Monday, October 3, 2011

Action abounds @ your library

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

Kirkus Reviews


Just in time for his movie debut this spring, Connelly brings back the Lincoln Lawyer for a satisfying case that pits him against a real-estate foreclosure mill.


Lisa Trammel never met Mitchell Bondurant, but the two of them had reason to loathe each other. As senior vice president at WestLand National Bank, Bondurant made the call to foreclose on Trammel's house after her husband left her and their 9-year-old son and her mortgage went underwater. Nothing daunted, Trammel started a grassroots organization called Foreclosure Litigants Against Greed (FLAG) to fight WestLand and its allies in the media, and hired Mickey Haller (The Reversal, 2010, etc.) to fight WestLand in court. Both the legal battle and the media circus take a dramatic new turn when Bondurant is found bashed to death in a parking garage and a witness places Trammel half a block away within a few minutes of the bashing. Det. Howard Kurlen, LAPD, immediately picks up Trammel, questions her and then arrests her for murder. Digging in her heels, she insists that she didn't kill Bondurant; she never even met Bondurant; she's never changed her story one bit; and every bit of forensic evidence against her—and by the end, there's plenty—can be explained as part of a frame-up. It's the job of Mickey, his investigator Dennis ("Cisco") Wojciechowski and his new associate Jennifer ("Bullocks") Aronson to dig up someone who could plausibly have framed her. As the evidence piles up against Trammel, evidence casting suspicion on Bondurant's other associates piles up alongside it. Mickey is beaten up by two guys who clearly don't like the questions he's been asking. The mountain of paperwork prosecutor Andrea Freeman reluctantly shares with Mickey discloses an unsavory connection that could well point to another killer. And the third-party suspect Mickey zeroes in on obligingly behaves exactly like a guilty party.


"With me, it's don't ask, don't tell," Mickey tells the starry-eyed Bullock, who wonders why this junkyard dog never asks his client if she's innocent. Though the answer isn't as mysterious as you might like, the courtroom scenes—thrust, parry, struggle for every possible advantage—are grueling enough for the most exacting connoisseur of legal intrigue.







The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry


Publishers Weekly


At the start of Berry's ingeniously plotted seventh Cotton Malone novel (after The Emperor's Tomb), former U.S. Justice Department agent Malone, who's been summoned to New York City by his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, manages to thwart an attempt to assassinate the U.S. president outside a midtown Manhattan hotel. Malone soon finds himself in the middle of a power struggle with roots in presidential history. A cipher formulated by Thomas Jefferson and employed by Andrew Jackson has been unbroken for 175 years. Documents hidden by Jackson contain the key to the legitimacy—and the wealth and power—of the Commonwealth, a coalition of privateers or pirates dating from the American Revolution. Malone and his lover, Cassiopeia Vitt, must match wits and survival skills with several formidable foes, including rogue agent Jonathan Wyatt and Quartermaster Clifford Knox of the Commonwealth. Berry offers plenty of twists and vivid action scenes in a feast of historical imagination.









The Kingdom by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood


Publishers Weekly


In Cussler and Blackwood's rousing third adventure featuring treasure hunters extraordinaire Sam and Remi Fargo (after Lost Empire), the couple get on the trail of a sacred object, the Theurang, "said to have been a life-sized statue of a man-like creature or... the skeleton of the creature itself." Or maybe it's a chest holding the creature's bones. Reclusive wealthy entrepreneur Charles King (aka "King Charlie") is also searching for this artifact. King's girlfriend, Zhilan Hsu, and their grown children, Russell and Marjorie, will stop at nothing to fulfill King's deadly demands. As in the previous volumes, the action ricochets around the globe, with Sam and Remi making one astounding discovery after another while they decipher cryptic clues, exchange banter, and escape otherwise inescapable dangers. Fresh prose, a smart and amusing husband-and-wife team, interesting history and science, and a wildly imaginative plot all add up to a good time for Cussler's many fans as well as series newcomers.





The Snowman by Jo Nesbo


Publishers Weekly


In this chilling installment in Nesbø's Insp. Harry Hole crime series (The Devil's Star, etc.), a snowman left in the front yard of Birte Becker's Oslo house is the only clue to the woman's disappearance. When Sylvia Ottersen disappears from her farmhouse soon afterward, the snowman the killer leaves behind has a gruesome addition: Sylvia's severed head. Harry, aided by Katrine Bratt, a brash new member of his team with secrets of her own, combs through past missing person cases, looking for other victims of the killer now dubbed the Snowman. Several months earlier, Harry received an anonymous letter referring to both snowmen and the Australian serial killer he'd pursued early in his career. What appeared random and bizarre then now takes on new meaning as Harry realizes the killer is taunting him. Nesbø breathes new life into the serial killer subgenre, giving it a Norwegian twist and never losing his laconic hero in the process.





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