Archive for January, 2011

Against the Law-Kat Martin

January 31, 2011

Against the Law

Kat Martin

Mira, Feb 22 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9780778329404

Handbag designer Lark Delaney desperately wants to find her niece adopted by strangers as her sister Heather was only sixteen when she gave birth.  She pleads with thirty something Devlin Raines at his Arizona ranch to help her.  Mentioning that his Army Ranger buddy Madman Monroe sent him saying he owed him, reluctantly as he has retired from field work the Raines Investigation analyst agrees to make inquiries.

Devlin assumes this will be a quick search, but is stunned when his assumption proves false as his friend expert Chaz Denton searches the net only to find Loving Home Adoptions not licensed in Arizona, but gives him a printing clue to begin a search for Mrs. Olcott who arranged the adoption.  Following the trail, Dev accompanied by Lark go from Southern California to Mexico with each clue making both fear for the child.  The case has turned personal for Dev who cares for the child he has not met fearing she has been sold into sexual slavery and especially for the frantic aunt who begged him to find her.

The third Raines of Wind Canyon romantic suspense thriller (see Against the Fire and Against the Wind) is a terrific tense tale filled with twists and spins as nothing goes according to Raines’ plan.  He, like his older brothers, is a strong hero, but has met his equal in Lark who fearlessly stomps on snakes.  Timely with the plight of young females being sold, readers will root for the pair to rescue her niece as we fear what has happened to that little girl.

Harriet Klausner

Antiques Knock-Off-Barbara Allan

January 31, 2011

Antiques Knock-Off

Barbara Allan

Kensington, Mar 1 2011, $22.00

ISBN 9780758234230

Overlooking the Mississippi in the quaint town of Serenity antique expert Brandy Borne begins to understand what the sandwich generation means.  As a surrogate mother she is seven months pregnant; at the same time she keeps a close watch on her bipolar mother, Vivian.  Brandy is also dating the town’s Chief of Police Tony Cassato.

Someone stabs Connie Grimes in the chest.  Vivian confesses to having committed the murder; as Connie used to work for Brandy’s biological father, a U.S. senator.  Vivian goes to jail where another prisoner might have witnessed the homicide.  Brandy, accompanied by Sushi the shih tzu, investigates the case involving the Mafia and a horde of cats surrounding a New Age hypnotist.

Putting aside clever advice on collecting, the latest Trash ‘n’ Treasures antiques amateur sleuth is the usual zany, eccentric and far from serenity tale (see Antiques Flee Market and Antiques Bizarre) as once again mom is in the middle of an uproar.  The brisk story line is fine to follow as the heroine has a more reliable partner (Sushi) this time than she did in Antiques Bizarre (mom).  Sub-genre fans will enjoy this entertaining amusing whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Living on the Edge-Shannon K, Butcher

January 30, 2011

Living on the Edge

Shannon K, Butcher

Signet, Mar 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451232748

Lucas Ramsey left the military due to a severe injury.  However, when his former superior officer The old man orders him to protect Sloane Gideon with his life, he asks no questions and begins his duty.  However the Old Man omits two pieces of key information when a shooting occurs at a gala where Lucas planed to meet Sloane who marked him as Mr. Tuxedo.  First her occupation is personal protection as she works as a bodyguard for the Edge; and second she is the Old Man’s daughter.  It is the latter that shakes Lucas as he cannot picture the cold logical General with an offspring.

Columbian drug cartel leader Lorenzo Soma abducts Sloane’s friend Gina who called last night explaining her frightening predicament before the phone was taken away.  Mr. Tuxedo tries to stop Sloane from boarding a plane, but she knocks him out with a blow to his temple.  Having underestimating Sloane, he follows her to Colombia with the Old Man’s warning him to play hardball with his daughter.  The former Ranger catches up to her in South America where she accepts his offer of assistance as she wonders why Soma kidnapped her best friend and how will she extract Gina from this cold blooded killer; Lucas wonders how to extract Sloane from Columbia when she insists on a jungle expedition.

This is romantic suspense at its exhilarating best from the start at the gala and to the final confrontation.  Fast-paced and filled with action, readers will enjoy the trek to Columbia with the capable independent kick butt (and temple) heroine and her sidekick while demanding more thrillers over the Edge from Shannon K. “Sentinels Wars” Butcher.

Harriet Klausner

Bad Bird-Chris Knopf

January 30, 2011

Bad Bird

Chris Knopf

Minotaur, Feb 1 2011, $25.99

ISBN 9780312551247

Southampton. Long Island attorney Jackie Swaitkowski leans on a fence watching show horses run around in a field when she notices a small plane out of control.  She calls 911 as a metal camera case flies out of the pilot’s door.  The plane crashes moments later.  Jackie retrieves the case and removes a memory card from it as if the pilot was tossing that to her.  First responders from around the Hamptons arrive at the scene, but the Cessna female pilot is dead.

Having met a man claiming to be the husband of the pilot before he fled the crash scene, Jackie Googles for names of female local pilots and finds Eugenie Birkson owner of a Cessna taxi service; her husband Ed is a mechanic.  The memory card contains strange photos in which she recognizes some of the people in them including a few to close to home.  Ed hires Jackie to defend him when the National Transportation Safety Board ill mannered agent investigates.  Jackie soon learns the near fatal way that someone wants that memory card destroyed and is willing to kill again to achieve that objective.

The latest Swaitkowski thriller (see Short Squeeze) is an engaging tale that starts off with quite a bang and never slows down.  Once again (as Police officer Sullivan knows from his experiences with her) Jackie ignores the law when she takes the memory card.  Fast-paced throughout,  readers who enjoy their lawyers to be different will appreciate the pot smoking and hard drinking Swaitkowski.

Harriet Klausner

Deadly Lies-Cynthia Eden

January 30, 2011

Deadly Lies

Cynthia Eden

Forever, Mar 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446559256

A predatory psychopath devastated FBI Serial Service Division Special Agent Samantha Kennedy.  The Fed slowly heals mentally while her superior Hyde has doubts with her being on the Jeremy Briar vicious murder case as he sent her into that Phoenix fiasco.  Although she conceals her trepidations behind a badge of confidence that she knows is false; Hyde remains hesitant that she is capable of performing her field work at this time.

Sam meets and is attracted to Max Ridgeway.  She uses sex with Max to regain her self esteem.  However, she keeps vanishing almost immediately after and refuses to tell him anything about herself.  When someone kidnaps Max’s younger brother for ransom, Sam gets involved; leaving Max to wonder who his beloved truly is.

The third Deadly SSD police procedural romance  is a powerful thriller due to the spotlight on Samantha, a secondary player in the previous entries (see Deadly Fear and Deadly Heat) whose teammates and superior worry she does not have what it takes anymore; she uses sex to keep the demons away.  However, though she struggles with trepidation, this time Max who refuses to allow her to run away from him is her impetus.  With an unexpected potentially deadly twist enhancing the suspense, this is a great entry in a fantastic series with Monica on deck.

Harriet Klausner

A Lot Like Love-Julie James

January 30, 2011

A Lot Like Love

Julie James

Berkley, Mar 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425240168

In Chicago, heiress Jordan Rhodes owns the high end DeVine Cellars wine store.  She is invited to all the elite soirees and besides her father ranked in the top ten of wealth by Forbes, she is beautiful and charming; ergo men desire her.  Jordan’s only down is her brother Kyle’s incarceration.

FBI Agents Seth Huxley and Nick McCall need to attend the annual Valentine’s Day party tossed by Xander Eckhart so that one of them can plant bugs in his office to find information on the man’s link to notorious Roberto Martino.  The feds visit Jordon at her store where they offer her a get out of jail card for her computer geek sibling in exchange for allowing Nick to escort her to the Eckhart gala; she agrees.  However, the scheme goes awry leading to Nick becoming Jordan’s escort to keep her safe; however they continue the charade that looks like the real deal perhaps because they are falling in love.

This is a throwback police procedural romantic suspense in which Hepburn-Tracy need to star.  The tale combines danger with light humor such as McCall’s revelation as to why men watch Dancing with the Stars.  Although the bodyguard gimmick has been used a lot in books and movies (see the Costner-Houston film The Bodyguard) sub-genre fans will enjoy the fast-paced story line as the beautiful bodacious billionaire and the fearsome Fed fuss, fight and fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Treasure Me-Robyn DeHart

January 30, 2011

Treasure Me

Robyn DeHart

Forever, Mar 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446541985

In 1881 Scottish Duke Graeme Langford relishes adventure as he hunts down legends.  His current thirst is to locate a rumored ancient stone near Loch Ness that allegedly possesses great power.  He must complete his mission before the foolish American who bought the abbey nearby begins a renovation project.

Vanessa Pembrooke has come to Loch Ness to prove the legendary monster exists by finding fossilized proof.  She and Graeme meet with both attracted over the fact that the other is a knowledge hunter.  As they team up on their two quests, their attraction grows.  However, neither anticipated an evil plan to find and misuse the stone by willing to murder anyone who gets in the way.

The latest Men of Solomon Legend Hunters romantic thriller (see Desire Me and Seduce Me) is a fabulous tale that grips the audience from start to finish as if Indiana Jones was working Victorian Scotland.  The story line is fun with the hunt for the powerful biblical era Stone of Destiny enhanced by the search for the Loch Ness monster.  The romance between Graeme and Vanessa enhances a wonderful late nineteenth century adventure.

Harriet Klausner

Hidden Away-Maya Banks

January 29, 2011

Hidden Away

Maya Banks

Berkley, Mar 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425240175

Marcus Lattimer made a fortune that has people doing whatever he demands; he pays for loyalty.  He lives by one code only: His Honor.  No one dare cross Lattimer, but Allen Cross of Cross Enterprise did.  Thus, his honor impugned by an A-hole, Lattimer visits this creature of habit Cretan at the man’s office; takes out a gun and fires between the eyes.  However, Marcus failed to consider that his Achilles Heel, his beloved half-sister Sarah Daniels will arrive trying to prevent his killing her former employer ; only she witnesses the murder of Allen.  She flees when repulsive Stanley Cross snarls at her.

CIA Agent Adam Resnick visits Kelly Group International (KGI) because he believes Lattimer finally screwed up with what appears to be a personal vendetta; he wants injured KGI operative Garrett Kelly, who lost a team due to the man’s betrayal, on the job.  He explains the Cross murder gives them the ability to bring down Lattimer through his sibling.  They send to Garrett to keep Sarah safe while using her to catch her half-brother.  However, he never anticipated that he would fall in love with the woman he earned her trust through lies.

Few romantic suspense thrillers start stronger than Hidden Away does as the players are introduced through the homicide.  However, part of the island tryst slows down the otherwise action-packed story line as Garrett tactically seduces Sarah.  Still they are a wonderful pairing as each sees Lattimer differently, which makes the cold killer the match-breaker.  Readers will appreciate this tense tale as the audience anticipates two High Noon confrontations in paradise.

Harriet Klausner

Rock Bottom-CJ Lyons and Erin Brockovich

January 29, 2011

Rock Bottom

CJ Lyons and Erin Brockovich

Vanguard, Mar 1 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9781593156251

Angela Joy Palladino left Scotia, West Virginia as a pregnant teen with no future there.  She gave birth to physically impaired David who she has raised as a single mom; yet also went to school while holding a job.  Finally AJ becomes an on the air radio celebrity as an environmental activist that People magazine dubbed “The People’s Champion”.  However, her efforts to end polluting by Capitol Power led to their declaration of bankruptcy; an irate former employer calls her on the air blaming her for losing his job, his home and his dignitary as he and his family reside in a tent; the gunshot ended their one sided discussion; turning her from crusading heroine to widow-making pariah.

Litigator Zach Hardy hires her to help end the coal mining firms’ practice of mountaintop removal in Scotia.  However, nothing goes right starting with her boss is dead.  Her parents demand she leave while they make her and their nine years old grandson stay at her Gram Flora’s house as they do not want her under their roof.  Finally Cole the father of her son is angry with what AJ did to him.

This is a character driven environmental-family drama that grips the audience from the opening gunshot until the final confrontation.  The key to this strong story line is that though saving the environment is the theme, the authors insure readers understand opportunity costs like less fuel and potentially less jobs.  AJ is a terrific heroine who has taken life’s gut punches but keeps on going with gusto; that enthusiasm for life is what she has given to David.  With several tense subplots that tie together into a powerful taut thriller, fans will demand more similar tales from CJ Lyons and Erin Brockovich.

Harriet Klausner

Deadly Vows-Brenda Joyce

January 28, 2011

Deadly Vows

Brenda Joyce

Harlequin HQN, Feb 22 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373775514

In 1902 in New York, Francesca Cahill and Calder Hart are getting married in a few hours.  However, before the ceremony, Francesca sneaks off to a gallery to see a portrait Hart commissioned.  She is locked inside, but by the time she escapes from the gallery, everyone including Hart believes she jilted him.  Francesca knows someone set this up, but not who or why.

Hart refuses to listen to her explanation as he is hurt and humiliated; raging he ends their engagement.  Stunned and hurt too, Francesca turns to Hart’s half-brother Police Commissioner Rick Bragg for solace at a time when his marriage to Leigh Ann is crumbling.  As Francesca ponders who owns her heart, she and Bragg search for who “framed’ her and is trying to blackmail her and soon a killer is after her too.

Though the roller coaster ride for the heroine’s relationships and affection continues to the point it feels sort of inane yet due to Brenda Joyce’s talent very entertaining as Cahill and the crew work two mysteries as well as the enigma of her heart.  Filled with action, dysfunctional relationships (a common thread) and a sense of being in Manhattan at the start of the previous century (once again a fabulous recurring theme), fans will enjoy Francesca’s latest escapades in maybe (nor not) making it to the altar.

Harriet Klausner