25.4.16

DEATH IS NO BARGAIN, by Michael W. Sherer

5/series starring free-lance writer Emerson Ward. A year ago, Ward rescued a young woman, Ellen Forrester, as she wandered a lakefront beach in Chicago. Now, Ellen is missing and her volatile father accuses Ward of having an affair with the teenager. Even after Forrester pulls a gun and shoots at Ward, he lets the guy go, and forgets about Ellen. Weeks later, he's shamed into tracking her down when the girl's mother begs for his help. But it's too late: Ellen's killed in an auto accident several states away. Click below for more...

THE SERPENT'S TALE, by Ariana Franklin

3/series, Mistress of the Art of Death. When Rosamund Clifford, long-time mistress to England's Henry II dies, the king orders Adelia Aguilar to investigate, bringing him proof of who murdered the woman he called "Rosa Mundi". If Henry's queen, Eleanor of Aquitane, is guilty, it could mean civil war. With her infant daughter, her manservant Mansur and her daughter's nurse Gyltha, Adelia slogs through the winter's chill to Rosamund's maze-guarded tower. Click below for more...

GRAVE GOODS, by Ariana Franklin

2/series, Mistress of the Art of Death. England, 1176, just after famed pilgrimage site Glastonbury Abbey has been burned to the ground. Physician and anatomist Adelia Aguilar is sent to the abbey to authenticate two skeletons discovered in the ruins; are they King Arthur and Queen Guenevere? King Henry II, fighting insurrection in Wales, wants Adelia to agree. But first she must save the life of a howling churchman whose prostate has gotten in the way.  Click below for more...

APE HOUSE, by Sara Gruen


Bonobo apes, sharing 97.2% of our DNA, are matriarchal, peaceable, entertaining, and highly, constantly sexual. Isabel Duncan, scientist at a mid-west America language-study lab, is more attuned to bonobos than humans. When an animal rights group bombs the lab and “liberates” the apes, Isabel is nearly killed. John Thigpen, reporter, who had visited the bonobos only days before the explosion, returns to the lab but is scooped by an unscrupulous colleague and later looses his job.  Click below for more...

15.4.16

LEGACY OF THE DEAD, by Charles Todd

4/series. 1919: Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge, beset by devils in all aspects of his life, must suffer the endless criticism and plotting of his own superior, Bowles (aka Old Bowels). Above all things, Rutledge does not want anything to do with Scotland: in the war, many of the soldiers under his command - and who died in their hundreds by his orders - were Scots, and his memories are unrelenting and vicious. The devious, bad-tempered Bowles sends him to placate the imperious Lady Maude Gray, who secretly fears her estranged daughter is the corpse found on a Scottish hillside. Click below for more...

SEARCH THE DARK, by Charles Todd

3/series. 1918: In this gripping post-Great War mystery, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to Dorset to investigate the disappearance of two children. Riding unseen - but not unheard - with Rutledge is Hamish, a Scottish officer who died under Rutledge's command, and who saved his life. While the story of the missing children and the country policeman standing in Rutledge's way are central to the "outer" plot, the more harrowing plot is Rutledge's own silent, internal struggle to maintain his sanity, threatened as much by his always-awake demon, Hamish, as by present stresses. Click below for more...

11.4.16

THE MANGO OPERA, by Tom Corcoran

1/series. Set in the crazy world of Key West, where
aberrant behavior is considered perfectly normal (and, generally speaking, vice versa), this compelling first novel follows long-time Conch and pro photographer Alex Rutledge as he tries to sort out his love life, both present and past. A bizarre murder of an old girlfriend is linked to another death. Click below for more...

THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, by Timothy Hallinan

4/Poke Rafferty series. By now, you're hooked on this fabulous, gritty, ultra-realistic series. But if this the first review you've read of a Hallinan book, you're in for a treat, my friend. This guy is not only a fabulous plotter and a one-of-a-kind developer of interesting characters, but he has a sense of humor that shows up on a lot of pages. Humor is good in Poke Rafferty's life, particularly when an old flame of his new wife's shows up. Click below for more...

FOR THE DEAD, by Tim Hallinan

6/series starring Poke Rafferty. And his growing family. Hallinan skilfully weaves the utter chaos that is Bangkok with the near-chaos that attends living in the same household with a teenager. Poke and Rose's daughter Mia and her friend Andrew - sole heir to a proud Vietnamese dynasty - buy a phone to replace one Andrew left at the school bus stop. From this seemingly innocent purchase, admittedly of a probably-stolen phone, the two teens are targeted by a gang of thugs. Click below for more...

THE FOURTH WATCHER, by Timothy Hallinan

2/series set in Bangkok starring Poke Rafferty. Some advice: start with the first Poke Rafferty novel, Nail Through the Heart, just to set the stage. Then, knowing you will not put this one down until the last page, open the covers. Get comfy first, because this crazy-wild tour of the underbelly of Bangkok will cure you of an urge to visit the city. Unless, of course, you're looking for sex. Rafferty, now building the family he never thought he'd have, has Miao and Rose, his adopted daughter Miao and his girlfriend Rose, safe at home. The police, and a particularly edgy U.S. Secret Service Agent, pound on their door in the middle of the night. Rose's business partner has passed counterfeit bills. Rafferty, who is getting tougher and edgier with each book, almost bodily throws them out. His Bangkok Police Colonel friend Arthit says, bad move. Choose your enemies as carefully as your friends. A beautiful Eurasian woman shadows Poke; provoked to follow her, he is held at gunpoint, then knocked unconscious. When he comes to, in a bleak warehouse...
It's a 5, full of violence, intrigue, face-offs, face-downs, grisly death, betrayals, anguish, heartbreak, terror, kidnappings, extortion, old hates surfacing, new loves confirmed. Wow, what a series.
Find the author at timothyhallinan.com
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8.4.16

FELL PURPOSE, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

12?/series in the Detective Inspector Bill Slider books. Once again, Slider and his fascinating CID team track a killer, this one of a pretty teenager found, strangled, in a field near the infamous Wormwood scrubs prison. Zellah Wilding's parents are not only distraught but bitterly blaming each other: the mother accuses the father of being a control freak, the father says the wife is too lenient. Where does the truth lie? Interviews with the girl's friends reveal a life neither parent had guessed at. As Slider and his team sift through the leads, and Slider's boss mangles aphorisms by the cartload, is the clock ticking for another victim?Click below for more...

STAR FALL, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

17/series. Contemporary London. Bill Slider, much put-upon Detective Inspector, must discover why Rowland Egerton, the handsome, charismatic star of Antiques Galore! has been murdered in his dining room. While items are missing, the motive doesn't seem to be robbery. Egerton's devoted sidekick, John Lavender, clearly could be the killer: opportunity galore, he discovered the body. But motive? Perhaps not. Click below for more...

DEAR DEPARTED by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

10/Bill Slider mystery series. Once again, with verve and humor, we have an off-beat and compelling contemporary British police procedural starring the foxy Bill Slider. The author managed to mix the grisly with the ridiculously funny, the sinister with the silly. The body of a young woman is found in a London park, presumably the victim of the currently-operating Park Killer. Dragged from a rare day of snogging with the girlfriend, Slider must find the jogger's name and then her killer. Click below for more...

JUST ONE LOOK, by Harlan Coben

It's an ordinary day for suburban wife Grace Lawson, while the kids are in school she's running errands. One of them is to pick up family photos at the developers. But one of the photos is twenty years old, and the group of young people includes a male that could be her husband, Jack. When she confronts her spouse that night, he denies it is he. Later that evening, he gets in his car and drives away. And doesn't come back.  Click below for more...

THE HOT COUNTRIES, by Tmothy Hallinan

7/series in the gritty, Bangkok-set Poke Rafferty thrillers. A new arrival in a Patpong bar has managed to offend all the regulars - aging Vietnam vets who remained behind when the rest went home - with his non-stop talking. The stranger, Varney, seems to have an interest in Poke, who rarely stops by. Poke's got his hands full: his wife, Rose, is pregnant, and his adopted daughter Miaow, a former street orphan, is developing into an actress. Poke's friend Arthit is finally over his wife's death, and has a new live-in. The new woman in Arthit's life teaches at a school in a street kids' refuge, where one of the residents is 13 year-old Treasure, who Poke saved in a house fire that killed her abusive father. Click below for more...

LIGHT IN SHADOW, by Jayne Ann Krentz

1/Whispering Springs series. Walls scream at interior designer Zoe Luce, and not just because they're the wrong color. She has the unpleasant ability to discern high emotions and violence long after it's happened. When she enters a handsome, wealthy new client's bedroom, she finds screaming walls and a shrieking floor. And no bed. The client's ex-wife took it away, it was her  favorite. Not buying the excuse, Zoe searches out a local PI, Truax Investigations. With a new owner, nephew of the original PI. Ethan Truax left a shambles of a life in LA and came to Whispering Springs. He's big, sharp-eyed, laconic, fond of swift, direct action. Click below for more...