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Goodbye Sister Disco by James Patrick Hunt

Publisher: St. Martinís Minotaur  ISBN: 978-0-312-36156-3

Reviewed by Kathryn Lawson, New Mystery Reader

Goodbye Sister Disco is a deftly paced story of sex, drugs, murder, prison breaks, ransom demands, revolutionary politics, and social-climbing ambition.  The engaging plot is complemented by a strong group of characters.  Thereís shameless gold digger Lexie Penmark, married to Eugene Penmark after he made his considerable fortune.  Thereís unfortunate first wife Adele Beckwith, discarded by Penmark once Lexie set her sights on him.  And there are the members of a counterculture group with poorly defined goals and sharply delineated factions.  Lieutenant George Hastings, the main character, is an intriguing man whose personal life (continuing ties with ex-wife Eileen, a new relationship with defense attorney Carol McGuire, parenting duties for 12 year-old Amy) is explored as the novel progresses through the investigation.  Hunt gives even minor characters unique attributes to make them memorable (such as an ex-high school football player brought to life in just a few incisive paragraphs).  The descriptions of the interactions between the different law enforcement agencies capture those ubiquitous tensions without descending into cheap stereotype.  A gritty and realistic read, Goodbye Sister Disco (the title comes from a song by The Who) is a compelling story of greed and ambition. 







The Fourth Man by K. O. Dahl

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur  ISBN-10: 0312375697

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

In this stunning U.S. debut, readers are treated to one in a series that has already won acclaim from others world-wide, and after reading it, thereís no doubt as to why. 

When Oslo DI Frank Frolich saves a young and beautiful woman who gets caught up in the violence during a routine raid, he is unprepared for the erotic relationship that results.  But when finding out that his new lover is the sister of a criminal who is suspected in the murder of a security guard after she herself provides the suspectís alibi, heís about to learn what itís like to be on the other side of crime and justice.  But when his lover disappears, and those involved in the crime begin to die suspicious deaths, and with his own innocence in question, he must find out the truth regardless of how much he might lose in the process.

This dark and atmospheric read is one that will easily be more than welcomed by those of us who are new readers of this outstanding author.  And while some U.S. readers might find the local and names a bit awkward to get through at times, through excellent plotting and characterization, Dahl puts forth a challenging and evocative mystery thatís full of hidden depths and compelling insights that prove to be more than enough to make it worth it.  Hereís to hoping we get to see more of this outstanding authorís work in the future.



A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer

Publisher: St. Martin's Press  ISBN: 978-0-312-37929-2

Reviewed by Kathryn Lawson, New Mystery Reader

Danny Cartwrightís engagement celebration ended in the murder of his best friend in a senseless altercation outside a pub.  Framed for the murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison, Danny commits himself to clearing his name and to getting revenge on the powerful men who set him up to take the fall for their actions.  What follows is a fascinating tale filled with courtroom drama, family intrigues, jailhouse alliances, fraud, forgery, and a host of other illicit activities.  The story grabs the reader from the first page and doesnít let go until the shocking conclusion.  Along the way, the plot whips through twist after twist, never predictable but always credible.  Characters are multidimensional and compelling, and the dialogue emphasizes their individual motivations and voices.  Archer also creates vivid descriptions of settings ranging from prison cells to Sothebyís auctions to theater parties.  Overall, a juicy story of revenge and loyalty.  Highly recommended.



The Killerís Wife by Bill Floyd

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur  ISBN-10: 0312373392

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

In his debut novel, Floyd takes the typical novel of a psychotic serial killer and gives it a new twist by telling his tale from the point of view rarely seen Ė the person once closest to the killer. In this case that would be the killerís wife, Leigh Wren, a woman who once thought she had the perfect family, including a new baby, a beautiful home, and a handsome husband; a perfect dream that ended six years previously when she slowly awakened to the fact that her perfect husband might instead be the monster behind several horrific murders.  But it doesnít end there, because even though now itís been six years since she brought his crimes to light and helped put him on death row, and moved to a new town and changed her name, itís all about to come back when sheís exposed for who she once was and finds herself threatened by a killer who wants to do it all again.

With scenes alternating between past and present, Floyd easily convinces the reader how it was that Leigh was able to maintain her denial of the horror that resided inside the man she loved for several years; convincingly portraying her and her family as the neighbors next door, or perhaps those living even closer.  Provocative questions of how well we can really know someone, and how far we might go to avoid answering those questions, make this a suspenseful and daring read.  An enthralling first effort that promises great things ahead; this oneís a winner.