Deeper than the Dead
Dutton, Dec 29 2009, $26.95
In 1985 in Oak Knoll in Southern California, fifth-grader Tommy Crane and Wendy Morgan run away from the class bully Dennis Farman and his flunkie Cody Roach when the fleeing pair trips over over the head of a dead woman. The victim was buried in the woody section of Oakwood Park up to her neck; her eyes and mouth glued shut. Their fifth grade teacher Anne Navarre tries to help the two children cope.
Sheriff's Detective Tony Mendez has just come home from attending an eleven-week profiling class at the FBI Academy. He points out this is the third victim in two years, but Dennis’ father Chief Deputy Frank Farman says it is only two inside their jurisdiction and insists “signatures” have nothing to do with the case. Sheriff Cal Dixon points out the differences in the profile between this case and the previous two. Meanwhile Anne becomes the prime suspect as FBI Agent Vince Leone arrives to lead the investigation.
This is an exhilarating serial killer thriller made fresh by using the mid 1980s as the date so that profiling remains voodoo to some old time law enforcement officials. The story line is fast paced from the moment Tommy trips over the head of the mostly interred victim and never slows down until the climax in a hospital room and a drive on the Interstate. Although too many threads are left dangling even for a sequel or two, fans will relish Tamu Hoag’s enjoyable Reagan Era police procedural. Harriet Klausner
Jayne Ann Krentz
Putnam, Dec 29 2009, $265.95
Jack Winters, descendant of alchemist Nicholas Winters, who in the 1660s created the Burning Lamp, which increases psychic powers in a person with paranormal skills and gives them a new one br at a horrible cost. Those with the dominant gene become insane unless they find the Burning Lamp and the female psychic who can work dreamlight produced by that object. Jack fears he is cursed because he can suddenly induce nightmares in people while he suffers blackouts and sleepwalks.
Jack seeks out private investigator Chloe Harper, a high level psi who can work with dream energy. Through her aunt, she locates the Burning Lamp; the owner is happy to get rid of it as it makes him uneasy. The organization Nightshade, made up of paranormal criminals want the Burning Lamp too. While on the run from these thugs, Chloe uses the artifact on Jack who has fallen in love with her; she reciprocates. While praying use of the map turns him into a safe psi, Nightshade capture Chloe, who believe they possess the perfect way to force her to work for them.
This Arcane Society tale is the first book of the Dreamlight trilogy, which occurs in the present; books two and three will be in the Victorian Era and the far future on Planet harmony respectively. The story line is fast-paced from the opening three centuries ago as the rivalry between Nicholas and Sebastian Jones heats up and never slows down as Nicholas and Chloe team up. Fans of this brilliant author will enjoy this romantic suspense as the lead couple is a wonderful pairing and the support cast either quirky or deadly quirky. Readers will enjoy this strong contemporary and look forward to the talent of the author to take her saga historically and futuristically. Harriet Klausner
The Wolf at the Door
Putnam, Jan 5 2010, $26.95
In Quoque, Long island a man waits at a pier for Blake Johnson, security adviser to the POTUS, to dock his vessel the Lively Jane; his mission is to kill the American. The British Prime Minister ordered top operatives Harry Miller and Sean Dillon to attend a U.N. gathering in which Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is speaking. The President wants Blake who will be at the gala to gauge the Russian delegation.
Harry takes a walk in Central Park but is also stalked and attacked. In London, General Charles Ferguson leaves a late-night meeting of ministers only to see his car with the driver inside explode. Although all roads lead to Moscow, none of the operatives realize Putin has hired the best assassin in the world Daniel Holley to eliminate the agents who have interfered with the Russian’s plans for world domination; that is except Dillon who fears his most dreaded enemy has surfaced.
The latest Sean Dillon and company espionage thriller (see A Darker Place) is a super entry that moves on several subplots before converging for quite a climax. The story line focuses with back stories on how each chosen victim was targeted, stalked and attacked with an emphasis on Holly who ironically and fascinatingly holds the plot together; as opposed to Dillon and the other heroes. Jack Higgins proves he remains one of the grandmasters of the international intrigue thriller with this great entry. Harriet Klausner