Archive for July, 2012

Sour Apples-Sheila Connolly

July 31, 2012

Sour Apples

Sheila Connolly

Berkley Prime Crime, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0425251508

 

One year ago her Boston bank downsized her so Meg Corey bought an apple orchard in Granford, Massachusetts.  Though she is learning on the job especially from her manager Briona Stewart, Meg feels good with the change in employment and likes selectman Seth Chapin.

 

Her only friend at the bank, Lauren Converse arrives in town as the campaign manager for former local football hero Rick Sainsbury who is running for Congress.  Seth overly shows he loathes Rick but will not tell anyone why.  Meanwhile a cow kicks and kills experienced dairy farmer Joyce Truesdell while her husband Ethan was away on business.  However, the autopsy proves a homicide occurred and the police suspect Ethan killed his wife.  Meg wonders if the motive had to do with government-owned land that the deceased was leasing and complaining was toxic.  Unable to stay out of the inquiry, Meg investigates.

 

The latest Orchard Mystery (Bitter Harvest and A Killer Crop) is a fun amateur sleuth in which the whodunit comes towards the middle of the engaging storyline as life in a small western Massachusetts town takes center stage.  Although meg has no reason to investigate as she only just met the victim once and never the husband until after the murder, fans will enjoy the heroine taking a bite out of crime in this fun regional cozy.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Spoonful Of Murder-Connie Archer

July 31, 2012

A Spoonful Of Murder

Connie Archer

Berkley Prime Crime, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251478

 

Life for Lucky Jamieson is turmoil and grief when her parents died in a car crash.  She moves back to her hometown Snowflake, Vermont where the big business is the ski slopes.  Lucky inherits her late parents’ By the Spoonful soup shop.  Unsure whether she wants to run a restaurant or what to do with the family home, Lucky considers her options especially what to do about Grandfather Jack, who shows signs of Alzheimer’s.

 

One morning after a brutal ice storm, Lucky takes out the garbage only to find the frozen corpse of a repeat customer blond haired Patricia Honeywell just outside the soup shop.  The police quickly arrest Lucky’s soup chef, Sage DuBois for murdering Patricia.  Without him, there is no soup kitchen and besides she thinks her chef is innocent so Lucky, taking her mind off her grief, investigates.

 

The first Soup Lover’s Mystery is an engaging amateur sleuth due to the troubled heroine and the delightful Vermont location.  Lucky feels unlucky at the moment as she is unsure about her future, what to do about her granddad, and unable to move on with her parents’ deaths.

Although the storyline is typical of the culinary cozy, fans will thoroughly enjoy A Spoonful Of Murder as Lucky dives head first into a bowl of trouble.

 

Harriet Klausner

Moonglow-Kristen Callihan

July 31, 2012

Moonglow

Kristen Callihan

Forever, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455508587

 

In 1883, widowed Daisy Ellis Craigmore feels euphoric to have escaped the stranglehold of a lousy six-year marriage to an abusive mate though she knows that is not nice thinking.  However, she did her time in marriage with 366 days, ten hours, fifteen minutes faking mourning. She considers herself no longer a Craigmore in sham mourning.  Now she plans to enjoy life.

 

However, her euphoria ends abruptly when she witnesses a homicide.  Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, pushes passed the crowd claiming to be a doctor though he had not practiced in almost two decades.  He knows what happened here as he avoided his kind for seventy years but his kind has intruded on his self-imposed exile.  When he smells a woman nearby, he moves the body to find Daisy underneath.  Questioning her while keeping her safe, Ian knows he must eliminate the culprit before the law finds the rogue.  However, his attraction to Daisy is an unwanted mistimed need that Ian cannot ignore.

 

This Darkest London Victorian historical fantasy (see Firelight) is a fabulous paranormal investigative thriller with an incredible opening scene.  The lead couple is a nice pairing as the murder mystery plays matchmaker while neither feels comfortable with falling in love at this time.  Kristen Callihan provides an entertaining paranormal whodunit as London remains dark even in a Moonglow.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Well of Tears-Roberta Trahan

July 31, 2012

The Well of Tears

Roberta Trahan

47North, Sep 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781612183725

 

The Order of the Stewardry wizards have waited for centuries for the time for, them to adhere to the pledge of fealty they made in the magically concealed Fane Gramarye Temple in the remote village of Pwll.  There they vowed to support the one king of Cymru

 

In 905, the time has come to anoint Hywel as the King of Cymru.  Madoc the elderly Ard Druidh chief mage realizes that he must choose his successor at the Well of Tears, but before he does he sends Guard Captain Aslak to escort sorceresses back to Pwll.  The soldier goes for Alwen, wife of King Bledig and mother of two teenage children (Rhys and Eirlys).  Alwen, accompanied by her family, travels to Fane Gramarye.  However, all is not smooth as traitorous evil from within also has begun to march preferring the chaos of war over the promise of peace if Hywel is crowned and also covets Madoc’s heritage.

 

Though at times the overall entertaining storyline slows down due to too much mundane detail, fans will enjoy this engaging post Arthurian fantasy.  Character driven by a strong cast who makes the Trahan mythos seems real while also somewhat limiting the action, readers will wonder who the traitor(s) is as the time to crown the King and select the Ard Druidh successor have arrived with good and evil competing for both jobs.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Time Untime-Sherrilyn Kenyon

July 31, 2012

Time Untime

Sherrilyn Kenyon

St. Martin’s Press, Aug 7 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312546618

 

Many millennia ago, Ren Waya was the Keetoowah warrior Guardian chosen to keep hell sealed while resetting the celestial calendar.  Instead his closet friend, half-brother Coyote killed him.  However, Ren returned as an acrimonious angry Dark Hunter.

 

Her late grandmother left Kateri Avani with a precious stone to protect as the Keeper of legend.  She scoffs at her grandma’s superstition until beasts like nothing she ever saw before attack her.  When she meets Ren, Kateri recognizes him as the man who has haunted her dreams seemingly forever.  However, she is not sure whether he is her fantasy savior-lover keeping her safe or the beast that kills her.  With a depressed sense of déjà vu, Ren knows what he must do to keep the malevolence from arising but sacrificing his heart may save a world but kill him all over again as the Time Untime to reset the calendar is coming.

 

The latest Dark-Hunter urban fantasy (see Retribution and The Guardians) is a great fast-paced suspense thriller that uses the Mayan prophecy to great effect. Kateri is a wonderful scientist in distress unsure whom she should trust; while Ren is a fascinating haunted protagonist who has played this tune before but prays for an identical big picture ending and a better personal outcome.  Fans will enjoy the countdown as time runs out.

 

Harriet Klausner

Angel Eyes-Shannon Dittemore

July 31, 2012

 Angel Eyes

Shannon Dittemore

Thomas Nelson, May 29 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9781401686352

 

Grieving Brielle Matthews the ballerina takes the train from Portland back to her hometown Stratus, Oregon, barely able to move as she suffers from PTSD after the death of her close friend eighteen year old Ali.  Her dreams to make it as a dancer died when Ali died.  Her family tries to help her cope with the heaviness that engulfs her heart and soul, but only offer platitudes. 

 

At Stratus High school, she meets Jake Shield who moved into the previously vacant Miller house next door to her family home.  He seems to be everywhere she is and she begins to heal from the death of Ali though she fears those she loves die as she is attracted to her teenage neighbor.  However, the pair is caught in the middle of angels protecting them from demons wanting them dead.

 

This is an entertaining young adult good and evil urban fantasy as the Dittemore pantheon of angels and demons seems reasonable.  The storyline starts slow as the audience meet the key players through rotation of viewpoints between the two teens, Canaan the guardian and Damien.  Readers will enjoy this engaging tale as Brielle no longer trusts a God who allows bad things to happen to good people until she finds her life and soul (and that of Jake) depends on the angels of the deity she disavowed.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Kingmaker’s Daughter-Philippa Gregory

July 31, 2012

The Kingmaker’s Daughter

Philippa Gregory

Touchstone, Aug 16 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9781451626070

 

The Kingmaker Richard Neville, as the Earl of Warwick plans to see one of his daughters (Anne or Isabel) sits on the throne as wife to King Edward IV while the loser in his marital sweepstake would wed either royal brother George or Richard.  However, independent Edward destroys Warwick’s scheme when he marries his choice ofs a wife while ignoring the demands of the Kingmaker. 

 

An irate Neville arranges a marriage between George and Isabel while supporting his son-in-law’s revolt to take the throne from Edward.  Meanwhile Anne becomes a widow at fourteen with no protection until the other royal sibling Richard marries her.  Proving a chip off her sire’s block, she thrives on regal intrigue that places her, her husband and their children in peril as the War of the Roses continues unabated. 

 

The latest Cousins’ War of the Roses historical thriller (see The Lady of the Rivers, The Red Queen and The White Queen) is an exciting tale filled with political intrigue as no one is safe from betrayal.  Fast-paced, readers will relish observing the behind the scenes actions of a strong woman who like all females in the fifteenth century hides what she does in a male only world. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Ties That Bind-Natalie R. Collins

July 31, 2012

Ties That Bind

Natalie R. Collins

St. Martin’s Griffin, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312941994

 

In Kanesville, Utah, the Stake President Mark Malone finds his seventeen year old son Jeremiah hung himself using a tie.  KPD Detective Samantha Montgomery becomes angry and frustrated when a peer at the death scene tampered with the evidence by removing the tie.  Her boss Chief Roberson tells Sam to make the inquiry fast as he believes Jeremiah committed suicide.  Sam feels the death is too similar to recent suicides by two girls Jeremiah’s age; she wonders if a serial killer stalks Kanesville.

 

Seminary principal and Sam’s high school sweetheart Pail Carlson shows his office computer screen to the police; someone with access to the seminary typed in “Vengeance”, which changes the cause for the three teen deaths from self-inflicted to murder.  Salt Lake City Police Detective Gage Flint arrives to help on the investigation over the objection of Sam who blames him, her former lover, for her having to leave SLCPD.  As they investigate, Vengeance watches Sam closely as she may be next.

 

Natalie R. Collins latest Mormon Church mystery (see Latter Day Saints, SisterWife and Wives And Sisters) is an exciting police procedural serial killer thriller.  The engaging whodunit shines a light on the closed abusive patriarchal society especially in an insular small-town (one near Salt Lake City) in which a dark soul rationalizes his actions by claiming he is God’s Vengeance against sinners; though one must wonder why he waited to attack Sam who disavowed any connection to the Church.  Although Sam can be too angry, fans will understand why with her older sister dead but still inside her head, her dad condemning her wicked ways and her mom a vegetable.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

False Impressions-Laura Caldwell

July 31, 2012

False Impressions

Laura Caldwell

Mira, Aug 21 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313731

 

In Chicago, Maggie Bristol of Bristol & Associates is going on maternity leave so she needs her best friend and employee lawyer- private investigator Izzy McNeil to take more responsibility.  Izzy owes Maggie who assister her transition from entertainment law to criminal law so will do what it takes to keep her BFF’s firm functioning.

 

Her friend Mayburn asks Izzy to do him a favor.  His former lover art gallery owner Madeline Saga has recently learned some originals she sold were fakes.  Madeline insists that when she first obtained these works they were originals; so far she has not gone to the police because she will be ruined.  Izzy investigates knowing this has to be an inside job by either someone working at the gallery or an artist.  The case turns ugly when this unknown adversary threatens to kill Madeline.  Packer cheesehead Detective Damon Vaughn tries to help Izzy the Bears fan when she becomes a target too.

 

The latest Izzy McNeil Chicago Files (see Question of Trust, Red Blood Murder Claim of Innocence and Red Hot Lies) is an engaging tale in which the whodunit though well written plays second fiddle to the changes in Izzy’s life.  Readers will appreciate Izzy’s tour of Chicago’s art scene as she learns the Agony and the Ecstasy (by Irving stone) that art imitates art.

 

Harriet Klausner

South by Southeast-Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes

July 31, 2012

South by Southeast

Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes

Atria, Sep 18 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451650631

 

In Los Angeles, highly regarded director Gustavo Escobar hires actor Tennyson Hardwick to play the key role of the first victim in Freaknik, a zombie horror movie.  Ten, his ailing dad and his eighteen year old not quite adopted daughter Chela are in South Beach for the film.  Left back in Southern California is his ex-April.

 

During the shoot, Chela’s street friend Maria arrives at the set.  They go out together clubbing in Miami at the Phoenix like they did a few years ago before Ten took the former off the street.  Not long afterward, Maria’s murdered corpse is found with the police believing she was the latest victim of a serial killer stalking hookers in South Florida.  Ten investigates the death and soon believes he knows the identity of the killer.  However, the culprit commits suicide so the case is closed except someone murders a person Ten cares about and threatens the two females he loves.

 

The latest Tennyson Hardwick mystery (see from Cape Town With Love, In The Heat of the Night and Casanegra) is an exciting street thriller though between his reconciliation with his dad and his love for April and Chela the hero has lost some of his hard-boiled noir edge.  For instance he is like every caring parent setting rules as he worries about his teenage daughter clubbing.  His adversary is a diabolical brilliant serial killer who places Ten in what the military calls a Morton’s fork selection between two horrible choices each leading to death.  Readers will appreciate Ten’s dilemma as death stalks him and his loved ones.

 

Harriet Klausner