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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The Sting by Sandra Brown

29203612When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her. 
As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive. –Grand Central Publishing; 2016

Book Review:

The tension drains the longer the story goes on and the clearer it becomes that Jordie Bennet should indeed be shot, or at the least be arrested.  Not only for withholding information from a federal investigation, but for being an insufferable damsel in distress without a single good comeback line for any of Shaw Kinnard’s insults.  In addition to having the nerve to fall for him despite having no discernible positive qualities, other than being the male lead in a romance novel.

But don’t worry if that recap put you to sleep.  Every scene is repeated at least twice from another character’s point of view,  without adding a drop of new information, so you won’t miss a beat!

All of Brown’s characters do have well defined personalities and there are a few plot twists that just barely keep this book from being thrown into the fire.  –-(Low) Borrow it 

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