Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dick Francis's Gamble, Dry Ice, and Quinn reviews

Dick Francis’s Gamble
Felix Francis
Putnam, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399157479

After breaking his neck when he was a jockey, Nicholas "Foxy" Foxton became a financial advisor at Lyall & Black a small but profitable investment firm. Also employed by the company is Herb Novak. The pair attends the Grand National when someone shoots Novak while Foxton stands next to him. Foxton does not know what the killer looks because he looked at the gun when the murder occurred.

Foxy is shocked to learn Novak named him estate executor and a beneficiary. He realizes Herb had a scam going on with internal gambling using his British credit cards to enable people in the United States to go on line to place bets. Pondering what he should do, Foxy decides he needs to identify the gamblers to end the betting scheme and locate the money Herb hid so he can pay off the estate’s debts.

A client informs Nicholas that an investment brought to the attention by one of the Lyall & Black advisors is bogus as the so called bulb factory in Bulgaria is nonexistent. Foxy investigates the legitimacy of the claim, but someone tries to kill him. Running for his life though unaware why Herb’s assassin wants to kill him, Foxy’s lover Claudia has been diagnosed with cancer.

Talk about a chip off the old block, Felix Francis provides a winning thriller that his late father will be proud of. Filled with action and tense twists and red herrings, Nicholas holds the story line together as he is there for his lover and when danger stalks him, he goes to extraordinary lengths to keep his beloved Claudia safe as he does the unexpected. Harriet Klausner

Dry Ice
Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson
Tor, Aug 16 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765324726

Central east Antarctica is the location for TESLA (Terrestrial Evers Southern Land Array). Scientists work on cutting edge projects. Flint Argo Chemical established the facility for benign purposed and future profits. Narcissist sociopathic genius Greg Simpson, who designed TESLA, runs the place. Flint knows how to control weather, which he can customize to the client’s request to help grow crops.

TESLA is his baby and his ego insists he is the only who can run the installation. When Flint executives realize Simpson has gone rogue and is responsible for horrific weather over the past few years, they replace him with Tess Beauchamp. He hates her because she refused to accept his abuse when she was his intern; instead she walked out on him. Before Simpson leaves the facility, he changes TELSA’s computer programming so that an earthquake devastates Mexico City, killing millions and tsunamis to murder millions more. Neither Tess nor the other scientists can break into the system to prevent more calamities from occurring while the President plans to bomb the facility into oblivion.

This is an exciting thriller filled with so much action that readers will have no time to catcher our breaths. Ironically, the most fascinating character is insane Simpson, whose lack of remorse is mindful of Vader from the New Hope movie. Other players are solid like the first Hispanic female POTUS who has few options when it comes to TESLA and Tess risking her life to save millions. Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson write an enthralling thriller that grips audience who will not complain about the weather anymore. Harriet Klausner

Iris Johansen
St. Martin’s, $27.99
ISBN: 9780312651213

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan stays with her lover FBI Agent Joe Quinn as he struggles to survive stab wounds in the intensive care unit of the hospital following a confrontation with killer Paul Black who remains on the loose (see Eve). While Eve holds Joe’s hands, she reflects back to when they first met years ago on a child killer case in which her seven years old daughter Bonnie was abducted and assumed dead by all except her. Obsessed over bringing Bonnie home dead or alive, she risked her life then and has many times since.

Eve’s adoptive now adult child Jane flies in from London; Catherine Ling meets her at the Milwaukee Airport where she explains how her search for her son began the events that have Joe in ICU. Black insisted that Bonnie’s biological dad John Gallo killed his offspring; which Gallo never denied as he is unsure though he wants to believe he would not harm his child. Gallo remains free seeking proof in the Bayou that he did not murder Bonnie while Catherine Ling pursues him.

The second exciting Duncan personal suspense thriller rotates the related but not quite linked exhilarating subplots as if the well written book contained novellas since much remains nebulous with the audience anticipating the upcoming Bonnie tale to tie the saga together. Fast-paced even when sitting in a hospital room, fans will relish the middle novel as the key players converge in what so far is a great saga. Harriet Klausner

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