Archive for April, 2014

Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish-Janet Hubbard

April 1, 2014

Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish
Janet Hubbard
Poisoned Pen, Apr 1 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464201547

American wine critic Ellen Jordan asks NYPD Detective Maxine Maguire to act as her bodyguard while she visits Bordeaux, France. Once in country Ellen asks French speaking (from her mom) Max also to protect one of the four wine magnums valued at over $30,000 each by auctioneer Paula Goodwin though the American believes these are worthless frauds.

At the annual regional wine tasting gala in Lussac, experts test the contested wines for authenticity. However, Ellen dies from asphyxiation in her hotel room and the magnum Max left in the hotel safe has vanished. Max believes her client was murdered so she persuades her former lover French magistrate Olivier Chaumont and Commissaire Abdel Zeroual to allow her in on the investigation.

With a nod to Ellen Crosby’s Wine Country Mysteries (though in France rather than Virginia) the second Vengeance in the Vineyard Mystery (see Champagne: The Farewell) is a super whodunit as suspects straddle both sides of the Atlantic. Fast-paced from the moment Max learns Ellen died, readers will enjoy this solid whodunit as questioning those with motives seems to disprove Vino Veritas.

Harriet Klausner

Warriors-Ted Bell

April 1, 2014

Warriors
Ted Bell
Morrow, Apr 1 2014, $27.95
ISBN: 9780062279385

Since the abductions in 2009 in Georgetown, Chinese General Sun-Yat Moon has kept American Nobel laureate Dr. William Lincoln Chase, Jr. incarcerated on Xinbu Island while at the same time the kidnapped man’s family resides in a North Korean death camp. The brutal Chinese officer demands the scientist’s cooperation on developing a stronger Chinese version of the Centurion Submariner he created for America in which an unmanned sub can launch multiple long-range missiles. Failure means his family will be slowly tortured to death.

In Cambridge, England the murder of a professor by ancient Chinese torture techniques sends MI6 operative Alex Hawke to investigate; New Scotland Yard Inspector Ambrose Congreve also makes an inquiry. As American President McCloskey fears for his people from the realistic Chinese threat, Hawke learns that his real mission is to rescue Chase and his family before tension between the two powers escalates to the use of the nuclear option.

The eighth Alex Hawke espionage thriller (see Phantom) is an exciting action-packed tale as the superspy understands he and his team must extract the scientist from an impenetrable fortress and the family from a confining death camp before the rival superpowers use the nuclear option. Adrenalin-pumping from start to finish, readers will appreciate the fast-paced save the world albeit over the top novel.

Harriet Klausner