Archive for October, 2012

Hook and Shoot-Jeremy Brown

October 24, 2012

Hook and Shoot

Jeremy Brown

Medallion, Oct 5 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781605425214

Aaron “Woodshed” Wallace expects to receive a contract offer from Warrior Incorporated President Banzai Eddie Takanori, but in spite of his recent fight inside the cage in Burbank (see Suckerpunch), none has occurred.  Woodshed and his trainer Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Gil Hobbes are frustrated as his performance warrants a contract as Eddie refuses to speak with the fighter.

Seemingly out of the blue, Eddie arrives at the gym to talk with Woodshed.  He tells the warrior that he will receive a special contract that includes his bodyguard protecting him from the ruthless Japanese Yakuza mob who wants his flesh due to the results of Woodshed’s last combat.  Additionally he will go into the ring against a deadly Asian champion Zombi, no one stateside heard of.

Round two continues the super action-packed noir starring a charismatic MMA fighter with anger management issues and a strong retinue in his corner.  Woodshed is a fascinating warrior as he spends two weeks inside of a metaphysical cage trying to survive Eddie’s latest lethal tricks.  Readers will root for Woodshed against Zombi, the Japanese mob and his worst adversary his promoter.

Harriet Klausner

Let It Sew-Elizabeth Lynn Casey

October 22, 2012

Let It Sew

Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Berkley Prime Crime, Nov 6 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251713

 

Tori Sinclair had no friends or any place to call home until she became the Sweet Briar, South Carolina librarian as the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle welcomed her as one of them and she now has a fiancé.  The ladies grieve the recent death of one of their founding sisters Charlotte Devereaux who Tori never met as the elderly woman suffered from Alzheimer’s for several years.  Adding to their dismay is that Councilman Jordon persuaded the council to let his girlfriend Maime Wellington run the town’s Christmas Decorating Committee instead of the Sewing Circle member Margaret Louise.

 

Tori understands that Charlotte’s husband Parker left her for another woman, her older son Brian is mentally challenged and her younger son Ethan is a greedy loser.  Charlotte’s personal nurse Frieda Taylor also mourns her patient’s death.  She mentions how much Charlotte enjoyed sketching and gives one depicting the library to Tori.  When she and Debbie look at other sketches, Tori sees a marking on a sketch that makes her wonder if a body is buried there as Charlotte accurately drew still life.  They soon learn that Parker did not leave his wife.  Tori and Sewing Circle investigate who wanted Parker dead and why.

 

The latest Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (see Dangerous Alterations and Reap What You Sew) is an engaging holiday amateur sleuth filled with twists and red herrings.  The storyline starts slow as the heroine and readers meet the late Charlotte and the antics of the Christmas Decorating Committee.  Fans will enjoy following Tori and posse make inquiries into who murdered Parker only to uncover more deadly dirt.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Ice Maiden Cometh Not-Alistair Boyle

October 22, 2012

The Ice Maiden Cometh Not

Alistair Boyle

Allen A. Knoll, Nov 15 2012, $23.00

ISBN 9781888310092

 

In Southern California heart surgeon Dr. Chester Kulp hires investigator Gil Yates to look into the death of his son-in-law Sandy Straus.  Arrogant Chester pays Gil $10,000 to determine whether Sandy committed suicide when he fell or jumped from a roof in Muhlenheim, Pennsylvania.  Though he detests the pompous doctor as a pretentious a-hole and has a fear of flying, the money is too good to ignore so he accepts the case.

 

In Muhlenheim, Gil meets and is taken aback by the grieving widow and Chester’s daughter Ginger as she is drop dead gorgeous.  The circumstantial evidence affirmed by the cops and a local PI point towards likable Sandy killing himself.  Only Ginger and her dad insist her late spouse would never harm anyone especially himself.  To prove this Gil dugs deeper into the life of the victim.

 

The latest Gil Yates investigation (see They Fall Hard and What Now, King Lear?) is an entertaining at time humorous middle boiled noir as the protagonist is a bull in the Muhlenheim “china shop”.  The lighthearted storyline is fast-paced but thin.  Still fans will enjoy Gil’s antics starting with almost soiling his pants on the plane and his amusing “Shermanesque” march through Muhlenheim society.

 

Harriet Klausner

Femme-Bill Pronzini

October 22, 2012

Femme

Bill Pronzini

Cemetery Dance, Nov 2012, $19.99  

www.cemeterydance.com

ISBN 9781587672675

 

The Unnamed Detective has been a private investigator for many years but never met a femme fatale except in fiction or the movies like The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity.  That is until his bail bondsman friend Abe Melikian introduces Nameless to Cory Beckett, who meets the definition of femme fatale adding new curves to the “species”.  Nameless muses he spent more time as a detective than the twenty-eight years old Femme Fatale has breathed.

 

Melikian hires Nameless to find Beckett’s younger brother Kenneth who jumped bail.  Kenneth has been charged with stealing a $20,000 diamond necklace from the alcoholic wife of his employer San Francisco union leader Andrew Vorhees.  Nameless begins his search for the jumper while Cory uses her wiles to influence him.

 

Although he remains the Unnamed Detective in this entry, he is no longer Nameless (see Hellbox).  Cory makes the tale entertaining as she lives up to the opening line: “Femme Fatale. French for deadly woman” though her actions are somewhat typical of her literary and film sisters.  The storyline is fast-paced as Nameless works a case in which Cory Beckett’s weapon of choice is sex.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Question of Identity:Susan Hill

October 20, 2012

A Question of Identity:

Susan Hill

Overlook, Nov 8 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781468300505

 

In 2002 a Yorkshire jury found Alan Keyes not guilty of murdering three elderly women (Carrie Millicent Gage, Sara Pearce and Agnes Daphne Kavanagh) in 2001.in Yorkshire.  The verdict angers many people who demand vigilante justice.  To keep the mob from tearing his limbs apart, Keyes is given a new identity.

 

In 2012, someone murders octogenarian Elinor Sanders in her home on Lafferton.  The evidence points to the return of Alan Keyes as the M.O. is similar to what happened to the three victims in 2002.  Police detective Simon Serrailler leads the investigation as the psychopath kills two more elderly people.

 

The latest Simon Serrailler police procedural (see The Betrayal of Trust) is a fabulous whodunit that is incredible when following the investigation or centering on Keyes (circa 2002 and 2012).  When the storyline focuses on Simon’s affair with married Rachel it adds depth to understanding the protagonist but detracts from an otherwise great mystery.

 

Harriet Klausner

Skulduggery-Carolyn Hart

October 20, 2012

Skulduggery

Carolyn Hart

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Nov 13 2012, $13.95

ISBN 9781616147068

 

In 1980s San Francisco Jimmy Lee asks physical anthropologist Dr. Ellen Christie to come with him to Chinatown.  In a basement, Jimmy shows Ellen a strange looking skull.  Stunned Ellen identifies the fossil as part of the “Peking Man” group.  Two thugs arrive and accost Jimmy.  He and the rare skull vanish.

 

Ellen and Jimmy’s brother Dan investigate where Jimmy may have found the Peking Man unaware that the skull and other bones were shipped from China in 1941 to keep put of the hands of the Japanese army.  As the pair begins to unravel Jimmy’s recent activities, others seeking the precious find will kill anyone in their way.

 

This is a reprint of an exciting amateur sleuth mystery that superbly uses the premise of the missing Peking Man bones as the heart of this mystery.  Fast-paced from the moment Jimmy shows his treasure to Ellen, readers also obtain insight into the complex people of Chinatown.  Fans will enjoy Skulduggery.

 

Harriet Klausner

The 13: Fall-Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

October 20, 2012

The 13: Fall

Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

Barbour, Sep 1 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781616267698

 

In 2025, The Prophet begins sending warnings to the President of the United States that the Lord’s reckoning of judgment day is coming if the country does not return to the true faith.  Concerned about national security as the messages threaten the country with terrorism but also fearing the source may be God, POTUS assigns an elite team to capture The Prophet.  CIA agent Jon Keene blames God for his wife’s death, FBI computer hacker Megan Taylor is a devout Christian; and former special ops warrior Bozwell Hamilton has become a pastor.

 

At the same the trio searches for The Prophet, they struggle to form into a viable group as Keene ridicules the notion of Godly intervention labeling the prophet as a terrorist; while Boz somewhat embraces the concept of heavenly fire and brimstone on a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.  At the same time, a high ranking official betrays the country by enabling the Chinese to enter America allegedly to drill for oil.  

 

The first installment of The 13 is an exhilarating fast-paced suspense thriller in which trends since 9/11 are extrapolated one decade into the future.  As the lead threesome go through the phases of Tuckman’s Model of Group Development especially with their debates re God, the readers will want to know whether the Prophet is the Lord’s messenger or a terrorist. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Kinsmen-

October 19, 2012

Kinsmen

Bill Pronzini

Cemetery Dance, Nov 2012, $19.99 

http://www.cemeterydance.com

ISBN 9781587672668

 

Student Allison Shay, accompanied by her boyfriend was driving from the University of Oregon to her home in the Bay area, but never made it.  Allison’s frantic mom Marian hires the Nameless detective to find her daughter whose last known location is the Northern Comfort Cabins in Creekside, California; population 112 where the car broke down.  Marian tells the sleuth she knows nothing about the boyfriend. 

 

Nameless visits the cabins where he questions the proprietor Mr. Bartholomew about Allison.  The owner tells the detective what he told the sheriff that he never saw the boyfriend nor when the couple left.  Taking the same room that Allison occupied, Nameless, fearing the worst, questions the locals who at best are uncooperative and overtly hostile as the San Francisco detective has entered rustic hell.

 

This is an enjoyable reprint of a 1993 novella that focuses on an insular small population in which hate crimes are ignored by the community (think of the BSA and PSU scandals).  Fast-paced with Nameless risking his life for the truth, the small-town cast never quite gels beyond the James Dickey Deliverance stereotypical cloning.  Still this is a taut entry as the protagonist increasingly fears what he will have to do once he affirms his dreaded belief.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Prodigal Son-Colleen McCullough

October 19, 2012

The Prodigal Son

Colleen McCullough

Simon & Schuster, Nov 6 2012, $26.00

ISBN 9781451668759

 

In 1969 biochemist Dr. Millie Hunter informs her father Medical Examiner Dr. Patrick O’Donnell that someone stole tetrodotoxin blowfish extraction from their lab.  John Hall traveled from Oregon to Holloman, Connecticut to claim his inheritance.  At a family gala welcoming him, he dies from an injection of blowfish toxic extraction, a poison that kills almost instantly and leaves no trace.  One day later the death of Professor Thomas Tarleton Tinkerman by poison occurs.

 

Holloman Police Captain Carmine Delmonico leads the investigation in which Millie’s husband Dr. Jim Hunter had the means and opportunities (to the victims and to the toxin) though he finds no motive.  Carmine believes the husband of his second cousin is innocent.  He looks at those who lost a fortune when Hall came to New England, the Chubbs University faculty members who gain with the professor’s death, and even a hate crime to destroy the black and white couple Millie and Jim.  However, no one seems to have a motive that ties the murders of the scholar and the heir.

 

The latest Delmonico 1960s police procedural (see Naked Cruelty and Too Many Murders) is an engaging historical investigative tale.  The set-up is strong as there are plenty of suspects, who may have committed one of the homicides, but none appear to have motive for multiple murders; however, the rationale once revealed seems weak at best.  Still fans will enjoy this 1969 Connecticut mystery.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Cold Cold Ground-Adrian McKinty

October 18, 2012

The Cold Cold Ground

Adrian McKinty

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Oct 22 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781616147167

 

In 1981 in Belfast, a mutilated corpse is found in a busted up heap.  The police assume he is another victim of the Troubles.  However, some evidence surfaces that have the cops reconsidering their initial conclusion.  They fear a serial killer using the Troubles as a disguise is torturing and murdering gays.  Police detective Sean Duffy, a pariah as a Catholic, leads the investigation.

 

Duffy soon believes a woman who allegedly committed suicide by hanging may have been murdered.  He also believes the IRA is involved with the killings as one of their top officers is a victim.  However, his superior ridicules him while refusing to hear what Duffy believes because his boss is Protestant and he is Catholic.  At the same time, the tension mounts stratospherically when IRA hunger strike prisoners begin dying in Maze Prison

 

Ostensibly a Northern Ireland police procedural, The Cold Cold Ground is much more as the audience obtains a close look at life in Ulster during the Troubles.  Sean is terrific as a man with deep convictions residing in two worlds yet disdained by both.  Fans will relish touring Belfast in 1981 with Sean as our guide.

 

Harriet Klausner