Archive for April, 2010

The Poet Prince-Kathleen McGowan

April 23, 2010

The Poet Prince

Kathleen McGowan

Touchstone, May 25 2010, $25.99

ISBN 9780743299985

Researcher Maureen Paschal has diligently probed the “Confraternity of Saint Mary Magdalen”.  She finds some racy information referencing the Libro Rosso and the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.  After learning this she heads to Florence to follow up with Destino, her ancient teacher.

Destino explains to his favorite student that much is known about The Poet Prince Lorenzo de Medici as he was the guiding light in the Renaissance.  However, even more is unknown.  Lorenzo secretly married Lucrezia “the Colombina” Donati, who was a star model of Botticelli.  As she learns more about de Medici, Maureen also becomes heartbroken when she learns a former lover of her beloved Scottish oil mogul Berenger Sinclair accuses him of siring her baby at a time the duet were researching his family links back to de Medici and further back to Roman Longinus Gaius, who used the infamous Spear of Destiny to stab Jesus on the cross.

The third Magdalene Line thriller is an enticing gripping but somewhat convoluted tale as Maureen struggles with what she has learned about her beloved: a modern day Poet Prince.  The heroine also begins to believe she knows who Gaius, doomed to walk the earth for eternity, is.  Fans of the saga will relish this enthralling entry while newcomers should start with the previous two entries (see The Book of Love and The Expected One) for a better understanding of the increasingly complex McGowan Magdalene mythos.

Harriet Klausner

Supreme Justice-Phillip Margolin

April 23, 2010

Supreme Justice

Phillip Margolin

Harper, May 18 2010, $25.99

ISBN 9780061926518

In Oregon, former cop Sarah Woodruff is on death row having been convicted of killing her lover, John Finley.  Her appeals are running out with her last chance being the Supreme Court.  Her lawyer has filed the papers to get a delay and a hearing.

However, there are those who do not want her plea to go before the highest court because most likely criminal activity inside the CIA will be revealed.  A vacancy enables the behind scenes operatives to reject her request for a hearing.  However, to anchor this position, the assassination of a justice is ordered.  Private investigator Dana Cutler and law clerk Brad Miller are in the middle of preventing a Beltway murder from happening.

The latest Cutler-Miller DC thriller (see Executive Privilege) is an ultra fast-paced tale that hooks the audience with a need to know the identity of the conspirator(s) as another Oregon death row case has ties across the country.  Although much of the cast, especially the DC crowd is stereotyped out of headlines news, readers will appreciate the latest Oregonian-Beltway hook up. A Pacific Northwest private investigator and legal clerk try to prevent a travesty orchestrated on the other side of the country from happening.

Harriet Klausner

The Starlet Mary McNamara

April 23, 2010

The Starlet

Mary McNamara

Simon & Schuster, Jun 8 2010, $15.00

ISBN 9781439149843

In Los Angeles at the posh Pinnacle Hotel, Juliette Greyson heads public relations.  However to get away from the coddled rich and famous, she is on vacation in her maternal family’s country Italy.  In Florence, Juliette is stunned to watch druggie Mercy Talbot, an actress missing from a movie shooting in Rome, dive into a fountain.  The paparazzi are too busy taking pictures to help Mercy out of the water; so Juliette pulls her out of the fountain.

Juliette takes Mercy to her family estate Cerreta just north of Florence.  There the young woman seems less frantic so the filmmaking is relocated to Juliette’s estate.  That is enough to irritate Juliette who needs rest on her vacation, but now Mercy’s shrew of a mom arrives demanding posh hotel treatment; as do much of the Hollywood crowd.  However what is worse for Juliette is her former lover movie superstar Michael O’Connor is on location at her estate too at the same time someone is killing the pampered celebs.

The latest Greyson over the top (this time the Italian Alps rather than the Hollywood Hills – see Oscar Season) thriller is an amusing tale that lightly lampoons celebrities and their “ambulance’ chaser paparazzi.  The story line is a frantic fun frolic as Juliette hopes to survive the movie world invasion of Italy that she thought she left behind in L.A.

Harriet Klausner

Simon & Schuster, Jun 8 2010, $15.00

ISBN 9781439149843

In Los Angeles at the posh Pinnacle Hotel, Juliette Greyson heads public relations.  However to get away from the coddled rich and famous, she is on vacation in her maternal family’s country Italy.  In Florence, Juliette is stunned to watch druggie Mercy Talbot, an actress missing from a movie shooting in Rome, dive into a fountain.  The paparazzi are too busy taking pictures to help Mercy out of the water; so Juliette pulls her out of the fountain.

Juliette takes Mercy to her family estate Cerreta just north of Florence.  There the young woman seems less frantic so the filmmaking is relocated to Juliette’s estate.  That is enough to irritate Juliette who needs rest on her vacation, but now Mercy’s shrew of a mom arrives demanding posh hotel treatment; as do much of the Hollywood crowd.  However what is worse for Juliette is her former lover movie superstar Michael O’Connor is on location at her estate too at the same time someone is killing the pampered celebs.

The latest Greyson over the top (this time the Italian Alps rather than the Hollywood Hills – see Oscar Season) thriller is an amusing tale that lightly lampoons celebrities and their “ambulance’ chaser paparazzi.  The story line is a frantic fun frolic as Juliette hopes to survive the movie world invasion of Italy that she thought she left behind in L.A.

Harriet Klausner

Under The Eye Of Kali-Susan Oleksiw

April 23, 2010

Under The Eye Of Kali

Susan Oleksiw

Five Star, May 19 2010, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594148712

Kovalam, India is a popular tourist town as people come from around the world to visit sites like the Balabhadrakali Temple.  American Anita Ray stays in the city not to sightsee, but to help her Auntie Meena run her eight-room Hotel Delite.

One of the guests, middle aged American Jean, vanishes on the same night her friend Marge is taken to the Anandabudhi Hospital after she contracts food poisoning at the Bamboo Village restaurant where Anita and her Brahmin boyfriend Anand also dined.  Other guests ignore the duet as they go about their itineraries.  Pam plans to visit the Suchindram Temple; Candy treks to Trivandrum; Emily wants to know more about Kali.  However, Anita is concerned about Jean, who illegally was going to bring medical supplies into Myanmar.  Deciding to investigate, she asks youthful assistant Peeru to watch over the photo shop she owns so she can explore the rice paddies until she learns what happened to Jean and then she must decide what to do next.

The location is excellent as this South India city comes alive to anchor this enjoyable amateur sleuth tale.  Anita, apparently the star of short stories not read by me, is an obstinate American working in the land of her family, who cannot stop herself from investigating in order to catch a killer.  This strong whodunit also contains a deep underlying message to embrace your heritage and not turn your back on your roots.  Filled with suspense, readers will relish a trip to India during tourist season.

Harriet Klausner

Point Dume-Katie Arnoldi

April 22, 2010

Point Dume

Katie Arnoldi

Overlook, May 13 2020, $24.95

ISBN: 9781590203293

In Point Dume, California, thirty-five year old Ellis Gardner is considered by most knowledgeable folks in the area as the top female surfer.  Affluent mommas leave their extravagant mansions high on the cliffs to receive lessons from Ellis.  Her childhood friend Pablo Schwartz is also a surfing instructor, but lately he has been making more money selling marijuana planted by the Mexican cartels on the hillside of the ignorant wealthy Americans.  He loves Ellis, but competes for her affection with middle aged Frank Bane, who has recently discovered surfing, mostly because he is in heat over Ellis.  Ironically his wife Janice is the best weed customer of his rival for Ellis’ affection.

Felix Duarte sneaks across the border to guard a cartel’s marijuana patch as someone is ripping off the Mexican mob.  The job is deadly and lonely but the pay is excellent.  When he catches the thief, he knows what he must do; if he fails to catch the thief in a timely manner he also knows what his employer will do to him.

Point Dume is an odd character driven thriller that rotates meeting the prime cast in order to understand their motives and especially their personal issues.  The links between the players are surfing, sexing and smoking, yet no one seems in control of their life.  Fascinating and timely, readers who enjoy cultivating a counter culture saga that lampoons the zealousness of the anti drug trafficking crowd (that ironically supports the right to sell guns to anyone even those who sell illegal drugs) will want to surf at Point Dume.

Harriet Klausner

Die Twice-Andrew Grant

April 22, 2010

Die Twice

Andrew Grant

Minotaur, May 11 2010, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312540272

British Naval Intelligence officer Lieutenant Commander David Trevellyan remains in the United States as a field operative.  He completes his current assignment though is forced to depart from New York City (see Even) leaving behind seven corpses.

He goes to the British Consulate in Chicago as directed by his superior, liaison officer Richard Fothergill, who was just shot by an apparent turncoat.  Fothergill has hardcore evidence of a traitor; British agent Tony McIntyre, who wounded him. He is selling a deadly gas to the African nation of Equatorial Myene.  Trusting no one and

understanding that deadly force is not just an acceptable option, it is expected to be used; as Fothergill wants McIntyre stopped at all costs and the sale prevented.  As he searches for the rogue, Trevellyan learns other potential buyers are bidding on the nasty toxin.

This is an exhilarating action-packed thriller that never slows down for a respite.  Mindful of Bourne and Bond, the fast-paced story line may be over the top of the Sears Tower, yet delighted fans will not want to put down Die Twice as Trevellyan makes sure the undertakers have customers.

Harriet Klausner

The Influenza Bomb-Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, M.D.

April 22, 2010

The Influenza Bomb

Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, M.D.

Howard Jun 1 2010, $14.99

ISBN: 9781416569756

In 1918 and 1919, the Spanish Flu spread around the globe, killing millions.  Whet almost the entire world does not know is that the Germans used a desiccated virus only more powerful than the original flu p and placed it water, drinks and food on military bases.  The disease went international killing many including Germans.  During the blitzkrieg in 1941, the Nazis released bombs that purposely failed to explode but contained the lethal virus so when the specialists detonated them they would inadvertently send the disease airborne exposing the British to death.  This biological warfare method was not a rousing success.

In the present, there is a new Spanish Flue epidemic only more virulent then the previous attacks.  Dr. Susan Hutchinson from WHO is part of a covert TCI group is in Russia trying to contain the disease and treat the patient.  The disease spreads to other countries while in Germany TSI operatives Mark Carlson and Nora Richards seek a cure among hidden Nazi caves and catacombs where the antiruse may be found..  However, an ecoterrorist group Return to Earth spread the Flu as their goal in humanity’s extinction.  TSI and other law enforcement groups try to prevent Return to Earth’s deployment of their final solution.

Ripped from today’s headlines, this chilling thriller is very plausible as bioterrorism is a real threat to this nation’s security.  Reading like a cross between Dan Brown and Frederick Forsyth fans will enjoy the high octane over the top of the Kremlin and German Alps frantic save the world thriller as the Time Scene Investigators are reaching the doomsday clock countdown with The Influenza Bomb ignition.

Harriet Klausner

Bodily Harm-Robert Dugoni

April 21, 2010

Bodily Harm

Robert Dugoni

Touchstone, May 25 2010, $25.00

ISBN: 9781416592969

Seattle attorney David Sloane is on the verge of winning a wrongful death lawsuit against respected pediatrician Dr. Peter Douvalidis when a curve ball upsets his perfect case.  Toy designer Kyle Horgan confesses he is culpable in the young child’s death.

His position suddenly shaky becomes even more precarious when a second child dies almost identical to how his clients’ offspring died.  Dr. Douvalidis had nothing to do with the second pediatric death.  Before he can question Horgan, the toymaker vanishes.  Former CIA assassin Anthony Stenopolis seeking revenge stalks Sloane, whose reputation as never losing a case is teetering.. Before it is too late, Sloane seeks out Stenopolis.

The third Sloane legal thriller (see Jury Master and Wrongful Death) is an enjoyable tale that is superb when the focus is on the unraveling case, but loses some steam in ironically the more action-packed cat and mouse search for the hero’s stalking assassin.  Still fast-paced regardless of which subplot takes center stage, readers will appreciate Robert Dugoni’s latest suspense filled novel.

Harriet Klausner

One Man’s Paradise-Douglas Corleone

April 20, 2010

One Man’s Paradise

Douglas Corleone

Minotaur, Apr 27 2010, $24.99

ISBN 9780312611583

Indifferent and lethargic, criminal defense attorney Kevin Corvelli failed to provide a proper defense on a capital case.  His client was convicted of first degree murder and sent to prison where he was murdered.  The man was innocent.

Depressed Kevin flees Manhattan for Honolulu where he works as a lawyer to pay off his debts.  He and his clients, as in new York, share in common a mutual dislike and distrust f each other.  When law student Joey Gianforte stands trial for allegedly murdering his former girlfriend after she left him, Corvelli takes on the defense.  To his shock he cares about the outcome of this case and vows not to repeat his apathetic mistake laden defense that sent an innocent man to the pen and death.

This is a strong legal thriller that focuses on what a lawyer must do to technically prepare for a defense especially in a  capital case.  Kevin is a great protagonist who sees the Gianforte trial as a chance for redemption after failing to give his all in New York.  One man’s paradise will have readers looking at how their respective states handle the death penalty considering this past summer Troy Davis Supreme Court ruling especially the two dissenters’ constitutional position on innocence.

Harriet Klausner

Canaan’s Gate-Kathryn R. Wall

April 20, 2010

Canaan‘s Gate

Kathryn R. Wall

Minotaur, Apr 27 2010, $24.99

ISBN 9780312601843

First Coast Bank of the Carolinas employee Cecelia Dobbs believes caregiver Kendra Blaine has embezzled a million dollars from her clients, elderly couple Thomas and Rebecca Castlemain.  Cecilia realizes someone inside the First Coast bank assisted on the swindle.  The more she digs, the more she is increasingly convinced that the Hilton Head couple has been cheated.

Kendra asks inquiry agent Bay Tanner to investigate.  Before Bay can consider taking on the case, Rebecca dies of a heart attack.  The Castlemain grandson Nick Potter suspects Kendra killed his grandma.  As such he visits Simpson & Tanner, Inquiry Agents and hires Bay to investigate at about the same time that Cecilia vanishes.

Canaan’s Gate has plenty going on with a complicated case and an almost as complex personal happenings.  Bay adapts to the depressing revelation that she is now an “orphan” with the passing of the Judge and she and Red struggle with their respective roles in their new marriages and at the firm.  The inquiry is cleverly devised so that the reader is not sure whether to suspect Kendra of felonious activity or not.  Readers will enjoy this super entry and look forward to the next one as a hurricane is bearing down the Florida coast.

Harriet Klausner