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Destroying Angels by Gail Lukasik

Publisher: Thomson-Gale   ISBN 1 59414 360 9

Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader

This book might just put you off mushroom stew for life. The title is a
grim play on words which applies equally to some of the characters in the book and the means of death of one of them.

Leigh Girard is on the run from the past--from her marriage, a mastectomy,
and a teaching career. She comes to rest in a little Wisconsin town where she
gets a job working on the local paper.

Bored with the 'new girl' jobs of garden clubs and obituaries, she suddenly
finds herself in the middle of mystery and murder when researching a couple
of local people who apparently died by their own hands.

It's not long before Leigh decides these apparent suicides are murders, and
she's determined to get to the bottom of them. Without a traditional
support network of any sort, she pursues the trail of clues by dogged hard work and an occasional flash of luck. Along the way she's run off the road by an ill-wisher, and two different people claim that they were responsible. It's
hard to tell if the first confessor is protecting the second, or vice versa.
Or none of the above.

By the time Leigh begins to suspect she's got herself in deeper than is wise,
she's trapped in a web of treachery far out in the woods--not an ideal situation for anyone, let alone someone still bruised and battered from a car wreck.

This is an enjoyable read of the 'tree change' genre, to which anyone who has
ever made a major shift in career will be able to relate.



 

 

 

The Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parshall

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press ISBN: 159058256X

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Junior veterinarian Rachel Goddard lives in a wealthy neighborhood outside Washington D.C. with her mother and her younger sister, not really ready yet to strike out on her own, instead content for now to enjoy the security and safely of family.  But that's all about to change when she begins to experience odd memories and dreams that seem all too real and personal, dreams of two little girls crying in the rain.  When she questions her mother about it, however, her mother is quick to change the subject and will reveal nothing, nothing of this memory, or of their dead father, or really anything at all to do with their mysterious past. And as these feelings grow in strength, along with her budding relationship with a co-worker, she knows she will have to find out the truth behind her unexplained past if she's ever to find any peace in her future.

Parshall's first novel is one that mystery fans will no doubt gobble up with relish, having all the necessary ingredients for an afternoon of ominous mystery and stimulating thrills.  The slow building menace is simply delectable and comes surrounded by a plot with devious manipulations, a hint of romance, and characters that compel and engage, all adding up to an exciting and suspenseful read that comes easily recommended.       

 

 

Murder in Exile by Vincent H. OíNeil

Publisher: St. Martinís Press  ISBN: 0312352077

Reviewed by Robin Thomas, New Mystery Reader

Frank Cole has been having more than his fair share of bad luck; his company has gone bankrupt and the judge has made an unprecedented ruling that all of Coleís earnings will be treated as part of the bankruptcy until all the claims are settled.  His lawyer and college roommate, Brian Ruben, recommends that Frank get out of town and make as little money as possible.  Frank winds up in exile in Exile, Florida living in a rundown bungalow and working as a fact checker for an insurance company.  Frank is given the case of Edward Gonzalez, a jogger who was killed in a hit-and-run accident.  While checking the facts, Frank finds out that Gonzalez has recently bought a large life insurance policy and that his girlfriend is the beneficiary.  Frank continues to investigate the case because he believes that Gonzalez was not the real target but was an innocent victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He needs to find out who was the real target in order to clear Edwardís name and to get the insurance company to pay the claim.  It becomes pretty clear that there is more to this case than meets the eye and Frank gets himself in a world of trouble.  Frankís role has expanded from lowly fact finder to a target of some high powered bad guys.

Murder in Exile is Vincent H. OíNeilís debut novel and is the winner of the 2005 Malice Domestic/St. Martinís Press best first tradition mystery contest.  Frank Cole is clearly a reluctant amateur sleuth but his quick mind and good intuition enables him to put the pieces together quicker than private investigators hired to solve the case.  It is Frankís sense of honor and inquisitive nature that gets him in trouble but makes him an endearing character.  Murder in Exile is a very entertaining novel and I hope that we will hear more from Frank Cole while in exile in Exile, Florida in the future.