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White Stone Day by John MacLachlan Gray

Publisher:  St. Martin's Minotaur  ISBN:  0312282931

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

Hey, Victorian mystery fans!  Here's one for you.  A tale of intrigue with those touches of horror that create just the right atmosphere for a dark Victorian mystery.

A multi-level tale that encompasses a study of human nature where privilege allow one to indulge in private perversions with no one daring to question the perverted personality of the rich, a tale of soldiers returning from service on the frontiers of the kingdom are literally dumped back into civilian life without a pension or place to go and how they cope with this thanklessness of their country, a tale of women and children caught between the two.

What does a duke have to do with two ex-soldiers who'll do anything to survive? What does this duke have in common with a disappointed minister and his reclusive wife and their two young girls?  How do their paths cross?  These are some of the questions that will keep you reading this book by talented author John MacLachlan Gray.

A well drawn story with several subplots woven into a tale to keep you reading, characters who will have you looking over your shoulders should you go out after dark and a study of innocence that might not be so innocent after all. Recommended as well worth the time.  Enjoy.



Riding Gain by Joyce Krieg

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312327382

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Shauna J. Bogart, Sacramento talk show radio hostess, has her hands full with her show, a new job offer in L.A., her blossoming relationship with her boyfriend, and mysterious call-ins to her show from an old classmate, when she's once again drawn into murder and mayhem.  This time out, she learns that a young man who had once interned at the station, Travis- a recovering alcoholic, has been murdered, with the young man suspected in his death lying in a coma at the hospital.  The cops seem to feel it's a drug deal gone bad, with evidence pointing to Travis's recent fall off the wagon.  But the more Shauna investigates, the more ugly secrets she learns, not just about the alcohol and drug recovery business, most notably the inscrutable Footprints Lodge of which Travis had been a frequent guest, but other secrets that placed Travis in peril from the very people he should have been able to trust.

The third mystery in Krieg's amateur sleuth series doesn't seem to vary from the many offerings out there in the same genre.  This is not to say that it's not of interest, just that itís a very familiar formula that offers little in the way of surprises or shocks.  Shauna J. is likable without being too deep or introspective, with the other characters being much the same.  One differentiating aspect of the book, however, should be noted, and that's Krieg's interesting exposure of the some of the potential tools that can be used by "big brother", which should strike paranoia in even the most trusting.  All in all, an entertaining read that fans of the genre will enjoy.



Eye of the Burning Man by Harry Shannon

Publisher: Five Star ISBN: 1594143811

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Mick Callahan, psychologist talk show host and recovering alcoholic, thinks his life is finally back on track after last year's violent and deadly showdown with a gang of drug dealers.  Now a mini celebrity with good friends and even a burgeoning relationship, everything seems to be going his way.  That is until he's contacted by Mary, the drug addict who saved his life in last year's terrifying maelstrom.  She's gotten herself hooked up with some pretty bad people and she wants out, and she desperately needs Mick's help.  Mick is quick to agree, owing his very life to her, but when she's abducted, things can only get seriously dangerous.  Because not only is she missing, but so is his maid's nephew, and when you add that up with the strange phone messages and ominous signs left about pointing to The Burning Man, an event in the Nevada desert, you know that Mick is headed for another deadly showdown with a past that refuses to stay put.

If you like your violence raw and visceral, this is for you.  Plenty of crosses, double-crosses, gunfire, and even some plain old fist fights mark this latest adventure from Shannon.  And although the characterization doesn't show the finely tuned detail of last year's outing, there's still plenty enough shown to make for a provocative and affecting read.  Fast paced and alarmingly fierce, this exciting second outing should satisfy fans of this thriving new series.