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Sacrament of Lies by Elizabeth Dewberry

Publisher: Putnam Pub Group; ISBN: 039914854X FEB

When Grayson Guilloryís mother dies, Grayson is unsure if her death is due to her mental imbalance, or if something more sinister has happened.  As the daughter of the popular governor of Louisiana, she is hesitant to voice her concerns, but when she finds a video of her mother accusing her father of plotting to kill her, the whispers of scandal become impossible to ignore.  And after even more deaths occur, she finds her own sanity being threatened.  Still in doubt as to if something evil is in the works, or if she has her own motherís propensity towards mental illness, Grayson seeks to uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim.  A short but lyrical novel that explores the themes of family loyalty and madness, this book is well worth the read.  Readers will be captivated by the strong yet vulnerable first person narrative of Grayson as she struggles to uncover the evil that surrounds her, while at the same time battling the possibility of her own mental breakdown. 

Hunting Season by Nevada Barr

Publisher: Putnam Pub Group; ISBN: 0399148469  FEB

Park Ranger Anna Pigeon returns in Barr's 10th installment in the series.  In this outing, Anna continues her struggle to make the South her new home.  As she continues her battles with romance, racism, and loneliness, she must also track down the latest murderer.  In this instance, a "good 'ole boy" is found naked and bruised in what first appears to be a sex-related crime.  And the deeper Anna investigates, the more the threats to her life escalate.  This is another winner from Barr who manages to describe the South in all its glory and its faults.  She paints glorious after glorious pictures of the beautiful country side, as well as she describes the ugliness that unfortunately accompanies this beauty in the form of bigotry and racism.  The ending is truly a shocker, but the reader will enjoy being led astray.   

4 bolts

Man and Wife by Andrew Klavan

Publisher: Forge; ISBN: 0765302152

Andrew Klavanís new novel is less a mystery than an in depth character study of one manís struggle to face the truths of his life. Psychiatrist, Cal Bradly, seems to have the perfect life; a wonderful marriage, beautiful children, and a successful career. But all that comes into question the day Peter Blue enters his life as a new client. Peter seems to share some eerie similarities to Calís dead sister, who died of suicide 7 years earlier, and eventually these coincidences lead him to discover his wife talking to an unknown man in an entirely seemingly inappropriate manner. As questions of her past arise, Cal is suddenly faced with the bitter knowledge that he has been living a life of illusion. This wonderful and insightful book has many poignant, if not profound, moments in it regarding the truths we all refuse to face.

 

Suspicion of Vengeance: A Gail Connor and Anthony Quintana Novel  by Barbara Parker

Publisher: Penguin USA; ISBN: 0525946012

This is Barbara Parkerís 6th, and perhaps best, outing featuring Gail Connor and Anthony Quintana. Responding to a plea from an old family friend, Gail finds herself defending a young man on death row for a murder which occurred 12 years previously. After reviewing the facts of the case, Gail is convinced of his innocence, while Anthony is not so sure. He attempts to talk her out of taking the case, but Gail remains passionately dedicated to keeping this young man from death by lethal injection. This story works on many fronts, but mainly via its thoroughly realized characters. As Gailís passion for her case grows, Anthony realizes he has lost much of his own passion for defending those who need it, leading him to become more emotionally involved than he would have ever imagined. This story also works as a great study on the viability of the death penalty, exploring both sides of the issue in depth, and hopefully leading the reader to question their own beliefs on this important subject. Much more intelligently written than her previous outing, Parker scores on all fronts with this new novel.