Archive for September, 2009

Haunting Jordan-P.J. Alderman

September 27, 2009

Haunting Jordan

P.J. Alderman

Bantam, Sep 29 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780553592108

Jordan Marsh’s husband died in a car cash because someone cut the brake lines of his vehicle.  LAPD Detective Drake believes she killed her spouse but has no evidence to prove his theory.  Sick of Drake’s harassment, Jordan moves to Port Chatham, Washington; where she purchases a fixer upper Victorian, Longren House.  To her surprise her new abode comes with two ghostly residents Hattie her teenage sister Charlotte.

When Hattie’s husband died, she took over his shipping business and inherited his enemies especially amidst his allies when she decides to clean up his dirty dealings.  This includes resentful Mike Seavey who is a power on the docks, her late husband’s manager, and Police Chief Greeley who wants to marry Charlotte.  As Jordan tries to solve who murdered Hattie back in 1890, she also has to deal with Drake who has new evidence and has come to the Pacific Northwest to see her arrested.  Jordan’s lawyer refuses to allow her to be expedited back to California as the new proof would not hold up in court.  Still someone wants Jordan in jail, but she has no idea who or why.

Readers will thoroughly enjoy this paranormal amateur sleuth because of the ghost who tells Jordan what happened to her back in 1890 as she tries to persuade the mortal to investigate the homicide in 2009.  Looking into a cold case as a total amateur seems easy when compared to being a present day suspect in her husband’s death as Drake is like Inspector Girard of the Fugitive.  P.J. Alderman writes a scintillating supernatural whodunit as the spirits connect the past with the present.

Harriet Klausner

Urge to Kill-John Lutz

September 26, 2009

Urge to Kill

John Lutz

Pinnacle, Sep 29 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780786018451

After being injured in the line of duty, homicide detective Frank Quinn accepted a disability retirement, but he remained a contractor available to the police force as occasionally case surfaces that require his special skills.  The Police Commissioner Harley Renz has a particularly gruesome serial killer that he wants Frank to find.  Men are being brutally murdered with the perpetrator taking a .25 caliber gun from the victim’s phone which is in his pocket.

Frank obsesses over finding this maniac because the culprit killed one of the detectives Joe Garlin who worked narcotics.  While working this personal difficult case, another serial killer surfaces who kkills and guts his victims as if he is carving up a deer with a hunting knife.  The police believe the same person has expanded his modus operendi to bring new sadistic satiation.  Frank fears he will be the next victim as he offers himself up as bait to catch one perhaps two killers.

Without fanfare, the dedicated protagonist believes it is his duty to end the killing reign as police work gives him satisfaction just like slicing and dicing does to his opponent.  With a great twist Joh Lutz is at his best with his latest thrilling Kill police procedural (see NIGHT KILLS and IN FOR THE KILL) as his hero and his villain share more in common than people realize.  Fans will relish this fast-paced electrifying thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Heat Seeker-Lora Leigh

September 25, 2009

Heat Seeker

Lora Leigh

St. Martin’s, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN:  9780312945817

In Brisbane, Bailey Serborne and Trent Daylen shared the greatest night of their respective lives.  Soon afterward he died in a car explosion.  She grieved her loss while he mourned the only person he left behind in his previous life Bailey.

Unable to neither ignore her feelings nor obtain closure, former CIA operative Bailey searched for the employer of the killer of her beloved.  She finally found him only he turned the tables and kidnapped her.  Other people rescue her killing everyone but the ring leader so she went back to her quest.  Bailey has closed in on the brains behind the criminal group who killed Trent, but once again is captured.  Arms dealer John Vincent is unable to not kiss her; his lips confuse her; as she reacts the same way she did for Trent yet he is the enemy who killed her beloved and perhaps her parents.

Although over the top of Brisbane, Aspen and a few other locales, this Elite Ops romantic suspense thriller is an exciting tale starring two fascinating lead characters especially the male who fans will wonder if he is a rogue gone bad or a deep undercover operative.  The story line is faster than a speeding HEAT SEEKER missile but similar in plotting to analogous thrillers, as Bailey seeks vengeance on the man she believes killed her loved ones only to find his kisses leave her confused and craving more.  Fans of the series will enjoy this action to the nth degree thriller as the twists and spins make for an electrifying read.

Harriet Klausner

Razor Sharp-Fern Michaels

September 25, 2009

Razor Sharp

Fern Michaels

Kensington, Oct 6 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9781410417602

Lily Flowers (her current name) is the  madam of Happy Day Camp for Boys and Girls in Pahrump, Nevada; a brothel sixty miles outside Las Vegas.  She is outraged when DC politicos in all three branches threaten to destroy her.  She arranges to give copies of her records to Nevada lawyer Cosmos Cricket and threatens to expose to the world these outstanding righteous citizens who have been coming to her “summer camp” as clients for years.

However, someone took Lily’s threat personally and kills her.  Her cutthroat lawyer Lizzie Fox calls in a favor from the Sisterhood who owe her big time to take a close look at the homicide.  The most likely suspect is someone inside the Beltway who got away with murder; but not if they can help it.  However, the magnificent seven understand the cost could be the pardon from President Martine Connor as this inquiry leads to the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court.

With a nod to the DC Madam, RAZOR SHARP is an entertaining Sisterhood thriller that is stratospherically over the top of the Washington Monument.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment Lily leaves Cosmos with the sign of the V as he rightfully assumes means vengeance and never slows down.  Although the key support cast is never RAZOR SHARP and the plot seemingly implausible, fans will enjoy the latest escapades of the stalwart sassy sister seven as once again friendship matters.

Harriet Klausner

Winter of Secrets- Vicki Delany

September 25, 2009

Winter of Secrets

Vicki Delany

Poisoned Pen, Nov 2009, $24.95

ISBN 9781441702791

Early on Christmas Day in Trafalgar, British Columbia, the SUV is found buried under ice in a river.  Inside the vehicle are the corpses of best friends Jason Wyatt-Yarmouth and Ewan Williams, two wealthy males from Toronto who were on vacation with others.

Constable Molly Smith leads the inquiry of what looks like a tragic accident.  However, the autopsy proves a shocker when the medical examiner insists the time of deaths for the lads is radically different and the means of death also different.  In other words someone used the SUV as a coffin for two murders.  The cops question the rest of the Toronto party as they backtrack what they can about the victims leading to a bed and breakfast and a ski trail, but struggles with motive and consequently a lack of viable suspects.

This is a great Canadian police procedural that will be on most short lists for sub-genre novel of the year.  The investigation is top rate including a terrific logical final twist while the cast is strong.  Fans will relish Vicki Delany’s delightful whodunit and newcomers will seek Smith’s back cases (see VALLEY OF THE LOST).

Harriet Klausner

Killer Crab Cakes-Livia J. Washburn

September 24, 2009

Killer Crab Cakes

Livia J. Washburn

Obsidian, Oct 6 2009, $14.00

ISBN: 9780451228369

Her cousin Dorothy asks retired teacher Phyllis Newsom to manage her Oak Knoll Bed and breakfast in Fulton, Texas while she and her husband are in Dallas for the birth of their grandchild, the widow considers saying no as she knows nothing about a B&B.  However Dorothy mentions the annual Rockport Just Desserts Competition so Phyllis says yes.  Three other retired teachers, Sam Fletcher, Carolyn Wilbarger and Eve Turner join Carolyn j in the cooking contest, as she and Phyllis always enjoy competing against one another.

Sam and Phyllis go fishing off the nearby pier.  Already there is grouchy B&B guest Ed McKenna.  Sam taps Ed on the back and the man tumbles into the water.  Ed jumps in immediately and though he struggles gets Ed to the shore.  However Ed is dead and later the autopsy affirms he was murdered.  Assistant Police of Chief Abby Clifton and Police Chief Dale Clifton suspect Sam and when more murders come to the Oak Knoll B&B now being notoriously dubbed “The Murder House”; Phyliss, who vowed no murder investigations by her on this trip, begins to investigate.

The forth Newsom amateur sleuth (see A PEACH OF A MURDER and THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE KILLER) is a wonder “fresh baked” mystery as Phyliss tries to stay out of the latest SLICE OF MURDER, but cannot as Sam is the prime suspect.  KILLER CRAB CAKES is an entertaining whodunit starting with Sam’s gentle pat on the back that has the related cops hone in on him and the other retires.  With light bantering and recipes as Phyliss and Carolyn compete in a heated cooking rivalry between BFFs, fans will enjoy Livia J. Washburn’s latest culinary homicide investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Urgent Care-CJ Lyons

September 24, 2009

Urgent Care

CJ Lyons

Jove, Oct 27 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780515147056

It has been two years since Charge Nurse Nora Halloran of Angels of Mercy Medical Center in Pittsburgh was tortured and raped. She survived her ordeal and never told anyone what happened to her.  Concealing her dark secret has impacted her relationship with her lover. Seth as he knows she holds back.  Nora glances at the cemetery near the hospital where she sees the corpse of a woman with graffiti etched on her naked body and her eyes glued shut.

The nurse shudders not out of seeing the battered corpse, but because she knows the WARNING SIGNS that her rapist has returned as this is what he did to her.  Nora must do what she failed to do two years ago by telling others especially Seth before someone else dies.  She turns to her BFFs for help.  However, Amanda struggles to save the life of a child; Gina struggles with living her life or that of her parents; and Lydia struggles with friendships as she uses streets smarts to keep people at a distance after an abusive childhood that included the murder of her mother and a hit man coming to kill the witness, her.

CJ Lyons has written an adrenalin pumping medical thriller that fans of Robin Cook will enjoy.  URGENT CARE continues to chart the lives of the four friends at Angel of Mercy, but the focus this is mostly on this book is Nora.  Each of the women have major issues and traumas they must contend with that they faced alone, but are beginning to understand they can have comrades in arms if they reach out of the darkness that threatens to engulf them.  Fans will appreciate this fine tale as the four female friends face fight or flight, but supporting one another makes the choice easier.

Harriet Klausner

Leaving Yesterday-Kathryn Cushman

September 23, 2009

Leaving Yesterday

Kathryn Cushman

Bethany House, Oct 2009, $13.99

ISBN: 9780764203824

When police Detective Thompson arrives at her door, Alisa Stewart almost has a heart attack as she fears the cop is here to inform her that her only surviving son Kurt is dead.  However, the officer only wants to talk with Kurt to learn what he knows about the brutal beating murder of a dealer.

Still frantic with worry, she is finally relieved when Kurt calls her to tell her he is off the street and in rehab.  She feels he is turning the corner and thanks the Lord for this miracle.  Meanwhile as her spouse considers a divorce, she considers an affair, but soon has to think about second chances when the police arrest a perp for the drug related murder that she begins to fear Kurt committed, but sticks to her mantra of  by pretending it didn’t happen it will make it go away.

Although the trials and tribulations tests that Job faced may make him the only person ever to have more calamities tossed at them than Alisa, which can be overwhelming to the reader, LEAVING YESTERDAY is a fine family drama.  Alisa holds the story line together as her worries about Kurt turn into a personal morality crisis of right vs. wrong with her fear being her son committed the killing and her concealing her belief goes against her Ten Commandment like ethics. Even her pretending he didn’t do it does not ease her mind.  Although her crises with her spouse and with her potential lover feels intrusive, LEAVING YESTERDAY is a strong look at personal morality in a world in which define is holds no one culpable.

Harriet Klausner

Dance In Shadows-Karen Wiesner

September 23, 2009

Dance In Shadows

Karen Wiesner

Whiskey Creek, Oct 2009, $14.95

ISBN: 9781603135672

Years ago, Angelo Pluzetti’s life changed when his beloved family was murdered.  He joined the Network, whose mission is to obliterate criminals.  He became Head of Network Operations as his passion and willingness to die yet protect his “family” of operatives have become so renowned; his enemies from powerful Revolutionary Echelon Defenders (R.E.D). need him eliminated.

He has one Achilles’ heel, twenty-nine years old Dr. Celine Savage.  She has loved him for what seems to her an eternity, but he conceals his deep regard for her from everyone especially Celine and his adversaries.  However someone must somehow know because Celine is a target so he needs to keep her safe; not realizing when they are both captured by R.E.D. her inner strength gives him the extra courage he needs for both of them and their unborn to survive.

The ninth Incognito romantic suspense thriller is a great entry in a super saga.  Angelo and Celine are a fabulous pairing as each is attracted to one another, but hide it for differing reasons (besides what is described above).  Besides the enemy neither wants to face the wrath of their boss Shannon.  Filled with action and sexual tension, fans will enjoy the lead couple as they DANCE IN THE SHADOWS rather than with the stars.

Harriet Klausner

Intervention-Terri Blackstock

September 23, 2009

Intervention

Terri Blackstock

Zondervan, Sep 2009, $14.99

ISBN: 9780310250654

Widower Barbara Covington is worried about her addicted teenage daughter Emily and decides to intervene after her lockdown efforts fail and her offspring stole money using illegal credit cards she took out in her dead father’s name.  She takes her eighteen year old child to meet with a rehab center interventionist Trish Massey.  However, the counselor is found dead and Emily missing.  The police for obvious reasons assume Emily killed him.

Upset and despondent, Barbara searches for her missing oldest child with her other teen Lance advising her.  She vows to find Emily and the real killer before the police lock her daughter away for a homicide Barbara knows in her troubled soul her teen did not commit.

This is a super inspirational thriller that is at its best when looking into addictive destructive behavior and at the mom-older teen daughter relationship.  Barbara and Trish are fully developed characters; both at the end of their respective ropes, which each might use to hang themselves or the other.  Fourteen year old Lance is too wise as if he is the interventionist guiding his mom (how old was Yoda?).  The whodunit is well written, but more of a supporting device to force Barbara to personally “intervene”.  Fans will appreciate this profound tale while pondering whether addiction is a personal, family or even community illness as Emily’s actions impact others.

Harriet Klausner