Posts Tagged ‘book review’

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 »

Warning Light by David Ricciardi

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Warning LightThis is quite a story for those of us who enjoy adventure and also enjoy hearing and reading about the military, espionage, and all things tied to those areas of our lives.

Zac Miller, traveling as a technology consultant, is flying to Singapore when the aircraft is diverted due to mechanical problems (the Warning Light). Zac and the other passengers end up landing in Sirjan in the Republic of Iran. Walking from the aircraft, which was forced to land quite a distance out on the runway due to its size, Zac begins taking some pictures of the land behind the airport.

As they get to the terminal Zac is stopped and taken into a room where his camera is taken from him and he is in fact taken prisoner. The Iranians then take him to Colonel Arzaman of the Revolutionary Guards. Here he is questioned and realizes that Arzaman is going to hold him and further attempt to find out about Zac, his background, and what he is doing in Iran. Also at the same time unbeknownst to Zac, a young man matching his build looks, and attire takes Zac’s place on the plane. This is going to be a big part of the story later on. 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 »

A Death in Live Oak: A Jack Swyteck Novel by James Grippando

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

A Death in Live OakDuring an inter-fraternity event at a prominent Florida university, the unthinkable happens: the president of the university’s most prominent black fraternity, Jamal Cousin, is found along the river. Mark Towson, president of an equally prestigious white fraternity. The most damning piece of evidence is a text message with a peculiar message, sent from Towson’s phone. Towson is from a prominent family, which is how talented attorney Jack Swyteck comes to take the case. Tensions run hot and there is mounting pressure from all sides to obtain justice for Cousins. The D.A. is anxious to close this case quickly but Swyteck is convinced that there is more to this case than meets the eye. It will take all of Swyteck’s skill to get to the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

Mayhem, Murder and Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War by Arik Kaplan

Reviewed by Ray Palen

Mayhem, Murder and MarijuanaThe back cover of this novel tells a story almost as chilling as the one found between the covers. The author — Arik Kaplan is a pseudonym to maintain his true identity— literally lived this story. In 2011, immediately following the relaxing of laws in the State of California allowing medicinal marijuana dispensaries to open, he began aggressively purchasing legal medical marijuana locations in Los Angeles county.

The problem with things that sound too good to be true is that they usually are — or, at the very least, they come at a big price. ‘Kaplan’ found out that his involvement in this new industry was the literal equivalent of drawing a target on his own back. If he went through even a smidgen of what the characters in his novel experience it is indeed a wonder he lived to tell this tale.

MAYHEM, MURDER AND MARIJUANA: The Los Angeles Marijuana War makes “Boyz In the Hood” look like an episode of “Sanford and Son”. The fact that our humble author has received death threats at the mere thought of revealing what is contained in this book speaks to his and the stories credibility. Read the rest of this entry »

The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay) by Sujata Massey

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Widows of Malabar HillThe Widows of Malabar Hill begins what will hopefully be a long series with Perveen Mistry as the protagonist. Perveen is an Oxford educated lawyer working with her father in his law practice in the 1920s in Bombay, India. While at that time women could not be admitted to the bar and therefore could not represent clients in court, Perveen was able to preform much of the paper work of the law practice from writing wills to helping clients understand their legal positions.

As the book opens, that is where readers find Perveen. Her father is the executor of a recently deceased mill owner who leaves behind three widows and a number of children. The person acting as their guardian has presented a document signed by the three widows stating they wish to forgo their rightful inheritance and turn their dowry gifts over to the trust which the guardian controls. There are two concerns with the document. First there is some question regarding the signatures and secondly, the document also changes the focus of the trust’s mission, something that cannot so easily be done. Read the rest of this entry »

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Late ShowConnelly introduces a new main character and she is going to be a great addition to his crew of unforgettable characters. Renee Ballard is a surfing young lady living and working in Los Angeles. She got her surfing background from her father while living in Hawaii. After he died (actually drowned) she moved to the states to be close to her grandmother.

Now she works as a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department and due to a confrontation with a supervisor about a year ago she is on The Late Show. That term in the LAPD is actually for those who work second or third shift on the force.

Ballard is a real hard charger and often works over and above her scheduled shifts. Once she becomes intrigued with a case she will work it day or night as long as she feels she is getting somewhere.. And it doesn’t take a lot to get her intrigued!! Read the rest of this entry »

The Body in the Casket: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Faith Fairchild Mysteries) by Katherine Hall Page

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

The Body in the CasketThis is the 24th installment in the Faith Fairchild mystery series. The third of which that I have read and reviewed. It is always a pleasure to read one of the Faith Fairchild mysteries. They are cleverly written and an enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours.

This story was quite intriguing as Faith is hired to cater a birthday party for a retired Broadway producer’s 70th birthday party at an exclusive manor house. The invited guests were all involved in the biggest flop the producer had. Faith is not only hired for her culinary skills, but her sleuthing skills as well.

The producer believes one of the guests is trying to kill him. While Faith plans a delicious menu (recipes at back of book) she uses her sleuthing skills via internet as to who would be most likely the killer.

I will tell you that I didn’t see it coming. I highly recommend this as a great read.

Pacific Homicide A Mystery (A Pacific Homicide) by Patricia Smiley

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Pacific HomicidePacific Homicide introduces LAPD Homicide Detective Davie (Davina) Richards, a newly promoted office with a reputation for getting the job done no matter what it takes. She is also the daughter of a former LAPD officer whose last case led to the embarrassment of the District Attorney who now oversees “officer involved shootings.” This sets up the first of two plots in Pacific Homicide.

While her dad is now retired, the attorney has set his sights on Davie as a way to get his personal revenge for his embarrassment. Before her promotion, Davie shot a suspect to save her partner’s life. The shooting was ruled justifiable, but now, the DA has reopened the investigation of the shooting.

The first case she catches in homicide as lead detective is of a badly decomposed body of a woman found in the sewer system. The case leads Davie into the world of Ukrainian immigrants which although not a new plot in crime fiction is done well in Pacific Homicide. Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing Stays Buried (A Monkeewrench Novel) by P.T. Tracy

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Nothing Stays BuriedHomicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to the scene of a murder in a park where a young woman is found strangled. A playing card has been left on her body. Before long, the detectives realize their murder is probably tied to another where a card was also left with the body. Because of the face of the cards are two numbers apart, they fear there are yet two more victims. Are their bodies yet to be found or were their cases investigated without anything tipping off they were tied to a bigger crime wave?

Meanwhile, the Monkeewrench Crew has been asked to investigate the disappearance of a young woman on her way to visit her father in rural Minnesota. Her car was found near the road, the dogs picked up her scent but lost it at a tree in the woods where her ring was found. Had she left the ring as a clue to let people know she had been there? Read the rest of this entry »