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Sherlock Holmes' Lost Adventure by by Lauren Steinhauer

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.; 0 edition (May 12, 2004) ISBN: 0595317073

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards

Beware where you walk after dark in the poorer sections of London as they were in the days of Sherlock Holmes. Remember my warning as you begin The True Story of the Giant Rats of Sumatra.

A story containing adventure, missing children, mysterious ladies, stolen typewriters and strange creatures never seen before, this is a tale that will keep you turning the pages, wanting to know what will happen next.

You will be reminded of The Phantom of the Opera and the terror found in The Hound of the Baskervilles as the story takes you to far corners of the earth and down into the hidden passages beneath London. Talented author Lauren Steinhauer has held true to the writing style of Sherlock's earlier adventures so fans of the great detective will find it a fun read.

This is a story for any reader who likes a little horror mixed into the mystery, a little one-sided romance for Dr. Watson and several surprises along the way.  A pleasant way to spend an evening, but if you must go out, step lively.  One never knows what will crawl out of the sewer.

Enjoy.

 

Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

Publisher: HarperTorch ISBN: 0060738197

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan

The marvelous reprint of the horror classic that introduced the catchphrase “Stepford Wife” to English language.

Ira Levin is an author who keeps a low profile. His ability and talent to write spine chilling suspense and horror thrillers is unparalleled- but the books are few and far between. In a fifty-year period, he has written just 7 novels, all of which were bestsellers, including ROSEMARY’S BABY, its sequel SON OF ROSEMARY, BOYS FROM BRAZIL and A KISS BEFORE DYING. His plays including DEATHTRAP and VERONICA’S ROOM also ran to full houses for a long, long time.

THE STEPFORD WIVES first published in the early Seventies, was a No. 1 bestseller. This edition is brought out in connection with the upcoming movie of the same title starring Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler.

The novel starts with the arrival of Joanna and her husband Walter Eberhart to the idyllic village in Connecticut called Stepford. The air is calm, the neighborhood is good, just the perfect place to bring up ones kids. All the women in the society are nice, lovable and warm- sweet and cheerful, the complete woman of every man’s dream, ok… ok… chauvinistic dream. But there is one problem, the women are too sweet, too pleasant, too cheerful- that Joanna Eberhart- a woman of individuality and substance just fails to understand. NA slowly she herself gets a feeling of being ‘changed’. What follows is sublime and subtle terror at its best- that’s just   s-p-i-n-e- c-h-i-l-l-i-n-g.    Great book, a great classic- a must for ones library.

 

WHISPERS OF THE DEAD by Peter Tremayne

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312303823

Reviewed by Donna Padilla

 
In ancient Ireland Sister Fidelma is an advocate of the court.  As such, she is not allowed to to defend the guilty, so must determine to her own satisfaction whether or not she will defend a person accused of a crime.  Surprisingly she uses fairly modern methods in her investigations.  When summoned to the scene of a murder, she believes the body will produce many clues if gone over carefully.   She also believes that if she reconstructs the last day of the victim's life she will find the murderer.  She is extremely tenacious.
 
WHISPERS OF THE DEAD is a collection of 15 stories featuring Sister Fidelma's cases.  The reader is treated to an understanding of how he Brehon court systems worked thousands of years ago.  Tremayne is an exceptional writer with the knack of pulling the reader in to cheer for Fidelma until the very end.

 

A Cruel Season for Dying by Harker Moore

Publisher: Warner Books  ISBN: 0446613738

When victims of murder begin to turn up, all with the same signature, which includes ash markings and surgically attached angel wings, Detective James Sakura is called in to head the task force in search of this latest serial killer.  Sakura, an intense man who is caught between the cultures of his boyhood Japan, and his current home as an adult in America, must battle this internal conflict as he must battle the evil that seems to be growing ever stronger.  Bringing in his former mentor, a female profiler, and his former partner, a man chased by his own demons, the three must somehow find this killer because he’s closing in and his next target is someone much closer than they know.   

It’s very exciting when a new author comes along with this kind of talent.  Totally original, Harker Moore’s writing is magnificently evocative of some sort of ancient wisdom that’s somehow never fully comprehended beyond an emotional and instinctive level.  Somehow combining starkness with beauty, Moore easily transcends the typical mystery and creates something that resonates much more deeply.  His characters are flawlessly portrayed, motivations understood, and the final outcome perfectly designed. This is a novel that will grab you, and will not let go until the end, if even then.  To say there is suspense and thrills seems almost inconsequential, though there are plenty of both.  But the strength really lies not in the story itself, but in how it’s told.  Waiting for the next, in what we hope is to be a series, is going to be hard.  Highly recommended, this new author should not be missed.   

 

Judgment Calls by Alafair Burke

Publisher: St. Martin's Press ISBN: 0312997205

Sam Kincaid, a Deputy D.A. in Portland, Oregon, is drawn into a case involving the horrible sexual attack on a young girl.  As she finds herself getting personally involved, the case suddenly takes a left turn as new evidence comes in indicating another suspect may be at fault, perhaps someone who has been at it awhile.  So as Sam continues to fight to help the young victim, as well as to keep things kosher with Detective Chuck Forbes, who just happens to be her ex boyfriend, she finds the lines blurring, and her judgment in doubt.  And when someone begins to threaten her, she must raise the stakes herself if she’s to come out alive.    

The first in an intended series, Burke comes out of the gate flying.  Fans of legal thrillers will no doubt love this latest entry into the field.  Detailed legal procedures ring of authenticity and realism, adding credibility to this promising new series.  And though it may be a bit much for the layman, those that gobble up this genre will no doubt find this a feast.  Sam herself is a smart-thinking firecracker, and we love to see this kind of independent woman who uses her brains, as well as her heart, to fight for truth in the face of adversity.  This has all the makings of a successful series, and we’re looking forward to the next.  

You can learn more about this exciting new author by visiting her new home page at:    www.alafairburke.com

 

In Silence by Erica Spindler

Publisher: Mira Books  ISBN: 0778320375

When Avery Chauvin goes back home to a small town in Louisiana to put her recently deceased father’s affairs in order, she slowly comes to realize that all is not as innocent as it seems.  Her father’s death, declared to be a suicide, just doesn’t ring true.  And there have been several other suspicious deaths recently as well.   As the number of people she can trust seems to shrink daily, she must put her fears aside, and take off her blinders, if she’s to come out alive.  And while there’s help to be had from the two men who want to win her heart, twin brothers Matt and Hunter, one of them just may be a killer.    

Spindler’s tales can be slightly addictive, with this latest being no different.  The suspense is unswerving, and although some armchair detectives will have figured out the true identity of the villain long before the end, there’s enough red herrings thrown in for the rest of us, providing for a very thrilling ride.  As with her other novels, the characters themselves are also appealing, and though some might desire a bit more depth, most will be more than satisfied with this compelling mystery.  This comes recommended for it’s sheer entertainment value, which is pleasingly abundant. 

 

The Protector by David Morrell

Publisher: Warner Books  ISBN: 0446530689

 reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan

David Morrell in The Protector returns to the genre he likes the best, and more importantly, what his teeming millions of fans like the most – a gritty one man action hero fighting the odds, ending a nail-biting suspense finish.

            Ever since I saw the movie First Blood (and subsequently read the book), I was on the lookout for the author’s other chilling thrillers. Rambo, the one-man fighting machine, opened a new era in the suspense thriller genre, and many authors including Michael Connelly has followed the Morrell footsteps to great heights.  In The Protector, Morrell shows why he still is the Master in the sub-genre he developed.

            The Protector is the story of Cavanaugh, a Delta Force veteran who now works for Global Protective Services (GPS). The main function of GPS is to protect top security to key witnesses that extends to creating new names, identities, and forge documents, all in the interest of national security. In other words, remember the Arnold Schwarzanegger movie Eraser- well, our protagonist also works in one such firm.

            However, the latest assignment offers more than what Cavanaugh had bargained for. His team is assigned to protect Daniel Prescott a brilliant biochemist who has developed a powerful new drug, the formula of which competitors would kill for, literally kill for. Prescott is terrified and needs to escape immediately. Cavanaugh’s team gears up for action, but in an unexpected development his team is totally wiped out in a murderous attack. Cavanaugh realizes that his opponent is not a person to be taken easily and what follows is needle sharp suspenseful action, with top-notch car chases, action involving the latest and sophisticated weapons all ending in a dramatic and surprising showdown, that best can be described as mind blowing.

            The author has done heavy research for the novel and his expertise shows in the work. The tradecraft and high-risk activities depicted in the work is totally reality rooted adding more spice to the thriller.

Now only one question remains, when do we see the movie of the book?

                                                 

The Stick Game by Peter Bowen

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312326149

Reviewed by Donna Padilla

Fiddle player Gabriel Du Pre is also well known as a puzzle solver.  Madeline, whom Du Pre loves, has a cousin named Jeanne who asks him to find her teenage son who has run away from home.   Also, Tully the accordion player asks him to look into any relation between the above normal incidence of disabled children on the reservation and the arson leaching of gold being done by a powerful mining company.  It doesn't take Du Pre long to figure out the link between the two requests.  But now he has to prove it.

Peter Bowen weaves the majestic beauty of Montana and the lonely lives of people isolated on the reservations into mystery novels well worth reading.  The characters interact with respect for each other and their cultures as well as a great deal of humor.  Bowen has the artistic quality for blending tragedy and humor that will equal any master writer of any time period.  A good read that will leave the reader looking forward to the next Du Pre novel.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin ISBN: 0312330871

Reviewed by Donna Padilla

Ten people are invited or employed to spend a weekend in a mansion on Soldier Island.  These people do not know each other and have nothing in common except that none are of the elite class that would normally be invited to a millionaire's private island. The first night they learn that each of the ten has killed someone under cirumstances that cannot be prosecuted by the law----and now each of them must die. 

The reprinting of Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS is a treat.  Once again her fans can relish the experience of ten murders on an isolated island with weather conditions that no boat would dare challenge.  When the police finally arrive, no one is alive. Suspense in the Christie style is hair raising, and without the final chapter would leave the reader completely mystified