Archive for July, 2009

The Arms Maker of Berlin-Dan Fesperman

July 31, 2009

The Arms Maker of Berlin

Dan Fesperman

Knopf, Aug 4 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307268372

WWII history professor Dr. Nat Turnbull specializes in the German resistance movement.  He is shocked when he learns his former advisor octogenarian Dr. Gordon Wolfe was arrested by Pennsylvania police for possessing stolen archival information from the 1940s.

Nat sees some of the findings and realizes what Gordon had squirreled away is incredible as none of the documents can be found elsewhere as far he knows.  However, he also finds a gap in what the police took and assumes Gordon, for whatever reason, hid part of the cache of data.  When Gordon is found dead in his cell, the FBI asks Nat to investigate Gordon’s strange clues.  As he begins to uncover the secrets of the White Rose Resistance buried for decades, Berlin’s Free University Professor Berta Heinkel offers to help him.  He soon distrusts everyone including the German visitor and the FBI as the evidence point towards a cover-up to protect a German weapons manufacturer, Bauer, who apparently hid his WW II activity so that he could keep his Jewish family members from the camps.

This should be must reading for ideologues as family motives easily supersede everything is this poignant clearly timely and profound thriller.  Although Turnbull is the superstar of the tale from the opening shocker to the final denouement with five survivors at his side, Bauer owns the story line then and now.  He did what he had to for his beloved ones to survive war and the Final Solution; choices are not simple Bushian for or against as the Neocons proclaim and Congressman Tim Ryan has recently affirmed, but instead complex and complicated as Bauer made choices that has haunted him in life and will do so until he dies.

Harriet Klausner

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Slow Burn-Pamela Britton

July 31, 2009

Slow Burn

Pamela Britton

Harlequin HQN, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN:  9780373774005

Dana Johnson was about to marry Stewart until she learned he was taking credit for her work.  She quickly ended that relationship.  Her friend and co-worker at Steele and Steele Alysa takes her to a NASCAR race; an event she has never attended before.

However, Dana is appalled to learn that Alysa entered her name in a win a date with driver Braden James contest; and she won.  Dana says no, but Braden persuades her to go through the dating ritual as his sponsor, My-Lovematch.com, demands they do.  She reluctantly agrees though she doubts a rebounder like her will be any fun.  To her shock she begins to fall in love with the hunk; not the macho image, but the sensitive former foster child.  Shockingly Alysa, who sets them up, is jealous with rage.

SLOW BURN is a tender warm contemporary NASCAR romance in which her stepfather puts perspective when he wishes her the best in life and love, but with a quarterback.  Fans will enjoy this engaging tale although the villain has sniffed too many racing car fumes.  Still Pamela Britton provides a wonderful ride to the winner’s circle with the help of the pit crew (and not just those at the track).

Harriet Klausner

How To Tempt A Duke-Kasey Michaels

July 31, 2009

How To Tempt A Duke

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373773718

In 1814 after fighting for several years on the continent, Captain Rafael Daughtry is coming home to begin his duties as the Duke of Ashurst since his uncle and his cousins mysteriously died while he was fighting Napoleon.  Family friend Charlotte Seavers is a bit aghast with Rafe’s younger out of control sixteen years old twin sisters, Nicole the ring leader and Lydia for the stunt they pulled on letters to and from Rafe, but is elated her childhood buddy is finally returning home safe and sound.

Neither Rafe nor Charlie initially recognizes one another as childhood memories overwhelm adult senses.  However, he needs her to help him somewhat control and chaperone his siblings.  As he falls in love with Charlie, she has always loved him; but conceals her secret as to why she distrusts men even her beloved Rafe.

This is an engaging amusing Regency romance starring two likable lead characters and a terrific support cast starting with the irresistible impish sisters.  The breezy brisk story line also contains a serious mystery subplot as well as Charlie’s related secret.  Fans will enjoy this witty historical and want a future tale or two (in a few years hence) starring the terrible terror twins.

Harriet Klausner

Royal’s Bride-Kat Martin

July 31, 2009

Royal’s Bride

Kat Martin

Mira, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778326427

In 1854, Royal Dewar comes home after spending several years in foreign countries to pay his respects to his dying father, the duke of Bransford.  His dad insists Royal make a death bed promise to marry an heiress to restore the family’s dwindling fortune that was devastated by a con artist. Unable to say no or even ignore the plea Royal acquiesces.

Although he knows no one but himself is aware of his pledge, the honorable new duke proposes to wealthy snooty Jocelyn Caulfield; she accepts.  However, he falls in love with her impecunious feisty cousin, Lily Moran, who has a criminal history when they team up to recover the money his father lost.  While Jocelyn also falls in love with Christopher Barclay, Lily is abducted by their adversary; Royal vows to rescue his beloved and find a way to marry her.

This is a terrific Victorian romantic suspense starring a strong lead pair and a solid support cast especially the heroine’s arrogant cousin and the villain.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment Royal comes home and never slows down.  Although the post game show is too perfect, fans will enjoy the tense game. Kat Martin always entertains the audience with her fantastic romances.

Harriet Klausner

Soul Murder-Andrew Nugent

July 31, 2009

Soul Murder

Andrew Nugent

Minotaur, Aug 2009, $24.95

ISBN 9780312536565

In North Kerry, Ireland the students of St. Isidore’s boys boarding school sneak out of the dorm late at night for an impromptu midnight barbecue.  Following their midnight soiree, the seven pupils sneak back into their tower only to be met by housemaster Maurice Tyson lying in a bloody mess with his throat cut.

The Garda Síochána send Dublin based sexagenarian Superintendent Denis Lennon and youthful Sergeant Molly Power to lead the investigation into the gruesome homicide.  Fisher, the headmaster of St. Isidore’s, insists Tyson was the victim of kidnappers trying to abduct French student Bertrand Laporte, the son of a wealthy family.  The two cops believe that suggestion is ridiculous until Bertrand is kidnapped when he returns to France, but Inspector Quilligan (and the Surete) rescue the lad.  However, the police look at a different motive; that of a former student accusing Tyson of abuse.

The third Lennon-Powers Irish police procedural (see SECOND BURIAL FOR A BLACK PRINCE and THE FOUR COURTS MURDER) is an exciting boarding school whodunit.  The insight into the goings on including pranks at a boy’s school seems real while the official investigation is well done and entertaining.  Although the final solution appears weak especially by the standard of excellence for this series, fans will appreciate Andrew Nugent’s thrilling murder investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Vengeance Road-Rick Mofina

July 31, 2009

Vengeance Road

Rick Mofina

Mira, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778326380

Buffalo Sentinel veteran reporter Jack Gannon hears the buzz over the scanner and knows something ugly is going down in a park.  He knows he is ancient history with his highlight film in the past and his work on a daily print newspaper a dinosaur nearing extinction, but he goes to cover the story.

Someone murdered former nursing student Bernice Hogan.  Jack is told by someone inside the investigation whom he trusts but cannot name that the prime suspect is highly regarded cop Karl Styebeck, the head of this murder inquiry.  Jack writes the story, which leads to fiftyish Mary Peller informing him her twenty six year old daughter, a single mom of a three year old child, is missing and connected to Bernice.  Jack’s editor demands he give up his source, but he refuses; he is suspended.  However, though he is about to be unemployed he keeps digging because he knows Jolene will be next.

This is a super journalistic investigative suspense thriller with several great plausible twists.  Jack is a throwback reporter to those 1940s movies who as his missing sister and Mary noted he never gives up.  Fans will relish his exploits in Buffalo and elsewhere as he may be unemployed but has a save a stranger driving him onward.

Harriet Klausner

Air Time-Hank Phillippi Ryan

July 31, 2009

Air Time

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mira, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327196

TV reporter Charlotte McNally is with her producer Franklin on a plane on the tarmac in Charlotte when she realizes an incident occurred at the airport, but it turned out to be nothing except that the nothing caused her to miss her flight to Boston where she is to meet the Prada P.I.  However, she helps some young woman in gigantic heals lug her luggage off the conveyor belt. Regine gives Charlie a business card for Double Designers.  Charlie thanks the Gods for now she has a lead.

Charlie goes undercover attending a party thrown by Double Designers.  Her work upsets her boyfriend English professor Josh Gelston, as they spend no time together so he implies he should move in with her so they can spend some time together.  Meanwhile those selling the fakes do not appreciate investigative reporters.

The third Charlie McNally investigative thriller (see PRIME TIME and AIR TIME) is a terrific action-packed tale as the heroine provides her unique often humorous and biting commentary to the reader.  Fans will enjoy her adventures as her undercover work is dangerous in terms of the sham makers and her relationship with the professor.  Once again Charlie turns the latest “Time” suspense into an enjoyable read.

Harriet Klausner

Air Time-Hank Phillippi Ryan

July 31, 2009

Air Time

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mira, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327196

TV reporter Charlotte McNally is with her producer Franklin on a plane on the tarmac in Charlotte when she realizes an incident occurred at the airport, but it turned out to be nothing except that the nothing caused her to miss her flight to Boston where she is to meet the Prada P.I.  However, she helps some young woman in gigantic heals lug her luggage off the conveyor belt. Regine gives Charlie a business card for Double Designers.  Charlie thanks the Gods for now she has a lead.

Charlie goes undercover attending a party thrown by Double Designers.  Her work upsets her boyfriend English professor Josh Gelston, as they spend no time together so he implies he should move in with her so they can spend some time together.  Meanwhile those selling the fakes do not appreciate investigative reporters.

The third Charlie McNally investigative thriller (see PRIME TIME and AIR TIME) is a terrific action-packed tale as the heroine provides her unique often humorous and biting commentary to the reader.  Fans will enjoy her adventures as her undercover work is dangerous in terms of the sham makers and her relationship with the professor.  Once again Charlie turns the latest “Time” suspense into an enjoyable read.

Harriet Klausner

The Phoenix Transformed-Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

July 31, 2009

The Phoenix Transformed

Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Tor, Sep 2009, $27.99

ISBN: 9780765315953

Once Harrier Gillain and Tiercel Rolfort thought they would spend their entire lives in Armerthalieh, but that was prior to the latter receiving the power of high magic and visions of the Dark returning.  Harrier had doubts about his best friend’s sanity, but not since their trek into the Elven lands where they learn that Tiercel was chosen by the Light to fight the Dark. Harrier leaves the lands of the elves a Knight-Mage.

Wildmage Bisochim believes the Dark must enter the world to bring balance.  Through experiments, he creates the body of a woman imprisons the dark demon Aharin, released from the dimensional prison where her fellow demons reside.  Her goal is to find a mage and create a new race of demons and release her fellow demons where she was imprisoned.  Bisoschim used the trust of the Isvaieni trines of the Isva desert to kill the people in the border cities because he believed falsely they have given themselves over to the Dark thus creating the Unbalance.  Once he realized he was manipulated by Aharin, he repents and does all he can to save the tribes with the help of Harrier and Tiercel.  They travel the land seeking the demon in order to prove to the armies that demons walks the earth again.  Aharin sends her walking dead Isvaieni, goblins and other magical beasts to destroy the Isvaieni .Harrier and Tiercel use their power to try and stop her and prevent the dark from coming bacl.

THE PHOENIX TRANSFORMED is an exciting sword and sorcery epic which will remind the audience of the Jews in Exodus as the Isvaieni tribes roam the desert hoping to find the way home by defeating the Dark.  Harrier and Tierce are great characters and buddies who have matured considerably since THE PHOENIX UNCHAINED and THE PHOENIX ENDANGERED; each understands they may die for the better good.  Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory provide adult and teen readers a strong epic fantasy. That is enthralling and a joy to read.

Harriet Klausner

Never Love a Lawman-Jo Goodman

July 30, 2009

Never Love a Lawman

Jo Goodman

Zebra, Sep 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420101757

In 1882 in Reidsville, Colorado, Sheriff Wyatt Cooper takes his job seriously to protect the townsfolk.  He insures everyone is safe including newcomer Rachel Bailey, who he knows is a creature of habit as every male in town knows when they watch her walk the street to her establishment early in the morning.  However, no one was prepared when Clinton Maddox dies and shockingly leaves the valuable railroad spur to Rachel, which places her in danger as others want the town’s lifeline.

Wyatt and Rachel agree to wed in a marriage of convenience so he can keep her safe.  However, the townsfolk are euphoric and want to celebrate the nuptials.  The only ones not ecstatic are Wyatt and Rachel.  When her past arrives with two goals to destroy Rachel and claim the spur, Wyatt realizes protecting her has become personal.

This is an entertaining Americana romance starring an intriguing heroine and a wolf of a sheriff who sings the refrain from I’m Not in Love.  The exciting story line contains a strong cast who bring to life the small town that would die without the spur.  Jo Goodman provides an enjoyable western romance.

Harriet Klausner