Category Archives: Thriller

Hardball (V.I. Warshawski Novel) by Sarah Paretsky

Reviewed by Allen Hott

HardballThis is quite a story. V.I. Warshawski (known as Vi) is a private detective who is asked to find out what happened to Lamont Gadsden by his aunt. Lamont has been missing for over 40 years. Though his own mother has no hope or desire to find out where or if Lamont is alive, his aunt “hires” Vi to do some searching.

Having worked for the police department and being the daughter of a deceased police officer, Vi does have the ability to do some very extensive searching. Her searching is not restricted to the Chicago Police Department but because of private investigating she is able to get into many areas to delve for information.

Many things happen to Vi though as she begins looking and most of them are pretty scary. There are also people killed and in so of these cases Vi feels it has occurred because of her investigation.

Further clouding up the picture is the arrival in town of her young cousin, Petra, who moved up from Kansas City to be closer to her father, Peter. As the story grows more and more involved it appears that somehow even Peter has some knowledge of the missing Lamont. And Petra, who really admires Vi, gets more and more involved in the whole picture.

Dead Man Switch by Matthew Quirk

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Dead Man SwitchWithout a doubt there is plenty of action in this one. John Hayes is a retired special ops agent for the U.S. government but it seems that he and many former ops agents never retire. They claim to do so and the government claims they are gone but they continue to operate under cover. No one except a few at the very top of the U.S. security system knows how it all works.

This story starts as Hayes is working undercover amongst some Pakistani undercover agents when several U.S. special ops agents are caught by the Pakistani group. One of the special ops agents recognizes Hayes who actually pretends as though he is going to kill the agents. But instead Hayes turns on the Pakistanis and poof the U.S. guys kind of get away. Well, not exactly as the two agents are both pretty well beaten up in their escape. Hayes is even covered by a snow drift caused by the rescuing helicopter’s downdraft.

Hayes is pretty well frozen when he himself is rescued by his boss who pulled all stops to find him and get him back to the U.S. He is supposed to go back into retirement officially but since he is and has always been undercover he is still on call to the top dogs in Washington.

What Remains of Her: A Novel by Eric Rickstad

Reviewed by Teri Davis

What Remains of HerWhen a mother and her daughter disappear, who is the likely suspect? Naturally, most law enforcement would accuse the husband. There is a catch, the husband is a professor of poetry at a local college and seems to sincerely miss both every second of every day. No clues, no evidence, the two seemed to have disappeared from the planet.

Jonah Blum sees his world ripped from him when his beautiful wife, Rebecca and his daughter, Sally vanish. A family of three become a lonesome one. The community along with the media, immediately throw guilty verdicts at Jonah, but there is no evidence, just circumstances.

Jonah’s long-time friends, Maurice immediately enlisted the help of his deputies in the search. Also, questioned was Sally’s best friend, Lucinda, who also happens to be Maurice’s daughter.

Jonah leaves his home and lives as a hermit. For a quarter of a century, life for him is simply survival in a cabin in the nearby woods.

The Emerald Cave (A Vince Ramsey Adventure) by James McPike

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Emerald CaveMinistry of Jerusalem investigator Vince Ramsey is assigned to find an arms dealer who may be connected to a theft at archaeological dig in Lebanon. Ramsey’s investigation takes him and his girlfriend to France in pursuit of a way to find him. They find out that the arms dealer is pursuing a powerful artifact supposedly found by the Nazis and hidden in Antarctica. Ramsey heads to Antarctica, only to discover that someone has beat him there and has discovered the exact location of the artifact. It’s now a race against time to stop an ancient weapon from being used against the world.

The Good and the Dead by Seymour Shubin

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Good and the DeadSomewhat similar and yet different. Ben Newman, who is a writer of true-detective stories, has “seen” a lot of different murder scenes and written about the culprits and victims. However as strange as it seems all of this kind of comes home to haunt him as he begins noticing some unusual happenings around his small world.

Starting out with the unusual death of his brother’s wife, Pat, who is found dead floating fully clothed on top of the water in their backyard pool. There doesn’t seem to be any motive nor does there seem to be any real evidence as to who did this. Naturally his brother is suspect but Ben doesn’t believe it to be the case.

Shortly thereafter there are several more deaths of people that Ben has known since grade school. One is a pharmacist, George Havern, who supposedly committed suicide although again the evidence doesn’t seem to really prove that either. Then Ellen Packler-Woods, who had just met and talked with Ben about the deaths of George and Pat, is found dead in her basement from possibly a fall but again nothing is proven.

Cross Country by James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Cross CountryPatterson really does get Alex Cross into some jams in this one. Alex, the private detective, is mortified when he checks out the home of one of his friends. Elle Cox, mother and well known author of items in books and newspapers, has been brutally murdered along with her entire family. Cross and Elle had dated when younger and had remained close friends so he was devastated.

He realizes that she had been doing a lot of investigating into terrorism in the U.S. and even across the world. He finds as he begins his own investigation that the CIA is also deeply interested into finding out more about the event. The terrorism seems to be somehow tied into governments across the world.

Among some of her papers Cross finds that she has been doing a lot of her investigating into terrorism especially in Africa. And especially in Nigeria and Sudan. Also that although entire families were often killed over there, the young boys of the families were often taken away by the gangs of marauders. And then these young boys were being turned into gang members and were actually participating in the gang murders that were terrorizing the country.

Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel (Joe Pickett Novels) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Breaking PointJoe Pickett, the Colorado game warden, always gets involved in situations that are not necessarily related to game warden work. And Breaking Point is one of those situations. In this instance a local man from the Saddlestring area where Joe lives has a nasty run-in with some EPA officials who basically come to run him off his property. The man, Butch Roberson, is defiant because (a) he was given no warning and (b) there does not appear to be a real reason for this to happen. One thing leads to another. The two EPA guys are shot and Butch is on the run up into the mountains.

The EPA brings in all sorts of governmental personnel to hunt him down and Joe happens to get called into the situation because of his game warden status. Joe immediately has problems with the two top EPA officials, especially the top one, who appear to be extremely arrogant and have no consideration at all for what Joe considers to be common citizens. Joe will work that part out later.

They basically take charge and begin an intensive manhunt for Butch that involves working all through the mountains. They also set up rewards that inspire three other individuals, locals known to Joe, to get involved in the hunt. These three folks basically have no hand in the game except that the leader of the trio is intent on getting the reward and also since he used to be the sheriff he wants to reinstate himself at the decimation of the present sheriff.

Dark Sacred Night (A Ballard and Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Dark Sacred NightRenee Ballard is a hot-shot detective, working night shift (known as the late show) in the LAPD. She is very good but sometimes oversteps her boundaries and gets into a hassle or two with her supervisor.

One evening while filling out a report at her somewhat tucked away desk, she notices a guy getting into the cabinets in the storage room for detective files. She does not recognize him to be one of the detectives. She stops him and is about to question him further when a supervisor comes in and recognizes them both. He introduces Renee to Harry Bosch, a retired cop who used to work out of this office but now freelances and does some work also for San Fernando Police Department.

After the two men leave Renee goes over to see what Bosch was looking at and finds it is a drawer full of old unsolved street crimes, mostly sex crimes. On questioning one of the sergeants she learns that Bosch is still trying to solve a nine year old case of a fifteen year old streetwalker who was found sexually mutilated and dead in an alley.

High Crimes: A Georgia Davis Novel of Suspense (The Georgia Davis PI Series Book 5)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

High CrimesAfter the 2016 election, America is a nation divided. The new president is a rash, outspoken individual who garnered support by refusing to follow normal presidential protocol. As a result, an active opposition movement is spreading across the country. It’s leader, Dena Baldwin, is scheduled to appear at a rally in Chicago. As Baldwin mounts the stage, gunshots ring out and panic ensues. An assassin has killed Baldwin. Local PI Georgia Davis is hired to try and determine the identity of the killer but it will be a daunting task. Baldwin had a large Facebook following and not all of them are genuine supporters of the Resistance movement. As Davis dives into the crime further, she begins to realize there is more to Baldwin than meets the eye.

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen

Reviewed by Allen Hott

I Know a SecretQuite a story again from Tess Gerritsen! Not only are there murders but gruesome acts after these murders! Hard to believe that people could be capable of taking out a dead person’s eyes nor could they be capable of shooting arrows into a dead man’s chest!

But that is what has happened and now Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, police detective of Boston PD and county medical examiner respectively, have quite a job! But first off the reader needs to realize that Jane’s mother is about to leave her unfaithful father after many years and also that Maura’s real mother who is locked up for many vicious crimes is bugging Maura over and over. Maura was raised by a different woman and her husband but Maura still feels something for her homicidal physical mother and has some feelings. Gerritsen brings personal events into her heroines!