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Dining with Devils: A Tasmanian Thriller (Five Star Mystery Series) Hardcover – April 1, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Aalborg’s latest is set entirely on the Australian island of Tasmania, the book-tour destination of true-crime author Teague Kendall and his almost-girlfriend Kirsten, who was the lead character in The Specialist (2004). When a judge is killed at a gundog trial, Kendall is nicked by the bullet that just might have been meant for him. Then Kirsten is kidnapped, and this fast-paced thriller jumps into high gear. Most readers will overlook the occasional clunky writing in deference to the exotic locale and the high-energy plot, which centers on the Hannibal Lecter–like cannibalistic killer who had his eyes on Kirsten in the earlier book. Chelsea Cain’s fans will enjoy Aalborg’s take on a charismatic murderer, but they should start with The Specialist, as this one is best enjoyed as a sequel. --Jessica Moyer
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Product Details

  • Series: Five Star Mystery Series
  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star (ME); 1 edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594147493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594147494
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,435,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
On Tasmania, a visiting gundog trial judge is shot by an apparent blind man who was participating with blanks firing at clay pigeons. At the scene as a civilian is police Sergeant Charlie Banes holding obvious Bluey the dog before he takes charge of the murder scene. His friend Canadian author Teague Kendell, who wrote the true crime thriller THE SPECIALIST and American novelist Tex Henderson are there too; the deadly bullet grazed Rex's ear.

Meanwhile renowned caver Kirsten Knelsen, who saved Teague's life on Vancouver Island from the Specialist, is inside a cave with several locals when they find a displaced knife that they take back with them to give to the cops. That night Dr. Ralph "the Specialist" Stafford thought dead in Canada, uses a post hypnotic spell to easily kidnap Kirsten. Stafford looks forward to serving Knelsen as dinner. Teague's ex-wife Rose Chapman and sniper Ian Boyd arrive at the same isolated cabin that Stafford holds Kirsten. Rose was his nurse and Ian a patient so Stafford has no problem controlling them. A frantic Teague tells Charlie that Kirsten is missing. Nothing adds up as he believes Stafford lives, but if Charlie cannot crack the case soon, Stafford will enjoy his repast Kirsten.

The sequel to the SPECIALIST is an exciting Tasmanian thriller in which the real devil is Dr. Stafford, an obvious take on Lector. The story line is fast-paced from the opening murder and never slows down until the final climax when justice is served cold. Bluey provides comic relief as well as heroism. Fans will enjoy DINING WITH DEVILS but would have appreciated more insight as to how Stafford not only found his way out of a cave, but killed a deadly cougar. Still Gordon Aalborg provides an exciting thriller as time is running out for Kirsten and Teague as Stafford plans to serve them as gourmet delights.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
In "The Specialist," the predecessor novel, the serial killer, cannibal Dr. Ralph Stafford, is presumed dead in a cave in Vancouver. The story of his exploits and how Kirsten Knelsen escaped from his clutches, presumably having left him abandoned in a mine, is told in a true crime novel by her boyfriend, Randall Teague [in a till-now unconsummated relationship]. The present volume picks up the story from that point, with Kendall and Kirsten in Tasmania, he on a book signing tour.

The novel opens with a gundog [a combination hunting dog/retriever] judge being shot and murdered, and the beginning of the convoluted inter-relationships of the various elements of the plot being investigated by Sgt. Charlie Barnes. It takes a lot of skill and intuition to go from link to link, clue to clue, before it all begins to make sense. Among the players are Kendall's ex-wife; a dope addict; ex-Vietnam Vet; the [presumed dead] serial killer; and an 80-year-old ex-cop with a vicious dog; among others.

The author's descriptions of the characters are truly exceptional, and the plot development excellent. Written with ease, the story unfolds slowly and carefully, providing sufficient action to keep the reader's interest throughout.

Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Riding the wave of publicity generated by his true crime thriller the "Specialist" writer Teague Kendall is in Tasmania. The small island off the coast of Australia was home to the serial killer who layed a trail of death from Tasmania to a cave system close to Kendall's home on Vancover Island, Canada. Luckily, both Kendall and his girlfriend, Kristen Knelsen escaped his evil clutches and everyone believes the killer who liked to feast on his victims is dead.

While Teague and Kristen are trying to date, many things are interfering with any possible relationship. She has made the trip with him and while he is at a gundog trial, she is deep underground in a nearby cave system. Both were traumatized by the events and both are dealing with it in very different ways. Their relationship has huge issues and not just because Teague will never step foot in a cave again despite Kristen's love of caving.

Neither knows that Dr. Ralph Stafford, the man now known as the "Specialist" is very much alive and well. Reconstructive surgery has altered his face, but nothing changed his voice. He has made major plans now that the both have come to his home of Tasmania. It is a toss up whether he likes the chase and capture more than the killing and eating. Recent events have caused a big appetite and he has plenty to savor and the time to do it as his various victims stumble into his trap.

Often the second book in a series does not meet the standards of the first. That is not true here in a tale that avoids the main hallmarks of the first book: coincidence and the gross out factor. Coincidence does not drive this book unlike the first one. Instead, believability rules the day with events happening for all characters in a logical progression and without coincidence.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up randomly at the library. I thought it was going to be a murder mystery. Turns out there wasn't a mystery at all. Just a crazy story about some drunken idiot hired to shoot someone (just to scare him) and a serial killer that was assumed dead. This was one of the silliest stories I've ever read but it was somewhat enjoyable. I read it in only 2 days and I'm a slow reader.

Gordon Aalborg has a wit about him that made me want to keep reading no matter how silly I thought it was. I liked most of the dialog and the interaction between the characters. I was grateful that he didn't get too gruesome with the cannibalism part.

So the cannibal, some chick he tried to kill before, the chick's bf's ex-wife and the drunk guy are all in some kind of shack eating dinner together. My favorite character was the cop because he wasn't in the shack. I hated the serial killer character and really didn't like to read about him or anything he had to say.

All and all this book entertained me for two days. I'll forget I ever read it in a year or two but it wasn't bad.
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