Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hanging By A Hair-Nancy J. Cohen

Hanging By A Hair Nancy J. Cohen Five Star Publishing, Apr 18 2014, $25.95 ISBN 9781432828141 Dalton and Marla Vail are excited to move into their new house in the Royal Oaks neighborhood. However, the couple runs into problems with their next door neighbor Alan Krabber who parks a boat in his driveway and begins construction of a fence on Vail property; both in violation of the Royal Oaks Home Owner Association's rules; which he as the pompous president believes need not apply to him but strictly enforced for everyone else. At a meeting to resolve the conflict, the home owners force an angry Alan to adhere to their constitution. The day after the tumultuous meeting, Krabber is found dead in what looks like a suicide. Palm Haven Police Department Detective Dalton initially leads the official inquiry, but is quickly taken off the case when the Home Owner Association incident between the victim and him becomes known. Though her mom designated her as Seder hostess for this Passover, which will eat up a lot of the hairstylist’s time; not one to sit idly when her spouse is a prime suspect, Marla investigates only to find several Royal Oak homeowners and business owners with a grudge towards the vile obnoxious Krabber. One of them wants Marla only to taste bitter herbs. The latest Bad Hair Day Mystery is an enjoyable, timely (with Passover just ending) amateur sleuth as marvelous Marla balances solving the case without too many knocks and preparing for the family horde to descend on her and Dalton for the Seder. The whodunit is entertaining with many viable suspects and red herrings; while adding depth and deftly interwoven into the plot are references to Passover including recipes. Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Argentine Trian -Allan Topol

The Argentine Triangle Allan Topol Select Books, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 www.selectbooks.com ISBN: 9781590791417 Former CIA assassin Craig Page lost his position as the agency’s director when President Treadwell needed a sacrifice to keep a scandal out of the White House. Distrusting POTUS and his advisors especially Edward Bryce, Page ended his relationship with his girlfriend out of concern for her safety and underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Instead of spying, Page drives racing cars in Europe. However, someone Page trusts, current CIA Director Betty Richards contacts him as his nation and a close mutual friend need him. While undercover seeking proof that Dirty War General Alfredo Estrada plans a coup d’etat, CIA agent Ted Dunn vanished in Argentina. Additionally, attracted to Buenos Aires La Nación reporter Gina Galindo, Bryce arranges arms shipments to loyal supporters of Estrada. The latest Craig Page CIA thriller is an action-packed tale; as the hero tries to expose the ugly history of Estrada during the vicious Dirty War so this brute loses support while also preventing the arms reaching him. Although the exhilarating storyline is much more straightforward than his previous missions (see The Russian Endgame, The Spanish Revenge and The China Gambit), readers will appreciate globetrotting Page’s South American escapades. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Promise In Pieces-Emily T. Wierenga

A Promise In Pieces Emily T. Wierenga Abingdon, Apr 15 2014 ISBN: 9781426758850 In 2000, Clara tells her grandson Noah about her time as a combat nurse in WWII. Clara explains she enlisted in the military and was assigned to the Women’s Army Corp Nursing Team where she helped the dying and wounded in Europe. Sometime after bloody D-Day, she and dying soldier Gareth meet. He dictates a farewell letter to his beloved wife Mattie and obtains Clara’s pledge to deliver the note in person once she is stateside. Back in America, Clara suffers from PTSD and feels inadequate to cope with the grief she anticipates when she brings the letter to Mattie. Still she made a deathbed promise so visits Gareth’s widow. Mourning her loss but grateful to the nurse who helped ease her husband’s passing, Mattie gives Clara the baby quilt she created for the children she planned to have with Gareth. Over the years Clara the nurse used the gift to snuggle newborns including her own. The latest warm Quilts of Love inspirational romance (see A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare and Scraps Of Evidence by Barbara Cameron) is a wonderful epic that the audience will enjoy as Clara provides readers with the highlight film of her life over the decades with the baby quilt serving as the key. Character-driven, readers will appreciate this engaging entry as some relationships never end. Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Intern’s Handbook-Shane Kuhn

The Intern’s Handbook Shane Kuhn Simon & Schuster, Apr 8 2014, $25.00 ISBN: 9781476733807 Human Resources Inc. recruited seventeen year old John Lago to join their company as he fit the profile of hiring only emotionally damaged teenage orphans. Like other young assassins employed by HR, Lago uses the cover of an insignificant intern floating through various companies requiring a hit by a professional killer working from the inside. As he nears mandatory retirement age of twenty-five, Bob assigns Lago his last murder to perform inside prestigious Manhattan law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke. BML caters to a special who’s who clientele known for a propensity for disappearing inside the Federal Witness Protection Program. At the same time Lago writes his Intern’s Handbook rules and values such as never forget you are the bad guy with no moral compunctions for his replacement to use or die young. After joining the law firm, Lago tries to determine who of the three legal partners is selling WPP names at “auctions”; as that individual will meet the same fate of his sales’ “products”. At the same time Lago thinks the Feds are closing in on him and the associate he loves Alice who may be the person fingering him to the FBI. With a nod to Grosse Pointe Blank especially an affinity with John Cusak’s Martin Q. Blank character, Lago’s actions, wry commentary, and rules and their explanations are poignantly amusing. The amoral protagonist holds the engaging jocular though violent storyline focused while surprisingly looking deep into the child is the adult; but in this case the children are expendable orphans filed away by society similar to expendable interns filed away by companies. Readers will relish this dark humorous twisting caper. Harriet Klausner

Illusion-Sherrilyn Kenyon

Illusion Sherrilyn Kenyon St. Martin's Griffin, Apr 1 2014, $18.99 ISBN: 9781250002846 With his Malachai father’s death (see Inferno), Cajun-demon Nick Gautier inherits powers that frighten him. He feels haunted by what his former girlfriend Nekoda Kennedy admitted to him that her mission was to prevent him from becoming the Malachai who ended the world. Desperate to not harm his loved ones and just be a normal raging hormonal teen even also while thinking of Death’s warning to trust no one, Nick turns to friends to firmly create a safety control on his powers. When Nick next awakens, he possesses no paranormal skills and lives in a different world. His parents are Cherise and Bubba; and demons and even his BF deity he knew in his previous life have turned into mortal high school students like he has become. Confused, Nick soon finds the mundane proves dangerous, but made more lethal by those he used to call buddies might be his deadly enemies and those who previously wanted him dead might prove his loyal friends. The fifth teenage Chronicles of Nick (see Infamous, Invisible and Infinity) is a terrific action-packed fantasy as the protagonist struggles to survive what he wished for. Filled with twists especially due to the radical 180 degrees changes in the protagonist’s relationships with friends and foes that leave Nick bewildered as to who he should trust and what to believe. Series fans will relish this strong thriller as Nick obtains a powerful lesson that he fears his epiphany came too late about not dodging your responsibilities even those you loathe. Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Midnight Witch-Paula Brackston

The Midnight Witch Paula Brackston Dunne, Mar 25 2014, $25.99 ISBN: 9781250006080 In 1913 London, Lady Lilith Montgomery watches sadly as her late father is lowered into the ground. She knows her opium using brother Freddie has become the Duke of Radnor, but she inherited her dad’s other title Morningstar the Lazarus Coven Head Witch though only twenty-one and feeling dreadfully unready for the responsibility. Her fiancé Louis Harcourt the witch renews his vow to die if need be to keep her safe and to help her protect the Elixir of Life from adversarial sorcerers especially the Sentinels necromancers. As WWI explodes, Louis becomes despondent when a distracted Lilith falls in love with artist Bram Cardale; leading to each failing to defend their prime security mission in life; leaving the Great Secret in jeopardy which has not happened in generations. The latest Paula Brackston’s bewitching drama (see Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch) is an entertaining WWI paranormal historical. Although alone in many respects, Lilith embraces the liberating radical changes that “the war to end all wars” wrought on English society. The engaging storyline contains some reiteration of Edwardian upper class behavior; however treks such as to war-torn Uganda provide freshness to the tale. Fans will appreciate The Midnight Witch as she hopes to follow her heart while also insuring the Elixir remains safe from those who would abuse it for personal gain. Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Word Exchange-Alena Graedon

The Word Exchange Alena Graedon Doubleday, Apr 8 2014, $26.95 ISBN: 9780385537650 In Manhattan Chief Editor of the anachronistic North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL) Douglas Samuel Johnson grieves the death of the written word as the demise of civilization. Instead of obsolete books, love letters, maps and photos, Meme devices are commonly used and the Synchronic company controls linguistics via their gadgets and the Word Exchange. Still Doug diligently finishes a twenty-six year old project with the third edition of the dictionary about to come out probably to the “Sound of Silence” (Simon and Garfunkel); unlike the second version back in the antiquated nineties receiving critical acclaim. At the same time of Doug’s latest triumph, his wife Vera is divorcing him. Doug gives his beloved daughter Anana pills marked as “Alice” to be used only if she is in peril before he vanishes. Ana and her NADAL colleague Bart search for her father, which takes them dangerously behind the curtain of Synchronic's brilliant insidious marketing wizardry. They also meet the rebellious Diachronic Society and eventually reach the ancient Holy Grail of language the Oxford English Dictionary office. However, they appear too late to prevent the pandemic “word flu” as the end of language without gadgets denotes the end of life (past, present and future) as we knew it. Extrapolating current communication technological trends (for instance, from print to electronic) into the next century, Alena Graedon provides a powerful dark dystopian future. The exciting storyline contains a strong message echoing Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” so be wary of the technological-industrial-government complex controlling thought through gizmos. Fans will appreciate the misadventures of Ana and Doug as they fall through the rabbit hole into a world which held the wake for obsolete print. Harriet Klausner