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The Tale Teller: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel by Anne Hillerm

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Tale TellerNow retired, Joe Leaphorn is asked by the manager of a local museum to recover a missing item. An anonymous donor sent items to the museum but one of the items on the enclosed inventory is missing. Although he is still recovering from a severe gunshot injury, Leaphorn is determined to not let that hinder his efforts to solve this case. At the same time, Officer Bernie Manuelito and Jim Chee are tasked with solving a rash of strange burglaries in the area. The investigation takes a strange turn when Manuelito comes across a dead man while on her daily run at a local park. Unknown to Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito, their separate investigations will eventually collide in a tangled web of blackmail and revenge. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good and the Dead by Seymour Shubin

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Good and the DeadSomewhat similar and yet different. Ben Newman, who is a writer of true-detective stories, has “seen” a lot of different murder scenes and written about the culprits and victims. However as strange as it seems all of this kind of comes home to haunt him as he begins noticing some unusual happenings around his small world.

Starting out with the unusual death of his brother’s wife, Pat, who is found dead floating fully clothed on top of the water in their backyard pool. There doesn’t seem to be any motive nor does there seem to be any real evidence as to who did this. Naturally his brother is suspect but Ben doesn’t believe it to be the case.

Shortly thereafter there are several more deaths of people that Ben has known since grade school. One is a pharmacist, George Havern, who supposedly committed suicide although again the evidence doesn’t seem to really prove that either. Then Ellen Packler-Woods, who had just met and talked with Ben about the deaths of George and Pat, is found dead in her basement from possibly a fall but again nothing is proven. Read the rest of this entry »

Cross Country by James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Cross CountryPatterson really does get Alex Cross into some jams in this one. Alex, the private detective, is mortified when he checks out the home of one of his friends. Elle Cox, mother and well known author of items in books and newspapers, has been brutally murdered along with her entire family. Cross and Elle had dated when younger and had remained close friends so he was devastated.

He realizes that she had been doing a lot of investigating into terrorism in the U.S. and even across the world. He finds as he begins his own investigation that the CIA is also deeply interested into finding out more about the event. The terrorism seems to be somehow tied into governments across the world.

Among some of her papers Cross finds that she has been doing a lot of her investigating into terrorism especially in Africa. And especially in Nigeria and Sudan. Also that although entire families were often killed over there, the young boys of the families were often taken away by the gangs of marauders. And then these young boys were being turned into gang members and were actually participating in the gang murders that were terrorizing the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel (Joe Pickett Novels) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Breaking PointJoe Pickett, the Colorado game warden, always gets involved in situations that are not necessarily related to game warden work. And Breaking Point is one of those situations. In this instance a local man from the Saddlestring area where Joe lives has a nasty run-in with some EPA officials who basically come to run him off his property. The man, Butch Roberson, is defiant because (a) he was given no warning and (b) there does not appear to be a real reason for this to happen. One thing leads to another. The two EPA guys are shot and Butch is on the run up into the mountains.

The EPA brings in all sorts of governmental personnel to hunt him down and Joe happens to get called into the situation because of his game warden status. Joe immediately has problems with the two top EPA officials, especially the top one, who appear to be extremely arrogant and have no consideration at all for what Joe considers to be common citizens. Joe will work that part out later.

They basically take charge and begin an intensive manhunt for Butch that involves working all through the mountains. They also set up rewards that inspire three other individuals, locals known to Joe, to get involved in the hunt. These three folks basically have no hand in the game except that the leader of the trio is intent on getting the reward and also since he used to be the sheriff he wants to reinstate himself at the decimation of the present sheriff. Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Sacred Night (A Ballard and Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Dark Sacred NightRenee Ballard is a hot-shot detective, working night shift (known as the late show) in the LAPD. She is very good but sometimes oversteps her boundaries and gets into a hassle or two with her supervisor.

One evening while filling out a report at her somewhat tucked away desk, she notices a guy getting into the cabinets in the storage room for detective files. She does not recognize him to be one of the detectives. She stops him and is about to question him further when a supervisor comes in and recognizes them both. He introduces Renee to Harry Bosch, a retired cop who used to work out of this office but now freelances and does some work also for San Fernando Police Department.

After the two men leave Renee goes over to see what Bosch was looking at and finds it is a drawer full of old unsolved street crimes, mostly sex crimes. On questioning one of the sergeants she learns that Bosch is still trying to solve a nine year old case of a fifteen year old streetwalker who was found sexually mutilated and dead in an alley. Read the rest of this entry »

High Crimes: A Georgia Davis Novel of Suspense (The Georgia Davis PI Series Book 5)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

High CrimesAfter the 2016 election, America is a nation divided. The new president is a rash, outspoken individual who garnered support by refusing to follow normal presidential protocol. As a result, an active opposition movement is spreading across the country. It’s leader, Dena Baldwin, is scheduled to appear at a rally in Chicago. As Baldwin mounts the stage, gunshots ring out and panic ensues. An assassin has killed Baldwin. Local PI Georgia Davis is hired to try and determine the identity of the killer but it will be a daunting task. Baldwin had a large Facebook following and not all of them are genuine supporters of the Resistance movement. As Davis dives into the crime further, she begins to realize there is more to Baldwin than meets the eye. Read the rest of this entry »

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen

Reviewed by Allen Hott

I Know a SecretQuite a story again from Tess Gerritsen! Not only are there murders but gruesome acts after these murders! Hard to believe that people could be capable of taking out a dead person’s eyes nor could they be capable of shooting arrows into a dead man’s chest!

But that is what has happened and now Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, police detective of Boston PD and county medical examiner respectively, have quite a job! But first off the reader needs to realize that Jane’s mother is about to leave her unfaithful father after many years and also that Maura’s real mother who is locked up for many vicious crimes is bugging Maura over and over. Maura was raised by a different woman and her husband but Maura still feels something for her homicidal physical mother and has some feelings. Gerritsen brings personal events into her heroines! Read the rest of this entry »

The Reckoning: A Novel by John Grisham

Another very great story written I would say perfectly by the master himself. Grisham is very good at building stories, often moving back and forward in the time frame of the hero’s life, but never losing the main thread of the story. Perfect dialogue and always enough descriptive plotting to keep the reader alert and anxious for more.

 In The Reckoning the story is about a southern family and is pretty much centered on Pete Banning, the head of that family. Pete is the owner of his family’s cotton farm which has been in his family for many, many years. It all begins with Pete getting up one day and walking down to the family church where he walks in and with one bullet to the chest area kills the family minister.

Pete’s wife, Liza, had been put into a mental institution some time previously and was pretty much non-responsive to anyone or anything around her. So the only people close to Pete to rally for him in his defense were his sister, his children, and his friends. No one however could stand up to the pressure of the state’s judicial system and the feelings of the entire local residents.

 What all happens in the next portion of the book is how Pete is put on trial, convicted, and electrocuted in an electric chair that is set up in the county courthouse! Pete had done the deed for what he believed in his mind was the right thing to do.

The next part of the story actually moves backward and follows Pete’s life before all of this. He had been a very gallant soldier and not only fought hard in the Pacific in World War II but he actually had also been taken prisoner and had ended upmaking it through the famous Bataan Death March. That forced march instituted by the Japanese had killed many U.S. and Filipino soldiers.

However Pete had managed to live through the march.  Later he and another prison managed to escape from the huge prison camp that they were placed in. While hiding in the woods he was rescued by a band of guerillas who were fighting the Japanese from their various hideouts all over the Bataan woods. Pete and his buddy joined the guerillas and were eventually rescued and sent back to the states.

Pete had first been declared a prisoner and then later declared dead by the military so the folks at home had no knowledge of his escapades or that he was even alive until he returned.

 There is so much more of this great book as the Bannings have to fight to try to keep their property from the wife of the slain pastor. It becomes a real part of any Grisham as it gets very involved with the legal system and how it works for and against folks.

But then there is even more as the winding down of the story contains some very important facts that come out from the death lips of one of the Banning family.  And as they always say……And that is the rest of the story!!

The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford is an average novel in terms of quality. While Clifford is the author of the successful Jay Porter series, this book is not nearly as good as those. The plot is interesting enough, although not particularly original.

The story starts out with potential and will likely be intriguing enough to hook most readers. However, by the midway point, the book just ambles along and suddenly ends. While I can and do recommend that readers try out one of Clifford’s Jay Porter novels, I can’t really strongly recommend The One That Got Away. As a result, I can only justify a 2/5 star rating.*

A print copy of this book was the only compensation received in exchange for this review.*


Let These Bones Live Again (A Christopher Worthy/Father Fortis Mystery) (Volume 3) by David Carlson

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Let These Bones Live AgainAllyson Worthy is a criminology student is finally checking off a major item on her bucket list: visiting the city of Venice, Italy. She’s obtained an internship with the Venice police to help catalog non-violent crimes against foreigners. However, when she gets there, her assignment changes to one of investigating some mysterious deaths. Simultaneously, family friend Father Nicholas Fortis has been asked by the Vatican to help investigate the theft of relics from Venetian churches. Neither one knows that their two separate investigations will soon collide. Read the rest of this entry »