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,…

Death of a Glutton – M.C. Beaton
Fiction , M.C. Beaton , Mystery , Uncategorized / June 9, 2017

M.C. Beaton presents to us the Checkmate Singles Club at the start of this enjoyable continuance of the Hamish Macbeth series of novels in Death of a Glutton, published by St. Martin’s Press, copyright 1993. Many personalities have applied for a holiday excursion to Lochdubh in Scotland’s northern shores.  Maria Worth has started this dating service with the financial assistance of her longtime friend Peta Gove.  Because of her family monies Peta has substantial funds to back Maria in this venture but it comes with a price.  Peta is looking for a man, a man who can tolerate her habit of almost constantly stuffing herself with food.  When Peta goes to dinners she not only finishes her own plateful but asks people if she can finish theirs as well.  To call her a glutton would almost be a kindness.  The woman can and will eat every morsel of food that she can lay her hands on and then complain there wasn’t more.  Her table manners are rather grotesque and she has the habit of showing up at the carefully thought out and well arranged singles meetings that Maria has designed. The dating service seems to be doing well but Peta’s constant lip-smacking…

Death of a Kingfisher – M.C. Beaton
Fiction , M.C. Beaton , Mystery / May 17, 2017

M.C. Beaton continues her proliferate mystery writing career with Death of a Kingfisher, published by Grand Central Publishing, copyright 2012.   In this continuation of the Hamish Macbeth Mystery series the people of northern Scotland are looking for ways to supplement their incomes through the tourism trade.  The folks in the village of Braikie have little to attract anyone to their quiet northern area except the lovely forests of Buchan’s Wood.  During this time of economic recession the people of Braikie as well as nearby Lochdubh were becoming more inventive in their ways to attract more attention to their location on the coast of the North Atlantic.   Constable Dick Fraser who is about to retire lives with Police Investigator Hamish Macbeth.  The arrangement irritates Hamish but he has to appreciate that the man does take care of his dog and his wild cat as well as serve as an eternal source of the local gossip which to a police investigator can be a grand way of picking up clues and other valuable information.  It is through Constable Dick that Hamish finds out about Buchan’s Wood.  The woods had been bequeathed to the village by a Mr. Colchester, a well to do land owner….

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…

Iced – Jenny Siler
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense , Thriller / May 3, 2017

Jenny Siler presents the heroine of her Meg Gardner mystery series in Iced, published by Henry Holt and Company, copyright 2000.   A year after finishing her eighteen-month prison sentence, Meg Gardner is working for “Flip”, who runs a repossession outfit in Missoula, Montana.  She had served her time for fraudulent checks and causing bodily harm to her, at the time, boyfriend.  Meg is sent to repossess a jeep and finds out the owner, Clay Bennett, had been murdered and his body had been found in the weeds.  She figures it would be an easy job making the pickup but on the back seat of the jeep is a heavy duty aluminum briefcase with unknown contents.  She tries fumbling with the locks with no luck.  She learns that Clay, who had defaulted on the financing of the vehicle before his murder, was somewhat of a local hero.  He was a pilot and had crash-landed a jet training aircraft in the dense woods of Montana and after an extensive search lasting several months was declared dead.  Miraculously after the spring thaw, he walked out of the woods.  Clay was in bad shape, half-starved, thin, in tattered clothing, yet he was alive.  After…

Money for Nothing – Donald E. Westlake
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense , Thriller / April 27, 2017

Proliferate mystery author Donald Westlake brings a thriller of mystery and espionage in Money for Nothing, published by Mysterious Press, copyright 2003.   Without any explanation Josh Redmont starts receiving checks for one thousand dollars every month and has no idea of where they are from or who could have sent them.  At first he tries sending them back but there is no return information except the sender’s name which is written as “United States Agent”.  Examining the check further he sees that the check’s credentials were from a Washington D.C. bank with an address of K Street, N.E. Washington D.C. drawn off the Inter-Merchant Bank, also of Washington.   In these early days Josh is not very financially stable and works for a temp agency in downtown Manhattan and so he asks Fred Stern, his employee representative, if they had anything to do with these checks.  His flat answer said it all, “We don’t pay people to do nothing.”  Josh thought the same way but there it was every month, a check for on thousand dollars and they continued coming for years while he continued his life.  He gets a well paying position as an advertising copywriter, meets a woman who he falls…

Naked in Death – J.D. Robb
Fiction , Hardboiled / April 25, 2017

J.D. Robb begins her In Death series of sci-fi murder mysteries with Naked in Death, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, copyright 2004.   From the beginning of this novel we are introduced into a world that is slightly different from our own.  This world has computers and machines that reminded me of Star Trek, Isaac Asimov and other writings that suggest what the future might be like.  To speak to an android and have it bring back your favorite, perfectly mixed coffee had become a normality in this world.  The toast was a different story for detective Eve Dallas, who would eat it even though it was burnt and chase it down with the much needed coffee that she required for her busy day.  This morning would truly turn into a “busy day” because Eve is faced with the indescribably brutal murder of a woman who would be best described as a lady of the evening.   This all takes place in a time in the future where handguns and even assault rifles are considered antiquated so when Eve and her partner Ryan Feeney find a thirty eight caliber Model Ten Smith & Wessen revolver they had to remark that they had never…

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…

Night Work – Laurie R. King
Fiction , Mystery / April 14, 2017

Popular mystery author Laurie R. King returns with her Kate Martinelli series in Night Work, published by Bantam Books, copyright 2000.   Kate Martinelli is leaving the theater after watching her goddaughter’s performance in a play when she is paged by her partner, Al Hawkin, and is sent to investigate a homicide in her part of San Francisco.  The corpse had been deposited in the bushes beside a regular jogging path near a cemetery.  Ligature marks on the neck show that the man had been strangled.  Further inspection reveals that he had been handcuffed and his wallet still had eighty two dollars in it along with an I.D. that declared him to be James Larson who lived in south San Francisco.  They also found some candy in his pockets as if the man had a sweet tooth, and a burn on the body that would suggest the use of a taser or stun gun.  His hands were duct taped behind him.   All of this pointed to a group that called themselves The Ladies of Perpetual Disgruntlement that had been subjecting sex offenders to humiliating punishments including tattooing their genitals, dying them with a semi-permanent purple ink, and posting their faces on…

Flash Point – Linda Barnes
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense / April 11, 2017

Linda Barnes continues the saga of her famous character, the female detective Carlotta Carlyle, in Flash Point, published by Hyperion Press, copyright 1999.   Carlotta Carlyle takes her exercise at the local YMCA playing team volleyball.  Between that and swimming laps she feels she keeps herself in pretty good condition.  She had been a police officer in uniform and was deservedly promoted to detective.  She now runs a business as a private investigator and lives in a historic Boston home where she rents the top floor out to a “progressive artist” simply named Roz.  She had also volunteered for the Boston Big Sister Program seven years before and now has Paolina, a fourteen year old Hispanic girl, under her wing and is trying to give moral guidance to her, along with some fun times spent with a responsible adult.  Difficulties arise when Carlotta finds Paolina in the back of a cafe being “caressed” by a twenty two year old Hispanic man and she feels she should get Paolina away from him.  A knife comes out, but before the situation escalates the local beat cop stops in the cafe for his usual cup of coffee and conversation with the waitress.  The knife…

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