Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Hawaii Five-O

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

starred Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, the head of an elite Hawaii state police unit. The series was filmed entirely in Hawaii. (Cast note: Jack Lord was the only actor to appear in all episodes of the series and the only original cast member to appear in the final episode.)

The series ran for 12 seasons on CBS from September 1968 through April 1980.

This DVD set includes all 25 episodes from the 2nd season on 6 disks.

Watch the opening sequence on YouTube here. Be there. Aloha!

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

Return to ...

Compendium of Mystery News 070731

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Jane Henderson on STLToday.com interviews Daniel Silva, whose latest thriller was published this week.

Richard Schickel reviews on LATimes.com.

Halle Ephron reviews several new mysteries on Boston.com including of which she writes, "Ridley Pearson writes thrillers, the kind that try to yank you to the edge of your seat and keep you there."

• Martha Woodroof talks about mystery author James Lee Burke on NPR (audio).

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for July 30, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 30, 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 G I L N R S U. Lisa Miscione writes the Ridley Jones mysteries under this pen name. (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!

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: The Gold of Thrace by Aileen G. Baron

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Gold of Thrace by Aileen G. Baron. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Gold of Thrace by Aileen G. Baron

The Gold of Thrace by Aileen G. Baron
A Tamar Saticoy Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-430-9 (1590584309)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-430-9 (9781590584309)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When the first member of the staff at a Turkish excavation is murdered and a mosaic floor disappears overnight from her site, archaeologist Tamar Saticoy plunges into a shady world of the antiquities trade in the quest to discover who is responsible for the theft of important artifacts.

Tamar traces the mosaic floor to Basel, Switzerland, where the captivating prince of antiquities dealers, Gilberto Dela Barcolo, and his enigmatic friend, Enzio Egidio, charm her. Soon she finds herself enmeshed in a tangle of deceit, theft, and forgery.

Battling smoke and mirrors, she discovers that no one is who they seem. Two more members of the excavation staff are killed: her venal colleague Chatham, who has discovered a hoard of Thracian gold in Bulgaria, and Orman who--like Tamar--is following the trail of the stolen mosaic.

Unless she can crack this case, Tamar herself may become the next target for murder.

Review: Tamar Saticoy and a team of archaeologists visit Turkey in The Gold of Thrace, a mystery by Aileen G. Baron, author of the Lily Sampson series.

On an archaeological dig in Tepe Hagarken, Tamar, Binali Gul, Orman Celibi, and Andrew Chatham unearth a spectacular mosaic floor, one which they feel would be perfect for the entrance of their museum in New York. Before they can ready it for shipment, however, it is stolen and completely removed from the site. Soon thereafter, Binali Gul is stabbed to death becoming an unsolved murder. Next, Andrew Chatham decides to leave inasmuch as the mosaic is gone. He boards a train and encounters a man and woman who need his help. They have the gold of Thrace in their possession, know who he is, and want him to get the best price for the gold. When he leaves to do their bidding, he is killed, and the gold is stolen. Orman Celici thought he had traced the mosaic to The Hague, Netherlands, but not only did he not find it, he was killed by one of the thieves who had originally stolen it. Tamar, quite logically, follows the money. She goes to Switzerland where she meets the king of antiquity dealers, Gilberto Dela Burcolo, and his mysterious friend Enzio Egidio. These men take Tamar into places of fraud, thievery and murder. The people she must deal with may not be who they say they are. Three of Tamar’s friends are already dead. Will the thieves go after and find Tamar next? Will her new friends help her find the mosaic and keep her safe? Are these friends really friends?

Baron's knowledge of archaeology and history add an authentic touch to this complicated story of people that are or are not who they claim to be, and antiquities and artifacts that may or may not be what them seem to be. There are many twists and turns that keep the reader interested, if only to see how it all is connected. But despite the intriguing plot, in the end, it's a bit disappointing. The conclusion is not very satisfactory and several plot threads remain unresolved. If The Gold of Thrace is the first in a new series, possibly their resolution will serve as an introduction to the next book.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Gold of Thrace and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC 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 ...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070727

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Otto Penzler writes about murder in a safe city in his column in the New York Sun.

• Laura McMillan interviews Karin Slaughter, author of the Sara Linton mystery series, for CreativeLoafing.com.

• Ubisoft, in collaboration with ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, announced yesterday the Lost video game, based on the television series, will be shipping first quarter of 2008 for the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3, and PC CD-ROM. (MBN Note: The is available for purchase at .)

• James Patterson, not surprisingly, says he likes ABC's Women's Murder Club, a series based on his best-selling novels. "I think the show is going to be better than the books."

• Tom Nolan in The Wall Street Journal writes about CSI: The Experience, a cleverly designed, hands-on, multimedia forensic science exhibit running at the Museum of Science and Industry in through September 3rd.

Janet Maslin reviews The Tin Roof Blowdown by in The New York Times.

Mystery columnist Oline H. Cogdill reviews several new mysteries in her column on Sun-Sentinel.com.

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Mystery Bestsellers for July 27, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending July 27, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The Secret Servant by Daniel SilvaFour new mystery titles appear on the list this week. Debuting near the top: , the 7th international thriller in the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. In Amsterdam, a terrorism analyst named Ephraim Rosner lies dead, brutally murdered by a Muslim immigrant. The Amsterdam police believe the killer is a deranged extremist, but others know better. Just twenty-four hours before, Rosner had requested an urgent meeting with Israeli intelligence. Now it is Gabriel Allon's job to find out what Rosner knew, and when he does, it confirms his worst fears: a major terrorist operation is in the works. But not even Allon could have predicted what it is. Publishers Weekly calls The Secret Servant "superlative" and adds, "[it] puts Silva squarely atop the spy thriller heap."

First Among Sequels by Jasper FfordeJustice Denied by J. A. JanceUp Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard


Other new mystery bestsellers this week: by Jasper Fforde, the 5th mystery featuring literary sleuth Thursday Next; , the 18th mystery for Seattle investigator J. P. Beaumont by J. A. Jance; and by Linda Howard.

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 ...

News: 2007 Shamus Award Nominations Announced

A few weeks ago the nominees for the Shamus Award were announced, and we somehow missed them at the time. Given annually by the Private Eye Writers of America, this award honors excellent work in the private eye genre. The winners will be announced at Bouchercon on September 28 in Anchorage.

Best P. I. Novel:

The Dramatist, a Jack Taylor mystery by Ken Bruen
The Darkest Place, A Reggie Clay mystery by Daniel Judson
The Do-Re-Mi, A Clifford and Tom Hickey mystery by Ken Kuhlken
Vanishing Point, A Sharon McCone mystery by Marcia Muller
Days of Rage, A Smokey Dalton by Kris Nelscott

Best First P. I. Novel:

Lost Angel, a Nik Kane mystery by Mike Doogan
A Safe Place for Dying, a Dek Elstrom mystery by Jack Fredrickson
Holmes on the Range, an "Old Red" Amlingmeyer mystery by Steve Hockensmith
The Wrong Kind of Blood, an Ed Loy mystery by Declan Hughes
18 Seconds, a Sherry Moore mystery by George D. Shuman

Best P. I. Paperback Original:

Hallowed Ground, a Julie Collins mystery by Lori G. Armstrong
The Prop, a Peeky Kane mystery by Pete Hautman
An Unquiet Grave, a Louis Kincaid mystery by P. J. Parrish
The Uncomfortable Dead, a Hector Belascoaran Shayne mystery by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Subcomandante Marcos
Crooked, a Nicholas Palihnic mystery by Brian M. Wiprud

Congratulations from Mystery Books News to all the nominees!

Please visit the website where lists of winners from 20 different organizations that recognize excellence in mysteries, including the , are presented.

Return to ...

News: 2007 Anthony Award Nominations Announced

The nominations for the 2007 Anthony Award were announced today for outstanding mysteries published in 2006. The winners will be announced at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, September 27-30 in Anchorage.

Best Novel:

Kidnapped by Jan Burke
No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman
The Dead Hour by Denise Mina
The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Best First Novel:

The King of Lies by John Hart
Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith
Still Life by Louise Penny
A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read
The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff

Best Paperback Original:

Ashes and Bones by Dana Cameron
47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook
The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle
Baby Shark by Robert Fate
Shotgun Opera by Victor Gischler
Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara
A Dangerous Man by Charlie Huston

Congratulations from Mystery Books News to all the nominees!

Please visit the website where lists of winners from 20 different organizations that recognize excellence in mysteries, including the , are presented.

Return to ...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Wearing the Spider by Susan Schaab

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

Wearing the Spider by Susan Schaab
Non-series

Galavant Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-934291-05-6 (1934291056)
ISBN-13: 978-1-934291-05-4 (9781934291054)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $26.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): A female lawyer's identity is hijacked and misused by a ruthless partner of her Manhattan law firm who engages in email impersonation, political gamesmanship and electronic forgery to set her up in a scheme that ultimately leads to murder. She embarks on a clandestine investigation while dodging the FBI, risking her life as well as her career.

Review: Susan Schaab crafts an intriguing tale of corporate malfeasance in Wearing the Spider, a suspense thriller set largely in a mid-sized New York law firm.

Evie Sullivan is a hard-working corporate lawyer who's looking forward to becoming a partner in her law firm. When evidence begins accumulating that her work is sloppy, late, and in some cases, simply wrong, she suspects that a fellow lawyer is trying to make her look bad to the partnership committee by intentionally altering her work, delaying its release to clients, and fabricating information. But as she delves deeper into clearing her name, she discovers a potentially damaging, and possibly illegal, conflict of interest that not only jeopardizes her career but puts her life in danger as well.

For the most part, Schaab succeeds in generating and maintaining a high level of suspense. It's unnerving to think that someone can simply use another's identity, in this case Evie's, to conduct illicit activities, but every attempt she makes to correct it is met with irrefutable evidence that she is, in fact, at fault. The author nicely balances specific technical details, about how documents are managed on corporate networks, how calls and e-mail messages are logged, and the like, are incorporated into the story yet don't get in the way of the plot. Evie finds herself in a number of situations that she can't be sure are legitimate, none more mysterious than the relationship she has with Joe Barton. Is it just a chance meeting on an airplane that brings them together? Does he know more about what's happening to her than he lets on? Is his offer to help actually a trap to ensnare her further?

It might have been more interesting, more satisfying and suspenseful, and certainly more original had Schaab reversed the genders of the principal attorneys involved. It's little more than a cliché that Evie is portrayed as the female lawyer who has to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to get a partnership and is therefore a victim even before her identity is used by a male lawyer to cover his tracks. The fact that the story is dominated by male characters further reinforces the notion that Evie seems to be alone in her struggle to prove her innocence.

On a stylistic note, Schaab's frequent use of italics in her text is distracting to the point of being annoying. Written in the third person, italics are used whenever Evie is thinking in the first person: "A question emerged in her mind: should she call Joe? No, he'll think I'm crazy. It's too late to make a plan for tonight." All well and good. But italics are also used extensively for emphasis, sometimes inexplicably: "I can't believe after all the work I've done, I have to worry about being set up by a partner. You know, I actually made him look good in a conference call with a client yesterday. You know how nonchalant he can be with the details of a transaction. You'd think I could expect some professional courtesy for at least a few minutes afterward." Rarely a page goes by without multiple invocations of italicization to no obvious purpose.

Minor plot and production idiosyncrasies aside, there many reasons to recommend Wearing the Spider, the most notable being it is a very good suspense thriller that keeps the reader's attention and the pages turning. (Note: the title comes from an expression that a person who leads "wears the spider" as he, or in this case she, clears a trail and walks through spider webs. With the web of deceit that is the core of this book, it's a rather clever title.)

Special thanks to Susan Schaab for providing an ARC of Wearing the Spider 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 Book Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind

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

Brush with Death by
An Art Lover's Mystery with Annie Kincaid

Signet (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-451-22179-6 (0451221796)
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-22179-7 (9780451221797)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Former-forger turned faux-finisher Annie Kincaid hopes that if she can help return an alleged masterpiece to Italy, her sketchy reputation will finally be redeemed. But when a sexy art thief-and murder-enter the picture, Annie realizes that it won't be so easy to put things to rest.

Review: Annie Kinkaid, reformed art forger and now the proprietor of True/Faux Studio, a faux finishing workshop and school in , returns in Brush With Death, the third mystery in the Art Lover's series by Hailey Lind.

Annie and her assistant, Mary, are asked to repair and restore murals in the celebrated Bayview Cemetery Columbarium, a mausoleum that holds urns of cremated remains. While taking a break, Annie meets Cindy Tanaka, a college graduate student who is taking detailed pictures in the next crypt as part of her graduate dissertation. Cindy questions the authenticity of a painting hanging in the Chapel, and much to Annie’s consternation, the painting is not what she had been assured it was. When Cindy is later murdered, Annie wonders if her death is connected to the fraudulent painting.

Lind deftly combines her considerable knowledge of art into an intriguing story set in the world of art masters and art forgers, and has created a credible mystery about a painting that had been in Italy for years but somehow is now in the Chapel of the Chimes. As Annie and Mary conduct their investigation, someone locks them in an old crypt. They want to know the location of the original painting and assume Annie knows the answer. An artist/forger from her past shows up unexpectedly and comes to her aid, but not without raising more questions. Is this the work of her beloved grandfather, a master forger himself?

As in the previous books in this entertaining series, Grandpère Georges introduces the chapters with witty and provocative quotes. And the climax of Brush With Death is so remarkable and unexpected, it may need to be read twice to be fully appreciated.

Hailey Lind concludes the book with Annie's Guide to Marbling, and provides a short history of the Chapel of the Chimes that includes information on the painting La Fornarina by Raphael Sanzio.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Brush With Death and to Hailey Lind for providing an ARC 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, July 24, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Philip Marlowe, Private Eye

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

starred Powers Booth as the classic Los Angeles private investigator. Each episode of the series was adapted from a Raymond Chandler short story.

The series ran for 2 seasons on HBO, with the first 5 episodes airing during the spring of 1983 and the last 6 episodes airing during the spring of 1986.

This DVD set includes all 5 episodes from the 1st season on 2 disks.

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

Return to ...

Compendium of Mystery News 070723

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

Glenn Close talks in the Boston Herald about her new series on FX, Damages, that opens with a murder mystery that won't be resolved until the end of the season's 13 episodes.

• The Telegraph is reporting that mystery author and former jockey Dick Francis is making a remarkable recovery following the amputation of his lower right leg after suffering circulatory problems following heart-bypass surgery. (MBN Note: The South African horse racing site saftote.com quotes from the Racing Post that it was Francis' left leg that was amputated. We have been unable to confirm which is correct.)

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Gardens of the Dead by William Brodrick

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

The Gardens of the Dead by William Brodrick
A Father Anselm Mystery

Viking Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-670-03498-3 (0670034983)
ISBN-13: 978-0-670-03498-7 (9780670034987)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Elizabeth Glendinning, Q.C., dies of heart failure while making a desperate phone call to the police, her colleagues and family are devastated and mystified. What was she doing in east London at the time of her death, and what was she trying to tell the police in her last phone call? After her funeral, her son, Nicholas, Inspector Cartwright, the officer she was trying to call, and Father Anselm, Elizabeth’s former colleague, all receive packages about a case from years earlier: Regina v. Riley. The package also includes mysterious newspaper clippings about the accidental drowning of John Bradshaw, who just happens to be the son of the principal witness in the case. Why is Elizabeth still following the case? And what does she want the three people to do with the information she has sent them?

The germ of the story lies in events that occurred many years earlier when Anselm Duffy, Q.C., had won a rather difficult case by asking a question of the key witness: the question, right in every aspect for winning the case, turns out to have been fatally, critically, the wrong one. The acquitted man wreaks havoc in a number of lives and his net finally enmeshes those who had so cleverly defended him in court. Anselm Duffy's own life is changed radically as he becomes aware of the full repercussions of his performance in court. His inner voice won't let him rest, finally nudging him to abandon the silk for the robe. It is Father Anselm, whose story is patterned on circumstances in the author's own life, who asks the riveting questions in the novel: What is justice? What is innocence? And what, ultimately, is evil? As Father Anselm’s begins to make sense of Elizabeth’s directives from her grave, as it were, he discovers the complexity of truth and its lethal power.

Review: Barrister-turned-monk Father Anselm finds himself investigating a mystery that begins with the death of a former colleague in The Gardens of the Dead, the second book in this series by William Brodrick.

Following the sudden death by natural causes of Elizabeth Glendinning, a barrister he had once worked with years ago, Anselm receives a package from her. The package contains a cryptic letter, a key and some old newspaper clippings. She sent similar packages to her son, Nick, and to Inspector Cartwright, a friend from her court days. Elizabeth knew she was dying so she had prepared these packages to be sent after she was dead. Although the contents mean little or nothing to the recipients, they all agree that Elizabeth was trying to tell them something very important. Actually, Elizabeth was trying to right a terrible wrong that was committed in the murder trial of Graham Riley when she and Anselm were on the same sides of the legal table. They were Riley’s defense attorneys even though they both knew he was guilty. Through the cross-examination of a witness, George Bradshaw, Anselm suddenly won the case, and Riley was able to walk out of the courtroom a free man. Anselm couldn’t believe it. He didn’t understand what had happened. Only Elizabeth and Riley knew the answer.

Brodrick weaves the past and present lives of many other characters that are linked to Elizabeth and Anselm into the story. The Prior of the Monastery where Anselm lives offers strongly worded opinions. Elizabeth’s son, who knew nothing of her life, but is obligated to follow her instructions after her death. Her husband who did know her but kept quiet to protect their son. Graham Riley and his wife, Nancy, are an integral part of the mystery, as is witness George Bradshaw whose only son drowned years before. There's the mysterious Mrs. Dixon who seems to know everything, but won’t say anything. And then there's barrister Wyecliff, Riley's current counsel, who acts as though he knows nothing, but is he as ignorant as he seems? Each one has a crucial part in the mystery of why Elizabeth was so determined to right a wrong that was perpetrated years before.

The Gardens of the Dead is a such a compelling story, one that slowly but methodically reveals information about its characters as to who did what to whom and why, that it becomes a real page-turner until its surprising conclusion.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Gardens of the Dead and to Viking for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Special thanks to Spotlight Publicity for providing an ARC of The Black Tea Experiments 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 Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for July 23, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 23, 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 N O P S T Y. This was the murder weapon in the 6th Jaine Austen 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!

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: The Black Tea Experiments by Ray Atkinson

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Black Tea Experiments by Ray Atkinson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Black Tea Experiments by Ray Atkinson

The Black Tea Experiments by Ray Atkinson
Non-Series

American Book Publishing (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-58982-370-2 (1589823702)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58982-370-9 (9781589823709)
Publication Date: March, 2007
List Price: $18.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): Logan Bauer, a brilliant college student, has a promising future. However, when his girlfriend is accused of murdering fellow student Brent Johnson, Logan must go on a quest to discover the truth that will set her free. Logan's journey soon takes him to the former Soviet Union and into the hands of the infamous Dr. Vladimir Rostov, a former scientist who worked on several top-secret medical projects during the Cold War, including the Black Tea Experiments, a drug that would enhance the learning ability of children and ultimately increase the intelligence level of future Soviet generations.

But everything isn't as it seems. The two worlds of the former Soviet Union and the quaint college town of Crandon, Illinois, soon collide, forcing Logan to uncover the pieces of Rostov's twenty-five-year-old secret.

Review: Ray Atkinson coins the term "airplane novel" for his first mystery, The Black Tea Experiments, a book long enough to provide suspense, action, crime and romance in a story that can be completed during the length of a typical flight. Terrific concept, but, at least in this first attempt, rather poorly executed.

There's a fairly intriguing plot at the core of this book: a student at a university in Illinois is found murdered but with an unusual physical feature: one of his kidneys had been recently removed, the incision neatly and expertly sewn together. A fellow student, Logan Bauer, finds himself drawn into the case when an astronomical experiment he is conducting using a telescope on the roof of his dorm accidentally captures the scene of the murder when a spring breaks and the lens points downward instead of skyward. Pursued by the killers for the images taken by the telescope, Logan discovers he is merely a pawn in an international incident that had its origins back in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The problems in The Black Tea Experiments begin with the very first chapter. Every character, even a minor one, is introduced with a backstory. For a book of less than 150 pages and a dozen or more characters, it's overwhelming. Furthermore, these backstories seem intended to take the place of character development, as if by knowing how the characters came to be where they are today the reader can somehow infer something meaningful about them. Finally, it's impossible to generate any real, sustained suspense when the flow of the plot is constantly interrupted with yet another backstory for yet another usually unnecessary character. This is all the more unfortunate because the main story has a lot of potential to be a terrific thriller.

The book is riddled with errors and inconsistencies that could have been eliminated with a more critical eye towards editing. The director of the Black Tea project ridicules the ignorance of the parents whose children are the subject of the experiments, yet he includes his own children in them. Logan travels west (instead of east) to go from Illinois to Indiana. He goes through customs leaving (instead of entering) the US. In any transplant, the time between extraction of the organ from the donor and its placement in the recipient is critical, yet here, days or maybe even weeks, it's not clear, go by between the respective surgeries. This also contradicts a statement made in the book that the surgery takes place in the US rather than Russia because there wasn't time to get the kidney out of the country. And probably worse of all, especially for a mystery, no explanation is ever given why the kidney donor, the murder victim, was killed in the first place. It's disturbing that Atkinson took the time to develop an interesting plot, yet didn't seem to care enough about the details that are so crucial to the success of a crime novel.

There is almost certainly a market for mysteries and thrillers that are longer than a short story but shorter than a standard-length novel ("airplane novels" as it were). Unfortunately, The Black Tea Experiments isn't a very good example of one.

Special thanks to Spotlight Publicity for providing an ARC of The Black Tea Experiments 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 ...

Compendium of Mystery News 070722

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Ed Siegel writes in The Boston Globe that in crafting subtle, innovative crime fiction, the female is definitely the deadlier sex.

• Margaret Cannon reviews five new mysteries and an anthology of short stories by Ontario writers in her column for The Globe and Mail.

• Jan Marin Tramontano interviews author Diana Abu-Jaber whose most recent mystery, Origin, was published last month.

• The New York Times book reporter Marilyn Stasio reviews four new crime novels including Marcia Muller's 25th Sharon McCone mystery, The Ever-Running Man.

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070721

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Lynn Neary of NPR talks to Lee Child about mystery series characters (audio).

• Kit Ehrman's Triple Cross, the 4th mystery in the Steve Cline series, was announced the winner in the fiction category of the Best Books of Indiana 2007 competition. (MBN Note: has a review of on its website.)

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for July 20, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending July 20, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

by James Patterson, by Janet Evanovich, and by Michael Connelly maintain their positions as the top three bestselling mysteries this week.

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee BurkeNew on the list this week: , the 16th book in the Dave Robicheaux mystery series by James Lee Burke. In the waning days of summer 2005, a storm with greater impact than the bomb that struck Hiroshima peels the face off southern Louisiana. This is the gruesome reality Iberia Parish Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux discovers as he is deployed to . In the midst of an apocalyptical nightmare, Robicheaux must find two serial rapists, a morphine-addicted priest, and a vigilante who may be more dangerous than the criminals looting the city. Publishers Weekly calls The Tin Roof Blowdown "meticulously textured" and adds, "Burke showcases all that was both right and wrong in our response to this national disaster, proving along the way that nobody captures the spirit of Gulf Coast Louisiana better." Library Journal states that this book is "[t]he best Robicheaux novel of the past several years."

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 ...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Keep It Real by Bill Bryan

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Keep It Real by Bill Bryan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Keep It Real by Bill Bryan

Keep It Real by Bill Bryan
Non-Series

Bleak House Books (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-932557-31-8 (1932557318)
ISBN-13: 978-1-932557-31-2 (9781832557312)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $13.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ted used to be an investigative reporter—a good one. But that was before the divorce, the meltdown, the subsequent supervised visitation of his adorable little girl. Now he’s one of several peon producers for the inexplicably successful reality show, ‘The Mogul.’ Ted’s not a happy man. Unlike his viewers, he takes no joy in the vapid “reality” he helps edit together for ratings.

Then Ted inadvertently witnesses a violent exchange between gangsta rapper Boney and Boney’s hot-enough-to-dance-in-videos girlfriend, Patrice. When Patrice goes missing, it’s all Ted can do to keep his reporter instincts in check. With no real excuse for hanging out in the world of Cristal and grillz, Ted uses the resources at his disposal to snoop around. And what better way to invade a celebrity’s privacy than by featuring him on Reality TV?

Review: Bill Bryan's debut crime novel, Keep It Real, is a satirical and frequently funny blending of the behind-the-scenes production of a reality television show and a murder investigation.

Told in the first person present tense (which rarely works for mysteries, but seems appropriate here), Ted Collins is an investigative reporter who reluctantly admits that yes, he's won a "Pulie" (Pulitzer Prize), but that his currently employer doesn't hold it against him. Ted is a producer for the hit reality television series The Mogul starring billionaire Roger Dominus who is looking for an apprentice to work in his organization, and created by the king of reality TV himself, Trevor Bane. During a visit to his ex-wife to pick up their daughter, he overhears a conversation between the rapper Raymond Bonaparte ("Boney") and a model who is later found murdered. Suspecting Boney of the crime, Ted arranges for him to appear on The Mogul so that he can conduct his investigation without raising too much suspicion.

Subtle is not a word in author Bill Bryan's vocabulary. Roger Dominus is a thinly disguised version of Donald Trump; the Dominus casinos are in rather than Atlantic City and Dominus Tower is in Los Angeles rather than New York City, but the Dominus helicopter is the same. Trevor Bane is an even more transparent fictionalization of Mark Burnett. Bryan captures the public perception of the idiosyncrasies and excesses of these two men perfectly in his characters: there isn't anything Roger won't do to promote his identity and there isn't any product or service that Trevor isn't ready and able to make a buck off of. Anyone who watches reality television will be laughing at the outrageous manner in which it is portrayed here.

The murder mystery plays a supporting role here but does provide a unifying theme to the story. The resolution to the model's murder is beyond cynical, but in a perverse way is completely believable.

For a book that not only tests the boundaries of good taste but crosses over them regularly and repeatedly, Bryan is, ironically, a little too politically correct at times and tends to be a bit preachy especially when it comes to race relations. These minor objections aside, Keep It Real is a very funny look at the world of reality television with a bonus for mystery readers of having a murder to solve.

Special thanks to Authors on the Web for providing a copy of Keep It Real 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 ...

Compendium of Mystery News 070718

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The cameras are rolling in Toronto on a new television mystery series, The Murdoch Mysteries, based on the novels by Maureen Jennings. The series is scheduled to air on Bravo in 2008.

• MSNBC has an excerpt of Janet Evanovich's latest Stephanie Plum mystery, Lean Mean Thirteen, on its website.

Bruce DeSilva (AP) reviews The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke.

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Deadly Appraisal by Jane K. Cleland

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Deadly Appraisal by Jane K. Cleland. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Deadly Appraisal by Jane K. Cleland

Deadly Appraisal by
A Josie Prescott Mystery

St. Martin's Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-34366-3 (0312343663)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34366-8 (9780312343668)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $23.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Josie Prescott is settling into her new life in . Her antiques business is thriving, she's beginning to make some close friends, and her relationship with the local police chief is becoming more interesting. Not bad for someone who has completely uprooted her life as a New York City auction house expert in order to get a fresh start in a small New England town.

With so much suddenly to lose, Josie can't help but worry when murder invades her seemingly quiet community. Josie is sponsoring the Portsmouth Women's Guild Annual Black and Gold Gala and is looking forward to receiving a kindly worded thank-you for her efforts. Instead, the Guild representative, Maisy Gaylor, dies a horrible death in the midst of the banquet. Who could have wanted to kill earnest, drab little Maisy? "Funny, isn't it," muses the hostile detective Rowcliff, "how a lot of people end up dead when no one has any enemies."

Everyone who had access to the wine Maisy drank, including Josie herself, soon comes under suspicion. Can Josie manage to ferret out the truth, keep her business running smoothly, and continue to put down roots in her new town, or will everything prove too much for her to handle on her own?

Review: Deadly Appraisal is the second winning entry in this entertaining series by Jane K. Cleland that features New Hampshire antiques dealer and amateur sleuth Josie Prescott.

Josie's antique consignment shop is starting to do well, and she is quickly becoming known throughout the community. An opportunity to showcase her expertise comes up when Maisy Gaylor of the Portsmouth Women's Guild asks Josie to sponsor a charity dinner and antique auction. Following the dinner, the rather shy Maisy is to announce the winning bidders. Before she can do so, she coughs, screams, and collapses to the floor – dead. Someone has poisoned her wine. Who would want to kill Maisy? She had no enemies. Through intense questioning of everyone at the gala by the police, the question becomes not who killed Maisy, but was Maisy the intended victim? Could the poison have been meant for Josie? This idea becomes even more credible when a few nights later Josie is injured by a hit-and-run. Even Josie begins to believe that there is someone out there trying to kill her. But why?

Though this series has a fairly typical background story (woman leaves the big city to establish herself anew in a small town, starts a new business, makes new friends, and without really trying finds herself in a new relationship), Cleland makes it seem fresh. Deadly Appraisal nicely balances Josie's personal life, her professional life, and of course a murder mystery that will have the reader guessing as to the killer's identity until the very end. There is also the requisite inclusion of facts about the antiques business, but Cleland so effortlessly incorporates them into the story that they are an interesting, integral part of the plot. Why, for example, is one antique worth so much money when another, virtually identical item, is worthless? The answer to this question may lead to murder!

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Deadly Appraisal and to St. Martin's Minotaur 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 ...

Mysteries on TV: The Rookies and Vincent

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

starred Sam Melville (as Mike Danko), Michael Ontkean (as Willie Gillis), and Gerald S. O'Loughlin (as Eddie Ryker), rookie officers of the southern California Police Department. Kate Jackson (later of ) played nurse Jill Danko.

The series ran for 4 seasons on ABC from September 1972 through March 1976.

This DVD set includes the 23 episodes from the 1st season on 5 disks.

stars Ray Winstone as the workaholic private investigator Vincent Gallagher, a passionate, headstrong man, who sometimes forgets that he's running a business and not a crusade. The series is set in Manchester (UK).

The series first aired in the ITV during the month of October 2005. It is listed as a returning series.

This DVD set includes the 4 episodes from this season on 2 disks.

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

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Nothing to See Here by David L. Post

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Nothing to See Here by David L. Post. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Nothing to See Here by David L. Post

Nothing to See Here by David L. Post
Non-Series

Beckham Publications (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-931761-29-8 (0931761298)
ISBN-13: 978-0-931761-29-4 (9780931761294)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Nothing To See Here spans one summer in the life of psychiatrist Alan Sarnower, an ordinary citizen who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances when his wife suddenly leaves him and their young son in the middle of a psychotic episode. When she returns unexpectedly with a new lover and announces her intention to get a divorce, his own life and sanity begin to unravel.

As the divorce process grinds on, he forgets appointments and lets responsibilities slide. An affair with his seductive secretary provides only temporary relief from a frightening descent into mental illness. Now, finally sicker than his own patients, as people and events are misinterpreted and doors begin to close, his comfortable suburban life recedes and murder becomes the only option left.

Review: David L. Post's debut novel, Nothing to See Here, is a well-written though formulaic psychological thriller that promises far more than it delivers.

Nothing to See Here opens with Cassie, the wife of psychiatrist Alan Sarnower, systematically destroying their bedroom as she prepares to leave. To where and for how long he doesn't know. Nor does he seem to care. He has a thriving practice, a large home in the suburbs, a young son he adores, and a close friend he can confide in and count on. Maybe life without her would be better. But when she suddenly returns and files for divorce, he starts to see his world being taken away from him. His anxiety about potentially losing his son and his home and the staggering fees he's paying his lawyer to represent him begin to affect his reasoning, so much so that he'll do anything to ensure that his wife doesn't take everything he values away from him.

Nothing to See Here fails to generate any real suspense primarily because it is told from the point of view of Alan Sarnower. Every action he takes is telegraphed well in advance, and therefore nothing he does surprises the reader. He loses control of his marriage, his relationship with his son, and his professional practice, but there is never any sense that he is out of control, and certainly nothing to suggest that he is mentally unbalanced. Of course that's the crux of the problem: since the story is told from his perspective, he's not going to think anything is wrong with him. He's the only sane person in a world gone mad. It isn't until the last few pages that he's threatened in any way, uncertainty clouding his future. This provides a welcome element of surprise for the reader, but with only a few paragraphs until the end, it's too little, far too late.

Post is a talented writer but the lack of originality in his plot and the manner in which he chose to relate it make Nothing to See Here rather prosaic and dull.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing a copy of Nothing to See Here 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 ...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070716

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus mysteries, speculates that J. K. Rowling may next write a whodunit along the lines of Dorothy L. Sayers or Agatha Christie.

• From a press release, Dorien Grey's Lambda Award-nominated mystery series featuring PI Dick Hardesty is the flagship release for Zumaya Publications' new GLBT imprint, Zumaya Boundless.

• Oline H. Cogdill reviews two new mysteries in her column on Sun-Sentinel.com.

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for July 16, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 16, 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 I L N R S T U. This bar drink is the title of the 3rd “Jack” Daniels mystery by J. A. Konrath (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!

Return to ...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

News: 2007 Thriller Award Winners Announced

The International Thriller Writers ThrillerFest award ceremony was held last night where the winners of the 2007 Thriller Awards were announced.

Best Novel: Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder.

Best First Novel: Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone.

Best Paperback Original: An Unquiet Grave by P. J. Parrish.

Congratulations from Mystery Book News to all the winners!

Please visit the website where lists of winners from 20 different organizations that recognize excellence in mysteries, including the , are presented.

Return to ...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070714

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Dick Lochte reviews James Lee Burke's two most recently published books, the Dave Robicheaux mystery The Tin Roof Blowdown and a collection of short stories Jesus Out to Sea.

• New York Magazine has an interview with first time author Nick Santora. (MBN Note: Read our on Mysterious Reviews.)

• Lighthouse Interactive has released the second playable demo to their upcoming investigative/horror adventure game Delaware St. John Volume 3: The Seacliff Tragedy.

• Otto Penzler writes about the second annual Thriller-Fest in his column in the New York Sun.

• Mystery! on PBS airs a new Miss Marple movie this weekend, Towards Zero, starring Geraldine McEwan as the senior sleuth. As originally written by Agatha Christie, this book did not feature Miss Marple but rather Superintendent Battle.

• Kathy Blumenstock writes about the USA Network series Psych which began its second season on Friday. Psych features a young sleuth who uses his powers of observation to solve crimes. (MBN Note: is now available on DVD.)

• Michael Riedel in the New York Post reports that Columbo Takes the Rap, a screenplay first shown at the International Mystery Writers Festival last month, is heading for Broadway.

• Fans of the American Girl mysteries will be pleased to learn that a movie based on one of the characters, Kit Kittredge, is in production. Visit their website for a video preview. (MBN Note: Visit , mystery books for children and young adults, to see all of the mysteries in the .)

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Mystery Book Review: Slip & Fall by Nick Santora

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

Slip & Fall by Nick Santora
Non-Series

State Street Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-681-12749-X (068112749X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-681-12749-4 (9780681127494)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Robert Principe’s law school graduation was supposed to be the moment that transitioned his family from its honorable, but often difficult, blue-collar roots to the supposedly easier white-collar world.

However, when faced with a struggling practice, a pregnant wife, and a sister in trouble, Rob realizes the white-collar world isn’t as easy as he thought. He needs money … and fast.

Desperate, he approaches his wiseguy cousin Jackie with an insurance scheme—a way for the Mob to collect from guys who owe but can’t pay and a chance for Robert to use his law degree to make a few quick bucks when he needs it most.

Rob thinks it will be a one-time thing. It isn’t. The scheme works well—too well. The money flows, the violence escalates, and Robert soon learns that getting out of a deal with the Mafia isn’t exactly easy … especially when the FBI is onto you.

Review: Slip & Fall, the debut novel by Nick Santora, a successful writer and producer of several television series, is the story of an honest attorney who, in trying to the do right thing for his family, makes a disastrous choice that threatens everyone he loves and everything he values.

Robert Principe could have followed his cousin Jackie into the Mafia but instead attends law school and makes his wife and family proud by opening a practice in the old neighborhood. His clients are friends who need to make a will, union men who are hurt on their job but don't know how to go about getting compensation for their injuries, and the like. But after only a few years his business starts slipping. His wife is pregnant, he's behind on his mortgage, and he has other financial obligations to his family. In an effort to make some fast money, he contacts his cousin Jackie and they come up with an insurance scam. Jackie knows a man who owes the Mafia boss a $50,000 gambling debt who would be willing to take a fall if it meant clearing his debt. Jackie also knows a chiropractor that would testify to the man’s injuries. The scheme nets them less than they were hoping before, but enough for Robert to pay some bills. Though Robert doesn't want to do it again, the Mafia insists he continue working for them. After trying to quit, he is threatened with his life, plus that of his wife, unborn child, his parents and his sister. When he is finally caught, the FBI offers him an opportunity to make things right. How Robert is able to extricate himself from the mob, protect his family and satisfy the FBI, is both powerful and bold.

At its core, Slip & Fall is a story about families and the love and bonds that bring and keep them together. It is easy for the reader to identify with Robert's need to take care of his family, and though it is regrettable that he chooses an illegal path to do so, it's completely credible that he chooses a path that's available to him, even if it conflicts with his morals.

Santora is a terrific storyteller and has created a very believable character in Robert Principe. His experience in writing for television comes through in a book that is well paced, descriptive, and keeps the plot moving forward. It's all very well done. (Note: the violence in Slip & Fall is very graphic and may not be suitable for all readers.)

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Slip & Fall 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 ...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for July 13, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending July 13, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

New England White by Stephen L. CarterNew on the list this week: , Stephen L. Carter's second novel in which he returns to the New England university town of Elm Harbor where a murder begins to crack the veneer that has hidden the racial complications of the town’s past, the secrets of a prominent family, and the most hidden bastions of black political influence. Publishers Weekly states calls New England White "... a compelling, literate page-turner that effortlessly blends a gripping whodunit with complex discussions of politics and race in contemporary America."

Also new this week:

by Ridley Pearson, a heart-stopping story in which Sun Valley (ID) sheriff Walt Fleming struggles to protect a controversial politician from the elegant plan of a hired assassin. This is the first in a new series by this bestselling author.

by Stef Penney, her debut novel in which she deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humor into an exhilarating thriller, a panoramic historical romance, and a gripping murder mystery.

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, July 12, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Dead on Arrival by Lori Avocato

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

Dead on Arrival by
A Pauline Sokol Mystery

Avon Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-06-083708-X (006083708X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-083708-2 (9780060837082)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Normally, insurance fraud investigator Pauline Sokol likes to keep her feet firmly on the ground. But her latest undercover assignment has the aero-phobic ex-nurse flying high—as she takes off to ground a land-and-air ambulance company that's been doing some rather flighty billing. Even having ER Dano, the company's best (and hottest!) paramedic, in the copter seat next to her isn't enough to soothe her queasy tummy.

But her insides really start doing loop-de-loops when one of the company's owners is brutally murdered—and Pauline starts receiving creepy phone calls . . . from the killer! Suddenly the air looks a lot safer than the ground. And if Pauline doesn't crack this case soon, even mouth-to-mouth from her favorite paramedic won't be enough to revive her.

Review: Insurance investigator Pauline Sokol again dons her nurse's uniform to look into some billing irregularities in her sixth case, Dead on Arrival by Lori Avocato.

The Scarpello and Tonelli Insurance Agency, for which Pauline works as an investigator, suspects that a local ambulance service, TLC Air and Land, has been falsely billing for services never rendered. Working undercover as a nurse for the company, she quickly finds evidence to confirm her agency's suspicions. But things get complicated when Payne Sterling, who owns TLC with his twin sister Pansy, is murdered, and the killer is all too willing to make Pauline his next victim.

The primary appeal of this series is accompanying Pauline as she gets herself into and out of trouble during her investigation, following her evolving relationship with the mysterious Jagger, and seeing how she deals with the ruggedly handsome men with whom she finds herself working. Plots have never been that important, and that is particularly evident in this case. With Pauline discovering the incriminating billing records and the murder of Payne taking place very early in the book, one would think that her mission was accomplished, job well done, time for the police to step in to solve the murder.

That wouldn't make for much of a story, however, so Pauline continues to pry into the affairs of TLC. But there's an underlying sense that everyone is simply biding their time until the killer is conveniently identified and their motive revealed.

Fans of the series will likely enjoy the familiarity of Dead on Arrival. New readers may not be as enthusiastic.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing an ARC of Dead on Arrival 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 ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070711

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The South Florida Sun-Sentinel talks to Nick Stone, author of the 2006 Ian Fleming Silver Dagger Award winning Mr. Clarinet, describing him as your average Scots-Haitian-Jewish-Catholic crime writer who lives in London and sets his novels in Miami and the Caribbean.

• Speaking of Mr. Clarinet, Oline H. Cogdill has a review of the book in her column in the Sun-Sentinel.

• And there's more: Ellen Kanner interviews Nick Stone on MiamiHerald.com.

• Mystery author Mark Arsenault, a reporter who also writes for the The Providence Journal, gives his rules to write by. Try low standards, lots of caffeine, and a little goofing off.

• Two more reviews of the latest PC game, Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek. One from the Associated Press (and published on SFGate.com) and the other from Anne Reeks and published on the Houston Chronicle.

Reuters interviews Ridley Pearson who has just published his first book in a new crime series, Killer Weekend.

• Sharyn McCrumb talks about the upcoming film adaption of her mystery, The Rosewood Casket.

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

 

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