Book Reviews: The Right Guard by Alexandra Hamlet, City of the Dead by Daniel Blake, and Eyes of Justice by Lis Wiehl with April Henry

The Right GuardThe Right Guard
Alexandra Hamlet
Foxboro Press, January 2012
ISBN 9780984649303
Hardcover

The year: 1978. No cell phones, no widely used Internet, no laptop computers, no SUVs. Alexandra Hamlet must rely on news items prevalent at the time and creates a fairly realistic story explaining actual events from that period. With unique characters, she creates a tale that is timely, even if set over thirty years ago…

In 1978, the military has discovered a rash of thefts from several bases around the country. The government has several suspects. CIA operative Eric Brent is assigned to infiltrate a secret group operating almost in plain sight. They are called The Right Guard and are tired of the government’s wasteful spending, increased tendency toward the nanny-state and disobedience to the Constitution. Their goal: take over the government and put things back on track. The deeper Brent goes, the more he uncovers, including a link to his family’s past in Nazi Germany near the end of World War II.

I enjoy the reasons for the Right Guard’s actions because it can be argued that the government is misbehaving in the same ways today. Each point can be seen in modern day bureaucracy. This book kept me thinking about how long had the thefts been occurring, when did they start, and when (or if) did they end. Or at least, why they no longer made the news. It’s a slow moving tale as it encompasses several months with tension building near the end as Eric is put in a tenuous position and must ultimately decide on which side is correct.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, July 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.

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City of the DeadCity of the Dead
Daniel Blake
Gallery Books, July 2012
ISBN 9781439197622
Hardcover

Summer, 2005. New Orleans. When you’re in New Orleans you know what to expect. Bourbon Street, debauchery, voodoo, corruption, and of course, murder. And not just an ordinary murder. The Big Easy just brings out something in people, something strange, perhaps surreal, a little scary, and Blake knows how to write a murder thriller with more twists than a voodoo priestess’s snake.

After suffering the consequences of a case gone bad, Pittsburgh homicide detective Franco Patrese wants a complete change of scenery. Calling on a buddy in the FBI, he secures a position with the new Orleans field office. Not too far into his time, he is approached by the personal assistant of one of New Orleans’ wealthiest men. Before she has a chance to pass along important information, she is murdered. Poisoned from a rattlesnake and her leg amputated. Soon, two more corpses in the same condition are discovered. Teaming up with a spirited New Orleans homicide detective, they are faced with several avenues of leads: the governor, a drug dealer, even a supposed descendant of Marie Leveau. Just when they think they have everything wrapped up, something niggles Patrese to keep searching for the truth. However, the summer is moving on and unbeknownst to anybody, a new enemy is soon to overwhelm the city and her name is Katrina.

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed a couple other novels by Blake when he wrote under another name, so I knew City of the Dead was going to be a winner. I was not disappointed. He weaves a tale that is complex but not confusing, bringing a personal connection of characters to the action and the setting. This novel just pulled me along. Every chapter kept showing me more layers and the solution was why I devour this man’s novels.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, August 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.

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Eyes of JusticeEyes of Justice
Lis Wiehl with April Henry
Thomas Nelson, April 2012
ISBN 9781595547088
Hardcover

The Triple Threat trio is back for another hard hitting murder mystery. Well…at least most of them are. Yep,this time Wiehl and Henry decide to, uh, dispense with one member of the team. Never fear, another prospective member steps up to fill the gap and becomes an intricate part of the story. The Eyes of Justice are upon you so watch out, because murder is about to happen.

The trio of Cassidy (crime reporter), Nicole (FBI agent), and Allison (federal prosecutor), have been friends for awhile, helping each other with their specialized abilities to put away the bad guys. When one of their group is killed, the others bend the rules and interfere with the investigation. Almost immediately, an abusive ex-boyfriend is arrested but at the funeral a mentally disturbed man relates a different set of eye witness clues that puts the spotlight on someone else. Ophelia, a private investigator, is hired to assist. The initial investigation is that the murder was random, but when another death occurs, the women wonder if the murders have turned personal, with themselves as specific targets.

This is a quick read of a logical, well laid out story with just the right amount of twists and surprises. Quirky enough characters kept me wanting to learn more about them and the authors do a fine job of keeping all of the main protagonists in the spotlight. Although I didn’t get to enjoy one of the trio too long I enjoyed her replacement and hope to read more of Wiehl in the future. I am a new fan of Triple Threat.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, October 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.

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