Archive for June, 2013

A Time Of Change-Aimée and David Thurlo

June 23, 2013

A Time Of Change
Aimée and David Thurlo
Forge, Apr 9 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765324528

Living on her People’s reservation, Josephine Buck attends classes at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico; works part-time at the Outpost; and is the youngest Navaho apprentice to the Hataaliis medicine man. The Outpost owner Tom Stuart is a kind elder statesman mentoring his devoted employees.

When the revered Tom is shockingly murdered, Jo need to know why and who. Almost as stunning Tom bequeathed the Outpost to Jo instead of his son Ben who comes home from Afghanistan on military compassionate leave to bury his estranged father. Feeling remorse for not reconciling and anger for not inheriting, Ben also needs to know the truth behind his dad’s killing. Having been high school sweethearts almost a decade ago, both wonder how their lives would have been if they remained together as the attraction remains strong. When someone breaks into the Outpost and Jo’s home, she and Ben fear more violence is coming.

While Clah takes a breather, A Time of Change is an exciting second chance at love romantic suspense. The comparisons between Navaho Nation and external law enforcement enhance the strong whodunit while a fabulous twist adds unexpected tension. With a super cast (including the deceased through the filter of the other characters) readers will appreciate Team Thurlo’s entertaining thriller that uses social issues like alcoholism to anchor a fabulous mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Something Wicked-Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

June 21, 2013

Something Wicked
Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
Zebra, May 28 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420118483

Tillamook County Sheriff Department Detective Savannah Dunbar remains on the job though eight months pregnant as a surrogate mother for her sister Kristina and brother-in-law Hale St. Cloud. Savvy plans to take maternity leave shortly.

Fred Clausen and Savannah investigate a report of squatters residing at Bancroft Bluff, better known locally as Bankrupt Bluff since the houses began to fall into the Pacific; a place where the unsolved Donatella homicides occurred. The Donatella couple had been business partners in the Bancroft disaster with Hale and his family; the only lead being the red painted message “blood money.” A disheveled man Mickey races out of the building quoting the Bible and believing Savvy is the Mother Mary. At the station, Catherine Rutledge, the mistress of The “Colony” of female psychics residing at Siren Song in Deception Bay, asks Savvy to meet with her while Kristina has doubts that Hale wants the child. Meanwhile over the next few weeks, a serial killer targets Savvy and her unborn.

The latest Wicked Colony thriller (see Wicked Lies) is an exciting action-packed police procedural. The villain Charlie is incredibly wicked and in some ways steals the show from the psychics and the cops. Although Savvy is too strong as her pregnancy that is about to occur any day never slows her down (I averaged a pit stop per page), readers will anticipate her confrontation with Charlie.

Harriet Klausner

Hour of the Rat-Lisa Brackmann

June 19, 2013

Hour of the Rat
Lisa Brackmann
Soho Crime, Jun 18 2013, $25.00
ISBN 9781616952341

Twenty-something Iraq war veteran Ellie McEnroe works as an art dealer in Beijing. She loves her job and the dynamic city she has lived in for three years in spite of the air quality and her always in trouble mother residing with her; but also knows that the Chinese Domestic Security Department (DSD) secret police watch her every move because she is a foreigner who represents political dissident clients.

Two cops bring Ellie is for a spot of tea. Her “friend” John, Zhou Zheng’an and a DSD agent question her about her client Lao Zhang Jianlo. After they are finished for now with her, Ellie limps home on her war injured leg when John intercedes and drives her home. He suggests she leave Beijing for the moment so heeding his advice, Ellie and mom rusticate while searching for the missing American activist Jason, brother of her comrade in arms Dog Turner.

The latest Ellie McEnroe China mystery (see Rock Paper Tiger) is a fabulous thriller that vividly brings to life Beijing and the rural countryside. Ellie is terrific as she tours the country seeking Jason who has a raging business cartel perusing him. Readers will enjoy Ellie’s awesome adventures as she and mom share in common on thing besides DNA: getting into trouble.

Harriet Klausner

The Abomination-Jonathan Holt

June 19, 2013

The Abomination
Jonathan Holt
Harper, Jun 18 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062264336

In Venice, while people enjoy the feast of La Befana, a fisherman finds a body floating near the Santa Maria delle Salute. Carabinieri Detective Katerina Tapo leads her first homicide investigation into the Abomination desecration as the female victim wore a priest’s garb and had two bullets in her head.

At the nearby U.S. military Camp Ederle, Second Lieutenant Holly Boland searches for missing documents requested by Barbara Holton under the Freedom of Information Act. Boland’s inquiry and that of Tapo intersect at Daniele Barbo’s cyber Venice site As their superiors warn both women not to stray, the two female investigators team up on the murder and vanished documents.

The Abomination is an exhilarating Venetian investigative thriller starring three diligent individuals and obviously Venice. The entertaining storyline is loaded with several mysteries inside one another like Russian nesting dolls as one is solved only to lead to another even connecting to Croatia. Although none of the steadfast lead triangle is dynamic, readers will enjoy Jonathan Holt’s tense tale.

Harriet Klausner

More Bitter Than Death-Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff; Paul Norlen (translator)

June 18, 2013

More Bitter Than Death
Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff; Paul Norlen (translator)
Simon & Schuster, Jun 18 2013, $16.00
ISBN 9781451654608

In the Stockholm suburb of Gustavsberg, a man breaks into a home in which five-years old Tilda is coloring under the table. He batters Tilda’s mother and drags her body out of kitchen while a trail of blood follows them. She is witness to her mom’s murder, but she never saw the killer except from far below in her special coloring place.

Two months earlier in Stockholm, as a favor to their college mentor and friend Vijay, psychologists Siri Bergman and Aina Davidson host a support group for abused woman. Kattis tells the participants of her abusive relationship with Henrik. Soon afterward he dumps her for Susanne. Kattis believes the violent Henrik killed his latest lover. Bergman suspects Henrik too until another group attendee Malin provides reasons why she could be the killer.

The second Siri Bergman psychological suspense (see Some Kind of Peace) is an entertaining dark Swedish thriller starring a psychologist who hears the first hand accounts of the brutal side of love through her patients. The profound look into women’s issues should be required reading by politicians, but the depth also decelerates the intriguing intertwining mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Death of the Demon-Anne Holt; Anne Bruce (translator)

June 18, 2013

Death of the Demon
Anne Holt; Anne Bruce (translator)
Scribner, Jun 18 2013, $16.00
ISBN 9781451634808

Twelve year old Olav is sent to live in a group foster home with seven other children just outside Oslo because his mother could no longer deal with his hideous behavior. The home’s director Agnes Vestavik quickly realizes her newest charge is a troubled tweener, but she apparently underestimates how disturbed he is. Soon after Olav’s arrival, someone stabs to death Vestavik; the prime suspect is Olav who has vanished.

Hanne Wilhelmsen knows she is unsuited for her latest position as an Oslo Police Chief Inspector since the job requires political finesse, sharing information with staff and delegating duties to subordinates; key factors she prefers to ignore. With Detective Billy T., Hanne looks into the foster home’s employees while much of the force search for Olav who seeks his mother. At the same time her longtime partner Cecilie wants them to have a child.

The latest Hanne Wilhelmsen Norwegian police procedural (see 1222, Blind Goddess and Blessed Are Those Who Thirst) is a fascinating murder mystery that provides a powerful spotlight on when the country’s foster child system fails. Action-packed on both her professional and personal fronts as the protagonist distrusts everyone even her lover and her best friend, readers will enjoy this Norwegian Noir.

Harriet Klausner

Fade To Black-Jeffrey Wilson

June 16, 2013

Fade To Black
Jeffrey Wilson
JournalStone, Jun 14 2013, $15.00
ISBN: 9781936564859

In Fallujah twenty-six years old U.S. Marine Sergeant Casey Stillman knows he must remain icy calm so his younger men don’t panic while trapped in a lethal shootout with insurgents willing to die to kill the Americans. He fears he will never see his baby Claire or his wife Pam again, but must get them out of his head so he remains focused on him and his fellow marines surviving.

Jack screams that he has been shot. His wife Pam wakes him from a nightmare that seems so real he is bleeding. Shocked by how vivid his dream was, Jack the science teacher thought he was in combat as a marine trapped by Iraqi insurgents, but realizes he is home with his two beloved girls. However, news coverage of Fallujah frightens Jack who believes he is losing his mind as he knows too much about the marines dying on the streets while also even scarier he believes that his two females are unsafe.

Rotating between the States and Iraq, this terrific taut thriller will haunt readers with its deep comparisons while making a case that most home front Americans invested nothing in the Iraq War not even taxes though our economy eventually paid the price when the credit card came due. Character driven by the two male leads, the exciting storyline keeps the reader guessing as to what is happening to Jack and/or Casey with a terrific climax that brings the intertwined two subplots together.

Harriet Klausner

A Man of Indeterminate Value-Ron Felber

June 16, 2013

A Man of Indeterminate Value
Ron Felber
Barricade Books, Jun 16 2013, $16.95
ISBN: 9781569804902

In New Jersey, Wall Streeter Jack Madson knew he must die when the SEC indicted him for improprieties. He planned is demise perfectly as he wants to escape his life. After killing himself, Jack leaves behind a non-grieving family he hates; a corporate raider job he hates; a mountain of debt to foster his family’s lifestyle he hates; and illegal selling of intellectual property to the Chinese he loves.

Jack travels to Mexico to begin a new life living off the 2.5 million he made with the Chinese while his wife and daughter would benefit from his firm Nu-Gen’s insurance policy. However, across the border he soon finds himself without a penny as his partner left him with zilch. Needing cash means returning to Wall break into the Nu-Gen biological medical information worth a fortune. While his partner and an insurance examiner pursue Jack with the former wanting to bury him and the later wanting to incarcerate him; corpses seem to follow him too.

This gritty thriller stars a fascinating introspective protagonist whose personal values had been usurped by his adopting the Wall St. bottom line greed value of profit with any cost to someone else as his own. Though one must wonder how Jack the suit survives his new world order; and with a nod to Hugo’s Les Miserable (Jack has his own inspector stalking him), fans will appreciate this dark crime thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Plague Within-Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

June 16, 2013

The Plague Within
Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.
Grass Valley Publishing, Jun 1 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781489534521

At Berkeley’s Brier Hospital, the ER recommends surgery for teacher Rachel Palmer as she suffers from a ruptured diverticulum, but afterward the patient continues to suffer from peritonitis, abscesses and other internal problems. Dr. Jack Byrnes recommends surgery again, which Rachel’s husband Tom and her father Richard Clarke reluctantly agree; but her mom Maxine says they should pursue alternative medicine.

Maxine wins the debate as the family insists on using an experimental antibiotic CT 1356. However, Rachel shows a major allergic reaction to the drug that if allowed to continue will kill her. Maxine goes ballistic when Jack decides to end the injections and perform surgery. Meanwhile new staff member Dr. Harmony Lane takes a short cut treating very ill patients like Rachel and Sandy Greer with early stages experimental PAT0075 over the objection of Jack.

The Plague Within is an exciting medical thriller that has the audience feeling we are at Brier Hospital (see The Sixth Sense for a previous visit). With an underlying message of doing full valid and reliable testing, the fast-paced storyline grips the reader as research shortcuts leave patients dying from the cure.

Harriet Klausner

Murdock Tackles Taos-Robert J. Ray

June 15, 2013

Murdock Tackles Taos
Robert J. Ray
Camel, Jun 15 2013, $16.95
ISBN: 9781603819251

On Angel Mountain near Taos, New Mexico, Matt Murdock tackles hiker Helene Steinbeck just before an arrow flies right where she had been standing. She lands on the corpse of a female while he explains two or three hunters want to make her and now him too their trophies. He shoots both of them. As the pair flees, a spotter makes a call.

He explains to her he is a private investigator searching for friends’ missing daughter, Barbi Bellini who vanished without a trace three weeks ago from an artists’ colony in which all of them insist she was never there. A daughter of an NYPD cop, Helene joins Matt on his mission as they are now prey for hunters who seek out the weak in “The Most Dangerous Game” (Richard Connell); while having affluent connections.

The latest Matt Murdock Mystery (see Murdock for Hire and Bloody Murdock) is an exhilarating thriller that grips the audience from the opening shooting sequence to the final confrontation with a vile villain whose amoral behavior is summed up in a shocking coda. With a fast-paced investigation and romance, readers will enjoy the thrilling Murdock Tackles Taos.

Harriet Klausner