Archive for February, 2009

Enduring Justice-Amy Wallace

February 28, 2009

Enduring Justice

Amy Wallace

Multnomah, Apr 2009, $12.99

ISBN: 9781601420145

Twenty years ago, the ugly incident that still haunts Hanna Kessler occurred. She somewhat walled it way, but recent events have made her realize what a lie she conveniently made for herself.

Crimes Against Children FBI agent Michael Parker struggled emotionally with the cases he has worked; even the trauma specialist offers him little help though he religiously attends their appointments. His current case involves a white supremacist who escaped the justice system. With an Asian child snatched he realizes his beloved Hanna’s past has caught up with them as she is in the crosshairs.

This is not an easy read as the third Defenders of Hope inspirational thriller (see RANSOMED DREAMS and HEALING PROMISES) is extremely dark and gritty as pedophile and racial hate crimes take center stage. The story line grips the audience as time is running out to save a child. At the same time, Michael wants to execute justice so the perp cannot fall through the cracks. He and a hurting Hanna may be in love, but their future together looks grim unless they can heal; only God can help them achieve this, but neither seems ready to embrace the Lord as each feels deserted instead.

Harriet Klausner


Second Thoughts-Bobbie O’Keefe

February 28, 2009

Second Thoughts

Bobbie O’Keefe

Five Star, Apr 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 1594147728

In California, Hayworth gives Petey $10 for a valuable pre WWII SteelMan comic book. He got away with his transaction because mentally-challenged Petey is an adult with the brain of an elementary school child while his caretaker brother Max an alcoholic was on a binge. With the help of their pal Moose, a bank investor they rob Hayworth’s convenience store three times in two days; as Max wants to harass Hayworth to return the comic book or give him $5K.

At about the same time, Kristy and Kevin go on a honeymoon in Hawaii leaving their three kids watched by their former sister-in-law Connie. Her ex TV newscaster Derek arrives to take the oldest five year old Chris fishing though he apparently mixed up the dates. He invites Connie to join them as well as the fourteen month old twins Andy and Abbie. When they run out of gas, they walk back to a nearby house they noticed. Inside are the three robbers who kidnap them. However, they are made to feel at home as Petey and Chris become playing buddies, Moose enjoys watching the twins, and Max appreciates Derek’s great cooking. While Derek is working on one master recipe to win back his Connie, she has SECOND THOUGHTS about their divorce and first thoughts about stealing the purloined comic book for Max and Petey.

This is a madcap romantic suspense thriller that the audience will relish as long as they understand they will have to ignore the plausibility gauge; the fast-paced story line is fast-paced but stratospherically over the top of the Sierras. The five adults and Chris have distinct personalities while the changing relationships between the kidnappers and the victims are fun to follow as Connie and Derek adopt the siblings’ quest as their own. Fans will have no second thoughts about this comedic screwball contemporary as zany is the name of the game.

Harriet Klausner

Dining with Devils-Gordon Aalborg

February 28, 2009

Dining with Devils

Gordon Aalborg

Five Star, Apr 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594147494

On Tasmania, a visiting gundog trial judge is shot by an apparent blind man who was participating with blanks firing at clay pigeons. At the scene as a civilian is police Sergeant Charlie Banes holding obvious Bluey the dog before he takes charge of the murder scene. His friend Canadian author Teague Kendell, who wrote the true crime thriller THE SPECIALIST and American novelist Tex Henderson are there too; the deadly bullet grazed Rex’s ear.

Meanwhile renowned caver Kirsten Knelsen, who saved Teague’s life on Vancouver Island from the Specialist, is inside a cave with several locals when they find a displaced knife that they take back with them to give to the cops. That night Dr. Ralph “the Specialist” Stafford thought dead in Canada, uses a post hypnotic spell to easily kidnap Kirsten. Stafford looks forward to serving Knelsen as dinner. Teague’s ex-wife Rose Chapman and sniper Ian Boyd arrive at the same isolated cabin that Stafford holds Kirsten. Rose was his nurse and Ian a patient so Stafford has no problem controlling them. A frantic Teague tells Charlie that Kirsten is missing. Nothing adds up as he believes Stafford lives, but if Charlie cannot crack the case soon, Stafford will enjoy his repast Kirsten.

The sequel to the SPECIALIST is an exciting Tasmanian thriller in which the real devil is Dr. Stafford, an obvious take on Lector. The story line is fast-paced from the opening murder and never slows down until the final climax when justice is served cold. Bluey provides comic relief as well as heroism. Fans will enjoy DINING WITH DEVILS but would have appreciated more insight as to how Stafford not only found his way out of a cave, but killed a deadly cougar. Still Gordon Aalborg provides an exciting thriller as time is running out for Kirsten and Teague as Stafford plans to serve them as gourmet delights.

Harriet Klausner

Mischief 24/7-Kasey Michaels

February 27, 2009

Mischief 24/7

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Apr 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780373773664

As always the oldest Sunshine sister, Jade remains the responsible last one standing trying to prove their father Teddy did kill Melody Brainard or commit suicide. She refuses to give up while Jolie has found a distraction (see DIAL M FOR MISCHIEF) and so has Jessica (see MISCHIEF BECOMES HER). Jade worked for her dad in his private investigative agency and assumes his last cases contain the key clues.

She is stunned when her former husband, Courtland Becket offers to help her. His ulterior motive is for a second chance at their love now that high maintenance Teddy is gone. As they investigate the cold case files that Teddy was searching before he died, their attraction remains strong, but not quite as powerful as Jade’s obsession that Teddy goes to his grave a hero not a killer.

Although the readers will know early on what Teddy did and did not do in his last moments, fans will relish this often amusing romantic suspense thriller. The current day cases are resolved while the ties back to the Regency saga Romney Marsh is brilliant. Jade is the most convoluted of the Sunshine siblings as even in death her father comes before her needs; Court hopes to gain that role on his second chance, but knows Teddy must be more than just exonerated; he must receive homage from the Philadelphia police, the media, and the sisters.

Harriet Klausner

Defender-Catherine Mann

February 27, 2009


Catherine Mann

Berkley, Apr 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425228029

In Afghanistan, with his mentor and partner Major Nathan “Socrates” Breuer unconscious and his C-12 nose diving with smoke coming from the tail, Captain Jimmy Gage knows he must land the plane safely and pray for help to arrive fast. He succeeds in getting them to the ground, but his prayer is answered by insurgents who execute Breuer on the spot and take Jimmy prisoner. Tortured by the enemy, his only regret is he left his fallen comrade behind; vowing never again.

Three years later, Jimmy, who escaped from the enemy, is escorting a boat filled with USO performers when the vessel explodes. Jimmy rescues several survivors including beautiful Chloe Nelson. She had joined the troupe to pay homage to the late soldier who donated a kidney that saved her life. As their respective hearts hotwire love, the pair finds themselves struggling to survive while on a dangerous mission.

This exciting first Darks Ops military thriller hooks the audience from the opening suspense laden scene and never loosens the tension until the end. The key to this taut story line is the lead couple whose attraction can light up the country, but keep their romantic inclinations in check as survival and mission come first. Fans who relish an exciting military thriller with a romantic subplot will wan to fly with Jimmy and Chloe.

Harriet Klausner

Packing Heat-Penny McCall

February 27, 2009

Packing Heat

Penny McCall

Berkley, Apr 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425228050

On her first case, desperate FBI agent Harmony Swift enters Lewisburg United States Penitentiary to free white-collar criminal Cole Hackett’ because she needs his computer skills to rescue a kidnapped agent whose ransom is information; her agency geeks will not do it. Two feds try to stop her breaking him out, bur she succeeds. She tries to persuade him to help, but he points out he is no longer the naive kid who the FBI “F” eight years ago leading to is incarceration; trust of a fed is no longer in his DNA.

Shockingly, the FBI conceals the break-out, which makes no sense to Harmony. As Cole hacks into the FBI database seeking the information, Harmony reconsiders what is happening now and what happened to Cole the first time he worked for the FBI; something is not right, but she has no idea what that is and who is behind the scenes manipulating everyone including an escapee convict and a renegade agent on the run.

This fast-paced thriller stars two wonderful people on the lam as he is rightfully a pessimist and she is an optimist; as a team they slice off the top half of the glass that contained liquid to the midpoint making it filled to the top. Fans will enjoy the wild adventures of the Fed and the anti-Fed as they fall in love while working on allegedly saving a kidnapped agent, but nothing is quite the way it seems in this action packed romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Perfectly Criminal-Celeste Marsella

February 27, 2009

Perfectly Criminal

Celeste Marsella

Dell, Mar 24 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780440244677

They work at the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. Laurie, Shannon, and Marianna are prosecutors while Beth is a paralegal. Laurie is going to law school in the fall so their boss attorney general Vincent “the Pig” Piganno hires Brooke Stanfield to replace her. One night the foursome is celebrating their working together for six years when Shannon goes to the bathroom for a pit stop. She meets a drunken man who comes on to her; when he faints they both tumble to the floor. When he reawakens, Shannon takes him to her home, but he cannot sexually perform.

He tells her he may have killed his wife and her lesbian lover before introducing himself as Connecticut State Senator Scott Boardman. He explains he is unsure if the committed two homicides because he mixed alcohol and pills before blacking out. Shannon calls the police to take him in and he hires his attorney who tells him to be quiet. He recants his confession and is released. His public relations man insists he is innocent despite Brooke giving Shannon a phony confession. Scott admits she lieed even though he just broke up with her. When his P.R. expert is murdered, the evidence points to him, but Shannon refuses to believe it; risking her life to prove he is innocent.

The second romantic suspense thiller by Celeste Marsella (see DEFENSELESS; Mariana’s tale) is a fascinating crime thriller with a ton of red herrings and plot twists though perhaps too many. Shannon is a tough person, but is also running away from her past, which is a prime reason an affair with a married man pleases her. She does not want a commitment and though her married paramour deeply loves her he cannot leave his wife which to Shannon is the perfect arrangement. Scott in many ways is the more beguiling character as many of the spins are caused by him; keeping readers interested into learning his true motives. Celeste Marsella provides fans with a strong tale reminiscent of the works of Linda Fairstein.

Harriet Klausner

The President’s Henchman-Joseph Flynn

February 26, 2009

The President’s Henchman

Joseph Flynn

Variance, Jan 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 193514202X

When his wife is elected president, Jim McGill becomes America’s “first” First Man. A former Chicago homicide detective, Jim was working on the homicide of Patricia Darden Grant’s husband. When he married Patricia he did not expect them to relocate to the White House for her job. He is offered the position of FBI chief, but declines. Instead he obtains private investigator license.

His first case involves a stalker threatening a White House press corps member as Jim wants to make sure the loose cannon does not go after his wife. Jim also gets involved in an adultery charge against a female colonel stationed at the Pentagon with the possibility that could devastate his wife’s new administration.

THE PRESIDENT’S HENCHMAN is an enjoyable refreshing political noir starring America’s First Man who refuses to hide his roots as a former Chicago cop, but does so in an intelligent tough guy manner. The story line is fast-paced though one must wonder how the Secret Service Agents plan to protect Jim when he has clients; surveillance for instance might prove messy and awkward. Although the plot does not dig deep enough into the impact of Jim working as a P.I. on POTUS protection detail and other considerations, Joseph Flynn provides fans with a brisk political thriller starring the First Nor sleuth in the White House.

Harriet Klausner

Hater-David Moody

February 25, 2009


David Moody

Dunne, Feb 2009, $21.95

ISBN: 9780312384838

Danny McCoyne is a bureaucrat at the Parking Fine Processing Office; a job he loathes but as poor as the pay is he needs to keep his boring position in order to feed his wife and kids. Depressed Danny knows he has no future beyond being near the bottom of his agency’s food chain.

Danny is stunned when he witnesses an apparent random act of violence. When more occur, the media dubs the assaulters as Haters. Victims are loved ones, friends and fellow workers as much as strangers. No one can explain why even as society begins to unravel as exponentially the number of attacks is beyond when the government can contend with. Danny anticipates the worst is yet to come; so he tries to keep his loved ones safe though that means hiding inside their home like convicts. He trusts no one especially the government who he thinks may be behind the sudden violence

This is a chilling thriller as the increasingly violent society forcing innocents to lock themselves and their families in houses that are prisons seems plausible due to the pace of the story line. The brutality is often vivid, rightfully so, as that cruelty is what leads to self incarceration. Fans of a dark world will appreciate this grim thriller as normality is simple survival in a Moody world gone mad.

Harriet Klausner

Manna From Hades-Carola Dunn

February 25, 2009

Manna From Hades

Carola Dunn

Minotaur, Mar 17 2009, $24.95

ISBN: 9780312379452

Widow Eleanor “Aunt Nell” Trewynn runs a charity shop in the village of Port Mabyn in Cornwall. At the store, Aunt Nell’s dog Teazle finds a corpse of a young male in the storeroom. She notifies Detective Inspector Scumble who initially thinks the victim is a bum. He does not want to investigate with his partner on sick leave and he stuck with Aunt Nell’s resolute niece, Detective Sargent Megan Pencarrow, but has no choice as a murder occurred.

Aunt Nell drives the gruff senior investigator crazy as she seems to omit critical information because she is forgetful. She is actually more interested in a suitcase of jewelry left at the store that turns out to be stolen loot from a London jewelry. As Aunt Nell and the Vicar’s wife Jocelyn work the case, Scumble grumbles about amateurs and London cops.

This 1960-s 1970s English village mystery is a wonderful character driven police procedural-amateur sleuth whodunit. The ensemble cast brings to life the small Cornish village through key players who are fully developed with differing personalities. Fans will enjoy Carola Dunn’s new series as she moves forward in time four decades from her super Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher 1920s mysteries without missing a beat.

Harriet Klausner