Archive for November, 2011

One Perfect Shot-Steven F. Havill

November 19, 2011

One Perfect Shot

Steven F. Havill

Poisoned Pen, Jan 3 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9781590589564


In 1987 in Posadas County, New Mexico, Sheriff Eduardo Salcido considers hiring nineteen year old Estelle Reyes-Guzman as a deputy.  His Undersheriff Bill Gastner agrees to serve as the rookie’s trainer and quickly becomes her mentor as he appreciates her energy and intelligence. 


Her first major case under Bill’s tutelage is the investigation into the shooting murder of county road grader Larry Zipoli while he sat in his vehicle.  The evidence points to the deceased knowing his assassin; so the two law enforcement officials look into the victim’s wife, neighbors, boss, and construction peers.  Bill and Estelle also inquire into the youngsters Zipoli took boating.


The latest Posadas County police procedural is a terrific prequel that focuses on the first teaming of the series protagonists.  The case is deftly handled so that the mentor trains the mentee (and readers).  Besides a strong timely (with what has happened at Penn State) investigation, the key to Steven F. Havill’s powerful thriller is long time fans will see clearly the traits that make Bill and Estelle strong law enforcement leaders and caring family members while newcomers will be introduced to these endearing heroes.


Harriet Klausner

Hot Zone-Catherine Mann

November 19, 2011

Hot Zone

Catherine Mann

Sourcebooks, Dec 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402244988


In the Bahamas, American lawyer Amelia Bailey knows how meaningless the Richter scale score is when an earthquake collapses a building on her and her newly adopted thirteen months old nephew, Joshua.  Entombed she refuses to quit as she knows she needs to be there for the toddler. 


Five years ago Air Force Pararescueman Master Sergeant Hugh Franco gave up on his own life; his mantra is “That others may live.”  He rescues Amelia and Joshua from the rubble.  The adults are attracted to each other, but both gave up on relationships.  However, as the aunt and her nephew heal in a ground zero tent hospital, a black market baby commodity exchange kidnaps the pair.  Hugh goes after the trafficking ring as he has his first reason to live in five years while the enemy pursues them.


The second Elite Force romantic suspense (see Cover Me) is a complex exciting thriller with a strong cast.  The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two people refusing to dive into the cold relationship waters, so their hearts force them to take the plunge.  The support characters are fully developed; the plot contains additional romances and the motivation behind the chief smuggler’s trafficking enhancing the taut storyline.  Catherine Mann provides a superb action-packed tale.


Harriet Klausner

Sleepwalker-Karen Robards

November 19, 2011


Karen Robards

Gallery/Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $25.00

ISBN: 9781439183724


While her family friend “Uncle” Nicco Marino is away, Detroit police detective Micayla “Mick” Lange house-sits his estate on New Year’s Eve.  A noise awakens her from the nightmare of her mom’s murder.  Mick investigates the sounds coming from Nicco’s office.  With her gun in hand, she catches Jason Davis, who thought the house was vacant for the holidays.


Mick sees the incriminating photos of the murders of Edward Lightfoot and his family.  She realizes that the security cameras have caught her and Davis looking at the pictures.  Knowing what that means, Mick and Jason take money from the safe and flee to the state’s remote wilderness.  Meanwhile Nicco’s henchmen led by his security chief pursue them.


This an exhilarating romantic suspense as the lead couple play cat and mouse against a diabolical deadly criminal and his horde.  Fast-paced throughout, the protagonists fall in love while on the lam, but they have no time for a respite as the enemy keeps on coming.  Although why Nicco would ask anyone, especially a cop even if he loves her family, to baby-sit his house as he has super security who should have been the ones there, fans will appreciate Karen Robards’ taut thriller.


Harriet Klausner


The Forgotten Affairs of Youth-Alexander McCall Smith

November 19, 2011

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth

Alexander McCall Smith

Pantheon, Dec 6 2011, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307379184


Australian philosopher Jane Cooper takes a sabbatical to visit Edinburgh.  Being adopted at birth, Jane seeks to locate her biological dad who apparently was a student in Edinburgh when she was conceived.  Jane knows the odds of her succeeding with her quest are extremely low.  Still she feels a gut need bordering on obsessiveness to make a legitimate attempt.


She asks Scottish philosopher and occasional amateur sleuth (see The Charming Quirks of Others) Isabel Dalhousie for help.  Although she is overwhelmed with issues from her adorable active toddler Charlie, her caring fiancé Jamie, her toxic niece Cat and her dedicated housekeeper Grace; Isabel agrees to try to locate Jane’s father.


This marvelous mellow mystery is a brilliant entertaining philosophical treatise on what a family really is and whether personal history can better help people feel more contented/cope with the present and future.  Character driven, readers will relish Isabel’s latest cozy as her inquiry into Jane’s roots and her relationships with her family enlighten the audience as to what matters in life.


Harriet Klausner

Egypt: The Book of Chaos-Nick Drake

November 17, 2011

Egypt: The Book of Chaos

Nick Drake

Harper, Dec 1 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780060765941


Egyptian General Horemheb threatens the shaky 18th dynasty as the late Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s widow Queen Ankhesenamun has no support from the leadership.  Knowing her reign is tenuous at best, she sends former Thebes’ chief detective Rahotep to the Hittites to forge a relationship between their countries through her marrying one of his sons.  The Queen knows if Horemheb or the elite learn what she is attempting, she will be executed for treason as the Hittites are her kingdom’s enemy.


Rahotep knows his top secret mission will anger his family for his breaking a pledge to them and worse allow a murderer to remain free to behead more teenage Nubian boys.  Still in spite of his reluctance to break his family vow and knowing the threat of the General and his allies, loyal Rahotep serves Queen Ankhesenamun.


The third Rahotep “seeker of mysteries” Ancient Egyptian thriller (see Nefertiti: The Book of Shadows and Tutankhamun: The Book of the Dead) is a great tale in one of the best trilogies in years.  The story line is fast-paced as the weary Theban sleuth struggles with perilous political intrigue and a serial killer case.  Egypt: The Book of Chaos is super ancient historical thriller.


Harriet Klausner

Hard Target-Howard Gordon

November 17, 2011

Hard Target

Howard Gordon

Touchstone, Jan 3 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9781439175828


Dale Wilmot has always been proud of his son Evan, a successful athlete who enlisted with the military.  After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Evan returns home with his legs and right arm amputated; his once beautiful face scarred so hideously he makes Krueger look handsome.  Dale is angry and bitter at what the government did to his beloved son and plans to make the Feds pay in accordance with an eye for an eye.


A meth junkie waylays former State department employee Gideon Davis to inform the academic that a terrorist plot to decimate the government is in motion.  Gideon tells his former girlfriend FBI Agent Nancy Clement, but her skeptical superiors reject the original source as unreliable as they have no collaborating data.  The informant fails to make a meeting with Gideon and Nancy so the former heads to West Virginia to ask his brother Tillman, recipient of a presidential pardon, to infiltrate Wilmot’s white supremacist militia.  While the FBI continues to refuse to act on the Davis brothers’ information, psychopathic Wilmot is in DC deploying his plan. 


The second Davis thriller (see Gideon’s War) is an exhilarating ultra fast-paced tale that starts in first gear and accelerates from there.  The Davis brothers have reasons to be angry with the current administration and other leaders, but do not allow their personal contempt to prevent them from trying to stop a disaster from extreme right wing home grown terrorists. Howard Gordon is a top thriller writer thriller.


Harriet Klausner

All Yours-Claudia Pineiro, translated by Miranda France

November 16, 2011

All Yours

Claudia Pineiro, translated by Miranda France

Bitter Lemon, Dec 18 2011, $14.95

ISBN 9781904738800


In 1998 Buenos Aires, Ernesto Pereyra informs his wife Ines that he must go to the office late at night to deal with and emergency.  Ines, recently having found a love note in his briefcase, assumes his office emergency is for his lower head as they have not slept tighter in a month or so. 


Deciding to not fall into the trap that destroyed her mother who asked her husband what was wrong, Ines follows Ernesto into a remote woods where he meets with his secretary, Alicia.  However, the cuckold wife is shocked when the rendezvous turns violent and Ernesto shoves Alicia, who cracks her head against a tree; Alicia is dead on the spot so Ernesto sinks her body in a nearby lake.  Ines returns home knowing beyond a doubt her Ernesto loves her.  When the police suspect Ernesto of killing Alicia, Ines provides him an airtight alibi.  However, she becomes angry when she realizes her mate who she saved with her lies is a serial cheater.


This is a great twisting Argentinian noir as Ernesto and Ines learn what TrueLove is.  Fast-paced, this deadly family drama grips the reader from the start and never slows down until the final spin.  Claudia Pineiro provides a tense thriller that readers will appreciate.


Harriet Klausner

Death Benefit-Robin Cook

November 16, 2011

Death Benefit

Robin Cook

Putnam, Dec 27 2011, $26.95

ISBN 9780399157462


Nobel Prize winner, molecular geneticist Tobias Rothman, who worked with virulent strains of typhoid-causing salmonella, concentrates on organogenesis, growing fully functional entire organs from stem cells.  He notices the energy and intelligence of Columbia Medical School student Pia Grazdani so Tobias brings the troubled twenty-six years old onto his team.


Avaricious board chair of LifeDeals Inc. Edmund Mathews uses his firm’s assets to buy life insurance policies from the sick and elderly on the cheap.  However, if Rothman’s work succeeds making organs cheap, Mathews and his partners would go bankrupt and potentially face criminal charges of fraud and embezzlement.  An accident at the safe lab shakes up Pia who soon realizes someone caused the lethal incident and wants her dead too.  She turns to Columbia medical student George Wilson, who loves her, for safety.


Although an exciting medical thriller, Death Benefits is over the top of Morningside Heights; thus requiring readers to ignore their plausibility measures.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment the lab incident occurs and never slows down.  Robin Cook shines a fascinating spotlight on the multitrillion dollar insurance commodity market inside an engaging Manhattan tale.


Harriet Klausner

Down the Darkest Road-Tami Hoag

November 16, 2011

Down the Darkest Road

Tami Hoag

Dutton, Dec 27 2011, $26.95

ISBN 9780525952398


In 1990, fortyish interior decorator Lauren Lawton and her sixteen year old daughter Leah move to Oak Knoll, California to escape the horror of Santa Barbara.  Four years ago, her then sixteen year old daughter Leslie vanished.  The police suspected photographer Roland Ballencoa, but found no proof he abducted the teen.  Not long afterward, Leslie’s father Lance committed suicide.  She is still an emotional disaster and unable to help her other child so Lauren decides to escape the horrid tragic scene.


However, only a few months in their new town, Lauren sees her worst nightmare is there too.  Ballencoa has come to Oak Knoll.  Trying to protect her younger daughter from this psychopath, Lauren learns the horrible meaning of déjà vu.


The third Oak Knoll investigative thriller is a taut but obvious (even with an interesting twist) tale in which the pioneer days of forensic science play a key cornerstone of storyline (as it does in its predecessors – Deeper Than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave).  Fast-paced, fans of the series will enjoy this entertaining cat and mouse novel even knowing the direction Down the Darkest Road that Tami Hoag takes us.


Harriet Klausner

Kill Switch-Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene

November 16, 2011

Kill Switch

Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene

Kensington, Dec 13 2011, $24.00

ISBN 9780758266866


In 1989 in Rochester, New York eight year old BFFs Claire and Amy are jumping rope in front of the home of the former.  A man in his forties arrives to introduce himself as Mr. Winslow, a friend of Amy’s dad who was hurt in an accident and is in Strong memorial Hospital but wants to see his daughter.  That was the last time Claire saw Amy though the trauma and survivor guilt remain with her as a forensic psychiatrist working at Rikers Island.


Claire’s mentor Dr. Paul “Dr. Oz of Forensic Psychiatry” Curtin believes she could be one of the greats with her uncanny ability to work with the amoral untreatable.  However, he is concerned with the way she acts discombobulated with feelings of self hating failure while working with inmate Todd Quimby, whose mother murdered his father.  That violent fiasco leads Curtin to assign Claire to assist NYPD Manhattan South Detective Nick Lawler, who just returned to the job after dealing with his wife’s suicide, on his hunt for a serial killer in which Quimby is a suspect.


This is an exciting police procedural starring two emotionally flawed individuals.  The story line is fast-paced starting with the interview at Rikers and never slows down until the final confrontation.  Filled with twists especially a terrific late one, readers will enjoy this entertaining taut suspense thriller.


Harriet Klausner