Savages (Savages #2) by Don Winslow

Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run a Laguna Beach-based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from their loyal clientele. In the past when their turf was challenged, Chon took care of eliminating the threat. But now they may have come up against something that they can’t handle — the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, sending them the message that a “no” is unacceptable. –Simon Schuster, 2010

Book Review:

Set during the late 2000s during the Obama administration, Savages’ short cast includes two drug dealers, a horny- rich-do-nothing and the Mexican cartel.  That about covers the character development. Each character is given a label and more or less stick to it.  The cartel says, ‘hey gringos, give us your weed or else’, the drug dealers say, ‘here take it, we’re getting bored with the biz anyway,’ but of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if the cartel was civil about it or if the story was told in a consistent style.

The cartel takes the drug dealers’ horny- rich-do-nothing to incentivize them into doing things their way.  Which does nothing but start a war with both sides fight for what is theirs.  Their pothead-plaything, their territory, freedom, etc.  Political commentary taking jabs at Republicans, Democrats and the Iraq War are sprinkled throughout the fast-paced tale that never quite answers who is the real savage is.

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Touch and Go (Tessa Leoni book 2) by Lisa Gardner

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices. Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go? This is the truth:  Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go. —
February 5th 2013 by Dutton

Review:

Why a whole family? Who knew how to grab them all so easily?  Where is the ransom demand?  What the hell do the kidnappers want?! When did this family fall so utterly apart? Are some of the great questions that swirl throughout the entire novel. 

The investigation of the Denbes’ disappearance, told in 3rd person, is juxtaposed perfectly by the human drama of the Denbe family. Told by Libby Denbe in first person.  Who while in captivity is forced to deal with the secrets that made her family strangers in their own home. Well before it was violated by kidnappers. 

The final conclusion is so convoluted that it will be hard for most to guess the answers till it nearly slaps you in the face.  In my case, I wanted to slap it back for its absurdity.  — Borrow it

Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Natty and Sean Wainwright have a rock-solid marriage and family. When their younger daughter falls ill on an overseas school trip, Natty rushes to her side. Luckily, Natty’s best friend from college, Eve Dalladay, is visiting and offers to stay with Sean to lend a hand in the Wainwright household. But Natty returns home to find that Sean has fallen in love with Eve. Natty attempts to start anew, but Eve is there to knock her down again. Then Natty receives a mysterious note that says Eve has done this before and the consequences were fatal. On a mission to reveal Eve as a vindictive serial mistress, Natty must navigate through a treacherous maze of secrets and lies that threatens her life and the safety of her loved ones.—Grove Press; 2014

Book Review:

The issues and trains of thought presented in Keep Your Friends Close are extremely relateable. Trying to be the perfect mother and wife. Having to do everything yourself, because no one can do it as good as you. Needing to create the perfect life to impress and prove everyone wrong or right. Eve took that perfect life away from Natty Wainwright by turning her husband Sean’s head.
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