Archive for April, 2011

The Jefferson Key-Steve Berry

April 30, 2011

The Jefferson Key

Steve Berry

Ballantine, May 17 2011, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345505514

Stephanie Nelle leaves a mysterious message for former Justice Department field operative Cotton Malone to meet her in New York immediately.  Not one to ignore a summons from his former boss, Malone and his beloved Cassiopeia Vitt shut down their Copenhagen book store to fly to the States.

In Manhattan, Malone observes an assassination attempt on President Danny Daniels, but intercedes this saving the life of POTUS.  However, the Secret Service assumes he is the assassin and attacks him.  He soon finds himself in further danger from the Commonwealth Society who has enforced Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution several times with four of them successful in 1865, 1881, 1901 and 1963.  Malone learns of a Jeffersonian cipher deployed by Jackson after a failed assault but unused since.  Meanwhile he and Vitt struggle to survive as Commonwealth Quartermaster Clifford Knox stalks them.  The fugitive pair finds historical evidence of the intent of the Founding Fathers in ratifying that particular clause as the runaways are considered the traitors and the Commonwealth has the highest law in the land behind them.

This is a brilliant exhilarating thriller that uses the Constitution and American history to frame a great tale that will have readers hooked throughout.  After spending time overseas (see The Paris Vendetta and The Emperor’s Tomb), Malone comes home only to be caught in the crosshairs of a secret powerful group applying Article 1 Section 8: “The Congress shall have the Power to … grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules on concerning Captures on Land and Water”.  Filled with stunning spins to American history, fast-paced from the opening 1835 Jackson assassination attempt to the final denouement, The Jefferson Key will be on the short list for best thriller of the year.

Harriet Klausner

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A Time for Patriots-Dale Brown

April 30, 2011

A Time for Patriots

Dale Brown

Morrow, May 10 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9780061989995

The financial industry collapses taking down the stock markets with it.  The American economy is in free-fall.  Newly elected President Phoenix and the Congress radically slash the federal government spending and reduce tax rates to their lowest in decades as they heed what happened to those in the last TARP intervention; safety networks are slashed with the massive reductions.  Three types of groups emerge: local vigilante protecting small pockets of people loosely aligned with The Civil Air patrol; murderous terrorist cells; and stragglers with no camp available. 

The Knights of the True Republic ambush an FBI unit protecting radioactive substances.  They kill the agents and steal the dangerous material planning to launch a dirty bomb on the federal building in Reno.  The Civil Air Patrol’s Nevada Wing led by retired Air Force Lieutenant-General Patrick McLanahan hunt the Knights hoping to prevent the destruction of Reno.

Fans will welcome the exciting return of not by the book McLanahan (see Executive Intent) though he plays the same shallow character he has been in the numerous tales when he was active duty and retired.  This time he is accompanied by his equally underdeveloped teenage son who joins him in doing it the McLanahan way or no way as this pair is caffeine coffee drinking Cessna pilots.  Extremely fast-paced with a powerful premise of what the impact of sudden massive cuts in spending and revenues mean, readers will enjoy father and son as they team up to try to save Nevada from the terrorist Knights.

Harriet Klausner

The Phoenix Apostles-Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore

April 30, 2011

The Phoenix Apostles

Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore

Midnight Ink, Jun 8 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9780738726663

In 2012 at The Reliquary in Mexico City, as he studies the video feed of the tomb University of Miami archaeologist Mesoamerican Professor Daniel Bernal tells his fiancée Planet Discovery magazine writer Seneca Hunt something is wrong about what they have found as Montezuma’s remains are missing.  However, his muses are interrupted with an explosion.  All at the excavation are dead except Seneca.

Mexican official believe a terrorist attack occurred, but a grieving angry Seneca believes there is more to it.  She begins a hunt for the killers of her beloved starting with Carolos the technician assistant who left just before the blast.  Seneca learns that other ancient tombs around the world are being invaded, but whereas the remains of history’s murderous infamy are taken other valuable artifacts are left behind.  When she meets author Matt Everhart who is also following the story, they team up on a trail that leads back two millennia ago in Judea with a modern day scheme that will annihilate millions.

Although Cotton Stone takes a respite, the same frantic pace, starting with the deadly explosion, and never slowing down grips the audience with the first Seneca Hunter thriller with historical and religious underpinnings.  Seneca is a wonderful fully developed lead character who holds the fast-paced exciting story line together.  With a cautionary underlying message of keep the faith as science and technology are important but need ethical boundaries, fans will relish Seneca’s Hunt for the truth.

Harriet Klausner

The Delta Solution-Patrick Robinson

April 30, 2011

The Delta Solution

Patrick Robinson

Perseus/Vanguard, May 3 2011, $25.99

ISBN 9781593156473

Mohammed “the Godfather of the Dark Continent” Salat provides the funding and orders to the Somali Marines.  This group of pirates is extremely well trained and equipped to achieve their mission of capturing tankers and cargo ships off the Somali coast. 

Salat sends his brigands to capture the American freighter Niagara Falls whose $100 million dollar cargo belongs to the United States Agency for Internationals Development.  Refusing to pay the $10 million dollar ransom demands, the American government assigns Commander Mackenzie “Mack” Bedford to lead a newly activated SEALs team Delta Platoon.  Their current mission is to mount sea rescues and end the Somali Marines’ piracy by assaulting their headquarters in Haradheere, Somalia.

The keys to this timely engaging thriller are that the SEALs receive focused training and the Somali Marines are a very capable organized unit.  Once the cast is set and the team ready to invade, The Delta Solution goes into hyperspeed as Mack and his elite team assault the impenetrable base of the Somali marines knowing the likelihood that many SEALs will not come home even in body bags and the collateral damage is a certainty.  Less action than Mack’s previous adventures (see Intercept and Diamondhead), The Delta Solution is a more complete thriller as the audience observes two highly trained and effective units prepare for a showdown in the Indian Ocean.

Harriet Klausner

Baby Bootcamp-Mallory Kane

April 29, 2011

Baby Bootcamp

Mallory Kane

Harlequin Intrigue, May 3 2011, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373695423

In Freedom, Texas Corps Security and Investigations undercover operative Matteo Soarez sits calmly in The Talk of the Town Café while protecting State Governor Lila Lockhart from an assassin.  Matt also seeks information leading to identifying who the culprit is. 

His two biggest problems with the surveillance is the café owner is eight months pregnant Faith Scott and her cherry pie.  A war veteran who has seen the worst of humanity, she makes him dream of family, fences and five female babysitters.  She feels the same way about him, but refuses to fall for another drifter after Rory Stockett, father of her unborn.  However, when her ex starts to bully her, Matt intervenes.  As they fall in love, he realizes someone wants both of them dead; the unborn is collateral damage.

This exhilarating romantic suspense hooks readers from the onset as Matt begins to know first hand the patrons of the café.  He makes the story line work as he struggles to stay the character of a drifter construction laborer who falls in love with a woman about to give birth and wants the mother and child in his life.  Fans and matt will hope the lead female has faith in her heart as Mallory Kane provides a wonderful thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Murder She Wrote: Skating on Thin Ice-Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

April 29, 2011

Murder She Wrote: Skating on Thin Ice

Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

Obsidian, Apr 5 2011, $22.95

ISBN: 9780451232342

In Cabot Cove, Maine, Olympic Gold medalist Bruce Devlin trains promising figure skating pair Christine Allen and Russian Alexei Olshansky.  Christine does not like either male as her coach is a demanding perfectionist who rejects anything less than the best; her pompous partner believes he is Russia’s gift to the American female population.  Still at the Cabot Cove Ice Arena she endures both as they are her platform to success in skating pair competition.

However, accidents begin to occur with a frequency that makes local Dr. Seth Hazlitt feel they are deliberate.  Soon afterward Alexei is murdered and another skater Jeremy is hammered into a coma.  Sheriff Mort Metzger and novelist Jessica Fletcher investigate Skating on Thin Ice.

After the mostly recent road tour (see A Slaying in Savannah, Madison Avenue Shoot, Queen Jewels and Nashville Noir), Jessica returns home to Cabot Cove where she investigates the Alexei homicide and related felonies.  Her being back in Maine is a two edged sword as that locale has been the prime place for the myriad of books and the TV series, but also brings a deja vu feel to the plot.  Still this is an engaging whodunit in which readers will never look at a Zamboni in the same way.

Harriet Klausner

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes-Marcus Sakey

April 28, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

Marcus Sakey

Dutton, Jun 9 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9780525952114

He awakens on a beach with no one around wearing no clothing.  The man realizes he has no idea who he is though he knows he nearly drowned.  Nearby he finds a car.  Inside is a California license for a Daniel Hayes with his picture on it.  He wonders how he who apparently lives in Los Angeles ended up in coastal Maine.

Daniel knows the truth lies in Southern California though he feels a niggling of remorse that he cannot fathom why.  He heads across the continent as glimpses of his pre-amnesia life flash by in his mind.  Soon Daniel learns he is a screenwriter whose TV star soap opera wife died in a vehicular homicide.  The cops believe he killed his spouse while someone is stalking him.

This dark thriller grips the reader from the moment the amnesia victim awakens on a deserted New England beach and never slows down until the final exhilarating climax.  Daniel is terrific as he evades police and a hunter while trying to rewire his brain as the replay button is too slowly coming into focus.  Set aside time, readers will find it difficult to put aside The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes as Marcus Sakey provides a fresh exhilarating spin to the amnesiac in peril theme.

Harriet Klausner

Indelible-Kristen Heitzmann

April 27, 2011

Indelible

Kristen Heitzmann

WaterBrook, May 3 2011, $13.99

ISBN: 9781400073108

In Redford, Colorado high country outfitter Trevor McDaniel rescues two year old Cody from a yearling mountain lion cub.  Cody’s father Aaron plays for the Rockies while his mother Paige hates the family freak, the toddler’s grateful Aunt Natalie Reeves is a sculptor.  Natalie and Trevor (and his partner Paul) meet at her gallery where she offers a thank you sculpture to the men.  She and Trevor are attracted to one another.

An unknown person begins sending Trevor photos of children in danger.  He becomes concerned that his maniacal secret admirer may harm Natalie as he does not conceal how much she means to him.  With Redford Police Chief Jonah Westfall at his side, Trevor tries to track down the psychopath who targets the helpless.

The return to Redford (see Indivisible) is a terrific tale of two flawed people who turns potential weaknesses into strengths.  Due to a tragedy Trevor turned his grief into a search and rescue volunteer while Natalie has a disability that she has used to become a talented sculptor.  Although the villain’s motive is presented somewhat late, fans will relish the coupling of two people who see the fortitude and courage in their beloved.

Harriet Klausner

A Conflict of Interest-Adam Mitzner

April 27, 2011

A Conflict of Interest

Adam Mitzner

Gallery, May 17 2011, $25.00

ISBN: 9781439157510

In New York, thirtyish criminal defense lawyer Alex Miller works long hours but feels it is worth the reward.  He is the Cromwell Altman’s youngest partner, has a beloved wife Elizabeth who understands his hours and a beautiful daughter who he adores.

At his father’s funeral in Florida, Alex meets the family friend legendary Michael Ohlig.  The affluent Ohlig retains Alex as his firm’s attorney.  The client explains that his boutique brokerage firm is accused of selling worthless stock in a startup company that Ohlig allegedly knew would fail.  Although the evidence says otherwise, Alex believes Michael is innocent so he throws even more time into the defense as Elizabeth becomes irritated with his fully ignoring their child and her while spending all his time with beautiful senior associate, Abby Sloane. 

This is a powerful character driven thriller as Alex ignores A Conflict of Interests that he acknowledges may taint his belief in Michael’s innocence, but obsessively needs to know the truth about his family.  The story line is fast-paced with a profound focus on Michael’s prime relationships with his wife and their daughter, his parents, his client, his associate, and the firm.  With stunning twists Adam Mitzner provides an exciting legal thriller with a close in person look at a fixated attorney.

Harriet Klausner

Felicity’s Gate-Julian Cole

April 26, 2011

Felicity’s Gate

Julian Cole

Minotaur, May 10 2011

ISBN: 9780312585921

An unknown culprit kills artist Jane Wragge with a juicer in her home near York Cemetery.  York Police Chief Inspector Sam Rounder, who has a weight problem that does not limit him from doing field work, leads the homicide investigation.  The victim’s lover Moses Mundy has vanished so instead of just being a person of interest, he is the prime suspect.

Moses hires Sam’s brother Rick a private investigator to look into the violent associates from his past who he believes killed Jane.  Rick conceals his client from his sibling while Sam, estranged from his wife, begins to fall in love with Jane after reading her diary that he hid from his investigative team.

With a nod to the Preminger movie Laura, Felicity’s Gate is a fantastic whodunit that has the reader wondering what is going to happen next.  Fast-paced, the siblings separately investigate the murder of Jane Wragge in which Rick looks at his client’s previous associates while Sam depends on the dead woman’s diary for clues.  The climax is plausible and in fairness well done, but the end is not quite as powerful as the two paths getting there.  Still readers will toast the Rounder brothers and want more of their cases from Julian Cole (see The Amateur Historian).

Harriet Klausner