Camel Press, Apr 11 2011, $17.95
Magazine Editor Laurel Imperiole and NYPD Identity Theft chief Aaron Gerrard are on vacation in Florence, Italy. At the Uffizi Museum, Laurel accidently bumps into a man she assumes is an Italian. As she apologizes in Italian and English, she realizes he is Jeff Sargasso who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11.
Although Aaron and the museum Dottore security chief thinks she lost her mind but Laurel knew Jeff for a decade and was with his grieving widow Monica when the authorities presumed her husband was dead. Laurel recalls that Sargasso, an art dealer, was working on a nine-digit dollar sale of a masterpiece lost during World War II between CEO Alfred Hammersmith who also died in the WTC terrorist attack and billionaire MMJapan Corporation CEO Miayamu Moto. Laurel meets and pairs up with private investigator Helen McCorkendale; as they follow leads back to New York while dealing with Mossad operative Lior Stern and unscrupulous collectors. Aaron warns her to back off, but Laurel and Helen continue the hunt for Sargasso and the painting.
This is an exhilarating art investigative thriller with several neat twists. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Jeff and laurel bump into each other and never slows down. Filled with action, but containing a strong cast, readers will want to know why Jeff decided to be dead while Laurel obsesses over the case to the point that trust becomes an issue. Readers will relish Cathi Stoler’s taut tale of deception.
John Milliken Thompson
Other Press, Jun 21 2011, $15.95
In 1885 Richmond, Virginia, the body of a pregnant white female is found in the city reservoir in what seems to be a suicide. However there is some counter evidence nearby so the police investigate beause there is pressure to solve the homicide of Lillian Madison.
Nearing retirement, Police Justice Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson heads the inquiry at the same time Detective Jack Wren coerces potential witnesses. Looking into Lillie’s relationships leads the cop to the Cluverius brothers, Tommie the ambitious lawyer and Willie the steadfast farmer. Due to temperament Richardson believes Tommie the hothead killed his mistress in a fit of rage over the entangled triangle, but it is Willie who is caught in the trial’s crosshairs.
Based on a true trial, this exciting historical thriller grips the audience once the players, time and place are established. The story line uses flashbacks to tell the tale of the triangle while also providing a strong inquiry and trial. John Milliken Thompson will have readers pondering the issue of love of family as the author deftly examines how far a person will go to protect a loved one.