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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Playing with FireOne dark night in Yorkshire, DCI Banks and DI Cabot are called to the scene of a fire. Two derelict boats have been set on fire and there are two victims: the daughter of a local doctor and a marginally successful artist. Much is revealed as Banks and Cabot investigate, including the possible existence of an art forgery ring involving Leslie Whitaker, a local book seller and Cabot’s newest love interest, Phil Keane and that the artist’s death might be the result of a blackmail attempt. This could be the most challenging case yet for Banks and Cabot and time is running out as more fires are set and more people fall victim to the unidentified arsonist. Read the rest of this entry »

The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (An Elvis Cole Novel) by Robert Crais

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The PromiseAnother very interesting read by Crais. He is one of the best in building stories that seem to be entirely possible in our lives. The only problem is that as usual he has about twenty gazillion characters in this one again. Always does he seem to overpopulate his stories with characters that do play fairly important roles in the story. Sometimes I feel like I need a scorecard by my side as I read.

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Elvis Cole, one of his favorites, is a private investigator who has been hired to find a missing woman. She is a federal employee with not only the ability to get to weapons but she is also still very distraught over losing her son in the fighting in the Middle East. She wants to get some sort of revenge. Read the rest of this entry »

End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) by Stephen King

Reviewed by Allen Hott

End of WatchYou have to enjoy his stories as they are always very intense and somewhat macabre. However you have to have an active imagination and accept some things even though you may have severe doubts.

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End of Watch is the third in a series about Brady Hartsfield who was the perpetrator in Mr. Mercedes. In that King novel Hartsfield drove a Mercedes into a line of folks lined up for job interviews. He not only ran over them but also backed over them. Later he planned a major massacre at a young folks show. However Bill Hodges, a retired police officer and now private investigator, with his associate, Holly Gilbney, brought down Hartsfield with a severe blow to the head. That blow put him in a hospital where he still resides and supposedly has no working mental capabilities. Bill has visited him often and does not believe that he is incapacitated to the extent the doctors do.
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Collecting the Dead: A Novel by Spencer Kope

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Collecting the DeadCollecting the Dead introduces a fresh face in crime fiction. Magnus Craig, better known to all as “Steps,” has an unusual gift that makes him invaluable to the elite Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Steps has become known as the human bloodhound in the press for his ability to find traces of a perp’s trail when no one else can. This has made him a bit of a media star but also has drawn the suspicions of some prosecutors who suspect there is something a little hinky with his finds. One even challenged him in open court-one of the lighter scenes in the book as Steps answers the challenge via demonstration. However, the truth is, the doubters are not wrong-Steps’ success comes from an oddity. He has the ability to see the remnants of a person’s aura long after the person is gone. By following this “shine” as he calls it, allows him to track where there really is no trail remaining and in some cases sense whether a person is still alive.

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In this debut of the series, the Special Tracking Unit is called in when the remains of a murdered girl are found. Not only does Steps see the killer’s shine, he ability allows him to also recognize a signature left at the crime scene by the killer-a sad face image. It is the sad face image that triggers a memory in Steps of an earlier case with a victim who physically resembled the current one. This leads to the obvious question, “are there even more victims of the sad face killer?” And just like that the investigation of one murder becomes the hunt for a serial killer.

Writers have been coming up with gimmicks of all sorts to make their protagonists unique for a long time, and Kope isn’t the first to create one using a form of synesthesia. There is a danger in adding this sort of trait to a protagonist-to keep the person believable. Kope does this at least as well if not better than most. I am quite looking forward to seeing more of Steps in the future.

The Last Mile (Amos Decker series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Last MileMr. Baldacci has found another story for Amos Decker. Decker is the detective who is especially famous for his super extraordinary memory.

Due to some sort of accident years ago he was left with this incredible ability to remember everything from the day after the accident. Sometimes it is good but sometimes it is bad because it does cause him to have headaches and see strange colors also.

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However in The Last Mile that asset is used over and over again as he works to solve mysteries that involve some past and some present associates.

Melvin Mars is sitting in prison waiting through the last hours before his scheduled execution. The execution is to happen because Mars has been found guilty of murdering his parents and burning down their house.of his continual denials for over 20 years the courts finally passed down the date of execution and it is now.

But! Remember this is a story (and a great one at that) so you know things can change. In this case another gentleman in another prison suddenly confesses to the crime and goes into detail about how he pulled off this horrendous deal. He does all of this right before he is put to death for his other crimes.

So against the wishes of some non-believers of the newest confession, Mars is set free and is now trying to figure out what is happening. And into the picture comes Amos Decker.

Decker’s family was also brutally murdered. Strangely enough just before Decker left for the East Coast to meet up with his new boss and other investigators he saw the story on the news about Mars and his release. Decker had a hard time believing how this other man could not only have done the crime but then why after all these years confessed?

One other thing drew Decker to this case was the fact that years ago when he was playing football for Ohio State he had played against Melvin Mars who then played for the University of Texas.

As soon as Decker meets up with his new boss and crew, he with much persuasion convinces them that they need to look into the Mars case. One of his new associates is a lady named Alex Jamison and the two seem to hit it off at least on a work level immediately. Look in future stories for these two!

Meanwhile Mars has been introduced to his new state furnished attorney who not only will help him with his release but is also pushing to get him much more compensation for his erroneous confinement than the state wants to pay.

With all of this start up business underway Baldacci continues to build a story line that is captivating, energetic, and keeps the reader tied tightly to the next chapter. As usual he has written a tremendous novel and again as usual he does so without sex or a lot of profanity. One more award winner from Baldacci!

Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Lie in WaitLie in Wait is, in stripped down terms, a bit of a cliché. The setting is a remote small town in Vermont, with a reasonably inexperienced police detective in charge of a brutal case. The victim is a teenaged girl babysitting-can you not just here the musical sound effects for this one? Her charges for the evening are the children of the attorney involved in a high profile, controversial case which threatens to tear the town apart and expose long hidden secrets. And yet, after a rather slow start, the book is captivating and very hard to put down.

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Where the Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him by T.J. English

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Where the Bodies Were BuriedMore than just another biography on the life of James Whitey Bulger, Where the Bodies Were Buried, Whitey Bulger and The World That Made Him, brings into perspective the damning issue of years of government corruption evidenced by the revealed history of collusion between the FBI, The Department of Justice and Irish Mob boss Whitey Bulger, whose role in the top informant program allowed him to go free and maintain his violent and vicious personal reign of terror for years. Read the rest of this entry »

Night Tremors by Matt Coyle

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Night TremorsRick Cahill returns in Matt Coyle’s second novel, Night Tremors. Cahill is still dealing with losing his wife and being accused of her murder when he is drawn into a case which will test his limits. The grandparents of a young man convicted of murdering his family believes there is a new witness which could get their grandson a new trial with his testimony. Their lawyer, someone who Cahill was once at odds with, asks him to meet with the witness to see if he is credible. As Cahill digs further into the background of the witness, the La Jolla police chief does his best to interfere with his efforts. The result is a reigniting of their long running animosity for each other and Cahill’s realization that there is indeed a truth that someone doesn’t want revealed. Read the rest of this entry »

Murder in Piccadilly: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics) by Charles Kingston

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Murder in PiccadillyBecause Bobbie Cheldon’s father was killed in the war, his Uncle Massy inherited the family estate leaving Bobbie and his mother living on a tight budget. However, their reduced means did not keep his mother from raising him as a gentleman. Bobbie grew up living life as one of the titled class might live, expecting the finer things in life to come his way without much effort on his part. Bobbie falls in love with a dancer who is at least as smitten with Bobbie’s expected inheritance as she is with Bobbie. Bobbie, eager to marry and shower his bride to be with the life she expects wants his uncle to settle on him a bit of money now. Unfortunately for Bobbie his Uncle Massy is a quite healthy and robust 53 and not all that fond of his lazy nephew. Uncle Massy is most definitely not inclined to give his nephew a dime but does make arrangements for Bobbie to get an entry level job. Obviously, this is not what Bobbie his girlfriend want. Read the rest of this entry »

History Of Street Cops, Gangs Guns and Cabrini Green Housing Snipers, By Greg Zito

History of Street CopsReviewed by Cy Hilterman

Greg Zito, the author of this informative book, was an actual cop mostly in various areas in the city of Chicago.  Greg tells it like it is in such a busy and dangerous profession, as police have to wonder into various areas of the city wherever they are requested.  They never know what is really going on at the location called to or what they will encounter on the way to that destination.  They generally have regular partners but not always so they have to learn to depend on the partner next to them now.  These men and women of law enforcement have to be commended for the job they do for all of us, sometimes against all odds of survival. A certain bond is formed between law enforcement, a bond that only tightens when the times get tougher.  They can have their differences but not when their partner or friend is in danger. Read the rest of this entry »