Archive for June, 2013

Triggered-Elle James

June 29, 2013

Triggered
Elle James
Harlequin Intrigue, Jun 18 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697007

Ever since his wife and child died in a botched kidnapping last year, billionaire Raging Bull Ranch owner Hank Winchester decided justice needed help. He meets with four unemployable former law enforcement officials (Wild Oak Canyon Sheriff Thorn Drennon, Chuck “Big Tex” Bolton, FBI Special Agent Zachary Adams and Austin Police Officer Ben Harding) to discuss jobs at his new firm Covert Cowboys, Inc.

Ben’s first assignment is to protect the new owner of the Flying K Ranch, Afghan war widow Kate Langsdon and her four years old daughter Lily. Kate inherited the ranch from her father Kyle Kendrick whom she never knew. Undercover as a hand, Ben realizes someone wants to run mother and child off the ranch. The current Wild Oak Canyon Sheriff Fulmer ignores the threat in spite of several nasty incidents as drug trafficking is a big business in the area. Though Kate and Lily remind him of his late wife and child, Ben’s first objective to keep them safe and learn the mystery of a key his “employer” also inherited.

The first CCI romantic suspense is an exciting Texas thriller starring two strong protagonists who have in common the loss of a spouse and a too precocious child. Fast-paced from the moment Ben arrives at the Flying K and never slows down until the final confrontation, readers will relish Triggered while Taking Aim on the sequel.

Harriet Klausner

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Saving Laura-Jim Satterfield

June 29, 2013

Saving Laura
Jim Satterfield
Oceanview, Jun 25 2013, $26.95
ISBN 9781608090785

In 1979 twenty-one year old Bobby Shelby Lee is in Baggs, Wyoming hitching his way Aspen, Colorado. When two deputies enter a truck stop he was eating in, Shelby hitches a ride (after paying for the gas) with a couple heading his way. The cops tail them when a shootout occurs leaving one officer dead, another hurt and the woman hit. Instead of fleeing he stays with the shot cop who tells him he fit the description of an APB. Shelby soon learns law enforcement believes he is dangerous and linked to Bonnie and Clyde who gave him a ride.

Already in trouble for daringly stealing $75,000 and five kilos of cocaine from dealer Tim Tucker, Shelby hides in his grandfather’s remote mountain cabin to elude the law and Aspen’s leading drug trafficker. He struggles to come up with a Saving Laura plan; as Tucker holds her as his prisoner. Shelby visits his neighbor fiftyish Wilbur the poacher who welcomes “College Boy”. Wilbur, Davis the writer and Jaws help him with his quest; while DEA Agent Parker warns him even as he uses Laura as an expendable pawn; and the cops continue to search for him.

This is an exciting Rocky Mountain High thriller with stoic strong survivalists as the good guys, some wannabe cops as the bad guys and a vicious drug dealer and his thugs as the ugly guys. Clearly a rural outdoors tale yet with an underlying romantic premise as Saving Laura is Shelby’s heart’s obsession. Readers will appreciate joining Shelby on his trek (along with his eccentric allies and cold-hearted adversaries) to accomplish his seemingly impossible quest for the woman he loves.

Harriet Klausner

Accidents Happen-Louise Millar

June 29, 2013

Accidents Happen
Louise Millar
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Jun 25 2013, $15.00
ISBN: 9781451656701

Kate Parker suffers from a severe case of PTSD caused by a series of personal tragedies. On her wedding night to her business partner Hugo, her parents died in a car accident. Other incidents not quite as traumatic occur, but they pile on stress until the next major incident happens when Hugo is murdered during a break in to their home.

Now she raises her ten years old son Jack while struggling with OCD that has her teetering on the deep end. She calculates the odds in every little event like a trucker tailgating her as the next calamity to challenge her sanity. Computing the odds of something nasty happening to her or Jack became an overwhelmingly powerful incentive for their leaving London for Oxford. When she meets Jago Martin, Kate finds a kindred numbers guru. He dares her to face her phobias by her taking on riskier and riskier challenges.

This is a gripping psychological thriller as Kate struggles with OCD caused by her PTSD reactions to a decade of traumas; while Jack the tweener struggles with keeping his mom from going off the deep end. Believability turns questionable as Kate begins to change too easily (even with Jack as her motive) after meeting her guru Jago. Still Accidents Happen is a taut tale with a surprising tense twist.

Harriet Klausner

The Eye of God-James Rollins

June 28, 2013

The Eye of God
James Rollins
Morrow, Jun 25 2013, $27.99
ISBN: 9780061784804

At the DOD Space and Missile System Center in El Segundo, California, concerned Director Painter Crowe tells DARPA General Metcalf and key research physicist Dr. Jada Shaw something is wrong with the satellite studying the dark matter that birthed the universe. The vivid pictures transmitted show the eastern seaboard in total ruins from an apparent meteor. Ground control tries to shut down “The Eye of God” satellite, but fails as the IOG obtained an external energy source. The satellite crashes in Mongolia. Crowe and Metcalf agree IOG must be retrieved before the Chinese or worse obtain the satellite.

In Rome, Christian archeology and Vatican archivist of secrets Monsignor Vigor Verona receives an ancient parchment bound in human skin and a skull with eye lashes sent by long dead Fr. Josip Tarasco. Vigor tells his niece Rachel this is The Gospel of Thomas, which declares the end of the world in four days.

Sigma Force Commander Gray Pierce directs part of his team already in Mongolia searching for Khan Era artifacts to retrieves the satellite or what is left of it. At the same time he leads a unit accompanying Fr. Tarasco and his niece into China as DNA testing proved the skin and skull from the ancient tome was once Genghis Khan. They hope to learn why Attila turned away from Rome and why the empire fell anyway. All converge in a sacred home of Genghis Khan.

The latest Sigma Force thriller (see Bloodline) is an exhilarating action-packed tale that smoothly combines an end of the world scenario with quantum physics, and ancient Rome and Mongol history. Gripping throughout, readers will appreciate James Rollin’s taut thriller as the end of days countdown begins.

Harriet Klausner

Sling Shot-Matthew Dunn

June 28, 2013

Sling Shot
Matthew Dunn
Morrow, Jun 25 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062038029

In 1995 Berlin, Head of Russia’s SVR S Division Intelligence Officer Nikolai Dmitriev loathes every step he takes through myriads of security checkpoints manned by the elite special forces of his nation and the Americans at the abandoned Soviet barracks. When he reaches his destination, Nikolai is the only person in the room of top espionage and military officials who believe the Slingshot protocols are psychotic as hundreds of millions will die. He signs the document anyway. The evil genius behind Slingshot former East German Stasi Officer Kurt Schrieber tells his colleagues that Russia’s greatest assassin Kronos will kill anyone who betrays the plan. To bring fear to the conspirators Kronos shows them pictures of where he has been over the last few days: in their homes.

In the present in Poland all hell breaks loose leaving many dead over a defector. When the protocols are stolen, the signatories fear Kronos as much as they do the one who apparently plans to expose them. Kronos begins the hunt for the betrayer. Also on the quest are several of those who signed the Slingshot protocols; M16 Will Cochrane and his team; a CIA unit with a hidden agenda, and a Mossad operative.

The third Cochrane espionage thriller (see Sentinel and Spycatcher) is an exciting tale from the moment Slingshot is signed and never loses that exhilarating pace. Fans anticipate a showdown between Cochrane and Kronos with the latter the betting favorite as he seems more skilled. However, the other players in this convoluted life and death struggle make for a fabulous storyline reader as they add depth while also keeping the readers wondering who the good, the bad and the ugly are.

Harriet Klausner

Into The Dark-Rick Mofina

June 27, 2013

Into The Dark
Rick Mofina
Mira, Jun 25 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315001

Single dad, LAPD Detective Joe Tanner has no time to grieve his wife’s death as he leads a Southern California task force dealing with a serial killer who murdered five people in the area though the culprit has been seemingly dormant lately. With media cooperation, Joe hopes to capture the psychopath soon, but instead this predator taunts him and his team with a message that says the next chosen one to die has been selected so “race the clock … to save the next victim” from the Dark Wind Killer.

After an abusive childhood, psychologist Dr. Claire Bowen dedicates her life to helping victims like she was. While she is at a fertility clinic as a potential patient, her husband Robert the pilot saves a family from a car fire. When someone breaks into Claire’s office to steal records and a patient vanishes that brings her into the serial killer case, she realizes she knows nothing about her spouse’s background.

Into The Dark is a gripping psychological police procedural although readers will know who the psychopath is early on. The taut storyline is gripping once the fully developed cast (especially the troubled killer as the audience learns why the urge to kill) is introduced as Rick Mofina makes a strong case that the untreated abused child becomes the disturbed adult who can masquerade as a normal (whatever that is) person.

Harriet Klausner

Lethal Treasure-Jane K. Cleland

June 27, 2013

Lethal Treasure
Jane K. Cleland
Minotaur, Jun 25 2013, $24.99
ISBN 9781250026941

At an auction in Rocky Point, New Hampshire antique dealer Josie Prescott, accompanied by her boyfriend Ty, bids on unopened abandoned storage units. Also bidding on the units is Leigh Ann and Henri Dubois, owners of a newly opened interior design store. Expecting mostly worthless junk, Josie and the Dubois couple are overall pleased with what they find. After looking over what they purchased, Henri asks Josie to appraise his silent movie posters that he found in one of his units.

The next day a concerned Leigh Ann calls Josie with news that Henri is missing. Later they find his corpse inside one of the storage units he bought. Local law enforcement enlists Josie to help them with the antiques’ segment of the homicide investigation.

The latest Josie Prescott New England cozy (see Dolled Up for Murder) is an enjoyable whodunit made fresh by the insightful nod to the A&E Storage Wars. The fabulous whodunit is engaging, but it is the Storage Wars segue to include the casualty that makes for a brisk entertaining read.

Harriet Klausner

The Mourning Hours-Paula Treick DeBoard

June 26, 2013

The Mourning Hours
Paula Treick DeBoard
Mira, Jun 25 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778314974

Berkeley Professor Kirsten Hammarstrom drives to her former home town rural Watankee, Wisconsin from California. Near Milwaukee, a cop pulls her over for speeding. As she hands him her license and registration, Kirsten fears he will recognize her surname though almost two decades have passed since her family was headline news.

In 1994, sixteen years old Stacy Lemke says hello to nine year old Kirsten as a means to meet the tweener’s older brother high school wrestler Johnny. Her ploy works as Johnny and Stacy begin dating. However when she vanishes without a trace, the cops suspect Johnny killed her. The media goes on a frenzy accusing Johnny of murder though no evidence surfaces. The Hammarstrom family is destroyed by how their neighbors react.

The Mourning Hours is a fabulous mystery that grips the audience with a need to know what happened to Stacy in 1994 though fans will figure it out before the courtroom denouement. The storyline rotates between the two years with the past much stronger than the present as a town without pity held an entire family culpable while the Hammarstrom clan fails to rally around the accused as they hold him culpable too.

Harriet Klausner

Evening Bags And Executions-Dorothy Howell

June 25, 2013

Evening Bags And Executions
Dorothy Howell
Kensington, Jun 25 2013, $23.00
ISBN: 978075825334

In Holt’s Department Store employee Haley Randolph is euphoric after obtaining an events planner job at L.A. Affairs involving a Hollywood charity gala using a Beatles theme. However, her new boss Vanessa Lord wants her to quit, but stubborn Haley refuses to resign though she is under pressure.

Before she can start on the gig, Haley finds the murdered body of the event’s baker Lacy Hobbs; commissioned to create a six-foot yellow submarine cake. At the same time charity auction head Sheridan Adams accuses Haley of stealing a valuable collection of Beatles bobbleheads. Deciding the murder of the Lacy Cakes’ owner and the theft take precedent over the latest fashionable bag; as Haley knows she would not look good in prison garb, accompanied by the proper attire, she investigates.

The latest Randolph cozy (see Tote Bags and Toe Tags, and Slay Bells and Satchels) is a lighthearted zany amateur sleuth as the queen of handbag divas works the case her way. Fans will enjoy the humorous storyline commencing with Haley stumbling over another corpse.

Harriet Klausner

Death of a Chef-Alexander Campion

June 25, 2013

Death of a Chef
Alexander Campion
Kensington, Jun 25 2013, $24.00
ISBN: 9780758268815

Rumors abound that renowned Chez la Mere Denis chef Jean-Louis Brault was going to be reduced to two-star Michelin status. Thus when his corpse is found with a shotgun inside a pre-WWI Vuitton portmanteau purchased by Cecile at the Paris Flea Market, everyone in the gourmet industry assumes he committed suicide as his ego could not cope with the demotion.

Cecile called her friend Paris Police Judiciaire Commissaire Capucine Le Tellier to look inside the portmanteau. The cop thinks a homicide occurred and begins an inquiry. A pretty TV talking head implies Le Tellier is protecting food critics like Lucien Folon who unmercifully assaulted Brault in print and the Commissaire’s husband Le Monde’s Alexandre de Huguelet. Looking forward to shoving the killer’s identity down the throat of the inane talking head, Capucine and her team investigate the death of a Chef.

The latest captivating Capucine Culinary Mystery (see Grave Gourmet, Killer Critique and Crime Fraiche) is an enjoyable leisurely-paced police procedural. The storyline deliciously connects the Elysee Palace with haute cuisine as Capucine and Brigadier-Chief Isabelle Lemercier work the case that ends with a twist of justice.

Harriet Klausner