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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Devalera Deception - A Review

The time frame is the 1920’s and we are drawn into the thick of a plot that revolves around a young Winston Churchill. Having tasted political office as head of the British Admiralty, he has been sent as the personal envoy of Prime Minister Ramsey with a message for US President Hoover.

The world is once again teetering toward war in Europe. The Germans are struggling to find a footing and a young upstart in the form of Adolf Hitler is making overtures on the German political scene. A group known as the Geneva group is influencing the finances of the world and involved with factions of the Irish Republican Army who are trying to over throw, members of the Free State of Ireland. The historical factions of the novel are especially true to life, giving a strong factual feel to this fictional story.

Churchill is travelling with a personal bodyguard, a female journalist, Mattie, and employee of Randolph Hearst the publisher and members of the British Secret Service. But he goes out on a limb and employs young Irish American, Bourke Cockran, the son of the former Congressman from New York that Churchill befriended years previously. Cockran makes a hash out of everything he touches, as he doesn’t seem to comprehend that he is being followed by several groups of people. Even after his home, office and hotel room are burglarized and several people he associates with are killed, beaten or reaped, he does not seem to be able to turn around and notice the same, black sedan at every corner.

He does finally learn his lesson as on the run, with an arrest warrant for murder out on his head, he continues to knock heads with the IRA, German agents and even Al Capone’s gangsters until he manages to wreak revenge on his wife’s murderer and win the new girl to boot.

In a fast-paced, historical thriller, the first of a trilogy, McMenamin leaves us hoping Cockran’s skills as an investigator increase if he is to make it to the third book in one piece.

“Wicked Plants : A Review

This is the one book that should be on the reference shelf of every suspense, thriller or horror  novelist.

In an A to Z such as you have never read before, Stewart lays out the chemical nature of over two hundred plants that can be used to kill, blind, paralyze or at the very least, leave your victim curled up in bed very ill.

From deadly nightshade to killer algae, ratbane to hemlock, Stewart lays it all out on the line. If you want to kill off your victim in some mysterious, painful and particularly nasty way, she has a toxin to get the job done. White Snake root is what does in Mrs. Lincoln (Abe's mother). Known as milk sickness, the plant contaminated folks in the early-farm life of America, often wiping out entire families.

Written in entertaining jargon, hitting on the scientific, the historical and the medicinal, Stewart enlightens us to the use of weeds, plants and seeds and advises to “consider yourself warned”.

Rogue Island - A Review

Investigative journalist Mulligan drags us through the graft of the corruption that is Providence, Rhode Island,
his beat; one that includes both crooked and inept cops, the mobsters they are chasing and the politicians who fund them all. Definitely an eye-opener for me, who always had thought of our smallest State as being full of Portuguese fishermen thanks to Rudyard Kipling. He would be surprised at the change!

Mulligan is one of us, the common people. He has a wife he’s trying to divorce, a boss who is never satisfied, long-standing friends and an ulcer he is trying to nurse. He also has a couple of informants on the wrong side of the street, a bookie with ties to the local mobsters he is investigating and a girlfriend who is holding out again. He is also totally believable; the fl awed protagonist we can all relate to.

When a fire-bug starts burning down the neighborhood he grew up in, house by house, he takes to the streets with his newspaper colleagues in an effort to find out who is behind the fires. When he discovers the truth of who is really behind the tragedy, death and destruction, Mulligan is forced to take matters in his own hands.

Bruised, battered and scarred we are given an open-eyed tour of Mount Hope. What you find there may surprise you. With charisma, grit and the knowledge that all will be right in the world as long as the Red Sox win the pendant, DeSilva leads us through the world of the local newspaper reporter. In this tough, barred-knuckles fight the good guy is triumphant this time… until the next big story, and boy I’ll be waiting to read that one too.

Damage - A Review

Lescroart churns out his twenty-second novel with the ferocity of a mother lion defending her cub, and indeed she is. Mrs. Curtlee’s boy Ro has been tried for the rape and murder of the family maid and seeing as the Curtlee's own the local newspaper and had a lot to do with getting the new District Attorney elected, they want to get their unjustly-punished son out of jail.

Wes Farrell, the new DA is still getting his feet wet in San Francisco politics and allows a little infl uence to go a long way. As soon as Ro is out of jail, the bodies start turning up. One of the two witnesses who originally helped convict him is brutally murdered and her home burned, as is the wife of the lead juror who put him away. Ro has cojones, showing up at the home of lead homicide detective, Abe Glitsky, just to give him some of the same harassment the police are handing out. Is he that brazen or is it an attempt to make the
police believe he really is innocent, nothing to hide? When a lead investigator, who is following Ro shows up with a bullet in his head, the police decide enough is enough and do everything in their power to get Ro back in jail, before he kills the last witness standing.

Lescroart does a great job in casting suspicions to make you think perhaps a copy-cat rapist is at work. He shows the reader several out and out truths that the police are yet to discover, leaving his audience a step ahead, creating a sense of urgency as we hope that they will pick up on the clues before it’s too late. We find out that like a leopard, Ro just can’t change his spots, and after raping another household maid a week after getting his new-found freedom, Lescroart leads us down a coiling path that leaves you gasping, as twist after twist are unraveled in the end.

The Border Lords - A Review

Eighteen months is much longer than the average law enforcement officer stays undercover, but Sean Gravas
was so close that to pull him now would see months of operational expenses go down the drain. Hood made
the decision to leave him in. He was working with gang members, the North Baja Cartel, across the Mexican border to break a gunrunners ring suspected of smuggling in a thousand machine pistols.

When all the gang members in the home are brutally slain, Gravas appears to be implicated, so Hood solicits the help of Gravas’ wife Seliah to bring him out of his undercover role as Ozburn even if it means he has to face charges. Seliah notices changes in her husband’s behavior, which the Blowdown team put down to the stress of being undercover for so long, until she is threatened by the same viral disease that is rampaging through both their bodies and is diagnosed with rabies. Weeks from death, Seliah is placed in a coma while she heals. LASD tries to convince Gravas that he too is ill.

However, this is more than just a story about undercover agents the Mexican border, drugs, guns and murder. Just who is the mysterious priest, Father Joe Left wich? Recognized as a local drugdealer and snitch, a.k.a. Mike Finnegan, who claims to have ridden with Murietta over one hundred and eighty years ago and the truth of the blood-transmitted disease becomes clearer.

In this fast-paced, action thriller Parker has once again demonstrated the ability to keep his audience turning pages until the last drop of blood is accounted for, and provides just the right twist in the end. 

Frozen Assets - A Review

With a great play on words the title of this book takes us to the frigid conditions of Iceland and straight into the economic crisis that is afflicting global industry and banking in the twenty-first century.

Big business, corrupt government officials and bankrupt banks are in a head-on collision course; graft is rife and something just a little more sinister surfaces when the first body washes up on the shores of the small fishing village of Hvalvik. Recently widowed rural cop Gunnhildur, pursues the inquiry as a murder, against the better judgment of her commander, until the second body is discovered and a common link is found. Juggling her family and her inept colleagues, Gunnhildur is the force that stands between right and wrong—city mouse vs. country mouse.

Put in charge of the task force and expected to fail by her superiors, Gunnhildur turns Reykjavik upside down in an attempt to out-fox the foreign national who has disturbed the peace in the routine life of the gentle fi sherman of her Iceland. Along with juggling a novice journalist assigned to shadow her and reports from an anonymous blogger who seems to complicate matters by accusing the very offi cials she is tagging in her investigation, she sets out to bring peace to the district.

In his debut novel Bates gives us an insider’s view by exposing us to a world outside of our norm and at the same time shows us the very problems that exist in our country are shared to some degree globally. As the bodies stack up and Gunnhildur fi nally corners her man, be prepared for the final breath-taking chase that will leave you blinking in wonderment as the cat-and-mouse search boils over.

Murder in the Mangroves - A Review

The perfect little chic-lit for the beach and an easy quick read.

Mallie Monroe’s editor is on vacation and her replacement, the boss’ taskmaster of a twin sister, is pushing hard for a sensational story for the newspaper to boost sales. When the local mango queen is found dead, by none other than Mallie, she is assigned the story.
In the third tale of Coral Island Mysteries, we discover that Mallie is a bit of a body magnet. Th is is the third murder she has attempted to help solve. The Chief of Police, Nick Billie would have been fed up with her interference by now, except that he has cast an eye Mallie’s way romantically.

Now that a former boyfriend, surfer-boy Cole has shown up, a little island love-triangle is in the making.

As Mallie investigates the story for the island newspaper, will she help solve the crime or become the next body to be discovered?

Haunting tale of the international sex-trade

While attending a medical seminar in Istanbul, Meredith Fitzgerald, an engaged, beautiful, blonde, young lady is duped by her taxi driver in the old, city bazaars. Intent on spending one last day exploring Istanbul before leaving for India, to sprinkle her father’s ashes in the Ganges, she allows her guard down in the market environment. Instead of engaging in a tourist-style adventure she finds her tea laced with choral hydrate. Having been slipped a Mickey she slips into unconsciousness. When she awakens she finds herself naked, imprisoned in a dark room and realizes she has been raped.
Her fears mount as she realizes she has been taken prisoner by a sex-trade trafficker who, along with his American companion and bodyguards, conspire to move her to Mumbai, India. Fitzgerald gives up hope of being found, knowing her fiancé, Paul, will be searching in Turkey, not across the border in India, for her.
By making herself personal physician to Mrs. Pawar, Fitzgerald tries to curry favor and to place her in a situation where she can escape, not just from the ritual daily raping from her immediate kidnapper, but from under the noses of her Indian task-masters.
An on-the edge-of-your-seat, unforgettable adventure that takes us to the edge of madness and back and shows that with perseverance, and a never-say-die attitude, even the most evil circumstances can be triumphed over

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Final Option – A Review

When Lindy Roller gets her orders from the Cartel bosses she heads back north to Tucson. The notorious professional killer has orders to rub out another dead-beat loser who is being used as an example by the Mexican drug-dealers.

That Lindy has a past in Tucson is no concern to her boss, Juan Pacheco, but it is to her. Having staged an escape from the Pima County jail before fleeing to Mexico Lindy has many people in Tucson that would be happy to see her back behind bars. From the attorney Larry Ross who she duped into hiring her while she was nothing more than a spy for the opposition, to the head of homicide, Greg Kelly who was unwittingly having a torrid affair with her while she was the most wanted felon in Pima County to poor old Jim Pierson the deputy she had at her beck and call sexually while she planned her escape, not to mention the two other murder complainants who had charges dropped as she was not there to testify after her getaway.

The dead-beat cocaine user she was to put on ice was a top orthopedic surgeon whose life was beginning to unravel after a nasty divorce and a suspension from the hospital. Dr. Jeff Young was also being sued by a patient that he had operated on and caused terrible harm to. Larry Ross, the attorney that Lindy used to work for, was chasing down the malpractice suit and attaching the hospital’s bond and so their lives became entangled again.

When Lindy is apprehended and brought to trial it looks like a slam dunk for law enforcement in Pima County. The whole circus performance is out to make big waves I the media with the trial and until the elevator in the courthouse gets stuck on the inevitable day the prisoner is being transported to the courtroom it looks like they will finally get all the charges previously dropped re-charged. With so many possible people wanting Lindy out of the way she will have to be on her toes to avoid having final judgment passed this time.

In his third legal thriller featuring attorney Larry Ross, Rockafellow pulls out all the stops to a whirlwind crescendo of a tropical storm blowing in from Mexico making you wonder who will have survived when the waters finally roll back. This one blows it all away.

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