Unleashed – David Rosenfelt
Mystery , Suspense , Thriller / May 24, 2017

David Rosenfelt brings us another winding plot of intrigue with his latest Andy Carpenter mystery Unleashed, published by St. Martin’s Press. copyright 2013.   I was looking for some lighter fiction than my usually intense murder mysteries so I picked a mystery about a dog that solves the crime, saves lives, and does dog tricks.  David Rosenfelt satisfies us with those things all while showing us how intense a novel he can present us with.  At the begining, Sam Willis is driving on a dark rainy highway and hits a dog, turns his car around, and calls the police.  They take the dog to a veterinary clinic and Sam follows, misses his flight with an old friend and prospective client who he had hoped was willing to invest large amounts of money.  Barry Price had called Sam for his advice on financial matters and also had called Andy Carpenter for his legal advice.  Andy is a very highly regarded lawyer and quite wealthy because as a result.   Sam, who also works with Andy as his accountant, had missed the appointment with Barry because he was busy seeing after the dog he had hit and that is how the dog had saved…

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…

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…

Locked Rooms – Laurie R. King
Fiction , Hardboiled , Mystery / April 6, 2017

Laurie R. King has done a masterful job of bringing Sherlock Holmes back through her Mary Russell series of novels in Locked Rooms, a psychological thriller as well as a cultural primer, published by Bantam Books, copyright 2005.  Russell is presented as the only woman who would match wits with the great detective of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s acclaimed Sherlock Holmes mystery series.  Holmes declares her to be “one of the most competent natural investigators he had ever known”.  So Holmes married her and together they solve any and all mysteries they encounter in their travels.   Mary Russell is troubled by her recurring dreams while on a ship headed for San Francisco where she had grown up.  She and her husband, the great Sherlock Holmes, are headed there so she can settle some affairs regarding her father Charles Russell’s estate which she had inherited upon his death ten years before.  She feels she may want to sell the house and liquidate some other assets she owns.  Both of her parents and her toddler brother had been killed in a tragic motor car accident while she was thrown to the side of the road before the automobile plummeted over a cliff…

Now You See It – Stuart Kaminsky
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense / April 3, 2017

Stuart Kaminsky has not only given a tribute to one of the world’s greatest magicians, he has reopened a world of entertainment that gave moral and entertaining shows to the people who served in the war to end all wars, as they called it at the time, in Now You See It, by Stuart Kaminsky, published by Carroll & Graf Publishers and the Avalon Publishing Group, copyright 2004. In my youth I was attracted to the people who performed works of magic, as many of us were and still are today.  One of the most famous and sought after magicians is one Harry Blackstone.  Billed as the world’s greatest living magician Harry Blackstone is scheduled to perform a show on the stage of the famous Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.  Harry’s brother, Jeremy Bouton, was busy setting up the stage as he had done for years.  After retiring from the on-stage work of being Blackstone’s assistant along with doing a comical version of the act that Blackstone had just performed, Peter decided he would be much more useful building the stage props and coaching the assistants that Blackstone relied on to present the finest magic show on the planet.  Which it truly…

Everybody Dies – Lawrence Block
Fiction , Hardboiled , Mystery , Suspense / March 31, 2017

Lawrence Block continues the growing tale of his crime fighting protagonist Matthew Scudder in Everybody Dies, published by William Morrow and Company, copyright 1998.   Block begins this intense tale with Matthew Scudder and his well known hoodlum friend Mick Ballou who have taken a drive out to Mick’s farm in the northern forests of New York State.  The friends are on a mission to bring the dead bodies of two Irish lads out to Mick’s farm and bury them where they’ll never be found.  How they came to be dead is yet to be discovered but a few bullet holes tell an interesting history as to their demise.  The lads were Mick’s employees; Matt and Mick had discovered them when they did not return after Mick had asked them to go to his storage unit and pick up a few cases of various liquors, spirits, and soda water that regularly sold at Mick’s bar.  Named “Grogan’s”, the bar has been the favored watering hole and eatery for the many generations of Irish immigrants who have settled in New York City.   In addition to the bodies of Mick’s employees, the storage unit was completely empty except for the remains of a liquor…

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