Monday, September 30, 2013

The Night Is Forever-Heather Graham

The Night Is Forever

Heather Graham

Mira, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315087

Marcus Danby established the Horse Farm near Nashville as a place to take care of deserted animals. Therapist Olivia Gordon finds Marcus’ body in what looks like a horrible riding accident caused by a drug overdose though he had been clean for three decades.

Already wondering how a top rider who knew every inch of the area could have fallen and having doubts about his addiction relapse, Liv’s concerns about her boss’ death become a certainty when Marcus’ ghost tells her he was murdered. She contacts her cousin Malachi Gordon (see The Night Is Alive), an FBI Krewe of Hunters agent who knows of her ability to communicate with ghosts. He informs Krewe unit Chief Jackson Crowe who assigns Dustin Blake on his first case to investigate the Horse Farm paranormal activity and the death. Dustin and Liv are attracted to each other from their first meeting and their feelings are strengthened by both sharing the paranormal skill of seeing ghosts especially with so many in the area. However, the killer plans to silence the only person claiming homicide.

Though similar in tone to the previous “Night” thrillers (see The Night Is Watching), this Krewe of Hunters paranormal romantic police procedural is an entertaining investigative entry enhanced by the ghosts from a nearby Civil War era massacre bringing alive the local history. Action-packed from the moment Marcus’ spirit pleads with Liv, readers will relish visiting the haunts of the greater Nashville area.

Harriet Klausner

Sleep With the Lights On-Maggie Shayne

Sleep With the Lights On

Maggie Shayne

Mira, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315544

Famous self-help inspirational author Rachel de Luca visits the police station demanding information on her missing brother Tommy, a homeless addict. The cop blows her away. Using her cane to leave but distracted by her concern for Tommy, Rachel fails to pay attention to her surroundings. A car driven by Police Detective Mason Brown hits blind Rachel. Later on that same day, Mason watches helplessly as his brother Eric commits suicide; leaving behind a pregnant wife and kids.

Mason donates Eric’s organs and Rachel receives the corneas for a transplant. Seeing for the first time since she was a child, Rachel adapts to a sight world. However, the writer also has visions of a serial killer. Rachel and Mason team up searching for her sibling and a psychopath.

Though the eye transplant premise is not new, Sleep with the Lights On is a thrilling paranormal romantic police procedural. The leads are fresh characters; as Rachel is cynical and uses profanity; and Mason is a good cop but conceals secrets that question his ethics. Fast-paced with an engaging twist, sub-genre readers will enjoy this thriller as evil always finds a willing host while good manifests itself in love.

Harriet Klausner

Going Once-Sharon Sala

Going Once

Sharon Sala

Mira, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780778315483

In Queens Crossing, Louisiana, her late Mama wakes up feverish Nola Landry who finds her life in peril by the flooding Mississippi as the torrent has continued for days. Needing high ground immediately, she climbs a tree. However, Nola witnesses the horror of The Stormchaser serial killer murdering three neighbors.

No one ever saw this psychopath who preys on people during the aftermath of a natural disaster; that is no one has seen his face until now. FBI profiler Tate Benton and his partners arrive in his hometown Queens Crossing to investigate the latest homicides. Tate also vows to protect his former college girlfriend Nola because he believes the Stormchaser will target the woman he still loves; as no one who has seen this predator’s face lives.

This is an exciting second chance romantic suspense with the emphasis on catching the murderer before he kills the witness. The keys to this great tale are that the reason for the leads’ initial split is deftly and rapidly dealt with as is the poignancy of caring for a beloved ailing elderly parent; so that the focus predominantly is on the present dangerous situation. Although the psychopath’s motive seems plausible Stormchaser provided no rationale to this terrific taut Forces of Nature thriller.

Harriet Klausner

I Only Have Eyes for You-Bella Andre

I Only Have Eyes for You

Bella Andre

Mira, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315599

When Sophie Sullivan was five years old, she liked her older brothers’ friend eleven years old Jake McCann. Now almost two decades later, Sophie the librarian attends her brother Chase’s wedding (see The Look Of Love) where she has an epiphany; being the “Nice” quiet Sullivan will never win the heart of her beloved Jake the best man so she must be bold like her twin “Naughty” Lori.

Sophie seduces Jake. Although he never had a better time in his life, Jake flees as he believes he is unworthy of Sophie and her love. Not long after he left Sophie heartbroken, Jake knows he erred as he realizes he needs her with him and has an epiphany in which she must decide whether he is good enough for her. However, a scared Sophie no longer trusts Jake with her heart.

The fourth Sullivan siblings’ romance (after Can’t Help Falling in Love and From This Moment On) is a strong complex drama. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing while the extended Sullivan brood adds depth to a wonderful contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bound By Night-Larissa Ione

Bound By Night

Larissa Ione

Pocket, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781476700175

When Nicole Martin was a young child, her father told her that animals can be domesticated but never tamed and that vampires are animals. The vampires, including most of those in the Martin household, revolt. They kill most of Nicole’s family and her beloved nanny Terese, who though a vampire died protecting her.

Years later the horror that happened when she was eight shapes her as the adult; Nicole works at the Daedelus Corporation seeking a means to eradicate vampires a. Moonbound Clan leader Hunter directs Riker to lead an assault on the Martin compound in order to take hostages. They need humans to exchange for captured ShadowSpawn Clan vampiress Neriya before in-fighting occurs. Riker, still grieving the death of his mate Terese and knowing her family enslaved his, abducts Nicole; but loathes himself for desiring the human sworn to bring his species to extinction.

The first Moonbound Clan Vampires paranormal romance is an action-packed star-crossed urban fantasy. The clan’s hatred of Nicole sets a strong background, but the heroine becomes a Stockholm syndrome victim to the lead male protecting her. Although her cooperation happens faster than the speed of light and supersedes to quickly years of revenge motivation, fans will enjoy this heated cross species thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Silent Assassin-Leo J. Maloney

Silent Assassin

Leo J. Maloney

Pinnacle, Aug 27 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9780786029914

In the Paris Metro, the bombs at a crowded station leave thirty-two dead including three Americans and much more in critical condition. Three months earlier a New York to Atlanta plane crashed due to the release of mustard gas leaving all 107 on board and six on the ground dead. Barcelona and Oslo followed with mass deaths and now Paris.

Desperate to end the terrorism, the Feds turn to the Zeta Division for help. They assign the operation to their top gun retired CIA agent Dan “Cobra” Morgan. His mission is to terminate former KGB operative turned international arms dealer Nikolai Novokoff, find and secure this terrorist’s biological weapons of mass destruction cache threatening major Western cities and identify the person behind the Russian. Cobra’s first effort in Bucharest fails while the enemy targets his wife and son in Andover.

The latest Cobra thriller (see Termination Orders) is an exhilarating action-packed over the top of Holt Hill tale. Fast-paced, readers who ignore their plausibility meter will appreciate this entertaining exciting story.

Harriet Klausner

Roxy's Story-V.C. Andrews

Roxy's Story

V.C. Andrews

Pocket, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451650884

In New York City, when compliant Emmie Wilcox was six years old, her martinet Papa excommunicated her rebellious teenage sister Roxy for breaking his rigid rules; his daughter was arrested three times and numerous complaints from other parents and problems at school including stealing. Over the next few years, Papa cleansed any evidence that he had an older daughter and raged whenever her French Mama mentioned the forbidden name.

At a bookstore, she “sorta” takes a book and gives it to a stranger, Columbia student Steve Carson who seemed to want it but obviously lacked the funds; their relationship fails though he is no longer a virgin as he panics over her being under eighteen but gave her confidence that she can pick up men (and boys). When she meets Robert “Mr. Bob” Diamont, he takes her to Mrs. Brittany, who mentors her in the lucrative world of upper class escorts. Over the next decade, Roxy satisfies the needs of the most affluent elitists until she learns her parents are dead and she is guardian to her teenage sister.

The latest Forbidden family drama is more a companion filler to Forbidden Sister, but lacks the profound relationship dynamics of the previous tale (between the siblings; parents ignored). The storyline focuses on the life of an upscale Manhattan escort while the reason Papa tossed his oldest out and why Mama chose death by cancer over treatment are glossed over.

Harriet Klausner

Amy Falls Down-Jincy Willett

Amy Falls Down

Jincy Willett

Dunne, Jul 9 2013, $24.99

ISBN: 9781250028273

At one time, Amy Gallup was considered a budding superstar as her novels and short stories were well received. However that Amy Gallup has vanished along with her out of print books. Instead, three decades later she is a long time semi-hermit in Escondido leading writing workshops.

Just before an interview with San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Holly Mary Antoon doing a where are they now article, Amy trips in her yard and bangs her head. The interview follows a few hours later, but Amy’s responses are weird and quickly go viral making her a household name again. She begins writing leading to renewed popularity as everyone wants her especially when Amy disdains fleeting fifteen minutes of fame. Amy also finds herself no longer able to cocoon in comfort concealed from the world as she begins to analyze why she vanished after her initial success.

The sequel to The Writing Class is an engaging satirical character study as Amy after the fall rises like a Phoenix from the ashes, but no longer cares about social correctness; her interviewers learn the hard way that she no longer is concerned about their bull. The amusing entertaining storyline mocks the pompousness of the literary world while also providing a profound look into the author’s psyche as she ponders why she stopped writing and voluntarily vanished.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Butterfly Cove-Christina Skye

Butterfly Cove

Christina Skye

Harlequin HQN, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777853

Twelve minutes after Seattle architect Olivia Sullivan completes her latest project, a stranger enters her office and gives her an envelope before leaving. Inside is her termination letter without explanation as to why and not even signed by anyone; management never hinted or told her in person. Two minutes after that, a security guard collects her keys. Stunned, Olivia heads home to Summer Island where her three Island Yarns’ BFFs welcome her back and enlist her help on their project. She also plans to learn more about how her late distant father left nothing as he apparently drained her money as well as his.

Her high school boyfriend Rafe Russo has also returned to Summer Island after serving with the military in Afghanistan. Though considered a bad boy as a teen, he has become a deputy sheriff. They meet for the first time in years due to a terrible car accident in which her driving heroics help save some school children though Olivia is injured. Both know the attraction remains stropospheric, but she needs a job and her father’s mystery resolved while he feels his PTSD makes him a terrible candidate for Olivia.

The latest Summer Island romance (see A Home by the Sea and The Accidental Bride) is an engaging contemporary due to the lead wounded warriors battling personal demons that could nuke their relationship. The key subplot of what happened to Olivia's money is unresolved, which leaves the storyline feeling incomplete in spite of the super main second chance at love theme.

Harriet Klausner

So Tough to Tame-Victoria Dahl

So Tough to Tame

Victoria Dahl

Harlequin HQN, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777891

The scandal in Nevada cost Charlotte “Charlie” Allington her job and forced her return home to Jackson, Wyoming. Still humiliated by what happened and treated with contempt by her family (except for cousin Nate) and her new employer, Charlie vows to insure there is nothing else for others to gossip about her.

However, good intentions end when she meets cowboy Walker Pearce for the first time since she was his high school tutor. Charlie wants him and he feels the same way about her. As they begin a heated tryst, each falls in love but both have doubts that they are worthy of the other. Then a scandal occurs with her in the crosshairs.

So Tough to Tame is an enjoyable heated romance starring two flawed individuals. Charlie has the Nevada scandal haunting her as what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas and Walker hides his dyslexia that makes him feel inadequate especially with brilliant Charlie. Although the relationship seems underdeveloped (outside the boudoir) readers will enjoy the brain and the dropout falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Getting Rowdy-Lori Foster

Getting Rowdy

Lori Foster

Harlequin HQN, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777792

Getting Rowdy bar owner Rowdy Yates turned a dive into a fresh upscale establishment. He gives a lot of credit to the dramatic turn around to former bar girl turned chief bartender Avery Mullins. Both also are attracted to each other, but Avery rejects a relationship between them using her refusal to become an employer-employee scratch on his bedpost as her rationale.

Rowdy sees the desire in her eyes and needs to know why she refuses to act on her feelings while also wondering why she keeps looking over her shoulder. Rowdy will soon learn the truth of all her why’s when Avery’s abusive ex arrives in town with demands.

The third Love Undercover romantic suspense (see Run the Risk and Bare It All) is an exhilarating fast-paced thriller that grips the audience even before the villains make their initial appearance from the way Avery always looks back. Readers will appreciate the in heat lead couple “Getting Rowdy with Avery” while the unwelcome visitors add tension to a fabulous contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Search The Dark-Marta Perry

Search The Dark

Marta Perry

Harlequin HQN, Sep 24 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777860

When Widow Rachel Mason, accompanied by her daughter, came home to Deer Run (see Home by Dark), she and her childhood BFF Meredith King reminisce about how much they loved Amish kid Aaron Mast who drowned at Parson’s Dam two decades ago. They began looking back at that summer leading to the conclusion that Aaron probably committed suicide. Meredith’s Amish cousin Sarah needs the truth so pleads with her to investigate the cold case. Though she wonders what an accountant is supposed to find that the cops did not, Meredith agrees to look deeper into what happened.

As a high school senior Zach Randal fled Deer Run when his girlfriend Meredith’s mom accused him of being a thief; Meredith refused to go with him. Now he is police detective back in town deciding what to do with the house he inherited from his stepmom. When Zach and Meredith meet for the first time since he went into exile, each realizes the attraction between them remains strong. He also gives her suggestions on how to conduct her inquiry while her ailing mom tells her to stay away from that bad boy. As she receives warnings to drop her inquiry, a related murder occurs.

The second Watcher in the Dark is a taut second chance at love romantic suspense. The heroine remains in town to care for her ungrateful mother, but also displays her courage when she ignores her mom’s rants re their Amish relatives and Zach while continuing her investigation in spite of threats and a homicide. As with Home By Dark, the family and romance subplots support the suspense as the danger remains the prime focus in this tense twisting thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 27, 2013

Christmas In Lucky Harbor-Jill Shalvis

Christmas In Lucky Harbor

Jill Shalvis

Forever, Sep 24 2013, $8.00

ISBN: 9781455547531

“Simply Irresistible.” Maddie kicks her abusive boyfriend to the curb, loses her job and inherits a share of a resort in Lucky Harbor, Washington with her two half-sisters. Upon arriving in town, she runs Jax off the road and shares kisses with the hunk. Soon afterward, she contacts JC Builders to work on her hotel. JC stands for Jax Cullen who tries to persuade Maddie they belong together, but she has doubts.

“The Sweetest Thing.” Tara and her two half-sisters agree to operate the Lucky Harbor B&B and marina. Tara runs into her teenage sweetheart Ford. They had a child Mia who reluctantly but rightfully gave up for adoption. His efforts for a second chance are impeded by her ex-husband, injured NASCAR driver Logan trying for his second chance.

“Kissing Santa Claus.” Having failed at reconciliation with Tara, Logan realizes his error was not trying for a second chance with the woman who owns his heart Sandy.

“Under The Mistletoe.” Both given up for adoption as babies, Mia and Nick recently ended their relationship leaving her heartbroken until he comes to Lucky Harbor seeking a second chance.

This delightful anthology includes the first two Lucky Harbor romances (Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing) and two shorts (Kissing Santa Claus and Under The Mistletoe). The entries engage the audience with warm loving plots though the novels tend to slow down in the middle and the short stories never fully develop the lead newcomers.

Harriet Klausner

The Trouble With Christmas-Debbie Mason

The Trouble With Christmas

Debbie Mason

Forever, Sep 24 2013, $6.00

ISBN: 9781455527687

In New York City Harrison Hartwell presented a proposal for a resort in Christmas, Colorado to Uncle Joe, Hartwell Enterprises’ boss. The firm’s VP of Finance Madison Lane recommends not doing this venture as Hartwell will go bankrupt. The townsfolk are disheartened as they needed the resort to bring in needed revenue and jobs.

Harrison turns to the media blaming Madison for destroying the dreams of seniors and children. The New York Times picks up the story of "The Grinch Who Killed Christmas". Needing damage control, Joe dispatches Madison to Christmas to find a way to turn the town into a lucrative wintry hotspot or she becomes unemployed. Like most residents, the single dad town Sheriff Gage McBride loathes the Grinch, but also detests his attraction to the naughty New Yorker; while she also causes near riots starting with her assault on the Santa welcome sign.

The Trouble With Christmas is a fun madcap holiday romance starring the Grinch who stole the sheriff’s heart. Fast-paced from the moment Madison’s BFF at the Daily News informs her she is the Times’ headliner, fans will appreciate this zany entertaining yuletide contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

A Lady Most Lovely-Jennifer Delamere

A Lady Most Lovely

Jennifer Delamere

Forever, Sep 24 2013, $6.00

ISBN: 9781455518968

In 1852 Tom Poole returns from Australia to become the star of the London social season because almost everyone believes he rode a horse to shore after a shipwreck and allegedly caroused with the naked Aborigines in Australia. His finding gold only enhances his reputation though he is frustrated as the Ton’s truths are not totally true.

He is attracted to the wealthiest socialite in England, Margaret Vaughn, but she is engaged to Paul Denault, a duke’s nephew. Margaret accepted Paul’s proposal not out of love but out of necessity as her late father left the family with massive debts that they cannot pay so she seeks a wealthy spouse. Instead she learns her fiancé is another impoverished aristocrat after her alleged fortune and lofty social position. Tom offers her financial aid while hoping to persuade Margaret that in spite of his much lower status, he also tends his heart to her.

The second Love’s Grace Victorian romance (see An Heiress At Heart) is a wonderful historical due to the strong cast especially the protagonists. Fans will enjoy the no longer an affluent lady and the nouveau riche social inferior falling in love, but that may not be enough for her to trust anyone with her heart.

Harriet Klausner

Twist-John Lutz


John Lutz

Pinnacle, Sep 24 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9780786028290

In 1984 Medford City, Kansas, pregnant Abbey drives her truck on an isolated road when it overheats. Seemingly kind-hearted Mildred gives her a lift only to duct tape the young woman and gut her with a knife.

In the present in New York City, someone drugs and duct tapes Bonnie Anderson before surgically slicing off her eyelids and cutting open her stomach as she watches in horror. The killer places a cheap Statue of Liberty inside the corpse. When a second similar murder occurs, Police Commissioner Rentz hires Q&A Investigative Agency to work the brutal homicides because former NYPD detective Frank Quinn is experienced with serial killers. Carlie Hobbs, the niece of Frank’s ex-wife May, visits Q&A saying someone is stalking her; she fits the description of the victims so Frank places her under the protection of his team. As more slaughters occur, Frank uses a TV show and an inheritance to try to capture the brilliant psychopath, but knows who he needs to offer as the perfect lure.

The latest Frank Quinn and Associates investigative tale is an exciting serial killer thriller. The chilling storyline is action-packed as the Liberty killer has no problems with seducing his victims before torturing them to death; he makes the case that the child is the adult. Although the plot loses some of its edginess when it turns into a cat and mouse game between Frank and Liberty since the psychopath (and readers) gains nothing by playing; sub-genre fans will enjoy following the twisted mind of a brilliant maniac taking NYC hostage.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tropic of Darkness-Tony Richards

Tropic of Darkness

Tony Richards

Pocket, Sep 17 2013, $1.99

ISBN: 9781476727097

In 1958, a disgusted and disappointed Meyer Lansky flies from Vegas to Havana. Two big goons meet him at the airport to tell him that Mario Mantegna is acting strange by insisting she is “under my skin” and he needs her back. Meyer confronts Mario though a closed hotel suite door; instead of responding Mario kills himself.

In 1995, Frank returns from a business trip to his home in Toronto. His wife Ellen notices him acting strange as he sings in his sleep about a girl “under my skin”. She can’t wake him up so calls Dr. Hague; Frank kills himself with a knife.

A few days after Frank’s suicide, Jack Gilliard arrives in Havana. This is his latest stop while on his decade-long musical tour of the world with his cornet since he left his unhappy home in America when he was a teenager; his only other possession he prizes is a knife. Jack hopes to play some gigs in Cuba, but instead has haunting dreams of the Mafia ruling the island in the 1950s and Castro’s revolution. Disoriented Jack soon learns of an ancient curse involving a girl “under my skin” that once inside his head leads to suicide; to escape he must leave the island before he becomes the latest person singing I’ve Got You Under My Skin” as his funeral hymn.

Putting aside the late great Cole Porter’s reaction, Tropic of Darkness is an exciting horror thriller as the past haunts the present. Flashbacks add depth to understanding the curse and the related betrayal with Jack, due to his past, as the latest target of the darkness.

Harriet Klausner

Aunty Lee's Delights-Ovidia Yu

Aunty Lee's Delights

Ovidia Yu

Morrow, Sep 17 2013, $14.99

ISBN 9780062227157

In the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore the young couple in love walk the beach when they see the plastic that looks like a large dead jellyfish. When they get closer they see the corpse inside the bag.

Widow Rosie “Aunty” Lee hosts her stepson Mark’s wine-tasting party at her Aunty Lee’s Delights Restaurant. Mark’s wife receives a text from Laura Kwee who says she will not make it. Police Commissioner Raja and Senior Staff Sergeant Salim arrive at the restaurant to interview Aunty Lee, her stepson and their guests as the victim in the plastic bag is Laura Kwee who forensics says was probably in the water for three days. Aunty Lee and maid Nina Balignasay investigate the homicide of the guest who failed to come to dinner.

This Singaporean Mystery is an enjoyable whodunit as Aunty Lee feels obligated to solve the homicide as the victim was a guest. She adapts her recipe-creating skill to her inquiry with the help of her sidekick Nina. Although the rest of the cast are stereotypes of the amateur sleuth subgenre, readers will appreciate the two female detectives as they work the case in a fresh locale.

Harriet Klausner

Mother, Mother-Koren Zailckas

Mother, Mother

Koren Zailckas

Crown, Sep 17 2013, $24.00

ISBN: 9780385347235

Matriarch Josephine Hurst runs a tight ship as she expects her three children and husband Douglas to obey her demands in order to maintain their perfect life though the youngest, tweener home-schooled William, is imperfect suffering from Asperger Syndrome and epilepsy. When the oldest child Rose flees the nest to move in with her boyfriend, Josephine is aghast with this transgression and tightens the rules on her remaining children Will and his older sister Violet. While their weak father turns to alcohol to numb his obeying his wife’s orders, Violet uses drugs and Will turns to Mother.

When Violet is stoned, Will is slashed. Josephine accuses Violet who cannot remember what occurred that night. Her mother commits her to a psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile Violet searches for what happened to Rose who never contacted her after she fled home; and Will seeking for someone to say good boy to him grows even closer to his mother.

Mother, Mother is an exciting dark psychological thriller that rotates perspective between Will and Violet. Will is the more fascinating family member with his needs for acceptance and belonging lead him ironically turning to the one person who will always keep his self-esteem in the cesspool. Violet begins to understand that happiness in the Hurst family must be initiated by Mother only, which means for the daughter to live she must cut off all ties like the vanished Rose did.

Harriet Klausner

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna-Liz Curtis Higgs

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna

Liz Curtis Higgs

WaterBrook, Sep 17 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781601425416

Descendants of Aaron, righteous Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah the priest prayed to the Lord for a child, but though she remained barren she still remained faithful to God while her mate became a doubter even after Gabriel visited him. Engaged to Joseph the carpenter, Mary the chosen one gratefully thanks Gabriel for the Lord honoring her with bearing his son but wonders how a virgin can give birth; while her betrothed obeys the angel by marrying her. Elderly Widow Anna never leaves the Temple as she prays to the Lord to allow her the glimpse of the Messiah before God takes her.

The three generations of believing Women (and their doubting men) of Christmas is a wonderful scholarly account of the nativity. The biblical citations make a strong case that though not understanding the lord’s mysterious ways each woman thanks God for involving them in the birth of the Messiah.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Torn Blood-David J. Bain

Torn Blood

David J. Bain

Bo Iti Press, Sep 17 2013, $17.99

ISBN: 9780988171008

In 2007 in Kazakhstan at the Stepnogorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology, attendees discuss deploying a new strand of undetectable airborne anthrax in Palestine. Not only will this strain kill the population, it can be neutralized afterward so that the Palestinians can go home after a six-decade exile.

A few months later, the new Consular Officer Addison Deverell reports to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv three weeks before his due date. He sits for hours at the embassy until Arabic Hafiz IbnMansur arrives from Jerusalem to escort him around the country and teach him how to survive by avoiding being an easy American target. However, he came early not to play tourist, but to learn more about his past. Instead Deverell becomes embroiled in a dangerous bioweapon plot to destroy the Zion State and replace it with a Palestine homeland. Meanwhile in Oregon, Dr. Janelle Henning receives a message that shakes her existence and has her considering a trip to the Holy Land.

This is an action-packed thriller that focuses on biological weapons of mass destruction while also providing insight into what it means to be an Israeli as identity matters. Fast-paced from the opening discussion on anthrax and never slowing down, readers will appreciate this exciting tale as no compromise and no surrender remains the values of a small nation as depicted by the “relative size” map.

Harriet Klausner

Strange Bird-Anna Jansson; translated by Paul Norlén

Strange Bird

Anna Jansson; translated by Paul Norlén

Stockholm Text, Sep 17 2013, $14.95

ISBN 9789187173950

On Gotland Island, the pigeon lands at Ruben Nilsson’s dovecote. Soon afterward Nilsson dies from avian flu. Others become ill and die causing a panic as the epidemic spreads; a shortfall of medication makes it worse as Tamiflu fails to stop the contagion while the sick are quarantined. When young campers catch the disease, they are isolated adding to the anxieties. Detective Inspector Marian Wern fears for her tweener son Emil who is among those held in isolation.

Meanwhile at the Vigoris Health Center, Nurse Sandra Hägg discovers a shocking revelation. Only someone wants her finding buried so Sandra is murdered in her apartment. Worried about her child, Wern struggles to concentrate on her homicide investigation.

This is a strong Swedish thriller that looks deeply into how first responders, medical personnel and the general population deal with an out of control lethal contagion in which money buys health even in a highly socialized system. As the death count grows, panic exponentially rises faster because those depended upon to end the epidemic not only are failing but are dying too. The murder mystery is clever, but it is the community’s reaction to the deadly disease that makes this a profound tale.

Harriet Klausner

Long Gone Man-Phyllis Smallman

Long Gone Man

Phyllis Smallman

Touchwood Mystery, Sep 17 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781771510301

Two decades ago in Arizona, Singer Brown was singing with the band Vortex when she met Michael, the love of her life. When he vanished without a trace, she mentally collapsed relying on drugs to help her make it past her nightmares. Recently, Michael’s murdered remains were found in the desert. Seeking revenge, Singer heads to British Columbia’s Gulf Islands to confront the Vortex band leader Johnny Vibes who she believes killed her beloved as she doubts he wrote his only quality tune Long Gone Man.

In a thick fog the ferry takes her to Glenphiddie Island. At the dock she drives her Beast up the narrow road on Mt. Skeena, but is forced to flee her decrepit van as it teeters on the edge. When she arrives at Vibes’ home, she meets his wife Lauren and finds her target murdered. Singer and Lauren agree to provide a joint alibi to Royal Mounted Police Sergeant Wilmot so that the cop can concentrate on finding the real killer. Singer investigates the two homicides twenty years apart by looking at the band and their families; while one of them wants her dead.

With Sherri Travis taking a well-deserved Florida respite, talented Phyllis Smallman starts a new exciting mystery series diagonally across the continent. Singer is terrific and the cops competent; but it is the angry band members and their families who make for a strong amateur sleuth as the audience, Wilmot and the heroine uncover their guilt, rage and greed. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate the first act while expecting encores.

Harriet Klausner

Done-Raw Edges


Raw Edges

Sandra D. Bricker

Abingdon Press, Sep 17 2013, $12.99


ISBN: 9781426752759

Dying Jenna McDonough wants to leave her daughter Sadie with her love and solace. Thus she writes a journal to help her beloved child move on. One year after Jenna died, Gray still reads his wife’s words of wisdom to his daughter as they find comfort with Jenna’s writings, but each mourns deeply their loss.

In Tampa, the Ovacare cancer support group invites the grieving father and daughter to a meeting, which they decide to go. The attendees discuss am ovarian cancer memory quilt, a project headed by cancer survivor Annabelle Curtis. Caring Annabelle persuades Gray and Sadie to join the quilting project.

The latest Quilts of Love inspirational (see Pieces of the Heart Bonnie Calhoun, A Healing Heart by S. Dionne Moore and Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane) is a gripping family drama as grief is personalized but moving on can be helped by understanding people. The journal entries are soul-touching and along with the group sessions bring hope to the single dad and his daughter. Although the romance is well-written, that subplot feels unnecessary as Sandra Bricker provides a powerfully poignant look at the aftermath of first-hand cancer combat on the mourning surviving loved ones and on the Purple Heart survivors.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 23, 2013

Four Summoner’s Tales-Kelly Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss, and Jonathan Maberry

Four Summoner’s Tales

Kelly Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss, and Jonathan Maberry

Gallery, Sep 17 2013, $16.00

ISBN 9781451696684

“Suffer The Children” by Kelly Armstrong. A few centuries ago, a diphtheria epidemic wiped out over thirty percent of the isolated population of Chestnut Hill, Canada with many of the victims children. Two strangers offer the grieving townsfolk a chance to bring back those who died within the last 96 hours but the preacher and tweener orphan Addie warn the others but they prove too late when remittance of the usury price occurs.

“Pipers” by Christopher Golden. The Matamoros Cartel terrorizes the border town of Lansdale, Texas with almost two dozen murders as retaliation for the interference into their trafficking by the Texas Volunteer Border patrol. Angry resident Vickers tells those who lost someone to the brutal cartel that the time for revenge is now. He wants to raise an army of their undead loved ones.

“A Bad Season For Necromancy” by David Liss. In eighteenth century England, the con artist uses the book for raising the dead to blackmail wealthy widows who do not want the return of am angry husband.

“Alive Day” by Jonathan Maberry. In Afghanistan, Captain Joe Ledger and his Echo Team back-up Rattlesnake Team on a counterdrug mission against the Taliban, but instead the Americans confront something deadlier that later none of the survivors can provide a rationale explanation for.

These four diverse fantasies share the premise of “A strange visitor comes to town, offering to raise the townsfolk’s dearly departed from the dead—for a price.” Each is chillingly well written, but the standout is David Liss’ clever historical.

Harriet Klausner

Cowboy Resurrected-Elle James

Cowboy Resurrected

Elle James

Harlequin Intrigue, Sep 17 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373697182

“Cowboy Resurrected.” Pregnant Sophia Carranza flees her Mexican home to escape from her ex-fiancé ruthless Antonio Martinez and his cartel. Still grieving the deaths of his family, former Wild Oak Canyon Sheriff Thorn Drennon, now works undercover for Hank Derringer’s Covert Cowboys, Inc. He captures the illegal crosser who he knows needs to be left with the authorities. Instead Thorn follows his instincts and vows to keep her safe even if it jeopardizes his mission and job. He soon realizes he underestimated the cost as the monster and his horde pursue her; placing his life and eventually his heart at risk.

“Killer Body.” In Webb County, former Special Ops soldier Dawson Gray still feels remorse and guilt for not being there when his wife and baby died. He loathes his Lone Star assignment to protect amnesiac Savvy Jones, a murder suspect as he does not want the responsibility. However, as hit men target Savvy while she tries to remember killing the son of a drug cartel kingpin and shooting herself in the head, Dawson risks his life to keep her safe.

Though the males’ second chance theme is identical, the getting there differs even as both entries are exciting romantic suspense. Cowboy Resurrected is the fourth CCI thriller (see Bodyguard Under Fire, Taking Aim and Triggered) while Killer Body is a reprint of a Lone Star Agency tale.

Harriet Klausner

Ready, Aim…I Do-Debra Webb

Ready, Aim…I Do

Debra Webb

Harlequin Intrigue, Sep 17 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373697168

“Ready, Aim…I Do.” Mission Recovery Deputy Director Emmett Holt assigns specialist Jason Grant to go undercover in Vegas. When CIA operative Ginger Olin observes the former sniper being drugged, she intervenes by temporarily marrying him to buy them time. Whereas she pursues the sale of a deadly virus; he has been set up to take the fall of a sniper targeting civilians. The newlyweds spend their honeymoon searching for the biological weapon and its purchaser, and who targeted James and why.

“Missing.” In Bay Minette, Alabama, someone kidnaps Polly Shepherd. Her frantic paternal Aunt Melissa Shepherd calls the man who broke her heart years ago, Equalizer Jonathan Foley. Feeling he owes her, Foley arrives from Chicago vowing to bring home safe the little girl though he quickly finds numerous suspects including family members.

These are two fast-paced romantic suspense thrillers with the investigations superseding the respective love subplot and the link being the Colby-Camp/Camp couple. Missing is a reprint of a new Equalizer thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Lost and Found Husband-Sheri Whitefeather

Lost and Found Husband

Sheri Whitefeather

Harlequin Special Edition, Sep 17 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373657742

Seven years ago, Eric Reeves’s wife Corrine died. Lonely the forty-two year old widower eats out a lot rather than stay at home. His favorite place to dine in Southern California is the diner where bubbly twenty-six year old community college student Dana Peterson works as a waitress. Though he is attracted to her, Eric will not act on his feelings as he has a daughter Kaley her age and feels survivor guilt.

Dana has flirted a lot with Eric since he became a regular. Thinking he is yummy, she asks him out on a Valentine’s Day date. He tries to persuade her he is too old for her, but she prevails. They make love; but feeling not ready for a relationship, he tells her never again, and he even stops coming to the diner. Five weeks later, Dana tests she is pregnant because they unwittingly used an expired condom. Believing she is the latest generation to suffer her family’s unwed motherhood curse; she contacts Eric. He insists on doing the responsible thing with covering health insurance and child care payments.

The latest Family Renewal drama (see Lost and Found Father) is an engaging tale starring two wonderful caring protagonists and a strong support cast; especially her friend Candy and Kaley. Character-driven, fans will enjoy the unborn matchmaker enabling his parents to have the time to forge a loving relationship if her dad takes a second chance on his heart.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul-Jon F. Merz

The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul

Jon F. Merz

Baen, Sep 3 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451639162

Ran the Shinobujin of the Nine Daggers Clan in the Gakur Mountains begins his post-graduation shugyo travels amidst the outside world, but lacks funds to pay for passage across the Dark Sea. At a bar, he observes a man place a knife against the throat of a wealthy patron; interceding Ran rescues Vargul the northern trader. To thank the Good Samaritan, Vargul, who is shipping goods on the Aqaria across the Dark Sea, pays for Ran’s passage to Chulai.

On board, Ran meets Kancho the drunk but knows the man is faking his intoxication to hide that he is a Murai warrior, and Neviah bodyguard to Jysal the young woman journeying to join a temple. At sea, a horrific torrent forces the ship off course until the Aqaria beaches on the reefs near the Cliffs of Doom with most on board dead. The captain and five passengers (as named above) make it to the beach. The next day Vulgar has vanished and by the following morning, only Ran and Jysal remain on the beach unaware that Kan-Gul the sorcerer has brought them here to take the young lady’s power in order to amplify his own; he deploys his shadow warrior undead hordes to destroy anyone in his path.

The first Shadow Warrior fantasy is an exciting ninja vs. zombie thriller. The fast-paced storyline deploys a teen slasher premise to eliminate the stranded one at a time rather than a swift deployment of magic or the horde. Readers will enjoy this opening act as the two remaining survivors fight for their lives against The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul.

Harriet Klausner

Soul Kissed-Erin Kellison

Soul Kissed

Erin Kellison

Zebra, Sep 3 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420118988

With the Shadow magically poisoned, the pandemic rapid spread of the plague threatens all of magekind. Cari Dolan knows first-hand the impact as her father, powerful head of a major House, lies dead from this scourge. However, she is not allowed time to grieve, curse her loss or understand the magic she inherited with her dad’s death; the Council orders her to team up with unaffiliated Mason Stray to learn who deployed the deadly disease and hopefully with this assailant find the cure or prevention.

As a youngster Cari was attracted to the dynamic outsider, but loathes that she still is. Mason distrusts anyone belonging to the Houses especially an untested pampered tyro leader when his son is in peril. He also feels like a traitor because he detests his attraction to his teammate.

The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of forbidden love in the latest Shadow Kissed romantic urban fantasy (see Fire Kissed). Although the lead couple is a delightful teaming of distrusting amateur sleuthing mages, the sinister villain owns the thrilling whodunit storyline. Readers will relish this entry in the Kellison Shadow realm.

Harriet Klausner

Gentle On My Mind-Susan Fox

Gentle On My Mind

Susan Fox

Zebra, Sep 3 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420131925

In Caribou Crossing, British Columbia fortyish Brooke Kincaid deals with being a recovering alcoholic who suffers from bipolar disorder. She feels stable as her illnesses are under control though she must remain diligent as she knows what happens when she drops her guard. Brooke is happy that her son Evan came home and let her back in his life; he married a single mom; and his wife is pregnant (see Home On The Range).

Riding a motorcycle, undercover RCMP Corporal Jake Brannon crashes into Brooke’s fence. She helps the wounded cop inside her home. Jake says he needs her knowledge of Caribou Crossing to help him solve a dangerous drug case. Attracted to each other, they make love, but ironically her disorders are not what keeps them apart nor do the danger of his undercover work; it is his bone marrow deep belief that he is unworthy of love that is the issue that threatens them.

The latest Caribou Crossing Canadian contemporary tale is a wonderful romantic police procedural due to the unique lead heroine who has turned from an out of control maniac to a warrior battling her mental health issues. Brooke’s goal is for her beloved son and daughter-in-law to not just let her back into their lives but for them to trust her with her step-granddaughter and in a few months with her grandchild. Though the male protagonist’s self-esteem issue comes across as real, his problem appears insignificant compared to those of Brooke. Readers will appreciate this well-written romance.

Harriet Klausner

Winter Of Wishes-Charlotte Hubbard

Winter Of Wishes

Charlotte Hubbard

Zebra, Sep 3 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121711

In Willow Ridge, Missouri, Rhoda Lantz is elated that her widow mom Miriam is engaged to marry (see Autumn Winds), her triplet sister Rachel has recently married (see Summer of Secrets), and her other sibling Rebecca just came back into their lives. With some guilt, Rhoda also feels alone. Thus the Amish young woman answers an ad for a housekeeper.

Englisher Andy Leitner is fully occupied with his medical residency, but concerned about his two children (Taylor and Brett) and his elderly mother so he placed the ad. He hires Rachel who takes charge of his family. Grateful for her caring effectiveness but also falling in love with Rhoda, Andy and his family become upset when the Bishop orders their housekeeper to quit her position. The Leitner brood considers converting to the Amish Old Ways, but each has doubts as they take for granted their modern day lifestyle; while Rhoda considers giving up being an Amish though that is what she has been and knows in her heart that her DNA always will be.

The third Seasons of the Heart contemporary drama makes a strong case that major change is not easy even with love as a motivator and prayer seeking guidance; as the individual must give up something of importance to attempt the behavior modification. Though the support cast feels stereotyped except for the Lantz family, readers will enjoy this engaging tale as a Winter of Wishes and prayers may not be enough.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Savage Dead-Joe McKinney

The Savage Dead

Joe McKinney

Pinnacle, Sep 3 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9780786029303

U.S. Senator Rachel Sutton is the most vocal opponent of the Mexican drug cartels in Congress. Her strong adversarial statements and the powerful law she sponsored anger the trafficker leaders like Ramon Medina who has attempted failed assassinations of Sutton; but were thwarted by Secret Service agents Juan Perez and Tess Compton who so far have kept “Piper” as the senator is called safe.

In Galveston, Sutton boards the Gulf Stream cruise ship for some needed R&R. However, Medina sends his top field operative Monica “Pilar” Rivas undercover on the vessel. Rivas releases Dr. Rosato’s modified clostridium bacteria on the Gulf Stream; turning people into flesh eating zombies. As the biological weapon spreads rapidly, Compton protects Piper from the lethal zombies and Rivas.

The latest Dead World urban fantasy (see Mutated, Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead and Flesh Eaters) is an exhilarating sidebar thriller that takes place in a confined environment making it easier for the zombies to attack ( to the delight of Z fans). Though the reanimation starts later than the usual Joe McKinney Dead World horror novels and the cartel villains caricatures, readers will enjoy the undead horde ripping flesh in a closed limited area; just don’t read this taut tale if you are vacationing on a cruise ship.

Harriet Klausner

Second Watch-J.A. Jance

Second Watch

J.A. Jance

Morrow, Sep 10 2013, $26.99

ISBN 9780062134677

For years Seattle PD homicide investigator J.P. Beaumont has lived with painful knees. Finally the detective opts for knee replacement surgery on both joints. After the operation is successfully finished, while still under pain medicine the patient dreams of visits from two people involved in scenarios from decades ago that still haunt him.

In 1973, Beaumont, on his first homicide investigation, never identified who killed coed Monica Wellington though he promised her parents he would; now Monica is his first visitor. Not long after that the late Lieutenant Lennie Davis visits the patient; reminding Beaumont he has unfinished business after vowing to visit his Vietnam platoon commander’s fiancée to tell her he heroically died saving J.P. Filled with guilt, Beaumont plans to resolve both once he is released. Beaumont persuades his boss to reopen the Wellington cold case and seeks the late Davis’ fiancée.

The latest Beaumont police procedural is a super intelligent thriller that cleverly brings the hero who understands aging is a combat sport back to his younger days. Based on the real Lennie D, this subplot and a poignant heartfelt behind the scenes afterward grip the reader throughout while honoring our fallen and injured soldiers. The clever cold case inquiry is also engaging, but takes longer to hook the audience as the Lennie D homage touches the reader’s heart.

Harriet Klausner

Nowhere Safe-Nancy Bush

Nowhere Safe

Nancy Bush

Zebra, Aug 27 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420125030

After being on medical leave for ten days recuperating from a stab wound to her shoulder Laurelton Police Department Detective September “Nine” Rafferty returns to work. With much of the staff down with the real flu, her first case back on the job is the same one she was working on when she left. A few months ago in February, a vicious clever killer tied a naked postal employer Christopher Balloni to a flagpole in front of his station; Christopher died from exposure.

Nine’s stepbrother Stefan Harmak was tied almost naked to a basketball pole at the Twin Oaks Elementary School where he works. A jogger fortunately discovered him before the kids arrived. Stefan was taken to Laurelton General. Nine and Detective Wes Pedigree question Stefan who insists he is the victim of a prank, but both cops know he conceals the truth. Even as they pursue the predator targeting alleged sexual predators, other cases overwhelm those cops still standing; at the same time Nine and her boyfriend Jake begin to move in together though his ex remains an obstacle.

The Laurelton PD police procedural (see Nowhere to Run and Nowhere to Hide) is an exciting thriller as the flu has debilitated the department; making those on duty working much longer shifts. The whodunit is fast-paced and the glimpse at an understaffed PD brings a frantic feel to the plot and a need to prioritize that places critical cases a notch below their norm. Although the romantic “triangular” subplot seems insignificant, fans will appreciate the beleaguered Laurelton PD working the cases especially that of a brilliant predator.

Harriet Klausner

Sometimes A Rogue-Mary Jo Putney

Sometimes A Rogue

Jo Putney

Zebra, Aug 27 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420127157

Highwaymen stop the coach in which twin sisters Mariah, the Duchess of Ashton and Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend ride. Insisting she gave birth and haughtily claiming her baby is with a wet nurse, Sarah declares she is the Duchess to protect her pregnant sibling. They leave Mariah behind and kidnap Sarah.

Adam, the grateful Duke of Ashton, asks his friend Bow Street Runner Rob Carmichael to rescue his brave sister-in-law. Diligently pursuing the gang, Rob catches up and succeeds in safely extracting Sarah from her abductors. With the angry kidnappers chasing them, they begin a perilous trek home in which each earns the respect of the other. Soon that admiration turns to love but she is an aristocrat and he is a runner.

The latest Lost Lords Regency romance (see No Longer a Gentleman and Nowhere near Respectable) is a terrific tale as the lead couple struggle to survive several harrowing scenarios. Fast-paced from the moment the coach is stopped and never slowing down, readers will relish this super charged thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 20, 2013

Death in the Ashes: A Fourth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger-Albert A. Bell Jr.

Death in the Ashes: A Fourth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger

Albert A. Bell Jr.

Perseverance, Sep 9 2013, $15.95

ISBN 9781564745323

In 84 AD Rome, twenty-something Gaius Pliny the Younger loves his childhood friend and servant Aurora. However his Mother wants the slave to show more respects towards her superiors and stay far away from her offspring. Mother also selected Livia, the daughter of Pompeia, as her son’s wife. In spite of being a lawyer, Pliny feels like a condemned man as he sees no way out of his marital dilemma.

Thamyras the servant arrives from Naples informing pregnant Aurelia that her wealthy husband Calpurnius is accused of murdering a freedwoman two days ago; and his refusal to defend himself adds to the common belief he killed the victim. Aurelia sends Thamyras to tell her friend Pliny, who rescued her a few years ago (see All Roads lead to Murder). Pliny questions the servant who says he saw the accused holding a knife while standing over the corpse, but never saw Calpurnius stabbed the woman. Reflecting back to when he last was in the city four years ago just after Vesuvius buried Pompeii killing his mentor, Pliny and Tacitus discuss the cold case as they travel to Naples to investigate the homicide.

The latest Notebooks of Pliny the Younger case (see The Blood of Caesar and The Corpus Conundrum) is an entertaining whodunit as the two sleuths realize a few days in Roman times means a cold case investigation. The aftermath of Vesuvius still haunts people with ash as a macabre visible reminder and ultimately important to this inquiry. Readers will appreciate this ancient mystery as the late Emperor Augustus dead for decades still impacts the living and the recently murdered.

Harriet Klausner

23 Years on Fire-Joel Shepherd

23 Years on Fire

Joel Shepherd

Pyr, Sep 10 2013, $16.95

ISBN 9781616148096

Though accepted by most Federation citizens on Calley, former League cyborg Commander Cassandra Kresnov still has lingering doubts that she possesses the full range of human emotions especially when religious fanatics remind her that she and her kind are abominations. Sandy leads an assault on the Federation planet Pyeongwha where Neural Cluster Tech experiments to eliminate disease have turned into a social harmonious disastrous caste system proving dangerous for those civilians without NCT left in the ooze under the food chain.

After successfully completing the mission on Pyeongwha, Sandy leads her veteran unit to New Torah where corporations still thrive. On Pantala, newly created advanced soldiers threaten the peace. However not only facing more advanced technological militia machines, betrayal leaves Sandy in danger while street children she encounters places her mission in further jeopardy.

The latest Cassandra Kresnov military science fiction (see Crossover and Killswitch) is an exhilarating action-packed thriller. The protagonist is terrific as she works two military missions that as an emotional byproduct make her feel more human than she has ever felt before though I would have preferred more insight into the social caste experiment on Pyeongwha even with the Patala escapade being super. 23 Years On Fire is a strong entry as Sandy seems more human than many purebreds as she learns once again how inhuman humans can be to others while she also feels a strong need to protect those most vulnerable.

Harriet Klausner

Skirmishes-Kristine Kathryn Rusch


Kristine Kathryn Rusch

WMG, Sep 10 2013, $18.99

ISBN: 9780615795249

The hostilities between the Nine Planets Alliance and the Enterran Empire remains heated as both claim the ancient alien technology as theirs. Each side understands that ownership means gaining an enormous advantage in the galaxy.

Perhaps the best diver into the wreckages of the thousands of vessels is Boss and her Nobody’s Business Two crew. They enter the Boneyard, the largest known graveyard found so far, in an effort to strengthen the Alliance against the Empire by recovering the ancient Dignity Vessels equipped with Stealth Tech. She also wants to learn what happened to Captain Jonathan “Coop” Cooper five millennia ago; while at the same time he and his Ivoire crew and their sister ship the Shadow use alien anacapa drives to guard the Alliance border with the Empire. However, as Boss and her team struggle with the Boneyard, an Empire fleet of ten battleships and five other vessels confronts Coop and his two weapon superior ships.

The latest Diving Universe science fiction (see City of Ruins, Diving Into The Wreck and Boneyards) is a fabulous outer space thriller that rotates perspective between the divers, the Alliance and to a lesser degree the Empire. Action-packed and filled with twists yet allowing the reader to understand the motives of the key players, Skirmishes is another intelligent exciting voyage into the Rusch Diving universe.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Backstage With her Ex-Louisa George

Backstage With her Ex

Louisa George

Harlequin Kiss, Sep 17 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207343

Ten years have passed since teenagers Sasha Sweet and Nate Munro were an entry in Chesterton bound by their love for each other and for music. However, when she overheard his violent assault of a person; fearful without listening to why he lost it she dumped him. Heartbroken and feeling betrayed by his true love, Nate left town to become a Hall of Fame rock star with an infamous sex crazing reputation; Sasha became a prim and proper music teacher.

After making a promise to her students and encouraged by her sister Cassie, Sasha goes to Nate’s London concert, to beg the superstar to help raise funds for her Chesterton High No Limits mixed ability student choir to enter a competition in Manchester. She asks him to do a show to raise money; but he refuses as he loathes the town that drove him away and the school that expelled him while ignoring the bullying of his late special needs brother Marshall. Still unable to resist the woman who was the subject of several of his hit songs, Nate agrees to the concert though he fears his reaction when he meets special students who will remind him of his beloved Marshall.

This is a superb drama with a strong support cast and two seemingly opposite leads. The engaging second chance contemporary romance supports the powerful look at special needs students with each of the ensemble having different personalities especially standing out is George. Character driven, readers will root for the rock legend and the teacher to make it, and even more for the No Limits choir to have fun while hopefully winning the competition.

Harriet Klausner

The Professor of Truth-James Robertson

The Professor of Truth

James Robertson

Other, Sep 10 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781590516324

Over two decades ago, the jumbo jet exploded in the sky over Scotland. English Literature Professor Alan Tealing lost his twenty-something wife Emily and their six year old daughter Alice in the calamity. Alan also knows he lost himself to that tragedy as he lives for one obsession since his family was murdered: finding the truth as to what happened on that fatal day.

An international inquiry led to the arrest of Khalil Khazar based on testimony by cabby Martin Parroulet who swore he took him to the departure airport where experts insist the bomb was brought on board. When Khazar died three year ago from cancer, almost everyone felt relief with case closed. Never receiving closure, Tealing continues to make inquiries and adamantly believes Khazar was a fall guy. Still over the years he has gotten nowhere including unable to locate the vanished witness until a dying CIA agent sends him to Australia where the cabby lives with his Vietnamese wife in the Outback.

Obviously tied to the Lockerbie disaster, The Professor of Truth is a fascinating look at the aftermath on one man who lost his loved ones in a plane catastrophe. The character driven (by the fixated griever) Scottish subplot is passive yet eerily vivid with plane parts on the ground becoming iconic tourist spots; while the Diogenes-like lead seeks the meaning of truth in western society and whether facts truly matter in a judicial system. The hero’s Australian adventures are more typical of the thriller subplot with plenty of gripping action. Whether a reader believes James Robertson’s assertions apply to Lockerbie or not, this remains an engaging tale.

Harriet Klausner

Death Rides The Zephyr-Janet Dawson

Death Rides The Zephyr

Janet Dawson

Perseverance Press, Sep 10 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781564745309

On December 22, 1952, the California Zephyr begins its scenic journey from Oakland to Chicago. The crew is top rate as the company knows how important this trip is due to a train filled with people heading east to be with family for the holidays. The trip starts off as uneventful mostly because of the dedicated crew like Zephyrette hostess Jill McLeod who diligently works on insuring the passengers are comfortable, but she begins hearing complaints about missing items and thefts.

In Colorado, a rock slide injures some on board and blocks the tracks of the eastbound transcontinental. When a murder occurs, Jill, forced out of her comfort zone, investigates only to learn of a second killing.

Death Rides the Zephyr is a wonderful historical that turns into a “locked room” amateur sleuth tale late in the entertaining storyline. Readers will feel they are on board the Zephyr as they meet the crew and passengers with their tales told like Jill became a Zephyr to keep busy after her fiancé died in Korea. Although the whodunit is well written, the detour from riding the rails to murder mystery seems unnecessary as fans will relish more the vivid descriptions of the countryside enhancing the sense of a bygone era of traveling through the west.

Harriet Klausner

The Sound and the Furry-Spencer Quinn

The Sound and the Furry

Spencer Quinn

Atria, Sep 10 2013, $25.00

ISBN: 9781476703220

The Little Detective Agency investigators Chet and Bernie meet Frenchie Boutette who the sleuths busted for defrauding disabled Vietnam veterans. Though working as a guest of the state, Frenchie hires the two detectives to find his missing brother Ralph, an inventor who apparently vanished from his Bayou home near New Orleans.

Bernie loads their car for the drive to Louisiana, but before he finishes his task, a biker assaults him with a tire iron. However Chet intercedes forcing the gangbanger to flee and crash his motorcycle; leaving the assailant dead. In the Bayou, Bernie meets the rest of the Boutette felonious family, Ralph’s friends and their adversarial criminal Robideau family; while Chet sniffs odd odors coming from the swampy water. The case looks like law-breakers from the two clans fighting over stolen shrimp, but Chet uncovers a corporate oily clue while dealing with Iko the gator wanting a taste of canine sushi

The sixth Chet and Bernie mystery (see A Fistful of Collars) is a wonderful investigative thriller told by the dog who understands English though idioms and metaphors gives him fits and at times nightmarish pictures. The case is top notch partly because Bernie finally acts somewhat competent, but as always in this delightful series Chet owns the story with his wry observations and commentary on the strangest animal on the planet: humans.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dead of Night-Charlaine Harris and Amanda Stevens

Dead of Night

Charlaine Harris and Amanda Stevens

Mira, Sep 24 2013, $11.95

ISBN: 9780778314769

“Dancers In The Dark.” Dancer Rue May answers an ad for job dancing with vampires at Blue Moon Entertainment and Black Moon Productions. Rue gets the job. Vampire Sean O'Rourke finds he is attracted to the mortal, but believes she is hiding something. As he tries to learn the truth about Rue, they fall in love, but her actions leave her in danger from an unknown person who is part of the troupe.

“The Devil’s Footprints.” The cloven footprints first appeared in Adamanet, Alabama in 1922 during a freak snowstorm; nothing further was found. Seven decades later, the battered mutilated corpse of seventeen year old Rachel DeLaune is found in the same area with those same devil's footprints nearby. Her younger sister Sarah thinks Ashe Cain killed her sibling, but no one else believes he exists. Fourteen years later in New Orleans, Sarah remains disturbed by her sister's death. Two mutilated corpses are found near her home with those same telltale cloven footprints. Her ex-lover, New Orleans Detective Sean Kelton leads the homicide investigation; he asks Sarah to interpret strange etchings on the bodies. She immediately thinks of Ashe and wonders if he is coming for her.

These reprints of two taut thrillers grip the reader throughout though Dancers In The Dark is a romantic paranormal and The Devil’s Footprints keeps readers guessing whether it is horror or psychological suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Demon’s Wife-Rick Hautala

The Demon’s Wife

Rick Hautala

JournalStone, Sep 13 2013, $18.95

ISBN: 9781936564958

In Portland, Maine, lonely and bored Claire McMullen works as a purchasing agent for Montressor; her time spent inside her broom closet-sized office is listening to a Philadelphia radio station streaming over the internet and checking out social media sites. She shares an apartment with Sally Lewis, who persuades Claire to stop at the Margarita Grille before they see The Economy perform.

At the Grille, Sally flirts with Samael, but he focuses on Claire. When someone assaults her just outside, Samael rescues Claire. She goes to the hospital, but once released Samael takes her home. When they finally make love, Claire is stunned by his lack of the usual male tools and by how sensational his tail proves to be. However, Claire fears he wants her soul for some nefarious purpose besides love’s redemption. As Samael makes his case that they belong together, raging demons believe this coupling is a sinful transgression of the natural order and must end with the human banished for eternity.

The Demon’s Wife is an engaging romantic urban fantasy starring two fascinating characters falling into a taboo love that shakes the eternal cold war order of Heaven and Hell. Fast-paced with plenty of action and strange bedfellows; the demons mount a campaign to end this immoral horror and the angels reluctantly protect the partnering. Samael’s reformation never feels right as he recognizes his nasty history though love enables him to say Honest to God. Still fans will appreciate the late Rick Hautala’s wicked relationship drama; summed up by Milton in Paradise Lost: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Harriet Klausner

Cain’s Blood-Geoffrey Girard

Cain’s Blood

Geoffrey Girard

Touchstone, Sep 3 2013, $25.99

ISBN 9781476704043

In Pennsylvania, six young subjects escape from the Dynamic Solutions Technology Institute, but not before they massacred most of the staff and took a few as prisoners. Also missing is Dr. Gregory Jacobsen who led the cloning experiment and probably abetted the escape by the six clones of notorious serial killers.

Special Ops veteran Shawn Castillo leads the search for the murderous clones starting at the DSTI facility and then Dr. Jacobson’s home. He quickly learns that the scientists created more subjects than they reported with some adopted by unaware caring families. Jacobsen kept one child with him, Jeffrey who recently learned that his true sire is Dahmer. With Jeffrey as his sidekick, Castillo hunts the killers.

This is a taut DNA thriller filled with insight and asides into cloning that enhance the horror of what Jacobson and others have wrought though the lead geneticist is no regretting “Modern Prometheus” (Mary Shelley). Once again as with the YA companion piece Project Cain, the underlying premise that the military would consider using serial killers seems wrong; as besides being loners psychologically unfit for a cohesive unit, consider the PR from news media telling grieving moms that their child died from a Dahmer clone in a friendly fire incident. Still this is an action-packed suspense that makes a strong cautionary case when it comes to cloning humans.

Harriet Klausner

Killer Weed-Michael Castleman

Killer Weed

Michael Castleman

MP, Sep 10 2013, $14.95

ISBN 9781849822404

Silicon Valley dot-com billionaire Gene Simons hires unemployed reporter Ed Rosenberg to investigate the summer of love Haight-Ashbury scene. Simons has a personal interest because in 1968 someone murdered his pot selling mom in Golden Gate Park.

At the same time, Ed’s wife Julie works on the mayoral campaign of Dave Kirsch, a pot dealer and author of weed growing guides. To her horror, Julie is near Dave when someone assassinates him. While Julie turns to vino to help her cloud the horrible imprint controlling her brain; Ed, in between totes, works the Kirsch murder as well as the Simons’ cold case killing, but soon finds himself the target of a killer.

The latest Ed Rosenberg mystery (see A Killing in Real Estate) is an exciting fun tale that highlights the history of the not so counter culture. Fast-paced, both homicides decades apart are cleverly plotted as Ed works on both inquiries. Like the last line of Jefferson Airplane’s classic White Rabbit, Killer Weed will “Feed your head. Feed your head."

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Styxx-Sherrilyn Kenyon


Sherrilyn Kenyon

St. Martin's, Sep 3 2013, $27.99

ISBN: 9781250029881

In tenth century BC, twin brothers Acheron and Styxx were separated as young children. Their sire King Archon preferred their deaths but feared the Oracle’s prophecy especially re Acheron. Over the millenniums both sons faced endless torture. When Acheron died, the omen proved true as horror came to devastate the world. Though he did not want to return to save those who spurned him when he lived especially his distrusting twin and raging sire, Archon saved the world.

Years after Archon’s heroism, Prince Styxx still struggles to retain his humanity after over a hundred centuries of torment at the hands of his insane father and his sire’s wrathful followers. When Styxx and blind Bethany meet they fall in love. As the Goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany must right the wrong Acheron caused and dispatch him to hell’s pantheon of dead deities. However, Styxx changes the dynamics as he risks his life to prevent the malevolence that Acheron once faced from destroying the world.

This epic fantasy is a profound Dark Hunter companion piece to Acheron; as more than half of the book follows a similar timeline but this tale is from the older twin’s anguished perspective. The abuse and rage Styxx’s received for eleven millennia (and hundreds of pages) are persistently atrocious and graphic as the protagonist is a victim of his father’s psychotic paranoia. The romance is a secondary but is a critical subplot as Bethany brings to the angry adult a chance for something wonderful though she remains fixated on killing the twin he learned from his father to hate; yet ironically love mellows him but a lifetime of loathing is hard to ignore.

Harriet Klausner

Last Groom Standing-Kimberly Lang

Last Groom Standing

Kimberly Lang

Harlequin Kiss, Sep 17 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207329

A decade ago at Hillbrook College in Upstate New York, Gina Carrington the tramp slept with her friend Marnie Price's older brother just before "Saint" Carter was to marry. In the present at Cassie Barclay's wedding plans meeting (see Girl Least Likely to Marry by Amy Andrews), Gina has a chance to apologize to Marnie (see Maid of Dishonor by Heidi Rice) who responds by saying her sibling was at fault for cheating.

At Cassie’s wedding to Tuck, Marnie and Dylan Brookes are paired by default as her business partner Reese is with Mason (see The Unexpected Wedding Guest by Aimee Carson) and Gina has Carter. Marnie prefers to ignore Dylan who Reese dumped without his fighting for her. After overindulging in wine at the reception, Marnie wakes up the next day with Dylan in her bed. Though attracted to each other, Marnie believes Dylan will choose flight over fight for her.

Though there is a déjà vu feel to the final Wedding Diaries romance, series fans will enjoy the still unforgiving Georgia Peach and the hunk falling in love while wondering like Marnie what Dylan, who loathes confrontation, will do about his feelings. Readers will enjoy the final contemporary as love may not be enough for the last couple standing single.

Harriet Klausner

The Drowning Guard-Linda Lafferty

The Drowning Guard

Linda Lafferty

Amazon Publishing, Sep 3 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781477805299

In 1826 in Constantinople, Ahmed Kadir serves as a Janissary guard to Esma, the favorite sister of Sultan Mahmud II. He hates not being with his cavalry unit but obeys the Sultan who removed him from the battlefield to insure Ahmad received no more accolades. A devout Muslim, the soldier knows Allah condemns what Ahmed loathingly performs every evening for Esma. Nightly the Sultaness takes a Christian lover; after she is finished, Ahmed strangles her latest discard before tossing their corpse into the Bosporus.

When Esma becomes ill, the royal physician cannot help her. She envisions all those she had murdered and smells their rotted corpses. Realizing his patient is filled with horrific remorse, the royal physician suggests she tell someone what emotionally disturbs her as confession is good for the soul. Sultaness Esma knows two people besides herself are aware of her deadly secret, the oarsman and the Janissary killer who does her lethal bidding; wanting no one else to learn of her depravity and following the physician’s advice, every night Esma tells Ahmed tales of her wicked life.

With a gender reversing nod to A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, The Drowning Guard is an engaging look at the Ottoman Empire through mostly the eyes of the affluent amoral Sultaness; a real eighteenth-nineteenth century person. The storyline is filled with historical insight into the year the Janissary slaughter occurred as the empire begins the crumbling that eventually culminated after WWI. Readers who ignore the improbability of Ahmed, with insider information from Esma, surviving the wrath of the Sultan who killed and caged family members, will appreciate this vivid historical.

Harriet Klausner

Island Of The White Rose-R. Ira Harris

Island Of The White Rose

R. Ira Harris

Bridge Works, Aug 7 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9780981617558

In 1958 affluent Americans consider Havana as another Vegas playground though the visitors chose to ignore the impoverished plight of the Cuban people. Instead places like the thriving Havana Yacht Club is so exclusive that President Batista does not qualify for membership as his pedigree fails to meet the HYC requirement of only the white wealthy elite of the elite belonging. HYC member Father Pedro Villanueva loves sailing his Lightning yacht La Rosa Blanca though he hates the chastity imposition of priesthood and that the Church implicitly supports the brutal reign of the dictator.

When his brother died as they rescued a state prisoner, Pedro’s anger has no bounds as he joins the freedom fighters trying to overthrow Batista. Underground leader Dolores Barre and disgruntled government official Maria Guerra persuade Pedro to run meds and guns to the rebels. After Castro succeeds in deposing Batista, an even more depressed Maria tells Pedro they exchanged one violent dictator for another as they sail La Rosa Blanca across the Florida Straits knowing that Barre pursues them in a swifter boat.

This is a strong insightful historical that uses a dissatisfied unhappy priest to tell the tale of the Castro duplicitous revolution; summed up by the Ed Sullivan show interview in 1959 in which the American concluded Castro is the Cuban George Washington (see YouTube for the clip). The storyline vividly describes Batista’s right wing violent dictatorship followed by Castro’s left wing violent dictatorship. Readers will relish this well-written entertaining tale that cautions the audience to avoid extremists regardless of their political and economic leanings as neither side is good for the people.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 16, 2013

Project Cain-Geoffrey Girard

Project Cain

Geoffrey Girard

Simon & Schuster, Sep 3 2013, $17.99

ISBN 9781442476967

When Jeffrey Jacobson was five he was in an accident in which his mom died and his memory was negatively impacted. He has three photos of his mom and has been told for years that she loved him.

When he turned sixteen he learned the truth from his father Dr. Gregory Jacobson the geneticist. Eight years ago, Jeffrey was cloned as part of a project creating super combat soldiers from serial killers’ DNA. His “father” was not the scientist, but Jeffrey Dahmer. Before he can be transferred from his “loving” home to the installation where he was made in Dahmer’s image, Fed Castillo rescues Jeff. The serial killer’s offspring agrees to help Castillo hunt down his peers who are living up to their infamous fathers; unaware that a new deadlier diabolical Dahmer pursues them.

This taut young adult thriller uses the premise that naturing in almost all cases supersedes nurturing as the bad DNA imprint overwhelms positive life lessons; which leaves fans to wonder whether Castillo should trust Jeff to have his back and not shoot his back. My husband, who worked for the Army, says the military would not want serial killers in the service; besides being loners psychologically unfit for a cohesive unit, think of the bad PR from news media telling grieving moms that their child died from a Dahmer clone killing Americans in a friendly fire incident. Mostly told from the shocked Jeff’s perspective, teenage readers and older curious fans who have read the adult version (see Cain’s Blood) will enjoy this cautionary tale.

Harriet Klausner

Plum Deadly-Ellie Grant

Plum Deadly

Ellie Grant

Gallery, Sep 3 2013, $15.00

ISBN 9781451689556

Twelve years ago, Maggie Grady left Durham, North Carolina for Manhattan. She became successful and returned home once to attend the funeral of Uncle Fred; who with his wife Aunt Clara raised her when her parents died. Six weeks ago, her world collapsed when her boss Louis Goldberg showed her documents proving she stole three million from a client. Her firm decided not to press charges, but took all her money and values to make remittance. Maggie had enough cash to buy a one-way bus ticket home. Filled with guilt over her treatment of her family and helpless anger over being the fall guy for a crime she did not commit, Maggie works at her Aunt Clara’s Pie In The Sky restaurant while unable to obtain any banking position and also worrying about her relative’s deteriorating mental state.

Apologetic Goldberg arrives at the pie shop insisting he will name the real embezzler at a news conference tomorrow; he refuses to say who the suspect is in spite of Maggie’s pleading though she records the conversation. However, before he speaks publically, someone murders Goldberg, leaving his body blocking the shop’s back door. Durham PD Detective Frank Waters suspects Maggie as the killer especially with Clara’s “helpful” commentary and confiscates her cell as evidence. Reporter Ryan Summerour covers the homicide story, but also is attracted to Maggie.

The first Pie In The Sky culinary cozy is an enjoyable investigative whodunit. The cast is solid while the beleaguered protagonist with help from Ryan and somewhat Frank tries to prove her innocence; their discussions are wry and witty adding depth to the action-packed storyline. Readers will appreciate Team Grant’s engaging mystery and alliterating recipes.

Harriet Klausner

The Suicide Shop-Jean Tuele

The Suicide Shop

Jean Tuele

Gallic Books, Sep 3 2013, $13.95

ISBN: 9781906040093

The customer enters The Suicide Shop to purchase a rope to hang herself with. However, she is shocked to see the proprietor’s newborn Alan smiling as the Tuvache family are renowned for their frowns. The baby’s parents Mishima and Lucrece deny this their child’s grinning; they insist their youngest is just as gloomy as them and their two older siblings. However, the matriarch notices in horror that Alan seems to be playing joyfully in his pram.

Over the next few years, happy Alan is bad for business as his smiles leave most clients feeling good and not wanting to buy end of life solutions. His upbeat joy proves contagious as his mother, brother and sister become increasingly optimistic about life as do the villagers. Only mirthless melancholy Mishima remains grim as he watches sales of equipment and training drop to a point in which the family business nears its demise due to Alan and his damn attitude.

The Suicide Shop is an amusing dark satire set at an incredibly frantic pace. The customers and shop’s supplies augment the look at a family whose light sheep brings an unwanted new way of living. Although the key cast is never fully developed especially their relationships outside the shop, readers will appreciate this wry graveyard social commentary.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lineup-Liad Shoham


Liad Shoham

Harper, Sep 3 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062237446

Twenty-four years old Adi Regev loves her life as a single in Tel Aviv. That changes when a man with a knife brutally rapes her while elderly neighbor Sarah Glazer sees the atrocity happening from her window but vows to stay out of it. Adi describes her assailant to the police. Meanwhile her raging father Yaron diligently patrols the area near his daughter’s apartment building every night seeking the animal. When he notices Ziv Nevo fits Adi’s description, he informs police inspector Eli Nachum.

The police arrest Nevo, but mishandle the Lineup. Making matters worse, the distraught Adi cannot affirm that Nevo is the psychopath who attacked her. Pressure mounts from the victim’s family, ambitious politicians, sycophant brass and unscrupulous media who demand this animal locked away regardless of the facts. Only diligent Nachum seeks the truth as he begins to believe the wrong man was arrested.

Rotating perspectives between key characters, Lineup is a fabulous Israeli Law and Order police procedural legal thriller. Character driven, readers will relish this entry as the dedicated cop swims upstream against a wide horde of strange bedfellows who care nothing about the facts only the chosen one’s unsavory past makes him the perfect fit. The irate father demands a conviction; the ambitious prosecutor wants an instant scalp; the reporter seeks a reputation while his editor sells sensationalism; the suspect hides a secret from the law; and even the mob has an interest. Fans will enjoy this taut tale as the veteran cop feels like a fossil in his search for the rapist.

Harriet Klausner

Eventide-Shelley Shepard Gray


Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon Inspire, Sep 3 2013, $12.99

ISBN: 9780062204448

Ten years ago, Doktah Palmer fitted Elsie Keim with glasses enabling her to see. However, she is stunned by her New Order Amish family’s reaction to her wearing glasses; leaving her self-esteem gutted by how they behave towards her. Over the next decade out of misguided love they treat her like a child, which has driven Elsie to conceal how bad her vision has become.

Now her sister Viola (see Daybreak) and brother Roman (see Ray of Light) have met their mates while Elsie remains at home still the helpless invalid hiding how bad her keratoconus condition has left her; as she rejects her loved ones’ pity. Elsie and new neighbor Landon Troyer are attracted to each other, but she wants him to see her as a capable person so refuses to tell him that she is going blind. When Roman tells Landon, he fears his being away for extended business trips would leave his beloved helpless. He soon learns why she loathes her family’s help, never asks anyone for assistance, and conceals her sight problem; but Landon’s peace of mind needs his Elsie safe.

The final Days of Redemption Amish family drama is an engaging tale as each Keim member and their mates continue to struggle with issues though the prime focus is on Elsie’s relationships with her loved ones built on how each acts towards her and her with them. Readers will enjoy this engaging tale as the heroine believes love is the real handicap.

Harriet Klausner

The Man Who Sold The Moon/Orphans of the Sky-Robert A. Heinlein

The Man Who Sold The Moon/Orphans of the Sky

Robert A. Heinlein

Baen, Sep 3 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451639223

This fabulous Future History collection contains an accompanying timeline dating the stories over several centuries while also summarizing the significant events and characters. All the entries are well written and many timely today while also influencing movies and books; though in some tales the characters are underdeveloped (to fit magazine space) and the science wrong. Readers will appreciate the intriguing brilliant underlying social and political concepts as Robert A. Heinlein shows his genius with these shorts.

“The Man Who Sold The Moon”: In "Life Line" the machine tells when a person will die, but not how they and their loved ones will react. They discover an efficient effective electric source but the power companies say no to "Let There Be Light." Society depends on those who insure "The Roads Must Roll" as the only means of transportation. The workers feel the pressure of keeping atomic energy safe aware of "Blowups Happen." Harriman needs financial backing for his planned space trip so "The Man Who Sold the Moon" produces a scheme to turn a profit from investors. Much older and ailing, Harriman still dreams of going to the moon in "Requiem."

“Orphans of the Sky”: Since the mutiny several generations ago, the multi-generational lower level voyagers think their “Universe” consist of the ship drifting through space; as none believe in existence outside the vessel until Hoyland meets upper level mutants who teach him the truth. Using “Common Sense” Hoyland tries to persuade his people that their acceptable belief system is false.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deadly Diamonds-John F. Dobbyn

Deadly Diamonds

John F. Dobbyn

Oceanview, Sep 3 2013, $26.95

ISBN 9781608090921

In the predominantly Italian North End of Boston, on a dare from his friends, eighteen year old Kevin O'Byrne steals a car. When the driver shouts at them, the panicky Northeastern student drives the car to South Boston. Inside the trunk is a corpse with the teen’s fingerprints everywhere. Kevin’s dad Irish mafia boss Frank retains lawyer Michael Knight to free his son from a possible homicide rap. Michael and Frank know the vehicle was taken from a man in front of a Cosa Nostra restaurant; so the attorney insists the gangster drop off the car in Roxbury with the corpse still inside and he will contact the cops where it was left while Kevin goes to a safe house.

With Michael present, his partner Lex Devilin meets with his childhood friends Monsignor Matt Ryan and retired mafia Don Dominic Santangelo. Lex asks Dominic to intercede before a gang war explodes due to an idiotic teen. However, the two lawyers fail to grasp the full scope of the potential mob war as blood diamonds extracted by expendable slaves in Sierra Leone are a valuable commodity both mobs want to traffick. Additionally, Matt is accused of child molestation.

The latest Knight-Devilin legal thriller (see Frame-Up and Black Diamond) is an exciting tale that is weighed down by a Cecil de Mille size cast and the over simplified stereotyping of the criminal elements on three continents (includes a trip to Ireland). Filled with plenty of action the two lawyers and their friends try to prevent the hostilities from turning Boston bloody.

Harriet Klausner

Clammed Up-Barbara Ross

Clammed Up

Barbara Ross

Kensington, Sep 3 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758286857

The Snowden Family Clambake business faces bankruptcy that could not only shut down the firm the late patriarch established but also force the matriarch out of her home and lose ownership of Morrow Island. Livvie and her mom know they are out of their league when it comes to finance; so they beg successful venture capitalist Julia to come home to save the family company. Only for her sister and mom, and her dad’s memory would Julia leave Manhattan for Busman's Harbor, Maine.

Julia develops a strategic plan that reworks the loan and expands the company from its limited offering of clambake mostly to tourists to include catering events on Morrow Island over the objection of brother-in-law Sonny Ramsey. She sends notices to her friends and associates in Manhattan. This leads to the Snowden clan hosting the wedding of a Manhattan couple, Michaela Carpenter and Tony Poitras. When the best man Ray Wilson vanishes; no one especially his partner Tony is concerned as the man is a prankster. However, Julia opens Windsholme mansion; only she and the bridal party are greeted by Ray's hanging corpse.

The first Maine Clambake Mystery is an exciting amateur sleuth tale as Julia changes from trying to save Snowden Family Clambake and their Morrow Island home through business acumen to investigating the homicide that devastated her plan. Though the motive seems difficult to accept yet very plausible, readers will enjoy this Maine Island cozy with several delicious recipes included.

Harriet Klausner