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Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The DisappearedAs usual Joe Pickett, Wyoming’s favorite Game Warden, gets picked to move out of his normal bailiwick and has to work on a problem for the governor. But this new governor is not a fan of Joe nor is the governor’s right hand. Mainly because Joe is always solving problems but he is always causing other ones as he works. Usually he is not only tearing up state furnished equipment like trucks, etc. but he also tends to even run up against the legal system by doing things HIS way as opposed to by the book!

However because of the seriousness of the newest problem and because they have no one as good at solving problems the governor gives Joe an assignment that no one could solve. It seems that a very well-known British businesswoman has turned up missing instead of returning to England after her stay at a very exclusive guest ranch in Wyoming. And wouldn’t you know, Sheridan Pickett, Joe’s oldest daughter is working at the ranch as a wrangler after just finishing college. Joe is somewhat astounded by this since Sheridan was never the horse lover that her mother and sisters were. But it seems Box needed a “friend” in the right place for Pickett as the story evolves.

As Pickett arrives at his new working grounds which is not in his assigned region he receives a call from Nate Romanowski who wants to bring in someone to talk with Joe about a problem that the falconers are seeing and trying to solve. Joe isn’t happy with the potential interruption but does know that Nate, even though he can be a problem, can also be an asset in Joe’s endeavors.

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Murder on the Left Bank (An Aimée Leduc Investigation) by Cara Black

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Murder on the Left BankWhen a dying man shows up in Eric’s offices asking for help to right wrongs of the past by delivering a ledger to authorities, against his better judgment Eric agrees to help. Really his task is pretty simple. He would have his nephew deliver the ledger to the designated person and that would be the extent of his involvement. But from the beginning things go wrong. The nephew was on his way to meet his girlfriend so instead of making the delivery, he hid the ledger and went to meet his girlfriend. They were attacked and the nephew was killed. The room was tossed, but the ledger wasn’t found, Now Eric wants his nephew’s murders found and the notebook delivered.

Aimee Leduc has more than enough to keep her busy between raising her daughter as a single parent and running her private investigation business. After her father’s death, Aimee pledged to stick to cyber crimes and security problems, but when Eric Besson shows up in her office seeking help locating a missing ledger which may contain information that would implicate her now deceased father she is drawn into another dangerous case.
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The Candidate (Newsmakers) by Lis Wiehl and Sabastian Stuart

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The CandidateErica Sparks (who has appeared in several of Lis Wiehl’s books) is a top flight newscaster and is very keyed up about the upcoming presidential race. She realizes that this type of excitement just adds to her show’s audience and thus her ratings. She decides that she will spend a lot of time checking out all the possible candidates and see who is most likely to bring her more listeners.

It turns out that two of the top runners very quickly put just about all the other hopefuls behind and therefore make them of little value to Erica and her network. Erica is also mindful of the fact that her boss is constantly watching the ratings battle and truthfully is always looking for results whether they come by way of Erica or someone else.

To help solidify her position and hopefully even add to it substantially she decides to hone in on Senator Mike Ortiz one of the Democratic candidates. He is currently locked in a battle with Fred Buchanan of Pennsylvania and would make a prime candidate for a moderated debate on Ericka’s show. She begins making arrangements although it means that she is going to be spending quite a bit of time away from her eleven year old daughter, Jenny. Jenny has begun giving her grief anyway because since the divorce of her parents Jenny doesn’t feel either Erica or her former husband care enough about her wellbeing. Read the rest of this entry »

Matchup: The Battle of the Sexes Just Got Thrilling Edited by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

MatchupCompletely different concept. This is a book of eleven short stories written by twenty two different authors. Each story has one male author and one female author. They discuss the story they have in mind. Then they begin working together building this new story. And each story features one of each author’s main characters. Very interesting concept on writing and done very well.

The first is Honor & …… which is a story involving Joe Pickett (C J Box character) and Lee Coburn (Sandra Brown character). They meet up in an interesting fashion in Pickett’s territory (kind of) and have to figure out who and what is going on. Together after they realize that they are both lawmen, they do a great job of getting the job done!

The second story is Footloose with Val McDermid’s Tony Hill as one character and Peter James’s Roy Grace as the other character. This one is a little more difficult to read as it is about a crime in England involving human feet that are found in various places. Lots of English titles and characters.

Next up was Faking a Murderer. This featured Temperance Brennan (Kathy Reichs’ character) teamed with Jack Reacher (Lee Child’s contribution). Reacher as usual interrupts a trip to pal up with Brennan and solve a murder as well as get Brennan out of trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

Steep Price (The Tracy Crosswhite Series) by Robert Dugoni

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Steep Price. Det. Tracy Crosswhite, an accomplished homicide detective in the Seattle P.D., is facing a major life, change in less than a year: the birth of her first child. In the meantime, two major cases are one her plate. The first is the death of a promising young Indian woman, Kavita Mukherjee, whose roommate, Avita, has just broken the news that during her trip home to India, she had gotten married to a suitor arranged by her parents. Kavita disappeared shortly afterwards. The second case being handled by the “A” Team is the fatal shooting of a community activist in a part of Seattle known for its high crime rate. At the same time, Tracy is dealing with her pregnancy no longer being a secret and the sudden reassignment to the “C” team of a seasoned detective in favor of a novice Hispanic woman who seemingly appeared from nowhere. Tracy is determined to see both cases solved and it will take all the team’s skills to solve both cases. Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher, No. 11) by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Bad Luck and TroubleA somewhat different concept for Jack Reacher (one of Lee Child’s favorite cop-type folks). Usually Reacher pretty much works alone as he travels the country with no changes of clothes, a travel toothbrush, and little cash but he normally does have his bank info so he can get cash if need be.

He really is in luck this time however as he now has an ATM card but he is completely startled when upon making a withdrawal request he finds he has much more cash than normal in his account. The deposit of $1030 means to Reacher and his MP associates that someone is in trouble. In military jargon 1030 means someone needs help. The deposit was in fact made by Frances Neagley, who had worked with him for over ten years in his army career. She was brilliant, resourceful, tough, and a true right hand to him in his position.

Reacher knows that something is wrong but as he tries tracking her down in Chicago where she used to work he finds that she is currently in LA doing some type of work-related activity. He immediately heads for LA knowing that he can track her down. When he does she tells him that one of their group is not only dead but was thrown from an airplane. The man, Calvin Franz, was one of Reacher’s closest friends in the service. And now Neagley planned to find out who killed him and she knew Reacher would also want that satisfaction.

Reacher had been in charge of a small group of ranger-type investigators of which Neagley was one. On hearing of how Franz died she felt the other eight members of the group should be brought together and do the same type of work they used to do and not only find the killers but the reasons for the murder. Read the rest of this entry »

Murder, She Wrote: A Date with Murder by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain and Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

A Date with MurderThere are few brands with better name recognition than MURDER, SHE WROTE and, arguably,no sleuth better known than Jessica Fletcher. The fabulously successful television show, featuring Angela Lansbury, was a huge hit and spawned a book series that rested in the able hands of Don Bain for 46 titles.

Following Bain’s passing last year, thriller author Jon Land stepped into his shoes and his first effort joining forces with the fictional Jessica, A Date with Murder, is a spectacular success. Lending a harder edge to an established formula has the dual effect of keeping things cozy, while at the same time making the series feel more fresh and contemporary.

Look no further than Jessica’s uncovering a nefarious Internet dating site as responsible for a trusted friend’s murder as a prime example of just that. Following Jessica’s relentless crusade which brings her into the netherworld of the worldwide web made for great fun, especially when she ultimately poses as a lonely dowager herself to flesh out the murderous manipulators associated with the aptly named Love Is Yours.com. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fallen (Memory Man series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The FallenAmos Decker, the Memory Man, is back in a new story but using many of his previous attributes as he goes about solving crimes. In this one, however, he does have some different kinds of problems with his fabulous memory. If you have read any of Amos’s previous stories you know he has a fantastic memory and though it gives him problems at times it is usually a great tool for an FBI agent to have.

This time he and Alex Jamison, his FBI partner, take a vacation to a small rust-belt town called Baronville to visit Alex’s sister’s family. While there they not only discover there are some major problems in the small town but invariably they get involved in working out some of the problems. It seems as though at one time a guy named Baron owned the town and was unliked by most residents. He supposedly left a fortune somewhere when he died but no one has ever been able to find it.

Now his last descendant lives in the old dilapidated mansion and he too is unliked by most everyone as they feel (a) he is a Baron which is reason enough to hate him and (b) he may know where the fortune is hidden. Read the rest of this entry »

The Last Stand by Mickey Spillane

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Having been a Mickey Spillane fan back in the 40s and 50s I was looking forward to The Last Stand when I read about how the manuscript supposedly was found in good condition and ready to be published. I feel certain that there was some work done to it by Max Collins who wrote the introduction.

Overall the book is pretty good but not exactly what I expected. To begin with it is in fact two separate stories. The first one, A Bullet for Satisfaction, is a Spillane type and basically centers around a police officer, Captain Dexter, who is heading up an investigation into the killing of a major political figure. Dexter and his partner, Fred Jenkins, begin digging into the case and find several attorneys who are politically active seem to have had some encounters with Mayes Rogers, the murdered politician. Read the rest of this entry »

Noir by Christopher Moore

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

NoirFirst things first, I love the cover of this book! Do you ever pick a book because of the cover? I do and I would grab this one in a heart beat. The pin up girl in bright red and the two men in black suits and fedoras screams 1947. The golden gate bridge is also displayed lending a hint to the setting of the story. There is a snake and a green three fingered hand resting on the title that adds a bit of mystery to the overall design. This is cover love at it’s finest.

In the summer of 1947, San Francisco is changing. The war is over and work is hard to come by. Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin is a bartender at a seedy gin joint when one night a dame named Stilton, aka the Cheese, walks in and Sammy falls hard. They spend time together and enjoy some razzmatazz until one night the Cheese goes missing. Sammy sets out to rescue her and save her from the two mugs in black suits. However, what he finds he never expected. With a colorful cast of characters and bountiful twists and turns down dark alley’s, we are off on an adventure. Read the rest of this entry »