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Power and Deceit by Richard Jackson

Publisher: Hummingbird Press  ISBN: 0978691903

Reviewed by Jake Chism, New Mystery Reader

Every once in awhile I am pleasantly surprised by a new author with a fresh voice and a great talent for storytelling. I found this was certainly the case with Richard Jackson’s latest.

Rick Henderson has just landed a dream job as president of Sterling Limited: a mega-manufacturer of self-contained breathing apparatuses (SBCA’s). His first day on the job, Rick is sent as the company rep to West Virginia where a mining collapse has trapped a handful of workers.  They have limited air and will soon have to rely on Sterling Limited’s SBCA’s to stay alive. When the mine is suddenly destroyed by a mysterious explosion, Rick detects foul play and decides to look for some answers. Along the way he teams up with Buck Schultz, a local whose father died in the explosion. Together they uncover shady corporate secrets and deadly revelations that will put both men and their families  in jeopardy. How far will they go for truth and justice?

Jackson carries his readers effortlessly along through smart storytelling and compelling character portrayals. The plot is perfectly paced and at no time does the story seem to drag or wander. This is a suspenseful and entertaining read that is sure to have readers flying through the pages towards a satisfying and memorable finale.

 

Night Moves by Cynthia Danielewski

Publisher: Avalon  ISBN-10: 0803498187

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Detective Jack Reeves is enjoying a 4th of July block party with his wife and new born son when Richard Smythe, one of his neighbors, is shot to death, putting Jack back to work.  He and his partner Ryan Parks begin the grueling job of interviewing and eliminating a multitude of suspects.  After narrowing them down they are left with only one prime suspect, and as much as Reeves doesn't want to believe it, he is forced with facing the shocking truth.

In this simple and straightforward plot, Danielewski provides readers with investigative techniques that are easy enough to understand that even the novice is able to sail through the read.  And with characters that are upstanding people who believe in what they are doing, and have a keen sense of the difference between right and wrong, it's easy to root for the good guy.  An entertaining and quick read, this one easily satisfies.   

 

 

The Star by David Skibbins 

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur  ISBN-10: 0312361939

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Warren Ritter, once a 60's radical protester and outlaw, now spends his days reading tarot cards in liberal enclaves of Berkley, dealing with his bipolar disorder, and trying to live the placid life of a bona fide citizen.  But, apparently, peace and serenity are not in the cards, as after having dealt with crime and violence more than once in the recent past, he's facing them yet again when the daughter he just met is accused of killing her husband.  So back into the abyss he goes. And while Ritter might question his daughter's actual innocence, investigation into the dead man's past will reveal more than one suspect with motive, leaving Ritter to once again totter between his own belief in justice and those prescribed by law.     

Not having read the first two, I nonetheless found the third in this series featuring Warren Ritter to be an altogether engaging and absorbing read.  Ritter is as charming as they come; the combination of his bipolar disorder and his irreverent spin on the law, society, and square brick buildings making for a refreshingly unique hero.  And while I was anticipating more tarot references than provided, what came it their stead was perhaps even better.  So while not quite the magical mystery tour alluded to, ultimately this engaging read provides enough promise of redemption to make it more than worthwhile.              

 

Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea by Nancy Atherton

Publisher:  Penguin Books, ISBN:  9780143038306

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

If you've always wanted to visit the Scottish Isles and never got the chance, now's the time. In a tale where the description sets you down on the cliffs of a sea girt island with secrets abounding, talented author Nancy Atherton sends Lori Shepherd and her two sons into hiding from threats of a madman.  Or is he?

No one seems to know who Abbadon is or where he is from, except that he tells Bill Willis, Lori's husband, that Bill cheated him of a rightful inheritance.  So while Scotland Yard hunts the killer, Lori is tucked away on a small island.

While on the island, Lori and her assigned bodyguard find a new mystery to unravel. It involves a haunted chapel, massacred monks and a skull that is brought ashore during a storm. 

A cleverly crafted tale with plenty of mystery and suspense set in a castle with secret doors and drafty hallways that any mystery fan will love. The crowning touch is always Lori's visits with Aunt Dimity from the beyond.  I'm pleased to recommend this to anyone who loves to read.  Enjoy.  I sure did.