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Too Rich To Live by Lawrence Light

Publisher:  Leisure Books  ISBN:  0-8439-5546-5

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader

The four members of the Billionaire Boys Club have made their fortunes through unscrupulous business practices and tax evasion.  Writing a profile on Caddy Redmon, financial journalist Karen Glick receives a box of documents, from an anonymous sender, proving that he and his partners are hiding money in a Cayman Island bank account.  When she accompanies Redmon to a fundraising dinner, Karen thinks her biggest problem will be avoiding his amorous advances—until she witnesses his murder and almost becomes an accidental victim. 

The radical group Vampyr claims responsibility for the murder and systematically begins eliminating the other Billionaire Boys.  Karen worries that her investigation will make her the next target, especially after she is taken hostage at work and only manages to escape due to her bravery and boxing abilities.  But are the billionaires really being murdered exclusively because of their greed?

Alternating points of view build the suspense in this novel.  In Karen Glick, author Lawrence Light has created a sympathetic, likeable heroine, but her aging hippie parents and anagram-obsessed grandmother are far more fascinating.  Light provides an insider's view of Manhattan's financial world while crafting a fine, engrossing story.

 

Like A Charm:  A Novel in Voices   Edited by Karin Slaughter

Publisher: Dark Alley ISBN: 0060583312

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader 

With a surname “Slaughter”, it would only be surprising if Karin Slaughter hadn’t tried her hand at suspense- terror fiction. This is the first Slaughter work I am reading, and for that matter the first collaboration novel I have read, and it was a damn good read.

Save for William Bernhardt’s (Ed.) Natural Suspect, that combined the geniuses of legal thriller authors, Lisa Scottoline, Brad Meltzer and Phillip Margolin, I don’t think there are many other worthy collaboration novels in the mystery/suspense genre. Editing a novel of this sort is bound to be difficult- you got to preserve the originality as well as the continuity- and when the authors included are superstars like Lee Child, Peter Robinson and Laura Lippman- its no easy job. Slaughter does a great job in effectively editing and compiling and also preserving the originality of all the authors’ included- such that the novel is a stunning suspense thriller.

The root story revolves around a charm bracelet- that’s far from charming- it causes ill luck and misfortune to anyone who holds it- sort of a modern- day Kohinoor diamond.  Set in the last century each chapter (author) weaves a tale around one of the ill- fated owners of the unlucky charm. Each chapter is a story on its own at the same time a part of the bigger novel. Slaughter who starts and ends the novel has done a marvelous job. 

 

Misdemeanor Man by Dylan Schaffer

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing ISBN: 1582345694

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Santa Rita public defender Gordon Seegerman is unambitious, loyal, slightly nerdy, and above all else, a totally crazed Barry Manilow fan. So in-between defending misdemeanor cases, he can usually be found playing with his Manilow cover band in some dinky bar waiting to meet the man himself.  His latest case brings him Harold Dunn, an accountant with the most well-respected non-profit in Santa Rita, who has been accused of exposing himself to a young girl.  And when one of the witnesses in the case is murdered, things get only crazier when Dunn is accused of that crime as well.  So while preparing for his next big gig with the band in which Manilow himself is expected to attend, Gordon must also work on this bewildering case where nothing is as it seems, face his ex-lover in court, and deal with his father’s Alzheimer’s.

Gordon is an affable and charming guy whose loyalty to his family, friends, and Barry Manilow knows no bounds.  And in this irreverent look at the law, love, and duty, Schaffer has provided the reader with a warm and humorous outing that easily entertains.  So while the Manilow ravings can be a bit much at times, don’t be surprised if you find yourself pulling out your old l.p.’s for another listen.  All in all, Schaffer’s Gordon Seegerman is a welcomed addition to the legal thriller field. 

 

Blue Mercy by Illona Haus

Publisher: Pocket Star ISBN: 0743458087

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Baltimore Detective Kay Delaney has spent the past year trying to put her partner's death and her own close escape behind her when the case that thrust the two into the spotlight once again rears its malevolent head.  Though the man who caused her partner's death, along with those of several prostitutes, is in jail awaiting trial, things start to unravel when the prime witness against him is killed in the same manner as those he is alleged to have killed previously, thus bringing his guilt into question.  So Kay rejoins the case, along with her ex-lover Finn, in order to find the truth.  And when even more bodies begin to turn up, the two are led down a very tortuous and dangerous path that just may culminate in their own deadly demise.

Newcomer Haus puts forth a compelling tale that fans of suspense will easily embrace.  But those readers who prefer a gentler, cozier type read will most likely feel uncomfortably disconcerted by this often times gory and violent read.  With its many detailed scenes of murderous destruction, this is not for the faint of heart and one can't help but wish that a little bit more was left to the imagination.  However, Kay and Finn are likable characters and their blossoming relationship provides a fair amount of an often needed gentle distraction, enough anyway to ease  through to the ending that some may see coming, but still shocking nonetheless.  All in all, a good first outing and we look forward to the next.       

 

The Pegasus Secret by Gregg Loomis

Publisher: Dorchester Publishing. ISBN: 0-8439-5530-9 

Reviewed by Tim Davis, New Mystery Reader 

How long can someone keep a secret? And what if that secret—if ever disclosed—could destroy the 2,000 year old foundations of western civilization? Well, this is the enigmatic premise of an exciting new novel of suspense and adventure by Gregg Loomis.

When The Pegasus Secret begins, Lang Reilly, an American lawyer, learns that his sister Janet Holt of Atlanta has died in an explosion at an apartment in Paris. Lang leaves his hometown of Atlanta and travels to Paris where he discovers that his sister’s death may not have been an accident. Janet may, in fact, have been murdered, and Lang wants answers to questions: Who is the killer? What was the motive?

Lang starts investigating but learns very little other than the fact that Janet had recently purchased an unusual painting in London. The painting, however, was not in the Paris apartment at the time of the explosion because Janet had previously shipped it to the Ansley Galleries in Atlanta. When Lang returns to Atlanta, he retrieves the painting from the gallery. Almost immediately, though, someone breaks into Lang’s apartment and steals the painting. When Lang obtains a photograph of the painting and the appraisal from the gallery, things soon become more complicated: The gallery is destroyed by an arson fire, and a knife-wielding intruder attacks Lang.

Lang is now certain that the painting is connected to Janet’s death. But what could be so important about a relatively inexpensive copy of a work of Renaissance religious art? Maybe the source of the painting is the answer. Perhaps the explanation is in the inscription in the painting: ETINARCADIAEGOSUM. Or maybe the landscape in the painting itself is the key to the secret.

So, with all of the foregoing happening in the first fifty pagesand more I could not tell you without telling you too much—it seems hard to believe that Loomis could then sustain the dizzying pace and tightly constructed plot for another 334 pages. Somehow, though, with impressive success, Loomis has created a highly entertaining mystery involving—among other things—the Vatican, big business, medieval monasteries, Knights Templar, a well-hidden and fiercely-guarded civilization-shattering secret, and the relentless international pursuit of—and cold-blooded pursuit by—murderers all the way to the exciting and provocative conclusion. You won’t want to miss The Pegasus Secret.

 

The First 48 by Tim Green

 

Publisher: Warner Books ISBN: 0446614882 

 

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

 

I finished reading THE FIRST 48 yesterday. Now only one question remains- who will play Tom Redmon, in the movie version of this book- Robert Redford would be my personal favorite.


The blurb of the work reads like slick movie trailer- “A Fallen Hero. His Missing Daughter. 48 Hours to Save Her Life and the Clock is Ticking.”  Tim Green, author of the much-appreciated The Letter of the Law, The Outlaws and the more recent The Fifth Angel, in THE FIRST 48, presents a top-notch suspense thriller that has all the makings of a Hollywood movie. 2 decades back, Tom Redmon was a first-class attorney- with plenty of cases, money and more money. However, all this changed when he met Michael Gleason- a politician on the rise. Gleason did something ‘bad’- and Tom found out about
it. Gleason eked revenge by tarnishing a flamboyant career. What Gleason did and how he tarnished Redmon’s career is something you gotta find out- so friends, read the book.


Redmon’s career was shattered, and he became a sort of semi recluse, and an alcoholic. The only hope in his life is his daughter Jane Redmon, a young and bright journalist. Jane has now got hold of a story, a front-page exposé, a hot news about Gleason, now a Senator on the move. But hours before she could flash the news, Jane disappears. Redmon believes that Gleason is behind the disappearance, and he immediately gears into action- with a risky plan- to kidnap Gleason and find out his daughter- ala Charles
Bronson “Death wish” style, or Arnie Schwarzenegger, “Commando” style. What follows is a thrilling suspense mystery with Redmon, a one-man army trying to beat all odds, and to find out a person he loves the world.  A thrilling read, a chilling- thrilling read. Highly recommended.

 

Bad Men by John Connolly

Publisher: Pocket Books ISBN: 0743487850

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

There is trouble heading for the Maine island of Sanctuary.  The bad men are coming, and in this instance “bad” is a very strong understatement describing this band of outlaws intent on recovering some stolen money and killing the wife of their fearless leader, Moloch.  Marianne and her son Danny have been on the run from this most vicious of criminals, and when he escapes from jail, it doesn’t long for him to track their whereabouts.  But danger is also coming up from the very island itself as those who died in a brutal massacre centuries ago are slowly making their presence known as they prepare to wreak their vengeance.  It will all culminate at the same time a blizzard hits the island, and many will die before it’s over.   

Reminiscent of Stephen King, but immeasurably better, this latest from Connolly is one very creepy read. It begins with violence, ends with violence, and pretty much contains violence throughout.  This nonstop brutality is not for the weak of heart, and it takes a lot to get through to the final page, where somehow it seems all worth it.  One of the darkest and sinister reads I’ve ever encountered, it’s going to be awhile for the heebie jeebies to completely go away.

 

Just One Look by Harlan Coben

Publisher: Signet ISBN: 0451213203

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Grace Lawson, a suburban mother of two, is for the most part content being a soccer mom driving a mini-van.  But it all changes one day when she picks up her recently developed photos.  Inside is an old picture of a group of young adults, including one who looks just like her husband, and when she questions him, he denies it, but that very night he drives away and disappears.  Searching for him will lead her in many directions, it will even take her back to her own personal tragedy 15 years before, and will place her and her family in great danger.  Secrets will unravel, and she will discover that all she thought she knew and loved may be built on nothing but a lie.

Coben is a master storyteller and in his latest, the reader is swiftly taken down roads of suspense and intrigue that rush to the end in an explosive bang revealing all.  Entirely gripping with many well honed characters, there is not a quiet or passive moment in this entire book.  The layer of secrets is perfectly revealed, with the final revelation being so unanticipated, even the most aware reader will be astonished.  As good, or better than his previous outings, this comes highly recommended

 

Murder in the Hamptons by Amy Garvey

Publisher:  Kensington Publishing Corp. ISBN:  0758210418

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Talented author Amy Garvey takes us into the world of the upper crust with a great blending of light-hearted romance and suspense as a house party turns into a murder scene. A read that will please the romantic or mystery fan who likes romance.

Designer Maggie Harding accompanies her friend, Lucy who is in charge of organizing the party to Paige Redmond's home in the Hamptons as moral support with a promise to mingle and help keep things running smoothly.  The only problem Maggie has with keeping that promise is when an old adventure with a stranger comes back to haunt her in the form of that stranger, Tyler Brody. 

Tyler had given up on ever seeing Maggie again after she'd done a vanishing act early one morning without so much as a farewell. He'd never quite gotten her out of his mind. He had no idea she'd be at this house party, but once he saw her, he was determined to find out what happened.

Both Maggie and Tyler are so aware of unfinished business between them, they pay little attention to building tensions at the party which was organized to celebrate the comeback of actor Drew Fisk in his new movie. No one seems to like anyone else and a general unpleasantness fills the atmosphere, an unpleasantness that culminates in murder.

The party was over and a murder investigation ensues and Maggie, with Tyler, do some private snooping which could land them in big trouble. The police will not look with favor on their efforts.

A fun read with those sizzling love scenes the romance reader will love and a deepening mystery of who would kill Drew when he seemed like one of the few really nice people at the party.  Recommended as well worth spending the time with this cast of characters in an old-money setting.  Enjoy. 

 

DOUBLE DOWN by Tess Hudson

Publisher: Mira ISBN: 0778321789

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Skye McNally is a New York bookie's daughter and is in Gambler's Anonymous is Las Vegas.  Desperately wanting to (but not able to) quit gambling, she goes for a long drive in the desert and winds up at Joe's Diner where she meets Mark Shannon.

Shannon is the quarterback for the New York Mustangs and will play in the Super bowl in a few weeks.  Mark has been reported missing and little does he know that his encounter with Skye will wind up in a worldwide scandal.    

Hudson has done a super job of exposing sports related gambling.  She piles one scandal on top of another and the action moves swiftly.