Daily Archives: February 11, 2012

A Very Simple Crime by Grant Jenkins

A Very Simple Crime Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

The title of this book is very deceiving. This murder, at first, might seem like a very simple crime. As you start reading this book, you will be taken through many twists and turns. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you are totally wrong.

The reader is given many details about the two brothers, Adam and Monty Lee, who were orphaned after the violent death of their parents. Their new place to stay was now in the dark basement of an aunt’s house. Monty became successful in life and Adam always admired him. Whatever Monty did in life, whether it was good or bad, seemed to be fine with Adam.

The question is who killed Adam’s Wife, Rachel? Adam was trapped in his marriage to Rachel who has some mental problems. They have a mentally retarded son who is in an institution due to his violent behavior. On the day Rachel was murdered, the son was home on a visitation. So who killed Rachel? Was it the husband, the son or someone else?

The story then shifts to Leo Hewitt, a former Assistant District Attorney, who is accused of setting free a child killer. Is this case a chance for Leo to get his career back on track?

Love Under Cover by Larry Johnson

Love Under CoverReviewed by Cy Hilterman

Nicholas Watson is a United States counter terrorism Agent, a position that places him in danger every day he is alive. This excellent book tells of Nicholas’s adventures as he tries to stay alive, do his job well, and still find time for love, all of which are very difficult in his business. The author has spun a great tale full of danger, love, and some humor. Until you read the book it is hard to tell if Nicholas’s real motive for his life is the adventure and the danger or the love affairs he thinks and hopes he will have. His main job on the first assignment in the story is to destroy munitions and some of the enemies connected with those munitions. He is in and out of immediate danger but not every time. Sometimes he gets too deeply involved and can’t make a clean get away and the author makes the reader grin and bear it until the last pages of the book.

While on assignment Nicholas sees a beautiful woman while going through an airport in South America, and he just has to meet that gorgeous woman who he immediately is infatuated with but can’t quite catch her. She is just as illusive as he is normally. You might know that when he wants to meet and be with someone, circumstances are dead set against him. From that moment on every time he travels to another nation he is searching for that same woman. He feels she has to be the one for him but how will he ever find her. Meanwhile danger goes on and Nicholas travels, gets in trouble, hides, searches, blows up munitions, kills some bad guys, all the time hoping he will meet that woman again.

Queen Elizabeth in the Garden: A Story of Love, Rivalry and Spectacular Gardens by Trea Martyn (Review #2)

Queen Elizabeth in the Garden Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Queen Elizabeth in the Garden is a complex book written in a way that should appeal to quite a broad spectrum of readers. First and foremost a book about one of England’s most interesting Queens. It is also a love story showing the extremes men will go to in order to win the love of a woman. Beyond that, the book is fascinating look at what goes into the construction of these two men’s gardens. Gardeners will be delighted with the detailed descriptions of the gardens’ construction.

At the heart of this story is the love two men had for Queen Elizabeth the I. Lord Treasurer William Cecil and Earl Robert Dudley each sought the company of the Queen. Knowing of her love for gardens, they each built elaborate gardens to woo the Queen. While the “Virgin Queen” appeared to not really need to love and attention of any man except her fathe, she did bless the two competing men with regular visits. The competition between Cecil with his Theobalds in Warwickshire and Dudley with his Kenilworth in Hertfordshire is something that even reality television of today could not concoct. These two men were crazed with desire for the Queen and stopped at nothing to best the other.

It goes without saying that this was not to end happily. There was a victor in the “Garden Wars” leaving the loser to set out on a spoiler’s mission. This convoluted mission again proves the adage, truth is stranger than fiction.

Cold Comfort (Officer Gunnhildur Mysteries) by Quentin Bates

Cold ComfortReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Following his debut Frozen Assets which author Bates introduced readers to Sergeant Gunnhildur Gísladóttir known as Gunna, Bates brings Gunna back in Cold Comfort. Now promoted to the Serious Crimes Unit in Reykjavik, she has left rural Iceland behind and moved into the city.

The two crimes which are the focus of Gunna’s investigations involve a criminal who escapes from prison and goes on a crime spree across the area settling up with those who have crossed him in the past. Closer to home, she tries to find the killer of a former beauty queen turned television personality who was also fitness instructor. Gunna ‘s investigations lead her to connections between these two people from the opposite ends of society.

The author has used the financial disarray of Iceland quite successfully in the plotting of this book. Money is power and power is so often the root of crime, and so it is in Cold Comfort.

A Darkly Hidden Truth (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow

A Darkly Hidden Truth Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

In A Darkly Hidden Truth, Author Crow brings back protagonists Felicity and Anthony first introduced in A Very Private Grave. The protagonists are a couple of the most interesting characters to come along in the mystery genre for some time. Felicity, an American who came to England to teach, finds she is disillusioned with the classroom, but rather than returning home to Idaho, she decides to follow one of her passions and enrolls in the theological college run by the Community of the Transfiguration. Anthony, actually Father Anthony, is in residence at the same community well on his way to becoming a priest in The Church of England.

As Book Two of the Monastery Murders opens, Felicity is arranging retreats at several other religious communities while she ponders her future in the church. When a valuable icon goes missing, and the crime resembles another in a different monastery, Father Anthony is asked to investigate. Since he and Felicity solved the murder of Father Dominic in the first book, Father Anthony wants Felicity’s help again. Although initially, Felicity does not want to change her plans, eventually she is drawn into the case. Complicating Felicity’s life even more, her mother arrives from America with very little notice and a great deal of distressing news to share.

The Black Stiletto: Black & White by Raymond Benson

The Black Stiletto:  Black & WhiteReviewed by Julie Moderson

What a great book! It was a book that kept you wanting to read just a little more and you just couldn’t put it down until you finished the book.

Judy Cooper is the Black Stiletto. This book is written in a journal method and it just flows perfectly between Judy’s journal and Martin her son in present day. Martin finds his mother’s journals and her black stiletto costume and knows she was the Black Stiletto.

The Black Stiletto was a 1959 to 1963 heroin who was a crime fighter. The police and FBI wanted her. Martin finds an 8mm film of his mother and he is shocked to see his mother so young, beautiful and so lethal in her karate and judo moves compared to the present day Alzheimer inflicted woman who no longer knows her own son. The photographer’s son who filmed his mother in 1959 is blackmailing Martin for a million dollars. Martin doesn’t want anyone to know his mother is the Black Stiletto.

The Last Justice by Anthony J. Franze

The Last JusticeReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

It’s Black Wednesday, and an assassin has just murdered five of the nine Supreme Court justices while they are hearing a case. A sixth, Chief Justice Thomas W. Kincaid, brandishing a pistol, is mistakenly shot by the police, who think he might be the killer, though it’s later discovered “he had surprised the assassin by returning fire,” and that “The Supreme Court police officers who mistakenly shot Kincaid had killed the only witness to see the shooter’s face.” The main suspect of the police and FBI? Security cameras identify the initials “C.B.” branded onto someone’s neck, but don’t catch the person’s face clearly. The person whom the cops start to believe has the best motive is, you’d initially think, the one who would be the least likely to commit such a heinous crime — the Solicitor General (SG), Jefferson McKenna. The belief is strengthened when McKenna flees, leaving dead bodies in his wake. But, did he murder the Supreme Court justices, or is someone trying to set him up?

This is the scenario that talented author Anthony J. Franze (a successful lawyer himself) presents in his suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat debut thriller, The Last Justice. McKenna has to prove his innocence and uncover who is really behind the murders while on the run from the police, the FBI, and the people who are trying to frame him and possibly kill him. Also, conservative President Winter, wanting to fill the vacancies on the Supreme Court as expediently as possible, tries to cut a deal with the Congress, “the three-three deal.” It’s meant, supposedly, to be fair to everyone involved, a way around bipartisan bickering. As Judge Ivan Petrov, a potential nominee for one of the openings caused by the murders, puts how the deal would work:

“It’s pretty simple. The administration and the Democratic leadership each would come up with a list of three nominees, and each side agreed not to challenge the nominees on the other’s list: hence, the name, ‘the three-three deal.’”

The person to come up with the idea? Jefferson McKenna. McKenna, before he becomes a suspect himself, assists with the investigation, going through the cases that the Supreme Court was scheduled to rule on previous to the shooting deaths of the justices. He comes up with two cases that seem to have the most potential to give someone a motive to want the decisions delayed.