Saturday, May 09, 2009

New TV Commercial for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

FirstShowing.net is reporting that the first 30-second television commercial for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been released by Warner Bros. It's a rather odd spot, focusing not on wizardry and magic, but Harry's nascent love life. Hmm ...

You can watch the commercial below:

If you missed it, you can also watch the . The movie debuts in theaters July 15, 2009.

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First Clues Review: The Angel of Death by Alane Ferguson

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

The Angel of Death by Alane Ferguson

The Angel of Death by Alane Ferguson
The Forensic Mysteries

Puffin (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-14-241087-X (014241087X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-241087-5 (9780142410875)
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $6.99

Review written by Vaibhav, Age 12, Grade 7. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: Angel of Death is a great book by Alane Ferguson. It is part of the “Forensic Mystery Series”. It is the second in the series. In this book, Cameryn Mahoney shows great bravery while dealing with a murder like never seen before. She has many problems in her own life, but is still willing to solve a mystery that can completely destroy her emotionally. Alane Ferguson brings in a great twist in the end that will leave you speechless with your mouth hanging open.

This mystery is about a murder that leaves forensic scientists, the coroner, and the coroner’s assistant desperately searching for clues. Cameryn’s old English teacher is found dead in his own bed. But, there is something exceptionally weird about his body. It seems as if he had been cooked alive. His eyes were missing from its sockets, but it seems that they exploded right out of the sockets. Cameryn had seen a dog’s carcass similar to this earlier that day. She believed this had something to do with the dog. The boy who had discovered the body was Kyle O’Neil, the most popular kid in school. Through the case, while Cameryn is interrogating Kyle, she starts to like him and he starts to like her. The romance continues and their feelings for each other increase. Cameryn’s best friend Lyric encourages her to go out with Kyle. This turns out to be a bad choice. In many ways it is wrong. Lyric’s relationship with Cameryn weakens during this case and while going out Kyle. The romance between Kyle and Cameryn causes her to reveal the secret that her mother had vanished and is now in contact with her again. Soon Cameryn finds herself suspecting Kyle’s father for the murder. She snoops around Kyle’s house while he is away. She finds bones in a chicken coop that belongs to Kyle’s father. She sends a picture of the bones to a forensic scientist who reveals that they are animal bones. He sees something in the picture and asks Cameryn to send him a picture of it. She does that and soon finds out she may be staring at the murder weapon used to kill her old English teacher. It is a giant microwave beam called a klystron tube. It can fry anything through anything. The killer could have killed the man from outside the house. Suddenly, Cameryn feels a hand touch her shoulder …

This book was great because the mystery keeps pointing to different places. First it seemed someone had done it, Then, when Cameryn is about to finalize this assumption, it points to someone else. Finally in the end Cameryn only finds the killer with luck, and by luck I mean bad luck. The description was fantastic. You feel as if it is your job to solve the mystery. Your mind will try to piece together the mystery while you are reading the story. In the end, the twist will boggle your mind leaving you speechless. I thought this book is going to be like a typical mystery book, but I was proven wrong.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing The Angel of Death from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on over 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.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective

Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective by Toni Sepeda and Donna Leon

In yesterday's Telegraph, journalist Tim Heald reported on a trip around Venice with crime novelist , who writes the bestselling novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. The 18th mystery in the series, About Face, was published last month.

Heald writes that at the center of each book is a crime, but the novels are not whodunits in the traditional sense. “Who is just a noun,” Leon says, “why is a verb. Who someone leaves his wife for is dull, but why he leaves his wife is interesting.” As for the modern craze for detailed forensics and descriptions of cadavers, she shrugs disdainfully. “Who wants to describe that gunk?” she asks.

Her books are as much about place as crime, and a new companion book has just been published that takes readers on a tour of Leon's beloved city. In Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective, tourists and armchair travelers follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves. With his acute eye for change in his native city, his fascination with the past, his ear for language and his passion for food and drink, and his familiarity with the dark realities of crime and corruption, Brunetti is the perfect companion for any walk across La Serenissima. Over a dozen walks, encompassing all six regions of Venice as well as the lagoon, lead readers down calli, over canali, and through campi. Important locations from the novels are highlighted and major themes and characters are explored, all accompanied by poignant excerpts from the novels.

[MBN note: We have reviewed two of the books in the Commissario Brunetti series, and , rating them both among the best mysteries published that year.]

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First Clues Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The Artemis Fowl Series

Miramax (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7868-1787-9 (0786817879)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7868-1787-0 (9780786817870)
Publication Date: March 2003
List Price: $5.99

Review written by Milosz, Age 13, Grade 7. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: This book is amazing! Being a fairy tale for our current times, it combines a mixture of humor, suspense and action in a real page-turner novel. Sure enough, fairies grant wishes, but they could just as well blast whoever opposes them to smithereens!

Fairy Captain Holly Short, part of the LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police is set out to confront a rampaging troll that’s causing havoc amongst human cities somewhere deep within Italy. This encounter leaves her magic completely drained, leaving her no choice but to set out to Ireland to carry out the ritual that rejuvenates her powers.

This is the moment when Artemis Fowl comes in. The last one in the Fowl bloodline, he and his bodyguard Butler will stop at nothing to get their hands on large amounts of money. They devise a plan in which they capture a fairy and hold her ransom. Due to extensive research, Artemis finds out all of the fairies’ secrets, and he is willing to use them to his utmost advantage. He succeeds in kidnapping the poor fairy, and he is now holding her inside his vast estate. It is up to the rest of the LEP to rescue her from the grasp of the immoral human.

In my opinion, the book is very well-written. The characters, settings and plot are very realistic and one could actually believe the events were happening due to the way the author explained the lives of the fairies. He made them seem almost human. That’s the only part I thought could’ve been better. The author portrayed the fairies as basically “humans with wings”. Mr. Colfer could’ve enhanced this aspect of the book a bit better.

This book, being the first in the series, won several awards. It received the Children's Book of the Year award at the 2001 British Book Awards. The book was also presented with a Garden State Teen Book Award in 2004. Also, as of this day, a movie adaptation of this novel is in production.

Overall, I find the book very creative. I would give it 4.5 stars, with one star being “bad,” three stars for “average,” and 5 for “excellent.”

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Artemis Fowl from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on over 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.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Games of Mystery: Laura Jones and the Secret Legacy of Nikola Tesla, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

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

Laura Jones and the Secret Legacy of Nikola Tesla

Help young adventurer Laura Jones and her grandmother discover Nikola Tesla's greatest invention! After receiving a mysterious package full of clues from the late Tesla, the hunt is on! Solve puzzles, collect the parts needed to start Tesla's invention, and pass the extraordinary trials. Laura Jones and the Secret Legacy of Nikola Tesla will test your hidden object skills as you race against time and the other people chasing down the invention!

Also available: Laura Jones and the Secret Legacy of Nikola Tesla Walkthrough.

Laura Jones and the Secret Legacy of Nikola Tesla may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. A demonstration version (89.00 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

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Other popular games on our page include several and games, games in the series and in particular the latest, Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure, Syberia and Syberia II, The Serpent of Isis, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey, and Nick Chase: A Detective Story.

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

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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

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Mystery Bestsellers for May 08, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending May 08, 2009 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Somewhat surprisingly, there was no change in the top 2 with First Family by and Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by retaining the same positions they held last week. A highly anticipated mystery, one which has been on the pre-order bestseller list for months, debuts this week.

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Entering the list at number 10 is the ninth mystery in the Southern Vampire series, Dead and Gone by . For Sookie Stackhouse, the day to day activities of the vampire and were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest. She's blood-bound to the leader of the vamps, a friend to the local were pack, works for a man who is shifter, and has a brother who is a were-panther. But for most of the humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious seductive creatures -- and they don't even know about the weres. Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who-human or otherwise-did the deed. But what she doesn't realize is that there is a far greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings -- older, more powerful and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves -- is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle. (MBN note: The Southern Vampire mysteries are the basis for the popular True Blood series on HBO. The 1st season of True Blood will be released on DVD on May 19, 2009.)

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.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

First Family by David BaldacciTea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall SmithThe 8th Confession by James PattersonLook Again by Lisa Scottoline

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, May 07, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Embrace the Grim Reaper by Judy Clemens

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Embrace the Grim Reaper by Judy Clemens. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Embrace the Grim Reaper by Judy Clemens

by
A Casey Maldonado Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-589-5 (1590585895)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-589-4 (9781590585894)
Publication Date: May 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Judy Clemens introduces a new paranormal series with Embrace the Grim Reaper featuring Casey Maldonado, a woman who lost everything in a near-fatal automobile accident, her only companion now, Death.

Casey inexplicably walked away from the accident that claimed the life of her husband and son; unbeknownst to her, Death had other plans for her. She decides to get away, leaving on a trip to the unknown. Her journey takes her to the small town of Clymer, Ohio, where the primary employer is an appliance company that is moving its operations to Mexico leaving many of the town's families impoverished. The death of a young woman with two small children also weighs on the community. Some believe it was suicide but those who knew her well, including Death, do not believe she would have taken her own life leaving her two children on their own. Death appeals to Casey to get involved in the community and help the people so much in need, and endeavor to find answers to the unusual sequence of events that have enveloped the town.

Embrace the Grim Reaper is part mystery, part social commentary, but entirely entertaining. Casey is only one of a number of interesting characters, and Death is truly unique. Hardly grim in the literal sense, he's frequently witty and charming. The reader will likely share a smile with Casey at some of his comments and actions. In an odd couple sort of way, they make a good pair of amateur sleuths and their first case (as it were) is a remarkably impressive debut.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Embrace the Grim Reaper and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Embrace the Grim Reaper from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Casey Maldonado's life is over -- at least as she knows it. In one brief moment of fire and wrenching metal, everything important was gone. The car manufacturer was generous with its settlement, but it can never be enough. Her family and friends, not to mention her lawyers, want her to go for more. More money. More publicity. More everything. But Casey is done. No financial gain or courtroom retribution will bring back what really matters. So she packs up, puts her house on the market, and leaves town. Her only companion? Death, who won't take her, but won't leave her alone.

Stopping on a whim in Clymer, a small blue-collar town in the midst of Ohio farmland, Casey discovers a town wrapped in tragedy. Not only is HomeMaker, the town's appliance factory and main employer, moving to Mexico, but the town has been rocked by the suicide of a beloved single mother.

Casey is drawn to the town, and soon realizes that many of the citizens don't believe the verdict of suicide at all. Death encourages her to investigate, and she uncovers information that points to the factory. Was the victim's death a cover-up? Did she truly have the means, as she claimed, to keep the factory from leaving town?

When Casey begins to receive messages that she should leave well enough alone, she decides she'd be better off back on the road, but the murderer can't let her go with everything she knows.

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eHarlequin's Free Book Friday: Heart of Courage by Kat Martin

eHarlequin.com gives you another reason to love Fridays! Buy two or more books this Friday and they'll give you their weekly featured book absolutely free! That's right, every Friday, enjoy a featured free book with the purchase of two or more other titles! (Your free book will automatically be added to your cart.)

This Friday's free book (05/08/2009) is a romantic suspense novel from Harlequin's Mira imprint.

Heart of Courage by Kat Martin

Heart of Courage by Kat Martin
The Heart Trilogy

Under the pert pen name "Lady Smart," opinionated Lindsey Graham crusades for social change among London's elite, writing for the ladies' gazette Heart to Heart. But Lindsey's greatest campaign begins when her brother Rudy, a notorious rake, is accused of murdering a string of prostitutes.

Her confidence in his innocence is bolstered when an anonymous letter arrives naming Viscount Merrick as the killer. Lindsey launches her own investigation into the gentleman's questionable pursuits, a risky venture that earns her an unwelcome bodyguard—Thor Draugr.

At first, Lindsey refuses the protection of her employer's brother-in-law. They are like oil and water, yet she can barely conceal her attraction to the rugged Norseman. But an attempt on her life reveals not only the lengths that someone will go to in order to prevent her interference in the viscount's sordid affairs, but that she can no longer deny that she desires the warrior by her side.

Keep up to date by subscribing to eHarlequin.com's free newsletter that contains the latest information about their series of books as well as informing you about subscriber-only special offers and new products. Click on the banner below to subscribe for free:

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Mysteries on TV: Wallander Debuts on PBS This Weekend

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 profiling a new series that debuts this month on PBS Masterpiece: Mystery!

Wallander, a Mystery TV Series

Kenneth Branagh stars as Detective Kurt Wallander in Wallander, a series of three episodes that air during May. Based on the bestselling novels by Henning Mankell, the series is set in the seaside town of Ystad, Sweden.

The premiere episode, Sidetracked, in which a young woman's suicide may be connected to a series of grisly murders, is scheduled to air Sunday, May 10th.

The second episode, Firewall, in which Wallander faces a gripping countdown to a looming disaster, is scheduled to air May 17th. And the final episode, One Step Behind, in which three teens are killed in the woods -- and the murders have only just begun, is scheduled for May 31st.

Check local listings for exact dates and times.

Visit the Wallander website on PBS.org for more information and to view the series trailer.

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

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Three Cards to Midnight Debuts This Evening

Big Finish Games has announced that their oft-delayed mystery adventure game, Three Cards to Midnight, will be available for download tonight, May 7th, at 7 PM ET.

Three Cards to Midnight

According to the developers, Three Cards to Midnight is a new style of game with elements of traditional adventure games and casual games built around a compelling story experience. The game is for Windows PC and will be available initially as a download.

The storyline goes like this: The last thing Jess Silloway can recall is meeting her boyfriend, Daniel, for dinner on the eve of her thirtieth birthday. The next morning, she'll fly to the Florida Keys to celebrate her birthday with her parents aboard her father's yacht. Everything in Jess's life is good ... on track.

Except ... something feels different. Maybe it's just her impending birthday – some kind of mini-midlife crisis. Or maybe it's something else...

Jess suddenly finds herself in a room with a man she's never seen before, who tells her that something has happened ... something that has caused her to block out the events of the past days or weeks since her last memory. The man is there, he says, to help Jess remember.

The man lays out a series of Tarot cards, each of which seems to trigger memories of a person or place in Jess's subconscious – some from childhood ... others from the recent past ... and some that are totally unfamiliar.

The man asks Jess to choose one card and focus on it – and so begins her chilling journey into the past ...

There are eight chapters (or levels). Each chapter features several "regressions" to different locations. These can be done in any sequence, and the memories unlocked during each regression can be done so in any order. The story experience will likely be different for almost every player. Also, the finale of the game will be dependent on how you played, making it unique for each player.

The gameplay is one part solving puzzles and one part "word play". You search locations to find objects that connect to specific "keywords". For example, the first keyword in the game is NOTE; objects you can find include a Quarter, a Foot, a Key, and a Book – all of which connect to the word Note (Quarter Note, Footnote, Keynote, Notebook). When you find all the required objects, a memory is unlocked that has something to do with the Keyword.

In context, you must figure out how to unlock memories (or flashbacks) of people and events associated with a series of specific locations. As more and more flashbacks are unlocked, they begin to fit together like a mosaic, gradually revealing the full story.

A trailer for the game can be seen on the developer website.

Three Cards to Midnight is rated T for Teen. The price of the game is $20 (though at the time of this post, some three hours before the game is scheduled to be available, information on accepted methods of payment is unavailable).

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First Clues Review: Eyes of a Stalker by Valerie Sherrard

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

Eyes of a Stalker by Valerie Sherrard

Eyes of a Stalker by Valerie Sherrard
The Shelby Belgarden Series

Boardwalk Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-55002-643-7 (1550026437)
ISBN-13: 978-1-55002-643-6 (9781550026436)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $12.99

Review written by Melinda, Age 13, Grade 7. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: Do you know what it’s like to be stalked by a mysterious, dreadful person? Well, you’ll find out if you read the book Eyes of a Stalker by Valerie Sherrard. In this book, a high school girl named Shelby Belgarden gets some mysterious packages in the mail, e-mails, and even some phone calls from an unknown person with a disturbing message. Although Shelby is being extremely careful about not going anywhere alone and he police are on the case, the stalker still manages to hide his identity. Shelby feels like nothing will ever be the same for her again, and it is all she thinks about. Not only could Shelby be in danger, but also her boyfriend, Greg. The stalker must be caught before he carries out his deadly scheme.

Overall, I liked this book. It isn’t the type of book I usually read, but it was pretty good. I liked the characters in the book. The main character is smart, realistic, and someone people can like. I liked the rest of the characters too. They had personalities that showed clearly throughout the story. The setting of this book is in a small town. I liked this because it seemed unexpected for there to be a stalker there. I liked the voice of the story because it sets a mysterious mood. If you like horror movies, you might like this book, because it combines scary and mysterious. That’s part of the reason I liked it. It isn’t quite as violent as a horror movie, but the concept of it is similar. Several of Valerie Sherrard’s books have won awards. Out of five stars, I would give this book a four. It isn’t amazing, since I don’t usually like reading mystery books, but it is a good book.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Eyes of a Stalker from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on over 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.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mysteries on TV: TNT Announces Summer Schedule

Mysteries on TV

is 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.

TNT announced today its summer schedule of original programming. Of interest to fans of crime dramas are two returning series and one new one.

returns for its 5th season starting Monday, June 8th at 9 PM (ET). It's going to be a year of change for Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick) and her Major Crimes unit. Johnson, a former Atlanta detective brought to Los Angeles to head a special LAPD homicide unit, is a top-notch investigator with unparalleled interrogation skills and a track record for closing nearly every case with a suspect's confession. The first 4 seasons of are available on DVD.

Leverage, a Mystery TV Series

is also returning and will begin its second season on Wednesday, July 15 at 9 PM (ET). returns for its 5th season starting Monday, June 8th at 9 PM (ET). This summer the gang is back with more elaborate scams designed to exact revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize people. Timothy Hutton stars as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator determined to bring down the kind of corrupt bigwigs whose neglect led to the death of his son. He and his team put their energy, quick minds and keen intellects toward securing justice for society's underdogs. The 1st season of is not yet available on DVD but individual episodes are available video-on-demand (VOD).

Dark Blue, a Mystery TV Series

The new series this summer on TNT is Dark Blue, which will follow Leverage on Wednesdays. This fast-paced, undercover police drama from prolific producer Jerry Bruckheimer (, ) stars Dylan McDermott as Carter Shaw, a deeply wounded character who has lost his wife and much of his former life as he struggles to bring down bad guys through complex undercover assignments. The series follows the exploits of his crack undercover team of police officers so covert, many of their own colleagues don't even know they are involved.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge

by
Non-series

Harper (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-137354-0 (0061373540)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-137354-1 (9780061373541)
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $25.99

Review: Peter de Jonge's debut thriller, Shadows Still Remain, introduces Detective Darlene O'Hara out of Manhattan's 7th Precinct in a dark, graphic and gripping mystery.

O'Hara was troubled teenager but is no less troubled as an adult. An unwed mother at 16, she worked to get her GED and with her mother’s support, she kept her son, straightened her life and became a cop working DUIs, sexual assaults, robberies, and the like. While working overtime on a Thanksgiving weekend, she and her partner, Serge “K” Krekorian, are called in on a missing persons case involving Francesca Pena, a 19-year-old sophomore at NYU. David MacLain, an old friend of Pena’s from Westfield (MA), had reported her missing. He had been preparing Thanksgiving dinner at Pena’s apartment but she never showed. When Pena's body is found it had been cut up like a totum pole. Since this was now a major case, homicide detectives are called in relieving O’Hara and Krekorian of their responsibility for this case. But O’Hara had already become much too involved to just step aside, so she goes off on her own to try to solve the crime. By doing so she is relieved of all her duties and put on report. But O’Hara continues to investigate, going from trashy bars and shoddy “houses of pleasure” to upscale strip clubs, from Brooklyn’s tattoo parlors to NYU’s ivory towers, uncovering secrets that were never meant to be revealed.

The intricate and sharply developed plot of Shadows Still Remain is compelling in its own way, but the character of Darlene O'Hara, yet another cop with a past who's trying to go straight but has to prove something in the meantime, is hard to like. She always seems to have a chip on her shoulder that gets more prominent the more she drinks. And she drinks a lot. Characters with an edge are all well and good but in this case, it doesn't work. Still, there's potential here for O'Hara to develop so it will be interesting to see how (or if) she's grown in her next case.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Shadows Still Remain and to HarperCollins for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Shadows Still Remain from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Shadows Still Remain (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): A Beautiful Woman, Missing

New York City, 2005. Thanksgiving weekend. A topless Kate Moss peers down from a billboard over rain-spattered Houston Street. Escaping a troubled past, Francesca Pena came to the city and reinvented herself. At New York University, her beauty and charisma are the envy of her privileged pals, yet none knows the real Francesca—who, after a night of drinking, is now missing.

A High-Stakes Gamble

Detective Darlene O'Hara of the Seventh Precinct and her partner, Serge "K." Krekorian, set out to find Pena. But when the case turns high-profile and Homicide is called in, O'Hara—who has an eighteen-year-old son she saddled with the name Axl Rose O'Hara, and whose binge drinking exacerbates the massive chip on her shoulder—refuses to let go. Risking both her and K.'s careers, she defies NYPD brass and Homicide legend Patrick Lowry to secretly pursue her own investigation.

A Desperate Chase—and a Chilling Twist

Following a deadly trail that leads from NYU's ivory towers to Brooklyn tattoo parlors, from a skanky strip club to a whitewashed boutique run by a Korean madam, O'Hara closes in on her prey. But she has to move fast, because Lowry and the NYPD are about to make a devastating mistake that will leave the real killer free.

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Mystery Savings: Save 10% on Any One Item at B&N.com

Mystery Savings: Discounted Products and Services on Books, Movies, and more!

Mystery Savings periodically provides our readers with current promotions that offer discounts or other incentives for purchasing mystery-themed products and services products through our partner websites. Below is a special offer recently received by us that we're pleased to pass on at this time.

Barnes&Noble.com is offering a 10% discount on any one item for non-members (15% discount for members) for online purchases made today through May 17, 2009.

The discount will be applied to the most expensive eligible item in the order -- not the entire purchase -- and will be deducted after all other discounts, including (if applicable) the standard Member discount, are applied. There are a number of exclusions including gift cards, textbooks, and more. See site for details.

Non-members should use coupon code N3K4N8W to get their 10% discount. Members should use coupon code P4W3B4A to get their 15% discount.

Save an additional 10% off one item with coupon code: N3K4N8W

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First Clues Review: The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure by Jill Santapolo

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure by Jill Santapolo

The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure by Jill Santapolo
The Alec Flint Series

Orchard Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-439-90352-1 (0439903521)
ISBN-13: 978-0-439-90352-3 (9780439903523)
Publication Date: July 2008
List Price: $15.99

Review written by Jade, Age 14, Grade 8. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: Do you find mystery books that include suspense, character, and a hint of history captivating? If you do, the book The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure would be a good book for you. In this book, Alec Flint is a fourth grader trying to follow in his fathers footsteps by becoming a sleuth. At the time a Christopher Columbus exhibit is stolen from a local museum, his father works on the case and Alec gains a special interest in figuring out mysteries. When his art teacher suddenly goes missing, he calls on a new student, Gina Rossi, to help him solve the intriguing mystery. Her special secret code assists them with delivering secret messages, while his sleuthing skills and extraordinary pen that can do special tricks help solve the real mystery at hand. Somehow, the two 4th graders believe that the Christopher Columbus exhibit and the missing art teacher can be related!

Readers of a young age will enjoy The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure but this book is mainly directed at people from 3rd to 5th grade. Young readers can easily relate to characters of their own age, as well as being able to understand the vocabulary used in the book. This book can also be geared to people who enjoy learning about Christopher Columbus, because this book refers back to the history of this famous explorer. In addition, this book will keep readers asking questions and begging for more. The characters are admirable and their persistency and hard work will be a good role model for children. All in all, this book would be especially good for eight to twelve year olds.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on over 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.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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