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Two Excellent Books From Dianne Emley and Janice Gable Bashman Out Today

NightVisitor

The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley

Murder in La La Land. In The Night Visitor, Dianne Emley takes us into the flashy and trashy world of A-List Hollywood. The good, the bad, and the very ugly. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll as well as greed, corruption, jealousy, and a thirst for power and money infuse every page. This story will hook you from the start and not let go.

http://www.dianneemley.com

Predator

Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland expected a quiet vacation in Ireland, where she and her scientist father plan to study bog corpses. But a young Irish man steals her heart—-and more. Werewolves, genetic therapy, and a mercenary lycanthropic army—-what’s not to like?

http://www.janicegablebashman.com

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Book Review, Writing

 

Book Review: Silent Witnesses by Nigel McCrery

SW Cover

Chicago Review Press

September 1, 2014

ISBN-10: 1613730020

ISBN-13: 978-1613730027

288 pages

. . . an easily accessible and well-written primer on the history of forensic science

Silent Witnesses is an easily accessible and well-written primer on the history of forensic science. It reads like a work of fiction but offers the reader a clear history of many of the most important advances in forensic investigative techniques. The topics are covered in chapters titled: Identity, Ballistics, Blood, Trace Evidence, The Body, Poisons, and DNA. Each subject is reviewed chronologically and numerous milestone cases in the development and growth of forensic science are presented.

For example, in the Identity chapter, the war between Alphonse Bertillon and his anthropometric ID system known as “bertillonage” and those who favored fingerprinting as the gold standard for identification of an individual is documented. In Blood, the development of the ABO blood typing system is well presented as well as the methods for identifying a stain as blood and determining that it is human and not animal, both extremely important in crimes where blood is shed. In Trace Evidence, the discovery and development of the microscope as a forensic tool is covered in great detail. Poisons have been around almost as long as civilization and in the chapter Poisons this long and sordid history is chronicled as are the steps in the creation of the fascinating field of forensic toxicology, including the development of the famous Marsh and Reinsch tests for identifying the “inheritance powder” arsenic.

Perhaps the most enjoyable parts of Silent Witnesses are the discussions of famous cases that helped develop forensic science as a viable entity. Silent Witnesses opens with the famous Colin Pitchfork case—-the first time DNA profiling was used to solve a murder. Other seminal cases include: the Francisca Rojas case (the first time fingerprints solved a murder); the St. Valentine’s Day massacre (which put firearm’s examinations in the public eye); the Sam Sheppard case (where blood spatter analysis proved crucial in the retrial of the famous physician); the Parkman-Webster case (one of the first to employ dental examinations to identify a partially destroyed corpse); the Murder at the Crumbles case (involving the great medical detective Sir Bernard Spilsbury and leading to the creation of the police officer’s “murder bag”); the more modern “radiological” poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko; and many more that will keep the reader enthralled.

Silent Witnesses is a delightful journey through the evolution of forensic science and is a very useful introduction to the subject. Highly recommended.

Originally posted at NY Journal of Books: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/silent-witnesses-often-gruesome-always-fascinating-history-forensic-science

 

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.

 

 
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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

 

Suspicion by Joe Finder

Dutton

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

 
 
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