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on Jan. 13, 2013 :
This is the second book in the Poker Face Series, the first is Poker Face. Ms Sturman has created a little piece of her own world in a British setting, and the results are incredible. Unlike the first, this story plays more to Ruby's internal struggles, making it wildly different from the first one. I'm not sure what's left for Ruby to explore, though I'm sure Ms Sturman is!
This book has as much conflict as you could ever want in a thriller, legal or not. In The Puppet Master (Poker Face), there's little of the legal, but a boatload of conflict, almost all due to Ruby herself, though there are villains, more easily despised than dealt with, to spice up the mix. I found myself quite anxious through the middle of the book as Ruby, Danny and Alessi work through a major course correction for her, largely because I couldn't figure out how she would get through it. Also, I wondered what would happen next, since it was too early in the book for this to be anything but the appetizer.
The main course, so to speak, was fully satisfying, and relieved almost all my tensions, and the dessert was a wonderful strawberry shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream atop. You may substitute your own favorite; it will be as satisfying to you.
The cover by Ivan Waldock is great and helps tie the series together.
I read Puppet Master on my Kindle, where it was easy to read. Like Poker Face, there are British phrasings and word choices, hardly surprising given Ms Sturman's British heritage, but none of them were more than a small bump in the road, so to speak. There are some grammar issues, mostly missing commas, that may cause someone like me to notice them, but should not interfere with enjoying the story. I opened it using Kindle for Mac; it was fine there as well.
I recommend Puppet Master to any reader looking for an intriguing thriller. If you're looking at this after having read Poker Face, what are you waiting for? If you haven't read Poker Face, this story will still work, but references may not make as much sense, and the relationships will be murky, I think.
(reviewed the day of purchase)