November Hardcover 2006


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Bone Valley by Claire Matturro

Publisher:  William Morrow ISBN:  13: 9780060773243

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Attorney Lillian Bell Rose Cleary seems to be reduced to cases that threaten her reputation as a high-powered attorney, cases such as a suit for fruit slander and a car accident caused by a parrot chasing a lizard down a girl's bikini front.

Then she receives news that a man she strongly disliked has been found dead and her name is linked to him.  And another man is killed.  Are they connected?  Who blew up a pier and nearly killed Lillian? 

This is a story that starts out as a tongue-in-cheek read, but quickly turns serious. The variety of characters created by talented author Claire Matturro alone will keep you reading. 

A look at the clash of mining and pollution with the people who want to save the land from it.  It will raise your consciousness of the problems while you enjoy a good read. 



Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark

Publishers: Mysterious Press  ISBN:  089296068X

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

Donald Westlake is backÖ.nope I didnít commit a mistake- Richard Stark, who uses the same successful plot formula in this series of Parker mysteries, is a pseudonym for the great thriller master Donald Westlake.  And in this follow up to the 2004 Parker mystery, Nobody Runs Forever, we catch up to our protagonist Parker still on the run from the cops hot on his trail after his last criminal escapade.

After narrowly missing from the clutches of the law last time around, it seems that all might lost for Parker, however, help comes from an unexpected quarter through Tom Lindhall.  Lindhall is an enigma- there is more to than meets the eye. Though at first sight he seems to be an unassuming criminal who is hiding away from the law- Parker soon realizes that Lindhall has some hidden agenda- an agenda filled with vengeance. And before Parker realizes it, he is a pawn in the hands of Lindhall.

What follows is Parker action at its best, with the usual twists and double-twists, which is truly vintage Richard Stark. I must say that a two year siesta has done Stark and Parker a world of good. The subtle dullness in Nobody Runs Forever is missing in this latest, and fans will delight in the pure excitement provided.





Drawing Dead by Rick Gadziola

Publisher: Ecw Press ISBN: 1550227386

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Ex-cop Jake Morgan, now a poker dealer in Las Vegas, thinks it's his lucky day when a beautiful Japanese woman sitting at the table starts flirting with him during a game.  When she suddenly leaves the table, Jake's boss saunters over and twists his arm, persuading him to cash in the $5,000 worth of chips left and take them to the woman's room.  Jake, thinking things are really going his way when he winds up in bed with the mysterious woman, instead finds himself stunned when someone delivering a room service cart comes in and pops a few bullets into the woman, not seeing Jake under the covers in the huge bed. 

Thankfully, the police captain investigating the crime lets Jake off the hook in exchange for dealing at a retirement party at the police department.  There he meets vice detective Laura Bulloch who totally fascinates him, and the two soon find themselves dodging bullets from dirty cops.

Gadziola knows how to write a story that keeps the reader both excited and entertained with his well-developed and logical plot that leads step by step through the action, never giving away any more than necessary before it is time to do so.  And with the surprise ending being one that will make the reader sit back and contemplate all the clues leading up to it, anticipating the next caper with eagerness from this talented author comes easy. 


A Marked Man by Stella Cameron

Publisher: Mira ISBN: 0778323587

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

When Max Savage and his two brothers arrive in Tossaint, LA to set up a surgery clinic, they are followed by the cloud of suspicion that has surrounded Max for years regarding the mysterious deaths of two of his previous lovers.  Annie Duhon, having spent the last two years in Tossaint fighting her own marked past, can't help but be attracted to the handsome surgeon in spite of the doubts that continue to plague his reputation.  But when a woman goes missing, and Annie begins to feel like someone is stalking her, the town's suspicions of the brothers only becomes more intense.  And so with Annie's life in danger, answers will have to be found, and soon, to keep her from becoming the next victim of a madman who is all too familiar.

Cameron returns to her familiar Louisiana setting of Tossaint, weaving a tale of seduction and mystery involving a spate of new characters, while also including many from her previous titles.  And while this tale of romantic suspense is certainly one most readers will enjoy, others may be a bit perplexed by her frequent shifts between the good old fashioned Southern values and flat out scandalous behavior that seem a bit inconsistently applied to the same characters.  Nonetheless, it's a fun and steamy read that keeps the reader guessing while also providing a decent amount of romance, both of which should please Cameron's many fans.  



A Whole New Life by Betsy Thornton

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312357591

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

When Arizona college professor Jackson William's wife is found dead as a result of a car crash, Jackson's normally serene, but lackluster, life is shaken to the core, especially once it's discovered foul play was involved and he's the number one suspect.  Their marriage, one that had been long over in feelings, if not in deed, was doomed from the start, but to be accused of his wife's murder is something this mild mannered professor can hardly grasp, especially when he finds himself in jail fighting the murder charges. 

To complicate matters, Jackson's estranged daughter, whom he hasn't seen in almost 20 years, has arrived in town wanting to establish a bond with the father she never knew.  And so while things may seem impossibly hopeless, with the help of his daughter, his wonderful neighbor and her son, and a small town lawyer, Jackson might just get out of this in one piece and, even more incredibly, with a fresh start to a life that had become colorless and old.

Although fans of Thornton's Chloe Newcombe series may initially be disappointed that while this new title takes place in the same beautiful Arizona desert setting, Chloe herself makes only a brief appearance.  Fortunately, this disappointment will not make past the first page as once again Thornton provides another character-oriented mystery that is poignant, suspenseful, and as thoroughly compelling as anything that has come before.  Vibrant and engaging, these realistically drawn characters seem to be someone you might know, their monotone lives remarkably familiar, their wonderful turnabout remarkably hopeful.  An excellent and wonderful read from a writer who knows how to make a setting and its people come alive- this is one you won't want to miss.