Category Archives: Fiction

The Devil’s Teardrop by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

One more great one by Deaver! In this one he has so many bad guys that even the cops (the good ones) have a hard time trying to figure out just who is the real bad guy. And they do it by using not only FBI agents but one retiree who is specialized in analyzing handwriting. His presence and abilities are needed because a killer (or killers) is shooting up D.C. and leaving notes telling where ransom moneys should be left or more killings will occur.

The handwriting agent is Parker Kinkaid who is separated from his wife and trying to raise two youngsters with the help of an older lady who doesn’t live in their home but is in and out. Parker and his ex-wife are still battling over the children and he is in constant fear that something in his previous line of work will cause him to lose custody of them. The somewhat lead agent of the FBI team is a woman named Margaret Lukas. The FBI wants Parker to come back and assist them because of the notes that are being left and the scheduled shoots. Just as a note “the devil’s teardrop” pertains to a type of writing.

The shooter’s notes say that he will be doing his mass shootings on a four hour schedule for the present. They will be held in heavily traveled places and he somewhat gives them clues as to where they will be held. Finally Parker agrees to try to help but on a limited basis and he will be able to leave whenever he feels his kids are in any danger.

The Best Friend by Shalini Boland

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

The Best Friend is a real psychological thriller that held my attention from the very first page. There are so many twists and turns taking place at the same time. Just when you think you have everything figured out — you do not!

When you meet someone for the very first time and they appear overly friendly, watch out! That is what Louisa experienced when she met Darcy. Darcy had everything – a beautiful house, money and a husband who had a very successful business. Louisa, on the other hand, did not have all of these things. At first, she was very impressed with Darcy but as time went on, her new best friend turned out to be the complete opposite – a person full of revenge. What secret is Darcy hiding in her past?

August Origins (An Action Mystery (Mackenzie August series) Book 1)by Alan Lee

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Mackenzie August has just moved back to his old hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. He is settling into a private practice as an investigator and is now living with his dad and Kix, Mackenzie’s son.
He is somewhat startled when the sheriff and a police officer come into his office. The sheriff quickly tells Mackenzie his entire life’s history and then offers him a job. He is really not interested and turns down the offer.

However on their next meeting and with further discussion he takes her offer to work as an undercover agent for her while he begins teaching at the high school. The reason he took the job is that he has heard a lot about the gangs that are now ruling the schools and actually have even killed several girls.

During his first week of teaching he goes to the local gym to work out and ends up in a ring with Nate Silva who is ranked as one of the top fighters not only in Roanoke but all of Virginia. Mackenzie has done a lot of fighting while he lived and worked as a cop in Los Angeles so he is prepared. Though Silva comes on strong and showy the end result is that Mackenzie wins 2 out of 3 rounds and the match. He also quickly builds quite a reputation around town with his ability.

Hush, Hush: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by Niki Danforth

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Hush, Hush is an exciting and fast-paced cozy mystery with an intriguing opening, mushrooming tension, imaginative red herrings, scintillating dialogue, brilliant character arcs, a jaw-dropping climax, and an amazing and satisfying twist ending. With a hint of political subterfuge, power struggles among law enforcement agencies, and a tenacious private investigator with martial arts skills, Hush, Hush is a teeth-chattering mystery that keeps readers’ eyes glued to every single word with anticipation.

Hush, Hush is told from the perspective of the main character, Ronnie Lake, a newly licensed private investigator. Ronnie takes on the case of a missing female college student, and her strong and brave German Shepherd, Warrior, participates in the investigation. Even though Ronnie has past experience using her private investigator skills, this case is proving challenging. Ronnie runs into roadblocks, both external and internal, in her search for the missing student. Is the young woman a runaway or a kidnap victim? Is she dead or alive? As the days go by, the investigation into the unexplained disappearance of a seemly happy individual leads to far more sinister ramifications. Will Ronnie solve the case before life-threatening dangers escalate out of control?

A Berry Deadly Welcome: A Humorous Cozy Mystery (Kylie Berry Mysteries Book 1) by A.R. Winters

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Kylie Berry, who has just divorced her husband under very bad terms, heads out to Camden Falls. She is broke and very disgusted with her life. Not only did she divorce her husband but his family held her responsible although in reality it definitely was him and his “fooling around”. She gets to the little town in Kentucky and heads to another relative’s restaurant where Kylie was given an offer to work if she wanted.

Going into Sarah’s Eatery was quite a shock as it turns out the restaurant is quite large with many chairs and tables. Over the bar was a big sign saying, “We’ll miss you “and Sarah’s name was taped at the end of the sign. When Sarah runs around the bar and meets Kylie. She then takes her up and down the bar introducing her to all the regulars.

And then they move into a little office where Sarah hands Kylie a stack of papers and shows her where to sign. Unbeknownst to Kylie because she had lost control of her phone and computer during the divorce with her husband, Sarah sold the restaurant to Kylie! And after handing her keys to the restaurant and to an apartment upstairs Sarah was out the front door. She and her husband were moving away.

Manhattan is My Beat (Rune Trilogy Book 1) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

If it is by Jeffery Deaver it will be an interesting read! Manhattan is
My Beat is definitely another of his interesting books. This time he has a young lady named Rune getting involved deeply in a very entangled chase for a suitcase with money in it. Or at least that is what Rune (the young woman) thinks.

Rune works in a tape rental store (lower class style) and watches tapes a lot in her off time. She also constantly battles with Tony, her boss, because she either is late or plain misses a lot of hours that she is supposed to be putting in at the store.

She had gotten very friendly with a much older customer, Robert Kelly. Nothing personal. Just friends. But one afternoon when she went to his apartment to pick up a tape she called him on his intercom and when he began talking shots were fired. She and another woman who was standing there both turned and were almost deliberately run over by a speeding green car. Going up then to his apartment they found Mr. Kelly, dead on the floor from gun shots.

The Second Hostage by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

It appears that Deaver has now begun writing the short stories (I suppose for EBooks). If this is a taste I would have to say that it was a great taste! Very short and easy to read but with a great plot, good characters, and great dialogue that are the norm in all of Deaver’s books.

The opening is kind of interesting in that during a meeting a fairly good sized group of deputies in Humble, Kansas receive a call that someone has been taken hostage. The sheriff isn’t available but one of the deputies decides that they as a group need to go and see what is going on.

It just so happens that a fellow named Colter Shaw is in town and was in listening to the deputies talking. Shaw is somewhat unique in that he is a “Reward Seeker”. Not actually a legal cop in any way he does travel around the west looking to earn rewards for finding missing persons or even things. Kind of an unusual occupation but he makes a living doing it and it somehow may be of help here.

Part of the story then goes into some detail as how Shaw is looking for a young teenager named Emma. He used various methods to trace her to the Humble area but wasn’t having much luck getting help from any lawmen as they all pretty much scoff at his occupation.

The Money Shot (A Teddy Fay Novel Book 2) by Stuart Woods

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Basically it is a Teddy Fay story although the cover claims it features Sone Barrington. Teddy is without a doubt the main character and he carries if off pretty well. As a matter of fact even though he is shot by three shots on the first page of the book he not only survives but he goes on to do many other extraordinary things.

Whoops! I guess I forgot to mention that those shots were not real bullets and Teddy was playing a part in a movie! But it is an interesting beginning to a pretty well written and very fast paced story by Woods.

Although Teddy uses several names and does several different jobs in the book he primarily is put to work as a detective. In addition to those roles he is also a top-flight weapons expert and make-uo artist. But in Hollywood he is a stuntman, a producer, and then a former CIA man turned detective. He fills all the roles well and is well accomplished in them especially the detective bit.

It seems as though someone has been able to get some rather or perhaps very risqué movies of a famous female actress. The actress, Tessa Bacchetti, has come to Teddy to see if he can help her as she is being blackmailed by someone. The blackmail involves some film taken of her and her boyfriend in college. Needless to say the film has sexual scenes. Supposedly the boyfriend, with whom she has broken up some time ago, was to have destroyed the film.

She knows of Teddy’s abilities and hopes that he can help her without her having to go to the police because of the damage to her career.

Teddy agrees to see what he can do and then gets very deeply involved with several different groups of villains. The original pair of culprits who have the film are basically after the money but as the plot grows and thickens it really gets deep. There are others who have now gotten involved. And they are looking for ways to get involved not only in the motion picture industry but to actually take over one or more studios.

Teddy, pretty much always on his own, has to not only sort out who is who and what he is doing but he has to stop it. Luckily his background in the industry puts him in positions that most would be unable to get into. Using his circle of friends and overall knowhow of what goes on he is able to make great strides quickly.

But not without injury! Mainly to himself as some of his stuntman work gets screwed around by the bad guys leaving Teddy “to take the fall”.

When you read the book you will figure out what that term actually means! A good fast read without a bunch of sex or profanity!

One Good Deed by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Shortly after WW II Aloysius Archer ends up in Poca City which is the little town that he is assigned to as part of his parole. He was put into prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. He knows nothing about the town and the townsfolk know nothing about him. While in prison he spent much of his time exercising and actually doing body building so he was in very good shape although not a big man.

Archer quickly realizes that not only does he need to meet with his parole officer but he also needs to find some sort of employment as his room rent is eating up his meager savings.

After getting checked into a hotel he begins to feel the need for a drink although bars and liquor are both listed on things that parolees are not to partake of. But he believes he can control himself so off he heads to The Cat’s Meow. And this first visit is pretty much the beginning of One Good Deed..

While at the bar he meets up with Hank Pittleman who is enjoying his drink with a young lady who turns out to be Jackie Tuttle (though Archer doesn’t know it at the time). Pittleman tells Archer that a man named Lucas Tuttle borrowed some money from him and not only didn’t pay it back but he also didn’t turn over the 1947 Cadillac which was used as collateral for the loan.

Pittleman gives Archer some money to go and get the Cadillac and bring it to him. Archer sees this as a good way to earn some cash and agrees to the task.

The following morning Archer makes his first visit to his parole officer who turns out to be a lady named Ernestine Crabtree. He explains about his new “job” since she tells him there is plenty of work in the area and part of his parole is partaking in three job interviews. She accepts his explanation of his job and tells him that if it doesn’t work out he must do the interviews. He agrees.

All of this is just the groundwork for a very interesting read as Archer gets involved with Poca City residents and especially Pittleman, the two Tuttles, and Crabtree. Those four play interesting roles in this story as Baldacci tells it.

One of the first events is that the Cadillac is actually burned up before Archer can get it or before Pittleman can retrieve it from Tuttle.

However there are many other interesting happenings as Archer begins his new life in Poca City. The ongoing battle for “big man on campus” so to speak between Pittleman and Tuttle is perhaps the largest but the life that Archer lives involving Jackie and his Parole Officer also contribute to the story line.

Another great read by the master, David Baldacci! Read it and enjoy!

Noble Beginnings: A Jack Noble Novel by L.T. Ryan

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Quite an interesting book but I am still trying to figure out exactly the total picture. Jack Noble and his partner, Bear, are deployed Marines in Iraq assisting the CIA supposedly. But as the story deepens it appears that the CIA isn’t really on their side. Or at least someone in the upper echelon of the CIA has developed a really intricate and complicated scheme. Whatever that scheme is never really develops but Noble and Bear suffer because of it.
It starts when the two of them try to save a family from what appears to be an assassination of the father. Noble doesn’t believe that the family and especially the children should be witnesses to this maneuver. He boldly steps forward and stops the procedure from happening.

The leader of the group is a man named Martinez who begins a scuffle with Noble. However Noble and Bear withstand the attempted putdown and Martinez with his men take off leaving Noble with Bear to watch over the family for a short while. Shortly after however is when the main part of this story really begins.