Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer Reads Are in the Starting Gate

Solitude Creek (A Kathryn Dance Novel) – Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central Publishing)

The smell of smoke. The cries of fire. The whirling stampede toward the exit only to find the doors blocked. Worst fears realized with six left dead…only there was no fire. Now the hunt is on to track down a killer who uses fear as a weapon to perpetrate his terrifying crimes.

Solitude Creek is master storyteller Jeffery Deaver’s latest installment in the Kathryn Dance series. Dance, a body language expert and investigator with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and her team are playing beat the clock to capture a twisted killer bent on perpetrating more attacks.

While Deaver’s character Lincoln Rhyme has a well-honed eye for detail and a Sherlockian ability for crime solving, Dance is more of a hoodoo guru, using a bit of pseudo-science to track her prey. While I am a fan of the criminal minds, profiler genre I find Dance’s character a little tougher to grip and hold my attention. Solitude Creek didn’t serve up the usual heaping helping of Deaver twists and turn in the plot.

Flame Out – M P Cooley (William Morrow)

Author M P Cooley (not sure what the MP stands for) caught the attention of mystery/thriller fans with her debut novel Ice Shear featuring former FBI Agent June Lyons, who returned to her small town roots in Hopewell Falls, New York, to be a cop alongside her police chief father. Ice Shear was selected by O (Oprah Winfrey) Magazine as one of the best book of last summer and notched a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Cooley and Lyons are back with a sophomore effort, Flame Out which finds Lyons plunged headlong into a dual track case; a current case of a badly burned women she rescues from a burned out factory and a mysterious body found in the subbasement of the factory that could date back to a notorious crime her father supposedly solved some three decades earlier.

Cooley knows how to push all the right buttons mixing a supposedly charming small town, with its own unique, checkered, underbelly and the loyalties of family and cops to ratchet up the story.

The Enemy Inside – A Paul Madriani Novel - Steve Martini (William Morrow)

I’ve got to be honest; for me the so-called legal thriller has become a tough sell. With the likes of John Grisham, Scott Turow and Linda Fairstein as confirmed masters of the form, I have always struggled to delve deeper into the genre and lately the masters have quite caught my attention.

Steve Martini has carved out a strong and steady career in the realm and is out with his latest entry, The Enemy Inside; which posits the plotline of a young man arrested for DUI who finds himself facing kicked up charges when the women who’s vehicle he struck ends up dead. With the current caseload a little on the sparse side, Paul Madriani, Martini’s long time lead character, and his team take the case. Turns out the kid wasn’t under the influence, but her can’t explain how he came to be at the scene 50 miles from home and involved in the wreck.

Almost on cue the evil empire types who tend to lurk in the background of so many of these stories sink their tentacles into things and mystery, already hard to grasp, delves deeper. While I don’t think The Enemy Inside will light the form on fire and start a fresh stampede of legal thrillers like The Firm or Presumed Innocent, it does offer enough hooks and interesting characters to keep you engaged.

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