Unholy Alliance – Dana Reed
Fiction , Suspense , Thriller / August 1, 2017

  Dana Reed continues to blend her talent for horror with thrilling mystery in Unholy Alliance, published by ArcheBooks Publishing, copyright 2003.     Here we have a novel that begins with definitions of an extremely unsettling  subject that many may find severely disgusting, yet they must admit it does exist.  Dana Reed also gives a quote from Abraham Lincoln, dated September 6th of 1846.  The sinister killer of this book is the worst kind who seduces young women, defiles them, and dissects them, sometimes before they are dead.  I of course was literally appalled at the thought (pun intended).   At the start of this terrifying novel we meet a woman by the name of August Summers who is constantly haunted by the ghost of the man whom she had left dead in a North Carolina cabin.  He had been her abusive husband known only as W.F. and he comes to her in the terrible dreams she had most every night that where he still demeans her and demands complete servitude, always waking her in a state of fear.  Even after his death he had a certain control over her.  Abe Lincoln’s quote comes to mind here: “Here is an…

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 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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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