The Power Broker

There is a certain type of thriller--all the characters are rich, the women are incredibly beautiful, the plot is twisty and turny, and people live on estates with servants--that has been popular for decades, from Robert Ludlum on. This is just such a thriller.

Christian Gillette, who was also the hero of Frey's The Prot?g? and The Chairman, is the fabulously wealthy, yet eminently personable (

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 04:04

There is a certain type of thriller--all the characters are rich, the women are incredibly beautiful, the plot is twisty and turny, and people live on estates with servants--that has been popular for decades, from Robert Ludlum on. This is just such a thriller.

Christian Gillette, who was also the hero of Frey's The Prot?g? and The Chairman, is the fabulously wealthy, yet eminently personable (

The Sweet and the Dead

Manfred

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 04:04

Manfred

Writing Mysteries: a Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America

These lively, self-contained essays, written mainly by star members of MWA, authoritatively cover nearly all aspects of writing.

Only one quibble: there isn't enough coverage of the things that make a novel a mystery. The sections on clueing and plotting need to be expanded, and the lead essay on

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 04:04

These lively, self-contained essays, written mainly by star members of MWA, authoritatively cover nearly all aspects of writing.

Only one quibble: there isn't enough coverage of the things that make a novel a mystery. The sections on clueing and plotting need to be expanded, and the lead essay on

Havana Black

When the bludgeoned and emasculated body of Miguel Forcade is washed up on a Havana beach Cuban police lieutenant Mario Conde, Havana's best detective, is called on to investigate. Although he has just resigned from the police, Lieutenant Conde is

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 04:04

When the bludgeoned and emasculated body of Miguel Forcade is washed up on a Havana beach Cuban police lieutenant Mario Conde, Havana's best detective, is called on to investigate. Although he has just resigned from the police, Lieutenant Conde is

Love, Lies and Liquor

Favorite British curmudgeon Agatha Raisin returns in Love, Lies and Liquor, M.C. Beaton's 17th entry in this engaging series featuring the testy detective agency owner in the cozy Cotswolds. The adventure in Love, Lies and Liquor is precipitated by James, Agatha's ex-husband, who invites Agatha on what she hopes will be a romantic vacation in an exotic locale suitable for rekindling their relationship. Alas, the selfish James makes all the wrong choices, taking Agatha to Snoth on Sea, a shambles of a resort that James remembers fondly from his childhood when the town was on the ascendant. Not only is the resort an unmitigated disaster, but murder intrudes, transforming the doomed romantic interlude into a busman's holiday for the tenacious Agatha, who can't help but investigate the trail of crimes she uncovers.

Agatha's love life is a complicated puzzle. Still addicted to James, her ex-husband, she also has an

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Favorite British curmudgeon Agatha Raisin returns in Love, Lies and Liquor, M.C. Beaton's 17th entry in this engaging series featuring the testy detective agency owner in the cozy Cotswolds. The adventure in Love, Lies and Liquor is precipitated by James, Agatha's ex-husband, who invites Agatha on what she hopes will be a romantic vacation in an exotic locale suitable for rekindling their relationship. Alas, the selfish James makes all the wrong choices, taking Agatha to Snoth on Sea, a shambles of a resort that James remembers fondly from his childhood when the town was on the ascendant. Not only is the resort an unmitigated disaster, but murder intrudes, transforming the doomed romantic interlude into a busman's holiday for the tenacious Agatha, who can't help but investigate the trail of crimes she uncovers.

Agatha's love life is a complicated puzzle. Still addicted to James, her ex-husband, she also has an

Playing God

Although it's February in Portland, Maine and the thermometer reads -10, someone has braved the cold to murder Dr. Pleasant in his car. In reality, the dead radiologist was Dr. Unpleasant--ambitious, arrogant, selfish, and unkind. He also had strong sexual appetites and frequented prostitutes. Detective Joe Burgess is pressured to close the case as "murder by some hooker,"?

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Although it's February in Portland, Maine and the thermometer reads -10, someone has braved the cold to murder Dr. Pleasant in his car. In reality, the dead radiologist was Dr. Unpleasant--ambitious, arrogant, selfish, and unkind. He also had strong sexual appetites and frequented prostitutes. Detective Joe Burgess is pressured to close the case as "murder by some hooker,"?

Ricochet

I picture author Sandra Brown in her study, the wall covered with Post-It notes, as she tries to keep track of the lies in Ricochet. Until the end, the reader isn?

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

I picture author Sandra Brown in her study, the wall covered with Post-It notes, as she tries to keep track of the lies in Ricochet. Until the end, the reader isn?

The Drowning Man

Set on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation, Margaret Coel's mysteries have featured issues crucial to the Arapaho and Shoshone Indians as they struggle to maintain their traditional ways amid the temptations of modern life. Such matters include the preservation of religious artifacts (The Story Teller), the siren song of prosperity in nuclear power and its accompanying threat (The Dream Stalker), land fraud (The Eagle Catcher), casino gambling (Killing Raven), and mining (The Thunder Keeper). Coel's latest work, The Drowning Man, brings cultural property to the fore

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Set on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation, Margaret Coel's mysteries have featured issues crucial to the Arapaho and Shoshone Indians as they struggle to maintain their traditional ways amid the temptations of modern life. Such matters include the preservation of religious artifacts (The Story Teller), the siren song of prosperity in nuclear power and its accompanying threat (The Dream Stalker), land fraud (The Eagle Catcher), casino gambling (Killing Raven), and mining (The Thunder Keeper). Coel's latest work, The Drowning Man, brings cultural property to the fore

The Garden of Eden and Other Criminal Delights

Those familiar with Faye Kellerman through her Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker series will be tempted to bite into the 17 short works gathered in The Garden of Eden but they might be surprised by the many different taste sensations. A few of the pieces follow traditional procedural form, several take a walk on the dark side, one veers toward the supernatural, two can't claim to be crime fiction, and two are not even fiction at all. But rest assured, all are juicy.

Kellerman's charming crime-solving couple is represented here in two pieces written just for this collection, as well as one reprint and another that marks the original debut of Decker's daughter, Cindy, during her days in the police academy. Kellerman's two close-to-home collaborations, with son Jesse (himself now a thriller writer) and daughters Rachel and Ilana, provide some insight into family dynamics, as do the two autobiographical essays that end the book, "Small Miracles"?

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Those familiar with Faye Kellerman through her Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker series will be tempted to bite into the 17 short works gathered in The Garden of Eden but they might be surprised by the many different taste sensations. A few of the pieces follow traditional procedural form, several take a walk on the dark side, one veers toward the supernatural, two can't claim to be crime fiction, and two are not even fiction at all. But rest assured, all are juicy.

Kellerman's charming crime-solving couple is represented here in two pieces written just for this collection, as well as one reprint and another that marks the original debut of Decker's daughter, Cindy, during her days in the police academy. Kellerman's two close-to-home collaborations, with son Jesse (himself now a thriller writer) and daughters Rachel and Ilana, provide some insight into family dynamics, as do the two autobiographical essays that end the book, "Small Miracles"?

The Last Spymaster

Jay Tice is a legendary spymaster, a cold-war hero who lost his reputation--and his freedom--when he was exposed as a traitor. Nobody can understand why, after a long and distinguished career, he betrayed his country. And nobody can explain how, twenty years later, he has managed to escape a maximum security prison.

The CIA brings in Elaine Cunningham, a talented

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Jay Tice is a legendary spymaster, a cold-war hero who lost his reputation--and his freedom--when he was exposed as a traitor. Nobody can understand why, after a long and distinguished career, he betrayed his country. And nobody can explain how, twenty years later, he has managed to escape a maximum security prison.

The CIA brings in Elaine Cunningham, a talented

What Is Mine

What Is Mine is an extraordinarily thoughtful mystery set in Norway, about a serial killer of children. Several young children have been kidnapped; there are no ransom demands. One by one, four of them are murdered, with a cryptic note attached to their bodies. The police, and a somewhat reluctant lawyer/psychologist, are temporarily stymied, as the clues lead to an innocent man in Cape Cod and back again to Norway.

Holt's well constructed subplots include the rationale for the deaths of the children, the saga of a man falsely accused of a child's death eight years ago, and the stories of the families that have been ripped apart by these events. Every subplot is needed, and all are tied together in the solution to these murders.

Each of the characters has depth, and none are easily categorized. Both Detective Inspector Adam Stubo and lawyer Johanne Vik can barely stand to think of the horror. Stubo has lost a daughter himself, and Vik worries constantly about her own daughter, who may be a bit retarded

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

What Is Mine is an extraordinarily thoughtful mystery set in Norway, about a serial killer of children. Several young children have been kidnapped; there are no ransom demands. One by one, four of them are murdered, with a cryptic note attached to their bodies. The police, and a somewhat reluctant lawyer/psychologist, are temporarily stymied, as the clues lead to an innocent man in Cape Cod and back again to Norway.

Holt's well constructed subplots include the rationale for the deaths of the children, the saga of a man falsely accused of a child's death eight years ago, and the stories of the families that have been ripped apart by these events. Every subplot is needed, and all are tied together in the solution to these murders.

Each of the characters has depth, and none are easily categorized. Both Detective Inspector Adam Stubo and lawyer Johanne Vik can barely stand to think of the horror. Stubo has lost a daughter himself, and Vik worries constantly about her own daughter, who may be a bit retarded

A Final Judgment

In his third adventure, professional kickboxer and reluctant PI Ron Shade is asked to step in at the last moment twice in the space of a few days. First, he's asked by an old friend for assistance in preparing for a wrongful death lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in three weeks. As if that weren't stressful enough, he's then presented with the chance of a lifetime, a shot at the world heavyweight kickboxing championship, scheduled shortly before the case goes to trial. Shade attacks both situations with characteristic aggressiveness; training for the fight, however, distracts him from the case at hand, a situation which can only benefit his client's ruthless opponent, legendary Chicago defense attorney Mason Gilbert.

Anyone who picks up a Michael Black novel will quickly realize that they are in the hands of a solid writer, an author who cares deeply about his characters and about his craft. There are two flaws in A Final Judgment, however, that warrant mention. The first involves the

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

In his third adventure, professional kickboxer and reluctant PI Ron Shade is asked to step in at the last moment twice in the space of a few days. First, he's asked by an old friend for assistance in preparing for a wrongful death lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in three weeks. As if that weren't stressful enough, he's then presented with the chance of a lifetime, a shot at the world heavyweight kickboxing championship, scheduled shortly before the case goes to trial. Shade attacks both situations with characteristic aggressiveness; training for the fight, however, distracts him from the case at hand, a situation which can only benefit his client's ruthless opponent, legendary Chicago defense attorney Mason Gilbert.

Anyone who picks up a Michael Black novel will quickly realize that they are in the hands of a solid writer, an author who cares deeply about his characters and about his craft. There are two flaws in A Final Judgment, however, that warrant mention. The first involves the

Big City, Bad Blood

PI Ray Dudgeon is not a guy inclined towards the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. That's why he stakes his claim in a city like Chicago, content to slide into middle age with his extensive collection of jazz recordings cued as the soundtrack. He's plenty busy precariously balancing his tough guy occupation with his even tougher love life. But when Dudgeon is hired by a visiting LaLa Land film company to play a strong-arm bodyguard for a nebbish location manager targeted by the Mafia, the simple assignment quickly disintegrates into a plot fit for a trashy B-movie script--with lethal consequences involving blackmailed politicians, murder-jaundiced underworld assassins, and worst of all, the razorbladed cynicism of studio heads who'd sacrifice anyone for a little front page splash. And if that wasn't bad enough for Dudgeon, just wait until the F.B.I. gets a whiff of the blood-soaked headlines.

Chercover's debut novel swaggers with as much storytelling bravado as it does character depth and warmth, making it stand out in the crowded field of violence-prone, alcohol-soaked, self-destructive gumshoes with hearts that already gather dust on your local bookstore's shelves. Even when sticking the knife into the black heart of Hollywood

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

PI Ray Dudgeon is not a guy inclined towards the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. That's why he stakes his claim in a city like Chicago, content to slide into middle age with his extensive collection of jazz recordings cued as the soundtrack. He's plenty busy precariously balancing his tough guy occupation with his even tougher love life. But when Dudgeon is hired by a visiting LaLa Land film company to play a strong-arm bodyguard for a nebbish location manager targeted by the Mafia, the simple assignment quickly disintegrates into a plot fit for a trashy B-movie script--with lethal consequences involving blackmailed politicians, murder-jaundiced underworld assassins, and worst of all, the razorbladed cynicism of studio heads who'd sacrifice anyone for a little front page splash. And if that wasn't bad enough for Dudgeon, just wait until the F.B.I. gets a whiff of the blood-soaked headlines.

Chercover's debut novel swaggers with as much storytelling bravado as it does character depth and warmth, making it stand out in the crowded field of violence-prone, alcohol-soaked, self-destructive gumshoes with hearts that already gather dust on your local bookstore's shelves. Even when sticking the knife into the black heart of Hollywood

Damnation Street

As stated in its Author's Note, Damnation Street is part of the continuing story (following 2003's Dynamite Road and 2004's Shotgun Alley) of

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

As stated in its Author's Note, Damnation Street is part of the continuing story (following 2003's Dynamite Road and 2004's Shotgun Alley) of

More Things Impossible: the Second Casebook of Dr. Sam Hawthorne

Ed Hoch is currently the only professional writer making his living solely by writing short mystery fiction. He's also one of the genre's most prolific writers, needing only another ninety stories, more or less, to bring his lifetime total to a thousand. Of the more than two dozen series characters he's created over the last half century, one of the most enduring is Dr. Sam, whose practice as both physician and unraveler of impossible crimes in the New England hamlet of Northmont, spans the years from the early 1920s to (so far) the middle of World War II. The first dozen of Dr. Sam's 70-odd exploits in detection were collected in Diagnosis: Impossible (1996). This sequel brings together the 13th through 27th of his cases, first published between 1978 and 1983 and set in the years between 1927 and 1931. And what puzzlesome years they were for him! In a number of these tales someone is murdered while, according to all the evidence, he or she was alone in an unusual place: a revival tent, a small-town general store, an octagonal mirrored room (borrowed, I suspect, from Cornell Woolrich's classic short novel Nightmare), the locked cockpit of a barnstorming biplane. My own favorite among these fifteen is "The Problem of the Boston Common," in which Hoch plays some neat variations on Thomas Burke's

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Ed Hoch is currently the only professional writer making his living solely by writing short mystery fiction. He's also one of the genre's most prolific writers, needing only another ninety stories, more or less, to bring his lifetime total to a thousand. Of the more than two dozen series characters he's created over the last half century, one of the most enduring is Dr. Sam, whose practice as both physician and unraveler of impossible crimes in the New England hamlet of Northmont, spans the years from the early 1920s to (so far) the middle of World War II. The first dozen of Dr. Sam's 70-odd exploits in detection were collected in Diagnosis: Impossible (1996). This sequel brings together the 13th through 27th of his cases, first published between 1978 and 1983 and set in the years between 1927 and 1931. And what puzzlesome years they were for him! In a number of these tales someone is murdered while, according to all the evidence, he or she was alone in an unusual place: a revival tent, a small-town general store, an octagonal mirrored room (borrowed, I suspect, from Cornell Woolrich's classic short novel Nightmare), the locked cockpit of a barnstorming biplane. My own favorite among these fifteen is "The Problem of the Boston Common," in which Hoch plays some neat variations on Thomas Burke's

Stealing the Dragon

It was bad enough that the cargo ship from Hong Kong ran aground on the rocks of Alcatraz Island. It was even worse when the cops found the crew murdered and hundreds of illegal Chinese immigrants imprisoned below deck, penned in the storage facilities. Unable to crack the case themselves due to political pressure, the police bring in PI Cape Weathers to ferret out who carved up the ship's crew and the reason why. No big deal for the battle hardened detective. Only problem is, Weathers suspects that his recently AWOL partner Sally, a half-Japanese half-Irish-American lesbian trained by a Triad master in the ancient martial arts, may be the one responsible.

Though Maleeny's debut novel never manages to pry itself from its lurid, pulp fiction lineage (not that there's anything especially wrong with that), this menacing little kick in the head should appeal to both fans of exotic, intricately plotted mysteries, as well as melodramatic action tales. Unfortunately, the character of Weathers is overshadowed at every turn by the far more fascinating and vampish Sally, which at times impedes the story's flow. But considering Maleeny's kitchen-sink approach to storytelling

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

It was bad enough that the cargo ship from Hong Kong ran aground on the rocks of Alcatraz Island. It was even worse when the cops found the crew murdered and hundreds of illegal Chinese immigrants imprisoned below deck, penned in the storage facilities. Unable to crack the case themselves due to political pressure, the police bring in PI Cape Weathers to ferret out who carved up the ship's crew and the reason why. No big deal for the battle hardened detective. Only problem is, Weathers suspects that his recently AWOL partner Sally, a half-Japanese half-Irish-American lesbian trained by a Triad master in the ancient martial arts, may be the one responsible.

Though Maleeny's debut novel never manages to pry itself from its lurid, pulp fiction lineage (not that there's anything especially wrong with that), this menacing little kick in the head should appeal to both fans of exotic, intricately plotted mysteries, as well as melodramatic action tales. Unfortunately, the character of Weathers is overshadowed at every turn by the far more fascinating and vampish Sally, which at times impedes the story's flow. But considering Maleeny's kitchen-sink approach to storytelling

The Boy With Perfect Hands

Illinois state Special Agent Elizabeth Hewitt prefers jazz, but thanks to a serial killer, she's about to get a crash course in classical music. Someone is setting up a series of carefully composed crime scenes featuring pre-Raphaelite beauties and older men, with no discernable connection between the victims in each double homicide--but there just might be a link to a long-dead master composer.

This is Sheldon Rusch's second outing with the tough, likeable, thirtysomething Hewitt following a much-praised debut. While his metaphors occasionally escape his control, distracting from rather than enhancing an incident or scene, his prose is by turns vivid, snappy, and even moving. Rusch populates his book with more than enough convincing red herrings and unexpected developments to throw us, and Hewitt, off the scent on the way to the unsettling finale. An original premise, executed with style

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Illinois state Special Agent Elizabeth Hewitt prefers jazz, but thanks to a serial killer, she's about to get a crash course in classical music. Someone is setting up a series of carefully composed crime scenes featuring pre-Raphaelite beauties and older men, with no discernable connection between the victims in each double homicide--but there just might be a link to a long-dead master composer.

This is Sheldon Rusch's second outing with the tough, likeable, thirtysomething Hewitt following a much-praised debut. While his metaphors occasionally escape his control, distracting from rather than enhancing an incident or scene, his prose is by turns vivid, snappy, and even moving. Rusch populates his book with more than enough convincing red herrings and unexpected developments to throw us, and Hewitt, off the scent on the way to the unsettling finale. An original premise, executed with style

You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled
Parnell Hall

Puzzle Lady Cora Felton is back for a seventh romp in Parnell Hall's latest crossword-themed comic mystery. This time, rival crossword constructor Benny Southstreet accuses Cora of plagiarism when one of his puzzles is published under her byline. It was an innocent mistake. Cora's niece Sherry, who ghost-constructs all Cora's puzzles, is at fault for the mix-up made while dithering about her romantic troubles. Nevertheless, when Benny is found murdered, Cora is arrested for the crime. Complicating the case is a set of stolen chairs that keeps re-appearing in unexpected places.

As a crossword constructor myself, I eagerly read the debut book in Hall's Puzzle Lady series. But chain-smoking, hard-drinking Cora just seemed tiresome and the included puzzles were disappointing. To my delight, I found, You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled to be great fun. Cora has gone on the wagon and gotten funnier, delivering deadpan one-liners like a female Groucho Marx. The book itself is nearly all dialog and zips along, slowing down only to allow solution of the fine interspersed crossword puzzles now created by ace constructor Manny Nosowsky. I enjoyed this latest installment so much, I'd like to go back and read the intervening books to see what I've missed.

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Puzzle Lady Cora Felton is back for a seventh romp in Parnell Hall's latest crossword-themed comic mystery. This time, rival crossword constructor Benny Southstreet accuses Cora of plagiarism when one of his puzzles is published under her byline. It was an innocent mistake. Cora's niece Sherry, who ghost-constructs all Cora's puzzles, is at fault for the mix-up made while dithering about her romantic troubles. Nevertheless, when Benny is found murdered, Cora is arrested for the crime. Complicating the case is a set of stolen chairs that keeps re-appearing in unexpected places.

As a crossword constructor myself, I eagerly read the debut book in Hall's Puzzle Lady series. But chain-smoking, hard-drinking Cora just seemed tiresome and the included puzzles were disappointing. To my delight, I found, You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled to be great fun. Cora has gone on the wagon and gotten funnier, delivering deadpan one-liners like a female Groucho Marx. The book itself is nearly all dialog and zips along, slowing down only to allow solution of the fine interspersed crossword puzzles now created by ace constructor Manny Nosowsky. I enjoyed this latest installment so much, I'd like to go back and read the intervening books to see what I've missed.

Herr Schnoodle & Mcbee
P. K. Paranaya

P.K. Paranya's delightful, quirky detective, Alexander McBee is a cross between Inspector Clouseau and Adrian Monk. An admitted loner, happy with his own company, and getting his training from watching re-runs of old detective shows on TV, McBee's life changes one afternoon when he rescues a half-drowned mop of a mutt and takes him home. Herr Schnoodle, as he affectionately dubs the dog because of his Schnauzer-Poodle heritage, seems to have a nose for solving crime, and soon McBee's flagging PI career takes off.

One day in Central Park, Herr Schnoodle and McBee meet a mysterious and feisty bag lady, named Apple Sally. The Schnoodle adores her immediately, but it takes McBee a while to overcome his germ phobias and see the frightened girl beneath the rags. As their friendship grows he resolves to discover the past she can't remember, but it's not until a rash of bag ladies are murdered (all looking uncannily like Apple Sally) that his curiosity turns to action.

With help (and sometimes hindrance) from a beautiful and sexy gossip reporter who attaches herself to McBee in hopes of scooping a big story, the terrible truth emerges. Can McBee and the Schnoodle save Apple Sally before it's too late?

Paranya's charming cozy mystery is funny, sweet, suspenseful and satisfying. Her comic scenes and imaginative similes will tickle your funny bone, and her eccentric, defective detective and his ugly-mutt partner will keep you entertained to the very end.

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

P.K. Paranya's delightful, quirky detective, Alexander McBee is a cross between Inspector Clouseau and Adrian Monk. An admitted loner, happy with his own company, and getting his training from watching re-runs of old detective shows on TV, McBee's life changes one afternoon when he rescues a half-drowned mop of a mutt and takes him home. Herr Schnoodle, as he affectionately dubs the dog because of his Schnauzer-Poodle heritage, seems to have a nose for solving crime, and soon McBee's flagging PI career takes off.

One day in Central Park, Herr Schnoodle and McBee meet a mysterious and feisty bag lady, named Apple Sally. The Schnoodle adores her immediately, but it takes McBee a while to overcome his germ phobias and see the frightened girl beneath the rags. As their friendship grows he resolves to discover the past she can't remember, but it's not until a rash of bag ladies are murdered (all looking uncannily like Apple Sally) that his curiosity turns to action.

With help (and sometimes hindrance) from a beautiful and sexy gossip reporter who attaches herself to McBee in hopes of scooping a big story, the terrible truth emerges. Can McBee and the Schnoodle save Apple Sally before it's too late?

Paranya's charming cozy mystery is funny, sweet, suspenseful and satisfying. Her comic scenes and imaginative similes will tickle your funny bone, and her eccentric, defective detective and his ugly-mutt partner will keep you entertained to the very end.

The Collaborator of Bethlehem

This heart-breaking, unforgettable novel is set in Palestinian Bethlehem during recent years of the intifada. Omar Yussef, who teaches history in a UN-run school for girls from a refugee camp on the fringe of the city, is our unlikely protagonist. He is physically frail and spiritually disillusioned by what has happened to his country. Though not a practicing Muslim, he honors the forms and the more ancient traditions of his religion, while he deplores the radicalism that sanctions violence and glorifies death in the form of martyrdom. Omar Yussef teaches his students the great events of history as a way to widen their world; he also teaches them to resist the violence that only destroys. Such lessons get him into trouble. A few years previously, they led to his dismissal from the prestigious Fr

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

This heart-breaking, unforgettable novel is set in Palestinian Bethlehem during recent years of the intifada. Omar Yussef, who teaches history in a UN-run school for girls from a refugee camp on the fringe of the city, is our unlikely protagonist. He is physically frail and spiritually disillusioned by what has happened to his country. Though not a practicing Muslim, he honors the forms and the more ancient traditions of his religion, while he deplores the radicalism that sanctions violence and glorifies death in the form of martyrdom. Omar Yussef teaches his students the great events of history as a way to widen their world; he also teaches them to resist the violence that only destroys. Such lessons get him into trouble. A few years previously, they led to his dismissal from the prestigious Fr

Dead Money

Little did Mark Newcomb know when he threatened to stick a toothpick up Shooter Deukart's butt that someone would actually do just that after killing the Texas Hold'em poker legend. Because of his idle threat, Mark is considered a prime suspect in the shooting of Shooter. Although he's not a detective (he's a defense lawyer and a semi-professional poker player), Mark figures he'd better try to discover who actually did the killing during the high stakes poker tournament they were both involved in?Ǫeven as he tries to win the million dollar first prize.

You don't have to be a fan of Texas Hold'em to enjoy this well-crafted mystery. In fact, if you're not a fan, you may well become one. As a poker player myself, I became as interested in the final outcome of the tournament as I was in the crackling good mystery. Stegemoeller is himself a lawyer and poker player and has won tournaments in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He's also the co-author of How To Win A Million, a satirical guide to gambling and family life.

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Little did Mark Newcomb know when he threatened to stick a toothpick up Shooter Deukart's butt that someone would actually do just that after killing the Texas Hold'em poker legend. Because of his idle threat, Mark is considered a prime suspect in the shooting of Shooter. Although he's not a detective (he's a defense lawyer and a semi-professional poker player), Mark figures he'd better try to discover who actually did the killing during the high stakes poker tournament they were both involved in?Ǫeven as he tries to win the million dollar first prize.

You don't have to be a fan of Texas Hold'em to enjoy this well-crafted mystery. In fact, if you're not a fan, you may well become one. As a poker player myself, I became as interested in the final outcome of the tournament as I was in the crackling good mystery. Stegemoeller is himself a lawyer and poker player and has won tournaments in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He's also the co-author of How To Win A Million, a satirical guide to gambling and family life.

Lost Dog

Lost Dog introduces one of its main characters, Jake, on its first page. A troubled young man, Jake has just killed a woman and is in the process of concealing her body on the site of a neighborhood playground. Dragging her body to a concrete tube, he lingers over it for a few moments, trembling. Then he turns to leave.

The book then changes its focus to Peter McKrall, the man who discovers the body while searching for his niece's lost doll. Tempted to let someone else do it, Peter eventually calls the police. Later, in a TV interview, he expresses contempt for the killer, stating his wish that the madman be discovered and "nailed to the wall.?ǥ It's this phrase that captures Jake's unwelcome attention, ensuring that Peter's life, already complicated by police suspicion that he's the prime suspect, is about to become a living hell.

Lost Dog is an interesting little passion play, focusing intensely on the lives of two men whom life has treated very badly. The victim of child abuse, Jake has descended into madness; the victim of some extremely bad luck, Peter still struggles to get by, despite flare-ups of depression and the occasional impulse to pocket things that are not his. Cameron's ability to make readers feel for both speaks volumes; his ability to keep readers in suspense as they come closer to a final meeting makes him someone to watch in the future.

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Lost Dog introduces one of its main characters, Jake, on its first page. A troubled young man, Jake has just killed a woman and is in the process of concealing her body on the site of a neighborhood playground. Dragging her body to a concrete tube, he lingers over it for a few moments, trembling. Then he turns to leave.

The book then changes its focus to Peter McKrall, the man who discovers the body while searching for his niece's lost doll. Tempted to let someone else do it, Peter eventually calls the police. Later, in a TV interview, he expresses contempt for the killer, stating his wish that the madman be discovered and "nailed to the wall.?ǥ It's this phrase that captures Jake's unwelcome attention, ensuring that Peter's life, already complicated by police suspicion that he's the prime suspect, is about to become a living hell.

Lost Dog is an interesting little passion play, focusing intensely on the lives of two men whom life has treated very badly. The victim of child abuse, Jake has descended into madness; the victim of some extremely bad luck, Peter still struggles to get by, despite flare-ups of depression and the occasional impulse to pocket things that are not his. Cameron's ability to make readers feel for both speaks volumes; his ability to keep readers in suspense as they come closer to a final meeting makes him someone to watch in the future.

Scavenger

At the heart of Morrell's previous thriller, the well-wrought and suspenseful Creepers, stood the ancient and dangerous edifice known as the Paragon Hotel, which could be characterized as a metaphoric time capsule. Scavenger, his follow up to that Bram Stoker Award winning novel, involves a frantic search for an actual time capsule.

In Scavenger, a group of people from different walks of life (including two members of the cast of Creepers) is forced into a desperate, high tech treasure hunt by a man who calls himself the Game Master. They must uncover the time capsule known as the "Sepulcher of Worldly Desires,?ǥ which is rumored to be buried in Wyoming. Trapped in a decidedly lethal race against time, the participants depend on luck and ingenuity to stay alive. The stakes and challenges increase as they near their goal, ensuring most will not survive the "game.?ǥ

Scavenger does everything a thriller should which makes it hard to review for fear of revealing any of the surprises the author has in store. Suffice it to say that Morrell knows what scares you, and finds several new and disturbing ways to do just that. Besides being a consummate entertainer and manipulator, the ex-college professor is also a teacher, effortlessly weaving myriad bits of information about old New York, time capsules, video games and various other phenomena into his compelling and hard driving narrative.

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

At the heart of Morrell's previous thriller, the well-wrought and suspenseful Creepers, stood the ancient and dangerous edifice known as the Paragon Hotel, which could be characterized as a metaphoric time capsule. Scavenger, his follow up to that Bram Stoker Award winning novel, involves a frantic search for an actual time capsule.

In Scavenger, a group of people from different walks of life (including two members of the cast of Creepers) is forced into a desperate, high tech treasure hunt by a man who calls himself the Game Master. They must uncover the time capsule known as the "Sepulcher of Worldly Desires,?ǥ which is rumored to be buried in Wyoming. Trapped in a decidedly lethal race against time, the participants depend on luck and ingenuity to stay alive. The stakes and challenges increase as they near their goal, ensuring most will not survive the "game.?ǥ

Scavenger does everything a thriller should which makes it hard to review for fear of revealing any of the surprises the author has in store. Suffice it to say that Morrell knows what scares you, and finds several new and disturbing ways to do just that. Besides being a consummate entertainer and manipulator, the ex-college professor is also a teacher, effortlessly weaving myriad bits of information about old New York, time capsules, video games and various other phenomena into his compelling and hard driving narrative.

The Trigger Episode

Tom Straw's (Emmy-nominated TV writer/producer of Night Court, Grace Under Fire, and Cosby) debut novel is a heady, stylish, and deft action-thriller narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Hardwick. After a scandal over an embarrassing picture taken of a powerful congressman, Hardwick hits lean times. He can't quite squeak by as a tabloid paparazzi ("celebrity shooter?ǥ) and he owes a ruthless loan shark, Rudy Newgate, money. So, Hardwick accepts a fee to hunt down TV sitcom star Bonnie Quinn ("a walking basket case?ǥ) to film the one-hundredth episode of the big hit Thanks for Sharing. When Bonnie returns to the set but winds up dead, Hardwick turns into a hard-nosed detective out to prove her drug OD suicide was murder. His ex-fiancee and partner from their Vietnam news beat, Meddy Benson, sets aside their past differences to assist Hardwick. His flashy neighbor Amanda St. Hillaire and crotchety associate Pinkham round out his sidekicks. The network brass led by the pious billionaire Otis Grove and his sycophants Elliot Pratt and Monte Arnett have their reasons to keep close tabs on Hardwick. The pace builds at a keen clip to the clever final solution. Hardwick, a Twain aficionado, is a likeable, relentless protagonist.

Migration Assistant
Saturday, 24 April 2010 05:04

Tom Straw's (Emmy-nominated TV writer/producer of Night Court, Grace Under Fire, and Cosby) debut novel is a heady, stylish, and deft action-thriller narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Hardwick. After a scandal over an embarrassing picture taken of a powerful congressman, Hardwick hits lean times. He can't quite squeak by as a tabloid paparazzi ("celebrity shooter?ǥ) and he owes a ruthless loan shark, Rudy Newgate, money. So, Hardwick accepts a fee to hunt down TV sitcom star Bonnie Quinn ("a walking basket case?ǥ) to film the one-hundredth episode of the big hit Thanks for Sharing. When Bonnie returns to the set but winds up dead, Hardwick turns into a hard-nosed detective out to prove her drug OD suicide was murder. His ex-fiancee and partner from their Vietnam news beat, Meddy Benson, sets aside their past differences to assist Hardwick. His flashy neighbor Amanda St. Hillaire and crotchety associate Pinkham round out his sidekicks. The network brass led by the pious billionaire Otis Grove and his sycophants Elliot Pratt and Monte Arnett have their reasons to keep close tabs on Hardwick. The pace builds at a keen clip to the clever final solution. Hardwick, a Twain aficionado, is a likeable, relentless protagonist.