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The Heir by Paul Robertson
Publisher: Bethany House ISBN: 978-0-7642-0324-4
Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader
"The King is dead! Long live the King!" This could apply to Jason Boyer when he learns he has inherited his father's vast fortune. He has never wanted it or wanted to be like his father, yet he is about to learn a lot about himself.
As Jason takes the first steps into learning about his inheritance, he enters into a world he never imagined he'd be part of. He learns the truths inherent in the game of money, power and politics and its influence on the lives of others as well as his own.
That power corrupts absolutely is the challenge he faces in more ways than one. To add to his problems, people around him begin dying and he suspects murder is the truth in more than one death. And to his horror he finds he might be on the list of suspects.
Talented author Paul Robertson gives us a look into what it is like to become suddenly wealthy and have power undreamed of. We get insight into the uneasy truces forced on men for business or political reasons and a look at the balancing act Jason Boyer must now perform.
I'm pleased to recommend this novel to any reader, especially the mystery buff as a read well worth the time. Something different in a mystery tale. Enjoy. I did.
Gray Ghost by William G. Tapply
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN-10: 0312363036
Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader
Tapply returns to the beautiful state of Maine in this second in the series featuring Stoney Calhoun, contented fishing guide and reluctant amateur investigator who happens to have no memory beyond the last six years of his life. This time out Stoney, against his better judgment, is drawn into investigating the murders of two men, the first one involving a body that he and a client stumble upon during a fishing outing, and the second being the client himself, his body discovered on Stoney's very own porch. Knowing somehow the cases must be related, the sheriff and Stoney set out to uncover the truth behind these ghastly slayings, their investigation taking them down a madman's twisted trail of revenge and the shocking discovery of yet even more bodies he has left behind.
As in most of his novels, Tapply once again creates a backdrop of beautiful ambiance, his respect and awe of nature's bounty highly evident in his vibrant depiction of small town Maine and its surroundings. In addition, he supplies the reader with tight plotting, a challenging mystery, and a sensible investigation. The one quibble readers might find with this series, however, is with Stoney himself. His amnesia, while adding a unique characteristic to the typical amateur investigator, ironically leads to a lack of emotional depth that comes with a lifetime of memories, regrets, and successes. And when you add in Stoney's odd disinterest in his lost memories, the final result seems to be a character who seems somewhat disengaged and indifferent. Fortunately, Tapply does hint at things to come in this regard, which ultimately leave the reader eagerly anticipating books to come.
On the Right Track by Steve Hockensmith
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN-10: 0312347812
Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader
Old Red is a Sherlock Holmes fan and wants to be a detective. He and his brother Big Red sign on with the Pacific Express as railroad detectives in spite of the fact that their family abhors the farm stealing railroads and Old Red suffers from motion sickness. They find themselves immersed in a lot of troubles which include train robbery and viscous murders. They certainly have their work cut out for them if they can survive land enough.
Hockensmith is a wholloping good story teller. With characters this funny it's hard to keep from laughing out loud, and with a plot this twisted you won't want to skip a page, or even a paragraph. He has written an absolutely marvelous tale that is highly entertaining. Another book starring Old Red and Big Red should be coming out soon, so don't miss it.
Eye of the Archangel by Forrest DeVoe Jr.
The Gentle Axe by R. N. Morris
Publisher: Penguin Press ISBN 978 1 59420 112 7
Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader
It seems to be the fashion recently to pick up where a long-dead writer left off in order to find out what happened to a character after the original book ended. We have had a new Jane Austen novel , a new Dorothy L Sayers, a new Margaret Mitchell, and now we have--almost--a new Dostoevsky novel.
“A Gentle Axe” takes up the life of magistrate Porfiry Petrovich about 18 months after his investigation of the Raskolnikov case in “Crime and Punishment.”
The author has managed to reproduce 19th century St Petersburg as you know it must have been once you went past the handsome architecture on the Nevsky Prospekt. The cold, stinking, misery of the backstreet tenements where the poor huddle and scrabble for a living; the busy market sector where you can buy anything imaginable; the comfortable homes of the upper classes; and the stultifying atmosphere of the civil service which exists to keep itself in business rather than to serve the people: all are here.
The book opens with the discovery of a double murder in Petrovsky Park, which the senior law officers would prefer to tidy away under the label “murder-suicide”. It all looks so simple: a little man dead of axe wounds, stuffed into a suitcase; a big man dead by hanging in a tree nearby, a bloody axe in his belt: why would anyone question the obvious? Porfiry Petrovich is unwilling to accept things on their face value, and his suspicions are justified by the medical examiner, who shares his desire to ascertain facts before assigning blame.
Porfiry’s investigations take him to a variety of different places: a brothel, a pawnshop, a starving student’s tiny room, and a most peculiar publishing house. There is a broad range of suspects--including the starving student--and the deaths that open the book aren’t the last. The plot becomes more complicated with each chapter, as the bodies mount up faster than Porfiry’s cigarette butts.
This isn’t a very cheerful book, nor is it an easy read; but it is a well-crafted one. It sells for the same price as many less worthy offerings this season; why not give your brain a challenge?
Edge of Midnight by Charlene Weir
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN-10: 0312347979
Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader
Sheriff Susan Wren is not too surprised to find that the recent heat wave to arrive in her small town of Hamstead, Kansas seems to have also brought along a plethora of nasty little problems. Not only is she battling a vicious ear infection, but she also has to deal with her new deputy, a woman who has the tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. And to make matters worse, one of the locals, a WWII veteran with Alzheimer's, seems intent upon shooting up the town, seeing his long dead enemies of war everywhere.
Meanwhile, Cary Black, a new arrival to the small town, is facing her own traumas. On the run from her abusive husband and slowly going blind from an eye disease, she's come to Hamstead seeking shelter from a woman she's never met, an arrangement set up by a mutual friend- only thing is, the woman seems to have gone missing.
There's a lot going on in this latest from Weir, but with the main focus resting on Cary Black's tale of triumph over spousal abuse, what you end up with is a compassionate and stirring tale that easily draws the reader in for the duration. And while sometimes this odd mix of the brutal and the lighthearted seems a bit discordant, it somehow still works amazingly well, with just enough of each to make the entirety all that more realistic. This latest from Weir offers up much more than one might expect; a surprisingly fresh outing that will please old fans just as it creates new ones.