The Cut – George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos brings political intrigue and brutal underworld crime together in The Cut, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2011.   This George Pelecanos novel is very inventive but sticks to the bare facts of the relationship between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.  Apart from being two for the major cities where our government was founded they also rival each other in many ways.  The politicians and lawyers are a huge percentage of the population and many colleges offer degrees in both of these professions.   Leonites “Leo” Lucas is a professor at Montgomery College, one of D.C.’s most prestigious academic institutions, where he teaches the graduate classes.  Leo has high hopes for his students and believes they shall achieve high-level careers.  His brother, Spero, is a private investigator and has discovered that some of the students of Montgomery College may be involved in a highly profitable marijuana smuggling racket.  Spero is a veteran of the war in Iraq and upon returning to the United States found that he had a troubling time adjusting to a “normal” job.  His skills as an investigator, while well adjusted and much better than most, did little to prepare him for the challenge he was…

The Long Drop – Denise Mina

Noted crime novelist Denise Mina departs from her usual mystery series to bring us a new crimes and new characters in The Long Drop, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2017. William Watt is accused of murder.  This is just not the type of killing that happens in Glasgow all that often.  The victims happen to be Watt’s wife, his daughter, and his sister-in-law Nettie Brown.  He and his brother John own one of the finest of bakeries in Glasgow and are well off with the money they make.  So when he chooses a lawyer he turns to the very best.  He acquires Lawrence Dowdall who is quite famous for getting his clients acquitted of major crimes.  He gets Watt out by stating that he has an airtight alibi, Watt was seen at his bakery by many of his customers, and his brother John, at the time of the murders.   Watt meets Peter Manuel at the Gordon Club who says he has information that will lead them to the killer and the gun that killed his family.  Manuel says he can acquire the gun but he has a reputation as a career criminal and is not to be trusted.  Watt…

Grave Secrets – Kathy Reichs
Crime Thriller , Fiction / June 13, 2017

Kathy Reichs’ anthropologist protagonist Temperance Brennan returns in her fifth novel Grave Secrets, published by Scribner, copyright 2002.   At the beginning of this complicated novel we are treated to an in-depth explanation of a dig in Guatemala at Chupan Ya where, in 1982, the village was attacked by soldiers who destroyed the village and killed all that had been living there.  The famous forensic anthropologist Temperance “Tempe” Brennan is called in to help with the identification of the many bodies that were thrown down a well and buried there.  Her feelings about this atrocity are nearly overwhelming which inspires her to do the job to the best of her abilities.  This savage mass murder happened twenty years before but the families of these lost souls are still wanting to provide a proper burial for these victims of political unrest in their beloved country.   As she digs with trowel and brush she is constantly moved as she and her teammates uncover the personal items as well as the mutilated remains of the innocents who endured this carnage.  When picking up for the night she receives a call informing her that Molly and Carlos, two others working on the dig,…

Deadly Stakes – J.A. Jance
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Mystery , Thriller / May 15, 2017

J.A. Jance brings another mystery for her ex-reporter heroine Ali Reynolds to solve in Deadly Stakes, published by Touchstone Books and Simon & Schuster, Inc., copyright 2013.   The beginning of this novel sets us in the studio of Video Glam, a dating service in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in videos of the applicants who are looking for a suitable partner to date.  Gemma Ralston pulls up in her Mercedes SLK to Video Glam in what may be called of the less glamorous part of town.  Gemma had written herself a script that said she was a mature woman who was lighthearted and looking for fun times, not interested in marriage and does not want to compete with any mothers her prospect might have children with.  Besides that, she did not want to give up her alimony payments.  She was about to leave when a dusty old car pulled in beside her and a woman, who was in obvious need of a makeover, hopped out and hurried inside.  Gemma has always been the curious type so she follows her in to see what can be done to transform this bedraggled, unattractive woman into someone a man would want to date.   Some miles…

The Murder Code – Steve Mosby

Steve Mosby, a master of thrilling crime, brings intriguing characters and interwoven plots in The Murder Code, published by Pegasus Books, copyright 2013.   Detective Hicks and his partner Laura Fellows are called to a murder scene and the first thing they notice is the screaming coming from the second-floor balcony.  Carla Gibson had been searching for her daughter Vicki who she had expected home earlier in the day.  Vicki’s face and skull had been beaten into a point where the face was not recognizable but her mother knew the clothes, the shoes, the handbag, and her hair.  She could see her daughter had been brutally murdered and was hysterical with grief.  Even after a large dose of sedatives, Carla was fairly incapable of giving any information to the police detectives beyond Vicki’s age, where she worked, and her last boyfriend’s name.   We are next treated to a slice of life in the home of detective Hicks and his wife Rachel.  His job is something he does not feel he should bring home with him, homicide investigations are not exactly talk for dinner time or preparing for bed.  Rachel had fallen into a pattern, the same thing every night, with a…

The Big Both Ways – John Straley
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Hardboiled / March 21, 2017

John Straley ties the characters of this cleverly written novel into the setting of his previous work, Cold Storage, Alaska, in The Big Both Ways, published by Soho Press, copyright 2008.   The Big Both Ways begins with a logger by the name of Slip Wilson who has just quit his job after witnessing a fellow logger killed in an accident on the job.  On the road out of Seattle he encounters a woman by the name of Ellie Hobbes whose car is stuck in a ditch.  So after helping her get it out she offers him a ride and although he had no destination in mind he accepts the offer and finds there is a young girl, Ellie’s niece Annabelle, who is travelling with her.  He also learns that Ellie is a communist, or what was referred to in those times as a ‘red’, or anarcho-syndicalist, from the docks of Seattle.  Her husband had left her for another young woman and after a house fire killed Ellie’s sister and brother in-law, Annabelle ended up in Ellie’s care.   While travelling up the coast Ellie decides to get rid of the car because, as it is discovered later, there is a dead body…

Cold Storage, Alaska – John Straley
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Mystery , Uncategorized / March 15, 2017

John Straley brings a novel filled with mystery and drama in Cold Storage, Alaska, published by Soho Press, copyright 2014.   Straley starts this wonderful novel out with the remembrances of an elderly woman, Annabelle, about her oldest son Clive McCahon, who on the same day in April, 2000 has just been released after serving seven years on drug related charges in a federal prison and is looking for a way to get home to Cold Storage, Alaska.  On his way he stops in Los Angeles and picks up his cold weather parka which has thousands upon thousands of dollars sown into its lining.  The man he picks up the parka from also gives him a dog who is the meanest mutt anyone has ever seen.  Clive has always had this surreal talent where animals talk to him, though this mutt says nothing until the end of the book.   So Clive and this scary mutt, who he decides to call Little Brother, find their way with great difficulty to Clive’s brother Miles who was waiting for him at the short runway of the village airport to bring him home to the terrible news that their mother had passed away just two…

One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Hardboiled / February 18, 2017

Kate Atkinson’s private investigator hero, Jackson Brodie, returns in the enticing adventure One Good Turn, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2006.   Jackson Brodie is on the scene when a small car accident occurs and the automobile owners are sent into a case of extreme road rage.  One of the drivers brings  a baseball bat out of his car and hits the other driver on his temple, knocking him unconscious.  Brodie comes to the aid of this unfortunate man and accompanies him to the hospital.  The hospital staff releases this man, a writer named Paul Bradley, into Brodie’s custody with a warning that he should be watched closely and given plenty of rest.   Brodie, who is an ex-cop, ex-private detective, and recently, through one of his client’s generous compensations, a millionaire, takes care of this unfortunate victim of senseless violence.  As a rule Brodie no longer involved himself in other peoples’ affairs as he himself had much to deal with now that he was an unemployed millionaire and he wanted to find a compatible caring woman to spend his life with. Yet for some reason he felt compelled to see to the well being of this beaten up man.  This…

Funeral in Blue: A William Monk Novel – Anne Perry
All Books , Crime Thriller / October 24, 2016

Funeral in Blue: A William Monk Novel, copyright 2011, is a detective novel authored by Anne Perry and published by Ballantine Books.  It is the 12th installment of Perry’s series of detective novels featuring the character William Monk. The novel is set just after the turbulent year of 1848, the “year of revolutions”, in London, England involving a double murder in the studio of an artist known for his portrait and nude paintings where two women are discovered with broken necks.  One woman is a beautiful young model and the other is the wife of Kristen Beck, a highly distinguished Viennese surgeon who emigrated to London after a revolt in Austria and setup a lucrative practice. The main characters are inspector William Monk and his wife Hester, and their dear friend Lady Callandra Daviott who has a deep love for the surgeon.  The surgeon and the artist, Allardyce, become the main suspects in this horrible murder.  Since the surgeon is a friend of the Monks they attempt to prove his innocence with notable vigor.  They trace his path through the streets of Victorian London and Anne Perry gives the reader a true feel for the life, the people, and the accents of…

Cop to Corpse – Peter Lovesey
All Books , Crime Thriller , Thriller / September 7, 2016

Cop to Corpse, copyright 2012, is a detective novel authored by Peter Lovesey and published by Soho Press.  It is the 12th installment of Lovesey’s Peter Diamond series of detective novels. This installment opens with Peter Diamond finding himself promoted to Chief Superintendent of the murder squad of Bath, England.  Diamond has served for many years as a homicide inspector and boasts the highest rate of solved crimes on the force.  As he begins his new role Diamond is faced with the recent murders of two police constables by high powered rifle shots.  Diamond has just begun his investigation when a third such murder is called in minutes after it occurs.  He and his team swiftly head to the scene with hopes of apprehending the sniper or at least identifying any witnesses to the murder. Once at the scene Diamond encounters a motorcyclist and narrowly avoids getting run over, but he is knocked to the ground and receives many cuts and bruises in addition to a badly twisted ankle.  Hampered badly by the painful injuries, he has to rely on Ingelong Smith and inspector Leaman to continue his investigation.  Diamond’s theory that the murders of police constables were committed by someone in the police force is not a…

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