Saturday, June 30, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070630

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Dick Van Dyke will co-star with his sons Barry and Shane in the upcoming Hallmark Mystery Original Movie Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses.

• Beth Dickman of the Hudson Star-Observer profiles debut author Mark Combes whose passion for scuba diving and an education in English literature collided in Running Wrecked, the first in a mystery series featuring dive shop owner Phil Riley.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: The Lady from Buenos Aires by John Lantigua

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Lady from Buenos Aires by John Lantigua. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Lady from Buenos Aires by John Lantigua

The Lady from Buenos Aires by John Lantigua
A Willie Cuesta Mystery

Arte Publico Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-55885-496-7 (1558854967)
ISBN-13: 978-1-55885-496-3 (9781558854963)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Willie Cuesta wears tropical shirts, cool linen slacks, and Mexican sandals to ward off the Florida heat. Formerly a Miami Police Department detective, he now works as chief of security at his brother’s salsa club while he waits for new clients at his detective agency in Little Havana.

After meeting Fiona Bonaventura, Willie quickly realizes that her predicament isn’t a straight forward missing-persons case. The elegant Argentinean is convinced that she has found her dead sister’s daughter. Her sister Sonia disappeared during Argentina’s “dirty war” more than twenty years ago, but her pregnant body was never found. Fiona has never stopped searching for her sister’s child, and several times has been steps away from finding the girl she is convinced is her niece. This time she has tracked the girl to , and Fiona is determined not to lose her again.

As Willie delves into the case, a host of shady characters surface with ties to the Argentinean military dictatorship responsible for the death and disappearance of thousands of citizens: Sarah Ingram, who teaches tango in a dance studio in a quiet, suburban neighborhood; her polo-playing husband who makes it clear he won’t tolerate questions about his intelligence work in Argentina years ago; a terrified man who survived torture and imprisonment during the “dirty war” and may be able to identify some of his torturers if he can set his fear aside; and even an Argentine diplomat.

When people associated with the case start turning up dead and Willie finds himself held captive in the back of an SUV, he knows for sure that death squads from another time and place have arrived in Miami. As the vehicle careens through the pre-dawn streets of Miami, Willie Cuesta must hang on desperately as his latest case spirals out of control.

Review: After an absense of almost six years, Cuban-American private investigator Willie Cuesta returns in The Lady from Buenos Aires, the third mystery in this series by John Lantigua.

This is the heart-felt story of Fiona Bonaventura’s twenty year search for the child of her younger sister, Sonia, who was killed in Argentina’s “dirty war." Sonia was captured as a rebel to the cause while she was still pregnant. She was put in a special area and allowed to give birth, but then she was sent to her death. The baby was given to Manuel Navarro, a member of the military, and his wife, Felicia. When the war ended Manuel left the country. He did not want to be tried as a war criminal. Now, Fiona finds out he and his family is somewhere in Miami. She hires private investigator Willie Cuesta of Little Havana to find them. All Fiona gives Cuesta to go on is a picture of Sonia when she was twenty years old, the age of Sonia’s daughter now and the name of Manuel Navarro. He gets information from his computer, asks for help from a friend, a detective on the Miami Police Force, and a lawyer who deals with immigration issues. He finds people who knew people in Argentina during those horrible days. When he thinks he’s getting close, some of those to whom he has spoken to are killed or else mysteriously disappear. He, too, is shot, beaten up, shoved in the back of an SUV and stomped on. The men and women now he talks to either lie to him, or are afraid to talk to him, or they send him on wild goose chases. Notable among these is a priest who was a chaplain in Argentina during the war, now a real estate dealer in Miami, and the vice council at the Argentine consulate in Miami.

The Lady from Buenos Aires is an extraordinary story that compels interest throughout. The historical background adds credibility to the plot which itself is relentless. It is an exciting, frequently scary, ride that Lantigua takes the reader on as Cuesta pursues his investigation. Reading this excellent mystery is time well spent.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Lady from Buenos Aires and to Arte Publico Press for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

News: CBS Orders 5th Jesse Stone Movie

Mysteries on TVThe Hollywood Reporter is reporting that CBS has ordered a fifth made-for-television movie based on the by Robert B. Parker. Tom Selleck plays the title character, the chief of police for a small coastal Massachusetts town.

Titled Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Stone finds his job in jeopardy after the attempted murder of his friend and colleague, State Police Captain Healy (a character from the Spenser series who also appeared in Night Passage). In contrast to the previous four movies, this one doesn't appear to be based on any single book in the series.

The movie is set to start shooting in Nova Scotia this August; no air date has been set.

In related news, the Hallmark Channel has acquired the rights to the existing four Jesse Stone mystery movies. The first three are currently available on DVD.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

Return to ...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for June 29, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending June 29, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

A quiet week on the bestseller lists, just a bit of shuffling of the titles from last week. Lean Mean Thirteen by remains at the top of both the Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com mystery hardcover bestseller lists. For readers already looking forward to the next book in the Stephanie Plum series, Janet Evanovich is sponsoring a Name Book Fourteen contest on her website.

We've upgraded our website to allow you to easily purchase any bestselling mystery book featured on our site over the past 8 months. Let us know what you think!

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070628

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The Manchester Evening News reports that 14 new episodes of Midsomer Murders based on the series of mysteries by Caroline Graham have been ordered. Production will continue through at least April, 2009.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Prime Time by
A Charlotte McNally Mystery

Harlequin (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-373-88135-5 (0373881355)
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-88135-2 (9780373881352)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $5.50

Synopsis (from the publisher): Could an innocent e-mail offer really result in murder, mayhem and a multimillion-dollar fraud ring? The last person to ask is dead but that won't keep Charlotte McNally from poking around. Face it: in the cutthroat world of television journalism, this seasoned reporter knows that she'd better pull out all the stops or kiss her cushy job (and that means her life) goodbye.

But all too soon her investigation leads her straight to Josh Gelston, who is a little too a lot too handsome. Could she trust a word he said? Charlie might have a nose for news, but men are a whole other story. Which means she is putting her job, life and heart on the line …

Review: television reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan introduces Charlotte "Charlie" McNally, a character not unlike herself, in Prime Time, a wonderfully absorbing mystery.

It all started with a couple of spam e-mail messages from someone she did not know. Charlie ignored them, promptly deleting them. A few days later, however, a local newspaper headlined an article about a whistle-blower revealing a pending lawsuit involving a very large sum of money being stolen by officers of a pharmaceutical company. The article goes on to say that an accountant was found dead in an automobile accident – or was it suicide? Charlie recognized the name of the company and the accountant. She remembered seeing the accountant’s name, Bradley Forman, somewhere. Where was it? Was he the person who had sent her the spam e-mails? Enlisting the aid of her producer, Franklin, they hack her computer to locate the deleted messages. They still don't make any sense, but reporter that she is, Charlie sees a story. After all, television's November sweeps are not too far away and the clock is ticking.

Prime Time is a fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable, well written and plotted mystery and Charlie McNally is an appealing lead character. The story she and Franklin pursue lead them to deciphering a code in the message, but not before another man is killed (another automobile "accident"?) and the life of a third threatened. The reader will be as determined as Charlie to unravel this mystery and will be hard pressed to put this book down before she does.

Another character worth mentioning is Charlie's immediate superior at the station, Angela. At half Charlie's age, Angela clutches a clipboard and carries a big stick. There's a lot of humor in witnessing the interaction between the award-winning reporter with years of experience and the young producer whose primary concern is ratings.

Prime Time is a terrific debut to this series; a sequel is eagerly awaited. And as an endnote, one can't help wonder if Ryan's life as a reporter is nearly as exciting as Charlie's!

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Prime Time and to Book Trends for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070626

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Hallie Ephron of the Boston Globe reviews three new mystery books.

• The Associated Press is reporting that actor-comedian Richard Belzer has signed with Simon & Schuster to write two mystery books featuring himself as a TV performer caught up in his own plot.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood

Earthly Delights by
A Corinna Chapman Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-393-0 (1590583930)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-393-7 (9781590583937)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Corinna Chapman was once a high profile accountant and banker. That is until she walked out on the money market and her dismissive and unpleasant husband James, threw aside her briefcase, and doffed her kitten heels forever. Now she is a baker working in her own business, Earthly Delights, in Flinders Lane, , Australia.

Corinna is living in an eccentric building on the Roman model called Insula, which has eight stories, sixteen apartments, and a lot of strange and interesting people. These include a retired professor of classics, Dionysius Monk; a Dutch gardener named Trudi; Mr. and Mrs. Pemberthy and their rotten little doggie, Traddles; a pair of disgustingly thin, would-be soapie stars Goss and Kylie; and a jobbing witch, Meroe of The Sibyl's Cave.

Corinna is quite content with her cat Horatio and her shop until a junkie falls half dead on her grate, a gorgeous sabra stalks along her alley and tells her that she is beautiful, and she starts receiving threatening letters accusing her of being a scarlet woman.

Then it is Goths, lost girls, fraud, late nights, nerds, and beautiful slaves. Life for Corinna has suddenly become interesting. And she still needs to get her bread out in time for the morning rush.

Review: Kerry Greenwood, author of the popular Phryne Fisher mysteries, introduces a new series featuring Melbourne (Australia) bakery owner Corinna Chapman in Earthly Delights.

It is probably inevitable and no doubt unfair to compare this new series introducing Corinna Chapman to Greenwood's long-running series featuring Phryne Fisher. But Greenwood seems to invite such comparison. The plot isn't important in Earthly Delights which is for the most part completely forgettable; the author's focus here is on character development. She seems determined to portray Corinna Chapman as the anti-Phryne Fisher.

Where Phyrne came from a humble background to become a member of the Melbourne aristocracy, Corinna has abandoned the world of high finance (and no doubt high income) to toil in a bakery. Phryne is sophisticated and stylish; Corinna is dowdy. Phryne is a woman of action; Corinna seems content to allow events to come to her. They do have something in common: they're both terribly opinionated. But while this trait works in Phyrne's favor, it makes Corinna seem a bit petulant.

It's all well and good to create a new character for a series different from the one readers are familiar with. But Greenwood has extended this comparison between the two to the plots of their respective series. The Phyrne Fisher mysteries are thrilling adventures whereas Earthly Delights is slow and cumbersome and dull. There are, for example, entire chapters that seem to be dedicated to describing the difficulties in managing a one-woman bakery and the art of making bread.

Corinna Chapman has the potential to be an interesting character, but she needs something to challenge her, a puzzle to solve. Maybe the next book in the series will provide a mystery worthy of her, and the reader's, attention.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Earthly Delights for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mysteries on TV: Miami Vice, Monk, Poirot, and Psych

Mysteries on TVMystery television series being released this week on DVD:

Miami Vice Season 5Miami Vice, Season 5 starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as Vice Squad detectives James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs.

The series ran for 5 seasons on NBC from September 1984 through July 1989.

This DVD set includes the 20 episodes from the 5th and final season on 5 disks. Also included is an episode that was never shown during the series run on NBC, but on the USA Network in January, 1990.

Monk Season 5Monk, Season 5 starred Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, the obsessive-compulsive police detective on leave who acts as a consultant to the department.

The series first aired on the USA Network in July 2002 and remains in production today.

This DVD set includes 16 episodes from the 5th season on 4 disks. The noir episode "Mr. Monk and the Leper" is available in two versions, black-and-white and color.

Monk Season 5Psych, Season 1 starred James Roday as Shawn Spencer who, with his keen eye for detail and photographic memory, convinces the police that he has psychic abilities and can assist them in solving crimes.

The series first aired on the USA Network in July 2006 and remains in production today.

This DVD set includes 15 episodes from the 1st season on 4 disks.

Hercule Poirot The Classic Collection 2Agatha Christie's Poirot, The Classic Collection 2 starred David Suchet as the brilliant Belgian sleuth.

This DVD set includes 9 made-for-television movies on 10 disks; the 10th disk is a documentary on Agatha Christie. The movie mysteries are: The ABC Murders, Death in the Clouds, Dumb Witness, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Hickory Dickory Dock, Murder on the Links, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, One Two Buckle My Show, and Peril at End House.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

Return to ...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for June 25, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for June 25, 2007A new has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's letters and mystery clue: A E H L M N O S T. Honor Hartman introduces amateur sleuth Emma Diamond in this Bridge Club mystery (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070624

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The Times-Picayune is reporting that filming on Black Water Transit, adapted from the crime novel of the same name by Carsten Stroud, has begun in New Orleans.

• The July issue of the free online Southern Book Review has an interview with Shamus Award winning author David Fulmer.

• The Colorado Springs Gazette provides some advice from agents, editors and authors to writers who harbor the dream of getting published.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Death Game by Cheryl Swanson

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Death Game by Cheryl Swanson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Death Game by Cheryl Swanson

Death Game by
A Cooper O'Brien Mystery

Zumaya Publications (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-55410-325-6 (1554103258)
ISBN-13: 978-1-55410-325-5 (9781554103258)
Publication Date: November 2006
List Price: $14.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Jimmie O'Brien is a boy with a wounded soul and a dangerous secret. Haunted by his violent father's searing legacy, Jimmie is defiant, a borderline delinquent. And then, one night in , when Jimmie is filmed doing something unspeakable ...

Jimmie's sister, with her background in big money filmmaking, is no stranger to betrayal, seduction and intrigue. But Cooper is soon in territory she never dreamed of treading. One boy is dead; her brother is missing. Drawn into an international war of nerves, skill and murder, she finds herself pitted against one of the most fearsome men on earth.

As the death game closes in, the O'Brien family's survival hinges on a hair trigger. And the trap that is about to be sprung aims at far greater game.

Review: Cheryl Swanson's debut mystery, Death Game, introduces computer graphics expert Cooper O'Brien in a tale of international intrigue that falls just short of being a first-rate thriller.

Stephen Ludlow, the son of a wealthy and powerful businessman, has been murdered, shot by someone caught on a surveillance camera. When the killer is identified as Cooper's younger brother Jimmie, she refuses to believe it. Though Jimmie's had some emotional problems, Cooper is convinced, despite the evidence, that he couldn't be involved in murder. As she begins to untangle the threads that led Jimmie to be on the Ludlow yacht the night Stephen was murdered, she discovers a terrorist operation that threatens the lives of thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay area.

Swanson is a gifted storyteller, but she has tried to incorporate far too much material into Death Game. There are two gripping plotlines here but the links between them are at best tenuous and they probably would have been better told in separate books.

First there's the videotape of her brother Jimmie shooting Stephen Ludlow. Cooper is a computer graphics expert, and the situation seems perfect for her to use her skills to clear her brother's name. Swanson establishes the relationships between all the principal characters and introduces how increasingly realistic environments are required for advanced video game development. Could the murder have simply been a stage for a video game gone horribly awry? Did someone replace the images on the surveillance camera to frame Jimmie? If so, why? Death Game seems to go in this direction for a while when the plot abruptly and somewhat inexplicably transitions to something else entirely.

That something else is related to the visually arresting cover that depicts a burning Golden Gate Bridge. It's probably not giving away too much to note that the secondary plot in Death Game involves a terrorist organization's plans to blow it up. The how and why, and Cooper's involvement in uncovering their plans, makes for compelling reading. But the ties between the terrorist plot and the murder of Stephen Ludlow seem particularly strained, if not implausible, resulting in a less than satisfactory conclusion to this ambitious literary effort.

Swanson provides Cooper O'Brien with a few tantalizing attributes in Death Game that don't get much attention here. A more tightly plotted sequel would not only be welcome by readers but also give her the opportunity to explore these characteristics in more depth.

Special thanks to Cheryl Swanson for providing a copy of Death Game for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070623

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Marcel Berlins profiles crime writer Jasper Fford for The Times.

• Christopher Bantick talks to award-winning mystery author Michael Robotham in The Courier Mail.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Press Release: Library of Congress Announces 2007 National Book Festival

WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2007 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public.

"This will be the seventh year of this extraordinary celebration of the joy of reading and the creativity of America's writers and illustrators," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The National Book Festival brings authors and readers together to share the stories that touch their minds and hearts. Tens of thousands of book lovers see firsthand how reading changes lives and how our country, its citizens and its libraries promote reading in imaginative and inspiring ways."

"The National Book Festival welcomes all Americans to the National Mall to celebrate reading and meet with some of America's most-loved authors from across the country," said Mrs. Bush. "Readers of all ages can discover the joys of new books and fall in love again with old favorites."

This year about 70 well-known authors, illustrators and poets will talk about their books in the following pavilions: Children; Teens & Children; Fiction & Fantasy; Mysteries & Thrillers; History & Biography; Home & Family; and Poetry. Festivalgoers can have books signed by their favorite authors, and children can meet ever-popular storybook and television characters and NBA/WNBA players appearing on the festival grounds throughout the day.

In the Mystery & Thrillers pavillion, sponsored by The Amend Group, authors scheduled to appear include David Baldacci, Stephen L. Carter, , Brian Haig, , Stephen Hunter, David Ignatius, , , and Daniel Silva.

Read the entire press release here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070622

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Lev Grossman reviews Black and Blue-Blooded by Stephen Carter on Time.com.

Fisherwoman and mystery author Linda Greenlaw is profiled by Emily Young.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Dead Copy by Kit Frazier

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Dead Copy by Kit Frazier. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Dead Copy by Kit Frazier

Dead Copy by
A Cauley MacKinnon Mystery

Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7387-0959-X (073870959X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-0959-8 (9780738709598)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $13.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Twentysomething Cauley MacKinnon is dying to escape the obituary beat and become a real reporter for the Sentinel. Her best chance at a front-page scoop disappeared when she got too close to a case and almost got killed. Cauley also managed to fall for the smoking-hot FBI agent assigned to protect her.

When Special Agent Tom Logan shows up asking for a fake obituary to make a key trial witness disappear, Cauley jumps at the chance to help. After all, she's still watching his dog Tahoe although maybe its the other way around.

Caught in the crossfire on the courthouse steps, Cauley sees the murder of the man whose death she already helped fake.

Now someone is making it clear that they don't want Cauley getting any closer to the case unless she wants to wind up on the obituary page herself.

Review: Dead Copy is the second mystery by Kit Frazier to feature spirited obituary writer Cauley MacKinnon who's looking for any chance to prove she can be a credible journalist.

An opportunity to do just that comes by way of FBI agent Tom Logan who asks her to write an obituary for an informant who is still alive. They want him to disappear until the trial at which time he can give his testimony regarding two mob gangs, one in Austin and one just south of the border in Mexico. The day of the trial, and before he can testify, the "dead" man is gunned down between two US marshals on the steps of the courthouse. Cauley witnesses the murder and sees the shooters leave. Knowing she identify the killers, she is sent a canary stabbed to death with one of her own knives. The note in the box makes it perfectly clear what would happen to her if she sings. Someone out there wants Cauley to know they are watching and stay away from this case. Cauley, being the impetuous person she is, decides to press forward to find the person or persons who want her dead. At her side is her adopted search-and-rescue dog, Marlowe.

Frazier does a terrific job of allowing the reader to connect with Cauley MacKinnon. She is not a wonder woman and knows her own limitations. When there's a job to be done, she ponders over it for a few minutes then seeks out the most suitable friends or co-workers to help her. Dead Copy is written with a light touch, melding several touching scenes with others that include lively banter between Cauley and her friends and enemies. It's a good mystery wrapped around an exciting love story. Or maybe the other way around.

And then there's Marlowe. What a sweet, talented dog he is!

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Dead Copy and to Midnight Ink for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Bestsellers for June 22, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending June 22, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet EvanovichNo surprises this week as the eagerly anticipated 13th (or 15th, depending on how you're counting) mystery in the Stephanie Plum series is published: by . According to the publisher, the bounty hunter finds herself in her most dangerour, hilarious and hottest chase yet. Publishers Weekly calls the book "rollicking" and states, "With the author's usual cast of eccentric side characters-everything from a taxidermist with a penchant for bombs to a grave-robbing tax man-Evanovich proves once again that Stephanie Plum and her entourage are here to stay."

Also new this week on the Barnes&Noble.com list: Bangkok Haunts by , the 3rd mystery to feature Royal Thai Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep.

We've upgraded our website to allow you to easily purchase any bestselling mystery book featured on our site over the past 8 months. Let us know what you think!

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070621

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

Otto Penzler critiques recently published mysteries on the New York Sun.

Fox News is reporting that a hacker claims to have posted the ending of the next and final Harry Potter book online.

The latest Nancy Drew PC Game is reviewed by CinemaBlend.com.

The 80-installment online soap opera murder mystery Prom Queen comes to an end.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Black's Beach Shuffle by Corey Lynn Fayman

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Black's Beach Shuffle by Corey Lynn Fayman. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Black's Beach Shuffle by Corey Lynn Fayman

Black's Beach Shuffle by
A Rolly Waters Mystery

iUniverse (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-595-40267-4 (0595402674)
ISBN-13: 978-0-595-40267-0 (9780595402670)
Publication Date: November 2006
List Price: $13.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Rolly Waters is a recovering rock musician and part-time private eye. One night his band performs at a blowout party for EyeBitz.com, a fast-rising Internet startup that has the city of talking. When Rolly returns after hours to retrieve his guitar from the host’s mansion, he finds a dead body floating in the swimming pool. His discovery sets in motion a series of intrigues that drag him into the surreal world of dot.com culture, as well as the dark heart of his own uneven past.

Review: Corey Lynn Fayman introduces part-time rock-and-roll band player, part-time private investigator Rolly Waters in the first of an expected trilogy of mysteries, Black's Beach Shuffle.

In a case of "it's not what you know but who you know", low-tech Rolly Waters is hired by a high-tech San Diego company to locate a missing computer disk, the key to a revolutionary software product being developed by EyeBitz.com. Rolly's only prior connection to the company was from the night before when, after completing a gig at the home of an EyeBitz.com executive and returning for a forgotten guitar, Rolly finds a dead man floating in the pool built on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That same man is later found at the base of the cliffs on Black's Beach. Rolly soon discovers that the murdered man and his investigation are intricately related and solving one will lead to the solution of the other.

There's a well written passage about a third of the way into the book that sums up Rolly's perception of his case. "Solving cases was like writing songs. Most of his cases were simple blues tunes. You started with the basic structure. Somebody did somebody else wrong. That was the easy part. Cases like that started with the same bund of notes, the same basic chords, but each client had their own special way of playing it. But this case was different. This one was more like a concerto, with an inviolable score written in tiny black notes. The orchestra had started playing before Rolly arrived. All he had was a triangle to play with." Reading Black's Beach Shuffle is a lot like listening to, and enjoying, a complicated piece of music. It's complex but not confusing. And as Rolly slowly begins to understand how the various components fit together, a clear picture emerges of who took the missing key and more importantly why it was taken.

Fayman wisely shows some restraint in this tightly plotted book with well drawn characters in believable situations. Black's Beach Shuffle is a terrific start to this series and readers will be looking forward to Rolly's next mystery.

Special thanks to Author Marketing Experts for providing a copy of Black's Beach Shuffle for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

News: Shortlist for Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

Voting by the public is now over, and the shortlist for this year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year has been announced. The titles are:

The Dead Place by Stephen Booth;
All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye by Christopher Brookmyre;
Two Way Split by Allan Guthrie;
Blood and Honey by Graham Hurley;
The Death Ship of Dartmouth by Michael Jecks;
Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride.

The winner will be announced on July 19th at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and will receive £3,000.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Lethally Blond by Kate White

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Lethally Blond by Kate White. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Lethally Blond by Kate White

Lethally Blond by
A Bailey Weggins Mystery

Grand Central Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-446-57795-2 (0446577952)
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-57795-3 (9780446577953)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $24.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Whenever a celebrity throws a phone, crashes a car, or kills a spouse, celebrity journalist Bailey Weggins is there to cover it for the gossip magazine Buzz. Now, the new television show Morgue is the talk of the town, and just as Bailey starts reminiscing about her brief summer fling with the show's gorgeous star, Chris Wickersham, he calls. But Chris isn't thinking about rekindling their old flame. His friend and fellow actor on the show has gone missing, and while nobody else seems to be alarmed, Chris can't believe his friend would just run off while on the brink of stardom. When Bailey starts to investigate as a favor for Chris, she soon realizes there is much more to the disappearance than meets the eye, and unless she can unearth the truth, she could become the inspiration for Morgue's next episode.

Review: Spunky, intelligent, 30-something celebrity crime reporter for Buzz magazine Bailey Weggins shares the spotlight with the glamorous stars of television in Lethally Blond, the fifth mystery by Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White.

Bailey is asked by a former lover, Chris, to help find his friend Tom who has disappeared. Chris and Tom have both landed roles in a new prime time series, Morgue. A few weeks before the show is to air, however, Tom drops out of sight. Although no one on the staff or in the crew thinks anything about it, Chris thinks Tom was too excited about getting his part that he would not just leave without telling someone. As Bailey starts her investigation into Tom’s disappearance, she renews her love affair with Chris. Delving into the lives of each cast member, she finds that Tom has an ongoing love affair with the show’s principle star, who is engaged to the producer. Tom also had affairs with some other women in the cast, a few of whom did not want it to end. He was owed a large sum of money by a fellow actor and was pressing for payment. He had a family home in Andes in the Catskills which no one seemed to know anything about. Bailey, between her job at Buzz and trying to spend every spare minute rekindling her love for Chris, finds time to go to Andes and search for Tom’s home. There she finds a body burned beyond recognition. Is it Tom? If so, who else knew about his home? And if it isn’t, who is it?

Though Lethally Blond doesn't have a substantial mystery plot, the book will attract readers who enjoy the exploits of media stars with a couple of murders thrown in. White, with her insider knowledge of the industry, does a fine job of portraying the characters in her book as they seem to appear in the public eye. Whether this is accurate or not is irrelevant; perception is reality in the world of show business.

Bailey Weggins is an appealing amateur sleuth who uses her charm to get intimate with the people she has put on her suspect list. Though repeatedly threatened during her investigation, she forges ahead with incredible determination until she solves the mystery.

Lethally Blond is light and fun and the perfect companion for a summer vacation.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Lethally Blond and to Precedent Media Unlimited for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mysteries on TV: The Original Perry Mason

Mysteries on TVMystery television series being released this week on DVD:

Perry Mason, Season 2, Volume 1Perry Mason, Season 2, Volume 1 starred Raymond Burr as the famous Los Angeles defense attorney. The series also featured Barbara Hale as secretary Della Street and William Hopper at private investigator Paul Drake. The series was based on the novels by Erle Stanley Gardner.

Perry Mason aired on CBS from September 1957 through May 1966 and included 271 episodes over 9 seasons.

This DVD set includes the first 15 episodes from the 2nd season on 4 disks.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

Return to ...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for June 18, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for June 18, 2007A new has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's letters and mystery clue: B D E F I N O R Y. What was the title character that was killed in this debut mystery by (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Play Dead by David Rosenfelt

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Play Dead by David Rosenfelt. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Play Dead by David Rosenfelt

Play Dead by
An Andy Carpenter Mystery

Grand Central (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-446-58241-7 (0446582417)
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-58241-4 (9780446582414)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $24.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Few can rival attorney Andy Carpenter's affection for golden retrievers, especially his own beloved Tara. After he astonishes a courtroom by successfully appealing another golden's death sentence, Andy discovers that this gentle dog is a key witness to a murder that took place five years before. Andy pushes the boundaries of the law even further as he struggles to free an innocent man by convincing an incredulous jury to take canine testimony seriously. It will take all the tricks Andy's fertile mind can conceive to get to the bottom of a remarkable chain of impersonations and murder, and save a dog's life--and his own--in the process.

Review: “Golden retrievers do not belong in cages – ever – no exceptions.” This statement opens the sixth legal thriller by David Rosenfelt featuring attorney Andy Carpenter, Play Dead. Andy is a dog lover, especially golden retrievers, and a partner on the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue operation. When Andy visits the foundation to check to see how things were going, he spots a seven year old golden retriever in a cage. The dog looks at Andy and his eyes tell him, “I do not belong here.” Andy, of course, agrees. The dog was sentenced to be “put down” in less than ten days for biting his owner. Andy goes to court to appeal the dog’s death sentence - and he wins. This is just the beginning of this absorbing and entertaining mystery.

Five years ago, Richard Evans was accused and convicted of the murder of his fiancée, Stacy. They had been enjoying his boat when a sudden storm came up. The evidence showed Richard had killed Stacy, wrapped her up and threw her in the Atlantic Ocean. There was also evidence that Richard had been hit over the head and drugged, but this was presented as a suicide attempt. Also, Richard’s beloved dog was missing. Did Richard throw Reggie overboard, too, in the black waters of the Atlantic, four miles from shore? Now, five years later, new and astounding evidence unearthed by Karen, Richard’s loyal sister, that could overturn the verdict of the murder and free Richard from life imprisonment. Karen takes the evidence she has acquired, which is not much according to the law, to Andy and pleads with him to to defend Richard should a new trial be granted. The new trial brings about the facts that this is not just about the murder of a young woman. The evidence takes on some intriguing plots, schemes and secrets. These charades involve the New Jersey Port Authority (where Richard worked before he was arrested), U. S. soldiers who were a team in Afghanistan with Richard, members of the mob, and certain departments of the U. S. Government. Andy and Karen are both targets for a gunman, and both have been shot at. But no one knows who is trying to kill them or why.

David Rosenfelt is a very clever and witty writer. He begins by saying he doesn’t particularly like acknowledgment pages, but feels that maybe he should acknowledge a few who have helped to inspire him along the way. Here's a sample: Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, the whole state of Montana, ... these are just a few of the seventy-five that Rosenfelt acknowledges. Reading something like this gives the reader a feeling of ease and a promise that the story will be interesting, entertaining and likable. Andy and his circle of co-workers and friends are very believable. With the multiple and intersecting storylines, the plot gets a little confusing at times but all it comes together in the end. It is a fast-paced and very readable book.

Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who is unpretentious, eager to help those in need, willing to face the longest odds, and a dog lover. Play Dead is not only a terrific legal thriller, it is one of the best books of the year.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Play Dead and to Hachette Book Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

News: Brooklyn DA Publishes First Novel

Here's another story on a new mystery author and his road to the publication of his debut crime novel. Thomas Tracy of the Bay Ridge Courier asks the rhetorical question, What's harder than prosecuting a triple homicide? Writing a novel about one. The aptly titled , published this month by St. Martin's Press, is written by longtime Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

Born out of real stories of corruption and centered around two men who ultimately dare to challenge the fabled “blue wall” of silence, the novel works toward a majestic courtroom on Long Island, where NYPD Sergeant Steven Holt is about to stand trial for triple homicide and where, as he comes to know his past, he’ll learn that nothing he’s known has ever been as it seemed.

Tracy writes that it took about three years for Hynes to write the book. And then came the hard part: getting it published. “It took me ten years to get a publisher,” Hynes recalled. “The reality is that publishing houses no longer take manuscripts like they used to. When he first started out, John Grisham’s wife sent fifty copies of his book directly to fifty publishing houses. But now you have to get an agent first.” Getting an agent was by far the most difficult part of the process, he said.

But it was worth it, with Triple Homicide earning positive reviews. Library Journal writes, "His experience as a DA lends instant credibility and an insider voice that few authors are able to attain. Hopefully a second novel isn’t far behind."

As for a second novel, “I don’t think [Grisham and other courtroom drama scribes] have anything to worry about,” said Hynes, who is currently fulfilling his fifth term of office as District Attorney. “It took me sixteen years to get the book out. While I’m working on a sequel, I don’t know if I can get it done in this lifetime."

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...


News: Mystery Author's Self-Published Success

Gary Bills-Geddes of the Ledbury Reporter writes that a local author's mystery was signed by a publisher after her self-published version started to sell for up to £400 on the internet. , by Suzette A. Hill, has received rave reviews from Dame Beryl Bainbridge who calls the book "tremendous–flowing and amusing".

Originally titled A Load of Old Bones: The Curious Exploits of the Reverend Francis Oughterard as Recounted by Himself with Interspersions from His Cat Maurice and His Dog Bouncer, the book (with a shortened title) will be published by Constable and Robinson in the UK next month. It's already available here, published by Carroll & Graf. A sequel is on its way, tentatively titled Bones in the Belfry, with a third book being written to complete the trilogy.

Set in a wonderful parody of 1950s Surrey, A Load of Old Bones delights in turning the detective fiction genre on its head. The characters are unlikably lovable, the plot hilariously improbable, and the prose crafted to perfection.

It's always wonderful to read how self-published authors, particularly those of mysteries, can succeed in this highly competitive business. Our partner website, , is dedicated to providing new mystery writers with information on writing and self-publishing mystery books.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Castro Gene by Todd Buchholz

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Castro Gene by Todd Buchholz. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Castro Gene by Todd Buchholz

The Castro Gene by
Non-series

Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-06-6 (1933515066)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-06-9 (9781933515069)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): After killing a man in the ring, Luke Braden quits boxing. While toiling as a security guard and yearning to reinvent himself, Luke is swept up into the high-flying domain of Paul Tremont. Tremont, the hottest hedge fund hand around, has a penchant for the dramatic and a disquieting need to control. Being Tremont’s protégé has its perks – Luke trades in his ratty basement apartment for a penthouse view, his gym clothes for designer suits. But there are strings attached, and Tremont is pulling those strings.

Why does Tremont need a washed-up boxer? The answer lies not in what Luke is, but who he is. Luke Braden is the only man who can execute Tremont’s diabolical scheme.

Fidel Castro risks one last trip to the U.S., and one man will be forced to stand in his way. Luke Braden is in for the fight of his life – or the fight for his life.

Review: Former White House director of economic policy Todd Buchholz tries his hand at mainstream fiction in The Castro Gene, a financial thriller that, despite the fantastic and at times familiar plot, succeeds in being highly entertaining.

Luke Braden is an ex-boxer who is tapped by billionaire Paul Tremont to help him achieve some undefined objective. Lured by a huge salary, a lavish apartment, and limitless expense account, Luke agrees and is put through a number of "tests" to confirm not only his financial acumen but his willingness to do whatever Tremont wants, no matter how odd the request may be. That Luke passes these tests is never in doubt; Tremont needs Luke and there's no alternate candidate for the job. After Tremont accidentally kills a woman and tries to cover it up, Luke realizes he's in over his head and uses his own connections to get back at the man who's been manipulating his life.

Buchholz borrows heavily from any number of books and movies in constructing The Castro Gene. The familiarity of these storylines to the reader actually works to the author's advantage: just when the plot seems to be moving in a certain direction, it abruptly changes. This isn't a suspense novel in that what Tremont sees in Luke is, for all practical purposes, given by the book's title. And early on Tremont reveals what his ultimate goal is. But how Tremont intends to use that information and act on it is a bit of a mystery, even after it's revealed. It's not unlike the university professor who fills a blackboard with formulas and then, to bring it all together, writes "and then a miracle occurs". If Tremont can leverage his capital 20 to 1 or even 100 to 1, the entire GNP of Cuba would be a rounding error in his financial empire. Why would he care? Is it all about getting even?

Tremont is a grand, richly drawn character, and Buchholz gives him some wonderful lines. Consider this statement from Tremont to Luke: "God is a mover and shaker, right? But he's omniscient too. Can you imagine his P&L if he were speculating in the commodity markets?" Buchholz is less successful with Luke, who's never quite believable as a boxer who kills, albeit unintentionally, an opponent in the ring. Given the way he's portrayed, having him be a baseball player who accidentally lines a drive killing the opposing pitcher would have been much better choice.

The Castro Gene is a terrific book to while away that lazy afternoon. And there's an unexpected bonus: yet another theory, as credible as any other, on who really assassinated John F. Kennedy.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing an ARC of The Castro Gene for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Bestsellers for June 15, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending June 15, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Double Take by Catherine CoulterNew at the top of the list at Barnes&Noble.com: by , the 11th thriller in the FBI suspense series. Agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock are in to help unlock the mystery behind a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the missing wife of Sheriff Dixon Noble. Meanwhile, agent Cheney Stone's interrupts the attempted murder of the widow of a renowned psychic. As their investigations cross, Sheriff Noble and Agent Stone push deep into a complex world of psychics and poseurs, and as the stakes and the body count rise, Savich, Sherlock, Dix, and Cheney fight for answers-and their lives.

Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz SmithAlso new this week: , the 6th mystery featuring investigator Arkady Renko by Martin Cruz Smith. Renko has been assigned the thankless job of investigating a new phenomenon: late-night subway riders report seeing the ghost of Joseph Stalin on the platform of the Chistye Prudy Metro station. The illusion seems part political hocus-pocus and also part wishful thinking, for among many Russians Stalin is again popular; the bloody dictator can boast a two-to-one approval rating. His investigation becomes personal when it leads to the fields of Tver outside of Moscow where once a million soldiers fought, and Renko must confront the ghost of his own father, a favorite general of Stalin's. Publishers Weekly states, "This masterful suspense novel casts a searing light on contemporary Russia."

We've upgraded our website to allow you to easily purchase any bestselling mystery book featured on our site over the past 8 months. Let us know what you think!

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan

The Screaming Room by
A John Driscoll Mystery

Pinnacle (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7860-1812-7 (0786018127)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1812-3 (9780786018123)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): John Driscoll has laid the ghosts of his past to rest. He's ready to start over—both personally and as a New York City homicide detective. But it seems that a serial killer has other plans for Driscoll.

The victims' bodies are found, brutally mutilated and carefully arranged. Someone has displayed the corpses for the world to see-on a Ferris wheel, in a dinosaur dinorama, on a bridge-grotesque visions to all except for the depraved killer, who considers them masterpieces. These blood rituals spell out a message to Driscoll. And they are just the beginning ...

Driscoll's investigation will lead him down the darkest of journeys, toward an evil beyond his worst nightmares. In a hellish landscape conceived by the all-too-clever mind of a twisted schemer, Driscoll must play a killer's deadly game. It's up to him to save his city-or die trying.

Review: The Screaming Room is Thomas O'Callaghan's second mystery to feature NYPD homicide detective John Driscoll.

A serial killer seems to be indiscriminately murdering men and women, scalping them, and artfully arranging the bodies in and around New York City. The victims' only connection to each other seems to be they were all tourists, visitors to the city. NYPD homicide detective John Driscoll, assigned to the case, doggedly pursues what few clues they have but gets drawn into a political battle when one of the victims turns out to be the daughter of a powerful west coast family who not only want justice but revenge.

The Screaming Room is, for the most part, a police procedural since the killer (actually, killers, a pair of rare genetically identical male and female twins) is identified in the opening chapters of the book. Driscoll employs his resources effectively, quickly determining that there are two killers, twins in their mid-teens, who are independently but in concert killing people in and around the city that they met over the internet. Following him track them down is, in and of itself, rather interesting.

The primary problem here is that though the pacing of the narrative is rapid, the writing is uninspired, failing to generate any genuine suspense. There are more than a few instances where the plot strains credulity. In addition, the novelty of the twins' situation and how they relate to each other quickly wears thin. While the twins' motivation for the murders is predictable and their choice of who to kill is somewhat surprising, there is ultimately no sympathy for either the twins or their victims (other than the obvious fact that they were murdered). The subplot involving the wealthy father of one of the victims, no doubt intended to add an element of conflict and apprehension, completely falls flat.

Driscoll and his team, especially the resourceful Cedric Thomlinson and the enigmatic Margaret Aligante, make for a compelling investigative unit; they deserve a better story than the one in The Screaming Room.

Special thanks to FSB Associates for providing a copy of The Screaming Room for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Press Release: Latest Nancy Drew PC Game Now Available

Games of MysteryBELLEVUE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The summer renaissance of Nancy Drew begins in earnest this month with the launch of the latest PC game in Her Interactive’s award-winning series, .

In the 16th installment of the award-winning adventure series, Nancy is sent to uncover a mystery in the Canadian Rockies where strange incidents that could have international repercussions have occurred. Chantal, the owner of the Icicle Creek lodge, requests Nancy’s super sleuth abilities to help uncover the reasons behind a series of strange incidents as well as the significance of a mysterious lone wolf that appears at each incident. Nancy finds herself in the midst of her most intriguing adventure yet in Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek.

Players assume the role of Nancy and go undercover as the housekeeper and cook, to solve the mystery surrounding the lodge and peculiar wolf. While undercover, the player is faced with deciphering clues, snooping in rooms for hints about the guests, exploring the outdoors and avoiding avalanches. Nancy must also conquer a variety of outdoor activities that highlight the game’s winter environments, including ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Ultimately, players need to unravel the mystery and stop the sabotage before someone gets hurt.

Read the complete press release here.

Please visit the Games of Mystery website for information on of all kinds as well as , , and more!

Return to ...

News: Opening Day for International Mystery Writers Festival

Today is the opening day of the International Mystery Writer's Festival in Owensboro (Kentucky). Organizers say that this is the only new play festival specializing in "Discovering New Mysteries" and staging them live for the general public, media and entertainment industry officials.

Six plays will be performed during the festival, selected by a group of celebrated judges consisting of award winning writers, directors, performers and publishers:

Final Curtain by Ed McBain. This funny and frightening mystery involves intriguing characters where everyone is a suspect for a dark-and-stormy night murder. Twists and turns of plot will leave the audience guessing who to trust and what motive each character might have for not only one, but two mysterious murders.

Death by Darkness by Elizabeth Orndorff. Set in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave, a cast of captivating characters are led on a mysterious journey into the depths of the earth and the depths of existence, where they are confronted with murder, revenge and a world unlike anyone has ever seen. Orndorff wrote the play specifically as an entrant to the festival.

Columbo Takes the Rap by William Link. The original co-creator of the Emmy Award-winning and mystery television series has written a first-time stage version for the comedic detective character. Cigar-toting Columbo brings his wit and wisdom to the scene of a modern crime where he confronts a powerful music producer and uncovers clues to a great murder mystery involving two rap stars.

Panic by Joseph Goodrich. Capturing a decadent lifestyle of Paris in the 1960s, this deceitful drama unravels a scheme of blackmail, betrayal and murder. Goodrich is a writer and actor from Minnesota.

Widdershins by Don Nigro. Set in Wales in 1902, a family or four has disappeared. In comes the odd but usually effective Inspector Ruffing to solve the mystery. There is one clue: the word “Widdershins” is written on a piece of paper in the missing man’s desk. Nigro has won awards including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a playwriting fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

If/Then by David Foley. A fast-paced thriller with twists and turns that will keep you guessing through to the very last deceitful moment. Author David Foley pits a sharp-witted diamond diva against a sexy, sinister one-night-stand boyfriend and the sparks that fly are frightening.

Audience members will choose the winning play, which will receive a $10,000 award at the gala on the final night of the festival. The general public also will be able to attend free classes, book signings and meet several authors.

For more information, visit the festival's website here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Trial and Error by Paul Levine

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Trial & Error by Paul Levine. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Trial & Error by Paul Levine

Trial & Error by
A Solomon vs. Lord Mystery

Bantam Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-440-24276-2 (0440242762)
ISBN-13: 978-0-440-24276-5 (9780440242765)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Steve Solomon is awakened from a sound sleep beside his lover and law partner, Victoria Lord, the last thing he expects is to find himself in a high-speed chase against dolphin-kidnapping ecoterrorists on Jet Skis. But that is what you get when your nephew hangs out at water parks and speaks cetacean–a.k.a. dolphin. By morning, a person is dead and Steve has a new client: none other than one of the animal liberators. There’s just one loophole: Victoria is on the case too—on the opposite side.

Review: Trial & Error is the fourth, and, according to author Paul Levine, last mystery in this entertaining series featuring law partners and lovers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord.

Steve's nephew Bobby Solomon, who lives with Steve and Victoria, is a precocious thirteen-year-old who loves dolphins and baseball, and who sneaks out at night to talk with his favorite dolphins, Misty and Spunky, at Cetacean Park in . One night the dolphins are being stolen from the park so Bobby calls Steve to try to rescue them. Steve arrives in time to capture one of the thieves and witness another being shot to death. The others had a large boat to load the dolphins and take them out to sea. Steve was too late to help them. Soon the law partner lovers are on the opposite sides of the legal system. Steve is the defense council for a not so bright animal rights activist who he captured on the night of the theft, and Victoria has been named the prosecutor by the order of the State’s Attorney. Both think they have a slam dunk case. But do they?

Though basically a courtroom drama between Steve and Victoria, Trial & Error has its share of light moments. The characters are frequently being funny and irreverent, throwing barbs at each other and at the judge. There is also a comedic scene with Steve trying to make Bobby a great pitcher for his team. It's all very fast-paced and humorous.

A light, breezy read, Trial & Error is entertaining and witty with lots of laughs, but no surprises as to the mystery behind the stolen dolphins.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Trial & Error and to Authors on the Web for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

 

Omnimystery Blog Archive

Total Pageviews (last 30 days)

About Omnimystery News

My photo

Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

Page/Post Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Omnimystery News

Omnimystery News
Original Content Copyright © 2016 — Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites — All Rights Reserved
Guest Post Content (if present) Copyright © 2016 — Contributing Author — All Rights Reserved