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Spots: A Tale of Star-Struck Misfame and Misfortune by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Spots by Simon PlasterSpots by the talented author, Simon Plaster, is his latest satirical novel featuring a small-town reporter, Henrietta, who is from the actual small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. In Spots, Henrietta travels to Oklahoma City, where the novel is primarily set, to report on the days leading up to a TV awards show in which awards are given to the best actors/actresses in TVCs, or TV commercials, otherwise known as “Spots.” Because of this, other than Henrietta and her mother, Wynona Sue, many recurring characters from Plaster’s other novels in the series are not featured in Spots, but that is more than made up for with his cast of new characters, including ones from famous commercials, like William Shatner, the insurance gal, Flo, and the two guys who currently are in commercials for Sonic. Read the rest of this entry »

Blood Memory Society by D.A. Field

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Blood Memory SocietyWho would have believed that Dr. Will Dunbar, would be involved in a national emergency of far reaching proportions.

While diving in the Bahamas, Dr. Dunbar, Will, is summoned to Washington by a friend’s desperate plea for assistance. When he sees his friend, Colonel Ross Chapman the years seem to disappear between now and then, when they were both at West Point.

Although Dr. Dunbar is about to become the head of reproductive medicine at the Mayo Clinic, his friend is able to sidetrack him into working on this issue.

For the first-time Dr. Dunbar hears of a secret organization, The Blood Memory Society, that the government has been running since the beginning of the government in the United States. In the current case, the society has been renamed the Inherited Memory Society. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag (Review #2)

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Bitter Season
Tami Hoag writes great murder mysteries but believe that she almost outperformed herself on this one! Not quite sure what the title means but the story line is enough to make one’s mind turn to a slightly Bitter Season!

It really is a great read but it is also very twisted and re-twisted. It all begins with Nikki Laska, a Minneapolis detective, who is working on her first cold case which she has requested believing that it will give her more free time at night to be with her two sons.

At the same time Sam Kovac, her longtime detective partner, has just been assigned a murder case where an older couple were attacked and killed by someone using ceremonial Japanese weapons including a Samurai sword which was very valuable. The man who was killed had been a college professor who was in the midst of a possible promotion in East Asian studies at the university where he taught. Strangely enough he was battling another professor for that promotion and also strangely enough that other professor was very much involved it seems with the murdered professor’s daughter. And that mix-up is just one of the many weird coincidents that begin occurring in this story. Read the rest of this entry »

Watching the Dark: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson (Review #2)

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

Watching the DarkI was excited to find a new mystery writer to read, and based on some reviews was excited to read this book. Unfortunately this book was not what I expected. It was an extremely slow and hard read that could not hold my interest. I have read thousands of books and this was the longest it ever took to complete the book.

The novel starts out intriguing with a police officer being murdered. Unfortunately the author then spends more time focusing on describing small, inconsequential details of each scene then he does working on the main mystery of the novel. The novel itself is also convoluted because there are multiple different characters following multiple different story lines. Read the rest of this entry »

Unsub: A Novel by Meg Gardiner

Reviewed by Allen Hott

UnsubThis is a very interesting, almost nerve-racking, story about a young female detective as she tries to learn about, find, and corral a demented man.
The man called the Unsub has returned to the San Francisco Bay area after a hiatus of 20 some years. On his first appearance he had terrorized the Bay area with his cryptic messages and killings. He also basically ruined a police officer both physically and mentally. This new young female detective, Caitlin Hendrix, is the daughter of that retired and fairly disabled police officer, Mack Hendrix.

Caitlyn basically grew up in a broken home as her mother was unable to cope with Mack’s mental condition after his encounter with the Unsub also known as the Prophet. Caitlyn however decided she wanted to be a police officer and worked her way onto the county’s Narcotics Force. One night while she was at home with her ATF policeman/boyfriend she got a call to report at once to a crime scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense by J.A. Jance

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Trial by FireAli Reynolds is approached by Sheriff of the Yavapai County Police Department to become his media relations consultant. She had just recently moved back to Sedona, Arizona after losing her job as an anchor in Los Angeles. She not only lost her job but decided to lose her husband who she had found to be cheating on her. She was in good enough financial shape to do whatever she wanted and decided to do it in her hometown. She was startled by the sheriff’s offer but she decided to take it because it sounded like a challenge and something that fit her background well.

She didn’t know that one of the problems she was going to face was a battle going on in the department between two rival unions. However that really is just a small part of this entire story. Within the first week she is able to get news out about an old farmer who busted two guys for rustling Cacti! Yes it is actually against the law to take certain cacti from the desert. Her boss was extremely happy with the way she handled the story and the next step up for her was even bigger. Read the rest of this entry »

Cat Shining Bright: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Cat Shining BrightHaving never read one of Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s bestselling Joe Grey mysteries before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It turns out I was pleasantly surprised by her 20th book in the series. Joe Grey is one of several talking cats in this series of books. That’s right, talking cats! What an interesting concept for a book series. Joe Grey and his feline friends help the local police solve crimes, and only a handful of humans know that they have the ability of speech.

In this book, Joe Grey and his mate Dulcie have become parents to three active and curious kittens, named Striker, Buffin, and Courtney. Will the kittens be able to talk too? Only time will tell if they have this special gift. Read the rest of this entry »

Afterlife by Marcus Sakey

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

AfterlifeDo you ever read a book and immediately think this would make a great movie? That is exactly what I thought while reading Afterlife, Marcus Sakey’s latest work. Well, it appears I was not the only one to think that as it is going to be a movie directed by Ron Howard. Afterlife’s premise isn’t exactly new ground covered. There have been many other books and movies done along the same basic story line, but Sakey turns it up a notch in both emotional tugs and suspense.

Will Brody is an FBI agent assigned to a task force in Chicago. He reports to Claire McCoy. The two have both a personal and a professional relationship which they manage to keep separate most of the time. This changes with an explosion leaving Chicago, Claire and Brody forever changed. Read the rest of this entry »

Vicious Circle (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

vicious circleAs usual the action in Joe Pickett stories kicks in pretty quickly. In this one Joe, the Wyoming Game Warden, is in a plane trying to find Dave Farkus who has turned up missing in the mountains. Farkus who is always in and out of Joe’s life somehow appears to be lost and Joe’s boss sends Joe with the other searchers. The pilot is using FLIR which is a forward looking infrared device that picks up heat or light. Just as the pilot is turning to return to base Joe spots not only a figure down in the woods but then three flashes right near the figure.

However they do not have enough gas to circle around again so they head back to base. In the following days the sheriff decides that a posse needs to be sent out to where the body of Farkus is thought to be. Joe goes along with an undersheriff who appears to be acting somewhat strangely around the body when they find it. More later in the story on this. Read the rest of this entry »

The Force: A Novel by Don Winslow (Review #2)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The ForceThe Force,” by Don Winslow, introduces the reader to Denny Malone, a highly-decorated detective with the NYPD and lead detective of “The Force.” Winslow has created a vision of the world of law enforcement in the same way Puzo created a vision of the world of the Italian mob with “The Godfather.” “The Force” is the story of a detective who, while at the top of his game, made a few bad choices. Before long, Malone finds himself in a hole that he can’t get out of and he is forced to make a heart-wrenching choice. I have read hundreds of crime novels in my life and this one is by far one of the most realistic, keeping me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Don Winslow is an accomplished author, having been nominated for such awards as
the Barry and Dily’s and winning the 2000 Shamus Award for Best Novel and the 2016 Steel Dagger. In 2012, Winslow won the Raymond Chandler Award, Italy’s top
Lifetime Achievement Award. Few authors have such an outstanding resume and
Winslow really shines with “The Force.” This novel deserves 5/5 stars.

*A copy of this book was the only compensation received for this review.*