Category Archives: Mystery

Buried Leads: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller by Lyndee Walker

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Early one morning Nichelle Clarke, a very hard-working crime/political writer for the Richmond Telegraph, gets a call that drives this whole story. A body has been found in a shallow grave. It turns out the well dressed individual in the muddy shallow gravesite was a lawyer. And not just a lawyer but a tobacco lobbyist from Washington D.C.

To be the first reporter on the scene is a great deal for Nichelle as she is constantly battling with other reporters for the top spot in the eyes of the paper’s editors. Her boss, who is an assistant editor, is always trying to get her more and more involved as he likes her style. However the competition is tough and continues throughout the story.

As other events occur, including other deaths, there is little doubt that the original death was part of a very large political manuever. Not only are local politicians but the trail goes higher and higher all the way to the Senate.

There are several people who get involved with Nichelle and one is an FBI agent who is a former boyfriend of hers. Kyle still is pretty well enamored with her though she doesn’t appear quite as anxious for him. But he is a great source of needed information as she gets deeper and deeper into the case.

Strangely enough the other individual who not only helps her but actually saves her from possible harm is a Mafia boss. Joey is a young neighbor who has been very friendly with Nichelle. She never realizes that he is involved with criminal activities at all. It turns out he seems to be a watchdog for several gangs but doesn’t really do much expect spy around and report activities.

Nichelle does get very deep into who and what is involved. It turns out that many of her instincts are correct as politics, graft, and just plain criminal events happen. One of these even include putting Nichelle into the hospital

It is a very good read and all of it seems to be very possible in today’s world. Crime is rampant everywhere, politicians get involved, and quite often it is the work of a “digging” news reporter of some sort to uncover it!

Guess Who by Nesly Clerge and Joyce L. Shafer

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Guess Who by Nesly Clerge and Joyce L. Shafer is a sultry romance story nicely wrapped in a cop thriller. A pleasant read for these cozy winter nights.

In the center of all stands Tessa, a woman with a tumultuous past and full of contradictions. She becomes entangled with a chain of bank robberies. After her intuition unexpectedly kicks in upon reading a newspaper article about the crimes, she decides to fully immerse herself in the case to help untangle its mysteries. But the task she set out for herself is not easy. Her first major obstacle proves to be the main detective working the case, Max Walker. He seems impervious to her intention and explanations, hanging up on Tessa’s numerous calls. So, what is a girl to do? Get on the next flight to New York, of course, and make the detective listen.

While the pretense of the plot would label the novel as a thriller, the bank robberies and law enforcement setting serve more as the backdrop for romance. In the hectic city of New York, and in the even bigger turmoil of her personal life, Tessa finds herself the object of desire for many potential suitors. Although she tries to maintain her focus on the job she went there to do, the temptations prove to be overwhelming; especially when it comes to detective Walker, who is playing an intense and frustrating game of push and pull. But to what end?

A Case of Need: A Novel by Michael Crichton

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A Case of NeedAn interesting (though somewhat boring book in places) about a young girl who dies or is killed from a botched abortion. At least that is the idea of A Case of Need as we begin working our way through the story. John Berry, a practicing pathologist is alerted to the fact that, Art Lee, an obstetrician friend of his has been arrested. Supposedly Lee performed the abortion that had ended up killing Karen Randall.

It seems that she was brought to Lee by her uncle, Peter Randall, and she requested the procedure. Lee claimed that he told her she was too far along (four months) in her pregnancy and that an abortion could not be performed safely. He says she left and then later died from a botched abortion.

After hearing Lee’s story, Berry gets somewhat crossways with the police, especially a Captain Peterson, when he decides to do some investigating himself. First off he does not believe Lee did it and secondly he realizes that the Randalls are not only an influential family but also a group of well-known doctors that gets their way, one way or another.

Likely Suspects (Alexis Parker Book 1) by G.K. Parks

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Likely SuspectsPretty good read about Alexis Parker who has been working as an Investigator at the Office of International Operations but has decided to now strike out on her own. Her plan is to do security work or even private detective work. A good friend and former supervisor puts her in touch with a James Martin who is owner and active leader of Martin Technologies. After a somewhat strange interview and stranger introduction to Martin’s secretary, she is hired.

The problem appears to be that some one or more than one someone appears to be attempting to be doing damaging things to James Martin, possibly even killing him. As Alexis begins her new employment she finds that Martin expects her to basically act almost like a girlfriend. At dinner on the first day of employment it seems that several gunmen enter the restaurant and plan a holdup of the diners. Alexis and her former boss (Mark), who is along basically to further the introduction of the two, get the word from Martin to go after the gunmen and see how good the new security head of Martin Technologies really is.

To the Bone (A Kate Reid Novel Book 9) by Robin Mahle

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Takes a lot of cops to go after the bad guy in this one. And the cops range from the regulars from the Boston Police Force, County Police, Massachusetts State Patrol, and even the FBI.

It basically starts with Mike Hawthorne, foreman of a construction site along the Charles River in the Boston area. One of Mike’s men calls him over when as they were digging they spotted a hand in the dirt that they are removing. Needless to say after calling the police the digging is done for the time being and the investigating of the area begins.

Detective Terry King begins the investigating which turns up an entire body. King brings in the Medical Examiner and other police officers. They surmise or at least believe that it is another of the victims of the Charles River massacre that was supposedly done by Whitey Bulger some 25 years previously.

That crime was not actually ever solved as they didn’t know if they were mob deaths or normal citizens who were killed by some maniac. Mostly they were younger women and they all seemed to have other injuries or incidents to their bodies prior to their murders.

Today’s find quickly turns out to also have strange conditions so there are questions. However shortly after the body is found and the digging is stopped yet another body with similar circumstances is found. Strangely booth bodies were not from the vintage of the Charles River massacre. One for sure appears to be of recent times.

Toward the Light by Bonnar Spring

Reviewed by James Eaton

This is a well-written book that, for the most part, impresses and engages, and here and there, strains credulity.

I suppose I’d also label it something of a slow burn, so as thrillers go, not substantially thrilling unless you put in the time. So put in the time. Patience rewards here.

Note: If you have seen and worshipped “The Princess Bride” as I have, you might need to take a pill to wipe Inigo Montoya from your memory banks, or you may find that wry swordsman haunting you, particularly at points in the story where I’m sure the writer of this novel did not envision invoking Mandy Patinkin.

Now that that’s out of the way, I will say that I, ultimately, enjoyed “Toward the Light.” The details, always in abundance, were essential to the illustration of the Guatemalan setting. I don’t feel, having just finished the book, that I’ve been to Guatemala, but I am quite sure the characters lived their lives and made their choices there, and that is what matters.

Lies She Never Told Me: A Novel (Historical Fiction Book 3) by John Ellsworth

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A historical type story that begins on the Great Lakes in July of 1915 when an excursion steamer capsizes and sinks. Hundreds of people are thrown into the water and many drown. However quite a few are saved and many by Knowles Graham a seventeen year old who jumped from his motorcycle right into the water to help out.

Strangely enough his bike and clothes had already caught the eyes of a group of “not too law abiding” cops. They ended up stopping Knowles and not only arrested him but pretty well beat the tar out of him before throwing him in jail. Shortly thereafter the same cops brought in another young man and threw him into the cell with Knowles after beating him pretty badly also. Knowles gave a lot of aid to the new man and together they made it through the night.

The other young man was Alphonse Capone who would later in life again run into Knowles Graham when they were each on opposite sides of the law. Knowles through some more good work that he does in saving a cop becomes not only a cop but moves all the way up through the system of government to eventually become Senator Graham from Illinois.

Tripwire (Jack Reacher, Book 3) by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very typical Jack Reacher story by Lee Child and another good one at that! Reacher is the former military man who retired and has spent his life traveling the United States with no money in his pocket. He has a retirement account in the bank and draws out some cash as he needs it. But most of the time he works at odd jobs, picking up enough cash to pay for his room and something to eat as he travels.

He hitchhikes most of the time or sometimes rides a bus or even a train on extreme occasions. His claim to fame is that no matter where he goes he runs into some sort of crime and he usually solves it by himself. He is meaner than a one-eyed mountain lion and can pretty much whip any individual who thinks otherwise.

In Tripwire he though working in south Florida ends up again traveling pretty much all over the country. And he does it this time with a young lady named Jodie Garber. Jodie is the daughter of General Leon Garber who not only was Reacher’s commanding officer at one time but also his best friend and best life trainer that anyone could have. It turns out that Jodie who had an insatiable crush on Reacher years ago is looking for him to help her with a problem. Reacher was also somewhat infatuated with Jodie years ago but being she was the general’s daughter and fifteen years younger than Reacher he did not explore it.

The Precipice: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries Book 6) by Paul Doiron

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very good read by Doiron using Mike Bowditch, a Maine game warden. Doiron uses Bowditch quite often probably because not only is he a Yale graduate living in Maine, he also is a Maine Registered Guide and lives on a lake in the area.

In The Precipice Bowditch gets very involved in hunting for two lost women who were supposed to be making the hike along the Appalachian Trail. They disappeared in the Hundred Mile Wilderness which is the most remote stretch of the AT. They had been seen in various spots along the trail but now have seemingly disappeared.

As Bowditch and others who travel this area many things can happen. There are some very steep hills that have to be gotten over and some of them have drop-offs that lead down to various types of water areas. Some believe they may have dropped into one of those and then drowned. But others feel some type of animal may have gotten to them. Strangely most feel they are out there and need help.

Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

“It’s just that the research I did turned up a murder where you used to live, where you were an English teacher.”
“There was a murder, and someone was arrested, yes, Kristi.”
“Were you the one who caught him, Mrs. Fletcher?”

That exchange, between Jessica Fletcher and a young woman she thinks is a reporter from the local high school newspaper, forms the heart of A Time for Murder, the 50th entry in the iconic Murder, She Wrote series. Jon Land, current series shepherd, has chosen to celebrate that milestone by taking us where no reader (or viewer, for that matter) has ever gone before: into Jessica’s past, specifically twenty-five years back in time, and the result is nothing short of a smashing, slam-dunk success unrivalled in the annuls of literary pop culture.

Jessica’s still married to a much alive husband Frank. And they’re raising their eight-year-old nephew Grady at the time, as she tries to carve out a career as a high school English teacher while struggling to get published.

“Is this a mystery?” one of her students asks, as the class dissects one of Jessica’s own short stories that she distributed anonymously.

It’s not supposed to be, but that gets her thinking, as does the murder of the beloved high school principal who was just about to hire her full-time. An office mishap is suspected at first, until Jessica displays her keen powers of observation for the first time while working with Appleton Maine’s only detective, none other than future Cabot Cove sheriff Amos Tupper.

But that flashback to the past is only part of Land’s fourth, and best, effort in the series so far. In the present, the high school reporter for whom Jessica granted an interview turns out not to be a reporter at all; in fact, she’s not even in high school. And when she turns up murdered herself after badgering Jessica about that murder in neighboring Appleton, we’re off to the races on a dead sprint that swiftly reveals a clear connection between these two killings separated by twenty-five years.