Category Archives: Mystery

Buried (Hush Collection) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

I am not exactly sure why Jeffery Deaver decided to write a short story with this one but not only he did and he did a great job. It involves a man who gets kidnapped and then put away in a basement type prison. Funny thing is as the story goes along he isn’t really the main premise behind the story.

In fact the story is about a person called The Gravedigger who does all sorts of criminal activities and then usually leaves notes of some type for the police to use as they hunt sometimes for the bodies but all the time for The Gravedigger.

While this part of the story is moving along Edward Fitzhugh a longtime newspaper reporter is about to retire but he is so interested in writing the story and hopefully even helping the police that he almost puts off his retirement. (And he actually does but in another fashion).

Dangerous Bureau by Roger Williams

Reviewed by Daniel Johnson

Dangerous Bureau is a book about monsters. Not the kinds of monsters that hide under your bed or in your closet – hopefully. This book is about the monsters that live next door. The monsters that you see on your television every day. The monsters that we all know are out there, but can never see until it’s too late.

Roger Darrell Williams brings us the story of Tara Helms, mother of two, loving wife, and former computer hacker extraordinaire. Tara quit her job as a hacker to take care of her sick son, and aside from spending more time in the hospital than the mother of a small child should have to, her life was pretty good. Until one evening, when her little girl was abducted by one of these monsters next door. After that Tara Helms’ life would never be the same.

Williams takes us down a dark path as the abduction and murder of Tara’s daughter Cindy continues to pull her further and further into the abyss in order to take down the man who killed her child and the system that supports him. The monsters that fill the pages of Dangerous Bureau grow more and more revolting with every turn of the page, and the reader’s hope for vengeance grows stronger with each word.

A Time to Kill: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 1 by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A really good read by Grisham. As usual it is in the south and again as usual it has legal ramifications. Jake Brigance is a young attorney in Ford County Mississippi and is struggling at the moment to make money. Unbeknownst to him at the time he is about to get a tremendously big case even if the income isn’t going to be too great.

It seems that two young very inebriated white guys (one who had already been imprisoned once) grab a little ten year old black girl and do some unspeakable things to her. Not only do they sexually attack her but they also beat her pretty badly and then after the horrible mutilation they threw her into a ravine and hurriedly drove away.

Tonya, the little girl, gets out of the ravine and with some help gets home to where she tells her Mom and Dad what happened. Once the sheriff hears what has happened he goes after Billy Ray Cobb who has been spouting off in the local bar about having raped a young “nigger”. Ozzie, the black sheriff, arrests both Billy Ray and Pete Willard who was Ray’s buddy that afternoon.
Ozzie took them to jail and there the real story begins.

Tunnels & Caves by Robert Haydon

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Kelly Wren and Angie Morrison are in a serious romantic relationship. They co-own a farm in Willow Creek, a rural town in Texas. Wren is a former sheriff who works on cold cases along with retired detective Wayne Tolleson for the Austin Police Department. Morrison unofficially helps with the investigations, which involve three cold cases: the double murder of a man and his girlfriend, the murder of a teenage girl, and the disappearance of a college student and her boyfriend. While Morrison devotes time to aid Wren and Tolleson, she also oversees the day-to-day running of the successful farm business and deals with a stalker. Wren and Tolleson end up in dangerous and life-threatening situations while pursuing satisfactory resolutions to the unsolved crimes. Will they be successful, or will the criminals get away with their abhorrent behavior? As Morrison’s stalker escalates to more intrusive and threatening behavior, will Morrison become the victor and not the victim?

A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite Book 6) by Robert Dugoni

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very good cop story by Dugoni. A good read with action, story line and no sex! Tracy Crosswhite is a Seattle homicide detective who works with Del, Faz, and Kins. In this one Del and Faz are working to break up a drug ring headed by a guy named Little Jimmy. It appears that Little Jimmy has shot and killed a woman in the neighborhood who was spearheading a drive against drugs. The main proof is a hand print on top of an automobile that was left by the gunmen. But figuring out if that ties to the shooting is part of the story.

Faz knows Little Jimmy very well since when he was fourteen Faz had been instrumental in getting Little Jimmy’s dad put in prison. While there he was killed by other prisoners and Little Jimmy still feels that Faz was the one who put his dad in the position and thus he does not like Faz. So far however it has been just a quiet eye to eye battle between the two but Faz watches Jimmy very closely. And Faz works to prove Jimmy is the one in the murder of the woman.

While Faz and Del work on their case they also battle sideline battles. Del has severe back problems that get worse every day by his work and doing things around the house. It causes Faz to have to work alone quite often and he is also having personal problems as his wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer so he is having all sorts of mental anguish.

The Innocent (Will Robie Book 1) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Will Robie is back and though a lot of us have a hard time believing that our government would hire hit men to take out those opposed to our ideas, here is the guy who does just that. For some time and several Baldacci books Will Robie has been the hit man for the United States who travels all over the world. He works for the U.S. government incognito and takes out the top men in the various groups who oppose the U.S. way of thinking and doing business.

He basically reports to one man who gives him his assignments and these assignments can be anywhere in the world. And as is almost always the case he somehow gets involved personally with individuals along the way. Usually these individuals are women that he meets and falls for. Some of them are good and some are not so his live becomes even more involved than just killing bad guys.

In this story Robie begins having to kill a Russian and a Palestinian who are planning on killing someone high in the U.S. Government. Robie does his job and makes his way back home. Little does he realize that the Palestinian whom he had killed has a relative who will hunt Robie down and eventually find him.

Big Numbers (Austin Carr Mystery Book 1) by Jack Getze

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Austin Carr is having some problems with his life. Because of monetary problems and a split with his wife, he is living in an old truck-mounted camper. The camper is parked in the lot of a bar where he spends a lot of time and the owner of the bar wants him out of the lot but seems to always succumb to Carr’s charm. Carr has also given him a few stock tips that paid off and he is hoping for more help in exchange along the way to pay for the parking.

Mostly Carr gets along well with Luis who is the bartender at Cruz’s bar and grill so that keeps him pretty well fixed for food and beverages. However Cruz still is very watchful because he isn’t happy with the camper truck in the lot.

It seems as a stockbroker he isn’t doing overly well although he has one client, Gerry Burns, who has been putting quite a bit of work Carr’s way. One day Gerry comes in to see Carr and first complains a bit about the market, like everyone else is doing in this particular slowdown. But then he drops a bigger bomb when he tells Carr that has pancreatic cancer and supposedly is dying.

Smoke Screen: A Novel by Sandra Brown

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Somewhat interesting story about a fire at police headquarters in Charleston. Actually four of the city’s top officials have been described as heroes for their part in getting people out of the building. However there were several deaths and one was a man who was being held on charges. Later it is learned that he had some information on someone in the governing hierarchy. And perhaps the fire was set intentionally to create a cover up for his death.

Britt Shelley, a very well-known television reporter who does many on the spot interviews, gets involved early on but in a strange way. It seems that she wakes one morning and the man next to her is not only one of the men who is looked on as a hero from the deadly fire but he is also dead! Britt claims she was given some sort of date rape drug in her drink and has very little memory of the entire night. She had met him for an interview about the fire.

Strong from the Heart: A Caitlin Strong Novel (Caitlin Strong Novels Book 11) by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

“Central, we’ve got a potential level one event.”

Good thing such things are nothing new for Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. And with that line from the prologue, her latest adventure Strong from the Heart is off and running at a breakneck clip that doesn’t let up until the final page is turned. This is the best thriller of the year, in large part for how it confronts Caitlin and company with challenges that are exceedingly rare for a genre novel.

I say that because not only does Strong from the Heart place the opioid crisis front and center, but the book does so with the series’ tried and true regulars front and center. Start with Caitlin’s surrogate son, now high school senior Luke Torres, being rushed to the hospital after snorting Oxycontin. Add to that Caitlin’s own dependence on Vicodin to get her through the pain from recent gunfight-related trauma and you’ve got the recipe for a thriller rife with characters at war with themselves as much as the bad guys who’ve hatched a typically nightmarish plot, typical for Caitlin Strong anyway.

These particular Washington-based villains have formed a drug cartel of mammoth proportions under the auspices of the government itself. Their dirty dealings are brought to light when an entire town on the Texas-Mexico border is wiped out in minutes. But a Caitlin Strong thriller is far more comfortable in the darkness and Strong from the Heart is no exception there, as we’re treated to a seemingly endless succession of morally challenged types, most notably a monstrous Native American named Yarek Bone who sports a condition that keeps him from feeling any pain.

An Equal Justice (David Adams Book 1) by Chad Zunker

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

David Adams is the quintessential rags to riches story. He grew up in a poor family and thru hard work managed to not only go to college but obtain a law degree from Stanford. He is looking forward to his new job at a prestigious Austin law firm. He is shocked to learn that a fellow associate he drove home after a company dinner has been found dead in his home. The associate’s last words to David were a warning to get out while he could. David soon realizes that all is not as it seems at his company. David is determined to find the truth but soon realizes that in doing so he may pay the ultimate price.