Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reviews from Harriet

The Messiah Secret
James Becker
Signet, $9.99
ISBN: 9780451412980

British Museum supervisor Roger Halliwell sends one of his staff ceramics conservator Angela Lewis, who is not as assessor to evaluate the value of the collection left by recently murdered aristocrat Oliver Wendell-Carfax. She convinces her former husband police detective Chris Bronson, to meet with her at Carfax Hall in Suffolk as she feels unsafe. Angela finds a crate of pottery with one containing the find of the century; a parchment written by noted first century Jewish Scholar Hillel who makes the first known reference by a peer to Jesus outside of the New Testament.

The conservator and the cop find other clues that point to the ancient treasure the pair has previously sought unsuccessfully (see The First Apostle and The Moses Stone). However, once again the road to the artifact is dangerous as a fanatical lunatic priest will kill in the Lord’s name to keep the treasure buried and an avaricious capitalist hires thugs to kill in order to insure he obtains the object.

The key to the third Lewis-Bronson tale is the pair themselves who brings an acceptable level of lightheartedness (sort of like a modern day Nick and Nora the sleuth not the playlist) that makes for a fresh Brownian thriller. The story line is fast-paced from the opening scene when the elderly Carfax thwarts his assailant while going to his death with a smile and never slows down until the final confrontation far from Suffolk. Readers will appreciate the latest escapades of Lewis and Bronson as they follow leads while dodging two groups of assassins.
Harriet Klausner

In Too Deep
Jayne Ann Krentz
Putnam, Jan 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399157625

She worked for Lucas Protection Services under a false name; just one more false alias like she has had all of her life. She ran from her family and their nutty conspiracy theories as they worked hard to stay off the grid. She discovers there is an illegal arm’s selling segment within the company she works for and they are going to pin the rap on her. She runs, but they catch her; she barely escapes being killed because the operation is illegal and Isabelle Valdez does not know who to trust in the firm; so she trusts no one.

Heeding her grandma’s advice, she heads for Scargill Cove, California. Many of the residents are psychic like Isabelle who obtains a job with a powerful psychic Fallon Jones who runs a detective agency. His clientele is usually from the Arcane Society devoted to Psy research and the police. Fallon and his new assistant find cache of psychic weapons hidden in a bomb shelter. They dismantle one that seems set to explode and have the arcane experts disable the rest. The pair follows clues that lead back to Lucas Protection dealing in psychic weapons that in the wrong hands could prove especially dangerous. They know they must break up the ring of sellers, buyers and suppliers; however the stakeholders in this lethal enterprise will kill any intruder without remorse. As Fallon and Isabelle fall in love, a new emotion for each, they do not lose sight of the mission.

Once again, Jayne Ann Krentz delivers a fantastic romantic suspense with a terrific angle involving psychic warfare. The fast-paced story line contains the trademark Ms. Krentz quirky characters, dry witty humor and loads of action. The lead characters are each powerful psychics who readers will believe used their Psy powers on us to finish the tale in one exciting sitting. Harriet Klausner

Haint Misbehavin’
Maureen Hardegree
Bell Bridge, $12.95
ISBN: 9781935661931

Heather Tildy wants to be accepted when she enters high school as a freshman at the end of the summer. She figures her best chance is with her older sister Audrey who treats her like a miscreant alien.

However Heather’s campaign to win over her sibling hits snag when she meets a preadolescent aged ghost from the ninetieth century. Assuming she is going crazy by having an imaginary friend as a teenager; Heather worries about how to rid herself of this spirited spirit. Making matters worse while convincing Heather that she is haunted by Amy, the ghost at times possesses Heather’s body. She makes her do stuff that makes Audrey and her friends deem her as weird. Embarrassed as she knows her family, friends and the hunk lifeguard scorn her for Haint Misbehavin’, Heather needs to help Amy move on.

This is an enjoyable middle school Ghost Whisperer thriller starring a wonderful teenager who is abashed by her new paranormal skill as everyone who matters to her believes she is fruitcake except for her aunt who everyone knows is a fruitcake; ergo Heather a chip off the nutty block. Although her family is somewhat stereotyped especially Audrey, young adult readers will enjoy the opening Ghost Handler teen urban fantasy due to the heroine who thanks to her ghost is in deep trouble with her parents and others. Harriet Klausner

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