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Limitations by Scott Turow

Publishers: Picador, ISBN: 0312426453

Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

Scott Turow is by no means an easy read- true the books are grippingly narrated, supported by flawless plotting, suspensefully page-turning, - but by no means are they ‘easy reads’. Be it the masterpiece PRESUMED INNOCENT or the more recent ORDINARY HEROES- we cannot equate Turow with the other legal thriller/ lawyer authors around. Turow is in a class of his own.

Thus it was a pleasant surprise to read LIMITATIONS. A very slim novel (under 200 pages)….rather a novelette-  and for the first time in my life I finished a Turow novel in one sitting.

There is an old saying that only the best of lawyers who became judges can understand a case in its whole perspective…..their concept of law and justice is radically practical and uniquely different from their brethren. George Mason was one such advocate, who is now a judge. Ardent Turow readers will remember Mason as the attorney in Personal Injuries. (Also present, albeit in a smaller role is Judge Rusty Sabich, you know the protagonist District Attorney in PRESUMED INNOCENT.)

The novel basically revolves around a rape case bought against certain accused. The case is before George Mason. The Hon’ble judge is disturbed by the case- he very much wants to dispense justice but a quirk in law known as the statute of limitations stands in his way of dispensing justice. The defense argues that the case is time-barred and claim limitation from prosecution. How the judge interprets the law…..invoking the spirit behind the legislation and dispenses justice forms the background of the novel.

As a lawyer myself, I found Limitations to be a grand read- and for an aficionado of legal thrillers it is a must, must, must read. Lawyers and law students are especially advised to read this one. The highlight of the book is of course the judgment delivered by the judge. The succinct prose and logic of the judge in carving justice to the victim is simply WOWWWWWWW!!!!!.

I enjoyed this book tremendously, and the work reinforces the reason why Turow is in a class of his own.

 

 

Sugarplums and Scandal by Lori Avocato, et. al.

Publisher:  Avon Romance  ISBN:  10: 0061136956

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

A delightful compilation of stories by talented authors to brighten your Christmas holiday. Tales from several genres that are guaranteed to tickle the fancy of any reader.

In  All I Want For Christmas, Author Lori Avocato

two medical investigators take on the task of helping a man get his teeth from a dentist.  He says he paid for them. The dentist says not.  You will find the man who wants his teeth is not the only one who has a wish for Christmas.  Will Pauline get her wish?

Join Dana Cameron in her fun tale, The Lords of Misrule where she brings us the world of a young woman whose fate hangs in the balance on meeting several men brought to her home with the idea that she might choose one of them as a potential husband.  A theft and murder create a turmoil that helps her make the choice.

If you enjoy B&B mysteries you will become a fan of Mary Daheim once you meet Judith and Joe Flynn who run a B&B with a reputation for bodies being found nearby.  In this story, it isn't a body but a figure from Judith's mother's past who turns up to haunt the Christmas gathering. Why has he chosen this time to appear?  What does he want with Judith's aged mother?

Cait London tells us Cecilia Lattimer whose orderly world is threatened by chaos.  Is the person she suspects really responsible?  And who is the tall stranger who rescues her?  Why has he parked his camper in her driveway?  A tale with plenty of mystery and menace.

If you like ghost stories, then Suzanne Macpherson's tale of a ghost that tries to redirect the life of her ex-lover will keep you reading.  Light hearted, yet with a pull at your heartstrings, you'll enjoy meeting Holly Go Lightly.

And lastly Kerrelyn Sparks takes us into the world of vampires where we get to meet the stars of a vampire soap opera.  Theirs is a world you will have fun visiting and come away with a different view of their world and way of life.

I'm pleased to recommend this collection to any reader looking for a way to spend some pleasant hours in the company of new friends.  Enjoy.  I sure did.

 

Nine Lives by Sharon Sala

Publisher: Mira  ISBN: 0778323528

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Cat Dupree, a kick ass Dallas bounty hunter, has seen her share of tragedy, tragedies that have left her cold and full of fury, especially the long ago attack  by a strange tattooed man that left her father dead and Cat alone with nothing but scars and a deep and abiding hunger for revenge.

Cat's never ending search for the killer plagues her days and nights, but when her pregnant best friend disappears after being threatened by her married lover, Cat knows her friend is dead and it's going to be up to her to prove the wealthy and powerful lover is responsible.  Along for the ride is bounty hunter Wilson McKay, a man she can't seem to avoid, and a man who just might be tough enough, and hot enough, to penetrate her frozen heart.

Fans of romantic suspense will undoubtedly find themselves enthusiastically enjoying this artful blend of intrigue and passion.  Cat Dupree is a refreshing entrant into this particular genre that all too often portrays women as either helpless and incompetent or overly stubborn and resistant, her character smoothly avoiding both clichés.  And with the cliffhanger ending, the hope is strong that we may just see the passionate duo of Cat and Wilson again.

 

G'Day to Die by Maddy Hunter

Publisher:  Pocket Books,  ISBN:  10:  1416523790

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Interested in seeing the world?  As a guide, Emily Andrew is hard to beat.  She'll show you sights you've never seen before, including a few corpses.

Traveling with a group of Midwestern elderlies and two men bent on winning her affection, keeps Emily on her toes.  Then the body of a woman she was just talking to turns up on a trail.  Why is Emily the only one thinking it was foul play? 

Could it be the unpleasant spider collector did her in for reasons of his own?  Or could her death have to do with a mysterious plant that turned up in Emily's grandmother's pictures?

Talented author Maddy Hunter has woven the several subplots into the whole cloth of a tale that will keep you happily absorbed, beginning to end while the cast of fun characters travel through Australia.

Romance, death and mystery are cleverly combined to satisfy even the most particular mystery fan.  I'm happy to recommend this fun tale as well worth your time.  Enjoy.  I sure did.

 

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz

Publisher: Bantam, ISBN: 0553588265

Reviewed by Jake Chism, New Mystery Reader

Dean Koontz delivers another suspenseful thriller in this follow up to the ever-popular Odd Thomas. Odd is back and continuing his simple life as a fry cook in Pico Mundo. After the horrifying events that changed his life six months prior, he longs for a life of normalcy. However, a normal life is never an option for someone who can see the lingering spirits of the dead.  

Odd finds himself in the middle of another mystery when he discovers his childhood friend, Danny, is missing. Odd is extremely concerned for Danny, who has a condition called osteogenisis imperfecta, which causes his bones to become fragile and break easily. Odd sets out to find Danny using only his unique supernatural gifts to guide him along the way. Once again he is forced to face off against a dangerous evil and Danny’s fragile life depends on his success.

Odd’s journey is full of twists, turns, and genuine thrills. Themes of friendship, hope, and redemption are woven throughout the story, and it is fascinating to witness Odd Thomas as he reluctantly takes on the role of hero. Koontz reminds us that heroes are found in the most unlikely suspects, and that doing the right thing is not always easy. This is Koontz at the top of his game and readers will love this addition to the world of Odd Thomas.  

 

 

Honour Among Men by Barbara Fradkin

Publisher:  Rendezvous Crime   ISBN o 894917 36 7

Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader

At last, a good old-fashioned police procedural again!  The story opens with a dead woman found on the banks of the river in Ottawa.  Inspector Green, fretting at being tied to his desk most days, spots his Major Crime Squad as he's passing by.  Like Inspector Wycliffe, he can't resist: he stops and joins in the painstaking search for clues, motive and identity.

The dead woman has a bravery medal from a long-past peace-keeping mission, and it is through this that Green and his crew begin to piece together what led to this solitary death.

As the step-by-step back-tracking goes on, it becomes apparent to Green that there are more heinous crimes to uncover than just this one murder.  Many people in Canada would prefer that the dead woman went to her grave as the victim of an unsolved crime.  Power makes its own rules, and it's hard for an ordinary copper to get around that barrier.

The hunt for answers is interleaved with extracts from a dead soldier's diary, which shed more light on the back story with each chapter.

This is a timely book, which poses some questions that still need thoughtful answers.  Well worth the price of admission.

 

A Fatal Appraisal by J. B. Stanley

Publisher:  Berkeley Prime Crime ISBN:  0425212645

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Attention mystery fans, antique lovers and Antiques Road Show fans.  Talented author J. B. Stanley combines mystery and antiques into a read you will really enjoy. 

Join Molly Appleby who writes for the Collector's Weekly, an antiques publication, as she heads to Richmond to interview people on the show Hidden Treasures where visitors hope to discover something they value really is valuable.

Molly meets a wonderful assortment of interesting characters who mix personal and professional lives as appraisers.  One appraiser who has a wonderful knowledge of antique furniture introduces her to a lovely early American desk that is also a murder weapon.

Rich in information about antiques and how the road show is put together that serves as the backdrop for Molly's possible romance with an appraiser and her desire to keep in touch with a man she knows she's interested in while trying to put together the clues to identify a murderer. 

I'm pleased to recommend this well crafted tale as one any mystery fan will enjoy. The flavor of the South and an education in antiques  add to the fun in this story and you'll be looking for other books by this talented author. Enjoy.  I sure did.

 

Red Baker by Robert Ward

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Minotaur  ISBN:  0-312-36274-9

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader

When Baltimore steelworker Red Baker is laid off, his indefatigable wife warns him that if he starts “drinking, doping, and whoring,” she will take their son and leave him.  Although Red promises not to fall into his old bad habits, when it becomes obvious that this layoff may be permanent, and as he goes on a depressing round of interviews for poorly-paid, menial jobs, he seeks short-term solace in the bottle, the pills provided by his neighborhood Dr. Feelgood, and the arms of his stripper girlfriend, Crystal.

Like a preschooler who needs structure, without the daily demands of a job, Red is at dangerous loose ends, and each time he is faced with a decision, he chooses the most self-destructive option.  And when his always loony friend Dog seems to be veering into real craziness, Red is vulnerable to the scheme proposed by the local dirty cop. 

Originally published 1985, this 2006 edition has a foreword by Michael Connelly, who declares that the reader will be Red Baker, too.  I am not Red Baker, but I probably went to high school with his son.  Even if you didn’t grow up in a steel town during the 1970s and 1980s, as I did, this novel will resonate with you, and give you greater compassion for the many steelworkers who lost their jobs, and their ways of life, during this time period.  Touching, frustrating, and heart-wrenching, Red Baker is a novel to be read with the footrest kicked up on your Barcalounger, Flashdance soundtrack on the stereo, and a National Bohemian (if it’s still made), or preferably an Iron City, in hand.