Archive for May, 2010

Miranda-M.R. Sellars

May 31, 2010

Miranda

M.R. Sellars

Willow Tree, Jul 1 2010, $16.95

ISBN: 9780979453366

Annalise Deveraux was the previously unknown half sister of witch Felicity O’Brien.  Unlike her half-sibling, Annalise practiced voodoo using blood magic and invited the spirit of Miranda into her body.  Miranda died over a century and a half ago; she was a sexual sadist who relished pain and murder.  Annalise, at least what is still her as Miranda owns the shared body, are in a mental institution.

Miranda plots to leave the body shell of Annalise and enter the body of Felicity.  The only reason she fails so far to enter her new body is Rowan Grant prevents her.  Like his wife Felicity, Rowan is also a practicing witch; but unlike her he can also communicate with the dead.  He visits Annalise in order to confront Miranda, but she makes him lose control, which causes Felicity to have unnatural desires from her corporal usurper.  Miranda jumps out of Annalise’s body and cuts off Rowan’s communication with the dead.  She kills enough people to insure she has enough power to retake Felicity’s body as she has done before (see All Acts of Pleasure).   She succeeds, but family friends repel her leaving Felicity in a child like state and Rowan willing to do anything to get her soul back into her body.

Rowan Grant stars in another strong St. Louis urban fantasy as the evil Miranda returns to cause havoc (see the Miranda trilogy).  Rowan has worked the ethereal plane before, but when it comes to the vicious Miranda, he knows it is personal as he wants her out of his wife’s body and their lives forever.  Character driven, the lead couple shares a common belief to do what they believe is right even when it goes against the norm.  M.R. Sellars has written another superb magical horror mystery thriller as one of the best villainesses of the last decade co-stars with Rowan and Felicity in a triangle from hell.

Harriet Klausner

Imperial Bedrooms-Bret Easton Ellis

May 30, 2010

Imperial Bedrooms

Bret Easton Ellis

Knopf, Jun 15 2010, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307266101

Twenty-five years ago, they were Less Than Zero hipsters who thought they owned Los Angeles.  Time has been cruel to those who survived the Hollywood scene of the mid 1980s.

Clay the screenwriter returns from New York to California where he does what he does best, party-hopping while seeking to sell a script he wrote.  In his mind nothing has changed in two and half decades; perhaps that is because he parties in a purple haze of alcohol.  As he makes the rounds, he runs into some of his hip playmates.  His former wife Blair is married to Trent the producer.  Julian owns and manages an escort service while Rip the dealer is more plastic than flesh.  However except for a deal, Clay ignores the old crowd as his attention is on wannabe actress Rain Turner, who is 200 proof looks and zero talent.  Julian warns him to be careful with Rain as she may seem like his submissive, but that might prove an alcoholic allusion as Clay begins to investigate deadly text messages and lurking cars.

With a nod to Elvis Costello, this is an interesting character driven thriller that though the story line is somewhat limited to the party-hopping it hooks readers with a need to know whether Clay as the narrator is a hallucinating paranoid from too much alcohol and drugs or a stalked victim.  The support cast, as seen through Clay’s hazy lenses, enhances understanding of the lead protagonist.  Although the plot deliberately turns cerebrally interpretively slow, fans, especially those of Less Than Zero, will appreciate Clay’s return as he hops the Imperial bedrooms of Los Angeles.

Harriet Klausner

Betrayed-Robert K. Tanenbaum

May 30, 2010

Betrayed

Robert K. Tanenbaum

Gallery (Pocket), Jul 2010, $26.00

ISBN: 9781439149232

The first charges of terrorism for the NYSE explosion filed against Harlem Islamic mosque leader Sharif Jabbar were dismissed in Escape.  However, determined New York District Attorney Roger “Butch” Karp has filed new charges insisting new allegations have surfaced.  As Jabbar waits trial in the Tombs, activist attorney Megan O’Dowd believes NYPD has a fake case against the Islamic Inman and plans to prove her assertion of fabricated digital information and harassment.

Karp’s wife Marlene Ciampi investigates the murder of socialite Michelle Oakley; the police arrest destitute kiosk owner Dirty Warren in the homicide of an escort owner.  No one joins her crusade except David Grale, the insane religious leader of the tunnels Mole People sect.  Her inquiry leads to another debutante vanishing in an underground of the influential affluent and their high priced call girls.

This is an exciting Karp-Ciampi (and the rest of the family) Manhattan crime fighting thriller.  The story line starts slow as the back-story is provided for the audience.  Once the two subplots take control, the story line accelerates as Butch makes the case against Jabbar and Ciampi makes the case for Warren.

Harriet Klausner

Damaged-Alex Kava

May 30, 2010

Damaged

Alex Kava

Doubleday, Jul 13 2010, $24.95

ISBN: 9780385531993

Hurricane Isaac has not reached the Florida peninsular yet, but impacts the waves in the Gulf.  Off of Pensacola, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Wilson orders AST 3 Liz Bailey to investigate what looks like a floating fisherman’s cooler.  Although she is allowed to decline the dive as her mission is to rescue people not artifacts, she dives into the rough water.  She completes the dangerous mission; inside the large container is a human foot.

FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell is sent to the Gulf to investigate the foot; Department of Homeland Security deputy director Charlie Wurth joins her while a forensics team matches the limb to missing Vince Coffland, who disappeared from Port St. Lucie during a hurricane.  At the same time O’Dell works the foot case, her boyfriend, Colonel Benjamin Platt is also in Florida investigating a deadly bacteria killing soldiers in hospitals.  The cases collide at the funeral parlor owned by O’Dell’s brother-in-law Scott Larsen whom Joe Black pays to preserve harvested body parts.

This is a terrific law enforcement thriller in which the scenes of the sea rescues occurs while a hurricane is bearing down (mindful if Irwin Allen TV movies) on the coast supersedes the actions of the heroine and her two investigative hunks.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment Bailey dives into the water and never slows down, as she and her teammates steal the show.  Readers will enjoy this exhilarating confrontation with Hurricane Isaac and a body parts harvester as the entreating thriller ends with a strong stunning twist.

Harriet Klausner

Hostage Zero-John Gilstrap

May 30, 2010

Hostage Zero

John Gilstrap

Pinnacle, Jul 1 2010, $6.99

ISBN 9780786020881

In Virginia, former marine now homeless Harvey Rodriguez finds the kid near death and tries to help Jeremy Schuler survive as he had been left for dead; his roommate Anthony at the school for children of jailed parents remains kidnapped.  Not far away, posing as FBI Agent Leon Harris, freelance hostage rescuer Jonathan “Digger” Grave questions nineteen year old jailed prisoner Jimmy Henry while his associates Boxer and call me Ven-ee-chay” watch his progress and his back from different milieus.  He tells the teen the associates who hired him they do not want any information re the kidnapping or shooting to get out so he will bust him out, but if betrays him he will kill him.

Digger and his team seek to save the lives of Jeremy and Anthony.  The rescue expert is confused why these kids and others are being snatched as there is no ransom money available to make it worth kidnapping them.  Thus they begin the quest with the only one caught: Jimmy Henry.  However, though not one to put anything passed those in power, Grave is shocked when he realizes a connection between the government and the mob is behind the abductions.

This is an exciting thriller as the audience learns why the abductions occur, who the victims are, and what choices the older lads have between slave, overseer, or death.  Fans will be hooked from the moment Digger goes after Jimmy and then his associates in what is a fast-paced action-packed tale as the hero and his teammates learn the hard way that the enemy kills with No Mercy to the innocent.

Harriet Klausner

The Witness-Josh McDowell

May 30, 2010

The Witness

Josh McDowell

Tyndale, Jul 1 2010, $14.99

ISBN: 9781414334127

In Monte Carlo, septuagenarian Rafeeq Ramsey is frightened for his life and that of his kidnapped wife Claudette especially since the abductees killed their twelve year old daughter.  He paid their first of eleven million Euros ransom demand, but now they want twenty-five million or she dies and he will as well two days afterward.  Having sold his firm Blue Nile to a French conglomerate he has the money and is willing to pay again, but believes his adversaries will kill Claudette and him anyway.  Desperate the wealthy Egyptian hires Muslim Marwan Accad, who runs an executive security business.

Marwan shows a photo of Claudette withdrawing money from the bank in Sao Paul where the eleven million was deposited.  Before the stunned elderly man could respond to the betrayal a sniper fires two shots through the window killing him.  As Marwan wonders how the enemy knew that Ramsey hired Accad and Associates, they hunt him.  He flees for North Africa with assassins and police from Europe and Africa stalkong him as he is the suspect in the homicide.  Morocco proves unsafe so he heads to Cairo; the enemy keeps coming and they do not care about collateral damage.  He also fears for Dalia Nour, a woman he has just met who by associating with him is in danger.  Additionally with mortality chasing him to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East, Marwan ponders eternity and increasing evidence that the Christ is genuine.

The Witness is an exciting Christian conspiracy thriller that is at its best when the enemy chases after the hero as he overcomes overwhelming odds in various locales.  The story line at times turns preachy especially at moments when Accad understands the maxim that there are no atheists in the trenches.  Fans of international conspirator Christian thrillers will enjoy Marwan’s efforts to obtain the gift of salvation as he is the witness not the killer.

Harriet Klausner

The Witness-Josh McDowell

May 30, 2010

The Witness

Josh McDowell

Tyndale, Jul 1 2010, $14.99

ISBN: 9781414334127

In Monte Carlo, septuagenarian Rafeeq Ramsey is frightened for his life and that of his kidnapped wife Claudette especially since the abductees killed their twelve year old daughter.  He paid their first of eleven million Euros ransom demand, but now they want twenty-five million or she dies and he will as well two days afterward.  Having sold his firm Blue Nile to a French conglomerate he has the money and is willing to pay again, but believes his adversaries will kill Claudette and him anyway.  Desperate the wealthy Egyptian hires Muslim Marwan Accad, who runs an executive security business.

Marwan shows a photo of Claudette withdrawing money from the bank in Sao Paul where the eleven million was deposited.  Before the stunned elderly man could respond to the betrayal a sniper fires two shots through the window killing him.  As Marwan wonders how the enemy knew that Ramsey hired Accad and Associates, they hunt him.  He flees for North Africa with assassins and police from Europe and Africa stalkong him as he is the suspect in the homicide.  Morocco proves unsafe so he heads to Cairo; the enemy keeps coming and they do not care about collateral damage.  He also fears for Dalia Nour, a woman he has just met who by associating with him is in danger.  Additionally with mortality chasing him to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East, Marwan ponders eternity and increasing evidence that the Christ is genuine.

The Witness is an exciting Christian conspiracy thriller that is at its best when the enemy chases after the hero as he overcomes overwhelming odds in various locales.  The story line at times turns preachy especially at moments when Accad understands the maxim that there are no atheists in the trenches.  Fans of international conspirator Christian thrillers will enjoy Marwan’s efforts to obtain the gift of salvation as he is the witness not the killer.

Harriet Klausner

Misconceptions-Avner Hershlag

May 29, 2010

Misconceptions

Avner Hershlag

iUniverse, Feb 2010, $18.95

ISBN: 9781440183874

Fertility expert Dr. Anya Krim has DC’s leading women as her patients.  Currently she is working with the First Lady Janet Cartwright trying to keep her client’s embryos safe from DNA alteration and from anything else, natural or otherwise that could harm them..  However, the case that intrigues her most besides her own desire for a child is that of the senator’s comatose daughter Megan Tanner; the woman still in a coma for the last two years is pregnant.

Ethical and legal pressure mounts on Anya as her patients are reading about new unapproved techniques and making demands of her while the extremes of the political spectrum want to use her as a scapegoat to further their personal agendas.  She understands the feelings of her patients as she too considers using some of these new untested medical breakthroughs on herself.

The key to this timely exhilarating medical thriller is that Dr. Avner Hershlag provides an insightful look at cutting edge fertility medicine without dumbing down or selecting a political agenda.  With a strong lead character and a powerful support cast, aptly titled Misconception condemns the left and the right cherry picking information to defend their moral stance regardless of the victim of their so called ethnicity; the end defines the meanness of the means.  Dr. Hershlag provides a winning profound look at what the health care debate ignored; the pressures a doctor faces in choosing the best care for a patient.

Harriet Klausner

Murder In The Hamptons-Danita Carter

May 29, 2010

Murder In The Hamptons

Danita Carter

Strebor (pocket), Jun 8 2010, $15.00

ISBN: 9781593092528

Detective Theodora Pratt knows the Hamptons have not seen a killing in quite awhile, but loathes all the spectators ruining the murder scene.  The yacht near the floating corpse is owned by old money Liza Lord who explains to Pratt she provided a venue for newcomer Donovan Smart to throw his White and Platinum party introducing himself and his sister Reece and their friend Chyna to the neighbors of exclusive Coco Beach.  Most of the snobs detest the nouveau riche rapper TuSmArt from the hood invading their turf; he just wanted them to know he and his sister are housetrained

Although the party was successful until the floater was found, most of the stuck-up locals are elated that the undesirables will be forced to leave in police custody.  However, stereotyping the rapper is a mistake as Donovan is Einstein brilliant; he also unlike the notorious rappers prefers less dating because he wants a woman with the 3 Bs (beauty, body and brains).  As Pratt hones in on the outsiders as suspects as well as flirty restaurant owner Troy, she also begins to revise her theory when the autopsy revealed in the body excessive Oxycontin, a prescription drug.

Murder in the Hamptons is a terrific police procedural that takes a deep look at whether money can buy class and social status; as Danita Carter makes a strong case that social status does not define class.  Fast-paced with a nice twist, fans will relish Theo’s homicide investigation into a rapper who just wanted to take his sister and their BFF out of Brooklyn.

Harriet Klausner

Candlesticks-Sharon Ervin

May 29, 2010

Candlesticks

Sharon Ervin

Five Star, Jun 16 2010, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594148767

In San Diego, American Wire Service chief Duke Mallory allows his enthusiastic intern Jancy Dewhurst to cover the South Beach burglaries; the fourth break-in when the family was not home.  Police Detective Thad Bias tells her he is frustrated as his Captain O’Brien devastates crime scenes with his desire for TV appearances.  Jancy soon realizes the oddity of the serial robberies is besides valuables, the thief takes candlesticks.

After writing a couple of articles that are published with her by-line, Jancy receives several threatening phone calls.  Her fiancé Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Jim Willis takes time off to be with Jancy to insure she is safe.  Jim and Jancy marry as planned and go on their honeymoon when she reads in the Denver paper that robberies similar to those in San Diego with the candlesticks stolen have occurred.  Soon their lives are threatened by a dangerous culprit obsessed with candlesticks and more.

The third Jancy journalist investigation (see The Ribbon Murders and Murder Aboard the Choctaw Gambler) is a superb sleuthing thriller that also moves forward the relationship between the heroine and her Fed who marry and honeymoon during this storyline.  Fast-paced throughout, fans will relish this enjoyable thriller with a terrific twist although the thief once identified comes across too deranged even while that moved the plot from California to Colorado.  Still fans will enjoy Jancy’s jaunt into marriage and her latest whodunit.

Harriet Klausner