Chilling Thrillers Sunday, Jun 30 2013 

06-12Nightshade-2Stephen Leather is the accomplished author of several thriller series, including the bestselling Spider Shepherd series.

He returns with the newest in the Jack Nightingale occult thrillers in Nightshade, which he based on areal incident that occurred in Scotland when a middle-aged farmer entered a primary school and killed sixteen children and an adult before committing suicide. This case formed the basis that led to a ban on handgun ownership in the UK.

What Leather does spectacularly well is to use the theories for that massacre as the plot line in this chilling novel that is disturbing as it brings a dark twist to the events that feel too real and possible at times.

When Jimmy McBride walks into a school with a double-barrelled shotgun and begins his massacre, he sets into motion a chain of events that lead his brother, Danny, to employ Nightingale. The former cop-turned-private eye reluctantly agrees to look into the case and finds to his horror too many connections to discount.

Police have found evidence of Satanic practices at McBride’s farm, which Danny insists were not present just days before when he visited Jimmy at his farm.

Woven into the story is a young girl who is miraculously revived after being declared dead after a horrible home invasion. Bella claims she’s spoken to people from beyond the grave but a disturbing pattern soon emerges. People who she’s whispered her secrets to start to die and often take others with them in bizarre killings.

Nightingale soon realizes there is much more at work here than appears on the surface, and as he digs deeper he brings his own life into jeopardy.

This is a compellingly told tale that will leave readers sitting on the edge of their seats as the events leading to the haunting prologue start to make a terrible kind of sense that only Nightingale can resolve.

 

Philip Margolin brings back fan favorite private investigator Dana Cutler, previously seen in his Washington Trilogy series, in the fast-paced legal thriller Sleight of Hand. sleight-of-handjpg-670e1b783e618ea9

Dana will face a fierce opponent: the slick criminal defense lawyer Charles Benedict, a man whose talents include magic tricks–and murder.

Sent to the west coast on the trail of a stolen relic, Dana doesn’t see a connection with the missing medieval scepter until she’s deeply embroiled in the case of the missing wife of millionaire Horace Blair.

The action hinges on the prenuptial agreement signed by Blair and his wife, Carrie, guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remains faithful for the first ten years of their marriage. When Carrie disappears the week before their tenth anniversary, Horace is charged with her murder. Surely twenty million is a great motive for murder?

Blair hires Benedict to defend him, not realizing the very man who is responsible for him going free may also be responsible for the murder of his wife.

Benedict uses sleight of hand to frame Benedict for Carrie’s murder, which is the inspiration for the book’s title. His own motives prove chilling and Dana is determined to bring the lawyer down.

How Dana manages to outwit the psychopath Benedict creates the high suspense that is a hallmark of Margolin’s novels and involves readers in Dana’s hunt to bring down a cunning and cold-blooded murderer.

 

coldblooded200

 

Lisa Jackson adds a hint of romance to her thriller, Cold Blooded, set in New Orleans and featuring Olivia Bechet, a young woman who has inherited her Grannie Gin’s ability to see through the eyes of a murderer.

When a woman’s slashed and burned corpse is found in a seedy New Orleans apartment, jaded detective Rick Bentz discounts Olivia’s reports of visualizing the bizarre ritual murder in a nightmare.

Bentz has his own demons he’s dealing with, and they certainly don’t include a tendency to believe the supposed sightings of Olivia.

Then the bodies start to pile up, and it’s obvious young college women are being targeted, with Bentz’s own daughter, Kristi, is in the mix.

Suddenly the visions he discounted start to make terrible sense, and Bentz starts to believe Olivia’s visions.

Jackson shows the killer’s point of view, too, which ups the suspense, as The Chosen One focuses in those around Bentz.

When his own brother is thrown into the mix, Bentz doesn’t know where to turn. Is his brother an innocent victim, set up to take the fall for The Chosen One? Or is his brother really the maniac who is terrorizing the area?

For those who like their action mixed with a hint of sizzle, this is a perfect, briskly-paced summer read.

 

Advertisements

Three Hot Summer Reads Sunday, Jun 23 2013 

not-dead-yetIn Not Dead Yet, the incomparable Peter James is back with Brighton Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, who intends to spend the weekend with his pregnant partner, Chief Mortician Cleo Morey. Coping with preparation for a major trail looms for Grace, but the couple hope to steal some together before their infant is born.

That notion comes to an abrupt halt with the finding of a torso embedded in chicken excrement under the gridded steel floor at an East Sussex chicken farm. Other than some bits of clothing and a multitude of flies, the head and all four limbs are missing.

Grace’s team are stressed, too, between illness and divorce, and all take their toll on Grace’s worry, even as he waits for the papers to come through that will declare his wife, Sandy, legally dead, after her disappearance ten years ago.

All Grace needs now is the call he receives from the Chief Constable, and despite the cases he’s dealing with, he’s handed an unwelcome assignment: setting up a security strategy for rock singer and actress Gaia Lafayette.

Gaia is a Brighton native, arriving back home to star in an historical film about King George the Fourth and his mistress. Significant scenes will be filmed on location at Brighton’s jewel, The Royal Pavilion.

But threats against Gaia’s life follow her from California where an assistant has been murdered, and Grace is tasked with coordinating several teams to assure the star’s safety. The star arrives with her young son in tow and a multitude of Hollywood types whose mere presence adds to Grace’s stress and workload.

Add to these worries a Brighton villain Grace put away who has been released, and the maniac fans who follow Gaia around, and Grace’s pressure is rising. Then Cleo’s car is vandalized and all bets are off as he races between caring for her and saving Gaia’s life, while his own literally hangs in the balance.

How the cases intersect is a prime example of the intricate plotting that is the hallmark of this entertaining and rewarding series. An extra twist at the end will stop your heart for a moment. This series just keeps getting better and better with its overarching plot points keeping readers eager for the next installment.

 

Award-winner S. J. Bolton had several stand-alone successes before bringing back DC Lacey Flint, a most unusual character who is on leave from the ordeal she suffered in Dead Lost Scared, after being introduced in Now You See Me.

In this outing, Lost, the title refers to any number of characters in this thrilling ride as a serial killer terrorizes young boys, draining their blood and leaving their bodies to be found.

Bolton cleverly tosses in narrated sections a psychiatrist’s sessions with an unnamed client at the same time as she realistically gets inside the head of Lacey’s young neighbor, 11-year old Barney. He and his friends are affected by the gruesome murders with fearsome results.

Despite his father’s efforts to create some kind of home life for the two of them, Barney is desperate to find the mother who abandoned him and enlists Lacey in his search.

Readers also enter the points of view of Lacey’s former boss, DI Dana Tulloch, saddled with the task of tracking down this heinous killer, and Lacey’s colleague DI MArk Joesbury, whom Lacey may have let get too close to her.

As Lacey struggles with the aftermath of her last case and tries to decide if her future lies in the police force, Barney realizes he may have a personal connection to the murderer. With trust gone, he has no one he can trust except Lacey.

This is part police procedural, part thriller as the suspense escalates and the violence continues until it gets out of control in this beautifully written tale of one young courageous lad and his friendship with the very wounded and fragile Lacey Flint.

 

16045062Crossing the pond to New England and the world of Martha’s Vineyard, A. X. Ahmad brings readers into the world of Sikh culture with his mesmerizing debut The Caretaker.

Ranjit Singh is coping with a military career gone horribly wrong and has fled with his family from India to Boston, living first with his wife’s family until he starts his own landscaping business in the posh neighborhoods of the Vineyard.

But summer’s jobs have faded with the onset of winter and Singh is desperate for work, which lands in his lap when the beautiful wife of a popular Senator hires him to be a caretaker for their closed summer home. This soon leads to other similar positions and a sense that he may make a new life for himself and his family.

He watches as his wife and young daughter try to assimilate into American culture and just as he thinks they may all thrive, he finds himself caught up in an unwanted scheme that brings him perilously close to losing everything and everyone he loves.

Ahmad’s thriller is filled with action, as Singh becomes the man of action he used to be in the Indian Army before his fall from grace. As he tries to safeguard his family, he becomes inexplicably entwined with the comely Senator’s wife, a longtime Vineyard resident, and falls prey to the machinations of the powerful Senator whose rise from poverty is the stuff of legends.

Themes of class and race, culture and above all, a man forced to face his own morality all come to bear in this tale that is lovingly crafted. There are scenes filled with grace and others with surprise and intrigue, all graced with the haunting prose and deep personal reflection. A sensational newcomer not to be missed.

Three to Die For: Hutton, Cha and Haines Sunday, Jun 16 2013 

Ewart Hutton’s debut Good People features a most unusual detective: DS Glyn Capaldi, half-Welsh but also half-Italian, and it’s those dark good looks that set him as an outsider.

images_030A case with an less-than-happy ending has sent Capaldi on exile from Cardiff to the rolling Welsh countryside where he’s learning the back roads and mores of the locals.

A call for a minibus hijacking looks like a routine call, especially when the missing van is found the next morning, an apparent prank.

But all is not well: six young men and one young woman appear to be missing, and when not all of them are found, Capaldi smells a case with his detective’s instinct.

Despite the villager’s assurances of the men’s goodness, Capaldi investigates and runs into opposition from the townspeople, who staunchly defend the mens pranking. These rural landowners command a high influence in the area; their word is taken as gospel.

It will be left to Capaldi to unravel what really happened that night, with consequence reaching into the past he could never foresee. Betrayals leading to depravity only scratch the surface when the truth is known, and not before a suicide occurs–or is it murder?

Hutton brings the reader into Capaldi’s world of dark woodlands and small towns that survive by their own code of justice. This is a crime thriller with an edge, and readers will hope the cynical voice of Capaldi returns, and soon.

Steph Cha is a fresh new voice in the noir thriller Follow Her Home, one that will smack you over the head with its heroine, Juniper Song, a devotee of Philip Chandler and LA Noir. images_022

Juniper has a cadre of friends and a troubled past that her favorite noir fiction keeps at bay. Known as “Song” by her friends, she responds to her good friend Luke’s request to find out if the new paralegal at his father’s firm is also his newest mistress.

Song as no real idea how to proceed, but armed with her pack of Lucky Strikes, in best Chandler fashion she tails various suspects and the young woman herself–and finds herself up against more than she’d bargained for when she agreed to help Luke.

At one point she is knocked unconscious and wakes up as the body in the trunk of her own car. This is carrying things to far for Song, and she steels her determination to conquer her past and plunges into LA’s underground, determined to find out whose buttons her minor investigation have pushed.

Cha gives readers a fascinating and yet disturbing lesson as she examines young Asian woman as fetish objects, which will come as a surprise to many readers. This adds a depth to this already compelling story while keeping the twists and turns flwoing as the story plays out.

What starts out in an almost playful mood turns serious, yet Cha keeps Song’s voice smart and crisp in an almost heartbreaking worldy manner, in this striking debut with a modern twist on old town noir.

 

images_003Taking a leap across the nation and a huge change in tone, Carolyn Haines returns with the twelfth Sarah Booth Delany Mystery in Smarty Bones.

Enjoying time with her hunky fiance Graf before his next Hollywood shoot, Sarah Booth’s usual friends surround her: her partner in their PI firm, Tinkie; her long-time friend CeCe; and even Jitty, the Civil War ghost who inhabits Dahlia House and drives Sarah Booth to distraction when she appears in various guises.

This time around Jitty is hooked on cartoon characters, but her words of wisdom are destined to revive Sarah Booth’s spirits when she reluctantly agrees to look into the claims of a professor who has arrived in her hometown of Zinnia, Mississippi.

Prof. Olive Twist is indeed the product of Dickens scholar parents, but she resemble Olive Oyl more accurately, with her thin frame and huge feet. But those big feet hide an even bigger brain, and Twist has arrived to prove that the mysterious Lady in Red, found in an anonymous grave and lovingly preserved, was involved in the plot to kill Lincoln–and she plans to implicate the families of Sarah Booth’s best friends.

Then Twist’s  young assistant is murdered at a nearby Bed & Breakfast where they were staying and things take a dramatic turn despite the large amount of humor that fills the pages.

Complicating matters are the family secrets and devious plots of some of these very families, and Sarah Booth soon finds herself and Graf involved on a level that turns deadly and will have far-reaching consequences for several of those Sarah Booth has come to love.

 

Father’s Day Recommendations Sunday, Jun 9 2013 

With Father’s Day looming, Auntie M is here to rescue you from buying your favorite male yet another tie. Here are some great reads for anyone, but with an eye to the men in your life:

 

Ian Rankin soothed his many readers by bringing John Rebus out of retirement in Standing in Another Man’s Grave.Another-Mans-Grave

Back as a retired civilian investigating cold cases, Rebus finds himself caught up in old cases of women missing from the same area. As he follows the trail, he enlists the aid of Siobhan Clarke, his former colleague and reluctant ally.

Yet as he follows his instincts of their connection, he manages to find he’s unsettled people on both sides of the law.

These includes Matthew Fox, Rankin’s newer protagonist from The Complaints, members of the team he’s working on, and even his old pal, Ger Cafferty. Rankin weaves a tale that will have his fans panting for more as he dangles the idea of Rebus going back to work on the force.

 

reactor 417046679 Ukrainian-American author Orest Stelmach debuts with The Boy From Reactor 4, fast-paced a thriller set against the backdrop of the Chernobyl disaster.This character-driven story is based on the author’s personal experiences in the region.                                                                                                                                                       There’s more than enough action here as the story follows Nadia Tesla to Russia and the dreaded Zone, where she follows a trail of intrigue that will affect the order of the  world. Filled with tough characters living in a different kind of reality from what Nadia has known back in New York, help will come to her from a most unlikely source: a teen hockey prodigy named Adam.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That this story is not really so far-fetched makes it all the more interesting, as the scars of radiation syndrome in the area make themselves known in ways that threaten more than just Nadia’s existence.

The fourth in Michael Stanley’s Detective Kubu series,  Deadly Harvest  takes readers to Botswana, where girls have been disappearing in increasingly alarming numbers, Deadly Harvestgiving rise to the theory they are being used as part of witch doctor’s potion called “muti” which is thought to be strengthened by adding human body parts. The team of Micahel Sears and Stanley Trollip do a fine job of creating the atmosphere of the sub-Saharan area, and a glossary at the end deciphers Botswanan words sprinkled throughout. Adding to Detective David Bengu’s force is the only woman detective and the team’s newest member, Detective Samantha Khama. Her personal connection to the case ratchets up the tension, and when a local politician takes the law into his own hands, the two detectives have more on their plates with another high profile murder case. They must race to find a serial killer who is killing to satisfy a very special kind of customer.

GenevaOption-1

 

 

 

 

Adam Lebor’s Yael Azoulay thriller, The Geneva Option, opens with a riveting prologue that sets the stage for the action that will follow which centers around the UN.  Yael is most unusual protagonist: an Israeli who works as a negotiator for the UN Secretary-General, where she finesses unlikely deals and barters for diplomatic solutions to untenable situations. When an expose threatens her livelihood and her reputation, Yael is shocked when she is not supported by the very man she worked for whose instructions she’d been carrying out. Gripping and raw in its reality, Yael is a character who can easily carry off this planned trilogy.

As she sets off to clear her name, you’ll come to appreciate this unusual and feisty heroine in the first thriller from the author whose investigative work on the international stage is already well-known.

 Fans of Andrew Kaplan’s Scorpion series will be delighted to find their favorite spy caught up once again in the newest entry in the series, Scorpion Deception.

    

 

 

 

ScorpionDeception_cover_(2)-210

 

This highly charged thriller takes Scorpion on a fast-paced race through Europe and the Middle East. Classified CIA asset files have been stolen from the US Embassy in Switzerland. The challenge of squashing the hit team will be severe and Scorpion is at first not happy to take it on–until he finds his identity is at the head of the stolen list.

With the knowledge the hit team is after him, Scorpion travels to Iran to try to find the mastermind power broker behind the theft in an attempt to thwart all out war.

Fact-paced and action-packed, just the thing to keep readers flipping pages.

 

a-simple-murder-bill-cissna-paperback-cover-art

North Carolina author Bill Cissna takes readers to an area he knows well: the streets of Pittsburgh, where Jack Larson has left the police after eight years to start his own private investigation firm. Freedom and independence called to Larson and he bought into that siren call, only to find that being employed for himself is not all it’s cut out to be.

When he finds a body at a trailer part during what should have been a simple child-support dead beat case, Larson thinks his case is over before its begun. But he would be wrong, dead wrong, as it turns out, when the victim’s daughter turns up the following week and asks him to find her father’s killer.

What starts out as a simple investigation soon turns into a trail of broken families, girlfriends and hidden guns.

Cissa plans on bringing Jack Larson back in two more in this  shades-of-noir series that entertains with its grasp of setting and history, and with Larson’s dry wit.

 

 

Dark Tide: Elizabeth Haynes Sunday, Jun 2 2013 

Auntie M highly recommended Elizabeth Haynes’ debut novel Into the Darkest Corner.darktide

With her newest, Dark Tide, Haynes’ proves her complex skill at plotting suspense novels was not an accident, in this page-turning thriller about what happens when the protagonist’s past catches up with her.

Told in alternating time narratives in a similar fashion to her first novel, this device proves successful in ratcheting up the chill factor without seeming stale.

Genevieve wants to leave her high-pressure job and thinks she’s found a way to fund her dream of living on houseboat in Kent: working weekends as a pole dancer at a gentleman’s club will finance her refuge.

She tries her best to keep this job a secret as she starts her boat fund and becomes a master at ignoring the dicey business the club conducts on the side.

She’s very good at dancing and learns to chat up the men, but also good at keeping her distance from the men and from the shady owner, Fitz, and his staff.

Becoming a favorite of Fitz, her lithe body and dancing coupled with her cool grace earn her a place doing special parties and her bank account starts to bulge. Soon the barge that will be her home is within her sights.

Genevieve is having a housewarming party on her new boat, including her neighbors from her boatyard, tossed in with a handful of London friends.

Then a body surfaces right next to her boat. When Genevieve recognizes a dancer from the club who was her friend, everything changes and she’s in for a fight for her survival as her past catches up with her.

Complicating matters are the policeman she’s drawn to and the security man who has had her back all along, the dark figure Dylan.

Genevieve’s a likable character, a gal readers will understand, who finds herself all too quickly out of her depth and unable to control the chain reaction of events that will threaten her and those she’s come to love.

Haynes builds tension as the pages flip and the story pans out. A police intelligence analyst, she uses her knowledge of the patterns of offenders’ behavior to build completely realistic and ruthless criminals.

She’s also done a good job of allowing Genevieve to feel she has her life in control, her decisions reasonable and well thought out–until suddenly she doesn’t have the control she’s used to and everything rapidly falls apart.

Highly entertaining and filled with tension and suspense, this is a sexy, taut thriller that will have you keeping your eye out for the next Elizabeth Haynes thriller.

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

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.

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

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