Category Archives: Fiction

Hour Game by David Baldacci (Review #3)

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Not quite what I expect from a David Baldacci story but I am sure that it will appeal to many readers. Theoretically there is one killer out there.He is leaving signature items to show that he did the dirty deed and that more will come. However as the story rolls along it appears to be more of a tale (long winded at that) of one family that not only is incredibly rich but also very twisted up in behavior.

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, who are now working as private investigators, are hired to do some investigating into a somewhat bizarre burglary. However even before they can get into that several murders occur and bodies are left in somewhat mysterious states. Not only are they wearing watches but altered faces. Each watch has just one dial still on the face of the watch. The first body appears to be wearing a watch with a dial pointed at 1 and then as they find more bodies the dial begins climbing to 2, 3, and so on. However also on several of the first found bodies they dial is not directly on the one but about a minute past it.

Capitol White: A Donnie Brasco Novel (Audiobook – Original Recording) by Joe Pistone and Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

As a crime film connoisseur, I place Donnie Brasco among the very best the genre has to offer. Watching Johnny Depp, as the title character, spend five years undercover inside the New York Mob, before ultimately bringing down the infamous families at the top of the food chain, remains great fun every time I watch it.

So it was with great interest that I plunged into Capitol White, more or less a direct sequel to that movie, penned by former FBI agent Joe Pistone working in tandem with bestselling thriller writer Jon Land. The twist is Donnie himself has been re-imagined wondrously here as a fictional hero, as opposed to a fictitious one, to spectacular success.
Pistone famously chronicled his years living undercover in Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia – A True Story. Capitol White may be all fiction but you wouldn’t know it from the writing and I had to remind myself numerous times that what I was reading was made up instead of a literary rendition of Donnie’s next major case.

Neon Prey (A Prey Novel) by John Sandford

Reviewed by Allen Hott
Lucas Davenport, who used to be the governor of Minnesota’s number one crime solver, still works at solving crimes. But now the former governor has moved on to Washington and from afar he uses Lucas as his number one U.S. Marshall. So whenever there is a strange crime going on anywhere in the West Lucas gets the call and off he goes.

This time he starts off meeting a different FBI agent in New Orleans along with a couple of other agents, Bob and Rae, whom he has worked with on other occasions. It turns out that they not only are hunting a killer but this particular guy is also a cannibal. Although not a perfect one in that he does kill the person first and then usually cuts them open and eats the liver or other intestinal organs.

The killer, named Deese, was on bail for doing other criminal activities in his job as a muscle for hire by loan sharks and others. He skipped out on his bail procedure and was on the loose but still actively doing various crimes as he worked at earning more money.

The Point of Light (Historical Fiction Book 1) by John Ellsworth

Reviewed by Allen Hott

In this fictional accounting of the atrocities of World War II Claire Vallant lives through those horrendous days. She was able to not only recount verbally but also by pictures memories of the happenings. Claire was a young French girl who quite by accident began her career in photography by taking some pictures in a hospital. She was then “hired” by many of the visitors at the hospital to take photos of relatives and friends. Little did Claire realize what this beginning would grow into?

She falls in love with Remy whom she had known from grade school and together they join the French Resistance to fight as well as they can against the advancing German Army. Together they made reconnaissance missions where Claire would take pictures of the German soldiers who had been sent ahead of the oncoming army that planned to take over Paris and all of France.

Because Remy’s father was the foreign minister to Paris Remy was forced to join the German army even though in his heart he was a French resistance fighter. As the story goes on he has the parents of a young French girl taken hostage and he secretly hides away the young girl because he doesn’t want her to be killed also. As he fights alongside the Germans he does everything in his power to prevent many of their atrocities and is a true rebel at heart.

The Eye That Never Sleeps by Clifford Browder

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Traversing back in time to New York City circa the late nineteenth century, Clifford Browder’s The Eye That Never Sleeps poses a decidedly brilliant take on the historical crime thriller with an enticingly twisted narrative that brings together history, mystery, and masterfully fleshed out characters.

A growing mystery is afoot in the expanding metropolis of 1869 New York City when three banks are robbed within a nine-month period. Of particular concern is the robbery of the Bank of Trade which is considered the heist of the century. Moreover, the thief has the gall to brag about the robberies by way of sending to the president of each bank gloating rhyming verses and a key to the bank within days of the wake of each masterminded robbery.

Meanwhile, unfortunately for the bankers, the police department has been overwhelmed by the heavy caseloads of other criminal investigations which leaves the city’s bankers in growing desperation. Looking for answers, they turn to private operative/ detective Sheldon Minick who agrees to take on the case for a substantial retainer which enables the financially strapped detective to pay bills and bring meat to his table.

The Furies by Corey Croft

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The FuriesThis is a book that has it all; friendship, love, violence, and drugs. The Furies by Corey Croft follows the story of a group of Fury friends. In their final year of high school they are faced with a series of tough decisions. It is about them making it just one more year; it is about figuring out what comes next when worlds of possibilities open up in front of them. Or do they? But above all, it is a story about different ways of coming to terms with oneself.

Set amidst the 90’s drug boom, the narrative faithfully encapsulates the spirit of the time. The plot oozes cultural references specific to that period which takes the reader on a playful journey back in time. The city of Fury is where it all happens. It is a city, not unlike any other, where social and racial divide fills the air. And so does the smell of weed. Corey Croft takes you beyond a picture-perfect layout of middle class life which leads you down some dark alleys and shows you what lurks behind closed doors. The Furies is all about forms of struggle and adaptation to what life throws at you. And the furions sure know how to throw back a punch. But there is also a softer side to their wild nature – a childhood naivete that lingers on in their adolescence.

The Eighth Sister: A Thriller (Charles Jenkins) by Robert Dugoni

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Eighth SisterThis is quite a story that basically that wraps around the concept that there are or were eight Russian women who have fought against the KGB or its current counterpart the FSB for many years. Supposedly there were seven who lived for years but then, again supposedly, three of them were killed or died in some fashion. Now there is a new one looking to join up with the survivors and she would be The Eighth Sister. However there is at least one Russian FSB agent, Viktor Federov, who is looking earnestly for this theoretical eighth sister. He hopes by finding her he can find the other remaining sisters and bring them to Russian justice!

However in the United States Charles Jenkins, a former US CIA agent, was contacted by his former CIA boss who wants him to go into Russia undercover and convince the FSB that he knows who and where the original sisters are and that the eighth sister will come forward allowing the FSB to capture her and try to track down the others. However before they can do that the CIA plans to step into Jenkins’ place and kill the eighth before she can do any talking.

The Experiment (The Kinship Series Book 3) by Robin Lamont

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The ExperimentRobin Lamont’s The Experiment, the third addition to her well-received Kinship series, traverses the rough terrain of animal rights in a story that not only takes readers seamlessly into a world that brims with webbed mystery but also exposes the horrific aspects of a subject that is not often visited – the protection of animals.

Promptly, from the narrative’s outset, the suspense begins to build, as we meet the story’s engagingly complex protagonist, Jude Brannock, a senior investigator at The Kinship, an organization specializing in undercover investigations of large scale / industrial animal abuse. Jude anxiously broods about a recently hired investigator, Time Mains her trainee, who suddenly seemed to be mysteriously missing in action. Investigative Trainee Tim Mains embarked on an independent mission to go undercover to gather, document and report violations at a targeted company Amaethon Industries. After a spate of little to no contact from Tim, Jude embarks on an intense mission to find the missing investigator determined to get to the truth of his whereabouts, especially after his cryptic message of being on to “something big”. However, Jude’s interest in the mystery of Tim’s disappearance turns out to be more than just a “platonic” or “comrade in arms” type of concern for him as it turns out the two had started an affair that had to be kept out of sight.

Establishing Presence: A Chip Fullerton/Annie Smith Sports Novel – Book Three by T.L. Hoch

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Establishing PresenceWhat is the purpose of a softball game? Is it the same as a basketball game? Is there a difference between the two? Is winning the goal of both sports? Is winning everything? Can you learn more than the techniques of a competition by not winning?

Between the junior and senior years of high school, a few exceptional female athletes are invited to assist at a sports camp for women’s softball and basketball. Annie, Chip, and Jenny are from the small town of Reston, Texas and joined by Cheryl while rooming together at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

Cheryl’s uncle is in charge of the camp and is thrilled to have these exceptionally talented high-school seniors joining her.

The four girls enthusiastically work with the younger campers teaching them the technicalities and techniques needed to improve their skills. Including becoming better players, they also quickly learn that building their game skills are as necessary as building their personal and interpersonal skills.

Ninth and Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Ninth & NowhereAnother of Deaver’s short stories that appears to be published for Kindle type readers. This one may fit that category but it is still a very good read. As usual Deaver kind of starts “nowhere” in the story with a mix of characters who seemingly do not know each other. But bang! They all come together and the reader finds out exactly what is going on.

Ninth and Nowhere has seven supposed strangers who are pretty much described in detail by Deaver but the reader doesn’t know what is going on and how they will interact. One of them is a young man who wants to buy a gun, another is the gangster who wants to sell him the gun, and then there is a good police officer who is working his last patrol.

Also one is a lady executive who is keeping things from her husband, a single father in a custody battle for his child, and a very impressive looking businessman who is on his way to a new job that he really needs. And finally there is recently released veteran who is having a hard time getting over some of the horrors of war that he has just recently witnessed.