Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Reviews by Carl Brookins

Today I'm happy to present three book reviews by Carl Brookins, a noted author and reviewer. Enjoy!

Invisible Path
By Marilyn Meredith
ISBN: 978-1-60659-239-7
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60659-238-0
2010 Release from
Mundania Press. 224 pages

This charming story from a veteran author is the ninth in her series of Tempe Crabtree crime novels. Tempe is a deputy sheriff in the small town of Bear Creek near an Indian reservation in the mountains of central California.

A young man named Daniel Tofoya is sadly murdered and it develops that while he was a talented and often charming athlete, he could be a nasty bully if the mood took him. There are several possible perpetrators, but as often happens, most attention focuses on a stranger who has come to live on the reservation. The story is complicated by the appearance in town of a small separatist movement, stockpiling supplies in anticipation of a coming explosion of what could be racial and class warfare.

All of this gets sorted out by the patient and wise Deputy Crabtree. With help from her long-suffering pastor husband and exuberant son, Tempe is able to avert several disasters and calm some difficult situations.

The novel is in the classic traditional mystery mode with a lot of emphasis on character development and setting. Relations between members of different races and religious beliefs are very well handled with insight and care. This is another enjoyable and satisfying adventure with Deputy Tempe Crabtree.

The Innocent Woman
By Parnell Hall
E-book
B0050W9HD4

A Steve Winslow zinger.
Here's an author who can write! He has enough novels out you'd expect that, right? This was my first Steve Winslow mystery. It won't be my last. Fine, distinct interesting characters. Limited cast. A creative defense attorney hard at work for a surprisingly uncooperative client. First she's fired after accusations of theft from her employer, then one of the owners of the firm is shot to death and Winslow's client is arrested. Watching this lawyer both in and out of court is a real treat. The dialog crackles, the pace is next to pell mell and the explanations are precise. There is a good deal of detail, especially at the end. I would have preferred a more succinct closing to the novel with less sniping between attorneys, but it was a small price to pay for a fast, well done story.

Devil’s Plaything
By Matt Richtel
ISBN: 978-1-59058-887-1
Released, 2011, 324 pgs,
Hard Cover.

This is a novel born of the twenty-first century. It is technology-rich, abrupt, punchy, and filled with first-person pithy observations. It has a modern complicated plot and some dark conspiracies worthy of flat-worlders and those who still appear to believe the landings on the moon were merely another government scam.

Blogger Nat Idle is drifting through life as a medical reporter and occasionally paying attention to his rapidly aging grandmother, the only member of his family in close proximity. When he and Grandma Lane are on a casual outing in a San Francisco park, a mysterious stranger, apparently driving a Prius, shoots at him, or her, or them. How could this gentle, rapidly aging woman, with no apparent enemies attract an assassin? Not possible so it must be Nat who was the target. After all, he was engaged in a controversy with some San Francisco cops about Porta Potty corruption.

The novel uses a criminal conspiracy of immense possibilities and proportions to raise questions about the rising dependence on technology to replace our individual memories, and to sermonize about American society’s eagerness to shuttle its older generations into places where they can die out of sight and mostly out of mind. Those shortcomings aside, the novel develops and carries along an inventive idea that is highly fraught with tension and believability.

Carl Brookins www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky

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