Monday, July 31, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
A Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Henry Holt and Company (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-8050-7898-3 (0805078983)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-7898-5 (9780805078985)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $24.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister, Georgina, a wartime journalist and a infamous figure in her own right, isn't convinced.

When the authorities refuse to consider her theory that Nick was murdered, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, for help. Nick was a veteran of World War I, and before long the case leads Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and into the sinister underbelly of the city's art world.

Maisie once again uncovers the perilous legacy of the Great War in a society struggling to recollect itself. But to solve the mystery of Nick's death, Maisie will have to keep her head as the forces behind the artist's fall come out of the shadows to silence her.

Review: Multiple award winning author Jacqueline Winspear will likely garner more laurels with Messenger of Truth, the outstanding fourth mystery to feature psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs.

Hired to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Nick Bassington-Hope, an artist of some renown, Maisie must determine why, if his death wasn't accidental, someone would want him dead. Was he involved in some nefarious art scheme gone awry? Was he killed as a result of some personal vendetta? Or was it simply, as the police claim, an unfortunate accident? At one point Maisie muses that her efforts on the case are like creating a piece of art, "... building a picture across uneven terrain, telling a story by adding detail to give life and momentum to the masterwork."

Winspear's eloquent prose is abundant in Messenger of Truth. When Maisie struggles to tie together the loose threads of her case, each step of her investigation is described as "... another drop of water on stone, gradually wearing down the hard shell that time and circumstance had wrapped around clarity." Magnificent. The author also has a flair for capturing the unique speech patterns of the social classes of 1930s England.

The rationale for Nick's death seems somewhat subordinate to the articulate writing, finely drawn characters, reasoned investigative process, and atmospheric settings. Notwithstanding this, Messenger of Truth will almost certainly be remembered as one of the best mysteries of the year.

Special thanks to FSB Associates for providing an ARC of Messenger of Truth for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 07/31/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 31, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle 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: G H I K N O R T W. This week's mystery clue: San Francisco detective Kate Martinelli is featured in this 4th mystery in a series by Laurie R. King (9 letters).

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!

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Profile: The Unlikely Father of Miami Crime Fiction

(Editor's note: We often try to find profiles of mystery authors that are published in newspapers or magazines that have online editions; they're usually charming, witty, and offer a unique perspective on the author's bibliography and style of writing. Today, we came across an article in the Atlantic Monthly written over 6 years ago on Charles Willeford. We're not sure why this article suddenly reappeared, possibly having some peripheral association with the release this weekend of the new movie Miami Vice, but it is worthy of a summary here.)

Charles Willeford, who died 18 years ago, might be called the progenitor of the modern South Florida crime novel though his detectives do precious little detecting, writes Marshall Jon Fisher on The Atlantic Online. Willeford's last four novels (1984-1988) spanned Miami's metamorphosis from vacationer and retiree haven to the nation's capital of glamour, drugs, and weird crime, and these inspired the post-Miami Vice group of Miami writers, including Carl Hiaasen and James W. Hall.

Fisher adds that as a very young man, Willeford considered himself a poet, and he continued to write poetry throughout his life. His real writing career, though, began with a series of eight novels published as pulp paperbacks in the 1950s and early 1960s. In them Willeford fashioned his own brand of hard-boiled prose.

Miami Blues, published in 1984, and the three subsequent novels featuring Hoke Moseley - Willeford's first cop protagonist - present a Miami in transition. After a career of paying dues, Willeford finally found commercial success in the Moseley series. He didn't have long to enjoy it. Although he was only 68, a lifetime of hard drinking and smoking was taking its toll, and he died in March, 1988.

Read the entire profile of Charles Willeford on The Atlantic Online here.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski

Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski
A Small-Town Saskatchewan Mystery
Caronel Publishing (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9739121-0-3 (0973912103)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9739121-0-4 (9780973912104)
Publication Date: February 2006
List Price: $16.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When a man is murdered on the shores of Crooked Lake, easy-going Bart Bartowski sets aside work at his fly-in-fishing lodge to come to the aid of his childhood friend who’s been accused of the crime. Tempted by a beautiful young cottager and beguiled by the murdered man’s wife, Bart is dogged by RCMP detectives who want him to stay out of what they consider an open and shut case.

In his perilous pursuit of whodunit, Bart reveals the heart of a small town, taking a stab at its complacency and laying bare some of its juiciest moral dilemmas.

Review: Crooked Lake, Nelson Brunanski's first novel featuring Bart Bartowski and subtitled a small-town Saskatchewan mystery, has a genuine northern Canadian folksy appeal to it. The relatively remote locale works well as a village mystery where everyone knows everyone else yet someone still has secrets to hide.

Bart sets out to prove his friend Nick Taylor didn't use his 7 iron to murder the local land baron on the golf course where Nick worked as a greens keeper. As Bart wanders the countryside in search of clues to prove Nick's innocence, the story tends to wander with him, seeming to lose its way a few times. From a plot perspective, it's a little too convenient for Bart that the RCMP apparently have little interest in pursuing this case despite the circumstantial evidence against Nick. Bart is allowed to ask questions the officials should have posed in the first place, and then piece it all together in the end to unmask the real killer.

Nelson Brunanski's casual style of writing, with true sounding dialog and descriptive narrative, works well for both the characters and the setting. Crooked Lake would seem to be a fine debut to this new mystery series set in Saskatchewan.

Special thanks to Caronel Publishing for providing a copy of Crooked Lake for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (07/28/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending July 28, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Gabriel Allon, art restorer and spy, is about to face the greatest challenge of his life in The MessengerThe Messenger by Daniel Silva, the latest thriller by Daniel Silva that debuts at the top of the Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com mystery hardcover bestseller lists. Allon is recovering from his grueling showdown with a Palestinian master terrorist, when terrorism comes to find him once again. In the days and weeks to come, Allon and his colleagues will find themselves in a deadly duel of wits against one of the most dangerous men in the world - a hunt that will take them across Europe to the Caribbean and back. But for them, there may simply not be enough of anything: enough time, enough facts, enough luck. All Allon can do is set his trap - and hope that he is not the one caught in it. Publishers Weekly states, "... the way Silva resolves his plot will keep readers right where he wants them: on the edges of their seats."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Husband by Dean Koontz

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

The Husband by Dean Koontz
Non-series
Bantam (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-553-80479-0 (0553804790)
ISBN-13: 978-0-553-80479-9 (9780553804799)
Publication Date: May 2006
List Price: $27.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): What would you do for love? Would you die? Would you kill?

We have your wife. You can get her back for two million cash. Landscaper Mitchell Rafferty thinks it must be some kind of joke. He was in the middle of planting impatiens in the yard of one of his clients when his cell phone rang. Now he’s standing in a normal suburban neighborhood on a bright summer day, having a phone conversation out of his darkest nightmare.

Whoever is on the other end of the line is dead serious. He has Mitch’s wife and he’s named the price for her safe return. The caller doesn’t care that Mitch runs a small two-man landscaping operation and has no way of raising such a vast sum. He’s confident that Mitch will find a way.

If he loves his wife enough... Mitch does love her enough. He loves her more than life itself. He’s got seventy-two hours to prove it. He has to find the two million by then. But he’ll pay a lot more. He’ll pay anything.

Review: In The Husband, Dean Koontz's latest thriller, the tension slowly but inexorably builds throughout the story that at any given point one wonders how much further it can be taken. Though tempting to read in one sitting, Koontz divides The Husband into three manageable parts, giving the reader an opportunity to pause and catch their breath before continuing.

What would you do for love? Mitch Rafferty, a man of limited financial means, is thrown into a surreal world when he receives a phone call telling him that Holly, his wife, has been kidnapped, and demanding $2 million for her safe return. To indicate how serious his callers are, and as an illustration of their omnipresence, a stranger walking down the street near to where Mitch is standing is shot to death.

Would you die for love? Would you kill? There are a number of unexpected turns along the path Mitch takes in following the demands of his wife's kidnappers. The strength he finds to deal in real time with his increasingly complex situation is derived from a combination of his devotion to his wife and his determination to get her back unharmed.

Until death us do part. Holly plays a more prominent role in this final section, with the narrative alternating between Mitch's and her point of view. Koontz maintains a high level of suspense by allowing Holly to be as deceptively clever in dealing with her kidnappers as they have been with Mitch.

The Husband leaves a few plot threads loose at the end, but hits so close to home (could this possibly happen to me?) that its images will haunt the reader long after the last page has been read.

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

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 07/24/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 24, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle 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 mystery clue: This author writes the Constable Evan Evans and the Molly Murphy mystery series (9 letters): B E H N O R S W Y

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!

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Press Release: Looking for Clues, Writers Investigate Gender Disparity

Sisters in Crime, an international organziation of mystery writers, monitors more than 60 publications to track crime fiction book reviews and finds that men wrote two out of three books reviewed in the 15 top metropolitan literary sections. The results from 2006, however, show some progress toward achieving gender parity in book reviews.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) July 21, 2006 -- Women write almost half of all crime fiction, but is their fair share of review space buried in the back garden? Sisters in Crime (SinC), a worldwide, not-for-profit organization that provides networking, advice and support to female mystery writers and their fans, wants that question answered.

To help solve the mystery, SinC conducts a quarterly monitoring project to track the number of reviews received by male and female authors. In the first quarter of 2006, their research revealed that men wrote two out of three books reviewed in the 15 top metropolitan literary sections.

"Reviews can drive sales. Therefore, if women authors are not reviewed as often as men, their books may not sell and the possibility of being published again is less likely. This does a disservice to readers because it narrows the available selections," says Libby Fischer Hellmann, president of SinC and author of several mystery novels.

Exactly why women authors are reviewed less frequently can stem from several factors. According to Hellmann, reviewers often do not choose which books they cover. Rather, editors or newspaper publishers dictate which titles will be reviewed. Those selections may be based on books written by authors who frequently appear on best-seller lists.

Another area of concern is that of the paperback original (PBO), a format that seems to be dominated by women writers. Unfortunately, national and major market publications rarely review PBOs, adding an additional obstacle to many female authors of crime fiction.

"Whatever the reason, a cycle is created that is difficult to break. Reviews sell books. The more they sell, the more that author is reviewed," says Hellmann.

Read the entire press release on PRWeb.com here.

A quick statistical survey of the mysteries reviewed by Mysterious Reviews shows that over 60% of the mystery books reviewed thus far in 2006 have been written by women.

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Mystery Book Review: Mystery of the Hats by Eddie Lay

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

Mystery of the Hats by Eddie Lay
Non-series
Publish America (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4241-2649-5 (1424126495)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4241-2649-1 (9781424126495)
Publication Date: April 2006
List Price: $12.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Hannah and her best friend Amber discover a couple of strange hats in Hannah’s closet. The hats were the type worn by flappers in the 1920’s. The girls set out to discover the owner of the hats, and how they got in the closet. They enlist the aid of their elderly neighbor in the search of the secret behind the hats, and that secret leads to other startling and revealing surprises.

During the course of their investigation a strange girl in a white dress frequently appears to Hannah in a vision. Who is this girl and what does she want? Amber thinks she is a ghost, but Hannah does not believe in ghosts. What could the connection be between the apparition and the hats? Is there one?

In the process of uncovering the mystery of the hats they find deception, murder, and a secret so shocking it changes one of their lives forever.

Review: Mystery of the Hats is Eddie Lay's first published book, and it is an admirable though imperfect effort. The target audience is the middle school reader and it is appropriately written at this level.

Following in the tradition of many young adult mysteries, the principal characters are two typical teenage girls, best friends, who talk endlessly about boys. Over the course of a couple of days, they discover hats from the 1920s that have mysteriously appeared in one of the girl's closet. They do the appropriate research at the library, conduct interviews, and ultimately uncover the mystery behind the hats.

Why do the hats mysteriously appear now as opposed to a year ago or even ten years ago? This question would seem to be fundamental to the story, but it remains unanswered at the end of the book. In addition, the apparition acts more like a plot convenience rather than an essential part of the story. Why bring in paranormal or supernatural elements when the book could easily have been written without them? Finally, the tangential subplots, some of which have no obvious purpose in the book, could have been more tightly integrated into the story.

Mystery of the Hats has an interesting story line and appealing characters, but it is merely average in the highly competitive young adult mystery genre.

Special thanks to Eddie Lay for providing an ARC of Mystery of the Hats for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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News: Val McDermid Wins Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year for 2006

The Yorkshire Post Today is reporting that Val McDermid's The Torment of Others is the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year for 2006. The announcement at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate – famed for the discovery of Agatha Christie following her mysterious disappearance 80 years ago – follows 12 weeks of voting by crime writing fans.

McDermid's prize, which was presented at the opening ceremony of the Theakston's Old Peculier Harrogate Crime Writing Festival by the brewery's executive director, Simon Theakston, was £3,000 and a handmade oak beer cask made by Theakston's cooper, Jonathan Mamby.

McDermid said: "I'm absolutely delighted to win this award. It is a particular delight for me because it comes from this Festival. I was programming chair for the first three years of the festival when it was just a twinkle in our eyes."

Read the entire article on YorkshireToday.co.uk here.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John

The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John
Non-series
North Star Press of St. Cloud (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-87839-233-5 (0878392335)
ISBN-13: 978-0-87839-233-9 (9780878392339)
Publication Date: July, 2006
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Why ... would one of the world’s richest men resort to kidnapping and murder to possess a drawing for an unknown 16th century work by Benvenuto Cellini ... especially when the work itself was lost more than half a century ago? That is the question that American Rick Olsen must answer as he tries to save his kidnapped brother. What begins as a rescue mission soon turns into a harrowing adventure and a world threatening battle of wits with an international terrorist. The story, a timeless adventure set in the ancient streets of Malta, also has an unexpected romance.

Review: As a work of historical fiction, The Cellini Masterpiece is a terrific book. It has an intriguing premise and a well considered plot. There is little doubt that author Raymond John performed an extensive amount of research on Cellini and Malta that is reflected in this story, and he clearly has a great deal of respect for the country and its people. The problem is that, as marketed, The Cellini Masterpiece isn't much of a mystery or a thriller.

Rick Olsen is drawn to Malta at the request of his brother who has discovered a lost drawing of a work of art by Benbenuto Cellini. Even before he can exit the airport, Rick is accosted and robbed of his personal possessions. This is the first of numerous risky situations in which Rick finds himself throughout the book, sometimes of his own accord, but in any given situation there is no immediate sense of danger. Rick soon learns that his brother has been kidnapped, but there is no sense of urgency on Rick's part to ascertain where he is being held and by whom. The only true emotion Rick shows is his growing affection for Caterina, yet ironically the romantic subplot is the weakest element of the story.

John handles his narrative well, and as fiction, The Cellini Masterpiece is certainly enjoyable. But his lack of depth and dimension in the characters and the general absence of tension weaken the overall impression of the book when considered as a mystery or thriller.

Special thanks to Raymond John for providing an ARC of The Cellini Masterpiece for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Profile: Maine Author Talks Murder

South Portland (ME) author Gerard Bianco has logged plenty of miles in an effort to sell his new book, The Deal Master, writes Christy McKinnon on keepMEcurrent.com. She adds that in order to sell his book, Bianco realizes his product must look good on the outside, be substantive on the inside and that as the author, he is part of the package. He said the talk he gives to audiences, How to Commit to Writing the Perfect Murder Mystery, is more of a stage performance than a lecture.The Deal Master by Gerard Bianco

The Deal Master is actually a reprint of a story he published two years ago called Dying for Deception. The revised version has been wrapped in shinier paper with a new cover and new name and the inside has been polished up with some rewriting, said Bianco. (Read a review of The Deal Master on the Mysterious Reviews website.)

McKinnon continues in her article that Bianco is many things: a jewelry designer, author, painter and now his own marketing agent. His life is anything but the conventional grind. Bianco said he is not singly defined by any one aspect of his life, and he likes it that way.

Bianco also plans on writing a sequel to The Deal Master. “It’s already written up here,” he said as he touched his index finger to his forehead.

Read the entire profile of mystery author Gerard Bianco on keepMecurrent.com here.

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (07/21/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending July 21, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

James Lee Burke's 15th entry in the Dave Robicheaux series, Pegasus DescendingPegasus Descending by James Lee Burke, continues his tradition of writing outstanding, literate, mystery fiction, debuting at the top of the Barnes & Noble.com mystery bestseller list this week, third at Amazon.com. Detective Dave Robicheaux is facing the most painful and dangerous case of his career. A troubled young woman breezes into his hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana. She happens to be the daughter of Robicheaux's onetime best friend -- a friend he witnessed gunned down in a bank robbery, a tragedy that forever changed Robicheaux's life. Can Robicheaux make his peace with the demons that have haunted him since his friend's murder so many years ago? Can he figure out how a local mobster fits into all the schemes and deaths? Can Robicheaux's life be whole again when it has been shattered by so much tragedy? Publishers Weekly writes that, "With peerless naturalistic descriptions and lush, metaphysical imagery, Burke creates another challenging morality play for his flawed, everyman hero." See links to other reviews for this fine book and for many other current mysteries at Mysterious Reviews.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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News: Inspector Lewis to Air on PBS Mystery!

A gripping detective drama featuring echoes of the past ... Inspector Lewis, starring Kevin Whately, to air on PBS Mystery! Sunday, July 30, 2006. Check your local listings for show times.

Inspector Robert Lewis, former sidekick to the legendary Inspector Endeavour Morse, has been on a lengthy assignment in the British Virgin Islands. Now he's back with the Thames Valley Police in the familiar territory of the English university city of Oxford -- five years after the death of his long-time police partner.

Inspector Lewis also stars Clare Holman, reprising her role as pathologist Laura Hobson; Jemma Redgrave, Lizzie McInnerny, Michael Maloney and Jack Ellis. Morse creator Colin Dexter makes a Hitchcockian appearance as a college scout.

For more information on Inspector Lewis, visit PBS.com here.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Venus Fix by M. J. Rose

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Venus Fix by M. J. Rose. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Venus Fix by M. J. Rose

The Venus Fix by M. J. Rose
A Dr. Morgan Snow Mystery (3rd in series)
Mira (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7783-2317-X (077832317X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2317-4 (9780778323174)
Publication Date: July, 2006
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): As one of New York's top sex therapists, Dr. Morgan Snow sees everything from the abused to the depraved. From high-profile clients with twisted obsessions to courageous survivors, the Butterfield Institute is the sanctuary to heal battered souls.

Morgan Snow's newest patient is a powerful, influential man -- secretly addicted to watching Internet Web cam pornography. He's not alone in his desires. She's also working with a group of high school teenagers equally and dangerously obsessed with these real-time fantasies.

Fantasies that are all too accessible.

Then the women start dying online, right in front of their eyes.

Now it's all about murder.

Review: M. J. Rose continues to impress readers with her latest thriller to feature Dr. Morgan Snow, The Venus Fix. In this mystery, the third in the series, Rose has created an intricate set of relationships around a series of unexplained and seemingly unrelated murders that makes for a very suspenseful novel.

Morgan is still struggling with the various issues in her personal life in The Venus Fix, but this time her professional life is focused on her work with two cases that deal with webcam pornography. That these cases have something in common and are connected in some way to the murders is a given; what, how, and why form the basis of the mystery. Rose very creatively allows the reader to make assumptions that may or may not be relevant to the resolution of these online murders all the while subtly laying a foundation for the surprising denouement.

Apart from the mystery itself, Morgan's obsession with protecting her daughter is so passionately written that one wonders if Rose is projecting some personal aspect of her life into the pages of her books. If not carefully contained, or better yet settled, this simmering mother-daughter conflict has the potential to detract from Rose's finely developed suspense plots in the future.

Special thanks to Mira for providing a copy of The Venus Fix for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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