Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop Town



Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Delacorte Press

June 24, 2014

ISBN-10: 0345547497

ISBN-13: 978-0345547491

416 pages


Unblinking and in your face

Karin Slaughter writes tough, gritty crime fiction. Unblinking and in your face. Always filled with tough and committed characters who are deeply flawed. Her villains are always well-drawn, evil, and totally believable, with clear agendas that drive their actions. Cop Town is such a story and just might be her best yet.

Set in 1974 among the mean streets of Atlanta and within the corrupt, racist, sexist Atlanta PD, the story revolves around two female officers, one seasoned, one a rookie, who essentially serve as co-protagonists. Each has easily exploited weaknesses, while possessing skills and a toughness that drives the story.

Maggie Lawson comes from a cop family. A family that is dysfunctional on many levels. Maggie tries to live up to the standards demanded by her hard-nosed uncle and brother while trying to retain her own humanity. She is thrust into the chase of a brutal cop killer, whose motives aren’t readily apparent, the only thing known for sure that he will kill again. The clock is ticking and Maggie feels the pressure at every turn.

Entering this pressure cooker is first-day-rookie Kate Murphy. Jewish, strikingly beautiful, privileged from her tony digs in Buckhead Atlanta, and completely over her head. Yet, when she and Maggie team up, they create a powerful symbiosis that proves to be more than capable in the good-old-boy world of Atlanta cops.

The story is fast-paced, with unexpected twists and turns, and a climax that is shocking yet inevitable. A great read.



Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

Terminal City



Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

Dutton Adult

June 17, 2014

ISBN-10: 0525953884

ISBN-13: 978-0525953883

384 pages

A wickedly intelligent thriller

International bestseller Linda Fairstein’s newest novel, starring Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper, is a winner on every level. A wickedly intelligent thriller that crawls through the underbelly of NYC as well as the courts and law enforcement agencies of the Big Apple. Alexandra is a wonderful series character that reflects Fairstein’s own career as Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit for the Manhattan DA’s Office. She knows of what she writes. This story begins with a carved-up corpse in a high-dollar suite at New York’s posh Waldorff Astoria Hotel. And from there it only gets worse. A thrill ride that is not to be missed.

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Posted by on June 26, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: THE FARM by Tom Rob Smith

The Farm


The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

Grand Central Publishing

June 3, 2014

ISBN-10: 0446550736

ISBN-13: 978-0446550734

368 pages

If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Tom Rob Smith is a great storyteller. Hie first novel, Child 44, was an amazing work of fiction that won much critical acclaim, including the Thriller Award. He completed that trilogy with two other excellent books: The Secret Speech and Agent 6. The Farm is another great story.

From a technical, writerly point of view, this is an interesting work. A small story with big themes, it is essentially told entirely in narrative form—-yet it reads like action, dialog, and all the other elements of storytelling. The first 80% is essentially a mother telling her son a story. Don’t let that fool you. The story races along and once you begin, you can’t put it down. That’s great writing.

Daniel is preping for a trip from London to rural Sweden to visit his parents, Chris and Tilde, on their new farm. He has put off the trip to avoid telling his family of his lover Mark. A relationship he is sure they will not approve of. But when his father calls, saying the his mother is ill, mentally ill, he must now make the trek he has avoided. But before he can climb on his flight, he receives a message from his father that Tilde has left the mental hospital and is headed to London. And indeed she arrives.

Back in his apartment, Daniel does the listening, his “mum” Tilde the telling. And what a tale. A story of child abuse, betrayal, and murder. A conspiracy involving the rich and powerful and even his father. But is it true? Could it all have really happened as Tilde describes? Is his mother insane as so many say, including his father.

As the “telling” unfolds, the reader will be whiplashed back and forth. Is the evidence Tilde posses in her satchel proof of unspeakable crimes or are they meaningless bits that are only evidence in his mother’s mind?

This story will stay with you long after you read the final page.

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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Her Last Breath


Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Minotaur Books

June 18.2014

ISBN-10: 0312658575

ISBN-13: 978-0312658571

320 pages

. . . murder and mayhem among the peaceful world of the Amish . . .

Painters Mill’s police chief Kate Burkholder is back in this wonderful tale of murder and mayhem among the peaceful world of the Amish. Kate, raised in this world, long ago left for the secular world of law enforcement, and is now confronted with a murder of diabolical proportions. The story opens with a horrible accident. An Amish father and his children, returning home in their horse-drawn buggy, are demolished by a speeding car that flees into the night. A scene that is so harrowingly rendered it’s as if the reader is an eyewitness.

But was it an accident? Or was it a murder of horrific proportions? If so, why? What’s the payoff for annihilating these innocents? Nothing is apparent and as Kate digs deeper into the family and the community, a community that still resents her departure from the fold, she uncovers dark deeds and motives that defy understanding.

Kate’s continuing and growing relationship with FBI agent John Tomasetti only complicates her life and skews her choices. Choices that could end her career. John’s too.

This is an excellent series and Her Last Breath is one of the best.

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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: Suspicion by Joseph Finder



Suspicion by Joe Finder


May 27, 2014

ISBN-10: 0525954600

ISBN-13: 978-0525954606

400 pages

Decisions always have consequences

Decisions always have consequences. Some positive; others less so. Some for all the right reasons; others born from darker motives. Some lead to happiness and fulfillment; others to loss, guilt, and recrimination. And still others open the door to a hellacious series of events.

Author Danny Goodman made a decision. A big decision. And for the right reasons. As a single father, he would do anything for his teenage daughter Abby. Even borrowing money from uber-wealthy Thomas Gavin, the father of Abby’s best friend and classmate at Boston’s uber-exclusive Lyman Academy—a place Abby loved, even needed, but Danny couldn’t come close to affording.

First a  small loan for a class trip to Italy, then a larger one for the tuition that was far beyond Danny’s means. But it was for his daughter after all.

But in Joseph Finder’s hands nothing is as it seems. Danny finds himself in a trash-compactor of fear and danger and a world of crime and retribution he never knew existed.

This story will pull you in and carry you on a journey of ups and downs and twists and turns that you, and Danny, never see coming.


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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: Don’t Look For Me by Loren D. Estleman



Don’t Look For Me by Loren Estleman

Forge Books

March 18, 2014

ISBN-10: 0765331217

ISBN-13: 978-0765331212

288 pages

Loren Estleman writes great books and has created a truly iconic protagonist in Amos Walker. I have been a fan for years but this story is one of his best. Old enemies, new enemies, and Walker’s usual difficulties playing well with others are all part of this fast-paced and convoluted story. When a wife disappears and her final note simple states Don’t Look For Me, Amos is brought is to find her. But what begins as a simple missing spouse case becomes something else again—-murder, drugs, foreign agents, organized crime, and much more. As the body count rises, Amos finds himself involved with a young woman known simply as Smoke who just might be more than she seems. An old, tricky, and ruthless nemesis enters stage left and the story kicks to an entirely new level. Loved it.

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Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: City Of The Sun by Juliana Maio

City of Sun


City Of The Sun by Juliana Maio

Greenleaf Book Group

Pub Date: March 9, 2014


389 pages

“. . . a well-written historical thriller.”

Set against the backdrop of Rommel’s North African Campaign and the Jewish community that huddled in Cairo, CITY OF THE SUN is an intriguing look into WWII history. Jews had enjoyed a peaceful existence in Cairo for many years but war changed everything. Will the British stop Rommel short of Cairo? Will the Jews be able to ride out the storm in Cairo or will they be forced to flee to the Sudan, Palestine, or anywhere they might be accepted? And what role will the newly minted and pro-Nazi Muslim Brotherhood play in the unraveling of Jewish life in Cairo?

Mickey Connolly, a US reporter and covert CIA operative, is on the hunt for a Jewish scientist, who is hiding in Cairo, in the hopes of bringing him to the US to work on the developing nuclear program. His endeavors to track down the illusive Erik Blumenthal are mirrored by a master German spy who wants Erik for the same reason—to help build an atomic bomb for the Third Reich. Mickey meets and becomes enthralled with Maya, a beautiful young Jewish woman, who is in limbo—living with relatives, planning an illegal escape to Palestine, and unsure what future lies ahead. Also, unbeknownst to Mickey, Maya is Erik’s sister. The story is a well-written historical thriller. Good characters, wonderful setting, and  a fascinating story, but for me the best part is the look into this little known slice of WWII history.

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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


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