Archive for June, 2011

The Traitor’s Emblem-Juan Gomez-Jurado

June 30, 2011

The Traitor’s Emblem

Juan Gomez-Jurado

Atria, Jul 19 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9781439198780


In 1919 Munich, fifteen years old Alys Tannenbaum is the daughter of a wealthy Jewish businessman.  Her parents keep a close watch over her.  At a birthday party for insufferable aristocratic Jurgen von Schroeder, Alys meets Paul Reiner, the poor cousin of the guest of honor; Paul is working as a waiter at the gala.  Repugnant Jurgen makes Alys dance with him, but when she asks him to let her go he refuses. Paul, who is Aly’s age, rescues her. 


Raging at the pauper’s affront, Jurgen and several punks assault Paul.  This brawl encourages Paul, who already wanted to know what happened to his naval captain father whose death is allegedly tied to Jurgen’s family, to seek the truth.  As Jurgen joins the Nazis, he remains steadfast with his obsession to break his relative while Paul remains obsessed with learning what happened to his dad even at the cost of losing his beloved Alys.


This is an enjoyable between the World Wars in Germany romantic thriller though the story line follows a seemingly inevitable path of destructions.  The cousins loathe each other so much that nothing else matters; their perspective over the Brandenburg Gate obsessive compulsive disorder will have readers wondering about nature over nurture.  Although the story line is very thin and obvious, fans will enjoy the epic look at an expanded family who during a time of relative peace in Europe are at war with each other.


Harriet Klausner


Inspector Singh Investigates: Bali Conspiracy Most Foul-Shamini Flint

June 30, 2011

Inspector Singh Investigates: Bali Conspiracy Most Foul

Shamini Flint

Minotaur, Jul 19 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312596989


A bomb explodes in Bali.  Singapore police supervisors see this as an opportunity to get Inspector Singh a Sikh out of their hair as they did with A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder case; though he has a strong record of solving cases.  This time they ship him to Bali to assist the locals with their antiterrorism efforts.


Though he wonders if it is because he is a Sikh, Singh is confused by his being assigned to antiterrorism as his expertise is homicide.  Richard Crouch’s corpse with a bullet is found amongst the ruins.  Singh and Australian Detective Bronwyn Taylor, also being stonewalled by her superiors, team up on the case in which he brings his homicide investigation skills and she her Indonesian language and cultural awareness expertise.


Although conceptually similar to Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder, as the detective is “exiled” to another country, the freshness comes with the new set of cultural clashes.  The protagonist, the Australian sidekick cop, the locals and the expatriates bring diverse backgrounds that Shamini Flint explores without fingering any as inferior.  The whodunit is entertaining with a stunning climax and coda as Singh takes Bali just like he did Malaysia.


Harriet Klausner

The Herring In The Library-L. C. Tyler

June 30, 2011

The Herring In The Library

L. C. Tyler

Felony & Mayhem, Jun 16 2011, $14.95

ISBN: 9781934609767


In Findon, West Sussex, England third level list mystery writer (under two aliases) and romance author under another name) Ethelred Tressider runs into university pal Sir Rob “Shagger” Muntham.  After a brief chat, Shagger invites Ethelred and his agent Elsie Thirkettle to a dinner party at Muntham Court.  They agree to attend the gala. 


As soon as they arrive, Elise makes it clear to her client that they are to sit near the exit so they can gracefully leave.  From the moment they step inside Shagger’s young wife tense Annabelle outrageously flirts with Ethelred in front of everyone.  However before they can flee into the night, someone strangles Shagger inside the locked library.  Annabelle demands Ethelred investigate.  Being chivalrous, he agrees but Elsie refuses to leave alone with the not so grieving widow and the snooty crowd he investigates.


The latest ET to the second power amateur sleuth (see The Herring Seller’s Apprentice and Ten Little Herrings) is a wonderful locked-room mystery that has a throwback feel to the Agatha Christie country house whodunits (see Endless Night, And Then There Was None and Peril at End House) though in a contemporary time.  The fun is the interplay between the perfect English gentleman and his in your face agent who insists if he worked diligently and applied his talent he could attain a level two.  Readers will enjoy the antics of this pair has they investigate the murder of Sir Shagger.


Harriet Klausner

Flowers for Her Grave-Judy Clemens

June 30, 2011

Flowers for Her Grave

Judy Clemens

Poisoned Pen, Aug 2 2011, $14.95

ISBN: 9781590589205


Casey Maldonado struggles with the deaths of her husband and son but has no time to grieve as she fled Ohio where her family died to avoid a murder charge.  She is back on lam with her companion L’Ankou the Grim Reaper as they flee Kansas by box car after a fight left her with injuries.


She changes her identity to Daisy Gray, fitness trainer in Raceda, Florida.   However a change in name and location fails to keep Casey out of trouble.  She finds a woman, who was obviously assaulted and bleeding to death in the locker area.   Casey tries to save the woman’s life but fails.  Death tells her is time to flee, but feeling guilt for being too slow, Casey as Daisy decides to investigate; ignoring L’Ankou’s warning to run before the cops look into who she is.


The third Grim Reaper thriller (see Embrace the Grim Reaper and The Grim Reaper’s Dance) is a whimsical whodunit as readers will agree with death that is time to get out of Dodge, but Casey knows there are moments when you cannot run away from your problems.  Filled with humor mostly due to the relationship between Death and Casey as most people think she is a lunatic arguing with herself since they cannot see or hear the grim Reaper.  Series fans will enjoy Flowers for Her Grave as Judy Clemens showcases human travesties as seen through the eyes of Death.


Harriet Klausner


Killed at the Whim of a Hat-Colin Cotterill

June 29, 2011

Killed at the Whim of a Hat

Colin Cotterill

Minotaur, Jul 19 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312564537


Thirtyish Jimm Juree feels euphoric that the Chiang Mai Daily Mail is about to make her the second female senior crime reporter in Thailand.  However, her mother destroys her professional dreams when she sells the family home and business without warning.  The matriarch moves the extended family which includes Jimm’s retired cop Granddad, her body builder younger brother and her transgendered beauty pageant queen former older brother from the north to the south to Chumphon Province none of them has heard of.  The journalist fears her mom might be going senile.


All is not lost when two skeletons of hippies are found buried inside an interred Volkswagen van.  Soon after the farmer Mel Phumihan found the gruesome remains, someone brutally kills a Buddhist abbot with a monk and a nun the only viable suspects.  Granddad mentors Jimm on investigations as she learns to dig beyond the surface layer of dirt.


Though he switches generations and locale from Laotian coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun (one could argue Granddad is the equivalent to Paiboun) to thirtyish Juree in Thailand, Colin Cotterill provides an engaging investigative tale that shines an intelligent spotlight on the country.  Jimm and Granddad are a wonderful team as he teaches her how to conduct a proper inquiry.  Readers will enjoy Mr. Cotterill’s exciting investigation that is a family affair.


Harriet Klausner


Ringer-Brian M Wiprud

June 29, 2011


Brian M Wiprud

Minotaur, Jul 19 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9780312601898


In La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico Father Gomez Entropica shows wealthy womanizer Morty Martinez the finger of his ancestor de Salvaterra who lost it in defense of the monastery; the finger and a ring on it were saved, but the jewelry was stolen.  The Father, seeing a picture in Forbes magazine of the ring, asks a favor that he believes the former Brooklyn resident can achieve.  He wants Morty to visit sexagenarian Robert Tyson Grant in New York City to ask the billionaire to return a holy gold ring he wears to its rightful owner an orphanage in La Paz. 


In New York, Martinez learns a lesson that he already knew that no good deed goes unpunished for a Good Samaritan.  He muses about how he is one night from execution in Mexico after being caught in the crosshairs of several wannabe killers wanting Grant dead.


This is a zany jocular thriller over the top of Picacho del Diablo as told by the antihero while he waits execution in a Mexican prison.  The support cast is certifiably loco as nothing goes right with Morty’s quest.  Part of the amusement is when Morty muses on irrelevant topics as his time counts down.  This sequel to Feelers continues the misadventures of Morty the modern day Conquistador who is on the verge of losing more than a ring finger.


Harriet Klausner



Killer Move-Michael Marshall

June 29, 2011

Killer Move

Michael Marshall

Morrow, Jun 28 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780061434426


Bill Moore has a successful realty business selling condos in South Florida.  He has a great marriage with a wonderful wife Steph who he loves.  They live in a beautiful house in Sarasota. 


However, Bill is more ambitious than Lady Macbeth and is upset that he is behind on achieving his BHAGs.  He begins taking shortcuts.  One morning Bill arrives at his office to find an odd black-colored card on his desk.  On the card’s surface is printed in white lettering: “modified.”   His perfect life begins to unravel slowly at first but picking up momentum as purchases he never made arrive against his credit card and an e-mail sent from his address though not by him leads to major trouble with his wife as the filed Modified contain pictures he never took.  While Bill tries to find a way to fight back against the unknown Modified, John Hunter is paroled after spending time for a homicide.  He seeks vengeance.


This is a gripping suspense thriller as the American dream turns into a nightmare for Bill.  The story line is fast-paced from the opening scene in which the reader learns convicted murderer John did not do the crime and never slows down as his life is destroyed and Bill’s is subtly going down the cesspool too.  With innuendoes of the Straw Men involved (see The Straw Men, The Upright Man, and Blood of Angels) and with with Bill’s nuked life spinning out of control just like John’s did, Michael Marshall writes a taut tale.


Harriet Klausner

Bloodline-Mark Billingham

June 29, 2011


Mark Billingham

Mulholland/Little Brown, Jul 14 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780316126663


When his significant other Detective Inspector. Louise Porter suffered a miscarriage; London Police Department Murder Squad Detective Tom Thorne is depressed though he tries to hide his feelings.  Thus when someone battered pregnant Emily Anne Walker in her home in Finchley before killing her with a plastic bag over her face, Tom, unable to cope with his tragedy, is guiltily happy for the distraction.  Tom arrests the victim’s husband George as the evidence overwhelming points to a crime of passion domestic dispute.


However Thorne changes his mind about the case he solved when he learns from DI Paul Brewer that twenty-three year old nurse Catherine Burke was murdered in the same way three weeks ago in Leicester City. The connection between the two deceased females is their mothers were murdered fifteen years ago earlier by psychopathic serial killer Raymond Garvey.  This predator killed five other women in four months before being caught.  Garvey died in prison.  An unknown maniac is targeting the children of Garvey’s victims.


The latest Thorne British police procedural (see Death Message) is an excellent entry that works on three levels that superbly tie cohesively together.  First there is the super investigation; second there is the hero using the inquiry to run from his grief; finally there is just the right amount on insight into the lives of the victim.  Readers will appreciate this strong suspenseful serial killer thriller.


Harriet Klausner

The 34th Degree: A Thriller-Thomas Greanias

June 27, 2011

 The 34th Degree: A Thriller

Thomas Greanias

Atria, Jun 28 2011, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451612394


In 1943 at the Monastery of the Taborian Light in Meteora, Greece, British and Nazi agents seek the Templar Globe, which contains the Maranatha text written by Paul, which predicts the return of Christ.  The text apparently was used by the Byzantine Empire to develop the Greek Fire that ended the spread of Islam and centuries later when Constantinople fell, the Muslims looked everywhere for this scroll. 


In the present Sam Deker struggles with civilian life in Los Angeles after being dishonorably discharged from the military (see The Promised War).  He suffers from such severe nightmares that a sleep disorder clinic tests him.  He learns the light wave torture he underwent as a prisoner changed him.  Applying the Patriot Act, the Pentagon finds out about the condition of the disgraced former Ranger.  They decide he is the only viable candidate to undergo the experimental the 34th Degree Neurosimulation of having brain cells implanted in his brain.  In 1943 Chris Andros and Nazi General Ludwig von Berg competed in a deadly forum to gain the Maranatha text and the hand of beautiful Greek Aphrodite Vasilis.  Now Deker is injected with tissues from long deceased von Berg and recently dead Andros; his mission, if he survives, is to discover what happened to the Maranatha text.  The Alignment seeks the same text using the identical methodology.


This is an action-packed thriller that will remind readers of Trevor Hoyle’s Professor Q novels (seek Seeking the Mythical Future).  The cast is stereotyped, including the heroes of 1943 and 2011, between the good, the bad and the evil.  Still faster than the speed of light and filled with lethal competition in both eras, fans will enjoy Thomas Greanias’ exciting tale. 


Harriet Klausner

Ephemera-Jeffery M. Anderson

June 27, 2011


Jeffery M. Anderson

CreateSpace, May 4 2011, $15.99

ISBN: 9781453870815


As the Memorial Weekend beckons, the employees at The Reviewers Review magazine scramble to leave.  Thirty-eight years old writer Nester Cab is chosen as the designated lock up for the holiday driver.  Nester feels like he belongs in a different as his life is filled with ennui at home and at work.  He hides behind cynical facades as only those disenchanted with the sham of the American nightmare can; even his cuckoo clock does not chant.  His boss Aida knows him as the city’s biggest recluse while his excuse for not getting a drink outside the office with her is his review of Amblin’s review.


Cab finds a note left behind by an intruder addressed to him including his serial number to locate AWOL Corporal Forsythe who “knows where they are.”  Although everyone except Aida and him are gone from the office, he assumes this is an inane prank.  However, with nothing better to do after a few drinks, he begins a search for the missing soldier.  His inquiry leads him to the violent Neo-Luddite Army whose leader Stillman holds Cab prisoner for indoctrination into the government-corporate conspiracies led by the real power in DC the Secretary of Commerce.


This extremely dark thriller is character driven by Cab’s disillusionment.  Ironically it is easier to understand Stillman in spite of his irrational moments than it is the numbed indifferent Cab.  Though not fast-paced, Ephemera is a thought provoking tale as readers will see the outcome of the Reagan legacy is the Eisenhower warning to beware of the government industrial military complex.  To conceal reality, politicians use the mantra of Ephemera to assume the brain numbed public will quickly forget the hypocrisy and lies.


Harriet Klausner