Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Moscow Rules by Daniel SilvaBuy from Amazon.com

Moscow Rules by
A Gabriel Allon Mystery

Putnam (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-399-15501-5 (0399155015)
ISBN-13: 978-0-399-15501-7 (9780399155017)
Publication Date: July 2008
List Price: $26.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): The death of a journalist leads Gabriel Allon to Russia, where he finds that, in terms of spycraft, even he has something to learn. He's playing by Moscow rules now.

This is not the grim, gray Moscow of Soviet times but a new Moscow, awash in oil wealth and choked with bulletproof Bentleys. A Moscow where power resides once more behind the walls of the Kremlin and where critics of the ruling class are ruthlessly silenced. A Moscow where a new generation of Stalinists is plotting to reclaim an empire lost and to challenge the global dominance of its old enemy, the United States.

One such man is Ivan Kharkov, a former KGB colonel who built a global investment empire on the rubble of the Soviet Union. Hidden within that empire, however, is a more lucrative and deadly business: Kharkov is an arms dealer—and he is about to deliver Russia's most sophisticated weapons to al-Qaeda. Unless Allon can learn the time and place of the delivery, the world will see the deadliest terror attacks since 9/11—and the clock is ticking fast.

Review: Daniel Silva's eighth novel of espionage and international intrigue, Moscow Rules, has Gabriel Allon summoned by Israeli intelligence from his holiday in Umbria to Moscow to look into the death of Aleksandr Lubin, a Russian independent journalist and the bane of the new Russia's existence.

Lubin was on a mission to expose the offenses of Ivan Kharkov, the son of a senior KGB officer and boy wonder of KGB’s Fifth Chief Doctorate. When the Soviet Union began to crumble, Kharkov amassed a fortune in banking, investing heavily in energy, raw materials and real estate. He became one of the newly minted billionaires of the new Kremlin. His holdings included shipping and air freight with branches reaching across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Lubin was investigating the rumor that Kharkov was amassing dangerous arms to sell to al-Qaeda in order that they could continue their assaults on the United States and their allies. Allon, as a member of Israel’s foreign intelligence service, brings together and manages a group of spies and counter spies, negotiators and mediators, and must travel around the world in order to stop the sale of the arms to al-Qaeda. Time is quickly running out.

Although the primary plot of Moscow Rules is a tremendously absorbing account of the potential of global war, the interesting subplots within the story are also worthy of mention, most notably the loving and amusing marriage of Gabriel and Chiara Allon that is in marked contrast to the volatile marriage of Ivan and Elena Kharkov. There are also the deep rooted and entertaining friendships between Allon and members of the "Office" (Israeli intelligence). The fusion of the critical threats of terrorism with the relative normalcy of the personal lives of the agents is remarkably well done and the intricate scheme that Allon conceives to foil the arms sale encourages the reader to keep turning the pages.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Moscow Rules and to FSB Associates for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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.

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First Clues Mysteries for Kids: Alec Flint and Hank the Cowdog

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

We've updated our website by adding two mystery series, one new and another a long-running one with a recently published title.

Just published this month is the first mystery in a new series by Jill Santopolo featuring 4th grader Alec Flint, The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure. Alec is a super sleuth ... well, maybe he's a super sleuth-in-training. Nevertheless, he is absolutely certain that he will make a great detective one day. And when better to test his sleuthing skills than after the entire Christopher Columbus exhibit goes missing from the town museum? He's joined in solving this crime by his classmate Gina.

The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure is published by Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. The second book in this series, The Ransom Note Blues, is scheduled to be published in 2009.

The are appropriate for junior sleuths aged 8 to 11.

The 52nd book in the Hank the Cowdog series, The Quest for the Great White Quail, was published in May. The first book in the series, The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, written by John Erickson and published in 1998, introduced Hank, the Head of Ranch Security for a west Texas ranch. For more information about the series and characters, visit Hank the Cowdog's Official Site.

In The Quest for the Great White Quail Beulah, the long-eared lady dog of Hank's dreams, shows up at the ranch and asks Hank to find Plato the Bird Dog who has gone missing. The next book in the series, Drover's Secret Life, is scheduled to be published in the spring of 2009.

The are appropriate for young sleuths aged 8 to 12.

is pleased to provide information on nearly 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

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Mystery Books News Welcomes Bob Avey

Author Photo: Bob Avey in partnership with the is pleased to welcome Bob Avey on his virtual book tour.

Bob Avey is the author of the Kenny Elliot mystery series, which includes Twisted Perception, released April 2006, and Beneath a Buried House, June 2008, several short stories and various non-fiction articles. He lives with his wife and son in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma where he works as an accountant in the petroleum industry. When he’s not writing or researching mystery writing techniques, he spends his free time prowling through dusty antique shops looking for the rare or unusual, or roaming through ghost towns, searching for echoes from the past. Through his writing, which he describes as a blend of literary and genre, he explores the intricacies and extremities of human nature.
 
Bob is a member of The Tulsa NightWriters, The Oklahoma Writers Federation (active board member for 2006), The Oklahoma Mystery Writers, and Mystery Writers of America.

Bob Avey: Beneath a Buried HouseAn excerpt (the first chapter) of Bob's most recent mystery, Beneath a Buried House, can be read on his website. A synopsis of the book: Things aren't always what they seem. Tulsa Police Detective, Kenny Elliot's quest to uncover the truth behind the death of a transient makes him a target - from whom or what he isn't sure. When he brushes the dirt from the surface of an apparent John Doe overdose case, he finds a labyrinth of misdirection and deception beneath, and a trail, which leads him to an encounter with an aberration in human nature, the likes of which he's not prepared to deal with. Drawing on his strength of character, and sense of right and wrong, he wrestles with deep personal feelings to solve the case.

Our can be read in the following post on .

We're delighted Bob Avey took the time to visit with us today and look forward to having him return again soon.

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Mystery Book Review: Beneath a Buried House by Bob Avey

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Beneath a Buried House by Bob Avey. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Beneath a Buried House by Bob AveyBuy from Amazon.com

Beneath a Buried House by
A Kenny Elliot Mystery

Deadly Niche Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-937660-81-7 (0937660817)
ISBN-13: 978-0-937660-81-2 (9780937660812)
Publication Date: June 2008
List Price: $17.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Things aren't always what they seem. Tulsa Police Detective, Kenny Elliot's quest to uncover the truth behind the death of a transient makes him a target - from whom or what he isn't sure. When he brushes the dirt from the surface of an apparent John Doe overdose case, he finds a labyrinth of misdirection and deception beneath, and a trail, which leads him to an encounter with an aberration in human nature, the likes of which he's not prepared to deal with.

Drawing on his strength of character, and sense of right and wrong, he wrestles with deep personal feelings to solve the case. 

Review: Tulsa police detective Kenny Elliot finds himself inexorably drawn into strange circumstances surrounding the death of a man from an apparent drug overdose, alone in a nearly vacant apartment, in Beneath a Buried House, the second mystery in this series by Bob Avey.

Thought by his peers to be an accidental death or potentially a suicide, Kenny believes the unidentified man was murdered. When a prostitute seen with the man on the night of his death is later killed, Kenny is sure the cases are related though there is no physical evidence to connect them. It isn't until he ties the disappearance of the prime suspect in the murder to the dead man that Kenny realizes the solution to his case may ultimately involve a family that went missing years ago.

Beneath a Buried House is one of those mysteries that capture the reader's imagination from the very first chapter. Relationships between many of the characters are established early but are incomplete leading to a sense of foreboding: something is bound to happen but it isn't clear what that may be or when or to whom it may happen. The third person narrative is largely written in a direct, somewhat detached manner that is completely in character with Kenny himself. Even his relationship, really infatuation, with a mysterious woman has a circumspect aspect to it. Towards the end the plot becomes rather predictable, there are a few plot points aren't cleanly wrapped up, and what is undoubtedly intended to be a surprise ending isn't, but overall these are minor criticisms for what is otherwise an enjoyable crime novel.

Special thanks to Bob Avey for providing a copy of Beneath a Buried House for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Vita Nuova by Magdalen Nabb

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Vita Nuova by Magdalen Nabb. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Vita Nuova by Magdalen NabbBuy from Amazon.com

Vita Nuova by
A Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia Mystery

Soho Crime (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-493-1 (1569474931)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-493-8 (9781569474938)
Publication Date: June 2008
List Price: $24.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): Daniela is a quiet single mother studying for a doctorate in chemistry. She rarely goes out, so her murder in her bedroom at the family's new villa seems inexplicable. It is true that her mother, who appears to be an alcoholic; her younger sister, who has had mental problems; and her father, who has made his money running nightclubs and is probably involved in the international sex trade, are not your average home-loving Italian nuclear family, but what can she have done to be singled out for slaughter? And why has the prosecutor asked specifically for Marshal Guarnaccia to head the investigation?

Review: Marshal Guarnaccia has been called in by old adversary, Prosecutor Fulvio DeVita, to investigate the murder of a young single mother, the eldest daughter of wealthy business man, in Vita Nuova, the fourteenth mystery in this series by the late Magdalen Nabb.

The young woman is Daniela who is found by her younger sister in her bedroom, shot six times in the stomach and once in the back of her head. As is his custom, the Marshal visits the scene, exploring the actual place of death as well as the house and grounds. He then carefully reflects on everything he has observed over and over again. What appear to be conclusive answers at first are eventually reversed in his mind, and his keen observations provide him with a clear (or at least clearer) concept of the murder. Because all the windows had bars like a prison, an outsider could not possibly have been able to enter into the villa. So, naturally, it appears to the Marshal that it was someone in the villa who had killed Daniela. Then he wonders if the bars were to keep someone out, or more ominously, to keep someone in. When the marshal investigates the dead woman's father’s business ventures, he becomes aware of illegal immigrants from Poland and elsewhere being hired by Paolette, some being placed in legitimate jobs as maids, nannies, or other unskilled laborers, but some as “special” girls to work in his nightclub. The Marshal must not only solve the murder in Paolette’s home, but also save the young girls from a miserable life that faced them in Florence.

Nabb's mysteries have an amazing effect on the reader. It's as if they are standing with the Marshal, participating in his thought process and reasoning with him throughout the case. The reading experience with Vita Nuova, the author's last novel, is no different. At times anxious, at times tranquil, always riveting and forever touching. The mystery world has lost a great crime writer with the passing of Magdalen Nabb last year, but it is with pleasure that Soho Press is reissuing some of her mysteries for a generation of new fans to enjoy.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Vita Nuova and to Soho Press for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Secret Hangman by Peter Lovesey

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Secret Hangman by Peter Lovesey. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Secret Hangman by Peter LoveseyBuy from Amazon.com

The Secret Hangman by
A Peter Diamond Mystery

Soho Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-488-5 (1569474885)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-488-4 (9781569474884)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $13.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): Peter Diamond, the Bath detective, is having woman trouble. His boss wants him to find a missing person, the daughter of one of her friends in the choir. He is not enthusiastic. Another woman, who calls herself his Secret Admirer, wants to set up a meeting in a local pub. He tries ignoring her. Then there is sexy Ingeborg Smith, the ex-journo detective constable, distracting the murder squad from their duties. No one ignores Ingeborg.

Murder becomes a possibility when a woman’s body is found hanging from a playground swing in Sydney Gardens. Soon Diamond is certain that a secret hangman is at work in the city. The hunt for the killer, through abandoned mine workings and the deserted city by night, galvanizes the entire squad and forces Diamond to face his own demons as well as the killer. 

Review: Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond and his team investigate a series of hangings in and around Bath (England) in The Secret Hangman, the ninth whodunit in this series by Peter Lovesey.

It’s been three years since the death of Diamond's wife Steph and now, seemingly out of no where, he is being pursued by a wealthy lady. Not only is he not interested in getting to know this woman, he and his team are totally absorbed in a series of murders that may have begun two years ago. At the time they were ruled as suicides but Diamond does not believe in the coincidence of the murders. There were two couples, and now one woman. Will the woman’s partner or husband be next? Diamond believes there is a serial killer involved. During all this time, his "secret admirer" Paloma remains persistent in her desire to meet Diamond. Diamond becomes taken with her tenacity and begins to spend time with her. Diamond and his team, however, continue move forward in their investigation, hunting for and finding clues. They still have no connection between the people who have been killed and the motive escapes them. They are sure though, without a doubt there will be another male victim shortly. Is it be possible that this is not a single serial killer? Could there be a cult involved? How did the killer (or killers) choose their victims? How do the “ram-raiders”, a gang that drives stolen vehicles into the fronts of jewelry stores and other small businesses to loot them, fit into the scheme of things? Their biggest problem, of course, is, could they get the answers before the third man is hanged? And just why is Paloma so eager to meet Diamond, almost to the point of stalking him?

The Secret Hangman, with its cleverly ironic title, is a very likeable novel. The plot is suspenseful with an unexpected twist or two and the characters bring a touch of humor to their deadly profession. As a police procedural, it is very well done with a behind-the-scenes look at a police station, how it operates, and the relationships between those in charge and the rank-and-file.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Secret Hangman and to Soho Press for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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.

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Mysteries on TV: The Jesse Stone Complete Collection DVD Set

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, has no new series DVDs being released this week but is pleased to announce that the Jesse Stone mystery movies on DVD are now available as a complete collection.

The star Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, the sheriff of the small Massachusetts coastal town of Paradise. The made-for-television movies (aired to date) have been based on novels by .

The first movie in the series, Stone Cold, and based on the 4th book in the mystery series, aired on CBS in February 2005 and was a ratings winner. This was followed in 2006 by two movies, Night Passage, advertised as a prequel since it was based on the 1st book in the series, and Death in Paradise, based on the 3rd book. The fourth movie, Sea Change, based on the 5th book, aired in mid-2007.

A fifth movie is in post-production. Titled Thin Ice, it was filmed from a screenplay written specifically for the Jesse Stone character and not based on any of the Parker books. No air date has yet been scheduled by CBS.

The Jesse Stone Complete Collection of mystery movies will be available from Amazon.com starting tomorrow. For more information about the Jesse Stone novels and movies, visit Squidoo: Jesse Stone.

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

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for July 21, 2008

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for July 21, 2008A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now 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: G H I K N O R T W. This is the title of the 7th mystery in the Dave Brandstetter series by Joseph Hansen (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!

Games of Mystery: Mystery Games, Parties, and Vacations
Mystery-themed games, parties, and more

AreYouGame games and puzzles
Games for Kids and Adults at AreYouGame.com

Video Game Rentals Delivered
GameFly delivers the best video games

GameStop, Inc.
Mystery games for all platforms at GameStop

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Deadly Errors by Allen WylerBuy from Amazon.com

Deadly Errors by
Non-series

Forge (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7653-5167-6 (0765351676)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-5167-8 (9780765351678)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $7.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): When the doctors and nurses at Seattle's prestigious Maynard Medical Center start making preventable drug and treatment errors that kill their patients, neurosurgeon Dr. Tyler Mathews suspects that something is murderously wrong with the hospital's highly touted new "Med-InDx" electronic medical record. But when he airs his concerns to the hospital's upper management, he's met with stonewalling, skepticism---and threats.

Millions of dollars, and the future of Med-InDx, are at stake. And powerful corporate forces aren't about to let their potential profits evaporate. Tyler soon finds that his career, his marriage, and his very life are in jeopardy---along with the lives of countless innocent patients.

Review: Allen Wyler's debut novel, Deadly Errors, is an electrifying medical mystery that essentially poses the question, How much of one's life can be entrusted to technology?

In the renowned Maynard Medical Center in Seattle, a state of the art new computer system has been installed on a trial basis. Med-InDX, a “new millennium technology”, is supposed to revolutionize medical records by virtually eliminating human errors that kill an estimated one thousand lives each year. When a patient of dedicated neurosurgeon Dr. Tyler Matthews dies while in operating room, he looks for a reason. His prescribed dosage is correct, but the system has administered a lethal dosage instead. He suspects an error in the system. or worse, a hacker that has possibly invaded the system. With a tattered reputation following him from a previous hospital, he is subsequently accused of malpractice and for blaming the computer for his incompetence. He decides to probe the accuracy of the program and discovers others have died not only during surgeries, but also in the ER, or while recovering from an illness. When he brings these cases to the attention of his superiors, his suspicions are ignored. Moreover, he is told to stop his investigation. When he does not stop it leads to more people dying. In addition, some of this associates who agreed to help him have mysteriously disappeared or are found dead of unknown causes. His continued tenacity takes him from the pristine offices of the Maynard Medical Center to the bowels of Seattle’s underground city where he risks not only his reputation but his life to prove there is a big error in the system – and it is more likely to be caused by human intervention than by the technology.

Deadly Errors is a spellbinding thriller with characters that come to life. Dr. Matthews shows fear and other human frailties yet brings heroic tenacity in his effort to save lives. The plot is frighteningly realistic yet cleverly plotted. This book is definitely not recommended reading for anyone about to enter the hospital for surgery or any other procedure, but for everyone else, it is pulse-pounding entertainment.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Deadly Errors and to Susan Schwartzman Public Relations for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Games of Mystery: Nancy Drew and the Phantom of Venice

Games of Mystery

, your online source for mystery-themed games, parties, and vacations, has updated its website with the latest installment in the award-winning Nancy Drew series of PC games.

Nancy Drew Games for the PC

We were travelling earlier this month when Nancy Drew 18: The Phantom of Venice was released and missed the opportunity to introduce the game to our readers at that time. In possibly her most exciting adventure yet, players will work to uncover the mastermind behind a series of unsolved thefts that have taken place in -- one of the world's most unique cities known for its interlocking canals and sleek gondolas. The Italian police have asked Nancy Drew for help in unraveling a crime ring that is threatening to steal all of Venice's priceless artifacts. Assuming the role of Nancy, players arrive in Venice during Carnival and begin taking on a series of challenges, including an undercover spy mission for the Italian police. Along the way, players must take advantage of the unique Venetian culture such as learning the language and navigating the transportation system (gondola or walking) to accomplish the mission at hand. As the game progresses, the masked thief becomes bolder and players will need to correctly identify the phantom before he or she goes too far.

Developed by Her Interactive, Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice is based on the 78th book in the original series of and is rated E for Everyone. Three trailers are available on the Her Interactive website (trailer 1, trailer 2, trailer 3). You may also download Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice from the Big Fish games website. The Games of Mystery website has a complete selection of all as well as .

Visit  for all types of mysterious fun!

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Mystery Book Review: Eyes of the World by Rob Palmer

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Eyes of the World by Rob Palmer. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Eyes of the World by Rob PalmerBuy from Amazon.com

Eyes of the World by
Non-series

Dorchester (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-8439-5676-3 (0843956763)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8439-5676-4 (9780843956764)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $7.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Mike Stanbridge, a Florida lawyer, has been friends with Lynnie Connor since childhood. Lynnie, always driven, always a risk taker, has risen to be president of the United States. Their friendship is common knowledge; their long-standing love affair is the most carefully guarded secret of their lives.

It is the campaign season, and Lynnie is running hard for reelection. Any scandal could bring her career crashing down.

Trouble starts when a woman is murdered in upstate New York, in the town where Mike and Lynnie grew up. The dead woman knew more about Lynnie than anyone—except, perhaps, Mike. Evidence indicates someone close to Lynnie may have been the killer. The police look deeper and tie Mike to the scene. He's suddenly the number-one suspect.

With the clock ticking on the election, Mike must find the real murderer. That means digging into Lynnie's political connections and, ultimately, into her past. The clues lead him on a high-speed run across the country.

Mike isn't the only one in the hunt. The police, the FBI, a tight-knit squad of assassins—they all are after him. The circle slips tighter with every step closer to the truth. And always Mike is pursued by questions: How well does he really know Lynnie? How much can he trust her?

Review: A murder investigation complicates the re-election campaign of America's first woman President in Eyes of the World, a thoroughly entertaining and absorbing political thriller by Rob Palmer.

A "This is Your Life" birthday party is being planned in Blaine, New York, the hometown of President Carolyn "Lynnie" Connor. In charge of the festivities, 73-year-old Reverend Eve Tessmer had scheduled forty-three speakers, one for each year of Lynnie's life. Although Lynnie had lived in Blaine since she was a toddler, she was actually born on a ranch in Arizona near the border with Mexico. Eve wanted a speaker to attend and tell the story of Lynnie's birth. But she could not locate any one who was willing to talk to her about it. Whenever she talked to anyone, she was always referred to someone else. Eve decided to do a search into Lynnie's ancestry, but before she could get very far, she was murdered, her death made to look like suicide. Her neighbor and close friend, Archie Pascoe found her on her bed, shot in her head with the gun in her hand. In her other hand he found a wadded up slip of paper with the name and phone number of Mike Stanbridge, Attorney-at-Law, written on it, together with some unreadable words. Because he knew suicide was not an option for Eve, he took the gun and the paper. Before leaving her room he looked around her desk noting that a folder for Arizona was missing from among the information folders she had for the party. At a memorial service for Eve, Archie meets up with Mike and together they decide to continue the search that Eve had begun.

Their involvement, however, gets the attention of someone as false clues are planted, framing Mike for Eve's murder. Now the two men are not only searching for the reasons someone might have wanted to kill Eve, but are trying to stay ahead of the police and FBI, and, it turns out, the very criminals who actually murdered Eve. Mike feels sure that someone in the government must be involved in this conspiracy but who would want the information so badly that they would condone these men to kill, injure and torture to find the secrets that lay in Arizona? Would Lynnie's political opposition be so bold? If so, why? If it wasn't the opposition, was it someone in Lynnie's own camp? Mike and Archie are in uncivilized country in Arizona, and the men after them seemed just as uncivilized. The election was only a few weeks away; Archie and Mike wondered if they could stay alive long enough to cast their votes.

Eyes of the World is an exceptionally well written and plotted novel. The characters are richly developed, from Mike and Archie and Lynnie to the leader of the clan of criminals chasing Mike and even to the one person who knows the secret everyone is looking for. In the midst of the madness and mayhem, the author adds to great effect a humorous camaraderie between Mike and Archie. This is a terrific novel, and is highly recommended.

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

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Mysteries on TV: Monk and Psych Season Premieres Tonight

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is reminding our readers that the season premieres of USA Network's original series  and air tonight.

 returns for a seventh season tonight in an episode titled Mr. Monk Buys a House. When his new neighbor plays his music too loud, Monk decides it's time to move. He takes a huge step and buys a house that turns into a money pit, particularly when he hires the handyman from hell who is determined to rip up the entire house.

The first six seasons of Monk are available on DVD by visiting . Individual episodes are also available for purchase via .

 returns for a third season tonight in an episode titled Ghosts. After Gus' boss demands he quit moonlighting at the Psych agency, Shawn must find a way to keep his partner while solving a haunting case and playing referee to Henry and his recently returned mother (guest star Cybill Shepherd).

The first two seasons of Psych are available on DVD by visiting . Individual episodes are also available for purchase via .

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

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Mystery Bestsellers for July 18, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending July 11, 2008 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The latest mystery by to feature Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux, Swan Peak, moves into the top rank of bestsellers this week, but 's 14th mystery featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Fearless Fourteen retains the number 1 spot.

Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner

Two new titles enter the list this week. Debuting at number 13 is Say Goodbye, the 2nd mystery by featuring rookie FBI agent Kimberly Quincy whose latest case all starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly about her johns is too horrifying to be true—but prostitutes are disappearing, one by one, with no explanation, and no one but Kimberly seems to care. As a member of the Evidence Response Team, dead hookers aren’t exactly Kimberly’s specialty. The young agent is five months pregnant—she has other things to worry about than an alleged lunatic who uses spiders to do his dirty work. But Kimberly’s own mother and sister were victims of a serial killer. And now, without any bodies and with precious few clues, it’s all too clear that a serial killer has found the key to the perfect murder . . . or Kimberly is chasing a crime that never happened. Kimberly’s caught in a web more lethal than any spider’s, and the more she fights for answers, the more tightly she’s trapped. What she doesn’t know is that she’s close—too close—to a psychopath who makes women’s nightmares come alive, and if he has his twisted way, it won’t be long before it’s time for Kimberly. Publishers Weekly calls Say Goodbye "engaging if highly disturbing" and adds, "Gardner delivers a satisfying resolution in line with what her fans have come to expect: a suspenseful freak show wrapped up with a neatly tied bow."

Killer View by Ridley Pearson

Just below at number 14 is Killer View, the second thriller by Ridley Pearson featuring Idaho lawman Walt Fleming. When a skier goes missing at Sun Valley's Galena Summit, Walt quickly assembles his crack search-and-rescue team and heads out into the snowy night. Despite the treacherous conditions, Walt and his group, including deputy Tommy Brandon and Walt's best friend, Mark Aker, set off on skis, accompanied by highly trained search dogs. Within minutes, something goes horribly wrong: a shot rings out, and one of their team is dead. By morning, Mark Aker has disappeared. Torn between professional responsibility and the desperate urge to find his friend, Walt is further challenged by an unexplained illness at a local water-bottling plant that sends workers to the hospital and sets off biohazard warnings. Following threads of questionable evidence through the glitter of Sun Valley leads Walt to an unlikely—and darker—source, and reveals a crime played out on a much larger scale than he originally envisioned. Waist-deep in snow and knee-deep in lies, the life of his friend in the balance, Walt begins to suspect that the whole operation is controlled by people of great wealth and power, which leaves him where he started: out in the cold. Publishers Weekly calls Killer View a "tension-filled sequel" and adds "Pearson's relentless sense of pacing and serpentine plot will have readers furiously turning pages until the end."

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information. And don't forget to check our page where you can save an additional 5% when you purchase your mystery books prior to their publication date.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

Fearless Fourteen by Janet EvanovichSwan Peak by James Lee BurkeChasing Darkness by Robert CraisNothing to Lose by Lee Child

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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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Outlander by Gil Adamson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Outlander by Gil AdamsonBuy from Amazon.com

The Outlander by
Non-series

Ecco Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-149125-X (006149125X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-149125-2 (006149125X)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $25.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): In 1903, a mysterious young woman flees alone across the west, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, Mary Boulton has just become a widow – and her husband’s killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother’s death. Responding to little more than the primitive fight for life, the widow retreats ever deeper into the wilderness – and into the wilds of her own mind – encountering an unforgettable cast of eccentrics along the way.

With the stunning prose and captivating mood of great works like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain or early Cormac McCarthy, Gil Adamson’s intoxicating debut novel weds a brilliant literary style to the gripping tale of one woman’s desperate escape.

Review: The International Association of Crime-Writers 2008 winner of The for Crime-Writing by a U.S. or Canadian author, The Outlander is Toronto writer Gil Adamson’s powerful debut novel of a twenty-year old widow’s incredible struggle to survive against overwhelming odds - the pursuit of twin vengeance-mad redheaded brothers-in-law, the unforgiving wilderness of the 1900s northwest mountains and forests, and the all-consuming ravages of the Frank slide, one of North America’s worst ever natural disasters. From the opening line of, “It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling,” to the final words, “Find me,” on the last page of the story, and with all of the exactly right words in between, the novel grabs and holds from first to last.

Maddened from her 34-year-old husband’s neglect, the death of her infant son and the cabin fever of her homesteading existence, 20-year-old Mary Boulton kills her unfaithful spouse with a rifle shot to the leg, watching his blood and his life drain into the dirt floor of their single room cabin before taking off on a spectacular run for her life. Through her intuition and wits the young woman, “Widowed by her own hand,” manages to elude her pursuing brothers-in-law as determined to catch her as she is to escape, as Adamson shows in storyline cross cuts between the hunted and the hunters. After an interlude with an eccentric dowager and her retinue, Mary and the “dark shapes” of her memories and the sack of items she has stolen, press onward to anywhere away from the twins. For a while she finds solace and even the warmth of real love with a mountain man, William Moreland, known to the Forest Service Rangers as “the Ridgerunner” for his ability to raid their cabins and evade their capture. Regrettably for the lovers, Moreland’s own demons motivate him to desert the widow, leaving her once more desolate and destitute and with the twins and a tracker they’ve hired still in hot pursuit. With the help of a not-too-friendly Indian and his gracious white wife, Mary gets to the ramshackle tent and mining town of Frank. Here, a kindly Reverend Mr. Angus Lorne Bonnycastle - “Bonny” to his friends and his flock- becomes her guardian angel, and she encounters some of the Lord’s strangest castoffs – McEchern the dwarf, for one example, who runs the town’s trading post and, for another, Giovanni the Italian talking, “colossal, hump-shouldered creature with a heavy head” who supplies the town’s booze from his hidden still. Between building a ramshackle church and converting the miners to his faith with a baptism of fisticuffs, Bonny deals in stolen horses brought to town by the eight Cregan brothers, the black sheep of the 15-brother Cregan clan. And all the while Mary’s own dark avengers, the redheaded brothers are circling relentlessly closer. But before they can swoop, nature takes its own revenge for the underground gouges of the local mines and hurls down the top of the mountain to obliterate the town. While Mary escapes the devastation that Adamson describes in meticulous detail, the photograph of the widow that appears in newspapers nation-wide comes back to haunt her and leads to her eventual capture. But her intuition and ingenuity rise again, resulting in an incredible escape, a reunion with William Moreland and her final note, “Find me.”

For readers who want a cracking good story with unforgettable characters engaged in tension-filled activities, and told with a superlative richness of language and a lushness of imagery, Gil Adamson’s novel, The Outlander, is it. Her widow, Mary Boulton, and “Bonny”, her Reverend, are the ideal stuff and stuffings of legends.

Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham ([email protected]) for contributing his review of The Outlander.

Review Copyright © 2008 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

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.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mysteries on TV: Dirty Sexy Money, Honey West, Inspector Lewis, and Nash Bridges

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is taking advantage of a fairly quiet period by adding 4 new series that have season DVD releases later this year.

Clearly a guilty pleasure by almost any definition, combined the lives of the rich and famous with a mystery. To be sure, the mystery was more of a subplot than anything else, but still, it qualifies it for inclusion on this website. The series debuted on ABC in September of last year.

Peter Krause stars as Nick George, an attorney working for one of New York City's wealthiest families, who is determined to know the true reason behind the mysterious death of his father. The series also stars Donald Sutherland and Jill Clayburgh as Tripp and Lelitia Darling, the billionaires for whom Nick works. Many of the other subplots revolve around the Darling's adult children who find themselves in all sorts of interesting situations.

The Dirty Sexy Money Season One DVD set is scheduled to be released September 16th. It is an abbreviated season, shortened by the writer's strike. The series has been renewed by ABC for a second season.

Anne Francis starred as , the first female private investigator to be featured on a weekly television series. The series was based on the series of Honey West novels by G. G. Fickling (the husband and wife writing team of Forrest E. "Skip" and Gloria Fickling) who envisioned the character as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Mike Hammer. Originally appearing on an episode of , executive producer Aaron Spelling spun off the character as a series that lasted but one season on ABC (from September 1965 to April 1966).

The Honey West DVD set comtaining all episodes from the series is scheduled to be released September 2nd.

Following the success of the long-running Inspector Morse series, it was probably considered something of a risk to create a series based on Morse's second-in-command. However, the made-for-television movie featuring Kevin Whately as in 2006 was so popular that an additional three episodes were filmed and broadcast a year later. DCI Robbie Lewis, also of the Thames Valley Police, is joined by Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (played by Laurence Fox) investigating crimes in and around Oxford.

The Inspector Lewis Set One DVD set comprising the pilot as well as the first three episodes that aired during 2007 is scheduled to be released on September 2nd. A second series of four episodes has already aired earlier this year and is expected to be available on DVD next year.

Don Johnson returned to network television following his phenomenal success in as investigator , a series he both created and produced. Nash Bridges was a member of the elite Special Investigations Unit who partnered with Joe Dominguez (played by Cheech Marin). Nash Bridges also had a complicated personal life having been divorced twice with a 16-year-old daughter and a father with Alzheimers' Disease. Originally a mid-season replacement, Nash Bridges aired for six seasons on CBS from 1996 through 2001.

The Nash Bridges Season One DVD set is scheduled for release on October 14th.

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

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