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Fast Lane by Dave Zeltserman

Publisher:  Pointblank ISBN:  1930997639

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

Something different in the way a private eye tale. Fast Lane is definitely written in the fast lane with lots going on.

Johnny Lane, Denver's celebrity private eye, because he has a newspaper column, has plenty of work and hires other PIs to handle the overflow.  Among the cases he handles personally is a missing girl named Debra Singer who wants to stay missing and a girl looking for her birth parents.

Johnny finds Debra and returns her home after a talk with her father that turns violent. It is this action that made me wonder what type of PI Johnny was.  I kept reading and soon found out.  This is a tale with a twist.

Trouble travels the fast lane too and catches up with him when he takes on the case of finding a girl's birth parents.  The past is lying in wait for him. 

A story that will keep you reading to see what happens and how Johnny untangles the knotty mess he finds himself in. Recommended as worth the time. A satisfying way to spend some time.  Enjoy.  I did.

 

Gone Awry by DJ Park

Publisher:  AuthorHouse ISBN:  1418441163 

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards

A vacation in the mountains sounds like a great way to get away from it all, but what do you do if you are a policeman and the 'all' follows you?  That's what happened to David and Tee Harrowsen who were looking for a change of scenery and found a murder instead.

The small town of Rye, Colorado should have been a peaceful place, but a series of strange and unpleasant events make it a town with secrets and suspicions.  This is the town where David and Tee stopped to hike and relax.  But it was anything but relaxing. David was asked to help with an investigation into an attack on a woman in her own hope and Tee was asked to help a temperamental player at the local small theater. 

David found himself facing a complaint to his boss from the detective in charge of the investigation and Tee found the young actress unwilling to follow her advice. Then the actress' boyfriend is found dead, someone stalks Tee, and a local boy is found nearly dead along a trail in the mountains. Life in Rye has suddenly become full of danger.

Lots of action, twists and turns in this tale. You never know what will happen next. The characters are a great blend of normal, normal appearing but not necessarily so, and those whose nature will always lead to suspicion.  You'll enjoy your sojourn in Rye.  I did.

 

DEADLY RESEARCH, BY GEORGE  by  P. J. Stelzer

Authorhouse  ISBN 1 41 84 0426 8 (softcover)

Reviewed by Karen Treanor 

Rejoice, all you mature women in search of role models: Georgia and Ellie are back, and they are once more up to their support stockings in murder, alibis and a very mixed bag of police officers.

This adventure starts tamely enough: Georgia is invited to a small Mid-western college to participate in a history symposium.  By the time the first evening's dinner starts, Georgia is regretting her acceptance of the invitation.  She's surrounded by people who have a very high opinion of themselves and look down on the humble researcher with her single post-graduate degree.  Georgia takes momentary pleasure in putting the most offensive of these experts in his place, but later comes to find him one of the more honest of the assembled historians.

As the weekend progresses, Georgia finds more undercurrents here than in the North Sea in winter.  Everybody seems to have a secret, and under the picturebook pretty surface there's a lot of nasty stuff going on.  Georgia wants to be out of this place, but has to wait for her friend Ellie to arrive on the Sunday morning  bus.  Ellie arrives, but almost at once stumbles across a body, spoiling the ladies' plans for a vacation elsewhere.  The fact that it's the body of someone nobody much liked isn't the point: he represents a case to be solved, and the women set out to do it.

Using her tried and true feigned innocent persona, Ellie soon gets people talking and finds out all sort of useful things, which initially just make a confused picture more confusing, but with Georgia's skill at ferreting out long-forgotten scraps of history, the two women soon narrow the field of suspects.

The fact that it's Georgia who cuts the list down to one is small comfort to her when she finds herself in a locked building with the killer.  Why didn't she listen to Ellie and leave this to the police?  How is she going to get out of this alive?  Why didn't she think to put half a brick in her bag?

This second outing of the intrepid pair is marred by the same problem that dogged the first volume: the noticeable lack of a skilled proofreader.  There are more typos here than clues.  That said, it's a cozy malice domestic that will please fans of the genre.  

 

A Small Case of Murder by Lauren Carr

Publisher: iUniverse ISBN: 059530253X

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan

A Small Case of Murder is a GRAND case of murder. Following a style, reminiscent of that of Lisa Scottoline, and David Rosenfelt, Lauren Carr in her debut novel A Small Case of Murder, delivers a powerful and strong detective- legal thriller that has all the makings of a Hollywood movie.

The novel starts with a prologue set in the Seventies, wherein we see Lulu Jefferson, a sort of beatnik singer being murdered. Who the murderer is, we don’t know. The action now shifts to 2004, and Josh Thornton, the protagonist, a JAG Lawyer coming back home to West Virginia. Recently widowed, and in the wrong side of forties, Josh has to look after his 4 children. While cleaning the attic the children get hold of a bunch of letters, and one of the letters, is one addressed to Josh’s mother, from Lulu Jefferson, - and the letter is dated May 8th 1970, the day on which both parents of Josh were killed in an accident. The letter opens a whole new can of worms. Lulu describes a dead body in the letter, and later she says that she found the same person in flesh and blood at a later date. Josh is intrigued and he launches into an investigation, about the strange dead body. Then a couple of murders take place in this sleepy town, and Joshua is appointed special prosecutor to solve the crimes. Josh finds an inexplicable link between the 30-year-old dead body case and the present murders and what follows is tense and pulsating action culminating in an exciting finish.

A Small Case of Murder is a good ‘whydunit’, rather than a whodunit. The protagonist is a fine blend of Perry Mason, and Sherlock Holmes (in particular The Hound of Baskerviles). The novel is a grand read, but the myriad subplots sort of get in the way of the main plot, - all the loose ends though are well interlinked in the end- at least for a couple of chapters, I felt that I was going through a book version of Santa Barbara or Bold and the Beautiful or something of that sort.

For a debut work, A Small Case of Murder is a grand, grand read.

 

Reviewed By CJ Curry

Lily Conner is an Episcopalian priest.  But not like any other minister you have ever known .  Lily is a Texan born and bred and exudes the Texas aura, from the tip of her head to the toes of her cowboy boots. She also is more human and open minded .  She is very caring, understanding, intelligent and curious.  But Lily is feeling rather low right now because she feels she is not doing a very good job as interim priest at Tate University in Boston.  Her stint is almost over but Lily feels she has somehow let down the students who have sought her counsel. 

As  one student is leaving her office a professor of the university enters.  Samantha Lamb-Henderson is Head of  the Religion Department at Tate and an old classmate of Lily’s.  Samantha is a celebrity who has written or co-authored many books on religion and Lily didn’t think Samantha even knew she was on campus.  But here she is asking her to dinner.  Hmmm.  Rather nervous, Lily thought.  What brought this on?    But Lily is soon to find out.  At dinner, to which Lily’s boyfriend Tom and her best friend Charlie is also invited, they meet Samantha’s assistant, Francine.  Francine is rather standoffish almost rude at times.

When a day or two  later Lily is shown a copy of a page of manuscript, she begins to understand.  The manuscript looks ancient .  And it is also written in Hebrew.  As Samantha begins to read from the copy, Lily experiences chills up and down her arms.  Could it possibly be a page from the legendary Q document?  No one knows for certain if Q really exists but rumors of it have persisted for centuries!  The words jump out at her,” Judge not, lest ye be judged”.   Could this be true? 

Samantha explains that these copies have been mailed to Francine and Samantha wants Lily to investigate the matter.  She can’t possibly write a book on what might turn out to be a fraud.  But if it is real then Samantha has the opportunity to set the religious world on it’s ear! 

So with assaults, burglaries, and being followed in the mix, Lily begins to understand that there is a group of people WHO DO NOT WANT THIS MANUSCRIPT EXPOSED!  Who ?  Why?

Michelle Blake  has written a very thought provoking story here.  Although the Q document has been written about by other authors, Ms. Blake has given the legend a new twist.  Very believable.  The characters are also believable.  I do want to go out and find the two previous Lily Conner books and I’m sure readers of this book will feel the same way.  I hope to read more of this cast of characters adventures. 

 

No Second Chance by Harlan Coben

Publisher: Signet ISBN: 0451210557

Dr. Marc Seidman wakes from a coma and learns that his wife has been killed and his six-month-old daughter, Tara, has been kidnapped.  When the ransom demand comes, he is told this will be his only chance to get her back alive, and when things go wrong, he prepares for a life of regrets.  But when his unrequited love re-enters his life, the authorities all to quickly believe it was all a plot for them to be together.  So the two must fight to clear their names, and based upon a second ransom demand, also fight a great and murderous evil, if they’re ever to find Tara and have a second chance at love.     

Relentless suspense, fully drawn characters, and a knock-‘em-dead plot, are what makes this thriller stand out.  Coben had done it again; written a novel that fully engages the reader, and draws them in so quickly that putting it down does not seem like a viable option.  You’ll find yourself truly caring what happens to each of these characters, and then once the book is finished, still wondering how their lives ended up turning out.  This is one of the finest things a writer can leave us with; the ability to forget that it’s only fiction.  Read it and enjoy it, it’s one of the better ones so far this year.