Archive for November, 2013

Innocent Blood: The Order of the Sanguines Series-James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

November 30, 2013

Innocent Blood: The Order of the Sanguines Series
James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
Morrow, Dec 10 2013, $27.99
ISBN 9780061991066

After an earthquake left hundreds dead in Masada and opened a long buried tomb, archaeologist Dr. Erin Granger, U.S. Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Ruhn Korza explored the new find when inhuman beings attacked them. Surviving the assault, Father Korza persuaded his teammates answers can be found in the mystical missing tome allegedly scribed by Christ in his blood. This Blood Gospel claims Armageddon can be prevented if the Knight of Christ, the Warrior of Man, and the Woman of Learning unite and find the First Angel. Father Korza proves to be the Knight of Christ; Sergeant Stone is the Warrior of Man; and Dr. Erin Granger probably is the Woman of Learning.

Following a nasty attack on Granger near Stanford by the strigoi vampires, Father Korza vanishes in Rome. His two allies rush to Italy searching for him in the Vatican. They soon feel out of their element again as the brave pair, helped by the saved Sanguinists, battle the fallen strigoi.

The second Order of the Sanguines Christian horror thriller (see The Blood Gospel) once again grips the audience beginning with the California attack and never slows down as the plot goes deeper into the paradox of faith and redemption. Fast-paced, series fans will relish this exciting entry although the American heroes continue their globetrotting confrontations with the strigoi, but seem to have fallen to the middle book curse as they fail to grow from all the blood they recently have experienced.

Harriet Klausner

The Vaporizer-Lee Driver

November 29, 2013

The Vaporizer
Lee Driver
Full Moon Publishing, Mar 1 2013, $26.00
http://fullmoonpub.com/
ISBN: 9780988868304

Shapeshifting Sara Morningsky wakes up with a headache in pitch blackness with someone touching her while breathing into her hair. Moments later her private investigator partner Chase Dagger awakens to a sensual touch, a satin pillow and sheet inside a contained rather small for two enclosure. Neither knows how they ended up in a coffin. Chase believes his former employer BettaTec found him in Cedar Point, Indiana and went to great lengths including drugging them to warn him to cooperate or they will bury Sara for real; though he also believes they remain ignorant about her ability to turn into a hawk and wolf since they did not take her.

As the sleuths begin inquiries into what happened to them and why, the medical examiner’s autopsies of three gang members show they did not coincidentally die of natural causes as improbable as it first seemed; instead someone removed their brains. The cops know “Who ya gonna call” (Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.) to investigate the Eerie in Indiana; as Chase has a reputation for successful resolution of the weird.

The latest Chase Dagger Mystery thriller (see Fatal Storm, Chasing Ghosts and The Good Die Twice) once gain deftly blends mystery and fantasy into a fabulous investigative thriller beginning with a great claustrophobic opening scene. Sara continues to mature while Chase knows he would willingly die for the young woman he mentors and loves as an adult equal. Action-packed from start to finish, fans will want to join the lead couple working together on a personal case and on the gangbangers’ murders.

Harriet Klausner

Montooth 3 Red Cross Of Gold-Robert Jay and Meghan Christian

November 25, 2013

Montooth 3 Red Cross Of Gold
Robert Jay and Meghan Christian
Cloverleaf Corporation, Oct 30 2013, $21.99
http://www.montoothpress.com
ISBN: 9780989117104

In 1954 at Florida’s Sarasota’s Preparatory Academy, Cuban student Elena Rafferty tells her friend Carty Andersson about her anti-Batista activity. Both teens will miss each other as they graduate and vow to stay in touch; as Elena plans to return home to join the Castro forces rebelling against the dictator while Carty and her Crew mates (Blake Homes, Mack Stein and Hale Wending) will attend Purdue.

At Purdue, freshman Carty likes her petit roommate Marjory Mentor who majors in MRS while fascinated with Andersson’s archery skills. In class, Mack challenges Economics Professor Lyndon Donagle’s wine growing theories embarrassing the Dr. When the Crew leaves the campus over Thanksgiving, Marjorie remains in the dorm where she spends time with her new boyfriend. In Lafayette, someone shoots three arrows into Donagle before bashing in his head. LPD Police Detective Mickey Malone leads the homicide investigation with Carty as the only suspect.

The third Montooth historical thriller (see Montooth And the Canfield Witch, and Race for The Ryland Ruby) is a terrific profound look into the “Happy Days” of the Eisenhower years with readers feeling like time travelers to vividly described Indiana, Florida and Cuba. The taut homicide inquiry subplot feels like ancient history with no Bones or Jeffersonian forensics while the rise of Castro as the Cuban people’s savior further anchors time and place. With a Montooth fable re bees, and treasures dating back to Templars rounding out the delightful 1950s drama, readers will appreciate this strong suspense as the Crew loyally set out to prove one of their own did not kill the professor.

Harriet Klausner

Twilight-Sherryl Woods

November 23, 2013

Twilight
Sherryl Woods
MIRA, Nov 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315124

In Chicago, someone murders Minister Ken Miller. His death leaves his wife Dana and their three children in shock as Ken was a good husband and father, and a caring man of God who took his message into the worst sections of the city. When CPD explains to Dana the case is turning cold; needing closure the former private investigator decides to inquire into the shooting homicide of her husband.

To protect her three sons, she ships them to their grandparents in Florida. Once her children are safely out of the way, Dana targets Ken’s best friend Rick Sanchez, founder of Yo, Amigo, a shelter for teens attempting to leave the gangs. This is her best lead since her spouse spent a lot of time helping there. Fearing the obsessed Dana will get herself killed, Rick offers to help her. Both CPD claims illegal drugs were found in Ken’s church office and a second killing of a church employee leads Dana to revise her hypothesis.

This reprint is an exhilarating romantic suspense that was a contemporary in 1997 but has a historical feel with what has happened in communications since its original publication. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Dana gives up on the cops and never slows down as she and the person she holds culpable investigate the murder. Although a romantic subplot feels more of an unnecessary forced requirement, fans will enjoy this taut thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wake To Darkness-Maggie Shayne

November 23, 2013

Wake To Darkness
Maggie Shayne
MIRA, Nov 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315551

Famous self-help inspirational author Rachel de Luca and police detective Mason Brown met when his car hits her as the distracted blind woman left the police station. That same day, his brother Eric committed suicide so Mason and his sibling’s widow donated his organs. Rachel received his corneas that enable her to see for the first time since she was a child. After regaining her sight, Rachel and Mason worked together on a serial killer case in which she saw visions of a psychopath in action and shared the best sex either had (see Sleep With the Lights On).

The renowned author completes a Wish Yourself Rich book tour and TV appearances only to learn Mason’s widowed sister-in-law suffered a stillborn. With his family needing him and he upset over her not calling him while she was away for a month, Mason suggests they keep apart for now. However, Rachel suffers a nightmare in which she sees another of Eric’s organ recipients a mom with small children murdered. She joins Mason as he investigates the homicide in which she believes she is on a serial killer’s Wraith organ hit list.

The latest Brown and DeLuca paranormal investigation is an engaging thriller starring two wonderful protagonists and a strong support cast especially his family. With a nod to the movie Blink, this fast-paced with a tense twist tale grips sub-genre readers as once again evil always finds a willing host while good manifests itself in love.

Harriet Klausner

Murder On The Orient Espresso-Sandra Balzo

November 22, 2013

Murder On The Orient Espresso
Sandra Balzo
Severn House Publishers, Dec 1 2013, $27.95
ISBN: 9780727883117

Leaving Wisconsin, Uncommon Grounds gourmet coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen accompanies her lover Brookhills County Sheriff Jake Pavlik to attend the Mystery 101 writer’s convention in Fort Lauderdale where he is a presenter on forensics and she a tourist. Having worked GenCon in Milwaukee, Maggy is disappointed that no one dresses up as Miss Marple or Monsieur Poirot and knows what organizer Zoe Scarlett wants from Jake and her.

Attendees participate in a Christie reenactment while riding the Murder on the Orient Espresso train into the Everglades with Maggy as a Narrator, Zoe as the Woman in the Red Kimono and Jake as Rachett. To Maggy’s joy many riders wear 1930s garb to reflect the era of the classic. As the key role players are introduced, Laurence Potter playing Monsieur Poirot fails to appear. Soon Jake with Maggy’s help and others search for the missing Potter and that soon turns into a homicide investigation.

Paying homage to Agatha Christie, the latest Thorsen caffeine crime cozy (see Triple Shot) is refreshed with the South Florida locale especially the murder train into the Everglades. Although the storyline slowly but amusingly percolates by introducing the attendees in Fort Lauderdale; once the players and fans are on board, Murder On The Orient Espresso high speeds (in spite of Florida rejecting this form of rail) into a fabulous mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Murder As A Second Language-Joan Hess

November 21, 2013

Murder As A Second Language
Joan Hess
Minotaur, Dec 17 2013, $25.99
ISBN 9781250011961

To fill out the volunteer section of their college applications to schools like Vanderbilt, teenage BFFs Caron and Inez become ESL tutors. At the same time, Caron’s bookselling mom Claire applies as a volunteer at the troubled Farberville Literacy Council. Instead of becoming a tutor like her daughter, Claire ends up on the Board of Directors, but quickly seeks an exit strategy as the FLC is a cesspool filled with embezzlement claims and financial problems.

Not long after Claire joins the FLC, her new husband Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen rationalizes breaking a personal vow that she will sleuth anyway when he asks his wife to help him investigate the murder of ESL student Ludmila Grabowski; she has insider access he does not have. The elderly acrimonious Russian was found dead in a FLC storage room, but her body seems to have been moved as evidence suggests she banged her head on a copying machine. Claire finds many of her board member peers with the opportunity and concealing all sorts of activities that mostly do not relate to the late Ludmila, but who committed the act remains out of reach.

The latest Claire Malloy Arkansas whodunit (see Closely Akin to Murder, Mummy Dearest and Deader Homes And Gardens) is an exciting mystery. The enjoyable storyline contains the typical albeit somewhat toned down zaniness especially the suspect pool filled with amusing underdeveloped characters. Series fans will enjoy this fun regional whodunit; as Claire learns that volunteerism in her case proves that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Harriet Klausner

Found: A Matt Royal Mystery-. Terrell Griffin

November 16, 2013

Found: A Matt Royal Mystery
H. Terrell Griffin
Oceanview, Nov 19 2013, $26.95
ISBN 9781608090990

On Longboat Key, Florida, police detective J.D. Duncan receives a text addressed to her college nickname Jed containing a photo. She forwards it to her boyfriend retired attorney Matt Royal’s email to open since her cell is too small to see the picture clearly. The text shows her college friend Katie Fredrickson holding today’s Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Over a year ago in Sarasota, Katie’s husband Jim was murdered and based on crime scene evidence she was presumed dead though her body never found.

Someone murders Cortez villager WWII veteran Ken Goodlow while he apparently was coming to see Royal. The killer dies in the bay trying to escape the police. Duncan works the Frederickson case while laid-back Royal tries to learn why the elderly man wanted to see him. Matt’s BFF kick butt top secret operative Jock Algren arrives for a visit and joins the lovers’ inquires as danger mounts from cutthroats who don’t care about collateral damage.

The latest Matt Royal entry (see Fatal Decree and Collateral Damage) is a fast-paced convoluted thriller that grips the reader with the same questions haunting the “sweeties”; for instance why Goodlow wanted to see Royal and what is going on with Katie alive or dead. Series fans will enjoy this tale as the cop, the retiree, and the agent work the two perilous investigations.

Harriet Klausner

Dust-Patricia Cornwell

November 14, 2013

Dust
Patricia Cornwell
Putnam, Nov 12 2013, $28.95
ISBN: 9780399157578

After working the Newtown tragedy, emotionally weary Dr. Kay Scarpetta goes to her home in Cambridge for some needed sleep. In the middle of the night the mentally exhausted chief medical examiner is awakened by detective Pete Marino calling her. He tells Scarpetta that a female corpse was found at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Briggs Field.

Scarpetta arrives at the athletic field murder scene. She quickly realizes that the killer purposely posed grad student Gail Shipton, which implies to the M.E. that she is not the first victim. She wonders why the predator covered the body with dust while thinking her case looks similar to the Capital Murderer investigation her FBI husband Benton Wesley is investigating. Scarpetta and her Cambridge Forensic Center team learn that Shipton sued her fired financial managers and that someone(s) with influence wants the homicide to go unsolved.

The latest Scarpetta forensics investigation (see Postmortem) is an exciting whodunit that as always uses current advances in an understandable manner without dumbing them down. Though the storyline slows down at times when it turns personal, this entry is overall a fast-paced twisting murder mystery with Scarpetta at the top of her game and Wesley deeper than ever.

Harriet Klausner

Ghost Medicine-Aimee & David Thurlo

November 13, 2013

Ghost Medicine
Aimee & David Thurlo
Forge, Nov 12 2013, $24.99
ISBN 9781466807853

Former Navajo Nation cop Harry Ute left the tribal force to become a private investigator. When his mutilated corpse is found in a remote part of the Rez, Harry looks like the victim of the fearsome skinwalker witches.

Navajo Nation special investigator Ella Clah leads the investigation into the brutal murder of her one-time subordinate. She questions Harry’s boss Bruce “Teeny” Little, but he offers little beyond stating Ute was looking into stolen property. Ella’s boyfriend county Detective Dan Nez was working the same case as the victim. He teams up with Ella while residents living near the murder scene fear the skinwalkers’ retaliation so they refuse to say anything about the vicious homicide or the theft of artifacts.

The latest Ella Clah Navaho police procedural (see Never-Ending-Snake and Black Thunder) is a strong case personalized by the protagonist. Even with her obsessed need to catch the killer motivating her, Ella finds her inquiry complicated by tribal beliefs especially the fear of the skinwalkers. Once again team Thurlo provides a super tribal whodunit.

Harriet Klausner