Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider

Title - Chanukah Guilt
Author - Ilene Schneider
ISBN -978-934041-31-4
Genre - Mystery - Amateur Sleuth
Number of pages - 312
Rating 3.75 out of 5

Sometimes mysteries with religious content become venues for moralizing. Not so with this good mystery by Ilene Schneider. Chanukah Guilt weaves Jewish culture and mystery in a delightful blend.

Rabbi Aviva Cohen, 50-something and twice-divorced, would never have chosen to officiate at an unpopular land developer's funeral. And his highly dysfunctional family won't make it any easier on her, especially when one of his daughters asks to see her privately the day after the funeral. When a second family member turns up dead, this time declared a suicide, the family starts to wonder. Could both deaths have been murder? Rabbi Cohen is dragged into the investigation when one family member threatens her with a lawsuit, and she's compelled to search for answers.

The character development in this book is very good. Ilene Schneider's writing style allows you to really know both the main characters and the supporting roles. You finish this book with a solid picture of what these people look like and their personality quirks. Chanukah Guilt gives insight in to the Jewish culture and religion because the rabbi's life revolves around the synagogue where she is employed. The plot moves along well and the conclusion is satisfying. I enjoyed this cozy mystery and look forward to the next instalment by this talented author.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whack A Mole by Chris Grabenstein

Title -Whack A Mole
Author - Chris Grabenstein
ISBN - 978-0-78671-818-4
Number of Pages -312
Genre - mystery
Rating - 4 out of 5

I live in a resort city and enjoy going to unique places that most tourists do not go to. So the fact that Chris Grabenstein uses this setting is a draw for me.

The unearthing of an old high school ring on the beach in Sea Haven take John Ceepak and his partner Danny Boyle on a hunt for the owner. The discovery that the ring was given to a young woman 20 years before and who subsequently disappeared leads Ceepak into making inquiries regarding the disappearance. Not long afterwards other grisly finds are made which lead Ceepak and his wisecracking parter Boyle on a hunt for a once dormant serial killer who is planning to start killing again.

Once again Chris Grabenstein in Whack A Mole has written a good mystery that is darker than his previous books Tilt a Whirl and Mad Mouse. The killer uses an atypical manner to mock the police. The plot is very good with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to who the killer is. The pace, although bit slow in the first quarter of the book , picks up and moves along quickly to a satisfying conclusion. I particularly enjoyed the richer character development of Ceepak and Boyle. The setting of a resort community with its tasteless and brassy souvenier shops is authentic. This series is now one of my favourites and I look forward to reading more of Ceepak's exploits.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Big Money by Jack Getze

Title - Big Money
Author - Jack Getze
ISBN - 978-1-59133-239-8
Genre -mystery/thriller
Number of pages- 234
Series -2nd in the Austin Carr series
rating- 4.25 out of 5

I'm a person who enjoys some of the classic mystery novels from the 1960's and Jack Getze's novel Big Money has that same feel and style of writers such as John D. Macdonald.

Austin Carr, a stockbroker who lost his license, is left in charge of Jersey Shore Investment firm while his boss Mr. Vick goes on vacation. Vick also makes him promise to look after his adult daughter Carmella and his mother Mama Bones. Vick has barely left the country when Carmella ex-husband returns and beats up on her, Mama Bones is arrested, and the regulatory audit of the investment firm turns up some questionable transactions. To top it off a local mob boss tries to persuade Austin in a not too friendly manner to launder money through the firm.
Before long Austin finds himself a target of a hit man and his children in danger.

Jack Getze has written a fast paced mystery with plenty of action and suspense. His first person point of view is well done and his bumbling protagonist Austin Carr is well developed. I found myself turning the pages hoping that everything would turn out well for Austin while at the same time chuckling at Austin's view of the world. The plot is good and the conclusion is very satisfying. I look forward to reading more in this series.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Memories Are Murder by Lou Allin

Title - Memories are Murder
Author - Lou Allin
ISBN -978-1-894917-33-9
Genre - mystery
Series- 5th in the series of 5
Number of pages -282
rating - 4 out of 5

I often worry when I start to read a book at the end of a series. Starting at the end of a series is kind of like going into a movie with 30 minutes left to go and trying to figure out who the people are and what the story is about . My worries completely vanished as I started Lou Allin's Memories Are Murder. Allin's fine writing hooked me into the story and kept me turning the pages to a satisfactory conclusion.

Belle Palmer is a real estate agent in Sudbury Ontario. To her surprise Belle runs into a former classmate who she had persued and dated in high school without success. Now a zoologist Gary Myers is doing research on elk in the wild and is looking to rent a cottage for a couple of months. A few days later Gary is found dead apparently a victim of accidental drowning. When Matthew Malloy (nicknamed Mutt) Gary's partner of several years arrives he and Belle begin to look into Gary's research and death and find themselves targets of an unknown killer.

Lou Allin has written a good novel more on the cozy side than not with humorous descriptions of life in Northern Ontario. The sense of place is very good and the characters are interesting and well developed. Allin's use of unusual names helped to endear and bring life to the characters. The plot is good with enough twists and turns to provide a satisfactory ending. I plan to read the back list of this talented author and I look forward to reading her new series.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein

Title - Killer Heat
Author - Linda Fairstein
ISBN -978-385-52397-4
Genre- Mystery
Number of Pages - 370
Rating - 3.75 out of 5

Alex Cooper, the assistant District Attorney, is working on the final preparations
for the Floyd Warren trial when she is called to the scene where of a body of a young woman is discovered. Before long two more bodies are discovered and Alex is beginning to suspect that the murders are done by the same killer. When another young woman disappears, Alex and detective Mike Mercer race against time finding themselves scouring abandoned sites in order to save a life and their own as well.

Once again Linda Fairstein has written a good fast paced novel. Her ability to take the reader to places in New York that they may not have even known enhances the story. The behind the scenes information on how prosecution has changed over the years was very informative and added to the story. There are few surprises in the story which made the plot feel a bit formulaic but the suspense build up is good and the conclusion satisfying. I look forward to reading the next installment of this series.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pandemic by Daniel Kalla

Title - Pandemic
Author- Daniel Kalla
Genre - Medical Thriller
ISBN -0-765-35084-X
Number of Pages -407
Rating - 4 out of 5

Noah Haldane of the World Health Organization is sent to China to investigate a new form of flu that kills 25% of the people that are infected. The outbreak is contained and there is great relief. New outbreaks occur in Canada, England, and the United States. Dr. Gwen Savard, director of Counter Bio-terrorism for Homeland Security joins Noah Haldane to search for the cause and cure of the deadly virus and discover that they are dealing with a mad religious zealot intent on bringing down America and its allies.

Daniel Kalla blends fact and fiction into this very good medical thriller. The novel is fast paced and chilling particularly so because it is a "could happen" scenario. Pandemic is a thought provoking debut novel that is historically and medically accurate. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Kalla didn't simply focus on the extreme factions of Islam. In the character of inspector Eleish and his family Kalla shows the quiet side of the faith, those who study the religion in order to find a deep abiding spirituality from which they gather strength for daily living. His protagonists are well fleshed out and the plot well executed. I highly recommend this debut thriller.

The Monarchs Are Flying by Marion Foster

Title - The Monarchs Are Flying
Author - Pen Name Marion Foster - Susan Shea
ISBN - 978-0932379337
Genre -Mystery
Rating - 4.00

Gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transexual folk have, in our society, always been on the margins. GLBT folk have been legally discriminated against in the workplace, in housing opportunities, religious institutions, the legal system, as well as dealing with homophobic people in other aspects of society. In Monarchs Are Flying , Marion Foster paints such a picture of homophobia in a small conservative northern Ontario town..

TV reporter Leslie Taylor is arrested for murder of her ex lover Marcie Denton, who, after their break up marries an abusive man whom she had been trying to leave. Harriet Croft, an older divorced lawyer, is called on the case by Marcie's husband who want to be sure that Leslie is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But Harriet is attracted to Leslie's courage and after Leslie fires her local lawyer, she agrees to represent her and prove her innocence.

I rated this book highly because Marion Foster in her writing gives the reader a very good sense of what it is like to live in a small community where homophobia is present. Perhaps what is even more important is her ability to demonstrate how internalized homophobia is destructive to the GLBT person. Leslie decides early in the novel to plead guilty even though she is innocent because of her own sense of guilt over who she is. The plot of the novel is standard and straight forward and moves along well. As a mystery the book is average. As a character study in growth and development, Foster's insight is excellent.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hell's Bay by James W. Hall

Title- Hell's Bay
Author - James W. Hall
ISBN 978-0-312-35958-4
Genre - thriller/suspense
Number of pages 306
Rating 2.75 out 5

Daniel Thorn agrees to be a fishing guide for a luxury commercial undertaking by his former lover. His job is to take small groups out on week long fishing trips into the Florida everglades on a custom made houseboat.. The first customers are a travel writer with her photographer and a father/daughter pair who turn out to be Thorn's uncle and niece. Before long they find themselves to be the target of a killer who is determined to kill them all.

James Hall has written a straight forward story that follows the traditional plot device, an isolated location and a small group of people under attack, and is able to give the reader a sense of building suspense. There are few twists and turns, and few characters to keep track of. Hall does however give a very good sense of setting. I found myself wondering why Thorn, a man who hates the impact of modern society on nature, would agree to take a commercial venture into an untouched and unspoiled area of the everglades. Overall, Hall's thriller is very readable but felt that something was missing.

A Chilling Goodbye by Jean Sheldon

Title - A Chilling Goodbye
Author - Jean Sheldon
ISBN - 978-0-9723541-5-8
Genre - Mystery
Number of Pages 244
rating 4 out of 5

I'm a Canadian who lives in the "cold" north and am used to the freezing winter weather. However the thought of being frozen in order to be re-animated at a future time absolutely chills me to the bone.

Winter is bitterly cold in Chicago and Detective Kerry Grant has to bundle up to take her trash out to the dumpster. Amidst the thinly spread garbage she discovers the naked body of a woman. Three more bodies are found in dumpsters and one is found on a beach. All were previous frozen by a technique called cryonics. As Kerry and her partner Mike track down where the bodies came from and investigate the murder of the owner of the cryonics lab they find themselves targets of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep a secret hidden.

This is the third book in the Kerry Grant series by Jean Sheldon and the first I have read. Sheldon has created a well developed character in the stubborn and impulsive Kerry Grant who frequently finds herself in the not so good graces of her superior Lieutenant Romero. The plot is well paced and the conclusion is satisfying. I particularly enjoyed the way Sheldon gives us insight into Kerry through her relationship to her P.I. lover Marty. I strongly recommend The Chilling Goodbye and I personally plan to read the backlist of this very talented author.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Black Order by James Rollins

Title - Black Order
Author - James Rollins
ISBN - 978-0752882161
Genre - Thriller
Rating - 4 out of 5

I enjoy thrillers and this book by James Rollins is the best of his recent Sigma novels.

Lisa Cummings is a doctor on a mountain climbing expedition when her expertise is needed. She and Sigma Force operative Painter Crowe are investigating a Buddhist monastery in Nepal where something very strange seems to be happening to the monks and one goes on a murderous rampage.

In Denmark, another Sigma Force operative, Grayson Pierce is pulled by a young girl into an investigation a stolen Bible that belonged to Darwin himself, and supposedly holds clues to a secret scientific experiment. In South Africa, something very strange is happening with some of the animals, causing them to brutally attack humans when unprovoked.

Three seemingly unrelated series of events unfolding appear to have chilling ties to a Nazi experiment conducted during WWII that was supposedly destroyed. Suddenly, Sigma Force operatives are in a race against time to get to the bottom of these events before it destroys them all.

Once again James Rollins has written a good action thriller. He keeps up a good pace and the suspense builds up well to a satisfactory climax. I found, however, that the switching of points of view happened too frequently for me but everything came together well and the climax was satisfactory. I look forward to more novels by this author.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blood Trail by C.J. Box

Title - Blood Trail
Author - C.J. Box
ISBN - 978-0399154881
Series - 8th in the Joe Pickett series
Genre -mystery/thriller
Number of pages - 320
Rating - 4.50 out of 5

Evoking the natural beauty of Wyoming's Big Horn Mountain, C.J. Box has penned a novel that is fast paced, packed with suspense, with more twists and turns than a forest trail.

Joe Pickett has been summoned by the governor to investigate the death of a hunter who was found hung in a tree and field dressed. A red poker chip is found near the body. Now forced to work with Randy Pope who had him fired in his last outing Joe discovers that this is not simply an isolated event - two other hunters have been murdered. A serial killer is hunting the hunters. This sends the state into a panic and the pressure mounts to find the killer.

Blood Trail holds your attention and is filled with local colour. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing who the killer is. The book contains more graphic violence than in his earlier books but is not overdone. The characters are well rounded and the plot is well executed. I look forward to reading more of C.J. Box's books.

Judgment Fire by Marilyn Meredith

Title - Judgment Fire
Author - Marilyn Meredith
ISBN -978-1-59426-484-9
Genre - Mystery
Number of pages - 139 pages
Rating - 3.75 out of 5

I probably have mentioned before in previous posts that I enjoy books that have First Nations and Native American protagonists. Once again Marilyn Meredith has produced another good novel starring Tempe Crabtree of Yanduchi heritage.

While on patrol Tempe Crabtree, the resident deputy of Bear Creek, comes across a van on fire. Behind the wheel is a local Shaman who warns Tempe that her life is in danger. When a house fire is used to cover up a murder, Tempe is once again warned by the Shaman and undergoes a ritual for protection that awakens old memories and puts her in danger.

Marilyn Meredith continues to deliver a good story that both informs the reader about Native spirituality and the prejudices that American Natives experience while at the same time giving the mystery lover a good "whodunnit." The tale is well plotted and the characters are well developed. Those who have been following the series will enjoy the growth in understanding and tolerance of Tempe's family and new readers will enjoy meeting Tempe and the new and reoccurring characters for the first time. My only complaint regarding the book is that it was too short.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cold Plague by Daniel Kalla

Title - Cold Plague
Author - Daniel Kalla
Genre - Thriller
ISBN - 978-0-7653-1833-6
Number of pages - 335
Rating 4 out of 5

I enjoy thrillers. A few weeks ago I came to the realization that I had not read any thrillers written by Canadians. I decides to remedy that situation and I am very glad that I did. Daniel Kalla's Cold Plague is a fast paced and smartly written thriller that kept me turning the pages to find out how it would end.

Scientists have discovered a way to tap the water from an unspoiled lake miles beneath the ice shelf in Antarctica. These waters are pristine, free from pollution, and filled with healthful minerals. Plans are made to bottle this water and sell it world wide.

Dr. Noah Haldane and his World Health Organization team are sent to examine an outbreak of Mad Cow disease in rural France. This outbreak is different in that rather than taking years to kill, those infected die within a 2-4 weeks. In spite of pressure to declare the outbreak as a rare occurrence, Noah begins to suspect that that there is something else contributing to the outbreak. As he searches for answers, Noah discovers unexplained deaths, disappearances, and finds his own life in danger.

Daniel Kalla has written a fine thriller. The intricate plot moves along quite well with enough clues that the observant reader will make important connections. The main characters are well developed and well rounded out. The medical and scientific aspects of the book are easy to understand and are accurate. The story is quite chilling because it engenders the feeling of "this could really happen." Cold Plague is a recent book by Kalla (2008). I plan to find his back list and read them as well.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Prepared For Rage by Dana Stabenow

Title - Prepared For Rage
Author - Dana Stabenow
Genre- Thriller
ISBN - 978-0312369736
Number of pages -304
Rating - 3.0 out of 5

Dana Stabenow has produced another coast guard thriller that is very up to date in its content and theme. Cal Schuyler is captain of a Coast Guard cutter and his mission is to keep the waters around Cape Canaveral clear of surface ships during during a space launch. Kenai Munro has dreamed of being an astronaut all her life . She now has her chance aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. Akil Vihari, a terrorist, has set off on his own to prove himself by committing an act of terror that will get the attention of the world.

Written with power and accuracy, Dana Stabenow has written another thriller filled with action. She spent two months aboard the real USCG cutter Munro to learn about life at sea and the work that the Coast Guard faces daily. She uses this experience to create the well developed characters in this novel. The plot, however, is quite predictable. Overall I enjoyed the book but I didn't feel that it was one of her best.

Winter Study By Nevada Barr

Title - Winter Study
Author - Nevada Barr
Series - number 14
ISBN - 978-0399154584
genre -mystery
Number of pages - 384
rating 5 out of 5

Winter is not my favourite season. Living in various parts of Canada has made me very acquainted with ice , snow, and cold. So I am familiar with how cold affects the human body, mine in particular. I found the natural scenes Nevada Barr's novel Winter Study to be terrifyingly accurate.

Park ranger Anna Pigeon returns to Isle Royal in winter to collect information from a famous wolf/moose study that has been ongoing for fifty years that will aid her work when wolves are introduced at the Rocky Mountain National Park. She joins a research team conducting the study that has two extra people that are evaluating the study for the government with the idea of shutting down the study and keeping the park open all year round. When one of the researchers dies apparently from a wolf pack attack, Anna persists in investigating, an act that put her own life in danger and pushes her own limits in order to survive.

Nevada Barr has written another taut novel that is rich in character development. Her ability not only to portray the savage scenes in nature but also to depict savage ruthlessness of human nature is excellent. I particularly enjoyed that Anna is more introspective and cognizant of her limitations. The plot is well paced and suspenseful. This is the best in the series so far and very highly recommended.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Deadly Errors by Allan Wyler

Title - Deadly Errors
Author- Allen Wyler
Genre- Medical Mystery/Thriller
ISBN - 978-7653-5167-8
Number of Pages -306
rating 3.50 out of 5

I'm a person who does not like to go to doctors or hospitals. Medical thrillers make me nervous because there is a part of me that does not like to feel helpless and in the hospital one does feel quite helpless. That being said, Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler is a good medical thriller that kept me turning the pages to find out how it ended.

Dr. Tyler Matthews is a San Fransisco neurosurgeon who is accused of possession of illegal drugs. Matthews maintains that he is innocent and is pressured into accepting a plea bargain. He enters a program for impaired physicians and is forced to relocate his practice. Now settled into Seatle Washington he resumes his practice at Maynard Medical Center. When one of his patients dies under unusual circumstances, Matthews tries to find out the reasons and discovers that there have been other irregular deaths leading him to suspect that a new electronic medical records system designed to prevent human error may be the cause.

Allen Wyler, himself a Neurosurgeon, has written a taut thriller. His experience in the medical profession including hospital administration and medicine have made this story quite believable and chilling. The story is well paced and the patient care scenes are well portrayed. I will be on the look out for more books by this author.

The Ragged Edge by John Christopher

Title - The Ragged Edge
Author - John Christopher
Genre - Apocalyptic Thriller
No. of Pages - 254 pages
Rating 4.50 out of 5

Way back in 1965 I read a book that got me started reading thrillers and mysteries. The book was the Ragged Edge by John Christopher. To my delight I recently found a copy of it in a local used book store. I read it again and found that I enjoyed it as much as I did back in 1965.

Devastating earthquakes hit New Zealand, tidal waves hit Malaya and North Borneo, and a chain of volcanoes rise in the China Sea. For Matthew Cotter, divorced, living comfortably in contentment on Guernsey in the channel Islands, these events are far away disasters, quickly forgotten newspaper headlines. One night he wakes up to hear to hear a dog howling and goes out to investigate when a violent earthquake occurs. Cotter's attempt to survive the cataclysm, his journey across a shattered continent to find his daughter, and his self realization as a man of strength and conviction enable him to survive.

This book held my attention right from the opening paragraphs. When I found book I wondered whether or not it would stand the test of time. It most definitely has. The characters are well developed and the plot fast paced. I read the book in one sitting. If you have the opportunity to find this book I encourage you to do so.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Deadly Omen by Marilyn Meredith

Title - Deadly Omen
Author - Marilyn Meredith
Genre - mystery
ISBN 1-891940-03-1
series - 1st in the Tempe Crabtree series
rating -3.50 0ut of 5

Tempe Crabtree, part Yanduchi, is the resident deputy of a small community called Bear Creek. Recently married to a Christian minister, raising a teenage son, Tempe in in the process of learning about her own heritage. Assigned to keep peace at a native American Pow Wow Tempe find finds the body of a young woman who was a candidate for princess. Tempe finds herself drawn into the investigation in spite of clear warnings from the male detectives to stay out of the case.

Marilyn Meredith has written a fine character driven mystery. The characters are well developed. The plot moves along quickly with plenty of suspects. I particularly enjoyed her ability to seamlessly integrate Native American culture into the mystery. She accurately describes the tensions a working mother in a male dominated profession experiences and the prejudices Native Americans experience from white Christian folk. I enjoyed this book and will read more in this series.

Poison Pen By Sheila Lowe

Title- Poison Pen
Author - Sheila Lowe
Genre -mystery
series- 1st in handwriting forensic series.
ISBN - 978-451-22369-2
No. of pages - 311
rating - 4 out of 5

I read a lot of mysteries usually somewhere in the neighbourhood of 75 a year and I have done so for several years. It is very refreshing to to find a novel with a new story line. Claudia Rose is a forensic handwriting analyst who often works with the police. When ex friend Lindsey Alexander is found dead in her Jacuzzi, the police label it as suicide. Claudia overhears a comment at the funeral that lead her to question that conclusion. When Ivan, Lindsey's business manager, asks her to prove that the note was not written by Lindsey, Claudia takes the case and soon finds herself the target of the killer.

Sheila Lowe's handwriting forensic novel is a new exciting foray into the scientific mystery genre. The characters are well developed and believable. The plot moved along quickly and contains twists and turns that kept me guessing as to who the is killer was. A bonus for me was learning about forensic handwriting analysis, a subject I new little about. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption by Robert Fate

Title - Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption
Author - Robert Fate
ISBN - 978-0-9799960-2-3
Series - 3rd in Baby Shark series
Number of Pages - 287
rating -4.50 out of 5

This is the third installment of the Baby Shark novels and is by far the best of the series. Kristin Van Dijk ( Baby Shark) and her partner Otis Millet are hired to deliver a ransom for Savannah Smike the girlfriend of an Oklahoma bootlegger. Before they know it they find their mission to be a set up that is designed to leave no one left alive. As Otis and Kirstin try to find out why someone wants to kill them and Savannah they find themselves caught between two feuding outlaw clans.

Once again Robert Fate has continued to produce a fine fast paced novel. The dialogue is witty and the characters are more fully developed and colorful. I particularly enjoyed seeing Baby Shark playing pool again. Kristin continues deal with conflict by shooting her way out of trouble but she is beginning to reflect upon how easy it has become for her to kill and has a deeper recognition of how much her past has contributed to who she presently is. I found that this hard edged introspection made her more endearing. Robert Fate's captivating style of story telling kept me reading well into the night. I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading the next one in this series.

The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes

Title - The Sacred Bones
Author -Michael Byrnes
ISBN - 978-0-06-123390-6
Genre- thriller
Number of pages- 386
rating 3.75 out of 5

I have to admit that fiction and thriller books that contain religious themes often trouble me. As a clergy person I am acutely aware of the misuse of biblical text to substantiate religious claims that can lead the reader to think that these claims are truth. This bias declared I found that I quite enjoyed The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes.

A bold and violent crime occurs in the heart of Jerusalem where Christian, Islamic, and Jewish faiths intersect. A secret vault hidden beneath Temple Mount for centuries has been plundered of ancient artefacts and thirteen Israeli police and soldiers are killed.

American forensic scientist Charlotte Hennesey is invited by the Vatican to join Giovanni Bersei, an Italian anthropologist to examine the bones from a recently unearthed burial box. As Charlotte and Giovanni try to unlock the secret of the ancient bones they find themselves caught up in the sinister plans of religious fanatics and cold blooded killers which threaten to ignite the explosive atmosphere of the Middle East.

Michael Byrnes has written a taut thriller that accurately portrays the tensions found in the Middle East. He combines biblical dilemmas with modern day archaeology and the vast knowledge that can be garnered by forensic science.. The novel is fast paced, action driven from the start, and the plot well executed. I found, however, that some of the characters were a bit stereotypical and needed more rounding out. Overall the book is a good read. Readers who enjoy thrillers with religious overtones will enjoy this book.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Review - Demolition Angel by Robert Crais

Author - Robert Crais
Genre:mystery/ thriller/ police procedural
Number of pages -374
ISBN 0-345-43448-X
Rating 4.5 out of five

Three years ago Carol Starkey, a top-notch bomb squad technician came back from the dead. Her partner and lover died. Since then she has been burying her survivor's guilt with alcohol and Tagamet. While assigned to LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy section, Carol lands a case in which a seemingly easy bomb to diffuse kills another technician. She soon finds herself investigating a series of bombings in which the bombs were deliberately designed to kill the technicians.

Robert Crais has written a fast pace novel with twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages until you are done. He has successfully created a complex multi-dimensional wounded character in Carol Starkey while at the same time immersing you in the authentic world of bomb making and the dangerous world of the bomb technicians.

This is the first book I have read by Robert Crais and I now have a new author to add to my To Be Found (TBF) and To Be Read (TBR) piles. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review - Stay by Nicola Griffith

Title - Stay
Author - Nicola Griffith
Genre - Mystery
ISBN - 0-385-50300-8
Number of Pages - 303
2nd of 3 in series
rating - 5 out of 5

I am always worried about sequels. My experience has been that they are not as good as the original. Not so with with this one. If fact it is better than the first book --the Blue Place which I enjoyed.

Devastated by the death of her lover Julia, for which she blames herself, Aud Torvingin cocoons herself in a North Carolina mountain forest where she is painstakingly rebuilding an old log cabin. An old friend invades her cocoon to ask her to find his girlfriend. Aud reluctantly agrees and goes to New York and quickly finds the missing Tammy and then from that point on the book careens into high gear with Aud's grief transformed into vengeance.

This book rates among the top 5 I have read this year . Nicola Griffith has written an excellent novel that is complex and multi -faceted. Her character Aud is exquisitely portrayed as a woman coming to terms with the violence, brutality, tenderness, and vulnerability that are central to her character. Griffith's insight into the psychological aspects of grief and her ability
to give the reader a stunning sense of place through strong images of the North Carolina hideaway and gritty city life vividly reflect the inner tensions that fill Aud's life. Griffith also enables the reader to feel encouraged to hope for emotional resurrection for Aud. The writing is good. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Review -Plum Island by Nelson DeMille

Title - Plum Island
Author - Nelson DeMille
Genre mystery/thriller
ISBN - 0-446-60540-9
No. of Pages - 574
Rating 3 out of 5

Recuperation time is supposed to be a time of rest, relaxation, healing, and refreshment. Not so for NYPD homicide police officer John Corey. While he is convalescing on Long Island from three gunshot wounds, John is asked by an old friend the chief of Southhold town Police Department to help investigate the brutal murder of two Plum Island research scientists who happen to be John's friends. Plum Island is a secure government research facility and germ repository. The government, is order to prevent a panic, puts out a cover story that the couple were smuggling out vaccine to sell. Corey doesn't believe it and after he is ordered off the case he continues to investigate.

Nelson DeMille has written a good mystery. His characters are well developed, especially John Corey. He is a very witty and likable character. The plot was good but the first half of the book moved rather slowly. The second half of the book moved along much better and the last 100 pages were very good. This was my first DeMille book and I plan to read more.

Review - Subterranean by James Rollins

Title -Subterranean
Author -James Rollins
Genre - Thriller
ISBN - 978-0-380-79264-1
No. of Pages - 410
Rating 3 out of 5

I enjoy fast past thrillers even if they require some suspension of belief. James Rollins has provided me with just such a book. Beneath the ice at the bottom of the world is a huge subterranean labyrinth, a place of breath taking beauty and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists headed by archaeologist Ashley Carter is handpicked to explore this secret place. But they are not the first to undertake this risky venture and those they follow did not return. There are mysteries here older than time and surprises that could change the world and things that should not be disturbed. Ashley and her team discover a devastating truth that could doom them and their expedition.

Folks who enjoy books by Clive Cussler will enjoy this book as well. It is action packed, fast moving, and an interesting tale. The characters were quite well developed and there is enough suspense and tension to keep me reading well into the night wondering how the story would end. Rollins writes with clarity and intelligence. I definitely will read more by this author.

Review - 6 Days by Brendan DuBois

Title - 6 Days
Author - Brendan DuBois
Genre - Thriller
ISBN -0-7515-3076-X
No. of Pages - 568
Rating 3.5 out of 5

Special Forces Agent Drew Connor and his girlfriend Sheila Cass are walking in the White Mountain range of New Hampshire when they are caught in a thunderstorm and they take shelter in what Sheila thinks is a relay station. But when Drew enters the building he realizes that they have stepped into something much more sinister. There are bullet proof checkpoints, telephone hotlines and a map that read Internment Centers. Drew's instinct is to get out of there fast, and when they get to town they find find themselves shot at by the local police without being asked questions. Someone wants them dead for what they have seen.

Once again Brendan DuBois has written a fast paced keep you on the edge of your seat political thriller. He demonstrates how easy it is for religious extremists to try to get in control. I particularly found the quotations at the beginning of each chapter chilling. The plot is well paced and well thought out. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the story is how easily the fictional plot could become a reality.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Murderers' Club by P.D. Martin

Title - The Murderers' Club
Author - P.D. Martin
Genre - mystery
ISBN - 978 - 0 - 7783-2441-6
Number of Pages - 376
Rating 4.5 out of 5

I usually do not read mysteries about serial killers. They are often too violent for my tastes. After reading P.D. Martin’s first book Body Count, there was enough of a twist in the development in the character of the lead protagonist that I actually enjoyed the book. The Murderers’ Club is the second instalment in the series and I was hooked right from the opening prologue.

Sophie Anderson, a F.B.I. Profiler has visions that see into the mind of killers. Her talent is uncontrollable and unpredictable. When invited to come to Arizona for a vacation by a police officer friend Daren Carter, Sophie, who is still suffering after effects from her previous case, is only too willing to have a break. The vacation suddenly ends when bodies start showing up at a university campus. Sophie is forced to use her terrifying skills in order to catch the killers.

Once again P.D. Martin has written a keep you on the edge of your seat thriller. I particularly enjoyed her character Sophie and her struggles and reluctance to use her gift and the toll that having the gift takes on her. The book is really written in two parts, the killers and the police. As a reader I could see the whole story and watch how the two came together in order that the case is solved. Some suspension of belief regarding F.B.I. procedures is required which may affect some readers, but over the entire story had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged.

Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues by Robert Fate

Title - Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues
Author - Robert Fate
Genre - Mystery
ISBN - 978-0-9776276-2-4
Number of Pages -280
Rating 4.25 out of 5

One of the things I like in mystery stories is a strong female protagonist. Robert Fate, in his Baby Shark series, has created such character in the person of Kristen Van Dijk. Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues is the second book in the series of three. Kristin continues to grow, develop and mature.

Kristin and Otis are hired to find a runaway heiress. They have rescued her before but this time the search gets them entangled with a mob boss, a police investigation, and a con job while they try to keep her safe and themselves alive.

Once again Robert Fate has written a high octane mystery thriller that hooked me right from the beginning to its surprising conclusion. The partnership of Otis and Kristin is beautifully developed. The sense of place enhances the story and dialogue between Otis and Kristin is crisp and at times humorous that keeps the tension from becoming overpowering.. The action driven plot kept me turning the pages. I look forward to reading more by this very talented author.

Beating The Babushka by Tim Maleeny

Title - Beating The Babushka
Author - Tim Maleeny
Genre - Mystery/Thriller
ISBN -978-0-7387-1115-7
Number of Pages - 364
Rating -4/5

Beating The Babushka is the second novel in Tim Maleeney's Cape Weathers P.I. series. After reading Stealing the Dragon, his first novel, I was looking forward to reading this one and I was not disappointed. Maleeny has written another well-crafted mystery that kept me reading to find out what happened next.

A movie producer plunges to his death from the Golden Gate bridge, an apparent suicide that shocks the film community. When a female colleague claims it was murder, the police do not believe her. She turns to P.I. Cape Weathers for help and he believes her and takes the case. Before long Weathers and companion Sally, a deadly assassin trained by the Triads, take on the Russian mob, and Weathers finds that he is the target of a sniper who doesn’t want the truth revealed.

Tim Maleeny has written a very good mystery with many twists and turns. The plot is well crafted, and the characters, Cape and Sally, are well developed and fascinating. Sprinkled throughout the novel are touches of humour that keep the tension from becoming unbearable. I enjoyed the book and look forward to more from this talented author.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Hell You Say by Josh Lanyon

Title - The Hell You Say
Author - Josh Lanyon
ISBN -0-595-38512-5
Genre - Mystery
rating 4 out of 5

The Hell You Say is the third book in the Adrien English mystery series. Many folks will only start a series at the beginning but this is my first introduction to Josh Lanyon's work and I must say I am very impressed. His ability to move the plot along and spin a good story kept me turning the pages well into the night.

After Adrien’s bookstore employee Angus receives death threats, Adrien decides to help him and his girlfriend get away. However Jake, Adrien’s on again off again deeply closeted police officer lover, believes that Angus has a connection to an unsolved ritualistic murder. Before long Adrien finds himself enmeshed in mystery, murder, and a Satanic Cult.

Josh Lanyon has written a good mystery. His writing style is crisp and his characters are well developed. The book is filled with memorable characters and there are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing who the killer is. This book grabbed me from the opening paragraph. I look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

Review - Desert Cut by Betty Webb

Title- Desert Cut
Author - Betty Webb
ISBN - 978-1-59058-491-0
Genre- Mystery
No. of Pages 263
rating 5 out of 5

While scouting out locations for a film documentary in Arizona, private investigator Lena Jones and her director boyfriend Warren Quinn discover a freshly dumped body of a young dark skinned girl, the discovery of which evokes past memories of Lena's abused childhood. When another child disappears and in spite of clashes with the local sheriff, Lena continues to investigate the child's death and uncovers a small town with a big secret that puts her own life in danger.

Betty Webb has written a superb mystery with a disturbing theme of abuse that is very sensitively handled. Webb explores the cultural norms that condone behavior which we in North America name as abuse. Some may want to skip over some of the more graphic passages but the resolute will be rewarded with an excellent mystery and thought provoking read. I look forward to reading more her books.

Review - Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Title-Heart Shaped Box
Author- Joe Hill
ISBN - 978-0-06-114794-4
No of pages -366
Genre- Horror/Mystery/Suspense
Rating 4.5 out of 5

I usually do not read horror novels but this one peaked my interest because I continued to hear remarks about it on the various mystery lists I belong to. With a bit of trepidation I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. Joe Hill has written a good debut novel that held my interest and kept me wondering how it would end.

Judas Coyne, an aging death-metal rock star, collects the macabre. So when a ghost is advertised on the internet Coyne jumps at the chance to buy it. For a thousand dollars Coyne becomes the owner of a suit that is alleged to be haunted by a dead man's spirit. After UPS delivers the black heart shaped box Coyne soon discovers the previous owner of the suit in the bedroom, then sitting in his restored mustang dangling a gleaming razor on a chain from his hand.

I found myself drawn into the story and caring about the characters. Hill draws out empathy for Judas Coyne and as he copes with the ghosts of his own past and struggles to find the strength to battle a real evil. The blend of psychological terror and horror combined with new revelations and twists keeps the story moving with a sense of urgency that left me turning the pages well into the night to find out what would happen next.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review - The Sex Club by L.J.Sellers

Title: The Sex Club
Author: L.J. Sellers
Publisher: Spellbinder Press
ISBN: 978-0-9795182-0-1
No of pages: 347
Rating 4/5

When a pipe bomb explodes at a birth control clinic and then a young client is found dead in a dumpster, Kera Kollmorgan, a nurse working at the clinic begins to search for the truth on her own. Bound by client confidentiality Kera is unable to go to the police with information that she has. As she begins to uncover some new facts she finds herself becoming the target of the bomber. Detective Wade Jackson, fearing that his own daughter may be in danger, finds his investigation blocked by strong political forces at every step.

L.J. Sellers has written a fine debut mystery novel that explores religious fanaticism and its effects on the lives of various people. The characters are well developed, the plot plausible and well executed with an unexpected twist at the end. I look forward to reading more books by this talented author.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Review - Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Ice Station by Matthew J. Reilly
Genre - Action/Thriller
Number of Pages - 390
ISBN - 0-312-20551-1
Rating - 3 out of 5

A group of scientists at a remote ice station in Antarctica make a startling discovery buried in a 100 million year old layer of ice. A team of divers is sent under the ice shelf to investigate. What they find has the potential to be the greatest discovery ever made- a discovery that nations would kill for. Within a few minutes the divers are brutally killed and a garbled distress call is sent out. A team of marines led by Lt. Shane Schofield is sent out to investigate. They quickly learn that in a land without borders the only law is survival.

Matthew Reilly has written an action packed page turner. The action is almost non stop and left me almost breathless. The plot with its many twists and turns kept me guessing who the bad guys were. I have to admit that this story requires suspension of belief, particularly in the area of survival in the Antarctic, but after all, it is fiction. There could have been more depth to some of the characters but over all I enjoyed the book.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Review - An Incomplete Revenge

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear
Genre - Period Mystery
5th in Series
ISBN- 0805082158
Number of Pages 320
Rating 4.0 0ut of 5

I chose this book because I am already familiar with the works of Jacqueline Winspear and so I was looking forward to this fifth installment of her Maisie Dobbs series. I was not disappointed.

Maisie Dobbs, a psychologist/investigator is hired by long time benefactor James Compton to investigate reports of mysterious fires happening in Heronsdene where he wishes to purchase an estate. The towns people are closemouthed about the events and as Maisie continues to investigate she discovers that they are also closed lipped about a war time incident as well. A shady landowner and a mysterious group of gypsies add suspense and colour to the story.

Although some of the plot twists are predictable, Winspear provides a vivid description of England between the two great wars when society is experiencing great changes and challenges. She shines light on the subjects of prejudice, fear, and guilt in a way that challenges the reader to look at their own selves.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Review- Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
ISBN 0312365705
Genre Suspense/ Thriller
Number of Pages 352
Non Series Novel
Rating 3.50 out of 5

Anne and William Taylor, aged 12 and 10 are on the run in the woods out side of the town of Kootenai Bay Idaho. They have just witnessed a murder and are being pursued by the killers, former police officers, who know who they are and where they live. The only hope the children have is Jess Rawlins a rancher in whose barn they hid. Jess must stay one step ahead of the killers who have joined the search party and volunteered to help with the investigation.

I chose Blue Heaven because I have read several books by C.J. Box. This is his first standalone novel. I enjoyed the book but found that his addition of extra characters in the book took away from the build up of suspense. That being said the book did move along quickly and held my interest. The theme of children in peril was handled sensitively. I recommend this book.

Review - Wild Inferno by Sandi Ault

Wild Inferno by Sandi Ault
ISBN 0425219224
Number of Pages 304 pages
Rating - 3.00 out of 5
(second in the series)

I picked this book to read because I enjoy reading about First Nations traditions and myths and in this book Sandi Ault gives us many examples of Ute and Pueblo mythology and traditions. The legends and folklore are the vehicles of learning for Ault's protagonist Jamaica Wild.

Jamaica Wild, a Bureau of Land Management agent, is asked to locate an old Ute named Grandpa Ned and enters a fire area to find him. Instead she finds a lone smoldering fire-fighter who can only utter "save the grandmother " before he collapses. Later Grandpa Ned's burned body is found along with an unusual artifact which only adds to the mystery. Fires continue to rage near Chimney Rock as the Pueblo people gather there for a important ceremony.

In Wild Inferno we are treated to an inside view of the bravery and skills of teams of fire fighters, many composed of Native Americans, who battle forest fires. The author's admiration of those men and women shines through. We are also given glimpses of some of traditions and myths of the Pueblo people. At times, however, the plot almost gets lost in focus on mythology and firefighting. Ault is able to pull it all together to provide a satisfactory conclusion.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Review - Body Count by P.D. Martin

Body Count by P.D. Martin
ISBN 0-7783-2411-9
No of Pages - 376
Rating 3.75 out of 5

Sophie Anderson is a FBI profiler with a twist. She gets nightmares that contain images of crimes that are about to be committed, like those she had in childhood before her brother was abducted. Now her best friend and colleague is missing and she must use her talents and abilities to save her friend before it is too late.

My reaction when I first picked up Martin's novel was oh no not another serial killer novel. But to my delight I found this novel to be well written and not overly gruesome. The plot was well executed but a bit formulaic. I did guess who the killer was but there were enough twists and turns that I found myself changing my mind and wondering. The theme of loneliness and isolation greatly enhanced the story and added to a richer development of the characters particularly Sophie. This is a very good debut novel by Martin and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Review- Stealing The Dragon by Tim Maleeny

Stealing The Dragon by Tim Maleeny
ISBN 978-0-7387-0997-0
No of Pages - 365
Rating - 4 out of 5

A container ship ship runs aground on Alcatraz. The cargo hold is filled with smuggled Chinese refugees. The crew of the ship have been murdered with deadly precision. Cape Weathers, a private detective, suspects that a professional assassin was involved and he is afraid that his missing partner Sally is somehow mixed up in it. While the authorities search for clues Cape hunts for her trying to find out about her past. When he begins to ask questions it's not long before finds a dead body in the trunk of his car and a price on his head.

I found this debut novel by Tim Maleeny to be both a riveting page turner and informative regarding the plight of Chinese refugees. The themes of justice and revenge permeate the novel. I particularly enjoyed the intertwine between the past and the present that added richness and character to the story. The plot completely held my attention and the characters were well developed. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next installment of this series.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Review - Twilight by Brendan DuBois

Twilight by Brendan DuBois
ISBN 978-0-312-36137-2
No of pages -263
Rating 5 out of 5

In this futuristic novel the United States of America has experienced another terrorist attack. In the aftermath people have fled to the countryside trying to escape the horrors of the cities. Militia bands are roving the countryside killing refugees and civil war has broken out in areas. The United Nations has sent in international peace keeping forces trying to restore an uneasy peace. The story centers around a young idealistic journalist who has been recruited by the UN to document evidence of the atrocious war crimes that have been happening . While traveling with a special UN group it becomes quickly apparent that this is a very dangerous mission and that there is someone who is concealing evidence and placing them in dangerous life threatening situations.

Once again Brendan DuBois has written an excellent thriller. The book gave me chills because it is so realistic and portrays a possible scenario after a terrorist attack. I found the book to be absolutely riveting. I could not put it down until I had finished it. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Review -Nameless Night by G.M. Ford

Nameless Night by G.M.Ford
ISBN - 978-0-06-087442-1
No. of Pages - 338
Rating - 5 out of 5

Seven years ago Paul Hardy's broken body was found near death. Since then he has been living in a home for disabled adults. He has no memory of his past and has no idea who he is. After a terrible car accident he awakens with a new face, shadowy memories, and a name. As he begins the search for his identity it becomes quickly apparent that he is making people in high places very uncomfortable and he finds himself hunted as he begins to realize that he is at the centre of a government cover-up.

In this his first stand-alone novel G.M. Ford has written an excellent thriller that is guaranteed to keep you turning the pages until the very satisfying conclusion. I could not put the book down until I had finished it. The characters are very well developed, the plot intriguing, and the pace absolutely breathless. I highly recommend this book.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Review - Case Study by C.R. Cardin

Case Study
C.R. Cardin
ISBN 978-09797412-6-5
No. of Pages - 291
Rating 5 out of 5

Taylor Case is a professor of Forensic Science at Georgetown University. It's a career that gives her both opportunity and expertise for her other life. She hunts down child predators, a career that helps her cope with the disappearance of her brother in her childhood. When she learns that Kevin, a friend of her young nephew, has disappeared Taylor becomes impatient with the FBI's investigation and strikes out to find the boy herself. Using her expertise in forensics and computers Taylor begins the hunt knowing full well she must find Kevin soon or history will repeat itself.

Once in a while I come across a book that really hooks and keeps me engrossed to the end. Case Study is such a book. Cardin's main character is well developed and the plot has many twists and turns that kept me wondering how things would turn out. Even though the topic of child abduction is a difficult one it was sensitively handled. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Review - Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

Title - Blasphemy
ISBN - 0-7653-1105-4
No. of pages - 414
Rating - 4.50 out of 5

The world's largest particle supercollider named Isabella is hidden deep in an Arizona mountain. It's creator physicist Gregory Hazelius and his band of 12 scientists hope to discover what happened prior to the Big Bang. But the operations are running behind schedule, so the presidential science adviser hires ex-CIA Wyman Ford to go to Red Mesa and find out what's causing the hold up. Meanwhile political opponents of the project are stirring up religious right organizations claiming that the purpose of the project is to prove that God doesn't exist. At the same time a Navajo medicine man, a televangelist, and a pastor of a failed mission move ahead with their plans to stop or destroy Isabella.

Once again Douglas Preston has written a real page turning novel. Preston puts his own philosophical spin on the age old struggle between science and religion. Preston's use of the latest theories in physics and ancient religious beliefs leave the reader pondering new images of the face of God.

I found myself reading this book non stop. I literally had to slow myself down in order not to miss a word of this excellent novel. I highly recommend this thought provoking book.

Review - Hangdog Hustle by Elizabeth Pincus

Title - Hangdog Hustle
ISBN- 1-883523-05-2
No. of pages 204
Rating - 4 out of 5

When private investigator Nell Fury agrees to investigate an unsolved murder of a young man who lived in San Francisco's Castro district she discovers that he could have been the victim of a random mugging, a personal quarrel, a racist assault, or gay-bashing. Her search for answers leads her to a dangerous and shady environmental activist group, a less than upstanding colleague, and prime army owned real estate that is on the city's northern tip.

In Hangdog Hustle Elizabeth Pincus blends a well crafted mystery story with serious social issues. She combines a subversive feminist twist, a wicked sense of humor, and sexy sleuthing in her tough talking heroine Nell. I enjoyed the book and found it very satisfying. My only regret is that I didn't find this series sooner!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review - The Judas Strain by James Rollins

Title - The Judas Strain
Author- James Rollins
ISBN- 978-0-06-076389-3
No. of Pages 447
Rating 4 out of 5

A terrible plague has arisen out of the depths of the Indian Ocean, a disease that is unknown, unstoppable, and deadly to humankind. A cruise liner which has been converted to a make shift hospital which Dr. Lisa Cummings and other Sigma operatives search for answers to the deadly affliction has been pirated by terrorists.

On the other side of the world Gray Pierce thwarts the schemes of a murderous assassin- a killer who holds the first clue to the discovery of a possible cure. Time is an enemy as Pierce and an unlikely ally are drawn into an astonishing mystery hidden deep in antiquity and in humanity’s genetic code.

James Rollins returns with another high-octane thriller. The story is fast paced keeping the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. Rollins blends science and history in such a way that makes the story flow, intrigues the reader and provides non-stop adventure. I enjoyed this book very much and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy action-packed thrillers.

Review - Voices by Arnaldur Indridason

Title – Voices
Author – Arnaldur Indridason
ISBN – 978-0-099-49417-1
No of Pages - 352
Rating 5 out of 5

A few days before Christmas a doorman and occasional Santa Claus is found murdered in his Reykjavik hotel room. He has been stabbed to death and left in a sexually compromising position. As detective Erlendur investigates he quickly finds that both staff and guests have something to hide, but it is apparent that it is the dead man who has the most shocking secret.

Once again Indridason has written an outstanding novel that takes place in Iceland. His story is brim full of well-developed characters to which the reader is either drawn to and empathises with or feels appalled by. The plot is intricate and well paced to keep the reader turning the pages. As a bonus we are treated to Icelandic culture. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next book in this series.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Review - Calling The Dead by Marilyn Meredith

ISBN 1-59426-352-3
No. of Pages 154
Rating 3 out of 5

Tempe Crabtree, a resident deputy of Bear Creek, finds herself investigating a murder that looks like death from natural causes, and a suicide that looks like murder. As Tempe, who has been told by her superiors to stay away from the cases, investigates on her own time, she uses Native American ritual to help find out the truth, an act which put her own marriage to a Christian minister in jeopardy.

Once again Marilyn Meredith provides the reader with insight into Native American beliefs and culture. In Tempe Crabtree, we see the struggles of a woman trying to honour her own culture and the clashes between her beliefs and those of her husband. We also gain insight into the difficultes women in law enforcement face from male colleagues. I look forward to more stories involving Tempe and look forward to more complex plots.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Review -First Drop by Zoe Sharp

ISBN 0-7499-3457-3
No. of pages 372
Rating 4.25 out 5

Charlie was not too pleased that her first job in her new career as a bodyguard would be protecting a sullen 15 year old son of a rich computer programmer. It seemed an easy task until someone takes a shot at him at an amusement park and later tries to snatch him. Whoever wants the boy is prepared to kill anyone who gets in the way. As the body count rises Charlie needs all the skill and courage she has to keep the boy and herself safe.

This fast paced novel is filled with twists and turns that will keep the reader turning the pages and guessing who the killer is. The characters are well developed and the plot is well constructed and executed. This is a great thriller and I highly recommend it.

Review - The Black Widow Agency by Felicia Donovan

ISBN 978-0-7387-1082-2
No. of Pages 222

Rating 3.5 out of 5

The Black Widow Agency was formed by four women to bring justice to women who have been wronged by the judicial system. When a client who was drugged, framed, fired, lost her job and custody of her child appeals for help, the four friends come to her aid using computer forensics, surveillance technology and women's intuition.

When I first received the book I wasn't sure if I would like the book. I was concerned that it would be a male bashing forum. To my surprise I found a well written story with four characters who were interesting and likeable. Ms Donovan's experience in law enforcement technology made the technological aspects of the story realistic. I look forward to reading her next novel and to learning more about each of the four members of the Black Widow agency.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Review - The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman

Title - The Shape Shifter
Author - Tony Hillerman
ISBN - 978-0-06-056347-9
No. of Pages - 322
Rating - 4.25 out of 5

As former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn struggles to come to terms with retirement and loneliness he receives, from a former colleague, a copy of a recent magazine photograph of a priceless old Navajo rug that was supposedly destroyed in a fire many years before. As Leaphorn tracks down the origin of the photograph the trail winds through the rough terrain of greed, deceit, and murder where a cold-blooded killer lies in wait.

Hillerman has once again written a fine mystery. His ability to blend Navajo lore with a very satisfying plot held my attention right through to a satisfying and surprising conclusion. I was struck by the way Hillerman enabled the reader to get inside the mind of Joe Leaphorn and feel his struggles with retirement, the loss of his wife, and his own ethical decision making. The Shape Shifter is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Review -Deadly Vintage
Author - Elaine Flynn
ISBN - 978-1-880284-87-2
Pages - 259
Rating - 4/5

All Molly Doyle wants to do is run her Carmel antique shop, enjoy raising her niece Emma, and look forward to a deepening relationship with Kenneth Randell the local police chief. But life continues to throw her curves. Molly, who wants to expand her business into interior decorating, accepts a job and finds herself in the midst of family squabbles. When those squabbles end in murder Molly finds herself becoming a suspect while at the same time becoming concerned for Emma's future when a stranger walks into her Treasures Antiques store.

I usually do not like cozy type mysteries but Elaine Flynn has created a great character in Molly Doyle that I find myself searching out her books and enjoying them a great deal. Ms. Flynn writes very well and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I highly recommend this book.