Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tell Me-Lisa Jackson

Tell Me

Lisa Jackson

Kensington, Jun 25 2013, $25.00

ISBN 9780758258588

Two decades ago, Blondell O’Henry and her three children were in a cabin in Savannah when the police arrived to investigate a shooting that left the oldest child pregnant teen Amity dead, and eight year old Niall and five year old Blythe in critical condition. Blondell insisted a stranger broke in firing the shots; but Niall testified his mom was the culprit. With no evidence of an intruder to counter Niall’s statement, Blondell was convicted and sent to the pen for life.

In the present, Niall claims the cops forced him to testify against his mom, which would release Blondell from prison. True crime author Nikki Gillette has more than just a writer’s interest in this case that she plans to investigate; she and Amity were BFFs, and her family was involved in the trial and owned the cabin. Her fiancĂ© SPD Police Detective Pierce Reed and his partner Sylvie Morrisette are assigned to review the evidence.

This is an interesting investigative tale with a cast that would make Cecil B. DeMille proud but also limits the characters to two-dimensional. Still fans who keep a scorecard focused on the two prime families and their one degree connections will appreciate this taut double helix thriller as an infamous case closed reopens.

Harriet Klausner

Bombshell-Catherine Coulter


Catherine Coulter

Putnam, Jul 9 2013, $26.95

ISBN: 9780399157332

After their work together in San Francisco (see Backfire), FBI Special Agent Dillon Savich hires FBI agent Griffin Hammersmith to join the CAU Division. On his way to DC, Griffin plans to see his sister Delsey, a student at Stanislaus School of Music in Maestro, Virginia. Before arriving at his sibling’s place, Griffin receives a call from Agent Ruth Noble (nee Warnecki in Point Blank) informing him his sister was found unconscious but okay with blood on her that was not hers.

At the same time, Dillon and his FBI wife Lacey Sherlock investigate the murder of college student Tommy Cronin. The case has caused a media frenzy since the victim is the grandson of a former Federal Reserve Bank chair. As the homicide count grows rapidly, the married Feds know anyone within one degree of Tommy is a potential victim.

Bombshell is a strong S & S & associates police procedural as the rotating two cases prove exciting and fast-paced. Readers will appreciate the tense police work as the Feds work the assault and perhaps murder at the school while S & S struggles to end a DC killing spree with the press demands intruding their efforts.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cold Coast-Jenifer LeClair

Cold Coast

Jenifer LeClair

Conquill Press, Jul 1 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9780980001761

Minneapolis Homicide Detective Brie Beaumont remains on leave suffering from PTSD after being shot and her partner Phil killed while on duty five months ago. Currently she is second mate on the Schooner Maine Wind sailing with passengers and crew along the coast. When a Nor’easter strikes, Captain John DuLac pulls up anchor in Tucker Harbor. The next morning the storm has left the harbor but remains dangerously nearby so DuLac allows crew and passengers to explore the village for a few hours. While hiking to Heron Head on Final Reckoning Road, they find a corpse of a man whose neck was sliced. Brie protects the crime scene until Washington County law enforcement arrives.

Shorthanded and having seen the results of her work before (see Rigged for Murder), Maine State Police Detective Fenton asks Brie to help investigate the homicide of local trucker Jake Maloney. Since DuLac has an extra experienced hand onboard, he reluctantly agrees as he will miss his second mate for professional and personal reasons; but he knows Brie needs this test to determine whether she should return to law enforcement or continue sailing. MPD also supports Brie working the case. Brie questions the victim’s widow and his former employee until she finds a link to a cold case murder of a researcher.

Though waiting out a storm was used at Granite Harbor in Rigged for Murder, readers will enjoy this engaging police procedural as Jenifer LeClair once again vividly captures the Maine background in her latest Windjammer mystery (see Danger Sector). The eccentric Mainers add depth to a fabulous step by step investigation; fans will enjoy Brie trying to uncover secrets that should tie together two seemingly unrelated murders four years apart.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Murder In Passing-Mark de Castrique

A Murder In Passing

Mark de Castrique

Poisoned Pen, Jul 2 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464201516

In Asheville, North Carolina, Sam Blackman and Nakayla Robertson have no clients. Sam is bored so Nakayla suggests they close the Blackman & Robertson Detective Agency for the day and go on a mushroom hunt on the historic Kingdom of the Happy Land. Thinking this venture will increase his ennui, Sam goes anyway. Sam finds human skeletal remains on the freed-slave commune property. Henderson County Sheriff Deputy Overcash, who hates Sam for solving a case of his, warns the two private investigators to stay out of their inquiry; though jurisdiction may belong to Greenville County, South Carolina as the boundary is right at the hollow log containing the corpse.

Marsha Montgomery arrives at the office of Blackman & Robertson Detective Agency wanting to hire Sam and Nakayla to investigate a burglary at her mother Lucille’s home in 1967. She explains someone stole a rifle and a photograph of her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother taken in 1932 at The Kingdom of the Happy Land by famous photographer Doris Ulmann. The police arrest African-American octogenarian Lucille for the murder of her white lover Jimmy Lang over forty years ago. Sam and Nakayla investigate the cold case murder.

The fourth B & R mystery (see The Sandburg Connection, Blackman's Coffin and The Fitzgerald Ruse) is an engaging investigative whodunit with the artist being the famous Appalachia photographer rather than a writer. Fast-paced from the moment Sam finds a body and never slowing down even with some repetitive back story, fans will enjoy this tale that links several decades at a place where former slaves created The Kingdom of the Happy Land.

Harriet Klausner

The Terrorist Next Door-Sheldon Siegel

The Terrorist Next Door

Sheldon Siegel

Poisoned Pen, Jul 2 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464201646

Chicago PD Homicide Detective David Gold receives a Medal of Valor in a public ceremony for stopping student Hassan Al-Shahid from bombing the Art Institute of Chicago, but his partner and best friend Paulie Loszewski died. As he gives a short uncomfortable speech, a car bomb explodes and a text arrives claiming it is not over. His boss Maloney calls in the Feds as terrorism has come to South Chicago.

Other car bombs explode near landmarks with the motive to force the city to free Al-Shahid. As the city lives in fear with deaths mounting and no place safe, Gold, his new partner A.C. Battle and the FBI pursue a clever Muslim extremist terrorist thought to be related to Al-Shahid.

The Boston marathon bombing makes the first Gold police procedural appear authentic as terrorism shuts down a major American city. The lead cops have plenty of personal tsuris but remain focused on taking down the brilliant predator while their insight into Chicago (Cubs or Sox) brings depth to the mix. Although late happenchance detracts from the excitement and Mike Daley is on recess, readers will enjoy the taut Terrorist Next Door which warns Americans to avoid stereotyping the enemy.

Harriet Klausner

The Right Side Of Wrong-Reavis Z. Wortham

The Right Side Of Wrong

Reavis Z. Wortham

Poisoned Pen, Jul 2 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464201486

In 1966, twenty-four year old Constable Cody Parker is stunned by the snow piling up as it rarely comes down let alone sticks in Center Spring, Texas on the south side of the Red River. He notices tire marks in the snow so he follows them using his wife Norma Faye’s vehicle as his car’s battery died due to the freezing temperature. When he sees the sedan parked, Cody down shifts but skids anyway. The other driver fires a 12 gauge through the windshield hitting Cody whose Plymouth crashes. A starving pack of abandoned dogs fights over his injured body until elderly newcomer Tom Bell kills the alpha and another sending the rest fleeing.

Cody’s Uncle Constable Ned Parker and deputy sheriff John Washington lead investigations into the near fatal attack and other homicides in the area. Each concludes that a new type of trafficker had come to Red River; these homicidal predators sell drugs that they obtain in Mexico. Still upset with the assault that nearly killed him, Cody follows suspects south of the border. Ned follows his foolish nephew to save him from killers.

The third Parker clan historical police procedural (see The Rock Hole and Burrows) is a great 1960s period piece thriller with segregation remaining strictly enforced; for instance Washington is the Jackie Robinson of law enforcement in the area but separate facilities for whites and coloreds remain in place a dozen years after the Brown ruling. The drug trafficking is also just beginning to find favorite lethal migratory paths. The cast is solid as is the investigation, but it is the vivid look at 1966 Red River shootout that makes for a super entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner