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Third Man Out by Dianne Andrews

Publisher:  AuthorHouse ISBN:  1420832883

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

This is a story of a girl named Destiny and a ballplayer named Nolan Chapman who meet at an airport in Los Angeles and for an immediate attachment for each other. Nolan has lost his wife to drive-by shooters and vowed to find the killers and finds Destiny instead.

Nolan has secrets and an old vow he must keep before he can let go of the past. And he can't tell Destiny. How could she understand what he must do and who he is? He daren't let her become involved in the dark side of his life. And he has a wife named Sonya.

Destiny has secrets too that mean great danger to herself if they are found out. Will fate bring them together or keep her and the man she loves apart?

The author, Dianne Andrews, takes the reader through the steps of two mysterious people falling in love and how secrets can keep lovers apart. In the background lurks grave danger to both.

 

From Out of the Darkness by  Karlene Logan

Publisher:  AuthorHouse ISBN:  141848427X

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

Christi was just getting her life together for her son, Joey, when she was murdered. After mourning for five sad years, Jordan Prescott, is shocked to receive a letter from Christi, a letter that will change her life for good.

The letter sends Jordan home, to face her parents who have been raising Joey. How can she tell them they no longer are his guardians.  How will she handle a double surprise of her own when she learns her sister sent two other letters?  What was Christi thinking? 

The custody of a child hangs in the balance as well as a threat to Jordan's life. Tingling on her neck makes her aware she's being watched, perhaps followed. But by who? Why? What do they want? Is it possible a man named Kendall Montgomery could be having her followed? Has he stepped out of the past into the present?

A complex weave of romance and murder that will keep you reading. Several surprises await you within the pages of this book to add spice to the lives of the characters as they lure you in deeper and deeper  to find out what is going on.   Recommended as a fun read.  Enjoy.

 

Dead Water Creek by Alex Brett

Publisher:  The Dundurn Group ISBN:  1550024523

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

Missing funds, missing salmon and a missing research assistant are all involved in the case that brings Morgan O'Brien to Vancouver in response to a scientist's complaint. Here, she finds that honor among the academia is questionable at best.

Drawing help from her many contacts, Morgan begins the painfully slow task of searching out the truth and winds up with a body stuffed into a barrel of fish.  She also learns there are those who don't want her digging into this case when she is attacked in the laboratory.

Can she keep an old friendship alive as she asks hard questions? Can she continue to outwit her boss who seems intent on keeping her from completing the investigation? Is the man in charge of the funds an embezzler and could he be responsible for the murder or attack on Morgan? Is the research into salmon olfactory nerves worth killing for?

In her quest for answers, Morgan learns the truth behind the old acadamic rule of publish or perish in the competition for funding and tenure. And because of this, someone has decided she is a danger to them and attempts are made on her life after she visits a stream where spawning salmon are disappearing.

Talented author Alex Brett gives the reader a look behind the scenes in laboratory research and just how fragile the human ego can become in competing for a success and fame. A recommended read for any mystery lover who likes a bit of science added to the mix.  A fun read.  Enjoy.

 

Roadworks by Gerard Readett

Publisher: Writers Exchange E-Publishing ISBN: 1876962771

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

The storyline is marvelous and the plot worthy of a Hollywood movie. (Although I had a tough time reading this book. What taxed me personally, was the printing format/type style and font size.)

Ok, so what was the book all about? Roadworks follow the story of Hugh Ryan, a Transport Authority Officer, whose daily humdrum life takes a turn when the whole communication network of the city is caught in a gridlock. An African terrorist, Akila Kama has taken the city of Brussels hostage, with many prominent leaders under his mercy. The terrorist has only one thing to demand- a massive influx of humanitarian aid to certain poverty stricken African nations by Europe and the West. And if they fail the world leaders will be killed. How Ryan comes to the midst of the action and how he outwits the terrorist using both brain and brawn is the theme of the work.

A good work and I wouldn’t be surprised if a movie based on this book hits the theatres soon.

 

Wiseman: The Awakening by Levi Wayne

Publisher: 1stBooks Library ISBN: 1410750477

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

I am not a keen reader of supernatural thrillers or for that matter about the paranormal- but I do have a craze for seeing such movies. I have seen the Mel Gibson movie Signs at least half-a-dozen times.

So without much expectation, I began reading Wisemen: The Awakening. And to put it mildly, the book is fantabulous. I was intrigued, I was glued to the pages of the work and after finishing it, I was sure of one thing, there is bound to be a sequel/ or a Wisemen series of thrillers. Immediately I searched the Internet and a random check confirmed my doubts- there is going to be sequel and the title is Wisemen: The Avengers

Set in the fictional town of Netherbury- with a name like this, there sure is bound to be something unnatural about the place- the thriller follows the life of Carl Atkins who investigates the unexplained and mysterious death of his lover. His investigation takes him to the world of the unknown, of a world of supernatural and evil predators. What follows is sci- fi at its best ending in an electrifying finish….but with enough questions unanswered for a sequel. 

The narrative prose is a fine blend of J.R.R. Tolkein and Terry Brooks style, while the prose flow reminded me of the Star Wars movies.  The author sure has a screenplay in mind, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a Wisemen movie hits the silver screen soon… real soon.    

 

Nothing More Than Murder by Jim Thompson

Publisher: Orion mass market paperback ISBN: 0752852140

Reviewed by by Paul Kane, New Mystery Reader

Originally published in 1949, this obscure, little-known novel by Jim Thompson would seem to be a surprising and unlikely candidate for inclusion in Orion's Crime Masterworks series.  Yet on reading Nothing More Than Murder, one realizes just how unexplored and underrated a writer Thompson is; and one wonders at what riches remain to be discovered outside of the well-known (because filmed) novels like The Getaway and The Grifters.  At any rate, Nothing More Than Murder, a doom-laden tale of damaged love and moral disintegration, is a merited and well-justified publication.

The story concerns Joe Wilmot, to all appearances, a successful businessman.  After muscling out the competition, he runs the only picture house in a small mid-western town.  He is raking in the dough and seems to have it made.  But Joe wants to keep Carol, the woman he loves, and to do this he must murder an innocent woman.  Needless to say, as with all Thompson's protagonists, matters will end badly for Joe. 

We are given a bleak portrait of small town hypocrisy, and there is a neat "post-modern" touch (this in a novel from 1949) when Jim Thompson appears as a character in his own novel.  He is an author who visits and gives a speech to a local Literary Club. 

However, it is with Chapter 5 that Nothing More Than Murder justifies its "Crime Masterworks" status; for this is perhaps as intense a piece of writing as Thompson has ever achieved.  Here we are presented with an excoriating exploration of human motive, expressed in a spare idiomatic prose, which allows Thompson to approach perhaps his darkest truth: Since we can't establish the cause of our evil, surely we are its cause?

Throughout, the suspense is handled with consummate skill, as Joe Wilmot, hounded by an avenging investigator and prey to blackmailers, staggers toward his end.  Joe, once a sharp operator in a cutthroat business, reflects:

What got me, what made me feel like I was going crazy, was the realization that the woman was going to die for nothing.  Her death wasn't going to mean a thing.  It was just murder, nothing more than murder, with none of us any better off than if she had lived.  (p.80)

Indeed.  What chance has a man whose only value is profit?

The plot twists come thick and fast, right up until the end, in an acceleration of incident and revelation.  Nothing More Than Murder isn’t simply noir; it is nightmare.

 

100 Bullets: Samurai  by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso

Publisher: Titan Books ISBN: 1840238003

100 Bullets: Samurai is the seventh volume in the 100 Bullets series and contains two complete, self-contained stories: “Chill in the Oven” and “In Stinked”.  Each story is a battleground wherein the struggle between Agent Graves and the Trust, the shady organization that was once Graves' employer, is played out.

“Chill in the Oven” is set in prison, in a world that we know from the TV show, Oz, the movie, The Shawshank Redemption and Tim Willocks' excellent novel, Green River Rising.  It is a world of men without women, where the regime is harsh and the guards brutal, and the inmates belong in gangs that are segregated along racial lines.  The story concerns Loop, a con released from solitary confinement into the general population, where his life is placed in danger.  Loop is a killer, a talented guy, and there are a lot of interested parties, notably the ubiquitous Agent Graves, with their eye on him.  “Chill in the Oven” is brutal tale without a happy ending.

“In Stinked” is probably the better story of the two: a gritty tale of friendship, redemption and freedom.  Jack, a messed-up loser, is one of Agent Graves' former marks.  He hangs with Mikey, a drug addict who is looking to lose the habit.  One night, the two visit Jungle Garvey, Mikey's uncle, so-called because he keeps a zoo and illegally trades in tigers; and once they’re there a lot of crazy stuff goes down.  Three gangsters, all "made" guys, wind up dead, which gives Garvey a bit of a problem.  And the tigers mesmerize Jack, their majesty working a kind of magic that somehow enables him (and Mikey too) to turn his life around.

Eduardo Risso’s artwork is evocative and vivid in both stories, but exceptionally so in “Chill in the Oven”.  We see the dark shadows cast from the bars of the prison cells, into corridors lit by a lurid green-yellow light, a light that suggests a diseased and dysfunctional world.  The layout of the panels is trickesy and imaginative.  Following Risso's artwork here is rather like watching a stylish movie in slow motion: you have the time to contemplate and appreciate each frame (or panel) in turn, and at your own pace.  He makes 100 Bullets: Samurai a real pleasure.

 

Death in the Sea of Grass by Karen Treanor

Books Unbound, 2004 ISBN: 1592010296

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan

Death in the Sea of Grass is the first ebook mystery I am reading- (the book it seems is available, at present, in this format only), and boy- oh boy- was I ever so impressed- for this debut work by K.R.W. Treanor is an absolute stunner!!!!!!!, and although the format was unfamiliar to me, I did eventually get used to it.

The novel succeeds in two counts as a quaint historical thriller, and as a suspense thriller. The fascinating account of Africa, the tribal culture, the search for stolen diamonds, all told with a touch of mystic aplomb, reminded me a lot of King Solomon’s Mines and some novels of the style written by Jim Corbett. The novel, which begins with an inquest done by the protagonist, Claire Winter, slowly develops into a racy thriller, with the protagonist being inadvertently caught in the midst of a search for some stolen diamonds, finally culminating in an exciting finish.

The protagonists particularly Claire Winter and Redmond Trevelyan are interesting and gutsy, but for me, the star of the novel was Sindi (who Sindi was, my friends, is for you to find out- simple read the book, oops ebook). Congrats, Ms. Treanor, Death in the Sea of the Grass is superb, (with a capital S and also capital U-P-E-R-B)!

To purchase, and for more info: http://www.booksunbound.com/bssg.html

 

MASQUERADE  by Alex Domokos and Rita Y Toews

Books Unbound E-publishing   ISBN  1-59201-027-X 

 Reviewed by Karen Treanor

"Masquerade" is the first electronic format book I've read.  I approached it with some trepidation, because the only books I've ever read 'on-screen' are my own compositions, and that's different to reading someone else's book for entertainment.

It only took a few pages for me to forget that I was reading on-screen, because the story drew me in so quickly that I was in danger of getting a finger cramp from clicking the 'page down' button so fast. 

I was on the edge of my swivel-chair as Sonja crouched in the back of the freezing truck, hearing the guards just outside, smelling the bitter smoke of cheap eastern European cigarettes, and praying she'd survive to join her brother in Hungary.  Sonja was trying to escape a rotten life in the Ukraine.   Unfortunately, she escaped into something worse, and was soon on her way to Winnipeg, of all places.

The main story starts when Sonja arrives in Winnipeg to work as a servant while her English improves enough for her to be marketable as a prostitute.  She clings to the slight hope that once there, she can find her uncle, whom family legend says emigrated to Canada. 

At the same time,  Stan Boyko returns home to Winnipeg after a decade away.  Stan's with the Mounties (RCMP to purists) and has been working undercover. He's been so far undercover that he hasn't much of a life of his own, and things don't look like improving with the new assignment, which is to infiltrate organised crime  in Manitoba.

You can see it coming: Winnipeg is a relatively small town, and a Ukrainian girl on the loose with three words of English is just bound to bump into one of the few Mounties who can speak Ukrainian.  Bump they do, and it doesn't take our hero long to sniff out something worse than a little petty prostitution racket.

There's a crooked businessman, a corrupt scientist, biker gangs, murder, a nasty bit of framing-for-murder, and, oh yes, trafficking in human organs.  Along the way there's some well-detailed police procedural stuff for those of us who enjoy that--plus a look into the seamy side of Winnipeg street-life that leaves you itching from imaginary fleas and dirt.

This is an excellent mystery thriller, and the price ($4.50) for a download in your preferred format or a CD at $10 can't be beaten.  If you have one of those new electronic readers the simulates a 'real' book, so much the better, but you can enjoy this just as much on your own computer screen.  Adjust the width of the margins so the page is comfortable for you, and get reading:  you won't regret it.

 

Secret of the Scroll by Chester D. Campbell

Publisher: Durban House Publishing Company, Inc  ISBN: 1930754248

As I am writing this, the Israel Prime Minister is visiting India on a 4-day official visit, the first visit by an Israelian Prime Minister to India. The local TV Channels have devoted their attention to Israel, the Palestine problem, the Gaza strip and what not….

Secret of the Scroll, attains importance not in its storyline, but of the deft handling of the Israel – Palestine issue in the background of fiction. Rather, the author uses the fictional plotline to drive home a valid point, a valid perception of Arab- Jewish ethnic conflicts. 

An ancient parchment, (what it is, is for you to find out) a scroll of historical importance, a scroll that would turn topsy the world history as we know today has accidentally reached the hands of an Air Forcer Investigator. On a return trip from Middle East, Colonel Greg McKenzie finds that the locks of his bags have been tampered with, though there is nothing missing, the Colonel has an uneasy feeling. Days later, back at his home in Tennessee, the Colonel has returned to his normal life. But a few days later his wife is kidnapped. A phone call informs him that if he wants his wife back alive, he must return a scroll, a souvenir that the Colonel had bought home from Middle East thinking it to be a cheap imitation. Slowly and steadily the Colonel investigates into the matter, and finds some deadly truths being hidden in the Scroll, - and the possession of the thing in the wrong hands, would be de facto welcoming the next holocaust.

A good solid read. The blurb informs us that the author is journalist and a retired Colonel. He puts his knowledge and experience to great use in this novel- such that, it is fiction rooted in reality. The book reminded me a lot of the Irving Wallace bestseller, The Word.  Recommended, a worthy read and an even more worthy buy.

                                                                   Narayan Radhakrishnan

Beulah Hill by William Heffernan

Publisher: Akashic Books  ISBN: 1888451408

William Heffernan, a former reporter for the New York Daily News, won the 1996 Edgar Allan Poe Award for his novel, Tarnished Blue. He is the author of sixteen novels, including the international best-sellers, The Corsican, Ritual, Blood Rose, and Corsican Honor. His novel The Dinosaur Club was a New York Times bestseller and is in development at Warner Brothers to become a motion picture.

It's the 1930's.  The weight of the Great Depression seems relentless and unforgiving.  In Germany, Hitler is a rising political figure.  And in the backwoods of Vermont is a small town known as Jerusalem's Landing.  Peace is kept in the small town by constable Samuel Bradley, whose father was the constable before him.  Some of the locals pride themselves on the fact that their town was part of the Underground Railroad.  But when the body of Royal Firman, a white man, is found on property owned by Jeheil Flood, a black man, the fact that racism is alive, strong and well becomes more than apparent.  That racism is flaunted.

The white people in town are convinced that the black people living up on Beulah Hill have gone too far.  They see no need for a police investigation.  They all know Flood is guilty.  When Bradley is not as convinced as the rest of his community, the reason behind his apprehension is clear.  He is, what they call, "bleached".  His great grandmother was a black woman, once owned by people in town.  A man full of conflict, Bradley has never come to terms with who he is.  He so badly wants to be white that he can't see anything without tying color to it.

Becoming more and more enraged, Firman's father begins to rally the racists, set on eliciting justice one way or another.  

Frenchy LeMay is brought in from Burlington to lead the murder investigation.  Coupled with Bradley, the two have their work cut out for them.  The town is on the verge of a revolution, and no one seems to know what is keeping the small town war from beginning.  And on their search for the truth it looks like controversy revolves around Elizabeth, a black woman.  And again, the community does not feel Bradley can be objective, since while growing up he and Elizabeth had been best friends, and lovers.  But once the shooting begins, there is no stopping it until every last truth is unearthed.

Filled with tension and action, Beulah Hill is an important novel, unsurpassable by any in its genre.  Like William Heffernan's Cityside, Beulah Hill is an amazing novel filled with concrete characters, an absorbing plot and a compelling mystery that keeps readers engaged and turning pages.  Where some other best-selling authors in the same genre use machine gun-like sentences and tend to avoid narrative at all costs, Heffernan's poetic literary prose suck readers deeper into the story.  His storytelling is effective and brilliant.
Book Summary:

A novel of rare literary distinction—an erotic thriller combined with a true mystery, and a look back at a little known part of the American societal patchwork—Beulah Hill, by bestselling author William Heffernan, is a brilliant and deeply original work of fiction.  Set in the 1930's, the story follows the investigation of a racially motivated murder in a rural Vermont town and the shocking ramifications it has on that backwoods community, which had once served as a stopping place for runaway slaves.  Having made new lives for themselves there, many of these former slaves married interracially, and their progeny became what was known as "bleached".  The result was an atmosphere of tension and distrust that—as so vividly rendered in this novel—occasionally exploded in acts of violence . . . and even murder.  At a time when the Great Depression had created widespread fear and Hitler was just beginning his reign in Germany, Beulah Hill tells the story of a white man who was murdered in an almost ritualistic manner on land owned by the only remaining black family in that small town.  Heading the investigation is a young constable who is himself a deeply conflicted member of the "bleached" underclass and who is intimately involved with the proud and headstrong black woman at the center of the killing.

 

Conquest of Paradise by Britt Gillette

 iUniverse     ISBN   0595264549  

Britt Gillette's Conquest of Paradise is a complex, engaging thriller.  Completely ignorant of nano-technology, this reviewer found himself searching the net to learn more.  The things learned at sites where research is well underway confirmed the frightening reality I learned in the book.

The tragic events of September 11 terrorist attacks are unleashed in the novel, focusing on the plane that crashes into the Pentagon.  A plan is presented to the president known as The White Horse Plan.  It sets forth the policy to and outline to begin the newest arms race.  It involves a revolutionary technology known as nanotechnology.  The first nation to possess what is known as an assembler, will essentially be protected from any type of terrorist attack.
       
"[T]he maturation of assembler-based nanotechnology will shower tremendous benefits on Americas humanity, but those benefits come with a price.  Serious dangers lurk around the corner…Whoever breaks out with the assembler lead, whether it's a several hour lead or several year lead—that state will have the rest of world at it's mercy."

In a contest to be the first with an assembler, it is important to construct a way to defend against an attack should America not win the race.

At the same time Raphael Vicente is on a quest of his own, as the new president Europe he has the power to follow through on a life-long mission.  He is working to eliminate disease, poverty and oppressive power.  

With relevant passages from the Bible quoted at the beginning of each chapter, it is clear that things cannot work as smoothly as planned.  With power come all things associated with it.  Raphael, as well as other leaders, learn that they must act and react to events that take place.

With explosive narrative, fast-paced scenes, and an intense plot, Conquest of Paradise is as troubling a thriller as you can expect to read.  The plot is very comparable to a Tom Clancy novel; the writing, parallel.  The characters are deep, rich and well defined.  The likelihood of the fiction of nanotechnology becoming true, all too likely.  

Book Summary:

September 11, 2001 marks the beginning of a world-wide war on terror.  Unbeknownst to the citizens of the Western Powers, their governments are working on a modern-day Manhattan Project to create a weapon so potent, it will defeat the terrorists of the world once and for all.  In an era when the very survival of liberty and the global economic system are daily threatened by weapons of mass destruction, the Western democracies ardently push the limits of the known universe to unleash a weapon of unrivaled omnipotence—a self-replicating assembler.

Amidst these troubled times, a god-like figure rises to power.  As leader of the newly integrated European Union, Raphael Vicente sets out on a bold quest to exterminate duisease, eliminate poverty, and destroy the world's oppressors.  The ascendance of this new breakthrough technology sets the stage for realizing his dream—a world entrenched in democratic social justice for all peoples of the world.

But in Raphael's world of black and white, the dream of eradicating injustice proves to be a formidable task, and in the end, man's elusive pursuit of perfection drives him to the edge of never-before imagined consequences.  In a struggle to provide adequate security, while preserving liberty, quick decisions must be made, and they leave the world teetering on the brink of annihilation.

© 2003 Phillip Tomasso III