Murder, She Wrote: A Date with Murder by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain and Jon Land

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Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery by Alice A. Jackson

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Shortcut (The Cut Series Book 2) by Arnold Eslava-Grunwaldt

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Daily Archives: March 3, 2011

Formula for Murder by Diana Orgain

Formula for MurderReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Formula for Murder, the third in the “maternal instincts” mystery series, opens with every driver’s nightmare. Stopped at a traffic light, Kate Connolly happens to glance in her rearview mirror and sees a car speeding towards her. Hoping the car would break but seeing no evidence that the driver was even slowing down, she watches in that “slo-mo” sequencing that accidents seem to unfold in. But the worst is yet to come. Though neither Kate nor her baby is seriously hurt, she is outraged that the driver of the other car speeds away. Although she got a good look at the driver, and the license plate, she knows that no good is going to come from this because the car was sporting diplomatic plates.

While the accident was really a case of Kate being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it results in Kate being drawn into the underbelly of both city and diplomatic politics when what she really wants to do is get ready for her daughter’s first Christmas.

The basic theme this series is built around-the joys and struggles of motherhood-is not particularly a draw for me, but the writing in Formula for Murder is excellent. From the opening hook until the very last page, the author has used action and suspense to keep the pages flying. The mystery itself is well plotted out with many excellent twists.

Twice a Spy by Keith Thomson

Twice a SpyReviewed by Cy Hilterman

Even though the story started out, as least in my mind, a bit slow and confusing, when everything did come together it was great. The storylines, characters, locations, and activity made me want to get to the next page to check on what Keith Thomson did with his characters. The confusing part to me was determining who the “good guys” were and who was against them, but it did come together. Charlie and Alice were CIA or were they spies? Was Charlie being followed or shadowed by someone and were they friendly or otherwise? Could he go to the racetrack in peace and possibly get away with some recreation along with some spying? Charlie and his father, Drummond, who had been a spy but was now suspected of possibly having Alzheimer’s at times, worked well together well but was Drummond suffering from the disease or was this a ruse to make people think that?

Charlie got in and, sometimes out of trouble by himself, but many times Drummond came to his rescue.

The locations were all over the world where many strange things occurred and many strange people came into play, some claiming to be law enforcement and others just there for unknown reasons—at least at first until missions became clearer. Alice, Charlie’s love, was in the action but then became busy working elsewhere keeping in touch most of the time through coded words and phrases. The center of attention was a weapon, ADM’s (atomic demolition munitions) that spies from many areas of the world were trying to purchase or steal to sell to various governments. Charlie was trying to sell them but he was one of the few that knew they were only dummy ADM’s, not the real thing. Others that tried to gain the weapon did not know they were fake so they went to all extremes of killing, hunting, torturing, kidnapping (including Alice), and going anywhere to follow clues as to the weapons location.

Love You More by Lisa Gardner

Love You MoreReviewed by Russell Ilg

Lisa Gardner was the winner of last years Best Thriller Novel at The Thriller Writers Convention in New York City for The Neighbor. A huge honor for any writer and well deserved for one of the best in the industry. Now she has her next smash hit ready to hit the stores, Love You More. I really felt that she had reached her stride in The Neighbor and was hoping she could do just as well with her new book. Well was I thrown a curve. She not only matched her best to date but blew it right out of the water.

I usually read 4-5 books a week and you get to know what to expect from the people you read all the time. I have no idea where this came from but it is by far the most twisted, non-stop thriller I can remember reading in years. The story grabs you the second you pick it up and read the 1st sentence, then hold on, you are about to embark on one of the greatest rides of your life in a book that will not stop for one second. The pace and twist and turns are completely off the charts. You had better have a good nights rest before you start this novel because you will not sleep again until you have finished every last word of it. And do not think it ends there; there will be days to come that all you can think about is what happened in this stellar thriller.

The story is so real, it is hard to believe the amount of time Lisa had to spend on the research to get all the details right. It is as if it was ripped right out of the nightly news as the most sensational story in years. I had to keep telling myself it is only a story, it is not real, as every bone in my body was living the story as it unfolded.

The real way of knowing how super a talent Lisa has become is to read the book. How anyone is able to see so far ahead in a story so detailed and in completely uncharted territory. Lisa has done what no author has been able to do since I was a teenager and I qualify for AARP now. She drew me in so deep that I was unable to have a clue where the story would go. I used the word story but it was much more than that: Every word and every page was a step to the end that turned into another bizarre twist that blew me away.

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

The Bride CollectorReviewed by Patricia Reid

Women of the Denver area are being targeted by a killer the FBI are calling The Bride Collector. The killer leaves his victims naked except for panties and a veil. The body is glued to the wall and the blood is drained from the victims.

FBI Special Agent Brad Raines is at a dead-end in his investigation. Nikki Holden, a forensic psychologist, working with Brad is of the opinion that the killer thinks of himself as the groom and that his preparations of the body are done out of love. When the killer leaves a note in the heel of his victim Brad and Nikki are at a loss to figure out the message that the killer is trying to convey.

Determining that the killer is both mentally ill and a genius the FBI turns to the Center for Wellness and Intelligence. The center is a private home for gifted, mentally ill residents. When Brad and Nikki visit the center, they meet residents Roudy, Andrea, Enrique and Paradise. People have their own set of personal problems but each is highly intelligent. Although the mannerisms of the group could be considered at times comical their mental problems are very real. The group works hard to decipher the meaning behind the message left by The Bride Collector and manage to reach a solution that is a big help to the FBI.

The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey

The Linen QueenReviewed by Julie Moderson

Sheila McGee is an unhappy woman in the beginning of the novel because she wants more than anything to escape the boring mill town in Northern Ireland. Her father abandoned Sheila and her mother and then he died in a boating accident. Sheila’s mother is somewhat crazy and takes all of Sheila’s money and is terrible to Sheila. She works in Queensbrook Spinning Mill as a spinner. Sheila is a fun girl who loves to flirt with guys and drink and dance. Her best friend from childhood is Gavin O’Rourke, it seems as if he wants to be more than just friends, but Sheila wants to be nothing more than friends.

One day the mill announces that there will be a competition between other mills and Queensbrook for the Linen Queen. Sheila is quite the beauty and wants to enter and win the competition. Sheila doesn’t get picked to be in the pageant but then the owner of the mill decides that he wants her in the competition. Shelia’s friend Kathleen gives her spot in the pageant to her. Shelia wins the Linen Queen title and finds out that it is not such a great job to have. The war comes to her small town and everyone wants to meet the Americans. The men from the town don’t like the completion with the men in uniform and short haircuts.