THE WHITE FEATHER KILLER by R. N. Morris

August 2, 2019

Click to purchase

A Silas Quinn Mystery, Book 5

This is the fifth Silas Quinn novel written by the author. While much of the fleshing out of Detective Quinn was done in the previous books it will not deter the reader to come across the character as he appears here. Quinn is picked up just after his previous assignment in which he was required to go under cover in a lunatic asylum in order to solve a case. He arrives back at his headquarters just at the time that England has entered the first World War. The country was in turmoil gearing up for the war with thousands of men volunteering for the army. Quinn’s previous assignment has been changed and he is put under the supervision of another detective who is depicted as incompetent for the job.

Making use of the plot of the book “The Four Feathers” by A.E.W. Mason, Morris sets up the handing out of white feathers to men not in the uniform of their country and deemed cowards during the opening period of WWI. A young girl is found murdered and a white feather is found set into her mouth. Quinn’s new supervisor is shown to be incompetent when he arrests a butcher, innocent of the crime but having a German parent. The man is placed in prison and subject to extremely harsh conditions until Quinn manages to get himself involved as supervisor to the case.

The novel becomes involved with the solving of the crime working within the turmoil of the first two months of WWI. The description of the period shows a great deal of research with several factors built into the novel. There is first, the use of taking fingerprints, a science only a few years old. There is also the introduction of Vernon Kell who is credited with the founding of MI6. Kell notes the fine detective work by Silas Quinn and will probably take a more active role in future novels featuring him.

The writing style does not lend itself to grabbing on and finishing it in one read, but is sufficiently interesting to make it an attractive draw and a well done portrait of detective work in a setting 100 years before our time.

8/19 Paul Lane

THE WHITE FEATHER KILLER by R. N. Morris. Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (August 1, 2019). ISBN 978-0727888853. 288p.

Kindle


MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite

July 31, 2019

Click to purchase

From the publisher:

WINNER OF THE LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 WOMEN’S PRIZE

A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.


If you are in the mood for a dark, twisted, super fun read then this is your book! My son actually recommended it to me, which doesn’t happen often (it’s usually the other way around.) So I had it in my to-be-read pile for a while, waiting for the mood to strike. Then I got an email from the publisher, asking if I would cover the paperback release and that was the impetus for me to finally sit down and read this.

It is a very fast read as it is a very short book. Don’t let that dissuade you, though, it is an excellent debut, full of great characters and a nuanced plot. It was rather shocking to me that this was a debut, you usually don’t see such tight plotting in a first novel. I love the way it was written, sort of report like, and the deft touch of black comedy really sings. At times it is a bit gruesome but never gratuitously so, especially considering the title and subject matter.

My son read this for a book discussion, which I thought was a pretty smart choice, it is an unusual pick for sure but there is definitely material to be discussed here. I often read books this short and complain about holes in the plot or lack of character development, so I am delighted to say that this is one of the best debuts I’ve read in a while. Grab the paperback or Kindle or listen to it on Audible, but don’t miss it. It has been optioned for a film by a London production company and I read this in Deadline: “The debut novel of Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite follows a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has an inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.” An inconvenient habit, indeed.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Anchor; Reprint edition (July 30, 2019).  ISBN 978-0525564201.  240p.

Kindle

Audible


NONDISCLOSURE by Geoffrey M Cooper

July 28, 2019

Click to purchase

This is Dr. Cooper’s second published novel. In it, he takes a look at a problem that is appearing with more frequency in our society. This is the sexual attacks against women who have given the attacker no cause to presume that they would welcome a sexual advance. The attacker than goes ahead with the possible self delusion that the lady really would welcome his attentions.

Dr. Brad Parker is head of a department at a leading Boston area university. He is preparing to go into a meeting with his supervisor when he is called aside and advised that a member of the faculty in his department has drugged and raped a student. Parker immediately tells his supervisor what he learned and indicates that the victim identified her attacker.

Karen Richmond, a university employed detective, is called in and she begins working with Parker. As the two commence bringing out details of the rape the young lady is brutally attacked and murdered: obviously the work of her original attacker looking to cover up the crime.

Dr. Cooper brings in many factors that for different reasons often prevent the truth from coming out in the cases of unwanted sexual attack. It is a problem and has been for some time and in many cases difficult to prosecute due to factors keeping the victim afraid to testify. At the same time that publicity is centered on predator sexual attacks the author brings out a current very interesting new direction of medical research that has the possibility of becoming a definite life saver. These are gene based drugs and immunotherapy currently directions taken by state of the art research centers with promise of great advancement in attacking such diseases as cancer in many of it’s forms.

Writing is crisp and certainly succeeds in making this novel one that the reader will not be able to put down until the end. Very well done and certainly indicative of the entrance of a gifted author with the personal knowledge to contribute much to the area of medical thrillers.

7/19 Paul Lane

NONDISCLOSURE by Geoffrey M Cooper. Captain Thomas Publishing (July 15, 2019). ISBN 978-1733771405. 236p.

Kindle


RED METAL by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV

July 22, 2019

Click to purchase

The authors, one whom is an experienced combat officer, have combined to present a picture of what real war is like. There are no descriptions of computers fighting one another, but of real men and women doing battle with modern weapons with many casualties as a consequence.

Several years prior to the opening of the book Russia was driven from possession of three Rare Earth Mineral mines located in Africa in the country of Kenya. The Russian prime minister now feels that it is time to retake those mines and orders two troop movements. The first is an attack across Poland and into Germany drawing the United States and NATO allies into defending those countries. Using this assault as a means of taking attention away from her real target the Russian military will than utilize a second assault into Kenya in order to capture the mines.

The authors utilize back and forth reactions by both sides on the two fronts to tell a masterful story of war. First, the Russian attack driving through Poland brings reactions from a poorly outfitted Polish army, but than occasions the decision by armed citizenry to fight the invaders. A young Polish girl whose normal occupation is as a barista in a coffee shop becomes a hero as she begins to lead other citizens into the defense of their country. The Russian side is depicted by military officers who are in tune with the war and want to make sure that they stand out for recognition for their efforts.

The second phase is a defense by American forces of the mines in Kenya. At the point of undertaking this defense the U.S. navy is engaged in a “show the flag” contest with the Chinese and are forced to sail across the world to take part in the defense of the mines in Africa. Individual, and realistically described moments of courage are described on the part of both sides during the battles. A U.S.submarine commander manages to destroy a crucial part of the Russian fuel supply by brave movements against the Russian invasion fleet. An American aviator manages to do a good deal of damage to Russian air support, while brave men and women move into precarious positions in order to maximize their efforts against Russia’s tanks.

The book is an all nighter due mainly to it’s use of personal experiences encountered by characters that are fleshed out sufficiently enough to be believed as active participants in the horrors of a shooting war. Very well done indeed.

7/19 Paul Lane

RED METAL by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV. Berkley (July 16, 2019). ISBN 978-0451490414. 656p.

Kindle

Audible


THE HALLOWS by Victor Methos

July 20, 2019

Click to purchase

An absolutely grabbing novel that will not allow the reader to put it down until finished. The book deals with a high powered and very successful lawyer practicing in Miami that suddenly finds himself dissatisfied with his work when a client that he had successfully defended on a charge of murder walks out and immediately kills someone else.

Tatum Graham the lawyer just decides to give up the big bucks in Miami and go home to small town Utah where his roots are. Arriving there he meets an old flame of his who is working at the county attorney’s office and asks him as a favor to take on the role of a prosecutor in a murder case. Tatum knows the people involved and most importantly the girl killed and her father who is a friend of his father. In addition he visits his father with whom he has been estranged from for many years and who isnow suffering from cancer.

To round out a fascinating group of characters one of the two boys accused of the murder comes from a wealthy family and his father hires a top tier attorney to defend him. Not surprisingly Tatum has gone against that lawyer several times in court and the trial shapes up as a battle between titans. The depiction of the trial is just that; one expert attorney versus another as gifted as he is. The maneuvers between the two become a fascinating study of the reality of a trial where one man and than the other come out with twists and turns.

On the side is the rekindling of the romance between Tatum and his old girlfriend and the feelings each has harbored for many years. A very well done portrait of Tatum’s dad who is fighting his disease and trying to explain his attitude towards the son that he has kept at bay for a long time. This is one of the better handlings of a flawed individual and the treatment of the man adds to the story and what transpires. A very well done novel and without doubt a five star story.

7/19 Paul Lane

THE HALLOWS by Victor Methos. Thomas & Mercer (July 1, 2019). ISBN 978-1542042741. 350p.

Kindle

Audible


BARK OF NIGHT by David Rosenfelt

July 17, 2019

Click to purchase

An Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 19

This is Rosenfelt’s 19th novel featuring Andy Carpenter and his more than slightly askew team of helpers. Andy, as most of his fans know, is a defense lawyer who has inherited money and consequently would rather not work at his profession. In spite of his predilection, each novel features him picking up the defense of a person​ charged with murder. He is helped in building up the defense of his client by his wife Laurie who was previously a law enforcement officer and now acts as his investigator.
In addition there is Marcus, silent but a deadly weapon who defends him, an office manager who would rather be retired and normally is found resting, and several other individuals including an assistant manager of an FBI office, a police chief and an assistant lawyer. Most important are his two dogs, who do nothing but get walked while Andy thinks things through.
The author’s unabashed love of dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, is showcased in his novels. Andy and his partner Willy own and operate a center for the saving and placement of stray dogs. In Bark of Night, the action is begun when Andy is called by his veterinarian to check out a dog that has been given up with an order to destroy it. Andy takes the dog and places it in the Center and asks his partner to look after the animal, to not destroy it and await developments.
Sure enough, beginning at this point Andy is dragged into a situation where he must defend a young man accused of murder. Rosenfelt takes this novel up several notches which makes a good read into a better one. The plot brings a national criminal activity to the attention of the FBI, Homeland Security and the police forces of many jurisdictions around the United States.
The author does an excellent job of bringing all the threads in the book to a very clever conclusion while allowing his readers their normal satisfaction with the novel. The writing style, as always, is clever tongue-in-cheek, and does influence the reader to finish the book in one sitting. It is a given that there will be future novels featuring Andy and his helpers, the defense of someone on trial, a dog or dogs and a good time had by all.
7/19 Paul LaneBARK OF NIGHT by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 16, 2019). ISBN 978-1250133090. 304p.

Kindle

Audible


LAYOVER by David Bell

July 10, 2019

Click to purchase

Joshua Fields is a workaholic. The good part of that is he works for his father who has every intention of turning their thriving business over to his son as soon as Joshua is ready. The bad part of that is that he is always traveling; in and out of airports all around the country and living out of suitcases in one hotel after another. He has a girlfriend that he thinks he will marry but is not that excited about the prospect. He also does not like flying, and lives on Xanax in order to be able to board a flight.

The story begins with Joshua meeting a beautiful girl at an airport, sharing a drink, and a kiss and realizing that he wants to have more with Morgan; the lady in question. He than begins a round of chasing after her from one city after another until they meet again. This time the two share a beautiful interlude of sex until Morgan just disappears again. Joshua chases after her; does not meet his father at a very important meeting with prospective customers in Florida, and becomes involved with Morgan’s problems which may include being involved with murder.

The events of the novel are laid out in a very enticing way, and they lend themselves into having to finish the book in one delightful read. It has been several years since Mr Bell’s last book was published and that for me was a spoiler via hoping that his next book will be available shortly. But than again one cannot ask a gifted writer to hurry the next finished project and risking the possibility that it will not match his previous books. A five star novel and one that does continue the author’s literary reputation and the hope that more of his works will be available shortly.

7/19 Paul Lane

LAYOVER by David Bell. Berkley; 1st PB edition (July 2, 2019). ISBN 978-0440000877. 416p.

Kindle

Audible


DEATH HAS DEEP ROOTS by Michael Gilbert

July 9, 2019

Click to purchase

Inspector Hazlerigg, Book 5

This novel was first published in 1951 by Gilbert, a lawyer and a prolific writer. He passed away in 2006, leaving behind quite a legacy of published works which are fortunately being reissued for today’s reader. “Death Has Deep Roots” is in no way a dated piece and will take it’s place among current day novels in the mystery and conspiracy genre. The only difference the reader will find is that it was written shortly after the end of World War II and is grounded in an event that was than fresh in the minds of the entire world.
Victoria Lamartine, a young lady that was very active in the French resistance during the war, is on trial for her life accused of the murder of Eric Thoseby, a major in the British army.  The crime committed in England is being tried in British court, but the background and causative factors stem from events in France in 1943 as the French underground fought the Nazi army of occupation. The murder weapon is a knife that was shown to have been used in a manner reminiscent of skills taught to the members of the French underground.

Click to purchase

The novel presents two continuing events to tell the story.  First, there is Lamartine’s trial, very well described and carefully illustrating the work of both the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Second, Nap Rumbold, member of the defense team, is granted just eight days to travel to France and the areas where events pertinent to the association of Lamartine and Thoseby occurred in 1943. Also brought out in the story is the fact that Victoria became pregnant and had a boy in an affair during the period. The child died due to conditions experienced in fleeing the Germans.  It is thought that Thoseby was the father with Victoria seeking him out and killing him when he did not acknowledge the child.
The novel is absolutely one that will grab the reader and make him or her stay glued to the book until finished.  It will also be of interest that more of the author’s works will be reissued in the next few years making him a gifted writer for today’s readers as well as those that began when he first started publishing.

7/19 Paul Lane

DEATH HAS DEEP ROOTS by Michael Gilbert. House of Stratus; New edition edition (December 11, 2011). ISBN 978-0755105205. 240p.


IF SHE WAKES by Michael Koryta

July 6, 2019

Click to purchase

The book opens as Tara Beckley, a senior at Hammel college, a small university level school situated in Maine, is driving a visiting dignitary to a conference being sponsored by her college. Suddenly, there is a horrendous accident, killing the professor and leaving Tara in a vegetative state. She is aware of her surroundings and what is going on, but in what is termed “locked-in syndrome,” unable to move or communicate with the outside world.

Abby Kaplan, a former stunt driver involved in an accident resulting in one fatality, is now an insurance investigator is assigned by the college to look into the accident and make a determination of who is at fault. The events occurring in the novel revolve around both Abby and Tara and what happens to them. Tara, of course, is completely paralyzed but soon realizes that someone wants her dead in order to cover their tracks regarding the accident. Abby has her own demons beginning with her early career as a very talented stunt driver, but than stopped when she is involved in the accident resulting in a fatality.

Koryta’s reputation as an author that easily grabs his readers and creates situations that keep them glued to the book does it again. With the introduction of a professional killer named Dax, the son and also the nephew of two brothers that were famed for their murders, the reader cannot put the book down until finished. The description of Tara caught in her state, yet aware of the outside world, gives the reader an introduction to a human situation that, fortunately, is not a common one. Abby, normally a brave young lady must conquer her fears of driving while working on the case and does find that those circumstances hinder her in a situation that demands she override them. Even Dax is capable of attracting the reader in his own cold blooded way.

The novel moves with the ease Koryta has always demonstrated. The ending flawlessly flows from the events described in the book, and my recommendation to all is read this one and than just sit tight until Koryta’s next book comes out.

7/19 Paul Lane

IF SHE WAKES by Michael Koryta. Little, Brown and Company (May 14, 2019). ISBN 978-0316294003. 400p.

Kindle

Audible


KING OF KINGS by Wilbur Smith

July 5, 2019
Click to purchase

The author is the successful writer of more than 50 books in his career. All of them are well written, equally well researched and generally set in a tumultuous period of history. One of his characteristics is the creation of characters that are larger than life be they hero or villain. In many cases he has utilized families in his novels as the centerpieces to the story. King of Kings utilizes two of the families created in other books and is the continuation of a novel bringing them together. These are Penrod Ballantyne who is a professional soldier; a major in the British army during the late 1800s and Ryder Courtney an adventurer and met looking to set up a silver mine. The period is during the time when England’s general Gordon was regent in Khartoum and was assassinated by a native army led by the Mahdi and his army of dervishes. It reaches climax when the British sent General Herbert Kitchener to retake the city via a battle at Omdurman and therefore conquers the Sudan for his country.
We meet Ballantyne at the moment that he has a fight with his fiancee and she sends him away. At the same time Courtney is married to the sister of the fiancee and she goes with him in search for the silver mine. The novel is pure Wilbur Smith high adventure played out in Ethiopia during a period when it’s rulers fluctuated between natives and invading armies of both Italy and than England. The question of whether Penrod will win his fiancee back is tied in neatly to the events depicted in the novel. In addition what problems does Ryder face if he finds a producing silver mine in the middle of a country facing war from every side. Can it successfully be developed in a land where the rule of law changes continuously?
Readers of Smith’s books will also expect problems to arise that are above those posed and these must be faced and fixed along with all the other troubles faced by the protagonists. As indicated there several evil individuals present who are really really evil and contribute to a well done novel presented by a gifted author.

7/19 Paul Lane

KING OF KINGS by Wilbur Smith.  Zaffre (April 2, 2019). ISBN 978-1499862010. 464p.

Kindle

Audible