Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Stirring Up Strife by Jennifer Stanley

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Stirring Up Strife by Jennifer Stanley. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Stirring Up Strife by Jennifer Stanley

by
A Hope Street Church Mystery

St. Martin's Minotaur (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-312-37685-5 (0312376855)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-37685-7 (9780312376857)
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $7.99

Review: Jennifer Stanley introduces 32-year-old Cooper Lee, a plucky lady repairman of office equipment in need of a new life, in Stirring Up Strife, the first in the Hope Street Church mystery series.

After being dumped by her boyfriend of five years, Cooper has moved back with her family in Richmond, Virginia. She's working as a repairer of office equipment -- copiers, laminators, fax machines, and the like -- for a local company, They Make It Work. If only she could patch up her broken heart as quickly as she can put together a broken machine. When Cooper is sent to the offices of Capital City, the nation's largest credit card company, she strikes up a conversation with Brooke Hughes, the office manager. Before she knows it, she's telling Brooke about her miserable life. Brooke invites her to come as her guest to her church where she can meet new people in a relaxed environment. They have a small study group, men and women, who enjoy learning more about the Bible and themselves. Cooper accepts, but following the services on Sunday, Brooke is not among the group, who welcome here as if she was already one of them. Just before their session concludes, they learn that Brooke has been murdered and her husband, Wesley, has been arrested. The group believes Wesley could not have possibly killed his wife, and fearful that the police might not look much further for a suspect, they pair off -- including Cooper -- to search for clues that Wesley is not a killer.

Stirring Up Strife is a splendid mystery with an impressive cast of characters. There are Savannah, a legally blind artist, and Nathan, a computer geek with large feet; Jake, a "recovering Catholic" and Little League coach, and real estate agent Trish, whose face is plastered on billboards through the city; and Quinton, a "banker dude" who's also a master cake maker. Each of these characters is original and real, and it's a treat getting to know them. That they're part of a solidly plotted, really quite charming, murder mystery is all the more enjoyable.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Stirring Up Strife and to St. Martin's Minotaur for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Stirring Up Strife from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Cooper Lee can repair a copy machine — but can she repair her life? That’s one of the many Big Questions that lead this newly single Richmond girl to Sunrise Bible Study at the Hope Street Church. Cooper hasn’t attended church in ages, but after getting dumped by her long-time boyfriend — and moving in with her family — she could use some new friends, and a new outlook on life. Happily, the members of the Bible group are anything but cookie-cutter, which suits Cooper just fine. There’s a blind folk artist, a playboy meteorologist, an investment banker with a sweet tooth, an ambitious realtor, and a cute shy web designer who just might be “the one” for Cooper. But the member of Hope Street Church who invited Cooper to join this motley crew — an office worker who got her wedding ring stuck in a copier — is something else altogether: She’s dead And her husband is suspected of murder!

The Sunrise gang jumps into action, vowing to solve this unholy mess — with God’s guidance — and Cooper’s snooping …

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Mystery Book Review: Death's Green Eyes by Kent Wallace

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Death's Green Eyes by Kent Wallace. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Death's Green Eyes by Kent Wallace

by
Non-series

World Audience (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-935444-62-X (193544462X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-935444-62-6 (9781935444626)
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $20.00

Review: Kent Wallace's debut novel, Death's Green Eyes, is a stylish if occasionally uneven thriller featuring a "seen it all"-type character who gets involved in a murder investigation.

Wade Ellington a guy who has struggled in life and wasn't above breaking the law to get by. He's on his way to Los Angeles because a woman he once knew called to say she needed him. She sounded scared. He discovers her body in her apartment, an apparent suicide, but he doesn't buy it ... and neither do the police. Unsure why she called him, unsure it was even her, Wade wants some answers. But someone else is determined to prevent him from getting them.

The opening chapter introduces the lead character in a series of non-linear flashbacks and sets the tone for the book. The writing is generally crisp and edgy, often graphic and explicit, but also somewhat choppy; M-dashes abound, as illustrated in the this short passage from mid-way through the book:

The area code was 213 -- Los Angeles -- no surprise. Now I was nodding like the idiot boy -- a smile.

They left, and I paced -- popped another beer. I ran through some scenarios -- conversations -- approaches. I was excited but didn't want to sound it -- I knew I was at least two more beers from making a call.

When I finally did call -- three beers later -- I reached a machine. I'd only considered what I was going to say to [her] if she answered the phone -- reckoning I'd ad lib, play the magic game -- leaving a message confused me, and I hung up the phone -- then sat wondering if the receiver had disconnected before I'd uttered [a word].


At times, Death's Green Eyes risks being more style than substance, but the murder mystery plot is well conceived and played out. It's an interesting example of a noir thriller that is anything but mainstream.

Special thanks to Kent Wallace for providing a copy of Death's Green Eyes for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Death's Green Eyes from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Wade is knock-around guy who has done everything and seen more -- from drug smuggling to prostitution; from providing protection to those who need it, to retrieving things for people who can't go through traditional channels for help ... Ellington has thrived in society's underbelly -- mingling with hookers and hit-men, crooked cops and mafia capos ...

A desperate late night telephone call from a long ago friend and lover -- an ex-prostitute turned movie star -- throws him into a frenzied case of whodunit ...

Against his better judgment and the advice of his patrono, Ellington's conscience and unorthodox belief system force him to find the killer -- in the process he finds love and self-respect.

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Ostara Publishing Announces Four New Titles for its Top Notch Thrillers Imprint

Ostara Publishing

Three months after the imprint’s launch, Ostara Publishing has issued four more titles in their print-on-demand Top Notch Thrillers series which “aims to revive great British thrillers which do not deserve to be forgotten.”

The new titles, originally published in Britain between 1962 and 1970, were selected by crime writer and critic Mike Ripley, who acts as Series Editor for Top Notch Thrillers. "When first published," he said, "these titles were all best-sellers and their authors are among the most respected names in thriller fiction. Many readers will welcome these novels back almost as old friends and hopefully a new generation of readers will discover them for the first time."

At present, these books do not seem to be available in the US but may be ordered directly from the publisher or from Amazon.co.uk.

— ◊ —

The Ninth Directive by Adam Hall

The Ninth Directive by Adam Hall
Originally published in 1966, 2nd in series

"At this time, when the whole of the South-east Asian picture is confused and threatening, Her Majesty's Government consider it highly desirable that a goodwill mission is undertaken by someone who is neither a statesman nor a diplomat but who commands international respect and admiration, particularly in Thailand. Thus in three weeks' time a representative of the Queen is to visit Bangkok on a goodwill tour." With careful precision he said: "During the visit we want you to arrange for his assassination."

Quiller, the meticulous, ice-cold, taut-as-a-spring super agent is in Thailand planning an assassination - in order to prevent one. He knows his opponent is as ruthlessly professional as he is and he also knows to trust no one.

— ◊ —

The Tale of the Lazy Dog by Alan Williams

The Tale of the Lazy Dog by Alan Williams
Originally published in 1970, Non-series

With friends like these ...

Murray cut him short: "All right, I’ll take your word for it. But for a moment you had me worried. I thought it was you who’d killed Finalyson." Pol sat back with his champagne and chuckled playfully. "Oh but it was, my dear Murray. Or rather, I had him killed. It was the only way." Murray closed his eyes. It was not easy to lose one’s temper with a man while you drank his champagne. Especially when he also had a gun.

The Tale of the Lazy Dog assembles a pirate's crew of rogues, mercenaries and undercover agents, throws them into the world's hottest hot spot -- South East Asia during the Vietnam War -- and then tempts them to pull off the heist of the century.

The prize: one and a half billion dollars in US currency.

What could possibly go wrong?

— ◊ —

A Flock of Ships by Brian Callison

A Flock of Ships by Brian Callison
Originally published in 1970, Author's first book, Non-series

1941: As part of a small Allied convoy, the British freighter M.V. Cyclops races through the South Atlantic with a cargo of secrets. One of the convoy is torpedoed and sunk ... a mysterious distress call is received from another ship ... the Radio Officer disappears ... and then Cyclops seems to open fire on her sister ship.

Gradually the convoy is pushed westward, further and further away from its South African destination – and safety. Could it be that something is actually shepherding this tiny flock of ships towards the waiting U-boats?

The Devil doesn’t really exist – not in the South Atlantic. Does he?

— ◊ —

Time Is an Ambush by Francis Clifford

Time Is an Ambush by Francis Clifford
Originally published in 1962, Non-series

In a quiet Spanish town near Barcelona, the innocent Englishman abroad Stephen Tyler is trying to pursue his career as a novelist and scriptwriter when he stumbles into a relationship with visiting German couple, Erich and Ilsa Scheele. Tyler’s growing attraction towards Scheele’s wife, though, soon proves dangerous, especially when the German’s body is washed up on the beach, for this is Franco’s Spain in the early 1960s, where suspicion runs deep but the scars of the Civil War are even deeper.

— ◊ —

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reviews of Mystery and Suspense Books for Kids, New This Week on Book Trends

Book Trends: Reviews of Young Adult and Children Books

Book Trends, a review site for young adult and children books, published several new book reviews this past week. We're presenting here a summary of those in the mystery / suspense category.

Sinister Substitute by Wendelin Van Draanen. The 3rd book in the Gecko and Sticky series. Recommended for readers aged 10 to 12. Lexile measure: N/A. Reviewed by a 6th grade student who wrote, "This book was amazing and very cool. This is one of those books where once you have read it, you wish you had one of the character’s lives just for awhile."

The Veiled Detective by David Stuart Davies. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Recommended for readers aged 12 and older. Lexile measure: N/A. Reviewed by a 6th grade student who wrote, "Calling all Sherlock Holmes fans: this incredibly very well-written book with classic characters like Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, and Professor James Moriarty by author David Stuart Davies will fulfill your 'Who done it' reading pleasures."

For more reviews of children and young adult books, visit Book Trends; their reviews will amaze you!

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Games of Mystery: 3 Cards to Dead Time, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

3 Cards to Dead Time
3 Cards to Dead Time

Jess Silloway's dreams are haunted by a ghostly figure, always gesturing to be followed. Clues lead to a bed and breakfast on the coast of Maine – the lone surviving structure of a small town mysteriously destroyed eighty years ago ... and now one of the most haunted places on earth. Ghost hunters have come for an annual Halloween Night investigation, but it's Jess who glimpses the "other side." But why her? She doesn't know the woman in her dreams and, until now, she had no idea Beacon Bay even existed. She has no connection here, no history. And then ... something starts to feel ... familiar ...

Use your powers of observation and deduction to unlock glimpses of events from the past, present and future, and then put the pieces together to discover what happened that fateful night so long ago.

See also the first game in the series, 3 Cards to Midnight

Also available: 3 Cards to Dead Time Game Walkthrough.

3 Cards to Dead Time may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (195.86 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

John Grisham To Write Young Adult Series Featuring Kid Lawyer

John Grisham

Publishers Weekly is reporting that bestselling legal thriller author John Grisham has signed with Penguin Young Readers Group in the US and Hodder & Stoughton in the UK to publish a series featuring a 13-year-old amateur attorney. The first book, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, in which the titular character unwittingly becomes involved in a high-profile murder trial, is scheduled to be published this May with the second, as yet untitled but also featuring the same character, book to be published next year. The two novels in the series will be aimed at middle school readers.

Don Weisberg, President of Penguin Young Readers Group, said, "We are looking forward to introducing John Grisham to a whole new generation of young readers. Theodore Boone delivers Grisham's trademark storytelling, perfectly spun for a younger audience. Kids are going to love it."

This is Grisham's first series for young adults. He has more than 250 million books in print worldwide, and his books have been published in 29 languages.

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NBC Shelves Remake of Prime Suspect

Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that NBC has temporarily shelved its remake of Prime Suspect due to difficulties in casting a lead. (And seriously, what actor would want to take on comparisons with the superb Helen Mirren, who played the role of Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison in the original series?)

The original series was written by, and based on stories by, Lynda La Plante, who won an Edgar Award for her work; all seven series (seasons) are available on DVD from Mysteries on TV: Prime Suspect. The update was written by Without a Trace creator Hank Steinberg.

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First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: New Titles for March 2010

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

, your source for information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults where each series is conveniently listed under four different age categories (New Sleuths, ages 4 to 6; Future Sleuths, ages 7 to 9; Sleuths in Training, ages 10 to 12; and Apprentice Sleuths, ages 13 and older), is pleased to announce a selection of new mystery books (including series books) scheduled for publication during March 2010.

— ◊ —

Bones and the Math Test Mystery by David A. Adler

Bones and the Math Test Mystery by David A. Adler


The 8th book in this series.

Jeffrey Bones’s teacher, Mr. Gale, loses things a lot. One day, Mr. Gale says he can’t find Bones’s math test, but Bones knows he turned it in. It’s time for him to use his detective skills. Can Bones find his test and get an “excellent” grade?

The Bones mystery books are recommended for readers aged 4 to 6.

— ◊ —

The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler

The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler


The 1st in a new series of early chapter books.

"My name is King. I am a dog. I am also a detective." King has a very big mystery to solve. His family is missing, and he's been put in the P-O-U-N-D. Why doesn't his beloved human (Kayla) come to get him? When King is adopted by Connor and his mom, things get more confusing. The new family calls him Buddy! And just as Connor and Buddy start to get acquainted, Connor disappears! Buddy (aka King) has big problems to solve, but with some help from his friend Mouse (a very large dog) and the mysterious cat with no name, he shows what a smart, brave dog can do.

The Buddy Files are recommended for readers aged 4 to 6.

— ◊ —

The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts by Dori Hillestad Butler

The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts by Dori Hillestad Butler


The 2nd book in the series.

Buddy was adopted from the P-O-U-N-D and he likes his new family, but he's still searching for Kayla-his first family. What has happened to them? He hopes to solve that mystery soon, but right now he's got another urgent case-two dogs, Muffin and Jazzy, have been switched! How can Buddy get poor Muffin and Jazzy back to their real owners?

The Buddy Files are recommended for readers aged 4 to 6.

— ◊ —

The Case of the Missing Family by Dori Hillestad Butler

The Case of the Missing Family by Dori Hillestad Butler


The 3rd book in the series.

Buddy has settled with his adopted family, but he's never given up on finding his beloved human, Kayla, and his first family. One night he sees men taking things out of Kayla's old house and loading them into a van. What's up? Though his friend Mouse advises against it, in the middle of the night Buddy decides to make a daring move, leaving everything he knows behind. Dori Butler's third case in The Buddy Files will entertain and satisfy the many fans of this brave, funny, and loyal dog.

The Buddy Files are recommended for readers aged 4 to 6.

— ◊ —

Thea Stilton and the Ghost of the Shipwreck by Thea Stilton

Thea Stilton and the Ghost of the Shipwreck by Thea Stilton


A Geronimo Stilton Special Edition mystery.

During a marine biology lesson at Mouseford Academy, the Thea Sisters learn about a mysterious shipwreck off Whale Island. According to legend, a very rare diamond called Jasmine's Heart was on the ship when it sank. When biology teacher Professor Van Kraken disappears, the Thea Sisters have to dive into the deep ocean to find him and the jewel. And just when they think their adventures are over, the Thea Sisters receive an invitation to travel to China to find another missing treasure. It's an adventure these five world-traveling mice will never forget!

This Geronimo Stilton Special Edition Mystery is recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

The Amusement Park Mystery by Shannon Eric Denton (based on the stories of Gertrude Chandler Warner)

The Amusement Park Mystery by Shannon Eric Denton (based on the stories of Gertrude Chandler Warner)


The 10th mystery in this series.

When the Aldens visit their cousins, they're in for a surprise-there's an amusement park nearby! It has everything they could ask for, with plenty of rides and games. But the children see strange lights coming from the closed park at night. And then a mysterious phone call warns them to stay away! Just what is going on at the amusement park?

The Boxcar Children Graphic Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

The Pizza Mystery by Rob M. Worley (based on the stories of Gertrude Chandler Warner)

The Pizza Mystery by Rob M. Worley (based on the stories of Gertrude Chandler Warner)


The 11th mystery in this series.

The Aldens are having a delicious time helping out at a pizza parlor! They toss dough in the kitchen and even invent a new kind of pizza. But when a blackout and other problems hurt business, they begin to wonder if someone is trying to shut down the pizzeria. It's a piping hot mystery for the Boxcar Children!

The Boxcar Children Graphic Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

The Castle Mystery by Shannon Eric Denton (based on the stories of Gertrude Chandler Warner)

The Castle Mystery by Shannon Eric Denton (based on the stories of Gertrude Chandler Warner)


The 12th mystery in this series.

Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny have a fun new job: fixing up an old castle! The spooky old place will be turned into a museum, but first the Aldens must figure out why so many odd things keep happening. Keys go missing, strange music comes from a deserted tower, and soon the Boxcar Children discover the castle has an amazing secret!

The Boxcar Children Graphic Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

Puzzle of the Paper Daughter by Kathryn Reiss

Puzzle of the Paper Daughter by Kathryn Reiss


A Julie mystery.

When Julie discovers a mysterious note written in Chinese, she brings it to her friend Ivy to translate. The note promises great treasure, but it doesn't quite make sense--and Julie suspects it may be written in a secret code. Soon after, the girls' beloved dolls are stolen, and Julie can't shake the feeling that there's a connection between the stolen dolls and the mysterious note. Will Julie and Ivy find the treasure? And will they ever get their dolls back? At the end of the story, the Looking Back section provides historical and interesting facts about Chinese immigration to San Francisco.

American Girl mystery novels are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Secrets at Camp Nokomis by Jacqueline Greene

Secrets at Camp Nokomis by Jacqueline Greene


A Rebecca mystery.

Rebecca loves everything about summer camp, but making friends turns out to be harder than she expected. What secret is her bunkmate hiding -- and why? When camp pranks start getting out of hand and a girl goes missing, Rebecca is determined to find out what's really going on at Camp Nokomis. At the end of the story, the Looking Back section provides interesting facts about summer camps in Rebecca's time.

American Girl mystery novels are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Missing Grace by Elizabeth McDavid Jones

Missing Grace by Elizabeth McDavid Jones


A Kit mystery.

Kit writes a newspaper story about how her dog, Grace, saved the Kittredges and their boarders from a house fire. Grace becomes a local celebrity, and all the attention is a lot of fun for Kit -- until the night Grace mysteriously vanishes. But who would take Kit's dog, and why? At the end of the story, the Looking Back section provides interesting facts abo

American Girl mystery novels are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Tree Soup by Joel Stewart

Tree Soup by Joel Stewart


The 2nd mystery in this series.

Stanley is sleeping in the caravan at the bottom of the garden of his new house. He awakes at the sound of an odd whooooomphing noise and goes to investigate. There appear to be new trees in the garden—very odd. And now his mom and the twins are missing. Could these things be connected? And what about Jim, the old man who lives in the woods with his parrot telling tales of the sea? Could he be involved somehow? Dr. Moon is the only person who can help Stanley with this puzzle, and luckily he's on his way.

The Stanley Wells mysteries are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

The Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia DeFelice

The Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia DeFelice


A reissue of the 1st book in this paranormal series.

Sixth-grader Allie Nichols knows she’s being pursued by a ghost. Her friend Karen calls Allie a liar and doesn’t want to hear “stuff like that.” But her old pal, Dub, listens eagerly as Allie tells him about a girl who begs “Help me,” and a terrible nightmare in which that girl falls to her death. Who is the ghost girl? And what does she want from Allie?

The Ghost Mysteries with Allie Nichols are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Max Finder Collected Casebook Volume 4 by Liam O'Donnell

Max Finder Collected Casebook Volume 4 by Liam O'Donnell


The fourth title in this unique graphic novel series features ten new solve-it-yourself mysteries starring amateur detective Max Finder, aspiring journalist and sidekick Alison Santos, and science geek/forensics expert Zoe Palgrave.

Plus, three never-before-published stories are included — each one told from the perspective of one of the lead characters.

Max Finder graphic novels are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Danger in the Dark by Tom Lalicki

Danger in the Dark by Tom Lalicki


The 4th thrilling adventure in this series.

Harry Houdini — the world’s greatest escape artist — is in need of a new hat. That is what brings him to Bennett & Son, Gentlemen’s Hatters of Fifth Avenue, where young Nathaniel G. Makeworthy Fuller is working for the summer. A surprising friendship develops between the world-famous daredevil and the boy clerk, and it comes just in time. A suspicious stranger has recently wheedled his way into the confidences of Nate’s wealthy great-aunt. Now their house is filled with spooky late-night gatherings, the purpose of which is kept secret from Nate. What is going on? Houdini is just the man to tackle this tangled mystery — and help Nate and his family escape the grasp of an imposter more cunning and dangerous than Nate could have imagined.

This Houdini and Nate mystery is recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

McKenzie's Montana Mystery by Shari Barr

McKenzie's Montana Mystery by Shari Barr


The 3rd adventure in this series.

When Bailey and McKenzie arrive to help at a horse ranch in Montana, they’re immediately entrenched in mysteries: a horse disappearing into thin air, spookiness in an abandoned western town, and ranch hand upheaval. And with all the unexpected action going on, how will they ever find time to prepare for their rodeo competitions? Can the Camp Club Girls successfully combine their skills to help Bailey and McKenzie save the ranch … and the rodeo for Sunshine Stables?

The Camp Club Girls Adventures are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise by Erica Rodgers

Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise by Erica Rodgers


The 4th adventure for the girls.

If dinosaurs are extinct, then why do they seem to come to life each night? When Alexis’ friend, Miss Maria, tries to save her business by importing mechanical dinosaurs to her nature park, Alexis and Kate are instantly on the spot to show their support. But the Camp Club girls are soon embroiled in surprises when they soon have to not only deal with mechanical dinosaurs appearing to have minds of their own, but also the local media, which also seems determined to destroy Miss Maria. Can the girls crack the case and keep Miss Maria’s dreams — and business — alive?

The Camp Club Girls Adventures are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Legion of the Dead by Paul Stewart

Legion of the Dead by Paul Stewart


The 3rd mystery in this series.

“The corpses swayed where they stood, their bony arms outstretched before them and tattered sleeves hanging limply in the foggy air. I smelled the sourness of the sewers about them; that, and the sweet whiff of death. Their sunken eyes bored into mine. I was surrounded ...” Barnaby Grimes is a tick-tock lad, delivering messages and running errands all over the city, day and night. Gangland funerals and diving expeditions are hazardous enough, but when the graveyards begin to give up their dead, this tick-tock lad is faced with his deadliest challenge yet ... A blood-curdling tale of greed and betrayal. Will Barnaby be defeated by the Legion of the Dead?

Barnaby Grimes mysteries are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester

Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester


Fourteen-year-old wunderchef Neil Flambé can cook anything, and patrons pay top dollar and wait months for reservations at his tiny boutique restaurant. What many of Neil’s patrons don’t know, however, is that he’s also a budding detective, code-named “The Nose.” It all started when he used his knowledge of cooking and his incredible sense of smell to acquit his mother’s client of murder. Now, however, some of the best chefs in town are turning up dead, the cops are stumped, and the crime scenes aren’t helping. The only real clues are a mysterious smell and some equally mysterious notes — in Italian! — that have something to do with the great explorer Marco Polo. As more and more chefs fall prey to the killer, and more and more notes turn up, Neil finds himself working not only to solve the murders, but to eliminate himself as the prime suspect!

This Neil Flambe Caper is recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

— ◊ —

Conspiracy 365 March by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365 March by Gabrielle Lord


The 3rd thriller in this series.

On New Year's Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Now everyone's searching for Cal, the psycho kid who's meant to have attacked his uncle and put his sister in a coma. He's desperate to clear his name and protect his family, but he also has less than a year to solve an ancient family secret: the Ormond Singularity. And the closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his life becomes. He has 306 days. The threat is growing ...

The Conspiracy 365 novels are recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

— ◊ —

A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee

A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee


The 1st book in this series.

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there?

This Agency thriller with Mary Quinn is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

— ◊ —

The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer

The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer
Non-series

Bea lives in the nowhere town of Elbow, where it rains so much the residents have green mold growing between their toes. Nothing ever happens in Elbow. Its closest claim to fame is a giant pickle factory, owned by Herman, the Pickle King. Herman's a small-time big shot, a local celebrity ... until he turns up dead. And when Bea and Sam stumble across the body -- minus one eyeball -- in the water-logged basement of a creepy old house, suddenly they're ones in a pickle!

With a mystery to solve, maybe this summer won't be such a bore after all ...

This non-series title is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

— ◊ —

Shadow Mirror by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Shadow Mirror by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Non-series

Unsettling. There’s no better word to describe Miranda Barnes’s ability to hear the cries of the dead, feel the wind move her hair when they run by, and — dare she look into a mirror — see the reflection of a ghostly woman behind her. There’s only one person to turn to for support: Etienne. As sexy as he is mysterious, Miranda can’t help but be drawn to him. He believes her; he wants to help her. But there’s a secret in Etienne’s past, something Miranda’s on the verge of discovering.

As paranormal activity escalates, passion grows, and soon Miranda is caught up in both love ... and tragedy.

This non-series title is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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The Mark by M. R. Bunderson

The Mark by M. R. Bunderson
Non-series

She's had it forever. A tiny mark on her hand. No big deal, right? But when Tori discovers that her ordinary freckle is really some kind of microscopic tattoo, she doesn't know what to think, especially after meeting Eric, a guy she feels strangely connected to--and not just because he has a mark too.

All too soon, Tori and Eric realize that their marks are only the first clue to a mystery that will change everything. And with each new discovery, Tori finds herself pulled deeper and deeper into a world she could never have imagined.

This non-series title is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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Mystery at Saddle Creek by Shelley Peterson

Mystery at Saddle Creek by Shelley Peterson
Non-series

A few months have passed since Bird regained her voice, and life around Saddle Creek Farm has settled into a nice, normal routine of school, riding and fun. Normal, that is, until a neighbourhood woman is brutally attacked on a local sideroad. When the police don’t act fast enough, the situation goes from bad to worse, with neighbour accusing neighbour and a bent-on-revenge vigilante group springingup to take matters into their own hands.

Although she starts by observing the fuss from the sidelines, Bird quickly finds herself embroiled in the mystery itself. Who had reason to attack Sandra Hall? Does the strange man Bird met in the woods have something to do with it? And what does Kenneth Bradley’s reappearance mean? As Bird struggles to get to the bottom of the mystery, she learns more than she bargained on about her community, her past, and human nature.

This non-series title is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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A&E Orders Sugarloaf, a Crime Drama Series Set in Rural Florida

A&E TV

In a press release yesterday, A&E Television announced the network had ordered 13 episodes of the original scripted crime drama series with the working title of Sugarloaf.

Matt Passmore stars as Jim Longworth, an attractive, brilliant, yet hard to get along with homicide detective from Chicago who after being wrongfully accused of sleeping with his former Captain's wife is forced into exile. Longworth relocates to Sugarloaf, a sleepy small resort town in the middle of nowhere on the Gulf Coast of Florida where the sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. Yet life in Sugarloaf is not as beautiful as it may seem.

In the pilot episode, the easy life quickly falls by the wayside when a decapitated, unidentifiable woman is found in a creek, begrudgingly dragging Longworth off the golf course in pursuit of her killer. Complicating matters more is his relationship with Callie (played by Kiele Sanchez), a quick-witted, beautiful med student with a 12 year-old son and a husband in prison. With a Titleist sitting on the fourteenth fairway waiting for him to break eighty for the first time in his life, Longworth needles, cajoles, and harangues everyone in his path, including his golf partner and department medical examiner Carlos (Carlos Gómez), as he puzzles out the facts surrounding the mysterious killing to try and identify the victim and bring her killer to justice.

The pilot was filmed in Zephyrhills, a rural suburb of Tampa. Series production is expected to begin in Miami this spring for a summer 2010 premiere.

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Games of Mystery: Pathfinders Lost at Sea, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Pathfinders: Lost at Sea
Pathfinders: Lost at Sea

A mysterious and timeless artifact at the bottom of the sea has been activated! Follow its signal to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with Professor John Darby and explore an island that has magically appeared. Travel by boat and face dangerous perils while you attempt to discover the truth behind this ancient relic.

Also available: Pathfinders: Lost at Sea Strategy Guide and a Pathfinders: Lost at Sea Game Walkthrough.

Pathfinders: Lost at Sea may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (219.40 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Mystery Bestsellers for February 26, 2010

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending February 26, 2010 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

After several weeks, months really, of little change among the mystery bestsellers, there's quite a bit of change this week. Last week's featured title, The Man from Beijing, a stand-alone thriller by Henning Mankell, moves into the top 4 and two new titles enter the list.

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Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb
More information about the book

Entering the list in 8th position is Fantasy in Death, the 31st "In Death" thriller with homicide cop Eve Dallas by J. D. Robb.

Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private playroom, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world, to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king, in his company's latest top-secret project, Fantastical.

The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game ...

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a prob­lem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks-as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U- Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death ...

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Split Image by Robert B. Parker
More information about the book

In 10th position is Split Image, the 9th Jesse Stone mystery (with an appearance by other series character Sunny Randall) by the late Robert B. Parker.

The body in the trunk was just the beginning.

Turns out the stiff was a foot soldier for local tough guy Reggie Galen, now enjoying a comfortable "retirement" with his beauti­ful wife, Rebecca, in the nicest part of Paradise. Living next door are Knocko Moynihan and his wife, Robbie, who also happens to be Rebecca's twin. But what initially appears to be a low-level mob hit takes on new meaning when a high-ranking crime figure is found dead on Paradise Beach.

Stressed by the case, his failed relationship with his ex-wife, and his ongoing battle with the bottle, Jesse needs something to keep him from spinning out of control. When private investigator Sunny Randall comes into town on a case, she asks for Jesse's help. As their professional and personal relationships become intertwined, both Jesse and Sunny realize that they have much in common with both their victims and their suspects -- and with each other.

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The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownWorst Case by James PattersonThe Man from Beijing by Henning MankellI, Alex Cross by James Patterson

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.

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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.

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