Archive for March, 2014

Killer Physique-G.A. McKevett

March 30, 2014

Killer Physique
G.A. McKevett
Kensington, Mar 25 2014, $24.00
ISBN 9780758276544

Private detective Savannah Reid anxiously waits to meet the parents of her new husband Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter for the first time. Her friends Ryan Stone and John Gibson invite Savannah and Dirk to attend the Hollywood premiere of their buddy superstar hunk Jason Tyrone’s new film.

The next day, Jason is found dead in his room at the Island View Hotel by Ryan and John, who call Savannah. Soon after the P.I. and her spouse enter the hotel room, San Carmelita’s medical examiner Dr. Jennifer Liu arrives and quickly announces accidental death due to massive steroid use. However Savannah and Dirk have doubts as they just met the hunk a few hours ago and he showed no signs of ill health. They investigate those inside of Tyrone’s circle starting with movie co-star Alanna Cleary who he allegedly had an affair with; his former lover Thomas Owen; and others employed by the late actor, and contacts at the studio and at the gym where he worked out.

The latest Savannah Reid mystery (see Killer Honeymoon) is an entertaining investigative tale as increasingly the sleuth, her mate and readers wonder if the M.E. is right. Although issues like steroid use and the inquiry feel superseded at times by the intrusive meet the parents subplot, series fans will appreciate the newlyweds working the case; as the couple that solves murder mysteries together, stays together.

Harriet Klausner

Whirlwind-Rick Mofina

March 30, 2014

Whirlwind
Rick Mofina
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778316091

In Wildhorse Heights, Texas, Jenna Cooper, accompanied by her four-year-old daughter Cassie and her five-month-old son Caleb, shop at the Old Southern Glory Flea Market for children’s clothing since money is tight. A terrible twister hits the area knocking Jenna out. When she regains consciousness she finds Cassie with her but Caleb missing. Franticly searching for her infant, hysterical Jenna knows she must act now without the support of her husband Blake who currently works in Alaska for a moving firm.

Though her job title is intern, Kate Page knows she competes with two others for a permanent position at Newslead in Dallas. Her rivals are Texans with experience while she is from Canton where she left her six year old daughter Grace in Ohio with friends. Kate interviews Jenna who tells her that a Good Samaritan helped her and her two children to safety just before she blacked out, but that person has also vanished. At the same time Kate investigates the apparent abduction, the FBI also works the case.

This is an exciting action-packed thriller made intense by the realistic hysteria of the mom and daughter, and kept anchored by insight into instant journalism and the reporter dealing with a prejudicial boss who believes her Lone Star blood is superior to Buckeye DNA. Gripping from the opening tornado and snatch, readers will appreciate Rick Mofina’s tense heart-wrenching Whirlwind.

Harriet Klausner

Safe Keeping-Barbara Taylor Sissel

March 29, 2014

Safe Keeping
Barbara Taylor Sissel
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $14.95
ISBN 9780778316169

The murdered corpse of Miranda Quick shakes up the residents of the small town. Many suspect her high school sweetheart, thirty-four years old loser Tucker Lebay killed her. While his mother Emily defends him, his Vietnam War veteran father Roy, who suffers from PTSD, wants to cut all ties with his son. The local police question Tucker, but soon release him.

Not long after the Miranda murder, the dead body of Jessica Sweet is found near the same location as the previous homicide. The police believe Tucker killed both females. A desperate Emily believes in the innocence of her adult child so, with help from her married daughter Lissa, she seeks to prove her Tucker killed no one. Meanwhile, Roy demands they kick Tucker out of their lives.

Safe Keeping is an intriguing family suspense in which relationships going back three decades impact the present as the child becomes the adult. The murder mystery storyline goes as expected to include a late twist. On the other hand, the effect of Tucker named by cops as a person of interest on his parents, sister and brother-in-law, and the high degree of misinformation that ironically remains accepted as Gospel even after being debunked as false make for an engaging thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Children of the Revolution-Peter Robinson

March 29, 2014

Children of the Revolution
Peter Robinson
Morrow, Mar 25 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062240507

In Coverton, retired schoolteacher Margery Halton was walking her dog when the canine came across the corpse of reclusive Gavin Miller under a railroad bridge. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks leads the investigation in which suicide has not been ruled out; as Miller lived alone in a hovel ever since Eastvale College fired him in scandalous disgrace from his lecturer position. Neither has homicide been eliminated as some of his injuries look like they occurred in a brawl with an assailant but a robbery did not happen as the deceased possessed 5000 pounds on him.

Banks, assisted by DI Annie Cabot and DC Gerry Masterson, makes inquiries into Miller’s recent and distant past as motive for the murder remains elusive. The police especially focus on two young ladies whose accusations led to the lecturer’s dismal from Eastvale.

The latest DCI Banks British police procedural (see Watching the Dark) is an entertaining whodunit in which the leisurely-paced storyline contains less action than usual, but replaced by a more cerebral approach (especially several interviews) to solving the murder mystery. The hero is irascible and independent as he ignores his boss who begins bantering the dreaded R word (retirement) to him. As always readers can bank on Peter Robinson for an enjoyable tale.

Harriet Klausner

I Remember You-Yrsa Sigurdardottir; Philip Roughton (translator)

March 28, 2014

I Remember You
Yrsa Sigurdardottir; Philip Roughton (translator)
Minotaur, Mar 25 2014, $14.99
ISBN 9781250019004

Married couple Katrin and Gardar, accompanied by a late friend’s widow Lif, leave Reykjavik, Iceland to renovate an old house they’ve recently purchased into a guesthouse in remote Hesteyri. Almost upon arrival, the trio feel like eating the financial investment as they are uncomfortable though none of them initially can explain why. They soon understand that the house contains a deadly resident, a ghost child, who demands they leave or suffer the consequences of their foolishness.

At the same time in Ísafjördur, police detective Dagný investigates a vandal incident at a school in which a young student, who vanished three years ago, remains missing. The cop asks psychiatrist Dr. Freyr to assist him with the case. They soon learn of an identical event at this same school six decades ago. In that historical cold case, the missing pupil’s classmates began mysteriously dying. Soon the eerie events happening in Hesteyri and Ísafjördur connect.

As Thora Gudmundsdottir (see The Day Is Dark) takes a respite, Yrsa Sigurdardottir provides an exhilarating Icelandic paranormal mystery. The Ísafjördur subplot is the stronger of the pair as each new clue forces the investigators and readers to change their opinion as to what is happening. The Hesteyri haunted house engages the audience with scary suspense, but loses some steam as the time to flee back to Reykjavik long passed. Still I Remember You is a fabulous fright fest.

Harriet Klausner

The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb-David Handler

March 27, 2014

The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb
David Handler
Minotaur, Mar 25 2014, $25.99
ISBN 9781250041975

Recently elected as Dorset, Connecticut’s first female selectwoman, Glynis Fairchild-Forniaux implements her plan to re-grade and widen Dorset Street in the town’s Historical District over the objection of many of the local Old Guard led by former long-time selectman Bob Paffin. When the work begins, the crew uncovers a corpse in a shredded U.S Navy uniform.

Connecticut State Trooper Resident Des Mitry leads the investigation into the death of Paffin’s older brother Lance, who vanished over forty seven years ago without a trace because he obviously was interred under the street in front of the Congregational Church since 1967. With help from her lover NYC movie critic Mitch Berger, Mitry questions many of the town’s leading older citizens; but Paffin, Gazette newspaper publisher Buzzy Shaver, and U.S. Congressman Luke Cahoon offer nothing; while the many females that Vietnam War hero Lance the womanizer victimized also remain silent. The case remains frozen, but Mitry refuses to resign herself that the code of silence will leave this unsolved.

The latest Berger and Mitry regional police procedural (see The Snow White Christmas Cookie and The Blood Red Indian Summer) is a wonderful twisting New Englander whodunit as the Dorset Brahmin close ranks refusing to cooperate. Mitry is at her obstinate intimidating Amazonian best refusing to give up; while Berger provides wry commentary on movies and elitist townsfolk. The strong case resolution is fresh in part due to help from unexpected individuals, but mostly because the dynamic opposites attract couple is at the top of their game.

Harriet Klausner

Resistant-Michael Palmer

March 27, 2014

Resistant
Michael Palmer
St. Martin’s, May 20 2014, $27.99
ISBN: 9781250030924

In an angry reaction to the New Deal, a clandestine cabal the One Hundred Neighbors formed with the mission to save United States from the Nanny State entitlements that they strongly believe only lead the country to inevitable financial ruin from unpayable debt and moral collapse. Over the decades this group insisting they are patriots secretly attack the nation from within in order to cause the people to lose confidence in the government.

Two weeks ago Becca Seabury shattered her elbow in a championship game. She was rushed to Boston’s White Memorial Hospital for surgery where she remains dying from an infection caused by an unknown microbe. At the same time Dr. Lou Welcome and his best friend Cap Duncan are in Atlanta. While Lou attends a conference, Cap injures his leg while jogging. Surgeons save the leg, but an infection identical to that of Becca sets in. The microbe resists all efforts to stop its spread. An unknown adversary abducts the CDC Antibiotic Resistance Unit lead scientist on this strain Dr. Kazimi after killing an associate and a security guard. Desperate to save Cap’s life and prevent a pandemic, Dr. Lou Welcome joins the inquiry as the One Hundred Neighbors threaten to destroy the U.S.A. if the social safety network is not destroyed instead.

This exciting medical thriller grips the audience with plenty of action; albeit over the top of the Bank of America Plaza. Fast-paced, readers who can suspend their plausibility especially the behavior of several cast members including the cutting off their nose to spite their face illogical villains will enjoy the late Michael Palmer’s newest Dr. Lou tale (see Path of Office and Political Suicide).

Harriet Klausner

The Berkeley Square Affair-Teresa Grant

March 25, 2014

The Berkeley Square Affair
Teresa Grant
Kensington, Mar 25 2014, $15.00
ISBN 9780758283955

In 1817, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch enjoy their quiet life in London after years of dangerous intelligence missions (see Imperial Scandal and The Paris Affair). Malcolm belongs to Parliament while Suzanne has become a popular hostess amongst the Ton.

Their domestic tranquility ends when their battered friend Simon Tanner visits them at their Berkeley Square mansion. The injured playwright explains he held an alleged valuable copy of a Hamlet when thugs accosted him; they severely beat him before leaving with the prize. Not long after Tanner’s arrival, Malcolm’s former boss, Lord Carfax, calls on the couple. The spymaster thinks the stolen document contains clues to the identity of a traitor whose betrayal decades ago led to deaths during an Irish rebellion that also involved Malcom’s deceased father. Frantic Suzanne fears secrets she hid from everyone even her beloved will surface destroying their trust and probably end their marriage.

The latest Rannoch Regency mystery is an engaging early nineteenth century investigation due to the fabulous lead couple and the vivid background of post Napoleonic Wars London. The fascinating plot contains less suspense than previous entries (see Imperial Scandal and The Paris Affair) partly because the spying days during the war are over and partly because the prime cause of this caper is decades old. Still, fans will appreciate the Rannoch duet’s tour of London not long after the Congress of Vienna (see Vienna Waltz) tried to return the continent to the pre Napoleon era.

Harriet Klausner

Murder At The Breakers-Alyssa Maxwell

March 25, 2014

Murder At The Breakers
Alyssa Maxwell
Kensington, Mar 25 2014, $15.00
ISBN 9780758290823

In 1895 Newport, Rhode Island, though belonging to the affluent Vanderbilt brood, twentyish reporter Emmaline Cross is a poor working class reporter who drives a carriage for a living. Her other full-time occupation is getting her half-brother Brady Gale out of his many minor scrapes with the law.

To celebrate his newest mansion the Breakers, Cornelius Vanderbilt tosses a party attended by the elite of the upper class. However, the gala turns nightmarish when someone uses a candelabrum as a hammer to brutally smash in the skull of Vanderbilt’s secretary Alvin Goddard before tossing the victim off the second-story balcony. The Newport police arrest Vanderbilt’s nephew intoxicated Brady who was found asleep at the murder scene possessing stolen railroad secrets he apparently took form his uncle. Emma knows her sibling is a wastrel drunk, but not a murderer; so with the help of attractive journalist Derrick Anderson she questions those who attended the shindig.

The first Gilded Newport Mystery is an entertaining whodunit starring a wonderful heroine whose independence readers will enjoy though it is out of place for the late nineteenth century. Fans will root for unsinkable Emma as she crosses her .1% relatives with her unacceptable embarrassing behavior. Although the investigation takes a back seat to touring the rich and famous of Newport in the Gilded Age, Murder At The Breakers is a fun affair.

Harriet Klausner

Cloak Of The Light-Chuck Black

March 22, 2014

Cloak Of The Light
Chuck Black
Multnomah, Mar 18 2014, $11.99
ISBN 9781601425027

Twelve years old Drew Carter and his mom Kathryn attend the funeral of his father and her husband Ryan, a Special Forces war hero who died in combat. His dad’s BFF Jake Blanchard pays his respect to his fallen comrade. The grieving pair move to Columbia to live with Drew’s maternal grandmother. Over the next few years Jake became a surrogate father to Drew. In high school, Drew plays football. When his grandma dies and Kathryn loses her teaching position, she and Drew move to Rivercrest, Kansas where she obtained a job.

Drew makes the football team as a starting fullback, but alienates several players when he becomes friends with wannabe physicist Benjamin Berg who has a nutty theory about aliens living among us. He also is attracted to devout Christian Sydney Carlyle, who cannot go out with him as a non-believer. During a laser experiment conducted by Ben, an accident leaves Drew temporarily blind. When he recovers his sight, Drew finds he sees things outside the range of humanity; but what he observes makes him fear for his sanity as he swears feral otherworldly adversaries are in Kansas.

The first Wars of the Realm middle school age Christian thriller is an engaging tale due to a strong fully developed cast especially the three heroic teens and the brutal aliens. The storyline starts slow as readers meet Drew, but once they reach Kansas begins to accelerate until about a third of the way into the tale turns hyperspeed. Though Drew’s skepticism towards Jesus is mishandled especially his out of character mocking of Sydney, readers will appreciate the opening act of Chuck Black’s new saga (see The Kingdom and The Knights of Arrethtrae).

Harriet Klausner