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Hocus Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2003


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Frequently Bought Together

Hocus + Dear Irene,: An Irene kelly Novel (Irene Kelly Mysteries) + Remember Me, Irene: An Irene Kelly Novel (Irene Kelly Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743444531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743444538
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jan Burke's stories about a vulnerable and resourceful reporter at a Southern California newspaper called Las Piernas News Express all feature tense and thoughtful plots, writing that manages to be sharp and sardonic without calling attention to itself, and a dead honest picture of the world of small-market newspaper journalism. Her latest is no exception. When Kelly's homicide detective husband, Frank Harriman, gets a heroic write-up in her paper after arresting the apparent leader of a gang of murderous troublemakers that call themselves Hocus (in the sense of hoax, rather than magic), everybody at the paper and almost everybody at the cop shop thinks she's behind it. So when Frank disappears, and his blood is discovered in the trunk of his car, Irene doesn't get much help from the paper or the police. She has to track down the real secret of Hocus largely on her own--which she does in the completely credible and exciting manner we've come to expect. Burke's last book about about Kelly, Remember Me, Irene, is out in paperback, joining Dear Irene, Goodnight, Irene, and Sweet Dreams, Irene. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In Sweet Dreams, Irene (1994), Southern California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly was abducted while pursuing a story. Burke again examines the pain suffered by kidnapping victims as Irene's police detective husband, Frank Harriman, is taken by Hocus, a terrorist group. The "takers," as hostage negotiator Thomas Cassidy calls them, are Bret Neukirk and Samuel Ryan. Twelve years earlier, when they were 10, they were kidnapped with?and witnessed the murders of?their fathers. Frank was the policeman who rescued and befriended them in the aftermath, when the boys suffered elective mutism?refusal to talk except to each other. They never revealed that a tall, white-haired cop assisted their kidnapper, Chris Powell, who was murdered shortly afterwards. Now Bret and Sam seek well-planned revenge by keeping Frank sedated on morphine until Irene goes to Bakersfield, where their fathers were killed, and discovers Powell's accomplice. Her investigation leads to three close friends of Frank's late father, who was also a policeman. Switching between past and present, Burke writes a well-paced mystery with a heartrending climax, but her strength is the sympathy and depth with which she describes how the trauma of abduction haunts the victims. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I'm the author of crime fiction novels and short stories. You can find out more about my writing on my Web site.

I'm also the founder of The Crime Lab Project, which works to increase awareness of the problems facing public forensic science labs in the U.S.

I live in Southern California with my husband, Tim, and our two dogs, Cappy (in the photo above) and Britches.

I want my epitaph to read, "Had a great time, thanks for inviting me." I hope not to be in need of that any time soon.

Oh yeah -- I'm a lifelong night owl. As another night owl once said, don't go to bed on the same day you've awakened.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
The intensity of this plotline is very strong throughout the book.
Red
Although I usually prefer the more hard-boiled writers such as Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, James Crumley, and Joe R. Lansdale, this book really packs a punch.
Deep Eddy
They have a loving marriage, two great dogs and a 20lb cat, wonderful friends and neighbors, and jobs they go to every day.
Ms. Nancy F. Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Nancy F. Jones on June 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Almost every professional reviewer puts Jan Burke in a box with other female mystery writers. We see her compared with Grafton, Cornwell, and Paretsky, etc. Well, enough of that! This "female mystery writer" can go toe to toe with the boys anytime. She proves it again with "Hocus". As with most of her other novels, Burke again uses the theme of tragedies in the past impacting on lives in the present. In this book Irene Kelly's husband, Frank, is taken hostage by two young men he had rescued ten years ago. Their fathers had been killed and they had been left to die in an abandoned warehouse. They believe that a corrupt policeman was involved and are using Frank as a bargaining tool to obtain his name. Burke creates sympathy for the two villians. We feel real pity for them because she has shown us how they became the damaged creatures they are now. Frank and Irene are very likeable characters simply because they seem like normal people. They have a loving marriage, two great dogs and a 20lb cat, wonderful friends and neighbors, and jobs they go to every day. This series just keeps getting better and better. Burke deserves to be compared with Robert Parker, Dennis Lehane, and Robert Crais. She definitely can play with the big boys.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. L Sadler VINE VOICE on March 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had not realized that I have read Burke before. This book made a much larger impact on me then the last book of hers that I read. I will definitely remember her name and look for her books when I go to read an intelligent mystery. This particular plot is so intricately woven and has little gems of insight into the writings of Bret Harte, California, and the psychological impact of trauma on children and speech as to make it a wonderful read. I always enjoy it when authors take the time to do research into the basis of their story and Burke did a great job in incorporating all the facets into a sensible whole.
Burke's protagonist is different in that not only does she work in a newspaper, but she is also married. I rarely come across American writers who have married protagonists...makes you wonder if they think married women cannot possibly have interesting lives. Burke shows that this is not true, and makes her characters believeable. A totally enjoyable read. Karen Sadler,
Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Never let it be said that a good mystery book can not have a fulfilling and captivating romance at its core because HOCUS will prove them wrong. Irene Kelly has an argument with her husband, policeman Frank Harriman, thinking they will make up when they return from work. Only problem with that scenario is Frank never comes home. It soon becomes evident that he has been taken hostage by unknown people for inexplicable reasons. While Irene worries, something totally out of character for her, she receives a phone call from the kidnappers who have the injured officer in their custody.
..... The two men holding Frank captive were victims of a childhood trauma, eye witnesses to the slaughters of their fathers. As adults they finally expect to exact their own brand of justice on the man responsible for the carnage. They don't know who he is except that he was a policeman in the town where Frank grew up and went to work as a detective. It is Irene's task to find out his identity and bring him to them in exchange for her spouse's freedom. Irene subdues her own controlling nature, out of her deep abiding love for her husband, and allows herself to be at the beck and call of the kidnappers knowing that if she fails to obey their orders, she will lose the only man she ever loved.
..... Readers of romance, mystery, suspense and thrillers will want to get their hands on HOCUS as quickly as possible. It is a deeply satisfying emotional read yet intellectually stimulating, prodding, and provoking the audience into trying to guess what will happen next. Jan Burke is a brilliant writer, a gifted storyteller who can hold her own with any writer in the genre, including Cornwell, Crichton and Rosenberg. If ever a book deserves an award, this one does, not only because of its popular appeal but because of a masterful plot execution.

......Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Never let it be said that a good mystery book can not have a fulfilling and captivating romance at its core because HOCUS will prove them wrong. Irene Kelly has an argument with her husband, policeman Frank Harriman, thinking they will make up when they return from work. Only problem with that scenario is Frank never comes home. It soon becomes evident that he has been taken hostage by unknown people for inexplicable reasons. While Irene worries, something totally out of character for her, she receives a phone call from the kidnappers who have the injured officer in their custody.
The two men holding Frank captive were victims of a childhood trauma, eye witnesses to the slaughters of their fathers. As adults they finally expect to exact their own brand of justice on the man responsible for the carnage. They don't know who he is except that he was a policeman in the town where Frank grew up and went to work as a detective. It is Irene's task to find out his identity and bring him to them in exchange for her spouse's freedom. Irene subdues her own controlling nature, out of her deep abiding love for her husband, and allows herself to be at the beck and call of the kidnappers knowing that if she fails to obey their orders, she will lose the only man she ever loved.
Readers of romance, mystery, suspense and thrillers will want to get their hands on HOCUS as quickly as possible. It is a deeply satisfying emotional read yet intellectually stimulating, prodding, and provoking the audience into trying to guess what will happen next. Jan Burke is a brilliant writer, a gifted storyteller who can hold her own with any writer in the genre, including Cornwell, Crichton and Rosenberg. If ever a book deserves an award, this one does, not only because of its popular appeal but because of a masterful plot execution.
Harriet Klausner
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