Watch Your Back – Donald E. Westlake
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense , Thriller / March 27, 2017

Donald Westlake extends his Dortmunder series of comedy-mystery novels with Watch Your Back, published by Mysterious Press, copyright 2005.   Westlake begins this captivating caper with an introduction to John Dortmunder as he walks into his favorite watering hole, the O.J. Bar and Grill to the greeting of Rollo the bartender.  Dortmunder attends a regular poker game in the back room of the O.J. Bar with his friends Stan, Kelp, and a huge man called Tiny.  On this night it’s different though as Dortmunder has been propositioned by an obnoxious art trader named Arnie Albright who has just returned from the Caribbean Club Med after attending a seminar promising to cure his obnoxiousness.  Arnie swears it worked so Dortmunder decides to listen to his proposal.  While at the Club Med Arnie had met Preston Fareweather, a known art collector, who owns a Park View penthouse in New York City.  He is also a huge womanizer with many ex-wives.  Arnie hates this guy because Arnie can hardly get a date, which is no surprise to Dortmunder or anyone else at the back room game.   The players assemble as usual, not for poker but to discuss the feasibility of Arnie’s proposal.  Fareweather is expected to…

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…

Blonde Faith – Walter Mosley
Fiction , Mystery / March 13, 2017

Walter Mosely leads us on a thrilling tale in Blonde Faith, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2007.   In this continuation of the series about the investigations of a man known to the world as Easy Rawlins, we are treated to more insights and revelations as to what life was like in the nineteen sixties.  Easy is a man who always feels the need to help others and see justice done.  He carries many emotional scars from the time he fought for our country in World War II and had to murder many in the interest of preserving the lives of his brothers in arms.  He was never happy with his ability to kill, and at one point he had shot a sniper who was killing many of his fellow troops.  When he went to check the sniper’s body he found an eleven year old boy with a rifle who had been chained to a tree by his sixteen year old commander.   Easy Rawlins hated war and he hated killing but as a black private detective he was often introduced to situations where his clients, the friends and children he protected, needed his skills of deadly force.  A…

Murder Inside the Beltway – Margaret Truman
Fiction , Mystery / March 6, 2017

Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series brings another thrilling mystery in Murder Inside the Beltway, published by Ballantine Books, copyright 2008.   When Washington D.C. resident Rosalie Curzon is brutally beaten and strangled, officers Matt Jackson and Walt Hatcher are called to the scene to do their initial detective work.  They quickly figure out that she was a high priced call girl and when Mary Hall, a senior detective, comes to oversee the investigation they discover that Rosalie had video taped several of her liaisons with her clients.  These detectives hope that the camera was running when she was brutally murdered and that a possible image of the killer could lead to a quick solving of the crime.  Another aspect of these videos would be to identify some of her clients who may have an idea as to who might be motivated to commit such a violent act.  Things get seriously intense when the three detectives are able to identify some of Rosalie’s clients and who they represent in political, as well as police, society.   The detectives begin to question these possible suspects and are met with a large amount of resistance.  The first of the interviews is a congressman…

In A Strange City – Laura Lippman
Fiction , Mystery / March 2, 2017

Laura Lippman has again written an exciting and entrancing novel with In a Strange City, one of her Tess Monaghan series of detective novels, published by William Morrow and Co. of HarperCollins Publishers, copyright 2001.   Edgar Allen Poe has been credited with writing some of the first murder mysteries that we enjoy and recommend to our friends.  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania there is a grave site which calls itself Poe’s final resting place.  This is something that has been debated by many people throughout the years as there is also a tomb that bears his name at the other side of the graveyard.  The life of Poe is in itself an enchanting mystery that has involved many writers and fans of his works.  Monsiour Dupin was the investigator in his first detective fiction novel “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, a story that enthralled his readers and fans as well as set a standard for crime fiction novels for the coming century.   Mystery loves company!  This novel is not about Poe as much as it is about the people who honor and pay tribute to his writing and poetry; specifically the Visitor, as he is known to all who have lived in…

Skeleton Dance – Aaron Elkins
Fiction , Mystery / February 22, 2017

Aaron Elkins has authored an incredible novel, one that reveals the inner sanctum of the people who spend decades educating themselves and others on where Neanderthals stand in the tree of life,.with Skeleton Dance, published by HarperCollins Publishers, copyright 2000.   Paleontologists love to argue.  Mostly about whether there should be an “h” in the name of the bipedal species Neanderthal.  Many contend that homo-sapiens annihilated the species for the availability of grains, fruit, and meat.  Others contend that there is genetic proof of cross-breeding with the species and that many were murdered with weapons more sophisticated than those we believe Neanderthals had developed at the time.   When a man’s always faithful dog starts bringing home bones that appear to be human, he goes to the police.  He lives in northern France and it is not so unusual to find human bones left from two world wars, a revolution, and the many caves early man inhabited, in the surrounding area.  Local police inspector Lucien Anatole Joly suspects that these are not old bones and has one of his officers follow the dog to the source.  He discovers that the dog is removing these bones from a cave not far from its…

No Shred of Evidence – Charles Todd
Fiction , Historical , Mystery , Suspense / February 10, 2017

Charles Todd continues his thrilling sequence of Ian Rutledge mystery novels with No Shred of Evidence, published by HarperCollins Publishers, copyright 2016. Ian Rutledge is an inspector for Scotland Yard.  In the summer of 1914 he was engaged to be married to Jean Gordon.  Five years later he released her from that promise after he’d seen the shock and horror in her eyes as she looked at the shell of a man who had returned from France and been in the hospital for months with some undisclosed affliction.  Rutledge broke that proposal because he knew that his injury was not one that a woman should have to live with.  More of a psychological disability, his condition plagued him in most of his personal thoughts and his reasoning on the job, and yet it helped him to see sides of the crimes he investigated that would not be perceived by most detectives.  This so-called affliction would haunt him for the rest of his life and affect any relationships he had, whether they were professional or personal.  He would always be challenged with having to deal with what his duty was to do in the First World War. So he decided to…

The Puzzled Heart – Amanda Cross
All Books , Mystery , Thriller / February 4, 2017

Amanda Cross brings forth a thrilling and dramatic mystery in The Puzzled Heart, published by Ballantine Books, copyright 1998. In this intriguing novel Kate Fansler and her husband Reed are faced with far-right-wing activists who object to her lectures supporting women’s rights.  Reed is kidnapped by these radicals and Kate is sent ransom notes demanding that she retract all her pro-feminist statements and declare that her lectures were improper if not wrong.  She is instructed to publish letters to all available newsletters as well as professional magazines stating that she was misguided in her teaching and lecturing. Confronted with the fact that her husband is being held hostage Kate seeks advice from her close friends, who happen to be lesbian partners, as well as private investigators.  Together they try to figure out who would be inclined to commit such an offensive assault up on a well respected professor of a prominent college.  They spend endless hours remembering who might have a reason to inflict the torture of the kidnapping of her beloved husband. The search focuses on the few that could be imagined as having any sort of animosity toward the Fansler family.  Kate and her friend Harriet finally narrow it down to…

White Cargo – Stuart Woods
All Books , Mystery , Thriller / December 2, 2016

Stuarts Woods’ skillful writing brings another mystery thriller in White Cargo, published by HarperCollinsPublishers, copyright 1988. This tale begins on a sailboat vacation from Fort Lauderdale to the Panama Canal and then on to the Pacific Ocean. Wendell “Cat’ Catledge, his wife Katie, and their daughter, nicknamed ‘Jinx’, are boarded by pirates from the fishing vessel Santa Maria off the Colombian Coast near a seaport named Santa Marta.  His first mate, Denny, turns out to be affiliated with the pirates and shoots Cat with bird shot from a shotgun, rendering him unconscious.  Cat awakens to find his wife and daughter murdered and his sailboat sinking quickly.  With no choice but to abandon ship, Cat eventually makes it back home with the help of the Mexican Coast Guard and the American Embassy. After months of mourning he receives a mysterious phone call: “Daddy?”.  It could only be Jinx still alive and captive somewhere in Colombia.  He sets off to Santa Marta to pick up her trail with the help of the CIA.  The Agency wants inside info on the drug cartel that is believed to have been instrumental in Jinx’s abduction.  He employs a Spanish-speaking Australian who is of great help in locating…

The Bones of Paris – Laurie R. King
All Books , Mystery , Thriller / November 14, 2016

Paris! Just the name brings thoughts of romance and intrigue.  In the first century Before Christ the Romans had named it “Lutitia”. Rome fell and the French renamed it Paris. Laurie R. King has once again demonstrated her brilliance and clever use of suspense, character development, and climactic situations creating an edge-of-your-seat thriller.  The Bones of Paris is published by Thorndike Press, copyright 2013. In 1928-29 the city of lights was teaming with artists, writers, poets, photographers and jazz players. Harris Sturyvesant travels to the Montparnasse in Paris in search of a young woman whose uncle has hired him to find her because the family hadn’t heard from her in some time. Harris had worked for J. Edgar Hoover and had a falling out with him so private detective work seemed a practical alternative. He’d been to Paris before and knew his way around but nothing could prepare him for the macabre and theatrical events that he was about to encounter.  His objective, Phillipa Crosby (‘Pip’ to her friends), had been a regular correspondent with her mother and family. Then the letters stopped. Harris Sturyvesant had known ‘Pip’ briefly a year before and that she did modeling for painters and…

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