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The Oxygen Murder by Camille Minichino

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books  ISBN:  0312347863

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Do you know what the periodic table is?  If not, you'll get a speaking acquaintance with it as physicist, Gloria Lamerino, goes to New York City with husband and friends for a pleasant vacation and winds up finding a body.

The body is the photographer working with Gloria's husband's niece on company's that pollute with ozone. But, as things begin to unwind, we learn that the dead girl had secrets and those secrets meant enemies.

In the past Gloria has involved herself in murders in her home town where her husband is a policeman, but he has no authority in NYC.  Can he keep her out of trouble that her curiosity can get her into.

A clever tale with well drawn characters, some of whom will make you want to know them better, others you may distrust on first meeting, but beware snap judgments.  I'm pleased to recommend this book to any mystery buff who like a tale with depth and the unknown lurking in the background.  Enjoy.

 

The Prudence of the Flesh by Ralph McInerny

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Minotaur  ISBN:  0-312-35144-5

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader

Since leaving the priesthood, Gregory Barrett has built a new life as a professor, family man, and host of a popular literature show on NPR.  He is stunned when a woman, whom he has no memory of even meeting, claims they had a sexual relationship twenty-five years earlier.  At the recommendation of his attorney, he seeks the help of his old friend Father Dowling.

At the same time, Ned Bunting, a would-be writer, has begun attending services at Father Dowling’s parish, where he meets Gloria, a prolific if untalented painter.  Gloria pitches him a fantastic story—that of her friend Madeline, whose son (she says) was fathered by Barrett.  This revelation is particularly astonishing to Barrett, who was celibate until his marriage.

When Ned Bunting’s body is discovered in a lake near a popular lovers’ lane, there seems to be no shortage of suspects.  Even Father Dowling, the subject of Bunting’s memorably bad newspaper article, could be said to have cause to kill the man.

Although it takes place near present-day Chicago, The Prudence of the Flesh is strongly reminiscent of an English cozy, with a parish setting, a perpetually bemused, pipe-smoking priest, and an offbeat housekeeper.  Slow-moving and subtly amusing, the novel’s murder occurs one hundred pages in.  Madeline and her boss Pasquali are refreshing changes from the stereotypical librarians usually found in mysteries.  The Prudence of the Flesh is definitely worth reading, even if the characters—repressed in different ways—make the reader want to scream (and not from fear!).

 

Frozen by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Minotaur  ISBN:  0-312-35581-5

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader

The murders of two prostitutes, the murder/suicide of a separated couple, and the stalking of a news presenter would seem to be unrelated crimes, but for the presence of similar DNA evidence.  Surprisingly, the evidence suggests the involvement of two murderers, hardly typical in serial crime.

University professor Dr. Megan Rhys is assisting Detective Superintendent Leverton profile the criminals.  It is clear to Megan that the evidence suggests a dirty cop, and believes that explains Leverton’s caginess.

As busy as she is finishing up the term, assisting Leverton, and preparing for the holidays, Megan is distracted and attributes her suspicion that someone is entering her home and playing practical jokes to paranoia.  And is her distrust of her brother-in-law, coincidentally a colleague of the stalked news presenter, simply more paranoia?  And is the interest of Patrick van Zeller, in both the case and her, completely above board?

Haunted by her own memories of a twenty-year old rape and the ghosts of her recently disintegrated marriage, Megan is too vulnerable to concerns for her sister’s family and her feelings for Patrick.  But the biggest question is why an intelligent woman, believing she is being stalked, would go to a remote beach cottage?  First released in 2003, Frozen will appeal to fans of Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs.

 

  

Judge and Jury by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

Publishers: Little, Brown & Co., 2006  ISBN: 0316013935

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

Has James Patterson ever written a ‘dud’? After raking my mind, and thinking about ALL his books (I am a self proclaimed numero- uno James Patterson fan, me having read the author’s previous 38 fiction books, 2 non-fiction book and even the manuscript of a novel he has not yet published),  I can authoritatively say- NOPE. And readers and critics on the lookout when the Patterson magic will fail to deliver will….have to wait. For Judge and Jury is one awesome read that enhances, more enhances the author’s reputation as the master suspense blaster.

James Patterson has carved a gold niche in whichever branch of suspense he has tried his hands on be it historical (The Jester), psychological (Alex Cross series including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider), suspense whodunits (Women’s Murder Club Series including 1st to Die and 2nd Chance), legal (Beach House and Beach Road), Romance (Sam’s Letter’s to Jennifer and Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas), horror (Virgin and Cradle and All), teen fiction (Maximum Ride) fantasy (When the Wind Blows and Miracle on 17th Green), children’s fiction (The Santa Kid), hardcore literature (Brick Layer’s Myths and Miscalanies- remember the unpublished novel I mentioned above)- you take it – this author has come out with flying colours…..

And this time around, James Patterson takes us through the trial of one of Mafia’s greatest gangsters a Don named Dominic “Electrician” Cavello- who has ruthlessly murdered, tortured and created a big crime syndicate spanning across Europe and America. The man who has caught him is Nick “the Smiles” Pellisante an FBI Agent who has pursued the Don for five years. But during the trial, a bus carrying the sequestered jury members is blown up by the Don’s henchmen and a mistrial is declared. There is only one survivor of the bus bomb blast- Andie DeGrasse. DeGrasse though had initially wanted to drop out of trial is the lone survivor and she lost her son also in the blast. Now both DeGrasse and Pellisante join hands to see that revenge is done. What follows is hot, and I mean sizzling hot, suspense culminating in a finish that only James Patterson could have thought of.

A grand, grand thriller- when’s the movie coming out…????