Archive for July, 2013

All That I Need-Francis Ray

July 8, 2013

All That I Need
Francis Ray
St. Martin’s, Jul 2 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250023810

Travel writer Fallon Marshall has the patience of Job especially when things go wrong, but she always gets the job done right. She learns of an auction being held by Saxton Auction House at the famous Yates Estate. To gain access to the sale and the landmark home, Fallon will need the cooperation of Lance Saxton who two weeks ago she called a thief.

Fallon knows she first became attracted to Lance when she saw a photo of him in Fortune magazine. Lance knows he was first attracted to the journalist when they first met and argued. Each thinks the other uses the misfortune of people. He agrees to allow her access so she invites him to dinner to make up for her calling him heartless. Both are wary, but begin seeing each other as their attraction turns to love; which frightens these world travelers even more as each doubts relationships survive the early desire.

The latest Grayson Friends contemporary romance (see The Way You Love Me and One Night With You) is a fabulous entry as the protagonists struggle with love due to false preconceptions caused by caring family members trying to keep away the hurt only to make matters worse. With the recent passing away of Francis Ray, subgenre fans have lost one of the consistent greats whose Grayson pantheon is a fabulous legacy that has at least one more entry in the Fall (All That I Desire).

Harriet Klausner

A Murder In Passing-Mark de Castrique

July 8, 2013

A Murder In Passing
Mark de Castrique
Poisoned Pen, Jul 2 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9781464201516

In Asheville, North Carolina, Sam Blackman and Nakayla Robertson have no clients. Sam is bored so Nakayla suggests they close the Blackman & Robertson Detective Agency for the day and go on a mushroom hunt on the historic Kingdom of the Happy Land. Thinking this venture will increase his ennui, Sam goes anyway. Sam finds human skeletal remains on the freed-slave commune property. Henderson County Sheriff Deputy Overcash, who hates Sam for solving a case of his, warns the two private investigators to stay out of their inquiry; though jurisdiction may belong to Greenville County, South Carolina as the boundary is right at the hollow log containing the corpse.

Marsha Montgomery arrives at the office of Blackman & Robertson Detective Agency wanting to hire Sam and Nakayla to investigate a burglary at her mother Lucille’s home in 1967. She explains someone stole a rifle and a photograph of her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother taken in 1932 at The Kingdom of the Happy Land by famous photographer Doris Ulmann. The police arrest African-American octogenarian Lucille for the murder of her white lover Jimmy Lang over forty years ago. Sam and Nakayla investigate the cold case murder.

The fourth B & R mystery (see The Sandburg Connection, Blackman’s Coffin and The Fitzgerald Ruse) is an engaging investigative whodunit with the artist being the famous Appalachia photographer rather than a writer. Fast-paced from the moment Sam finds a body and never slowing down even with some repetitive back story, fans will enjoy this tale that links several decades at a place where former slaves created The Kingdom of the Happy Land.

Harriet Klausner

The Terrorist Next Door-Sheldon Siegel

July 8, 2013

The Terrorist Next Door
Sheldon Siegel
Poisoned Pen, Jul 2 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9781464201646

Chicago PD Homicide Detective David Gold receives a Medal of Valor in a public ceremony for stopping student Hassan Al-Shahid from bombing the Art Institute of Chicago, but his partner and best friend Paulie Loszewski died. As he gives a short uncomfortable speech, a car bomb explodes and a text arrives claiming it is not over. His boss Maloney calls in the Feds as terrorism has come to South Chicago.

Other car bombs explode near landmarks with the motive to force the city to free Al-Shahid. As the city lives in fear with deaths mounting and no place safe, Gold, his new partner A.C. Battle and the FBI pursue a clever Muslim extremist terrorist thought to be related to Al-Shahid.

The Boston marathon bombing makes the first Gold police procedural appear authentic as terrorism shuts down a major American city. The lead cops have plenty of personal tsuris but remain focused on taking down the brilliant predator while their insight into Chicago (Cubs or Sox) brings depth to the mix. Although late happenchance detracts from the excitement and Mike Daley is on recess, readers will enjoy the taut Terrorist Next Door which warns Americans to avoid stereotyping the enemy.

Harriet Klausner

The Right Side Of Wrong-Reavis Z. Wortham

July 8, 2013

The Right Side Of Wrong
Reavis Z. Wortham
Poisoned Pen, Jul 2 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9781464201486

In 1966, twenty-four year old Constable Cody Parker is stunned by the snow piling up as it rarely comes down let alone sticks in Center Spring, Texas on the south side of the Red River. He notices tire marks in the snow so he follows them using his wife Norma Faye’s vehicle as his car’s battery died due to the freezing temperature. When he sees the sedan parked, Cody down shifts but skids anyway. The other driver fires a 12 gauge through the windshield hitting Cody whose Plymouth crashes. A starving pack of abandoned dogs fights over his injured body until elderly newcomer Tom Bell kills the alpha and another sending the rest fleeing.

Cody’s Uncle Constable Ned Parker and deputy sheriff John Washington lead investigations into the near fatal attack and other homicides in the area. Each concludes that a new type of trafficker had come to Red River; these homicidal predators sell drugs that they obtain in Mexico. Still upset with the assault that nearly killed him, Cody follows suspects south of the border. Ned follows his foolish nephew to save him from killers.

The third Parker clan historical police procedural (see The Rock Hole and Burrows) is a great 1960s period piece thriller with segregation remaining strictly enforced; for instance Washington is the Jackie Robinson of law enforcement in the area but separate facilities for whites and coloreds remain in place a dozen years after the Brown ruling. The drug trafficking is also just beginning to find favorite lethal migratory paths. The cast is solid as is the investigation, but it is the vivid look at 1966 Red River shootout that makes for a super entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner