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Cattle Kate
Cattle Kate
by Jana Bommersbach
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.60
20 used & new from $15.22

5.0 out of 5 stars tremendous biographical fiction, October 21, 2014
This review is from: Cattle Kate (Hardcover)
Cattle Kate: A Mystery
Jana Bommersbach
Poisoned Pen, Oct 7 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464203022

On July 20, 1889 in the Wyoming Territory, a mob led by her accuser affluent rancher Albert J. Bothwell ignores Ella “Cattle Kate” Watson’s claims of innocence. They lynch the almost thirty year old homesteader for rustling cattle. As she dangles towards certain death, Ella tries not to die, but her efforts are hopeless unless someone intervenes, which increasingly is unlikely.

As she nears death, Ella thinks back to 1877 when her parents left Ontario for Kansas with a horde of kids including her. Almost a decade later, she came to the Wyoming Territory where single women were welcomed. She worked hard and married postmaster Jimmy Averell and soon afterward became a homesteader who alienated the big ranchers leading to a rope around her neck.

This is a tremendous biographical fiction that provides readers with an interesting glimpse at an “outlaw” never accused of any crime in what Jana Bommersbach argues is an injustice perpetrated by the rich and powerful. The storyline opens with a gripping first scene and never let’s go of the captivated audience whether the plot occurs during the heroine’s childhood in Canada, the teen years on the Great Plains or as an adult in The Equality State.

Harriet Klausner

Lamentation: A Novel
Lamentation: A Novel
by Joe Clifford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.90
14 used & new from $13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dark relationship crime drama, October 21, 2014
This review is from: Lamentation: A Novel (Hardcover)
Joe Clifford
Oceanview, Oct 7 2014, $25.95
ISBN 9781608091331

In the frigid weather near Lamentation Mountain, New Hampshire, Jay Porter clears out the two-hundred year old unheated farmhouse of recently deceased Ben Saunders while thinking back two decades to the tragedy that changed his life and that of his older brother Chris; the deaths of their parents when their car ended in Echo Lake. Jay tries to finish the job so he can see his son Aiden before his former girlfriend Jenny puts the toddler to sleep.

His boss Tom Gable informs Jay that Rob Turley wants to see him because Chris is being held at the Ashton Police Station. Expecting the usual drug addicted village idiot scene, Turley explains Chris had a fight with his e-recycling Computer Solutions store partner Pete Naginis whose mama Betty says her son vanished soon afterward. Losing his chance to see his child, Jay calls Jenny who rips him for once again putting up with Chris’ crap. When Pete is found dead, the police suspect Chris; but he insists to his sibling he is innocent and a throwaway hard drive contains proof of wrong doing by a town icon who he believes either killed or arranged Pete’s homicide, and wants him disposed of too. Jay assumes the drugs finally fried Chris’ brain.

Lamentation is a dark relationship crime drama starring an incredible protagonist struggling with a helpless depressed life in which his brother is the prime cause of his lament. The keys to this riveting bleak storyline are the cast starting with Jay whose life has been flushed down the toilet by his constant cleaning up his addicted relative and the unexpected but realistic climax. Not for everyone, Joe Clifford provides a powerful New Englander.

Harriet Klausner

Falling Sky
Falling Sky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.23
53 used & new from $5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars exhilarating timely post-apocalyptic thriller, October 21, 2014
This review is from: Falling Sky (Paperback)
Falling Sky
Rajan Khanna
Pyr, Oct 7 2014, $17.00
ISBN 9781616149826

The Bug virus went pandemic leaving much of the surface of the world to its “victims” the Ferals. Most of the dwindling non-plagued humans either reside in fortresses or live in the sky to avoid the Bug; which is easy to catch through the exchange of bodily fluids.

Cherub airship scavenger Ben Gold supplements income with occasional taxying research scientists studying the disease until he refuses to transport them when they request the captivity of a Feral to conduct live experiments. However, he likes one of them Meredith, so when pirates threaten her and her peers, Gold ignores for the first time his father’s rules of survival of the smartest in a hostile environs to especially take care of one’s self at all times. He mounts a rescue only to lose his vessel to the brigands. Thus with allies, Gold enters the pirate-controlled sky high city Gastown to retrieve the Cherub; only to learn his adversaries have a bigger agenda.

Falling Sky is an exhilarating timely post-apocalyptic thriller in which the Khanna world is desolate and antagonistic on the ground and not much better in the air. The hero reluctantly gets involved with the scientists due to his attraction to Meredith and what he learns in the city. Though the pace decelerates at times due to the deep descriptions of a world gone mad leading to tsunami societal survival changes to the once accepted norm; this remains a remarkable first act.

Harriet Klausner

The Agent's Surrender (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)
The Agent's Surrender (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)
by Kimberly Van Meter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $4.95
51 used & new from $0.48

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable romantic suspense, October 20, 2014
The Agent’s Surrender
Kimberly Van Meter
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Oct 7 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278916

In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary CIA special skills officer Holden Archangelo rejects agent Jane Fallon’s contention that his dead twin brother Miko betrayed his country and murdered several people including his superior at the Department of Informational Development. Holden insists his sibling would never commit treason or suicide. He claims to his Military Affairs Department boss Reed Harris that he has new evidence, but his supervisor says the matter is closed. After Holden storms out, Jane and Reed chat and he agrees to give her one week with Archangelo as her sidekick to follow his alleged lead.

As they investigate the seemingly open-and-shut case that affirms Miko’s guilt, the pair finds an oddity that fails to fit the narrative. As the two bickering agents fall in love, family matters drive each of them, but with radically different motives. While the clock ticks, an unknown adversary observes their progress.

The lead pairing make for an enjoyable romantic suspense mostly due to Jane proving to be as tough, courageous and mouthy sarcastically humorous, if not more so, as her male partner is. Following up on Moving Target and The Sniper, the action-packed inquiry grips the audience from the moment Harris teams them up and never lets up until the heroine mocks her beloved for entertaining another female in his apartment.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2014 7:55 PM PDT

The Color of Justice
The Color of Justice
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars mesmerizing legal thriller, October 20, 2014
The Color Of Justice
Ace Collins
Abingdon, Oct 7 2014, $14.99
ISBN 9781426796128

In 1964 Mississippi, Justice HS senior Frank Baird persuades his sixteen year old date Wendy Adams the Homecoming Queen to leave the VFW dance for a big surprise. She becomes upset when he takes her to Lovers Park and demands he take her home. While he fumes over wasting his money, Wendy stares at Becky Booth’s bloody corpse.

Fifth generation Justice resident Cooper Lindsay took over his dad’s law practice several months ago. Now a black person enters his office for the first time. His father’s former maid Hattie Ross begs Coop to represent her grandson Calvin in court. The police arrested Calvin for the murder of Becky, a white female from a prominent family. Coop takes on the case, but immediately confronts the racial divide as blacks refuse to trust him and his own race threatens to harm him, his wife Judy and their small children. Driven by a sense that Lady Justice should be colorblind, he adamantly and bravely seeks the truth, but he fears most that victory will prove hollow.

Five decades later in Justice, Coop’s grandchild Clark opens up a practice. He works a racially divisive case in which the victim is African-American and the accused white while he also looks back to 1964.

With a nod to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, The Color Of Justice is a profound well-written legal thriller that provides readers with a mesmerizing look at the racial divide during the Civil Rights era and compares it to today. The audience will appreciate the contrast between the two periods but as Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay claims: “…Looks like nothing's gonna change everything still remains the same” but with a twist.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2014 7:52 PM PDT

Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy (The Herald Spy)
Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy (The Herald Spy)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.41
48 used & new from $14.57

5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous return to Valdemar, October 20, 2014
Closer to Home
Mercedes Lackey
DAW, Oct 7 2014, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756408992

In Haven, Valdemar, Mags the Herald is with his Companion Dallen when he hears the Mindvoice shriek of the King’s Own Nikolas. Using Mindvoice he tries to contact Nikolas but his mentor fails to respond. Dallen and Mags see Nikolas floating in the nearby river. On top of Dallen, Mags pulls Nikolas onto the shore, but he is not breathing. Using the Breath of Life technique Bear taught him, Mags saves Nikolas’ life.

Rolan the Companion selects the incapacitated Nikolas’ panicked daughter Amily to replace him as the King’s Own though the monarch Kyril fears having an untested young female in such a critical position. Complicating matters for the new King’s Own and the monarch is a treasonous coup to extinguish the Heralds and fill the power void. With unprecedented Mindspeech skill, Mags assists Amily in an attempt to uncover the traitors before the Collegium is shattered, its Heralds eradicated and King Kyril loses the throne.

The first Herald Spy Valdemar fantasy is a fabulous opening act as Mags (no longer a stranger in a strange land) and Amily face impossible odds. Both fear they’re not ready for the big leagues without adult supervision (Nikolas), but they bravely team-up to do the right thing with so much at stake. Fast-paced throughout, yet vivid Valdemar and the key cast (particularly the protagonists and their companions) seem genuine. Genre readers, especially series fans, will delight in returning to Valdemar.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2014 7:40 PM PDT

The Daughter of Highland Hall: A Novel (Edwardian Brides)
The Daughter of Highland Hall: A Novel (Edwardian Brides)
by Carrie Turansky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.08
55 used & new from $6.49

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable inspirational historical, October 19, 2014
The Daughter Of Highland Hall
Carrie Turansky
Multnomah Books, Oct 7 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9781601424983

In 1912, sponsored by her autocratic Aunt Louisa, eighteen year old debutante Katherine Ramsey comes to London to reside with her relative. Also living in Louisa’s home is the brother of Kate’s last governess, medical student Jonathan Foster. He soon must decide between being a doctor in India as expected of a missionary’s son and helping the squalid in London.

Kate initially enjoys her debut until a scandal devastates the equilibrium of her upper class world. She begins to question the aristocracy’s ethics and her family’s morality. Also Kate is attracted to Jonathan and extremely interested by the work he is doing to help the impoverished, which Aunt Louisa insists makes him unacceptable.

The second Edwardian Brides romance is an enjoyable leisurely-paced inspirational historical. A family affair since readers met much of the cast including the leads in The Governess of Highland Hall (Jonathan’s sister and orphaned Kate’s guardian were the protagonists). With a 360 degree look at pre WWI poverty through the poor and the filters of the aristocracy, the servants and the missionary doctor enrich an engaging Upstairs-Downstairs Edwardian.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2014 9:06 PM PDT

by Chase Novak
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.94
69 used & new from $4.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting urban horror, October 19, 2014
This review is from: Brood (Hardcover)
Chase Novak
Little, Brown/Mulholland, Oct 7 2014, $26.00
ISBN 9780316228008

Manhattan residents Alex and Leslie Twisden lived a great lifestyle until they went to Slovenia for illegal fertility treatments. The procedure worked and they had twins Alice and Adam, but also turned the nice couple into malevolent ogres (see Breed).

Moving into the renovated Upper East Side townhouse that Alex and Leslie turned into a monstrosity, antiques dealer Cynthia Kramer becomes guardian to her troubled niece and nephew. She hopes to nurture them into a good mental state through love. However, the youngsters fear puberty will make them a chip off the cannibalistic block and especially do not want to harm their caring aunt. Alice and Adam flee to Central Park where evil greets them with a scheme to use the siblings.

The efforts to prevent what seems inevitable turn this sequel into an exciting urban horror though Mother Cynthia’s constant anxiety panic attacks detract from an otherwise electrifying family drama. With a stunning climax to an overall tense tale (mainly when the twins rule the storyline), this is a winning read particularly when the Twisden brother and sister invade Central Park.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2014 4:45 PM PDT

The Chaplain's War
The Chaplain's War
by Brad R. Torgersen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.97
35 used & new from $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing science fiction, October 19, 2014
This review is from: The Chaplain's War (Paperback)
The Chaplain's War
Brad R. Torgersen
Baen, Oct 7 2014, $15.00
ISBN: 9781476736853

In the middle of the twenty-second century, the alien Mantes cyborgs invaded human space with one objective: total genocide. The humans fought back but the enemy proved superior. Five years ago the Mantes defeated an invading force and captured Chaplain Assistant Harrison Barlow and many other soldiers on a planet the POWs call Purgatory. With the Chaplain dead, Harrison helps his fellow prisoners keep the faith though he avoids any specific religion. Two years ago he completed a chapel for those who want to pray alongside him to God for deliverance.

A Mantis, who tells Harrison he is equivalent to a Professor, visits him constantly to learn more about the Holy Man’s belief in an invisible God. The Professor explains humanity is the third essence the Mantes have met that believes in an indiscernible guiding spirit. When Harrisons asks the Mantis what his race believes in; the Professor responds “nothing”. While Harrison teaches the Professor about human spiritualty, some of his race feels he betrays them while some of the Mantis’ race insists it is insignificant what the enemy thinks.

This intriguing science fiction is told in three parts (with one and two modifications of previously released “The Chaplain’s Assistant” and “The Chaplain’s Legacy”) and the third section ("The Chaplain’s War") totally new. The expansion enhances the fascinating focus on two species at war with differing social values especially highlighted by a to believe or not to believe in a deity; ironically most members of each race share in common the competitive drive for all out victory. Thus the Chaplain Assistant and The Professor are outliers as they thrive for understanding of each other’s respective species, which is a step towards all out peace.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2014 4:42 PM PDT

Snowstorm Confessions (Harlequin Romantic Suspense\Conard County: The Next Generation)
Snowstorm Confessions (Harlequin Romantic Suspense\Conard County: The Next Generation)
by Rachel Lee
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.25
49 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting second chance romantic suspense, October 18, 2014
Snowstorm Confessions
Rachel Lee
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Oct 7 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278893

Brianna Cole is astonished to see her ex-husband Luke Master arrive at her house in Conard County, Wyoming instead of his being home in Chicago. Luke explains he will be in the area on a skiing development project for a few weeks so thought he better tell her in person before she sees him. He also has a hidden agenda that means the world to him; Luke needs his beloved to believe that he never cheated on her when they were married.

Her obsessed neighbor Jack Milkin appreciates Bri’s niceness towards him as he feels visible for a change. His plan for a different relationship suffers a hit when the stranger arrives.

While studying the mountain for his work, Luke suffers a horrible accident leaving him with a concussion, several broken bones and numerous bruises. Bri takes him in to help Luke while he heals. Though the incident is vague, Luke insists someone pushed him and believes that his unknown adversary will come after Bri next; thus he vows to keep her safe. As a snowstorm traps them in her home, Bri knows she still loves her ex-spouse but fears he will cheat again; while Luke prefers her back in his life but not before she acknowledges he never wandered.

Snowstorm Confessions is an exciting second chance romantic suspense though Bri’s behavior seems irrational; she sees the goodness in all others (including her over the top of Gannett Peak disturbed neighbor) except for the man she loves who she accepts cheated. Still This Conard County: The Next Generation (see Defending the Eyewitness and Deadly Hunter) is a tense deranged cat and loving mice thriller.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2014 4:16 PM PDT

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