Sunday, April 25, 2010

'Motherhood is Murder', 2010, Diana Orgain, The Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Group

Kate Connolly and husband Jim are on a San Francisco Bay dinner cruise, that Kate was invited to by a new-mommy club, Roo & You, that she joined. This was to be a night out for the parents to relax. One of the members is found dead at the bottom of the stairs on the cruise and soon Kate is trying her hand at being a PI and hopes to solve the case. She is a first-time mommy and feels she can work from home and take her 2 month old, Laurie, with her on stakeouts. All the guests are suspects and all seem to have motives, but Kate is determind to unravel the mystery. However, the killer is very sly and plans to stop Kate's investigation, no matter what.

Orgain has written a mystery with characters and incidents that make you laugh. Nevertheless, the murder plot is well thought out and weaves from one exploit to another keeping the reader interested and smiling, sometimes at the same time. 'Murderhood is Murder' is a credit to Diana Orgain who gives us an appealing and entertaining mystery. Let's hope for more of Kate!

Friday, April 23, 2010

'Dead On', 2009, Robert W. Walker, Five Star Publishing/Gale, Cengage Learning

Former Atlanta policeman Marcus Rydell has had a setback in his life and is trying his hand moonlighting as a PI. But his past won't let him go and he is considering suicide when he hears the screams of a child on the floor above him and rushes to help. At the apartment he meets Dr. Katrina (Kat) Holley, an attractive woman. Kat lures Rydell out of his suicidal despair by convincing him to go after a macabre murderer on the loose who has destroyed both their lives. Their journey takes them from Atlanta to the northwest section of Georgia in the deepest part of a dense forest. Kat and Marcus are hunting for this killer/maniac when they realize he is stalking them and the hunting game begins.

Walker has written a tension filled noir thriller that seizes you from the first paragraph. He expresses in depth perception of what Rydell is thinking and feeling to such a degree that the reader can truly get inside Marcus' head. 'Dead On' has an extraordinary plot filled with twists and turns. Walker inserts a subplot on the relationship between Kat and Rydell and adds humor as well. Will these two continue to work together?

'Dead On' is a true page turner bound to keep you immersed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

'Midnight Fires', 2010, Nancy Means Wright, John Daniel & Co./Perseverance Press

Nancy Means Wright has situated her book in Mitchelstown Castle in County Cork Ireland, 1786, where the infamous Anglo-Irish Kingsborough family resides. Mary Wollstonecraft has been hired as a governess for some of the numerous children. On her voyage from England to Dublin Mary meet a sailor, Sean Toomey who gives her a letter to deliver to a 'Liam'. Within minutes she watches Sean go overboard with a knife in him. After a few days at the castle there is a so-called pagan bonfire and the illegitimate son of the Lord is murdered. Later the Irishman Liam Donovan is considered the prime suspect in the murder. Mary is determined Liam is innocent and is resolved to find the real murderer. She thinks the two murders are connected. Secrets and intrigue follow.

'Midnight Fires' is positioned at a time when the Catholics and Protestants were fighting for independence from England as well as battling against each other. Poverty is the life of the Irish working class and Wright presents a penetrating look at the difference in the social classes. She does this with memorable characters, their experiences and everyday reality in that time period. Nancy Means Wright gives us great insight into the history, both social and political, with great ease.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

'School of Lies', 2009, Mickey Hoffman, Dagger Books/Second Wind Publishing, LLC

Kendra Desola is a dedicated high school teacher in Special Ed. and finds that the politics in an academic setting can unnerve you. Vice Principal Zant is a thorn not only in Kendra's side, but all the Special Ed. faculty. When she opens her email one day, there is an attachment photo of four male students in a car and she is pictured in a compromising position with two of them in the back seat. Obviously an altered photo, but how can she prove it? Hoping to stop this fabrication before it spins out of control, she plans to find the culprit. But the suspicious death of a colleague prompts the police to start an investigation on campus. Kendra fears that the police will think she has a motive for murder because of the falsified photo and does not tell them.

'School of Lies' is full of lies, politics and deceitful co-workers. Hoffman delivers broad insight behind the workings of a high school and depicts each character with his/her own idiosyncracy in a clever way. I would have preferred more about the murder and less teaching details. However, 'School of Lies' is a very satisfying first novel for Hoffman. Her book certainly shows her knowledge of teaching.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

'Murder on Everest', 2010, Charles G. Irion & Ronald J. Watkins, Irion Books

One evening on Mt. Everest at 28,700 feet during a blinding blizzard, Scott Devlon is trying to help his friend Derek Sodoc down from the summit but Derek cannot get up,is close to death and Scott must leave and save himself. The expedition was sponsored by Derek's father, Michael, and his Sodoc Foundation and became the most publicized event in climbing history.

The following year Michael Sodoc, also owner of SNS (Sodoc News System) sets up another expedition with the same individuals from the previous year to recover his son's body. But there are other bodies up there - what about them? Scott and his friend don't like the idea nor the danger in the Death Zone with media filming the recovery. 'Murder on Everest' then follows this group and their guides on this expedition to hopefully find Derek and bring his body back down.

Irion and Watkins have woven quite a compelling story with diversity in their characters. A bizarre plot with on target descriptions not only of Everest, but the area and history surrounding it. Readers will feel the authenticity of the book with the portrayal of the weather and efforts of the climbers. An interesting look at people's emotions and needs in a dire location.

"FTC full disclosure - book provided by the publisher"