Archive for June, 2012

12.21-Dustin Thomason

June 25, 2012

12.21

Dustin Thomason

Dial, Aug 7 2012, $27.00

ISBN 9780385341400

 

On December 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, Presbyterian Hospital’s third-year resident Michaela Thane calls Dr. Gabriel Stanton, head of CDC’s Prion Center.  She says she believes she believes they have a case of Prion Disease.  Stanton scoffs at Thane’s assertion until she says he seems to suffer from fatal familial insomnia (FFI), but he changes his mind when she also mentions the tests indicate the patient had not slept in a week.  Stanton rushes to over to Presbyterian.

 

Nearby at the Getty Museum, epigraphist Chel Manu deciphers a Mayan codex just given to her by a distraught Hector Gutierrez.  As she begins to understand why her Mayan heritage ancestors suddenly vanished and what December 21, 2012 means, Michaela’s diagnosis proves correct and soon the greater metropolitan area is quarantined as an epidemic of Prion disease has spread to thousands.  To understand the patient they bring in Manu.  Soon Stanton and Manu race to the Guatemalan jungle to find a cure to the spreading FFI, which will blanket the world by December 21, 2012.

 

This is a tremendous medical-Mayan doomsday thriller that grips readers from the moment Thane calls Stanton and never slows down as the clock is running out on preventing a pandemic end of the world.  Fast-paced throughout, readers will short list this superb tale as one of the best thrillers of the year.

 

Harriet Klausner

Through These Veins-Anne Marie Ruff

June 25, 2012

Through These Veins

Anne Marie Ruff

Open Door Press, Jun 20 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780983249801

 

In Ethiopia, the villagers considered Nataniel the healer as a witch doctor.  They came from all over the country and beyond to see him in his hometown of Chochotte.  His daughter Zahara knows that her father is an Orthodox Christian pharmacist who graduated from Addis Ababa University.  She is proud of her dad who does what he can using many local remedies to help those ailing. 

 

He found a cure for a terrible disease that was destroying the Ethiopians and much of East Africa.  Word spread around Africa and beyond until the American Big Pharma firms learns of a potential cure made from local foliage that violently rids the body of AIDs.  Soon afterward, Nataniel is murdered and his daughter wants to know why and who though she thinks she already knows the answers.

 

This is an engaging thriller that works on two planes.  First there is a remarkable discerning look at global AIDs field research that takes armchair readers obviously to Africa but also Asia as well as the labs interwoven into the entertaining storyline; second there is the competition for controlling Nataniel’s elixir in which Big Pharma is not the evil kingdom though ruthless businessmen are in the mix.  Readers will enjoy Anne Marie Ruff’s strong saga as she shines a spotlight on AIDs through what could happen after finding the cure.

 

Harriet Klausner

Blood Line-James Rollins

June 24, 2012

Blood Line

James Rollins

Morrow, Jun 26 2012, $27.99

ISBN: 9780061784798

 

Sigma Force Commander Gray Pierce struggles with the murder of his mother.  However, the team is assigned by leader Painter Crowe to extract a high value abductee taken by Somali pirates off the Seychelles.  Confused by the task as this is not the type of mission Sigma deals with since the kidnapping is not a global threat, which is their mission even if the victim is the First Daughter Amanda Gant-Bennett.  Even more bewildering is that former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his K9 partner Kane join the rescue effort.  Reluctantly as they table their combat against the Guild, Sigma heads to the Horn to meet their two newcomers.

 

A firebombing in a South Carolina fertility clinic reveals a centuries-old plot to reengineer the human genome.  Sigma is assigned to save an unborn whose existence questions the meaning of what humanity is:

 

As always in a James Rollins’ thriller, scientific theories (in this case: genetics, robotics, immortality and canine intelligence) are key to an exciting action-packed tale.  The cast is strong with the newcomers fitting in with the likes of Pierce, Bryant, Kowalski and even enigmatic Seichan while the locales diverse.  With a strong conspiratorial plot that ties back to the eleventh century and Jesus, Sigma fans will enjoy the fabulous Blood Line (see The Doomsday Key and The Devil Colony).

 

Harriet Klausner

The Last Victim-Karen Robards

June 24, 2012

The Last Victim

Karen Robards

Ballantine, Aug 7 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345535405

 

When Dr. Charlotte Stone was seventeen years old, due to being sick in the bathroom, she was the sole survivor of the Boardwalk Killer massacre of her BFF Holly Palmer and her friend’s mom Diane.  She hid from everyone the “visits” in visions by Holly and her mom.  That nightmare led to Charlie obsessively dedicating her life to becoming the authority on serial killers.

 

Fifteen years later at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, Charlie’s interview of death row inmate Michael Garland ends when FBI agent Tony Bartoli arrives to talk to her.  Tony informs a horrified Charlie that the Boardwalk Killer is no longer dormant or a copycat has surfaced; as just like with Holly someone abducted a teen after massacring her family.  After she leaves Garland, he dies in an attack by another prisoner.  Garland’s ghost blames his death on Charlie even though she tried to save his life.  He continues to harangue her, which radically deviates with what she knows about ghosts after years of contact.  Charlie knows this is her bogeyman case, but believes she must rescue the teen while an irate Garland refuses to go away.

 

This is a great paranormal police procedural starring a fascinating researcher whose worst nightmare apparently has returned.  The suspenseful story line grips the audience from the moment the teen stays hiding and never let’s go until the final confrontation with a diabolical serial killer.  Adding to the fun is a touch of a romantic triangle as Karen Robards proves a fantastic ghostly whodunit.

 

Harriet Klausner

Silent Slaughter-C.E. Lawrence

June 24, 2012

Silent Slaughter

C.E. Lawrence

Pinnacle, Aug 1 2012, $9.99

ISBN 9780786025633

 

In Manhattan’s Thirteenth Precinct, Detective Leonard Butts consults with profiler Dr. Lee Campbell on a note addressed to the cop received at the station.  The memo signed by the Professor taunts Butts and the profiler.  Campbell tells Butts the man is literate, intelligent and a real threat.  He answers what should we do and the profiler says we wait.

 

The first known victim is Lisa Adler found in the back of Shinbourne Alley with a note addressed to Butts and friends from the Professor.  Forensics Linguistics Specialist Elena Krieger says the culprit is enjoying himself and uses sophisticated amusing language as the Professor plays a game in which he sets the rules.  He also removed a finger from the victim.  Cop Jimmy Chen and his autistic brother Barry join the investigation.

 

Although serial killers running rampart are the repeat theme in this exciting series (see Silent Kills, Silent Victims and Silent Screams), the cast makes it fresh as Leonard, Elena, Barry and the Professor bring diverse eccentricities to the investigation.  The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Butts and Campbell eat bagels while discussing the first note and never slows down until the final confrontation of a literary predator.

 

Harriet Klausner

Run to Ground-D.P. Lyle

June 24, 2012

Run to Ground

D.P. Lyle

Oceanview, Aug 7 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9781608090570

 

In Alabama, Martha and Tim Foster struggle to cope with the murder of their seven year old son Steven.  DNA evidence in a truck tied Walter Alan Whitaker to the homicide.  However Judge Ben Kleiman trashed the reputation of HPD homicide detective T-Tommy Tortelli and disallowed the use of the DNA on a technicality. Whitiker was convicted of perjury and interfering with a police investigation.  He received three years and now after nine months at Stone Gate Prison near Huntsville he is freed.

 

Martha and Tim fear their son’s killer as he threatened her.  Though they will never see their son’s grave again, the pair change their identity and plan to leave the state.  However, before they leave for the Carolinas, they fire shots from a distance that kills Whitaker whose brother blames T-Tommy.  HPD forensic evidence and criminal behavior consultant Dub Walker, T-Tommy Tortelli and TV reporter Claire McBride search for the Fosters, but find some anomalies in the evidence.

 

The latest Dub Walker/T-Tommy police procedural (see Hot Lights, Cold Steel and Stress Fracture) is a taut manhunt investigation.  Character driven especially at the onset when readers meet the distraught parents, the storyline is filled with a stunning late twist.  Fans will appreciate aptly titled Run To Ground while wondering would they act like the bereaved Foster parents who watch an injustice occur.

 

Harriet Klausner

Don’t Say a Word-Beverly Barton

June 22, 2012

Don’t Say a Word

Beverly Barton

Zebra, Jul 31, 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781420110371

 

In Chattanooga, the vicious “Tongue Slasher” serial killer haunts the city as even a judge is unsafe from this psychopath.  The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Will Brannock and Detective Julia Cass, new to the CPD and sister to his TBI peer J.D. (see Don’t Cry), lead the inquiry. 

 

While both law enforcement officials know ending the hideous Tongue Slasher’s reign of terror is top priority, they are attracted to one another.  However, Julia pegs him as a player so rejects any relationship besides professional and Will has a past that prevents him from pursuing his temporary teammate.  As they work the case, they find too many suspects, but diligently try to eliminate most of them before another victim is gruesomely slaughtered.

 

This is a fast-paced direct sequel to Don’t Cry as some of the dangling threads continue in this police procedural.  The killer’s scrap book will bring chills to the audience as does his gruesome crimes.  Fans will appreciate this strong thriller as the late Beverly Barton, known for her taut tales, provides a terrific tense romantic suspense.

 

Harriet Klausner

Nowhere to Run-Nancy Bush

June 22, 2012

Nowhere to Run

Nancy Bush

Zebra, Jul 31, 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781420125016

 

Olivia “Liv” Dugan celebrates her sixth birthday though her toddler brother Hague upsets her.  After eating cake, Liv watches cartoons when she hears her Mama cry out.  She goes to check on her Mama while noticing the door opened.  Mama tells her to go back to the den and she will join her soon.  When Mama fails to come to the den, Liv goes to the kitchen only to find her hanging dead.

 

Almost two decades later, Liv receives a package that Mama had left in trust for her when she turned twenty-five.  Inside are pictures, a birth certificate, and a strange note that makes no sense to her.  Liv obsesses with knowing the entire truth about her Mama.  When she returns from lunch to her office at Zuma Software, Liv is shocked to find everyone murdered.  She assumes she was the intended victim with her Mama’s package the motive though she is unaware why.  She trusts no one and believing she is followed Liv carjacks a random vehicle driven by Detective August “Auggie” Rafferty.  She tells him her story, which he believes is either BS or delusional until incidents occur.  Now they team up trying to understand why something that happened twenty years ago is leaving innocent people dead while Liv is the prey of a predator.

 

Nowhere to Run is an action-packed thriller that keeps the romance between the heroes to a minimum (though the attraction is unneeded) as the focus is on survival and the investigation.  Auggie’s teaming with a civilian even an endangered one seems odd though arguably he also trusts no one with her safety.  Readers will be hooked with a need to know the roots of why in this exciting romantic suspense.

 

Harriet Klausner

Scorpion Winter-Andrew Kaplan

June 22, 2012

Scorpion Winter

Andrew Kaplan

Harper, Jul 31 2012, $9.99

ISBN 9780062063786

 

Ukrainian billionaire businessman Vadim Akhnetzov stuns Scorpion by doing the near impossible without permission by contacting him.  Vadim wants Scorpion to stop an assassination attempt.  The owner of the Ukengaz firm says Kozhanovskiy is supported by the West while Cherkesov by the Russians.  He explains there is a plot to kill Cherkesov, which would lead to a Russian invasion and a NATO counterstrike.  Scorpion asks Vadim re his interest and the Ukrainian responds by saying he would do business with the devil as the Russians would end his company if their man is murdered and that the prototype is the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in 1914.

 

Scorpion agrees to prevent the assassination not for the seven digit fee he accepts, but because his “handler” Rabinowich must think this is a potential crisis by enabling Akhnetzov to contact him.  In the Ukraine, Scorpion teams up with political adviser Iryna Mikhailivna Shevchenko to keep the Russian backed candidate alive.  As seemingly unrelated events in Siberian Penal Colony 9 and Yemen occur, Scorpion kills several people.  At the same he eludes the local police, the state secret police, the Ukrainian mob and several spy agencies including his former mates at the CIA; many of whom work conflicting devious games with no regard for collateral damage.  However, he soon realizes he has been betrayed by someone apparently on his side.

 

The third Scorpion espionage thriller (see Scorpion Betrayal) is a fast-paced tale even before the free-lance spy and the business mogul meet and never slows down until the final confrontation.  Fast-paced with a high kill rate, Andrew Kaplan uses the tense 2010 Ukraine election (and the upcoming one) as the basis of a strong thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Scorpion Winter-Andrew Kaplan

June 22, 2012

Scorpion Winter

Andrew Kaplan

Harper, Jul 31 2012, $9.99

ISBN 9780062063786

 

Ukrainian billionaire businessman Vadim Akhnetzov stuns Scorpion by doing the near impossible without permission by contacting him.  Vadim wants Scorpion to stop an assassination attempt.  The owner of the Ukengaz firm says Kozhanovskiy is supported by the West while Cherkesov by the Russians.  He explains there is a plot to kill Cherkesov, which would lead to a Russian invasion and a NATO counterstrike.  Scorpion asks Vadim re his interest and the Ukrainian responds by saying he would do business with the devil as the Russians would end his company if their man is murdered and that the prototype is the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in 1914.

 

Scorpion agrees to prevent the assassination not for the seven digit fee he accepts, but because his “handler” Rabinowich must think this is a potential crisis by enabling Akhnetzov to contact him.  In the Ukraine, Scorpion teams up with political adviser Iryna Mikhailivna Shevchenko to keep the Russian backed candidate alive.  As seemingly unrelated events in Siberian Penal Colony 9 and Yemen occur, Scorpion kills several people.  At the same he eludes the local police, the state secret police, the Ukrainian mob and several spy agencies including his former mates at the CIA; many of whom work conflicting devious games with no regard for collateral damage.  However, he soon realizes he has been betrayed by someone apparently on his side.

 

The third Scorpion espionage thriller (see Scorpion Betrayal) is a fast-paced tale even before the free-lance spy and the business mogul meet and never slows down until the final confrontation.  Fast-paced with a high kill rate, Andrew Kaplan uses the tense 2010 Ukraine election (and the upcoming one) as the basis of a strong thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner