Book Review: Skins and Bone by John Baird Rogers @Gotuit

Skins and Bone          
A Mayfield-Napolitani Thriller #2     
John Baird Rogers
GoTuit Publications, June 2021
ISBN 978-1-732262-5-8
Trade Paperback

Joe Mayfield and Louise Napolitani (Weezy) are in it again. In this excellent second adventure, the couple, now inextricably connected, battle an array of financial criminals. Mayfield is an adept accounting master and Weezy, his companion, is a genius-level computer whiz with far more than an elementary-level appreciation of life and culture. Together, living in the immediate future, the couple are beset by a manipulative criminal conspiracy reflective of a greedy time.

This crime novel is set in a future era, replete with video-phones, communication implants for employees and voice-controlled driverless transportation. But this is not Science Fiction nor is it the kind of speculative futuristic novel set in some distant space-time continuum. Therein lies part of the genius of this excellent crime novel. Every bit of it is easily recognizable as probable development, just around the next plausible bend in society’s road.

Widely ranging action carries the reader feasibly from a small creek-side trailer in Florida to upscale offices in New York, to Austria and Budapest and back to middle America. Characters are many and the author has paid careful attention to all of them, even those with short-lived roles in this tapestry of crime and retribution.

Criminal manipulation of murderous events and stock markets form the core of the story, along with an almost vengeful get-even mind-set. The pace steadily rises toward a multi-scene resolution that should satisfy the most calculating reader. The principal characters and the author’s style are addictive and well-worth following into the future.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2021.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Sins of Edom, Red Sky.

Book Review: An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch @CharlesFinch @MinotaurBooks

An Extravagant Death
A Charles Lenox Mystery #14
Charles Finch
Minotaur Books, February 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-76713-4
Hardcover

In Victorian London, Prime Minister Disraeli has asked Charles Lenox to cross the Atlantic to take on a diplomatic mission that concerns international crime. Upon completion, a knighthood is in store. Charles has been rethinking his course in life, which, as a detective, often puts him in danger and separates him from his wife, Lady Jane. Besides, he loves to travel and this may be his last chance to visit America.

Blithely, he sets sail, and soon is the toast of New York high society, partly because of his own reputation, and partly because of  Lady Jane’s societal position, renown on both sides of the Atlantic. He meets everyone of importance and is moving on to visit Philadelphia when he receives a telegram from his New York acquaintances calling him back. A young woman has died in a mysterious fashion. But how? And why? Can he help?

Taking on this case puts Charles in touch with highest New York society, but also makes him a target of a cold-blooded killer. Can he discover this murderer before he becomes the next victim?

The case moves slowly a good part of the time, but I didn’t find the mystery as interesting or as entertaining as the in-depth look at Victorian mores in 1878. From both sides of the pond, the differences are astounding. Plus, the author has given the reader a look from the differing viewpoints of highest rank with the most money, to the servant class who sees to their every need. The depiction of Caroline Astor’s party is a revelation.

This is a big novel well worth your time. The writing is excellent, the characters fully fleshed and believable.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, July 2021.
http://www.ckcrigger.com
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery