Thursday, January 28, 2010

Edge of Darkness, a Remake of the BBC Miniseries, Opens in Theaters Friday January 29th

Edge of Darkness (TV Series)

Tomorrow, Friday January 29th, Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson opens in theaters nationwide. The film is a remake of the BBC 6-part miniseries of the same name that starred Bob Peck as Ronnie Craven who investigates the death of his own environmental activist daughter and becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy. Though the overall plotline remains the same, the 2010 film takes place in and around Boston and some of the characters have been renamed.

About Edge of Darkness (2010): Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is a veteran homicide detective for the Boston Police Department and a single father. When his only child, 24-year-old Emma (Bojana Novakovic), is murdered on the steps of his home, everyone assumes that he was the target. But he soon suspects otherwise, and embarks on a mission to find out about his daughter’s secret life and her killing. His investigation leads him into a dangerous looking-glass world of corporate cover-ups, government collusion and murder — and to shadowy government operative Darius Jedburgh (Ray Winstone) who has been sent in to clean up the evidence. Craven’s solitary search for answers about his daughter’s death transforms into an odyssey of emotional discovery and redemption.

Somewhat coincidentally, the production company behind the film, Warner Bros., also released a film with the same title in 1943, though the two movies have nothing in common.

The original BBC production is available on DVD from Mysteries on TV: Edge of Darkness.

Watch a trailer for the film below:

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Mystery Book Review: High Anxiety by Charlotte Hughes

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

High Anxiety by Charlotte Hughes

A Kate Holly Mystery

Jove (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-515-14740-0 (0515147400)
ISBN-13: 978-0-515-14740-7 (9780515147407)
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $7.99

Review: Psychologist Kate Holly continues to juggle a career, her family and friends all the while dealing with a temporary receptionist who seems to have issues of her own to deal with in High Anxiety, the third mystery in this series by Charlotte Hughes.

After Kate's best friend and regular receptionist, Mona, takes a leave of absence to recover from a sudden outbreak of hives, her mother steps in to fill the void. But it soon becomes clear that families that stay together don't work together, so Kate contacts a temp agency for a replacement. Abigail Davis is about the same age as Kate, is personable, and most importantly, agrees not to offer advice to Kate's patients behind her back, something Kate's mother was keen on doing. still, there's something a bit peculiar about Abigail, which becomes more apparent as she takes on a new appearance and becomes more involved in Kate's personal life.

High Anxiety is a pleasant mystery, with a minimum of violence that will appeal to readers who prefer their cozies more gentle than harsh. But it lacks the light, humorous touch that the premise seems to imply. The book opens with, "My name is Kate Holly. I'm a clinical psychologist. My patients think I'm normal. If I've told them once, I've told them a thousand times: There is no such thing as normal." The author surrounds Kate with an eclectic cast of characters, certainly not an average bunch but not so quirky to be outlandish either. Most are rather compelling, and in some ways more interesting (in a clinical psychological way) than Kate herself. Still, little humor is extracted from them or the situations in which they find themselves ... and a little humor would have gone a long way towards making the predictably plotted story a lot more enjoyable.

Special thanks to Penguin Group for providing an ARC of High Anxiety for this review.

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

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Synopsis (from the publisher): After nursing her hunky firefighter ex-husband Jay Rush back to health, Kate Holly is ready for a little fun, only to get stuck with an anger management group that turns dangerous when a gun-toting granny loses her temper. Kate’s hopes for some frisky business are further put on hold when a monster forest fire erupts several hours south of Atlanta, drawing firefighters by the droves, including Jay.

Kate’s professional life isn’t faring any better. Her patients seem to be getting kookier, her junk-dealing mother and aunt more outrageous, and her secretary is convinced her peculiar rash is something akin to leprosy! Kate is forced to hire oddball temp employee Abigail Davis who becomes fixated with her. If Kate thinks it strange when Abigail’s “makeover” leaves them looking frighteningly identical, she soon has to wonder just how far the troubled young woman will go to in order to win Kate’s affection.

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New Hardcover Mysteries for February 2010

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in February 2010. Please note that some titles may publish early (and may already be available) and some may be delayed, published at a later date.

Below we're listing those authors with returning series characters, new series characters, and non-series or stand-alone mysteries in separate sections. All titles are available on our page.

• Authors with mysteries featuring returning series characters (in parentheses) this month:

New Mysteries for February 2010

(Mallie Monroe, 2nd), (Aunt Dimity, 15th), (Jamaica Wild, 4th), (John Wells, 4th), (Max Romero, 2nd), (Jay McCaulay, 2nd), Alys Clare (Aelf Fen, 2nd), (Art Murry, 3rd), (Lindsay Frost, 2nd), (Amerotke, 7th), (Serge Storms, 12th), (Lake District, 4th), (Eddie Perlmutter, 2nd), (Honey Driver, 5th), Tim Green (Casey Jordan, 3rd), (Jake Hines, 8th), Parnell Hall (Puzzle Lady, 11th), Michael Kurland (Sherlock Holmes Anthology, 3rd), (Jack McClure, 2nd), (Li Yan and Margaret Campbell, 5th), (Hector Lassiter, 3rd), (Savannah Reid, 15th), Ian Morson (Medieval Oxford, 7th), (E. L. Pender, 5th), (Handstead New Town, 4th), (Medical Thriller, 15th), (Jesse Stone, 9th), (Rachel Goddard, 3rd), (Michael Bennett, 3rd), (Lola Cruz, 2nd), (Omar Yussef, 4th), J. D. Robb (Eve Dallas, In Death, 37th), (SPQR, 13th), (Vin Cooper, 3rd), Fay Sampson (Suzie Fewings, 2nd), (Kate Shugak, 17th), (Carly Paladino and Noah Lang, 2nd), Peter Tonkin (Richard Mariner, 21st)

• Authors with mysteries introducing new series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(Steve Vail), (Miss Dido Kent), (Will Magowan), (Miranda Corbie)

• Authors with non-series or stand-alone mysteries this month:

Ben Bova, , Marjorie Eccles, Joy Fielding, , , , , , , , , Henning Mankell, Nigel McCrery, , , , , David Peace, , Michael Shea, , Peter Straub, Paul Theroux, Najem Wali,

For more information on any of these titles, please visit the page on our website. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with February 2010 releases.

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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Josephine Cox's Blood Brothers to be a Tesco Film Adaptation

Blood Brothers by Josephine Cox
More information about the book

Yesterday we reported on supermarket giant Tesco's new film venture, and that an adaptation of a quartet of Jackie Collin's novels was already filming in France. Now is reporting that an adaptation of Josephine Cox's latest novel, Blood Brothers, is expected to go into production later this year.

About Blood Brothers: Alice Jacobs has finally found the family she always wanted! With her shy smile and kind nature, Alice wins the hearts of the Arnold family. A decent and well respected couple,Tom and Nancy Arnold have raised two very different sons, Frank and Joe. Frank is a devious, brutal man. Seeing Alice as the key to his fortune, he is determined to have her for himself. However, his younger brother Joe has fallen in love with Alice, so when she and Frank become engaged to marry, Joe leaves home, determined to put a distance between himself and temptation. He reluctantly returns when Frank summons him to be his best man. Alice finds herself inexplicably drawn to Joe, but feeling it to be her duty, she goes ahead and marries Frank, not wishing to hurt him. On their wedding night Frank shows his true colours and when he forces Alice to reveal a devastating secret, his evil nature reaps a shocking revenge. In his blind hatred, intent on punishing those who have crossed him, Frank plans the final, ultimate retribution. An act that could tear apart not only the Arnold family, but shatter the lives of those around them forever. Unless someone can stop him!

Blood Brothers goes on sale next week in the UK; a US publication date is unknown at this time.

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Zac Efron To Star in Film Adaptation of Graphic Crime Novel Fire by Brian Michael Bendis

Fire by Brian Michael Bendis
More information about the book

THR's Heat Vision blog is reporting that Zac Efron is set to star in a film adaptation of the graphic crime novel Fire by Brian Michael Bendis. Universal Studios will produce the Bendis-written screenplay.

About Fire: Imagine that you are a shy, quiet college student. Just an average guy trying to get through each day as best he can. Then your government contacts you. They want you to be part of an experiment in the art of human covert operations. Instead of creating an agent from someone within their own ranks, they want to create an agent from nobody -- from scratch -- you!

Originally published in 1993 and the first of the author's series of noir comics, the story is loosely based on events in the American intelligence community during the Reagan administration.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mystery Book Review: The Murdered House by Pierre Magnan

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

The Murdered House by Pierre Magnan

A Seraphin Monge Mystery

St. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-36720-1 (0312367201)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-36720-6 (9780312367206)
Publication Date: November 2009
List Price: $24.99

Review: The Murdered House, written by Pierre Magnan in 1984 and winner of France's Best Novel of the Year Award that year, received an English translation 1999. Minotaur Books is now re-releasing the translated book as a hardcover.

Seraphin Monge was just 18 days old when his parents, brothers, and grandfather were brutally murdered. Raised in orphanages, he returns to his ancestral home in Provence 23 years later and is told that his family's killers were soon identified and subsequently executed. But torn by visions of death around him, he begins to dismantle the house he was born in, discovering a box with a large number of gold coins hidden within its walls. He then learns that the wrong men were accused of his family's murders, that the real killers are still alive. Believing the motive behind the murders is connected to the hidden gold, Seraphin is determined to mete out justice at last.

Translated novels can sometimes be difficult to review from a stylistic perspective; one never knows how much of the translation is literal and how much interpretative. And something here seems to be lost in translation, as it were. Despite an atmospheric and moody setting, the narrative, especially when Seraphin is present, feels rather flat, generating little suspense. Early in the book, for example, Seraphin goes about the destruction of his house in a methodical manner, robotic and indifferent, a man striking back the only way he knows how at those who killed his family but not really feeling any joy or sorrow from his acts. Even when he discovers the gold and realizes his family's killers are alive, he's oddly emotionless. Whether this is the author's intent or not is unknown. The house, named La Burliere and referred to as if a character in the story, is often a stronger presence than Seraphin, as illustrated by the following passage: "Life was ebbing away from the building with every stone that hit the ground and every piece of lime that quietly disintegrated. Its lamentation could be heard in the voice of the tall holly-oaks moaning in the wind."

The plot becomes more animated during the second half of the book but also seems less original, more derivative. Still, The Murdered House is an interesting novel overall, and one worth experiencing.

Special thanks to St. Martin's Minotaur for providing a copy of The Murdered House for this review.

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

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If you are interested in purchasing The Murdered House from, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): At the turn of the century in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-week-old baby.

Twenty years later, the orphaned survivor returns home to avenge his family’s killers. But for each murder he plots, another hand silently executes it in his place. He wins the hearts of two women, Marie and rose, and romantic complications ensue. But then unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past ...

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Tesco To Offer Exclusive DVD Film Adaptations of Best Selling Authors

L. A. Connections by Jackie Collins
More information about the book

BBC News is reporting that supermarket giant Tesco has formed a joint venture with Amber Entertainment to make direct-to-DVD films that will be exclusive to the retailer. First up is Paris Connections, an adaptation of the Jackie Collins quartet of thrillers Power, Obsession, Murder, and Revenge, and collectively published as L. A. Connections. It is currently being filmed in France, and is expected to be the first of four planned movies in the "Connections" series.

Other best-selling authors reportedly in talks with Tesco for film adaptations include Philip Pullman, Judy Blume, Dick and Felix Francis, Karin Slaughter, Jacqueline Wilson, and Anne Perry.

(See also the Tesco press release for more information.)

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Predators by Frederick Ramsay

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

Predators by Frederick Ramsay


Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-684-0 (1590586840)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-684-6 (9781590586846)
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: The absorbing accounts of an aging CEO and an aging lion are creatively juxtaposed in Predators, a stand-alone novel by Frederick J. Ramsay.

Leo Painter is the chief executive officer of Earth Global, a natural resources company. Though suffering from a weak heart and ready to retire, he's asked by the State Department to travel to Botswana to consult with the local government to negotiate mineral rights. Painter, together with executives from his company and his wife and stepson, arrive in Botswana but Painter isn't sure this trip is in the best interests of the company or his family. Separately, Sekoa, a lion, has been displaced as the alpha male in his tribe because of an AIDS-like virus. Weakened, and only able to hunt for small animals, he is hounded by hyenas that sense his imminent demise.

Common to both Painter and Sekoa is Mpoo Kgopa Sanderson, a game ranger who is looked down upon by the men of her village because she is a woman doing a man's job. It is her responsibility to investigate the death of Painter's attorney. He is found dead in the bush, with the head of Sekoa (also dead) on his chest. The authorities want to label the death a lion kill, but Sanderson knows otherwise: he was killed by a spear through the chest. The prime suspect seems to be Bobby, Painter's stepson, who not only holds a substantial amount of company stock but seems anxious to take control of his family's company. When it comes to kill or be killed, there is not much distinction between the laws of the jungle and the laws of the boardroom.

Ramsay is clearly drawing a parallel between Painter and Sekoa, both of whom (which) know they must eventually (and sooner than they might choose) cede control of their respective empires to a new generation, and would like to do so gracefully but don't trust those that follow in their footsteps. Yet the story is told in such a way that is doesn't seem like the obvious parable it is. Predators is really quite riveting, a murder mystery set in an exotic land peopled with a diverse cast of characters and motives as old as humanity itself. A word or two or advice to potential readers: set aside plenty of time to enjoy Predators, as once started, it will be hard to put down.

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

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

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Leo Painter is the CEO of Earth Global, a large energy, mining, and real-estate development firm. He and his party of company executives are traveling in Botswana to consult with the government about accessing their extractable resources.

Sekoa is a male lion who shares with his bipedal enemies the misfortune of being the bearer of HIV/AIDS. Weakened by the disease, he loses his place as the alpha male in his pride and now, dying and harassed by a pack of hyenas, seeks only a place to rest in peace.

Painter, pursued by his own "hyenas", only wishes to find a last resting place where he can further his dream: to build a resort/casino on Botswana's Chobe River.

Their paths cross with tragic consequences as police, a plucky woman game warden, and myriad local authorities, hoteliers, and tribesmen vie over what happened and to whom.

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

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

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

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April Adventure by Ron Roy

April Adventure by Ron Roy

The 4th book in this series of 12.

Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose have hidden Easter eggs for the younger kids to find. Bradley, Brian, Nate, and Lucy have no trouble finding the plastic eggs. But some of the golden eggs disappear! Can the four kids track down the thief?

The books in the Calendar Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis

The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis

The 7th book in this thrilling suspense and adventure series.

It's no longer a game. The body count is rising. Shaken by recent events, Amy and Dan flee to a distant land and trace the footsteps of their most formidable ancestor yet: a military leader of mythic proportions. Yet just as the siblings begin to master the art of ancient warfare, they confront a dangerous enemy that can't be felled with a sword: the truth. With the stakes higher than ever, Amy and Dan uncover something so devastating it changes everything – the secret of their family branch.

The 39 Clues books are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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The White House by Roland Smith

The White House by Roland Smith

The 2nd book in this mystery series.

Another thrilling caper, this time to the White House where Q and Angela continue their quest to uncover the truth behind the supposed death of Angela's real mother -- a former Secret Service agent -- while trying to differentiate the "good guys" from the "bad guys."

The I, Q Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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Conspiracy 365 February by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365 February by Gabrielle Lord

The 2nd book in this series of thrillers.

On New Year's Eve, Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Now he's on the run. The people who killed his father want him dead, and the police are chasing him for a crime he didn't commit. A month has gone by and he's still no nearer to solving the Ormond Riddle, the family secret that has turned his life into a nightmare. Can he trust the mysterious Winter Frey, or will she lead him further into danger? He has 334 days. The clock is ticking ...

Books in the Conspiracy 365 series are recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

— ◊ —

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed in the Children’s Galleries of the Chicago Art Institute, they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms made in the 1930s by Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Each of the 68 rooms is designed in the style of a different historic period, and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. Some might even say, the rooms are magic.

Imagine — what if you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you were small enough to sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind?

This book is recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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The Adventures of Jack Lime by James Leck

The Adventures of Jack Lime by James Leck

Things might get rough, they might even get a little messy, but I was okay with rough and messy as long as I could shut the lid on this dirty case.

Meet Jack Lime, private investigator, who solves problems for his fellow Iona High students. Sometimes he falls for the dames who hire him, sometimes he falls in the river and sometimes he falls asleep (he’s narcoleptic). But rest assured that whether he’s tracking down a missing banana-seat bike or a kidnapped hamster, or cracking open a trivia tournament betting ring, Lime will follow every lead.

Jack Lime is a cynical sleuth who has the makings of a top-notch PI, though his personal life frequently goes awry. In these three stand-alone detective stories, readers will immerse themselves in an offbeat fictional world populated with eccentric characters where everything is not as it seems.

This book is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre ... to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria ... to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own -- scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history -- or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

This book is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Racing the Devil by E. Michael Terrell

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Racing the Devil by E. Michael Terrell. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Racing the Devil by E. Michael Terrell

A Jared McKean Mystery

Night Shadows Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9799167-6-3 (0979916763)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9799167-6-2 (9780979916762)
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: E. Michael Terrell introduces a complex ... and conflicted ... private investigator who finds himself framed for a murder he most certainly did not commit in Racing the Devil.

Nashville PI Jared McKean is a family man without a family. Or so he thinks. He still loves his ex-wife and adores their son, Paulie, who has Down Syndrome. He lives on a horse farm with his gay best friend, who has AIDS, but is afraid to show how much their friendship means to him. He's close to his brother and his family, yet doesn't seem to know them at all. And he's open to one night stands with a pretty woman. It's the morning after one of these anonymous assignations that he sees his name on the morning news -- wanted for the murder of a woman. Except he doesn't know the dead woman. The police have evidence that strongly suggests otherwise, including DNA samples, fingerprints, and a voice mail message from McKean to the woman. He knows he's being framed, but isn't sure if he is the target and the woman was random, or if she was the target and he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Racing the Devil is an ambitious mystery but one that almost seems at odds with itself. Consider the central character, Jared McKean. It's not enough that he has a laundry list of personal issues to deal with; he's also investigating his own involvement (or lack thereof) in a murder. While he's an interesting character, and one definitely worth learning more about, there's an overabundance of information for the reader here that could have -- and probably should have -- been revealed over the course of two or three books. The murder mystery plot itself tends to be overly and unnecessarily convoluted, not necessarily a critical flaw, but is compounded by the fact that it is also exceptionally depressing. Crime is never a cheerful event, but the crimes in Racing the Devil are particularly disturbing. Again, not a critical flaw in and of itself, but the crimes seem to be used in a contrived, manipulative manner to influence the character of McKean -- and by extension the reader -- at the end of the book.

Definitely not a run-of-the-mill mystery, Racing the Devil requires some patience on the part of the reader. It's a solidly plotted book with well-drawn characters, but troubling nonetheless.

Special thanks to Night Shadows Press for providing an ARC of Racing the Devil for this review.

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

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Nashville Private Investigator Jared McKean has a son with Down Syndrome, a best friend with AIDS, an ex-wife he can't seem to fall out of love with, and a weakness for women in jeopardy -- until one frames him for murder. His DNA and fingerprints are found at the murder scene. His voice is on the victim's answering machine. A man of his height and build was seen leaving the scene of the crime, and the victim was killed by a bullet from his gun. To further complicate matters, his teen-age nephew has just come out of the closet and run away to join a dangerous fringe of the Goth subculture. Now Jared must find a way to hold his family together, clear his name, and solve a case that could cost him his life.

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Mysteries on TV: Callan, MI-5, Pie in the Sky, and Slouthland, New This Week on DVD

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 three series that have season DVDs being released this week.

— ◊ —

Information on Callan: Set Two

Edward Woodward (The Equalizer) delivers a powerful performance as a Cold War assassin caught in a tangled web of duty and deception in , a series that originally aired in the UK from 1967 through 1972.

In the long war of nerves between East and West, British agent David Callan has distinguished himself as a valuable asset: a competent killer who understands all the political and psychological angles. But after a stint in Soviet prison, Callan wants out of the game. His coldly calculating superiors, Hunter (William Squire) and Bishop (Geoffrey Chater), have other ideas. Callan soon learns that leaving his profession might be more dangerous than staying in -- and that men like him have as much to fear from friends as from enemies.

The first two seasons of the series have apparently been lost and are unavailable on DVD. In this second set of 4 discs, Callan: Set Two, which includes the final 13 episodes that aired in 1972, this taut series elevates the spy thriller to emotionally charged drama.

— ◊ —

Information on MI-5 (Spooks): Volume Seven

The high suspense spy drama , which airs as Spooks in the UK, is back with more topical stories of deadly terrorists, undercover operations and double-agents, this time with an added danger: a deepening schism with Russia raising new Cold War tensions.

Having spent the past eight years in a Russian prison, Lucas North (new cast member Richard Armitage) is welcomed back by MI-5 supremo and old friend Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), who was instrumental in finally securing his release.

Lucas is keen to get back to work straight away and, with Section D's current priority operation having a strong Russian connection, he could well prove invaluable. But, after eight years with only a high ranking Russian spymaster for company, can Lucas's loyalty really be taken for granted?

The MI-5 (Spooks): Volume Seven DVD set of 4 discs contain the 8 episodes that originally aired during the fall of 2008 on BBC.

— ◊ —

Information on Pie in the Sky: Series 2

Semi-retired policeman Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) would rather be cooking than catching criminals in the British drama series . Unluckily for him, he happens to be good at both.

His boss, Assistant Chief Constable Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair) doesn’t want to lose him, and his accountant wife Margaret (Maggie Steed) worries his new career as a restaurateur won’t be financially viable. So, while indulging his culinary passions, Crabbe remains on call for those particularly tricky cases that Fisher sends his way. Larger than life as he is, sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough of Crabbe to go around.

(MBN note: We're currently watching episodes of this delightful and entertaining series and will have our review soon!)

The Pie in the Sky: Series 2 DVD set of 3 discs contain the 10 episodes that originally aired on BBC from January through March 1995.

— ◊ —

Information on Southland: Season One

From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East LA, is a fast-moving drama that will take you inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families.

Michael Cudlitz plays John Cooper a seasoned Los Angeles cop, assigned to train young rookie Ben Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie). Cooper's honest, no-nonsense approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer. Cudlitz and McKenzie are joined by cast members Regina King who plays Detective Lydia Adams. Adams lives with and is the primary caregiver of her mother. Her partner, Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott) is an unhappily married father of three. Michael McGrady plays Detective Daniel "Sal" Salinger. Sal oversees fellow gang detectives Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy). Arija Bareikis plays patrol officer Chickie Brown, a single mom who dreams of being the first woman accepted into SWAT.

The Southland: Season One DVD set of 2 discs contain the 7 episodes that aired on NBC as a mid-season replacement during the spring of 2009. NBC renewed the series, but in a very unusual move canceled it prior to airing the premiere episode of the second season. TNT subsequently picked up the rights to the entire series. The first season of Southland is currently airing on Tuesdays; the second season will premiere on March 2nd.

— ◊ —

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

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Games of Mystery: Rasputin's Curse, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

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

Rasputin's Curse
Rasputin's Curse

When Lora and Mark’s marriage reaches a breaking point, she sets out on a journey to St. Petersburg, Russia, a city that has mysteriously fascinated her throughout her life. Not only will her trip to St. Petersburg, the birthplace of her great-grandmother, give her the opportunity to research her heritage, it will also give her a much-needed break from things at home.

You will have to help Lora unravel the secrets of her family's history by deciphering tantalizing clues, finding hidden objects, and solving mind bending puzzles that will eventually lead her to the small village where her great-grandmother was born and, ultimately, to a shocking confrontation with the “Mad Monk”!

Rasputin's Curse may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (157.07 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:


Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card!

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

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases


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

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for January 25, 2010

A 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!).

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for January 25, 2010

This week's letters and mystery clue:


This short story by Miles Hudson appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly (with “The”, 9 letters).

We now have two weeks of our puzzles on one page 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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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Third Season of Damages Premieres Monday January 25th on FX Networks

Damages (FX Network)

The third season premiere of Damages airs tomorrow, Monday January 25th, at 10 PM (ET/PT) on FX Networks. We're big fans of the series and are definitely looking forward to where the twisty suspense plot involving high-stakes litigator Patricia Hewes (played by 2-time Emmy winner Glenn Close for her performance in the series) and her (now former) protege Ellen Parson (Rose Byrne) takes us this season.

Tomorrow's episode is titled "Your Secrets Are Safe". Patty Hewes has been appointed by the U.S. government to recover billions of dollars lost to the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history. The new case pits Patty against the powerful Tobin family, which includes Joe Tobin (Campbell Scott), Marilyn Tobin (Lily Tomlin), and the family's trusted attorney Leonard Winstone (Martin Short). Meanwhile, Ellen Parsons adjusts to the challenges of her new job, and life, away from Patty Hewes.

Watch a preview for the Damages Season 3 premiere below. The first two seasons (highly recommended) are available on DVD from Mysteries on TV: Damages.

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Games of Mystery: Marooned and Tales of Monkey Island, New from Amazon Video Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, and more mysterious fun, is pleased to announce this week's new mystery and suspense games available for immediate download from Amazon Video Games.

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Download and Buy Marooned


Lose yourself in a thrilling tale of mystery, intrigue, and adventure on a distant tropical island in Marooned, the first chapter of a riveting new trilogy of games.

Lost, alone, and stricken with amnesia, you suddenly find yourself on a strange island. Who are you? How did you get here? What powerful secret is the island hiding? And, how will you ever get home? Search for objects and answers in lush landscapes, and use the items you find to solve puzzles and unravel the mystery.

Windows Vista / XP (43 MB download).

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Tales of Monkey Island, Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate Gold
Download and Buy Tales of Monkey Island, Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate Gold

Tales of Monkey Island, Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate Gold

The thrilling finale of Tales of Monkey Island!

To some, death is the end, but not even that can stop Guybrush. As the Pox again threatens the entire Caribbean, join Guybrush on his journey into the afterlife. See old friends and nemeses, meet new allies and rivals, and help Guybrush return to the land of the living to save the seas from voodoo-powered destruction once and for all!

Windows Vista / XP (188 MB download).

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A complete list of downloadable mystery games is available on our Games of Mystery: Game Download page.

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