Archive for March, 2013

The Paris Affair-Teresa Grant

March 31, 2013

The Paris Affair
Teresa Grant
Kensington, Mar 26 2013, $15.00
ISBN 9780758283931

Two months have passed since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and chaos remains the order of the day as the restored Ultra-Royalists cleanse anyone with Bonaparte ties in a new wave of terror. Ironically the Emperor’s Foreign Minister Talleyrand (and now the Prime Minister) and Minister of Police Fouch survive the Bourbon restoration fervor.

At the Trois Amis Tavern in Paris, British Attaché Malcolm Rannoch and his wife Suzanne meet frightened French double agent Antoine, Comte de Rivère. While Suzanne distracts the other patrons, fearing Bourbon cleansing, Antoine demands Malcolm sneak him out of the country into England with a pension and two homes or he will expose a secret that the Duke of Wellington would pay anything to keep buried. Suddenly a brawl breaks out and during the melee, someone kills the Comte. At the British Embassy, the Rannoch couple reports to the Duke what transpired; as the espionage agents believe someone purposely silenced Antoine. The British war hero orders Malcolm and Suzanne to investigate and learn what Antoine believed would take him to England.

The third Rannoch Regency mystery is a terrific thriller as Teresa Grant deftly provides a spotlight on the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat. The investigation is super as the “we spy couple” looks into the homicide to try to learn what Antoine’s ticket was; while also providing the audience with a tour of dangerous Paris after the fall and restoration.

Harriet Klausner

Killer Honeymoon-G.A. McKevett

March 31, 2013

Killer Honeymoon
G.A. McKevett
Kensington, Mar 26 2013, $24.00
ISBN 9780758276513

When her family camped in her San Carmelita, California house for her wedding, private investigator Savannah Reid and her husband, Police Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter decamp twenty-four miles away for a honeymoon on Santa Tesla Island. After an evening of bliss in a dumpy motel selected by Dirk, they relocate to a pre-Civil War cottage near the Santa Tesla Lighthouse arranged by her close friends and Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency associates, Ryan Stone and John Gibson.

While looking out from the top of the lighthouse, Savannah sees a woman running on the beach, but not as if she was jogging. The pair goes to see if the runner needs help when they hear her scream followed by gunshots. As TV newscaster Amelia Northrop dies, she says the name William; her husband is land developer William Northrop. Island police chief Charlotte La Cross acts uninterested in solving the homicide while Savannah’s crew including partners Stone and Gibson, and Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency’s Tammy Hart; as well Granny Reid Waycross join the Killer Honeymoon.

The latest Savannah Reid mystery (see Buried in Buttercream) is a humorous cozy that readers will appreciate with its dirt poor Georgia wit clashing with Southern California sensitivities. Fast-paced and loaded with jocularity, sub-genre fans will learn what series readers expect from G.A. McKevett when it comes to Savannah. The whodunit is excitingly clever but it is the repertoire between the cast that make for an entertaining investigation.

Harriet Klausner

You & I, Me & You-MaryJanice Davidson

March 28, 2013

You & I, Me & You
MaryJanice Davidson
St. Martin’s, Mar 19 2013, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312531195

In Minneapolis FBI Bureau of False Flags Ops (BOFFO) Special Agent Cadence Jones lives with her boyfriend Patrick; as do her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. The siblings are unhappy with Patrick in their lives, but accept reality that, except when either Shiro or Adrienne take control of Cadence’s body they cohabitate, they have no choice. Whenever Cadence regains control of her body from those horrid moments one of her sisters takes over, she miserably cleans the mess they leave her with.

In spite of Patrick in their lives, since the three sisters met gorgeous Dr. Gallo, they compete for the lead role as each are fascinated by the eerie hunk. As they work out the convoluted relationships, Cadence (abetted by her sisters) and her partner sociopath George Pinkham confront in a return engagement serial murdering Threefer Killer (see Me, Myself And Why).

The third Jones sisters FBI police procedural (see Yours, Mine, And Ours) continues the over the top of Deming Heights Park zany dark humorous police procedural; as MaryJanice Davidson once gain lampoons society’s convenient cataloguing people to fit inside a file drawer. Readers will enjoy this madcap Minnesota mystery as the multiple personality disorder field operative uses all three personalities to work the case while also causing havoc in relationships.

Harriet Klausner

The Chalice-Nancy Bilyeau

March 24, 2013

The Chalice
Nancy Bilyeau
Touchstone, Mar 5 2013, $26.99
ISBN: 9781476708652

In 1528 teenager Joanna Stafford acts lifeless ever since George Boleyn tried to rape her. Her worried mom takes her teenage daughter to see seer Sister Elizabeth. The seer says Joanna will stop evil after she meets two other prophets.

In 1538, Dartford Sister Joanna worries about the future since King Henry VIII broke the church. Her cousin Marquis Henry Courtney and his wife Gertrude take her to their estate. Gertrude says Lady Mary sent her and rumors fly that the Pope will excommunicate the king; followed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles and the French king François invading England. Meanwhile the king executes Sister Elizabeth for predicting his death if he weds Anne Boleyn. Gertrude blackmails a reluctant Joanna into meeting with Orobas the seer. Though fearful of Boleyn sorcery, Joanna hears Orobas speaking with a buried Sister of Dartford who says there are two possible futures: Mary on the throne or the king’s second son; she also tells Joanna to find the third seer. Dudley arrests Montagu and Courtney while Joanna and her friend Edmund seek the third seer hoping to understand the prophecy.

The fresh prophesy premise during the reign of King Henry VIII is brisk and fascinating with two strong late twists enhancing the exciting tale that also provides a deep look at the impact of the religious changes made by the monarch. Joanna is a terrific protagonist keeping the plot moving although the storyline slows down at times. Historical fans will appreciate this unique Tudor thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Fall of St. Sebastian-E. Kelly Keady

March 21, 2013

The Fall of St. Sebastian
E. Kelly Keady
Forty Press, Mar 1 2013, $16.95
http://www.fortypress.com
ISBN: 9781938473029

Attorney Peter Farrell left the White House staff to return to private practice and spend more time with his wife Sara and their newborn twins, John and Nola. However before he can settle down with his family, President Madeleine Scholfield asks him to go to San Francisco to discretely look into a potential terrorist attack that the Council on International Relations believes is relevant as it is written in code in the Book of Enoch mentioning the name Peter Farrell and highly lethal contagious Human Bird Flu. Not only does Peter think the trip an inane waste of time, he loathes the CIR and their master The Englishman (see The Cross of St. Maro for why).

At JFK, two Somalians destroy a jet leaving the airport using heat seeking missiles. Scholfield shuts down air traffic; while infected with Bird Flu, six Chinese enter the country to spread the deadly strain. While POTUS deals with the health crisis, terrorism and her warmongering cabinet encouraged by the Joint Chiefs, Peter continues his trip to meet with CIR as war with China seems imminent. After stopping in California to consult with CIR, Peter, accompanied by a spy (Pope) and a retired agent (Redwood), travels to China in search of a cure to the pandemic outbreak and to prevent WWIII.

From the opening attack on the jet over JFK to the final confrontation, The Fall of St. Sebastian is an exhilarating twisting thriller as Peter quickly learns trust no one. Though seemingly improbable, readers will relish Peter and his two teammates racing against time to avoid a worse calamity as the drums of war sound louder with each passing second.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Tide-Elizabeth Haynes

March 17, 2013

Dark Tide
Elizabeth Haynes
Harper, Mar 12 2013, $14.99
ISBN 9780062197337

Genevieve Shipley worked two lucrative jobs in London. During the day, she was a successful software saleswoman; at night she made much more money as a pole dancer at the exclusive Barclay Club. When Genevieve attained her monetary goal, she quit both positions and the city to relocate in Kent living on the Revenge, a houseboat.

However, her idyllic retirement turns ugly during her first boat party when her friend from her dancing gig days Caddy is found floating dead in the water near Genevieve’s houseboat. Distraught and filled with guilt because the stunned Genevieve believes she was the intended victim as she assumes the motive for murder traces to a package she holds for Dylan the Barclay bouncer who has vanished and not responded to her texting.

When Dark Tide focuses on the package, the storyline is an exciting psychological thriller that grips readers with a need to know what is inside the box that led to a homicide and imperils the protagonist. When the plot spotlights pole and lap dancing (flashbacks) and houseboat repair it feels padded with extraneous information. Still the heroine engages the audience with her youthful conquers the world attitude leading to foolish missteps Into the Darkest Corner of society.

Harriet Klausner

Silenced-Kristina Ohlsson

March 16, 2013

Silenced
Kristina Ohlsson
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Mar 5 2013, $25.00
ISBN: 9781439198902

In 2008 in Stockholm, Alex Recht leads his team (pregnant Fredrika Bergman, sexist Peder Rydh and newbie Joar Shalin) in two investigations, They look into the deaths of immigrant rights activist Vicar Jakob Ahlbin and his wife Marja in what looks like a murder-suicide probably brought on the by the death of a daughter. Additionally the unit conducts an inquiry into a hit and run vehicular homicide of a person with no identification except notes in Arabic.

As they work the seemingly separate cases, the police find links to human trafficking and an unreported assault of a teen in 1993. While Bergman tries to identify the unknown victim as no one filed a missing person’s report, Recht leads his subordinates scrutiny of Jakob’s activities protecting illegal immigrants in his home while also seeking the missing other daughter of the late Ahlbin couple.

When this engaging Swedish police procedural focuses on the cases and the related immigration debate, Silenced is a strong mystery; when the storyline centers on the respective personal lives of the three cops and one civilian, it loses steam as those subplots feel intrusive. Still, filled with betrayal and dark predatory practices, readers will appreciate this relevant look at the social and economic impacts of trafficking (especially the shocking glimpse into a Swede trapped in Thailand as her identification begins to vanish) and immigration.

Harriet Klausner

Zero Separation-Philip Donlay

March 16, 2013

Zero Separation
Philip Donlay
Oceanview, Mar 5 2013, $25.95
ISBN 9781608090686

As Michael Ross pilots the Eco-Watch’s Spirit of da Vinci Gulfstream IV to West Palm Beach, a nasty thunderstorm including a lightning strike causes an abrupt dive as a generator went out. Michael tells Donovan Nash that they need to make an emergency landing now at Boca Raton Airport. The pilot safely brings them to the ground.

Michael checks the plane for damage, but while doing so, someone assaults him. Injured he watches the thug steal a Gulfstream from the Boca Raton Airport. FBI Special Agent Veronica Montero believes that Donovan is the key to solving this hijacking and more important to her taking down the person responsible for the murder of her partner. She plans to use information she has on him from what he did twenty years ago that he wants kept secret to force him to help her. After several murders related to the stolen plane occur and the families of Donovan and Michael come under attack, Nash does not need blackmailing to work with the Fed.

The third Nash thriller (see Category Five and Code Black) is an exciting action-packed tale that has readers wondering what the ultimate objective of the killer and associates is. Nash is an interesting protagonist with a history he prefers buried and a tendency to fly into terrible storms. Although the support cast is from thriller central casting, readers will enjoy Nash teaming up with a blackmailing Fed against an amoral predator.

Harriet Klausner

The Family Way-Rhys Bowen

March 16, 2013

The Family Way
Rhys Bowen
Minotaur, Mar 5 2013, $24.99
ISBN: 9781250011633

In 1904 New York City, pregnant Molly promised her husband police captain Daniel Sullivan that she will no longer sleuth though she has quite a success rate (see Hush Now, Don’t You Cry and Bless The Bride). Bored and irritable from the overbearing summer heat and her overbearing husband, Molly receives a letter from a Mrs. O’Byrne of Ireland asking if sir or madam could look into what happened to her niece Maureen O’Byrne who failed to send a Christmas card. The note further stated she crossed the Atlantic last year and got a good servant job with the Mainwaring family.

Molly deems asking a few questions about Maureen will not break her pledge to her overly-protective husband. When she witnesses a baby kidnapping and learns of several other infant abductions, Daniel, who is working that case, demands she stay in cooler Westchester at his parents’ home. She acquiesces to exile since Molly knows the Mainwaring brood lives in that county. At the same time she runs into her outlawed by the English sibling Liam, who’s illegally in the States on a Brotherhood Irish independence mission. In Westchester, Molly, with help from her Manhattan neighbors, continues her detecting work.

The latest Molly Murphy historical mystery is a delightful early twentieth century investigative tale starring the unsinkable 5-6 months pregnant protagonist at her courageous best. Readers will feel the sweltering heat of the city compounded by the tenements and the relatively cooler burb to the north. Action-packed, fans will enjoy aptly titled The Family Way.

Harriet Klausner

Room No. 10-Åke Edwardson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (translator)

March 15, 2013

Room No. 10
Åke Edwardson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (translator)
Simon & Schuster, Mar 5 2013, $25.99
ISBN 9781451608526

In Gothenburg, Sweden, the corpse of twenty-nine year old Paula Ney is found hanging in Room No. 10 of a dive, the Hotel Revy. Although an enigmatic suicide note is nearby, police Chief Inspector Erik Winter knows this was a homicide.

Winter recalls working with Detective Inspector Fredrik Halders on a disappearance case in the same hotel almost two decades ago. Twenty-nine year old Ellen Börge vanished from the same Room No. 10, but that case remains cold. As he conducts his inquiry into the Ney murder, Winter also thinks back to the unsolved Börge disappearance.

The latest Chief Inspector Erik Winter Swedish police procedural (see Sail of Stone) is an intriguing psychological mystery that grips readers who prefer a more conversational cerebral whodunit as the action is tepid at best and the clues reanalyzed several times. This technique adds a sense of reality to the engaging storyline but can at times become tedious. Still sub-genre fans will want to know what is going on in Room No. 10.

Harriet Klausner