11. Lord John and The Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon - I'm sorry to say, it's happened again. :( Once again, I'm off of Diana Gabaldon's books. She's a good story teller, I worship her research abilities, and she has wonderful ideas for plots. And I think Lord John is a damn interesting character, in his own right! But Jamie Frasier is dragged into each of these stories, and that's all a little too emo for me. I'm simply not a Jamie fan, I guess.
12.Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson - I read this entirely out of curiosity. Once upon a time, a was a fan of Patterson's mysteries. I fell out of "fan", however, when the descriptions of violence and torture ran longer and with more detail than the descriptions of any other part of the story. Sue me, but TorturePorn is no more my thing on the page than on the screen. So how could a writer who knew no limits handle young adult fiction, I wondered? Quite well, it turns out. The story arc is a little weak, but the characters are innovative (genetically engineered super powered kids that don't act like mini-adults), the multiple settings are all equally well written, and the violence isn't there just because the author writes it well. I'm hoping the second book picks up with a story and an actual resolution of something, instead of all the set up that this book is.
13. City of the Sun by David Levien - Levien goes beyond the basic PI mystery by going into a crime that most writers would shy away from - pedophilia compounded with sex slaves. We know who committed the abduction, we know what's happened to the young boy, and we know that he's still alive before the investigator or the parents, but there's still a lot of suspense as to what shape the kid will be in when he's found. Unfortunately, Levien's background as a screenwriter takes over in the final scene, and good solid story telling is replaced by an over the top action scene that brings the cheapens the whole book. He's got some very interesting characters - especially the bad guys; and he knows his setting - Indianapolis. It's too bad the last thing the reader is left with is something from a direct to video action movie.