Archive for April, 2010

Intercept-Patrick Robinson

April 30, 2010

Intercept

Patrick Robinson

Vanguard, May 11 2010, $25.95

www.vanguard.com

ISBN: 9781593155841

The two Western educated childhood friends became al-Qaeda terrorists killing military and civilians until Ibrahim Sharif and Yousaf Mohammed were captured by US Navy SEAL Team 10 in a small village in the Hindu Kush mountain region of Afghan.  They were taken to Guantomino Bay where they were held prisoners but refused to cooperate; not even providing their names to the military tribunal.

A few years later, the court system demands habeas corpus applies to the detainees.  With Saudi money to buy Epstein’s law firm, the two terrorists and two other cohorts are free.  However, neither the law firm nor the terrorists realizes that the CIA and Mossad are tracking them.  The quartet plots an act at a school in Connecticut with plans after that to return to the Hindu Kush for further activity against the hated west.  Retired Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Mack Bedford, who led the first sweep that captured the pair, leads another operation against them with deadly force not just authorized but required.

This is an exciting action packed thriller as Bedford returns to active duty to go after the same terrorists he caught the last time he was in Afghanistan.  The story line is fast-paced throughout, but also has an accusatory tone blaming liberals and leftists for being soft on terrorism and arguing to keep Gitmo open.  These premises ignore that a right wing administration took its eye off al Qaeda and that the courts system has locked away in federal pens some nasty terrorists; none of whom have escaped.  Still readers will be hooked from the moment that the espionage agency Intercept the electronic traffic as Bin Laden and the CIA-Mossad agents know the importance of Yousaf and Sharif.

Harriet Klausner

Vicious-Kevin O’Brien

April 30, 2010

Vicious

Kevin O’Brien

Pinnacle, May 25 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780786021369

For over two years in the Seattle area, the “Mama’s Boy” kidnapped and killed mothers while the children were left where he kidnapped the mothers and left the child some battered toys.  The police never found him and never could explain why he abruptly stopped.

Widow Susan Blanchette whose husband and older son were killed, drives with her four year old boy Matthew to meet her fiancé medical supply salesman Allen Meker in Cullen, Washington.  Allen, who adores Susan and cares about her toddler, has a great weekend planned for them.   When they reach the place he rented, Susan believes there is a prowler, but Allen sees no one.  While at a store, Jordan Prewitt, whose mom was killed by the Mama’s Boy, kidnaps Allen.  He intends to torture the man until he confesses he is the serial killer.  While Susan searches for Allen, two psychopaths hijack her.

Kevin O’Brien provides an intense, perhaps too emotional, but electrifying thriller.  Several characters share the lead including the three above and Jordan’s friend Les while a strong support cast enhance the growing tension.  The key to the plot is the reader keeps changing his or her mind as to who the killer is although that is a two edged as at times because needless subplots that adds nothing is applied to trick the audience to go down a sidebar.  Still with terrific twists, fans will wonder who the Mama’s Boy serial killer is.

Harriet Klausner

The Rule of Nine-Steve Martini

April 29, 2010

The Rule of Nine

Steve Martini

Morrow, Jun 1 2010, $26.99

ISBN: 9780062008534

The events in nearby Coronado are nuked into every cell of his brain as San Diego based attorney Paul Madriani still reels from the near tragedy (see Guardian of Lies).  The near nuclear disaster has him looking at the bigger picture of terrorism.  The FBI warns Madriani to keep his mouth shut or face a lifetime locked away in a place he never heard of under the Patriot Act enforcement.  On the other hand weapons expert Joselyn Cole demands he go public so a repeat can be averted.

While Madriani struggles with coping and what to do, an aging 1960s radical believes the time has come to destroy the DC right wing government-industrial complex.  This former member of the Students for a Democratic Society expects to die like a Middle Eastern suicide bomber and unlike the cowardly western right wing terrorists who kill people from a safe distance.  The plan will make 9/11 look like a minor incident and the first deadly steps come from the American right wing form of terrorism.

The Feds tie Madriani to a murder of a DC staffer as law enforcement believes “the Mexicutioner” Liquida assassin is the killer.  Madriani rusticates with his family as he and Cole fear the Feds are missing the big picture again as they believe two insane murderers, the ancient Weatherman and the Mexicutioner have joined forces in what apparently involves the mysterious deadly “Rule of Nine” gamut.

This is an exciting over the top of the Washington Monument thriller that grips the audience from the onset and never let’s go until the final dramatic confrontation.  The story line is action, action, and more action that will have Madriani fans salivating for another superheavyweight bout starring the Southern California lawyer and his sidekick Cole vs. archenemy Liquida; that is if everyone rides away from this round.

Harriet Klausner

Fade to Midnight-Shannon McKenna

April 26, 2010

Fade to Midnight

Shannon McKenna

Kensington Brava, Jun 1 2010, $20.95

ISBN 9780758228659

For almost two decades, everyone who knew Kevin McCloud had thought he was dead.  Even his three brothers have all but given up hope.  However, instead of dying he suffered a traumatic injury from being tortured that included total amnesia.

Preventing a drowning leads him to emergency brain surgery.  As a consequence, his memory has recently started to return.  Kevin Larson is the name Kevin McCloud has used since the brutal torturous beating.  He begins to piece back what happened to him eighteen years ago and before.  He recalls the mind control work of insane scientist Christopher Osterman, but has not figured out his link.  He learns the man is dead, but his associates try to draw Kevin back into their evil mind controlling scheme.  As he struggles to remember he meets graphic novelist Edie Parrish at her book signing.  She has a past with Osterman and McCloud, as she is convinced the former is the supervillain and the latter the superhero prototypes of her graphic novels.

The latest McCloud brother action-packed thriller is character driven by Kevin whose memory recall triggers the story line.  Fast-paced from start to finish with intriguing unexpected twists, Fade to Midnight is a strong McCloud entry that series fans will relish.  However, new readers will find references difficult to assimilate so should peruse the previous tales in the saga (see Edge of Midnight, Behind Closed Doors and Standing in the Shadows)

Harriet Klausner

Rock Paper Tiger-Lisa Brackmann

April 26, 2010

Rock Paper Tiger

Lisa Brackmann

Soho, Jun 1 2010, $25.00

ISBN 9781569476406

Iraq War combat medic veteran Ellie Cooper suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following her theatre tours of duty.  Currently she is in Beijing trying to figure out what next as she hangs around the growing art world.  Also in China is her former Army interrogator husband private security consultant Trey who recently dumped her.  She has replaced Trey with artist Lao Zhang and Percocet but neither helps her forget Iraq or Trey.

Zhang accompanies an unidentified person until they vanish, American and Chinese officials wonder where they went.  Each nation looks deeply at Ellie because of her relationship with the missing Zhang.  Forced on the run, Ellie eludes cops, suits, and thugs while gathering information on line through a multiplayer game from Zhang’s friends.

This is an exciting China thriller starring a resilient kick butt heroine who readers will admire for her courage.  The Chinese subplot is action-packed as Ellie takes readers on an exhilarating tour.  The back story of what she and Trey was directed to do in Iraq is harrowing and heartbreaking.  Mixed together nicely by excellent Ellie, the two subplots make for a terrific brisk thriller that brings China alive

Harriet Klausner

Forbidden Fruit- Kerry Greenwood

April 26, 2010

Forbidden Fruit

Kerry Greenwood

Poisoned Pen, Jun 1 2010, $24.95

ISBN: 9781590587386

In Melbourne, while everyone seems to prepare for Christmas, Corinna Chapman says bah humbug to the holiday and to the heat gripping the city.  However though she prefers to leave town, she and her assistant baker Jason get to work as the customers of Earthly Delights will be arriving soon.

Meanwhile her boyfriend private investigator Daniel follows clues as he seeks two teen runaways.  Late trimester Pregnant Brigid has fled her family with the help of Manny.   He is helping her run from her family, who has been keeping her captive as part of the religious sect they belong to. Corinna assists Daniel as he search searches to no avail.  The teenagers trust no one since Brigid’s so called loved ones and their religious affiliation kept her incarcerated in their home.  Then there are the enigmatic suits who seem everywhere the sleuth and baker are, but reveal nothing especially why they diligently seem to be after Brigid or Manny.

With help from an eccentric crew to include his energetic girlfriend the baker, Daniel searches for the missing teens.  The tone is set with a cast like Meroe the witch and Serena the donut eating donkey enabling the audience to see deep inside to the heart of the caring heroine.  Readers will enjoy this entertaining investigative entry and its Aussie predecessors (see Trick or Treat) filled with food and sleuthing as eccentricity led by witty Corrine seems to be the wave in Melbourne.

Harriet Klausner

Without Hesitation-Mark Rosendorf

April 25, 2010

Without Hesitation

Mark Rosendorf

L&L Dreamspell, Feb 2010, $17.95

www.lldreamspell/com

ISBN: 9781603182126

After the mercenary Duke Organization liberated her from Brookhill Children’s Psychiatric residence leaving behind a trail of corpses, Clara Blue felt she finally had a family who accepted her.  Then that punk mercenary Jake Scarberry took them down killing her hero Rick Rasner (see The Rasner Effect).  Now she is back at Brookhill and still hating the joint, but her attempts to escape fail.  Instead she increasingly becomes delusional as she spends her time in the padded cells.

While Jake works as a bouncer, Rasner’s co-leader and girlfriend, Jennifer Duke, daughter of the founder of whom she and her dead lover killed, arrives at Brookhill.  Clara feels Jennifer has come to take her out of the zoo, but instead the woman accepts a job as a therapist and begins to arm the inmates while encouraging her mentee to avenge those who harmed her in her second stint.  Jennifer obsesses over one goal: to kill Jake. So a a second bloodbath occurs she demands he be sent inside Brookhill.  Although a civilian, Jake readily agrees as the Duke Organization killed his brother years ago so sending one more to hell is all the motivator he needs.

This is an exhilarating action-packed blood and gore thriller that never stops for a moment until the final confrontation.  As in the first tale, fans will root for the hero while looking forward to the High Noon war of revenge between Jake and Jennifer as much of the fascination is how similar their needs are though hey are adversaries who loathe each other.  With a strong cast especially inside the facility and once again with a nod to Clockwork Orange, fans will relish the return to Pennsylvania while newcomers will want to know what the deadly Rasner Effect was.

Harriet Klausner

Whiplash-Catherine Coulter

April 25, 2010

Whiplash

Catherine Coulter

Putnam, Jun 15 2010, $26.95

ISBN: 9780399156533

Yale Professor Edward Kender has colon cancer in which the drug Culovort he receives as part of his treatment seems to be working when he is informed production by German firm Schiffer Hartwin is nonexistent.  Stunned he assumes the pharmaceutical industry is playing death squad to drum up profits.  He hires private investigator Erin Pulaski to make an inquiry into the firm.  She breaks in and enters the head office of the American subsidiary in Stone Bridge, Connecticut in order to hack into the files of the local CEO Caskie Royal.  She finds info on plans to stop the Cartwright Labs in Bartonville, Missouri from manufacturing the drug; as well as stopping it in Spain in favor of a French firm Labortoires Anconder’s drug Eloxium.  However, Royal and production manager Carla Alvarez arrive and discuss what they are doing  with the firm and then have sex..

The next day she learns that the firm’s troubleshooter was murdered near where she downloaded computer data that made no sense to her.  Meanwhile, the FBI sends married couple Agents Sherlock and Savich to Stone Bridge to assist FBI agent Bowie Richards with the homicide.  They begin to find troubles with the pharmaceutical company while Pulaski wonders what to do with her illegal download; Pulaski becomes their prime suspect.  Savich also investigates the poisoning of a lobbyist whose real target may have been aimed at a US Senator.

This is a great timely entry in the long running S&S FBI police procedural series due to the pharmaceutical connection as much as the freshness brought forth by Richards and more so by Erin who knows her B&E was stupid but felt strongly that they needed to expose true death squad bottom lines.  Fast-paced from the onset, the second case takes somewhat of a back seat though it is well written and quite exciting too.  Fans of the series will relish this strong entry while newcomers will find Whiplash a winner too.

Harriet Klausner

Death Echo-Elizabeth Lowell

April 24, 2010

Death Echo

Elizabeth Lowell

Morrow, Jun 8 2010, $24.99

ISBN: 9780061629754

She left her field CIA work for what she assumed would be a much safer position.  Thus former agent Emma Cross now works at St. Kilda Consulting in what has to be an easier job than being caught in the crossfire of tribal combat as she previously was.

St. Kilda looks into a simple incident of a vanished yacht the Black Swan that probably was stolen.  The mission is to get on board the Black Swan’s identical twin Blackbird as the insurance company thinks the second vessel is actually the missing ship.  Emma and former special op officer Mackenzie Durand are in charge of the assignment.  He trusts no one as he believes the CIA betrayed his team on a dangerous mission five years ago in which he was the only survivor.  In spite of his attraction to his partner, he prefers going alone as no one has his back.  Still as he takes control of the Blackbird, Emma must overcome her instincts of also distrusting everyone if she is to learn what is going on; neither expected to fall in love or be back in the CIA’s deadly outreach.

Death Echo is an action-packed romantic suspense espionage thriller that remains at an incredibly high speed yet enables the audience to understand what motivates the powerful distrust in the two lead characters.  That pairing of two classic misanthropic skeptics whose similar pasts come back full throttle makes for a taut St. Kilda thriller (see Blue Smoke and Murder, and The Wrong Hostage).

Harriet Klausner

Broken-Karin Slaughter

April 24, 2010

Broken

Karin Slaughter

Delacorte, Jun 22 2010, $26.00

ISBN: 9780385341974

Four years ago, in Heartsdale, Grant County’s popular police chief Tolliver was murdered; the case remains unsolved.  His widow Dr. Sara Linton was the county coroner and ran a children’s clinic, but left after her spouse died.  She is back in town visiting her family on Thanksgiving yet is still thirsting for her husband’s homicide to be resolved although she is positive that Officer Lena Adams is at the center of her husband’s homicide.

At the same time, Special Agent Will Trent is also in Grant County to investigate a questionable death oif a prisoner.  Not surprising, he finds the local police officers circling the wagons protecting each other form the intruder.  Will concludes that Police Officer Lena Adams is concealing something, but is not sure what or why.  As he struggles with the uncooperative cops, he is taken aback when Dr. Linton asks him to look into her husband’s murder, a cold case.  Trent is being pulled by two women in opposite directions of the Blue Line that keeps him outside in spite of being law enforcement too.

This is an intriguing Grant County thriller (see Faithless, Undone and Blindsided) as Will instead of Sara holds the story line together with two females yanking him in opposite directions.  The insightful look at the learning disorder agraphia augments the taut tale as it showcases how an individual learns to conceal a problem with some form of over compensation.  In a starring role, Will brings freshness to the plot as he investigates two deaths that cast the Grants County Police Office in a shroud of darkness.

Harriet Klausner