Tag Archives: Kathleen George

Something’s Gotta Give

Simple (nook book)

Simple: A Mystery by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 322 pages)

Simple is not only a really well-crafted police procedural mystery; it is also the story of a mother’s love and her son’s gentle nature. Cal, who has been a victim all his life, is accused of the brutal murder of Cassie, a newly-minted attorney who has bought a house in a less-than-desirable part of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cal seems to be more than a bit simple; however, considering the battering he endured over the years by bullies, he is remarkably able to quietly work as a handyman on neighborhood homes including Cassie’s.

There are times when she studies the shoes and hair and clothing of the people who come to the Connolly house and tries to figure out what about these things costs so much money. The black dresses she will see tonight, the sundresses, the sandals with decorative knots or jewels, cost a month’s salary. But she’s not always sure these things are pretty, that’s what bothers her.

Elinor, a woman with mixed racial blood, works for a wealthy man with high political ambitions. She diligently runs the Connolly household year in and year out, first for the senior Mr. Connolly and then for his son. Her son Cal, who has passed for white all his life, is the center of her world. She has unwavering love for him even when he is considered the prime suspect in Cassie’s murder.

Cal’s being a victim may seem like a sure segue to anger and violence. Main police characters, Detective Colleen Greer and Commander Richard Christie are willing to look past the obvious and consider alternative scenarios. The racial issues that are a considerable factor in this tale are particularly relevant with 2012 having been an election year. The aspects in this tale are about mixed race folks (like President Obama) rather than black vs. white tension. There are strong contrasts presented in Simple and relationships aren’t what they appear to be on first glimpse.

Author Kathleen George peels back the twisted layers of her story to reveal an undercurrent that is full of evil. Her book is sort of like a John Grisham work, but not really. It has more of an old-fashioned Dragnet approach, not so dramatic, rather, simple.

How shallow life is, that because nature handed her physical beauty, she should have such power.

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher. “If anyone’s writing better police thrillers than George, (we) don’t know who it is.” Entertainment Weekly

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A review of Simple: A Mystery by Kathleen George.

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Hold On Hold Out

Hideout: A Mystery by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books, $15.99, 320 pages)

“But to live outside the law,  you must be honest…”   Bob Dylan, “Absolutely Sweet Marie”

In Kathleen George’s Hideout two hooligan brothers, Ryan and Jack Rutter, become entangled in a late night hit and run accident in Pittsburgh that results in the death of the victim.   Both have a tendency to abuse virtually any chemical substance ever invented, though throughout the story the younger brother Jack is portrayed as having some redeeming qualities and a semblance of conscience.   The same cannot be said for Ryan.Hideout (nook book)

Colleen Greer is the detective most involved in the search for justice.   At the beginning of the story, George attempts to create some depth in her that would bring a measure of human interest to the whodunit, but mostly falls short.   That’s the real problem with this book.   It can’t decide if it wants to be a story that grabs the reader because the character interests them; or if it simply wants to be your basic copy thriller.   For this reason, it falls short on both counts.

The action of the story spans the time from Saturday evening to Thursday of the following week.   As the brothers flee, they continue to commit various crimes from robbery to what might be construed as attempted murder.   Make no mistake about it, these two are stupid.   The most surprising part of the story just might be that it takes the police over five days to catch them.

The author attempts an interesting twist when the brothers are separated for the first time, but, they soon reunite.   The story continues on as they discover that the authorities are on to them.   They must try to find a way to avoid capture with less money and less of a plan.   In the end, Jack enjoys some compassion upon his capture, but the resolution as to what that might mean for his future is not explored.   (It seems that including this element at the closing of the book serves little purpose.)

Fans of the genre will probably enjoy this book the same as others, but the general reader might give something else a try.

Recommended for crime novel fans.

Dave Moyer

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   Hideout is also available as a Kindle Edition and Nook Book download.   Kathleen George’s latest novel is Simple.

Dave Moyer is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel, and is a public school administrator in the Midwest.

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A review of Hideout: A Mystery by Kathleen George, author of The Odds and Simple.Hideout (300)

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Kansas City

Every Last Secret: A Mystery by Linda Rodriguez (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 289 pages)

Poet Linda Rodriguez, who is part Cherokee and lives in Kansas City, Missouri, brings more than a bit of herself to her first mystery novel.   In many ways, it seems as though she is living a fantasy life through the story.   The main character is Marquitta Bannion, a female cop in America’s heartland – K.C., Mo.   Skeet, as she’s known by her peers, has worked her way up the ranks of the Kansas City Police Department at the cost of her marriage to a fellow officer.   To make matters worse, her dad’s tarnished reputation as a cop has shaken her faith in him.   She’s half Cherokee which makes her internal struggle even more challenging as she integrates what matters most into her maturing persona.   The Native American values Skeet learned from family are sometimes at odds with her work life.   With so much tension and disappointment haunting her, Skeet decides to move on in life.

The action takes place at a nearby small town college where Skeet has taken a job as the chief of the campus police.   Her hope for a career move away from the turmoil of big city crime fighting is shattered when the student editor of the school newspaper is found murdered.   As is to be expected, the tale centers on solving the crime.   What is not expected is the knitting our heroine uses as a way of calming and soothing her frazzled nerves.   The author is an avid knitter and her knitting references are authentic.   It makes for a charming twist to the standard mystery genre.

The underlying themes of an intergenerational struggle and life shifts sets the stage for Skeet to arrive at realizations about her priorities.   The action moves smoothly and keeps the reader’s interest.   Clearly, Ms. Rodriguez has set up the beginning of an engaging series of novels with a great ending – and the potential for a direct sequel.   Stay tuned!

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

“Murder on a college campus, plenty of bad people, and all kinds of puzzles to solve.   Linda Rodriguez has written a highly enjoyable procedural introducing a rough and tender heroine, Skeet Bannion.”   Kathleen George, author of The Odds and Hideout.

Every Last Secret was released on April 24, 2012, and is available as a Nook Book and Kindle Edition download.

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