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Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA)
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Seven Days
Seven Days
by Deon Meyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.04
16 used & new from CDN$ 3.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cop Killer, Sept. 4 2012
This review is from: Seven Days (Hardcover)
Benny Griessel is chosen to head up a task force to catch a perpetrator who has threatened to shoot a policeman every day [and has so far succeeded in doing so] until the murderer of an attractive woman attorney is captured. Benny of course is the iconoclastic recovering-alcoholic South African detective, now promoted to the exclusive Hawks of the South African Police Department. Through a series of emails, the shooter taunts the SAPD, often giving hints and quoting Bible verses. He tells them and the newspapers the SAPD knows who the murderer is. Unfortunately, they literally don’t have a clue.

While Benny’s brief is to catch the lawyer’s murderer, separately, Mbali Kaleni, a member of the CATS [Crimes Against the State] team and another loner, is selected to catch the shooter. While they work independently, the cases are intertwined. Eventually, both learn the go-it-alone method is of no use, and teamwork is necessary, drawing on the entire resources of the department. Still, Benny relies on his intuition to guide his efforts.

“Seven Days” is another fine example of the author’s perceptiveness and creative plotting. At the same time, his sensitivity to his characters, especially Benn’s penchant for alcohol and his shy courtship of a lady friend, is tender and insightful. Benny’s characters is further developed in the novel, both as a detective and, especially, as a person.

Highly recommended.

Liar Moon
Liar Moon
by Ben Pastor
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.95
24 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Twist in Time, July 17 2012
This review is from: Liar Moon (Paperback)
One of crime fiction's more unusual protagonists is Baron Martin Bora, a German Army Major during World War II. In a previous [debut] novel, 'Lumen,' Bora served in Spain, Poland and at Stalingrad, where he gained some distinction for solving a murder. This novel takes place in 1943 just as the Italian government switched sides, but the Nazi troops still controlled the north.

As the novel opens, Bora is in a hospital after his troops were attacked by partisans; he loses his left hand and shrapnel is embedded in his leg, leaving him in pain for the rest of the book. Parenthetically, this reader wondered how he was not sent home after being so badly injured. In any event, when he returns to his duties, his superior foists on him an investigation into the murder of a fascist leader. His inquiries take place in conjunction with those of a local inspector, who in turn is seeking a serial killer.

While the description of the investigation and activities against the partisans are skillfully drawn, more important is the author's portrayal of the individual characters, especially Bora, who apparently scrupulously undermines efforts to transport Jews to concentration camps. To say the least, the characters are quite original, Bora a droll creation, highly intelligent.

Recommended.

Phantom
Phantom
by Jo Nesbo
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.80
11 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Drug War, June 17 2012
This review is from: Phantom (Paperback)
In the three years since the conclusion of 'The Leopard,' Harry Hole has been serving contentedly as a non-violent enforcer based in Hong Kong, collecting money owed to his employer. Then one day, he ups and returns to Oslo when he learns that Oleg, the drug-using son of the love of his life, has been arrested for the murder of a fellow junkie. The police consider the case closed, so Harry acts independently to investigate.

And along the way he finds himself immersed in the midst of Norway's large drug problem. Hole uncovers a trail of violence and disappearances, police and political corruption, and Harry himself becomes a target of the mysterious drug lord Dubai. The novel is a bleak story of damaged individuals hooked on drugs, and the sleaziness inherent in the activity.

The prior novels were forceful, clearly showing Harry's tortured soul, and his unswerving ability to dig, dig, dig to the heart of a case, honestly and insightfully. 'Phantom' accomplishes these ends, but to some extent is confusing at the end; whether the author did this purposely or not yet remains to be seen. As usual, the novel is translated faithfully and excellently, and the book is recommended.

Boston Cream
Boston Cream
by Howard Shrier
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.54
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Body Snatchers, June 10 2012
This review is from: Boston Cream (Paperback)
The first two novels in this series featuring Jonah Geller, a Jewish PI from Toronto, were award winners. Although I haven't read them, I can see why after finishing the present volume.

The plot is about an illegal organ transplanting operation in Boston. Jonah is retained by the father of David Fine, an outstanding surgical resident to the top transplant surgeon at Sinai Hospital in Beantown. It seems he hasn't been heard from, and the father asks Jonah to try to locate him and find out why. Jonah and his partner Jenn fly to the East Coast and start the investigation, which leads them to numerous discoveries, including the various participants in the criminal scheme in which organs are harvested from donors to needy people without the benefit of following sanctioned procedures.

'Boston Cream' has all the elements of good crime fiction: a solid investigation, action-packed scenes, a well-structured plot and most of all, an interesting protagonist. Readers of the Jewish faith (and perhaps others) certainly can enjoy some of the more amusing side comments, although Jonah is not a practicing member of the faith, but shows just enough knowledge and feeling to obviously have grown up with that background and appreciated the various nuances of speech, humor and tradition. I don't know how the present volume compares to the previous entries in the series, so I suppose I will just have to go back and find out.

Recommended.

Cell 8
Cell 8
by Anders Roslund
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.95
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Death Be Not Proud, May 25 2012
This review is from: Cell 8 (Hardcover)
The focus of this novel is the controversy over the death penalty, the plot is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Playing a minor role in the story is, of course, Detective Superintend Ewert Grens, who was introduced to readers in the widely acclaimed 'Three Seconds' a year ago. 'Cell 8' is more of a polemic than an old-fashioned crime novel, often seeming merely a dry tract supporting arguments against capital punishment.

Nevertheless, after a rather slow beginning, the book develops into an interesting tale with a finish so unanticipated as to take the reader's breath away. Essentially, this is the story of a 17-year-old boy convicted of murdering his 16-year-old girlfriend. No real hard support was presented at trial that he committed the deed, but he is convicted solely on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to death. He spends 10 years on death row and then the authors once again show their ingenuity in carrying the novel forward [this comment by way of avoiding the heart of the plot].

Yes, there are long spells of dry prose, but on the whole, it is well worth reading through from beginning to end, and is highly recommended.

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
by Anthony Horowitz
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elementary, March 11 2012
Maybe it's a coming trend. First the Gershwin estate authorizes a Broadway version of 'Porgy & Bess,' in an attempt to milk its assets. Then the Arthur Conan Doyle estate authorizes for the first time a Sherlock Holmes novel. Another similar event and we might just be enjoying a fad.

Be that as it may, this novel is based on one of the many unpublished adventures of the famous detective, with Watson, now retired, recalling one last case a year after Holmes' death. It begins when a London art dealer visits Baker Street and tells Holmes and Watson about his confrontation in the United States with a Boston gang which has murdered a customer of his and which he believes followed him back to England. From this flows an intriguing tale far afield from the original surmise.

The writing flows like an original Sherlock Holmes tale, and the logic and analysis reflect the virtuosity and great mind of the singular detective. Too often attempts to recreate classics fail or end up being something else. Such is not the case with this novel, and it is recommended.

Bleed For Me
Bleed For Me
by Michael Robotham
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.82
79 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Predator, March 8 2012
This review is from: Bleed For Me (Paperback)
There are a couple of subplots, in addition to the main thread, in this latest Joe O'Loughlin psychological thriller. To begin with, there are the comings and goings of two dysfunctional families. One is, of course, Joe's, since in the previous entry in the series, "Shattered," his wife had asked for a separation. Then there is Joe's daughter's best friend, Sienna, whose domineering father reduces his wife and children to miserable and fearful individuals.

But more important to the novel is Sienna's relationship to a school drama teacher. And then she turns up at Joe's doorstep one night covered in blood. It turns out that her father was murdered, in Sienna's bedroom, and she is eventually arrested for the crime, putting Joe on a long journey to save her, if possible, and to uncover other wrongs.

The series continues to demonstrate the author's ability to combine elements of psychology with police procedural activity. He writes with authority, creating ever-mounting suspense along the way.

Recommended.

The Burning Soul: A Charlie Parker Thriller
The Burning Soul: A Charlie Parker Thriller
by John Connolly
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Little Town Blues, Jan. 21 2012
John Connolly's Charlie Parker Thrillers usually combine an element of the supernatural with basic detective work. In this, the tenth in the series, the eerie aspects are slight, while the hard work of solving a case winds its way through the pages with realism and power. It is a twisted story that begins when an attorney asks Charlie to assist a client, and unfolds with a ferocity of dynamic proportions.

It appears that the client, Randall Haight, as a 14-year-old, and with a friend, murdered a young girl in an incident with sex-related overtones. Following long jail terms, both men were released with new identities to give them a chance at rehabilitation. Randall is now an accountant leading a quiet life in a small town on the Maine coast. And then a 14-year-old girl goes missing and Randall starts receiving reminders in the mail of his past transgression from someone who apparently has discovered his true identity. He asks the attorney and Charlie to protect his anonymity by finding the source. And this leads Charlie into a labyrinth of complications.

It is a gripping story, one in which the author throws red herrings into the reader's path before unveiling a completely unexpected conclusion. Tightly written and plotted, the novel is a most welcome addition to an outstanding series and is highly recommended.

The Infernals: A Samuel Johnson Tale
The Infernals: A Samuel Johnson Tale
by John Connolly
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars What the Hell? Part II, Jan. 12 2012
This novel, the sequel to 'The Gates,' picks up 18 months after the events described in that novel, after young Samuel Johnson [just turned 13], assisted by his faithful dog, Boswell, repelled an invasion of earth by the forces of evil. The two books are quite a departure for the author, whose Charlie Parker mysteries are highly regarded and widely read. These are categorized as YA books, laced with pseudo-scientific and amusing footnotes. [It should perhaps be noted that the tenth Charlie Parker novel, 'The Burning Soul,' has also recently been released.]

This time around Samuel, accompanied by four dwarfs and the truck in which they were riding, an ice cream truck and its vendor-driver, and two policemen and their patrol car, are instead transported by the ogre Ba'al in the form of Mrs. Abernathy to the netherworld to present the boy to her master, the Great Malevolence, as a gift in an effort to regain his favor. And so we follow their adventures as they experience the strange land and seek a way to get back home.

Written at times with tongue firmly in cheek, the little nuggets of information on a wide variety of subjects are both informative and often just plain funny. A very enjoyable read that is highly recommended.

The Impossible Dead
The Impossible Dead
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Paperback
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a Truth Seeker, Dec 16 2011
This review is from: The Impossible Dead (Paperback)
Ian Rankin usually lays a foundation of current and past events in his novels. And, in this second Malcolm Fox mystery, he creates a tale reaching back a quarter of a century, when agitation and violence marked efforts for a separate Scotland. Fox, who made his debut in 'The Complaints,' grows exponentially as a protagonist, along with his sidekicks on his Internal Affairs team, Tony Kaye and Joe Naysmith. They are worthy successors to the now retired Rebus, although more subtle in the presentation.

This murder-mystery has its beginnings in an investigation of fellow cops who may have covered up for a corrupt co-worker, Detective Paul Carter, who had been found guilty of misconduct. The original accuser was Carter's uncle, an ex-op himself. When the uncle is found dead, perhaps murdered with a pistol that theoretically did not exist for it should have been destroyed by the police in 1985, and Carter himself dead by drowning shortly afterward, Fox is drawn into his own inquiry outside the aegis of a Complaints review, resurrecting the turmoil of the past and terrorist threats of the present.

Rankin also demonstrates his trademark attention to character development, concentrating much of the story on the deterioration of Fox' father's physical well-being and his relationship with his sister, each with sensitivity and care. At the same time, the author shows his talent for integrating the setting, plot and theme, tightly intertwining the various elements. Highly recommended.

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