Book Reviews: Dangerous Women & Desperate Men by Rick Mofina, The Blonde in the Lotus Elite by Robert Baty, The Herring in the Library by L. C. Tyler, and Under the Dog Star by Sandra Parshall

Dangerous Women & Desperate MenDangerous Women & Desperate Men
Rick Mofina
Carrick Publishing, June 2011
ISBN No. 978-0-9877080-0-7
Ebook

The introduction to this book gives you a lot of  information about the author, his writing and some of his experiences that have helped develop background for his books.

“Blood Red Rings” is the story of Frank Harper, a police officer as well as a family man.  Harper is tired of his job, tired of dealing with his problems at home and ready to end his evening.   His thoughts go back over the years and the good times in his life as he cruises his beat.  However, the evening ends in a very tragic way.  A story that will stay with the reader long after the last page.

“Lightning Rider” is the story of Jessie Scout who is employed as the driver of an armored car.  Jesse along with her crew members, Gask and Perez, haul a lot of money from the Las Vegas casinos.  The last drive that she made to pick up money is one that will not soon be forgotten by Jessie, her crew members, or readers of this story.

“Three Bullets to Queensland” takes Ike Decker on a chase for the suspect in a deadly armored car hit.  One where Paco Sanchez got away with all the cash.  A great story with a twisted ending.

“As Long As We Both Shall Live” is a short story written in the form of a statement in court and is very effective as well as shocking.

Mofina also adds exerpts of several of his novels as well as some background on the books and where he got his ideas.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, August 2011.

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Vintage Connor The Blonde in the Lotus EliteVintage Connor: The Blonde in the Lotus Elite
Robert Baty
R. J. Buckley Publishing, June 2011
ISBN No. 978-0981965475
Trade Paperback

Ray Connor is a former police officer living in Oakland, California and dealing in vintage cars.  He drives an Alfa Romeo and is an expert in classic cars.  He is the person to look to if you are a collector wanting to buy a classic car.

When a cab pulls up and Evie steps out, he is immediately drawn back into the past.  Evie is a woman that Connor was in love with twenty years ago and he has never gotten over the fact that she walked out on him.  Now she is back in his life and seeking his help.  Evie’s daughter Janey is dead.  Connor didn’t even know that Evie had a daughter and now he is to investigate her death.  Janey’s death has been ruled a suicide but Evie refuses to believe that her daughter would kill herself.

Janey died in Monterey so that is where Connor begins.  Connor calls on his ex-partner Vince Hendrix for assistance in tracking down some information.  When Connor begins his investigation, he finds that Janey’s death is looking more like murder than suicide.   It not only appears that there has been a big cover-up in the facts surrounding Janey’s death,  Connor also begins to feel that Evie may be covering up some facts about the case – facts that he needs to know.

Connor’s investigation takes him into dangerous territory and there are some close calls before he actually uncovers the truth.  Connor is never sure that Evie will even be around when he finally breaks the case.

Robert Baty has written an exciting mystery novel that I hope will just be the first one in a series of Connor stories.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, August 2011.

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The Herring in the LibraryThe Herring In the Library
L. C. Tyler
Felony & Mayhem Press, 2011
ISBN No. 978-1934609767
Trade Paperback

Ethelred Tressider is a mystery writer although not first rate.  His agent, Elsie Thirkettle, is visiting Ethelred and while occupying their time with a game of Clue (Cludeo) Elsie is attempting to get Ethelred busy on his next book.  The game that occupies their time is one that they will soon be playing with a real life mystery.

Ethelred reminds Elsie that they are soon due at the estate of Sir Robert and Lady Muntham of Muntham Court for dinner.  Sir Robert is an old friend of Ethelred’s who was known in earlier days as Shagger.  Although Elsie was not a bit excited about having to dress up to meet the hosts she certainly wasn’t about to be left at home.

The dinner party turns into a disaster when Sir Robert is found dead in the locked library.  Lady Muntham prevails upon Ethelred to act as detective and locate the murderer.  Elsie does not have a lot of faith in Ethelred’s detective talents and proceeds to uncover her own clues.

The story is told in turns from the point of view of Ethelred and from Elsie’s point of view.  Both views are quite different.

A very entertaining story and the third in the Elsie and Ethelred series.  If you enjoy this book, you are sure to enjoy The Herring Seller’s Apprentice and Ten Little Herrings.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, August 2011.

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Under the Dog StarUnder the Dog Star
Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen Press, September 2011
ISBN No. 978-1590588802
Trade Paperback

Family pets are disappearing in Mason County and veterinarian Rachel Goddard is stumped as to why the dogs are missing and attempting to devise some method to locate the dogs.  Rachel has moved in with Tom Bridger, Mason County Sheriff’s Deputy.  Rachel and Tom are rapidly adapting to the new living arrangement.  Tom worries that Rachel is spending too much time worrying about the missing dogs. Notices have been posted every place and he is sure the mystery will be solved before long.

Tom has another dog-related problem to occupy his mind.  There is a pack of feral dogs running around killing livestock.  Rachel is determined to help Tom and the local animal authorities capture the dogs and be able to get the dogs to a point where they would once again be the faithful dog of a family in need of a pet.  The feral pack is believed to have been brought about by the fact that people who have lost their jobs and their homes have taken to dumping their pets in Mason County in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.  The pack had been formed by the group of dogs just struggling for survival.

Suddenly the case of the lost pets and the feral dogs take a back seat to a gruesome murder.  Dr. Gordon Hall, head of Tri-County General Hospital is found dead on his property.   When Tom arrives on the scene, he finds Dr. Hall’s body along the edge of the woods near his house.  Dr. Hall’s throat had been ripped open by a savage animal.

Dr Hall’s wife Vicky is in very bad health.  Vicky is in advanced kidney failure.    The Hall’s have one natural son, Ethan, and three adopted children.   As the investigation proceeds, it appears that Dr. Hall was not a very popular person in the community and the Hall family was far from a close-knit family.

As Tom proceeds with the murder investigation as well as trying to capture the feral dog pack, Rachel is determined to save the lives of the pack of dogs.  The investigation brings out hints of a dog-fighting ring in the community that further complicates the situation.

Rachel’s feeling that all is not well with the younger members of the Hall family makes her determined to get to the bottom of the problem with the children as well as the ongoing problem with the feral dogs, the missing pets and a killer dog.

Dog lovers will shudder at some of the details of the search for the feral dogs and the attempts to find and shut down the dog-fighting group but the author has done a great job of handling touchy subjects.  This is a great addition to the Rachel Goddard series.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, August 2011.