Monday, June 4, 2012

The Sholes Key by Clarissa Draper

The Sholes Key is a real page turner. It's a book that reminds me of Whispers by Dean Koontz. I don't know if any of you read any Dean Koontz, but it has that same edge-of-your-seat thrill that I expect from one of his novels.

The Sholes Key takes place in London, and Clarissa immerses us in action pretty much from page one. Furthermore, I got so into the story that I actually felt like I was in Britain.  The dialogue carries the accents that you'd expect to hear when visiting there from America. As a fan of James Bond movies, I really liked this. When I finished, I was so impressed with the book that I did a little research. I guess that this is a book that's part of a larger series, however, it easily stands on its own. I'm definitely going to pick up the others.

The Sholes Key is a cerebral read. Now as a reader, you might ask why would I say that? One of Clarissa's characters, Sophia, is a genius code-breaker. And the kind of code that she has to break in this novel is similar in difficulty to the stuff you see in Dan Brown's Davinci Code. And if she fails, the stakes are quite high. You see, there's a monstrous serial killer on the loose, and he's strangling and mutilating women. And just for your information, this book gets gory. If you don't like gore, you probably will be grossed out by the book. But it's written so well that you might want to chance it in order to read a thrilling novel.

As far as the mystery in the book goes, Clarissa is an incredible plotter, using numbers and codes, and hints to provide just enough information, that you feel compelled to try and figure out the puzzle.  But when you can't (because it's hard) she does give you an answer at the end.  I got pretty close to figuring it out, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, right?

In addition, Sophia has a sub-plot working as a spook (this is a word I had never seen used before) in the British context for MI5 in order to stop a terrorist. It was refreshing to see a female in the role of seduction instead of a male (James Bond anyone?), so the plot is one of the most original mystery thrillers I've ever read. And Sophia is an incredible protagonist. She's gorgeous. She's a genius. She can cook. She breaks codes. She's a secret agent. She busts terrorists and serial killers and packs a gun and isn't afraid to use it. Wow.

The Sholes Key is a no-business, take off running, kind of book. I don't think there's a single page wasted, a single word that is used incorrectly, and everything means something. You think a detail is extraneous and she comes back to it later and you think...damn, why didn't I see that? And at its best, it's also unpredictable.

I give this book five stars out of five. I can't think of anything that I would add or take away. Way to go Clarissa.

Buy it on Amazon HERE

Mark it "to read" on Goodreads HERE

24 comments:

  1. Fabulous review. I agree. The book was a keeper.

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  2. Sounds terrific. I'm a Dan Brown fan, so this one would be right up my alley.

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  3. Clarissa will be happy to read your review! I have it on my iPad waiting.

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  4. You sold me. Will definitely check it out. :)

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  5. Great review! I can't wait to read this. It's up next on my Goodreads list.

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful review! I am always curious who will try and break the code before the end. I don't make them easy. In fact, for all my mysteries, the code comes first and the idea of the story comes later. I think you'll find the code in my next book fascinating too.

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  7. i'm a long-time koontz fan... BUT - in 'intensity', he refers to the antagonist using a 20-gauge shotgun to blow out some tires, at some distance! 20-gauge???

    perhaps he meant a 10-gauge?

    i'd even believe a 12-gauge, magnum, but a 20?

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  8. I read one Dean Koontz book and that was more than enough for me.

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  9. I'm reading it now, but haven't got to the gory stuff yet. I wouldn't even try to figure out the code, brain limitations and all. I do agree that Clarissa is so good at what she does.

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  10. Ooh this sounds good. And i was a big fan of dean koontz, back in the day

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  11. Well, that sounds interesting. I haven't done any thrillers in a while, so I'll give it a look once I work down this stack some (which your book is in).

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  12. Sounds like another one to put on my to read list! Thanks (:

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  13. Sounds interesting, but I really don't do gore. I'm a wimp that way.

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  14. Thanks for the thorough review. I'm a bit squeamish with gore, so thanks for the warning. I'm happy for Clarissa. I remember when she got the contract way back when.

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  15. What an enthusiastic review. when I love a book, I shout it from the mountain tops as well.

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  16. The book sounds great. What an interesting cover with the key scribbled out and dripping blood.

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  17. It really does sound like a great book -- and I know something about novels with secret codes, so I'm looking forward to this one.

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  18. Sweeeeet. I love the cover. Fabulous review, Michael. I'm definitely into "no-business, take off running" type books! :D

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  19. Great review! My wife loves Dean Koontz and I love Dan Brown, so it sounds like a win/win.

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  20. Great review! Looks like a great book, I guess I need to add this one to my Kindle.

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  21. Thanks for the review! This certainly sounds like a fast-paced book.

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  22. I've never read Dean K. but this sounds pretty good.

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  23. yay, for Clarissa, I know how long she waited for this. She's one of my most faithful blogging followers and buddies.

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