Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tell Me You’re Sorry-Kevin O’Brien

Tell Me You’re Sorry Kevin O’Brien Pinnacle, Apr 29 2014, $9.99 ISBN: 9780786031603 In 2008, thirtyish Sandy Ingalls dies from a stroke leaving behind her husband Dick and their three kids. One year later Dick married Vanessa. An intruder explains to him she killed his wife, and paralyzed him and his children by what she put in their sauce. As she leaves she asks him if he is sorry while burning down the home with the Ingalls inside. In 2012, Stephanie Coburn cannot believe her older sister Rebecca Hamner committed suicide. Not long afterward, Rebecca’s grieving husband Scott remarries only to have his new wife kill him and his kids from his first marriage before committing suicide. Though she did not know the second wife, Stephanie knew her sister did not hate her spouse as a suicide note said; nor would she take her life as family meant everything to Becky. Stephanie soon learns of two other families in which a widower remarried shortly after his first wife died; only to be murdered along with his second spouse and their children. When police ignore her claim of a serial killer, Stephanie investigates; which leads her to Ryan Farrell, whose family was a victim of the same M.O. From the opening murder scene to the final confrontation, Kevin O’Brien hooks the audience with the psychopath intruding on families. Although the villainess’s appearance for most of this strong suspense is limited, she makes a macabre impression on readers as she always leaves the helpless male knowing that he and his loved ones will soon die with the taunt “are you sorry now?” Even as the female killer's skills seem improbable, Tell Me You’re Sorry is an exciting taut thriller. Harriet Klausner

Antiques Con- Barbara Allan

Antiques Con Barbara Allan Kensington, Apr 29 2014, $24.00 ISBN: 9780758263643 Accompanied by blind Shih Tzu Sushi, septuagenarian Vivian “Mother” Borne and divorced Brandy “Daughter” Borne leave Serenity, Iowa overlooking the Mississippi River to attend a comic book convention in New York overlooking the Hudson. The dealers plan to sell an original Superman drawing from the 1940s. Due to a reservation fiasco at the Hotel Pennsylvania, they obtain a free room; convention organizer Tommy Bufford’s suite. That first night in the suite, the Borne pair frightens a room invader. However, Bufford has no such luck, as someone murders Tommy by stabbing him in his chest with an award shaped like a pen. Knowing from his brother (Brandy’s lover) the duet’s tendencies towards trouble by investigating crimes, NYPD Detective Cassato warns them to stay out of his inquiry. Vivian heads to New Jersey to meet the local mob chief at the Badda-Boom Club while Brandy learns who had motive to murder Bufford and killed the organizer’s assistant as well. The latest Trash 'n' Treasures amateur sleuth (see Antiques Disposal and Antiques Bizarre) is the usual fabulous mirthful madcap murder mystery starring a dynamic duet dueling each other over who gets in the last word though they go separate ways straddling the Hudson. Fans will enjoy this amusing over the top of Washington Heights cozy due to the jocular rivalry between Mother and Daughter. Harriet Klausner

Stolen Remains-Christine Trent

Stolen Remains Christine Trent Kensington, Apr 29 2014, $15.00 ISBN 9780758293244 In 1869, English Viscount Raybourn, Anthony Fairmont, is sick of Egypt as he can’t wait to go home; he cannot fathom why The Prince Of Wales Bertie loves this place. Still with his mission negotiating a deal to construct the Suez Canal finished, Fairmont will soon sail for England. Just a few hours after reaching England, Anthony commits suicide. With her mom ill, undertaker Violet Harper leaves America for London. Never forgetting how caring Violet was when her beloved Albert died eight years ago, Queen Victoria orders her to treat her late close friend Viscount Raybourn with the same respect and look for clues as to how he died as the ruler doubts he took his life. Violet finds the grieving extended family not upset with the patriarch’s death or very nice. When his corpse vanishes and his housekeeper Mrs. Peet found hung, Violet also uncovers ties between the deceased, Egypt and the British Kingdom’s highest hierarchal level. The second Lady of Ashes Victorian mystery is an entertaining complicated whodunit. The storyline uses nineteenth century Egyptology, Victorian above and below the stairs mores, and the Suez Canal project to provide the audience with a strong backdrop for a fascinating investigation although the climax seems contrived. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Closing- Ken Oder

The Closing Ken Oder Skipjack Publishing, Apr 23 2014, $14.99 www.SkipjackPublishing.com ISBN: 9781939889164 In 1968, former Selk County Commonwealth Prosecutor Nate Abbitt tells death row inmate Kenneth Deatherage that his lawyer Swiller died from a heart attack before filing an appeal and the Supreme Court put a moratorium on state executions while studying the constitutionality. Finally the defrocked DA, who as an alcoholic fixed several cases before being removed, says he will act as Deatherage’s defense attorney. Deatherage insists the Buck County oligopoly framed him for the rape and murder of Darlene Updike. Nate rejects Deatherage’s conspiracy theory; as he believes his client is guilty, but knows as the defendant’s attorney that should not matter. He obtains Swiller’s file that contains almost nothing and reads the court record to find the attorney did nada for Deatherage. When he calls Deatherage’s mom for information, the woman refuses to get involved with her son she claims is evil. Even more shocking is the executor of Swiller’s estate mentions three other Buck County capital offense cases in which the lawyer mounted no defense. Stunned by what he read and not read, Nate heads to Buck County to meet with Commonwealth Prosecutor Maupin and others; but is unprepared for the nightmarish reality he faces there. The Closing is an intriguing legal thriller that looks deeply at corruption in the jurisprudence system. The recovering alcoholic protagonist is a fascinating lead as he begins to regain his lost life when he accepts the harm he committed to innocent people, his wife, his mother, his mentor and himself. Although the enjoyable storyline spins from a superb capital case to a more conventional David vs. Goliaths thriller, fans will appreciate Ken Oder’s strong historical fiction. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Live To See Tomorrow-Iris Johansen

Live To See Tomorrow Iris Johansen St. Martin's, Apr 29 2014, $27.99 ISBN: 9781250020048 In Hong Kong CIA operative Catherine Ling looks forward to spending time with the two males she loves. She hopes to connect with her tweener son Luke who recently escaped from an abduction and does not know how to relate to her; but knows her mentor Hu Chang, who saved her from her teenage life on the streets of Hong Kong (See What Doesn't Kill You), will help both of them. When CIA supervisor Venable asks Ling to mount a rescue in Tibet, she says no just as she did on the Guatemala mission. However Chang feels a debt obligation so accepts the assignment; Catherine reluctantly joins him though she fears Luke will feel his mother abandoned him again. Chang and Ling journey to Tibet where they attempt to free American journalist Erin Sullivan from evil Kadmus whose Himalayan fortress seems impenetrable. Ling meets an enigmatic ally who may prove to be an adversary, Richard Cameron; as the CIA agent notices many locals worship this “Guardian" while others want him dead. The latest Catherine Ling CIA paranormal mission (see Chasing the Night costarring with Eve Duncan) is an exhilarating over the top of the Himalayas thriller. The relationship between Ling and Chang is fatherly, and with Luke estranged; but hers with Cameron melts the snow though the heroine remains undecided as to friend or foe in spite of their heated telepathic connection. Series fans will appreciate Ling’s journey to what may turn out to be Shangri-La or a frozen hell. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hanging By A Hair-Nancy J. Cohen

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Argentine Trian -Allan Topol

The Argentine Triangle Allan Topol Select Books, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 www.selectbooks.com ISBN: 9781590791417 Former CIA assassin Craig Page lost his position as the agency’s director when President Treadwell needed a sacrifice to keep a scandal out of the White House. Distrusting POTUS and his advisors especially Edward Bryce, Page ended his relationship with his girlfriend out of concern for her safety and underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Instead of spying, Page drives racing cars in Europe. However, someone Page trusts, current CIA Director Betty Richards contacts him as his nation and a close mutual friend need him. While undercover seeking proof that Dirty War General Alfredo Estrada plans a coup d’etat, CIA agent Ted Dunn vanished in Argentina. Additionally, attracted to Buenos Aires La NaciĆ³n reporter Gina Galindo, Bryce arranges arms shipments to loyal supporters of Estrada. The latest Craig Page CIA thriller is an action-packed tale; as the hero tries to expose the ugly history of Estrada during the vicious Dirty War so this brute loses support while also preventing the arms reaching him. Although the exhilarating storyline is much more straightforward than his previous missions (see The Russian Endgame, The Spanish Revenge and The China Gambit), readers will appreciate globetrotting Page’s South American escapades. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Promise In Pieces-Emily T. Wierenga

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Intern’s Handbook-Shane Kuhn

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

Illusion-Sherrilyn Kenyon

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