Friday, July 23, 2010

'It's Murder, My Son', Lauren Carr, June, 2010, Printed in U.S.A.

After a messy divorce has ended, Mac Faraday, a retired homicide detective in D.C., is trying to avoid a lawyer who keeps after him. But the attorney finally convinces Mac to listen to him and Mac learns that the mother who gave him up for adoption 40+ years earlier has died and left him her vast fortune. Mac moves to Deep Creek, Maryland where his mother, Robin Spencer was born and known as America's Queen of Mystery. When Mac moves into Spencer Manor, he learns that a neighbor, Katrina Singleton, was murdered three months earlier and her case file is still open. However, there are more suspicious deaths and Mac decides to use his investigative skills to discover secrets in this plush gated community and to follow clues to find Katrina's killer. Many surprises await Faraday in addition to his adjustment to an immense fortune.

In 'It's Murder, My Son', Lauren Carr has provided a complex plot with a diversity of characters that blend so well with the mystery. Lauren's dialogue is brisk, her setting beautiful and the addition of Gnarly is very clever. As I did, readers will love this overly intelligent dog and his antics. 'It's Murder, My Son' is a delightful read and I look forward to more of Carr's Mac Faraday mysteries.

FTC disclosure: Book provided by author.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

'Grave Doubts', John Moss, 2009, Dundurn Press

David Morgan and Miranda Quin are waiting for something to happen; the Toronto detectives are between cases; Morgan is restless and Miranda nervous. Quin delivers a manila envelope with photographs of two headless corpses from a crime scene, a man and woman embracing while wearing early Victorian clothes. Later they arrive where the bodies were found, an old cottage set for demolition. In the process, a hidden closet is found behind a hanging cabinet and the bodies seem well preserved. Morgan and Quin are soon immersed in unusual and contrived wickedness. Moss takes 'Grave Doubts' from Toronto, to a farmhouse on Georgian Bay, a neglected old church to an old shipwreck and each location becomes more puzzling and terrifying. Morgan and Quin are challenged at every turn and their powerful connection to each other is tested by the horrors of this case and the cleverness of the murderer.

In 'Grave Doubts', John Moss has written an 'I couldn't put it down' mystery. An incredible and unusual plot that portrays love, sex, deceit and death in a very different and interesting way. Moss has produced a page turner with his portrayal and insight of his characters, and a gripping plot that never loses a beat.

This is a winner!

FTC: Book provided by author

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

'Still Waters', John Moss, 2008, Dundurn Press

Toronto detectives David Morgan and Miranda Quin have been partners for ten years working the homicide division. Each balances the other quite well with their opposite approaches and thoughts dealing with a case. In the wealthy section of Toronto's Rosedale area, a man's body is found in a garden pond and his body is slowly turning. On this property there are ponds with Japanese koi fish and varieties of rare fish. A beautiful woman walks into the crime scene and casually admits that she is the dead man's mistress, and shows no remorse at his death. Our sleuths soon learn that this death is only the starting point; secrets are revealed and Miranda's long-buried past catches up to her and shocks her.

In 'Still Waters', John Moss weaves a most unusual plot connecting the past and the present. He produces unexpected events and hints of secrets hidden in the minds of his characters. Throughout the story Mosss delves inside the heads of Quin and Morgan exposing their inner thoughts and memories. At times I was lost with some of the references. 'Still Waters' deals with a serious issue and Moss uncovers our eyes to heartbreaking circumstances too often a part of real life.

'Still Waters' is not a lightweight mystery but Moss reveals his knowledge of philosophy, psychology and rare fish. Quite a combination.

FTC: Book provided by author

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

'Revenge For Old Times' Sake', Kris Neri; 2010, Cherokee McGhee, L.L.C

Non-conformist Tracy Eaton is an author married to a strait-laced attorney Drew, a junior partner in a law firm nicknamed SCREWED by Tracy's mother. When Tracy witnesses Drew punch his boss Ian Dragger in the nose, she is pleasantly surprised and proud of Drew. But when Ian's body is found in the Eaton's pool, Drew becomes the prime suspect and Tracy has plans to prove Drew's innocence quickly. Then support arrives - her mother, movie actress Martha Collins and Tracy's so-dignified mother-in-law Charlotte Eaton. Whenever Martha and Charlotte are together, the sparks fly constantly. Later another body is found in the pool and Tracy & Co. decide 'enough is enough' and take matters into their own hands. As events keep happening pointing to Drew, Tracy hopes her crazy plan will save him.

Kris Neri has fashioned a plot with many twists and turns in 'Revenge For Old Times' Sake'. Her character portrayal is outstanding, a hilarious mix of personalities that make you laugh out loud. Neri has represented her cleverness at plot with sparkling dialogue and a narration that is never boring. It takes a special talent to create characters so funny while maintaining a solid plot, but Kris Neri has done it.
A very enjoyable read!

FTC: book provided by author

Friday, July 2, 2010

'Murder on Elbrus', Charles G. Irion and Ronald J. Watkins, July, 2010; Irion Books

Scott Devlon is in southern Russia to observe a European Union conference. Acknowledged throughout the world as a master climber, he has not completely recovered from the disaster on Mt. Everest. Scott's assignment seems basic enough but circumstances turn fatal when a Russian official is murdered on Elbrus, Europe's highest mountain and one of the Seven Summits. Devlon meets up with Tom, Tarja and Natasha who were with him on Mt. Everest; Natasha is the ruling queen of the media world but Scott has doubts about her loyalty. When Devlon has to make a speedy escape, a Russian mobster, a Georgian nationalist and a tired CIA agent join him. With the Russian army on their trail, they travel across war torn Chechnya and Scott discovers the ethnic vendettas in each region and secrets are learned during their escape through the barren geography of the north Caucasus.

Irion and Watkins have set this story in an area unknown to most readers, so we learn and absorb the culture, geography and emotions of the people in the Caucasus area. 'Murder on Elbrus' is an exciting, fast-paced murder mystery and exposes the fear of ethnic groups and the greed of others for power and control. I learned quite a bit about these regions and their people while an absorbing mystery evolved. 'Murder on Elbrus' certainly grips your attention with political history threaded throughout!