Friday, March 30, 2012

Last Will-Liza Marklund

Last Will

Liza Marklund

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Apr 10 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451606928

In Stockholm, Evening Post investigative reporter Annika Bengtzon covers the Nobel Prize gala. American assassin “Kitten” arrives at the event. Using a silencer, she shoots five people, killing Karolinska Institute’s Nobel committee chair Caroline von Behring and Israeli prize winner Aaron Wiesel.

As Annika tries to call in her story but cannot get through as the lines are jammed, Detective Inspector Q interviews her about the woman with the cold yellow eyes who pushed her and stepped on her foot. He also bans her from disclosing what she knows about the shootings during the investigation. Behind schedule to leave the “North Pole”, the Kitten races to her escape locale before her cohort exits without her. Meanwhile placed on paid leave by her editor, Bengtzon investigates starting with the Karolinska Institute.

The second Annika Bengtzon investigative thriller (see Red Wolf) is an exciting but confusing tale. The storyline provides insight into the Nobel Prize past and present through Bengzton’s inquiry as readers learn of scientific intrigue to garner the awards. Fans of Scandinavian noir will enjoy the intrepid reporter’s Nobel prize investigation.

Harriet Klausner

A Deeper Darkness-J.T. Ellison

A Deeper Darkness

J.T. Ellison

Mira, Apr 17 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313205

In DC, former major Eddie Donovan is meeting his wife Susan and their two daughters (Ally and Vicky) for a stroll along the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. However, their fun ends when Eddie receives call. Not long afterward two Metro cops arrive at their home in McLean to inform her Eddie was shot dead in an apparent carjacking.

Eddie’s mom Eleanor calls Dr. Samantha Owens, head of Forensic Medical for the state of Tennessee. Sam used to date Eddie when she attended Georgetown medical school. That seems like a different life as now Sam buries herself in her work to numb the grief of the deaths of her husband and children due to flooding. Though she hesitates to deal with the violent death of another loved one, Sam travels from Nashville to DC to perform a second autopsy. She finds anomalies that lead her to believe the motive for the homicide had nothing to do with a carjacking. Following notes left behind by Eddie, Sam finds a string of murders in Afghanistan and the States as a killer observes her investigation.

With Taylor Jackson taking a respite (see So Close The Hand Of Death), J.T. Ellison introduces her myriad of fans to another super heroine starring a depressed woman who still is in the early stages of grief. Sam is a terrific protagonist as her flaws (crippling grief) and skills (mentoring the staff on forensics practices) humanize her. The whodunit is top rate as Ms. Ellison provides another powerful investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Silenced-Allison Brennan


Allison Brennan

St. Martin’s Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250005953

Seven years ago as a high school senior Lucy Kincaid met a seemingly nice man on-line. When they finally met in person, he proved to be a psychopath. He attacked her, but she survived while her molester died (see Fear No Evil). Since her assault, her ambition has been to become an undercover FBI agent exposing cyber predators. Her dream is about to become true as she has been accepted to attend the FBI Academy.

As she waits for the training to begin, Lucy works with her mentor agent Noah Armstrong; investigating the murder of Wendy James a high-priced call girl linked to Congressman Crowley. Lucy’s analysis of the murder scene proves correct, but only angers Noah’s boss, Supervisory Special Agent Matt Slater who does not want an untrained wannabe in the field. Assigned to a different case, Lucy concludes her investigation of the murders of several call girls and a social worker is linked to the James homicide. With her private investigator boyfriend Seth Rogan helping her, Lucy seeks the connection, Ivy, before the killers murder her too.

The latest Kincaid-Rogan investigative thriller (see Love Me to Death) is an action-packed thriller from the moment the heroine alienates Slater and never slows down until the final confrontation. Lucy has come a long way since her assault as she has strong instincts, but still lacks confidence about her skills that Slater plays on to demoralize her as he thinks she is unworthy. Readers will enjoy Silenced as Lucy struggles to ignore her doubt and follow her gut.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Truth Like the Sun-Jim Lynch

Truth Like the Sun

Jim Lynch

Knopf, Apr 10 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307958686

In 1962 young Roger Morgan ambitiously wants to make Seattle the in place in the Pacific Northwest. He successfully creates the Seattle World's Fair.

As the fortieth anniversary of the landmark World’s Fair is coming, septuagenarian Roger decides he wants to become the city’s mayor, which means defeating the incumbent. At the same time Seattle Post-Intelligencer decides to do a series of articles on the Fair and the symbol of the city that was created as part of the 1962 gala, the Space Needle. Reporter Helen Gulanos investigates the Fair and the "Father of the Space Needle". However, she begins to find corruption, bribes and other shady behavior on the part of Seattle’s golden boy including implications of a role in the cold case murder of a person ready to testify against Morgan. However, she has skeletons too involving libel charges that Morgan plans to deploy if necessary.

This is a super thriller that effortlessly moves back and forth between the Cold War era World’s Fair and the age of the Dotcom bubble bust in Seattle. The story line focuses on the backroom political dealings fueled by ambition that makes Lady Macbeth look like Mother Teresa. Although money in politics naively seems deemphasized (in fairness years before the Citizen United ruling), fans will enjoy the simmering release of information as we wonder whether Roger is an enthusiastic idealist or a brutal realist.

Harriet Klausner

Knopf, Apr 10 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307958686

In 1962 young Roger Morgan ambitiously wants to make Seattle the in place in the Pacific Northwest. He successfully creates the Seattle World's Fair.

As the fortieth anniversary of the landmark World’s Fair is coming, septuagenarian Roger decides he wants to become the city’s mayor, which means defeating the incumbent. At the same time Seattle Post-Intelligencer decides to do a series of articles on the Fair and the symbol of the city that was created as part of the 1962 gala, the Space Needle. Reporter Helen Gulanos investigates the Fair and the "Father of the Space Needle". However, she begins to find corruption, bribes and other shady behavior on the part of Seattle’s golden boy including implications of a role in the cold case murder of a person ready to testify against Morgan. However, she has skeletons too involving libel charges that Morgan plans to deploy if necessary.

This is a super thriller that effortlessly moves back and forth between the Cold War era World’s Fair and the age of the Dotcom bubble bust in Seattle. The story line focuses on the backroom political dealings fueled by ambition that makes Lady Macbeth look like Mother Teresa. Although money in politics naively seems deemphasized (in fairness years before the Citizen United ruling), fans will enjoy the simmering release of information as we wonder whether Roger is an enthusiastic idealist or a brutal realist.

Harriet Klausner

Stolen Prey-John Sandford

Stolen Prey

John Sandford

Putnam, May 15 2012, $27.95

ISBN: 978-0399157684

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension chief Lucas Davenport is determined to find and arrest the thin man and big woman who robbed him of $500 at an ATM and broke his wrist. He assigns his best detective Virgil Flowers to track down the pair. St. Paul leaders want Davenport’s team to locate the Naiads of the North valuable bronze statue before it is melted to sell as ore.

The case that garners media attention happens when the police are called to the affluent Brooks family home in Deephaven. A husband, wife, two daughters, and their dogs are tortured and murdered. The father Patrick owned Sunnie software that would make an ideal money laundering locale. .Three Mexican thugs come from their country searching for their missing 22 million. At the same time a computer gamer and his female accomplice tries to convert money into gold. Nothing comes together, but Davenport and his team diligently work the cases.

Nobody writes a police procedural better than John Sandford consistently does. The glimpse into Davenport’s home life humanizes the super cop; as does his need to incarcerate the two thieves though he will learn revenge can turn humorously horse sh*tty. The prime murder mystery is a cleverly devised serpentine whodunit that twists like a Mobius band. It keeps readers up late to learn what happened.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deadly Negatives-Russell Hill

Deadly Negatives

Russell Hill

Pleasure Boat Studio/Caravel, May 15 2012, $16.00

ISBN 9781929355846

In California, photographer Michael McSwain visits Bill Fosberg’s camera shop. Both are throwbacks to an era when a camera used film. Nonagenarian Bill worked for the San Francisco Call Bulletin and was a combat photographer in WWII; while Michael shoots B&W portraits.

Michael is euphoric when he notices a classic Leica M3 camera, which was made between 1954 and 1966. Bill says a friend’s widow brought it in so he can sell it to a thirty-five years old dinosaur smelling of dark room chemicals. The camera belonged to Aaron Sturgis who made history with his photos. Inside the original box, Michael finds hidden negatives. He visits Aaron’s widow Emma, who pleads with him to destroy the negatives before they destroy him. Unable to resist, he develops the film in his dark room. To his horror Michael realizes Sturgis captured American atrocities in Viet Nam to include a young soldier turned wealthy politician. Emma’s daughter Olivia persuades Michael to team up with her in a blackmail scheme, but psychopathic Skinner makes a move to extort the money but hides his agenda while thugs continue to assault Michael.

Deadly Negatives is an exhilarating hard boiled amateur sleuth thriller from the moment the “messenger” visits Michael at his home and never slows down until the final confrontation. Action-packed while also displaying a fondness for a by-gone era, readers will enjoy Michael’s escapades to learn the truth about what happened in Viet Nam decades ago that has made him a target of dangerous people.

Harriet Klausner

The Columbus Affair-Steve Berry

The Columbus Affair

Steve Berry

Ballantine, May 15 2012, $27.00

ISBNL 9780345526519

Columbus pleaded with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to fund a fourth trip to the New World, but they refused for four years until suddenly they agreed. Suspicious, he and his friend de Torres make it to Jamaica where they pray no one finds what they hid.

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Tom Sagan cannot accept how far he has fallen in disgrace since he filed a report on a war crime eight years ago that subsequently was proven false. He lost his family, his friends, his vocation and now he considers his life. Tom never reconciled with his late wife or deceased father after each cut him out of their life. The one that hurts most is his daughter Alle who demanded he leave when he showed up at the funeral of her mother and his ex-wife two years ago.

As he has a gun to his head, a man taps his window showing him a picture of a bound Alle. Zachariah Simon informs Tom, Alle is his prisoner and if he failed to cooperate she will be raped. Simon orders Tom to dig up the body of his deceased father, a devout Jew as he believes that the disgraced reporter’s renowned archeologist grandfather left him with Columbus’ secrets that would rock the world.

This is an exciting action-packed over the top of the Wailing Wall thriller that readers will struggle to put down. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Simon shows Tom his IPad displaying the threat to Alle and never takes a respite until the final confrontation. Fans will be hooked as Simon seeks much more than just Columbus’ secrets while Tom seeks his daughter’s safety as redemption means little to him anymore.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 26, 2012

Act of Terror-Marc Cameron

Act of Terror

Marc Cameron

Pinnacle, May 1 2012, $9.99

ISBN 9780786024957

In freedom of information databases, Jericho Quinn works for the USAF Office of Special Investigations; in reality the President deploys him as an “other government agent” (OGA) who works those scenarios in which the finesse of the security agencies fail and a hammer is needed; he and his OGA operative peers are the hammers.

Terror strikes have frightened the nation leaving many dead from suicide bombers and most people panicking. Allegedly loyal Americans like the Deputy Director of the CIA and a cop go on a mass murdering spree. The pending wedding of the vice president’s daughter poses a great target for terrorists. Security will be at its highest to include Quinn and OGA, but he is also on the government’s anti-terrorist assassination list.

With collateral damage an occupational hazard, the latest Quinn OGA thriller (see National Security) is an exhilarating and gory over the top of the Washington Monument thriller. Although the key players are stereotypical, the fast-paced storyline will excite fans who enjoy action, action, and bloody more action as Jericho terrorizes the terrorists.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dark Eyes-William Richter

Dark Eyes

William Richter

Razorbill, Mar 15 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9781595144577

Crying Mrs. Ivanova informs young Valentina Mayskova that the American Stoneman couple has adopted her. Called Wally, Valentina cries for her beloved Babushka before leaving with her new parents for the United Sates. She is raised in affluence in New York, but at fifteen Wally runs away.

One year later, Wally heads to Brighton Beach to learn more about her heritage. At the Miszic & Sons store, she receives a folder with her name on it. She finds the first clue to locating her biological mother Yalena since she left Russia. However, a friend with Wally’s fake ID as Wallis Stoneman is brutally murdered even as Wally searches for Yalena. At the same time her viscous birth father Klesko searches for the jewels stolen by her mother. As a mob boss, he has no compunctions about killing his daughter; just visit the morgue to see what he and his thugs will do.

Dark Eyes is fabulous suspense thriller that takes readers all over the Big Apple. Although why Wallis left her home is never explained adequately as she would visit her now divorced mom from time to time, Dark Eyes is loaded with action from the moment the teen takes the train to Brooklyn and never slows down until the anticipated confrontation between father and daughter on the mean streets of New York City.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Second-Last Woman in England-Maggie Joel

The Second-Last Woman in England

Maggie Joel

Felony & Mayhem, May 16 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781934609996

In May 1953, Great Britain is filled with energy for the future as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth is coming. Mr. Cecil Condor Wallis watches the gala from his home in South Kensington on his new television set. Family and friends are there also; as he and his wife Harriet host a coronation party. At precisely the moment that the newly crowned ruler steps on balcony at Buckingham while the thousands at the scene sang God Save the Queen and many more watching on TV, Harriet shoots Cecil six times. It took a jury forty five minutes to convict her. She was The Second-Last Woman in England to be hanged.

Nine months earlier, Mrs. Harriett Wallis looked forward to the future. Her spouse has a good paying prestigious job and their two kids are well behaved. It started when she hired Miss Corbett as a nanny to Anne and Julius. As she meets the kids, Inspector Harris arrives to talk with Cecil about Mr. Rocastle who worked at the same firm; he vanished after apparently embezzling funds. This is the beginning of the end for Cecil and Harriet Wall even while everyone is increasingly euphoric.

This is an enjoyable historical thriller that opens up with the murder followed by what led to the homicide. Harriet is like the rest of the country as life has begun to return to normal after the Depression and war, and the pending coronation brings fervor of renewal. Although the storyline never matches the opening psychological suspense, fans will enjoy reading this engaging tale wanting to know why.

Harriet Klausner

White Lies-Jeremy Bates

White Lies

Jeremy Bates

Oceanview, May 7 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781608090488

In a torrential downpour, Katrina Burton drives the curving road through the cascades to Leavenworth, Washington where she has been hired to teach high school English. Feeling sorry for a soaked hitchhiker, she picks him up though her brain screams not to. However, she becomes frightened by his drunken nastiness so she lies about her destination before throwing him out of her vehicle.

At Leavenworth High School, Kat meets her hitchhiker Zach Marshall, who also teaches there. Fearing Zach, Kat begins spinning a web of lies while he manipulates her and others. At the hardware store, Kat and Jack Reeves meet. He comes to her faculty party that Zach maneuvered for her to host at her rented cabin. Attracted to Jack, Kat feels he may be able to liberate her from her nightmare. Jack roughs Zach in a confrontation at the party that the intoxicated latter caused. Soon afterward, Jack loses control and in a rage kills the elderly owner of the cabin Charlie. He demands Kat help him cover-up the death.

Filled with suspense, the heroine learns Sir Walter Scott’s mantra (in Marmion): “Oh what a tangled web we weave; when first we practice to deceive”. – Fast-paced, the tense thriller grips readers as the beleaguered Kat learns to obtain background checks on males if she lives long enough to meet another man. Although readers will need to ignore their plausibility meter, White Lies is an exhilarating taut tale.

Harriet Klausner

Vengeance is Mine-Douglass Mackinnon

Vengeance is Mine

Douglass Mackinnon

Threshold Editions, May 1 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451640977

Two decades ago in Moscow’s Lubyanka Prison, KGB Colonel Vladimir Ivanchenko tortured and killed pregnant Irena for giving test information from the Sary Shagan Proving grounds to her American boyfriend CIA operative Ian Wallace. Ian was tortured and in chains when Ivanchenko brutally murdered his beloved and their unborn. Shocked and filled with remorse, Ian escapes from the cell, Moscow and the CIA.

In Boston where Ian works as a private investigator, CIA agent and friend Phil Andrews approaches him with a Glock out to tell him that the Firm needs his help. They want him to baby-sit an Ivan scientist defector Barkagan as the Russian Mafia has sent to Boston their top international assassin former KGB Colonel Vladimir Ivanchenko. His partner will be Kathy Donahue, but this is one mission he personalized.

This is an exciting thriller starring an interesting protagonist who prefers the cold of the field rather than the desks filled with politically correct suits. When the storyline focuses on what happened twenty years ago, and the present day Ivan protection and the Vengeance Is Mine solo theme, the plot is terrific. When Ian pontificates with a zillion conservative talking points, the flow is disrupted as these asides mostly are not interwoven into the action. Still even coffee drinkers will root for the “Dirty Harry” hero to kick KGB Mafia butt.

Harriet Klausner

Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders-Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders

Gyles Brandreth

Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, May 8 2012, $14.00

ISBN 9781439153734

In 1892, suffering from exhaustion on account of his publisher demanding he respond to all the letters sent to Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wonders if fame and fortune is worth the cost. Needing R&R, Holmes takes a ten day respite at a spa in Homburg, Germany though the notes to Holmes come with him. When the popular writer enters his hotel, he encounters Oscar Wilde who should be in Mayfair not in the foothills of the Taunaus Mountains.

Oscar offers to assist Holmes with the letters that came with Arthur on his respite. The pair finds much more than correspondence as some of the envelopes postmarked Rome contain a severed finger with a papal ring and a hand. Realizing that Doyle has been macabrely requested to come to Rome, he and Wilde travel to Italy to learn why and who owned the ringed finger.

The latest Oscar Wilde amateur sleuth (see Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders, and Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers) is an entreating whodunit that has the protagonist and his Watsonian sidekick investigating Vatican murders. Fast-paced from the moment the two Brits meet in Germany, fans will enjoy this entertaining late Victorian whodunit although the denouement is not quite as strong as the jaunty journey getting to the solution.

Harriet Klausner

Red Cell-Mark Henshaw

Red Cell

Mark Henshaw

Simon & Schuster /Touchstone, May 1 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9781451661934

When the CIA mission in Venezuela turned ugly, field agent Kyra Stryker is reassigned to a desk job at Langley in the Red Cell unit. Her transfer doubles the number of agents working there. Kyra finds her new associate Jonathan Burke an unwelcoming acrimonious visionary strategic thinker. His record is impeccable when it comes to analysis as his suggested outcomes are always correct; but his gruff lack of political correctness alienates the politicians running the agency, the White House and the Congress.

In Taiwan, a raid on mainland spies turns ugly, angering the Chinese government and people. China prepares to retaliate with an all-out invasion without any trepidation that the American navy will do anything even though The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier is in the Taiwan Strait. CIA Director Kathy Cooke assigns her Red Cell duo to uncover out why the China leaders feel immune from any American retaliation. To do so they need information from in Beijing, Chinese CIA spy Pioneer who cannot help as he under vigilant watch. Stryker and Burke know they need to get him out of China safely in order to prevent a war.

The key to this great espionage thriller is the three governments (politicians, military officers, spies and analysts) make the escalating hostilities seem genuine. Fast-paced from the opening scene in Venezuela followed by nineteen days of super action, fans will enjoy the confrontation over Taiwan. Red Cell will be on most lists as one of the best espionage thrillers of the year.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Powers of Arrest-Jon Talton

Powers of Arrest

Jon Talton

Poisoned Pen, May 1 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9781590589991

Having had a tumor removed from his spinal cord (see Pain Nurse), former Cincinnati homicide detective turned police public information officer Will Borders uses a cane to walk. Taking a walk on the Miami University campus, former Cincinnati Memorial Hospital Pain Nurse Specialist turned Professor Cheryl Beth Wilson sees a crowd including cops around two of her now dead students; a third student Noah is the prime suspect. Homicide detective Dodds asks Will to investigate a cop murder similar to that on the campus; and also tells his ex-partner to date cute Cheryl Beth. Will says he is a cripple so cannot do either, but will make inquiries on the homicide.

Though she knows better, Cheryl Beth investigates by thinking what her former patient would do. Her effort leads her to Will. The pair shares an attraction and deep abiding loneliness. They become lovers with hesitancy about their future. Meanwhile the serial killer observes the amateur sleuth and the crippled cop with glee, bragging about creating “deathscapes” starring the duet.

The second Cincinnati Casebook mystery is a superb whodunit starring two wary wounded warriors and a vile violent villain. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the sensational sightseeing of Cincinnati with Cheryl Beth and Will as our tour guides.

Harriet Klausner

Fatal Induction-Bernadette Pajer

Fatal Induction

Bernadette Pajer

Poisoned Pen, May 1 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 978-1590586129

In 1901 University of Washington Electrical Engineering Professor Benjamin Bradshaw believes he is a sure shot to win the competition to create a telephonic system that will transmit music from the Seattle Grand Theater to homes throughout Seattle. Bradshaw finds Ralph’s abandoned wagon behind his house. He ponders where the peddler of miracle elixirs (and maybe deadly poisons) and his daughter went, but his musings are interrupted with news that President McKinley was assassinated.

The police show no interest in a missing child or a potential homicide case. So curious and unable to accept the national tragedy as real, Bradshaw tracks the trail left behind by the girl who the professor thinks may have witnessed a killing. As he enters the Tenderloin section, Seattle’s seediest side, he concludes to save the child’s life, he must do something drastic. Thus Bradshaw modifies his contest entry to catch a murderous predator.

The second Professor Bradshaw historical amateur sleuth (see A Spark of death) is a superb whodunit in which Bernadette Pajer uses the assassination of the president to anchor her storyline in 1901. Part of the fun is observing communication technological breakthroughs and the hero conjecturing what will come over the next century or so. The mystery is strong, but that supports a powerful poignant period piece as Ms. Pajer escorts her audience to Seattle circa 1901.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don’t Die Under The Apple Tree-Amy Patricia Meade

Don’t Die Under The Apple Tree

Amy Patricia Meade

Kensington, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758267580

During World War II, thirtyish Mrs. Rosie O'Doyle Keefe works as a riveter at the Pushey Shipyard in Brooklyn. The work is demanding especially on petite Rosie. The men despise women doing physical labor at their shipyard as they believe the females could never do a man’s job and will drive down wages. Rosie gets into an altercation with heater Hansen. Foreman Finch fires Rosie as he has a dozens of women ready to replace her while he has no one to match Hansen’s skills. She pleads with him as she cares for her widow sister and baby niece. He agrees to keep her on board if she meets his personal job requirement. She escapes his grab, but is unemployed.

After she leaves, someone kills Finch. Police lieutenant Jack Riordan investigates the homicide in which his supervisor gives him five days to make an arrest. Rosie, knowing she is the prime suspect, also makes inquiries and soon learns many of the seventy or so employees had strong reasons to kill Finch.

As Marjorie McClelland (see Black Moonlight) takes a respite, Amy Patricia Meade introduces readers to her new Rosie the Riveter series. The storyline takes readers back to WWII in New York City where male chauvinism rules yet women prove to be an equal partner in the greatest generation as they perform a "men only" job; setting the stage for their daughters to "come a long way baby" by breaking down glass barriers. Rosie is a great protagonist and the whodunit cleverly devised. However, it is 1940s mostly Brooklyn that come incredibly alive as armchair warriors will believe they have traveled back to where the women’s equal rights movement took hold in society.

Harriet Klausner

Citycide-Gary Hardwick


Gary Hardwick

HardBooks, Mar 5 2012

ISBN: 9780972480468

In dying Detroit, an assailant assassinates hooker Rashindah Watson as she sits in her car with her gay best friend Quinten Forrester. He escapes the hit. Special crimes Chief Yvette Riddeaux assigns the murder inquiry to detectives Danny Cavanaugh and Erik Brown. They head to Rashindah’s apartment only to see it on fire. Unable to sleep, Danny uses a street contact to track down the witness only to end up in a deadly shootout with Rakeif Simms; Forrester is dead too.

Riddeaux announces the case closed, but dedicated Danny thinks otherwise as someone hired Simms a two bit felon. As he continues to investigate Mayor Patterson orders Police Chief Tony Hill (see Cold Medina) to tell Danny to drop the case or else. Soon all hell breaks out as the mayor’s seemingly illegal use of his office has him defended by attorney Marshall Jackson (see Supreme Justice) against criminal charges prosecuted by Jesse King (see Double Dead) . Meanwhile, Danny continues his investigation.

Filled with twists involving high level cover-ups, drug trafficking, sex peddling and questionable federal surveillance, aptly titled Citycide is a terrific Motown police procedural. Danny being white but growing up in the inner city is an interesting protagonist as he loves his endangered city almost as much as he loves his beautiful African American princess Vinny the ex-cop turned lawyer. Fast-paced, readers will relish Danny’s tour of the mean streets of Detroit as he refuses to accept the politicians’ obit that his hometown is already dead; they just have not announced the wake.

Harriet Klausner

The Lost Years-Mary Higgins Clark

The Lost Years

Mary Higgins Clark

Simon & Schuster, Apr 3 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9781451668865

In 1474 A.D. Pope Sixtus IV ordered the destruction of the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment; the only known letter written by Jesus, because he believes the document was a fake. Instead it was snuck out of the Vatican and disappeared for over five centuries.

In the current day, Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the original Arimathea Parchment. He obtains affirmation from peers and shows it proudly to close friends. Jonathan’s twenty something daughter Mariah comes home to find her father dead from a bullet in the head and her mom Kathleen, suffering from Alzheimer’s, inside a closet holding the murder weapon and blood splattered all over her. The police believe Kathleen murdered her husband because in her lucid moments she knew Jonathan was having an affair and there are times when she is violent. While her mom is locked away in a psych ward, initially a depressed Mariah accepts the horrid conclusion that her mom killed her dad, but once the fog lifts from her mind, she logically begins to wonder whether the motive was the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment.

Once again Mary Higgins Clark affirms why she is the “Queen of Suspense” with this exciting biblical archeological thriller. The evidence points increasingly towards her mom as the murderer, but with help from friends Wiley and Alvirah, the dispirited heroine starts to find other viable suspects as she seeks someone filled with pride and avarice; but even then Mariah still lacks proof. Ms. Clark has another winner for her readers to enjoy getting us there with this entertaining taut tale in which the suspense spins from family violence to biblical archeological violence.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kings of Midnight-Wallace Stroby

Kings of Midnight

Wallace Stroby

Minotaur, Apr 10 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9781250000378

Career felon Crissa Stone needs a big score to get out of the criminal business so she can regain custody of her child and arrange for her lover’s parole. However, her latest gig falls apart when her two partners Rory and Hollis turn avaricious and kill each other. Crissa flees from the deadly scene.

In the Fed’s Protection program, retired gangster Benny Roth works at Café Milan in Indiana using the name Leonard when two New Yorkers, Danny Taliferro and his nephew Frank Long, arrive. They make the sexagenarian go to his home where his twenty-something girlfriend Marta is being held by a third hood Dominic. They want Benny to lead them to cancer victim mob boss Joey Dio who hid millions from the Lufthansa theft over three decades ago that Roth was part of. Benny insists most of them were paid in death as he was lucky to survive and never got any of the loot. Benny turns the table on the trio and flees with Marta. As a raging Taliferro and his cohorts pursue Benny, he hooks up with Crissa to find Dio’s stash.

The latest Stone crime caper (see Cold Shot to the Heart) is a great tale that combines the real 1978 Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the motivation to a present day cat and mouse chase. The storyline with the emphasis on the PDCA (plan, do, check and act) methodology of criminals will remind readers of Donald E. Westlake’s Dortmunder tales (see Get Real and Watch Your Back) though without the humor. Loaded with action but driven by Crissa and her two new partners, fans will appreciate this taut thriller.

Harriet Klausner

A Woman of Consequence: The Investigations of Miss Dido Kent- Anna Dean

A Woman of Consequence: The Investigations of Miss Dido Kent

Anna Dean

Minotaur, Apr 10 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312626846

In 1806 at her brother’s Badleigh Vicarage, Miss Dido Kent writes to her sister Eliza that gentle Penelope Lambe fell hurting her head while visiting Madderstone Abbey; where allegedly the Grey Nun ghost haunts the ruins. Penelope insists that she glimpsed the Grey Nun before her fall.

Although she assumes the injury led to a delusional belief, a curious Miss Kent travels to Madderstone to investigate. There a skeleton lies at the bottom of a pool. Although she anticipates the arrival of her suitor Mr. William Lomax and knows that he, as well as her brother and ill-tempered sister-in-law, will discourage her from her investigation; but the curious Miss Kent looks into the human remains found at Madderstone Abbey.

The third wonderful Anna Dean Regency amateur sleuth (see Bellfield Hall and A Gentleman of Fortune) is once again much more than just a Regency whodunit as Miss Kent’s observations, suspicions and deductions make for a delightful period piece. Character driven by the heroine with a strong support cast, readers will enjoy this exciting distinctively colorful historical mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 19, 2012

Deadline-Fern Michaels


Fern Michaels

Kensington, Apr 24 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758266040

In California, Sophie performs a séance for the state’s First Lady who needs to contact her assassinated uncle. Afterward Toots and the three Godmothers (Sophie, Ida, and Mavis) learn that two people are missing. They are Toots’ stepson entertainment lawyer Chris Clay and actress Laura Leigh have vanished. They were reported seen together.

Toots daughter Abby, editor in chief of the tabloid Informer (bought incognito by her mom), investigates for her paper and because she likes Chris. The four golden girls abetted by friends ranging from the streets to the governor’s mansion make inquiries too as they each love Chris. Back in Georgia, long time housekeeper and friend Bernice needs by-pass surgery.

The Steel Magnolia middle age version of the Sisterhood is a fun but extremely thin thriller as the ensemble cast limits any depth since each of the fearsome female foursome frolic with small personal growth. Still fans of the series will wonder what the Scoop is re Chris and Laura as like Toots and the Godmothers they hope he and Abby make it.

Harriet Klausner

A Teeny Bit of Trouble-Michael Lee West

A Teeny Bit of Trouble

Michael Lee West

Minotaur, Apr 10 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312571238

In Charleston, South Carolina Barb Philpot calls pastry chef Teeny Templeton to tell her to stop spying on her as lawyer Coop O’Malley is still hers. Teeny is upset as Coop is her boyfriend just like he was in high school until Barb stole him. Though she shouldn’t Teeny goes to Barb’s house in Bonaventure where she lives with her pharmacist husband Lester and their ten years old child Emerson, who might be Coop’s offspring. She witnesses “Bill Clinton” murdering Barb. As she hides from the masked killer, the body vanishes.

The corpse resurfaces with what appears to be a suicide. No one believes Teeny as she makes inquiries with the help of her family and Emerson. Other deaths follow as Teeny wonders if a family member or an illegal chop shop is behind the homicides; as important to her is Coop’s secret.

The second zany Teeny Templeton amateur sleuth mystery (see Gone with a Handsomer Man) is a terrific insane regional mystery that starts off with Teeny caught doing surveillance of Barb as lies fly. Filled with twists, fans will enjoy this madcap regional whodunit (murdering and siring) as the baker lands into plenty of banana pudding.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Perla-Carolina De Robertis


Carolina De Robertis

Knopf, Mar 27 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307599599

In 2001 in the Buenos Aires area, twenty two years old college coed Perla Correa is alone house-sitting while her parents are on vacation. Perla recently ended her relationship with Gabriel the journalist when he began looking into her family history as he thinks she was one of the stolen ones.

A naked man invades her home. Although she knows she should be frightened of the intruder, Perla finds herself fascinated with him. As she ignores school and friends, over the next few days he tells her that his life ended during the “Dirty War” when he was abducted leaving behind his beloved pregnant wife. As he relates his story of horror, increasingly Perla wonders who she really is as she examines her parents during the Dirty War state sponsored terrorism as her dad was a high-ranking military officer and her mom was at his side.

Perla is a haunting tale of identity lost maybe forever; as three decades have passed since the Argentina reign of terror, but the aftermath of the horrors still impacts the country. Character driven by the title character who needs to know the truth and the living “ghost” who knows his truth, readers will appreciate this heart-wrenching tale.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hiding in Plain Sight-Amy Wallace

Hiding in Plain Sight

Amy Wallace

Harvest House, Apr 1 2012, $13.99

ISBN 9780736947312

With her older brother Eric’s death still haunting her, Ashley Walters left the Gwinnett County police force to take a law enforcement position with the Montezuma, Georgia police department. She hopes the Mennonite community will help renew her lost faith in God; which died when Eric died.

On night patrol, Ashley catches thirteen year old Bradley Yoder breaking into a grocery. His family led by his Uncle Jonathan arrives to bring the teen home. Counselor Patrick James tries to help the emotionally hurting Bradley. Meanwhile both male adults are interested in the new cop; she feels fickle as she likes Patrick and Jonathan. As the townsfolk heatedly debates revitalization, arson occurs. Most residents blame the fire on one troublesome family.

The first Place of Refuge tale is an exciting romantic police procedural starring a strong triangle and a solid support cast. The fast-paced storyline contains two strong subplots as the wonderful romance and the tense investigation deftly intermingle. Although the villain and the motivation seem improbable, readers will enjoy Amy Wallace’s fine Georgia Mennonite thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Tyrant-Jacques Chessex

The Tyrant

Jacques Chessex

Bitter Lemon, Apr 10 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781904738947

The Calmet patriarchal Tyrant Paul is dead. None of his five adult children feel grief as their father was an abusive martinet. The youngest of Paul’s offspring, Swiss schoolteacher Jean actually feels nothing until he sees the urn of his dad’s ashes; then he thinks he is at last free.

However though the schoolteacher is nearly forty, he will soon learn he has not been liberated by Paul’s death. His father’s activities still haunt Jean who has never moved passed the love of his life tuning to his greater than life virile father rather than him. So instead of flying free like a released butterfly, he depressingly continues what he has done for years hide from his odious sire at the Gymnasium of Lausanne where his students cherish his teaching subjects like Latin.

The Tyrant is a fascinating psychological study of the child is the adult as even in death Paul still torments his youngest child as he did for almost four decades. Character driven, the well written storyline keeps readers wondering when will Jean hit rock bottom and will he survive the spiral downward into numbing depression. This is not an easy read as the dead tyrannical patriarch still sucks the life out of his son.

Harriet Klausner

Atlantis God-David Gibbins

Atlantis God

David Gibbins

Dell, Apr 24 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780440245841

Close friends International Maritime University marine archaeologist Jack Howard and submersible technologist Costas agree to pay their last respects to the underwater ruins of Atlantis in the Black Sea that they discovered and explored a few years ago. A volcano has left the ancient city on the brink of extinction. Their mission is not just nostalgic, but to interpret inscriptions, which provide insight into what destroyed this great ancient civilization and hint at a rebirth.

The pair knows of the work of the Nazi’s Department of Cultural Heritage, but they are unaware contemporaries want the duo dead as they have plans for the Atlantis resurrection. Jack, Costas and their team search twentieth century horror in a WW II bunker, the Berlin Zoo tower that contains numerous remains of people massacred during the Third Reich and Himmler's strangely constructed castle as they seek clues to the palladion.

The latest Howard marine archeologist thriller has the hero, his buddy and their team returning to Atlantis after stints at Troy (see The Mask of Troy) and Herculaneum (see The Lost Tomb). The story line can be read alone, but builds from the previous entries. The action is fast-paced as readers join Howard and company following clues. Although the historical soliloquies are fascinating, their passiveness slows down the otherwise exciting plot but also prove how passionate David Gibbins is on his subject that he wants to educate as well as entertain. On Atlantis God as with its predecessors, he succeeds.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 16, 2012

Boneyard 11-Linton Robinson

Boneyard 11

Linton Robinson

CreateSpace, Jan 25 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9781469951768

Drug lord Gaspar feels lonely while in Boneyard 11. His wife divorced him and he knows no family member especially his tweener daughter Magdalena and his other kids will visit him; while his gang is banned from any contact. He needs civilian company so Gaspar arranges to marry thirtyish Nan the hooker. This way she can make conjugal monthly visits to him in the Boneyard and he can use her to pass messages with his Chicano gang.

While cops at all level pressure her and try to manipulate her in any way they can, Nan and Gaspar forge a fond relationship as they begin to know one another. Sean Reach and Ray Ray Mobley think they can use her to make Gaspar a permanent prison resident, but she is smarter than they realize. Soon she becomes the target of law enforcement and a drug war between gangs who care not one iota when children die. When someone stabs her spouse, Nan needs to decide whether to watch him die in the hospital or save his life by bringing about a reconciliation with his children.

Boneyard 11 is an action-packed thriller, but clearly character driven mostly by Nan. She is terrific as she learns to live life to the fullest means adhering to her code of ethics, which brings with it hope for something better. The support cast including her mom, the law, the gangs and her spouse are cynics until her seemingly angelic naivety whimsically touch a part of them they thought withered and died. Linton Robinson writes a fascinating but gory tale of a woman of strange influence.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Death, Taxes And A Skinny No-Whip Latte-Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes And A Skinny No-Whip Latte

Diane Kelly

St. Martin’s, Feb 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312551278

Treasury Department Criminal Investigation Team field operatives Tara Holloway and Eddie Bardin share a great partnership though they are total opposites. He is a married suburban dad who knows the difference between a metaphor and a simile and votes Republican though he is African-American; she is a single white inner city woman who is the one person education left behind.

Their current assignment is to bring brutal loan sharking and money laundering felon with Mexican connections Marcos Mendoza to justice. Though there is no direct proof, Mendoza is good for graveyard business as anyone doing business with him has a death wish; his associates’ body parts can be found in several states. He does not go after the two agents; instead he threatens Eddie’s family. To their shock, their superior removes them from the case because of what happened to superstar agent Nicholas Pratt; forced into exile to stay alive. On a diet that has her cranky, Tara goes after Mendoza with Pratt as her partner.

The latest Holloway police procedural (see Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure) is an enjoyable investigative thriller that balances humor with danger. Tara is the Lone Star State’s equivalent to Jersey’s Stephanie Plum as gets the job done while cracking jokes mostly about herself. The villain is as mean as one finds in a novel. Thus readers anticipate the gender battle, but the path to the confrontation is fun and perilous.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nights Of Awe-Harri Nykanen

Nights Of Awe

Harri Nykanen

Bitter Lemon, Mar 20 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781904738923

Helsinki Police Department Violent Crime Unit Inspector Ariel Kafka is assigned to investigate the deaths of two Arabs. One died falling from a railway bridge while the other was stabbed and shot with his nose and ears removed. Ariel assumes the case is to test his work ethics as the only Jewish police officer in the city at a time he mediates during the high holy Nights of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

A mobile phone is retrieved leading vigilant Ariel to the Iraqi Ali's Body Shop where two more corpses are found. The initial mass murders look gang related, but Ariel feels something is off kilter. Digging deeper, he begins to uncover evidence linking the homicides to terrorism. Meanwhile the Finnish Security Police watch his every move while some members of the synagogue where he prays provide Ariel with information that sends him looking back at his younger days and others want him to remember he is a Jew so he must support Israel regardless.

This is an excellent Finnish police procedural starring a Jewish cop being yanked in several directions by his due diligence as a police officer and his religious affiliation that want him to drop the inquiry to “protect” Israel. Ariel makes the case work as he learns that it has been seven decades since the Holocaust yet that stll remains a powerful influence on Israel and Jews around the world; especially during the Nights of Awe by those living near where the Final Solution was deployed. Readers will appreciate this strong character driven mystery as my nephew would say that Jews in the West don’t become big city cops.

Harriet Klausner

The Deadly Portent-Elizabeth Bailey

The Deadly Portent

Elizabeth Bailey

Berkley, Apr 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425245675

To escape family, Lady Ottilia “Lady Fan” Fanshawe forces her husband Francis to leave just after a heavy rain. The soaked grounds leads to the axle on their coach breaking near the village of Witherley. The couple learns the blacksmith Diggleby is dead from a roof cave-in either caused by the storm or by the witch. Most villagers blame Mrs. Cassie Dale who predicted the collapse and death and the lads stoned her before she obtained sanctuary granted by the new vicar Reverend Aiden Kennerton.

While waiting for the repair, Tillie and Francis investigate. They quickly find evidence that the beams inside the forge were tampered with and the universally hated victim was killed before the roof collapsed. As Tillie digs deeper, she seeks the person with a grudge so powerful he or she killed Diggleby and has the perfect individual in the odd Cassie to take the fall.

This is an entertaining historical amateur sleuth as the protagonists are an engaging couple. The whodunit is clever with time running out for Cassie as the villagers want her burned as a witch though she has strong defenders in the vicar and the stranded traveling aristocrats. Readers will enjoy Lady Fan’s latest detecting (see The Gilded Shroud) as The Deathly Portent is an enjoyable nineteenth century mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Long Stitch Good Nigh-Amanda Lee

The Long Stitch Good Night

Amanda Lee

Obsidian, Apr 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451236463

In Tallulah Falls, Oregon on Saint Patrick’s Day, The Brew Crew pub owner Todd Calloway hosts a fraternity reunion of Oregon State’s Alpha Sigma Phi. However, the fun turns tragic when someone shoots and kills Graham Stott in the back room. The people besides the victim in that room are Todd and his friend Blake Mackenzie. Both their fingerprints are on the murder weapon. The police arrest them; charging them with the homicide of Graham.

Former San Francisco accountant, Marcy Singer, owner of the Seven Year Stitch embroidery shop knows both males and refuses to accept they killed Stott although neither will say what happened. Knowing what it is like to be accused of murder (see Stich Me Deadly and The Quick and The Thread), and encouraged by her BFF Blake’s wife Sadie, Marcy investigates. She learns the mysterious Tawny is somehow involved.

The latest Embroidery amateur sleuth (see Thread Reckoning) is an engaging whodunit filled with clues that are in plain sight yet difficult to knit together, and a solid cause for the spunky heroine to investigate the murder. The entertaining storyline grips the reader as Marcy embroiders the case one stitch at a time.

Harriet Klausner

Jonathan Kellerman: Silent Partner-Adapted by Ande Parks; illustrated by Michael Gaydos

Jonathan Kellerman: Silent Partner

Adapted by Ande Parks; illustrated by Michael Gaydos

Villard, Feb 28 2012, $23.00

ISBN: 9780440423638

In Los Angeles child psychologist and police consultant Alex Delaware attends a gala alone not long after his beloved girlfriend Robin Castagna leaves him to find herself. At the party, Alex’s former love psychologist Sharon Ransom accosts him. She pleads with him to meet her. He says no as he does not want to restart their relationship that ended abruptly and badly a decade ago when Sharon began to behave oddly.

The next day Alex is stunned and filled with remorse when he reads in the paper that Sharon committed suicide. Being a psychologist only compounds his wondering if he had met with her she would be alive today. Needing to understand why, Alex, with his best friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis at his side, investigates the “many lives” of Sharon Ransom.

This graphic adaptation of one of the best Delaware thrillers is a great rendition of Silent Partner. Ande Parks captures the essence of the sensational convoluted Hollywood investigative storyline and Michael Gaydos enhances the psychological impact of the suicide and what he learns of the protagonist with powerful black and white drawings. In fact the B&W setting adds to the darkness of Hollywood and the brooding of the guilt-stricken hero as Delaware’s self-esteem is extremely low as he doubts his skills. This is a great graphic novel.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sailor-Tom Epperson


Tom Epperson

Forge, Mar 27 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9780765328922

After years of abuse, Gina Cicala testified against her vicious mobster husband Joey. He is locked away after being convicted while she and their tweener son Luke disappear into the Witness Protection Program.

However, a U.S. Marshal takes a bribe from Luke’s paternal grandfather Pat whose goals are to kill the traitor and bring Luke to him so he can raise his ten year old grandson as his heir to a vast criminal empire and introduce him to his comatose grandmother. In Brady, Oklahoma Pat’s hit man kills Gina’s date Rusty “the Cheater” Dieter while his target escapes with her son and diamonds. Gina and Luke meet Gray the “sailor” when he changes her flat tire. He joins their odyssey as both sides of the law give chase.

Though the storyline has been used before (see The Program by Stephen White) and the stratospheric death count requires an empty stomach, Sailor is an exciting action-packed thriller. Fast-paced with insane killers murdering people as a contact sport and some cops on the take in pursuit, Gray is the only hope of survival for mother and son.

Harriet Klausner

Trouble At High Tide: Murder, She Wrote-Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

Trouble At High Tide: Murder, She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

NAL, Apr 3 2012, $23.95

ISBN: 9780451236326

Following a grueling book tour, Jessica Fletcher accepts an invitation from New Jersey Judge Thomas Betterton to spend some time at his affluent estate in Bermuda. Upon arrival on the island, she hears tales of a Jack The Ripper copycat recently having killed three young females.

Thomas throws a parry in which Jessica meets her host’s extended family. Not used to alcohol, Jessica is slightly intoxicated from a power island concoction so Thomas’ assistant Adam escorts her back to her cabana where she snoozes on a porch swing. When she awakens Jessica decides to take a stroll in the beach where she finds the corpse of Thomas’ twenty-two year old niece Alicia. Since her death mirrors the M.O. of the neo-Ripper murders, the local police turn the case over to visiting Scotland Yard Inspector George Sutherland as part of his investigation into the serial killings. Unable to do nothing, Jessica makes an inquiry too as she critically thinks something is not right about the Alicia homicide.

Bill Clinton was in the last years of his first term as president when Murder, She Wrote went off the air. Thirty-seven mysteries later (see Skating on Thin Ice) and the series remains incredibly fresh even with the storyline containing the same elements. Jessica has been on the road a lot lately (see A Slaying in Savannah, Madison Avenue Shoot, Queen Jewels and Nashville Noir), but her Bermuda vacation is an engaging entry in an endearing series as she works a case in which the locals whisper Ripper, the cops think a modern day Ripper copycat, and Jessica looks elsewhere.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dolled Up for Murder-Jane K. Cleland

Dolled Up for Murder

Jane K. Cleland

Minotaur, Mar 27 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9781250001849

In Rocky Point, New Hampshire, antiques dealer Josie Prescott is showing her friend financial investor Alice Michaels her latest acquisition, a doll collection estimated at $40K. Alice tells Josie she is worried that she and others at ADM Financial Advisors, Inc. will soon be arrested by the DA for running a Ponzi’s scheme. Not long afterward Alice leaves Prescott’s Antiques and Auctions only to be shot to death in the parking lot while Josie watches in horror.

Not long after the homicide, a kidnapper abducts Josie’s employee Eric. They demand Josie turn over her new doll collection if she wants her assistant back. Inside a classic Chatty Cathy doll with the mini-phonograph removed Josie finds a rare Civil War currency. Police Chief Ellis Hunter investgates the murder while reporter Wes Smith, who broke the Ponzi scheme accusation, does likewise; as does Josie.

The latest Josie Prescott antiques mystery (see Deadly Threads) is a superb whodunit with competing inquiries. Fast-paced from the opening murder scene until the final confrontation, the twisting storyline grips the reader throughout as Josie is reminded of her late dad’s advice on trust.

Harriet Klausner

Death of an Artist Kate Wilhelm-

Death of an Artist

Kate Wilhelm

Minotaur, Mar 27 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9780312658618

Former NYPD homicide detective Tony Mauricio switched coasts after a disability retirement due to a shattered hip during a shootout that left a teen dead. Tony wants to become a craftsman in Silver Bay, Oregon. Gift shop owner Widow Marnie Markov and her granddaughter medical student Van befriend the ex-cop while the sandwiched generation Stefany is a troubled brilliant artist who will not sell her work.

Stef becomes angry when she learns her latest lover Dale Oliver is selling her work without her permission. Soon after she confronts him, the painter is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her studio. Dale does not wait for the body to be cold as he shows up with a signed contract granting him exclusive rights to sell Stef’s work. Grieving Marnie and Van believe their loved one was murdered, but the local cops have no evidence that anything but an accident occurred. Tony investigates.

With Barbara Holloway taking a respite, Kate Wilhelm introduces a wonderful disturbed hero, a strong support cast, and a delightful coastal town inside a fabulous whodunit. The complicated storyline focuses on the world of art including the downside of fraud and theft inside of a murder investigation. Hopefully Ms. Wilhelm will return readers to Silver bay.

Harriet Klausner

No Cooperation from the Cat-Marian Babson

No Cooperation from the Cat

Marian Babson

Minotaur, Mar 27 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312332402

Aging London actresses Evangeline Sinclair and Trixie Dolan allow the latter’s daughter friend Martha, with the help of author and editor Jocasta to finalize a cookbook in their home. They and their friend Dame Cecily think the invasion is intrusive. Banquo Fitzfothergill the Arctic explorer, accompanied by his sidekicks Tom and Mick, arrives at the house shouting for his wife Melisande. Jocasta panics as she fears how Banquo will react when he learns Melisande died while cooking as apparently no one has told him.

To their shock Evangeline and Trixie find a horde of uninvited guests as Banquo and his growing retinue to include his aunts demand to see Melisande, who was the original cookbook author. As Melisande's former assistant, Jocasta is the only suspect while Martha is upset to learn she was second fiddle.

The latest Sinclair-Dolan British cozy (see The Cat Who Wasn’t a Dog) is a fun tale as the protagonists’ home begins to look like Groucho’s ship cabin in A Night at the Opera. The breezy storyline is amusing while readers and Cho-Cho-San and Frou-Frou watch the zanies spin out of control.

Harriet Klausner

Ashes to Dust-Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Ashes to Dust

Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Minotaur, Mar 27 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312641740

In 1973, a volcano erupts on Iceland’s Heimaey Island. A village is buried under the lava. Included under the sea of ash is the family home of teenager Markus Magnusson.

In 2007, investors send a cleanup crew to excavate the site so it can become a tourist attraction. However, in the basement of the Magnusson home is found three relatively fresh corpses and a severed head. The Westmann Islands near retired Inspector Lieffson suspect Markus, who retained attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir to prevent the digging. The villagers offer little to repute the police assertion and the one person he claims who could vindicate him is dead. Digging for a viable alternative to her client, Thora defends Markus though she is convinced she represents a killer.

The third Thora Gudmundsdottir Icelandic legal thriller (see Last Rituals and My Soul To Take) is a great tale that uses the island nation’s geography and history to anchor a fabulous present day murder mystery. The storyline is fast-paced with a deft investigation that leads to betrayal and secrets in a great setting. This series is a refreshing winner.

Harriet Klausner

Reap What You Sew-Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Reap What You Sew

Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Berkley, Apr 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425247068

She has always felt alone with no friends or any place to call home. That changes when Tori Sinclair becomes the Sweet Briar, South Carolina librarian as the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle welcome her as one of them. Three years later, she not only feels welcome, she is engaged to schoolteacher Milo.

Movie Director Warren Shoemaker comes to town for some location shooting of his adaptation of Memories of Autumn. The locals hope to be an extra, but Warren gives Tori one of the rolest. Roles.. That is how she learns the lead actress Anita Belise was murdered from anaphylactic shock caused by eating nut in a brownie. Everyone knew she was allergic to nuts. Suspicion falls on Sewing Circle member Leona Elkin who added nuts to brownies her sister Margaret Louse Davis made to keep Anita away from her and Warren. Unable to believe either twin killed Anita, Tori leads the sewing circle posse investigation.

The latest A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery (see Dangerous Alterations) is an entertaining and enjoyable cozy narrated by Tori who loves her adopted town and its quirky caring residents. She believes one of the cast is the killer so she focuses on the Hollywood horde. Readers will enjoy Elizabeth Lynn Casey’s enjoyable regional whodunit as the sewing circle work their inquiry one stitch at a time.

Harriet Klausner

The Cat, The Wife And The Weapon-Leann Sweeney

The Cat, The Wife And The Weapon

Leann Sweeney

Berkley, Apr 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451236470

After being away from her lake house in Mercy, South Carolina selling her home made quilts, Jillian Hart heads home worried about her boyfriend Tom Stewart who has not returned her calls to him. She learns from her stepdaughter Kara that he left town in a hurry. At Tom’s house Jillian meets Tom’s brother Bob Cochran, who offers no explanation as to where his sibling went. Instead he mentions Tom left his cat Dashiell behind, but the feline ran way two days ago. Stunned as Tom never leaves Dashiell behind; Jillian finds the cat and takes him to the vet for his diabetes shot. Jillian returns home to find a battered Tom there.

Tom explains to her that he rushed to North Carolina to search for his stepson Finn, but was in a car accident. Finn and Tom know the kid’s mom Hilary does not love him. Finn also looks battered but recalls little about being in a car accident too. This proves significant because Finn’s stepfather Nolan Roth is dead from a bullet to the head; his body in Tom’s car. In Finn’s knapsack is a gun that he has no idea how it got there. The police think he killed Nolan, but evidence proves contrary. His father comes to town, but is murdered. His mother comes to take him away while Jillian risks her life to uncover the killer’s identity.

The latest A Cats in Trouble Mystery (see The Cat, The Lady and The Liar) is an amusing and enthralling regional amateur sleuth tale starring an eccentric cast led by the likable peacemaking heroine. Readers will feel for abused Finn, unloved by his mom and stepdad but he also knows Tom has his back.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hounds Abound-Linda O. Johnston

Hounds Abound

Linda O. Johnston

Berkley, April 3, 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0425247051

In the Los Angeles area, Lauren Vancouver, director of the HotRescues no kill shelter, loves her work as she loves animals. Dedicated Lauren especially relishes saving an animal from euthanasia in a kill shelter. Her only regrets are that she cannot save seniors or handicapped as her facility is over populated and ergo she must find good homes rather quickly. Thus Lauren is thrilled that Bella Frankovick has opened up Save Them All, a place specifically established to care for seniors and the handicapped.

Lauren visits Beth’s shelter and is impressed and pleased with what she sees, Bella is worried that her former husband Miles will shut her down if he wins her money as part of a divorce settlement and his attorney’s fees Leaving Lauren notices Miles in his car with a knife in his chest. She prays Beth is not the murderer and agrees to investigate when her friend asks her to look into the homicide. This proves difficult as the victim made a lot of enemies and Beth has a nasty one too.

The latest Pet Rescue Mystery (see The More The Terrier and Beaglemania) is a wonderful whodunit with much of the focus on animals, shelters and the people including volunteers who work there. Pet lovers will enjoy Lauren’s amateur sleuthing as the animals steal the show.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Phantom-Ted Bell


Ted Bell

Morrow, Mar 20 2102, $27.99

ISBN: 9780061859304

MI6 agent Alex Hawke learns that his beloved Anastasia Korsakova, whom he thought long dead, allegedly lives in a maximum security Siberian KGB facility. Although he feels this is a retaliatory trap for his role in the death of Czar Korsakova, Alex has to know the truth about whether the daughter of the recently deceased Russian czar is alive; and if yes how to rescue her. In Siberia, Alex finds Anastasia who tells him to take their three year old child Alexi back to England with him in order to keep their son safe.

Meanwhile an inexplicable catastrophe occurs at Disney World that was not an accident; and the veteran pilot of a USAF F-15 escorting another jet in the Midwest loses control for no explainable reason. At about the same time, the most renowned AI expert Dr. Waldo Cohen vanishes in California. Hawke and his associates (former inspector Ambrose Congreve, Stokely Jones and ex-CIA Harry Brock) search for an adversary, who can be anywhere; an extraordinarily intelligent computer fights a cyberwar to bring the West to its technological knees.

The latest Alex Hawke (see Tsar and Warlord) thriller is a terrific nonstop action tale although the two subplots never quite gels as the AI cyberwar overwhelms the Russians are coming segue. Gripping from the vivid Disney World disaster until the final confrontation with a brilliant Phantom, fans will appreciate Ted Bell’s great tale.

Harriet Klausner

Viral James Lilliefors


James Lilliefors

Soho, Apr 10 2012, $25.00

ISBN 9781616950682

Private sector intelligence contractor Charles Mallory analyzes data that shakes him up as he finds ties between billions of humanitarian aid dollars in isolated Africa villages and a genocidal virus that eradicates those same villagers allegedly being helped. A former CIA operative, Charles informs his brother Jon, an investigative reporter, as to what he believes is happening in Africa and other remote pockets of abject poverty.

Jon heads to Africa to investigate what his sibling told him; so that he can report to world on the atrocities he finds. Instead, Jon is caught in the crosshairs of a more insidious global power scheme in which the conspirators have deployed their virus to cleanse the Third World of poverty. Back in DC, Charles is the last hope to prevent a man-made pandemic catastrophe.

This is a great action-packed thriller starring two heroic siblings and a villain who for the most part is off page. Ironically, the cast including the Mallory brothers is overwhelmed by the incredible gripping plot. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Jon travels to Africa and never slows down as James Lilliefors technologically modernizes James Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

Harriet Klausner

Caring Is Creepy-David Zimmerman

Caring Is Creepy

David Zimmerman

Soho, Apr 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN 9781569479773

In Georgia, sixteen years old Winn teaches fifteen year old Lynn Marie Sugrue and Dani Dunham how to pretend to be someone else on line. Lynn Marie, frightened over the activities of her mom the nurse and her mom’s drug addicted boyfriend Hayes, finds refuge with Army specialist Logan Loy. After Loy punches his sergeant, he flees.

Knowing the MPs will pursue him for the punch and wanting to avoid the military for AWOL as well as the the punch, Loy arrives the home of Lynn Marie in rural Georgia where he believes no one will find him as long as his hostess conceals him. Lynn Marie places Loy inside a storage space behind her bedroom closet while insuring his basic sustenance needs are taken care of. Meanwhile, Hayes has angered some violent people, who have no qualms about breaking the limbs of his girlfriend and her daughter. As the danger mounts, Lynn Marie increasingly becomes a martinet ordering her military prisoner about while trying to keep him from bolting.

This is an exciting rural Georgia thriller as the two prime subplots of the teen-soldier and the Hayes-mob nicely merge into a coherent enjoyable tale. The cast is fully developed so that the events seem genuine except for the fiery, but too smooth climatic clean-up. Still fans will relish the trek as Lynn Marie learns first hand that Caring Is Creepy.

Harriet Klausner

Dread On Arrival-Claudia Bishop

Dread On Arrival

Claudia Bishop

Berkley, Apr 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425247075

After a month away from Hemlock Falls Sarah “Quill” Quilliam-McHale and her three years old son Jack move back into the Inn at Hemlock Falls while her husband and Jack’s father travel for his counterterrorism agency to a foreign nation. The town is excited with the news that Edmund Tree, the pompous acerbic host of Your Ancestor’s Attic, is coming to film a show and marry his fiancée Rose Ellen Whitman, owner of Elegant Antiques.

T-shirted mellow Pawn-O-Rama producer Belter Barcini, whose show trails Ancestor in the ratings, also arrives in Hemlock falls. The bitter rivals agree to a cooking contest in which each will make their favorite dishes. During the cook-off, Tree drinks wine only to keel over dead. Quill knows the obnoxious Tree died from strychnine poisoning. She works around her promise to her spouse of “no more Snooping” in way that don’t break her pledge. As always Quill’s sister Meg and their staff at the inn assist her; but like the police her inquiry over several months fails to identify the killer.

The latest Hemlock Falls Mystery (see A Pinch of Poison and Murder Well-Done) is a delightful cozy filled with eccentric characters that bring plenty to the charming plot. Filled with red herrings and false leads, Quill is at her energizer bunny best as she uses her artistic eye to find clues in a case that seems to go nowhere. Fans will enjoy this fun whodunit as the polar opposite visiting TV personalities bring out small-town living.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 5, 2012

Afterglow-Cherry Adair


Cherry Adair

Pocket, Mar 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439153833

In Monte Carlo, Maguire Security expert Rand Maguire knows his business and career ended with the celebrity wedding that he and his team secured. The guests apparently were drugged last night leading to an orgy of monumental proportions. The morning after has a bunch of angry remorseful celebs demanding answers that he cannot provide.

Lodestone chief Zak Stark sends top chemist Dr. Dakota North to investigate. She fears someone released Rapture, a drug she worked on with Rand’s father in the lab; a magic pill that sent his dad to prison for the homicide of his mom and was allegedly destroyed in a lab explosion. Although their past is much more estranged and he does not trust her because of it, Dakota and Rand team up tracking who procured and tested Rapture as they fear more incidents will follow.

The latest Lodestone (see Hush) romantic suspense is an exciting and fabulous action-packed thriller with a fabulous late twist. Fast-paced from the opening morning after the wedding scene and never slowing down until the final confrontation, readers will not need a sixth sense to know this is a super storyline.

Harriet Klausner

Twisted-Laura Griffin


Laura Griffin

Pocket, Apr 17 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781451617375

FBI profiler Mark Wolfe has spent years trying to end the serial killing spree of the Death Raven. He learns of the apparent latest victim Stephanie Snow who the San Marcos, Texas police believe was killed by her ex-boyfriend Joshua Bender. At a convenience store, in San Marcos, Mark saves the life of police detective Allison Doyle.

Her police peers refuse to help the Fed, but Mark persuades Allison that a psychopath killed the young woman and this predator is due to kill again soon. With help from the Delphi Center forensic research facility, Mark and Allison try to prevent another homicide by the Twisted Death Raven.

The latest Tracers forensic romance (see Snapped, Unforgivable, Unspeakable and Untraceable) is a fantastic action-packed thriller that never slows down as time is running out to prevent the next murder. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as his Death Raven case has left him with commitment phobia since he sees the faces of the little girls who will never see their mother while she is vigilant on taking down the killer. Fast-paced but interwoven with forensic science, sub-genre fans will appreciate this strong tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Deadly Dance-Dee Davis

Deadly Dance

Dee Davis

Forever, Apr 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780446582940

The Consortium plan to infiltrate A-Tac failed but left Jason Lawton dead. Intelligence specialist Hannah Marshall mourns the death of her friend, but has a mission dedicated to her fallen comrade. She poses as the inheritor of a valuable art collection including a Monet painting Le Jardin lost in WW II that she wants to sell to Alain DuBois tied to the Consortium in Montreal. However, the ruse fails when DuBois is killed and she and her teammates including new member Harrison Blake are fortunate to escape with their lives as the Consortium blows up his estate.

Hannah returns to teaching at Sunderland College. Her grad student assistant Tina Richards shows her a disturbing podcast she received in her phone depicting a man cutting up a woman. Assuming its real, Hannah shows it to Harrison, the new head of the computer science department. Almost immediately afterward, another agent Avery informs Harrison that history major Sara Lauter is missing. They assume she is the victim of the gruesome torture murder that reminds Harrison of the homicide of his sister Eileen. As Hannah and Harrison fall in love, they and other A-Tac personnel on campus, investigate while the predator targets the political science teacher as the next target.

The latest A-Tac black ops romantic suspense (see Desperate Deeds, Dangerous Desires, Dark Deceptions and Deep Disclosure), is a delightful Dee Davis thriller that brings the action mostly home with a fabulous serial killer case. The fast-paced storyline grips the audience with the failed opening scenario followed by the excellent murder mystery as the D to the second power series continues to deal A’s.

Harriet Klausner

Antiques Disposal-Barbara Allan

Antiques Disposal

Barbara Allan

Kensington, Apr 24 2012, $23.00

ISBN 9780758263605

In Serenity overlooking the Mississippi River Big Jim Bob, owner of the Lucky Four Leaf Storage, auctions the contents of a sealed unit whose owner failed to pay their rental fee. Vivian “Mother’ Borne wins the prize with her $100 bid. Mother and Brandy the daughter are excited as they find a Bix Beiderbecke cornet amongst the mouse drippings boxes. They plan to return later to pick up the remainder of their treasure.

When they come back, they find their unit empty except for dead Big Jim Bob inside of a rolled up rug. The Borne pair hosts an auction for the cornet, but someone steals it. The pair soon finds a second body and fear they could be next sharing one rug.

The latest Trash ’n’ Treasures Mystery (see Antiques Bizarre and Antiques Knock-Off) is a fabulous madcap murder mystery starring a dynamic duet dueling each other over who gets the last word in (spoofing Shakespearean tragedies of modern day relationship) as they also concurrently search for a killer. Fans will enjoy this amusing cozy due to the jocular relationship between Mother and Daughter.

Harriet Klausner

Rest in Pizza-Chris Cavender

Rest in Pizza

Chris Cavender

Kensington, Apr 24. 2012. $23.00

ISBN 9780758271501

In Timber Ridge, North Carolina, Eleanor Swift owns and operates A Slice of Delight pizzeria; while her sister Maddy Spencer works there. However, their small-town reveille is wrecked when obnoxious TV celebrity chef Antonio Benet comes to Timber Ridge to sign his latest book. Chef Benet concocts a menu of scorn and insult with no one escaping his vitreous ridicule.

Soon after nasty Benet arrives in town, his murdered corpse is found in A Slice of Delight. Since the body was found in her establishment, the siblings anticipate being on the short list of suspects. From experience they know not to wait so the pair investigates who had the motive and opportunity to kill the odious chef.

The latest pizza regional cozy is an engaging whodunit though there is a déjà vu feel to the plot; Eleanor has been accused before (see A Pizza To Die For) and a dead body has been found in the restaurant (see Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder). Fans will enjoy Rest In Pizza; as the “sauce” and “dough” sisters conduct their amateur sleuthing, while their respective love life sinks.

Harriet Klausner

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection-Alexander McCall Smith

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Alexander McCall Smith

Pantheon, Apr 3 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9780307378408

Owner of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana, Precious Ramotswe repeatedly dreams of a tall stranger. However, Precious wastes no time dwelling on quirky dreams as she and her partner take on the case of Fanwell, the top apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors who is in trouble with the law due to a “friendly” association. The two sleuths also are looking into the shenanigans a contractor is pulling on Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti.

The star of her recent dreams, American Clovis Andersen arrives. He is the author of Precious’ precious guidebook, The Principles of Private Detection. Finally, joined by Clovis, Precious inquires into the firing of highly regarded Mma Potokwane, as matron at the orphan farm.

The latest No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency tale (see The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party) contains strong detecting subplots, but these are used to bring out life in Botswana. The leisure storyline is fun to read, but as Precious finds out a veteran can learn new tricks. Fans will enjoy the latest fascinating trip to Africa as Precious is a caring guide.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Die By Wire-Lewis Purdue

Die By Wire

Lewis Purdue

CreateSpace, Dec14 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 978-1468018813

In 2003 in Al-Kut, Iraq, Army Provost marshal Corporal Mira Longbow knows when she fell in love with her superior officer Sergeant Jackson Day. It was during a firefight against the Mahdi army ending with the disaster of an errant jihadi missile in which a soldier pushed her onto Day’s prone body, saving his life though he died three times. Sometime after that the horrible deaths of her sister and newborn nephew from bacteria in Elmira and a kangaroo military court left Mira to believe God and the rear brass didn’t give a damn.

In the present, Mira is in Amsterdam on a mission to assassinate shipping mogul Khan Nasiri, the chief of an international child bride trafficking cartel. After a bloody incident with a female jihadist and appeasing sycophant Inspector Harsten, she returns to her task. However, Mira comes across something sinister and brilliant; a high tech jihad by remotely changing fly-by-wire aircraft will make 9/11 seem minor. At the same time Army's Asymmetric Warfare Command Captain Jackson Day comes to Amsterdam from the Middle East seeking Mira’s help in translating a recording at a remote Iranian locale. Nasiri is the matchmaker who connects their quests.

This is an action-packed thriller that grips the audience with the powerful premise of a cyber-attack as Richard Clarke the former anti-terrorism czar has said may be the next Jihad, and the governments rationalizing the trafficking of children as a cultural matter. The lead protagonists are dedicated warriors who have no patience for armchair generals; their romance plays second fiddle with the battle against Nasiri. Fast-paced from the shootout in Iraq until the final confrontation, Lewis Purdue writes a sensational soaring story that fans will relish.

Harriet Klausner

Before The Poison-Peter Robinson

Before The Poison

Peter Robinson

Morrow, Feb 21 2012, $25.99

ISBN 9780062004796

After three decades residing in California, following the death of his wife Laura after a bout with cancer, Oscar winning film composer Chris Lowndes returns home to Yorkshire. He purchases Kilnsgate House because he wants the isolation to grieve in peace. However, Heather Barlow the realtor failed to inform Chris that his new home was the site where Grace Fox poisoned her husband Ernest in 1953. Following her conviction Grace hung for her murder of her spouse and a true crime book Famous Trials became a popular seller.

Chris learns about the infamous incident and curious, he conducts a little research. He becomes fascinated by Grace who was a dedicated nurse in France and the Pacific during WW II and begins to investigate what drove her to kill her physician husband. As he follows Grace’s trail, Chris composes a sonata to honor his late wife while also guiltily attracted to neighbor Heather.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and company take a breather as Peter Robinson provides an intriguing character study that contains three interrelated subplots from different eras. Readers observe the modern day sexagenarian widower struggling to move on with his grief while his inquiries into Grace circa 1953 (excerpts from Famous Trials) and WWII (Grace’s diaries). Although Heather’s attraction to Chris never comes across as real, Before The Poison is a terrific moving first person tale of grieving widow stepping out alone for the first in decades.

Harriet Klausner

Dead Silent-Shirley Wells

Dead Silent

Shirley Wells

Carina/Harlequin, Aug 22 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373062638/B005CRQ5DW

In Great Britain, dying from lung cancer, desperate Rob Hunt, knowing that private investigator Dylan Scott recently solved a case in Dawson’s Clough (see Presumed Dead) hires him to find his missing daughter Samantha. Ten months ago in Dawson’s Clough, Sam headed to work, but vanished instead. Assisting Dylan on the inquiry is his former boss, ex DCI Frank Willoughby.

On his way to Dawson's Clough in Lancashire where Sam lived and worked, a big man assaults Rob in a public bathroom; warning him not come to the town. Refusing to cower, Rob investigates Sam’s activities though the case is cold. Everything he learns about Sam insists she was a nice girl; for instance kind to her younger stepsisters. However he soon believes the missing young woman had an affair with her boss that angered her raging boyfriend and her stepfather conceals something significant.

The second Dylan Scott mystery is an enjoyable investigative thriller starring a dedicated hero. The major plot is tense as no one except a grieving father wants Dylan back in town while his family adds acerbic jocularity as his estrange wife and his eccentric mother still take bites out of his butt. With several taut twists and a strong climax, Shirley Wells provides an entertaining British detective story.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 2, 2012

Crystal Gardens-Amanda Quick

Crystal Gardens

Amanda Quick

Putnam, Apr 24 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780399159084

On Lantern Street in Victorian London, Mrs. Flint and Mrs. Marsh are the respectable owners of an agency that provides companions to customers. There are two rules to become an employee of the agency which really deals with inquiries: the prospect must not be afraid of danger and must possess psychical powers; as the firm employs inquiry agents disguised as governesses and paid companions to find items and prople.

Agent Evangeline Ames recuperates from a brush with death in Little Dixby. A noise awakens her from a peaceful sleep and she instantly knows she is no longer alone in her rented cottage. She assumes the intruder wants to kill her so she runs to Crystal Gardens, the haunting old abbey filled with paranormal energy next door. Owner Lucas Sebastian is on alert when the stalker arrives, but flees into the night garden where deadly vegetation and flowers are everywhere. Sparks fly and Lucas realizes the killer will not haunt anyone anymore. Luca vows to protect Evangeline while using his paranormal skills to track down a psychic killer. Evangeline normally finds the good in people, and she is attracted to her rescuer, but cannot explain why she is a target as she has no known enemies.

This Ladies of Lantern Street thriller is an enthralling paranormal historical romantic suspense filled with danger and intrigue from the onset. Readers will like the fascinating protagonists and appreciate the mysterious Crystal Gardens, which brings a Gothic like feel to the exciting storyline. Amanda Quick has written a superb paranormal take on the Victorian romance suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Blood in the Water-Jane Haddam

Blood in the Water

Jane Haddam

Minotaur, Mar 27 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9780312644345

In affluent gated Philadelphia suburb Waldorf Pines, Martha Heydrich is the epitome of ostentatious hedonism starting with her a pink sports car. That is saying a lot about her as most of the residents are known for their vulgarity. Martha belongs to all the right committees as a means to learning everyone else’s scandalous secrets. Her own misbehavior is an alleged affair with teenager Michael Platte.

Her husband Arthur comes home at night to find his pool house on fire. The fire department put out the blaze only to find two bodies. One proves to be Michael; while the other remains unidentifiable due to the inferno. The police believe Arthur killed his cheating wife and her lover until the DNA proves the second victim is a male while Martha remains missing. Stunned, the cops ask former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian to help with the investigation.

This may be the murder mystery of the year with a great final twist that will stun readers with what happened though a key clue is left in plain sight for us to work with. Demarkian is at his best while working the convoluted whodunits and missing person case.

Harriet Klausner