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Half-Cut (The Cut Series Book 1) by Arnold Eslava-Grunwaldt

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Half-CutA police thriller that is as clever as it is suspenseful; Half-Cut makes a noticeable entrance into the ever-growing genre of police thrillers. Author Arnold Eslava-Grunwaldt delivers with this debut novel, which is a well-orchestrated thriller that builds in intrigue, portrays sympathetic characters, and introduces readers to central character Detective Sergeant Hamilcar “Ham” Hitchcock, a seasoned and wise detective on the Yonkers, NY police force.

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Readers will find themselves immediately drawn into the intense world of Detective Sergeant Hitchcock, as he finds himself called to the residence of Bernard “Barney” Bloemker. At first glance, it appears that Barney died of a heart attack. However, something seems out of place with the corpse when it is noted that half his head has been shaved bald. Barney’s unconventional haircut did not match the plain interior set up within his apartment. The mystery continues to grow, as another oddity about poor Barney’s corpse arises. The medical examiner notices a telltale sign of arsenic poisoning indicating that a much more sinister scenario was beginning to unfold; Bloemker’s death may have been murder. Read the rest of this entry »

Exiles: A Mystery in Paris (The Daniel Levin Mysteries Book 1) by Lawrence J. Epstein

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Exiles:  A Mystery in ParisAlthough the title of the novel by Lawrence J. Epstein reads Exiles: A Mystery in Paris, in fact there are several types of mysteries tackled on various levels. The readers are invited to explore these and see beyond the shadow of the murder case which reigns over the plot.

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It all unravels in Paris, 1925 – a period marked by recovery, vitality and hope. It is the hope of a fresh start that pushes Daniel Levin to leave his home and venture into a foreign land to try and accomplish his dream of becoming a writer. While he quickly befriends the right people and receives a lot of help from them, he still has to face a lot of obstacles alone. Some of these are regarding his literary carrier, some even threaten his life.
Soon after his arrival, a murder takes place in his vicinity. The audacity of the crime and the fame of the victim guarantee the headlines. While he begins as merely a keen observer, his status will shift as he will find himself ever more involved in the case. Meanwhile, he is also faced with the mystery of love and its many masks. Levin thus has the opportunity to discover a city like Paris through a woman. As a bonus, the pages of the book are spiced with the appearances of famous characters of the likes of Sylvia Beach, Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, all of who are strongly portrayed and bring an extra layer of complexity to the novel. Read the rest of this entry »

Inherit the Bones: A Mystery (Detective Gemma Monroe Novels) by Emily Littlejohn

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Inherit the BonesDetective Gemma Monroe is six months pregnant and her boyfriend is in Alaska on business leaving her alone, uncomfortable and as it turns out, in the middle of one of the biggest cases to hit Cedar Valley, Colorado in a very long time. She is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the traveling circus, where a circus clown has literally had his throat ripped open. Before long, it becomes apparent that the victim is not who the circus thought he was and that he might have been killed because of secrets he knew about a forty year old unsolved murder in Cedar Valley. As Gemma investigates the clown’s murder, she is drawn deeper into the forty year old mystery of the disappearance of two boys. In an odd twist of fate, Gemma and her boyfriend were the people who found the long buried bodies of the boys just a few years ago.

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This is without a doubt, one of the most skillfully written books I have read in a long time. The writing is so good that the story flows smoothly along making the twists even more jarring. The plot takes several interesting turns during Gemma’s investigation making it a difficult book to put down.
As for characters, Gemma is fairly complete for the reader. I’m sure in future books we will learn more about her and her past, but readers are left feeling they “know” Gemma. The supporting characters were interesting and enough of their personality was given to let us see them as people. Read the rest of this entry »

Unlucky 13 (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Unlucky 13If you have not read James Patterson any of his Women’s Murder Club stories this would be a good start. Unlucky 13 is one of those so you do have the assortment of professional women who make up this club. Lindsay Boxer, a San Francisco detective, is somewhat the main lead in this one but as usual her fellow members play significant parts along the way.

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And as usual Patterson has more than one plot going on as he normally does. The main one here is probably where Lindsay and her partner are trying to find who is planting some type of edible capsule in hamburger meat. It starts when a couple is found dead in their car and the middle of their bodies have actually been blown apart. Tests show some type of high explosive that is set off by gastric juices. In this case it has been encapsulated in a very minute fashion and then planted in hamburger meat. Read the rest of this entry »

Law and Disorder by Mike Papantonio (Review #2)

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Law and DisorderNicholas “Deke” Deketomis is a passionate attorney. He believes in those he represents and will fight for his clients. He is persistent and will not give up always keeping the clients first. Deke is the type of attorney everyone dreams of on their side.

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Deke specializes in torts. He is currently representing Annika Phillips.
Her life seemed perfect being an honor student and an athlete but all that changed after she used the drug, Ranidol. Now, paralysis is part of her life. Annika suffered a drug-induced stroke.

Deke is representing Annika against the pharmaceutical company which makes this birth-control drug. Unfortunately, she suffered one of side effects permanently changing her life forever.

Deke is not fearful of being the David going up against the Goliath pharmaceutical company. He thrives on knocking down establishments who believe rules and laws are for other people, not them. Read the rest of this entry »

Reckless Creed (A Ryder Creed Novel Book 3) by Alex Kava

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Reckless CreedRyder Creed is called in to assist the sheriff in locating a missing girl. What they find is her body seemingly staged in the water with r rocks in her pockets. The sheriff assumes her death is a suicide. At the scene, Creed’s dog finds a couple of dead birds and because his dog had one of the birds in her mouth, he sends the birds to be tested. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Maggie O’Dell, an FBI profiler, has been called in to consult on a different death also initially believed to be a suicide. A man is found face down on the sidewalk after having jumped or fallen from his hotel balcony. He left behind a completely sanitized room except for massive amounts of blood spray. In yet another odd happening, hundreds of dying birds fall from the sky and hundreds of dead snow geese are found dead on a Nebraska lake that is a migratory stop. While reports of such massive die-offs of birds are not unheard of, it has authorities concerned. Also troubling, the autopsies of the girl in the South and the man in Chicago reveal that both were quite ill with a flu like infection.

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The two deaths and the dead bird plots twist and turn as their connection to each other becomes clearer. Along the way, readers find that O’Dell suspects a researcher who was presumed dead after a mudslide destroyed her lab may not be dead, and in fact may be behind the mysterious happenings. A young girl, alone and sick in New York City happens to see the news report about the dead birds in Nebraska and contacts the biologist who was interviewed. Through the young woman, the larger plot comes to light. Read the rest of this entry »

War Hawk: A Tucker Wayne Novel by James Rollins (Review #2)

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

War HawkJames Rollins does it again – another great adventure with action, suspense and a little romance.

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Tucker Wayne and his dog Kane (extremely trained service dog) made their debut in Rollins’ Sigma Force novel Bloodline. While working on the fringes of Sigma Force, Tucker is contacted by an old love, Jane, from his service days. Jane asks him to find a mutual friend that has disappeared which leads him on quite the adventure. Tucker runs into some crazy things which have him contacting his old service buddy Frank. Read the rest of this entry »

Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) by Patricia Cornwell (Review #2)

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Depraved HeartHaving previously read most of Cornwell’s books, I was eager to read this one. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back in another gripping thriller. This book begins with Scarpetta working the scene of a suspicious death when she receives an emergency alert on her phone. The alert is a video link and appears to come from her niece, Lucy, a computer genius and an FBI agent. The video is strange in that it is surveillance of Lucy from about twenty years ago.

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As Scarpetta watches the video, she learns scary secrets about her niece which imply dangerous and illegal implications. It appears as if the videos were sent by Lucy, but she later learns that this isn’t the case. The links have actually been sent by Carrie Grethen, an enemy of Kay and her family. She is left confused, worried and scared for Lucy and has no idea who she can turn to and trust with the information. She races to Lucy’s house to find answers, but only finds more questions. The FBI is at Lucy’s house with a search warrant and answers must be found before Lucy is arrested. Read the rest of this entry »

The Murderer’s Daughter: A Novel by Jonathan Kellerman

Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is quite a story. All about a young lady who at the age of five witnesses her mother not only stab her father to death but the mother then commits suicide! Is that a beginning or not?

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Kellerman than builds and builds on the story line as Grace Blades is shunted here and there as an orphan. Expected to live and grow in all sorts of foster type environments but surprisingly she not only lives and grows but she develops into an extremely smart youngster as she goes.

Part of the time her surroundings are a hindrance but once with an older woman she is given the type of freedom she needs to read and allow her brain matter to grow and grow. And then later with a pair of psychologists (husband and wife) she is really given not only a spot to live but also coaching in the type that really builds Grace into a spectacular psychologist herself.

If this all sounds easy and somewhat lackluster in excitement, you need to read the book to see exactly what all happens in this life span of a Murderer’s Daughter!

Because Grace witnesses other murders and evolves into quite a challenged person as she pursues those who have committed the evil deeds. No she doesn’t look to put the baddies in jail rather she takes care of the punishment of them in her own way. Read the rest of this entry »

The Wrong Side of Goodbye (A Harry Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Wrong Side of GoodbyeHarry Bosch, one of Connelly’s (and my) favorites is back. The retired police detective cannot stay out of the mix when it comes to hunting for bad guys or as in this story just plain hunting.

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Harry is working as an extra for the San Fernando Police Department. It isn’t full time and he doesn’t really get paid much but it keeps him busy and happy. He still pursues other cases as a private investigator.

And in that position this time he really gets a boomer! A very, very rich old gentleman, Whitney Vance, contacts Harry and pays him ten thousand dollars to find a possible missing heir. Vance owns/runs one of the largest businesses in California and supposedly has no potential heirs that are related to him. But he believes that he might and he wants to find out. He impregnated a Mexican girl when he was young and his parents would not allow him to have anything to do with her. Vance was forced to move away and go to a different school and as far as he knew his father somehow managed to send her away perhaps to Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

The Body in the Wardrobe by Katherine Hall Page

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

The Body in the WardrobeFaith Fairchild, New Englander, mother, caterer, minister’s wife, and part-time sleuth is drawn into this new mystery by Katherine Hall Page. Her friend Sophie Maxwell has moved to Savannah, Georgia to be with her new husband, Will. While Will is away in Atlanta often for his job as a private investigator, Sophie is left at home to set up house for them in Savannah and become assimilated into his large, southern family. At the same time, Faith has her own worries. Her daughter is being bullied by girls at her new school, and her husband is considering a move to a new church to minister in a new city.

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Faith and Sophie are in contact often via telephone. Each is trying to help the other with all the changes that are happening in their lives. One night, when Will is away on one of his long trips to Atlanta, Sophie stumbles across a dead body in the wardrobe. She runs to call the police, who respond very quickly. When they arrive, the body has disappeared from the wardrobe. Sophie insists that she saw the body, but with no evidence to prove it, the police justifiably assume she imagined it. She’s alone in a big house, a good reason to become spooked. Read the rest of this entry »

Ashley Bell: A Novel by Dean Koontz

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Ashley BellThere is little doubt that Mr. Koontz can get into the head of the reader and he has done it again. This is quite a story but the reader must believe in many things and especially people being able to see into their future and also imagine themselves in that future.

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Bibi Blair is the heroine in this case and she does things that most of us wish we could do. Or maybe not? Because she seems to get into all sorts of trouble when she does her voyaging.

It starts sort of slowly as she is a ten year old living with her surfer parents off of Newport Beach in California. One day she finds and makes a home for a stray dog (whom she names Olaf). When she is bathing the dog in the garage below the apartment where her grandfather lived before passing away, Bibi hears strange noises coming from upstairs but she doesn’t check immediately. Read the rest of this entry »