You Belong to Me – Mary Higgins Clark
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense / July 31, 2017

Mary Higgins Clark continues her masterful works of murderous suspense in You Belong to Me, published by Simon & Schuster, copyright 1998.   It is a regularly used inscription on the inside of many rings that are given to girlfriends, lovers, wives, and mistresses to show the dedication that we have to one another.  In this novel of mystery and murder, Mary Higgins Clark takes that slogan that applies to many romantic situations and presents a person who is obsessed with its literal meaning.  He is a regular passenger on cruise ships and often seeks out lonely women who are just divorced or whose husband has died and suddenly find themselves with nobody to talk to.  This person finds them, gives them one last fulfilling time of their lives, and for some psychological reason that only he would know, murders them in some terrifying manner.  The cruise ship Gabrielle was perfect for his desires and lonely women were in abundance on this particular journey.   This is a very favorable journey for him because he finds not only one, but several women that serve his intentions and he swears to himself that this will be the last.  While stalking his latest target…

The Tooth of Time – Sue Henry
Fiction , Mystery / July 30, 2017

Sue Henry highlights her latest heroine, Maxine “Maxie” McNab, in The Tooth of Time, published by Penguin Books LTD, copyright 2006.   Having spent most of her life in Homer, Alaska and having lost her first husband, Joe Flanagan, to a fishing accident and her second husband Daniel McNab to cancer, Maxine McNab buys herself a thirty-foot Winnebago motor home, loads up her miniature dachshund Stretch, and heads out to see the world.   At this point, author Sue Henry takes us on a tour of the many parks, rivers, highways and monuments of the United States, and the emotions they bring to sixty-three year old Maxie and her little dog Stretch.  At one point they stop at the famous St. James Hotel in Cimarron, where the famous Kit Carson, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, Jesse James and Bob Ford (the man who killed Jesse,) Billy the Kid, Pat Garret and Doc Holiday had all been reported to have stayed there, which is evidenced by the twenty-two bullet holes that still remain in the hotel’s tin ceiling.  This sort of archaic history, breathtaking monuments and mountains, some of which Ansel Adams thought worthy of photographing, is just what Maxie had…

The Monkey’s Raincoat – Robert Crais
Fiction , Mystery / July 26, 2017

Robert Crais’ detective protagonist, Elvis Cole, continues his career as a private investigator in The Monkey’s Raincoat, published by Bantam Books, copyright 1987.   The setting in this Robert Crais novel is Hollywood in the late 1980s, when Kareem was still playing for the Lakers and Vietnam Veterans were everywhere.  Elvis Cole is a vet and when he came back stateside he started a business with another survivor of the war named Joe Pike.  Together they felt confident they could handle any challenge that came their way, which they were successful at, mostly.   Elvis Cole is sitting in his office, which is adorned with Disney memorabilia that causes some clients not to take him too seriously, when two women enter.  Ellen Lang is very worried that her husband, Mort Lang, and their son Perry have not been in contact with her for four days.  Janet Simon, her longtime friend, insists that Mort has run off with another woman and taken the boy to show he is a domineering husband, wanting Ellen to bow down to his every wish.  Janet also wants to know how he came to be named Elvis, which was not his birth name.  His mother renamed him…

Some Clouds – Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Fiction , Hardboiled , Mystery / July 24, 2017

Famed author Paco Ignacio Taibo II has produced another thrilling tale of murder, intrigue, and corruption in Some Clouds, published by Penguin Group, copyright 1992.   On a peaceful day on the coast Hector sits in the shade of a palm tree that he has been contemplating while he sips his beer and tries to forget the events that he was caught up in just months ago.  Hector Balascoaran Shayne had been to engineering school but the thought of sitting behind a desk for the rest of his life designing bridges and sewer systems didn’t appeal to him.  He decided on something more exciting and started a private investigation business.  On one of his investigations, Hector got involved in a gun battle with a man who was trying to kill him.  He had to shoot the man dead, which didn’t bother him much, but a stray bullet had struck an eight year old boy and left him crippled for life with mental disabilities that reduced the poor boy to a vegetable.  Not knowing whose bullet had caused this terrible tragedy, Hector took himself to a beach near San Miguel Chepultepec and had been there for over six months, drinking beer and…

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…

Popped – Carol Higgins Clark
Fiction , Mystery / July 3, 2017

Renowned mystery author Carol Higgins Clark’s detective heroine Regan Reilly appears once again in Popped, published by Pocket Books, copyright 2004.   One of the subjects that Carol Higgins Clark focuses on is the adventure of ballooning which is to my amazement a safer method of travel than cars, trains, buses, or even airplanes.  The landings can be fairly rough, bouncing off the ground in a wicker basket for ten minutes would be a very frightening part of the trip, but not so terribly dangerous as a car crash.   With that in mind Clark takes us to Las Vegas, Nevada where Regan Reilly, to assist her friend Danny Madley, takes a plane from Los Angeles to help him produce a pilot show of a reality television series that features couples who wish to renew their wedding vows.  The winning couple will be aloft in a balloon when they reclaim their commitment to each other.  The lucky couple, upon a successful renewal in the balloon, will receive a million dollars in cash.  Someone is trying to stop this process by sabotaging Danny’s making of the dramatic documentary, that he has named: Love Above Sea Level, that could give him recognition on…

The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues – David Fulmer
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense / June 23, 2017

David Fulmer assembles an intricate plot of mystery and corruption in Roaring Twenties Atlanta in The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues, published by Harcourt Books, copyright 2007.   In the 1920s Atlanta, Georgia had a large reputation for having the finest of gambling halls and brothels that anyone could ask for.  If you were to go to Central Avenue and Decatur St. you could find any vice that would please you.  This is where Joe Rose finds himself on a cold December evening seeing to his friend Jesse Williams who lay dying of a gunshot wound.  Officer J.R. Logue had been drinking heavily and had never shot a man before so he wanted to find out what it felt like.  Jesse wasn’t doing anything but waiting in the alley for money to gamble with so when officer J.R. saw him he put a bullet through his stomach just to see how it felt to shoot a negro; it did not bother him at all.  Jesse, a locally known rounder (gambler) takes some help from Joe, who knows where to find it.  A short trip to the local gambling hall and he has acquired enough hands to carry him as well as some of…

Death of a Scriptwriter – M.C. Beaton
Fiction , M.C. Beaton , Mystery , Uncategorized / June 19, 2017

M.C. Beaton’s Scottish detective protagonist Hamish Macbeth returns in Death of a Scriptwriter, published by Mysterious Press, copyright 1998.   This continuation of the Hamish Macbeth series introduces us to Patricia Martyn-Broyd who has for many years been known as one of Scotland’s most favored detective novelists.  In the last decade, however sales of her books have fallen off almost completely so when she is approached by an agent for a television producer and asked if they could use her writings as the foundation for a series of programs she is surprised and elated.  Patricia would love nothing more than to have her works come to life again.   Fiona King, the producer, comes to detective Hamish Macbeth and asks about appropriate locations to stage the production of one of Patricia’s stories, The Case of the Rising Tides.  Hamish directs her to a secluded and dreary place on a nearby loch that has a castle that has been renovated and transformed into a bed and breakfast.  The village of Drim is located at the edge of the loch and has a population with very little excitement in their lives so when they hear that the pilot movie is going to be…

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…

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…

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