Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Unseen and The Lost Years

I'll tell you right up front, that both of these books should probably take advice from their titles and remain "lost" and "unseen".  Sorry, but with so many good books lined up for the summer, I was a little disappointed that I spent time on these newest from a couple big names.

1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found.

One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere, …but her body was never recovered.

Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies. All young women, many of them long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now.
Texas Ranger Logan Raintree and U.S. Marshall Kelsey O'Brien team up to use their psychic abilities to track down the killer. 
Together, Kelsey and Logan follow their instincts to the Alamo and to the newly reopened Longhorn Inn.  If the spirits of those long-dead Texans are really appearing to the victims before their deaths, only Kelsey and Logan have the skills to find out why.
And if something more earthly is menacing the city's oldest, darkest corners, only they can stop it—before more innocent women join the company of San Antonio's restless ghosts…. (from publisher's blurb)

There's just no pleasing some people . . . and evidently I'm one of them.  I'm not, generally, a fan of paranormal stories (OD'd on them in my teens), especially the current trend toward the vampire-zombie-freakish end of the spectrum. I'm a Paranormal Lite girl.  That's why I bought this book - Heather Graham's stories aren't usually too spooky.  But I found myself wanting more spook from this book.

The whole thing was rather bland and too easy.  The hero/heroine fall in love too easily.  The crime is solved too easily.  Although there is a strong plot foundation, she doesn't build on it.  There's no tension, either in the romance or the mystery.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars.  It's an easy, pleasant read, but it's not going to keep you up nights.

At its center of The Lost Years is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history.  Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found a letter written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever.
Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in.
Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. His wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. It is up to their daughter,  Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father’s death. Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archaeological treasure of all time.  (from publisher's blurb)
There is nothing "breathless" about this book - except me because I read the e-book while walking on the treadmill.  Maybe, again, I was too hard to please, but I expected more Dan Brown and less Encyclopedia Brown.  The whole thing was rather bland and too easy. (I think I've said that somewhere before.)  Perhaps Ms. Clark has become too familiar with her long-time amateur detectives, Willie and Alvirah, and forgets that readers may not be.  There were a ton of suspects, but none of them was fleshed out enough to distinguish them from each other. Again, no tension and, just a detail, it seems that a 2000+year-old document would need to be handled with more care than it was.  3 out of 5 - will appeal to Willie and Alvirah fans.


  1. Nice reviews, Tami! I'll be sure to stay away from these two. ;)

  2. Love your reviewing style-witty and to the point! Haven't read any of MHC's books in a good couple of years, but used to be a big fan. Disappointed that this one doesn't meet the grade. I got wind of it on the bookreportradio(dot)com over the weekend (a radio show I like to frequent with the attempt at sounding vaguely knowledgeable post childbirth, as they discuss a handful of books each week-check out their schedules and stations online). Wasn't quite decided though, but after reading your review, may give it a skip and jump straight to Sacre Bleu.