Archive for February, 2012

Taking a Stand-Ken Casper

February 23, 2012

Taking a Stand

Ken Casper

Bell Bridge, Dec 23 2011, $13.95

ISBN: 9781611940879


In Coyote Springs, Texas, developers Winslow Carr and Burton Hazlitt plan to tear down the slummy barrio and replace it with an affluent resort.  The only roadblock is local resident Jesse Amorado, owner of a construction company and six houses in the designated zone.  He could use the money offered by Carr and Hazlitt and understands his neighborhood needs desperate renovation, but he rejects their offer on principal that his friends and neighbors will have no place to live once their homes are bull-dozed.


Winslow’s daughter Tori resigns her Air Force officer commission to fly home.  She agrees to help her father with his business until she obtains a pilot’s position at an airline.  While, Burton wants to renew their relationship, she says no.  Meanwhile, Tori learns of Jesse’s plans and seeks a way for her father and the local builder to each have their dream met.  However, as they fall in love, someone makes Jesse look dangerous and felonious while his family, having survived the tragic drive-by murder of his brother, but even when they live on a nearby ranch they are threatened.


The latest Coyote Springs romantic suspense (see As The Crow Dies) is an exciting action-packed thriller starring a strong cast who bring to life real urban development issues re the poor.  Although the villain is obvious from the start, readers will relish this engaging tale as tenacious caring Tori seeks a viable solution to the problems keeping the two men she loves from reaching an agreement.


Harriet Klausner


Hush Now, Don’t You Cry-Rhys Bowen

February 22, 2012

Hush Now, Don’t You Cry

Rhys Bowen

Minotaur Books; Mar 13 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312628116


In 1903, newlyweds Molly Murphy and NYPD captain Daniel Sullivan arrive in Newport for their honeymoon during a terrible storm.  The couple is staying at the cottage of New York City alderman Brian Hannan, but they find the gates locked.  As they are about to leave, Molly notices a hysterically laughing child in a window of the main house; as apparently their host failed to tell his family of the Sullivan couple staying at the estate.  Soon afterward, Hannan is found dead at the nearby bottom of a cliff and the Newport police deem the two New Yorkers are the only suspects though they declare an accident occurred.


The victim’s family wants the pair to leave, but Daniel is ill suffering from pneumonia.  Though Molly promises not to investigate, she cannot prevent herself from making inquiries when she rejects the coincidence that an accident occurred as she learns Brian’s granddaughter died in the same way at the same spot.


The latest Molly Murphy historical mystery (see Bless the Bride) is a great entry with a strong solution as the location provides a fresh look at early twentieth century America.  The unsinkable Molly seeks the motive, which she assumes is money in what she believes are two homicides done by a family member while her frustrated ailing spouse is bedridden.  Fans of the Murphy amateur sleuth saga will relish this particularly excellent whodunit.


Harriet Klausner

Terrified-Kevin O’Brien

February 22, 2012


Kevin O’Brien

Pinnacle, Mar 27 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780786021383


In 1996 in Glenview, Illinois, a child finds human body parts in a garbage bag.  The police arrest prominent surgeon Dr. Glenn Swann for the murder of his wife Lisa.  Following the “garbage bag killing” story in the Chicago Tribune from Seattle, Megan Keeler gives birth to a son Josh while her sadistic husband is convicted of her murder back in Illinois.  She rationalizes not coming back home to her belief her abusive spouse would one day kill her and their unborn child.


A few years later, while always looking over her shoulder, Megan begins receiving anonymous threatening emails from someone who knows who she is and what she did.  At the same Glenn has been released from prison.  Living in total fear of what might happen; Megan is stunned when someone wearing a mask kidnaps Josh.   Her worst nightmare has occurred and she has no doubt that Glenn abducted Josh as part of his terror campaign aimed at his runaway wife.


Though the theme of a spouse fleeing for her life by pretending to be dead (see Sleeping With the Enemy) is not new, Kevin O’Brien provides a fresh exhilarating spin by making the child the rope in a deadly tug of war.  Lisa-Megan seems genuine with her obsessed fears even before the terror begins anew with the taking of Josh as she makes the exciting twisting psychological suspense storyline work with her personal horror.


Harriet Klausner

Border Run-Simon Lewis

February 21, 2012

Border Run

Simon Lewis

Scribner, Apr 24 2012, $22.00

ISBN 9781416596059


Howard takes affluent British youngsters Will and Jake on a special tour of Yunan Province near the Chinese border with Burma.  He promised to show them a special waterfall in the forest and introduce the visitors to tribal girls who enjoy sex with handsome young westerners.


However, their dream fantasy turns ugly nightmare when they reach the waterfall and the women.  Howard has used the two morons as a cover to his smuggling operation; and the females are hired help.  Increasingly in deepening trouble, a customs official challenges the Brits for being near the border.  Jake uses a crossbow to kill him, but efforts to conceal the crime sends the pair into even more tsuris.  As the BFFs become best enemies forever, their chances of escape seemingly diminishes to zero.


This tense thriller focuses on how easily civilization (and friendship) is stripped away from the affluent when removed from their familiar taken for granted safety net and left in a ferocious jungle to fend for themselves in a reality survival of the deadliest scenario.  Fast-paced from the moment the foolish lads meet Howard, fans will enjoy the Border Run as the adage “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” proves lethally valid.


Harriet Klausner

The Ice Cream Girls- Dorothy Koomson

February 21, 2012

The Ice Cream Girls

Dorothy Koomson

Grand Central, Apr 24 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781455507139


The 1989 Daily News Chronicle contains an article about The Ice Cream Girls (teenagers Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe) standing trial for the murder of their popular history teacher Marcus Halnsey.  Both deny torturing and stabbing to death Halnsey who abused both of his students, warned them to remain silent or else; while also saying he loved them.  Poppy was convicted of the homicide and went to prison while Serena was acquitted and set free.


Over two decades later, Poppy is released from prison.  All this time behind bars she had one goal: to prove her innocence.  Poppy seeks Serena to force her to tell the truth as to what happened in 1989, but the girl, who was never her friend in spite of the media lies to the contrary, vanished. 


Serena is married to Dr. Evan Gillmaire.  They have two children and though she is happy, Serena lives in fear that her notoriety will surface and cost her family as she has never been able to tell Evan the truth even while she believes Poppy was the killer.


Rotating perspective between the title characters in different time periods, The Ice Cream Girls is an exciting psychological suspense that grips the reader with a need to know what happened in the 1980s and what will occur as obsessed Poppy stalks family woman Serena.  Both remains haunted by Marcus as neither fully moved on.  The media hangs the two teens as Lolita while ignoring an adult in a mentoring position having sex with both of them and the court follows the news frenzied lead seems wrong but feels hypocritically honest.  Fans will enjoy this taut thriller while wondering who killed the popular teacher.


Harriet Klausner

Midnight Alley-Miles Corwin

February 21, 2012

Midnight Alley

Miles Corwin

Oceanview, Apr 16 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781608090389


LAPD Felony Special Squad Detective Ash Levine looks forward to the weekend getaway in Santa Barbara with his estranged wife Robin.  He hopes this will be a new beginning for them after a horrific two-year separation.


However, he is in Rincon twelve miles from his destination when his boss Lieutenant Duffy calls pleading with him to come home to work a highly visible double homicide case in Venice as most of the squad are out of state on vacations.  One of the victims is Raymond Pinkney, the son of a LAPD bashing city councilman Isaac Pinkney.  Robin surprises him when she tells him to take notes in detail to avoid the civil case Pinkney will file and to call her when he is finished.  As he investigates leads that take the former Israel Defense Forces paratrooper into the dangerous milieu of the Russian Mafia, someone hires former convict Mullin to assassinate a cop.


The second Ash Levine police procedural (see Kind of Blue) is an action-packed thriller that soars from the moment Duffy calls the noir hero and never eases off the accelerator until the final confrontation.  Although convoluted with ties to the Russian Mafia and Baghdad, Robin sums up the exhilarating tale with her dubbing Ash (for his over the top of Mount Lukens escapades) “Rambowitz”.


Harriet Klausner

Slightly Irregular-Rhonda Pollero

February 20, 2012

Slightly Irregular

Rhonda Pollero

Gallery, Apr 17 2012, $15.00

ISBN 9781416590736


West Palm Beach, Florida Dane, Lieberman and Zarnowski paralegal Finley Anderson Tanner loves to shop for designer outfits at discount rates.  However, though it bothers her inner karma, she breaks her prime rule of life when she horribly pays full price for the gorgeous dress she purchased to wear on a date to attend the performance of The Magic Flute with the firm’s new partner and her current boss Tony Caprelli.  She feels fickle as she also likes Mr. Uncouth Testosterone private investigator Liam McGarrity.


Meanwhile her mom demands she bring a date to her sister’s marriage at about the same time as her former boss Ellen Lieberman abruptly quits; leaving Finley with clothing and jewelry as remittance for a favor.  Finley sell the stuff on eBay with the help of her BFF Becky Jamison, a lawyer at the firm.  When Ellen and then Becky vanish, Finley panics and begins to make inquiries only to learn her former boss is not who she thought she was and the jewelry leaves several people including her in danger.


The fourth fun F.A.T. frolic (see Fat Chance, Knick Off and Knock ‘Em Dead) frolic is a lighthearted, brisk and breezy tales as the heroine lands in mostly amusing but some dangerous scenarios.  Fans who prefer their mysteries light (with late suspense) and their couture deep will enjoy the heroine’s escapades; especially her chick lit asides even facing a knife as Finley has a case to solve and two maybe hunks in her personal life, but maybe no one to attend the wedding in order for her to shut up her mom’s mouth. This is a delightfully charming tale.


Harriet Klausner

Come Home-Lisa Scottoline

February 20, 2012

Come Home

Lisa Scottoline

St. Martin’s, Apr 10 2012, $27.99

ISBN 9780312380823


Philadelphia suburban pediatrician Jill Farrow feels her life and that of her thirteen years old daughter Megan has finally moved on passed the crippling divorce from William Skyler.  She and Jill live with her fiancé serene Sam Becker.  


Jill’s former stepdaughter nineteen years old Abby arrives to inform her that William died from an apparent overdose.  Though she knows her reaction is not comforting, Jill does not care what killed amoral William.  However, a despondent Abby claims her dad was murdered and she needs Jill’s help to find his killer; as the police closed the case as a drug death.  Unable to say no to a daughter she still loves (as she does her other stepchild Victoria) although they have been estranged since just before the divorce, Jill reluctantly agrees to investigate, but her kindness upsets Megan and Sam and threatens her life while interfering with a related inquiry.


Come Home is an entertaining extended family drama in which the relationship dynamics supersedes the dueling investigative suspense subplots.  Filled with too much relational angst, still fans will appreciate Lisa Scottoline’s enjoyable tale.


Harriet Klausner


Play Nice-Gemma Halliday

February 19, 2012

Play Nice

Gemma Halliday

Minotaur, Mar 13 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312656072


Yugoslavian Kontraobavestajna Sluzba (KOS) counterintelligence service trained young Anya Danielovich to be an assassin.  She wanted out, but knew only in death could she be free.  In Kosovo, to escape she kills odious General Federov and flees for her life with his bodyguards in pursuit.  She reaches her vehicle, which explodes.


In San Francisco, thirtyish single woman Anna Smith lives a quiet life always looking behind her while her memories haunt her.  Recently her paranoia intensifies as Anna believes she is under surveillance.  Hit man Nick Dade has observed Anya Danielovich with an intense scrutiny as his objective is to kill her.  He feels ready to complete the hit after a few weeks of preparation as she walks her dog Lenny in cold wet weather.  However, Lenny manages to introduce his owner to her hit man.  Still as he finds it hard to reconcile Anna with Anya, he sets up the assassination until a third party begins firing.  Nick and Anna flee together as they team up trying to unravel who called for a second hit on his target; as he knows he would have been eliminated too.


The first Anna Smith and Nick Dade Mystery is an exciting San Francisco treat as the pair work together while neither trusts the other.  Fast-paced and filled with action except when Lenny provides amusing slapstick moments; fans will enjoy this entertaining thriller even if the motive for one of the hits seems preposterous.


Harriet Klausner

Too Close For Comfort-Eve Gaddy

February 19, 2012

Too Close For Comfort

Eve Gaddy

Bell Bridge, Oct 14 2011, $11.95

ISBN: 9781611940466


In Texas at the Fort Williams Center Hospital, the gunshot wound victim Frankie Lemont begins babbling about what happened as calm Trauma Center emergency surgeon Dr. Marissa Fairfax tries to save his life.  However, Frankie sees JuJu Jerome arrive with a cop.  Jerome takes the cop’s gun and fires it at Frankie shutting his mouth forever.  He shoots the cop next and grabs Marissa as a hostage to escape from the hospital.  FW Detective Lieutenant Jack Corelli intercedes as he rescues “Dr. Ice”, but Juju Jerome escapes.


Stunned as two years of hard police work died with Frankie, Jack and Marissa argue over his actions.  He interviews her and realizes that Lemont gave a surgical death bed confession to Dr. Ice who is in peril from Juju Jerome who needs to silence her.  His case is alive, but he protects her until she testifies.


This is an entertaining police procedural romance starring two obstinate resolute enemies falling in love.  Each believes their feelings for the other is an unwanted disease, but growing respect has both reconsidering their initial reactions.  The suspense is somewhat minor, but enhances the tale of Dr. Ice and Detective Ice (except in his case when it comes to Tony) melting in love.


Harriet Klausner