Archive for April, 2012

The Bird Saviors-William J. Cobb

April 30, 2012

The Bird Saviors

William J. Cobb

Unbridled, Jun 12 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9781609530709

 

Ruby Cole knows the world has gone wrong when the government pays hunters to kill birds she loves to count.  They rationalize the kills on a deadly flu fever blamed on birds, but do nothing about dust storms, fires and deadly felonious activity.  Her Colorado no longer has room for a Moon Bird or for that matter her. 

 

Meanwhile her dad “Lord God” the disabled Forsaken Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints preacher gives his daughter Ruby Cole two untenable choices.  She must give up her baby Lila or marry Page a man her dad’s age who has two wives because Lord God received a heavenly vision.  Deciding to not honor her martinet father, Ruby selects a third option when she decides to run away with Lila.  Her seemingly isolated act of defiance turns into a butterfly effect on Widower Ward Costello and other people involved in aviary population and criminal activity.

 

The Bird Saviors is a fascinating low-key character driven thriller starring a young woman who decides to take a chance on living instead of dying a slow domestic death.  The storyline starts slow as the world around Pueblo and the key cast are established during a difficult recession.  Once done, chaos theory takes effect as one thing leads to another in a world that seems to have gone mad.  Readers will enjoy Ruby’s impact as she becomes a bird savior while searching for a good happy life for her and her baby.

 

Harriet Klausner

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The Wrong Man-David Ellis

April 30, 2012

The Wrong Man

David Ellis

Putnam, Jun 14 2012, $26.95

ISBN 9780399158285

 

After class, paralegal Kathy Rubinkowski heads to her SUV to go home when someone shoots her in her head.  Detective Frank Danilo and Mona Gregus arrest Iraqi war veteran Tom Stoller who is incoherent and apparently homeless in spite of an address.  Stoller was found with the murder weapon and Kathy’s purse near the homicide scene.  The cops get a confession out of the mentally unstable Stoller.

 

Tom’s Aunt Deidre Maley observes in court attorney Jason Kolarich destroy the testimony of a key prosecution witness in a murder case.  She pleads with him to defend her nephew as public defender Bryan Childress is leaving the office.  He agrees though the trial is in a few weeks and his client wants it over so a continuance is unlikely.  As he goes over the evidence and talks with his client, Jason begins to believe Tom confessed to a horrible event in Iraq not to the killing of Kathy.  He finds proof that Kathy was assassinated because someone wanted to end her inquiry into a terrorists’ money trail.

 

The third Jason Kolarich legal thriller (see The Hidden Man and Breach of Trust) is an exciting tale that is at its best in the courtroom and in client-lawyer meetings.  The attorney defends an individual suffering from PTSD triggered Disorganized Schizophrenia who mumbles okay though he apparently has no idea what he responds to.  When the case turns into an improbable thriller, the storyline remains fast-paced but loses some of its freshness of defending a person whose sanity seems unlikely.

 

Harriet Klausner

COAST: An Act Of Burial-Xander Richards

April 28, 2012

COAST: An Act Of Burial

Xander Richards

BookBaby, Apr 25 2012, $7.99

http://www.bookbaby.com

ISBN: 9781620956076

 

Tactical Deployment and Response Team (TDR-12) chief special ops agent Corporal Ian McKinley assassinates his Uncle Brennan, weapons dealer who sold high-tech armament to terrorists.  He returns to his base under the streets of Nottingham where his superior officer General Sutton assigns TDR-12 to get to the Fort William navy supply ship that has foundered in the Persian Gulf because the vessel contains four trident nuclear warheads that they must possess.  McKinley and his teammates Carter and Brook arrive quickly, but are attacked and two nukes are gone.

 

At the same time, members of the TDR units are being murdered.  When TDR-7 is wiped out, TDR-12 takes over their mission traveling to Russia to meet arms dealer Vladimir Kholitczyn to learn what he knows about the two nukes.  They survive an assault as the Russian informs them to look back home.  Sutton realizes a traitor is betraying the TDR from within; so he sets up a scheme to find the operative who has betrayed his brothers in arms and his country.

 

This is an action-packed international espionage thriller starring a team of agents trying to prevent the use of the stolen bombs on British citizens and to uncover the diabolical killing traitor.  The entertaining plot can turn passively wordy when Xander Richards goes deep into the thought processes of TDR-12 during the planning, execution, and after action debriefing of an operation.  I found the insight fascinating but the action to the nth degree fan might not.  With a great twist adding to the fun, COAST: An Act Of Burial is a fabulous war against terrorism tale though Ian and company can use some R&R.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

The Investigation of Ariel Warning-Robert Kalich

April 27, 2012

The Investigation of Ariel Warning

Robert Kalich

Macadam Cage, Apr 19 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781596923720

 

Identical twins Adam and David Remler want to film the former’s novel.  They hire Ariel Warning to help them make their movie.  Ariel and David begin a romance, but she soon has an affair with Adam while still seeing his sibling.  Adam feels guilty about betraying his brother but cannot resist Ariel’s allure; so he attempts to conceal from David his tryst with Ariel.

 

His esteem shattered and filled with remorse with what he is doing to David behind his back; Adam feels a need to protect the brother who for the first time in their lives he has acted disloyal towards.  He investigates Ariel with an inquiry that sends him to America and Asia as each new clue leads to increasing confusion and “warning” to beware.

 

This engaging amateur sleuth also looks deep at the connection between identical twins.  The mystery of Ariel is very alluring though in many ways it is more a self-awareness journey as Adam discovers who he is as a single entity.  The twins’ aspects start strongly by establishing their personalities, but become a redundant distractor that takes away from the enticing Investigation of Ariel Warning.

 

Harriet Klausner

Damage Control-John Gilstrap

April 26, 2012

Damage Control

John Gilstrap

Pinnacle, Jun 5 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780786024933

 

The Crystal Palace Cathedral Reverend Jackie Mitchell hires Security Solutions to rescue church members held hostage in Mexico.  Operatives Big Guy (Brian Van de Meulebroeke) and Scorpion (John Grave) head to the drop point in the Mexican jungle to exchange three million dollars for the safe return of the teen and adult hostages.  However, as the bus arrives containing the church prisoners, the two Americans with the electronic help of Mother Hen back in Fisherman Cove’s Virginia notice another group nearby.  All hell breaks out leaving everyone dead outside the bus except Bug Guy and Scorpion; inside only seventeen years old Tristan Wagner survives. 

 

The two men and the teen begin a harrowing trek with an angry enemy waiting for them at several points.  In Virginia, Venice (Mother Hen), Gail and Father Dom gather information as to who set up their field agents leading to the massacre of the church missionaries.  The evidence points to a highly placed CIA operative, a powerful Mexican drug cartel chief and the Crystal Palace Cathedral.  Grave knows his thirst for revenge will wait until he and Boxer safely delivers the only surviving “Precious Cargo” to his family.

 

The latest Jonathan Grave thriller (see Hostage Zero and No Mercy) is an incredible action-packed tale that grips the audience from start to finish.  Fast-paced throughout, fans will enjoy this tale as someone has murdered innocent civilians to set a trap for his or her real target.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

The Next Target-Nikki Arana

April 25, 2012

The Next Target

Nikki Arana

David C. Cook, Jun 1 2012, $14.99

ISBN 9780781404310

 

Her Uncle condemns Sabirah for disgracing their Muslim family when she embraced Jesus.  He kills her while planning to find the identity of the Christian who corrupted his niece because that infidel must die too.

 

Widow ESL teacher Austia mourns the murder of her friend and student Sabirah.  She hires Zaki as a translator as she teaches Muslim immigrants to speak English while also trying to reach out to help Muslim females assimilate.  However, Austia fears she made a mistake when she employed Zaki as she believes he has ties to a Muslim terrorist cell that wants her dead as an infidel leading Muslims away from the true religion.  Zaki is an undercover FBI agent trying to penetrate the terrorists in order to destroy them from within.  He fears for his caring employer and wants to keep her safe, but cannot jeopardize his mission as intervening would do; while her and the women she helps become targets from Muslim fundamentalists.

 

This is a fabulous Christian romantic suspense that grips readers because Nikki Arana insures the followers of Christianity, Islam and Judaism are treated with tolerance and respect regardless of which religion a person follows.  Using her experiences from her real-life ministry A Voice for the Persecuted Ms. Arana provides a strong storyline that is action-packed from the moment her family kills Sabirah IAW Sharia law and never slows down until a final confrontation.  The heroine is The Next Target while the agent falling in love with her feels torn between government duty and his heart and soul. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The Demands-Mark Billingham

April 25, 2012

The Demands

Mark Billingham

Mulholland/Little Brown, Jun 12 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780316126632

 

Several months ago, Amin Akhtar tuned himself in to Detective Inspector Tom Thorne for having killed a boy in what he claimed was self-defense.  Shockingly, Amin received an eight-year sentence.  In a detention facility, someone attacked and injured Amin.  He went to the hospital and soon afterward authorities inform the lad’s father convenience store owner Mr. Akhtar that his son died a few months ago from an overdose of drugs.

 

Despondent Mr. Akhtar believes his beloved Amin was murdered or died from negligence.  Already irate over the unfair sentencing, he fails to persuade anyone to probe what really happened to his child.  Mother of a one year old, Detective Helen Weeks enters the store to pick up her daily candy bar.  Mr. Akhtar holds her and another patron hostage.  His demand is that Thorne investigate what happened to Amin.

 

The latest Detective Inspector Tom Thorne police procedural (see Death Message and Bloodline) is a great thriller, which takes place over three harrowing days.  Thorne’s investigation is top rate as reverse engineers the known facts to determine why Amin was at the original crime scene so as to better understand that motive and seek links to his death, if any.  The convenience store scene is a fabulous psychological counterpoint to Thorne’s inquiry.  Readers will realize how little parents truly know or perhaps choose not to acknowledge about their offspring as Thorne methodically works the case while time is running out on the hostages. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The Demands-Mark Billingham

April 25, 2012

The Demands

Mark Billingham

Mulholland/Little Brown, Jun 12 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780316126632

 

Several months ago, Amin Akhtar tuned himself in to Detective Inspector Tom Thorne for having killed a boy in what he claimed was self-defense.  Shockingly, Amin received an eight-year sentence.  In a detention facility, someone attacked and injured Amin.  He went to the hospital and soon afterward authorities inform the lad’s father convenience store owner Mr. Akhtar that his son died a few months ago from an overdose of drugs.

 

Despondent Mr. Akhtar believes his beloved Amin was murdered or died from negligence.  Already irate over the unfair sentencing, he fails to persuade anyone to probe what really happened to his child.  Mother of a one year old, Detective Helen Weeks enters the store to pick up her daily candy bar.  Mr. Akhtar holds her and another patron hostage.  His demand is that Thorne investigate what happened to Amin.

 

The latest Detective Inspector Tom Thorne police procedural (see Death Message and Bloodline) is a great thriller, which takes place over three harrowing days.  Thorne’s investigation is top rate as reverse engineers the known facts to determine why Amin was at the original crime scene so as to better understand that motive and seek links to his death, if any.  The convenience store scene is a fabulous psychological counterpoint to Thorne’s inquiry.  Readers will realize how little parents truly know or perhaps choose not to acknowledge about their offspring as Thorne methodically works the case while time is running out on the hostages. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Black & White-Raymond Benson

April 22, 2012

Black & White

Raymond Benson

Oceanview, May 30 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9781608090419

 

In the present fortyish Martin Talbot finds an 8mm film dated 1959 inside a strongbox given to him by his “Uncle” Thomas that belongs to his Alzheimer’s ill septuagenarian mother Judy, a resident of the Woodlands Nursing Home in Riverwoods, Illinois.  However, Martin learns of a second copy when the apparent filmmaker’s son demands payments or else he will go to the Feds as the FBI wanted the Black Stiletto.  At about the same time he deals with blackmail, in New York City Martin’s daughter Gina is viciously attacked.

 

In 1959 Judy Cooper as the Black Stiletto challenges the deadly heroin king of Harlem when her martial arts instructor Soichiro’s teenage daughter Isuzu becomes a prisoner in a narcotics den.  She invades the place to mount a rescue while planning to bring justice to the owner Carl Purdy.  At the same time a filmmaker threatens to reveal her alter-ego to the media unless she pays him. 

 

This exciting thriller moves back and forth between five decades as in the present Martin watches the film and reads his mom’s dairy, and deals with the blackmailer and his daughter’s assault; while in 1959 Judy battles drug dealers and a sleazy filmmaker.  The story line is over the top of the old Yankee Stadium but is exciting fun to read as a young female heroine kicks butt.

 

Harriet Klausner

Photo Finish-John McEvoy

April 22, 2012

Photo Finish

John McEvoy

Poisoned Pen, Jun 5 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9781464200151

 

County Cork bookmaker Niall Hanratty calls his friend Jack Doyle in Chicago.  He asks Jack to become an agent to seventeen year old Irish jockey Mickey Sheehan, who Niall says is as talented as her brother Kieran except she won’t throw races.  Though he has no experience as an agent, he’s been around the track too many times and is between gigs so Jack agrees.  He meets Mickey and her older sister Nora at O’Hare while Jack reels from the fact his client is a girl.

 

Jack introduces the sisters to trainer Ralph Tenuta at nearby Heartland Downs. The trainer has problems with his fired highly functional mean-spirited alcoholic veterinarian Eric Allgauer who also seems to desire destroying Ingrid McGuire, known for her communication skills with horses.  Jack and his friend mob connected Moe Kellman buy Plotkin who is ridden by Mickey.  Meanwhile someone is drugging the horses leading to Jack investigating to insure his jockey on his horse has a safe successful ride in the million dollar Heartland Downs Futurity.

 

The latest Jack Doyle turf mystery (see Close Call and The Significant Seven) is an entertaining amateur sleuth with the prime concentration on the track.  Fast-paced, fans will know Jack is a sure bet as he looks into the threats to his friend Ralph and the drugging scandal while his tender relationships with the Sheehan sister soften the in your face protagonist.

 

Harriet Klausner