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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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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 »

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 »

In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders by Kathryn Casey

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

In Plain SightIn Plaint Sight is the true crime story of the Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders.

It is a well written story with great background research on the killer and victim. While not familiar with the case, I found it interesting that the killer Eric Williams and one of his victims, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, had similar lives and careers until one lost it and veered into murder.

This book has many great reviews for good reason – it is that good.

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 »

Illegal Holdings (A Valentin Vemeulen Thriller) by Michael Niemann

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Illegal HoldingsGlobal Alternatives is an NGO funding agricultural improvements in Mozambique by a small charity named Nossa Terra. Trouble brews when a nearly 5 million dollar outlay from Global is suddenly nowhere to be found. Nossa Terra insists they never the full amount, while Global claims the opposite. Since the original source of the funds is the United Nations, the Secretary General sends in veteran investigator Valentin Vermeulen to determine what happened to the money. It isn’t long before Vermeulen realizes that Nossa Terra is correct and that something very irregular is happening. As Vermeulen doggedly pursues the truth, he becomes the target of someone who doesn’t want Vermeulen to succeed and will try to stop him at any cost.

Illegal Holdings by Michael Niemann is the third book in the Valentin Vermeulen series and the first one that I have read. Niemann is a new author for me and one that I will be returning ­ to in order to read his other books. I believe that this new series has great potential because Niemann draws on his real life experiences, both as a child in Germany and in academia from his work on South Africa. This allows him to create characters and plots that are both engaging and realistic. I look forward to future books in this series and give this one 4/5 stars.

*A copy of this book was the only consideration given in exchange for this review.*

The Gate Keeper An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries)by Charles Todd (Review #2)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Gate KeeperInspector Ian Rutledge is a troubled man. He remains haunted by his experiences in the war and it is starting to impact both his personal and professional lives. While on a solo drive in rural England after his sister’s wedding, Rutledge nearly hits a car stopped in the middle of the road. To his surprise, there is a young woman standing by a man’s body, her hand’s covered in blood. Despite appearances, she is adamant about her innocence, leaving Rutledge uncertain as to what to do next. It turns out that the deceased individual is from the village of Wolf Pit and by all accounts is very well liked by nearly everyone in Wolf Pit. Despite being something of a witness to the crime, Rutledge is given approval by the Yard to lead the investigation, which heats up when a second murder occurs and then a third. In order to solve these crimes, Rutledge must pry into the past of the original victim to determine what the common thread is before the killer strikes again. Read the rest of this entry »