Archive for December, 2009

Hush-Kate White

December 30, 2009

Hush

Kate White

Harper, Mar 2 2010, $24.99

ISBN 9780061576614

Forty-four year old marketing consultant Lake Warren has recently divorced her spouse Jack.  However, he sues for full custody of their young children.  Her divorce lawyer Robert Kotchkiss empathically tells her that  to insure Jack has nothing even remotely scandalous that will give him an issue to hammer her within court; he  goes so far to state to her don’t date .

Lake is providing her consulting services to the Park Avenue Fertility Center where she meets Los Angeles based medical consultant flirtatious Dr. Keaton.  Ignoring her lawyer’s admonition for now as the kids are away and thinking spontaneous sex before becoming a nun, she and Keaton make love in his penthouse where she falls asleep.  When she awakens with a nasty headache she finds Keaton dead.  Fearing that the cops will consider her as a person interest, which is the perfect issue for Jack to use against her, she investigates who murdered Keaton.  However, her fear factor explodes when she realizes someone is stalking her.

With the Blond investigative reporter Bailey Weggins taking a well deserved respite, Kate White provides a refreshing stand alone thriller of a woman trying to cover her indiscretion which leads to deeper and deeper troubles for her.  Fast-paced once the heroine turns to amateur sleuthing while Archer the detective knows she is concealing something.  Fans will appreciate this fine suspense filled tale of a woman in peril depending on no one but herself to find the killer in order to extract herself from the cops accusing her and ultimately a stalker watching her for who knows what

Harriet Klausner

Pretty in Ink-Karen E. Olson

December 29, 2009

Pretty in Ink

Karen E. Olson

Obsidian, Mar 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451229625

Brett Kavanaugh owns the  Painted Lady tattoo parlor in the ritzy part of Las Vegas while giving her clients custom-made tattoos.  Her whole body is filled with tattoos, a walking advertisement for her shop.

One night Brett is at the Chez Terso watching a transvestite on stage when a man pops a champing cork and hits the performer in the chest.  Brett gets a look at the man who did it noticing a queen of hearts playing card etched onto his right forearm.  Trevor McKay seems all right, but the next day he visits the Painted Lady appearing very ill.  He dies at the hospital at the same time Brett’s trainee Charlotte disappears.  A waiter saw the man the person who hit Trevor with the cork; he describes him to Brett who makes a sketch.  The man is Wesley Lambert, a transvestite who dropped out of sight over a year ago.  Brett finds herself through a set of circumstances in a condo with the corpse of Wesley.  She is decontaminated from ricin, which is all over the place.  The tattoo artist believes there is a link between the two deaths and Charlotte as she hops from one hiding place to another to find Charlotte and the killer.  She remains resolute in finding her friend, but ignorant that someone is watching her very closely.

Pretty in Ink is a non-stop action amateur sleuth mystery starring a brave strong heroine who thinks outside the crypt; something needed on this deadly case.  The support cast adds humor and suspense (even off stage) to this well constructed complex whodunit.  With a touch of romance to augment the deep look at another side of Vegas, fans will enjoy the second Tattoo Shop Mystery (see Missing In Ink).

Harriet Klausner

Drive Time-Hank Phillippi Ryan

December 28, 2009

Drive Time

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mira, Feb 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327974

Boston’s Channel 3 investigative reporter forty-seven years old Charlotte “Charlie” McNally is looking into a nasty car theft-auto forgery ring.  The story smells like an “Emmy” if she and the crew live long enough for air time.  At the same time she has an offer to go to New York for the big time.

Charlie is concerned for her fifty-two years old fiancé, Josh Gelston, a teacher at the Bexter Academy, and his nine year old daughter, Penny a student there.  Unable to resist, the intrepid reporter makes inquiries that lead her to realize murders have occurred and so has blackmailing.  She remains ignorant to the fact the killer is watching her progress with plans to get rid of a nosy investigative TV news reporter.

The latest “Time” after time investigative thriller (see Prime Time, Face Time, and Air Time) is another great entry in a strong series.  Filled with non-stop action starting when Charlie is eight minutes away from starting the rest of her life except she and photographer J.T. stop on the highway to investigate an incident setting the tone once again for a fabulous tale.  This time the prime story line has Charlie’s professional life crash into her personal life as Hank Phillippi Ryan provides a superb thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Drive Time-Hank Phillippi Ryan

December 28, 2009

Drive Time

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mira, Feb 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327974

Boston’s Channel 3 investigative reporter forty-seven years old Charlotte “Charlie” McNally is looking into a nasty car theft-auto forgery ring.  The story smells like an “Emmy” if she and the crew live long enough for air time.  At the same time she has an offer to go to New York for the big time.

Charlie is concerned for her fifty-two years old fiancé, Josh Gelston, a teacher at the Bexter Academy, and his nine year old daughter, Penny a student there.  Unable to resist, the intrepid reporter makes inquiries that lead her to realize murders have occurred and so has blackmailing.  She remains ignorant to the fact the killer is watching her progress with plans to get rid of a nosy investigative TV news reporter.

The latest “Time” after time investigative thriller (see Prime Time, Face Time, and Air Time) is another great entry in a strong series.  Filled with non-stop action starting when Charlie is eight minutes away from starting the rest of her life except she and photographer J.T. stop on the highway to investigate an incident setting the tone once again for a fabulous tale.  This time the prime story line has Charlie’s professional life crash into her personal life as Hank Phillippi Ryan provides a superb thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Town in a Blueberry Jam-B.B. Haywood

December 28, 2009

Town in a Blueberry Jam

B.B. Haywood

Berkley, Feb 2010, $6.99

ISBN: 9780425232651

After her husband lost his job, emptied their savings, and dumped her for another woman; Candy Holliday returns to her hometown, the seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine; where she and her dad “Doc” manage Blueberry Acres.  Local hero Olympic Gold medal winning swimmer Jock Larson falls off a cliff with his life flashing by including how he died.  The townsfolk are unsure of whether it was an accident, suicide, or homicide.  Candy is sad over his death, but happy that the Blueberry Festival will still occur with people coming from across the country to attend.

To the locals, the highlight of the gala is the Blueberry Queen Pageant.  Five of the contestants are high school students while the other contender is gossip columnist thirty-seven years old Sapphire Vine, a flaky diva (obvious oxymoron).  Everyone expects Haley Pruitt to win because of her poise; performance and responses to questions which are by far superior to that of her rivals.  Thus when Sapphire wins, everybody is shocked.  Soon after her stunning victory, Sapphire is found dead.  The town’s handyman Ray is arrested for the murder.  Candy knows Ray is innocent and intends to find the real culprit with the help of her BFF Maggie.  Their investigation uncovers scandals amongst the pageant judges and other residents, but as they get closer to identifying the perpetrator, the killer watches them in case two more corpses are needed.

This is a charming and amusing Pine Tree State cozy in which Cape Willington is vividly described so that the reader feels they are attending the Blueberry festival.  The cast is solid as the residents bring out the ambience of the seaside village.  Although the amateur sleuthing is similar in tone to many sub-genre entries, the irony of readers knowing a lot more than the cops or the BFF detectives and the Twitter sight provide a fresh spin to B.B. Haywood’s first Candy Holliday whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

A Dog At Sea-J.F. Englert

December 23, 2009

A Dog At Sea

J.F. Englert

Dell, Dec 29 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780440245414

He has an extremely high IQ and loves to read a variety of boojs; unusual traits in a canine.  Randolph the Labrador and his less intelligent human companion Harry are on a canine cruise in which both species have the freedom of the Nordic Bliss as poop decks have different meanings.  Ostensive the duo are enjoying their time at sea; but actually are following a clue to Imogen, Harry’s beloved human love and Randolph’s mistress.  Fearing for Randolph and Harry in that order, she faked her death because a bad person with influential allies wanted control of her uranium fortune.

On board they meet Milton Tabasco, TV’s dog “mutterer”, who hypnotizes canines with his voice.  At the Captain’s Table for dinner, Milton and his wife Kitty argue and she storms out of the dining room.  Later, Randolph and Harry see her crying on the deck.  Soon afterward they learns she jumped overboard and is assumed dead.  Randolph sniffs Tabasco and concludes Milton killed his spouse.  However the smell changes to regret so Randolph wonders if his original olfactory conclusion stinks.  When someone else dies in a box that Milton uses as part of a magic trick, Tabasco was nowhere near the victim at the time of the murder.  Randolph investigates and scents another homicide, but has to find a way to tell the tone deaf authorities who the killer is; he comes up with a devious brilliant plan.

Reminding me of my late Max (who understood the spelling of words like pizza and treat) and I am sure other readers of their brilliant dogs, Randolph loves to eat, eat, and eat yet always takes into account the best interest of his BF.  In his third canine caper (see A Dog About Town and A Dog Among Diplomats), the sentient dog is at his best as he expects to dine, poop, sleep and dine, but the ship staff wants him to lose weight.  His perspective (on the murders, the inquiry, exercise, and dieting, etc.) makes for a wonderful anthropomorphic whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Rich Again-Anna Maxted

December 22, 2009

Rich Again

Anna Maxted

St. Martin’s Griffin, Dec 22, 2009, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312570286

Headquartered in London, multimillionaire power couple, Jack and Innocence Kent, own a boutique in hotel chains.  Their spoiled fourteen year old daughter Emily has decided she will have Lord Timothy and she always gets what she wants.  Their older child Claudia was adopted by Jack and his late first wife Felicia, but she has issues.

Two years later, Jack is nearly ruined by a financial scandal; only the quick work of not so innocent Innocence saves their fortune when she transferred his fortune to her.  Tim gets Emily pregnant so they marry in Vegas, but his outraged father disowns him.  To make shoe money, Emily sells gossip, mostly false, about her and her family to the tabloids.  However, the past returns to haunt the Kent family when  Nathan adopted by Jack and Felicia who returned when she died, has begun a killing campaign using his guise as a movie star to conceal his obsession to murder everyone Kent.

This is over the top of Big Ben; but it is an enjoyable inane and insane family drama.  The killer is cartoonish as he is never developed beyond his need for vengeance.  The Kent family fare better as they seem three dimensional especially the way Emily makes a living.   Rich Again is silly, overly padded, but decadently fun.

Harriet Klausner

Last Nocturne- Marjorie Eccles

December 22, 2009

Last Nocturne

Marjorie Eccles

Minotaur, Feb 16 2010, $24.99

ISBN 9780312577933

In 1909, Grace Thurley ends her engagement; leaving Birmingham for London where she has accepted a position as secretary to recently widowed Edwina Martagon and companion to her daughter Dulcie.  As she settles into the Martagon household, Edwina’s son Guy comes home to settle the estate of his late father, an art gallery owner who committed suicide.

When an artist, whose works were on display at Martagon’s gallery, also kills himslef, Scotland Yard revisits the previous case as Chief Inspector Philip Lamb and his assistant Detective Sergeant Cogan find two similar suicides too coincidental and besides no motives existed for either man; one was at the top of his game and the other a rising star.  At the same time someone is blackmailing Grace due to love letters her spouse sent to his paramour and that rumors are he sired a child in Vienna two decades earlier. Vienna is where a Mrs. Isobel Amberley seems to be the eye of the hurricane who apparently led to the deaths of the late gallery owner and the deceased artist.

Marjorie Eccles provides her fans with an entertaining Edwardian Era police procedural.  The flashbacks of what occurred in Vienna twenty years earlier enable the audience to know why the two men died long before the cops figure out what is going on.  The background is terrific as the reader can compare two leading European cities just before and after the turn of the previous century.  Although the look back to Vienna is fascinating, but also slows down the present day (1909 that is) mystery.  Still this is a fine investigative tale in which Superintendent Gil Mayo would be proud of the efforts of his DS predecessor.

Harriet Klausner

Sizzle-Julie Garwood

December 22, 2009

Sizzle

Julie Garwood

Ballantine, Jan 2010, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345560779

In Los Angeles film student Lyra Prescott decides as her final project in Professor Mahler’s class to make a documentary on Parisso Park, a dumping ground filled with broken bottles, dirty disposable diapers, old newspapers, and an assortment of other discarded trash.  Near the “land filled” playground is a beautiful garden oasis that contrasts to the toxic dump.  On her way home, Lyra stops at a yard sale in which Mrs. Rooney is giving away all her husband’s things.

Lyra takes the CDs and tapes; unaware that crime boss Mr. Merriam wants his foot soldier Milo to snuff out the Rooneys as they have something that could put him away for a long time.  His goons go to collect the evidence, but it is not where it is supposed to be.  They learn Lra might have what they ar seeking. Two men are holding Lyra’s roommate Sidney Buchanan prisoner waiting for her arrival.  The two females escape and Sydney uses her contacts to get a bodyguard to protect Lyra.  FBI agent Sam Kincaid arrives to do the job, but is stunned by his attraction to Lyra, who knows she can easily fall in love with her protector.  They are shot at, her house is trashed, and a bomb is set under her car.  Sam vows to risk his life to keep her safe though neither knows what the perpetrators want.

Sizzle is the appropriate name for this action-packed romantic suspense thriller as the relationship between Sam and Lyra never cools down.  Fast-paced from the moment the hoodlums arrive and never taking a tension breather on the romance or suspense fronts, fans will be stunned to learn who is calling the shots and what the villains seek.  Although the escapes especially the pre Sam getaway seem unlikely, Julie Garwood provides her fans with a great taut thriller with everyone (except the bad guys) rooting for this couple to not just survive but to make it together.

Harriet Klausner

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart-Beth Pattillo

December 21, 2009

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

Beth Pattillo

Guideposts, Jan 10 2010, $14.99

www.GuidepostsBooks.com

ISBN: 9780824947934

Having just lost her position as a pediatrician office manager in Kansas City, thirtyish Claire Prescott’s nerves are frayed, but has no one to talk to about her fears.  Her boyfriend Neil buries himself in a cocoon of and her sister Missy always turns to her for bail out since their parents died.  In fact the latter is why she is at Christ Church in Oxford, England attending a seminar on Jane Austen where no college degree Claire will present Missy’s scholarly paper on Pride and Prejudice.

Claire plans to spend the week temporarily fabricating her résumé so she can be like all these successful people who are judges, professors and stockbrokers, etc.  When she meets James Beaufort of a Manhattan publishing firm family, she imagines him as a modern day Americanized Mr. Darcy; who is definitely not her type.  Thus Claire starts with lies, but meets elderly Harriet, who suffers from early stages of dementia; yet presents a different version of the commonly accepted Pride and Prejudice that seems so much more realistic to Claire.  Others want to meet Claire and her room is searched; obviously for the manuscript Harriet gave her.  Unsure what to do next, Claire is stunned when Neil arrives.

Every time I think nothing new can happen to Jane Austen, a surprise refreshing spin occurs.  The story line is fast-paced with plenty of suspense but is many ways is more of a character study.  Claire is ashamed of herself and begins to understand her altruism re Missy has allowed her to hide her fears of life.  Fans will appreciate Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart as the heroine must decide what Harriet should do with an earth shattering manuscript and what she should do with her life starting with Neil.

Harriet Klausner