Archive for August, 2013

Ruthless-Debra Webb

August 31, 2013

Ruthless
Debra Webb
Forever, Aug 27 2013, $6.00
ISBN: 9781455527601

Eric “The Player” Spears sends photos of three Jane Doe victims to Birmingham PD Deputy Chief of the Special Problems Unit Jess Harris. Although she wants to take down the taunting serial killer, whose case haunts her from when she failed to end his terror while she was an FBI profiler at Quantico, Jess has to work on a recent child kidnapping case.

The dormant for thirteen years Man in the Moon apparently has returned after sending a special gift to BPD from his last abduction. Over three decades ago a little girl was taken from her home on the Harvest Moon night and every year on that anniversary for nineteen straight years another child was snatched when it ended. Now a new victim young Janey has been snatched; meanwhile Jess’ boss and lover BPD Police Chief Dan Burnett learns that the Player has a cult scrutinizing every move Jess makes including perhaps the possibly she is pregnant.

The latest Faces of Evil police procedural (see Obsession, Impulse, Power, Rage and Revenge) is an exciting thriller as the heroine deals with nasty competing cases, her sister and her second chance relationship with Dan. The Player case will remind readers of Kevin Bacon’s The Following while the Man in the Moon will remind the audience of the 1980 Atlanta Child Murders as Ruthless spins an entertaining web.

Harriet Klausner

Mystery Man-Kristen Ashley

August 31, 2013

Mystery Man
Kristen Ashley
Forever, Aug 27 2013, $6.00
ISBN: 9781455599189

In Denver, randomly at night for the last eighteen months, the Mystery Man has slipped into the bed of book editor Gwendolyn Kidd, but by morning he is gone. She has no idea who he is but knows she wants to see his face and body as they always make love in the dark; he is her one.

Darla arrives screaming for Gwen’s sister Ginger. Gwen asks the upset intruder what is going on; Darla responds by pointing her fingers in the shape of a gun at Gwen’s head. The Mystery Man security expert Cabe “Hawk” Delgado comes out of the shadows to protect Gwen. In daylight he is no longer the man of her nocturnal dreams though she still wants him but hates his bullying her.

The latest Dream Man romance (see Wild Man and Law Man) is an engaging suspense in which yin and yang opposites come together. Although he, as the sun and she as Sedna the dwarf planet, requires a major reader adjustment, fans will enjoy this alpha-omega relationship drama as Mystery Man learns the downside of ultra-arrogance is falling in love with your sub.

Harriet Klausner

A Question Of Honor-Charles Todd

August 30, 2013

A Question Of Honor
Charles Todd
Morrow, Aug 27 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062237156

In 1908 India, British Lieutenant Thomas Wade is the prime suspect in the murders of his parents though he is currently heading home on escort duty. When Wade returns to his regiment in the Northwest Frontier, he is accused of killing his parents and a family of three in England. He flees into the tribal area of the Khyber Pass and soon afterward is pronounced dead though no corpse was found.

In 1918 France, Bess Crawford serves as a nurse near the front. From a dying soldier she learns that Wade may be alive. Her retired father had been Wade’s regiment officer and his rep was devastated by the scandalous atrocity; Bess also knew the accused as a good soldier and person. Thus she tries to learn whether Wade survived the lawless tribal area and if he committed the homicides.

Team Todd provides another strong earth twentieth century historical in their fabulous fifth nurse Bess Crawford mystery (see An Unmarked Grave) as Edwardian India and England, and WWI France come to life enhanced by a profound historiographical feel to the engaging storyline. With the horrors of the front and the downside of serving in a colonial outpost vividly described, series fans will want to know whether Wade is a killer or another victim.

Harriet Klausner

Task Force Bride-Julie Miller

August 30, 2013

Task Force Bride
Julie Miller
Harlequin Intrigue, Aug 20 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697113

Kansas City Police Department hunts the Rose Red Rapist but the psychopath has eluded their efforts. The cops get a big break when Fairy Tale Bridal Shop owner and wedding planner Hope Lockhart escapes the predator.

The spinster agrees to serve as bait in order for KCPD to catch this dangerous predator. Thus she will pretend to be the fiancée of K-9 beat cop Edison “Pike” Taylor. Pike knows his mission is to capture the rapist while keeping Hope safe; but he also has an ulterior motive as he wants to get to know her. The reticent Hope fears his advances almost as much as she is frightened of his K-9 partner Hans.

The latest Precinct: Task Force romantic police procedural (see Assumed Identity) continues the KCPD efforts to end the terror reign of triple R. Character driven by the fascinating bashful female protagonist who avoids any chance at a HEA and instead feverishly buries herself in insuring her clients as a defense mechanism after suffering abuse as a child. However, Hope’s trauma also slows down the storyline while posing an intriguing challenge to the cop and his partner.

Harriet Klausner

Rush-Joan Swan

August 29, 2013

Rush
Joan Swan
Kensington Brava, Aug 27 2013, $9.95
ISBN 9780758288257

Five years ago in Truckee, California, the chemical fire at a government facility left newlywed Jessica Fury injured and a widow as her husband the legendary Quaid died from the subsequent explosion. Jessica and several other surviving firefighters obtained customized superpowers as a result of the toxin that engulfed them.

Jessica quit firefighting to become a DC lobbyist. Her former firefighting teammates visit Jessica with an ex-prisoner they rescued from a facility similar to the one that exploded in Truckee and to warn her that there has been another identical fiery incident. Finally the rescued Cash insists there was another test subject they called Q. Though she rejects the premise that Q is her late soul mate, Jessica obsesses with a need to know for sure even as the surveillance over every move she and her cohorts make intensifies.

The latest Phoenix Rising (see Fever and Blaze) is an exhilarating thriller in which readers learn more about the original incident, what has happened to the victims since, another identical occurrence, and insight into the shadowy organization watching them. Series fans and Jessica will wonder whether tormented amnesiac Q is Quaid as his mind seems shattered from five years of torture in Joan swan’s super entry.

Harriet Klausner

The Dead and the Beautiful-Cheryl Crane

August 29, 2013

The Dead and the Beautiful
Cheryl Crane
Kensington, Aug 27 2013, $25.00
ISBN 9780758258908

In Beverly Hills someone uses a leash to strangle to death Ryan Melton, husband to former Disney teen star Diara Elliot, who is in a new TV series with actress Victoria Bordeaux. The murder weapon belongs to dog walker Alison Sahira, who counts Diara as a client. In the throes of a horrific custody battle Alison refuses to say much. Police Detective Thomas “Detective Cutie-Pants” Dombrowski has probable cause to name her a suspect as even her brother single dad Jeremy Fitzpatrick the dentist, who Alison and her children currently live with, believes she is the killer.

However, Jeremy’s girlfriend realtor Nikki Harper rejects the premise that Alison killed the hunk though she distrusts the woman. She, assisted by her mom Victoria and others, investigates the homicide; unaware that Diara’s Brat Pack pals have a powerful motive to kill anyone, especially a nosy-body realtor, getting close to a secret they preferred hidden.

The third Nikki Harper amateur sleuth (see The Bad Always Die Twice and Imitation of Death) is a wonderful Hollywood whodunit as Cheryl Crane provides an insider look at the entertainment industry inside of a lighthearted whodunit. Fans will enjoy Nikki’s investigation especially her asides to the audience while wondering which Lana Turner film title will be next.

Harriet Klausner

Gone with the Woof-Laurien Berenson

August 29, 2013

Gone with the Woof
Laurien Berenson
Kensington, Aug 27 2013, $24.00
ISBN 9780758284525

Melanie Travis is contented to stay at home with her new baby and her canine horde in their new house while her relatively new husband Sam goes to work and her nine year old son to school. However, six foot sexagenarian Aunt Peg has found her a pet project. Curmudgeon ailing Edward March commissions Melanie to write Puppy Love, his memoir as a dog show judge. To Melanie’s chagrin, March’s bio focuses on his trysts with numerous breeders and dog show women. His adult son Andrew, who has had his share of the females too, objects.

When someone kills Andrew in a hit-and-run, a traumatized Edward pleads with Melanie to investigate as he needs to know who he believes deliberately murdered his son. Though she accepts, Melanie realizes her task is Herculean as a horde of females had sex with father and or son and probably most would not want a tell-all sexploits published, but she wonders which one would kill to prevent this book from being written.

The sixteenth Melanie Travis amateur sleuth (see Hounded to Death and Doggie Day Care Murder) is an amusing lighthearted twisting mystery as the heroine deals with six canines, a newborn, a tweener, her husband, and the zany others; I’m exhausted typing this. The fast-paced storyline uses the interesting behind the scenes at a dog show as the milieu for an engaging family affair mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Declan’s Cross-Carla Neggers

August 28, 2013

Declan’s Cross
Carla Neggers
Mira, Aug 27 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778314639

FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan take some R&R together in Declan’s Cross, Ireland. At the same time, marine biologist Julianne Maroney accepts an invitation from Lindsey Hargreaves to leave Rock Point, Maine for Declan’s Cross to escape the rejection by Colin’s brother Andy. Worried about Julianne, Andy emails Colin to make sure she is safe.

Lindsey fails to meet Julianne at the airport as arranged. Thus Julianne drives a rental to her destination where she is unhappy to see Colin who reminds her of his sibling breaking her heart. Stolen art recovery expert Emma wonders if Julianne coming to this town is tied to the art theft ten years ago that her detective grandfather failed to resolve; the valuable loot remains missing while the situation perilously intensifies for the visiting New Englanders and others from a clever merciless predator.

The third Sharpe and Donovan romantic mystery (see Heron’s Cove and Saint’s Gates) is an enjoyable thriller that centers on art thefts a decade and ago and in the present. The exciting tale can turn confusing as locale and time change back and forth, but still readers will relish this strong suspenseful storyline as secrets reveal a shocking conspiracy.

Harriet Klausner

Human Remains- Elizabeth Haynes

August 24, 2013

Human Remains
Elizabeth Haynes
Harper, Aug 20 2013, $15.99
ISBN: 9780062276766

When her cat Lucy comes home covered with a malodorous sticky crap, Briarstone Police Department crime analyst Annabel Hayer goes outside to look for the source. She sees a light next door in a vacant home so she calls the cops. They find her neighbor Shelley who Annabel met once and assumed left the area with her partner without telling her; but apparently died months ago.

Feeling guilty and in shock, Annabel searches the files for near identical deaths in the relatively small borough from January through September 2012. To her astonishment, Annabel uncovers 24 similar cases; most of which were not investigated as there were no evidence of foul play. Annabel provides a strong argument that a serial killer preys on lonely people. As the cops make inquiries, the psychopath targets the lonely thirty-eight year old single crime analyst who fits his profile.

This is an exciting police procedural that predominantly rotates first person accounts between Annabel and clever serial killer Colin Friedland; though the victims also provide insight. This technique enables the reader to go deep Into the Darkest Corner of the minds of the analyst and the psychopath; but also somewhat rehash the same event though from diverse perspectives.

Harriet Klausner

Ready To Die-Lisa Jackson

August 21, 2013

Ready To Die
Lisa Jackson
Zebra, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420118513

In Grizzly Falls, Montana the sniper waited impatiently for the right moment to kill the female on skis. When he pulls the trigger he smirks one down and five to go. His next target is Pinewood Sheriff Dan Grayson who for a few hours with his nieces will spend Christmas alone as he always does.

Nate Santana proposes to twice-married Police Detective Regan Pescoli who thinks of her failed marriages except for her beloved son and daughter. Flustered by the proposal, Pescoli decides to quit the force so drives to her boss Grayson to inform him of her decision on Christmas Day. Meanwhile as Sturgis the dog barks, the sniper shoots Grayson when Pescoli arrives. She is on his death list but the timing is off so he leaves. Her arrival saves Grayson’s life though he remains in intensive care near death. Pescoli delays her resignation to work with Detective Selena Alvarez on finding the killer taunting the townsfolk through the media with “Who’s Next?”

The latest Selena Alvarez and Regan Pescoli police procedural (see Left to Die, Chosen to Die, Born to Die and Afraid to Die) is very personal as the killer has a to do list that includes cops. The storyline is at its best when the focus is on the murders or on Pescoli’s personal life as that has impact on the prime plot. Still this is an enjoyable serial killer thriller although there is some meaningless padding involving tertiary characters, and the culprit, a support player in previous tales, seems an unlikely psychopath for returning fans.

Harriet Klausner