Archive for August, 2012

Falling Glass-Adrian McKinty

August 29, 2012

Falling Glass

Adrian McKinty

Serpent’s Tail, Oct 9 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781846687839

 

Killian the Irish traveller enforcer retires from his debt collecting and finding missing people because his is a young person’s game and not that of a forty years old male whose body reminds him his DNA is noted for reducing the average life span.  Still he is highly respected for keeping the mess minimal as he always tried to use his head and not his weapons to complete the task effectively. 

 

However, following the purchase of two expensive apartments, Killian needs money.  He accepts affluent Irish businessman Richard Coulter’s offer of $500,000 to find his ex-wife Rachel and the two children hiding in Northern Ireland.  The fee is exorbitant so Killian concludes his client hides his real purpose.  Unbeknownst to Killian, Coulter has doubled down by hiring a professional who kills first.

 

This is an exhilarating noir starring a brave antihero.  The fast-paced storyline never slows down as the audience wonders what Killian will do when he meets Rachel and the kids especially since he expects Coulter has a dark outcome planned.  The Russian hit man adds suspense while there is also amusing asides and Michael Forsythe (see the “Dead” trilogy) gets the Life game started.  Readers will enjoy this action-packed noir anticipating a high noon showdown in Northern Ireland and a stunning coda.

 

Harriet Klausner

Postcards from the Dead-Laura Childs

August 26, 2012

Postcards from the Dead

Laura Childs

Berkley Prime Crime, Oct 2 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780425252758

 

The Loomis krewe parade marches down the French Quarter during Mardi Gras.  TV reporter Kimber Breeze interviews people for the event at the Hotel Tremain.  Next on line is Carmela Bertrand, owner of the Memory Mine scrapbooking store, who never gets her fifteen seconds of fame.  Someone left Kimber hanging off the hotel balcony with a cord around her neck.

 

Carmela failed to neither witness the actual murder nor see who the killer is.  Soon afterwards postcards signed by Kimber arrive at the Memory Mine.  She talks with her best friend Ava Gruiex, the owner of Juju Voodoo, about the situation; they agree a killer is trying to frighten her just in case she can identify the culprit.  Having solved several mysteries (see Fiber & Brimstone and Death Swatch) together, the BFFs ignore the threat and investigate.

 

The latest Scrapbooking amateur sleuth is a wonderful whodunit as this time the heroine vows to not investigate but feels compelled when the postcards start coming.  Carmela and Ava are brave buddies who team up in search of the person sending Postcards From The Dead.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Jewels of Paradise-Donna Leon

August 26, 2012

The Jewels of Paradise

Donna Leon

Atlantic Monthly, Oct 2 2012, $25.00

ISBN 9780802120649

 

Opera expert Dr. Caterina Pellegrini has been an assistant professor at a Manchester, England conservatory for four years where she teaches music theory to the uninterested.  Though she hated the ugly city and her students, Caterina enjoyed her research into Baroque music. 

 

However, she accepts an assignment in her hometown Venice to catalogue the contents of three-century old trunks allegedly containing items owned by baroque composer Bishop Agostino Steffani and determine who the rightful owner is.  His descendants are vultures greedily competing for who owns and sells whatever is found.   

 

While Commissario Guido Brunetti takes a respite, Donna Leon introduces readers to another interesting Venusian Dr. Caterina Pellegrini who in her thirties struggles with what she wants out of life.  The storyline is filled with plenty of fascinating historical tidbits about Agostino Steffani and the Baroque music era that is fun to read but distracts from the ownership mystery.  Although there is too much late seventeenth century-early eighteenth century information and contains an improbable climax, The Jewels Of Paradise remains overall an intriguing thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Death on Telegraph Hill-Shirley Tallman

August 26, 2012

Death on Telegraph Hill

Shirley Tallman

Minotaur, Oct 16 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9781250010438

 

In 1882 lawyer Sarah Woolson and her brother crime reporter Samuel attend a reception for visiting Irish poet Oscar Wilde the champion of the Aesthetic Movement at the Telegraph Hill home of San Francisco Weekly owner Mortimer Remy.  After an interruption by a rival editor and a long winded talk by Wilde, the siblings leave.  However, on the way home, a gun man shoots Samuel.

 

Irate at the near death of Samuel though she also realizes she may have been the target, Sarah investigates with the goal to expose the shooter; her family is appalled as they fear for her safety from this unknown assassin.  At the same time the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hires Sarah to represent them in a law suit to prevent a wealthy Mexican with city backing from building a bull-fighting ring

 

The latest Sarah Woolson Mystery (see Scandal on Rincon Hill) is a fabulous historical whodunit starring a brave woman whose law practice is struggling as few clients want a female attorney.  The storyline contains a strong amateur sleuth investigation and a solid legal case as Shirley Tallman provides a deep look at 1880s San Francisco.

 

Harrier Klausner

Bone Shadows-Christopher Valen

August 26, 2012

Bone Shadows

Christopher Valen

Conquill Press, Oct 1 2012, $15.00

http://www.conquillpress.com

ISBN: 9780980001754

 

St. Paul Homicide Detective John Santana investigates the apparent downing death in the Mississippi River due to alcohol of twenty-three year old Scott Rafferty.  John interviews the victim’s parents (narcotics cop Hank Rafferty and Judge Rachel Harper) and girlfriend Kimberly Dalton, daughter of a cop; as well as psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Roth who the deceased Iraqi vet was seeing for PTSD. 

 

All evidence points to a tragic accident, but freelance award winning but defrocked reporter Jack Brody offers him a counter theory in which Scott was murdered by a serial killer working the I-94 corridor.  Diligently John follows up on Brody’s data with an interview of the parents of a drowning victim who send him to a private investigator Jordan Parrish they hired as they believe their son was murdered.  Parrish tells John she thinks so also.  FBI Agent Ed Kincaid warns John to back off or else.  Having faced horror when he lived in Columbia, John refuses to quit as increasingly he believes Parrish and Brody are right.

 

The latest John Santana police procedural (see White Tombs, The Black Minute and Bad Weeds Never Die) is a superb detective tale starring a dedicated cop and a strong support cast; some of whom want him to take down a killer and others who hinder his inquiry.  The storyline is fast-paced but provides a deep methodical investigation.  With a romantic subplot that blends nicely into the thrilling tour of the Twin Cities, fans will appreciate Bone Shadows as Christopher Valen provides another great entry in a super series.

 

Harriet Klausner

Powdered Peril-Jessica Beck

August 26, 2012

Powdered Peril

Jessica Beck

St. Martin’s, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250001061

 

In April Springs, North Carolina, Grace Gauge visits her BFF Suzanne Hart to tell her she ended her relationship with Peter Morgan as she claims he cheated on her.  Early the next morning Suzanne arrives at her Donut Hearts donut shop only to find yellow paint splattered on her front window and bricks; the paint bucket nearby.  She calls the police.  Suzanne notices footprints in the paint and follows them to nowhere.  ASPD Officer Grant arrives.

 

Chief Martin, who is seeing Suzanne’s mom, informs her they caught the vandal, Peter Morgan, but someone murdered him.  With Grace as a prime suspect especially after her slapping down the victim and his apparent retaliation via her BFF, she and Suzanne investigate the homicide only to find several people besides cuckolded females with motives for wanting Peter dead.

 

The latest Donut Shop Mystery (see Drop Dead Chocolate, Killer Crullers and Sinister Sprinkles) is an engaging amateur sleuth as the intrepid duo investigates who murdered the sleaze.  The storyline is an enjoyable regional culinary cozy due to the small-town relationships including the donate maker adjusting to a new assistant.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Warlord of Willow Ridge-Gary Phillips

August 26, 2012

The Warlord of Willow Ridge

Gary Phillips

Dafina/Kensington, Oct 2 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9780758203854

 

Heading to San Francisco, O’Connor’s bike dies near Willow Ridge.  With no funds, he decides to hide in Willow Ridge, which once was an affluent gated community, but now has many abandoned vacant houses, some trapped families and several low life punks like the Mas Treces gang who established a meth lab there.  He squats in one of the buildings.

 

Connie begins to clean up his temporary abode, but soon gets involved with the residents when he confronts gangbangers and thugs.  To his shock he enjoys his time in the burb and begins an affair with Gwen Gardner.  However as the Mas Treces and their rivals the Vandal Viking fight for Willow Creek lab rights, Connie finds himself protecting his neighbors.

 

The Warlord of Willow Ridge is an exciting thriller as a noirish loner knows it is time to pull a sting and make like the wind, but finds he is reluctant to leave the burbs.  Fast-paced, readers will enjoy Connie kicking bad dude butt though like him wonder why he stays in a place he never belonged to before. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The Eyes of Lira Kazan-Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon

August 26, 2012

The Eyes of Lira Kazan

Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon

Bitter Lemon, Sep 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781908524003

 

In Abuja, Nigeria, following the assassination of his friend and colleague Uche, fraud squad investigator Nwanko needs to get his wife and children out of the country.  The British government offer to take him and his family safely away if Nwanko agrees to say nothing about the corrupt Nigerian government he has been investigating for the last few years.  Realizing his choice is death for his loved ones and himself or keeping quiet, he agrees to leave Lagos pretending he knows nothing

 

In Nice, the wife of an affluent Faroese banker drowns.  The police insist an accident occurred but junior prosecutor Felix thinks otherwise. 

 

In St. Petersburg, Lira the investigative journalist understands the hazards of her pursuits and especially fears for the safety of her child.  However she diligently probes the business dealings of wealthy Russian Louchsky

 

These three dedicated individuals will converge in London as Nigerian oil and undercover operatives target them for elimination.

 

The Eyes of Lira Kazan is a powerful satire that mocks the marriage between dirty money and “values” spouting politicians.  Using hyperbole, Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon insist the affluent silence the crusaders by threatening innocent family members.  However the keys to this engaging crime thriller is how haunted Nwanko, Felix and Lira feel about the potential assaults on their loved ones from mercenaries and untruth spins about each of them by the dirty money crowd.

 

Harriet Klausner

Sleep No More-Iris Johansen

August 26, 2012

Sleep No More

Iris Johansen

St. Martin’s, Oct 16 2012, $27.99

ISBN 9780312651244

 

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan suffered for years with nightmares involving what happened to her beloved daughter (see Eve trilogy – Eve, Quinn and Bonnie).  Recently, Eve ’s dark dreams focus on fleeing from a stalker in a forest.  Her mom Sandra, asking for her help, informs her daughter that Eve’s half-sister, Beth Avery recently escaped from a Santa Barbara mental hospital after years of institution..

 

Stunned as she was unaware of the existence of her half-sibling, Eve and her lover Atlanta PD detective Joe Quinn travel to Santa Barbara seeking to find Beth.  In California, profiler Kendra Michaels assists Joe and Eve.  At the same time as Beth begins regains memories that drugs buried for years, a professional killer sent by a powerful individual stalks her.

 

The fourteenth engaging Eve Duncan thriller is an exciting tale with an intriguing premise of the heroine meeting her previously unknown sister in trouble in a dream.  Fast-paced from the first nightmare to the final confrontation, series fans will enjoy the perils of brave Beth as Eve and Joe helped by Kendra seek to protect her in trouble half-sibling.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Geneva Trap-Stella Rimington

August 26, 2012

The Geneva Trap

Stella Rimington

Bloomsbury USA, Oct 2 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781608198726

 

At a Swiss tennis club Russian agent Alexander Petrov states to British operative Russell White he needs to speak with “Lees Carlisle.”  The Russian also says no one else before leaving.  Russell tells what happened to Terry Castle at the M16 station in the British Embassy in Geneva.  They agree that Petrov, once listed as Second Secretary, Soviet Trade Delegation, wants to make contact.  In Vauxhall Geoffrey Fane knows the Russian wants to speak with Liz Carlisle of MI5.

 

Liz recalls meeting Petrov years ago; she agrees to see him in Geneva.  Fearing Cold War II, he warns her of a cyber-attack on software controlling unmanned drones.  He further insists his country is not behind the assault but is unaware who is.  Since the drones are a joint venture with the Americans, the British Intel warns London based CIA chief Andy Bokus.

 

The latest Liz Carlyle espionage thriller (see Rip Tide) is a great action-packed tale as the protagonist and her unit search for a traitor within and the enemy without in order to prevent a new Cold War that could turn hot rather quickly.  Although a personal scenario adds depth to Liz’ personal side, this also detracts from what spy aficionados want: an otherwise fantastic thrilling international espionage saga.

 

Harriet Klausner