Archive for July, 2012

L.A. Fadeaway-Jordon Okun

July 26, 2012

L.A. Fadeaway

Jordon Okun

Touchstone, Sep 11 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451651980

 

In his early twenties, he was born with a gold spoon and a sense of entitlement as his parents gave him anything he wanted.  His father being the head of a major talent agenct got him an entry level as position as a mail clerk at one of the most prominent talent agencies in Los Angeles.  For following his elated dad into the business by adhering to his father’s master plan for him, he was given a home in Versailles, an unlimited credit card and a very expensive sports car. 

 

However, he is far from happy as the pressure on him to succeed due to DNA mounts exponentially with every promotion.  He uses Xanax, alcohol and marijuana like candy to stay calm.  His current job is the assistant to Nick Rizzo, which means being 24/7 on call.  He does whatever his boss tells him to do even unethical and potentially illegal things.  When David Michaels fires Nick, he survives by transferring his loyalties to the former.  David assigns him the task of signing up a client so he uses blackmail to accomplice the mission.  A chip off the old amoral block, he will do anything to achieve his goals.

 

With a nod to Budd Schulberg’s What Makes Sammy Run?, L.A. Fadeaway is a fascinating character study of an unlikable but charismatic individual, whose ambition and his sense of entitlement enables him to stomp on anyone in his way.  The nameless narrator makes the tale as a contemporary Sammy Glick who has no compunctions about his place as numero uno in the Hollywood celestial universe.

 

Harriet Klausner

Low Pressure-Sandra Brown

July 25, 2012

Low Pressure

Sandra Brown

Grand Central, Sep 18 2012, $26.99

ISBN 9781455501557

 

Bellamy Price never moved passed the murder of her sister Susan Lyston in Austen though almost two decades have passed.  Now thirtyish the troubled Bellamy writes a novel under a pseudonym based on the homicide as a means of closure.  Low Pressure becomes a best seller and Bellamy is exposed as the actual author.

 

Many people involved in Susan’s life become angry at Bellamy for opening up wounds.  Susan’s boyfriend pilot Denton Carter is especially livid as he was at one time the prime suspect, but had a perfect alibi to exonerate him.   Also upset is violent Ray Strickland, whose brother Allen was convicted of the homicide and eventually murdered in prison; he blames Susan for his sibling’s death.  When an unknown adversary trashes her house and attacks Bellamy and Dent, they team up to investigate who is retaliating for her book and why he is a target too.  Dent also believes Bellamy’s suppressed memory of what happened on that fatal night before the tornado destroyed the murder scene is the key.

 

This is an exhilarating romantic suspense starring three interesting flawed individuals tied together by the late Susan as each has weaknesses (though sociopathic violent Ray would deny it after hammering your head with an object).  The romantic subplot enhances the mystery by adding tension to an already taut situation.  Action-packed, fans will appreciate Sandra Brown’s Low Pressure

 

Harriet Klausner

Dead Anyway-Chris Knopf

July 25, 2012

Dead Anyway

Chris Knopf

Permanent Press, Sep 15 2012, $28.00

ISBN: 9781579622831

 

In Stamford, Connecticut, market researcher Arthur Cathcart returns home only to be greeted by a horrific sight.  A stranger has a gun aimed at his wife Florencia’s head.  He demands she sing a document.  Once she does he executes Arthur and Florencia.

 

Florencia dies while Arthur is in a coma.  Several months later he awakens.  With the help of his sister a doctor, Arthur is declared dead so that he can obtain a new identity, which he learns is not as easy as TV claims.  Still, his objective to learn who and why keeps him focused as revenge may be a dish served cold but tasty when the goal is left even colder. 

 

The key to this powerful thriller is the difficulty Arthur finds in reinventing himself if he wants to function in a way that enables him to complete his life mission.  Though his sibling’s medical occupation is too convenient, the spellbinding storyline is fast-paced but character driven by an obsessed Arthur who will do anything to kill his killer; which means entering the lethal world of professional hit-men and organized crime.

 

Harriet Klausner

Luther: The Calling-Neil Cross

July 25, 2012

Luther: The Calling

Neil Cross

Touchstone, Sep 4 2012, $25.00

ISBN 9781451673098

 

In London, the killer mutilated the bodies of Tom and Sarah Lambert before removing an eight-and-a-half-month-old fetus from the womb of the female victim.  The assignment to find the infant goes to Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, who is the best at apprehending killers though he increasingly acts unstable. 

 

Already suffering from OCD and a failing marriage as his wife believes he is wedded to homicide cases; John knows the priority is to rescue the baby who hopefully lives.  Filled with rage after years of unending battles with psychopaths, Luther vows to do anything to save the baby as time is running out.  He also pledges to himself if he finds infanticide has occurred Luther painfully will kill the SOB.

 

This is an intriguing look at the case that drove the London cop over the edge mentally.  The storyline is fast-paced, but does not quite capture the intense anger of the TV show or what led him to the precipice.  Still this is an exciting police procedural as Luther will do anything necessary to save a life.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Wanted Man-Lee Child

July 25, 2012

A Wanted Man

Lee Child

Delacorte, Sep 11 2012, $28.00

ISBN: 9780385344333

 

On an eastbound Nebraska highway Jack Reacher seeks a ride that will take him to Omaha or Lincoln where he can ride a bus to Virginia.  Two men (Alan King and Don McQueen) and a woman (Karen Delfuenso) pick him up; his goal is Virginia as soon as possible.  In the other direction at a gas station is the corpse of a man who was professionally murdered. 

 

County Sheriff Victor Goodman calls the FBI in Omaha who claim jurisdiction and leave with the body while a roadblock is set up to find the two men.  The vehicle with Reacher manages to get around the roadblock and soon enters Iowa.  FBI Agent Julie Sorenson leads the pursuit at the same time Jack realizes that Karen is not part of a trio but unsure why she is with this male duo.

 

Continuing Reacher’s journey to Virginia (see 61 Hours and Worth Dying For), A Wanted Man is an exciting twisting thriller as the former military cop learns moms are right about hitching a ride.  Though over the top of Panorama Point, fast-paced throughout this is an exciting Reacher tale as his biggest fear is being trapped in a motel in Kansas.

 

Harriet Klausner

Caravan of Thieves- David Rich

July 24, 2012

Caravan of Thieves

David Rich

Dutton, Aug 30 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780525952886

 

After going undercover in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Lenten Rollie Waters returns to his home station Camp Pendleton, California.  While driving his jeep, two men shoot the window.  Rollie forces them off the road.  However, the brass claims he drove while under the influence and declare he went AWOL before tossing him in the brig.  

 

Knowing the charges are false but aware that means nada, Rollie kind of expects what the CO wants from him.  Thus he is not surprised when his superior officer orders Rollie to find his con artist father Dan and recover the millions his dad stole from the loot taken from Saddam Hussein during the 2003 invasion of Baghdad.  To locate his father, Rollie must separate the needle of truth from the haystack of deceptions.

 

This is a powerful thriller starring two fabulous antagonists sharing DNA.  The storyline is filled with stunning twists inside of an exciting investigation.  The key to this enjoyable suspense is the deep psychological look at the dysfunctional relationship between a law abiding young man and his felonious undependable father.

 

Harriet Klausner

Gone-Randy Wayne White

July 24, 2012

Gone

Randy Wayne White

Putnam, Sep 4 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780399158490

 

In Florida, the squall sent strong fisherwoman Hannah Smith hustling her two wealthy clients to safety though Lawrence Seasons questions how she takes him and his companion New York attorney Martha Calder-Shaun to safety.  Mr. Seasons asks Hannah to meet with him for lunch to discuss a case involving the other work she “inherited” from her late uncle.  He says his niece Olivia sort of disappeared as none of her family knows where she is though she calls every two weeks to the executor’s office as required by her trust.  When Hannah asks what if his niece does not want to be found by him; he responds if she signs one legal document she gains control of $90 million.  Finally Mr. Sessions explains he believes Olivia is living on a boat off the west Florida coast.

 

Though no longer a sleuth as that line of work failed to pay the bills and is normally boring, Hannah agrees to search for the missing niece as her fishing client makes an offer she cannot refuse; besides her strong sense of right coaxes her to insure Olivia is okay.  She begins her search for Olivia finding clues that make Hannah wonder if the heiress was not voluntarily hiding.

 

With Doc Ford taking a respite though referred to, fans will appreciate tall, big and strong Hannah as she  proves she is a super fishing guide and a not by the book investigator.  She makes the storyline work though the support cast adds depth with diversity.  Fans will enjoy Hannah making waves as she intimidates people with her size and her take no prisoners attitude while searching for the missing heiress.

 

Harriet Klausner

Death Of A Neighborhood Witch-Laura Levine

July 24, 2012

Death Of A Neighborhood Witch

Laura Levine

Kensington, Aug 28 2012, $24.00

ISBN 9780758238498

 

Freelance writer Jaine Austen lives in the slums of Beverly Hills amongst retirees.  However, though logically she knows not to buy Halloween candy as no one goes trick or treating in her neighbor, the chocolates talk to her so she stocks up.

 

A hunk Peter Connor the book editor moves next door.  Jaine thinks he will prove better than sugared candy (well almost as good); while her cat Prozac seems attracted to him; and shoe salesman Lance Venable challenges her for Peter’s affection.  As Jaine and Lance compete for Peter, even acrimonious former TV monster mommy actress Cryptessa Muldoon is nice to the new kid on the block.  When Prozac gives Cryptessa’s parakeet Van Helsing a heart attack, she tells Jaine see you in small claims court.  Soon afterward, on Halloween, someone bludgeons Cryptessa with her own Do Not Trespass sign.  VHPD looks at Jaine as the prime suspect.

 

The latest humorous Jaine Austen amateur sleuth (see Last Writes and Pampered to Death) is an enjoyable lighthearted cozy that lampoons fan obsession with where are they now Hollywood has-beens.  Fast-paced, Jaine has two critical issues to confront: first finding the real killer and second not chomping on all the candy she bought that talks to her seductively saying softly “eat me”. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Imitation of Death-Cheryl Crane

July 24, 2012

Imitation of Death

Cheryl Crane

Kensington, Aug 28 2012, $25.00

ISBN 9780758258885

 

Spoiled abusive Eddie Bernard, son of a major TV producer, is found murdered in a dumpster in an alley near the Beverly Hills mansion of legendary superstar actress Victoria Bordeaux.  The killer stabbed Eddie in the chest with pruning shears belonging to the Bordeaux gardener Jorge Delgado. 

 

Victoria’s realtor daughter Nikki Harper knows her friend quick-tempered Jorge would not murder even an obnoxious a-hole like Eddie.  Though she admits to herself the evidence is very strong as, besides the murder weapon belonging to Jorge, Nikki witnessed a public argument between the pair in Victoria’s driveway with Eddie holding a gun.  Though her last sleuthing effort (see The Bad Always Die Twice) was a near disaster, Nikki uses her DNA connection to investigate the homicide at the same time the media howls for the death penalty. 

 

The second Nikki Harper Mystery is a lighthearted fun amateur sleuth as the heroine uses her pedigree to meet a horde of suspects who wanted Bernard dead.  Her relationship with her mother brings humor to an entertaining whodunit as Cheryl Crane lampoons celebrity status in an engaging investigation.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Murder of the Cat’s Meow-Denise Swanson

July 24, 2012

Murder of the Cat’s Meow

Denise Swanson

Obsidian, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780451237811

 

In Scumble River, Illinois, the previous occupant the late Mrs. Griggs breaks Skye Denison’s Grandma Leonfanti’s cookie jar.  The frustrated school psychologist and police consultant warns the ghost to stop her haunting or else her fiancé Police Chief Wally Boyd will not move in with her as most incidents occur when he is in the house. 

 

Wally attends a police chief certification program in Springfield.  Frannie calls Skye from Bunny Lanes with an emergency.  Skye rushes over to the bowling alley owned by former Vegas dancer Bunny Reid.  There she sees Elijah Jacobson dangling Alexis Hightower in the air using one hand on her throat while cuddling his cat Princess with his other hand.  Bunny intercedes and accidently hammers Skye instead of Elijah.  An injured Skye learns that Bunny, Frannie and computer expert Justin started a matchmaking web site CupidsCatsMeow.com in which almost exclusively cat lovers joined.  Thus they host a cat show with Alexis as the judge combined with speed dating for the pet owners.  Not long afterward the obnoxious judge is found dead in the bowling alley basement.

 

The return to Scumble River (see Murder of a Creped Suzette) is an amusing madcap cozy starring an intrepid heroine who muses how she became the center of craziness and a strong quirky support cast; especially wherever Bunny steps, trouble follows.  The humorous storyline contains several other supporting zany subplots, but the prime tale centers on investigating the case of death by a cat toy.

 

Harriet Klausner