Archive for December, 2011

Murder in Argelès-D-L Nelson

December 15, 2011

Murder in Argelès

D-L Nelson

Five Star, Dec 16 2011, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825515


Thirtyish American expatriate technical writer Annie Young completes a business trip in Zurich.  Afterward she returns to her apartment in Argelès-sur-mer, France.  Following her coming home, Annie goes to see her friend Père Yves to discuss the research he is doing in Rennes-le-Chateau, but instead she finds his dead body on his church floor.


Annie calls the police though that means dealing with her former boyfriend, Chief Roger Perrin.  He accompanies Annie back to the church, but there is no body to be found.  His staff believes she placed a false alarm to see Roger, but the police chief knows Annie would never do that as he wants her back not the other way around; and besides there is blood on a broken statue.  Thus he assigns his staff to find the missing corpse.


The latest “Third Culture Kid” whodunit (see Murder in Caleb’s Landing) is an engaging mystery starring a wonderful TCK heroine.  The D-Lightful story line deftly merges the investigation with historical tidbits.  Roger is a terrific cop who wants a second chance with Annie while his daughter encourages him.  Readers will enjoy this exciting thriller starring an American in Argelès.


Harriet Klausner

The Perfect Death-James Andrus

December 15, 2011

The Perfect Death

James Andrus

Pinnacle, Feb 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780786027699


He calls himself Buddy and considers himself an artist whose milieu being glass so that his models live forever.  He also does repairs to pay his bills and find his subjects.  With his angelic looks and gentle demeanor, women hire him feeling safe with him.  However, Buddy obsesses over completing his masterpiece.  To do so he strangles selected females and captures their last grasp of breath inside a glass container customized for that chosen one.


Jacksonville police failed to realize they have a serial killer hunting their citizens.  Detectives John Stallings and Patty Levine work the case of missing teenage Leah Tischler that reminds him of his daughter who vanished three years ago when she was sixteen years old Jeanie.  When the corpse of a female strangled with Leah’s belt is found at a construction site and another body is found in a children’s playground, the JPD conclude a serial killer stalks the city.  Obsessing Stallings is determined capture this psychopath ASAP, but knows that it will take a lot of luck to find this man who blends so well when in society.


The third Stallings Jacksonville serial killer thriller (see The Perfect Woman and The Perfect Prey) is a super serial killer investigation.  Stallings knows time has run out for the next victim and though he feels helpless to prevent her death, he refuses to quit.  He and his Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons partner Levine are dedicated, diligent detectives who never give up once on a case though his hope to recover Jeanie ebbs and flows with his official workload.  Faster than the speed of light, James Andrus provides an exciting tale as “art” steals life.


Harriet Klausner

The Third Coincidence-David Bishop

December 15, 2011

The Third Coincidence

David Bishop

Oceanview, Feb 6 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9781608090341


The killer, calling himself Commander LW, assassinates Supreme Court Justices Adam Monroe with poison and Herbert Clarkson by slicing his throat; the predator has also arranged the “accidental” death of Federal Reserve Board governor J.T. Santee driving too fast in the Poconos.  The FBI and other law enforcement make no progress in bringing the terrorist to justice.  With the media in a feeding frenzy and the public demanding action, President Samuel Schroeder knows the label of incompetence is tearing down his Administration while more kills are expected from the leader of the of the American Militia to Restore Representative Government.


President Schroeder directs CIA agent Jack McCall to lead a multi-agency task force to locate these terrorists.  The FBI assigns Special Agent Rachel Johnstone to the team.  McCall and Johnstone share a personal history, but both insist they can work together as each understands the mission is to take down L.W. before this Commander takes down other government officials.


This is an exciting action-packed thriller that grips readers with the opening assassinations and never slows down until the final confrontation though there is a somewhat repetitiveness feel to the cat and mouse storyline.  A romantic subplot seems a forced requirement, but fans will enjoy the heroics of Jack and Rachel as they play chess against a homegrown terrorist or more.


Harriet Klausner

Not in the Heart-Chris Fabry

December 14, 2011

Not in the Heart

Chris Fabry

Tyndale, Feb 1 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9781414348612


Unemployed reporter Truman Wiley used to cover the world; now he cannot cover his family.  Whereas he wanted a car, his estranged wife Ellen wanted Jesus.  Now he is on Sanibel Island alone while she is in Tallahassee with their two children (Abigail and Aiden who soon will die without a heart transplant) and the Lord.   Truman cannot deal with seeing his son so ill in a hospital; while he turned away Ellen turned to Jesus praying for a miracle.


Ellen offers Truman a chance to reconcile with his family.  Death row inmate  Terrelle Conley has offered his heart to Aiden.  However, he also wants Truman to tell his story.  With Abigail working with him, Truman feels pretty good about the future until an inconvenient truth arises that places him in the crosshairs of a moral dilemma.


Although readers will guess relatively early what is about to happen, this is a great thriller starring a morally bankrupt individual who has lost confidence in himself and that of his loved ones while having given up on Jesus as a waste of his time.  Filled with plenty of action and several entertaining twists, yet character driven, readers will relish this sensational soul searching suspense.


Harriet Klausner

Defending Jacob-William Landay

December 14, 2011

Defending Jacob

William Landay

Delacorte, Jan 31 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780385344227


For twenty-two years, Andy Barber worked in the Middlesex County, Massachusetts Office of the District Attorney.  By 2007, he had become the first assistant district attorney reporting only to DA Lynn Canavan.  However, in April 2007, CPAC State Police report the stabbing murder of Ben Rifkin, a Newton middle school classmate of Andy’s son Jacob.  Because a child is involved, which denotes media frenzy, Andy takes the lead as first prosecutor.


However, he soon finds himself in a conflict of interest when the local police arrest Jacob.  Stunned by the accusation, Andy and his wife Laurie deny their child would commit a murder as each assumes some psychopathic child molester is the guilty party.  Jacob swears he is innocent and both believe him though the evidence overwhelmingly makes it clear that their child killed a classmate.  Andy and Laurie struggle between saving their offspring and accepting what appears to be the horrifying truth especially with other questionable deaths while his protégé Neil Loguidice takes over the case.


This is taut legal thriller that grips the reader from the opening Grand Jury testimony to the stunning out of control climax.  This is a fast-paced yet extremely cerebral tale with a profound look at the conflict between what happened and justice the American way.  Readers will relish this tale as Andy, by Defending Jacob, learns that death may be a better option than the truth about himself and his loved ones.


Harriet Klausner

File M for Murder-Miranda James

December 14, 2011

File M for Murder

Miranda James

Berkley, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425246184


Renowned playwright Connor Lawton returns home to Athena, Mississippi to teach for two semesters as a writer in residence at Athena College.  He is an acerbic individual whose boorish behavior angers school archivist and rare book cataloguer widower Charlie Harris.  However, Connor helped bring home Charlie’s daughter Laura, a Hollywood actress, who teaches drama while the professor is on maternity leave.


Connor makes it clear he wants his former fiancée Laura back in his life while another female Damitra Vane makes it clear she wants him back in her life.  After alienating everyone including Diesel the Maine coon cat, someone murders Connor.  Athena County’s Sheriff Department Chief Deputy Berry investigates the homicide.  Laura is a prime suspect as she found the corpse and stole a thumb drive from the crime scene.  With her brother Sean, her father and the cat trying to protect her from an adversary’s dangerous assaults, the clues to the author’s murder lies on the thumb drive, if the Harris family can figure what they mean.


The latest A Cat In The Stacks mystery (see Murder Past Due) is an engaging regional cozy in which the murder occurs off page about a quarter of the way into the whodunit.  The leisurely paced storyline is fun to follow as someone wants to insure that the secret that Connor uncovered remains interred with him.  Mindful of Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions though a different setting, fans will enjoy this tale of the Harris family that sleuths together stays together.


Harriet Klausner

No Mark Upon Her-Deborah Crombie

December 14, 2011

No Mark Upon Her

Deborah Crombie

Morrow, Feb 7 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780061990618


Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector Rebecca Meredith trains for the Olympics in rowing.  However, she drowns while training at night on the Thames in Henley.  Although her police peers assume a horrible accident occurred, the circumstances require an official inquiry.


Newlyweds Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James Kincaid lead the investigation.  They quickly conclude Meredith’s death was a homicide.  The Kincaid pair looks into the activities of family, friends, and rowing and police associates.  Their focus narrows down to the victim’s former spouse, a K9 handler, her rowing coach, and a Deputy Assistant Commissioner; of whom the latter accused of raping her. 


The latest Kincaid and James-Kincaid British police procedural (see Necessary as Blood and Kiss A Sad Goodbye) is a terrific entry that looks closely into an investigation in which a high ranking cop is a prime suspect.  The storyline provides readers with a tour of London not seen by tourists.  However, it is the contrast between the untidy contented marriage merger of two extended families, and the untidy discontented murder mystery that will remind readers of the final split scene in the Cagney version of Public Enemy.


Harriet Klausner


Scrapbooks of Secrets-Mollie Cox Bryan

December 13, 2011

Scrapbooks of Secrets

Mollie Cox Bryan

Kensington, Feb 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758266316


Her very active sons, Ben and Sam, led to Annie Chemovitz quitting her job as an investigative reporter at a Washington paper with the support of her husband Mike.  The Chemovitz quartet relocates to Cumberland Creek, Virginia where she becomes a stay-at-home mom.  The town’s southern friendly residents make Annie feel good about their choices although she misses the excitement of her previous occupation.  She especially likes spending time with a group of scrapbookers.


The rustic tranquility of the town is shattered with the death of Maggie Rae Dasher, a mother of four small children and a closet scrapbooker in what looks like a suicide, but the evidence affirms a homicide occurred.  That same day at the supermarket, someone puts a knife into the neck of the mother of scrapbooker Vera; the woman does not even feel the blade, but is rushed to the hospital where a doctor removes the protruding weapon.  Annie and her crop circle scrapbookers find pictures and other mementos belonging to Maggie Rae dumped outside the victim’s home, they take their find with them.  The group realizes Maggie Rae was into S&M with secret lovers.  One of them is likely the killer so Annie dusting off her previous investigative skills looks into the murder of the mother.


Cozy fans are going to love this fast-paced Cumberland Creek Mystery due to strong characterizations that bring a sense of place to the entertaining storyline.  Although the cops’ failure to find the Maggie Rae mother lode seems off, rotating third person perspective between three scrappy scrapsters, Mollie Cox Bryan provides an engaging regional whodunit. This new series look to be spectacular.


Harriet Klausner


Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail!: Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellion

December 12, 2011

Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail!: Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellion

Edited by Gary Phillips and Andrea Gibbons

PM Press, Nov 2 2011, $19.95

ISBN: 9781604860962


This eighteen story anthology pulls no punches or switchblades as the compilation focuses on rebellion by rebels with and without a cause.  Fifteen of the entries are new while one of the reprints is actually a first time translation into English (“Bizco’s Memories” by Paco Ignacio Talbo II starring soccer played under the underground convict rules of a prison).  The other previously published contributions, “Gold Diggers of 1977” by Michael Moorcock is one of the Cornelius tales looking at the Sex Pistols mythos (may not survive the test of time), and “I Love Paree” by Cory Doctorow and Michael Skeet in which Old Paree is in trouble due to the foreign invasion.  In “Nickels and Dimes” by John A Imani, riots come to UCLA in 1972 but not daring to disturb the Wooden NCAA run.  Kim Stanley Robinson looks at a slave revolt on the moon in “The Lunatics.”  In “Murder … Then and Now” by Penny Micklebury, he claims to be X at the Black Student Union.  This is a gripping timely collection in which people past and present across the spectrum rebel against those they believe are their oppressors.


Harriet Klausner

Death Drops-Chrystle Fielder

December 12, 2011

Death Drops

Chrystle Fielder

Gallery/Pocket, Feb 21 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451643602


Los Angels based Naturopathic Dr. Willow McQuade has come home to Greenport, Long Island to spend time with her beloved sexagenarian Aunt Claire Hagan.  The late twenties doctor helps her master herbalist aunt at the latter’s Nature’s Way Market and café.  Willow is somewhat estranged with her mom Daisy who insists her practice is quackery and her sister is “the real doctor” Natasha who live nearby. 


After walking in the nearby Nature Conservancy Preserve, Willow comes home to find Claire dead.  She apparently took a poison placed inside her bottle of Mimulus.  Claire’s assistant Janice Dorian accuses Willow of murdering her aunt in front of the lead detectives Koren and Coyle.  When she inherits her aunt’s establishment, the cops suspect her even more so as she has motive.  Willow thinks the homicide is related to her aunt’s missing top secret natural anti aging Fresh Face formula.  With former cop Jackson Spade, who is on disability due to a back injury, helping her investigate, Willow searches for the missing elixir while someone sabotages the business and a killer tries to murder her. 


This is an engaging investigative thriller held together by the intriguing dedicated Willow.  Each chapter begins with the N.D. providing homeopathic advice to clients; there are also other tips Willow gives woven into the storyline, but people too easily accept her natural medical guidance.  Still this Natural Remedies mystery is an enjoyable whodunit as the star is Willow’s health tips.


Harriet Klausner