Monday, November 14, 2011

Some Unusual Reviews

Simon Toyne
Morrow, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062038302

Near Ruin, Turkey, high on the side of a mountain is the Citadel Church where the Sancti monks guard "the Sacrament" as the sect has done for millennia. Brother Samuel escapes from a cell in this oldest known abode still in use. He climbs a ledge and leaps to his death while civilians and the media catch his suicide.

American newspaper reporter Liv Adamsen is shocked to learn the dead monk learns that her phone number was found etched onto a leather strap inside Samuel's stomach. She realizes that Samuel is her brother who she lost contact with years ago when he abruptly vanished. Needing to understand why he disappeared to become a monk and killed himself, Liv travels to Ruin. She and others will find out that the Sancti will kill to protect the “Sacrament”.

This exciting Brownian thriller hooks the reader from the moment Samuel begins his escape from the Sancti knowing there is only one way out and never slows down as the religious sect risk all to keep the secret safe while the outsiders demand the truth. Fast-paced with several stunning twists, readers will wonder whether the monks are truly evil as they die for the Sacrament; just like Jews did to save Torahs from the Nazis. Harriet Klausner

The Dog Who Knew Too Much
Spencer Quinn
Atria, $25.00
ISBN: 9781439157091

Autumn suggested Anya Vereen asks always broke private investigator Bernie Little to accompany her to parents' weekend at Big Bear Wilderness Camp, where her son, Devin, is a camper. Anya fears her former husband Guy Wenders will cause a stink at the event; so she hopes having Bernie with her will keep the louse in line. As he needs money, he and Chet accept a gig that he prefers to avoid as he loathes the mountain air although his partner looks forward to the smells.

When Devin disappears from the Big Bear Wilderness Camp, Bernie, Chet and wilderness guide Turk Rendell search for the missing child in what looks like a parental abduction. When Turk is murdered the Laidlaw clan enforces the law arresting Bernie. Chet continues to investigate with only trusting Suzie, who smells good, to assist him.

The fourth Chet and Bernie mystery (To Fetch a Thief and Thereby Hangs a Tail) is once again a superb whodunit as the canine provides a unique perspective on human and canine culture. Chet works the case alone and Dog Gone It makes an entertaining sleuth. Meanwhile criminal Dylan McKnight, the former boyfriend of Bernie’s sort of girlfriend Valley Tribune reporter Suzie Sanchez and a puppy that looks like Chet add depth to an exciting canine criminal caper. Harriet Klausner

The More the Terrier
Linda O. Johnston
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243794

Dante De Francisco owns national HotPet Stores. He hires Lauren Vancouver to be the director of HotRescues no kill animal shelter. The complex will be one of the biggest of its kind once construction is completed. When Lauren’s former mentor, Mamie Spelling, frantically calls her; Lauren is concerned and rushes over having not seen her friend in a long time. Lauren is appalled at the condition of Mamie’s house, and poor quality of the animals from overcrowding as if this is a run down ghetto. Mamie fears she faces prison time for animal cruelty; something that would not have occurred if Bethany Weber, CEO of The Pet Shelter Network, had not tried to blackmail her.

Bethany made a lot of enemies inside the industry with practices including blackmail and extortion of other shelter owners. The police believe Mamie killed Bethany as she had the motive and the opportunity having been at the victim’s home when the latter was dead. Other evidence condemns Mamie further. Lauren does not believe her mentor would kill, so she doggedly investigates the homicide; unaware the killer watches her every move.

The second Pet Rescue Mystery (see Beaglemania) is an exciting cozy that sub-genre readers, especially animal lovers, will enjoy. Dante and his lover Kendra make cameo appearances that connect this series to the author’s Pet Sitter amateur sleuth novels. There are plenty of suspects as the victim was almost universally loathed. Although having an amateur sleuth investigate the murder of a queen of mean while the killer observes her actions is an overly used technique, readers still will enjoy the entertaining The More the Terrier. Harriet Klausner

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