Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Corpse in the Cactus by Lonni Lees

Police Detective Maggie Reardon is alone again. Just when she thought she might have found Mr. Right her captain called her in and put the kibosh on the whole kit-and-caboodle. Rocco was, after all, a witness in the murder of the proprietor of the Mosaic Gallery, the case that she just solved.
Sure, she has blown her chance at romance, but Reardon was delighted to find out that Rocco was willing to place a hiatus on their budding romance until the case went to trial. Buoyed with the notion that someone was willing to wait for, her she set out on the next grisly discovery, the body of a man found discovered in the javelina pit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Always determined to send waves through the department, the newly minted female detective in the Tucson Police Department challenged the findings of the senior officer on duty, who wrote off the body as an accidental fall. When her leads show they had a victim with no identification, multiple state tag numbers in his trunk and no witnesses, she has her work cut out for her.
By the time she puts together the unidentified body with an apparent runaway, skulking in a cheap south-side motel, she is able to help solve not just a missing persons case but prove the cold-blooded killing of the corpse in the cactus.
Lees’ fact-filled little novellas, featuring Detective Maggie Reardon, are fast becoming a favorite read of mystery fans in the Old Pueblo she features, Tucson, Arizona.

Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman

KCHC, Tinsel town’s own radio station, awash with female broadcasters, made a living out of swapping Hollywood gossip. Not only does cub reporter, Carol Childs, have the ear of a very dishy FBI agent, Eric Landon, her current beau but she also lives next door to Samantha Millhouse, niece of top Hollywood agent, Pepper Millhouse, to whom she owes a lot of her industry leaked stories.
When Sam shows up in tears, announcing that Pepper has been found dead in her bath tub she takes the exclusive story on-air. But when Sam is arrested for the murder of her aunt, and her twin-sister Sarah positions herself to take over the agency and the inheritance, Carol begins to wonder what the real truth is and her investigative search unearths a series of mysterious deaths.
When she is warned by a Hollywood psychic that not only will there be more deaths but that her own life may be in danger, Carol has to find out who was really behind the deaths that are sweeping around the country’s movie making capital.
Silverman does an awesome job of creating multiple red herrings and leaves the reader guessing up to the final page. You’ll think twice before taking that next long soak in a tub after you read this toe-curling thriller.

Independance Day by Ben Coes - a review

A nuclear bomb has been sold by the Russian mob to renegade hacker, Cloud, who is out to avenge his parents’ death at the hands of the CIA two generations ago.
The bomb is spirited out of Russia on an old freighter and sets course for America to arrive on the Fourth of July to set off its own explosive light display on American soil, aiming to kill hundreds of thousands.
With all seven American agents taken out in the field of combat on Russian soil by Cloud, who has infiltrated the CIA databanks giving him an inside track on every move the American government makes. It is left to washed-up Secret Agent Dewey Andreas to handle the task even though the agency wants him in a clinic in Sedona, Arizona to be treated for PTSD.
Operating blind, in the field of play, with only three days left to discover the whereabouts of the missing bomb, Andreas sets in motion actions to locate Cloud by kidnapping his fiancé, the famous ballet dancer, Katya Basaeyev, and torturing her until Cloud confesses, if he can find him.
Working hand-in-hand with the young and powerful head of the Russian mob, Alexi Malnikov, the two strange bedfellows flush out the terrorist and race to save America from a fate worse than was served up on 9/11.
Coes keeps us guessing up until the last second as to whether or not they are

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Repeat Offender by Bradley Nickell - a review

There are some criminals out there that are habitual hard-core offenders. Nickell, a former Las Vegas detective in the covert unit known as Repeat Offender Program, or ROP, shares with us one such character, one Daimon Monroe, who at the time of the trial documented in this true-crime story had forty-eight prior convictions.

Unfortunately for Monroe, the threats made to the lives of several witnesses, Chief Deputy District Attorney DiGiacomo, and Detective Nickell were all taken very seriously because they were all overheard via phone calls made from Monroe’s jail cell. Nickell spent hours listening to recorded calls, deciphering the codes used with the help of co-conspirators, including his long-time girlfriend. They were even able to get a con to wire up and tape a murder-for-hire request.

Nickell weaves an interesting tale, as fascinating as any novel and jam-packed with detail. We get to witness the shenanigans of this master crook and how he works the system in an effort to finagle his way out of jail. Nickell gives us as much of a feel as to tease the taste buds without making it a how-to-stay-out-of-jail storyline. By the time they raid Monroe’s house he has amassed several million in stolen goods, much of it in storage sheds, too. Like most criminals he protests his innocence and blames the police, hence the death threats that finally helped put him away for life.

It is still a good thing to read that there are people out there, in the form of police officers, who are still dedicated to protecting the people that are victimized by repeat offenders like Daimon Monroe, and that in a situation like this one, the system still works.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Causing Chaos by Deborah Ledford - a review

I read “Causing Chaos” with wild abandon and can’t get the plot out of my head. If
Ledford’s fourth book is the first for you, it stands alone like every great novel in a series should.
But if you’ve read the first three, then you’ll find that as good as the others are, they were all a
giant foreshadowing for what takes place in “Causing Chaos,” when they all coming crashing
Once again, we are drawn into Inola ‘Hummingbird’ Walela’s world, the lone Cherokee
female on the Bryson City Police Department. As she recovers from the death of her partner and
physical and psychological damage, Inola prepares for her final week on the force. She will soon
join her boyfriend, Sheriff Stephen Hawk, as one of his deputies in the Swain County Sheriff’s
Inola’s last week on the job implodes when her childhood friend, Paven Nahar, breaks
out of jail where he was charged with the disappearance and probable murder of his wife Shellie.
Previously a suspect in the disappearance of three local women, known as the Qualla Ghosts,
Nahar is ‘in the wind’ again. The tribe on the rez will protect him and so it is left to the one
person that knows him the best to head up the manhunt.
Convinced of Paven’s innocence in the disappearance of the Qualla Ghosts, Inola is sure
of his innocence in the current case. When it is revealed that a local art dealer, Vandra Gudren,
and her companion, Konrad, had been at Paven’s home the evening his wife vanished, Inola’s
investigation leads her along that path. Dragged further into the case by a revelation that a past,
personal attack may have been the precursor to the all the missing women, Inola closes out her
week determined to bring all the cases to a head, no matter the consequences.
A standing round of applause for this dynamite blast of a thriller. Bravo!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Seeds of a Daisy, by Alison Caiola - a review

Initially this seems to be a story ripped from the headlines of Hollywood glitzy magazines. Emmy nominated actress Lily Lockwood, daughter of famed novelist Daisy Lockwood, has her love life splattered across the front covers of every glad-mag published. Her life-style on display for all  and sundry, the envy of all. Her hospital-themed drama, St Joe's,  has taken the TV watching nation by storm and she is riding the crest of the wave until a single car accident brings her life tumbling to the ground.
As Lily is preparing for  the biggest day of her life yet, she gets the news that her mother, who she owes all her success as an actress to, has been involved in an automobile accident and is in a coma. Dropping everything she flies across country to be at her mother's side. What she discovers is the worst possible scenario. Initially the shock is too much for her to understand the severity in the situation and she finds herself  watching the hospital scenario sensing she can use the information to better her acting chops, but after the initial consultation with the surgeon, and his team, she realizes that Daisy may never recover from her coma and reality sets in.
As friends gather to offer support, Lily finds herself in a stage of discovery, family she never knew, the real story behind her actor boyfriend's apparent infidelity and the possibility of new romance, all playing out around her as her mother's life is slowly ebbing away. Caiola entertains us with a story pulled from life experiences she recently went through and uses them to project upon us a story of a life well-lived, redemption and she uses these seeds to project upon her audience the idea of a series of upcoming novels as Lily Lockwood. Hollywood actress, prepares to burst on to the American scene in book form too.
A fine, well-worked debut novel from a new, talented author that I heartily recommend.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Temple Mount by Keith Raffel - a review

The Temple Mount is historically the place that the ancient cities of Jerusalem are allegedly buried under, both incarnations, and where the Ark of the Covenant is allegedly hidden. Both Arab and Israelis are loathe to bring the hidden religious artifact to the surface as it would cause war in the region over the true ownership of the treasure and the religious power it would offer the victor of the spoils.
Alex Kalman, recent multi-millionaire was relaxing; enjoying the good life now that his Silicon Valley corporation has been scooped up by one of the industries giants for a pretty penny. When the phone call comes in advising him that his grandfather was dying, he was astonished to find the old man was still alive. His father had left home, estranged from his own father, and died leaving the younger man the impression that he had no family, and so Alex, who now found his true name to be Aron, has been left a significant inheritance.
As his grandfather dies, Aron discovers he is the sole male heir and that his grandfather was a rabbi, in fact the rebbe; a great teacher and leader. He had also discovered a tunnel under the Temple Mount twenty-odd years before and had seen the Ark of the Covenant. Aron is tasked with going to Israel to help with the excavation of this symbol of biblical history. Assisted by archeologist Rivka Golen, a historian working for the Department of Antiquities, who was familiar with the rebbe’s teachings, they begin the monumental task of locating and bringing the Ark to the world.
They are chased by several factors all unwilling to allow them to bring the Ark to light, shot at, and thrown out of the country in this riveting, spellbinding fast-paced thriller that will have you glued to the chair until the final page is devoured.

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