Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by C. R. Corwin

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by C. R. Corwin. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by C. R. CorwinBuy from Amazon.com

The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by
A Maddy Sprowls Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-501-1 (1590585011)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-501-6 (9781590585016)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Newspaper librarian Maddy Sprowls never gives story ideas to the editors at The Hannawa Herald-Union. She prefers to stay in the “morgue” and do her job, and hopes the editors stay in the newsroom and do theirs. Then one Saturday she sees four elderly women get out of a taxicab at a garage sale. Those women must hire that cabby every week, she figures, to drive them from garage sale to garage sale while they search for treasure. And wouldn’t that make a great feature story for the paper? Monday morning she runs straight to the newsroom with her idea. Shortly after the story runs, one of the four women is murdered - retired antique dealer Violeta Bell.

Maddy wants no part of the investigation. But before she knows it she’s on another of her infamous snoopathons. And, good gravy, enjoying every minute of it. Was Violeta Bell murdered by one of the other garage sale ladies? Former striptease artist Kay Hausenfelter perhaps? Or real estate agent Gloria McPhee? Or eccentric philanthropist Ariel Wilburger-Gowdy? Or was it Eddie French, the scruffy cabby with a police record as long as his arm? And what about Violeta’s claim that she was the rightful queen of Romania? Any truth to that?

Review: C. R. Corwin's third mystery featuring Maddy "the Morgue Mama" Sprowls, The Unraveling of Violeta Bell, finds the newspaper librarian investigating the murder of an antiques dealer.

Every Saturday at 8 AM sharp, a cab picks up a group of four elderly women who takes them on the rounds of garage sales in the area. These "Queens of Never Dull" pose an interesting human interest story, or so believes Maddy, who suggests such a story to her editors. The women eagerly agree to an interview, and what a diverse group they are. One is a wealthy widow who was once a strip-tease artist, another is a real estate agent, a third is married to the owner of a pest control company, and the last, Violeta Bell, the self-appointed leader of the group, is the retired owner of Bellflower Antiques. But Violeta actually believes she is a Queen, a member of the royal family of Romania. Just days after a story of the group is published, Violeta is found murdered, shot three times at close range. What threat did this old woman pose that someone found it necessary to kill her?

The Unraveling of Violeta Bell is an engaging, delightful mystery. Maddy, at the tender age of 69, still thinks she is, and acts like, a teenager: stubborn, opinionated, and sassy. When the ladies' cab driver is arrested, Maddy's editor-in-chief asks her to investigate. He has a circuitous family relationship with the driver but believes him to be innocent. Maddy quickly learns that Violeta led something of an active double life, the Queens of Never Dull were certainly not dull themselves, and Violeta's antiques were far more modern than she claimed. Though suspects abound, Maddy finally narrows down the list and creates a shrewd trap to identify the culprit.

Witty, clever, humorous, and genuinely entertaining, The Unraveling of Violeta Bell is a real treat for mystery lovers. It is highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Unraveling of Violeta Bell and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC 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, April 12, 2008

Compendium of Mystery News 080412

A compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The International Mystery Writers' Festival has announced the schedule for the plays that will be fully staged and performed during the festival June 12-22, 2008. As previously announced, the "lost" Agatha Christie play Chimneys will be performed. The other plays are The Final Toast, a Sherlock Holmes adventure by Stuart Kaminsky, The Last Appointment by Donald C. Drake, Flemming by Sam Bobrick, and Cell by Judy Klass. The audiences for the festival will help select the winner. As a measure of how highly regarded the submissions are for this event, all three Best Play nominations for the 2008 were featured at last year's festival.

• As reported by Publishers Weekly, author Bill Loehfelm was announced as the winner of the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for his mystery Fresh Kills. The book, to be published by Putnam later this summer, is available for pre-order from Amazon.com.

• The New York Times reviews several new mysteries in its Sunday Book Review column somewhat inexplicably titled "But Is It Art?".

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers for April 11, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers

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

No changes among the top 4 bestselling mystery books this week, with 's latest Alex Delaware thriller, Compulsion, retaining the top position.

Winter Study by Nevada Barr

Just missing the cutoff last week and debuting in 7th position this week is Winter Study, the 14th mystery in the Anna Pigeon series by , this time with the National Park Ranger visiting Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Anna's there to learn about managing and understanding wolves, as her home base of Rocky Mountain National Park might soon have their own pack of the magnificent, much-maligned animals. She’'s housed in the island’s bunkhouse with the famed wolf study team, along with two scientists from Homeland Security, who are assessing the study with an eye to opening the park each winter, effectively bringing an end to the fifty-year study, so that it can be manned to secure the scrap of border with Canada. Soon after Anna’s arrival, the wolf packs under observation begin to act in peculiar ways. Giant wolf prints are found, and Anna spies the form of a great wolf from a surveillance plane. The discovery of wolf scat containing alien DNA leads the team to believe that perhaps a wolf/dog hybrid has been introduced to the island. When a female member of the team is savaged, Anna is convinced she is being stalked, and what was once a beautiful, idyllic refuge becomes a place of unnatural occurrences and danger beyond the ordinary. Alone on an island without electricity or running water, with temperatures hovering around zero both day and night, Anna fights not only for the wolves, but for also her own survival.

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:

Compulsion by Jonathan KellermanA Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey ArcherBuckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry

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, April 10, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Shakedown by Joel Goldman

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

Shakedown by Joel GoldmanBuy from Amazon.com

Shakedown by
A Jack Davis Mystery

Pinnacle Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7860-1610-8 (0786016108)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1610-5 (0786016108)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): The lives of three people collide over mass murder at a Kansas City residence that Special Agent Jack Davis has carefully staked out for weeks. Kate Scranton, whose job is spotting lies for high-priced courtroom lawyers, is convinced that mild-mannered Latrell Kelly knows something about the crime. But Latrell is hiding far more than Kate can guess. And with Jack half-blinded by an imploding personal life, and someone on his own side leaking crucial information, they’re headed straight for the ultimate danger zone—where truth lies at the heart of betrayal.

Review: Joel Goldman introduces FBI Special Agent Jack Davis in Shakedown, a man whose world is coming apart and there is nothing he can do about it.

The murder of a drug lord on the Kansas side of Kansas City is followed by several other killings. The local police are claiming responsibility for the investigation. Jack Davis, of the Kansas City (Missouri) FBI office, however, is authorized to take over the investigation but promises to keep the police chief, a friend of his, in the loop. But just as Jack gets involved, he is overcome with an unpredictable convulsive movement, a shakiness, that lasts only two or three seconds, but could be potentially fatal if it happened while handling a weapon. He's forced to take a medical leave, giving up his badge and gun. The police chief, however, continues to allow Jack to ride along and knowing he may never again be an active agent with the FBI, he still seeks to learn the truth behind the murders.

Jack Davis is a very appealing character, made more so by his unusual medical condition and how he strives not only to overcome it, but work within the constraints it imposes upon him. The plot is first-rate as well, an intricate investigation that involves a complex web of characters including some of Jack's own family. There's also the conflict between jurisdictions and the gritty realism of drug trafficking that add a level of stress and suspense to the story. In total, it's all very well done.

From the clever and ironic title and the unrelenting pace of the plot to its riveting conclusion, Shakedown is a terrific thriller.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Shakedown and to Breakthrough Promotions 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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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Chasing Cans by Laura Crum

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Chasing Cans by Laura Crum. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Chasing Cans by Laura CrumBuy from Amazon.com

Chasing Cans by
A Gail McCarthy Mystery

Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-94-4 (1880284944)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-94-0 (9781880284940)
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Chasing cans is rodeo slang for barrel racing, a competition that can bring its winners fame and big bucks. To Gail McCarthy, a horse vet turned stay-at-home mom, chasing cans also stands for the ambitious pursuit of empty career goals at the expense of personal and family tranquility. While Gail is wrestling with this question in her own life, she witnesses a mystifying riding accident that kills a neighbor, a barrel-racing trainer. Whether it’s her veterinarian’s integrity or just stubborn curiosity, Gail’s unofficial investigation into strange happenings at the ranch could make her the object of a chase that might cost her own life.

Review: Chasing Cans is the tenth mystery in this series by Laura Crum to feature horse veterinarian Gail McCarthy who investigates the accidental death of a neighbor that might have been anything but.

Gail is a new mother; her son, Mac, is just a year old and is the joy of her life. Though she misses spending time with her horses, she's knows they're nearby in a pasture leased from an old friend. But when she learns that a new neighbor, Lindee Stone, has leased the pasture and demands Gail remove her horses, she's angry. Storming out to confront Lindee at her stables, she arrives just in time to see Lindee, a professional trainer of rodeo horses, fall from her mount. To Gail's horror, the horse topples over as well, falling on Lindee, killing her. Though almost certainly a tragic accident, Gail isn't so sure. Lindee was one of the best in the business and a fall like she witnessed seemed improbable. Gail's suspicions are aroused further when another trainer is badly injured the next day, thrown from the horse she was riding and subsequently kicked in the head. As Gail probes into Lindee's background, she discovers no shortage of people who might want to see her dead. But there's no evidence that she was murdered.

The books in this series have been as much character studies as mysteries, and Chasing Cans is no different. Gail waxes poetic on motherhood in general, and on being a mother to her son in particular, sometimes to excess. But these musings serve a purpose. She's reluctant to get involved in Lindee's death fearing it might interfere with taking care of Mac, yet the appeal to solve the puzzle is simply too alluring. If the accident was caused intentionally, how was it done? And was the intent to scare Lindee or to kill her?

The setting for Chasing Cans covers a few acres at most, yet the author conveys a sense of grandness of the region. Some of the best moments in the book are when Gail spends time exploring the area, communing with nature. Still, it is a mystery and Gail works through how the accident may have been caused but never reasons out the who and why until confronted by the culprit. In this regard, it's a bit disappointing that it wasn't more of a challenge for her. And though the book opens with a prologue that is oddly philosophical (chasing cans being a metaphor for life), it ends with a poignant epilogue that is a fitting conclusion to the story.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Chasing Cans 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, April 07, 2008

Mysteries on TV: The Last Detective and Matlock

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 two series that have season DVDs being released this week.

Peter Davison stars as Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies in , an ITV crime drama that first aired in 2003. The series, based on the Dangerous Davies novels by Leslie Thomas, also stars Emma Amos as his wife Julie and Sean Hughes as his quirky, free-loading buddy Mod. Each episode rewards the viewer with the gentle humor and captivating intrigue that fans have come to expect from North London's most doggedly unglamorous detective.

The Last Detective Series Four DVD set of 2 discs contains the 5 episodes that aired in May 2007.

finally comes to DVD! Andy Griffith starred as Atlanta defense attorney Ben Matlock in this long-running series that aired on two networks (NBC for 6 seasons, ABC for 3 seasons). The early seasons also starred Linda Purl as Matlock's daughter (also an attorney) and Kene Holliday as a private investigator. Matlock charged a $100,000 retainer to represent a client, but he usually delivered results in the form of a not guilty verdict. The series was created by Dean Hargrove who was also associated with the Perry Mason series of made-for-television movies.

The Matlock Season 1 DVD set of 7 discs contains all 23 episodes from the first season of the series that aired on NBC from September 1986 through May 1987 as well as the pilot for the series that aired in March 1986.

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

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for April 07, 2008

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for April 07, 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: C D E H O P R T Y. He wrote the early books of the Hugh Corbett series using this name (9 letters).

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

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Angels Fall by Baron R. Birtcher

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Angels Fall by Baron R. Birtcher. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Angels Fall by Baron R. BirtcherBuy from Amazon.com

Angels Fall by
A Mike Travis Mystery

Iota Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9793720-1-1 (0979372011)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9793720-1-8 (9780979372018)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $23.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): The disappearance of a teenage girl draws former Los Angeles detective Mike Travis away from his scuba charter business into the bowels of an underground culture driven by designer narcotics and violent sex. What he uncovers is a world built on secrets and entire lives built on lies. But as Travis unravels one set of deceits, he finds himself confronted with visions of his own past: his own complicity in an act of shocking cruelty. His investigation glimpses a hellish side of paradise unseen by tourists, painted with the dark brushstrokes of hard-boiled tropical noir. This is the story of one man's desire to outrun the corrosive powers of vast wealth and personal vengeance while attempting to tame the demons that dwell in his own dark and violent past. The cost of moral corruption and the high price of redemption plays out against a backdrop of coffee fields and lush jungle, of rich sunsets and the rhythmic swell of the Hawaiian sea.

Review: Scuba charter owner Mike Travis becomes embroiled in the investigation of a missing teenager in Angels Fall, the third mystery in this series by Baron R. Birtcher.

Mike's Hawaiian life is nearly ideal in paradise. He lives on his yacht, the love of his life returns his love, his scuba diving business is going well, and he's part owner of a lucrative coffee bean operation. But he also finds himself with his spoiled teenage runaway nephew, Miles. When Edita, the daughter of Mike's partner, asks him to locate her missing friend, he's hesitant. Ashley hasn't been seen or heard from in four days, but her parents refuse to involve the police. Ashley's 18 years old and has a right to disappear, he reasons. Besides, he has no authority to be involved. Regardless, he finally does agree to look into the matter, and Mike, together with Miles and Edita, enter a dark world of religious prejudice, designer drugs, date rape, suicide, and murder.

The narrative moves along at a rapid clip in Angels Fall which is probably a good thing as it doesn't allow the reader too much time to dwell on some of the seemingly far-fetched plot points. The characters are colorfully drawn, a little larger than life maybe, not quite caricatures, but close. The contrast between the dark and sometimes lurid environment in which Mike finds himself and the nearly idyllic image that many people have of the islands is almost surreal and stylishly accomplished.

Angels Fall is not quite the crime noir novel that the author may have intended, but as a suspense thriller with a number of unexpected plot twists, it works well.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Angels Fall and to Breakthrough Promotions 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, April 04, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers for April 04, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending April 04, 2008 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

There are a number of significant changes this week, with three new titles entering the top 15 and 's latest Alex Delaware thriller, Compulsion, taking over the top spot.

Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh

Jumping into the 6th position is Hollywood Crows, the second mystery in the Nathan "Hollywood Nate" Weiss series by . When LAPD cops Hollywood Nate and Bix Rumstead find themselves caught up with bombshell Margot Aziz, they think they're just having some fun. But in Hollywood, nothing is ever what it seems. To them, Margot is a harmless socialite, stuck in the middle of an ugly divorce from the nefarious nightclub-owner Ali Aziz. What Nate and Bix don't know is that Margot's no helpless victim: the femme fatale is setting them both up. But Ms. Aziz isn't the only one with a deadly plan.

Small Favor by Jonathan Kellerman

Private investigator Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard to advertise his services in the Yellow Pages, returns in Small Favor, the 10th mystery in this series by . No one's tried to kill Harry for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow. An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, the Queen of Air and Darkness-and she's calling in her marker. It's a small favor he can't refuse ... one that will trap Harry between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and one that will strain his skills -- and loyalties -- to their very limits. Publishers Weekly says Small Favor "will intrigue seasoned fans as well as newcomers attracted by last year's ."

Dead Heat by Joel C. Rosenberg

For White House advisors Jon and Erin Bennett, the world seems to be spinning dangerously out of control in 's 5th thriller in this series, Dead Heat. A new dictator is rising in Iraq. China is making threatening new moves toward Taiwan. North Korean forces appear ready to strike south. Israel is feverishly trying to complete the Third Temple. Oil prices are surging. And in the wake of an horrific war in the Middle East, President James MacPherson’s second term is coming to an end. Now the battle to succeed him is heating up into one of the most fiercely contested presidential elections in American history, and the Bennetts realize the stakes could not be higher. Who will lead a bitterly divided country over the next four years? What can the U.S. do to shape the new world order? And just what role--if any--does the U.S. play in the last days? As the presidential campaign narrows into a dead heat, the Secret Service learns of a catastrophic plot to assassinate one of the candidates--but which one, and can the terrorists be stopped in time?

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:

Compulsion by Jonathan KellermanA Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey ArcherBuckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry

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, April 03, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Stolen Gem by Alissa Wood

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Stolen Gem by Alissa Wood. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Stolen Gem by Alissa WoodBuy from Amazon.com

The Stolen Gem by
A Vicki Silver Mystery

Summertime Books (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9801861-0-2 (0980186102)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9801861-0-9 (9780980186109)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $7.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When a priceless diamond is stolen from the Heritage Museum, Vicki Silver and her best friend C.J. are immediately on the case. The girls get jobs as tour guides for the museum, and hope to unearth all the clues they will need to solve the mystery. Once on the inside, can they piece together the puzzle and discover the thief's identity, or will he discover their's first? Police Chief Stevens isn't much help when the girls present evidence pointing to the mastermind. So, they must set out on their own to bring the suspects to justice.

Review: Alissa Wood introduces 17-year-old Vicki Silver in the first book of a young adult mystery series, The Stolen Gem. The series is set in (fictional) Sport, .

Vicki and her friend C. J. Summers look forward to their first case when a valuable diamond is reported missing, presumed stolen, from a local museum. They get hired as tour guides and befriend Rick, the security guard for the museum, who allows them access to places off-limits to visitors and other staff. When the girls are threatened, they know they must be close to finding the answers to what happened to the stolen gem.

The Stolen Gem borrows heavily from the Nancy Drew series of mysteries which works both to its advantage and to its detriment. On the positive side, the characters, plot outline, and setting are all tried and true winners and should be capable of sustaining a new series. On the negative side, the book lacks a fresh voice and that's a bit of a disappointment.

A more serious problem in this first book is that the plot details simply aren't well thought out. The premise behind the girls' investigation, for example, is to locate the missing diamond. It's found rather early in the book. The logical move here is to turn it over to the police. Case closed. But inexplicably, the gem is replaced in its hiding place opening up all sorts of possibilities for the thief to dispose of it before it is "found" again, and the focus suddenly shifts to identifying the culprit. The logic here doesn't follow. When the plot loses its credibility, the rest of the story suffers.

Though The Stolen Gem is a weak start to the series, the characters are likable and the action sequences are well done. With stronger storylines, the definitely has the potential to develop into an interesting series.

Special thanks to Summertime Books for providing a copy of The Stolen Gem 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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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Compendium of Mystery News 080402

A compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

Variety is reporting that The Hallmark Channel is moving forward with a pilot for a potential series of mystery movies. Titled Dear Prudence, the movie stars Jane Seymour as the host of a television show who helps people solve mysteries on the side. The Hallmark Channel already has several other mystery series that air as made-for-television movies on an irregular basis, including , , Murder 101, and McBride.

• In other television news, SciFi.com is reporting that David Eick, producer of Battlestar Galactica, is working on a pilot for a proposed series based on ' Children of Men which inspired a 2006 film of the same name. James, author of the wonderful Dalgliesh mysteries and the Cordelia Gray mystery series, wrote the science fiction novel Children of Men in 1992.

Adventure Gamers has reviews of two recently released mystery games for the Nintendo Wii, Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None and CSI: Hard Evidence. [MBN note: Both games are available from .]

• In a press release, Whodunit Productions announces they have teamed up with Carnival Cruise Lines to produce a series of "Whodunit Cruises" that sail from Long Beach in 2008 and 2009. [MBN note: For more information about mystery weekends, cruises, and trains, visit .]

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Mystery Book Review: The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Dark Tide by Andrew GrossBuy from Amazon.com

The Dark Tide by
Non-series

William Morrow (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-114342-1 (0061143421)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-114342-7 (9780061143427)
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $25.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): An explosion rips through New York City's Grand Central Station one morning, destroying the train Karen Friedman's husband, a successful hedge fund manager, is riding in to work. Days later, with many bodies still unidentifiable, Karen resigns herself to the awful truth: her husband of eighteen years is dead.

On that same day, a suspicious hit-and-run accident leaves a young man dead in Karen's hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. Ty Hauck, a detective, becomes emotionally caught up in the case and finds a clue that shockingly connects the two seemingly unrelated events.

Months later, two men show up at Karen's home digging into Charles's business dealings. Hundreds of millions of dollars are missing -- and the trail points squarely to Charles. With doubt suddenly cast on everything she has ever known, Karen, with Hauck, steps into a widening storm of hedge fund losses, international scams, and murder. And as the investigations converge, these two strangers touched by tragedy are pulled into a deepening relationship and unwittingly open the door to a twisted -- and deadly -- conspiracy.

Review: Andrew Gross' second thriller, The Dark Tide, is a gripping story of a woman whose husband was killed in an explosion, the detective investigating the case, and a fortune suddenly missing.

Charles Friedman, a successful hedge fund manager, is on a commuter train from his home in Greenwich (CT) when, as it enters Grand Central Station, it is suddenly torn apart by an explosion, killing passengers in the first few cars including Friedman. The damage was so extensive, the dead were identified by random personal effects, in Friedman's case, the handle from his briefcase bearing his initials. That same day, a young man on a bicycle is deliberately run down in Greenwich. Detective Ty Hauck, assigned to the accident case, finds the name of Charles Friedman and his phone number in a pocket. Several months later, Friedman's widow, Karen, is confronted by auditors who had been going over the books of her late husband's firm. Two hundred and fifty million dollars could not be accounted for, and Friedman was suspected of taking it. When her family is threatened, she contacts Hauck. Together they begin a journey into the secretive world of international finance where millions of dollars can be made ... or lost ... with the rewards for winning incredible and the consequences of losing deadly.

The Dark Tide is a fast-paced thriller with a solid and intelligent plot. The characters, particularly Karen and Hauck, are deeply developed and credible in their roles. But other characters are also well drawn, with the criminals dark and to be feared, justifiably so. A high level of suspense is consistently maintained throughout, and when Karen and Hauck travel to the Caribbean when they believe Friedman may still be alive, all the while pursued by those who believe the missing money is theirs, the apprehension becomes particularly intense.

A superb novel, The Dark Tide is a must-read for thriller fans and those looking for a high-stakes adventure that doesn't let go. Highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Dark Tide and to HarperCollins 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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