Archive for May, 2012

Night Watch-Linda Fairstein

May 25, 2012

Night Watch

Linda Fairstein

Dutton, Jul 10 2012, $26.95

ISBN 9780525952633


Manhattan ADA sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper visits her boyfriend restaurateur Luc Rouget at his French estate overlooking the Bay of Cannes.  Two days after leaving New York on her vacation, village police officer Claude Chenier joins Alex and Luc.  The cop says Luc’s former employee Lisette Honfleur was found dead in a nearby pond; the victim had a on her a matchbook advertising his latest New York restaurant.


Meanwhile her boss Paul Battaglia calls Alex back to New York when a maid Blanca Robles accuses the head of the World Economic Bureau Mohammed Gil-“MGD” Darsin of rape.  The case is a media circus while the prosecution believes the victim until they begin to find out more about her history.  At the same time in Brooklyn, a murder victim possesses a matchbook from Luc’s new restaurant.


Obviously taken from the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, one of the subplots in the latest Alexandra Cooper legal thriller (see Silent Mercy) is an exciting entry that focuses on an accuser whose account keeps changing.  The Luc subplot though well written pales next to the MGD segue.  Sub-genre fans will appreciate Linda Fairstein’s strong fictional version of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.


Harriet Klausner

Some Kind of Peace-Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff

May 25, 2012

Some Kind of Peace

Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff

Free Press/Simon & Schuster, Jul 10 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451654592


Thirtyish Siri Bergmann is a psychologist who runs a practice in Stockholm with her best friend Aina.  As she works with her patients, Siri has her own issues with the recent death of her husband Stefan either from an accident or suicide.  Not long before his death their newborn had died.  Aina Davidson encourages her to move out of the mausoleum where she lives less than an hour from Stockholm, but Siri cannot leave nor even give away Stefan’s stuff.  The therapist also suffers from crippling anxiety attacks when plunged into darkness so her house is always lit when she is home.  On top of that Siri feels she is being stalked with the culprit daringly peering through her home’s windows though she has no proof.


Aina is hospitalized after a hit and run.  Soon after that Siri’s cat Ziggy vanishes.  Siri becomes further shook when the corpse of her eighteen years old paranoid patient Sara Matteus is found.  The teen was a drug addict who suffered sexual abuse and claimed someone was trying to hurt her.  Police officer Markus teams up with Siri, Aina and their college mentor Vijay to find a killer.


This translation of a dark Swedish psychological suspense is a character driven thriller starring a woman in trouble as much mentally as physically.  Until the final taut twisting climax, fans will wonder if Siri is the prey or the predator.


Harriet Klausner

Discretion-Allison Leotta

May 25, 2012


Allison Leotta

Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, Jul 3 2012, $25.00

ISBN 9781451644845


At the U.S. Capitol building, escort Caroline McBride falls to her death from the office balcony of District representative Emmett Lionel.  Assistant U.S. Attorney sex crimes prosecutor Anna Curtis investigates the death.  


Running for election, Lionel proves uncooperative as he claims the Speech and Debate Clause limits any search of his office.  His lawyers and his political advisers are even less cooperative as they construct barrier after barrier to thwart the inquiry.  At the same time, the high profile case threatens to disclose Anna’s relationship with the office head of homicide, single dad Jack Bailey at a time that she struggles to gain trust from his angry six year old daughter who still grieves for her late mom.


The second Anna Curtis legal thriller (see Law of Attraction) is an engaging DC thriller starring an ambitious ADA who is struggling with a case that could make or break her career and her romance.  Mindful of Margaret Truman’s novels like Murder at the White House (and its subsequent movie Murder at 1600), this is a fast-paced entertaining though somewhat expected “Capital Crimes” investigation.


Harriet Klausner

Vanished in the Dunes:-Allan Retzky

May 25, 2012

Vanished in the Dunes:

Allan Retzky

Oceanview, Jul 5 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781608090532


Under Justice Department investigation for two years for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, fiftyish Amos Posner was forced to resign from his position though the firm gave him a generous severance package as someone has to take the fall for all the company’s questionable dealings.  While he resides at the beach house in Amagansett, his wife Sara mostly lives in their Manhattan apartment as she still practices law in the city.  She comes out to Long Island on weekends as often as possible while he never ventures into the city.  Sara believes Amos is cheating.


While riding the Hampton Jitney, Posner meets sexy Heidi Kashani, a resident in psychiatry at Mt. Sinai hospital.  He invites her to his beach house.  He steps out for a moment only to find her dead from an apparent fall.  Instead of 911, he buries her corpse.  Soon afterward Detective Peter Wisdom questions him and the late Heidi’s obsessed lover Dr. Henry Stern threatens him.  Heidi’s identically looking sister Brigid Kashani further complicates the convoluted scenario.


Vanished In The Dunes is an engaging psychological suspense thriller starring a depressed lonely former international trader whose decision-making process keeps digging him deeper into trouble.  Fast-paced from the moment the protagonist muses over What’s My Line upon seeing Heidi for the first time, fans will appreciate this exhilarating tale though the climax is weaker than the powerful spiral leading to the end.


Harriet Klausner

Ransom River-Meg Gardiner

May 25, 2012

Ransom River

Meg Gardiner

Dutton, Jul 5 2012, $25.99

ISBN 9780525952855


Attorney Aurora “Rory” Mackenzie comes home to Ransom River, California, a place she hates, in answer to a jury summons.  She becomes part of a jury in a Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles case in which two cops (Lucy Elmendorf and Jared Smith) are accused of shooting a burglar Obrad Mirkovic.  Two gunmen (Nixon and Reagan) assault the courtroom but a SWAT team ends the hostage siege.


The Ransom River PD believes Rory is an accomplice to the gunmen as one of them targeted her as shown in the courtroom video.  Detective Zelinksi angrily and accusatorily asks her why her if she was not an accomplice, and about her being unemployed since the not for profit Asylum Action lost its funding.  Her childhood friend former undercover cop Seth Colder warns her that the police force contains deadly dirty cops so she better remain vigilant at all times.


This is a taut thriller in which the tough protagonist deals with being the prime surviving suspect in a hostage situation that soon spirals even further out of control for her.  Fast-paced from the moment Nixon and Reagan invade the court, readers will relish this superb tale while wondering what is going on in Ransom River.


Harriet Klausner

Pulse-John Lutz

May 24, 2012


John Lutz

Pinnacle, Jul 3 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780786020287


In 2002 Florida, a contingent of police officers is driving serial killer Daniel Danielle to a top secret maximum security prison when hurricane winds turned the car upside down.  Daniel escapes but not before he killed his escorts.  He vanishes into the eye of the storm and becomes an urban legend never seen again.


In the present, a series of female homicides occur in which the victims were tortured and mutilated employing the same M.O. as Daniel used.  Whether the psychopath is Daniel or a copycat is irrelevant to Police Commissioner Renz who wants the maniac stopped.  He hires former cop turned private investigator Frank Quinn’s firm to capture this predator.  Pearl is reunited with Jody Jason the daughter she gave up for adoption and the two women and Quinn bond.  Jody finds the link to the serial killer that involves the law firm she is interning at, the college she attends and Meading properties.  Now Pearl and Quinn must identify who the killer hides behind before another woman is brutally murdered.


Thriller master John Lutz is known for his suspense and his ability to enable readers to understand the bone marrow deep motives that drive both the heroes and the villains.  Ironically the chapters when the killer tells his perspective, fans do not learn why he is a monster as he does not see himself that way.  Though a serial kill hunt is not new, Pulse is kept fresh by rotating time, place and point of view.  This fast-paced tale grips fans from start to finish as time is running out on the next victim.


Harriet Klausner

The Line Between Here and Gone-Andrea Kane

May 24, 2012

The Line Between Here and Gone

Andrea Kane

Mira, Jun 26 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9780778313373


Eight months ago realtor Paul Everett vanished on Long Island; unaware that his girlfriend photojournalist Amanda Gleason was carrying his child.  Whereas everyone believes Paul was murdered, Amanda thinks he is alive as a friend sent her a grainy cell picture of a man who looks like Paul in DC.  Amanda is desperate as Paul is the last hope to save the life of their baby Justin, suffering from immunodeficiency and needing a compatible stem cell transplant.


She turns to Forensic Instincts (see The Girl Who Disappeared Twice) to locate Paul.  Behaviorist Casey Woods, ex SEAL Marc Devereaux, technocrat Ryan McKay and Hero the dog investigate the missing person’s case knowing time is short.  However, they find little about Paul’s history as if he never existed and law enforcement is not just uncooperative they strongly demand FI end their inquiry or else as the life of a dying baby is not important.  FI ignores the not so subtle threats and soon uncovers a conspiracy that connects the Hamptons to Congress, but finding Paul in time seems impossible as they run into a maze of impediments and stonewalling.


Like the FI operatives, this case grips readers as time is running out on a newborn with one last hope to save his life, but that person apparently never existed.  Fast-paced from the moment Amanda pleads with FI to find her baby’s father, fans will relish this twisting thriller wondering what next.


 Harriet Klausner

A Fatal Debt-John Gapper

May 24, 2012

A Fatal Debt

John Gapper

Ballantine, Jun 26 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345527899


Fiftyish Wall Street banker Harold Shapiro is depressed after being fired.  His wife Nora worries about his mental state.  Nora takes Harry to Episcopal Psychiatric ER after he was shouting at traffic and frightening dog walkers in Central Park.  Psychiatrist Dr. Ben Cowper treats the patient.  Harry demands to leave over the objection of Ben; the hospital administration sides with Harry so reluctantly Ben signs the release form.


Not long after Nora takes Harry to their place in East Hampton, he murders Marcus Greene.  Harry’s lawyer blames Ben for releasing his client too soon.  The media roasts Ben who they blame for the Long Island tragedy.  The hospital administration and Ben’s peers reject mea culpa insisting it is a doctor’s solo decision to release or not.  The ambitious DA goes after Ben rather than a sick man.  Ben decides to save his reputation by making inquiries into the homicide, but runs up against lies and denial.


This is an exciting thriller that has an incredible set up starting with insight into Wall Street fraud and the media condemnation of Ben.  When he turns into an amateur sleuth his incompetency as a detective adds to the excitement though one must wonder why he did not hire a pro.  However, in the second half, the storyline loses plausibility but remains gripping except for a seemingly “required” romance that detracts from the overall engaging plot.


Harriet Klausner

Killer Critique-Alexander Campion

May 24, 2012

Killer Critique

Alexander Campion

Kensington, Jun 26 2012, $23.00

ISBN: 9780758268792


In Paris, Le Figaro senior food critic Gautier du Fesnay reviews chic Left Bank restaurant Chez Béatrice.  He records on a camcorder from the moment he arrives.  Gautier takes a piece of lobster d’horand and dies.  Not long after that at Dans le Noir someone jams a basting needle into the ear of food critic Jean Monteil in the darkened dining room.


Paris Police Judiciaire Commissaire Capucine Le Tellier leads the investigation while concerned her husband wine and food expert husband Alexandre de Huguelet could be next.  Someone murders other food critics while Capucine finds a horde of suspects especially raging chefs.  With the case going nowhere and the count mounting, Capucine has one way to find the culprit: dangle her beloved spouse as food bait.


The third captivating Capucine culinary Paris police procedural (see Grave Gourmet and Crime Fraîche) is a terrific serial killer thriller as you are what you eat.  Fast-paced with a wonderful tour of the Left Bank and mindful of the Vincent Price movie Theatre of Blood, fans will enjoy this delicious tale that connects the Eifel Tower with haute cuisine.


Harriet Klausner

Burrows-Reavis Z. Wortham

May 24, 2012


Reavis Z. Wortham

Poisoned Pen, Jul 3 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9781464200076


In 1964 Ned Parker retires as the Center Springs, Texas constable.  He plans to rusticate as a cotton farmer while his nephew Vietnam vet Cody replaces him at the town’s constable.  Ned looks forward to spending time with his two ten-year-old grandchildren Top and Pepper as they struggle with coping after the recent trauma they suffered at The Rock Hole.


Meanwhile, a headless corpse is found in the nearby Red River and a psychopath who escaped incarceration has slaughtered a farm family.  Cody and Deputy John Washington follow clues that lead them to the abandoned Cotton Exchange in Chisum where the garbage laden warehouse is filled with deadly booby-traps as the killings continue. 


The latest Red River mystery is a great historical police procedural that focuses on a tense serial killer whodunit.  Burrows also invokes time and place as Cody’s experience with booby-traps in Vietnam may save their lives and John’s ass the first black law enforcement officer in the county shows the early impact of the Civil Rights movement.  Readers will appreciate Reavis Z. Wortham’s taut Texas thriller.


Harriet Klausner