Book Reviews: Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub, Bleeding Through by Sandra Parshall, and The Fourth Conspirator by Barry S. Willdorf

SleepwalkerSleepwalker
Wendy Corsi Staub
Harper, 2012
ISBN No. 978-0062070302
Mass Market Paperback

Wendy Corsi Staub‘s novels are very addictive if the reader is looking for great characters, a lot of suspense and don’t mind a little cliffhanger at the end.  Sleepwalker is the second novel in a trilogy with Allison Taylor now Allison MacKenna as the central character.

Allison met her husband Mack MacKenna when she had an apartment across from Mack and his wife in New York.  Mack’s wife was killed in the 9-11 tragedy and Allison suffered a tragedy of her own at that time.  She discovered the body of Kristina Haines, another resident in the apartment building.  Kristina had been brutally murdered. Jerry Thompson, a maintenance man in the apartment building, was convicted of Kristina’s murder and sentenced to prison.

Allison and Mack eventually married and now have a wonderful family.  Now it is announced on the news that Jerry Thompson has committed suicide and suspicious things begin happening to Allison.  She feels that someone has invaded her space but who or how this can happen, she has no idea.  Mack is taking medication for his insomnia and Allison catches him walking in his sleep one night.  Allison fights back the thoughts that Mack may be the cause of some of the strange little things that are happening.

When Bob Lewis, Allison’s neighbor who is out of town, contacts Allison and asks that she go next door and check on his wife Phyllis, Allison agrees.  On arriving at the Lewis’ home Allison finds that Phyllis has been murdered and in the same manner as Kristina ten years before.

So the nightmare begins again for Allison and her family. Detective Rocky Manzillo, the detective who originally investigated Kristina’s death, is called in on the case even though his wife is very ill.  It seems that Jerry Thompson is speaking from the grave to those who found him guilty letting all involved know that there is still someone out there who won’t be satisfied until Allison and all involved are punished.

The last book in the trilogy is Shadowkiller.  I am waiting anxiously for the release of this third book.  I would suggest that readers start with the first book in the trilogy but I think the author gives enough background in Sleepwalker to make it an enjoyable read even though you have not read the first book.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, October 2012.

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Bleeding ThroughBleeding Through
Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen Press, September 2012
ISBN No. 978-1464200274
Hardcover
Also available in trade paperback

Rachel and Deputy Chief Tom Bridger are living together and life has settled down into a satisfying routine,  Rachel’s sister, Michelle, fears she is being stalked.  Michelle hopes that her stay with Rachel and Tom will discourage the stalker.  This is the first time that Michelle has visited and Rachel is on edge about the visit and Michelle meeting Tom.   Rachel and Michelle also have past issues that they have never satisfactorily worked out.   Michelle’s visit gives the two sisters the perfect opportunity to solve past issues and to grow closer.

Rachel and Tom are supervising a group of teenagers cleaning up litter on a Mason County, Virginia highway when they discover the body of a young woman wrapped in plastic.  Sadly, the sister of the woman is one of the teenagers on the clean-up crew and the teenager sees the body before Rachel or Tom can pull her away.

When Tom begins his investigation, he learned that the deceased girl, Shelley Beecher, had been making inquiries in an attempt to free a person she felt had been wrongfully accused of the murder of Brian Hadley.  The Hadley family is furious at Shelley’s attempts to prove that Vance Langford, convicted of their son’s murder, is actually innocent.  Now Shelley’s family is pointing fingers at the Hadley family for the death of their daughter.  Tom is busy trying to find out who murdered Shelley and keep peace between the families until he can solve the crime.

This fifth addition to the Rachel Goddard series keeps the reader glued to the pages.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, February 2013.

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The Fourth ConspiratorThe Fourth Conspirator
(Part 3 of the 1970’s Trilogy)
Barry S. Willdorf
Whiskey Creek Press, September 2012
ISBN No. 978-1611603323
Trade Paperback

This is an action packed book taking the reader in several different directions.  Nate Lewis is an attorney representing the property owner that shot and killed a crook ripping off his marijuana garden.  The shooter is a former Marine and does not intend to let anyone get away with raiding his property.  Nate has his hands full building a defense.

Nate’s wife, Christina Lima, has taken over public relations for her cousins Mendocino winery.  Christina has more than any woman should be asked to handle.  She is pregnant.  Christina’s father has Alzheimer’s.  Then Christina’s dying aunt asks Christina to mediate her cousin’s ongoing battles for control of the winery.

While attempting to prepare an accounting to present to the cousins Christina is injured.   Whether the injury is an accident or on purpose is not known.  Then it begins to look like Christina’s accident and Nate’s case might be connected.

Burning Questions and A Shot In The Arm  are the first two books in this trilogy.  I started with The Fourth Conspirator, but I intend to go back and read the first two books.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, March 2013.