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Second Honeymoon by James Patterson

Second Honeymoon Book Cover Second Honeymoon
James Patterson, Howard Roughan
Grand Central Publishing
February 4, 2014

It has been eight years since James Patterson and Howard Roughan published HONEYMOON, featuring John O’Hara, the tragically unlucky-in-love FBI agent. The appropriately named SECOND HONEYMOON is a somewhat unexpected sequel to that work, and it is a great one: a true potboiler --- and I use that term with the utmost love and respect --- with enough action, twists and turns to fill two books, with more left over.

SECOND HONEYMOON finds O’Hara’s job status resembling something that is less than a suspension but more than a vacation. With time on his hands, he accepts employment from a private party --- with FBI approval, of course --- who happens to be an extremely wealthy industrialist. Warner Breslow is the employer, and his son and newly minted daughter-in-law have been murdered while on their honeymoon in the Caribbean. Breslow does not have a great deal of faith in the investigative abilities of local law enforcement. But he is familiar with O’Hara’s skill set and, given that O’Hara is unofficially “between situations,” makes an offer that O’Hara literally cannot refuse.

Meanwhile, someone has started moving across the country from west to east in a seemingly random pattern, killing individuals who have but one thing in common: each is named John O’Hara. Sarah Brubaker, an FBI special agent who is a real up-and-comer, is assigned to the case, which becomes more and more puzzling with each apparently random killing. The killer is leaving cryptic clues at the scene of each murder, but they are more confusing than helpful, at least until Agent O’Hara’s path crosses with that of Agent Brubaker. It becomes obvious that O’Hara is the killer’s obvious target, but who and where will he murder before taking his final shot? It takes the pair a bit of time to sort it out, but in the meantime, more newlyweds are being slain.

Brubaker unofficially assists O’Hara in his investigation, and the two catch a break when they get a clue as to the identity of the killer who is interrupting honeymoons all over the country. The clue, however, gives them more than they bargain for, putting them at danger’s door in a way that they never expected. As for the O’Hara culprit, he is motivated by revenge against O’Hara for something that, interestingly enough, O’Hara did not do.

Meanwhile, O’Hara has revenge issues of his own with which to deal. The drunk driver whose actions killed his wife is about to be released from prison after serving a relatively light sentence, and he is having a difficult time reining in his own homicidal impulses.

Patterson and Roughan make for a great collaborative team. SECOND HONEYMOON picks the reader up and keeps things flowing right along. Another plus: despite being a sequel, it easily can be read on its own without referring to its preceding volume, though you certainly would be well-served by packing both in your vacation luggage this summer. As one might expect, romantic sparks are kindled between O’Hara and the feisty Brubaker. Hopefully, this pair will return; fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait another eight years for this to occur.

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I Kissed an Earl

I Kissed an Earl Book Cover I Kissed an Earl
Pennyroyal Green
Julie Anne Long
Historical Romance
June 29, 2010

Violet Redmond's family and fortune might be formidable and her beauty and wit matchlessa but her infamous flare for mischief keeps all but the most lionhearted suitors at bay. Only Violet knows what will assuage her restlessness: a man who doesn't bore her to tears, and a clue to the fate of her missing brother. She never dreamed she'd find both with a man whose own pedigree is far from impeccable.

"Savage" is what the women of the ton whisper about the newly styled Earl of Ardmaya albeit with shivers of pleasure. Born an English bastard, raised on the high seas, he's on a mission to capture a notorious pirate for vengeance. But while Violet's belief in her brother's innocence maddens him, her courage awes him . . . and her sensuality finally undoes him. Now the man who once lost everything and the girl who has everything to lose are bound by a passion that could either end in betrayal . . . or become everything they ever dreamed.

I Kissed an Earl by Julie Anne Long

A Wall Street Revolt Flash Boys

A Wall Street Revolt Flash Boys Book Cover A Wall Street Revolt Flash Boys
Michael Lewis
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever.

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think “Wall Street guy.” Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.

The Aviator’s Wife

The Aviator's Wife Book Cover The Aviator's Wife
Melanie Benjamin
Historical Fiction
Delacorte Press
January 15, 2013

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.

Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.