Wendy Corsi Staub: Nightwatcher Sunday, Aug 26 2012 

Today I received an incredibly haunting book trailer from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub for her upcoming release of NIGHTWATCHER.  

NIGHTWATCHER Official Book Trailer

Staub is the New York Times bestselling author whose thrillers have a wide following. This is the first installment of a trilogy featuring Allison Taylor, a sympathetic heroine from the Midwest determined to overcome her start in life and conquer New York’s fashion world.

The book opens on September 10th, so the setup couldn’t be more powerful right in the opening pages. What happens after the shock of 9/11 spins a new angle on those horrendous days, when a murderer is cut loose on a town already trying to comprehend the enormous tragedy they are living through.

Allison has few friends but does talk to several renters in her apartment building: her upstairs neighbor, Kristina, and a young man, Mack MacKenna, whose insomnia finds them sharing the front stoop before the events that will change everyone’s lives so dramatically.

Mack’s wife perishes in the disaster, and as Allison reaches out to help him cope, Kristina is found savagely murdered.  Allison’s carefully wrought existence in her adopted city falls apart even more than the buildings that have crashed to the ground. As more women die at the hands of a mad serial killer, it becomes apparent that Allison is the only one who can identify the killer. With her life in danger, Allison tries to help catch this crazed madman, even as she realizes she could be his next victim.

Staub evokes the atmosphere of 9/11 in a vivid and powerful way and uses the events of that day as the catalyst of this new thriller.  She captures the shock, paranoia, and tension of New York City as she weaves this suspenseful thriller into the  enormous ongoingdisaster.  Suspense Magazine called it, “Suspenseful, powerful, tense and—as usual—wonderfully written with an ending that will leave you guessing.  A great read!”

Getting inside the minds of many of the key players broadens the action and put the reader right into the thick of  the tension and escalating terror. The action never lets up and the results are startling. There’s plenty here to keep you turning pages, and the ending will leave you waiting for the next installment, SLEEPWALKER, coming this fall.

John Harvey: Good Bait Sunday, Aug 19 2012 

Auntie M is a huge John Harvey fan, and he doesn’t disappoint in his newest Good Bait, teaming up characters from previous novels in a winning way with overlapping storylines.

DCI Karen Shields heads the Homicide & Serious Crime Team, always working a multitude of cases and hoping for a result. Shields is still grieving over the death of her father and realizing her work commitments have left her with only one good friend. When the body of a teenaged boy is discovered on Hampstead Heath, their investigation leads to a connection with the small Eastern European country of Moldova. At first drugs or illegal trading is suspected as the impetus for the boy’s death.

Miles away on the western coast in Cornwall, DI Trevor Cordon is nearing retirement, which can’t come quickly enough. Passed by for promotions by colleagues with more modern attitudes, he’s part of the old guard and set in his ways. Then the mother of an young woman he’d taken under his wing in the past appears on his doorstep, begging him to look into her daughter’s disappearance. Cordon had tried to put Letitia on a different path from her mother’s life of drug addiction and prostitution. Cordon is soon drawn to London after the mother’s unexpected death, where he enlists the aid of former colleague Jack Kiley, now a private detective.

The working methods, personalities and private lives of Shields and Cordon couldn’t be more different, but the one thing they have in common is that both feel like outsiders. We feel their loneliness in their private lives as we follow the complicated path of Shields’ many cases and the thread of Cordon’s hunt for Letitia.

International money laundering, drug operations, and people trafficking are all involved, along with a heavy dose of Cordon’s music. It is the contrast of Shield’s aggressive and exhausting police work against Cordon’s melancholy and slower investigation that will result in an overlapping link in both cases that will lead to the ultimate resolution.
Harvey manages to weave in socio-economic issues by illustrating how they impact on police work without hitting the reader over the head with these issues. One of Harvey’s greatest strengths is his ability to develop his characters on a rich but subtle level, and this in inherent in all of his works, including the Charlie Resnick and Frank Elder novels.

This is a skilled craftsman writing at the top of his game, and any reader who enjoys a well-crafted police procedural illustrating different detecting methods will enjoy Good Bait.

Mark Billingham: Good as Dead Sunday, Aug 12 2012 

A word first on television made from novels:

Mark Billingham’s novels include a stand-alone, In the Dark, and the DI Tom Thorne series, a character Lee Child has compared to Morse and Rebus. Thorne is now a television series in the UK and Auntie M has seen each of the three-parters that illustrate Billingham’s first two in the series, Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat. Actor David Morrissey, also executive producer, read a Thorne novel and enjoyed it; then was pleasantly surprised to read he was exactly the actor whom the author pictured playing his detective inspector one, who plays close to, and sometimes, over the line.

The teleplays follow the the original story-lines closely, with the exception of a few casting changes, as in making Thorne’s superior, Brigstocke, a woman. His best friend, pathologist Phil Hendricks is described in the books as a tall, bald, heavily pierced and tattooed Mancunian. In the series, he’s aptly played by shorter Irishman, Aidan Gillen, whose head full of bushy dark hair nonetheless conveys the spirit of the original character as drawn by Billingham. But these are small changes.

What’s in full force is the power of the stories Billingham originally told, and Morrissey’s ability to get Tom Thorne’s ambivalent character just right. Here’s Gillen on the left and Morrissey on the right.

More of the novels are planned for future filming by Sky1; check the local satellite listings in your area.

Now on to the newest Thorne novel, Good as Dead (The Demands in the US).

Change is on Tom Thorne’s mind after upheaval in his personal life. He’s sold his beloved but not fixable old BMW for an updated model he’s still getting used to; he’s put his flat on the market; and he’s even considering a job transfer.

Then he finds himself called for by name, requested by a shopkeeper who has barricaded himself and two hostages into his news shop.

Thorne remembers the man’s name from a prior case involving manslaughter and the man’s son, who received an unusually long sentence in prison for what seemed to be manslaughter in self-defense.

The hostages are a cowardly banker and a DI from the Child Protection Unit whom Thorne remembers from a former case.

Helen Weeks’ partner was killed when she was pregnant with her son, now eight months old. Both hostages are in Amin Akhtar’s shop when harassment by local thugs causes him to snap, a classic case of being in the wrong place at just the wrong time.

Yet Amin has a specific point to holding these two by gunpoint. They are the leverage he needs for Thorne to investigate the apparent suicide of the his son in prison.

Convinced the youth wouldn’t have taken his own life, Amin tasks Thorne with unraveling the secrets behind his son’s death.

The threads Thorne pulls will have unexpected and surprising twists, in the way that Billingham does so well, as Thorne puts his career on the line to find the truth. Time is against him as hours and then days pass as he tries to find the truth about what happened at the youth institution housing Amin’s son.

And in the end, not everyone will walk out of that shop alive.

Billingham’s novels are complex and compelling, filled with with the right amount of psychological insight into his very human character’s mental state. The tension is taut and Billingham manages to keep getting better with each novel. The can’t come fast enough.

Two-fer Opposites: Andrew Kaplan and Linda Lovely Sunday, Aug 5 2012 

Auntie M has two books that are as far apart as you can get on the setting scale, but both satisfying reads of different kinds.

First up is Andrew Kaplan’s entry in his Scorpion series, Scorpion Winter, a thriller that  takes place largely in the Ukraine with stops in the Middle East and Europe, featuring a killer pacing that never lets up. Kirkus Reviews says: “Kaplan takes the thriller genre at its word, moving as fast as Ludlum but with ten times the eye for settings and crisp characterizations.”

Scorpion is a former CIA covert operative who operates on a freelance basis. This means he has friends–and enemies–in almost every country in the world.

His newest assignment is to prevent the assassination of a Ukraine politician on the eve of an election that has world-wide consequences and interests. Assisting him, despite his initial misgivings, is the very lovely Iryna Shevchenko, whose father founded the Independent movement in the country.

But everything goes horribly wrong, and Iryna and Scorpion soon find themselves on the run, hunted down as the assassins themselves as they become caught in the trap of an unknown enemy. With NATO, Russia and US forces ready to become involved in a war, they race against time to find the real murderers and clear their names. Along the way, there are plenty of deaths, sleight of hand maneuvers, impossible getaways, and enough violence told in a matter-of-fact disturbing way to keep you awake at night.

The pacing is relentless as the couple, whose attraction to each other becomes too strong to ignore, face the brutal realities of too many sub-culture political parties operating under the radar. Acronyms abound: The SVR, the SBU, the NSA and even Chinese mobsters are involved at different points.

Scorpion proves himself to be a master of deception, with false identities and useful fighting and burglary skills learned over the years that keep him just one small step ahead of his opponents–until a false step lands him in prison and in the hands of a sadistic madman. The torture he endures is horrific; with no salvation in sight, his death is imminent. How he gets himself out of that situation, and the eventual unraveling of this twisted plot, will leave readers stunned. When Scorpion says near the end: “Sometimes you need your enemies more than your friends,” you will understand the complicated life he’s chosen to lead.

Kaplan has done exhaustive research, and the cold winter of Siberia looms real enough to make your joints ache. The use of phrases in Russian and other languages are thoughtfully translated for the reader but add to the feel of being on the other side of the world. This is an action thriller that will leave you breathless at its end.

Doing a hard 180 degree turn, we travel to the Midwest and the Great Lakes area of Iowa. Linda Lovely first introduced retired military intelligence officer Marley Clark in the SC low country mystery Dear Killer, where Marley’s security job formed the basis for that mystery. In No Wake Zone, Marley travels to a family reunion for her feisty Aunt May’s birthday, expecting a totally different kind of vacation from the one she encounters.

Marley gets roped into helping her tourist-boat captain cousin aboard his boat on West Okoboji Lake for a wedding reception, but never dreams she’ll find herself diving into the cold depths of the lake in a vain attempt to save the life of a billionaire.

The founder of a biotech company is the unlucky groom, only he’s dead before he hits the water. When it turns out an old college friend is the bride, Marley finds herself deeply embroiled in the murder investigation.

Each member of the tycoon’s family try to top each other as Nastiest Relative of the Year in the greed department. Adding to the mix is the head of an international security company who has his own issues against Marley from their previous association.

Things heat up even more when Marley’s former Pentagon boss enlists her aid in the investigation and intrigue abounds.

Then a handsome attorney with his own secrets steps into the case and Marley finds herself attracted to him, despite her inner turmoil over trusting him, all under the inquisitive eye of Aunt May. When the deaths start to mount up, the killer soon targets Marley and her family and the suspense rises as the pace continues to pound along.

There’s plenty of action here and a gripping plot with as many turns as the amusement park rides that feature in an action-packed climax scene. The dialogue is snappy and you’ll be longing for another adventure with Marley Clark when you turn the last page.

The author spent summers in the Spirit Lake area with her family and her real-life captain cousin played a major role in the creation of the Maritime Museum, which also becomes a setting. Her familiarity with the area, including local landmarks and restaurants, brings it to life for those not familiar with this area of the Midwest.

It’s refreshing to have a well-written series with an engaging protagonist who is 52, smart and witty, and with a zest for life that is engaging.

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dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp a perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

Just another WordPress.com site

Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

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