Archive for March, 2009

Always a Scoundrel-Suzanne Enoch

March 31, 2009

Always a Scoundrel

Suzanne Enoch

Avon, May 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061456756

In 1815 Lady Rosamund Davies has no choice except to agree to marry Lord Cosgrove even though she detests him. He is the only person who can save her family from ruin so she is selling herself in unholy matrimony.

Notorious for gambling and womanizing, Lord Bramwell Johns overhears the sale of Rosamund as his alterego the thieving “Black Cat,” who robs the rich. Feeling out of sorts since his best friends have recently married (see BEFORE THE SCANDAL and AFTER THE KISS), knowing her younger brother, and feeling sorry for her being sold as cattle, he decides to mentor Rose in the art of passion. However, both are unprepared for that first incredible kiss; now he wants to marry Rose, but to achieve his new objective he must prevent Cosgrove from doing so without causing a scandal.

The third Notorious Gentlemen tale is an excellent Regency romantic suspense starring two fully developed protagonists and her fiancé who has his own agenda. In a battle of wits between Bram and Rosamund vs. Cosgrove, the jury is out as the latter has all the advantages starting with his being the intended. As always Suzanne Enoch provides a wonderful historical starring likable lead characters and a vile villain.

Harriet Klausner


The Angel and the Highlander-Donna Fletcher

March 31, 2009

The Angel and the Highlander

Donna Fletcher

Avon, May 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780061712982

Lord Bunnock sends Lachlan Sinclare to escort his runaway daughter Lady Alyce home. To avoid marriage to a dolt selected by her father, Alyce fled to Everagis Abbey. At the convent, Lachlan is informed that Alyce died and that the sisters are in peril from outlaws. Lachlan vows to help the nuns, but is preoccupied with beautiful Sister Terese, who acts so different than the other occupants.

To hide from her sire, Alyce took the identity of a dead nun. She fears her attraction to Lachlan will prove her undoing. Alyce also believes she and the nuns are quite capable of protecting themselves from the bandits. As they fall in what he assumes is taboo love, she must soon decide between her independence and temptation.

The newest late sixteenth century Sinclare Brothers Scottish romance (see RETURN OF THE ROGUE) is a wonderfully amusing tale as the hero struggles between desire and sin while the sassy sexy “sister: struggles between desire and independence. The story line is fast-paced and very humorous as Alyce’s web of deceit implodes by her falling in love. Fans will enjoy the latest Sinclare entry due to the lead duo.

Harriet Klausner

The Virgin’s Secret-Victoria Alexander

March 31, 2009

The Virgin’s Secret

Victoria Alexander

Avon, May 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061449475

In 1885 Gabriella Montini grieves the death of her disgraced brother Enrico while also plotting revenge against the Harrington siblings who she believes stole the proof of his work. Enrico claimed an ancient seal proved the existence of the lost city of Ambropia. However, the seal was stolen, his reputation tattered and before he could prove otherwise he was dead. Gabriella plans to substantiate that Nathaniel and Quinton Harrington stole the seal.

During a gala to honor a Harrington sister, Nate catches Gabriella in their library searching for something. He confronts her and swears they are innocent. Nate also vows to assist on her mission though she distrusts anything Harrington. As they begin to fall in love, her endeavor turns dangerous from someone who will kill to keep the truth buried with Enrico.

This is a terrific Victorian romance starring an intrepid heroine with a death bed request and a daring adventurer joining her quest. The story line is witty especially when the lead couple exchanges barbs and is fast-paced as the action never ends. Fans will enjoy the dangerous late nineteenth century antiquities profession in which peril comes from rivals.

Harriet Klausner

Blood Moon-Gary Disher

March 31, 2009

Blood Moon

Gary Disher

Soho, Apr 2009, $24.00

ISBN: 9781569475638

In Waterloo, Queensland, Australia, someone attacked Lachlan Roe, chaplain to the exclusive Landseer private school. The victim was left in a coma and has connections to the highest levels of government. Detective Inspector Hal Challis knows that political ties mean interference to expedite results at all costs to the investigation he will lead with the help of his lover, Sergeant Ellen Destry and the rest of the team. Political big shot Ollie Hindmarsh has already made a TV appearance. Lachlan’s brother Dirk manages to compromise the crime scene to Challis’ consternation.

Adding to the already visible assault case is two incidents. One of Challis’ team Scobie Sutton who breached official policy when he allowed Dirk into his sibling’s home, has received hate racist email at his police address. At a time when Challis considers benching Scobie, a murder of a public official enforcing land use rules during schoolie week adds workload pressure.

The latest Challis Australian police procedural is a super investigative tale mostly because of the interaction of the Waterloo team. The story line is fast-paced with both cases engaging the reader from the onset. However, it is the byplay between the cops especially Hal and Ellen and Hal and Scobie who make this a fun read.

Harriet Klausner

Dropped Dead Stitch-Maggie Sefton

March 31, 2009

Dropped Dead Stitch

Maggie Sefton

Berkley, Jun 2009, $24.95

ISBN: 9780425227749

Kelly Flynn left a big DC based CPA corporation to move to Fort Connor, Colorado where the pace is slower. She lives with her boyfriend Steve and visits House of Lambspun where she has made good friends with knitters and crocheters. When one of her knitting pals Jennifer Stowe calls her at two twenty in the morning begging her to come over because she was attacked, Kelly wastes no time to get over there.

Jennifer was at a bar talking to a fellow customer when she leaves to go home. The customer rings her bell and informs her she left something behind. She opens her door only he pushes her back in, beats her up and rapes her. She receives professional help. She and the knitters go to a retreat run by her psychologist for assault victims. However, the ranch owner is Jennifer’s rapist. Soon after their arrival, Jennifer’s attacker is found dead, a homicide victim. Lacking an alibi and having a motive, Jennifer is the prime suspect; Kelly plans to prove otherwise.

Kelly is a one person dynamo and when she sets her mind to something like knitting or sleuthing, nothing can prevent her from achieving her objective. She interrogates people whom she believes know something useful and has a tendency to come close to being killed. Yet she also is a friend who keeps Jennifer’s moral up. Her inquiry is terrific because she feels for the culprit whoever that is as they are probably a victim of the ranch owner too. Maggie Sefton provides an engaging amateur sleuth starring a warm caring person struggling along with readers to figure out who the killer is.

Harriet Klausner

Lover Avenged-J.R. Ward

March 31, 2009

Lover Avenged

J.R. Ward

NAL, May 2009, $24.95

ISBN: 9780451225856

In Caldwell, New York, drug dealer Rehvenge is happy for his sister Bella to be married to one of the vampire King Wrath’s Black Dagger Brotherhood vampires, but he tries to remain above the fray between them and their enemies the Lessers because he fears the secret he conceals could harm his sibling and his mom. However, his dark secret is known by at least one person who uses it to extort emotional and sexual Rehvenge.

His only light in his personal storm is Havers Clinic vampire nurse Ehlena who has cared for his injuries but rejects his efforts to court her. Instead her focus remains on earning money to care for her ailing father. Responsible for her ailing father, nurse Ehlena struggles to make ends meet. However his latest visit to the clinic makes Ehlena, who hides her attraction to Rehvenge, concerned about his health as he is a victim of someone extremely nasty.

The latest Brotherhood vampire romantic suspense is an excellent entry in one of the great sagas on the market today. The story line moves forward on several overarching plots while also telling the tale of love between an antihero and an angelic vampire. Fans of the series will recognize LOVER AVENGED as one of the better stories in several books, which is saying a lot, while newcomers will be somewhat lost in the complex multifaceted thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Saints in Limbo-River Jordan

March 30, 2009

Saints in Limbo

River Jordan

WaterBrook, May 2009, $13.99

ISBN 9780307446701

In Echo, Florida Widow Velma True struggles to go out her door. Her agoraphobia has been getting worse as going to the mailbox is an incredible quest that she never achieves. She traces her fear of outdoors to when her beloved Joe died.

On her birthday, a stranger arrives at her door to give her a gift that does not look like much. However, somehow the mysterious present from this baffling stranger has Velma looking back over her memories with Joe and their son Rudy. She begins to appreciate what she had and still has through her memories though her reminiscences on the river of her life include some depressing moments. She begins to find herself pulled between her desire to have what she once had before Joe died and Rudy grew up, and what she has now. Finally her adventure into her mind leaves her vulnerable to a malevolence that wants the gift and will take away what she cherishes to steal her birthday present.

SAINTS IN LIMBO is a whimsical tale mindful of It’s a Wonderful Life with the addition of a nasty essence wanting to steal her gift. Filled with regret and remorse, Velma is fabulous as she goes on her adventure inside her mind. Although to many subplots that are left unresolved detract from this overall fine thriller, readers will enjoy accompanying the heroine as she tours her soul.

Harriet Klausner

The Nude-Dorothy McFalls

March 30, 2009

The Nude

Dorothy McFalls

Five Star, May 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594147678

In 1814 following the death of her husband in the Peninsular War against Napoleon, impoverished Countess Elsbeth Mercer moves into the home of her uncle, his wife and two daughters. Everything is fine until a painting of her is found. Upset, Elsbeth seeks out the artist, Dionysus, of whom she has never met, but fell in love with his landscapes years ago; he tricked her into thinking Mercer was the artist.

Marquess Nigel Purbeck refuses to divulge the identity of the artist to the demanding irate Countess who wants the artist to tell the Ton she did not pose for it. Still he is attracted to her and seduces the widow. However, his actions leave her in danger and he too from apparently a friend accused of smuggling while she struggles between her long time love of the artist and of the reclusive Marquess.

THE NUDE is a wonderful refreshing Regency romantic suspense starring two fully developed fascinating lead characters. Elsbeth is a delight as she demands the Marquess introduce her to the painter who has scandalized her. Nigel is the more mesmerizing protagonist as the audience will wonder why he is a semi-hermit with the influence he obviously has amidst the Ton. The artist comes alive mostly in the minds of Elsbeth and Nigel making for an entertaining historical triangular romance.

Harriet Klausner

Embarking on Murder-Sue Owens Wright

March 30, 2009

Embarking on Murder

Sue Owens Wright

Five Star, May 2009, $25.95

ISBN 9781594147807

To celebrate her fiftieth birthday, Tahoe Tattler reporter Elsie “Beanie” MacBean goes on a Fourth of July cruise accompanied by her significant other Cruiser the basset hound, her boyfriend Sheriff Skip Cassidy and her adult daughter Nona who came from San Francisco to celebrate with her mom. She is having a great time sailing on Lake Tahoe aboard the luxurious Dixie Queen.

However, she is not the only one celebrating a milestone on the cruise. Frank and Ivy Diggs are on the ship with his children from a previous marriage celebrating their wedding anniversary. To Frank’s shock, Ivy informs him she no longer wants to be a trophy wife for him to show off so she is filing for divorce. Soon after her announcement, Ivy vanishes and though no one reported anyone overboard and no corpse has been found, the crew believes she fell into the lake after imbibing too much alcohol and drowned. Skip thinks otherwise as he believes a murder occurred. His belief propels Beanie to investigate with her loyal significant sidekick at her side.

This lighthearted amateur sleuth is a fun Lake Tahoe tale starring an intrepid middle aged heroine who knows to stay out of an investigation after her dangerous escapdes in SIRIUS ABOUT MURDER and HOWLING BLOODY MURDER, but dives in head first anyway. The characters drive this entertaining tale as eccentrics like Professor Blayne researching the famous Tahoe Tessie lake monster, Nona and Skip bring depth to the murder mystery. However, the tale belongs to that fabulous couple Beanie and Cruiser who navigate the enjoyable cozy.

Harriet Klausner

To Hell in a Handbasket-Beth Groundwater

March 30, 2009

To Hell in a Handbasket

Beth Groundwater

Five Star, May 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594147593

In Colorado Springs gift basket designer Claire Hanover looks forward to the ski trip with her family. However, tragedy on the slopes devastates everyone when the sister of her daughter Judy’s boyfriend dies in what is a homicide.

Claire vows to keep her daughter safe from the killer who knows Judy saw what happened and will come for her. However, Claire cannot prevent a murderer from killing others. As they remain alive while the body count rises, Claire knows the culprit is coming for her and her daughter, but to stop the adversary has proven difficult as he or she is one of them.

This is an entertaining amateur sleuth in which Claire risks her life to keep Judy safe. The story line is action-packed, but the serial killing becomes too obvious rather early in spite of some interesting spins. Still in her second Hanover Colorado mystery (see A REAL BASKET CASE), Beth Groundwater provides an interesting thriller as the killer is coming.

Harriet Klausner