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…

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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