Archive for August, 2011

Unexpected Dismounts-Nancy Rue

August 31, 2011

Unexpected Dismounts

Nancy Rue

David C. Cook, Oct 1 2011, $14.99

ISBN 9781434764928

 

In Saint Augustine, Harley-Davidson rider Allison “Miss Angel” Chamberlain found Jesus seven years go, but finally understands what he expects from her a few months ago.  Big Al keeps telling God he needs to find a more pious prophet, but the Lord keeps chatting with her as if she is the new Moses but is unable to foretell the future as her friend Hanks says she is a “forthteller”.  She currently runs the Sacrament House shelter for prostitutes with five in residence and wants to adopt seventh grader Desmond. 

 

Nothing goes right as Allison feels like a modern day Job dealing with Unexpected Dismounts in life.  A relative of Desmond has surfaced and wants the teen.  An affluent businessman wants her ministry ended.  Finally her Chamberlain upper crust past has bit her butt.  Chief wants their relationship to turn from friend and respect to more.  All Big Al desires is for God to stop with the nudges and either show her what he wants or back off.

 

The second Reluctant Prophet tale is a wonderful whimsical contemporary thriller held together by Big Al.  The ensemble support cast contains fully developed individuals with flaws whose actions pull Big Al in mysterious ways.  The trials and tribulations of the kick butt (including that of Jesus) bike rider make for a strong inspirational tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

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Dangerous Mercy-Kathy Herman

August 31, 2011

 Dangerous Mercy

Kathy Herman

David C. Cook, Oct 1 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780781403412

 

Octogenarian Adele Woodmore left her large mansion to move to Les Barbes to be near her friends, the Broussard clan.  She especially enjoys her time watching two years old Grace.  Adele hires homeless patrons from Father Vince’s halfway house to do handy work for her.  She is satisfied with Noah who does her lawn and Murray who is renovating the inside of her new home.  Only Flynn makes her uneasy but she knows God would want her to give him a second chance.

 

The serene Saint Catherine parish hamlet is shook when someone murders banker Darveau by drugging him before drowning him in his tub with him unable to move but alert to what was happening.  He was # 1.  Soon afterward CEO Gautier became the number 2 victim of The Bathtub Killer.  Sheriff Prejean struggles with the case that lacks any concrete evidence but implies more homicides will follow; his assumption is the killer is on a vendetta connected to the recent economic downturn.  The Broussard and other townsfolk suspect one of Father Vince’s homeless is the killer with Noah being a person of interest.  Fearing for her safety, her friends begs Adele to stop hiring Father Vince’s homeless, but she refuses as she believes God wants her to help these men find their way to the Lord.

 

The second Secrets of Roux River Bayou (see False Pretenses) is an exciting serial killer thriller with the townsfolk in a panic, the sheriff and Police Chief Norman frantic, and Adele calmly doing the Lord’s mission.  Her warm tenderness in the midst of a raging deadly storm makes for a strong inspirational whodunit.  Once again readers will appreciate visiting the Bayou with Ms. Herman as our guide.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Revelations-Laurel Dewey

August 31, 2011

Revelations

Laurel Dewey

The Story Plant, Jun 14 2011, $17.95

ISBN: 9780984190553

 

In Denver, the multi-syllable medical babble denotes one scary world to thirty-something police detective Jane Perry: cancer; cervical is very nasty but she rejects the doc’s happy pills.  She asks her boss Sergeant Weyler for a week off, but fails to tell him why so he says no.  Instead they will work a case in nearby Midas whose police chief is Weyler’s buddy.

 

Fifteen year old Jake Van Gorden attempted suicide by jumping off a bridge, but instead was abducted.  The family has received notes from the kidapper that imply Jake lives but none demand money or anything for that matter.  Jane knows time is of the essence in a kidnapping so though she thinks the teen has set the scenario up she heads up to Midas to investigate the prime suspect, fifty-nine year old Jordan Copeland, who was released from prison seven years ago after spending over three decades behind bars for abducting and murdering a retarded boy in New Jersey.   However the more she learns about Jordan, the less she believes he is guilty; but if not him who?

 

The third Jane Perry police procedural (see Protector and Redemption) is an excellent tale that contains two strong subplots.  The obvious first is the kidnapping as Jane follows clues that take her in odd directions away from the only suspect (besides in her mind the victim).  The second focuses on Jane’s personal life as she struggles with her health scare (her mom died at an early age from cancer), her attraction to bar owner Hank, and Revelations that shake her core foundation.  Laurel Dewey writes a super investigative thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Or The Bull Kills You-Jason Webster

August 31, 2011

Or The Bull Kills You

Jason Webster

Minotaur, Sep 13 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312581831

 

In Valencia, Spain dynamic matador Jorge Blanco has brought a fervor reawakening in bullfighting’s popularity.  However, not everyone is enamored with Jorge or his sport as many locals find it barbaric and cruel.  Politicians rant in favor of banning bullfighting as they believe that is a key ticket to obtaining or remaining in office.  However, someone takes the opposition to a new level by recognizing the threat by charismatic popular Blanco.

 

In a bulling, the matador’s naked corpse is found with darts in his back, a sword in his ribs, and a Spanish flag pulled tightly around his neck.  Nobody on the VPD staff wants the volatile high profile homicide investigation assigned to Chief Inspector Max Camara; his plea of a conflict of interest due to being against bullfighting is ignored.  A second similar murder occurs increasing the pressure on Camara to solve the case by the same politicians who also demand the inquiry stay away from their election campaigns.

 

Or The Bull Kills You is a superb Spanish police procedural starring a somewhat cynical dedicated cop who steps into the bullring, a place he loathes.  The country’s culture and heritage, the city, the two faced politicians and the sport provide strong pillars to a terrific whodunit as Camara feels the fishbowl effect as he works a case from inside the bullring with figuratively everyone in the stands watching his investigation.

 

Harriet Klausner

Motor City Shakedown-D. E. Johnson

August 31, 2011

Motor City Shakedown

D. E. Johnson

Minotaur, Sep 13 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312644574

 

In 1911 Detroit, it is Will Anderson’s family that owns the Anderson Electric Car Company.  However, his mind is not on vehicles.  Instead he seeks revenge.  Seven months ago thugs enabled John Cooper to murder his friend Wesley McRae and turned Will into a morphine addict.  He lost or had disfigured several fingers due to sulfuric acid before he and his beloved former fiancée Elizabeth Hume escaped the gangsters (see The Detroit Electric Scheme), but the pain and disuse of his right hand remains constant .

 

His first break leads to gang boss Vito Adamo’s driver Carlo Moretti.  However, when Will goes to confront Moretti he is greeted by a dead man whose throat has been cut.  The Detroit police believe Anderson killed Moretti in an act of revenge.  He sits in jail for several months before being freed when someone else confesses to the homicide.  The family company teeters near bankruptcy or unionization.  Meanwhile, Will is in the crosshairs of gang warfare with enemies maybe being his allies and friends like Elizabeth back from Europe, Police Detective Riordan, and the Purple Gang on his side.

 

This is a superb violent historical noir that brings to life the Motor City one century ago.  The meet me in Detroit story line is fast-paced but it is the cast who makes for a terrific action-packed tale especially Will.  With tidbits of history interwoven to anchor time and place, readers will enjoy riding the Anderson Electric Car driven by D. E. Johnson.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

The Tehran Initiative-Joel C. Rosenberg

August 31, 2011

The Tehran Initiative

Joel C. Rosenberg

Tyndale, Oct 18 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9781414319353

 

In Tehran, CIA agent David Shirazi enables the Islamic Republic of Iran’s highest ranking nuclear scientist Dr. Najjar Malik and his family to escape to the United States (see The Twelfth Imam).  However Shirazi remains in country undercover as he continues his inquiry into the actions of Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali who claims to be The Promised One Mahdi.  He has told millions of euphoric Muslims that he will with Allah’s blessing re-establish the Caliphate and rule the world with an iron fist in peace.

 

Shirazi’s fears that Iran is going nuclear are affirmed when the country tests an atomic weapon.  In Jerusalem, the Americans try to calm the anxiety of the Israeli leaders who fear a nuclear attack followed by a holocaust that will exceed WWII.  The debate inside the Knesset is adopting the Bush Doctrine of First Strike by taking out the Iranian nuke facilities.  Waiting for the anticipated attack will lead to Israeli annihilation; first strike will lead to a Holy War.  Shirazi and his unit must disable the nuclear warheads that Iran possesses before either enemy takes the first strike attack.

 

The sequel to the frightening The Twelfth Imam continues the alarming premise that The Promised One will unite the Muslim world in a fundamentalist Caliphate that will not remain passive but take the war to the enemy infidels.  The exciting action-packed story line grips the audience from the onset and never slows down as Shirazi and his team try to prevent Iran going nuclear.  Although the hero’s ability to avoid direct fire starting with the Malik scenario is miraculously implausible, fans will appreciate the world on the brink warning story line with a strong subplot involving Shirazi’s spiritual awakening.

 

Harriet Klausner

Lassiter-Paul Levine

August 28, 2011

Lassiter

Paul Levine

Bantam, Sep 13 2011, $25.00

ISBN: 9780553806748

 

Amy Larkin accuses former bench-warming linebacker turned lawyer Jake Lassiter of abetting her then teenage sister Krista into running away from home.  Jake knows more than he lets on as to what happened eighteen years ago when Krista vanished into the South Florida sex business and eventually became a porn star. 

 

Jake feels a Krista inquiry could prove redemptive so he begins a cold case investigation.  He soon finds Miami’s affluent involved in what happened to Krista.  As he learns more of the truth, Jake fears she was murdered while those rich males once involved with Krista refuse to cooperate with the lawyer.  When one of the men he considers as a prime suspect is shot the Miami police charge Amy with the homicide.  Lassiter defends Larkin in which client and attorney distrust one another while the State of Florida has an eyewitness to the lethal shooting. 

 

Before Solomon vs. Lord, Paul Levine had Jake Lassiter as his star protagonist (see Flesh and Bones and Night Vision); now after a decade away, the second stringer has a first seat case.  The story line is fast-paced and fun to follow, but turns superb in the courtroom as client-attorney privilege means nothing since nether trusts the other.  Lassiter’s return is a reason for legal thriller fans to rejoice.

 

Harriet Klausner

Covenant-Dean Crawford

August 26, 2011

Covenant

Dean Crawford

Touchstone, Oct 18 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9781451628531

 

In the Negev in Israel, archaeologist Lucy Morgan works an unsanctioned dig in which she tells Bedouin guide Ahmed and University Professor Shevez that she has found remains that are seven millennia old but are not human.  However, before they can make their claim to the authorities, she vanishes.

 

Ex marine and former war correspondent Ethan Warner is known for finding and rescuing people in some of the most dangerous areas of the world.  However, when his fiancée Joanna disappeared while working in Gaza, heartbroken he returned to the Chicago as a shell of what he was.  However, his former superior officer Doug Jarvis asks him to rescue his missing granddaughter Lucy.  The DIA also want Lucy found, but cannot interfere as the peace process has made some small progress recently.  Ethan agrees to go to the Negev especially after being shown a photo that proves his Joanna lives.

 

Washington, D.C Metro Detectives Nicola Lopez and Lucas Tyrell enter a building they assume has been used by crack heads.  They find three naked corpses that FBI Agent Cain says are overdoses.  Tyrell disagrees but what makes him certain is one of the victims has what appears to be frostbite on his feet in summer DC weather.  Soon the DC investigation and the missing archeologist inquiry merge though they are miles apart.

 

This taut thriller hooks readers from the moment Lucy tells her associate what she found and never looks back until a final confrontation.  Fans will especially try to resolve the connection between the desert and the metro, which is not as obvious as it first seems.  Filled with twists, readers will enjoy the Covenant wondering what Lucy’s find really means to the world.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Headstone-Jack Bruen

August 26, 2011

Headstone

Jack Bruen

Mysterious, Oct 4 2011, $24.00

ISBN: 9780802126009

 

In Galway, Ireland young punks calling themselves the Headstone batter Father Malachy.  The elderly priest is in intensive care at the University Hospital.  The next victim of the vicious Headstone gang is Tom Reed, a Downs Syndrome child, whose throat is slashed before they rob him. 

 

Former Garda Jack Taylor has met some amoral brutal predators but none like the Headstone whose objective is to cleanse society of misfits like gays, recovering alcoholics, special people, and those they dislike.  He knows he is a target as are his friends Ridge the Garda and Stewart the former convict when they receive headstones in the mail.  Not one to avoid violence and knowing anyway there is no Sanctuary from this insane fringe, Jack and his buddies take the fight to the Headstone members.

 

The latest Taylor thriller is an exhilarating but gorier than usual tale, which says a lot as this series is known for the flow of blood and guts.  Jack struggles with his ugly past though the American he recently met has given him some hope for redemption of sorts.  Ironically Jack concludes the Headstone’s lunatic homicidal actions make his transgressions seem like virtues.  Although the plot is thin, Taylor fans will anticipate the Galway confrontation. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Lionheart-Sharon Kay Penman

August 24, 2011

Lionheart

Sharon Kay Penman

Putnam/Marian Wood, Oct 4 2011, $28.95

ISBN 9780399157851

 

Though he was born a spare to King Henry Plantagenet and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, his older brother’s failed revolt and subsequent death made Richard the heir.  When he became king with the death of his sire, Richard began the Third Crusade to take back Outremer, the Holy Land after a brief stop in Sicily to rescue his sister.  He has as much trouble with his alleged French allies as he has with the Saracen forces led by capable Saladin.  In fact he and his adversary form a mutual admiration society of two as they respect each other’s skills.  Finally Richard knows it is time to go home as he hears rumors that his youngest brother John betrays him while he fights in the Holy Land.

 

This is an exciting opening biographical fiction that humanizes the legendary Lionheart with little tidbits like his side trip to Sicily and his ignoring his wife Berengaria.  Especially emphasized is the political intrigue within the Plantagenet family as his late oldest brother tried to take the throne form his father and his youngest brother has seemingly taken the throne from warring Richard.  Sub-genre fans will enjoy this insightful well written medieval tale but will impatiently away the King’s return.

 

Harriet Klausner