October 27, 2012 · 11:21 am
Death in the 12th House: Where Neptune Rules – A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery by Mitchell Scott Lewis (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 225 pages)
The townhouse had been gutted and its contents piled into an ugly trash container on the street that took up two precious parking spots.
There’s good news for fans of New York City astrologer/detective David Lowell, whose first caper was the subject of Mitchell Scott Lewis’ debut novel, Murder in the Eleventh House: A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery. (Murder in the Eleventh House was earlier reviewed on this site.) Happily, Lewis has maintained the civilized and charming tone in this, his second mystery novel. The story line revolves around a group of aging musicians who are dying off at an alarming rate. The latest to die is Freddy Finger, lead singer of the group Rocket Fire. His daughter, Vivian Younger, is an actress whose fame and beauty insure that her father’s death will be investigated thoroughly by the New York Police Department and their special consultant, David Lowell.
His chart does show that he has a temper, and he’s overly emotional, but then he’s a musician.
While the names of the various musicians are fictitious, their exploits are clearly taken from real life. This site features the biographies of many famous musicians, both living and dead. Any one of them will provide proof of this point.
Lewis is master of building plenty of fascinating information into his plots. Although astrology in its purest form is a complicated discipline, detective David Lowell makes it almost easy to understand as he tutors the various members of his staff, family and Vivian Younger.
The names Lewis gives to his characters are clues in themselves. The reader will most likely delight in the wealth of double entendres and the pun-like quality of his writing. This seemingly innocent little book packs plenty of punch and entertainment!
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
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February 27, 2012 · 11:30 am
New Tricks: A Novel by David Rosenfelt (Grand Central Publishing, $24.99, 320 pages; also available as a Mass Market Paperback for $7.99)
You are in for a doggy treat – not to be confused with Milk Bone biscuits. Author David Rosenfelt is a master of timing, understatement and spoofing. This Andy Carpenter novel, New Tricks, is an all-around good read; a mystery complete with an attorney who has a reputation for defending dogs (of the canine variety), a temperamental and outspoken judge nicknamed Hatchet and a lady police chief from Wisconsin who just happens to be the attorney’s long-distance girlfriend. The cast of characters is enhanced by a friend who communicates with the attorney by singing the lyrics of popular songs. The center of attention is Waggy, an eager and energetic Bernese puppy whose ownership is in dispute.
An exploding mansion with collateral damage that murders the owner is the attention-grabbing action that marks the beginning of the mystery story. The plot twists, turns and then doubles back on itself. There are plenty of red herrings, hidden motives, puns and double entendres that give an appreciative reader cause to laugh out loud.
The plot twists and turns are worthy of The Rockford Files and 77 Sunset Strip. For readers under the age of 50, author Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game) comes to mind.
Highly recommended. A charming tail wagger!
A review copy was provided by the publisher. “Packed with shootings, explosions, murder, and gritty courtroom drama… a treat.” USA Today
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Tagged as 77 Sunset Strip, a novel, a tail wagger, Andy Carpenter, Audible Audio Edition, Bernese dogs, best authors, book review, canines, courtroom drama, crime novel, David Rosenfelt, Dog Tags, dogs, double entendres, Grand Central Publishing, hardbound release, Heart of a Killer, Joseph's Reviews, Mass Market Paperback, Milk Bone biscuits, murder, mystery, New Tricks, Play Dead, popular songs, puppy love, recommended books, red herrings, Ruta Arellano, The Rockford Files, Wisconsin