Minotaur Trifecta: Michael Robertson, Brad Parks, Joseph Olshan Sunday, Apr 28 2013 

This week Auntie M has three goodies courtesy of Minotaur Books for your reading pleasure.

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First up is the third installment in the delightful Heath Brothers series written by Michael Robertson, Baker Street Translation.

Reggie and Nigel didn’t realize the lease of their Baker Street law offices included the famous number 221B, but quickly learned that one of their responsibilities as tenants is to answer mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes.  This delights Nigel as much as it frustrates Reggie.

Previous escapades have taken the brothers to California, but this one takes place on London home turf, with ties to Sherlock Holmes the pivotal point.

When a wealthy American heiress decides to leave her impressive fortune to Sherlock Holmes, she unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that have Reggie summoning Nigel back from his Los Angeles stay.

It also connects in some way to the kidnapping of Robert Buxton, Reggie’s rival for the lovely actress Laura Rankin. Deciding to pop the question, ring in his pocket, Reggie’s attempts to become engaged fall by the wayside as the kidnappers insist Laura is the only one who can provide the ransom to save Buxton.

Reggie can’t allow Laura to put herself in jeopardy, but then Laura isn’t your average actress. Thwarting Buxton’s security team and Reggie’s attempts to protect her, Laura feels responsible for Buxton’s return and follows the kidnapper’s demands, wit unexpected results.

Along with his sleuthing, Reggie will lock horns with a feisty Texan, decipher the riddle presented by nursery rhymes gone wild in a talking duck, and learn more than he ever wanted to know about London’s sewer system, and all before a royal event goes haywire.

Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight in references to the canon but you don’t have to be a Holmes fan to enjoy Robertson’s deadpan delivery or his improbable and whimsical plotting. A delight for mystery readers who enjoy a puzzle.

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The puzzle in Brad Parks’ The Good Cop seems more clear cut but has the same comic elements as the Baker Street series. Parks uses the first-person narration of reporter Carter Ross to inform us of the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey, that he covers.

Rushing to be the first to interview a dead policeman’s widow, Ross succeeds and gathers great material for a killer article. Darius Kipps loved his job, had a lovely wife, and two young children he doted on who he was planning to take to Disney World.

But as Ross wonders why no other reporters have shown up, his boss informs him the article is off. The cop has committed suicide.

Yet something else seems off to Carter, and the widow agrees, making a public statement to that effect. Her husband had everything to live for and would never have taken his own life.

Added to the mix is a charismatic preacher who has the widow’s ear. Then calls Ross makes to the medical examiner are blocked, and his instincts kick in.

Using his contacts, and sufficiently sustained by his diet of two slice of pizza and a cold Coke Zero, Ross sets out to unearth the truth about what really happened to Good Cop Kipps.

 

Changing tones a bit but still with a sense of wry humor in his protagonist, Joseph Olshan gives us his debut thriller, Cloudland.

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The rural Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire is an area with tough weather and even tougher people.

The wealthy, the artistic, and the working class have more than their love of the area in common. They have a sense of safety where residents rarely bother to lock their doors.

Things change radically when a serial killer targets young women in their region. Whether jogging on a back road or stopped at a rest stop, the victims share more than their youth: being alone at the times of their murder made them easy targets.

Into the mix comes Catherine Winslow, a former reporter who lives simply and earns a living writing a household hints column. Her reporter’s instincts, coupled with her own sense of survival, all contribute to the urge she feels to uncover the murderer when she finds the body of one of his victims. Suddenly the killer has invaded her turf and made his threat real.

Teaming up with her  forensic psychologist neighbor and the detective on the case, she investigates the murders and finds close friends and neighbors on the suspect list. Adding to her stress is her strained relationship with her only child, a daughter living in New Jersey, and her past relationship with a much-younger lover that still haunts her.

Olshan does a fine job describing the impact to this rural landscape that these killings leave. With echoes of the gothic literature Catherine loves, as well as a clue in an obscure Wilkie Collins novel, the reader will absorb Olshan’s elegant prose and evocative language as this compelling story explores not only the mystery but the psychology of its characters.

Becky Masterman: Rage Against the Dying Sunday, Apr 21 2013 

images_009Brigid Quinn, the protagonist and wonderful heroine of Becky Masterman’s new thriller Rage Against the Dying, reminds Auntie M of a female Jethro Gibbs from NCIS–one with a more visceral bent but with a past that haunts her dreams.

This is one strong lady who doesn’t hesitate to get her hands dirty, whether it’s searching river beds for unusual rocks in a dry Tucson river bed, or dealing with maniacal murderers who threaten her and those she loves.

After a life in the FBI, the retiree in her late 50’s–and how nice to have a protagonist of a certain age–finds love with new husband, Carlo,  a retired professor she met auditing his class. They have Pugs and wine and easy days together, building a life where she may even try to learn to cook. Maybe.

But Brigid lives in fear of the mask she’s created slipping, and of Carlo seeing her through her violent past and what she has seen and the person she was, instead of who she’s become. This is one strong gal who can kill with her bare hands, and shivers at the thought of Carlo having that knowledge.

Then an incident occurs that threatens her new-found peace and with that hanging over her shoulder, Brigid is thrust back into the cold case when a man confesses to the string of murders and offers to lead police to the murdered woman’s body in exchange for a plea bargain. This is the one case her team had to leave unsolved. It  left a member of her team dead and the young agent’s murder remains unsolved. It’s an incident that haunts Brigid in her quiet moments, one for which she feels a sense of culpability. She must be involved.

Yet Brigid knows something is wrong, and with her own horrendous secret to keep, she fears everything she works so hard to build will come tumbling down as she matches wits with a terrifying killer. Adding to the confusion is that the new FBI agent on the case believes the confession is faked, and Brigid finds herself at the center of violence once again.

This is a chilling, smart debut. Readers will not only be rooting for Brigid, they will be eager to read the next adventure of this vibrant character who has seen far too much of the heinous side of humanity yet craves normality for herself.

NEWS from HarperCollins: DELUXE E-BOOKS Wednesday, Apr 17 2013 

The wave of the future is here:

HarperCollins has launched a brand new website that features the Enhanced e-books library– e-books with extra content like video, photos, and more.  images_013

Here is the link: http://www.harpercollins.com/enhanced.

Some books featured on the page right now are American Sniper, I Suck At Girls, Telegraph Avenue, Prague Winter and more!

Visit the page to watch a great video that features authors such as Michael Chabon and Colin Powell discussing their enhanced e-Books (top of the page).

The books can be downloaded to iPads, iPhones, Nooks, Kindles and more, all at the appropriate sites. Visit the link above for more information and to see this new feature in action!

This page provides exciting information on what to expect in the enhanced e-books, as well as where they are available to purchase.

 

Dorothy H. Hayes: Murder at the P&Z Tuesday, Apr 16 2013 

MurderAtPZcover533x800When I first began to write Murder at the P&Z, I started with a vision: the body of a dead woman under a giant black spruce. Anything can happen to explain that vision. My characters and the plot are organic and I am as surprised as the reader of its twists and turns. I lead the emotional life of my characters, which makes story telling very exciting. I put them in situations and they handle them according to their character traits.

Murder at the P&Z is a character driven story. Carol Rossi, a local reporter, 47, and in her second career, is involved romantically with a police officer much younger than her. At first, when a woman’s body is found on School Road, Rossi is thrilled to be covering the murder scene thinking that this is the big story, her big break. When she realizes, however, that the murder victim is the secretary to the town planner, a woman on her beat, she’s horrified and swears to find the killer.

Rossi believes the murder may be connected to a multi-million dollar condominium real estate deal that was approved by the town planner, and the planning and zoning commissioners. The police, however, suspect that it’s a random crime, a homicide that occurred during a mugging. It is the Christmas season and the mugger was looking for fast cash, they conclude.

Rossi is forced to become an amateur sleuth to keep her promise to find the killer. As her investigation progresses, she’s soon being stalked and she has no idea by whom or why. Then the recently retired, former town planner is found dead in his swimming pool in Bimini.

Rossi’s life is threatened, and she realizes that she’s in over her head professionally and romantically.

Like most mysteries, clues are peeled away slowly throughout the book but suspense holds the reader to the end. And in this case, readers also fear for the clever, but flawed, Rossi.

I was a reporter for a Wilton newspaper and covered planning and zoning. It was almost too easy to develop a crime given the power of that body, which approves all building projects in town, although to my surprise it became much more complicated. The story is believable although no such crime occurred in Wilton. But the story draws from the colonial town’s historic past, my own experiences, and the reactions of my characters, which remain true to form.

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Dorothy Hayes, a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, taught Language Arts in Connecticut and New York schools.

She was a staff writer for the Wilton Bulletin, and The Hour and received an honorary award for her in-depth series on Vietnam Veterans from the Society of Professional Journalists.

She also worked as a staff writer for a national animal protection corporation, and wrote Animal Instinct published by iUniverse in 2006. She writes for womenofmystery.net, and criminalelement.com, and is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Tri-State Chapter.

You can buy Murder at the P&Z at:

Jo Bannister: Deadly Virtues Sunday, Apr 14 2013 

images_049Northern Ireland is the home to Jo Bannister, author of the Brodie Farrell and four other series, but in her newest she takes us to the small British town of Norbold, in the highly satisfying read, Deadly Virtues.

Protagonist Hazel Best the newest recruit in Norbold’s force, a woman who chose to enter the force for her own reasons. She is determined to do a good job and gain the attention of her popular and effective Chief Superintendent,  John Fountain.

Gabriel Ash is a man haunted by an unexplained tragedy in his life. Known as Ash, his rescued dog, Patience, is the only reason he has to get out of bed in the morning most days.

These two unlikely people will join forces after law student Jerome Cardy is killed by a crazed maniac while on remand in police custody.

Sleeping off an assault and concussion with his dog in the safe haven of a Norbold cell, Ash crosses Cardy’s path when the two are temporarily housed together. Before leaving Ash’s cell, Cardy tells him: “I had a dog once. Othello. That was its name. Othello.”

After Cardy’s death, Ash enlists Hazel to uncover the truth behind the young man’s death. At first suspicious and later determined, Hazel knows her young career lies in the balance if she pursues the thread of a case Ash has handed her.

By showing Cardy’s knowledge of his impending death, even before he winds up a cell, Bannister dangles a provocative hook that will have readers turning pages as Hazel and Ash figure out why Cardy had to die.

The growing strength of friendship between Hazel and Ash leads to the novel’s unexpected ending, when it seems no one can be trusted, and their lives hang in the balance.

Bannister’s dry wit is on show here. Nicely nuanced characters and a fair amount of tension and tension will have readers hoping this is not the last appearance of this unlikely duo.

Sophie Hannah: The Carrier Sunday, Apr 7 2013 

images_031Prolific author Sophie Hannah’s newest thriller, The Carrier, won’t answer every question it raises but will provide a rollicking ride as she examines lie and obsession.

Featuring her detective team of Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse, in of themselves an unusual mix of characters, the book revolves around their investigation but features the first person narrative of the strong character of Gaby Struthers, genius and entrepreneur.

Delayed overnight on a flight from Germany back to England, Gaby finds herself sharing a tacky room with the terrified, outspoken Lauren Cookson.

Despite their initial antagonism, when Lauren’s blurts out that Gaby would never let a man go to jail for a murder he didn’t commit, Gaby does research and realizes Lauren’s presence on her flight was not a coincidence.

What follows is a duel of the minds of several highly intelligent people, one of them the confessed murderer, Tim Breary, the love of Gaby’s love. Tim insists he has  murdered his incapacitated wife, giving police the evidence they need to convict him in addition to his confession.

Supporting his version of events are the friends Tim and his wife, Francine, have lived with since her stroke, Kerry and Dan Jose.  Gaby soon becomes convinced they are lying, and Charlie agrees. But why would Tim’s best friends, who are vocal in their dislike of Francine, aid him in going to prison if he really didn’t murder his wife?

Several subplots surrounding Charlie’s sister and the duo’s colleague, as well as a work politics on Simon’s end, will satisfy readers of the series. But readers won’t have to have read the others for this psychological thriller to grip them and carry them along to the end.

 

 

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp a perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

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"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!

Saving the planet one day at a time.