Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#28: The 20th Victim (James Patterson)

I’m happy to say that I have a review of my latest read sooner than I anticipated. The last third of the latest installment of the Women’s Murder Club flew and made for an enjoyable Sunday of reading.

Lindsey, Claire, Cindy, and Yuki are back at it. This time the central story is about a well-trained assassin taking out drug dealers around the country and using a video game to hide behind. Like Patterson’s other books in the series, this novel does not just tell one story. Yuki is charging a teen driver as an accessory to murder for the death of a cop; she knows the teen is innocent, but too afraid to identify the real gunman. Claire is fighting another kind of battle in the form of lung cancer. All the while, Lindsey’s husband, Joe, is reconnecting with a friend from his past that is convinced his father’s recent deadly cardiac event was not a naturally occurring event. Together, the men search for the truth about the man’s death and possible murder.

The 20th Victim was not an earth-shaking read. It was exactly what I have come to expect from the series — a fun read when I need to escape from the pressures of life and just want to have a little excitement with some of my literary friends. Now I’ll just have to wait for the release of the 21st book in the series in order to have my next visit.

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#13: The 19th Christmas (James Patterson)

To end the week, I finished the next installment in the Women’s Murder Club, The 19th Christmas. (The 20th book in the series was just published in March, 2020.) Lindsey Boxer is back with her entire crew for another baffling mystery, although I did miss the interactions with Claire Washburn, the medical examiner who was “away” for the holidays working in San Diego.

This time, the women find themselves dealing with the mysterious Loman, a criminal mastermind of repute who is plotting a major heist in San Francisco on Christmas Day. The only problem is that there are so many leads on where the hit is actually taking place that the police force doesn’t know where to direct their efforts. With the rising body count during the investigation, it is clear that Loman must be found — and soon!

Cindy, the newspaper reporter, has discovered an illegal immigrant who has spent nearly two years in lockup awaiting trial for murder. All signs point to the fact that an innocent man was pinned with the crime by gang members who actually did the deed. Combine the false accusation with a flaky defense lawyer who took the family’s money and ran and you immediately see a hopeless case. Can Cindy convince Yuki and the DA’s office to revisit the case while maintaining her credibility and professionalism?

A visitor from Joe’s past makes an appearance as The 19th Christmas comes to a close. It sets the stage for future challenges for Joe and Lindsey. I’m sure Patterson will use this new development as fodder for another running plot line that will continue throughout the series.

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Divergent (Veronica Roth)

I tend to avoid getting on the bandwagon with popular series. It took me forever to experience the world of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games saga. Why? I didn’t want to get swept up into the hoopla of the popular experiences. By waiting, the books are able to stand on their own merit and my encounter with the written word is mine alone.

To that end, I dove into Veronica Roth’s Divergent this summer….and I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the series! The storytelling was engrossing and the plot easily kept my attention through its many twists and turns. Now I completely understand why Roth’s writing was so well received by the young adult audience.

For those who have no idea about Divergent, the novel is set in a world where people are sorted into factions — essentially a caste system — based upon skills that they possess. There are a select few, however, who have superior skills that cannot be manipulated by the sorting process. They are classified as the Divergent….and face constant danger if their status is discovered. 

The adventures of Beatrice, Four, Will, Peter, and the others will keep the attention of every reader. Looking for an exciting adventure story? Look no further than Divergent. Need a little romance in your life? It’s here, too! Hoping for something that raises questions about bravery and selflessness? Roth’s novel addresses these topics splendidly.

I highly recommend that you and your teen read this book! However, be advised that there are scenes depicting violence, warfare, sexuality, domestic abuse and death that may be disturbing for some readers.

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17th Suspect (James Patterson)

On my recent flight to Europe, I read the latest installment in the Women’s Mystery Club series, 17th Suspect. This time, Lindsey Boxer and her colleagues find themselves pursuing a serial killer who is preying on the city’s homeless population while also investigating corrupt police officers. Paired with Lindsey’s health issues, the novel is filled with uncertainty if things will work out for everyone. Truthfully, this read felt as though Patterson was beginning the process of bringing the series to a close once and for all. However, it is not ending immediately…..18th Abduction is on shelves now.

The pattern of the Women’s Mystery Club novels have become predictable, but I still really enjoy occasionally sinking into the familiar world of these quick reads. Now back to the bookstore to figure out what will be the next thing on my reading list!

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#3: Origin (Dan Brown)

Where did we come from? What is our purpose? Where are we going? These questions have filled human thought for centuries and now become the inspiration for Dan Brown’s latest novel, Origin. Robert Langdon returns as the hero of this fast-paced, intriguing page turner that you certainly do not want to miss.

A young scientist who is also a well-known Atheist claims to have discovered new information about the origin of life on Earth. As he prepares to make his announcement to the world, he is mysteriously assassinated in front of the luminaries gathered in the modernist museum as well as millions of people around the world. Was he killed by the Church in an effort to silence the news that would potentially shake the foundation of the world’s faith communities? Or was the murder ordered by the royal family of Spain? The story takes the reader through the beautiful, lush scenery of Spain while examining spectacular masterpieces from the visual arts and the world of science. With the addition of Winston, the scientist’s stunning AI assistant, Origin introduces a new type of character that is rarely encountered in popular literature — and results in a most satisfying reading experience. I found myself connecting with Winston’s computer-generated voice just as I did the human characters created by Brown. The novel really is one of the author’s best-crafted novels.

Don’t pick up a copy of Origin until you have some free time on your hands. You won’t be able to put it down until you reach the book’s final page!

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#8: Code of Conduct (Brad Thor)

I’m nearing the end of Middlemarch, but this week’s road trip meant I had to take a break. The rental doesn’t have satellite radio, so it was the perfect time to return to my old friends– audio books! I was entertained and intrigued by the return of Scot Harvath in Code of Conduct.

In this installment of the series, we find our former Navy Seal fighting an unseen enemy. A strain of Ebola has been weaponized and is threatening lives around the world. Set in Congo, Switzerland, and the US, Code of Conduct features exciting battles in humanitarian jungle hospitals as well as the streets of the Nation’s Capitol. Members of the federal government and UN dignitaries join forces to enact the most diabolical genocide the world has seen….and it is up to Scot Harvath to stop them.

Not only exciting, the book is thought provoking. In an age where biological weapons are a reality and international wars remind us just how small the globe is, Thor’s novel feels as though it could easily be plucked from tomorrow’s headlines. Once again, Brad Thor’s writing is riveting and doesn’t disappoint.

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#5: The Mozart Conspiracy (Scott Mariani)


It should come as no surprise that I would actually pick up this novel. How could I resist? The composer’s name in the title combined with the quote at the top of the book cover — “James Bond meets Jason Bourne meets The Da Vinci Code.” — had me hooked from the beginning. The Mozart Conspiracy was not everything it was cracked up to be, but it was still a nice distraction during a long week.

Ben Hope is a retired British Special Air Service officer who has been contacted by his former flame, Leigh Llewellyn. Leigh is a renowned opera singer who is quietly investigating the mysterious death of her brother, Oliver, while completing his research on the death of Mozart. The Llewellyn family has long been intrigued by the composer due to their father’s obsession with The Mozart Letter he obtained before his death. The letter suggests that members of the Order of Ra — a mysterious group charged with the destruction of the 18th century Masons — were responsible for Mozart’s death.  Oliver stumbles upon a secret ritual ceremony by what seems to be the continuation of the Order of Ra. The members of the group are willing to kill anyone who knows — or might know — about their existence. Leigh and Ben are now chased all over Europe as they attempt to expose the murderous group’s secrets while making sure they don’t die in the process.


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#20: Takedown (Brad Thor)

How is it possible that I have missed Brad Thor’s work? This author is definitely one that I am excited to have discovered through My Shelf project!

Takedown features ex-SEAL Scot Harvath and a rag-tag group of discharged veterans in an unexpected situation. Terrorists have attacked New York City again. This time, they have targeted the city’s tunnels and bridges — essentially cutting the island of Manhattan off from the rest of the world. While first responders are busy rescuing victims, the terrorists continue their plot and create havoc at seemingly unrelated locations throughout the city. As Harvath and his team discover that the locations are actually sites in an ultra-secret government project, the importance of stopping the terrorists becomes more evident. Brad Thor’s novel is definitely a page-turning thriller that cannot be put down easily.

After reading Takedown, I learned that it is actually the 5th book in Thor’s series featuring the character of Scot Harvath. I was impressed that the novel stood alone so well, despite making subtle references to past plots (which I assume are told in the earlier novels). The novel was an easy read and very entertaining. I’m not sure that I will read the entire series, but Takedown‘s ending certainly left me with many questions and a classic cliff hanger that are drawing me in to read the next book in the series. For more information on Brad Thor and his work (including a new series that begins with the first book released in 2014), visit his website at To see books in the Scot Harvath series in order, here’s a convenient list from our friends at Mystery Sequels.

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