Saturday, February 25, 2006

THE FALLEN by T. Jefferson Parker (William Morrow)

Parker creates such wonderfully flawed protagonists I would probably read his books as novels, even if there weren't a marvelous mystery involved! Robbie Brownlaw survived a fall from a sixth floor window in an attempt to rescue survivors from a hotel fire. He's left with synesthesia (a neurological condition that mixes up ones senses) which dramatically improves his skills as a detective because he can, quite literally, see lies. His latest case is the murder of a San Diego policeman-turned ethics investigator. Parker's skill as a storyteller and his compelling characters made it impossible for me to lay the book aside for more than a few minutes at a time. Another winner from this two-time Edgar award winner!

Friday, February 24, 2006

THE DEEP BLUE ALIBI by Paul Levine (Bantam)

It's funny, fast-paced, and irrevrent. It's also a great legal thriller that pits builders against environmentalists and lawyer against lawyer. On another note, it's a poignant look at a young boy with special needs. Then, like any good Florida Keys book, you can test your Parrothead quotient. Whatever causes you to pick up this fun paperback original--you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A DEATH IN VIENNA by Frank Tallis (Grove Press)

Freud's Vienna comes to life in this locked room mystery when a successful medium is killed in her apartment. An apparent ruling suicide is thwarted when no weapon is found and Dr. Maxim Liebermann finds an inconsistancy with the suicide note. As much a tale of Vienna's cafe society and the early days of psychoanalysis as a murder mystery, this book will find fans among history lovers and philosophers. A DEATH IN VIENNA has already been short listed for the C.W.A. Arthur Ellis Award.

Friday, February 17, 2006

HELLO, STRANGER by Virginia Swift (Harper Collins)

When women's history professor "Mustang" Sally Adler literallly gives a student the coat off her back, she thinks she's helping a victim of domestic abuse. That's true, but the situation proves far bigger when Sally stumbles over the body of the student's father. Smarmy lawyers, religious rights, and California realtors muddy the waters as Sally works to save her student. Although this is the fourth "Mustang Sally" novel, Swift makes it easy for newcomers to the series to fit into the Laramie, Wyoming series. With truly fast pacing, Swift keeps the story moving while tieing up all loose ends. My kind of a read!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

RIVER OF DARKNESS by Rennie Airth (Penguin)

I don't know how I missed this when it was first published (and nominated for the Edgar and Macavity awards), but at least I got a copy of the 2005 trade paperback verstion. In post-WW-I England, Scotland Yard is called to investigate a small village slaughter of a young family. Because a few items were taken from the house, one particularly inept inspector is intent on ruling it a robbery gone bad. Fortunately for justice, Inspector Madden and Chief Inspector Sinclair are on the case. Madden, like Charles Todd's Inspector Rutlege, is haunted by the recent war, and he is determined to get to the bottom of the gruesome killings. After hearing a Viennese doctor speak about the influences of the mind on one's behavior, Madden is convinced that the killer has a past that is worthy of exploration. RIVER OF DARKNESS caused me to neglect my daily activities and burn the midnight oil much too late!

THE BEST BRITISHI MYSTERIES 2006 ed. by Maxim Jakubowski (Allison and Busby)

If you need just a taste of crime before bedtime, keep this jewell on your night stand. You'll find historicals, cozies, and contemporary short stories in this compendium. Want to try out a new British author? Here's the answer. I was glad to renew my literary friendship with Anne Perry, Peter Robinson, and Keith Miles, among others. Kim Newman took me back to Belgravia, not via Watson's eyes, but through Col. Moran's. I won't mention the authors new to me--I'll loose credibility for not knowing them already! Whether you read straight through or in nightly tastes, you'll be glad to have this collection on your shelf.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

MURDER IN MONTMARTRE by Cara Black (Soho Crime)

When Cara Black takes you to Paris, you can be sure it won't be to the Champs-Elysées! Rather, Black's Paris, seen through the eyes of computer dectective Aimée Leduc, is the gritty underworld of kickbacks, prostitutes, and street people. In this outing, a childhood friend has achieved her dream of becoming a policewoman, only to be accused of killing her partner. As Aimée struggles to clear her friend, she seeks answers, as always, to the reasons for her father's death which left his name clouded. Even as Aimée risks her own life to find answers, her partner, René proves himself quite capable as a field detective.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

PERFECTION by Walter Satterthwait (Thomas Dunne Books)

Walter Satterthwait's name on a book is like "sterling" on silver. This Florida thriller pokes fun at America's obsession with weight while giving the sub-genre a new Hannibal Lecter. Police detectives Sophia Tregaskis and Jim Fallon have all they can handle with the latest crime (does it really target morbidly obsese women?) without a power hungry police chief and a powerful hurricane. Satterthwait plays fair with his readers, but I guarantee you'll have no time to figure out who dunnit—you'll be too busy turning pages!

Friday, February 03, 2006

THE CHOCOLATE MOUSE TRAP by Joanna Carl (Signet)

What do a wedding planner, a chocolate store manager, a caterer, a florist, a restaurant owner, a baker, and a pair of B&B owner have in common? They're part of "The Seventh Food Group" email group--and somebody is bumping them off, one by one! Lee McKinney manages her aunt's chocolate company, and she's no stranger to murder (after all, this is the fifth in the series). Clues were obviously in the emails sent among the group, but hackers have infected computers with a virus and destroyed hard drives.

This is one of my favorite light series--and Carl does just what I like when several new characters are introduced: She gently reminds the reader who is who every time she mentions a member of the supporting cast. Do yourself a favor and indulge in this no-calorie confection.