Category Archives: Police Drama
Publishing Date: November 19, 2013
eBook: 309 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Lucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now. She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.
After a bullet took out his knee in Houston, Detective Ethan Donovan found himself without a lot of options, which is how he ended up as Chief of Police in Dobbs Hollow. Lucy sure isn’t asking for his help–she’s not big on trust–but he can’t help feeling a strong desire to come to her aid.
And though Lucy is armed to the teeth, she will need all the help she can get. When she starts digging into the past, she unearths a psychotic killer who will stop at nothing to silence her forever.
Lucy Caldwell has written several books about true crimes. She has learned much over the years from working with the police and the FBI. Now it is time for her to write the most important story of all. The one about her own mother’s murder seventeen years ago. To do this, she is going to have to go back to the small town of Dobbs Hollow, Texas. The same Town where she grabbed her little brother and ran from after walking into the grizzly discovery in her living room.
No one wept for the death of the small town’s local prostitute, and no one broke a sweat investigating her death. Lucy is going to use all the investigation skills that she learned to try to find her mother’s killer. Her mother might not have been a good woman in the eyes of the Town’s people, but she tried to give Lucy and her brother a good life and tried to keep that part of her life away from her children. But since everyone in small towns knows everyone else’s business, the kids in school made sure Lucy knew what they thought of the daughter of the local whole. She doesn’t know what will be harder, looking through her mother’s murder file or facing the locals who still look at her with hatred in their eyes.
What she doesn’t count on in the cooperation of the new Chief of Police, Ethan Donovan. Ethan isn’t local. He was from Houston PD until he was let go on disability. Lucy doesn’t know if she can trust him or why the all powerful Mayor Dobbs would appoint an outsider to the position unless he had some control over Ethan. Can she trust him or is he is a pawn of the Mayor?
While Lucy and Ethan work together to solve an almost twenty-year old murder, they start to notice a pattern of more recent raped and missing women in the outlying counties and when bodies start showing up, they have to try and figure out if Cecile’s murder and the missing women are connected and why.
But someone isn’t going to wait for Lucy to figure this out and if they can’t scare her away before she does, it just might be time to take Lucy out of the equation forever.
There was a lot going on in this thriller so there was plenty of action and killing, and it was quite twisted, but there was so much going on that the ending was pretty complex for a small town.
I was left a little confused about why Lucy herself was so hated and why so many people were so desperate to get Lucy out of town. I understand why her mother’s killer wants her gone, but why were so many others so focused on her? Maybe it is small town life, but most of the town seemed to judge Lucy on what her mother did. There was a reference to how many boys in high school used Lucy as leverage to get their girlfriends into bed, in a “I can go to the daughter of the local whore for sex if you don’t give it up” threat, but Lucy wasn’t portrayed as acting like someone with loose morals. She wasn’t overly flirty or dressed provocatively. She seemed like the type to keep to herself. So why would everyone assume she too was fast and loose?
As far as the romance aspect, you watched Ethan and Lucy work together and build trust and finally confess all their hidden secrets, but all-in-all the romance wasn’t built up enough to make it a really passionate love affair.
As far as a thriller it certainly kept me guessing and I certainly didn’t catch the killer before they did, but in the end there was just too much going on and too many bad guys for one small town.
Received an ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“Hey, boss,” she said when he picked up. “I’m parked outside the Sadler place. I stopped by to bring them muffins this morning. Thing is, someone beat me here.”
Ethan paused, unable to speak as he pulled his T-shirt over his head. “What happened?”
“A couple hours ago, someone tossed a couple bricks through the front window, wrapped in paper with explicit instructions to get out of town.”
“Yeah. Pissed off, but not hurt. According to Lucy, she swept up the glass, reboarded the window and went back to bed.”
“Why the hell didn’t they call it in?”
TJ’s silence answered for her, and he blew out a deep breath to ease his frustration. Okay, so Lucy’s distrust of the Dobbs Hollow residents included him. He’d led plenty of investigations where suspects, witnesses and even victims didn’t trust him. “Fine. Ill be there in a couple minutes.”
Ethan elected to forgo the lights and siren, not wanting to draw attention, but he drove as if using them, ignoring most of the stops signs, as he was alone on the road.
When he skidded to a stop, he saw Lucy–standing on the porch with TJ, surveying the damage–jump. TJ put her arm over her friend’s shoulders, and Lucy relaxed a bit.
Ethan, on the other hand, found every muscle in his body frozen into place. He’d seen Lucy in a business suit, and he’d seen her in shorts, but this morning she appeared to be wearing nothing but an oversized Cowboys football jersey. Her hair fell about her shoulders in a golden tangle, shimmering in the morning sun. Christ on a crutch. How as he supposed to concentrate on a crime scene with her looking like she’d just crawled out of bed? Which, come to think of it, she probably had. He hadn’t had such an immediate physical reaction to the sight of a woman since…well…since Betty Ramsey had invited him into her room while her parents were away when they were in high school.
Just then, Lucy noticed his gaze. She glanced down, and a hot blush swept up from her ankles all the way up to her face. In a flash, she disappeared inside the house, freeing Ethan to climb from his car.
The front window, from which Lucy and Tim had removed the plywood only the day before, was once again boarded up. In addition, two red paint bombs had been tossed at the house, exploding against the wall and dripping down the white siding like blood. Lucy couldn’t have missed the similarity.
Ethan walked over to check out the source of the paint, expecting paintball shells or balloons. Instead, two broken condoms rested below the red streaks. Lucy couldn’t have missed that either.
“I’m sure it was just kids,” she said, coming back out to the porch. She’d donned jeans along with a T-shirt, and pulled her thick, honey-colored hair up into a high ponytail. Her feet were still bare, however, her toenails polished a pale pink.
Ethan dragged his gaze form the fascinating glimpse of feminine softness provided by those touches of pink back up to her face. “No, ma’am, I don’t think so. Kids, they might TP you house, or spray random slogans, or even go for the shock value of an inverted pentagram or two, but he kids around here don’t know you. They’ve got no reason to bust out your windows and sent notes telling you to go home.”
Congratulations to our giveaway winner: Katie.
ORDER A COPY: Thankless in Death
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: September 17, 2013
Hardcover: 402 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.
Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him—but they didn’t think he was capable of this.
Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next.
Lt. Eve Dallas is thankful to be ending year with a few quiet days. Time to catch up on some paperwork and get ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Roarke’s family from Ireland is on their way in and with some of Eve and Roarke’s friends, there will be a full house this holiday.
Eve is very thankful for those friends and family since it was not too long ago that her work was all that she had at the end of the day.
She is thankful to have a partner who she would go through any door with and know that she always has Eve’s back. Eve found Peabody as a green officer at a crime scene and saw the potential in her to make a good murder cop. Taking Delia Peabody under her wing was one of the best decisions Eve ever made. Now a Detective and Eve’s partner, Peabody has a soft touch with witnesses and the families of the deceased and even though she hates always being good cop to Eve’s bad cop, together they take down the bad guys.
Eve is thankful that she was given that same opportunity by her trainer and mentor Capt. Ryan Feeney and that Eve has the support of Commander Whitney to trust Eve to do her job and lead her team in the Homicide Division.
Eve is especially thankful to go home each night to the loving arms of her husband Roarke. She lucked out to find a man who could understand her so well and who always has time for her even while buying up everything in the known universe. It is his love and attention that keeps NYPSD’s top cop eating and sleeping and able to focus on the hard job of keeping NYC safe.
But not everyone is thankful this holiday season. Jerry Reinhold has finally snapped. He has had enough of everyone telling him what to do; his parents, his girlfriend, his bosses. They never treat him with the respect that he deserves. They always want him to do things, work harder, hold a job, nag, nag, nag. When his parents threaten to toss him on the street, just like his girlfriend did, if he doesn’t go find a job, that was the last straw. Now, Jerry’s making a list of everyone who has crossed him and they’re going to learn that he is a man to be respected and they will respect him, at least until he kills them.
Luck has been on Jerry’s side so far and he has been able to stay one step ahead of Eve and Peabody. This time they know who they are looking for and what he looks like, but with a hit list a mile long, they don’t who Jerry is going to go for next.
I am a big fan of the In Death series and love all the characters and the dynamics. I also love watching some of J.D. Robb’s futuristic gadgets become commonplace in today’s work, like the PPC is today smartphone, etc.
This was a good story. At No. 37 in the series, it won’t go up on my top 10 list of In Death books, but it was an interesting investigation and the personal relationships were featured in this story. There was a definite underlining of “be grateful for what you have” featured here.
As long as Nora Robert’s want to write about Eve and Roarke, I will definitely be reading them.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
To save time, steps, and to be sure, he stepped to the in-house board. “Where is Eve?”
EVE IS CURRENTLY ON THE ROOF TERRACE, EAST SECTOR.
Odd, he thought. It wasn’t the last place he’d expect,but it ranked high. Curious, he crossed to the elevator. “Roof terrace, east,” he ordered.
He doubted she’d gone up there to take in the view or the fresh air. His wife did little without specific purpose—especially when a case was hot. Just how did all this play into her case? he wondered. Something to do with height perhaps, or the view did play in and she needed that perspective and the scope to find something. Or…
He stepped out into the flowers, candlelight, the soft warmth and sparkle of crystal, and his mind went momentarily and uncharacteristically blank.
“Hey.” she shot him a distracted look. “I’ve just about got it.”
“Do you?” Bemused, and rapidly flipping through his mental calendar, he walked to her. “And what’s all this?”
She’d surprised him like this once before, he recalled, and had been wearing a red dress meant to be peeled off. A little different, this, he thought if his sense of things was on target. but just as lovely.
“Are we celebrating?”
“No. Well, maybe sort of.”
“You closed the case? The double homicide you caught this morning?”
“No. It’s…there’s stuff, but when I was thinking about the stuff, and how I wanted to bounce it all off you, I got this Peabody date night stuck in my brain.”
“We’re having a date with Peabody? I get two alluring women? Lucky me.”
She spared him one quick glance through narrowed eyes. “You got me, and that’s it, pal.”
“Thank God for it.” He cupped her face, leaned in for a soft, sweet kiss. “We’re having a date?”
“Not exactly. I can’t do the big D date thing where you shove all the stuff outside, but I thought I could pay you back a little for all the stuff. Nicer than pizza in my office.”
He looked at her for such a long, still moment, she feared she’d screwed something up. Then he pulled her in, wrapped around her, held tight. Tight.
“It’s not that big a thing.”
“It is to me, and especially tonight.”
“What’s tonight?” Shit, did she forget something? She pulled back, focused fully on his face. No, something else. “Did you have a thing mess up in the Universe of Roarke?”
He smiled at her, tapped the dent in her chin. “You could say.”
“Not important, especially since I see we have champagne.”
“No.” She shifted before he could walk past her. “You take my stuff. I’ll take yours.”
He trailed a hand down her arm, over the soft sleeve of her sweater. “Marriage Rules?”
ORDER A COPY: Tall, Dark, and Vampire
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
We’re talking today with author Sara Humphreys about her new series, Dead in the City, her new Demon serials, and saying goodbye to the Amoveo Legend. Check it out.
The last person Olivia Hollingsworth expected to see at her Greenwich Village vampire club was her one true love, Doug Paxton—whom she believed to be dead for centuries. Olivia thought she had moved on, but when Doug reappears, her heart knows she’d rather die than lose him again.
Ever since Doug can remember, a red-haired siren has haunted his dreams. He never thought she could be real until he goes to investigate a murder at Olivia’s night club. However, as the bodies keep piling up at her feet, he must fight to prove her innocence—even if it costs him his life.
Det. Douglas Paxton knew there was something off when he arrived at the nightclub known as The Coven and saw the redheaded beauty standing outside the club. The same beauty who has been haunting his dreams for years now. There was no possible way that she was real. But Doug also knew trouble when he saw it and this place was sending his cop-senses screaming that something was just not right. He had to get his head back into the game and stop focusing on her. People we dying and the killer’s trail was leading right to her doorstep. She might look like his dreamscape beauty, but she was also a possible suspect in the brutal slayings.
Doug wasn’t the only one reeling from their first meeting. To Doug, Olivia was simply a woman he met in vivid dreams. For Olivia, Doug looks just like her great love who she lost the night she was made vampire 300 years ago. As Olivia comes to realize that Doug doesn’t just look like her true love, he is her love reincarnated. She also comes to realize that unless she is willing to turn him, she will be forced to someday watch him die once again.
Although forcing a vampire life on Doug is the last thing she wants to do, when the killer leaves Doug for dead behind her nightclub, Olivia knows she won’t lose him again. When he wakes, Olivia finds that in fact Doug might never forgive her, especially when his turning is…off. He wakes too early from his turning, he has an older vamp’s control of his bloodlust, and his new abilities fall to him naturally…too naturally. Is there such a thing as a naturally born vampire?
As Doug tries to adjust to what is happening to him, they still have a killer to find. A killer who seems to be bringing death right to Olivia’s front door.
A great start to a great new series. There are a few campy vampire abilities, like flying; not changing to a bat, but just flying. Overall, the story was well told and kept your attention, and the characters were well written.
Doug was a stand out character here: dedicated cop unaware of the supernatural, who drawn to the heroine through dreams. He was flawlessly turned into a vampire as if he had been turned hundreds of years ago and not just this morning. That alone kept you guessing as to what was up with Doug, let alone the whole “who is the killer” mystery.
We also met many other characters who I am sure will be the focus of future novels.
A great new paranormal series.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!
“I need to know if you’re real, or if I’m making it all up, like that kiss in the alley.” His erection pressed against her lower back as his hands brushed down her bare arms. “Was that you, Olivia? Was it another dream or a hallucination from hitting my head?”
He didn’t know what was real and what was imaginary and probably felt like he was going insane. Olivia wanted to tell him, but where would she begin? How could she explain something she was still trying to understand?
Doug licked the hypersensitive skin along her neck as he murmured, “Even if it is all just dreams, I don’t care. It feels pretty fucking real.”
He gripped her shoulders and nuzzled her curly red hair off her neck. She arched back, lifted her hands through his short hair, bathing in the feel of his masculine hands as they massaged her breasts. A lusty moan escaped her lips as Doug trailed hot kisses along her neck, and he pinched her nipples as they peaked in response. She pressed herself further into his grasp, desperate to get closer, while he nibbled on the exposed skin.
“I feel like I’ve been looking for you forever–my whole life,” he murmured. “Every time you get closer, but no matter how much I get, it is’t enough. I want more. I want it all.”
His hands wandered to her waist and rested on the gentle curve of her hips. She pressed back and ground against him, which elicited a moan of pleasure as his lips pressed against the crook of her neck.
“Then what are you waiting for?” Olivia spun in his arms, grabbed his face with both hands, and whispered against his lips, “Take it.”
He captured her mouth with his greedily, and she opened for him, letting him plunder. Devouring her as though she might vanish from his embrace at any moment, he scooped her up and carried her toward the abandoned taxi parked at the curb. Olivia kicked off her stilettos, wrapped her arms around his neck, and deepened the kiss–licking and nipping at his firm, warm lips–all the while wishing it were more than a dream.
He sat her down on the hood of the cab and stood between her legs, which she promptly wrapped around his waist, tugging him harder against her. Heat pressed enticingly against heat. Doug cradled her head in his hands and suckled on her lower lip before breaking the kiss. He rested his forehead on hers and brushed his thumb along the skin of her cheek as her hands rested on his ass.
He pulled back abruptly and lifted her chin, forcing her to look him in the face, and when their eyes met, all the breath rushed from his lungs. Familiar turquoise eyes stared at her beneath a furrowed brow, and she watched as the pieces came together.
“It’s you,” he said under his breath. “I’m not crazy, am I, Olivia? The second I laid eyes on you tonight outside the club, I knew you were mine. I’ve dreamt of you since I can remember, but I never though you could be real.” He moved closer, brushing his lips along the corner of her mouth. “And then, there you were on a New York City sidewalk in living color.
Our winner was Melissa L. Thank you to Kensington for the givewaway.
ORDER A COPY: Avenging Angel (The Fallen)
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 337 pages
Rating: 5 stars
With a messed up family background and a tendency to grow claws and fangs, Tanner Chance isn’t exactly the boy next door. But he’s a decent cop, and he keeps himself on the side of the good guys. Convenient, because when he rescues a survivor of a horrific shifter attack he finds himself instantly smitten—with an honest-to-goodness angel, as innocent as she is irresistible.
Marna may be angelic, but she’s not stupid or weak. She can take care of herself. Tanner is more temptation than protection anyway. Or so she thinks, until someone wearing her face starts taking out some of New Orleans’ more unsavory paranormals. With police and predators both gunning for her blood, Marna has no choice but to trust Tanner…even though what’s sparking between them is hotter than anything holy.
Marna was an Angel of Death. Being an Angel of Death wasn’t something that she loved to do. She hated seeing all the pain, suffering and fear associated with death, but it was all she knew. Except Heaven is closed to her now. An Angel without wings can’t fly back to Heaven and her wings were shredded off her body by a half-shifter/half-angel named Brandt. He’s dead, killed by another Fallen, but that doesn’t stop the pain that Marna suffers each day for her loss. The loss of everything that she has ever known. The unbearable pain of having her delicate wings ripped from her body. And suffering the overwhelming emotions which are plaguing her, a Fallen Angel, rage, pain…lust.
The worst part is being a Fallen Death Angel that no longer has the killing touch. Oh how she wanted to use it to kill those shifters to just watched and laughed as her life was torn from her. She tried to touch them and failed, and they laughed at her some more. Now everyone knows that the fragile, helpless little Angel has no power to protect herself. And every predator is looking for her wanting a taste of Angel’s blood, of the power that blood can boost their supernatural abilities. She No. 1 on every supernatural’s hit list whether they want a taste or just want the fortune to be had selling her blood to the highest bidder.
Detective (and shifter) Tanner Chance has been trying to protect Marna since his brother, Brandt, left her broken and bleeding in the swamp. Now that those shifters have turned up dead and eyewitnesses are pointing to the little blonde angel as the killer, Tanner has to work fast to keep Marna from being locked up in the human jail. He will do whatever he must to protect her, even go against his training, because every sense he has tells him to protect her…to protect what is his. Marna isn’t his yet, but she will be. Both the man and the beast know she is his.
Cynthia Eden never disappoints. Although Azreal gets to keep the crown for most awesome Angel, this story kept me guessing the entire time, Who could we trust? Who is watching? Who is after them? After three stories featuring powerful, bad-ass Angels, I loved that Marna is portrayed as small and helpless. Unlike the other Fallen, Marna has not regained her Angel powers since loosing her wings. This makes her a prime target for all the vampires, demons and shifters prowling New Orleans who want to take or cash in on her powerful and very addictive angel’s blood.
There has been something between Tanner and Marna since he picked her up off the ground in the swamp in Angel In Chains and it was a great story to read. Watching Marna go from being afraid whenever she saw Tanner’s claws to her coming to trust him not to hurt her and finally their budding relationship was so enjoyable.
Another great story by Cynthia Eden!
Received a review copy from the publisher. Thank you.
Marna swallowed and lifted her chin higher. Of course, she lifted the covers higher, too. “I want to be alone now. I don’t want–”
In two seconds, he was on that bed with her. Marna tried to scramble back. Too late. He grabbed her hand and forced it against his bare chest.
Her breath rasped out, and she tried to jerk away from him. “Stop it!”
“Make me.” A cruel taunt, but he had to see what would happen.
Marna’s blue eyes widened as she tried to yank her hand away again. He just tightened his hold. Her palm was soft against his chest. Her splayed fingers pressed right over his racing heart.
“Let me go!”
The covers had dropped. She had on a black bra–one he’d raced out and bought for her before they’d gone to Hell. He’d picked up clothes for her, fantasizing a bit about her in the silk panties, and–
Her left hand plowed into his face.
He shook his head, barely feeling the sting of that blow as realization settled heavily in his gut. “You can’t do it.”
No wonder the vampire had been so close to her.
Her breath rushed out, far too fast, and he could see the frantic race of her pulse at the base of her neck. “Don’t push me.” Her words were loud, rushed. “I don’t want to hurt you!”
“You can’t.” Certain now. “You can’t hurt me.” She was touching him. Flesh to flesh.
Her skin was so pale. Her eyes wide. And the scent of her fear was driving him freaking insane. “You can’t kill me. You can’t use the Death Touch.” Fuck. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? That vamp could have drained you dry!”
But, even as he asked, Tanner knew why she hadn’t told him. The lady didn’t trust him, not for one single minute.
“I could have handled him,” Marna gritted out.
He still held her hand pinned against his chest. “Oh, yeah? How? The way you’re handling me right now?”
Then she moved, so fast that he didn’t even see the motion of her body. Angels could always move so quickly. Marna just hadn’t moved that way in a while, and he’d forgotten…
She shoved him back on the bed and straddled him, and Marna shoved a knife against this throat.
Now where the hell had she gotten that little trinket?
The silver began to slice into his flesh.
“I found this back at Hell,” she told him, fingers clenched tightly around the hilt of the blade. “I had it when that vamp came at me. I could’ve used it on him.”
“A little knife wouldn’t stop him.” Or me. Silver would hurt like a bitch because the old tale about shifters and silver not mixing so well was true, but she wouldn’t have time to do any permanent damage. Permanent like cutting out his heart.
“It would have slowed him down. Vampires get weaker with blood loss. I would have been sure to make him plenty weak.”
Strange to hear such bloodthirsty plans come from her lips. He had to remember, the lady was far deadlier than she appeared.
Even if she’d somehow lost the Death Touch.
“When did you know?” Her legs straddled him. Did she feel the swelling cock shoving again her? Probably. Tanner didn’t really see how she could miss that. Not like it was a small thing.
The blade dug a bit deeper into his skin. “I went after those bastard panther shifters, LaRue and Stokes,” Marna confessed. “I went after the jerks because I wanted to kill them.”
So she had been seeking some vengeance. Tanner tried to keep his body perfectly still beneath her. He had one hell of a view, and other than the stinging pain in his neck, being beneath her was pretty damn pleasurable.
Being in her, that would be even better.
A hungry growl slipped from him.
Marna frowned down at him.
Tanner cleared his throat. “What happened?”
Her tongue swiped over her lips. His cock jerked.
“I–I tracked them in the Quarter,” she said. “I followed them for days. I waited, wanting the perfect moment.”
Definitely a bloodthirsty angel. He’d have to remember that little tidbit about her. Marna sure wasn’t all sunshine and light, no matter how she appeared.
“I was going to walk right up to them. Look them straight in the eyes, and watch as their lives drained away.”
He would have done the exact same thing. He liked for his kills to be personal. Those getting payback, well, they needed to see just who was delivering the justice to them.
“They always went to the same place for drinks. I waited until the bar on Bourbon Street was almost empty, and then I went inside.”
Tanner heard the echo of pain in her voice. “What did they do to you?”
“Nothing.” A laugh, heavy with bitterness, slipped from her. “I marched up to Stokes. Put my hand on his chest and waited for him to look at me with fear in his eyes.”
Beau Stokes had always been a sadistic prick. So eager to attack weaker prey. So quick to slice with his claws and laugh when his prey begged for mercy.
“But he didn’t even know who I was,” Marna whispered. did she realized she still held the knife to his throat? “He tried to kiss me. Tried to pull me closer to him, like I was another body to screw in that dark bar.”
Tanner didn’t speak.
“I wanted to kill him. I was trying to. LaRue was coming toward us, laughing, and I wanted them both to die.” Her head dipped further forward, and the curtain of her hair hid her face.
Tanner lifted his hand and pushed back her hair. He could barely feel the sting of the knife now. “But they didn’t die.”
Her lashes slowly lifted. “Angels of death–those Fallen and those who still have their wings–all of them can kill with a touch. That’s our power. Our one, unbreakable gift. Death.”
Death was a gift?
“I ran from the shifters. They were laughing at me while I ran away.” Her breath rasped out. “When Brandt took my wings from me, he took away everything that I was. I have nothing now. Nothing.”
But fury. A rage so dark it had sent her after the panthers–ready to kill and destroy.
“Angels have magic. They can do so much–conjure, stir fire.” A bitter laugh came from her. “I can’t even make smoke.” She shook her head. “So what am I supposed to do now?” Marna asked him and then she blinked, seeming to finally realize that she still had a knife at his throat. Her hand lifted as she took the knife away from his jugular. “Just wait around for a vamp to drain me? Wait for a shifter to slice me and–”
It was his turn to have her flat on her back. Tanner crushed her into the mattress. He didn’t have to worry about a Death Touch now. She wasn’t going to lose control.
Maybe it was time he did.
ORDER A COPY: Horns of the Devil: A Jeff Trask Legal Thriller
Publishing Date: December 6, 2012
Paperback: 250 Page
Rating: 5 stars
The beheaded body of an ambassador’s son is dumped on the curb in front of his father’s embassy just blocks from the White House. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask and an FBI task force are called upon to solve the murder. Their search for the killers leads to the MS-13, a hyper-violent gang from El Salvador, but Trask and his team soon learn that someone else is also tracking their suspects, and with deadly efficiency. When Trask himself becomes a target, he realizes that he is caught in a cross-fire between two of the most ruthless organizations in the western hemisphere. Author Marc Rainer brings more than three decades of investigative and prosecutorial experience to this follow-up to his hit novel “Capital Kill.” “Horns of the Devil” provides a view into one of the most deadly organized crime threats facing the United States today, and takes the reader on a gripping ride through murder investigations complicated by Washington politics and international intrigue.
In the thrilling follow up to Capital Kill, former USDA now Officer Timothy Wisniewski is called to investigate a call about a man injured. He certain was. In fact, he has been decapitated. The body is that of the teenaged son of Juan Carlos Lopez-Portillo, the Ambassador from El Salvador. His body was dumped in front of the embassy to leave a message, but the question is what message and from whom?
Soon Det. Dixon Carter Dix, FBI Agent Barry Dorez and USDA Jeff Trask are all heading the new task force to find out who is behind the death of an Ambassador’s son.
All evidence starts pointing toward two very aggressive, rival drug gangs originating from California made up of El Salvadorians, the MS-13 and the M-18, who have each staked out territory in and around D.C. As the body count climbs for both of the gangs, some of the kills start to look too professional for gang hits and the Task Force needs to worry if they are in the middle of an open gang war or there is someone else trying to escalate the gang violence between the two factions, and the need to put a stop to it before the violence spills out into the streets of D.C.
Another great thriller by Marc Rainer. I enjoy this group of characters and the way they work together in their respective departments to solve the case.
We are along for the ride with both the investigators and the killers but just like our investigators until there are enough pieces to put together, we can’t figure out the whys and wherefores of what is happening.
With an author who doesn’t hesitate to harm a character, either major or minor, it keeps you on your toes wondering if the killers might just win this time.
Mixed all together it was an intriguing story with great characters, in real danger and like any good thriller, it kept you guessing until the very end.
If you love a good thriller, I recommend you giving this new author a chance.
Received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
Lynn Trask drove south on Maryland highway 5 toward Waldorf. She hadn’t really said anything to Jeff before leaving. She had left a short message on his office voicemail, knowing that he’d probably never check it. He’d stay in the task force bullpen or in the conference room until it dawned on him that it was past time to leave. The voicemail would cover her if he bothered to ask. He’d check her cubicle an see that her purse was gone, and then he’d figure it out.
He IS a freakin’ genius, after all. That’s why he’s right 99 percent of the time, and why he was asking questions about Armando’s killer again in front of te squad, even after I’d figured it out. GOD, he pissed me off sometimes always analyzing, re-analyzing. Sometimes I think I married one of those Vulcans from Star Trek. Logic, logic, and more logic, with a memory like a damned computer. When he’s focused on something like this, I can’t break into his hard drive, even when I’m helping input data. I’m right about Armando’s murder, damn it. It all makes too much sense to be wrong. “Can’t afford to assume.” DAMMIT. He might as well have been cross-examining me on the witness stand. It’s not an assumption; it’s a solid inference based on proof.
She stopped at a shopping center when she reached the Saint Charles subdivision. Boo and Nikki were almost out of dog food. She picked up a forty-pound bag of the expensive stuff, and continued the debate with herself as she pushed the cart back to her car.
Calm down. You know he didn’t mean anything personal by asking everyone else about it. He probably agrees with you and doesn’t want it to look like he’s playing favorites. No, he’s really weighing other possibilities and letting the chips fall where they may, even with his own wife. It’s still not personal, though; he’s just doing his job, and the one he’s so good at. That concentration will stay focused until he solves this, then he’ll be human again. GOD, he pissed me off sometimes. He’ll miss dinner fore sure. He can find his own tonight.
She turned into the cul-de-sac marked Amwich Court and pulled into the driveway of the house at he end. Throwing the sack of dog food over her shoulder, she opened the door to the split-foyer entrance and headed downstairs. She filled the bowls and walked to the sliding glass doors, which opened onto the patio in back. She pulled one side open and paused at the screen door, seeing the two happy faces and wagging tails on the other side. She couldn’t help but smile and felt her mood improving.
“Hi, girls. Mama’s home. Ready for dinner?”
The low growl from Boo caught her by surprise.
“What’s the matter, Boo?”
She knew as she asked that she should turn to look behind her, but that realization came too late. A large gloved hand covered her face, and she had time for only one thought before she blacked out.
We’re talking with author Marc Rainer about his work as a former Assistant United States Attorney, as well as where he plans to take his fictional task force in future stories.
ORDER A COPY: Capital Kill
Publishing Date: March 31, 2013
Paperback: 333 pages
Rating: 5 stars
A few short blocks from the safety of the museums and monuments on the National Mall, a ruthless killer prowls the streets of Washington DC. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask joins a team of FBI agents and police detectives as they try and solve the series of brutal murders. As the body count rises, the investigation leads to a chilling confrontation with the leader of an international drug smuggling ring, and no one is safe, not even the police.
Jeffrey Trask decided it was time to leave the Air Force Justice Department. The work was fulfilling, but the hours and the travel successfully killed his marriage. Moving to Washington D.C. and accepting a position as an Assistant United States Attorney, meant more than just a change of location. The court system in D.C. encompasses 68 square miles of madness, with the various levels of trial courts, as well as Metro Police, FBI, CIA, DEA and the like constantly trying not to step on each other toes. But Jeff thinks he is up for the task.
His boss certainly does. Robert Lassiter, Chief of the Criminal Bureau, needs more men with a trial record and the ethics of a man like Jeff Trask and he is staking is reputation pushing Trask up the ladder straight to Federal Court level.
Trask hits his first few days on the job running — straight to Court and meeting some of D.C.’s finest, Detectives Dixon “Dix” Carter and Juan Ramirez, better known about town as The Twins, bring in a 18 year old selling PCP who might know just what happened to their snitch, Junebug. Little do they know that this bust will become a case that will change their lives forever.
In this thrilling crime drama, we follow the police, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office as they work together through the complex D.C. legal system to bring down a dangerous drug lord who doesn’t fear getting his hands dirty and who believes that silencing snitches permanently is just an entertaining part of his job.
This is the best crime drama I have read in a long time. I loved the way we are introduced to the characters by just watching them go about their jobs. Just like in the real world the main storyline here is not the only case being worked on by any of these parties. By the end of the story, we don’t have to presume that Trask will win his case just because he’s a main character. We know he will because we have gotten to know that he is hard working and very knowledgeable. We have seen that Robert Lassiter has integrity and is more interested in doing right by the people of Washington D.C. than just furthering his career. We also learn that not everyone is a team player and that there are some more interested in getting ahead than getting dangerous criminals off the street.
This has a very Law and Order feel to it, but unlike L&O it isn’t split up into cops and lawyers. This story shows that to properly take down dangerous criminals you need a task force from the various agencies all working together for the same cause — keeping the people safe. It also shows that it’s not always about the star, it’s about the team, and sometimes even the new guy comes up with an important clue.
I was a big fan of the John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport and James Patterson’s Alex Cross, but I didn’t like that in both those stories the main character drifted away from their respective units and task forces, and were always working solo. They were following dangerous serial killers with no one backing them up, which would be insanity. Eventually I just lost interest.
I am looking forward to see where Book #2 takes us and if we will be meeting new characters as we investigate the next set of murders.
Here’s one I finally get to share with Dad. He’s going to love it.
Received a review copy from the author. Thank you.
“After the thing with Roderick Greene surfaced, I spoke with out best profiler at headquarters,” Dorez continued. “He said he’d never seen anything like this before. In his experience, most serial killers who leave calling cards are actually inviting a sordid game of Catch Me if You Can. They leave a real clue here or there, even if it’s some kind of misdirection. They try to show that they’re smarter than we are—dare us to catch them. That’s why we often see them writing us—or the media—letters, and they may even attempt to get some relationship established with one of us to personalize what they see as the game.
“This guy—our killer—is not doing any of those things. In our profiler’s opinion, he’s just spitting in our faces. He’s doing nothing at all to give us a clue—misdirection or otherwise—and believes we’re really helpless to stop him. It’s not that he wants a game. He believes he’s at war with us, and has nothing but hatred for us and his victims. That’s why he’s chosen to kill them in one of the most torturous ways possible, both mentally and physically, and that’s why he wants us to know he’s doing it—to intimidate us, his enemies.”
“Reminds me of some of the things I heard from the POWs after they came back from ‘Nam,” Lassiter said. “Some of the things the guards did at the Hanoi Hilton had nothing to do with getting information out of our guys. They just wanted them to suffer, and in some cases, die.”
“Exactly,” Doroz nodded. “What we have, guys, is a sociopathic sadist. Our profiler also said that I should warn everyone here to be extremely careful. This guy’s hatred for informants and cops means he may very well want to go down fighting and to take some of us with him.”
“Let’s not give him that opportunity,” Carter spoke in a somber tone. “He’s a problem, but he’s not worth anyone in his room going down. Let’s be smart, and as careful as our target has been.”
“If I might throw something out here,” Trask offered, “We also need to start planning to rebut an insanity defense, assuming that we’re able to take this guy alive and try him.”
“Agreed,” Lassiter said, “As well as a capital prosecution. We already have the required aggravation factors in evidence to justify a death-penalty case, even if we don’t have proof of the identify of the killer. And a capital prosecution would mean that the defense would automatically consider an insanity defense, even if we didn’t already have five murders so sadistic that a layman juror would already be thinking that the killer’s nuts.”
“So this asshole might skate because he just likes to kill. What a system.” Ramirez was walking around the room shaking his head.
I received an e-mail from the authors behind Big Bad Bite letting me know that their story has undergone a makeover and a review from a new editor, and they asked me to share that with our readers.
“We’re excited to announce that Big Bad Bite had a makeover! Inside and out! We have a sexy new cover featuring our favorite Wolf, Adam, AND Big Bad Bite was sent off and edited by the amazing girls at C&D Editing. Some might wonder, “Has the story changed?” The answer to that would be yes and no. No, because the story line is still the same. Yes, because it no longer has those pesky grammatical errors, info dumps were cut down, inconsistencies were caught, and best of all, a tiny scene was added! Overall, it’s a better story, but still has a kick ass, snarky heroine Jenna, and the snarly, but lovable, Adam who wants her.
So, if you haven’t picked up your copy of Big Bad Bite yet, then go get it today!”
What would it be like to live in a world where you are considered abnormal to those who are above the norm?
Jenna O’ Conner has been taught her whole life to hide from everyone. Never to let anyone to close enough to know that she would prefer a shotgun for her birthday over of a bouquet of roses. She’s been smothered by her over protective family so that no one learns what she truly is. Which is not human. Nor, is she considered the norm for the supernatural Other community that is benevolent enough to share this world with the humans.
In a desperate attempt to live her own life away from the small town she was raised in, Jenna obtains her dream job as the newest member on the Wilmington Police Department’s SWAT Team. What she didn’t predict was that she would run into trouble her first day on the job, in the form of a deadly, mouthwatering man named Adam McPhee. Who is also not human, but more like a wolf walking around in human skin. He’s determined to figure out exactly what Jenna is, which unbeknownst to him, could very well put her life in danger. He’s also determined to have her all to himself.
As if that wasn’t enough for Jenna to deal with, bad news blows into town. A group of extremist Shifters who think humans are cattle and factions of Others worldwide should stay within their own species – never to intermingle. Chaos ensues. Jenna has to find a way to shut them down, but in the process of trying to do that, discovers things about herself that even she never thought was possible.
Who said the wolf was what you had to worry about? Welcome to the real world.
Tomorrow we’ll have a bonus – Chapter 1
ORDER A COPY: Lucky Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: March 4, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars
It’s Christmas Day in the sleepy town of Sorenson, Wisconsin, but instead of unwrapping presents, deputy coroner Mattie Winston is at the burnt remains of a house, where a charred body has been found. The victim is none other than Jack Allen—a paraplegic who recently won a huge casino jackpot. Upon closer inspection, Mattie and detective Steve Hurley are convinced Jack was murdered to steal his winnings, giving the phrase Black Jack a whole new meaning.
But as Mattie investigates, even her cutting-edge forensic skills keep coming up short in a case with as many suspects as twists. After her odds-on-favorite turns up dead, Mattie and Hurley must race to find a killer before another victim cashes in his chips
Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston has been re-assigned as the liaison between the ME’s office and the police. This new promotion has been a joy and a torture. She gets to work all her cases directly with Det. Steve Hurley, the one man who has gotten her hormones working overtime since her divorce. Although they are now constantly together, their respective jobs require a certain personal distance. This means simply that Mattie can’t have the one man she wants the most.
Their current case involves a paraplegic named Jack Allen whose body is found in the charred remains of his house. It’s beginning to look like a case of arson. It appears that Jack has just won a huge jackpot at the local casino and he hasn’t kept that fact a secret. So that makes just about everyone in town a suspect. When an autopsy proves that Jack didn’t die from the fire, Hurley and Mattie need to sort through the facts to narrow down their killer.
While the investigation is keeping them on their toes, so is the building attraction between them. To Mattie there is no longer a question of whether or not Hurley wants more from her, but can she give up a job she loves and which challenges her so she can be with this man that sets her body aflame.
I like the characters in this series. I like that Mattie Winston is an average, everyday woman. She’s got body issues and too much love for ice cream and pizza. She hates to exercise and she stress eats. A former RN, she now works for her friend Izzy who is the local coroner, and her medical background is a perfect compliment to Hurley’s police work.
After her husband, the local surgeon is caught cheating in the hospital where they both worked, Mattie has found herself attracted to Hurley. They have reached the point where it is no longer a of question of whether those feelings are reciprocated, but now that they have admitted their mutual desires, they are forbidden from pursuing the relationship so there isn’t any shadow of a doubt of coercion between the departments.
Now my only complaint in this series is that this is book four of the series and it is a first person narrative. We watched while Mattie drooled over Hurley with only his casual flirting with her in return so there is a lot of that “does he like me like I like him” angst. We saw a building up of the attraction toward the end of book 3 when they suddenly become direct co-workers and can’t be together personally. Now in book 4 we finally know for certain that Hurley returns Mattie’s affections but because of the rules they can’t decide what’s more important, being together or working together. From where we left off, I can guess how book 5 will leave us hanging still further and (again just me guessing) how book 6 might also continue to drag out how Hurley and Mattie can’t be together. I’m all for building the sexual tension but come on now you can still have a good story with them together as a couple. It is one thing to drag it out for as long as possible in a YA book, but we’re all adults. Let’s work this out.
Mattie is the character whose bread will never fall butter side up, (but she’ll eat it anyway) in a very “I Love Lucy” way. She’s the character who will be locked out of her house in her underwear, or do something embarrassing when she thinks she’s alone, only to find there was a camera or a two-way mirror with people watching her. It makes for a lot of entertaining situations.
This is not a heart pounding thriller, but the puzzle solving is very entertaining. If you like shows like CSI, you will enjoy the storytelling and the characters are very likeable and the situations Mattie keeps getting into will leave you laughing.
I enjoy the series, and wish it would come out more than once a year.
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
“You seemed to be enjoying yourself,” Whitehorse says as I’m stuffing my money in my purse. “How about a one-hundred-dollar voucher so you can come back and play on us?”
Feeling like I’ve hit the proverbial jackpot, I’m about to agree when Hurley speaks up.
“Thanks for the offer, but we can’t accept any gratuities. It might be construed as a conflict of interest.”
I realize Hurley is right and pout. Whitehorse shrugs and looks at me; his dark eyes are smoking. “Perhaps you’d like to come back sometime on your own dime, then. I’d love to show you around the place. Maybe even take you out to dinner?”
I’m flattered; but before I can answer, Hurley once again pipes up.
“I’m not sure that would be wise, at least until our investigation is over.”
“Then we’ll make dinner a part of the investigation,” Whitehorse counters, undeterred. “I’ll provide you with some insight into the overall operations of the casino, and do the same with any employees of interest. I’ll even arrange some interviews for you. That way you can consider it an official part of the investigation.” He looks at me and winks. “At least for now.”
I like Joe Whitehorse. He’s handsome, witty, affable, and the smoke signals in his eyes are hinting at a possible end to my sexual drought. “Thanks,” I say, smiling at him. “That would be nice.”
Hurley shifts uncomfortably, communicating his irritation. Then he says, “Fine. Where and when should we get together?”
Joe and I both turn to stare at him.
“Well, we’re a team,” Hurley says, pointing from me to himself. “And we’ve been issued an edict to oversee one another’s investigative efforts. So if you two are going to have dinner and discuss our investigation, I need to be there.”
“I see,” Joe says.
Hurley has clearly thrown down a gauntlet and I wait, curious to see if Joe will take the challenge. It’s my own personal game of cowboys and Indians—and I’m kind of liking it.
“Okay, then,” Joe says. “Why don’t you two plan on returning here tomorrow evening and I’ll bring the employee list and some files with me and go over them with you. We can meet at the restaurant next door. Does seven sound okay?”
“Seven will be fine,” Hurley says. His eyes are the color of cold steel and he’s wearing a smug smile, which irritates me.
We part company from Joe; on the way out to Hurley’s car, I fume. As soon as we’re settled inside, I let him have it.
“You don’t think you’re fooling anyone with that whole team speech, do you?”
“What do you mean?” he says, sounding all innocent. “It’s true.”
“I think you know damn well that Joe’s original purpose for the meal wasn’t to discuss the investigation.”
“That’s what he said,” Hurley says, shrugging.
“Because you cornered him into it.”
“If that wasn’t his intent, then what was?”
“He was asking me out on a date.”
“He was? I’m sorry. I didn’t pick up on that.”
“The hell you didn’t.”
ORDER A COPY: Die for Me: A Novel of the Valentine Killer
Publishing Date: February 12, 2013
Paperback: 358 pages
Rating: 5 pages
She thought her fiancé was the perfect man—until he turned out to be the perfect killer…
Katherine Cole is running for her life, desperate to escape the Valentine Killer—so-called because he stabs his victims through the heart and leaves them holding a telltale single red rose. Still he tracks her to New Orleans and begins carving a bloody path to her door. But this time, Katherine refuses to run any farther. This time, she’ll do anything to stop the madman she once loved, even trust the sexy cop promising to keep her safe…
Detective Dane Black never lets his emotions interfere with his job, even as the Valentine Killer surfaces in New Orleans to stalk his prey. But when Dane agrees to protect the killer’s ex-fiancée, Katherine Cole, he can’t ignore the passion kindling between them. After a single unforgettable night binds them body and soul, Dane knows he won’t rest until Katherine is safe in his arms—and the Valentine Killer is dead.
Katelynn thought she had the perfect life, a great job and a wonderful fiancé who loved her dearly. Then her life in Boston ended after her perfect man turned out to be a serial killer. She is still tormented by the knowledge that she never knew there was a monster that lived inside the man she loved. After walking in on the man now called The Valentine Killer, she was brought in and questioned by the Boston Police and she told them everything she knew, or thought she knew, about the man she called Michael. But they were never able to find him.
Three years later, she is living in New Orleans, with a new look and a new name. She now answers to the name of Katherine Cole. She thinks she is finally regaining control of her life when her nightmare starts again. A woman has been murdered, and she is found clutching one red rose.
Although it jeopardizes her new life, Katherine goes to the New Orleans Police Dept. to help them catch Valentine. When she approaches Det. Dane Black, he is concerned that Katherine is involved with the murders. How else could she know so much about the murder scenes? As he finds out more about Katherine and her life in Boston, he is convinced that Valentine is focusing on women who look like Katherine and this time, she might just become one of his victims if Dane isn’t quick enough.
Katherine will do whatever is necessary to help keep more women from becoming victims of this killer. While Katherine has never forgotten Valentine, Valentine has never forgotten the only woman he ever loved, and he is watching and waiting for an opportunity to be with his Kat again.
This was a nail biting thriller. It is not often that I get to read a thriller that just keeps me guessing. I think I had everyone guilty at one point or other during the story.
There was also an interesting thought throughout this story in that our killer was in love with and absolutely obsessed with our heroine, and Det. Black falls for Katherine and becomes obsessed with her. So what is the difference between the killer and the cop if they are both so obsessed with Katherine. A very interesting point.
On the romance scale, I’d only give it a 3 1/2 . I really wasn’t feeling it. Dane’s obsessive interest seemed to come too quickly and although they have sex, it is more of a quick, lust filled coming together with little foreplay. I usually enjoy the dance that Cynthia’s hero and heroine do before they come together, especially that first time, so I would say the focus on this story is more the thriller than the romance.
This story takes off from page 1 and never slows down. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.
It wouldn’t have been fair to lead the guy on, not when she couldn’t make herself feel anything for him.
But then, she hadn’t felt very much in the past few years. Half the time, it seemed as if she were wrapped in some kind of fog, moving slowly through life.
You felt something when you were with the detective. The whisper slid through her mind. Katherine swallowed and turned toward the stairs. Right then, she didn’t want to think too much about the dark and dangerous detective. Instead, she wanted—
She came to an abrupt stop.
There were roses on the stairs.
The breath froze in Katherine’s chest.
Once upon a time, roses had been her favorite flowers. Then she’d learned just what Michael had been doing with the roses. Buying a dozen roses…then leaving one with his victim and bring the remaining eleven to her.
He brought them to me after each kill.
Her cheeks were wet now. Her hands were shaking.
And there were fucking roses on her stairs. In my house. “No,” Katherine whispered. This could not be happening.
But there was something beside the roses. A small box. It almost looked like a candy box from one of those fancy chocolate shops that she’d seen in the French Quarter a few times. Slender, long…
She was walking toward the box. She should be getting the hell out of there, but it was as if she were being pulled forward, forced toward that box.
I’ll look inside. It will just be chocolate. Trent could have left the candy and the flowers when I wasn’t looking. He dropped them off when he was here earlier and I was getting my purse.
It didn’t have to be from Valentine.
But he always sent me flowers after each death. She just hadn’t realized that fact until after it was too late. He’d sent her eleven roses, and his victim—each time his victim had the twelfth rose.
Her breath sawed out of her lungs as her gaze locked on those roses. Helplessly she began to count them.
One, two, three…
The scent of the roses was sickly sweet.
Four, five, six…
There were thorns on the roses. Thorns that would draw blood.
Seven, eight, nine…
Her heart beat so hard that it hurt her chest.
Ten. Eleven. Dear God, only eleven.
The twelfth rose was missing.
She picked up the box. Nearly dropped it because she was so scared and nervous. Then her shaking fingers lifted the lid off the box. Rose petals fell onto the steps. Then she screamed, a long, desperate sound, but one that also burned with rage because the sick bastard was back. He was playing games with her—with his victims—all over again.
There was no chocolate in the box.
She dropped it. Jumped back.
Katherine whirled and ran for the door. Get away, get away, get away.
Because the nightmare of her past had found her once more.
Sorry for the delay. Rafflecopter gave me the finger this morning and told me to come back later. Our winner of the ARC copy is Joanne B.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered!
ORDER A COPY: Calculated in Death
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 416 pages
Rating: 4 stars
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.
A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn’t seem the type to be on anyone’s hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta’s murder was the work of a killer who’s trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.
But when someone steals the files out of Marta’s office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke’s world of big business to figure out who’s cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer’s violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait.
As we near the end of 2060, the city is gearing up for the holidays and all the talk is about the upcoming premiere of The Icove Agenda. But not everyone is focused on the holidays, some are focused on murder.
Lt. Eve Dallas and her partner, Det. Peabody are called to the scene of what is supposed to look like a mugging gone wrong. Marta Dickenson is found at the bottom of a stairway with a broken neck, but her body was dragged off into a corner and her injuries aren’t consistent with a fall. What is Marta, an unassuming wife and mother, doing strolling around a neighborhood, no where near her home or her office? And why would a mugger go through the trouble to stealing her coat, but leaving her really expensive boots? This set up is so sloppy, it wouldn’t fool a rookie. Marta wasn’t mugged—Marta was the victim of cold-blooded murder.
It doesn’t take long for Dallas to track Marta back to her job as a financial auditor or to learn that Marta has just been reassigned several new files that morning. What could Marta have learned so quickly that would lead to murder? Mug her, steal her briefcase and files in case she was taking work home, but murdering her is overkill and brings up too many questions.
When Dallas and Peabody start to ask too many questions and makes someone very nervous, but what kind of idiot would make an attempt on not just one cop, but two? Killing a cop wouldn’t stop an investigation. It would just focus all attention on their current case.
Dallas has used her skills and her ability to get into the mind of a killer to solve many cases over her decade as a cop, but how do you outthink a murderer who isn’t acting logically?
I’m a huge fan of Eve Dallas and the whole gang. It is always enjoyable to me to pick up one of these stories both for the thriller aspect as well as the personal aspect of the story. Although this was not the most exciting story on either front, it was still an enjoyable read.
What I like about the series is that something that happens in one story might be slightly discussed in one book but it will become very important several stories later. For example, when Mira tells Dallas a story about her childhood in one book, and Dallas doesn’t call her on the discrepancy in her story until the next book, or if a gift Dallas gets from Roarke, it is just a gift in one story, but becomes an important and necessary tool in the next. I guess when you know you will continue to write stories, you have the time to subtly set up scenarios for the future.
Although this was not the most exciting case they have ever worked on, it was still enjoyable to “work” with Dallas and the gang again.
Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
Considering, enjoying, Roarke rocked back on his heels as he studied the image. “We have samplings, the fingerprint, and the exterior views here. It’s certainly doable.”
“How long?” Eve demanded.
“Oh, with some luck and another two skilled men, maybe a week. With more luck, three days.”
“Crap. Does it look like I have a week?” She paced away, then back. “I’ve got the resources of the entire EDD, I’ve got the ridiculous resources of the biggest, slickest, most conniving e-geek on or off planet—“
“And you need a freaking week to outgeek some skinny hacker who likes to call himself the Mole?”
Roarke only smiled at her. “That’s about right, yes.”
“Dallas, the freaking Enterprise,” McNab reminded her. “You have to understand the complexities, the filter, the—“
“No, I don’t.” She pointed to McNab. “You do.” She pointed again, more vehemently when he started to speak again.
“I got it!”
Eve sung around toward Peabody. “What?”
Peabody waved her PPC triumphantly. “It’s the Kirk thing, The Enterprise thing. It reminded me I’d hit this name that made me snicker when I was running the van—the Cargo. Here is it is. Tony Stark.”
“Oh, baby.” McNab blew her a double-handed kiss. “Good call.”
“It’s gotta be, right?” Peabody said to McNab. “It’s his style.”
“Who the hell is Tony Stark?” Eve demanded.
“Iron Man,” Roarke told her. “Superhero, genius, innovative engineer, and billionaire playboy.”
“Iron man? You’re talking about a comic book guy?”
“Graphic novel,” Roarke and McNab said together.
“What do you bet it’s him, Dallas?” Peabody asked. “Heroes from classic novels and vids. It fits. They used his van.”
“Possibly. Okay, from the looks of you three, probably. We’ll push on it once we have him, but first we have to get him. Now let me think.”
So she paced, and she plotted. There was no way in hell she’d get this close and surrender to some ferret-faced electronic asshole who used aliases based on fictional characters from science fiction and comic books.
A geek, she considered. And one who like to see himself as the hero, the smart one. Billionaire playboy? The one who got the women.
“Your high-tech can’t beat his high-tech? We go low. We go goddamn classic. Peabody, ditch the jacket.”
When Peabody took it off, Eve fisted her hands on her hips, took a hard study. “Unbutton the shirt.”
Peabody’s eyes popped, shocked brown balloons. “What!”
“Two—no three buttons down. Jesus, Peabody,” Eve strode over to do it herself. “We’ve all seen tits before.” She arched her eyebrows at the fancy lace number Peabody wore under the shirt, which nearly matched the color that currently heated her cheeks. “We could get blown up or something, and this is what you want people to see an NYPSD detective wearing under her clothes?”
“I wasn’t planning on getting blown up today. Or undressed by my partner.” She lifted a hand to draw the shirt back together. Eve slapped it away.
“Shove them up,” Eve ordered.
“Shove them up there.”
“I’ll do it.”
“Stand down, McNab,” Eve said mildly. “You know what I mean. Pump them up some.”
When Eve started to do it for her, Peabody jumped back. “I can do it myself, thanks.” Muttering, she turned her back. Her shoulders wiggled. And flushing furiously, she turned around again.
Ignoring McNab’s comment, Eve circled her partner. “It’s going to work.”
“Classic,” Roarke said.
“What’s going to work? What’s classic? I want my jacket.”
“Forget it. You’re going to walk right up to the Mole’s front door, and he’s going to answer.”
“I am? He is?”
“Damsel in distress, right?” Eve said to Roarke.
“A very alluring damsel. Clever, Lieutenant.”
“Oh, okay. I get it. I look like I’m in trouble—all alone, unarmed. Harmless. Girl. He opens up to find out what’s what. You should do it,” Peabody told Eve.
“You’re the one with the tits. Men are stupid for tits.”
“Harsh,” Roarke observed. “But largely true.”
“Plus, you’re the type, obviously, who appeals to skinny geeks.”
“Oh yeah,” McNab confirmed. “Completely.”