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Keep Me Alive by Natasha Cooper

Publisher:  St. Martinís Minotaur  ISBN:  0-312-33591-1 

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader

Set against the backdrop of a damages case against Furbisherís, a supermarket chain, this story weaves an interrelated tale of tainted meat, friendship and betrayal, smuggling, and child abuse.

When the continuation of the case forces London barrister Trish Maguire to cancel a planned trip to Australia with her partner and half-brother, she looks forward to a summer free of obligations and stressful relationships.  Instead, an entirely new group of people makes demands on her time Ė primary among them her needy client Will Applewood.  Willís investigation into the sausages that sickened Trish and a friend leads him into what Trish believes might be a hare-brained conspiracy theory.  But the death of an investigative journalist outside the abattoir where the sausages were made, although ruled a suicide, appears to have been murder.  Will, bloodied and hurt, is found in the bedroom of a woman who has been beaten to death, making Trish fear for her safety.

As Trish works through the labyrinth, distracted by an ill-advised flirtation with her boss Antony Shelley, she not only learns that her trust in Will has not been misplaced, she helps reveal the truth in a suspected child abuse case.  Along the way, Trish develops the self-understanding to cure her own problematic relationships.

This sixth book in the series gets off to a slow start, but soon draws the reader in.  Trish never loses her professional demeanor and seems slightly cold at times.  In contrast, the male characters all seem rather weak.   

 

A Christmas Visitor by Anne Perry

Publisher:  Ballantine Books ISBN:  0345476700

A Christmas Visitor by Anne Perry: Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Take a carriage ride with Henry Rathbone back to the place of his youth, where the tragic death of an old friend, Judah Dreghorn, has left a bereaved widow and son to face the slanderous charges against Judah that he stole the inheritance of a man he deliberately sent to prison for forgery.

The widow has requested Henry's help because she doesn't know what to do about the accusations hurled at her dead husband nor how to tell his family soon to arrive for the holidays that he has died. Thus, Henry is faced with a dilemma that deepens with each day.

Upon the arrival of the family members, it is decided steps must be taken to safeguard the family estate and put an end to the slander.  But, much to their dismay, they find more questions than answers and wind up wondering if Judah's death was really an accident. Or could he have been murdered?

As with all of Anne Perry's books, the reader will find themselves stepping into the drawing rooms or stables of the manor house, tromping through the woods or dining with people, both fascinating and real.  The visit with Henry Rathburn is a great trip back in time you will enjoy immensely.  I sure did.

 

Shadows in the Darkness by Elaine Cunningham

 Publisher: Tor Books ISBN: 076530970X

Shadows in the Darkness by Elaine Cunningham: Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

I have to admit, I usually shy away from books involving fantasy and the occult, but thought I'd give this one a shot as it seemed to have a nice mystery surrounding it-- and I'm very glad I did, as it not only provided a fine mystery but so much more. 

It begins with a violent bust by Rhode Island police, leaving more then a few people dead, two of them being cops.  In the middle of this storm is Gwen Gelman, a cop for ten years who now must walk away from it all, or stick around and take the blame.  So taking the only logical course, she walks away and creates her own PI firm, concentrating on helping those caught up in hopeless situations.  Her latest case deals with a young teen girl who may have been kidnapped, or may just be another runaway.  But the deeper Gwen delves into the case, the more she becomes convinced that the young girl is in trouble, and it may all be related to something much darker and violent than she could have ever anticipated, including her own mysterious past.  And as violence comes ever closer, Gwen will make some startling discoveries that will change all she is and all she knows forever.

Not only does this book provide a great mystery for readers, but the deeper revelations at the end will leave them gasping for the next installment.  Highly original and creative, this spirited read easily electrifies and stimulates.  Gwen is simply delectable; touchingly human, but with just enough of the mystic to make things interesting, she's sure to engage fans of many different genres.  Definitely promising, we look forward to more.