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Book reviews for "Wiltse,_David" sorted by average review score:

Published in Hardcover by Delacorte Press (1983)
Author: David Wiltse
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This is one of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time. I can not wait to read anouther one of his thillers!

harrowing!twisting!keep the lights on!
The Serpent, Wiltse's second novel, clearly begins to demonstrate his character talents that will later be revealed in FBI agent John Becker in his later books. Although a slightly twisted ending, the story development is first class.

Top-notch serial-killer thriller
If you liked Thomas Harris' Red Dragon you'll love this book. It's out of print (inexplicably) but track it down or get it at the library. Highly recommended

Published in Unknown Binding by S. French ()
Author: David Wiltse
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A very funny play
This is a very very funny, very touching play about four men struggling with life crises and the difficulties of friendship during their weekly tennis match. All the action takes place in a locker room and includes nudity, I gather. It was a great play and so very different from the thrillers by David Wiltse. It's hard to believe they were written by the same man. Talk about versatile...

A Grand Romance.
Published in Paperback by Dramatist's Play Service (1998)
Author: David Wiltse
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Who is this guy, David Wiltse? I started with his thrillers, which are simply the best, then read Doubles, a play, a very very funny play, then came to Grand Romance, another play and entirely different from any of the other works. It is a very touching memory play, extremely romantic and perfect for a smallish cast and simple set, I would think, but all it has in common with his other works is its excellence. Is there anything he can't write? Why doesn't the world know more about this man--or am I simply late to discover what everyone else knows?

Home Again
Published in Hardcover by MacMillan Publishing Company (1986)
Authors: David Wiltse and David Wiltze
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Home Again
I came to this book after having read Wiltse's incomparable John Becker series and his latest, Heartland, and was fascinated to find certain strong similarities in locale between Home Again and the excellent Heartland. Both take place in a small town in the midwest and both deal with a man who returns from police work in a larger world, but the way he handles the characters and the plot are both different and fascinating. This current work is a very rare combination of elements in a thriller, it is both exciting and strongly plot driven while also being heart warming and introspective. The relationship of the narrator and his father is poignant, as is the relationship of the father/hero and his best friend. A real surprise, a real treat. I was lucky to find someone with a copy. If you're not so lucky, buy it.

The Edge of Sleep
Published in Paperback by Berkley Pub Group (1994)
Author: David Wiltse
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A great book for fans of profiling and serial killers
John Becker is a man with a strange background. His childhood keeps him up nights, afraid of the dark. And yet, he has an uncanny ability to get into the heads of the killers he's asked to track.But this ability takes its tol on him. So when the FBI call him in, it's because they really need the help.

In this book it's to track down a killer they are calling Lamont Cranston, a kidnapper and killer of young boys. Only his profile doesn't seem to be working. Why? Because this is no typical killer. So while Becker struggles with his past and why he can't wrap his head around this case, another boy's life is in the balance.

This book, like Wiltse's others, has great pacing and keeps you wanting to urge the characters on. A wonderful ending as well.
Well worth the time to read, just be prepared to want more!

jon jordan

this book? OH YEAH!
I loved reading this book. I read the books "Into the Fire" and this one out of order. Now is this the faulty, complex and human hero that I have come to love. I don't read thrillers for goody-two shoes protagonists. We all have evil inside of us and whether we choose to act upon that evil thought or restrain ourselves is what makes us moral or immoral, IMO. Becker and Crist while full of fault are moral they acknowledge the dark side that resides in all of us. This is one good book!


Close to the Bone
Published in Hardcover by Vintage/Ebury (A Division of Random House Group) (14 January, 1993)
Author: David Wiltse
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Breathless, Disturbing Action Thriller
David wiltse's follow-up to his magnificient A PRAYER FOR THE DYING is a dynamite entertainment which reveals more and more about its landmark hero John Becker. What was implied about Becker's demons in the first outing is explained in more detail here, exuding dramatic plausibility and disturbing undertones. And Bahoud makes for a very worthy adversary, a man who's not too behaviorally different from the man hunting him. Bogs down a little in Bahoud's scenes with the handicapped Myrtle, and maybe Becker picks up his trail a little too implausibly at times. But the overall result is a definite winner.

Close to the Bone
Author David Wiltse must be prescient. A friend loaned me his copy of this wonderful book which is out of print (why?) and I was bowled over. It's about the search for a terrorist in New York City. Talk about relevant after September 11. But for all the adventure and plot (and what a great character John Becker is) he also has a very moving portrayal of a young woman in conflict with herself and her yearning sensuality. My only regret is that I didn't read it when it first came out so I could be rereading it now.

Like watching a cat stalking his prey
In "Close to the Bone" John Becker is after a different kind of killer, a paid assassin with skills nearly matching his own. The characters are vividly drawn by this expert of suspense. David Wiltse did it again with this book. Be prepared to hold on to this book with both hands and make sure your doors are locked. Excellent! Wiltse is truly the master of keeping the tension building

The Hangman's Knot
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (2003)
Author: David Wiltse
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Good read
I found Wiltse's The Hangman's Knot a compelling book. Good story, good action, very readable. It stands well on its own, but is even better as a sequel to Heartland. Billy Tree is a complex character, and I found him a realistic sort-of hero. The inter-weaving of the original lynching and the present-day plot made me stop and think about my own family and prejudices. It seems that I got a lot for my money. I recommend it highly.

Good sequal
I found Wiltse?s The Hangman?s Knot a compelling book. Good story, good action, very readable. It stands well on its own, but is even better as a sequel to Heartland. Billy Tree is a complex character, and I found him a realistic sort-of hero. The inter-weaving of the original lynching and the present-day plot made me stop and think about my own family and prejudices. It seems that I got a lot for my money. I recommend it highly.

You won't go wrong with Wiltse
Since abandoning his terrific John Becker series Wiltse has created another winning protagonist with Billy Tree. Hangman's Knot, the second in this series, has it all. On one level it is a mystery with historical roots, written seamlessly with thorough characterizations and a tight plotline. On another level it is a gentle but firm examination of buried prejudice in a time when everyone realizes none should continue to exist. Billy Tree is a comfortable protagonist - despite his frequent bouts with his own angst. This book doesn't pull any punches as it stays true to its theme. There are no cop outs here. Just a solid story well worth any reader's time.

Prayer for the Dead
Published in Paperback by Berkley Pub Group (1992)
Author: David Wiltse
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A Typical Psychological Thriller
This is a psychological thriller that introduces us to ex-FBI agent John Becker. It's one of those fast paced books that ensured that I was frantically turning pages in an effort to keep up.

John Becker is asked to have a bit of a look into some recent disappearances of some young men in the local area to see whether they are related. Becker, who is trying to enjoy his retirement, very reluctantly agrees and has soon linked the missing men through a common, yet obscure similarity. From here the chase is on to identify and track down a man who we know as Dyce. We learn a lot about Dyce quite early on, and follow along as he finds himself a girlfriend. This was probably the only part of the book that I had a problem with as the girlfriend is cast as a real desperate, so much so that she completely ignores some pretty weird things about her new boyfriend. And when I say pretty weird, I'm talking right out there, baby.

This is quite a typical psychological thriller with the usual extreme - dare I say it - psychotic behaviour by the killer accompanied by the odd flashback to his childhood to explain his present day actions. Becker's character is established, casting him as reliable in his instincts, but difficult to work with, particularly when fool superiors are involved. It's the sort of first book of a series that promises further development of a character who already has issues.

John Becker returns to the serial hunting fold when men mysteriously disappear. Flashbacks were a bit much. The mode chosen to murder the victims was gruesomely sick. I couldn't stop reading though.

Prayer for the Dead
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Be careful with this one, I didn't sleep for a week afterwards. So this is how John Becker got started. What a debut! I've been working my way backwards through David Wiltse's stuff, and I see he just started at the top and stayed there. Remarkably scary book!

Into the Fire
Published in Paperback by Berkley Pub Group (1995)
Author: David Wiltse
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Into The Fire
This was my intro to David Wiltse's John Becker series, and I must say that even though I enjoyed the book very much, I do feel I have met variations of this oft-told tale before. Wiltse is able to wring a high emotional reaction from the reader when it comes to all the interrelationships of the various characters, but this is just another story about a jaded hero chasing a serial killer. Fortunately, Wiltse does this sort of thing well, so even a formulaic approach like this is suspenseful in his hands.

The tension between Becker, Karen, and Pegeen becomes palpable; Pegeen is an attractive FBI agent who goes from being rather surly about babysitting a Becker on edge, a Becker lured into an investigation of serial murders that leave the bones of young women rotting in underground caves, to feeling a strong attraction for Becker the vulnerable, broken man. Becker's lover, Karen, is quick to pick up on the tension between Becker and Pegeen, and it also becomes something Becker's chief nemesis, a jealous, credit-grabbing superior in the FBI, can use against him.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to independent woman, Aural, on the run from an abusive boyfriend she tried to incinerate, who finds refuge with a travelling Reverend who performs seeming miracles of the laying-on-hands variety. Aural is smart and savvy, and quickly establishes herself as an indispensable centerpiece of the slick Reverend's act. She also discovers that the Reverend, despite having one lover already, would like to lay his hands in Aural in a non-healing capacity--but Aural knows how to work people to her benefit, and proves quite adept at juggling all aspects of her new, somewhat precarious, situation. It's all good, until the Reverend realizes she overshadows him at the healer's pulpit, and decides maybe it's time he get Aural's singed ex-boyfriend to come by and corral her. Strangely enough, all these events are simply pushing Aural towards the true danger, the disturbed killer Becker hunts who has wormed his way out of prison, and who likes to take victims down into the depths of the earth, down to his own brand of burning fire...

This becomes a race-against-time novel, where before that, some of the surprise twists reminded me of a better book: Just Cause, by Jon Katzenbach. I do like the fact that Into The Fire's plot kept evolving--and that all the characters efficiently share the spotlight--but there is not a lot here that is actually new or groundbreaking. The love triangles, the trickery wrapped around who is the true fiend, the finale of the hunt, down in a pitch-black tunnel system, all insert this exciting tale into a long line of like tales.

If you read thrillers, you will likely enjoy Into The Fire, and you will no doubt recognize all the familiar trappings. It is the character interaction throughout--Becker and Pegeen, Becker and Karen, Becker and Swann, Aural versus her torturer--that keeps the fire lit. I'm tempted to call this a four-star read, but I think of other four-star reads, and I must stop short.

don't redeem Becker
I loved, absolutely loved Prayer for the Dead and Close to the Bone. I was disappointed with this Becker book. I wanted more interaction between Becker and Swann and I definitely do not want Becker to lose his edge. I like my good guys bad and I am not happy with the watered down Becker. I read this book wanting the same walking on the line protagonist, but instead I got a "I'm gonna change my ways" protagonist. I feel that this is the same way John Sandford's Prey series has changed. Don't redeem our good guys, we want them real, frustrated and walking on the line between good and evil.

Still hot!
John Becker again, doing what he does better than anyone else in the business. This time he's after two villains, one of whom is a sort of stalking horse for the brighter and more fiendish of the two. A bright and gutsy young woman is kidnapped and Becker has to go underground, literally, to flush the killer from a cavern. This book was so steamy it curled my toes and straightened my hair.

Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (2002)
Author: David Wiltse
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Refreshing, engaging and intelligent
David Wiltse knows how to write amd Heartland is a great read. Billy Tree is a washed out Secret Service agent who got shot up doing his job. So he retires to safe, serene Falls City, Nebraska.


Falls City has more than its share of bad guys, horrid secrets and interesting characters. What I loved about his writing was that his characters drove the action. You understand or suspect their motives. Every so often Billy stumbles across another body and the portrait of small town America shifts again.

This is a very well written and well constructed story. Take the time and get acquanted with David Wiltse's other books. I know I will.

Heartland, straight to the heart
This is my first book by David Wiltse, but it certainly won't be my last. It is a fascinating story of a Secret Service agent, wounded in body and psyche who returns to Falls City, Nebraska, his home town on the prairie, to recuperate and find his spirit again. Terrified of guns after being nearly killed (and possibly killing his own partner)Billy Tree becomes embroiled in what appears to be a shooting of school teachers by a deranged student. I don't want to give away the plot,but it is a gripping story with far more characterization and psychological insight than in most such tales, and the writing is on a higher level altogether. I'm hooked and can't wait for the next Wiltse book.

Wiltse is back and he is hot!
After a hiatus that lasted much longer than any of us thought we could endure, David Wiltse has finally brought us a new book. While Heartland does not feature John Becker, it has a protagonist that will seem familiar in many ways. After enduring a terrifying standoff in which his partner was killed, Secret Service agent Billy Tree retreats to his boyhood town of Falls City, Nebraska to re-evaluate his life. An Irish-American who often reverts to a thick Irish brogue, Billy Tree is viewed as something of an outsider, even though the townspeople of this middle American, Small Town USA grew up with him.

The Heartland of America, with it's silos and pick-up trucks is a far cry from the sophisticated flavor we tend to associate with Wiltse's works. It is the perfect setting, however, for Billy Tree, who seems to be existing throughout this story as a man with one foot in each world.

The simplicity of life in Falls City Nebraska paints a jarring contrast to the complexity of the internal war Billy Tree is fighting. When he is called upon to aid the Sheriff in a murder investigation, Billy is forced to face demons he has been fighting to suppress. Readers of Wiltse, who will find this a familiar theme, will not be disappointed in the ease with which the author reintroduces this trait in the form of a new character. If you liked John Becker, you will love Billy Tree. And for those who are wondering if Wiltse has maintained his talent for that torridly sexual encounter his protagonist is capable of bringing to the fore, the answer is a resounding, "Yes!".

Heartland is a book written with the intensity and intelligence we have come to associate with David Wiltse. The plot is tight, the characters are vivid, the protagonist will win you over, and you will not put the book down until the last page. I read all night. Don't put this one off!!

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