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Fractured by Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Allen Hott

FracturedQuite a story that illustrates not only how cops work but also how criminal minds work while they are plotting some of the terrible crimes that they perpetrate.

It begins with the Campano family being pretty well torn apart when the mother comes upon a crime scene and sees what she believes to be her daughter, Emma, in a horrible condition with a young man hovering over the girl. The mother, with tremendous force powered by her feelings for her daughter, overtakes the man and stabs him to death.

When the police come on the scene they find that the girl was not her daughter and the man was not the assailant! It turns out that the young man was a boyfriend of her daughter. He had earlier come into the house looking for the daughter, his girlfriend. Read the rest of this entry »

Game Piece by Alan Brenham

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Game PieceGame Piece is a gripping and heart-pounding thriller, which keeps readers glued to the pages right through to a spine-chilling conclusion. Short chapters give a fast-moving rhythm to the story line and add more excitement to this crime thriller without it feeling choppy or fragmented.

Barry Marshall, a police detective in Temple, Texas, is a self-described workaholic. When Marshall checks out an anonymous lead involving one of his open cases, he discovers a gruesome murder scene. This is only the beginning of a string of murders committed by a killer who appears to have a personal vendetta against Marshall for some inscrutable reason. The two men engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. As the game progresses, the stakes escalate for Barry with an unanticipated effect on his career and family. Can Barry end the perpetrator’s reign of terror before his convoluted scheme succeeds?

Trepidation and conflict have been ramped up by Alan Brenham’s excellent handling of not only the multiple points of view but also the transitions between point of view characters. The majority of the story is told from Barry’s viewpoint. However, the third-person point of view provides an added dimension to the story allowing readers to understand the thoughts and motivations of other characters who play an important role. Read the rest of this entry »

River Bodies by Karen Katchur

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

River BodiesWhile this is considered a thriller – it has great elements but misses the mark. While crimes were committed, why were they committed? How can an entire town be oblivious to what is going on. There were a lot of allusions to a cover-up but no reason as to why. Read the rest of this entry »

The Christmas Scorpion: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Kindle Version)

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Christmas ScorpionA very different approach this time by Lee Child as he puts Jack Reacher, everybody’s favorite, in a short story! Much of the concept is typical however as Reacher is heading south (as usual) to be warm for the winter. Strangely enough though, it doesn’t work out that way as the small south California town gets hit with a tremendous snow storm. And that storm forces Reacher to finally seek shelter in a very lonely bar/restaurant where only the owner and two other couples are staying…..also trying to stay warm and out of the snow.

And this is where Child starts building his story. It seems one of the couples explain to Reacher that they are Royal Military Police and they were on their way to the nearby military base (where Reacher had been stationed at one time as a Military Policeman). They were part of a group that not only included a very higher-up in English politics but some other very important people from the United States. The snowstorm had torn up their automobile caravan leaving them far behind the others in the group.

They ask Reacher to use his knowledge and possible contacts at the base to get them assistance and find out if the others in their group had arrived. Right after this discussion started the gentleman from the other couple came over and asked if they could please be considered part of the group so that they could somehow get out of the storm. Read the rest of this entry »

Prior Bad Acts (Kovac and Liska #3) by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Prior Bad ActsAnother very interesting book by Tami Hoag. A mother is found murdered in the worst possible way and two children are also found hanging from a ceiling beam in the basement of a home. They were found by a man seeking refuge from a tremendous storm that was inundating the area.

The story then moves to a courtroom fifteen months later where Judge Carey Moore decides that she will not pass sentence on Karl Dahl, a drifter who was apprehended near the scene and arrested primarily because of prior bad acts even though none of them were extremely bad.

When Moore decides that she will not sentence him, many in and out of the courtroom are up in arms. The prosecuting attorney basically condemns her for not doing her duty. One particular police Detective, Stan Dempsey, really gets upset because he feels Moore has done this too often in the past and has not allowed good police work to be rewarded by stiff sentencing of criminals. Read the rest of this entry »

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The President is MissingTwo celebrated folks collaborating on a story about the possibility of a worldwide internet attack. In this lengthy tale President Duncan, the president of the United States, is faced with a possible cyber terror attack that will shut down not only the United States electronic systems in total but also do harm to several allied countries as well.

However President Duncan who is a highly decorated former soldier and as he has basically been contacted directly by one of the terrorists he decides to work through this pretty much by himself. He does not allow hardly anyone and especially the press know anything about the supposed attack. He handpicks six of his closest advisers and several high tech folks to work with him on figuring out how to do this work. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ridge by John Rector

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Megan began to wonder if she was losing her mind. Is everything real or just part of her imagination? Can she trust anyone is this town?

Megan and her husband Tyler move to Chicago where he has accepted a job at the Institute, a research center and must remain there at least for a year.

Megan is not very happy with the move and the strange neighborhood. She believes that one of the neighbors, Rachel Addison, is trying to steal her husband. When Megan confronts Rachel everything goes awry. There was a terrible accident and Megan believes Rachel is dead. When she tells Tyler what happened, he goes to Rachel’s house only to find her alive and well. Is Megan losing her mind? Read the rest of this entry »

Knife Creek (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) by Paul Doiron

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Knife CreekA very good crime story written by a new writer (to me) who has done an excellent job putting together this one.

Mike Bowditch, a Maine game warden who seems to always be a bit ahead of where his supervisors think he should be, gets off on a tangent. Though he is out trying to clear out some feral hogs who have decided to take up residence in his district, Mike discovers a reason to do some investigating.

What he finds is a dead baby in a shallow grave that appears to even have been partially at least nibbled at by the hogs. He notes that the baby is covered with a pink Red Sox shirt and immediately calls in his findings and forgets about the hogs. The first state patrol officer who comes to the scene is a young woman who had previously worked with Bowditch as a game warden. Pretty much against the wishes of their superiors these two decide to see what they can find out. When nothing else appears evident they split up and go about their other chores. Read the rest of this entry »

The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Last Mrs. ParrishAt some time in your past, you probably have looked at a celebrity and imagined yourself as that celebrity. After awhile, most of us realize that no matter how hard we try, we just cannot become that person. Even with a makeover and dieting, it just will not work. You won’t become that person.

Amber Pattinson obsesses over Daphne Parrish. She sees Daphne as perfect. To Amber, Daphne is who she wants to become. The beautiful, blond socialite and philanthropist exists with designer clothes including jewelry, travels extensively in their private jet and has a nanny For her two supposedly perfect daughters. She even has a charismatically handsome husband who happens to own his real-estate company. Of course, the family lives in their elegant homes, complete with servants and everything a woman could buy or desire.

Amber can only find one imperfection in Daphne. Daphne’s sister passed away twenty-years ago from cystic fibrosis. In her honor, she created a charity for those suffering from the disease. However, she still misses her sister. Read the rest of this entry »

The Brethren by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The BrethrenThis is a really interesting story that basically has several stories going on at the same time. The Brethren are a group of three ex-judges who are currently serving time in a minimum federal security prison or camp which is meant for criminals who have committed nonviolent crimes basically against society. They have to be guarded and watched but it is a very low security atmosphere. One of the three had been convicted for tax evasion, one was a justice of the peace who was jailed for embezzling bingo profits, and one had killed two hikers in Yellowstone while he was driving drunk. They basically had jurisdiction over the other inmates in the prison camp as long as it was a crime dealing only with other prisoners.

But there status did allow them to have privileges such as mail in and out without anyone checking it. They were also allowed visits unhampered by their attorney who in fact became their errand boy as they used him in the scheme which they put together. He was happy with the overall arrangement because one of the three judges was a knowledgeable sports gambler and he was always giving the errand boy tips on games to bet with very good odds of winning. Read the rest of this entry »