Saturday, November 29, 2008

DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER by Elizabeth Zelvin

Bruce Kohler has been in and out of detox centers most of his adult life. On Christmas day, he isn’t too surprised to find himself in another center, this one on the Bowery in New York City. Bruce quickly befriends fellow patient Godfrey Kettleworth, III, a man on the outs with his rich family and not too popular with the staff. While in detox, an alcoholic with terminal cancer is found dead in the laundry room and Godfrey dies right before Bruce’s eyes. With the help of his lifetime friend Jimmy and Jimmy’s girlfriend Barbara, a counselor who has worked at the Bowery before, Bruce begins his own investigation into these two mysterious deaths, which unravels a murderous pattern among detox centers in New York and places his own life in jeopardy.

Zelvin’s debut novel provides the reader with an insightful peek into the mind and life of an alcoholic trying to stay sober, as well as AA’s 12-step program. The characters are intriguing and well-developed, especially alcoholic Bruce who faces a continual battle to refrain from drinking, and Barbara, a codependent counselor with a witty sense of humor. The plot moves at a fast pace with plenty of twists and turns and suspicious characters lurking about, all set within the glorious backdrop of New York City. This entertaining mystery is sure to draw fans anxious to read future books by this talented author.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ASKING FOR MURDER by Roberta Isleib

By Roberta Isleib
Berkley Prime Crime
375 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
ISBN: 9780425223314
Paperback, 23 pages, $6.99 US
Genre: Cozy Mystery

When psychotherapist Rebecca Butterman’s friend, therapist Annabelle Hart, misses a luncheon engagement and does not return her calls, Rebecca becomes concerned. She goes to her friend’s house and finds Annabelle badly beaten. Annabelle is rushed to the hospital, where she lies in coma. Rebecca’s attempts to see Annabelle at the hospital are denied by Annabelle’s sister, a cold woman who writes a catty gossip column. Rebecca incorporates the help of Detective Meigs, who concludes that Annabelle was beaten as the result of a botched robbery, and then mysteriously disappears. Rebecca decides to do some sleuthing on her own, which isn’t easy with so many people connected to Annabelle acting suspicious, if not guilty.

This third outing in the Advice Column Mystery series by Roberta Isleib proves another winner. Rebecca Butterman is complicated, has unresolved issues, and is still trying to find her way in the world. She can be petty and has lingering doubts about her divorce, but overall is intelligent and loyal and works hard to make the best out of the situations she finds herself in while trying to deal with past traumas and lingering issues. Isleib throws in plenty of red herrings, wrapped around an intriguing plot.


By Maggie Bishop
High Country Publishers
197 New Market Center #135
Boone, NC 28607
ISBN: 9781932158847
Trade paperback, 176 pages, $12.00
Genre: Mystery

Jemma Chase and Detective Tucker return for another suspense-filled escapade in Perfect for Framing, the latest addition to Maggie Bishop’s acclaimed Appalachian Adventure Mystery series. With the advent of winter, Jemma turns from helping run Chase’s Dude Ranch to utilizing her skills as photographer and wood worker. Jemma is hired by Petula Windsor, president of a local property owners’ association, to build cabinets in her guest house, but before Jemma can collect her pay, Petula burns to death in the same house. Jemma, a CSI wannabe, would like nothing more than to be in on the investigation, and Tucker has a hard time trying to keep her interest at bay. But when Petula’s husband is found dead and Tucker’s life is jeopardized, Jemma won’t be stopped until she finds the murderer.

Once more, Maggie Bishop delivers a thrilling whodunit peppered with lovable characters and set against the beautiful backdrop of the mountains of North Carolina. Packed with breath-taking action and nail-biting suspense, with a twisting plot that guarantees constant speculation, this is one book that will have readers quickly turning pages, eager to find out what happens next.


By David Hunter
Tin Star Books
PO Box 1124
Powell, TN 37849
ISBN: 978-1888338041
Paperback, 208 pages, $12.95
Genre: Autobiography

Before David Hunter became an acclaimed crime writer and newspaper columnist, he patrolled the streets of Knoxville, TN as a police officer, or “warrior” as he calls these gallant protectors of citizens. The Archangel Caper is filled with antics from Hunter’s days as a cop, all delivered with wit and a touch of cynicism. Hunter takes his reader into the criminal lives of the One Percenters, prostitutes, and strip club owners, as well as domestic abusers, drunk drivers, and drug-dealing inmates. Above all, he offers an insight into the true natures of law enforcements officers, from rookie to seasoned, all of whom share one important attribute: care for their fellow man. Reading this intriguing book is sure to generate a newfound respect for law enforcement officials.


By Krista Davis
Berkley Prime Crime
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
ISBN: 9780425224267
Paperback, 292 pages, $6.99 US
Genre: Mystery

Event planner Sophie Winston and lifestyle columnist, TV celebrity Natasha Smith have been rivals since childhood. And now Natasha is living with Sophie’s ex and coveting Sophie’s house, which belonged to her ex’s deceased aunt. Sophie has a busy Thanksgiving planned, with her mother, father, sister and sister’s fiancĂ© coming to visit. But things get off to a bumpy start from the get-go, when Sophie discovers the dead body of a private investigator in a dumpster. She quickly becomes a suspect when the police find her name and photo inside the dead man’s car. Sophie engages in some amateur sleuthing and learns Natasha hired the PI. If that isn’t bad enough, dead bodies keep turning up, all with a connection to Sophie and Natasha. On top of which, Sophie is attracted to the detective who seems convinced she’s a murderer.

The first book in the Domestic Diva series starts the ball rolling with a glorified bang. This cozy mystery delivers a plethora of useful household tips and mouth-watering recipes immersed within a keep-you-guessing plot filled with suspicious-acting characters and twists and turns around every corner. Davis’s smart writing style and engaging characters are sure to garner fans anxious to read future books in the series.