Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis
St. Martin’s, Mar 2010, $25.99
In Scotland, representatives from Saudi Arabia and Israel are finishing up negotiations on a peace treaty when two TOW missiles hit the castle. As soon as the missiles hit their target, Wahabi fundamentalists attack the progressive House of Saud.
As civil war breaks out, U.S. Army Gunnery Sergeant. Kyle Swanson and his squad work closely with the Saudi military to keep them from buckling or changing sides. The unit also is assigned to track down the perpetrators behind the Scottish attack and bring justice Saudi style to them. However, his assignment leaves him in conflict with the dreaded Muttaween Saudi religious police and terrorist Juba a former British sniper.
With a great opening premise of what happens to those seeking peace with Israel, the third Sniper thriller (see Kill Zone and Dead Shot) is an exhilarating action-packed over the top of Jabal Sawda, but will keep readers in anticipated suspense awaiting a confrontation between Swanson and Juba. The story line is faster than a speeding missile as fans will root for Kyle and company in what is a fun thriller.
Apple Turnover Murder
Kensington, Feb 23 2010, $24.00
In Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swensen’s business The Cookie Jar is booming with orders as June is busting out with weddings and other events. When Mayor Bascomb and his wife Stephanie order one thousand and one hundred apple turnovers to sell at the Lake Eden Combined Charities Drive, Hannah is elastic but wonders of there is time to make that amount in addition to their other orders. Her partner Lisa’s enthusiasm plus other bakers all chip in to fulfill the order.
The only real issue Hannah has with the gala is the emcee is community college professor Brad Ramsey; whom Hannah and her younger sister Michelle had relationships with at different times when the sisters were attending school. Ramsey has made a lot of enemies especially breaking the hearts of many coeds, but Hannah never expected someone to kill him when she finds his murdered body backstage holding a turnover. Hannah investigates hoping to identify the culprit without the police especially her other boyfriend deputy Mike Kingston, who leads the official inquiry, knowing that the Swensen siblings were part of Brad’s conquests. She is also worried about her second boyfriend Norman acting peculiarly and out of character, as he left home warm and loving but has come back to the nest cold and aloof
Although the Swenson brood seem to find murdered corpses all over Lake Eden (see Lemon Meringue Pie for instance)that should run them out of town as jinxes, fans will fully enjoy Apple Turnover Murder as this is probably the best baked amateur sleuth of the series. Hannah has two mysteries to solve; first the whodunit and second what is wrong with Norman. Thus the heroine is at her best as she works the homicide trying to conceal from the town knowing her and Michelle were on the professor of love’s hot list. Besides an entertaining mystery and a dozen recipes, readers will learn much more about how the heroine feels re her two beaus and a look at the family. Harriet Klausner
Shield of Duty
Five Star, Feb 2010, $25.95
Southfield Heights, Indiana Police Detective Kate Frost is not looking forward to Crier reporter Ed “Egg” Nog tagging along when she comes back from her Wisconsin skiing vacation with friends at White Crest Mountain. However, the fun in the snow turns ugly when Kate and pals finds the torn apart corpse of one of them Evelyn Jakes. The cop knows Jakes had enemies, but not who would go so far as to slice her like this and place her dismembered body parts into plastic.
Kate and her partner police detective Gerard Alvarez investigate. At the same the spirit of Kate’s late sister Lindsay, a former cop, provides her sibling with otherworldly guidance that only Kate can hear; she also councils the newly departed like mobster Ricco DiCianni, who wants to hire Lindsay to solve his murder. However, even with this paranormal help, solving the Jakes case seems to be going nowhere.
This is a terrific often amusing paranormal whodunit with two police procedural subplots mostly handled by the sisters on different planes. The support cast is solid in support of the sibling cops with Lindsay telling much of the story from her otherworldly perspective. Fans will enjoy this entertaining mystery and seek the previous work when from beyond the late detective investigated the murder of Lindsay Frost (see Invisible Shield). Harriet Klausner