Category Archives: Mystery

Gretchen: A Thriller by Shannon Kirk

Reviewed by Jim Eaton

At first, I had no idea what to make of this book. It seems in some sub-textual way to be a sort of treatise on coincidence (dare I say, a puzzle within a puzzle). I wasn’t sure to what degree the supernatural was going to play a role; I myself had never heard of any human being (outside of fantasy and sci-fi) having violet eyes. So I suppose you could say this book kept me very much off balance from the start. And it probably isn’t the sort of story I would typically read. Was it a thriller? A mystery? A puzzle in puzzle wrapped in coincidences? It took me more than a few chapters to try to hone in.

How to describe the book without betraying its plot? Hm. You’ve got a woman and a daughter on the run, moving from state to state, hiding from…we don’t know what. The mother won’t tell the daughter. But we do know this has been going on for about thirteen years, since the girl (Lucy) was two years old. I found it ever so slightly confusing that the mother would be worried about them being recognized if in fact the girl was two when they’d fled…but I surmised that the uniquely of the eyes was the root of the paranoia. Maybe. Maybe they were aliens or witches. You decide.

Skin Game (A Teddy Fay Novel Book 3) by Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Teddy Fay was now working as a film producer when he gets a phone call from his old CIA boss. Fay had to leave the CIA at one time because of a mix-up but now they want him back. They believe there is a mole (spy) that is infiltrated into the Paris office of the CIA. So Fay, with very little hesitation heads to Paris as a re- hired CIA agent.

From there it gets very confusing as Fay is constantly finding out strange things that appear to be building up in Paris involving many different countries. They all have not only their normal embassies but these folks are additional countrymen of many countries. They seem to be trying to get to something but neither Fay nor his fellow CIA agents seem to know what.

Fay, working in disguises of all sorts with names of all types, seems to be doing well blending in and learning some things. He quickly meets up with Stone Barrington, perhaps the richest investigator ever, and the New York City police commissioner who is also rich and an investigator. They put together a plan to all work together hunting for the Parisian mole.

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 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 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.

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.

The Burning Man by Phillip Margolin

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Kind of a combination of lawyering, murdering, and many other things to keep the reader involved. Peter Hale is a young attorney who while working for his father kind of screws up a case. The attorney father heads up a prestigious firm and is so upset with his son’s mistake that he chases him from the firm. He does set Peter up, however, with a job as a public defender in a very small town working for a very small law firm. Peter is torn at first as to whether to even accept the job or get into a completely different field.

However when he gets to his new job and meets the owner/lawyer who he will be working for he is stupefied! It turns out the job he will be doing is as a criminal lawyer. He is used to working on business deals etc. not chasing down and defending people who broke the law by some criminal deed. However he takes on the challenge and strives to show his father he can do it.