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Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills

Publisher: Putnam Signet Book  ISBN: 0451212789

 Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader

Smoke Screen, the latest from Kyle Mills is one that will
enchant and enthrall the lover of good, solid, corporate thrillers.
From terrorists, bombings, weapons of mass destruction- the
usual theme of Kyle novels, the author makes a departure (for one thing, Kyle Mills's series protagonist Mark Beamon is not featured in this one) and delivers a stunning novel about a different kind of terror, albeit a different kind of weapon- THE CIGARETTE.

Trevor Barnett is a nerdish maverick- and his only claim to
riches is because he had a rich father, a rich grandfather and a rich great grandfather. He is the present heir to the big tobacco company- Terra. When a big lawsuit goes against the tobacco companies, the tobacco companies decide to go for the extreme decision- shut down all plants across the nation, lay off the workers and generally call it quits. And Trevor Barnett has the unenviable honor to announce the same to the world- such a decision is bound to cause a severe strain to the economy as well as loss of tax revenue. Suddenly Trevor is caught in a frenzy with the anti-tobacco lobby on one side of him, and the tobacco lovers on the opposite side.


What follows is a good solid thriller, which takes us through the behind the scenes look at the real truth behind anti-tobacco lobbies, big cigarette conglomerates and ruthless politicians.
The book is a strong read and is recommended, highly, highly recommended.
                                                                       

 

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Immigrant Irishman Michael Forsythe lives in a poor neighborhood in New York City and works for crime boss Darkey White.  His life is filled with blood, bullets, and booze.  The only bright spot in his life is a girl named Bridget, who just happens to be Dardey's girlfriend.  Out of the blue, Michael and his cohorts are sent to Mexico for a drug deal, where they are arrested and jailed.  They eventually figure out that they have been double crossed, but only Michael has any idea why.   Michael is the only one who survives the violent prison and manages to escape.  While working his way back to New York he vows to kill everyone who is responsible for the imprisonment and death of his friends. 

This is a suspense thriller that keeps the reader turning pages to see what happens next.  Michael is a very complex character, with a sense of justice that culminates in revenge.  In spite of the fact that he is a cold blooded killer, the reader must root for him to succeed.  Truly a dynamic page turner.

 

Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub

Publisher: Ballantine Books  ISBN: 0449149919

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Difficult to describe, Straub’s latest combines many elements of darkness….that of a serial killer from years past, and now dead, another serial killer, this one alive and targeting young boys, and a haunted house that shelters a ghost filled with sadness.   

Horror writer Tim Underhill, upon hearing of his sister-in-law’s suicide, rushes to Millhaven, the town of his childhood.  Stranger events soon follow when his teen-age nephew, Mark, disappears, as have other young boys his age.  There’s a serial killer on the loose, and Mark may be his latest victim, or his disappearance may also have something to do with the house behind his, a house that Mark had become obsessed with before he vanished.  As Tim searches for answers, he finds that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes more terrifying. 

Darkly foreboding and eerily haunting, this is one heck of a story.  Filled with real-life terrors, and terrors that can’t be easily described, it’s a must read for horror fans.  Straub knows how to shock and does it with ease and an effortless grace that will resound long after the final page, along with a strange sort of hope and final deliverance.  This entertaining and frightening read should please both true-horror fans as well as those of mystery.  

 

 

Cry Last Heard by Hannah Nyala

 Publisher: Pocket ISBN: 0743451724

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

It's been almost three years and, Tally Nowata, Wyoming search and rescue team member, is still grieving over the loss of her lover Paul whose murder by a clan of evil criminals in the Australian desert led her to become a killer herself.  Now back in Wyoming, she spends her time raising their daughter Bess and hiding from the world while working at her job of search and rescue. But her half-lived life is about to come crashing down as danger strikes yet again when she and a co-worker are caught up in a snowstorm during what they think is a rescue of a hiker, only to discover it's a set-up. 

Someone is trying to kill them, someone who is seeking revenge against Tally for sins committed when survival was all.  But what happens instead is that her co-worker disappears in the blinding rush,  leaving Tally herself first on the list of suspects for her teammate's probable demise.  Things get even worse when Tally discovers her daughter is missing and now in the hands of a madman bent on revenge, and herself alone in the belief that the past has finally caught up with her.  And so as she fights the elements, friends turned enemies, and her tragic past, Tally sees the futility of her continued grief, and will do anything to have the life back that she has long ignored.        

Once again Nyala tells a story filled with intense emotion and gripping thrills that's sure to please fans of poignant and suspenseful fiction.  This tale of grief traversed and grief conquered soars in its simplicity and complexity both, making for a heartrending read with characters worthy of being known and loved.  We hope Nyala returns soon with another adventure with Tally Nowata, a woman whose trek towards strength and hope has only begun.     

 

“Oh what a tangled web we weave……………etc,etc.”  

John Marlin is a Blanco County Game Warden as was his Daddy before him.  He loves his work.  He thought he had seen and heard just about everything when it comes to hunting.  But he sure wasn’t prepared for the stories he was hearing this year about a six-foot-tall gorgeous Nordic blonde who was running around the deer leases seducing the hunters before they could  bag their  deer.  Are these stories true or are the guys a ‘little juiced’ and exaggerating somewhat.  This is all so much fun for all the other hunters in the county and there are a lot of jibes floating around until one of them turns up dead.  Now Marlin has a real mystery on his hands. 

Add to the mix of rednecks and just- plain-folks in Blanco County, a real tough gangster sounding transplant from New Jersey, Sal Mameli.  Sal and his wannabe, drug doin’ son Vinnie can’t seem to get the hang of getting along with other folks.  Sal is in the Federal Witness Protection Program and feels that the mob may be closing in on him and time is running out.  So Sal comes up with a big  plan to gather a  bunch of cash and head out for a tropical island somewhere.  Trouble is that these pig-headed Texans don’t want to co-operate. So let the games begin.  But wait a minute……….what does this have to do with a dead hunter?   Or a missing rancher?

John Marlin teams up with Sheriff Garza to try and put the puzzle together.  What could all of these factors have to do with each other.  How do the different aspects connect?  Or do they?   

Ben Rehder has an inside edge on writing about Texas humor.  He is one!  A Texan that is.  Only a true son of the Lonestar State could accurately depict the citizens in such light .  And goodness the hunting stories!  Good for a chuckle or two.  I loved ’the witch’. 

I enjoyed Bone Dry.  It was good for an evening's entertainment.  I recommend this book to just about everyone but especially for ’Texas’ and /or hunting aficionados !