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China Lake by Meg Gardiner

China Lake (edition 2003)

by Meg Gardiner

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3301349,251 (3.56)21
Title:China Lake
Authors:Meg Gardiner
Info:Hodder Paperback (2003), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

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China Lake by Meg Gardiner



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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I'm not able to finish this right now - it's well-written and very suspenseful, but too intense for me right now. I need something lighter. Therefore, I can't give it a reasonable review or rating. ( )
  CatherineBurkeHines | Nov 28, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book, I could hardly put it down!
The suspense was built up throughout the book and their were some surprising twists towards the end.
Some parts of the story seemed quite far fetched which was a shame. But all in all a very good thriller. ( )
  26kathryn | Jun 12, 2013 |
A young American sci-fi author and part time lawyer, Evan Delaney, is looking after her six year old nephew while her brother is posted to sea as a Navy pilot. The boy's mother, who disappeared some months before the book starts, reappears in all their lives as a member of an extreme religious cult known as The Remnant. The cult soon moves from picketing the funerals of AIDS sufferers to more deadly pursuits and Evan's family and friends all get caught up in the mayhem.

I added this book to my bookmooch wishlist after someone posted the opening lines to the 4 Mystery Addicts reading group:

Peter Wyoming didn't shake hands with people; he hit them with his presence like a rock fired from a slingshot. He was a human nail, lean and straight with brush-cut hair, and when I first saw him he was carrying a picket sign and enough rage to scorch the ground.

Those lines hinted, to me, that a ripper yarn might follow. Alas, it was not, quite, to be.

Although it had potential the book missed the marks that would have made it a great thriller for me. Along with the religious cult there's action aplenty (although quite a bit of filler too), conspiracy theories and a rejected high school crush that turns to adulthood revenge-seeking on a large scale. There are even rabid animals and impossibly cute children in peril but none of it is particularly innovative. And I am heartily sick of thrillers that portray the police/authorities collectively as either utterly incompetent knuckle-dragging morons or awesomely invincible supermen. For the record this book chose the first option but as I find both equally unconvincing the other would have been just as annoying.

Once again, because this book lacked any compelling characters, I found myself being pernickety about things like obscure words used to show-off the author’s abilities with a dictionary and scenes that adding nothing but length. And these characters were just not interesting to me. The religious zealots were so over-the-top as to be laughable rather than scary. If you want terrifying religious nutters watch Louis Theroux’s 2007 documentary The Most Hated Family in America (about the people behind the military-funeral picketing Westboro Baptist “Church”) which sends chills down my spine precisely because the zealots are frighteningly normal rather than the caricatures that Gardiner has created. And the good guys aren’t a heck of a lot better here. Our heroine is frustratingly inconsistent (she believes the church members capable of starting a major biological war but not, apparently, of having enough skills to find out her boyfriend’s surname for example) and her brother is arrogant and seemingly incapable of having a coherent thought. Only Jesse, Evan's boyfriend, seems well-rounded and believable in the context of the book but as he gets most of the daftest lines and plot devices I'm not even that fond of him.

In the end the plot had all the elements a thriller should have but they weren't tied together well and without any great characters it was just a standard hero-saves-the-world-in-the-nick-of-time-and-despite-the-plodding-authorities book. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
The thing about the List Swap Challenge is that I get to read great novels chosen for me by Julie. China Lake is a great one too. From the very first page, Ms. Gardiner threw me right into the story.

I enjoyed the characters. I liked Evan a lot. She was the kind of person I would like to be friends with. Down to earth, witty, a bit of a smart ass but a heart of gold. She was stubborn and willful. Thankfully that tenacity paid off. She was the ultimate hero. Jesse, Evan's boyfriend, was a bit annoying at times. I'm not a fan of characters who are omnipotent, overly opinionated and sanctimonious. At times Jesse was the poster boy. Brian, Evan's brother, was a bit like Jesse. He carried himself in a way that showed he was in-charge and the authority on all. Truthfully, I thought he was a jerk. The string of villains Ms. Gardiner brought to the table were fantastic. All equally creepy and delusional. I particularly liked Glory who with time I thought could have been a great ally to Evan. And with Evan's guidance, a strong resourceful woman. And then there is Luke. I liked Luke a lot. He was well spoken, smart, an old soul. I hated seeing all the trauma he had to go through. Thankfully Aunt Evan was there to protect him.

What frightens me about this novel is how real it can be. How there are Christian zealous groups out there who can wreck havoc on the world in the name of Jesus. I think Ms. Gardiner wrote this novel in such a way that I experienced that terror myself. While I was reading this novel, I actually went on the Internet, searching for these kinds of groups to see how safe we are as a nation from them.

This novel was chocked full of surprises. With every page there was a new surprise. Every corner led to more mystery, more thrills. I had no idea where she was going or how we would get there. It was a suspenseful journey, one that left me breathless in the end. One that had me wanting more adventures with Evan. ( )
  ForSix | Nov 30, 2011 |
A new protagonist for me. Evan Delaney, attorney turned writer, has been given temporary custody of her nephew Luke. Luke's father (Evan's brother) is a Naval Aviator who is deployed to keep the world safe for democracy. His mother abandoned him because she could not abide the 'Navy way' of life. Mom subsequently joins a cult, which cult subsequently tries to kidnap Luke.

Evan and her paraplegic boyfriend Jessie- another attorney become caught up in a series of rather 'suspend your belief' adventures as they try to return Luke to his father, now back from sea and stationed at China Lake Naval Base in the desert of California.

The book becomes a combination of good cop/bad cop, Rapture meets Hollywood, biological warfare meets Top Gun. I enjoyed the story but found Evan's character really stretched my ability to believe any of this could really have gone down the way it is portrayed. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Jan 22, 2010 |
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Peter Wyoming didn't shake hands with people; he hit them with his presence like a rock from a slingshot.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451224558, Mass Market Paperback)

Evan Delaney learns that not only has her ex-sister-in-law joined a religious cult, but the unstable young mother plans to regain custody of her son and disappear with him into the fold of the fanatical group. But when murder raises the stakes, Evan is dragged even deeper into the nightmare.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:09 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When she discovers that her unstable former sister-in-law has joined the Remnant, a fanatical religious cult, and that she plans to regain custody of her son and take him with her into the cult, Evan Delaney is dragged into the nightmare when a member of the Remnant is found murdered and her brother becomes a suspect in the crime.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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