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Counting to Infinity by J. L. Abramo

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312326505

Reviewed by Donna Padilla

San Francisco PI Jake Diamond is sitting in his office waiting for the phone to ring when Ralph Battle barges in waving a gun.  Battle, who is muscle for Max Lansdale, a Chicago attorney,  informs Jake that Max wants to see him.  When Battle tells him that his secretary and ex-wife may not survive if he refuses, Jake boards a plane for Chicago.

Lansdale wants to hire him to find the two men who killed his brother.  One is Harrison Chandler, an LA detective who is supposedly dead, and the other is Joe Clams who hasn't been seen since the murder.  He gives the impression that if Jake fails, he will be killed.

What a roller coaster ride Abramo has given the reader.  San Francisco, LA, Chicago, bombs planted in beds, witnesses disappearing, and you name it.  J. L.'s dynamic sense of humor and the intricate plot keep the reader's attention until the very last page and the resolution.


SHOW BUSINESS IS MURDER  Edited by Stuart Kaminsky

Berkeley Prime Crime   ISBN 0 425 19652 6

Reviewed by Karen Treanor 

It's good to see that anthologies are back this season.  It's been too long since we've had a wide selection of them, but that seems to be changing.

This new volume of the Mystery Writers of America presents 21 stories of crime center stage.  The time frame ranges from last days of vaudeville and the first days of movies right up to the present day.  The cast of characters ranges from tap dancers to performing seals; from wannabe actresses to  Osama bin Laden. 

Read "Lah Tee Dah" and you'll never hang around a subway musician again--at least, not to closely.  Angela Zeman puts a backspin on street performers that will give you the chills.

Bob Shayne mines the dark recesses of the McCarthy witch hunts for a story line which is based on hard fact but has an engaging little fictional P I narrating the tale.  It should resonate with thoughtful readers in the present day.

"Bring me the Head of Osama bin Laden" is Gary Phillips' take on how a second-rate writer-director might try and turn terror to his own advantage, but with an unexpected twist in the telling.

Libby Fischer Hellman's "A Berlin Story" looks at a desperate choice, and has an overall elegiac mood with a brief flash of light at the end.

There are 17 other entertaining, thoughtful, amusing, or chilling stories in this collection.  There is something for every taste here.  Bon appetit!


Dying For You by Geraldine Evans

Publisher: Severn House Publishers ISBN: 0727860887

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan

“An intricate riddle wrapped in an enigma"

“A cornucopia of conspiracies, a convoluted jumble of conspiracies, wrapped inside more conspiracies”…..

I guess, by now most readers would have guessed what the book is all about. I haven’t heard about this series, Rafferty- Llewellyn Crime Series, or about the author Geraldine Evans before. So it was with some sort of trepidation, -just by glancing through the blurb, I decided to read Dying For You. And the novel gave me two solid hours of pristine reading pleasure.

Ace detective, Inspector Joseph Rafferty has a professional career he can boast about; but he is all a novice when it comes to dating. But his initial experience with a dating service turns nightmarish when two of the ladies- Jenny Warburton and Estelle Meredith to whom he took fancy to, turns up dead the next morning. However, the only thing that saves Rafferty from becoming the prime suspect is that he had approached the dating agency under a false name, Nigel Blythe. The police have no description of “Nigel Blythe”- save for the name, and its upto Joseph Rafferty to investigate into the whereabouts of Nigel Blythe- the hunted himself searching the hunted. What follows is twists, double twists and triple twists, culminating in an exciting finish.