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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense by John Houde

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The CriminalistThe Criminalist by John Houde, is an average mystery. The plot involves a forensic scientist, Paul Connert, teaming up with Vika Koslava, to try and find her half-sister. They had come to America for be models for an adult-themed photo shoot but when one of the key people disappears, things begin to go awry. First, Vika’s half-sister comes up missing after a wild night of partying. Then, Vika crosses paths with Paul, who is involved in an investigation of a possible sex-trafficking ring. They ultimately end up working together to catch the renegade cop who is part of the ring. Read the rest of this entry »

She Rides Shotgun: A Novel by Jordan Harper

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

She Rides ShotgunOpen the door and hop on in for the ride of a lifetime. Polly and her dad Nate will explain everything as we travel along the open road. But be on the lookout for gunfights and shadows lurking in the night. It has become their way of life.

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Eleven is much too young to learn the reality of prison hierarchy and the long tentacles of murderous gangs. But that is just what Polly must face if she is to survive in a kill-or-be-killed world. She has her best friend bear with her for comfort and companionship, but her father thinks she is a little nutty to treat a stuffed animal like he is alive. Polly’s father Nate has just been released from prison after five years. A run in with the fierce leader of the Aryan Brotherhood has set in motion a greenlight being placed on the lives of Polly, his ex-wife and himself. Nate’s sole mission is to keep Polly safe and alive until he finds a way to get the greenlight lifted. But Nate doesn’t anticipate the strength and fight that is in his daughter or the love that begins to bloom in his heart for this little girl. Read the rest of this entry »

Live by Night: A Novel by Dennis Lehane (Review #2)

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

LIve by NightLive by Night by Dennis Lehane is a 2012 William Morrow publication.

At the age of thirteen Joe Coughlin began his ascension of the organized crime ladder. He was born the third son of Thomas Coughlin, a well-respected Boston police captain. Joe’s life of crime began by knocking off paper stands with the Bartolo brothers.

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At the age of twenty, Joe met Emma Gould during the robbery of a speakeasy owned by Albert White. Joe’s boss Tom Hickey and White were heated rivals in the bootlegging business. This was the turning point to Joe’s intensification into the gangster world. A world that was fueled by prohibition and the underworld of bootlegging. Joe was an excellent business man with a compassion seldom seen in a gangster. During this time, criminal gangs were rampant and ethnic prejudices ran high. Rumrunning prospered from the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, crawling with Irish and Italians, to the backwaters of Ybor City and Tampa Florida, with Cubans and Latino’s. Joe’s bootlegging and cigar businesses of Ybor became his life. But the mob bosses make the decisions and give the orders of how you live and if you survive. Read the rest of this entry »

Law and Disorder by Mike Papantonio

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Law and DisorderAttorney Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis is a hard hitting lawyer in Spanish Trace, FL and a monumental thorn in the side of corporations who put profits before people. He has a reputation for going after companies with everything he has and obtaining large settlements for his clients. Deke’s life becomes very complicated, however, after he is framed for murder while litigating two major tort cases against Bekmeyer Pharmaceauticals and S.I. Oil. Substantial money is at stake and conservative forces backing both companies seem to be conspiring against Deke to shatter his credibility and destroy his reputation. The question is, will he be able to beat the odds once again or is this the end of his stellar career?

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Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Playing with FireOne dark night in Yorkshire, DCI Banks and DI Cabot are called to the scene of a fire. Two derelict boats have been set on fire and there are two victims: the daughter of a local doctor and a marginally successful artist. Much is revealed as Banks and Cabot investigate, including the possible existence of an art forgery ring involving Leslie Whitaker, a local book seller and Cabot’s newest love interest, Phil Keane and that the artist’s death might be the result of a blackmail attempt. This could be the most challenging case yet for Banks and Cabot and time is running out as more fires are set and more people fall victim to the unidentified arsonist. Read the rest of this entry »

The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (An Elvis Cole Novel) by Robert Crais

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The PromiseAnother very interesting read by Crais. He is one of the best in building stories that seem to be entirely possible in our lives. The only problem is that as usual he has about twenty gazillion characters in this one again. Always does he seem to overpopulate his stories with characters that do play fairly important roles in the story. Sometimes I feel like I need a scorecard by my side as I read.

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Elvis Cole, one of his favorites, is a private investigator who has been hired to find a missing woman. She is a federal employee with not only the ability to get to weapons but she is also still very distraught over losing her son in the fighting in the Middle East. She wants to get some sort of revenge. Read the rest of this entry »

End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) by Stephen King

Reviewed by Allen Hott

End of WatchYou have to enjoy his stories as they are always very intense and somewhat macabre. However you have to have an active imagination and accept some things even though you may have severe doubts.

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End of Watch is the third in a series about Brady Hartsfield who was the perpetrator in Mr. Mercedes. In that King novel Hartsfield drove a Mercedes into a line of folks lined up for job interviews. He not only ran over them but also backed over them. Later he planned a major massacre at a young folks show. However Bill Hodges, a retired police officer and now private investigator, with his associate, Holly Gilbney, brought down Hartsfield with a severe blow to the head. That blow put him in a hospital where he still resides and supposedly has no working mental capabilities. Bill has visited him often and does not believe that he is incapacitated to the extent the doctors do.
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Collecting the Dead: A Novel by Spencer Kope

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Collecting the DeadCollecting the Dead introduces a fresh face in crime fiction. Magnus Craig, better known to all as “Steps,” has an unusual gift that makes him invaluable to the elite Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Steps has become known as the human bloodhound in the press for his ability to find traces of a perp’s trail when no one else can. This has made him a bit of a media star but also has drawn the suspicions of some prosecutors who suspect there is something a little hinky with his finds. One even challenged him in open court-one of the lighter scenes in the book as Steps answers the challenge via demonstration. However, the truth is, the doubters are not wrong-Steps’ success comes from an oddity. He has the ability to see the remnants of a person’s aura long after the person is gone. By following this “shine” as he calls it, allows him to track where there really is no trail remaining and in some cases sense whether a person is still alive.

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In this debut of the series, the Special Tracking Unit is called in when the remains of a murdered girl are found. Not only does Steps see the killer’s shine, he ability allows him to also recognize a signature left at the crime scene by the killer-a sad face image. It is the sad face image that triggers a memory in Steps of an earlier case with a victim who physically resembled the current one. This leads to the obvious question, “are there even more victims of the sad face killer?” And just like that the investigation of one murder becomes the hunt for a serial killer.

Writers have been coming up with gimmicks of all sorts to make their protagonists unique for a long time, and Kope isn’t the first to create one using a form of synesthesia. There is a danger in adding this sort of trait to a protagonist-to keep the person believable. Kope does this at least as well if not better than most. I am quite looking forward to seeing more of Steps in the future.

The Last Mile (Amos Decker series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Last MileMr. Baldacci has found another story for Amos Decker. Decker is the detective who is especially famous for his super extraordinary memory.

Due to some sort of accident years ago he was left with this incredible ability to remember everything from the day after the accident. Sometimes it is good but sometimes it is bad because it does cause him to have headaches and see strange colors also.

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However in The Last Mile that asset is used over and over again as he works to solve mysteries that involve some past and some present associates.

Melvin Mars is sitting in prison waiting through the last hours before his scheduled execution. The execution is to happen because Mars has been found guilty of murdering his parents and burning down their house.of his continual denials for over 20 years the courts finally passed down the date of execution and it is now.

But! Remember this is a story (and a great one at that) so you know things can change. In this case another gentleman in another prison suddenly confesses to the crime and goes into detail about how he pulled off this horrendous deal. He does all of this right before he is put to death for his other crimes.

So against the wishes of some non-believers of the newest confession, Mars is set free and is now trying to figure out what is happening. And into the picture comes Amos Decker.

Decker’s family was also brutally murdered. Strangely enough just before Decker left for the East Coast to meet up with his new boss and other investigators he saw the story on the news about Mars and his release. Decker had a hard time believing how this other man could not only have done the crime but then why after all these years confessed?

One other thing drew Decker to this case was the fact that years ago when he was playing football for Ohio State he had played against Melvin Mars who then played for the University of Texas.

As soon as Decker meets up with his new boss and crew, he with much persuasion convinces them that they need to look into the Mars case. One of his new associates is a lady named Alex Jamison and the two seem to hit it off at least on a work level immediately. Look in future stories for these two!

Meanwhile Mars has been introduced to his new state furnished attorney who not only will help him with his release but is also pushing to get him much more compensation for his erroneous confinement than the state wants to pay.

With all of this start up business underway Baldacci continues to build a story line that is captivating, energetic, and keeps the reader tied tightly to the next chapter. As usual he has written a tremendous novel and again as usual he does so without sex or a lot of profanity. One more award winner from Baldacci!

Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Lie in WaitLie in Wait is, in stripped down terms, a bit of a cliché. The setting is a remote small town in Vermont, with a reasonably inexperienced police detective in charge of a brutal case. The victim is a teenaged girl babysitting-can you not just here the musical sound effects for this one? Her charges for the evening are the children of the attorney involved in a high profile, controversial case which threatens to tear the town apart and expose long hidden secrets. And yet, after a rather slow start, the book is captivating and very hard to put down.

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