Archive for September, 2011

The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion-Carrie Bebris

September 24, 2011

The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion

Carrie Bebris

Tor, Sep 27 2011, $22.99

ISBN: 9780765327970

 

Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, accompanied by his sister Georgiana and their infant Lily-Anne, travel to Lyme on a combination holiday and family matters.  Fitzwilliam and Georgiana are at the seaside village to collect the personal items left behind by their naval cousin William who died in combat.

 

Not long after they arrive in Lyme, at the base of the Cobb seawall, they find the body of pregnant Mrs. Clay, who had just married Sir Walter Elliot.  Apparently the victim was carrying the offspring of William.  Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth believe the loose woman was pushed to insure inheritance did not change.  As they investigate the pair begins to believe William was a murder victim too.  Allied with Captain Frederick Wentworth, the Darcy detecting duet make inquires into the death of a woman at the seawall and the death of a sailor at sea.

 

The latest Mr. and Mrs. Darcy amateur sleuth (see The Matter at Mansfield and The Intrigue at Highbury) is a delightful Regency mystery in which characters from Jane Austen’s Persuasion play key roles.  The lead couple and his sister are fully developed; while the rest of the cast is solid to the delight of Janeites.  With insight into naval matters in the early nineteenth century enlightening and adding to an exhilarating whodunit, too much overseas activity slows down the otherwise fast-paced strong historical investigate thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Three-Day Town-Margaret Maron

September 24, 2011

Three-Day Town

Margaret Maron

Grand Central, Nov 21 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780446555784

 

They were life long friends, but last year out of the blue Colleton County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant proposed to North Carolina Judge Deborah Knott.  She accepted in what she thought would be a marriage of convenience between two older people.  Instead love adds passion to their dependable relationship.

 

Married for one year, the judge and the deputy take Amtrak to New York on a belated honeymoon.  The couple is staying at an Upper West Side Apartment belonging to his sister-in-law Kate.  Deborah also has a special bronze sculpture small enough to place in Dwight’s bag as a gift from dying Jane Lattimore to her daughter photojournalist Anne Lattimore Harald.  Anne’s husband NYPD Lieutenant Sigrid Harald swings by to pick it up as a party is in swing in the apartment next to the one the honeymooners are staying in.  When Sigrid and Deborah enter Kate’s apartment, they find the corpse of Sidney the super on the balcony and the sculpture missing.  Unable to resist Deborah and Dwight assist Sigrid on the investigation.

 

The latest Deborah Knott whodunit (see Christmas Mourning) is a delightful refreshing tale as the North Carolina couple finds their Manhattan honeymoon interrupted by murder and robbery.  The mystery is clever with roots to 1942; while part of the fun is the lofty attitude of urbane New Yorkers to the country bumpkins as the sophisticated urbanites assume that the entire South lacks six degrees of separation.  Fans will enjoy this fine entry enhanced by Margaret Maron having Sigrid (see in Past Imperfect and Fugitive Colors) as the lead investigator.

 

Harriet Klausner

National Security-Marc Cameron

September 24, 2011

National Security

Marc Cameron

Pinnacle, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780786024940

 

A day in infamy, 9/11 was the worst attack on American soil, but it is not last by terrorists or even potentially the most dangerous.  Like the Oklahoma City bomber did, a cell of terrorists after years of assembling the needed ingredients drive a truck into a shopping mall killing thousands including sacrificing themselves as martyrs to their cause. 

 

On an American plane, an Ebola like virus rapidly spreads attacking everyone on board.  With no other recourse to prevent the spread beyond the tomb of a plane, the military blows up the jet, killing the dying hundreds on board.  The French send samples from a top secret lab that contained the man made virus funded by Sheik Hussein al Ferroq.  He plans to deploy Typhoid Mary like carriers to spread the disease across American; killing millions.  Special Agent Jericho Quinn, who reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence and the President, is assigned to assassinate the “Marys” before the dormant biological bomb they carry inside their body goes active.

 

Marc Cameron provides a deep look into the mind of a terrorist whose ism is the only icon their brain carries.  In this case, the martyrs believe they are doing what the prophet would expect of them.  Quinn will remind readers of Captain America (without a sidekick) as he gave up much of his personal life including his wife and daughter to become the ultimate warrior.  Somewhat pulp fiction, readers will enjoy this totally entertaining thriller; as a quintessential American hero fight terrorists to keep people safe.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

In Close-Brenda Novak

September 21, 2011

In Close

Brenda Novak

Mira, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778312666

 

In Pineview, Montana fifteen years ago, Alana O’Toole vanished without a trace.  The disappearance was never solved as the case went cold.  One of Alana’s two daughters Claire suffered another loss last year when her husband David began an inquiry into what happened to his mother-in-law only to die in an accident.

 

With a need to know and to pay homage to David, Claire begins an investigation into her mom’s disappearance.  Her former boyfriend Isaac Morgan offers to help her though he thinks her probe is a waste of time; he still loves her and feels bad with how their relationship ended badly.  However, he becomes fully engaged when he finds evidence that David did not die in an accident; making him think the man found something that required his silence.  Someone they know may have killed her mom and murdered her spouse.

 

This is a terrific small-town amateur sleuth in which the romantic subplot enhances the prime story line of someone apparently silencing those getting close to the truth.  Like the lead female, readers wonder if the culprit is a family member as her paralyzed sister and her step parents want her to drop her obsession.  As the killer has to be In Close to Claire with Pineview being a tiny town, fans will relish this tense psychological thriller in which an unknown predator kills anyone who learns the truth.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Against the Storm-Kat Martin

September 21, 2011

Against the Storm

Kat Martin

Mira, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778312925

 

In Houston, former Army Ranger, private investigator Trace Rawlins will tell you dames are trouble; but redheads are the most troublesome of the breed.  He knows first hand as his argument is built around his ex wife Maggie O’Connell the photographer.

 

Someone stalks Maggie sending her nasty messages and calling her with ugly threats.  Though he feels he was born yesterday when it comes to her, Trace knows nothing adds up as he senses she conceals something from him and the cops appear indifferent to her plight.  Still in love with her, Trace distrusts his former spouse but he cannot help himself as he has a deep gut need to protect her from whoever is assaulting her.

 

The third Raines of Wind Canyon (Against the Law and Against the Wind) romantic suspense is a tense psychological thriller in which the terror campaign takes top seat over the second chance at love subplot.  Fast-paced with two obstinate fully developed protagonists, readers will feel the growing tension but are unsure what is going on as reasonable twists fool the audience and the hero.  Kat Martin is at her best with Against the Storm.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Heart of a Killer-Jaci Burton

September 21, 2011

The Heart of a Killer

Jaci Burton

Mira, Oct 18 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778312598

 

Twelve years ago, Anna Pallino worked at an ice cream parlor.  She was near closing waiting for her boyfriend Dante Renaldi and his foster brothers (Gabe, Roman and Jeff) to arrive for their nightly freebie.  She goes to the dark alley to toss the trash, but someone assaults her with a knife.  They hear her scream and rush to the alley where Dante tackles her attacker.  The man dies.  Anna has the boys flee so they can avoid juvie, but her relationship with Dante died that night too.

 

Encouraged by her dad Frank, Dante joined the army and for the next dozen years was in the Special Forces.  Now his beloved foster mother Ellen Clemens asks him to come home for her twenty-fifth anniversary gala; he would do anything for her and George so he returns to St. Louis for the first time since that night in the alley.  However, his return is marred by the murder of George that copy cats what went down in the same alley twelve years ago.  St. Louis homicide detective Anna leads the investigating in which her former boyfriend is a prime suspect.  More similar murders follow with Anna wondering whether the man she loves is a cold killer.

 

The Heart of a Killer is a tense second chance police procedural filled with a surprising twist that seems over the top of the Arch.  Action-packed, readers will enjoy the marred homecoming of Dante as he struggles with the death of beloved George, helping Ellen with her loss and keeping Anna safe while being the prime suspect.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Lost Women of Lost Lake-Ellen Hart

September 20, 2011

The Lost Women of Lost Lake

Ellen Hart

Minotaur, Sep 27 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312614775

 

Playwright Tessa Cornell severely sprains her ankle.  Her wife of twenty six years Jill Ivorsen cares for her mate at the Thunderhook Lodge she owns by Lost Lake.  Minneapolis restaurant owner (of Lyme House and the Xanadu Club) Jane Lawless and her best friend the Allen Grimsby Repertoire Theater of St. Paul artist director Cordelia Thorn travel to Lost Lake to help their friends with a sundry of things like cooking.

 

A man wearing a White Sox shirt arrives at the LaVasser Soda Fountain seeking information about a woman named Judy Clark who is in a Chicago photo from 1968 with the deceased Jeff Briere.  Owner Lyndie LaVasser says she cannot help Steven Feigenbaumer as she has no idea who this woman he seeks is.  However, she sees Judy Clark whenever she looks into a mirror.  Frantic Lyndie calls Tessa accusing her of getting her in the mess over five decades ago.  Jane arrives and knows something besides her ankle bothers Tessa, but the woman refuses to reveal what disturbs her.  Her wife begs Jane, who has solved mysteries before (see the Cruel Ever Affair), to investigate. 

 

This is a great Jane Lawless amateur sleuth as what happened in riotous 1968 Chicago impacts the present with a long dead cold case returning to life haunting everyone involved.  The is some teen triangular angst involving Jill’s nephew and two locals, and Jane may have a new beau; both enhance the prime story line of what happened over five decades ago that haunt Lyndie and Tessa.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Sup With the Devil-Barbara Hamilton

September 20, 2011

Sup With the Devil

Barbara Hamilton

Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425243206

 

Seventeen years old Harvard oriental language student Horace Thaxter sends a note his Aunt Abigail Adams in Boston saying someone who his two uncles John and Mercer gave a reference to tried to kill him.  Abigail heads to Cambridge where Horace tells her that Mrs. Lake hired him to translate Arabic.  He explains to his aunt the note was written in Arabic letters but as if it was English and the content involved a 1688 meeting between pirate Captain Jezebel Pitts and Governor Morgan.  After completing the project, Mrs. Lake is upset that there is no reference in the note about the Devil’s Treasure she seeks. She gave Horace some food, which he insists were poisoned and her thugs abandoned him on a remote road; a farmer saved his life.

 

As Abigail investigates what happened to her nephew, someone murders another student George Fairfield who had remained loyal to King-George.  Abigail expands her inquiry from the lost treasure to the homicide while The Sons of Liberty want the allegedly cursed gold as do loyalists, neutralists and avarice souls.

 

The latest Abigail Adams mystery (see The Ninth Daughter) is a great pre Revolutionary War whodunit that brings out the divisions between residents of Massachusetts as many oppose combat against the king.  The investigation is clever as intelligent Abigail shows why she would one day be one of the more brilliant Fist Lady’s.  However, it is the historical tidbits, (like the oriental languages which include Russian, Persian, Arabic and biblical Aramaic, but not Chinese or Japanese) that anchors this great tale.  Barbara Hamilton writes a delightful Abigail Adams tale one year after the tea.

 

Harriet Klausner

Razor’s Edge-Shannon Butcher

September 20, 2011

Razor’s Edge

Shannon Butcher

Signet, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780451235206

 

Mr. Chord of Chord Industries believes his newest employee Mary Smith is a thief.  He hires Roxanne “Razor” Haught to prove Miss Innocent is an industrial espionage agent.  Roxanne has Mr. Chord throw a party in which the target knows his firm’s plans for their latest invention is in his safe.  The corporate security expert watches Mary steal Chord’s key card before catching Mary in the act.  After a brief denial, Mary flings the thumb drive out the window and battles Roxanne before being subdued.  The other thief escapes.

 

Roxanne’s boss Bella Payne of Edge tells her the client is pissed that they failed to capture the other thief.  Roxanne apologizes for her failure to recognize more than one thief was involved and admits her ex has distracted her with men following her.  Bella tells Roxanne she is off the Chord case and anything else until her civilian life is fixed.  She also will have a babysitter Tanner O’Connell who ignores Razor’s contention she does not need a protector.  As they fall in love, someone else she cherishes is in trouble while killers attack her.

 

The second Edge investigative thriller (see Living on the Edge) is a tense tale from start to finish.  Fast-paved and loaded with action, the suspense never abates even for the attraction between the lead couple or for a family reunion.  With a strong flawed lead couple, a vile villain with a cause, and a solid support cast especially her friend Jake and his brother Reid, Shannon Butcher once again proves she is consistently one of the best at romantic suspense with her emphasis on the taut thriller story line.

 

Harriet Klausner

If You Hear Her-Shiloh Walker

September 20, 2011

If You Hear Her

Shiloh Walker

Ballantine, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780345517531

 

in Ash, Kentucky, Lena Riddle while walking her dog Puck hears a frightening scream of “help me” from the woods just beyond her house.  She calls the cops, but they find nothing in the woods to confirm her assertion that a woman is in trouble.  Still she knows how her acute hearing compensates for her being blind and how stoic Puck normally is but he reacted too.

 

Six months ago Kentucky State Police officer Ezra King took a bullet in his leg; he walked away limping from law enforcement as more than just his leg was injured.  In Ash, he is attracted to Lena so he decides to insure she is safe by investigating the screams she has reported she has heard in the nearby woods. 

 

If You Hear Her is an exciting over the top of the Black Mountain romantic suspense thriller that rotates perspective between a gleeful serial killer and the lead couple.  With a cliffhanger ending, the story line contains several subplots that add action, but detract from the prime theme of a heated romance between the cop and the chef while a psychopath continues a nearby killing spree.

 

Harriet Klausner