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The Ice Maiden by Edna Buchanan

Publisher: Avon ISBN: 0380728346

Britt Montero, Miami’s tough talking investigative reporter, returns to help solve a 14 year old homicide that has long since been relegated to the cold case files.  Fourteen years ago, two teenagers were brutally attacked, leaving one dead, and the other beaten and raped.  Today, the survivor is a reclusive sculptress afraid to re-open the details of her horrendous past, but soon with the help of Montero and the new cold case squad, she unwillingly joins the struggle to brink the culprits to justice.

Britt is simply a very likable character, making these novels a joy to read.  Her fearlessness and relentless search for the truth is always a fun adventure for the reader to tag along with.  And although a little more depth would be nice in this lightly, yet wonderfully, drawn character, this is a minor complaint when one is caught up in the story.  The romance in this particular outing, however, comes off more as an afterthought than as an integral and natural part of the story.  Thankfully, there’s more than enough to compensate for this slight disappointment.   Another great read from Buchanan, this one shouldn't be missed.

 

A Cold Heart by Jonathan Kellerman

Publisher: Ballantine Books  ISBN: 0345452550 

When rising stars begin to die, it doesn’t take long for consulting psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Sturgis to tie the deaths together.  Someone is targeting artists of all kinds, specifically those that are on the brink of fame, and all points seem to lead to the publisher of a small magazine dedicated to the arts.  But of course things are never what they seem, and the team of Delaware and Sturgis must dig even deeper to find what’s really going on.  They get some help from Detective Petra Connor, and her new enigmatic partner Eric Stahl, with these two adding greatly to the hunt, as well as the story.  Meanwhile Alex must try and put his broken love affair with longtime girlfriend Robin behind him so he can focus on his new ladylove, Allison.  But Robin may be facing some danger herself, forcing Alex right back into her life.      

Kellerman strikes again with yet one more solid thriller. Swift and sure plotting, strong characters, and another macabre plot all combine to give another thrilling read for fans.  Kellerman’s consistency is remarkable, and he has yet to disappoint.  Some of us may yearn for a bit more insight and detail into his love life, but this is a minor complaint as there is so much more that easily entertains.  What more can one say, Kellerman always puts out a good show, and this one is definitely another winner.

 

Hornet Flight by Ken Follett

Reviewer:  Narayan Radhakrishnan

Publisher: New American Library ISBN: 0451210743

Ken Follett has been one of my favourite authors ever since I read Eye of the Needle as a teenager- my first ‘adult fiction work’ if I may say so. Since then I had made it a point to read all his novels, and today I am the proud owner of 20 Ken Folletts including some of his out of print rare ones. I was enthralled by The Key to Rebecca, spellbound by the magic of The Pillars of the Earth and captivated by the rhythm of A Place Called Freedom. However in the past five years or so- Follett mysteries were on a downhill- and some of them especially Hammer of Eden were most unimpressive. Was Follett losing his touch? It was in such a frame of mind that I began reading his latest spy thriller Hornet Flight, ---and Oh boy! Was I ever so wrong. Hornet Flight is just Suuuuuupeeeeeerb.

            The story set in the early periods of the Second World War is about a young Danish teenager, Harald Olufsen who leads a stiff but silent resistance against the Nazi regime. The War is not going well for the British forces with the Germans intercepting all their airplanes- it seems that the Germans has developed some sort of machine to intercept the messages from British fighter planes- and unless the Allies find a way to destroy it, the war is all but over for the Allies. It is all up to Harald Olufsen, his girlfriend Karen Duchowitz- and British Agent Hermia Mount to bring to the Allies the secret of this machine. Thus through the chilling exploits of the trio, Follett takes us through a thrilling period of the Second World War that changed the course of the whole war.

            After gaining enviable success with the World War mysteries, Eye of the Needle, Triple and Key to Rebecca- Follett had taken a hiatus from spy mysteries and concentrated on other genres like the historical mystery (The Pillars of the Earth, A Place Called Freedom) and soft sci-fi mysteries (Code to Zero, The Third Twin and Hammer of Eden). Though he returned to his forte- the world war mystery in Jackdaws- it could not boast of the finesse of his earlier war novels. However, Hornet Flight is just fantabulous and it sure reaffirms Follett’s reputation as the master of the classic World War thrillers -a superb read and a wonderful buy. Recommended, highly, highly recommended.

 

The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman

 Publisher: Ballantine Books (Trd)

Iris Greenfeder seems to be stuck in a rut.  Her relationship, her job, and her dissertation, all seem to be going nowhere fast.  But when she is offered the opportunity to write her mother’s memoir, a fantasy writer whose third manuscript in a trilogy was never found, she jumps at the chance.  She takes a job for the summer at the Hotel Equinox where her family lived in her childhood years, hoping to find the missing manuscript and begin her book.  But the truth is not easily discovered and there are more secrets and lies hidden there than she could have ever imagined, and when a dear family friend is murdered, she too finds herself in danger. 

This latest from Goodman is a refreshingly different and deeply compelling novel that is beautifully written.  The interplay of legends, myths, and one’s own personal history is wonderfully choreographed, as are the relations between mothers and daughters and how these can affect decisions made, or decisions avoided.  Rich in detail, this is a fantasy ride like no other.  If you’re looking for serial killers, gore and violence, you may want to look elsewhere. This intelligent and lyrical novel satisfies however, in such a deep and meaningful manner, that its impact will last that much longer.  Goodman strikes again, and like her previous novel, this will leave you wanting more.

 

The Fourth Durango and Twilight at Mac's Place by Ross Thomas

Publisher: Griffin Trade Paperback ISBN: 0312315856/ISBN: 0312315848

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan
 

The Late Ross Thomas was a prolific writer of political mysteries and thrillers- in the words of Stephen King, “ the Jane Austen of the political espionage story”. His books enjoyed bestseller status during the author’s heyday, but had remained out-of-print for the past few years. So it was with great pleasure I pounced upon 2 oldies, 2 golden oldies by Ross Thomas.

The Fourth Durango- is a wonderful tale about the happenings in a small, quaint but not so idyllic town, Durango in California. The novel starts with the arrival of Jack Adair, a one-time Supreme Court Judge to Durango. Adair had a rich judicial as well as a political career ahead of him-  till he was found guilty of bribery-  by a foolproof trap set by someone who now wants him dead. Adair believes that life is safer inside bars than outside it and so immediately on release he seeks refuge in the small godforsaken town- Durango. The town is run by two unscrupulous but charming persons- the Mayor Barbara Huckins and the Chief of Police, Sid Fork. The two promise protection to Adair but based on certain stipulations. How the unlikely trio join hands and seek Justice (with a capital J) – cleverly, cunningly and HILARIOUSLY-  is the sum and substance of the work

Twilight at Mac’s Place is a spy thriller with shades of noir works of the era of Raymond Chandler and Dashielle Hammett and to a larger extent the thriller elements of Frederick Forsyth’s The Icon. Set in the late Eighties, Twilight AT Mac’s Place starts with the death of an one-time spy, Steadfast Haynes. The death was a calm and natural one, but the aftermath is anything but calm and natural. The ex- spy’s memoirs contains some threatening and hi-fi secrets that would open a whole new calm of worms. The rights of the manuscript now vest with the author’s son, Detective Granville Haynes. Haynes Jr. knows that he is in possession of a big treasure, but along with that he also realizes the danger he is in, when a couple of his friends are murdered, and he slowly realizes that someone is after him, to keep hidden away the contents of the memoir….forever. What follows is usual Ross Thomas action- the twists, the double-twists, the double cross, the triple cross- all culminating in a grand and superb finish.

Both books are recommended for a great evening’s read. Highly, highly recommended.