Steve's Reviews

I first met Nancy when she was the manager of the highest grossing (per square foot) B. Dalton store in the country and I was still in the midst of a 40+ year banking and investments career. She introduced me to many authors that rekindled my love of reading. Spending a lot of time on airplanes (or waiting for them) was made a lot easier with my new "friends." I am now retired and split time between Florida and Indiana with reading and golf competing for my time. I have nine grandchildren and most of them are readers as well - one of my favorite things to do is take them to our local bookstore and turn them loose!

Golden Prey                                           

 Author:  John Sandford                     Fiction                     

This is the 27th book in the Prey series by Sandford. And this book continues the consistency he has achieved in this series. Lucas Davenport has moved on to become a federal marshall, having saved the presidential candidate in the last book. She has arranged for Davenport to enter the Marshall’s Service, but without the normal bureaucracy that affects all federal agencies. But Davenport is also bored, until he is brought into a case where 5 people have been murdered. The killings occurred in a cartel counting house, and now the cartel wants the robbers/killers. So Davenport is after the killers, and so is the cartel. He gets teamed up with Bob and Rae (like the old radio show, but Rae is a woman), and together they are trying to find the robbers before the cartel does. Some very despicable characters in this edition. Sandford moves the story along quickly with his usual humor tossed in. A good addition and I look forward to #28 which was released earlier this year.

The Killing Habit                                   

 Author:  Mark Billingham                                   Mystery

This is the 15th book in the DI Tom Thorne series. When I was introduced to this author, I went back to the first in the series (Sleepyhead) and liked it a lot. So when the opportunity arose to received and review an advance reader copy of the latest in the series, I jumped at the chance. As you can see by the rating, I enjoyed the book. But I am thinking that it is best to read them in order as there are many references to earlier events that of course I did not know. DI Thorne is assigned to investigate a case of multiple mutilated cats - which he and his associates believe is the precursor (or after affect) of a serial killer. Simultaneously, a drug mule is murdered and his associate, NicolaTanner, is assigned that case. But Thorne needs her help so they work both cases together. Thorne is somewhat of a black sheep on the force, but still works in a very methodical manner (ala other British detectives) while Tanner is much more strait-laced. But they make a great partnership, and along with several other characters (who I would guess appear in earlier editions of the series), they move the cases forward to a somewhat unexpected conclusion. And the hanging threads at the end portend the next book in the series.

Trap the Devil                                           

 Author:  Ben Coes                           Fiction             

This is the 7th book in Coes’ Dewey Andreas series. Andreas works for the CIA. In his last assignment, he was injured and his bosses want to keep him away from his usual activities, so he is sent to Paris as an extra layer of security for the Secretary of State. An easy assignment goes horribly wrong when the cabinet member is killed in his hotel room. Dewey had checked in with the secretary before heading out to dinner, and noticed a woman in his suite. He now must find this woman, Romy. But the DGSI (French authorities) think that Dewey was the killer. He is arrested but manages to escape. Racing against time, and the manhunt for him, he must first determine if Romy killed the secretary of state? And if not, why was she there? At the same time, some of Dewey’s enemies from earlier books learn that he is a fugitive which has forced him out in the open. He must elude them while finding her. His search for Romy ultimately leads him to a massive conspiracy to take over the U.S. government. As has been the case with all of the books in this series, the action, and the tension, begin in Chapter 1 and do not stop. While you know that he will be back for an 8th book (to be released in July, 2018), the suspense is unrelenting. Coes is right up there with Vince Flynn (Kyle Mills), Alex Berenson, and Daniel Silva as the best writers in this genre.


White River Burning                       

 Author:  John Verdon                    Mysteryn          

This is the 6th book by John Verdon featuring retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney. This book is timely given the issues confronting our country, particularly race relations and the police. Gurney and his wife Madeleine have moved from New York City to rural upstate New York. But, as in the other two books in this series that I have read, he just can’t seem to stay away from trouble. On the one year anniversary of the shooting of a black man by a white police officer, the town of White River is rocked by the sniper killing of a different police officer. The district attorney, Sheridan Kline, asks Gurney to become involved in the case as he apparently doesn’t trust to local authorities. Once a suspect is identified, Gurney is quickly removed from the case, but as was the case in earlier books, he can’t let it go and he continues his investigation, using a friendly cop in the WRPD and his friend, Jack Hardwick. Then there are more apparent racially motivated killings. As the killings add up, the cerebral Gurney questions motives and actions of several suspects. Verdon has built a complex story with several story lines which will keep you guessing as to who is responsible. While the inflammatory racial unrest is mindful of today’s real world, it is at times a bit overdone. But it does not detract from a fast paced, captivating story. It isn’t necessary to read this series from the beginning (as I often recommend), but then again, at least the first two books in the series are great reads. Thanks to Counterpoint Press and Edelweiss for the advance reading copy of this book.



The Fifth to Die                       

 Author:  J. D. Barker               Fiction                     

This is a sequel to The Fourth Monkey, and there will be another given the way this one ended. Sam Porter is a detective in the Chicago Police Department. Anson Bishop is a serial killer that apparently had been in the custody of the police department but was able to walk away. In the midst of the Bishop case, young girls are being kidnapped and then found dead - and the circumstances of their deaths and how they are found (for example, one teenage girl is found under the ice in a lake, visible from the surface but in a lake that had frozen over weeks earlier) has the police baffled. While on the surface, it appears Bishop is involved, but does a serial killer change his modus operandi? There are lots of characters and lots of stories, each told from the viewpoint of the police, the protagonist, or the victim. They all converge in a book that had me fixated from the very beginning. I wish I would have read the earlier first (long story!). And I was ready to rate this book 5 stars despite not having read the first in the series, but was unhappy the way it ended. While some of the apparent mystery of the protagonist was revealed, there was little resolution. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss for the advance reader’s copy of the this book.