October Hardcover 2006


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No Trace by Barry Maitland

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 031235892X

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

When young Tracy Rudd is kidnapped from her home in her artsy London neighborhood, detectives Brock and Kolla initially believe it might be tied to the disappearance of two other young girls.  But when Tracy's father, a famous contemporary artist, begins to exploit her disappearance in the form of a new art exhibit, much as he did previously with his wife's suicide, the detectives begin to suspect that there might be much more going on than a stranger abduction.  And not only does it seem that the girl's father is hiding a terrible secret, but many of the surrounding artists in the neighborhood also seem to be hiding something, setting Brock and Kolla on a twisting, time-sensitive chase through the ambiguous and somewhat irrational world of art.

Maitland's latest police procedural is highly detailed in the ways and means of an intense police investigation, going in several directions before resolution much as might be seen in reality.  And while some readers may find this challenging, it may leave others a bit weary.  Beyond this aspect, however, Maitland also offers up a somewhat sardonic look at the occasionally absurd world of contemporary art and the lengths that some artists might go through to achieve their final product.  All in all, an interesting and intelligent read that most fans will welcome.




Glass Tiger by Joe Gores

Publisher: Harcourt ISBN: 0151011214

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Newly elected president Gustav Wallberg receives a letter threatening his life from his high school friend Corwin.  He knows that Corwin can get him because he served in Vietnam and then became a mercenary.  The FBI arranges to have ex ranger and ex CIA assassin Brendon Thorne deported from Kenya back to the USA to track Corwin down.  Bit the FBI won't turn him loose because they want the glory of stopping the assassination.  Thorne manages to slip away and begin a battle of wits with both Corwin and the FBI.

This is a very tight and intense plot filled with action and intrigue.  It incorporates decades of murders, manipulations and double crosses.  Gore knows how to spin a tale that is so factual and filled with such realistic characters that he holds you spellbound from beginning to end, while also making you wonder about the sincerity of politicians expounding patriotism and national security.  An intelligent and exciting read, and one that'll make think for a bit after it's all said and done.



All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer Fleming

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312312644

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

It's a cold and bitter winter in small town Millers Kill, the holidays are over, and at last Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopalian Priest Claire Fergusson are prepared to say a final good bye to any further consideration of the ill fated affair that has been brewing for over a year.  Russ, having confessed his love for the comely priest to his wife, now separated from her and living with his mother, is eager to make amends with his wife, while Claire is ready to once again fully devote herself to her duties as a priest.  But when Russ's wife is found brutally murdered in the couple's home, nasty rumors and suspicions regarding the two's complicity once again pit them side by side in an investigation that will reveal ugly secrets and deadly betrayals that will forever change their lives.

Fleming once again provides her fans with a stand out read that's filled to the brim with all the right ingredients.  Her compassionate and evenhanded depiction of a love never meant to be realized is both heartbreaking and convincing, with her humane portrayal of these unique and realistic characters bringing this compelling mystery alive.  She also manages to throw in quite a few surprises that keep the pages turning and the reader continuously guessing, ultimately topping it all off with an ending that will surely shock her many fans of the series.  Most likely the best yet in the series, don't miss this stunning new title from Fleming, it's a winner.




Secondhand Smoke by Karen E Olson

Publisher: Mysterious Press, ISBN 0 89296 025 6

Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader

Last year I said of Olson's first book, "Sacred Cows" is not just a good first mystery, it's a good mystery, period."  Now we have the second in the series about tough-talking newspaper reporter Annie Seymour, and it shows that the first book wasn't a fluke.  This story, too, is entertaining, and studded with humor like the chocolate bits in a tollhouse cookie.

Returning to bedevil Annie is the pestiferous Dick Whitfield, cub reporter, of whom she says "Dick Whitfield was like the cockroach that wouldn't go live in the little motel under my sink."   Bumbling and thoughtless though he is, Dick has his uses, and Annie sends him off to do legwork occasionally.  If only he got the facts straight, and didn't keep putting Annie in dangerous situations such as crouching behind an old Dodge pickup at night in the middle of winter while some shoots at them.

Appearing on the scene again in this second book are Tom the cop, Annie's ex-boyfriend, and current heartthrob, Vinny De Lucia, who seems to have some shady connections.  The story starts with the arson-murder of the local Italian restaurateur, which first looks accidental, then like a Mob hit, and finally something quite different.   Not that there's no Mob connection, however--Annie finds her father is involved with the New Haven Godfather in some way.  Worse, dear old Dad's fingerprints turn up where the murdered man was hiding out.   Could Dad be a mob hitman?  The question is ludicrous, Annie realises.  Now if only she could convince herself…

If you're looking for a pleasant evening's read with a bit of bite but nothing to give you nightmares, pick up a copy of Annie Seymour's latest adventure.