Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thursday at Noon by William F. Brown

Thursday at Noon. William F. Brown. Published by Worldwide in 1989 and republished by William F. Brown on major E-Book publisher sites. June 2012. 316 pages. ISBN #: 9780373970803.

Richard Thomson is in big trouble with the CIA for whom he works.  He flubbed his last case and now has been assigned to Cairo, Egypt where he is treated like a virtual pariah.  One night while he's drowning his sorrows in a bar, he's approached by an Arab fellow who says he has some significant information that he needs to get to a particular person.  But Thomson thinks he's part of a grand trap to finish off Thomson's career for good and tells him to scoot.  The Arab is petrified but Thomson's not buying the story. So imagine his thoughts and feelings when he later finds that the man has been decapitated and that Thomson is believed to be either the murderer or the one responsible for his murder.  Here the terror really begins!

This is a story where Arabs and former SS Germans are seeking one goal, the destruction of Israel.  How will they do it?  When will it happen, if at all?  Why?  

Are the Arabs and Germans cooperating?  What do they think of each other?  Readers will be riveted as the skills and depths of cruelty vie with each other for these two groups.  And add to that there are Arab groups with different motives and goals and the same for the Germans.  Thomson who has been previously pickled in his own alcoholic pity party, now awakens to find out why the Israeli Landau has disappeared and perhaps been killed and more what he was after that seems to have caused his demise.

William F. Brown never disappoints!  His espionage/spy/political thrillers are very different and so very well-written.  A thrill to read and deserving of best-seller status!  Thursday at Noon is no exception!

Suitable Fate by A. R. Grobbo

Suitable Fate. A. R. Grobbo. Double Dragon E-Books. May 2012. 270 pages. 401 KB - E-Book. Available where E-Books are sold.

Gloria is back on the sleuth journey.  It all starts when holding her baby and approaching her apartment, she finds a dead body at the bottom of the stairs. Before she sees the face, she thinks it's her husband because his clothes are on the body.  

Now it seems her husband, who surprisingly shows up when Gloria thinks he is in Europe, is the prime suspect. And he's initially not telling her the truth.  As a matter of fact, the misunderstanding between both of them seems to have reached a peak.  She married a musician who has to travel yet repeatedly implies he "chooses" being away over being with her.  As a stand-alone story, this would be a fine treatment of this disagreement; it is a bit old for those who've read Grobbo's other excellent mysteries.

Tony, however, has more heart than even Gloria gives him credit for!  His attempt to help someone goes completely awry!  Nice additional touch, Ms. Grobbo!

Little by little the solution to this awful murder begins to evolve. But the danger for both Gloria and Tony isn't over.  Add to that the tendency of her father-in-law to micro-manage her life and the reluctance of local law officials to answer her questions or take her suggestions seriously, and you have another mystery that never fails to hold the reader's attention and desire to know "who done it."  Nicely done!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sweet Talk - A Novel by Julie Garwood

Sweet Talk - A Novel. Julie Garwood. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. August 2012. 368 pages hardback. ISBN #: 9780525952862.

Olivia McKenzie belongs to a group called the Pips.  Olivia, Samantha Pearson, Jane Weston and Collins Davenport meet while being treated for a serious medical condition that could be fatal, but these are not, for the most part, fragile creatures.  They're feisty characters who find strength and a fighting voice in the pranks they pull on doctors and nurses alike.  They vow to stay friends forever - until death does part them.

Twelve years later, Olivia is on a job interview that goes all bad when her interviewer turns out to be a seedy, lustful guy who attempts to pull a pass on her and winds up getting punched out senseless for his efforts.  The readers will cheer here but even more so as the pages turn and Olivia meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid.  It turns out that Olivia has unwittingly interfered with a sting operation and now the guy she floored is out for revenge because he thinks she's part of the FBI plot. Add to that Grayson's partner is FBI but a fool who talks and acts before he thinks, which ticks off both Olivia and Kincaid.

But Olivia has her own problem to think about, plotting a strategy to discover what Ponzi scheme her own father is operating.  As an IRS employee and a strongly intuitive gal, she knows her own family members and hundreds of other are being taken in by her father and she wants it to stop.  No, it's not hard for her to do this because her absent father has always been a smooth talker and using her past illness to indicate she is mentally unstable and still not completely healthy, even attempting to commit her to a mental institution.

The plots thicken and the action is fast and furious as is the passion beginning to ignite between heroine and hero.  In the process, her friend Jane becomes involved and what is being done to her will horrify and then infuriate the reader when the mystery is revealed.

Sweet Talk is both hot romantic fiction and a great mystery read for all who love these genres of great storytelling!  Very, very well done, Ms. Garwood!!!

At Last - A Lucky Harbor Novel by Jill Shalvis

At Last - A Lucky Harbor Novel. Jill Shalvis. Grand Central Publishing - a Hachette Group Book. June 2012.  352 pages. ISBN #: 9781455503742.

Amy Michaels is a waitress in the small town of Lucky Harbor in Washington Street.  It's a terrific small town surrounded by rugged beautifully scenic sites which draws many hikers and others with different motives.  Amy is a waitress and is off for a long walk or hike, a time to be free of all the burdensome thoughts that so trouble and exhaust her.

For Amy has a troubled past that she's not proud of but which have made her the strong, compassionate person she is.  While on one of her first hikes, she gets lost and needs help but her past won't allow her to beg for it.  And wow is she annoyed when the local forest ranger and former cop Matt Bowers shows up and knows she is lost.  But Amy is stubborn and comically gets herself in deeper trouble before grudgingly admitting she needs help from this sexy-looking, fit, more than capable guy who wants to give her some helping presence but not the kind she's thinking about in her shameful loss of face caused by her getting lost.

Matt is not just amused by Amy, however, but also willing to give her enough slack to save face, not to mention he's doing anything to avoid what looking at her body is doing to his own.  They meet several times and little by little they begin opening up to each other, physically at least for sure, but it takes a longer time for the trust to develop.

Ironically, it's the presence of another troubled teen, Riley, whom Amy meets and then both are desirous of being helpful without appearing obvious.  Amy "knows" what this gal has been through, but things turn notoriously dangerous as someone is after Riley and this tough gal is determined not to reveal any secrets about the matter.  Sooner or later, they will figure it out but what happens in the interval keeps the reader flipping the pages and tensely wondering if Riley will escape her pursuer and how Matt and Amy fit into this fragile situation.

At Last is a terrific story with at least some meat added to the passionate scenario in most of the book to provide an engaging, fascinating novel about "letting go" and showing others it is not only okay but necessary to do so to become totally who one can freely be!

Forever and a Day - A Lucky Harbor Novel by Jill Shalvis

Forever and a Day - A Lucky Harbor Novel. Jill Shalvis. Grand Central Publishing - a Hachette Book Group novel.  July 2012. 384 pages. ISBN #: 9781455503698.

Grace has traveled to Lucky Harbor in Washington State to start completely over.  She's unable to find a full-time job and is working several small jobs, including the latest when she gets a message for a dog walking job that starts on the same day she gets the message.  She figures she's going to be working for some crotchety old-timer so imagine her surprise when she meets the exact opposite of that false image!

For she meets Josh, a doctor who is stretched so to the limit he has no time for himself let alone a woman.  But it's sparks flying when these two meet though both are initially cautious, not wanting to confuse their already complicated lives. 

Each is what the other needs and slowly realize what each wants.  Turns out that the reader will have to suffer through (ahem, LOL!) some HOT scenes when these two allow the reserve to run out of their lives.  

The lovely part of this story is that Grace and Josh take the time to really get to know each other before they even begin to contemplate commitment.  Josh has a needy sister and 5 year-old son, Toby who are to become a vital part of Grace's life but that realistically takes time and some very honest connection, misunderstanding, and understanding moments.

Lovely, passionate, and caring story, Jill Shalvis!                        

Play Him Again by Jeffrey Stone

Play Him Again. Jeffrey Stone. Riverdale Books and Smashwords E-Books. March 2012. 310 pages. Available at online sites of, and

Matt Hudson is running two gigs. First he's an alcohol runner or bootlegger and second his chief fascination, indeed obsession, is the future of movies made with sound. Such is the focus of this very informative and enlightening story.

To begin with, those who run alcohol under Prohibition in the 1920s do so with great duress.  A runner might be caught by the police but even worse are other thug runners who are now attacking bootlegger ships with firearms.  It's a risky business and it's Matt and the Swede, his partner, who advise all that they must start carrying firearms on their ships or lose thousands of dollars to Mafia thugs.

But the real focus that becomes a mystery is who is producing sound films, who are the powers in the business, and what are each willing and unwilling to do to spread the fire of sound movies, which is just beginning to catch the attention of the public.  This novel is obviously well-researched as Matt gives us a superb education in the history of how film developed from the soundless films with famous actors and actresses and the companies behind the new invention of producing sound. Many of the movie moguls claim the latter will never become popular, but it seems that those who know it will have different plans and they aren't always on the up and up.

When Matt's good friend Danny, a con man, is killed, Matt knows he didn't drink himself to the point of driving off a cliff and drowning to death.  So he sets about his mission to find out who did it and why. This involves all the parties in a "con" and figuring out who is the ultimate "mark" most probably responsible for Danny's death. In the process, Matt's girlfriend Sylvia is forced to find out how important Matt is to her and how much she will support or reject him.

The novel proceeds at a taut pace, educating and intriguing the reader at every turn of the page.  Matt himself faces threats and actual violence, but he is much smarter than his opponents.  It turns out that there is no limit to what the powerful will do to force the progress of movie in sound, with their own motivations, techniques, and goon-squad hit men at the forefront of protecting and furthering their focused mission - the almighty dollar!

Fine, fine novel Jeffrey Stone - enjoyable on many levels!