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Hangman by Faye Kellerman (Review #2)

Hangman by Faye KellermanReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

In any police officer’s career there are a few cases or people who stick with the officer through the years. It may be an unsolved case. It may be a heart wrenching victim. It may be an innocent man convicted. In Hangman, Kellerman uses the last scenario to set up one of the plot threads. Years ago, a friend of Peter’s confessed to a crime he didn’t commit the save someone else the ordeal of a trial. Eventually the truth came out and he was released from prison, got married, changed his name and became a hired killer. Peter has maintained contact with his wife over the years and now, she turns to Peter for help. The other plot thread follows a well liked nurse who goes missing only to be found hanging from at construction site. As it turns out, the nurse had a second life-a life on the wild side that few of her colleagues knew about.

This book takes a long time to set up and get moving. There is really not a lot of action until well past the mid point of the book and even then there are long passages of dialogue that do nothing to move the plot forward. This series isn’t read as thrillers anyway, so the slower pacing might well be fine for readers who are primarily interested in the procedural angle to the series. But for people who want more of a moving storyline or are primarily interested in Rina, the family drama and the inclusion of the Jewish Orthodox religion elements of the series, there is bound to be some disappointment. Rina is trying to plan a sixtieth birthday celebration for Peter and Hannah is preparing to leave for Israel to study, but overall, Rina, the family and the religion play a fairly minor role throughout Hangman. Read the rest of this entry »

Sudden Moves by Kelli Sue Landon (Review #2)

Sudden MovesReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

What would you do if one of your friends suddenly disappeared? Would you try to track him or her down, and find out what happened, or would you accept the disappearance as something that is probably easily explained away, and let it go at that? In Sudden Moves, a YA mystery by talented author Kelli Sue Landon, sixteen-year-old high school student Michelle Martin faces just such a decision, when a friend of hers (though not her closest friend) Katie Brashers vanishes. Katie has with her a book she’s borrowed from Michele that Michele’s grandmother had given her, that is autographed by the author. This is an added incentive for Michelle to investigate matters further. Her search for Katie with her friends Tami and Brad Wilkes takes her into some dangerous situations, and you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat reading this page-turning mystery/thriller.

Sometimes big things happen in small towns. Michelle and her friends live in the small town of Giles, Illinois, and go to Giles High School. I don’t know where that town is, but the city of Marion, which is close to it and is mentioned in the novel, Is one I’ve heard of and driven through when I used to live in Illinois. Giles is only a town of around 4,000 souls, but the author makes it come alive, describing it and the people who live there with a colorful flair. Having Michelle’s mom be a hair dresser was a nice touch, because often hairdressers in smaller towns hear most of whatever rumors are blowing in the wind. Her mom does provide some hints and clues to Michelle, but they don’t have the best relationship in the world, and Michelle thinks her mom is too strict with her, and drinks too much, especially when her father is on the road working as a trucker. For people to just up and vanish is odd, and Michelle doesn’t know why more people aren’t curious to find out all of the details behind what happened.

Michelle’s mom doesn’t want her to go snooping around the house where Katie lived with her younger sister, Deedee Thompson, and mother, Luanne White. Of course, she does just that, though, with her friend Tami, who pretends to be older than she is, and asks about renting the now vacant house. Everyone believes that Luanne took her daughters to Orlando, Florida, for a vacation, and then decided to move there, but something about the story doesn’t seem right to Michelle. She has heard that a blue SUV had been seen in the driveway shortly before Katie and her sister and mother disappeared. When the man arrives to show Tami and Michelle the house (Michelle’s role is pretending to be Tami’s younger sister, who will also be moving in), both teens see that it is also a blue SUV. Michelle can’t help but wonder if the man, Sean, could have been responsible for whatever happened. Tami, however, brushes aside Michelle’s concerns, and even wants to date Sean, despite Michelle’s telling her she thinks Sean is married. Read the rest of this entry »

Tick Tock by James Patterson (Review #2)

Tick TockReviewed by Patricia Reid

Mike Bennett, his ten children, his grandfather Seamus along with Mary Catherine the children’s Irish nanny head for Breezy Point in Queens to enjoy a two-week vacation. Mike’s wife is deceased and Seamus, who is a priest, and Mary Catherine do a wonderful job helping Mike hold the family together.

Meanwhile back in New York City a mad bomber has left a bomb at the main branch of the New York City Public library. Mike’s boss Inspector Miriam Schwartz calls Mike back to duty. Father Seamus and Mary Catherine remain at Breezy Point to continue the long planned vacation and Mike heads back to the city hoping to solve the crime immediately and return to his vacation.

However, the mastermind behind the bombing has much more devastation in mind. He seems to be copying killers from the past such as George Metesky, the Mad Bomber, Son of Sam and even the Brooklyn Vampire Albert Fish. FBI Agent Emily Parker comes to New York to help track down the person or persons behind the horrible crimes.

Mike tries to commute back and forth between the city and his vacationing family but finds that all is not well on the vacation front either. The Flaherty’s, a family with an Irish mafia background, are bullying Mike’s children. Mike and Father Seamus find it necessary to step in and settle the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bone Thief by Jefferson Bass (Review #2)

The Bone ThiefReviewed by Patricia Reid

When Burton DeVreiss, Attorney, contacted Dr. Bill Brockton it was to inform Brockton that he had obtained an order to exhume the body of Trey Willoughby to obtain a DNA sample to be used as proof of paternity. Dr. Brockton and his assistant Miranda were shocked when the body was exhumed and the silk suit worn by the deceased was cut open. Trey Willoughby’s arms had been removed and the sleeves filled with white PVC pipe.

This is just one of the many puzzles presented by this fifth book in the series. Burton DeVreiss had been involved with Dr. Brockton in an earlier book in the series where a funeral home was negligent in handling the bodies that were entrusted to the home for proper burial or cremation. Now it looks as though another funeral home is going to be under investigation.

Dr. Brockton, founder of the Body Farm, is contacted by the FBI and requested to go undercover to investigate a black market operation that is selling body parts. The FBI feels that since Brockton has access to so many bodies that are donated to the Body Farm he is the perfect person to infiltrate the operation. This is particularly true since Brockton is facing many budget cuts in his department and the department is in need of funds. Although hesitant at first Brockton finally agrees to go undercover. Not only does the sting operation put Brockton’s reputation on the line Brockton’s life is placed in danger. Read the rest of this entry »

The Chinese Conspiracy by John Mariotti (Review #2)

Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

Imagine you are either at work or at home doing some intensive research on the Internet that might be very personal to you or sensitive information for your employer and all at once your computer goes blank? You pick up your cell phone and there is nothing but a hissing sound coming from it. You turn on the radio or television set to see if something was wrong in your area only to find there is no reception there either. You talk to someone in your office or a neighbor if you are home, and discover they are having the same problems. In today’s world of instant communications we have a difficult time comprehending that such things could occur. You think that our government has many sufficient experts constantly working on all of the fore mentioned means of communicating so this must be a quirk of nature. You climb into your vehicle and search the area nearby only to find the same circumstances. You become involved in an accident because all the traffic lights were green on each street. By now you are concerned about what and who is causing such major problems when all of a sudden, as fast as all electronics ceased working they came back to life.

In “The Chinese Conspiracy” John Mariotti brings this situation to life, not only involving the United States but many other locations throughout the world. We are introduced to Jim Martini who had been born and raised in Briggs, West Virginia but had moved from the area for other business interests. He remembered Briggs as a bustling little town that was supported by a large plant, Winton Manufacturing Company, that had since, all of a sudden closed leaving most of the town out of work, turning Briggs into a silent lesser town with work extremely hard to find. When Martini learned that his old haunts had declined so far, he decided to return to see what could have occurred that made that large plant close so abruptly. What he uncovered opened a huge can of worms. Read the rest of this entry »

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann (Review #2)

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer HellmannReviewed by Patricia Reid

Chicago in the turbulent world of 1960’s anti-war demonstrations fused with modern day times makes for an exciting book. Dar Gantner has just been released from prison. Dar was convicted and sentenced to serve 40 years for his participation in the 1970 bombing of a department store in Chicago. Although Dar was not the only one involved in the bombing, he was the only one who was caught and prosecuted. When Dar begins to touch base with his former friends things start going downhill. It seems that there are people who don’t want Dar around and fear that he may have information that could bring disaster to at least one successful person who has his past well-hidden.

Meanwhile, Lila Hilliard is in Chicago to spend Christmas with her father, Casey, and her twin brother Daniel. Tragedy struck when Lila made a short trip to the store only to return home to find that her childhood home had burned and her brother and father were killed in the fire. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Second by Roslund & Hellstrom (Review #2)

Reviewed by Mary Evans

Three Seconds by Roslund & HellstromReviewed by Mary Evans

What can you do in 3 seconds and why is it that important? The answer to that question and more had me at the start, when I first laid eyes on the title of this crime novel. I remember I started running down a mental list of things that could happen in 3 seconds… I didn’t even get close to the answer this novel reveals.

Three Seconds by Roslund & Hellstrom is a ride into the Swedish underground crime scene to learn about the corruption, code of conduct and people who live there. Just ask yourself one question, am I talking about the criminals or the police? That’s a question I asked myself several times while reading this riveting crime drama.

Piet Hoffman is one of the Swedish police’s most trusted informants. He is sent undercover to help investigate the Polish Mafia and illegal drug distribution. There is a meeting with the Polish and their ‘mules’ to arrest them in a drug deal. The meeting quickly turns into a murder of one of the players. The homicide division is dispatched to investigate but does not know about the drug informants involved in the case. Who was there and why were they murdered? Read the rest of this entry »

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Broken by Karin SlaughterQuite a story about a small town in Georgia and all of the troubles that manage to get intertwined in the lives of the inhabitants. Originally it focuses on the murder of a young girl whose body is dumped into a nearby lake. But as the story evolves more and more twisted events are brought into play by the author.

When Frank Wallace, the local police chief, and his main deputy begin investigating the death of the girl their suspicions are drawn to another youngster in the town. They find Tommy Braham, a slightly retarded boy, in the dead girl’s garage apartment. In the ensuing chase Frank is wounded, as is another of his deputies. Lena Addams, his second in command, takes command, apprehends and jails Tommy.

However after the arrest Lena begins having deep concerns about the way that the whole episode went down. She not only replays the scene in her mind but she also realizes that once more Frank had been drinking or “nipping” all the way up to the chase itself. She has seen more and more of this and other strange quirks in his behavior recently. Although she believes that Tommy committed the crime she is unsure about the way that he is being handled.

About the same time Sara Linton who was married to the former police chief comes back into town to visit her parents for Thanksgiving. Sara had worked as a part time medical examiner along with running her children’s clinic in the town but left it all behind when her police chief husband was killed. Sara has a deep hatred for Lena because she feels the deputy was at fault in the action when Sara’s husband was killed. Read the rest of this entry »

Death Message by Mark Billingham (Review #2)

Reviewed by Gina Metz

Death Message by Mark BillinghamDeath Message begins with Detective Inspector Tom Thorne receiving a picture on his cell phone of a man who has been murdered. Thorne begins an immediate investigation to determine the identity of the murdered man in the picture, who sent him the message and why it was sent to him.

Thorne continues to receive pictures and the bodies start piling up as Thorne and his team work frantically to stop the killer. Early in the investigation Thorne realizes this case is somehow related to a psychopath he tracked down earlier in his career.

In Death Message, Detective Sergeant Dave Holland is active in the investigation and Thorne also finds time to help DI Yvonne Kitson with a stabbing investigation she is leading. Phil Hendricks, the medical examiner and Thorne’s good friend, is also a lead character in this book. Thorne is also continuing his rocky personal relationship with DI Louise Porter. Read the rest of this entry »

Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid (Review #2)

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Fever of the Bone by Val McDermidThere’s a seriously twisted serial killer stalking his teen victims through an interpersonal meeting and blogging site, Rigmarole. He uses doubled initials as his alias, like ZZ, KK, and JJ, and threatens to reveal some dark secret about each of his victims, one that only he knows, and which would be devastating if the world knew about it. But, as Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan discover in Val McDermid’s sixth installment in her series featuring the duo, the murderer is not a pedophile out for kicks. He has other reasons, cold and twisted ones, despite his denial to the contrary:

Not that you take any pleasure in the killing itself. That would be twisted. And you’re not twisted. There’s a reason for what you’re doing. This is about healing your life. This is about you needing to do this so you can feel better.

Dr. Hill is a loner with a damaged past, raised by an uncaring, hostile mother, and seemingly abandoned by his rich father. His upbringing is the perfect recipe for becoming a serial killer, and he shares some of their traits–but he’s turned his talents at criminal profiling to tracking down serial killers, instead of potential victims. Carol, the ambitious and dedicated leader of the Bradfield Metropolitan Police’s Major Incident Team, rents Hill’s basement flat. There’s definite chemistry between the two, but Hill is afraid of commitment and he has told Carol of his problem with impotence. Still, the two are close, and Carol has used Dr. Hill’s considerable skills several times in the past to help catch murderers and to close cold cases.
Besides trying to catch a killer before he strikes again, the two are struggling with their own emotional baggage and psychological scars. Carol is becoming a little too reliant on using alcohol as a crutch to deal with the pressures of her job and the insecurities in her life. Tony’s childhood was a mess, as I’ve previously alluded to, and he’s hit with the news that his father’s passed away, leaving him a substantial sum of money and a mansion which he intends to sell. He’s become a wealthy man overnight, which should be enough to make most people happy; but, Carol’s new boss, Chief Constable James Blake, thinks Hill’s only gotten the job helping Carol solve cases because they’re banging boots with each other. Blake wants Carol’s Cold Case task force disbanded, and for policemen trained in forensic psychology to take over the brunt of the cases. The irony is that Hill is one of the main psychologists who has been training the very policemen whom Blake wants to use to replace him with. Read the rest of this entry »