Thursday, October 29, 2009

THE RATTLESNAKE SEASON by Larry D. Sweazy (Berkley)

What a treat it is for me to review this book! I met Larry many years ago at Magna cum Murder in Muncie, Indiana. He showed me a chapter from a mystery manuscript then, and my mouth, literally, dropped open when I finished it. I was surprised to hear from him that he'd written a western for publication, but he assured me that I'd find a mystery in it. I not only found a mystery, but I'm already waiting for the next installment of Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe.

Wolfe, a young Civil War veteran, answers the call when Captain Hiram Fikes invites him to re-join the Texas Rangers. Their first mission: to capture Charlie Langdon, Wolfe's former deputy and fellow veteran. Things go badly almost from the beginning, and Wolfe has many reasons to reconsider his decision, but loyalty to Fikes and a vision of justice keep him on the job.

After growing up with the cowboy movies and TV shows that glorified the Old West, I was enthralled with a story of the hardships that were part of everyday life and with the politics that affected Reconstruction. I'll be sharing this book with contemporaries who love either mystery or western novels.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First in Series Re-Releases

I know so many people who won't start reading a series if they can't read them in order from the beginning. This often knocks them out of some really good reading. I was happy to find re-issues of the beginnings of two popular series in my mail recently.

Introducing Aunt Dimity, Paranormal Dective by Nancy Atherton (Penguin) is a trade paperback with the first two Aunt Dimity titles, Aunt Dimity's Death and Aunt Dimity and the Duke.

First Degree, Open and Shut, and Play Dead by David Rosenfelt (Grand Central Publishing) are all in paperback (the first two are at a special $4.99 price). This is one of my favorite legal series. Try it—you'll like it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

RIZZO'S WAR by Lou Manfredo (Minotaur)

Joe Rizzo is a veteran cop who lets people think the worst of him—even his new partner, Mike McQueen. Mike was just promoted to detective after saving the mayor's daughter's roommate from a rapist. Rizzo takes a free meal here, overlooks a petty crime there, but exhibits real insights into crime and genuine empathy for victims. Readers spend nearly a year riding with the Brooklyn detectives and meet the Internal Affairs cops who are trying desperately to pin something on Rizzo's former partner, and, by extension, on Joe. We meet Rizzo's family, the wife and daughters who anchor him. McQueen often questions Joe's actions, but the veteran always answers him with a saying from his grandfather: "There's no right, there's no wrong, there just is.

Rizzo's War is compelling, realistic, and cerebral. It's also a winner.