Thursday, June 3, 2010


by Karin Slaughter
Random House/Bantam Dell
New York, New York
ISBN 9780385341974

Former coroner Sara Linton hasn’t visited her hometown in Grant County, Georgia since the death of her husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver. Almost four years later, she returns, planning to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Shortly thereafter, Tommy Braham, a mentally disabled young man, is arrested for the murder of Allison Spooner and asks that Sara, his former pediatrician, visit him. When Sara arrives at the jail, it appears Tommy has committed suicide. Sara, who blames the arresting officer, Lena Adams, for her husband’s death, immediately suspects Lena mishandled the interrogation and provided the young man the means to kill himself. After she calls in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, where he is met with stubborn resistance from the police department. Sara is asked to perform autopsies on Tommy and Allison as Trent investigates both murders while trying to unravel the complexities of Lena’s involvement in Tommy’s murder, as well as that of Chief Tolliver.

Slaughter once more provides a tense thriller centered around Sara Linton. Although the character Jeffrey Tolliver is certainly missed, this book proves the series can move forward without his presence. Slaughter is adept at providing dark, complex characters and does not disappoint with this outing. Her revelations concerning the desperate measures hardworking, indigent people will resort to is insightful and empathetic.


by J.T. Ellison
MIRA Books
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, Ontario M3B3K9
ISBN: 9780778327141

Due to restructuring of the Nashville Metro Police Department, homicide detective Taylor Jackson’s been demoted from her prior position of lieutenant. If that isn’t bad enough, she’s being pursued by a serial killer called the Pretender. Now another serial killer’s in Nashville, one who abducts young black women, starves them to death and, after performing necrophilia, poses them per scenes from famous paintings. It isn’t long before Jackson’s fiancé, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, connects Jackson’s serial killer to one he’s been investigating in Europe named the Conductor. Jackson and Baldwin team up with Scotland Yard detective James “Memphis” Highsmythe, and the chase is on as the three try to determine if they’re dealing with only one killer or perhaps two. As the investigation proceeds, Jackson’s trying not to be distracted by the chemistry between her and Highsmythe, which is unexpected and confusing, and her superior’s strange actions, which are hampering her efforts to investigate her case.

This fourth installment of the Taylor Jackson series is as suspenseful and intriguing as the first. This psychological thriller is gritty and realistic and filled with intense action. The chemistry between Jackson and Highsmythe, although not expected, is nicely delivered. Jackson’s a great character, a woman who’s tough mentally and physically but a real softy on the inside. The colorful backdrop of Nashville is a bonus to readers, as is Ellison’s intelligent writing.


by Lee Child
Batam Dell/Random House
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780385340564

Drifter Jack Reacher travels the country with the clothes on his back and a fold-up toothbrush and ATM card in his pocket. Reacher’s goal is to cross America diagonally, beginning in Calais, Maine and ending in San Diego, California. Taking buses and hitching when he has to, the trip proves uneventful until he leaves the small town of Hope, Colorado and walks to Despair, the next town over. Stopping in a diner for a cup of coffee, Reacher is refused service and ordered out of town by the cops. This gets Reacher’s back up and when he refuses to leave, he’s arrested as a vagrant, escorted out of town and told never to come back. On the way back to Hope, he stumbles over the body of a dead man and the ex military cop in Reacher suspects the man’s death has something to do with Despair. So, over the next few days, Reacher, with the aid of a female cop in Hope, investigates why Despair has a no-visitors policy, what’s going on with the town’s metal recycling plant with an impregnable fence, and why young men are disappearing.

In this 12th installment of the Jack Reacher series, there’s plenty of action as Reacher kicks butt in Despair, diligently and persistently trying to find out what the metal recycling plant is actually doing inside its secret compound and why a military base is guarding it. Reacher is absolutely one of the coolest characters written. He’s tough mentally and physically, a vigilante seeking justice for those who deserve it while doling out his own kind of two-fisted justice for those who need it.


by Jacob Nelson Lurie
ISBN: 9781439262474

Although Davis Robertson’s getting married in a few days, he finds his mind dwelling on past loves and friendships. As he hangs out with his best friends and groomsmen, Davis relives past experiences with these men, former college mates who formed The Friday Night Club, which was nothing more than a party club. Although Davis loves his fiancée, his thoughts keep turning to the one woman he never really had, a woman he’s always held in high regard but never pursued. He fears committing, fears an uncertain future, but tells himself it’s time to grow up and move forward. While partying with his friends, Davis vacillates from being certain he wants to marry to doubting his commitment to his fiancée.

This quasi-autobiography isn’t your typical bachelor’s last fling, although there are the quintessential drunken parties, humorous scenarios, assaults and ultimate arrest. Although couched as a coming-of-age story, The Friday Night Club goes beyond that, delivering poignant, profound insights into the struggling mindset of a young man as he passes into adulthood. Lurie skillfully pulls his reader into Davis’s angst, his at-times conflictual relationships with his Friday Night Club partners, his earnest yearning for something he thinks is unattainable. This intriguing book doesn’t limit itself to men; women will enjoy the read as much, if not more.


by Lin Stepp
Canterbury House Publishing Ltd.
225 Ira Harmn Rd.
Vilas, NC 28692
ISBN: 9780982539613

Jenna Howell grew up under the dominion of a controlling mother only to marry a man of the same mindset. Both her mother and husband are verbally abusive and make light of Jenna’s artistic talent, whittling away at Jenna’s self-confidence and enjoyment of life. Reality hits hard when Jenna catches her husband in the arms of another woman. Jenna decides to take a break from her marriage at the mountain cabin of a friend in the picturesque town of Townsend, TN. There, Jenna meets local artist Boyce Hart. Although the two are attracted to one another, Jenna is still married and feels she is too vulnerable to begin a relationship. Boyce becomes a good friend to Jenna and through his kindness, respect and deep faith shows her there can be a better life for her, if she is strong enough to leave her past behind.

Book two in Lin Stepp’s Smoky Mountain series is a sweet love story filled with engaging characters set against the beautiful background of the Smoky Mountains. Although the plot is not a new one, this inspiring story focuses on family values, deep faith and a woman’s journey of self-discovery as she begins to believe in her own worth while seeking to become a stronger person.