Archive for April, 2013

Candlemoth-R. J. Ellory

April 27, 2013

Candlemoth
R. J. Ellory
Overlook, Apr 4 2013, $25.95
ISBN: 9781590205167

In 1982 as he sits on Death Row in South Carolina’s Sumter Penitentiary with thirty days left before his execution for murdering his best friend Nathan Verney, thirty six year old Daniel Ford muses he has been betrayed four times in his life as he chats with Father John Rousseau. Daniel, who has lived on Death Row for a third of his life, explains to the Chaplin that he and Nathan became friends as six year olds in 1952 Lake Marion, North Carolina though he being white and his buddy colored made their friendship difficult to sustain, but they did it. In the 1960s, they fled the draft. In 1971 Nathan was murdered and Daniel convicted.

This is a strong “memoir” that grips the audience throughout as Daniel tells his tale of betrayal to the backdrop of major events in the Deep South through three decades of tumultuous change. The twisting storyline hooks the reader with a need to know what happened as R. J. Ellory provides a fascinating dark bittersweet spin through recent Carolina history.

Harriet Klausner

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The Big Beyond- Michael Lister

April 27, 2013

The Big Beyond
Michael Lister
Pottersville Press, Apr 12 2013, $16.00
http://www.pulpwoodpress.com
ISBN: 9781888146332

During WWII in in 1940s Panama City, Florida, private investigator Jimmy “Soldier” Riley awakens strapped to a bunk after two thugs knocked him out. He has one thought besides his constant one of how he failed Lauren Lewis: quick death before the woman who hooked up electrodes to his penis can give him a charge. However, former combat pilot Clipper Jones and Salvation Army nurse Ruth Ann Johnson rescue him from the psychos.

Jimmy, who has lost his right hand to the mean streets and his soul to his dead angel, thinks what a trio as Clipper lost an eye so no longer flies military planes and Ruth Ann lost a leg providing combat medical care to troops. Ruth Ann loves Jimmy, but knows he remains obsessed with Lauren. She decides to have a makeover in her ghostly rival’s image because she believes
that is her only chance with him though she knows in her gut that Jimmy will not move on until he confronts Lauren’s killer.

The sequel to The Big Goodbye is an exhilarating historical noir that brings to life the Florida Panhandle during WWII. Action-packed from the moment the protagonist wakes up strapped, fans will enjoy the adventures of the three hardboiled wounded warriors investigating murders in Panama City.

Harriet Klausner

Game Drive-Marie Moore

April 27, 2013

Game Drive
Marie Moore
Camel, Apr 15 2013, $13.95
ISBN: 9781603819619

Mississippian Sidney Marsh works as a travel agent at Itchy Feet Travel in lower Manhattan. When she arrives at the office, Sydney is shocked by the dramatic makeover from staid typical agency to African décor. Her boss “Big Bwana” informs Sydney and her best friend and peer at the office Jay Wilson that with the economy tanked they need an edge; so they will offer African safari tours.

Big Bwana dispatches Sidney and Jay to Cape Town to test the safari tours before offering them to customers. Both look forward to the paid working vacation though Jay fears domesticated kittens. In Cape Town however, it is not the four legged that turn their adventure into a misadventure after Sidney apparently witnesses a murder. On the Table Mountain cable car, someone picks her pockets and at Leopard Drive game lodge overlooking Kruger National Park, an agent is dead while Sidney tempts the “Marsh Curse” with a handsome local.

The second Sydney Marsh Murder Mystery (see Shore Excursion) is an enjoyable amateur sleuth tale as the heroine feels right at home in South Africa having landed in her natural state of tsuris. Though circumstance is critical early on, fans will relish this fast-paced tale enhanced by vivid descriptions of the country; as readers will want to join a tour just probably not one sponsored by Itchy Feet.

Harriet Klausner

Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding-Lea Wait

April 26, 2013

Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding
Lea Wait
Perseverance, Apr 7 2013, $15.95
ISBN 9781564745316

On Cape Cod, Maggie Summers calls 911 when she finds a dead body on the beach. Winslow, Massachusetts Police Chief Ike Iron identifies the apparent drowning victim as drunkard Dan Jeffrey. Following standard operating procedures, Ike initiates an investigation into Dan’s death.

While Ike looks into Dan’s seemingly accidental death most likely caused by intoxication, Maid of Honor Maggie helps her best friend Aunt Augusta’s Attic antique shop owner Gussie White prepare for the latter’s wedding to lawyer Jim Dryden. As Ike revises his premise from accident to murder, the wedding preparations continue with last second modifications even as a hurricane veers towards the Cape and a second homicide occurs.

The latest Antique Print regional cozy (see Shadows on the Coast of Maine and Shadows of a Down East Summer) is an engaging whodunit as murders places dark Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding. The whodunit is fun but not very tense as the wedding supersedes the inquiry. Still fans will enjoy attending Gussie’s nuptials that weather, murder, a groom’s cake shaped like a fish, and handicaps cannot deter.

Harriet Klausner

Beyond Confusion

April 26, 2013

Beyond Confusion
Sheila Simonson
Perseverance, Apr 7 2013, $15.95
ISBN 9781564745194

In 2008, in spite of the economy in the tank, Latouche County, Washington voters supported the library levy ballot initiative. However, not all is smooth for the county librarian Margaret McLean. Malicious library administrator Marybeth Jackman wants to be the chief at all costs to others; not just Meg.

In nearby Two Falls, Klalos Tribal Chief Madeline Thomas offers a farmhouse as a library. Marybeth takes Madeline and her tribe to court claiming she owns the farmhouse. Soon after her filing, someone vandalizes the farmhouse and firebombs Madeline’s home. Not long after these incidents, Marybeth falls to her death and librarian Annie Baldwin is injured during an assault on the bookmobile she was driving. Undersheriff Rob Neill investigates the string of disturbing related cases.

The latest Latouche County library mystery (see An Old Chaos) is a super tale that focuses on religious and racial prejudice, and avarice. Fast-paced from the moment readers meet the librarian queen of mean, fans will appreciate the exciting Beyond Confusion as this is a strong investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Her Brother’s Keeper-Sara Hoskinson Frommer

April 26, 2013

Her Brother’s Keeper
Sara Hoskinson Frommer
Perseverance, Apr 7 2013, $15.95
ISBN 9781564745255

In Oliver, Indiana, senior center director Joan Spencer also works as the part-time manager of the Oliver Civic Symphony and music librarian. However, much of her time involves her daughter’s upcoming wedding and insuring her visiting ne’er-do-well brother Dave, in town for his niece’s marriage, stays out of trouble.

Joan’s husband Police Lieutenant Fred Lundquist responds quickly to a 911 call at Ellen Putnam’s B&B where the out of town wedding guests are staying. He rushes into the kitchen to find his mom Helga holding a bloody knife while a man lies dead near her. Helga explains she took out the knife from his body because the weapon was killing him. Because of a conflict of interest, Sergeant Johnny Ketcham leads the inquiry instead of Fred

The latest Joan Spencer mystery (see Death Climbs a Tree) is an engaging whodunit as murders places a gloomy darkness on the wedding. In some ways the enjoyable investigation is more a family affair as Fred’s mom and all of the out-of-towners are suspects.

Harriet Klausner

Taking Eve-Iris Johansen

April 26, 2013

Taking Eve
Iris Johansen
St. Martin’s, Apr 16 2013, $27.99
ISBN 9781250019981

With help from beyond, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan solved the murder of her daughter that haunted her for years (see Sleep No More). Finally feeling some closure, Eve and her lover police detective Joe Quinn escape to Lake Cottage in Atlanta while her adopted child Jane MacGuire is coming from London to join them.

However, Joe has to leave to testify at a trial and Jane detours to San Juan when her dog Toby suddenly became ill and Seth Caleb offered her a private jet. With his plan coming together to isolate his target, Jim Doane takes advantage of Eve being alone. He abducts her and demands she uses the skull of his deceased son Kevin to reconstruct his child’s face. Eve cooperates while plotting to escape. Joe learns from CIA agent Venable that Doane recently vanished from the grid.

Taking Eve is an exhilarating taut thriller as an insane evil kidnaps her. Fast-paced, fans will appreciate the setup but be frustrated by having this be a trilogy as the audience will want closure. Still readers will enjoy Eve Duncan’s latest tale (see Sleep No More) as she is snatched by a brilliant but crazy tactician.

Harriet Klausner

Leaving Annalise-Pamela Fagan Hutchins

April 16, 2013

Leaving Annalise
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
SkipJack Publishing, Mar 15 2013, $5.95
http://www.skipjackpublishing.com
ISBN: 9781939889010

Thirtyish attorney Katie Connell left Dallas for San Marcos after a melt down in court and her love life tanked (see Saving Grace). She has become a chanteuse singing with her partner Ava Butler and seeing owner-chef Bart while having her home, haunted by Annalise the jumbie, renovated. However, she ends her relationship with Bart when the love of her life private investigator Nick Kovacs arrives from Dallas to explain what happened. Nick says he protected his sister Teresa and his infant nephew Taylor from the lad’s violent father Derek.

Nick returns to the States to keep Taylor safe while Teresa attends college. However, obsessed Bart stalks Katie on San Marcos; and Derek goes after Teresa and Nick in his obsession for custody of his son. Soon murders occur at both locations.

The second Katie and Annalise thriller (see Saving Grace) starts somewhat slow as readers meet the cast, but once the stalking begins in earnest, the engaging storyline accelerates into a taut suspense. With a touch of the jumbie adding a distinct flavor to the mix and the romance perfectly kept on the backburner while dealing with predatory psychopaths, fans will enjoy Leaving Annalise.

Harriet Klausner

Dangerous Refuge-Elizabeth Lowell

April 16, 2013

Dangerous Refuge
Elizabeth Lowell
Morrow, Apr 9 2013, $26.99
ISBN: 9780062132710

When Uncle Lorne Davis died, LAPD homicide detective Tanner Davis returns to the family ranch in Refuge, Nevada to settle the estate. However, Tanner quickly becomes suspicious of the cause of his late relative’s death as increasingly he believes someone murdered Uncle Lorne and he uncovers several suspects with motives.

One of those who had reason for murdering his uncle is historical heritage protector Shaye Townsend. To their chagrin, each feels a heat hotter than a Nevada desert summer for the other. As they agree to jointly investigate what happened to his Uncle Lorne, they also share intense love-making; but neither wants to acknowledge that love is the impetus. That changes when the diabolical killer goes after Shaye as Tanner willingly risks his life to keep his beloved safe.

Although as much a romance as a mystery, readers will enjoy this exhilarating suspense thriller especially the fabulous climax in deserted Sierra Nevada mines. Fast-paced though Dangerous Refuge never deviates from the expected romantic suspense path, readers will appreciate Elizabeth Lowell’s entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Daddy’s Gone A Hunting-Mary Higgins Clark

April 16, 2013

Daddy’s Gone A Hunting
Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster, Apr 9 2013, $26.99
ISBN: 9781451668940

Retired Gus Schmidt meets CPA Kate Connolly at four thirty in the morning at her family-owned Connelly Fine Antique Reproductions in Long Island City; where he once worked. An explosion leaves Gus dead and Kate unconscious. While Kate lies comatose and unable to defend herself, rumors abound as to why she met with a former employee before the place was open.

Her sister, fashion designer Hannah, wants the truth, which she believes will exonerate her sibling. Clues lead to the disappearance almost three decades ago of an aspiring actress from Illinois whose attorney brother has just moved to the city and to a two years old cold case murder of a Barnard student.

Readers who can ignore the quadrillion happenchance plot forwarding moments will enjoy this suspenseful tale; as Hannah, bungling her amateur sleuthing endeavor, brings tension to the entertaining storyline; more than the villain and the felonious few abetting the culprit. Though not one of Mary Higgins Clark’s stronger thrillers, fans of the author will want to know what is going on in this exciting mystery.

Harriet Klausner