Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly

Louisa, nearing forty, works in Warwickshire, restoring the gardens of Kelstice Lodge. She's still haunted, however, by an event twenty years ago involving her then-boyfriend, Adam. When Paul, not yet 20, comes to work at Kelstice Lodge, Louisa is stunned by his resemblance to Adam. Paul, it turns out, is hiding from his own past. Paul has given evidence against his best friend, Daniel, implicating him in a murder. He worries what would happen if Daniel or Daniel's father, Carl, find out where he's living. Combining the present story of Louisa and Paul along with slowly revealing their pasts, Kelly has written a novel of psychological suspense that's hard to put down once you're into it. For readers who enjoy Ruth Rendell and Tana French.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill

Heavy rains and flooding come to the English town of Lafferton,  unearthing skeletal remains of two females.  Expectations are that one is teenager Harriet Lowther, who disappeared from a bus stop over fifteen years ago.  After a positive identification is made, DCS Simon Serrailler pores over all the interviews and casework that was done at the time that Harriet went missing to see what information needs to be looked at more closely.  The identity of the other victim, though, remains a mystery, but investigators can tell that it's a female from Eastern Europe.  Along with the two cases, Simon is preoccupied with a married woman he meets at a party named Rachel.  He is also supporting his sister, Cat, recently widowed with three children. While I enjoyed The Betrayal of Trust, the story focused too much on the issue of euthanasia, a subplot that, at times, threatened to overwhelm the mystery.  Good, but not at the level of the first three books of the Simon Serrailler series, of which The Betrayal of Trust is the sixth.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

In 1933, private detective Maisie Dobbs is asked by the police to solve the murder of Usha Pramal, an educated single woman from India who had been working in England for the past seven years.  Usha was shot dead and found by some children floating in a canal.  Usha's brother has come to England to find justice for his sister, since the official investigation turned up little.  While Maisie and her assistants, Billy and Sandra, delve into Usha's personal life to try and discover who wanted her dead, they are immersed in Indian immigrant culture and learn of the prejudice faced by people of a different color.  Maisie, herself, is also at a crossroads.  She considers closing her detective agency so she can travel, but she's worried about her father, her boyfriend's desire to marry her, and her loyal assistant, Billy's well-being.  Leaving Everything Most Loved is another gem in the long-running Maisie Dobbs series, combining an interesting mystery along with characters you really care about.  It will be published in March.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Invisible by Carla Buckley

When Dana's teenage niece, Peyton, calls and lets her know that her mom Julie, is seriously ill, Dana rushes back to Black Bear, Minnesota--even though she hasn't spoken to her sister, Julie, or been home in almost twenty years. By the time Dana gets there, Julie has passed away, leaving Peyton to live with her dad, Frank--an alcoholic who's fallen off the wagon. We learn that Dana is Peyton's real mother, a fact that Julie and Dana kept from Frank and, of course, Peyton. Dana also becomes focused on the fact that so many people in Black Bear have died from or have kidney disease, even though the number of people diagnosed is “within normal limits.” Dana wonders what in the town is making people sick? In her quest to uncover the truth, Dana isolates herself even more from the citizens of Black Bear. Told through the eyes of Dana and Peyton, Invisible is a story of lost chances, forgiveness, and healing. An OK read, but not up to the standards of Buckley's first book, The Things That Keep Us Here, which was superb. For readers of Jodi Picoult.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen

Laid off from his white collar job, Carter Tomlin has taken up robbing banks to support the wealthy lifestyle to which his family has become accustomed.  He's recruited his secretary, Tricia, and her boyfriend, Dragan, to be his partners.  FBI Agent Carla Windermere is called to the scene of one of the bank robberies and pieces together that it's connected to another, where a witness described a gold Toyota Camry getaway car.  Windermere is eventually able to make a connection between the robberies and Carter Tomlin.  When she interviews Tomlin, she knows he's guilty, even though she doesn't have enough proof.  Her partner, Doughty, completely disagrees with her, and this makes the situation even more difficult.  Tomlin, however, is getting addicted into robbing banks, resorting to violence to get what he wants.  Will Windermere, along with state cop Kirk Stevens, be able to stop Tomlin?  In this second Stevens/Windermere novel, Laukkanen writes a book that, at times, stretches believability, but is, nonetheless, a fast-paced, thrilling read.  It will be published in March.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith

Leo Maxwell has just passed the bar exam. His older brother, Teddy, is well known in San Francisco as a successful criminal defense attorney who might cross legal lines to win a case (although Leo doesn't believe it). When Teddy is shot in the head while next to Leo at lunch one day, Leo is devastated. After their father went to prison for murdering their mother, Teddy raised Leo (with the help of a series of housekeepers).  However, Teddy kept his emotional distance from Leo and never really let him inside of the cases he was working on. Leo decides that he must delve into his brother's life and the people he defended to try and find out who wanted him dead, especially since Teddy made lots of enemies in the police department.  While Teddy lies in a coma, Leo finds himself, at times, in over his head, but never wavering in his quest to find justice for his brother.  Bear is Broken is the first book in the Leo Maxwell series and will be published in February.