent four bitterly unhappy years at Stonecroft: Carter (formerly Howie) Stewart, an acerbic and successful playwright, once the class nerd; renowned child psychiatrist and talk-show celebrity Mark Fleischman, who has never been able to resolve the pain of his own adolescence; Gordon Amory, a media mogul, hardly recognizable as the awkward boy who was the butt of cruel jokes; Robby Brent, a popular comedian, whose caustic humor emanates from a childhood of rejection. Omnipresent is an old classmate, Jack Emerson, the chairman of the reunion, whose reasons for spearheading the event may be motivated by something other than class spirit.

At the award dinner, Jean is introduced to Sam Deegan, a detective obsessed for years by the unsolved murder of a young woman in Cornwall, who may also hold the key to the identity of the Stonecroft killer and the source of the anonymous threat to her child. She does not suspect that among the distinguished people she is greeting is The Owl, a murderer nearing the countdown on his mission of vengeance against the Stonecroft women who had mocked and humiliated him, with Jean his final intended victim.

In Nighttime Is My Time, Mary Higgins Clark creates a riveting novel of psychological suspense, penetrating behind the pervading façade of status and respectability to depict the mind of a killer. ... Read more

Reviews (54)

2-0 out of 5 stars I miss her old writing style
Mary Higgins Clark sure doesn't write them like she used to. I remember how suspenseful her first works were and truly miss that. One major problem that I find with this book, and has been the case for the last few, is that she has too many suspects and they are all someone the main character knows. I like the anononymity she once gave her "bad guys". I never felt any suspense in this story, but I kept reading so I could find out which of the many suspicious characters was "the Owl". The overall feel of this book has been the same in the last 3-4 books she has written. They definitly are not page-turners and don't have me wishing I could sit and read more of the book. I have always been a Mary Higgins Clark fan and I guess I will continue to read her books, although they are not my top choice anymore. I keep hoping the next one will be where she finds her stride again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hoot, Hoot, Hoot says the Owl.......
This book was terrific. There are so many twists and turns that you did not know what to think. The fact that all the girls were friends and that Jeannie had a secret that she thought was safe. All the different personalities were set just right to keep the story alive. This book was a good page turner and had the suspense, action, drama and spicey ingredients to make you keep reading and not put the book down.

Mary Higgins Clark is definitely the true queen of suspense and drama. I can't wait to see what the next novel will bring.

5-0 out of 5 stars Now that's what I'm talking!
Yeow! What a thrilling thriller! I was on pins and needles during the entire story. Thanks to Ms. Mary Higgins Clark, I now have NO fingernails left...Thank You Very Much! (Smile) A great story!

4-0 out of 5 stars i love mhc but this isn't her best
i love mhc books and have read every single one of her books, and although i was really anticipating this one to be great and really wanted to, it fell short of her usual. the beginning of the book was rather dull, and although it picked up in the end, it seemed as though the characters weren't as well developed as they usually are.

the suspects for the murders are all kind of the same, and it's really hard to distinguish who's who, because they all have the same motive pretty much, and they are all just high school rejects--none of them really do anything differentiating themselves from each other. thus, this made the lead-up to the climax less exciting because i didn't really care which of the people had committed the crimes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this one; use a matrix to follow the suspects
I've been in a dry spell in the past month trying to get involved in a book and this one cured me - I found it extremely gripping, fun and impossible to put down.

When I started, my attempt to keep track of the main characters (and in particular the five male suspects) was just impossible. I finally took out a piece of paper and started taking notes in a matrix form - on everything including height, appearance, occupation, place of residence, nicknames, etc. This made the book much more fun to read. And the author really pulls no punches - she provided no inauthentic or inconsistent information meaning that you can ultimately deduce the identity of the killer. Without this matrix of suspects, however, I know I would have been lost and probably would have found it impossible to follow and thus difficult to enjoy. ... Read more


10. Blind Alley
by IRIS JOHANSEN
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553803417
Catlog: Book (2004-09-14)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 2807
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Book Description

The New York Times bestselling author of Firestorm, Iris Johansen, returns with a psychological thriller so terrifying, so relentlessly paced, it won't leave you time to catch your breath before the next shock comes. A forensic sculptor is locked in a deadly duel with a serial killer determined to destroy her--one life at a time.

Eve Duncan's job is to put a face on the faceless victims of violent crimes. Her work not only comforts their survivors--but helps catch their killers. But there is another, more personal reason that Eve Duncan is driven to do the kind of work she does--a dark nightmare from a past she can never bury. And as she works on the skull of a newly discovered victim, that past is about to return all over again.

The victim is a Jane Doe found murdered, her face erased beyond recognition. But whoever killed her wasn't just trying to hide her identity. The plan was far more horrifying. For as the face forms under Eve's skilled hands, she is about to get the shock of her life. The victim is someone she knows all too well. Someone who isn't dead. Yet.

Instantly Eve's peaceful life is shattered. The sanctuary of the lakeside cottage she shares with Atlanta detective Joe Quinn and their adopted daughter Jane has been invaded by a killer who's sent the grimmest of threats: the face of his next victim. To stop him, Eve must put her own life in the balance and question everything and everyone she trusts. Not even Quinn can go where Eve must go this time.

As the trail of faceless bodies leads to a chilling revelation, Eve finds herself trying to catch a master murderer whose grisly work is a testament to a mind warped by perversion and revenge. Now she must pit her skills against his in a showdown where the stakes are life itself--and where the unbearable cost of failure will make Eve's own murder seem like a mercy killing.
... Read more


11. Murder List
by Julie Garwood
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345453824
Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 2382
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12. Sacred Stone (Oregon Files (Paperback))
by Clive Cussler, Craig Dirgo
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425198480
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 843
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Book Description

Clive Cussler debuted his new series, The Oregon Files, with the incredible adventure of Golden Buddha. Now he follows that triumph with Sacred Stone, a rollicking new tale featuring the enigmatic captain of The Oregon, Juan Cabrillo.

In the remote wastes of Greenland, an ancient artifact possessing catastrophic radioactive power is unearthed. But the astounding find puts the world at risk.

Caught between two militant factions bent on wholesale slaughter, Juan Cabrillo and his network of spies known as The Corporation must fight to protect the stone-and prevent the outbreak of World War III.
... Read more


13. Therapy
by Jonathan Kellerman
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345452593
Catlog: Book (2004-04-20)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 1606
Average Customer Review: 3.21 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (39)

3-0 out of 5 stars Uneven Delaware story -- almost too complex a plot
Kellerman fans (the people that really know all his books), as opposed to the "professional" reviewers, will find this latest psychologist Alex Delaware novel, as usual featuring co-star gay detective Milo Sturgis, somewhat puzzling. If we didn't know Alex and Milo well, we might well find their characters enigmatic, with inconsistent action and a pursuit of the clues that borders on hobbyist. When a young couple is found murdered, with an unnecessary impalement of the female victim, Milo and Doc Delaware pick up the case almost on a whim since they were nearby. [Apparently Sturgis can partner with Alex almost at will -- how his presumably high bills get paid is conveniently never addressed...] While the male is quickly ID'd, it takes much of the book to discover who the female is, generating much of what true suspense there was. The rest of the plot gets embroiled with a loosely knit firm of three psychologists specializing in private patient therapy (hence the title) who, as the plot unfolds, seem to be involved in a highly shady billing scheme involving ex-cons as both patients and, well, patient pimps. Before it's over, one of the three gets offed, the murdered boy's father disappears, and the storyline twists and turns in the wind. The ending is unusually inconclusive, with our stars making some very interesting value judgments about which bad guys to pursue and which not, an outcome we perceived as ridiculously unrealistic.

Kellerman has always been a good story teller, but it seems his quality varies more widely as his quantity increases. Delaware's love life, frequently a tiresome thing with "ex" Robin, is a little more normal with new lover Allison, but their shop talk gets to be a bit much. A token cameo by Robin and her dog was just silly filler, and the scenes with Delaware playing "good cop / bad cop" with Sturgis went down poorly. We were more than tired of the multiple bad guys, and by the end barely cared who did what. This strikes us as a book that needed to be edited better -- improve the professionalism of the principles; shorten the billing fraud thing which should be contained to the sub-plot that it is (we can figure out ourselves it provides motive); and humanize the dead boy's family by opening up the true facts sooner; and we might have something here. As it is, it's a lukewarm entry in the series.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I love Jonathan Kellerman's stories about Alex Delaware and his friend Milo Sturgis, but this one, like Mr. Kellerman's last book "Conspiracy Club," was not up to par.

The plot got bogged down in the intricacies of government funding and Medi-Cal billing. The average citizen dislikes dealing with insurance in real life, so why would they want to read about it in their spare time? Too many characters contributed to this problem. I found it hard to care about Gavin Quick, and it was even harder to figure out whether he was a bad guy or a good guy. Ditto for his father, aunt, and ex-girlfriend. And why the long ramble about the girl who was found in the car with him? Background is one thing, Mr. Kellerman, but superfluous writing is quite another.

Go back to psychology and murder, and leave the California insurance business alone, Mr. Kellerman. Your books are much more enjoyable that way.

1-0 out of 5 stars boring and simple-minded plot, script, acting...whatever
i've found kellerman and his wife's stuff were all mediocre and bored to death. he's one of the writers who i've dumped long time ago with tony hillerman, james patterson, jeffrey parker, lawrence block....since they've been dumped by me so long ago, i just couldn't remember the full rejected list. to me, they are small-timer writers, could only deliver small-timer-like characters with small-timer-like formatted stories with lame-duck-like plots, not even worth to burn the oil and lose your balance sheet. to me, james patterson is just like a lousy serial killer who could not do the real serial killings by himself but found out a way to ask the clueless readers to pay for his imaginery kills. as to kellerman, well, if i really got any psychi problem, i won't go to him to seek cure either. before he telling me time's up, i've already left long time ago. so far, his only great creations are his books' titles.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where's the old Jonathan Kellerman?
Boring, boring, boring. That just about sums up this book. Sorry Mr. Kellerman -- you need you get your old spark back. You used to be so readable, but your recent books are sluggish at best.

2-0 out of 5 stars Nothing insightful in Therapy
Jonathan Kellerman needs to get some therapy about his writer's block. This book was poorly written with plenty of 'filler' and not much story. His editor needed to cut out endless passages that do not add to the story telling or plot. For example, his love life adds nothing but some misguided "insight" of a therapist. In the jacket, it says the author is a psychologist, but he writes like he has never seen a couch, let alone been in the profession.
In short, the book is a waste of time when there are so many other great books out there. read "Motherless Brooklyn" or reread Dan Brown , butn don't waste your time on this one flat bore. ... Read more


14. Brimstone
by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044653143X
Catlog: Book (2004-08-03)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 1361
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Book Description

Agent Pendergast returns in a new suspense thriller from New York Times bestselling authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Art critic Jeremy Grove is found dead, his face frozen in a mask of terror. His bodytemperature is grotesquely high; he is discovered in a room barricaded from the inside; the smell ofbrimstone is everywhere...and the unmistakable imprint of a claw is burned into the wall. As more bodies are discovered--their only connection the bizarre but identical manner of death--the world begins to wonder if the Devil has, in fact, come to collect his due. Teaming with Police Officer Vincent DAgosta (The Relic), Agent Pendergast is determined to solve this case that appears to defy everything except supernatural logic. Their investigation takes them from the luxury estates of Long Island to the crumbling, legend-shrouded castles of the Italian countryside, where Pendergast faces the most treacherous and dangerous adversary of his career.

Preston and Childs most recent hardcover, Still Life with Crows (Warner, 7/03), has close to 80,000 copies in print to date and hit the New York Times extended bestseller list. It will be published in Warner mass market in 7/04.

The protagonist of BRIMSTONE, Agent Pendergast, was introduced in the New York Times bestseller The Relic (Tor, 1996), which sold over 910,000 paperback copies and was the basis for the Paramount movie.

Both The Cabinet of Curiosities (Warner, 6/02) and The Ice Limit (Warner, 2000) hit the New York Times extended bestseller list and the USA TODAY list. The Cabinet of Curiosities was also a Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller.

The authors five novels for Warner have more than two million copies in print combined.

Available as a Time Warner AudioBook. ... Read more


15. The Bourne Ultimatum
by ROBERT LUDLUM
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553287737
Catlog: Book (1991-02-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 231
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The world's two deadliest spies in the ultimateshowdown. At a small-town carnival two men, eachmysteriously summoned by telegram, witness a bizarrekilling. The telegrams are signed Jason Bourne.Only they know Bourne's true identity and understandthe telegram is really a message from Bourne'smortal enemy, Carlos, known also as the Jackal, theworld's deadliest and most elusive terrorist. Andfurthermore, they know that the Jackal wants: afinal confrontation with Bourne. Now David Webb,professor of Oriental studies, husband, and father,must do what he hoped he would never have to doagain -- assume the terrible identity of Jason Bourne.His plan is simple: to infiltrate the politicallyand economically Medusan group and use himself asbait to lure the cunning Jackal into a deadly trap-- a trap from which only one of them will escape. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT FINISH TO THE BOURNE SAGA
IF YOU LIKED THE BOURNE IDENTITY, CONTINUE AND READ BOTH THE BOURNE SUPREMACY AND ULTIMATIUM. THERE IS EXCITEMENT, INTRIGUE, AND IT IS FAST PACED. MY ONLY CRITICISM IS AND THE ONLY REASON THE BOOK GETS A 7, IS THAT AT TIMES LUDLUM BECOMES A LITTLE TOO DETAILED AND A FEW CHAPTERS CAN DRAG. THIS IS NOW JASON BOURNE 13 YEARS AFTER PARIS AND 5 YEARS AFTER HONG KONG. I BELIEVE THAT THIS TRILOGY WOULD BE A GREAT MINI-SERIES.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great stuff...but not as good as the other 2 Bourne books...
The idea that Carlos wants a final, no-holds-barred show-down with David Webb aka Jason Bourne was too irresistable to refuse. Ludlum has himself another winner with 'The Bourne Ultimatum'...however, with that said, I didn't think it was as good as either 'The Bourne Identity' OR 'The Bourne Supremacy'. Was it a wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am full-velocity thriller? You BET!

For those who believe that 'Ultimatum' is the best of the 'Bourne' trilogy, I mean no disrespect, I just enjoyed the other two more (especially 'Supremacy'). I can't put my finger on it, but suffice it to say, I STILL came away from this one in awe of Ludlum's pure and natural skill to keep us enthralled at length (this is not a tiny novel). David Webb has got to be Ludlum's greatest character. Fully realized, with problems, and something many characters do NOT have in modern fiction: A Conscience (albeit a thin one when he assumes the Jason Bourne Identity...). This one took you on a mental trip to many places in the world, from America to Russia...all in the name of finally capturing Carlos the Jackal. The showdown really is a hum-dinger. Enjoy every moment of this one, I don't think Ludlum will be reprising the character ever again. Oh, and if you have yet to pick up one of these fantastic books, you are in for a real treat--a series of books that were written between the late 70's through the late 80's, and JUST as timely as when they first came out. Simply put, great stuff from a great author.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much of a good thing
The first two (Identity, Legacy) are beautiful page-turners. However, in the third installment, the Jason Bourne vs. David Webb struggle becomes a dead horse. You can only carry that split so far in a plot line before the man either must end up in an insane asylum, or integrate the pieces and move on. While a desparately wanted the saga to continue, I would rather not have seen it end with this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up Identity and Supremacy
The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy are two of my favorite novels. I have probably read each of them four or five times. I'd just as soon forget about Ultimatum, it doesn't have the hard core, kick butt Jason Bourne that we want to read about and it's a limp way for a story about a hero like Bourne to end. Go ahead and read it if you like Bourne, like I did, but it's definitely not in the same class as the first two. Bourne has lost his steam and edge and is just... can I say it? A fumbling broken old guy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bourne to Live
Robert Ludlum completes the trilogy with this rambling adventure between his two arch-rivals Jason Bourne and Carlos the Jackal. Only one survives to fight another day. Bourne returns to active duty because his family is under attack. The influence of the Jackal extends to all intelligence services and governments. Following the formula, Bourne miraculously survives several close adventures with the Jackal, where he is clearly over-matched.

Bourne and his rag-tag band of rejects, retirees, in-laws, and psychiatrists make many blunders before getting a line on the Jackal. Clearly, the thirteen years since the first Bourne adventure in Paris with the Jackal were not spent exclusively in commando and physical training. Also, this informal group seems to have trouble deciding who is in charge and how to proceed. Unbelievably the final showdown occurs in Moscow, which is clearly advantageous to the Jackal as he trained there many years ago.

There is a side story going on as well, with a group of former army junior officers from Vietnam, now prominent in the US government, military, and business, forming a murky Carlyle Group type organization to buy companies and assets. They have made millions in the process and will stop at nothing to continue. Bourne's group stumbles onto this new Medusa network and uses it to force Carlos above ground.

In reality, Carlos is still living in a Parisian prison, serving life sentences for 1970's era terrorist killings. He has enlisted the aid of the leftist President of his native Venezuela to promote his parole. Robert Ludlum is dead, but here things turn out differently. ... Read more


16. Body Double (Gerritsen, Tess)
by TESS GERRITSEN
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345458931
Catlog: Book (2004-08-17)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 2200
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17. Lost City
by Clive Cussler, Paul Kemprecos
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039915177X
Catlog: Book (2004-07)
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Sales Rank: 826
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Book Description

In the last few years, Cussler's NUMA(r) Files novels, written with Paul Kemprecos, have only grown more popular-and more eagerly anticipated. "Cussler's multitude of fans arrive at the table expecting a roiling stew of seafaring adventure, exotic travel destinations, cutting-edge science [and] a splash of romance. In White Death, they will find their expectations extravagantly fulfilled" (Publishers Weekly).

And they will find them fulfilled again in Lost City. An enzyme that will dramatically prolong life has been discovered two thousand feet down in the North Atlantic, in an area known as "Lost City." But why are the people attempting to harvest it getting killed? Why are the scientists in a remote Greek laboratory disappearing one by one? What does this all have to do with a body found frozen in the ice high up in the Alps? To Kurt Austin, leader of NUMA's Special Assignments Team, and his colleague Joe Zavala, it's clear they have their work cut out for them, but it may be even bigger than they think-in fact, it may be their greatest challenge of all. . . .

Rich with all the hair-raising action and endless imagination that have become Cussler's hallmarks, Lost City is an exceptional thriller.
... Read more


18. Final Beginnings
by John Edward, Natasha Stoynoff
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932128026
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: Princess Books
Sales Rank: 4578
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Book Description

Four families. One tunnel. And the survival of the country is at stake. Against the backdrop of serial terrorist attacks in New York City, psychic medium John Edward’s second novel follows the lives of four people and their diverse experiences with life and death on personal and global levels.

There’s the cantankerous Brooklyn police chief on the brink of retirement who lost his two sons in 9/11 and is assigned to the big case; the powerful Wall Street mogul who’s betrayed by his secretive family; the Long Island dad trying desperately to keep his cancer-ridden daughter alive following the death of his wife; and tying the trio together? A disillusioned psychic who abandons her self-imposed exile in Italy to come to the aid of her country and, acting as a spiritual sleuth, solves the eerily patterned crimes.

Drawing from his expertise in psychic phenomena, Edward spins a suspenseful, supernatural thriller that culminates in a midtown Manhattan tunnel where the lives and deaths of his characters converge. Reminiscent of the tragedy that is still fresh and deep in the hearts of Americans, these interwoven stories of love, faith, good, and evil answer the questions Edward is often asked by people all over the world: Do we choose the time when we die? Does everything happen for a reason? Do our loved ones guide us from the Other Side?

As with his previous New York Times bestselling novel, What If God Were the Sun?, this fictional narrative will strike an emotional chord with readers while sending a message of universal healing. And in the twilight moment of crossing over, the characters and the reader discover that the final end is really . . . the beginning. ... Read more


19. Just One Look
by Harlan Coben
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0525947914
Catlog: Book (2004-04-26)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Sales Rank: 4409
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Harlan Coben, author of the coast-to-coast bestseller No Second Chance, delivers an emotionally powerful thrill-ride of a novel that asks the question: How far would you go to protect your family?

An ordinary snapshot causes a mother’s world to unravel in an instant.After picking up her two young children from school, Grace Lawson looks through a newly developed set of photographs.She finds an odd one in the pack: a mysterious picture from perhaps twenty years ago, showing four strangers she can’t identify. But there is one face she recognizes—that of her husband, from before she knew him.

When her husband sees the photo that night, he leaves their home and drives off without explanation.She doesn’t know where he’s going, or why he’s leaving.Or if he’s ever coming back. Nor does she realize how dangerous the search for him will be.Because there are others interested in both her husband’s past and that photo, including Eric Wu: a fierce, silent killer who will not be stopped from finding his quarry, no matter who or what stands in his way.

Her world turned upside-down, filled with doubts about her herself and marriage, Grace must confront the dark corners of her own tragic past she struggles to learn the truth, find her husband, and save her family. ... Read more

Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read, but the ending is a bit muddled...
I finished up Harlan Coben's latest novel Just One Look. A page-turning mystery that delivers pretty well all the way through.

A woman by the name of Grace Lawson is living a normal life until she picks up a package of pictures from the photomat one day. In the package is an older print of a group of people, one of which looks like a younger version of her husband. When she asks him about it, he denies that it's him, but takes the picture and heads out late at night. And like all good mysteries, he doesn't return. Grace is trying to piece together what's going on when she gets a call from him asking for "space" to sort things out. The police aren't quite sure what to think, especially when Jack's disappearance is tied into a murder and a near-killing from someone who is expert in martial arts. The picture is the key, and they start to figure out who each person is. But all the people have either been murdered or have disappeared. The killings get closer and closer to Grace, and the race is on to find the killer and Jack before she's killed.

Overall, there's good suspense and action. The thread that ties everything together is slowly revealed throughout the book, but each revelation seems to bring a new plot twist that takes it all in a different direction. At the very end there's a number of things that come together quickly with a number of turns, but it all seems to be a bit muddled. Not exactly a feel-good ending, but still worth the read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Characters -- Confused Ending
Sometimes Harlan Coben reminds me of the great mystery/detective writer Raymond Chandler. Particularly this recent offering has similarities with "The Big Sleep." It is a runaway plot punctuated by very strong, but flawed major characters, lots of violent action, and complex plot streams that cross but never seem to connect. I enjoyed the ride, reading this wonderful page-turner. But, the ending is simply amazing and incomprehensible. The plot is a mad clockwork of unrelated and tangentily connected relationships that cannot be explained in the end. You know that a novel is in trouble when the characters have to talk to each other, or reminisce about what really happened to no conclusion for the final chapter. Like other reviewers, I am struck with the large number of errata. Misspelled words, inappropriate word usage, punctuation errors and shoddy editing abound. Shoddy spelling is amazing in a best-selling book by an esteemed author like Harlan Coben. I can't really recommend this book, other than for the experience of a fast-paced run through an increasingly series of plots that never really end or are resolved. Maybe, like the lead character, the author simply ran out of energy or strength to continue to understand or explain.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!!!
This book was very good. It had alot of action. This is the second book that I have read by Harlan Coben. I plan to read others by this author.

I highly recommend this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice start going slowly down hill
I have read all of Mr Coben's books and this is probably the least enjoyable.

I dont mean to dwell on the editing but its really terrible. The main reason I am writing at all to ask where is Myron Bolitar? That was the best series that I have read in a long time and why have you given up on M. B. Why does everyone want to fix what isnt broke??

4-0 out of 5 stars What causes a life to fall apart?
Grace Lawson, wife and mother, picks up her developed photographs at the local shop and finds an unexpected photo in with her family pictures. She recognizes her husband, as a younger man, in the picture. Later that night, at home, she walks in on her husband staring silently at the photograph. He is gone within hours and Grace doesn't know why. Her only clue is the photo, which she has to rely on to unravel her husband's life. But he hasn't run off to find an old love. Grace, her children, and her husband are now in grave danger because of this old photo.

A life can unravel so quickly, based on what we don't know about those we love. Sometimes it's just one thread that is pulled, as in Grace's life. Grace has quite a history herself. She was hurt at a concert before she met her husband and has had amnesia about the event. She must come to grips with her own past as she discovers her husband's.

Coben's characters are interesting and spunky. In this particular instance, he is able to capture parenting realistically in Grace. I picked up on the twist that I thought he was developing, but it was still fun to read because he didn't actually reveal it until the very end. Very good summer read if you're looking for a page turner! ... Read more


20. The Big Bad Wolf: A Novel
by James Patterson
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316602906
Catlog: Book (2003-11)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 2915
Average Customer Review: 3.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Alex Cross' family is in terrible danger--at the same time that his new job with the FBI brings him the scariest case of his career. A team of kidnappers has been snatching successful, upstanding men and women right before their families' eyes--possibly to sell them into slavery. Alex's knowledge of the D.C. streets, together with his unique insights into criminal psychology, make this mindbending case one that only he can solve--if he can just get his colleagues to set aside their staid and outdated methods. With unexpected twists and whiplash surprises, this is another brilliantly irresistible novel from America's bestselling suspense writer. ... Read more

Reviews (199)

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Alex Cross novel
Alex Cross has decided to join the FBI at a time when a villain called the Wolf is running a white slave operation. At the same time, Alex's former girlfriend has returned to challenge him for custody of their young son. He is removed from his FBI training and is put in the middle of the search for the Wolf, presumably because of his extensive police training and experience. James Patterson balances these intertwining plots in Alex's personal and professional lives with a deft hand. His short chapters keep the action moving, and Alex's family scenes show his human side. This book should please Alex Cross fans and should gain some new ones for James Patterson.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sex slaves
When Alex Cross finally agrees to leave the Washington Police Department to join the FBI, he has to go through a probationary training course, despite his expertise in crime solving. He can see that the FBI is stuck in a rut of old training methods, working strictly by the book and that, in his opinion, they need much more hands on street experience. Around the US and even around the world, young blonde women are being kidnapped to order by a gang of Russian Mafiya types with plenty of money and the necessary muscle to purchase these women "to order", by degenerates who want them as sex slaves. The list increases to include youths who are used and murdered to satisfy the criminal lusts of these madmen. Alex uses his years of hands on experience to help secure the freedom of several of these women, using people with great knowledge of computer hacking to enter the chat rooms of these monsters, who include well known and respected businessmen.At the end of the story, and obviously presaging his next novel, James Patterson reintroduces Christine Johnson, Cross's former fiancee and mother of his baby son Alex, who applies for and is granted custody of the child.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good thriller!
I enjoyed the heck out of this, probably more so cause I just finished "Sam's letters to Jennifer" and it did nothing for me. While this is not the best Alex Cross novel it was still nice to be back in familar territory! If you like the Cross novels you should enjoy this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Top two
My all-time favorite Patterson is KISS THE GIRLS. I loved this book up until the end. There was no conclusion. Hopefully Patterson is continuing this book and the battle between Alex and the Wolf. It was a page turner from the start. I would rate it as one of my top 2 Patterson books aside from Kiss the Girls, of course. Also try a book called "Bark of the Dogwood" for a really good read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent audio book
First, let me praise the audio recording of this book.
Both actors were fantastic. The first-person reading of agent Alex Cross was phenomenal and the other characters were also skillful and convincing. Audiobooks have come a long way. This was full-fledged theater.

Now, the book itself. Yes, it was cheesy. Yes, it was a bit dopey. But did you expect otherwise?
It kept my interest, it was fast-paced, it was everything I expected it to be.
Was it filled with cliches? Yes. Did the descriptions of Cross's family life grow tiresome? Yes. Was the ending contrived? Sure.
But it's not like you pick up James Patterson to read great literature. ... Read more


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