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Agenda for Murder [Paperback]

Joan Albarella
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 1999
Though haunted by memories of love and loss from her years of sevice in Viet Nam, Nikki Barnes is finally putting back the pieces of her life, and very slowly opening herself up to feeling again. But she soon realizes that the college where she teaches is no haven from violence as she comes face to face with murder and betrayal.

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Product Description

About the Author

Joan Albarella is the author of four books of peotry and is an associate professor of writing at an educational opportunity center. She lives with two newly adopted older cats in the artist Chrles Burchfield's house, which is across from a beautiful creek illuminated by Orion on clear nights. She has a special passion for small towns with character, Sunday macaroni dinner, and a celebratory good cigar.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get through a single chapter Aug. 31 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't get through even the first 10 pages because the story is written entirely in the PRESENT tense and with almost no complexity and variety in the sentence structure (i.e, it reads more like a play).
According to the literary conventions I was taught, narratives should be written in the PAST tense, as if some imagined narrator had been present at the events as they unfolded and is now telling readers what HAPPENED (past tense). Try as I might, I can't stomach anything that flouts those conventions.
I want to be fair and say this may well be a very good story. So if reading "Nikki sees Trang the following Monday" (p. 7) doesn't bother you, please disregard this review and let yourself be swayed by the others. I'm sorry to say, however, that I find the grammatical structure of that sentence about as appetizing as chewing aluminum foil. If it has the same cringe factor for you, you're going to want to try another author, someone who would have written, "Nikki saw Trang the following Monday."
I sincerely apologize to the author and her fans for this negative review, but readers who share my pet peeves are going to be disappointed, as I was, and should be forewarned, as I wish I had been.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Agenda for Murder" & Called to Kill" the New Chandler! July 25 2000
By daniela bagnoli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The first time I read a crime fiction novel from cover to cover was when I was 15 years old. It was "The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler. I discovered and read a series of other novels by the same author and found that very few went on to be made into films, much to my dissmay. Most people will remember the characters played by Humprey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, it was their first debut together. They had a good script, played real life characters and their chemistry magnified the drama and suspense, a credit to the novel, a great writer and cast.
Twenty one years later I discover Joan Albarella and this time Nikki Barnes and Dr Ginni Clayton, the role models I know exist in our world and which she has now brought to life alongside many other characters you will come across in both of her books. "Agenda for Murder" has all the ingredients of a good read. It communicates,takes you on a journey as if you were there in Nikki Barnes past present and future. The twists and turns that fate and destiny deal her, from her war torn memories to finding out the truth about herself and Trang, her Mama San, who like her is a survivor.Professor Nikki Barnes, a former Vietnam Army Chaplain did not start out looking to reconcile her past, and she finds herself once more in the firing line, for love, truth and justice but most important for the sake of her friends including old army buddy sergent Mullen. She must find the real killer before he or she strikes again.
Will the healing ever begin for Nikki, not until the debt is paid and "Called to Kill" certainly addresses the balance and again keeps you guessing. This time she has the help of "Magpie" like herself a survivor but this time of the Fauklands war. They both become entangled with the mob as the web of deceit unfolds, their past does too. Their lives are in danger as they continue to search for Celine's killer. Unlike Bogart she does get the woman in the end, but does she? The circle is still incomplete and will Trang ever show up again?
I look forward to the next novel and I am sure there will be. I hope those of you out there who appreciate a good read, will in turn support my view and do Joan Albarella justice by agreeing that her novels too are worthy and should be adapted for the screen. She is a writer of real people,of characters that can't help but move you, that one can identify and connect with, and she does so with humour and without alienating her readers.
I hope to see more Joan Albarella novels reach the shelves here in the UK. There is an agenda and I shall be called to cry if you fail to recognise the talent this new writer has to offer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grade A for Murder Nov. 27 1999
By Lou Allin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Reverend Nikki Barnes has taken time off as an assistant pastor to teach and counsel on a college campus in small-town Sheridan, New York. Memories of her youthful tour in Vietnam have not faded with the years, especially the bloody death of a beloved. Meanwhile at the University Medical Center, the grisly murder of a doctor calls for Nikki's public relations talents in damage control. Reunited by chance with an old friend from the war, Sergeant Mullen, she delves into the suspicious circumstances of the death, only to find herself under attack. What disturbs her most, however, is that the prime suspect is the captivating Dr. Ginni Clayton, a mirror image of Nikki's lost partner. And Nikki's concentration on the solution isn't helped by the tragi-comic ministrations of a student with a crush who deluges her with baked goods in hopes of winning her approval. Albarella describes in vivid flashbacks the terrible moral and physical costs of Vietnam, making the reader sweat in the jungle and listen for the next helicopter. Plenty of action with timeouts for sober reflection make this debut novel a wild roller coaster ride, slowing only to build suspense for another surprise around the next corner.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong book, real-life characters, a sophisticated plot! June 28 1999
By kwhitney@acsu.buffalo.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Agenda For Murder has a strength you seldom find in a mystery! The characters are people you wish you could meet in person. The plot is sophisticated and entangled around some of today's important issues and flashbacks to another time - Viet Nam - a time we wish no one had had to go through.
Nikki Barnes, the protagonist - ex-soldier who served in Vietnam and priest, shares her hurt and her strength with you. While you see her new love unfolding, and find her tangled up in murder at a medical center, you meet her old Army buddy, Max, a sensitive, blustery, caring cop - who wants desperately to protect Nikki. You'll be charmed by the professional Dr. Virginia Clayton and shake your head over the young, flip Barrett who is romantically chasing after Nikki Barnes with pies and chocolate cheesecake while trying to escape the clutches of her mother, The Dragon Lady. The cast of characters is superb, the list of suspects long!
The book moves quickly, really kept my interest, rekindled old concerns about war, but made me smile when I met the characters in believable, sometimes laughable, often frightening but real-life situations. I only hoped the murderer at the medical center was not who it appeared it might be!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get through a single chapter Aug. 31 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't get through even the first 10 pages because the story is written entirely in the PRESENT tense and with almost no complexity and variety in the sentence structure (i.e, it reads more like a play).
According to the literary conventions I was taught, narratives should be written in the PAST tense, as if some imagined narrator had been present at the events as they unfolded and is now telling readers what HAPPENED (past tense). Try as I might, I can't stomach anything that flouts those conventions.
I want to be fair and say this may well be a very good story. So if reading "Nikki sees Trang the following Monday" (p. 7) doesn't bother you, please disregard this review and let yourself be swayed by the others. I'm sorry to say, however, that I find the grammatical structure of that sentence about as appetizing as chewing aluminum foil. If it has the same cringe factor for you, you're going to want to try another author, someone who would have written, "Nikki saw Trang the following Monday."
I sincerely apologize to the author and her fans for this negative review, but readers who share my pet peeves are going to be disappointed, as I was, and should be forewarned, as I wish I had been.
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