P M Terrell: Dylan’s Song Sunday, Mar 17 2013 

dylans-song With past clients ranging from the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense, it’s no wonder that author P. M. Terrell uses her computer expertise and technical knowledge to highlight the drama in the fourth book in her Black Swamp Mystery series. Dylan’s Song is a romantic suspense novel with just a hint of the paranormal.

The book is a rousing good read. Suspense Magazine calls Terrell’s books “powerfully written and masterfully suspenseful; you have to hang on for the ride of your life.”

Terrell brings the reader to the Irish homeland of Dylan Macquire, whose character was first introduced in Vicki’s Key, a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 Best Book Awards in mystery/suspense.The charming Irishman is running from secrets in his homeland, secrets which will be laid bare in this latest episode.

Vicki Boyd is a psychic who uses her abilities in conjunction with the CIA. Able to travel to remote locations in her mind, Vicki provides startlingly realistic information for her boss Sam. Rounding out the main characters is Brenda Carnegie, a brilliant computer hacker related to Vicki and the best traveling companion Vicki could have when Sam sends the trio to Ireland on a dangerous retrieval mission.

Vicki and Dylan are a couple, which tangles Dylan’s proposed mission on several levels. She’s withholding important information from him, and the stubborn Dylan doesn’t want to go anywhere near his home town. Then a call from Father Rowan, who had been like a brother to Dylan, draws him back reluctantly to the village. The grandmother who raised him is dying and wants to see him one more time.

Suddenly, retrieving operative Stephen Anders seems more urgent. But a tricky complication exists: Vicki’s images show Anders has been kept in the cells of a former castle, one that now exists under one of Ireland’s famous peat bogs.

Dylan is a charmer and his love for Vicki is a big as it can be exasperating. Brenda proves herself to be a necessary compatriot, and Father Rowan in Ireland comes to the trios aid in several important ways. The spy angle is tinged with the sadness of Dylan’s last visit with his Mam, while the local traditions and customs are winningly described.

There will be local intrigue, too, as Dylan returns to the village he escaped from years ago, after hoping his past and its secrets would never catch up with him. All this raises the tension and the hurdles Dylan and the women will have to conquer: to rescue Anders, and to save their own lives.

Terrell does a fine job of getting inside each character while she transports readers from the small southern town of Lumberton, NC, where Vicki and Dylan have been living, to the rolling, fertile countryside of Ireland and the small village where they stay. The tension mounts as the retrieval operation for Anders goes horribly wrong, and just when it seems there’s time for readers to catch their collective breath, terror and danger strike again.

NC author Terrell has written fifteen books, including the historical suspense novel River Passage, which won the 2012 Best Book Award. Her original manuscript is so accurate it is now housed in the Nashville Metropolitan Government Archives for future use by researchers and historians in Tennessee. She is also the co-founder of The Book’Em Foundation, committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime and illiteracy rates. You can read more about the yearly NC wing of Book’Em North Carolina, held in the town of Lumberton that features in her series, by visiting www.bookemnc.org.

 

 

HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR READERS Sunday, Dec 9 2012 

Auntie M has decided to give readers a holiday gift: here are selections for you to consider that would make great gift-giving for the readers on your list. And don’t forget to include yourself!

First up is Robin Burcell’s third Sydney Fitzgerald thriller, The Dark Hour, a series featuring the FBI-trained forensic artist whose skills go far beyond her artistic ability.images

Right on the heels on the murder of a prominent Senator, Sydney finds herself, against her better judgment, on the way to Amsterdam to do a forensic drawing of a suspect seen by the victim’s niece near the site of her uncle’s murder. When the niece is murdered just as Sydney makes a harrowing escape, her drawing sets off a train of events that have heads turning everywhere from Washington to Europe and back. There’s every acronym in the book showing up, too,  as the CIA, FBI, ATLAS and others all vie for answers when threats of biological warfare become apparent.

Making Sydney’s job more difficult is the realization that her drawing is the exact likeness of the supposed-dead wife of the agent she’s been attracted in previous books. Griffin’s wife died in an explosion–or has she become a double agent and faked her down death?

There’s plenty of action here as Burcell jumps between cities, including trips to France and the Amazon, and enough fast-paced suspense to keep those pages turning.

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Following in the thriller genre is Laurence O’Bryan’s first in a series, The Istanbul Puzzle.

Sean Ryan is living in London, still grieving over the death of his beloved wife, Irene, when he receives a call that finds him traveling to Istanbul to identify the body of his colleague and friend, Alek Zegliwski.

He is shocked to find Alek has been beheaded, his body found near the sacred archeological site of Hagia Sophia where Alek had been monitoring and photographing ancient tesserae, tiny cubes that make up the beautiful mosaic that decorate the site.

The hunt begins with Sean and British diplomat Isabel Sharp, Alek’s liason officer from the British consulate, searching for Alek’s assassin. Aided by Peter Fitzgerald from the Consulate, the two are soon running from danger. But is Peter the friend he appears to be? A missing mosaic, which may provide the link between pagan gods and Christianity becomes a clue; then a lethal virus is unleashed on the city and the stakes are raised as the pace races along and Sean and Isabel face death and betrayal.

Watch for O’Bryan’s sequel, The Jerusalem Puzzle, which follows Sean and Isabel’s adventures,  due early next year.

If Wall Street and finance get your pulse racing as much as espionage does, you’ll want to look for James Grippando’s Need You Now. 183349165

Set against the backdrop of investment banking, Grippando’s story could be ripped from the headlines of Ponzi schemes, SEC fraud, and interconnected groups who have no business being in business together.

When the craft-master of a $60 billion dollar Ponzi scheme commits suicide, his death means secrets remain. Into this mess steps Patrick Lloyd, the advisor for Wall Street of the world’s largest Swiss bank.

Abe Cushman’s leap out of a window starts a chain of events with repercussions felt especially keenly by Patrick, whose girlfriend, Lilly, had been fired from the Singapore branch of the bank. Despite claiming she knew nothing about the Cushman scheme, the FBI comes into the mix with the discovery of a Treasury memo identifying her involvement.

After escalating incidents, FBI agent Andie Henning is tasked with insuring Patrick’s safety as he follows where the money trail takes him. And then Lilly disappears, and Patrick’s silent identity becomes an issue.

Grippando brings the reader inside the minds of those who try to defraud the government in a realistic way. There will be kidnappings, murder, ties to gun runners and more in this complex thriller that will have you wondering who in the financial world is beyond reproach and if you should really trust that mild-mannered financial advisor with your assets.

Changing gears to more light-hearted fare, look for the delightful, long-running cozy series featuring feline P. I. Joe Grey from Shirley Rousseau Murphy, with Cat Telling Tales.

The bright seaside village of Molena Point has been hit hard by the economic downturn, bringing a spate of foreclosures, causing many residents to abandon their family pets.

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While feline P. I. Joe Grey’s humans, Ryan and Clyde Damen, try to care for the starving cats, a fire leaves a twelve-year-old boy homeless. The body of his alcoholic guardian is discovered in the smoldering ruins, causing Joe to wonder if escape was really as impossible as it seems for the elderly woman, or if this is a case of murder.

Then Debbie Kraft descends uninvited on the Damens’ home with her two children. Her ex-husband has left her without funds and nowhere else to go.

But when Joe learns that the victim of the fire was Debbie’s estranged mother, and that Debbie is not broke at all but carrying plenty of cash, his fur is on end with suspicion.

As Debbie’s abandoned tomcat follows her all the way down the coast from Oregon with his own clues to add to the mix, Joe learns that Debbie’s ex-husband may be involved in a number of intricate real estate scams, and hisi sales partner may be missing.

Then while Joe and his pals prowl through the dead woman’s house, they discover that her reclusive neighbor has disappeared as well.

But it’s not until Debbie’s tomcat arrives that Joe and his feline detective pals find the biggest clue of all: a grave that the cops have missed.

The pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, with help from Joe’s feline friends, who are exceptionally precocious.  And there’s a hint of romance for Joe’s tortoiseshell friend, Kit.

Perfect for the holidays is the newest installment in this feline series, Cat Bearing Gifts, the 18th in the series.       186148889

Attractive divorcee Kate Osborne returns to California with a fairy-tale story to explain her sudden wealth. Joe Grey’s good friend, Kit, and her humans, Lucinda and Pedric Greenlaw have spent a wonderful shopping trip with Kate, piling up the backseat of their car with treasures Kit has helped them glean to redecorate their Molena Point home.

Then the unthinkable happens: a truck and pickup jockey for position on a narrow mountain road and end up causing a horrific accident that involves the Greenlaw’s Lincoln. Pedric and Lucinda have injuries, but Pedric is able to call for help.

But the situation dramatically worsens when two men from the pickup assault Kit’s humans and drive away in the Greenlaw’s battered but still drive-able Lincoln, carrying with them their own stash of money that had been hidden in the pickup.

What the men don’t know is that hidden inside the Lincoln’s door panels are a treasure trove Kate has given the couple. The Greenlaws are rescued by paramedics but Kit hides in the hills and waits to be rescued by her Molena Point friends–that’s if she doesn’t get eaten by hungry coyotes first.

Back at home, Joe Grey finds two men hiding in an abandoned stone cottage, along with the smell of mildewed money and blood.  His friend, the yellow tomcat Misto, unearths an old photograph of a child who lived fifty years ago.

What can the connection be? And what ties in these incidents with the injuries to the Greenlaws and the theft of their car and money? Misto’s memories will help as Joe works hard to unearth a murderer. Delightful and filled with humor, the reader sees the world from the cat’s point of view. These are highly readable for mystery lovers, whether you are a cat lover or not.

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For fans of historical mysteries, the holiday tale by the mother and son writing team known as Charles Todd offers The Walnut Tree, set in 1914 France and England at the start of WWI.

Lady Elspeth Douglas is the daughter of a Highland aristocrat who is visiting her best friend from school, the very pregnant Madeleine. Elspeth is helping her friend await the birth of her first child while she fights her growing boredom. Attracted for many years to Madeleine’s brother, Alain,  their time together results in her promise to marry him–just as the war breaks out and she tries to return to England.

Finding herself stranded in Calais, Elspeth makes herself useful by carrying water to the soldiers near the Front, which nearly results in her getting herself killed when the enemy starts to bomb her position.

Captain Peter Gilchrist saves her, and she finds herself oddly drawn to the leader. Before she can learn more about him and thank him for saving her, they are separated and she returns to London, but remains haunted by the horrors of war she saw firsthand in France.

Always a headstrong girl, bristling against the firm and class conscious restraints of her guardian, her cousin Kenneth, she enrolls in a nursing course, making friends and sharing a flat with fellow nurse Bess Crawford. But her cousin has not given his consent for her to become a nurse, a profession he feels is beneath her class and his notions of what is appropriate for a woman.

Determined to return to the battlefields to do her part, and to find Peter, Elspeth is torn about her promise to Alain, recognizing her heart belongs to Peter. Then Alain goes missing before she can set things right with him, and Peter is seriously wounded.

Charles Todd’s twelve books in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series have shown the duo to be experts with this time period. With its romantic side fully developed, the realism of war is well represented in this heartwarming holiday tale. A must for Downton Abbey fans.

Advancing a bit into the period between the wars, Jacqueline Winspear returns with her newest in the ninth Maisie Dobbs series, Elegy For Eddie.                                    elegyforeddie

Maisie arrives at her Lambeth office one day to find a group of costermongers she knows from her fathers, there to ask for her help. The newest in the series follows private investigators Maisie’s quest to discover whether or not a childhood acquaintance, Eddie, a gentle horse trainer, was murdered.

Police have written off Eddie’s death at a paper factory as an unfortunate accident. These protective friends of Eddie’s don’t accept that verdict, and once Maisie starts to investigate, it becomes obvious that there are more powerful people involved in Eddie’s death. The gentle man, who had a gift for “calming ” horses, surely couldn’t have enemies–or could he?
Maisie’s own sense of right and wrong will be questioned, even as she struggles with her private life and her class-breaking romance with her former employer’s son, James Compton.

She will turn up people from Eddie’s past and seek out his interest in flying machines. And she soon must accept that there are others with a greater understanding of national security that must be protected and that reach up to Churchill himself, even as James and places like America and Canada enter their conversations.

Maisie’s employees are other eyes for the struggles of the era: her trusted assistant, family man Billy Beale, and her part-time secretary, Sandra, a recent widow, both beset with the financial difficulties of the time.

Compelling and haunting, Winspear expertly captures the emotion of the period and the people still healing from the first war and yet balanced on the brink of the next.

Last, but certainly not least, readers should check out the new line of paperback mysteries by HarperCollins called Bourbon Street.

They are starting with the reissue of the four Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries featuring Harriet Vane by Dorothy L. Sayers, one of Britain’s foremost mystery novelists, first published in the 1930’s and set in that tine period.

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Strong Poison opens the set and introduces mystery novelist Harriet Van to Lord Peter. When her fiance’ dies in the same manner of poisoning as described in one of her novels, it looks like Harriet is off to the gallows. But Lord Peter is determined to find the real murderer and clear this intelligent woman who intrigues him.

Have His Carcase starts off with Harriet seeking peace and solace on a deserted beach, until her idyll is cut short when she stumbles on the body of a man whose throat has been cut. Still stinging from her past, Harriet tries to shrug off Lord Peter’s growing infatuation for her, but doesn’t resist his aid in pursing the murderer.

Gaudy Night takes Harriet to her Oxford reunion. Mulling over her growing attraction to Lord Peter with great dismay, a series of bizarre pranks make her time there less fond than she’d hoped. Burnt effigies lead to poison-pen letters, including one to Harriet remarking on her past brush with poison. Now firmly a detecting couple, Harriet and Lord Peter are challenged to get to the bottom of the malice with scant clues to help them.

Busman’s Honeymoon ends the series, a delightful way for this most-intelligent couple to appear. Finally succumbing to his love, Harriet marries Lord Peter and becomes Lady Peter in a wedding uniquely her own. Navigating the demands and challenges of her new title and status, their honeymoon begins with a wallop when the former owner of their new country home is found dead in their cellar. Their romantic country stay becomes their most baffling case yet.

These new editions have smart covers featuring period photography and are accompanied by an introduction by mystery giant Elizabeth George. The entire set for the holidays would make any mystery lover glow.

Two in a Different Vein Sunday, Apr 22 2012 

Auntie M has learned that by  reviewing books sent by a publisher, instead of choosing them for herself, she is forced to read novels she ordinarily wouldn’t–and in the process, she is reminded that a well-written story will capture the reader, regardless of the subject.

Two action thrillers, available this month in paperback from Harper, will certainly appeal to the masculine side of readership, but there are plenty of female readers who will enjoy learning of the intricacies of the world of intelligence, politics, and the secrets, real and imagined, of government.

Dale Brown’s A Time for Patriots revolves in a world in the near future too easily envisioned: A crippling recession in the US leads to a rise of armed citizens protecting themselves. One group calls itself the Knights of the True Republic, home-grown terrorists who ambush a SWAT team and steal radioactive materials, leading to a nation-wide event with devastating effects. When they detonate a dirty bomb in Reno, Nevada, the state’s Civil Air Patrol is caught on a rescue mission in a no-fly zone. Tensions escalate, involving so many government agencies the author has a listing of acronyms and weapons at the opening of the book to guide the reader through the action to follow.

Brown’s hero is retired Air Force Lt.-Col. Patrick McLanahan, featured previously in multiple books that follow his career. Along with McLanahan’s son, Brad, and a roster of volunteers, they rise to the occasion of unearthing a major double-cross, leading to the President’s decision to send American-manned robots to aid the CAP crew, and a huge aircraft called the Skytrain: “Thanks to its advanced engines and mission-adaptive wing technology, with which tiny computer-controlled micro-acuators could make almost the entire fuselage and wing skin a lift or drag device,  the huge aircraft could fly close to the speed of sound at gross weight, as well as half as slow as any other aircraft of its size.”

Add in magnificent but believable robots, and nanotransponders, which, when swallowed, allow the host’s position to be tracked at all times, and you have the stuff of the imagination that is not too far in the future to be out of question. Of course, the McLanahans, father and son, and members of their team are at the heart of the drama, bringing human feelings, actions and emotions to round out the action.

A former US Air Force Captain, Brown is a current mission pilot in the Civil Air Patrol, and provides accurate information and descriptions of the workings of this group who rise to the task of protecting Americans everywhere.

The second thriller tells a different but equally compelling story. KBL: Kill Bin Laden is described as a “novel based on true events,” and it’s obvious that John Weisman, with books on both The New York Times nonfiction and fiction bestseller lists, is heavily steeped in the worlds of the intelligence agents and special forces soldiers who brought Usama Bin Laden to justice. The front of the book includes maps and photographs from the Department of Defense showing the location of Bin Laden’s Abbottobad compound with a schematic of its interior, compounding the feel of reality to the story about to be told.         

What could have been a dry retelling of the events leading up to the capture of America’s most wanted criminal comes alive through Weisman’s capable narrative using the details of the lives of those most closely involved in the final mission: the SEALs of Team 6, whose equipment could fill a twenty-foot dry weight container and who are trained to kill and then leave that behind them and return to wives and children; CIA Directors and assistants stationed in Pakistan; rangers, pilots, operatives, and most importantly, Charlie Becker.

Becker, a retired US Army Airborne Ranger, had his legs and most fingers blown off by an Iraqi suicide bomber. He used his over-five years rehabilitation to become fluent in Urdu and Pashto and understands Arabic. Becker is currently connected to the Special Activities Division of the CIA. His “special activities” include leaving his fancy prostheses in a locker in Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. It means living outside that compound in a cardboard shelter and practicing getting around on a padded furniture dolly built from materials scrounged in Pakistan for weeks, eating the diet of a poor Pakistani, bathing only occasionally, and reciting passionately the prayers of the Salafist Jihadi  until he can pass himself off as a beggar in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Becker becomes the eyes and ears of the CIA on the ground, patrolling the city on his dolly and watching a CIA safehouse, while monitoring  GZ: Ground Zero, a probable home to UBL.

As the mission rehearsal and details are being worked out, back in Washington, politics are at play in the decision to mount the offensive and when it should occur. This is recent history made to come alive in a most readable and compelling manner.

It doesn’t matter that the reader knows the outcome of the mission; indeed, the Prologue contains a scene showing Bin Laden’s corpse being viewed in a body bag. What matters is the journey taken to annihilate a madman. As Weisman has Charlie Becker know in his heart, ” … there are some people on this earth who just deserve to die.”

 

Lee Lofland

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Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

An online writing community

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

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

"I tramp the 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.

K.R. Morrison, Author

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

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

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.

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

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

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