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Archive for the ‘Suspense’ Category

Night Watch: A Novel (Kendra Michaels) by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Night WatchI have to believe this was written mostly by Roy Johansen, the son of Iris Johansen because of all of her books that I have read she has never gone into sex as part of the story.

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This one begins to at one point but then, thankfully, backs off of it and goes ahead telling the story without that element. Good job!

Like some of her other books though it does border a bit on the occult or at least on things that are not truly in our element yet. This one gets into the possibility of regenerating parts of the human body. Kendra Michaels was blind from birth but had her sight restored in a special maneuver by Doctor Charles Waldridge. In growing up without sight she with the help of her mother really built her other senses to where she has remarkable talents such as memory. She also has the uncanny ability to connect things about people and their habits, abilities, and their thinking potential. She can also place where people have been by seeing things on their shoes or clothes that they may have come into contact with such as sand or pieces of grass. Her use of all her mental facilities far exceeds anyone else in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Kill Devil Falls: A Novel of Suspense by Brian Klingborg

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Kill Devil FallsImagine if you will, a country house mystery but instead of in a beautiful old house filled with interesting things the setting is a nearly deserted old mining town high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and instead of mostly unaquainted invited guests the characters are a few “hanger-oner” town residents, a prisoner and a U.S. Marshal sent to transport the prisoner. That in a nutshell is what Kill Devil Falls is. Does it work? For the most part I’d say it does. But for fans of the country house mysteries, be aware, this is no cozy, the action is on stage and at times brutal. The language is just what you would expect from a band of low life scumbags-rough and filled with cursing.

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The basic premise of the book is U.S. Marshal Helen Morrissey is sent to pick up a prisoner who is wanted for a string of robberies. Rita, the prisoner is one tough sounding woman who is on the run from her partner in crime. She took the money and her partner is not the only one looking for the loot. Morrissey is unhappy because she is forced to travel up a winding mountain road to a place so small it is not even in her GPS system to pick up the prisoner she was supposed to fetch from the county seat. She gets to Kill Devil Falls to find the remainders of a rundown nearly deserted community that has been condemned, a hand full of ragtag residents who for some reason have stayed. The sheriff is not in town, his son the deputy cannot assist with the transport and darkness is quickly approaching. And then Helen’s car breaks down and her prisoner is murdered. She is stuck in this Godforsaken place with at least one murderer on the loose, a target on her back and people dropping like flies. <!–more–>

This book is a bit of a surprise for a few reasons. First, it is published by Midnight Ink whose offerings tent to run more to the softer side of the mystery genre. The author does put an interesting and fresh spin on the “country house” theme. And, in spite of the fact that none of the characters are particularly likable, the overall book is. This is due in part to the vividly described setting.

This book appears to be the first in a series. Helen could certainly support a series, but I think if that is to happen, the reader is going to need to have her flushed out more. We really learn very little about Helen in Kill Devil Falls, but hopefully we will the next time out.

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Bitter SeasonSupposedly change is good for us, but unfortunately we do not always adjust as well as we could, or should even if it our choice to change.

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Detective Nikki Liska has this problem. She chose to leave homicide due to the long and unpredictable hours which are difficult for a single-parent of two teenaged boys. This was her choice.

Now she is a part of the newly formed cold case unit in Minneapolis. Now she has predictable hours, at least that is what she believes entering this position. Each member of this team is going through the extensive files of cold cases, choosing what case they can successfully solve. With newness, each member is acutely aware of the need for success in order to continue and be of value to the force and to the taxpayers.

The selected case is the murder of a police officer, Ted Duffy which happened twenty-years ago. If the police could not solve it in all those years, why would the cold case unit now be able to find new information? Nikki is not pleased with this decision. Read the rest of this entry »

Rag Doll: A Novel by Daniel Cole

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Rag DollDebuting with an embroiling work of thrilling crime fiction, Daniel Cole’s Rag Doll familiarizes readers with its dysfunctional hero William “Wolf” Fawkes, a seasoned but damaged police detective forced to match wits with an insanely depraved criminal whose gruesome acts resound with pure evil genius. As book one of the William Fawkes Detective series Rag Doll
is a memorable read that thrills with its uber-twisted plot as much as it disturbs with its gore.

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A genuinely good man, but nevertheless teetering on the edge with his sanity, Wolf finds himself suspended after exacting his own brand of vengeance on a nefarious criminal that should have remained in jail. Following his return to the police force, a gruesome crime sets everyone on edge with the discovery of a body built from the parts of six apparent murder victims, given the nickname, The Ragdoll. Possibly dealing with the work of a serial killer, Wolf, ex-partner Emily Baxter and her trainee, Alex Edmunds set about finding a connection with the victims, hoping it will lead to the killer before he or she can strike again. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lost Girls: A Novel by Heather Young

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

The Lost GirlsThe Lost Girls interweaves two stories that involve different generations of the same family and link a tragic moment in the past to events that occur in the present. The central figures in the stories are Lucy Evans and Justine Evans, with the chapters alternating between the two women. Lucy is Justine’s great-aunt, and her story from the past is revealed through her personal journal. Justine’s contemporary story is told from her perspective in the third person. The stories involve family relationships, friendships, hurt, resentment, sadness, grief, loss, betrayal, cowardice, courage, loyalty, and secrets.

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Shortly before Lucy’s death, she decides to write down the events that happen over the course of an unforgettable summer in 1935, when her parents and two sisters are vacationing at their house on a remote lake in Minnesota. Lucy is eleven, Lilith is thirteen, and Emily is six. Each sister is trying to deal with issues in their lives. Lucy and Lilith have been drifting apart, and Lucy is hoping to revive their friendship during the summer. However, Lilith seems to care more about boys and her personal appearance than spending time hanging out with Lucy doing things that she thinks are childish. Emily wants to hang out with her sisters instead of being constantly in their mother’s company, but no one seems to care about Emily’s wishes. Decisions made by family members affect the family dynamic, and this leads to a heartrending occurrence at the end of the summer. The lives of people directly involved and those on the periphery are affected for the remainder of their lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Bone White: Mundy’s Landing Book Three by Wendy Corsi Staub

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Bone WhiteWendy Corsi Staub is back with the third in her newest series set in Mundy’s Landing, New York. Flashback to 1666 where all but five of the colonists died from starvation. The remaining five are from the same family and they somehow survived the bitter, cold winter and the lack of food. The parents of this family are accused of murder and eventually are executed leaving their three children orphans. These children lived out honorable lives in the town, Mundy’s Landing that was named after their family. They swore that they would never reveal the secret that died with their parents.

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Fast forward to the present day. After her father’s death, Emerson Mundy has flown across the country to learn about her ancestors. She was raised in California, far away from her relatives and heritage and really didn’t know much about her family. When she arrives in Mundy’s Landing, she is finds long, lost relatives and a welcoming home. Perhaps she will stay here as it seems this is where she belongs. Read the rest of this entry »

Gone by Jonathan Kellerman

Reviewed by Allen Hott

GoneStarting with a half -naked woman running across the highway up in the hills of California which almost causes an old man to run off the mountain. It turns out that the girl and her boyfriend were abducted and carried up into the woods by an unknown kidnapper. Oh, wait a minute. That is just what is thought at first and that is what brings Alex Delaware, the psychologist, into the story.

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But as you read further you find out that kidnapping didn’t really happen as Alex finds out. Rather it was two hopeful actors acting out a situation and hoping to gain some notoriety by doing so. They are part of a acting school run by a rich young lady, Nora, who along with her two brothers, Brad and Billy, appear to have more money than anyone can need. However Billy is somewhat mentally retarded and as the story goes forward it appears the other brother, Brad, (who is actually a cousin but adopted into the family) is living very “high on the hog” while taking care of the slower one and minding the school’s finances. Read the rest of this entry »

Protect and Defend (Center Point Platinum Mystery) by Vince Flynn

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Protect and DefendHe’s back! Yes, Vince Flynn has Mitch Rapp back in another CIA type thriller that he is well known for. I am not sure how, when, and where Rapp got his training but he not only got it but he seems to improve upon it in every new story that Flynn brings forward.

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If you have read any of these stories you know that Rapp works for the CIA but doesn’t really report to them or anyone….not even the President! When he is out on some type of assignment he goes about the business of doing what has to be done in the Rapp fashion. And that fashion does not always set well with some of the higher authorities in the government. I suppose they control him to a degree but they also realize that he is in the field, on the spot, knows the situation, and has always completed the task that he has been given. No doubt that he is meaner, tougher, and quite likely to go outside the lines of code of conduct that those authorities do not necessarily want him to go outside of. BUT he gets the job done! Read the rest of this entry »

The Pursuit: A Fox and O’Hare Novel by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The PursuitNow this is quite a story. First one of the Janet Evanovich novels that I have ever read. It is a pretty fast read and covers a lot of characters, situations, and ground.

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Nick Fox is a con man who after being arrested by the FBI has been kind of put in the loose custody of Kate O’Hare, a top flight FBI agent. Together they go after con artists whomever, whenever, and wherever the FBI instructs them to do so.

However Nick was taken away from the Oahu beach house where he and Kate had been staying. He was abducted and taken away by Dragan Kovic, the leader of a group of thieves called the Road Runners. They took Nick to Belgium where Kovic is planning to use Nick in helping them pull off a huge heist of diamonds. He is more than willing to pay Nick (or so he says but in reality he plans to kill him after the job is done). Read the rest of this entry »

Wilde Lake: A Novel by Laura Lippman (Review #2)

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

Wilde LakeThe Brant family are like Royalty in Columbia, Maryland in the early 1970’s. Andrew Jackson Brant is a state attorney who became “famous” when he tried a murder case and won without the presence of a body. He is raising two children on his own in the newly formed town of Columbia on Wilde Lake. His son AJ was eight when his daughter Luisa (Lu) was born and seven days later his wife Adele died. He relies on his housekeeper, Teensy, to perform the role of mother and homemaker.

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AJ Brant is a shining light in his high school. When he was eighteen there was an accident on the night he graduated from high school. He escaped with a broken arm, but another man lost his life. Was he innocent or guilty? Did his father’s name save him and his friends from further inquiry?

We fast forward to 2015 and Lu Brant has just been elected the first female state’s attorney of Howard County Maryland. She has recently been widowed with twins to care for. Lu returns home to Wilde Lake in Columbia to live with her father and Teensy who help care for the twins while she works. Her first case as state attorney is a murder where a woman is beaten to death in her apartment and a homeless man is accused. There are few murders in Hamilton County and Lou is eager to show her worth and prosecute him. Read the rest of this entry »