Archive for August, 2012

Iced Chiffon-Duffy Brown

August 24, 2012

Iced Chiffon

Duffy Brown

Berkley Prime Crime, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251607


In Savannah, Georgia, due to a prenup Hollis Beaumont keeps everything when he and his now ex-wife Reagan Summerside divorce.  However, he agrees to let her keep their fixer upper Victorian Cherry House.  A realtor Hollis turns to Cupcake for comfort while Reagan and her Aunt Kiki open up the Prissy Fox consignment shop out of her house. 


Reagan “borrows” Hollis’ Lexus to deliver a fountain to Raylene Carter.  However, Kiki opens the trunk only to find too much “junk” inside as the corpse of Cupcake occupies the space.  The police suspect Hollis killed her following a public argument.  Needing money for his legal defense, Hollis informs Reagan he needs to sell Cherry House.  Reagan refuses to give up Cherry House so believing his insistence that he is innocent, she investigates the murder of Cupcake.


The first entertaining Consignment Shop Mystery is a humorous amateur sleuth tale +

due to the wry asides by the heroine.  The investigation is fun due to Reagan and her “posse” as they find several people wanting to crush Cupcake.  Though Reagan’s logic to look into the murder seems weak, fans will enjoy touring Savannah with Reagan as a guide as Duffy Brown writes a lighthearted amusing amateur sleuth.


Harriet Klausner

Lightning’s Child-Michael A. Smith

August 24, 2012

Lightning’s Child

Michael A. Smith

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Apr 30 2012, $17.50

ISBN: 9781466378094


At GeneWorks in suburban Maryland, Director of Research geneticist Diane Kowalski and her team make a major breakthrough on dramatically increasing the life span of humans.  However, someone(s) destroyed her experiments; placing the company at financial risk.  


Desperate to prevent anymore industrial sabotage, the firm hires private investigator Jack O’Sullivan to investigate.  As she gives him a tour, he struggles to focus on the assignment as images of making love to her keeps intruding on his thoughts.  Jack and Diane track clues that take them to GJ Mendelsohn Research Laboratories as they find proof that founder Thomas Winthrop and his family seem to have applied the life span secrets but share it with no one.


This is a superb complex DNA thriller in which Michael A. Smith explores societal aspects of longevity of a family who lives several generations beyond the norm; in other words being able to play with your great-great grandchild.  The intelligent storyline is filled with twisting action starting with a car accident that severs part of Thomas’ leg and a complicated romance as the past and the future merge with increasing complexities for those in the middle.  With a nod to Tuck Everlasting, readers will appreciate this strong character driven tale as taking a drink from the Fountain of Youth is only the beginning.


Harriet Klausner

Return to Atlantis-Andy McDermott

August 24, 2012

Return to Atlantis

Andy McDermott

Bantam, Aug 28 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780553593662


Archaeologist Nina Wilde and her husband former SAS soldier Eddie Chase have three interrelated ancient statues that will release energy not seen since before the fall of Atlantis.  However, nothing goes right as the statues are stolen.  Soon afterward Nina witnesses Chase killing her friend INTERPOL Cultural Property Crime Unit chief Ankit Jindal in Peru. 


On the one year anniversary of their marriage, Nina wonders how Chase is doing as he vanished three months ago after murdering Kit.  Her search for the stolen statues is her only relief from her depression.  At the same time, Eddie misses his wife, but knows he must prove his innocence and catch Kit’s real killer if he is to have a future with his beloved Nina.  He gets an anonymous tip that’s ends him to Japan; while she learns the statues were sold to a wealthy industrialist in Tokyo.  However, Chase realizes his true mission is to keep Nina safe as she has become the focus of some nasty souls.


This is an exhilarating over the top of Mount Kita thriller that originally was published as Temple of the Gods.  Chase and Wilde are on separate thrilling adventures with his to save his life and hers to save the planet.  Their merging in Japan speeds up the planetary doomsday countdown.  Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the latest Wilde-Chase escapades.


Harriet Klausner

The Aden Effect-Claude Berube

August 24, 2012

The Aden Effect

Claude Berube

Naval Institute Press, Oct 15 2012, $27.95

ISBN: 9781612511092


Newly appointed American Ambassador to Yemen, C.J. Sumner understands she has two objectives besides watching for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.  First she to negotiate with the Yemeni authorities to allow American companies to drill for oil off Socotra Island.  Second she needs to establish a cooperative team to include the local government and other interested nations to end piracy off on the Aden Sea south of Yemen and north of the Horn of Africa.  Madame Ambassador’s efforts on both fronts prove futile.  Sumner hires former US navy officer Connor Stark, who knows the area as a mercenary, as her defense attaché.  


Stark arranges a meeting between Yemeni shipping company CEO and the ruling family.  At the same time, American diplomatic security operative Damien Golzari investigates a death of a State Department employee’s son when he finds evidence of illegal khat drug sales in the states that tie to a shipping company in Yemen.  Sumner sanctions a humanitarian aid mission on Socotra, but pirates attack while Stark leads a counter attack.  Golzari and Stark soon realize there is a more powerful adversary behind the troubled Aden Sea.


This is an exciting naval thriller that showcases how difficult it is for USA to help the local nations bordering on the Aden Sea with their myriad of problems while also furthering American interests on the region.  The storyline is action-packed throughout, but goes hyperspeed when Golzari and Stark meet.  Although the key support cast lacks depth, fans will relish this deep look at Yemen.


Harriet Klausner

The Rendition-Albert Ashforth

August 24, 2012

The Rendition

Albert Ashforth

Oceanview, Oct 2 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781608090594


In 2007 in the Baltics, war between Serbia and Kosovo is heating up.  American intelligence officer Alex Klear enters Kosovo to abduct Ramush Nadaj; as the plan is to rendition the leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army.  The mission proves not fully planned as everything goes wrong ending with Klear captured and tortured by the KLA for two days before his partner Buck Romero retrieves him.


While Klear physically heals in Germany at an American military hospital, he decides his covert field days are over as he lost something during the hours of torture especially since his superiors who sent him in hastily hold him culpable.  Colonel Sylvia Frost recruits Klear with a do-over mission that will enable him to strike back at the KLA who haunt him and rendition Nadaj.  However, once again Klear faces lies as the KLA want him dead and the German police want him arrested for an alleged murder.


This is a great espionage thriller starring a terrific spy whose perseverance and diligence lead him to uncover a diabolical plot as Kosovo Independence Day nears.  Fast-paced from the opening failed rendition and never slowing down; fans will appreciate Klear’s escapades as he knows he is the pasty if the mission fails.


Harriet Klausner

The Bookseller-Mark Pryor

August 24, 2012

The Bookseller

Mark Pryor

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Oct 9 2012, $15.95

ISBN 9781616147082


In Paris, former FBI profiler Hugo Marston enjoys the City of Lights while working as the head of security at the American embassy.  However, while touring the city, his idyllic time ends when he watches in horror as someone with a gun abducts elderly book dealer Max Koche from the victim’s Seine bouquiniste.  Hugo becomes frustrated with the local gendarme who seems disinterested in attempting to rescue the kidnapped Max.


Not one to sit idly on the sidelines, the Texan expatriate investigates.  He obtains help from sort of retired CIA agent Tom Green and soon learns Max is not the first bookstall owner kidnapped.  Evidence mounts that the bouquinistes are victims of gang warfare as they become Seine floaters.  Hugo and journalist Claudia de Roussillon begin a romance that is in peril when he learns Max was a Nazi hunter with a stunning tie to Claudia’s father.


This is enjoyable French investigation in which Paris as seen through Hugo’s eyes comes to life.  Hugo is a solid hero though his inquiry may make him persona non grata and expelled from France.  Although the violent abductions and homicides are somewhat muted, the storyline is fast-paced from start to Hugo and Tom confronting their adversary who expects their visit.


Harriet Klausner

The Accomplice-Charles Robbins

August 24, 2012

The Accomplice

Charles Robbins

Dunne, Sep 4 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9781250010513


Henry Hatten was press secretary for Tyler when the latter lost the race for Governor of Iowa probably because the former failed to finish an unethical but needed assault.  The only moderate Republican running for the presidential nomination in a field of conservatives, Nebraska Senator Tom Peele hires Henry who knows Iowa, the first key state in the process.  Though spending time in Iowa is not enticing as Henry recalls someone telling him that if you have six months to live stay in Iowa as it will feel like ten years; still he thinks the charismatic Peele has a strong chance of winning. 


However, Henry soon learns of married Peele’s potentially fatal flaw: beautiful women.  On top of that Henry finds the candidate who allegedly adheres to his values and their election chairman act like many politicians corrupt and avaricious.  Soon all hell breaks out when a murder occurs with Henry stuck either holding the bag or covering the bag.


Timely with condemnation, the Accomplice is a delightful political thriller that enables the audience to observe what goes on behind the curtain on a major run for the White House.  Ethical politician seems like an oxymoron as even knowing to keep oneself clean fails to prevent scandalous, illegal and in this case murderous behavior from happening.  Purist Henry is superb as a sort of Forty Year Old Virgin surrounded by hedonist devils who ask not what they can do for their country – ask what their country can do for them.


Harriet Klausner

The Look of Love-Mary Jane Clark

August 23, 2012

The Look of Love

Mary Jane Clark

Avon, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061995576


“The Look Of Love.”  Daughter of the owner of the luxurious Elysium Spa Jillian Abernathy sends a Facebook message to Piper Donovan in which she says she saw the Glenna Brooks’ cake and wants to hire the professional cake decorator to do one for her wedding.  Piper accepts as she will spend a full paid trip in Southern California at a fabulous resort and have time to recover from the hurt that FBI Agent Jack Armstrong did to her.  Inside the exclusive spa, Jillian’s maid Eserpanza enjoys putting on the posh clothing her employer owns.  When she answers a door expecting another wedding gift for Jillian, a man tosses acid in her face.  Soon afterward she is murdered.  Others are also attacked and killed.  Though she knows better having done some dangerous sleuthing before (see To Have And To Kill), Piper investigates.


“The Bracelet.”  ‘Piper Donovan loves her brother Robert but loathes his wife Zara as he is kind and caring while she is selfish and avaricolus.  When a gold bracelet vanishes, evidence overwhelmingly condemns Zara as the thief.  Piper struggles between the cops and her family.


The Look of Love, as the second Piper amateur sleuth, is an enjoyable whodunit though the rapid fire changing of perspective (average chapter size is under 4 pages) is distracting especially when the three “papa bears” are front and centered.  The Bracelet is a super-fast pit stop short-short read in which Piper struggles with what is right and for whom.  In both cases, Piper is an engaging protagonist as she works on a cake, mending her broken heart and solving a mystery.


Harriet Klausner

Blood Sacrifice-Michael Lister

August 23, 2012

Blood Sacrifice

Michael Lister

Pulpwood Press, Oct 31 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9781888146967


After several bloody cases (see The Body and the Blood, Flesh and Blood, Power in the Blood and Blood of the Lamb) and the destruction of his marriage, prison chaplain John Jordan needs a breather.  The former cop is staying at St. Ann’s Abbey retreat center in Bridgeport, Florida Panhandle.  He sees police lights nearby and goes to help Chief Steve Taylor, a former deputy to John’s dad Potter County chief.  As everyone waits for Taylor, John interferes with the body proving the victim who he knew as Tommy Boy was not a floater.  Taylor lectures him and Jordon knows he erred.  Sister Abigail who has been counseling Jordon lectures him too.


Someone brutally murders Gulf Coast Paper Company heiress Tammy Taylor who was undergoing an exorcism conducted by the retreat’s Father Thomas Scott.  Increasingly Father Thomas looks guilty of the savage murder in which he insists demons inside the victim killed her.  Sister Abigail, believing he is innocent, asks John to investigate.  John assumes earthly matters involving the Gulf Coast Paper Company’s selling its property to developers is more likely the motive rather than demonic possession.


The latest John Jordon whodunit is a great investigative tale with several viable suspects including Father Thomas and Chief Taylor among others.  The storyline focuses on the conflict between hard core religious beliefs in demonic possession and hard core economic credo in developing one of the last pristine natural Florida areas.  Readers will appreciate Chaplin Jordan’s inquiry as the hero wonders whether Tammy is a Blood Sacrifice to the Christian God or capitalist god.


Harriet Klausner

Targets Of Deception-Jeffrey S. Stephens

August 23, 2012

Targets Of Deception

Jeffrey S. Stephens

Pocket, Sep 29 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451688672


Because the DC suits betrayed his field mission and allowed his team to die, agent Jordan Sandor left the CIA.  He since has become a journalist.  A friend from his operation days Dan Peters takes Sander to meet James Ryan to discuss a potentially nasty terrorism attack.  As they drive together in Upstate New York, two thugs shoot a trooper and Peters.  Sanders quick action saves his life and that of the wounded pair who are taken to a hospital.  He later learns that Ryan was tortured and murdered.


In New York, terrorist cell leader Rahmad is upset that witnesses live.  He assigns his best assassin to kill Sandor who is back in New York City and has Peter murdered.  Rahmad must clean up the mess before his boss CIA traitor Traiman learns of the snafu.  CIA suit Covington and FBI Agent Prescott argue over Sandor and Christine Frank the sister of Ryan who is actually James McHugh.  Sandor and Frank head to Florida seeking McHugh’s best friend Anthony Andrioli as increasingly it appears a new al-Qaeda assault sponsored by Traiman is pending.


This is a reprint of an exciting Sandor espionage thriller (see Targets of Opportunity and Targets of Deception).  The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the hero and his friend drive into danger and never slows down.  Although I had a problem with the constant switching between the names Sandor and Jordon, and Christine is never developed beyond female sidekick status, Targets Of Deception is an entertaining tale as Sandor trusts the company suits as much as he trusts al-Qaeda.


Harriet Klausner