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Deadly Shoals by Joan Druett

Publisher:  St Martins Minotaur  ISBN:  978-0-312-35337-7

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Do you enjoy tales of sailing ships and adventure:  Join Wiki Coffin in his latest effort in solving the murder of a trader on the coast of South America.

Wiki has joined a U.S. global exploring expedition of sailing ships to be with his friend George Rochester who is Commandant of the U S Brig Swallow, His talents as a linguist come in handy in their ports of call which is supposed to be his job, but when a whaler captain reports the theft of his new boat, Wiki is sent with the captain to retrieve the vessel.

A series of clues and a mystery man who acts very suspiciously will lead you and Wiki on a twisting trail of murder and theft.  Who is the body found in a trench at a salt lake? What happened to the boat?  Who is the mysterious seaman who arrives on the scene to join the expedition?  Why is Wiki’s father sailing with the expedition?

These are but a few of the questions you will want answers to as you ride a testy horse behind Wiki on the trail with gauchos, sit in the luxurious quarters of his father’s ship, and in general try to make sense of things he encounters on the expedition. 

I’m pleased to highly recommend this fun read by talented author Joan Druett and you will definitely want to read her other tales.  Lots of action, and plenty of interesting and fun characters. A guaranteed satisfying read.  Enjoy.  I sure did.



An Almost Life by Kevin Mednick

Publishers:  Permanent Press,  ISBN:    9781579621575

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

What’s the archetypal formula for a legal thriller? Charles Martin Simon in THE MONEY had aptly described a legal thriller as a novel “about an ultra-chase, soulful-but-white, attorney/sleuth hero brought into the case backwards, fighting it all the way, against his better judgment, wishes, and all he stands for, against-all-odds, bad-guys-lose, good-guys-win type of thing.…with an almost infinitely convoluted plot with a few unique twists and a plethora of implied sex.”

But AN ALMOST LIFE is anything but an archetypical legal thriller. The protagonist lawyer, Attorney Mike Samuels is not savvy, is not a courtroom genius who conjures up victories, nor does he resorts to overblown rhetoric while arguing a case.  In fact he is all of a real lawyer whom we find in the real world…as opposed to the fictional lawyer prototype created by Grisham, Turow et al. Samuels is sedate in life, profession and character- he wants to lead a quite life, and sometimes even questions his self- confidence. At the beginning of the work we see Samuels going almost to an extent of asking his clients what prompted them to hire him!!! Samuels also has an unnerving fear that all his clients might one fine day fire him from his job. But don’t get me wrong, Samuels is one fine lawyer…. (who for a change is also human) and he does his work with dedication and poise. 

And when the case of a life time, a personal injury suit filed by a woman Evelyn Walker against her employer over a debilitating job-related injury comes his way, Samuels is forced to question his own beliefs, confidence and talent. This is one case which would make him or break him….after 20 years of hard work in the profession. 

As a lawyer myself, I found the book interesting- and sometimes could empathize with the protagonist. The ‘frustration’ which Samuels undergoes is something common to all trial lawyers. At the same time the book is also subtly humorous. I absolutely enjoyed the way Samuels handled this particular client, a strip dancer who wants to file a malpractice suit against the doctor who left scars after a breast enhancement surgery. How the case proceeds, is for you to find out. Simple, buy the book.

Enjoyed AN ALMOST LIFE tremendously. And looking more from this talented lawyer- author Kevin Mednick.