Category Archives: Mystery

Without Fear or Favor: A Novel (A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller Book 29) by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Without Fear or FavorThe black community vs. the police is not a new idea in today’s social environment.

Tony Cippio is an ideal New York Police Officer who attempts to create positive relationships between the community and law enforcement. This white policeman enjoys playing basketball with neighborhood teens.

Tyrone Greene is a thirteen-year-old with basketball skills that surpass the officer’s successful high school and community college recognition. Tony sees the possibilities for this talented youngster with dreams of playing professional ball. Considering how well Tyrone could play with an old over-inflated ball, the teen was thrilled with the gift of a new ball.

The Quiet Child: A Novel by John Burley

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

The Quiet ChildThis is most likely the hardest review I’ve ever done. The story has elements of mystery yet a thriller like atmosphere to what appears to be a quiet town. The story starts out normal enough – a 1950’s family with Dad Michael, Mom Kate and their two sons Sean and Danny. You soon learn that Kate is ill and son Danny has never spoken a word. On a seemingly innocent trip to the store for ice cream (no spoilers) their happy (or not) family is torn apart.

Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Without MercyDr. Brockton is called to a murder scene that shocks him like no other one ever has: a body found in a rural Tennessee county, chained to a tree and badly mutilated. There are clues that would lead one to believe this murder to be a hate crime but the anthropological evidence says otherwise. As Brockton works with the local and state authorities to try and solve the case, he receives some unsettling news: Nick Satterfield, a savage serial killer with a grudge against Brockton, has escaped from federal prison and appears to be on a quest for revenge against him. As the investigation progresses, Brockton begins to wonder if the murder case he’s working on is the work of Satterfield and realizes he must find a way to both solve the case and protect his family.

Golden Prey (Lucas Davenport Mysteries) by John Sandford

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Golden PreyLucas Davenport, the former officer of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is now a U.S. Marshal. This all came about because of his great work helping the former governor of Minnesota who is now a presidential candidate. For Lucas it is a great career move because he is not only a loner but thanks to a few breaks early on he is also quite wealthy and really doesn’t need to work. But he loves law enforcement and lives for catching the really bad guys.

The Falcon at the Portal: An Amelia Peabody Mystery by Elizabeth Peters

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Falcon at the PortalBecause Joan Hess was contracted to finish a manuscript left upon Elizabeth Peters’ death, some of the earlier books are being released. The Falcon at the Portal is the eleventh book in the series and just past the midpoint of the books completed by Peters. For faithful readers, it is a good book to reread to sort of jump back in with the extended Peabody clan. That said, of all the books in the series, it happens to be the one I enjoyed the least.

The Force: A Novel by Don Winslow

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The ForceDenny Malone is a hero in many people’s eyes. He and his crew tagged “the force” have made one of the biggest heroin busts in the history of the NYPD. Malone and his crew’s rise to stardom was fast in coming. His elite unit was given pretty much free reign to do whatever it took to keep Manhattan North safe for the good people living and working in the area. But time and again, history has shown unchecked power leads to abuse. So while many herald Malone as invincible and untouchable, rumors start to surface, because not only does unlimited power lead to corruption, it also leads to jealousy and bad blood. Winslow’s The Force is the story of Malone and his crew’s fall from grace.

Death at an English Wedding (Murder on Location) (Volume 7) by Sara Rosett

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Death at an English WeddingDeath at an English Wedding finds Americans Kate and Alex, the location scouts scouting for a venue for their own wedding. Well, not really, as when the book opens they have all of the details for their wedding secured, which is good since their wedding is a mere three weeks away. For people “in the business,” it would seem logical that all would run smoothly, but family has a way of complicating things and both Alex and Kate have some doozies for family members.

The first complication surfaces when Kate picks up her mother at the airport. Always a bit flighty and unpredictable, her mother is sketchy on details as to whom the younger man is that Kate saw her with in the coffee shop. Her mom brushes the incident off as nothing but fellow passengers chatting after their flight, but Kate knowing her mother well, knows there is more to the conversation than that. It is a few chapters later before the details start to come out and, as one might expect, none if of those details are good.

A Shimmer of Hummingbirds: A Birder Murder Mystery by Steve Burrows

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

A Shimmer of HummingbirdsDetective Chief JeJeune is one of the most unusual protagonists I have run across in my reading. Canadian by birth, he fled Canada amid a family scandal which continues to threaten his new life in Norfolk, England. Jejuene, besides being a Detective Chief is also an avid birder giving these books an interesting twist. Though filled with birds, birding terms and bird facts, these are not the cozies one might expect. Make no mistake, the Domenic Jejuene books are police procedurals.

There are three main threads interwoven in A Shimmer of Hummingbirds. Jejuene has planned a birding trip to Colombia to capture as many of the varieties of native hummingbirds as he can for his life list. He also has every intention of doing a little nosing around to see if he can find out more about the legal problems his brother is facing. His superior is well aware JeJuene’s real purpose in the trip, but realizes that nothing she says will change his mind. So off Jejeune goes on his South American adventure while back home Norfolk life continues. Marvin Laraby, JeJuene’s former boss has been named JeJeune’s temporary replacement. The two men did not part on friendly terms so those who worked under Jejuene are at a loss as to how much to share with JeJeune when he calls in. When JeJuene hears of an apparent accident which injures Lindy, JeJuene’s love interest, he asks one of his colleagues to on the sly look into a particular criminal that he and Laraby helped put away. Lastly, a woman is found murdered in her home. All of the evidence points to the motive as something to do with an offer on a project involving drones and reforestation.

Burrows seems to have some environmental twist in some part of the plots in each of his books. This one has two. The obvious one is the need for there to be reforestation in England and the second concerns the natives of Colombia being put at risk by tourists and specifically birders. He includes some notes at the end concerning the second.

She Rides Shotgun: A Novel by Jordan Harper (Review #2)

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

She Rides ShotgunFrom the first sentence in Jordan Harper’s thrilling fiction debut, She Rides Shotgun, you find yourself a willing captive held fast by his audaciously gritty narrative which centers on the corrupted coming of age of young Polly McClusky, an innocent, thrust into the seamy side of life where criminal elements heartily dwell.

The day estranged dad and convict, Nate McClusky reappeared in eleven-year-old daughter Polly’s life, and it was effectively forever changed. Fresh out of jail, Nate didn’t bring candy and gifts like other fathers might do to make up for lost time; instead, he brought trouble, danger and visceral violence hot on his heels.

As a criminal for most of his life, Nate was no stranger to difficult predicaments, especially when he finds himself just before his release out of jail, faced with an irrefusable demand to work for a violent and widely powerful white supremacist organization, Aryan Steel. But, when Nate refuses with a shiv to the neck of the brother of the leader of Aryan Steel, he consequently finds himself, his ex and young daughter on a hit list. Compelled into an intense race against time and the treacherous, as well as forced to use any means necessary to ensure his and daughter Polly’s survival, he instructs his daughter in life lessons that no young girl should ever have to experience. Additionally, to further complicate matters, father and daughter are basically strangers and polar opposites causing personality clashes and breathtaking moments as the two have to learn to accept each other for the sake of their own survival.

Deadly Occupation (A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Mystery) (Volume 1) by Suzanne Adair

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Deadly OccupationImagine living in the year 1781 in North Carolina. Our country is just beginning but is still fighting for its independence. For many settlers, they are choosing whether their allegiances are with the British as Loyalists, the colonists as the rebels, or being neutral with no preferences. At the time, no country had ever successfully broken away from a mother country to be independent as a new nation.

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A British officer, Lieutenant Michael Stoddard is part of the Eighty-Second Regiment, currently occupying the small town of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Many of those loyal to the colonists are associated with the Regulators who were protesting The Stamp Act. With the British Invasion of this area, they flee the area along with the horses, carts, and ammunition.

For those who remain must surrender to British officer, Major Craig after their articles of surrender had been rejected. Now all the residents are prisoners of war.

One of their scouts is a free Negro named Teal. He is questioning the safety of the homes in the area, especially the possibility of traps as the troops inspect and move into the town. He reports of a nearby home owned by a loyalist merchant whose home is being attacked by about twenty men on horseback who are setting the out buildings on fire.

Michael is given ten men to assist in saving the Farrell home. Fortunately, their training gives them the advantage even while being outnumbered.
As Major Craig takes over command of the area, he assigns Michael as his lead criminal investigator answering only to him. With this unstable occupation, the Major needs someone he can trust.

Michael is allowed to hire an assistant to help investigate his many new duties. Among the rebel leaders leaving the area, their families still remain. Will their spouses return? Where do the family loyalties lie?

His assignment also includes the creation of a church which does not seem Anglican. Women are allowed positions in this church going against the teachings of the Anglican Church. The Major needs to know what Vicar Spivey if really doing which he expects is taking advantage of the local residents.
Added to that is the disappearance of a gunsmith’s wife, Julia Garrett.
The Major expects these tasks to be completed within the next day or two.

How can an outsider possible accomplish all this within such a short length of time?