Search This Blog

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Long Quiche Goodbye - A Review

A frothy tale of frommage, fraught with falsehood, framing and frippery. Lovelorn Charlotte Bessette has converted her grandparent's little, cheese shop into the Fromagerie Bessette, stocked with the finest wines and cheeses from around the globe and is prepared for her grand opening. Everyone in the quaint village of Providence, Ohio--bordering Amish country--will be there, as well as busloads of tourists from Cleveland including Zinnia, the gourmet food critic from Delicieux magazine.
The scene is set for disaster. Add in local politics, crooked real estate agents and a flock of wealthy women and one is hardly surprised to find a body on the sidewalk outside the fromagerie. When Charlotte's grandmother--the current mayor of Providence--is found crouched over the body covered in blood, Charlotte has to strike quick to prove her grandmother's innocence.
Stepping on the toes of the local police chief, Charlotte and her side-kick, Rebecca--recently converted from the Amish life--gather clues and red-herrings until the entire town is suspect of the murder. Not since Agatha Christie has a female author created an amateur sleuth with a penchant for details.
Aames experience in co-starring on Murder She Wrote and Matlock has kept her in good stead. This debut novel in the three-book mystery series, The Cheese Shop Mystery series, is a well-thought-out cozy of a mystery that will keep you engrossed for hours.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jamaica Moon - Robert J. Sadler

Step aside 007; a new “international man of mystery” just rode into town. Michael Grant -  “ex- Dallas police homicide lieutenant, sometime-government spook and private investigator - steam-rolls through Dallas causing mayhem to all the crooks he encounters.

Handsome, debonair the recently widowed, Grant fights off the attention of the ladies as he uses his newly found wealth to bankroll a successful investigative company. As a former cop he has all the right connections and let’s not forget his past with ‘the agency’ and the wealth of knowledge that position has endowed him with. The bad guys don’t stand a chance.

In Jamaica Moon, we find Grant working a couple of missing-person cases. One is the daughter of a mayoral candidate, the other an amnesiac girlfriend of a dying man. On a thrill-a-minute, all action story we find Grant and his companions involved in high-speed chases, good old Texas shoot-‘em-ups and highly-charged sexual situations - and the bad guys are just as bad. There’s never a dull moment in Dallas, or Jamaica, where Grant attends a writer’s conference as the featured speaker. Not satisfied being good-looking and suave, but a poet too. No wonder the women flock to hear his readings.

If you enjoy your thrillers shaken, not stirred then don’t miss out on Jamaica Moon.

The Steam Pig – James McClure RE-RELEASED

When the wrong body is sent to the crematorium it’s either an opening for a comedy act or a dramatic turn. Since the body in question was involved in a murder investigation Lieutenant Kramer was, to be expected, more than a little concerned.

Set in Trekkersburg, a small unfashionable town just north of Durban, South Africa this police drama sets itself down smack dab in the middle of 1960’s apartheid. Bantu gangsters fill the town with crime which Kramer and his surprising side kick, Sergeant Zondi, a Bantu native get to solve. Zondi is able to get the other kaffirs to open up to him where they would not have to a white police officer and so the remarkable team gains a foothold on local crime.

The surprise we find in The Steam Pig is that the criminals are local politicians who get themselves mixed up with a Miss Le Roux, who it turns out is a mixed-race female passing herself off as white. Unable to face that they have had a relationship with the young lady she turns up on the slab at the mortuary.

Kramer seems to stumble through the mystery, the debut novel in a series starring the two policemen, as clues seem to get dropped at his feet. Luckily for him he is astute enough to recognize them and along with the information passed on from the Bantu informant, the unfortunate Shoe Shoe, and the invalid Indian Moosa, who watches the neighborhood from his upstairs bedroom window, the mystery begins to unravel as the pieces fall in place.

Just the title alone, The Steam Pig, spoke of a juicy, mouth-watering story. I knew in an instance that is somehow referred to the beautiful blonde laying on the stone slab, but McClure keeps the secret literally until the last page. A taut, secretive story that leans on the hate of an apartheid society, to the shocking conclusion that shows that nothing is as it appears, and that even a mother cannot grieve publically for her daughter in case the secret of their life is revealed.

On The Line by S.J Rozan NEW RELEASE

Bill Smith’s longtime partner. Lydia Chan, has been kidnapped.

The kidnapper, a man Smith sent to jail a decade ago, is hell-bent on revenge. From the opening chapter Rozan has created a thriller at a frantic pace that builds to a crescendo that we ride on like a rollercoaster.

We are led on a whiplash tour of New York at the whim of a crazy man. Along the way we pick up a cast of nefarious characters, Asian pimps and their Chinese call-girls, Lydia’s kid cousin and his Italian girlfriend, ex-wives, dogs and time-worn drunken former cops.

By following the clues left in orange-colored plastic bags all over New York’s boroughs, and closely-timed secrets, provided by last-minute phone calls from the kidnapper we ride along like a passenger in the back seat, pouring over the bags contents, bent on solving the puzzle and playing the game.

An engrossing story that you won’t stop until you reach the electrifying finale.

‘Our Kind of Traitor’ – John le Carre NEW RELEASE

When the Cold War ended one might have been forgiven to think the John le Carre’s career as a writer of the spy novel might have come crashing down along with the Berlin wall. Rest assured, in ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ le Carre shows us that the Russian spy novel is alive and well for the twenty-first century.

Born to the ranks of the British upper middle-class Perry Makepiece, an English literature tutor at Oxford College and his long-standing girlfriend, Gail, the “sparky young barrister on the rise” take a brief vacation in Antigua to consider their future and play a little tennis. Their holiday is rudely interrupted by Dima from Perm, and his accompanying Russian family, who leeches on to the Brits and take over their time and their tennis.

Dima makes Perry an offer he can’t refuse. He wants to rat out his fellow Russian crooks to the British government to get his family and since Perry, who is labeled Professor by this Russian money launderer, is “goddam fair-play English” Dima chooses him to pass on this information to the apparatchik’s of the British government.

Upon returning home, Perry, against Gail’s better judgment, passes on the message to the service. Before they know it the pair are recruited and caught up in the “cut and thrust of high-stakes intrigue” becoming pawns in the hands of everyone they become involved with, be it their British masters, or the sweet innocent kids caught up in their Russian parent’s need for moral endeavor.

Le Carre proves again to be the master of the understatement as his very British characters charge around Europe waiting, hiding their charges from the Russian gangsters that are trying to stop the traitor from passing on the secrets of the vory, and waiting on the government bureaucrats to cut through the red-tape so they can bring the goods home to spill his guts.

With the authorities closing in on the illegals hiding out in the Swiss countryside, the family and their handlers start to come unhinged in their hideout, and with time running out le Carre swings the momentum like the pendulum in a grandfather clock until the grand finale.

Murder in the Air - Bill Crider

The air quality in Blacklin County has taken a turn for the worse since Lester Hamilton industrialized his chicken farm, and the neighbors in nearby Clearwater are none too happy.

Their complaints seem to fall on deaf ears until someone takes matters into their own hands and Hamilton is found floating in Murdock’s rock pit, the victim of foul play. By the time the second body is found you are whole-heartedly involved in piecing the pieces of the puzzle together.

Crider throws out enough red-herrings to keep you guessing in this light-hearted mystery that will often find you chortling as you scratch your head figuring out who dun it. Throw in a little romance, small town characters and one nosy newspaper reporter and this is a fun, fast read for one of those weekends when you just want to kick back and relax.

“No Place to Die” by James L. Thane:

Art mimics life in this police thriller from James L Thane. He leads us through a series of home invasions in Phoenix, which actually is the city with the most registered home invasions in 2009.

Written from the point of view of Detective Sean Richardson of Phoenix’s homicide division, this police procedural is no murder mystery. We are there at the setting of each crime waiting for the detectives to pick up on the same clues that we have been given. To those of you who read this genre regularly you will be a little disappointed that the detectives don’t follow up on an early clue that could have saved many lives, but Richardson perhaps can be excused for being slow on the uptake; he is, after all, dealing with his wife’s hospice situation every night.

This fast action thriller places you right in the squad car racing to the crime scene as the serial killer strikes again and again. Hoping against hope to not only catch him before his diabolical list of potential victims is finished with, but to rescue attorney Beverly Thompson who the police suspect is imprisoned against her will, if they can just find her in time.

Search This Blog

Blood on His Hands Promo Video

Blood on His Hands - The Confession

My Shelfari shelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog