Archive for August, 2012

Murder Most Austen-Tracy Kiely

August 31, 2012

Murder Most Austen

Tracy Kiely

Minotaur, Sep 4 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9781250007421


Elizabeth Parker knows her future is nebulous as she is unemployed and unsure of her relationship with her boyfriend Peter.  However, Elizabeth puts aside her woes as she and her great-aunt Winnie Reynolds fly to the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath; where the great author placed Northanger Abbey.


At the gala they run into Winnie’s friend Cora Beadle and her daughter Izzy.  When Professor Richard Baines announces his shocking theory that Ms. Austen’s death was caused by syphilis, the Janeites are irate and think he is a lunatic; Cora especially rages.  Soon after his pronouncement, someone stabs to death Baines at the Regency Masked Ball where he was garbed as Mr. Darcy.  The police suspect Cora, his most vocal acerbic critic.  Elizabeth and Winnie investigate and quickly find several other people with stronger motives than Cora to kill Baines.


The latest Elizabeth Parker Janeites amateur sleuth (see Murder Most Persuasive; Murder on the Bride’s Side and Murder at Longbourn) is a terrific cozy due to a strong cast and scenes from out of Northanger Abbey.  Elizabeth is a wonderful heroine as she works the case with assistance from her well-meaning but often mistaken Aunt Winnie.  Though the engaging storyline offers few spins, sub-genre fans will enjoy Murder Most Austen as Jane stars.


Harriet Klausner


Cover Her Body-Eleanor Sullivan

August 31, 2012

Cover Her Body

Eleanor Sullivan

Yesteryear Press/Wyatt-MacKenzie, Oct 1 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781936214556


In 1833 in devout Zoar, Ohio, midwife Adelaide Bechtmann heads to the nearby river seeking peace.  Instead she finds sixteen year old Johanna Appelgate dead in the river.  Horrified Adelaide pulls the teen’s body from the river, but realizes the floater did not die from drowning as her lungs lacked water.


The Separatists elders reject Adelaide’s contention of a murder as the leaders conveniently insists accidental death.  Shocked by their reaction, Adelaide takes a harder blow to her gut when her husband Benjamin warns her to back off.  Needing to know the truth as she fears a remedy she gave to the pregnant young woman might have killed her, Adelaide ignores the elders and her husband to investigate the wrongful death.


This is a superb nineteenth century amateur sleuth mystery that brings to life the rigid Separatist community that expects full adherence to the edicts.  Adelaide is a superb protagonist as her conscience to learn the truth battles with her desire to adhere to the sect’s rules; in some ways her inquiry turns this refreshing Americana into a coming of age tale.


Harriet Klausner

Run the Risk-Lori Foster

August 29, 2012

Run the Risk

Lori Foster

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780373776955


Two years ago, Police Detective Logan Riske’s best friend Jack Carmin was murdered.  The cop suspects’ club owner Morton Andrews was involved with the hit but the witness Rowdy Yates vanished.  However, as his partner warns him about his obsession, Logan locates Rowdy’s mousy sister Pepper though she uses the surname Meeks.  Musing about her he assumes her brother has turned her into a recluse while ironically she believes her sibling has protected her at risk to his life.


Logan goes undercover as Pepper’s construction worker neighbor Stark.  He persuades her to go out to dinner with him as he hopes to use her to get to her hidden sibling.  However, Logan is taken aback with his attraction to a reluctant Pepper who prefers to be left alone though she feels the same desires as he does. 


The first Love Undercover romantic suspense is an enjoyable thriller as the sexy undercover cop and the damsel in distress hiding her body and herself fall in love.  The romance is fascinating, but it is the powerful police procedural subplot that grips readers throughout.


Harriet Klausner

They Disappeared-Rick Mofina

August 29, 2012

They Disappeared

Rick Mofina

Mira, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313816


Montana mechanic Jeff and Sarah Griffin, accompanied by their tweener son Cole, go on vacation in Manhattan.  In Times Square, Jeff enters a shop to buy batteries while his wife and child wait outside.  After he completes his purchase he goes to join his family, but they are gone.  He searches frantically the stores in the area, but fails to find them.


A desperate Jeff goes to the police whose first inclination is the duo are okay and will see him later and second and only other thought if not he harmed his wife and son.  Not willing to wait around, Jeff, feeling guilty over his previous thoughts of divorce, begins a frantic search for his family that leads him into the part of the city that tourists never visit.


This is an exhilarating thriller that never allows the reader a moment of respite as one twist leads to another as the clock ticks.  Fans will root for this everyman to defeat the dregs of society as Rick Mofina provides a gripping taut tale summed up aptly by the title.


Harriet Klausner

Mixed Signals-Jane Tesh

August 29, 2012

Mixed Signals

Jane Tesh

Poisoned Pen, Oct 2 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464200618


In Parkland, North Carolina, the two house mates, private investigator David Randall and psychic Camden, come home when the latter goes over to say hello to their neighbor Jared Hunter.  Camden finds him stabbed to death while David calls the cops.  The police suspect David’s client Boyd Taylor killed Jared.


Soon after discovering the body Camden has flashbacks to the murder, but Boyd is not included in what he envisions.  David learns that Jared and Bert Galvan the son of the Parkland Herald editor, were involved in a break-in at the Parkland Museum of History.  Meanwhile the Parkland Avenger is a failing fool in which the Super Hero Society of Parkland insists this bumbler is not one of them. 


The latest entertaining Grace Street investigation (see Stolen Hearts) is an engaging cozy that has too many eccentric characters making it difficult to keep track of the several subplots.  The narrator Randall is a fascinating protagonist as he works the whodunit and sees Kary while fearing his mom’s interrogation over the death of his daughter.  Fans will enjoy this zany regional cozy as Christmas arrives in Parkland.


Harriet Klausner

Killing the Emperors-Ruth Dudley Edwards

August 29, 2012

Killing the Emperors:

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Poisoned Pen, Oct 2 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9781590586389


Irate Russian business mogul Oleg Sarkovsky knows the London art world betrayed him and he seeks vengeance for his foolish purchases based on expert advice.  He begins his vendetta with a string of abductions of those he holds culpable for his mistakes to include kidnapping Baroness Ida “Jack” Troutbeck, Tate galleries director Sir Nicholas Serota, teacher Dr. Hortense Wilde, and artists Anastasia Holliday, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.


The art world panics out of fear of being the next snatched or worse not being the next victim.  While the culprit is silent on his or her demands except for the business of the kidnappings, the realization by the impacted shallow community is that those abducted all defended the conceptual art school.  Meanwhile mystery writer Robert Amiss investigates the kidnappings with the goal of rescuing Jack. 


The latest Baroness Jack Troutbeck and Robert Amiss Series (see Ten Lords A-Leaping) is a super satire that mocks conceptual art as “rubbish” and its defenders as “nihilistic” con artists.  Using real persona alongside fictional characters enhances a fabulous lampooning of the world of art.


Harriet Klausner

The Other Woman-Hank Phillippi Ryan

August 29, 2012

The Other Woman

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Forge, Sep 4 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765332578


In Boston Channel 11 fired investigative reporter Jane Ryland when she refused to reveal the source of a story in court that led to grocery business mogul Arthur Vick suing and winning a million dollars from the station for libel.  Jane knows that Vick broke his promises to call-girl Sellica Darden, who since vanished.


Boston Register city editor Alex Wyatt hires Ryland and assigns her to interview Moira Lassiter, wife of the former governor Owen who is running for the US Senate.  Moira avoids the media using campaign experts Trevor Kiernan and Rory Maitland as blockers.  When Jane finally gets Moira to chat, what she tells the reporter is a shocker; as she believes her husband is cheating on her.  Campaign volunteer Kenna Wilkes and groupie Holly Neff have diverse plans for Owen and his past indiscretions surface.  Meanwhile Police Detective Jake Brogan feels a serial killer targeting young women has surfaced when a second corpse near a bridge is found.


The first Jane Ryland investigation is an exciting thriller with plenty of villains (not all deadly) for the reporter and the cop to deal with.  Fast-paced there is plenty going on in the several subplots that can become overwhelming.  Still fans will enjoy Charlotte “Charlie” McNally’s journalist peer taking center stage in this action-packed tale.


Harriet Klausner

Fall from Grace-Wayne Arthurson

August 29, 2012

Fall from Grace

Wayne Arthurson

Forge, Aug 7 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765324191


Canadian Leo Desroches knows his gambling led to his wife leaving with their kids.  He knows the alcohol costs him jobs.  Now he knows he got the Aboriginal Issues reporter position in Edmonton because of his mom the Cree and plans to keep it by avoiding his self-destructive behavior.


His editor assigns him to cover the homicide of a Native-Canadian prostitute strangled to death in an Alberta wheat field.  He completes his article, which causes a stir.  Leo follows up and soon concludes a serial killer is on the loose murdering Native-Canadian prostitutes who society prefers to be forgotten and the cops failed to connect the homicidal dots.  Desroches’ inquiry leads him to the Edmonton Police Service; only to have several cops abduct Leo.


Desroches is a fabulous protagonist who is a caring person wanting to do the right thing; but loses the battle to his addicted other side.  The whodunit is well written as readers obtain a slice of life in Alberta.  However, this is Desroches’ story as he snatches defeat from victory every time he veers towards success.


Harriet Klausner

Dead Peasants-Larry D. Thompson

August 29, 2012

Dead Peasants

Larry D. Thompson

Dunne, Oct 2 2012, $25.99

ISBN 9781250009494


In Beaumont, Texas, after winning an enormous wrongful death civil suit for three families of dead refinery workers, attorney Jack Bryant retires.  He plans to spend time with his son J.D. an ex-marine who is a walk-on trying to make the nationally ranked TCU football team, and to do pro bona legal services for the poor in Fort Worth.


The “Boss” hires a hit man to kill several former employees, but make it look like accidents.  Meanwhile Widow June Davis shows Jack an exorbitant insurance check made out to her late husband’s employer.  She explains that the payoff is exponentially greater than what her spouse could have made at the auto dealership in a booming economy.  Jack accepts June as a client as he files in civil court for her to collect the life insurance money.


The murder for insurance money of “Dead Peasant” is an engaging legal thriller with a powerful underlying concept.  The fast-paced storyline is at its best when the focuses are on insurance practices or in the courtroom.  However, Jack spends too much time as a detective, which detracts from an otherwise intriguing tale.


Harriet Klausner

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy-Susan Elia MacNeal

August 29, 2012

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy

Susan Elia MacNeal

Bantam, Oct 16 2012, $15.00

ISBN 9780553593624


Following the Battle of Britain, the country remains on alert anticipating a blitzkrieg invasion.  In that fearful atmosphere, American expatriate Maggie Hope left her position as Mr. Churchill’s Secretary to become an MI5 agent in training though she knows her superiors, peers and instructors consider espionage a man’s job in spite of her being one of the best code-breakers.


Her first assignment annoys Maggie as she expected to head to the continent not Windsor Castle where she goes undercover as fourteen year old Princess Elizabeth’s math tutor.  However, instead of ennui, Maggie finds the castle finds a disturbing one as she investigates a murder that leads to a possible traitorous conspiracy reaching high in the royal family


The second Maggie Hope WWII mystery (see Mr. Churchill’s Secretary) is an entertaining whodunit that brings to life Windsor Castle and England during the war.  Maggie is a superb heroine as she begins to realize the scope of sedition and knows if she fails the Battle of Britain will have been lost at Windsor.  The storyline starts slow while the cast is introduced; but once that is done Princess Elizabeth’s Spy turns into a fabulous thriller.


Harriet Klausner