Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ultimate Victory – Denied by Jim Kenfield

Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

Suspenseful story that sure kept my nose to the grindstone, not wanting to put this book down and go to sleep! Relations between The United States and China have not been good for years and Jim Kenfield writes a very plausible story about big trouble between the two nations when China launches an attempt to send rail containerized nuclear weapons to all the strategic areas across the United States. These weapons were supposed to go easily and freely to any place that had strong secrecy in or near the locations. This would have gone well for the Chinese except that in Tacoma, Washington one of the containers happened to have an accident. The local authorities and the FBI were called in to check this damage since it was an international shipment. They “accidentally” broke the seal on the container and discovered some strange contents. This container was so much lighter in weight than almost all other containers so they began checking other containers in this shipment and sure enough, there were many more the same way.

Thus the Chinese terrorism attack was thwarted and awoke the United States as to what China was capable of. All the containers were tracked and all but one was found. The lost one disappeared when a train was derailed in Louisiana and the container fell into the river and even though many hours of searching was done, it was never found due to some crazy kids that made it disappear after thinking they had found a fortune. This started meetings between the United States and Chinese governments. The Chinese, of course, denied any participation of a nuclear attack on the United States but the proof was there. The Chinese blamed it on a certain group of military that planned and carried out this mission without their governments support. The suspicion of this being a false explanation was difficult to track since somehow, an airplane with all of those involved in the Chinese version of this plot crashed and all aboard were killed.

So Pretty It Hurts: A Bailey Weggins Mystery by Kate White (Review #2)

So Pretty It Hurts Reviewed by Julie Moderson

I love reading Kate White books; she has a style of writing that is like listening to a friend tell you a story. I especially enjoy her Bailey Weggins mysteries because she has such great story lines and you really feel like you are part of the story and just can’t put the book down.

Bailey is invited to a weekend getaway at a record producer’s home, with Jessie Pendergrass who is her best friend and coworker at the Manhattan tabloid magazine the Buzz. Jess has a crush on Scott the record producer and doesn’t want to go alone and since Baily’s boyfriend, Beau, is away for the weekend she decides to go along for support. They are one of the last to arrive at the remote home surrounded by nature. The driveway into the home is over a mile and a half long.

When they meet the other guests they find Devon Barr a famous model who wants to be singer, her agent Cap Darby, his wife Whitney, Devon’s booker Christian Hayes, Devon’s best friend Tory, Tory’s boyfriend Tommy Quinn and Richard Parkin who is a writer for magazines like Vanity Fair. It was an interesting group and they joined in the conversations.

Devil’s Trill by Gerald Elias

Devil's Trill Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Perhaps the power of music is greatest because it is temporal rather than spatial, meaning that once it is heard it is gone forever.”

In Devil’s Trill, it is obvious that many musicians do not easily blend into society. These gifted few, expect more from themselves and others, while not always living in the everyday world. Many have their own eccentricities that in turn allow them to experience and communicate music on a level that is difficult to achieve and understand.

Daniel Jacobus is one of these. He is an excellent musician. However, he has difficulties with people. He is blind but is considered to be one of the best violin teachers alive. For those few who are fortunate enough to become his students, they are challenged by using their technical expertise to truly create music as the composer chose to communicate this through his writing. There is a difference between being technically correct and playing music. If his students refuse or fail to notice this, Daniel does not hesitate in humiliating anyone. If the student quits, Daniel feels that it is for the best.

Phantom: An Alex Hawke Novel by Ted Bell

PhantomReviewed by Jud Hanson

A cruise ship attacked and sunk by a Russian sub……….Air Force One attacked by one of the very planes escorting it……..the testing of a new drone fighter in Israel goes horribly wrong. In these and other cases, it is claimed that some phantom force took over the controls and caused these mishaps to happen. Lord Alex Hawke is assigned the task of discovery who or what this force is. At the same time, he must protect his son and himself from those in Russia who would see him dead: the Tsar Society, who lost their leader at the hands of Hawke and seek revenge. Hawke’s quest to stop this phantom and stop those who are hunting him and his son will take him across the world and pit against some of the worst criminals in the world.

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

The Fifth Witness Reviewed by Allen Hott

Yep, the recession hurt everyone. And that includes Mickey Haller, the criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. So much so did the recession hurt that Haller began chasing down wrongful foreclosures. At least in his mind and in his methodology Haller felt that many foreclosures were definitely illegal. With that in mind he began defending many of these folks so that they could keep their homes at least for a spell while either they earned more to be able to make their payments or the bank figured out some other way to fight Haller’s methods.

Strangely enough one of his foreclosure clients quickly became one of his criminal defense clients when the lady was accused of murder. Lisa Trammel, the client, was arrested rather quickly when one of the top men at the bank who foreclosed upon her was shot and killed in the bank’s parking garage.

Trammel had built quite a reputation for herself somewhat similar to the Occupy “Whatever” folks have done. In her case she built a tremendous following by picketing outside the bank, appearing on every type of media broadcast that she was able to, and she even had put together a website extolling the good things about the poor people that the bad banks were foreclosing upon. Lisa had been a high school teacher and her husband was a BMW salesman. However when their loan (which had been sold back and forth several times by banks and financial wizards) ballooned and then went into default her husband left her and headed to Mexico.

Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Worse Case Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

This book is excellent. Some of Patterson’s books lately have been only fair, especially the ones written with another author. In “Worst Case” I think the story is very well written and in today’s world of not knowing what to expect, it is very plausible. This book features Detective Michael Bennett of the NYPD, who has been featured in a few other books by James Patterson. Bennett has 10 children, all adopted and of all origins. He has a nanny to take care of this brood when he has to work, which is quite a bit of time. Since his wife had died several years earlier, the children give Michael Bennett quite a problem of balancing his work and his personal life. In this story he is teamed with an FBI agent, Emily Parker, who, while working close with Bennett, has made both of them open their eyes toward each other.

Children of rich people disappear, followed by a phone call to the parents. When the police get involved, Bennett and Parker along with their teams, at first the culprit says he does not want any ransom but tells them where the child can be picked up. After leading them on a wild goose chase, the body of the first child is found. This is repeated several times with some variation on the kidnappers method of operation. Since all the parents are rich and very influential the police can’t make a connection as to why certain children are taken and with different variants involved, how do they get to the whys and wherefores?

The Rodeo Man’s Daughter by Barbara White Daille

The Rodeo Man's Daughter Reviewed by Jane Squires

Caleb Cantrell grows up dirt poor something I totally could relate to. He feels people in the town look down on him because of his Mother’s many guys. So he goes off to make a name for himself in the rodeo. He returns to flaunt his wealth in front of the town’s people.

An accident with a bull changes his life forever. He realizes what he gave up to become a cowboy and get wealth. He returns home to see if he can rebuild a relationship he left behind. He is amazed the people of the town do not care about his wealth. They always cared about him.

Tess LaSalle has never told Caleb he has a daughter but truths have a way of not staying hidden. Nate is so much like her father and has worshiped his career for a long time not knowing he was her Dad.

Siege of Darkness: Guardian of the Seventh Realm Part II by J.W. Baccaro

Siege of Darkness Reviewed by Teri Davis

Darshun Luthias knows that his destiny is foretold in a prophecy. Now is the time for him to fulfill this but will he choose correctly. The appeal of evil and power is enticing.

Hearing the war drums of the enemy, the warriors for the city of Zithel prepare for battle, leaving the city to defend it before attacked. However, while waiting for the battle on a field, the warriors discover there is no one to fight. Quickly, they return home fearful only to see complete destruction. They were tricked. Leaving Zither with little protection, the city was quickly massacred. All the families, including children were murdered. They were lured into a trap which is only the beginning.

The evil army of Asgoth now has three of the elemental earthly crystals needed for the Demon Lord Abaddon to take over this world. He only needs one more to achieve this feat. The only thing standing in his way is Darshun who is beginning to understand his destiny. He knows that he needs to save whatever is left that is good while realizing his own weaknesses. By being one of the nearly extinct race of the Nasharin, he still needs to discover what special abilities and gifts he is just beginning to control and utilize. What special talents does he have?

Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

Blue Moon Promise Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

I don’t know how Colleen Coble keeps coming up with such super-duper stories. I have read most of them, missing only those that were not sent my way to tell me they were available. In my mind Blue Moon Rising is possibly the best of Colleen’s books so far. She keeps a Christian atmosphere in all her stories and many times shows how God can turn lives around through living the way He wishes us to live. The good of people are brought out in her stories along with the evil some humans can inflict on fellow man and woman.

This book takes place in the 1870’s as young Lucy Marsh struggles to raise her younger brother and sister in a dilapidated house. Now she has lost her job and has no way of knowing how she will keep things going as a family. At the same time her landlord approached her and told her he had sold the property so she would have to move. What else can Lucy overcome to keep things together? She had lost her father to a supposed accident and then her mother just took off. When Harry Stanton from Texas appeared at her door, telling Lucy that he had received all the news about the disasters she has now in her life, she was in a deep quandary when Henry said she was welcome to come to Texas where he said his son needed a wife and Lucy was in such an entangled mess that she, being a strong Christian, would serve the family perfectly by accepting his offer. Lucy and her brother, Jed, and her sister, Eileen, got together and had a good prayer with God. Eventually Lucy decided that they would go since she had nothing where they now existed.

With mixed thoughts and emotions, they left for Texas without the slightest knowledge of what they were going into but she figured since some were family that she was going to live with, a marriage to someone she didn’t know, in an area they knew nothing about, it couldn’t be worse than what they were leaving. The thought of marrying a man she never knew gave her much thought but if other family was around she figured things should work out. The main thing was to keep her brother and sister with her and raise them correctly. To make it worse a mysterious man was bothering her.

Blood Work by Michael Connelly

Blood WorkReviewed by Allen Hott

This was the first in a short series about Terry McCaleb, a forced-into-retirement former FBI agent. The reason for the forcing was the fact that McCaleb had a heart transplant and was thus put into the “physically unable to perform” category by the department. However his physical condition did not change his thinking about his profession and try as he might to stay out of the grind it didn’t take long before he was drawn back into it.

And as a good mystery writer would do, Michael Connelly sets up the perfect circumstance to pull McCaleb back into action.

A lady comes to McCaleb’s boat (which he is rebuilding for his new life) and very quickly convinces him that she needs him. The lady, Graciela Rivers, had just recently read an article in the newspaper about McCaleb, his background, and his transplant. Graciela’s sister was the one whose donated heart gave McCaleb a second chance at life! And now Graciela wants McCaleb to find her sister’s killer.

Against his own better judgment and definitely against the advices of his heart doctor, McCaleb decides to at least check with the L.A. Police to see what if anything they have found out about the case. He finds that in essence they have done very little and appear to be continuing on that path. The lead detective on the case is very antagonistic toward McCabe and basically tells to keep his nose out of their case.