Monday, May 20, 2013

More new bestsellers are packing the shelves @ your library!

Private Berlin by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

Kirkus Reviews –

Another industrial thriller from the Patterson (Private Games, 2012, etc.) factory. The Wall has fallen, and in Berlin, a security firm named Private flourishes. Among its many other activities, Private is recently back from the London Olympics--the subject of Patterson et al.'s Private Games--only to find that things are emphatically not cool in the Heimat. When top agent and earner Chris Schneider goes missing, everyone fears the worst. Rightly, too, for the worst comes to pass in gruesome ways that are best described by a first-person narrator, who interrupts the omniscient third-person narrator at the most inconvenient of moments. There's a gimmick to that, showy enough to let us know that the bad guy is most definitely a very bad guy, implicated and in league with all sorts of lesser villains in a Blofeld-ian sort of way. (Sneers he of a new toy of torture, "I click on the starter. There's a snapping noise and then a thin, intense flame bursts from a tube. ‘Twenty-four hundred degrees,' I say, enjoying the terror flaring in Mattie's face.") Said Mattie is the heroine of the piece, a tough cookie with a talent for mayhem and a sharp, analytical mind, like Private's other operatives, whether good or evil. In the end, we get a revisitation of the Cold War, complete with Stasi files and the requisite intrigues; it's nothing fans of the Bond and Ludlum franchises haven't seen before, and though it's second-tier, it's competent enough. Call it cut-rate Bourne, then, with enough action to keep the story moving and enough verisimilitude to belay having to suspend disbelief too often.

Proof of Guilt (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #15) by Charles Todd

Kirkus Reviews –

Inspector Rutledge's 15th investigation concerns a corpse without a name. Although its injuries are consistent with being struck down by a motorcar, the body lying in a quiet street in Chelsea shows signs of having been dragged along, and all identification was removed except for a handsome heirloom watch in a vest pocket. Tracing the origin of the timepiece leads Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge (The Confession, 2012, etc.) to French, French and Traynor, wine merchants: Lewis French, grandson of the founder, inherited the watch after his older brother Michael died in the war. Mr. Lewis French is unavailable to interview. Gooding, the firm's chief clerk, says he's in Essex awaiting the arrival of his partner and cousin Matthew Traynor, who oversees the firm's production of Madeira in Portugal. But is he? His sister hasn't spoken to him recently. Nor has his fiancee, or his former fiancee. Could Lewis be the Chelsea corpse? Could it be Matthew Traynor, who has yet to arrive from Portugal? Rutledge discovers sibling squabbles and a heated encounter decades ago concerning the ownership of the Portuguese vineyards. Following this lead brings him to the doorstep of a Mrs. Bennett, whose husband is missing and whose staff is composed of prisoners and mental patients released to her care, including the manipulative Alfonso Diaz, who looks forward to returning to Portugal to die. When more unidentifiable bodies turn up, Rutledge will have his hands full putting names to them, identifying motives for their deaths and disproving his Acting Chief Superintendent's choice of villains. Sturdily if not elegantly plotted, with the ghost of Hamish, the soldier Rutledge ordered executed in the war, still haranguing him.

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #16) by Joanne Fluke

Kirkus Reviews –

All of Lake Eden is agog when the police chief's secretary takes a tumble from the penthouse of a condo complex. Fabulously wealthy Roger Dalworth has pulled out all the stops for the grand reopening of the Albion Hotel, his new luxury condo project. A caterer from Minneapolis! Red Velvet Surprise Cupcakes from The Cookie Jar for dessert! The evening is so grand that The Cookie Jar's owner, Hannah Swensen (Cinnamon Roll Murder, 2012, etc.), in eye makeup and pantyhose, decides to tour the Albion's posh penthouse, complete with its outdoor garden. Hannah is luckier than Barbara Donnelly, whose own tour of the penthouse ends in a headfirst plunge to the parking lot. Barbara survives, much addled, leaving amateur sleuth Hannah to decode her ramblings about her brother (Barbara is an only child) and a furry white monster that lurks in her hospital room. Hannah soon has her own worries. She finds Dr. Bev Thorndike, her former rival for local dentist Norman Rhodes' affections, in her red Maserati at the bottom of Miller's Pond. Even though Dr. Bev has recently become engaged to Roger, her death puts Hannah very much on Detective Mike Kingston's radar screen. Can Hannah find the real culprit before Mike ends the discussion of whether he or Norman will be the one to wrestle her to the altar by putting her in the slammer instead? Even when she's in pantyhose, Hannah's grit and quick thinking once more save the day.

Shadow of Freedom by David Weber

From Barnes & Noble –

Honor Harrington's best friend Michelle Henke has just masterminded the most overwhelming defeat of the Solarian League Navy in its long history, but with their humiliation comes a new yearning for revenge. While Michelle mulls over this looming danger, she must also contemplate a request for assistance from an unfamiliar source. She realizes that it might well be a double cross, but there are some offers that she just can't refuse..... A stellar addition to a high-flying battle sci-fi series.

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