Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Reading

I think loyal readers know by now that I write a book review column for a publication called POMP AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE which is published quarterly by the Magna Cum Murder Mystery Conference. Here is the latest entry, for those who don't subscribe:

SUPSECT by Michael Robotham
A psychiatrist learns that one of his former patients, a prostitute, has been found murdered, and a dogged detective thinks the psychiatrist is a prime suspect. The problem is, by all accounts, he looks like a likely candidate; thus our (flawed) hero tries to untangle himself, and find the real killer, before time runs out. Nerve-jangling debut thriller from British writer Michael Robotham, though some of the nerve-jangling may come from the thick-skulled moves the psychiatrist makes throughout. Though I wanted to shout at the pages a few times, I kept turning them, all the way to a nice denouement.

MAISIE DOBBS by Jacqueline Winspear
The first in Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series features our plucky heroine looking into mysterious goings-on at a retreat for disfigured veterans in the English countryside, and being forced to face her own troubling memories as a nurse in the Great War. A nicely-wrought mystery, though the long flashback that makes up the story’s center about the war might be of greater interest. Perhaps works better as a rumination on changes in life in England between the two World Wars than a mystery, but is engaging and interesting throughout.

Darkly comic thriller features Dexter, a cheery police forensics specialist who moonlights, as it were, as a monstrous serial killer. However, thanks to Dexter’s foster father, a cop whose spirit looms large over the story, Dexter only hunts and kills greater monsters than himself. However, a killer with a similar style begins to disrupt Dexter’s peaceful existence and challenge his views. Dexter’s humorous, glib asides stand in stark contrast to creepy scenes of grisly horror, making Jeff Lindsay’s debut novel a unique and offbeat work.

BRANDED WOMAN by Wade Miller
I keep talking to anyone who will listen about how much I have enjoyed the new “Hard Case Crime” series, where lost noir classics are re-issued with classic paperback covers for new audiences. This one, by the writing team of Robert Wade and Bill Miller, is a scorcher. A pretty smuggler is branded across the forehead as a warning to stay away from the business by a bigger fish called “The Trader.” Upon recovery, she doggedly pursues revenge, capped with a particularly cold-hearted climax. One of the stronger entries in what has been a top-notch series of reprints.

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1 comment:

Tom said...

I haven't read the book, but I highly recommend the Showtime series, Dexter. I believe the first season will pop up on dvd in August. Definitely worth your time!