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Archive for the ‘Suspense’ Category

Kill Me by Stephen White

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Kill MeDr. Alan Gregory, one of Stephen White’s favorite main characters, has his hands full in Kill Me. An extremely wealthy gentleman (whose full name we never know) schedules two appointments in one day. Dr. Gregory, a clinical psychologist, has never had this happen before but he accepts the man’s story and meets up with him.

Then Stephen White basically tells the story of Kill Me from that patient’s viewpoint. And it turns out to be quite a story. The gentleman lives a rather wild life in that he takes all sorts of chances with his life such as skiing in some not so ski worthy sites and other things. He is full of life and even reckless because he also has a friend and a brother who are basically living as vegetables due to illnesses. Our hero does not want to live that type of life. Read the rest of this entry »

Written in Blood by Layton Green

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Written in BloodIn Written in Blood, author Green introduces readers to Detective Joe “Preach” Everson. Following a common path, Green has given readers a flawed protagonist, though Preach’s baggage goes well beyond the ordinary. After suffering a tragedy as a young man, he had a sort of breakdown and fled his hometown of Creeksville, North Carolina. His life path from then until the book opens took him to Bible college, time as a church preacher, a prison chaplain and then as a police officer in Atlanta, where another incident led to another breakdown.

Here we reach the first thing about the novel that just doesn’t quite work. Pearch has returned to his hometown and has been hired as a police detective even though he has not been cleared to work from his breakdown. He promises to see a therapist who happens to be a relative. One has to question what police force would hire an emotionally unstable person as a detective and what therapist would risk his or her reputation and licensing to sign off on a deeply troubled soul who has suffered at least two emotional breakdowns to serve as a detective. But let’s accept this as written for the sake of the story. Read the rest of this entry »

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Undertaker's DaughterThe Undertaker’s Daughter introduces Ilka Jensen, a middle aged protagonist who has struggled with the loss of her father for most of her life. When she was seven, her father up and left moving to Racine, Wisconsin, never to be heard from again. That is never heard from again until now. Word comes that her father has died and named Ilka in his will. His estate cannot be settled until she signs off on the will Rather than leaving this to her attorney to handle for her, she decides to travel to Wisconsin and handle it herself. Of course things turn out to be more complicated than she expected. She finds her father has left everything to his current wife and two American daughters except his business, a failing funeral home. While I generally liked Ilka and found the book interesting, it was quite a bit different than I would expect from a Scandinavian crime author.

The first thing that struck me a bit out of the ordinary, was except for the very beginning of the book, when readers meet Ilka and her mother in Copenhagen, the entire book takes place in Wisconsin. I suppose there are other Scandinavian writers who set an occasional in America, but I found this an interesting way to start what appears to be a series. Read the rest of this entry »

Silent Treatment by Michael Palmer

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Silent TreatmentThere is no doubt that this is a medical thriller but the reader must realize that a lot of the “thriller” is in fact only connected with “medical” in a general way. Yes there are some somewhat scary moments connected with the medical industry. But most of the thrills are as Dr. Harry Corbett and a few of his associates get involved in hunting for killers.

Corbett is a highly successful doctor who is well established and well liked in the hospital where he practices. He has also been married to the love of his life, though lately he is not necessarily the love of his wife’s life. There appear to be some things happening with her that he is not aware of, only that she has been acting strangely.

Evie, his wife, is scheduled early on in the story for a minor repair on a small problem with her heart. The doctors have all convinced them that it is nothing to be concerned about but Corbett is still worried. Read the rest of this entry »

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Last Mrs. ParrishWho doesn’t want to be richer, thinner, blonde with blue-eyes, tanned, better looking and more successful? This seems to be the American dream for many women. Most wealthy people appear to have it all. With money, they can recreate themselves into almost the perfect person. Think of the numerous women and even many men who spend enormous amounts of money to achieve their vision of perfection.

The problem is often what appears in public is quite different than reality or in the privacy of a home.

Amber Patterson is tired of being normal. She is thin, but plain. Mousy brownish hair, dowdy, ambitious but in a career with no future for making real money. She just makes enough to get by with her paycheck to paycheck existence.

How can she change her life?

Amber finds a new friend, Daphne Parrish, who seems to be everything she could want. Daphne is beautiful, rich, blond, blue-eyes, married to a gorgeous husband and two young daughters. Amber wants Daphne life, but slightly changed without the children. She doesn’t enjoy young ones at all.

Coincidentally, both Daphne and Amber had sisters who dies due to cystic fibrosis. This is the foundation of their friendship.

Will Amber ever have a life like Daphne’s? Read the rest of this entry »

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

No Middle NameThis one is not a normal book but is a collection of several novellas and then even more short stories. All of the tales do feature Jack Reacher, who has been the main character in many of Child’s works. No doubt that the title No Middle Name pertains to Jack Reacher. That always comes up in all of the stories that Child writes. Someone invariably asks his name and they cannot get over the fact that he doesn’t have a middle name. Even without a middle name Jack Reacher is a very interesting character. These stories carry that character forward as he makes his trek not only across the United States but even on occasion into Europe.

Reacher is a retired Military Police officer who has a very astute mind when it comes to looking into situations that would probably stymie the minds of most people. Wherever he goes he seems to not only run into things that happen to be at least a bit illegal or scary but then he always seems to also solve the problems or assist in solving them. Read the rest of this entry »

Where It Hurts (A Gus Murphy Novel) by Reed Farrel Coleman

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Where It HurtsThis is the first book I have read by Mr. Coleman and I would have to say I was really into it. A great mystery involving a retired Suffolk County cop who is really battling his own demons due to the loss of his son. The young boy had been diagnosed with a heart problem but then too soon he passed away due to that problem. Gus Murphy, the retired cop, and his wife both were so depressed that they could do nothing but get on each other’s case until boom, they ended up divorced.

So now Murphy, retired and divorced, goes to live in a very run-down hotel and begins working as a driver for the hotel’s van and also as security for the hotel. He is not at all happy but realizes that it all has to do with his unyielding grief.

Out of the past comes a two-bit crook that Gus had had dealings with many times while working as a cop. This time however Tommy Delcamino has sought out Gus to help him find Delcamino’s son’s murderer. The boy appears to have been somewhat involved with drugs as both a user and pusher. His dad doesn’t feel that the police are really working the case because he believes that someone in the police department was also involved in the mess that got the boy killed. Gus abruptly runs Tommy D off and says he has no interest in the case especially because he believes Tommy D is trying to play on Gus’s feelings about his own son’s death. Read the rest of this entry »

Killing Season: A Thriller by Faye Kellerman

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

The Killing SeasonFaye Kellerman hits a home run with theKilling Season. After finishing the novel, I couldn’t believe that it was close to 700 pages as the pages flew by and I couldn’t wait to see if Vicks was able to solve his sister’s murder.

The novel takes place in small town New Mexico and centers around Ben Vicksburg or Vicks as he’s known throughout the story. Vicks is a high school senior and a math genius who is obsessed with finding his sister’s serial killer. The nerdy Vicks finds an unlikely sidekick in the new girl in town who happens to be way out of his league. While this may seem a bit cliché Vicks and Ro share a common link in that they have both loss a sister, as well as dealing with families that are trying to overcome a great loss. Vicks and Ro make a great team working together to try and locate the serial killer before he kills again. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Don't Let GoLots of suspense, and even more emotion, as Detective Napoleon (Nap) Dumas struggles with the strange and untimely death of his twin brother. The death occurred about 15 years ago but it not only was it very strange then but now there are even more happenings that do not really make sense.

Leo, Nap’s brother, and Leo’s girlfriend, Diana, were found dead on the railroad tracks outside of town and appeared to have been hit by a train. The bodies were so badly torn up that very little could be done in the way of an autopsy. The two of them, however, were members of a special club called The Conspiracy Gang which was composed of a group of high school students. These students had been somewhat taken aback when the area of the woods where they hung out to drink, smoke a little pot, and make out got somewhat disturbed by a government base that appeared to be deserted or little used.

Nap, now fifteen years later and a detective gets called in on a case where a cop was shot by a guy who had been picked up in a bar by a woman. It turns out the cop was a member of the Conspiracy Gang as was the woman who made the pickup. The woman, Maura, also happened to be Nap’s girlfriend fifteen years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

When They Come for You (Harper McDaniel) by James W. Hall

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

When They Come for YouThis novel really has it all. It starts quickly with the main character’s husband and newborn being brutally murdered by a mysterious villain watching the family from afar. Instead of folding and succumbing to her grief the heroine, Harper McDaniel decides to get even.

She quickly unlocks the potential mystery of why her husband was murdered and chases his story across the world. Harper quickly gets involved researching in the high stakes world of chocolate and child labor, and enlists the help of her brother and mafia boss grandfather. Read the rest of this entry »