Archive for March, 2012

Last Will-Liza Marklund

March 30, 2012

Last Will

Liza Marklund

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Apr 10 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451606928

 

In Stockholm, Evening Post investigative reporter Annika Bengtzon covers the Nobel Prize gala.  American assassin “Kitten” arrives at the event.  Using a silencer, she shoots five people, killing Karolinska Institute’s Nobel committee chair Caroline von Behring and Israeli prize winner Aaron Wiesel.

 

As Annika tries to call in her story but cannot get through as the lines are jammed, Detective Inspector Q interviews her about the woman with the cold yellow eyes who pushed her and stepped on her foot.  He also bans her from disclosing what she knows about the shootings during the investigation.  Behind schedule to leave the “North Pole”, the Kitten races to her escape locale before her cohort exits without her.  Meanwhile placed on paid leave by her editor, Bengtzon investigates starting with the Karolinska Institute.

 

The second Annika Bengtzon investigative thriller (see Red Wolf) is an exciting but confusing tale.  The storyline provides insight into the Nobel Prize past and present through Bengzton’s inquiry as readers learn of scientific intrigue to garner the awards.  Fans of Scandinavian noir will enjoy the intrepid reporter’s Nobel prize investigation. 

 

Harriet Klausner

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A Deeper Darkness-J.T. Ellison

March 30, 2012

A Deeper Darkness

J.T. Ellison

Mira, Apr 17 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313205

 

In DC, former major Eddie Donovan is meeting his wife Susan and their two daughters (Ally and Vicky) for a stroll along the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms.  However, their fun ends when Eddie receives call.  Not long afterward two Metro cops arrive at their home in McLean to inform her Eddie was shot dead in an apparent carjacking.

 

Eddie’s mom Eleanor calls Dr. Samantha Owens, head of Forensic Medical for the state of Tennessee.  Sam used to date Eddie when she attended Georgetown medical school.  That seems like a different life as now Sam buries herself in her work to numb the grief of the deaths of her husband and children due to flooding.  Though she hesitates to deal with the violent death of another loved one, Sam travels from Nashville to DC to perform a second autopsy.  She finds anomalies that lead her to believe the motive for the homicide had nothing to do with a carjacking.  Following notes left behind by Eddie, Sam finds a string of murders in Afghanistan and the States as a killer observes her investigation.

 

With Taylor Jackson taking a respite (see So Close The Hand Of Death), J.T. Ellison introduces her myriad of fans to another super heroine starring a depressed woman who still is in the early stages of grief.  Sam is a terrific protagonist as her flaws (crippling grief) and skills (mentoring the staff on forensics practices) humanize her.  The whodunit is top rate as Ms. Ellison provides another powerful investigative thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Silenced-Allison Brennan

March 30, 2012

Silenced

Allison Brennan

St. Martin’s Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250005953

 

Seven years ago as a high school senior Lucy Kincaid met a seemingly nice man on-line. When they finally met in person, he proved to be a psychopath. He attacked her, but she survived while her molester died (see Fear No Evil).  Since her assault, her ambition has been to become an undercover FBI agent exposing cyber predators.  Her dream is about to become true as she has been accepted to attend the FBI Academy.

 

As she waits for the training to begin, Lucy works with her mentor agent Noah Armstrong; investigating the murder of Wendy James a high-priced call girl linked to Congressman Crowley.  Lucy’s analysis of the murder scene proves correct, but only angers Noah’s boss, Supervisory Special Agent Matt Slater who does not want an untrained wannabe in the field.   Assigned to a different case, Lucy concludes her investigation of the murders of several call girls and a social worker is linked to the James homicide.  With her private investigator boyfriend Seth Rogan helping her, Lucy seeks the connection, Ivy, before the killers murder her too. 

 

The latest Kincaid-Rogan investigative thriller (see Love Me to Death) is an action-packed thriller from the moment the heroine alienates Slater and never slows down until the final confrontation.  Lucy has come a long way since her assault as she has strong instincts, but still lacks confidence about her skills that Slater plays on to demoralize her as he thinks she is unworthy.  Readers will enjoy Silenced as Lucy struggles to ignore her doubt and follow her gut.

 

Harriet Klausner

Hunted-Rebecca Zanetti

March 30, 2012

Hunted

Rebecca Zanetti

Kensington Brava, Apr 24 2012, $14.0

ISBN: 9780758259271

 

Moira Dunne the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter witch deploys quantum physics to move around in time and space.  One century ago she had a one night stand, but though she immensely enjoyed the tryst that was in the “past”. 

 

However, Moira is unaware that her rendezvous with Connlan Kayrs turned out to be much more when he marked her as his mate.  He has patiently waited decades for her to mature before Conn can claims Moira as his.  Now Conn is back in a stunned Moira’s life as he insists he needs her and by the way her family’s support against a vampire clan creating a customized virus to attack the mates of the undead.

 

The third Dark Protectors romantic urban fantasy (see Fated and Claimed) is an engaging thriller that moves forward the overarching theme of a pending war; which is a two edged sword as the motive for the paranormal hostilities is not very lucid.  The action-packed storyline is fast-paced as Conn claims the witch he is fated to mate with while betrayal leaves their relationship and their family and friends in peril.  Sub-genre fans will enjoy Rebecca Zanetti’s exciting novel as the vampire and the witch prove absence makes the heart (and other body parts) grow fonder.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Blue Magic-A.M. Dellamonica

March 30, 2012

Blue Magic

A.M. Dellamonica

Tor, Apr 10 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765319487

 

In Indigo Springs, Oregon, arrested Sahara Knax is on trial for treason.  Her former best friend, Astrid Letherwood struggles to end the wild spread of magic into the mundane world caused by her discovery and subsequent abuse by Sahara of the underground blue Vitauga River.  Astrid understands why her late father hid his use of magic and his source though she was his apprentice; as she saw how easily power corrupted Sahara; turning her ex buddy into a megalomaniac.  Others, including the government, demand to use the enchantments for their personal desires and needs. 

 

As she attempts to return the world to its natural balance, Astrid has only one person she can rely on to help her.  Ironically hostage negotiator Will Forest was her jailer, but now is her biggest ally as love and understanding changed their relationship.  Now all they have to do is first rebuild the world and then rebuild a family.

 

The sequel to Indigo Springs is a profound psychological urban fantasy that explores the impact of a new source of power, magic, into a technological world previously governed by the laws of physics.  The heroine is superb as she tries to make things right but finds second and third order effects that convolute her efforts.  Readers will appreciate A. M. Dellamonica’s thought-provoking thriller as magic may be one person’s nirvana but someone else pays the price (sounds like the American corporacy).

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Chicory Up-Irene Radford

March 30, 2012

Chicory Up

Irene Radford

Daw, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407247

Pixies are alive and well with a tribe residing in Ten Acre Wood.  Many of the nearby human townsfolk of Skene Falls know Pixies exist and are responsible for their beautiful gardens.  The Pixies banished Thistle Down from their community and soon afterward a magical spell changed her into a human.  She and Dick Carrick fell in love and will marry as soon as a judge issues Thistle a birth certificate.

While the couple waits, there is trouble amongst the Pixies as the tribes are at war against each other egged on by the magic of the fairies who still want possession of Ten Acres Wood that hybrid Haywood Wheatland failed to obtain for them (see Thistle Down).  Though young and inexperienced, Chicory knows a civil war will lead to the destruction of the Pixies replaced in the woods by the fairies.  He and his followers form their own tribe living in the attic of Dick mother.  Thistle Down returns to Pixie to end the belligerency, abate the out of control energy, and insure a new king is selected.  Dick fears he is losing his beloved so he turns in to a Pixie due to Chicory’s magic.  He enters the fray to insure Thistle Down’s back is covered.

Human or pixie, Thistle Down is a wise conscientious person who fulfills her obligations by going the extra kilometers.  The Pixies bring plenty of amusing havoc unless you happen to be the human whose life is disrupted by the mischievous tribe.  Filled with magic, intrigue and romance, readers will enjoy the latest entertaining lighthearted Pixie Chronicles woodland fantasy. Irene Radford is one of my favorite authors.

Harriet Klausner

The Good Father-Diane Chamberlain

March 30, 2012

The Good Father

Diane Chamberlain

Mira, Apr 247 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313465

 

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, twenty-three year old Travis Brown is a single dad raising his four year old daughter Bella alone; as he has since her birth.  Desperate to bring in some needed income since the dearth of construction jobs in the area, he takes on a risky illegal job in Raleigh; leaving Bella with thirtyish Erin, whose baby daughter recently died in an accident.

 

Not far away, Bella’s mother Robin regrets her decision four years ago.  She struggles with adapting to being the fiancée of charismatic Dale running for the mayor of Beaufort.  Robin, Travis, and Bella each in their own way focus on what they respectively believe is the best for the toddler; not grasping by doing so they feel a bit better about themselves.

 

Rotating perspective between the three prime adults, The Good Father is an engaging character study as the trio want to do what is best to the child who ties them together.  Readers learn the past and present and future hopes of the prime trio (and to a lesser degree game-maker Mike) as each is fully developed with doubts and trepidations but encouraged by Bella to be better than they think they can be.  Although the ending is over the top of Mount Mitchell, fans will agree “nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina …” (Carolina In The Morning by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn) with Diane Chamberlain as our hostess.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

I Am An Executioner: Love Stories-Rajesh Parameswaran

March 29, 2012

I Am An Executioner: Love Stories

Rajesh Parameswaran

Knopf, Apr 10 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307595928

 

These fascinating nine tales provide wonderful Kafka twists to “Love Stories.”  All the entries are well written with intriguing protagonists (not all human as a frustrated in love tiger stars in “The Infamous Bengal Ming” and an elephant writes her autobiography with footnotes in “Elephants in Captivity”) giving readers insight into the foibles of love.  In “The Strange Case of Dr. Raju Gopalatahan”, CompUSA fires Gopie who takes out a shingle and becomes Dr. G.  In the title story, the executioner pleads with his beloved that he is a bureaucrat doing his job, not a psychopath.  Savirtri shows how much she loves her husband Ravi when she prepares for their Thanksgiving weekend with him lying dead on their floor.  With the “Narration of Agent 97-1702’ investigating Subject 243-66328 and love in the future “On the banks of Table River (Planet Lucina, Andromeda Galaxy, AD 2319)” fans will appreciate this anthology’s amusing metaphysical satirizing of love.

 

Harriet Klausner

No Longer A Gentleman-Mary Jo Putney

March 29, 2012

No Longer A Gentleman

Mary Jo Putney

Zebra, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420117233

 

In 1803 Paris, English Lord Grey Summers enjoys a tryst with Madame Camille Durand when her husband Ministry of Police high level official Claude Durand catches them together.  With the Treaty of Amiens expired, instead of deportation or even the guillotine, Durand is locked away in a dungeon in Castle Durand.

 

In 1813, Lord Kirkland discusses the Summers disappearance with one of his best agents Cassie Fox, who lost her family and her faith during the Reign of Terror.  Cassie accepts the difficult mission of “Rescuing Grey.”  She succeeds in getting him out of the cell and castle, but they must cross enemy territory and the Channel.  However, even in London they are unsafe from Durand and from their hearts as both survived harrowing experiences that has left their hearts shattered.

 

The latest Lost Lords Regency romantic suspense (see Nowhere Near Respectable, Loving a Lost Lord and Never Less than a Lady) is a super historical due to the protagonists who suffer from PTSD.  Although Durand is over the top of the Tower of London and the Bastille as a monster, sub-genre fans will appreciate Mary Jo Putney’s enjoyable tale.

 

Harriet Klausner


Too Tempting Too Resist-Cara Elliott

March 29, 2012

Too Tempting Too Resist

Cara Elliott

Forever, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446584562

 

Lord Connor Lynsley gave his employee Sara Hawkins ownership of the Wolf’s Lair when the former married (see Too Wicked To Wed).  Just turned thirty, frequent customer Lord Gryffin Dwight wonders if his best friend’s happiness has left him feeling like an aging wastrel.

 

Lady Eliza Brentford enters the men only brothel gambling den in an attempt to prevent her brother Harry, Lord Leete from leaving the family impoverished.  Raging, she immediately meets Harry’s role model Gryff.  Harry invites Gryff to a house party, which he accepts but conceals his agenda to explore the estate.  One kiss and handcuffs leave Gryff and Eliza in need, but as she falls in love she fears her heart will break when the rake leaves her for his next conquest.

 

Though protagonists are similar in tone as the first tale, the second Lords of Midnight historical romance is a fun story starring an impudent ripping skin heroine and a rake ready to retire from debauching,.  Readers will enjoy aptly titled Too Tempting To Resist at any time, but especially when she is handcuffed in his room.

 

Harriet Klausner