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Video Cowboys by Yolanda Joe

Publisher:  Pocket Books  ISBN:  0743476778

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Top news anchors beware!  Georgia Barnett is after your job.  That is, if she lives through a hostage situation she walked into.

Going to the bank should be a simple thing, shouldn't it?  Nobody expects to have a guy with a bomb walk in and start waving a gun around.  So why did it happen to Georgia?

She and Zeke, a member of the over the hill Video Cowboys who go where things are happening and film them for the news, are among the hostages held in the bank.  And guess what the mad bomber wants them to do--make a film of him.

Talented Yolanda Joe takes us live into the world of news making with fast paced dialogue and quick moving plot.  The tension is a constant, drawing you on to read more, more, more. 

A great read any mystery fan who likes a gal with an attitude who rides with a bunch of guys with equal attitudes.  You'll enjoy traveling with them and become a member of the team.

Enjoy. Highly recommended as a fun way to spend some time.  I'll be looking for other books by this talented author.



THE PANDORA KEY by Lynne Heitman        

Publisher: Pocket ISBN: 0743456165                             

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

How could PI Alex Shanahan anticipate that the return of her partner Harvey's ex-wife Rachel, and the discovery of personal items that belonged to the passengers of a gruesomely fatal skyjacking four years earlier be linked in any way?  In an effort to save Rachel's life she finds herself negotiatingg with the Russian Mafia and a group of international vigilantes.  With her own life constantly on the line she has to uncover all the clues and link them together before her time runs out.

This is an amazing novel filled with so much action you barely have time to take a breath.  One gutsy woman takes on assassins from around the world and eventually winds up on top.  Don't even start this book if you have something else to do because you won't be able to put it down until you have reached the end.


The Belen Hitch by Pari Noskin Taichert

Publisher:  University of New Mexico Press  ISBN:  0826339166

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

Looking for a fun read with just a hint of the paranormal and lots of mystery?  Then pick up a copy of The Belen Hitch and enjoy another Sasha Solomon adventure.

All Sasha is planning to do is interview people in the town of Belen, New Mexico, and write a recommendation as to whether an old Harvey Girls Restaurant should be an art museum or a train museum.  The town is strongly divided and Sasha finds her interviews are with some very strange characters who add great flavor to this tale.

Sasha's first interview is with an artist whose work is of highly questionable taste as it demeans the dearly held religious beliefs of the world.  This is a woman who has made many enemies with her work and is the woman whose body Sasha finds as she steps into yet another murder.

Talented author Pari Noskin Taichert draws characters so real, they could step off the page and shake your hand, though this reader doubts you'd want to shake the hands of some of them.  Sasha is faced with interviewing an assortment of strange people such as you'd find on the fringes of any small town society, some of whom are unpleasant, suspicious, bigoted, and others who are warm and friendly. 

Problems keep piling up as the police want to interview Sasha's mother who is in a nursing home after a stroke and whose memory is questionable. Their reasoning is because Sasha's mother knew the victim most of her life and says she talked to the dead artist the day after she was killed, she might know something.

Did one of the locals who resented the artist's blasphemous work kill her?  Or was it related to the fact the artist wanted the art museum instead of a train museum and was prepared to endow it with her work? Why does Sasha feel there's a threat to her mother's life? Who would want to harm a woman whose memory is bad?

These are but a few of the questions you'll find as you get into the story.  Lots of red herrings and side trails to lure you on, lots of suspects along the way. A highly enjoyable read that I am pleased to recommend to any mystery buff. Enjoy.  I certainly did.


The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club by Susan McBride

Publisher:  Avon Books ISBN:  13: 9780060564087

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

A fun read!  Something different in detecting and skulduggery among the Dallas elderly elite. 

Two elderly friends of Cissy Blevins Kendricks have died and she isn't convinced their deaths were natural.  She suspects someone at the retirement home for the wealthy, Belle Meade, helped the two ladies along.

Dragging her protesting daughter, Andy, along with her, Cissy takes up residence at the home and begins her investigation.  The clues she's found are vague and unconvincing to others, but she persists. 

Andy is only interested in protecting her mother in her madness, figuring it has to do with grief.  But does it? Or could Cissy be right?  Who would kill two old ladies without gain?  Why? 

A well told tale that will keep you reading, a story you will enjoy by talented author, Susan McBride, who has created a set of characters you will enjoy mingling with and be sorry to see the story end.  You'll feel like you've visited Belle Meade in person.

Enjoy.  I sure did.


The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari

Publisher: Ballantine Books ISBN: 0345470966  

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

In this utterly savage and frightening thriller, the streets of Philly come alive with a gritty and gusty realism, as do the two cops handling the case of the decade.  A vicious madman is out there and all the detectives know at this point is that his victims seemed to have only two things in common; they were teenage girls, and they all attended Catholic schools.  But now in death they have a third thing in common, each has been posed with the beads of a rosary, along with a mimicking clue to the next victim's murder. 

Jessica, working through the breakup of her marriage, and being the mother of her own young child, knows that as this is her first homicide case, she must do everything right.  And Byrnes, the detective still making his way back from a case gone bad, has his own abilities to prove.  So as these two detectives, one bright and eager, the other wasted and worn, work their way through the sinister and frightening clues in this baffling case, they will have to give it all they have, because he's coming closer than they think, and may have been there all along.

If you can handle a lot of guts and gore, this riveting and smart thriller provides a heavy dose of adrenaline and diversion.  Be warned though, some of the details are brutally graphic and, unfortunately, unlike TV you can't just cover your eyes.  But the two magnificently drawn main characters alone make the read more than worth it, and we would be more than delighted to see them return.


Privileged Witness by Rebecca Witness

Publisher: Signet ISBN: 0451217772

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Hermosa Beach's defense attorney Josie Baylor-Bates has long since sworn off cases involving the rich and powerful, as they've only brought her grief and danger.  But when she's approached by Grace McCreary, sister of her ex-lover Matthew who is now running for senate, she hesitantly agrees to look into this case involving the questionable suicide of Matthew's wife, Michelle.

When Grace is later accused of murdering Michelle, Josie begins to doubt what at first looked like a clear cut case of suicide, as there are many secrets being held by sister and brother concerning this death, and the deeper Josie looks for the truth, the more disturbing are the secrets she begins to uncover.  All the while she is being stalked by a madman from a previous case, whose need for revenge will place all Josie loves in an even greater danger, including Josie herself.

Forster always puts out a suspenseful and stimulating read, with this latest being no exception.  Josie Baylor-Bates, a woman with more than a few of her own issues, is a convincing heroine with both imperfections and strengths alike that easily engage the reader deeper into the story.  And though at times her single-mindedness can be a bit off-putting, it's also one of those traits that makes her more realistic, as well as giving her exploits more texture and crunch.  Add to that the shocking twists and turns of this latest and you've got more than needed for a thrilling and entertaining read.  Definitely recommended, this is one author who never fails to impress.   



The Magdalen Martyrs by Ken Bruen

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312353510

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Jack Taylor, once with the Guards in Galway, now spends his time doing the odd investigation and simultaneously embracing and battling his many addictions.  But lately things have been bad for Jack, and even suicide seems a better prospect than keeping up the status quo.  So when an old "friend" contacts him asking for his help to find an old woman who he claims was one of those abused years ago at a home for unwed mothers, Jack feels a stirring of life in his broken soul.  But the investigation is nothing as he'd been told, and the tragedies he uncovers connect to some very recent ones, further leading Jack down his maddening road of self-destruction. 

As with Bruen's previous titles, this latest read goes by much too quickly, whether it's because Bruen is a master of the written word, with not a single one ever wasted, or because it's so easy to become entrenched in Jack's embattled life, is hard to say.  Jack's life reads more like an autobiography, a diary if you will, of this talented writer's own surreal pathos.  Liberally sprinkled throughout are fitting passages from books and references to songs that add just the right touch of distraction from this not always so easy to read novel.  Profoundly moving and darkly devastating all at once, this is one read you won't soon forget and definitely one that deserves a prominent spot on your bookshelf.    


Rosa by Jonathan Rabb

Publisher:  Three River Press  ISBN:  0307336190

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader 

In post-World War I Berlin, a serial killer is targeting working class women.  When the body of socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxembourg turns up with similar distinctive markings as the other victims, the case acquires political overtones.

Kriminal-Kommissar Nikolai Hoffner of the Kriminal Polizei (or Kripo), assisted by Hans Fichte, is determined to reveal the true killers.  His investigation takes them to Bruges and Munich, and forces them to make an unlikely study of lace-making.  As Hoffner untangles the web of political intrigue, he learns that the killings have far more implications than meet the eye.   

A brilliant investigator, Hoffner skillfully negotiates the unsteady terrain of European intellectual movements and politics and corruption within his own department.  But it is his personal shortcomings that permit the case to take an unexpected turn, tearing his family apart.  He chooses an unexpected ally to bring the killer to justice.

Jonathan Rabb’s well-researched and beautifully-written novel is absorbing, but is not a light read.  This dense political thriller demands full concentration – and perhaps a cheat sheet to track all the German names.


Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart

Publisher: Pocket Star ISBN: 0743471016

Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart: Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Lake of Sorrows is one of those novels that defies the reader to classify it as belonging to a particular genre, but is rather a combination of many. Like the peat bogs where it is set, this tale will grab your interest and hang on. 

The discovery of an ancient body in a peat bog brings Dr. Nora Gavin to Loughnabrone to help preserve the body until it can be moved to the controlled conditions of a laboratory.  But the bog holds more secrets than just a body and who put it there and why. The discovery of a second body plunges her and her fellow scientists into a murder investigation.

And death doesn't stop there.  It seems to stalk the night and threatens even Nora and the man she loves who is suspected of possibly being the killer. In spite of the enlightenment that brings modern disbelief, Nora finds ancient rituals still thrive.  Could some believer be a ritual murderer?

Set in the bleak background of a peat bog, the starkness of people's lives add several other mysteries to this marvelously intricate story and will have you reading long into the night, wanting to know what happens next. Finely drawn characters step off the page to beckon you on so put on your boots and watch for bog holes.

Highly recommended by a very satisfied reader. Enjoy.