Tag Archives: mayhem

Four To Go!

The Snow White Christmas Cookie (nook book)Kings of Midnight (nook book)

Here are four exciting mysteries from Minotaur that will easily fill your long winter evenings with entertainment. All four books are well recommended.

Kings of Midnight: A Mystery by Wallace Stroby (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 266 pages)

Fans of edgy and fast-paced stories with a female lead character will tune into the intense plot immersion, quick scene cuts and a strong sense of urgency. Crissa Stone is the main character and she’s a hardened career criminal who does not hesitate to put herself first in a tight situation. There is low-key violence associated with Crissa’s teaming up with Benny Roth, a sometime gangster. Together, they race to stay one step ahead of some truly bad fellas and, of course, the cops. The prize is $5 million stashed away from long ago.

Skating on the Edge: A Mystery by Joelle Charbonneau (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 290 pages)

Here’s a true niche story about the world of women’s roller derby. Charbonneau provides a super quirky behind-the-scenes glimpse of a guilty pleasure for many TV viewers over the years. Her easy writing style includes a little gore with a mix of young and elderly characters, and I do mean characters. Rebecca Robbins is the owner of a skating rink that she inherited from her mom. Her grandfather is the link to the senior citizen crowd in their hometown of Indian Falls. The theme of snack foods runs through the story (popcorn, potato chips and sweet potato fries), so be ready to be hungry while you laugh at the antics in this charming book.

Fire Season: A Frank Coffin Mystery by Jon Loomis (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 306 pages)

A cop’s view of serial arson in Provincetown, Massachusetts forms the core of this mystery. This reviewer had no idea that Provincetown is famous for eccentricities like transgender residents. The city has pageants featuring these folks. The opening of the mystery is pretty gruesome, as a group of retired performing seals is found slaughtered outside a restaurant that sits just below an old hotel. The hotel is the home of many pageant participants. Frank Coffin, the acting chief of police, races all over town from one fire to another in a very short time span. Eventually, all the mayhem is bundled together; however, not before Frank and his team traipse over most of the region seeking the source of their problems.

The Snow White Christmas Cookie: A Berger and Mitry Mystery by David Handler (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 264 pages)

The duo of Mitch Berger and Desiree Mitry are featured in this, the ninth book in a series. The unlikely pair of film critic and state trooper slog through several snow blizzards and too many characters to name in an abbreviated review. The tone of the book is definitely light-hearted even though there are crimes galore, like murder, mail theft and black market drug sales. The small town setting is especially quaint. Author Handler has a way with scene setting and goofy details. Even though we’re past Christmas, don’t let the title put you off. A tale like this is always in season.

Ruta Arellano

Review copies were provided by the publisher.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

If You Could Read My Mind

Cat Telling Tales: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy (William Morrow, $19.99, 384 pages)

Just in time for the holidays, this Joe Grey mystery dishes up a warm serving of human kindness.   Of course there’s plenty of evil and mayhem for the team of kitties and their humans to get their teeth into.   There are human victims in the mix, old and young, dead and alive.   (Please see the prior review of Cat Coming Home on this site for background on the story line.   The review, “Dead Man’s Curve”, was posted on November 17, 2010.)

As with prior books in this series, Cat Telling Tales provides an opportunity to champion the victims of crime.   Rather than a specific victim, in this tale the focus is on the pets that have been dumped by folks made homeless by the economic meltdown in recent years.   Author Murphy provides ample evidence of how pets are abandoned and what can be done to put their lives back together.   She champions the townsfolk who take the time and make the effort to gather the resources to give the abandoned pets a fresh start.   Readers who love cats, and dogs for that matter, can use the ideas presented for fundraisers in their own communities or join their local organizations that are the counterparts to ones referenced in the book.   (Please see the links and contact information below for the organizations supported by this site.)

Not all the victims in this tale were guiltless; however, in the hierarchy of crime murder takes the top spot.   The body count adds up to three this time around.   Joe Grey, Dulcie and Kit are joined by Misto who was introduced in the aforementioned book as the older yellow tom cat.   As is her style, Ms. Murphy enriches her cast with yet another newcomer.   Yes, he’s fascinating and he does catch Kit’s attention.   Some things don’t change.

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   Cat Telling Tales was released on November 22, 2011.

Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary – Sacramento, CA

http://www.happytails.org/   E-mail: purrball@happytails.org   Telephone: (916) 556-1155

Sacramento SPCA – Sacramento County

http://www.sspca.org/   Telephone: (916) 383-7387

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

A Lonely Death: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd (William Morrow; $24.99; 352 pages)

Thirteen is not an unlucky number for author Charles Todd (actually the mother/son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd).   A Lonely Death is, of course, the thirteenth mystery in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series.   Although the series has been in publication since 1998, this is a first read for this reviewer.   A classic blend of personal feelings, intellect and mayhem makes the tale set in the English countryside more than a mystery story.   The period piece in a charming setting enhances the believability of the tale and slows the pace of the story line.   The Todds’ grammar is excellent and their wording is confident without being ostentatious.   There is no doubt of the authors’ intent as they lead the reader along a winding path of discovery.

The story is set in post-World War I England.   The characters’ lives and, in some cases, their bodies have been injured during the Great War.   These men and women base their actions on their underlying motives and class beliefs.   In other words, they are congruent.   Due to the time period, the detecting is more about good old sussing out of details than gimmickry or technological tricks.   Three soldiers are found dead, one after another – similarly posed with a dog tag in the mouth and death by garroting.

This isn’t a page turner – per se; rather, it is an assignment upon which the reader is invited to share with Inspector Rutledge as he traverses England’s countryside.   Solving the crimes takes a backseat to the interactions and power plays among the law enforcement teams investigating the crimes.   Some things never change and the Todds make the point that people are sure to bully and intimidate when control and power are at stake.

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   A Lonely Death will be released by William Morrow as a trade paperback book ($14.99) on December 20, 2011.   “Masterly.”   The New York Times

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized