Friday, June 27, 2008

Introducing J. P. Beaumont ...

J.P. Beaumont is not new – he has been around for a while. But I enjoy reading series from the beginning so I am starting off with the first book of the J.P. Beaumont series written by J.A. Jance. It is called “Until Proven Guilty”. Beaumont (or Beau as he prefers) is a police detective in Seattle.

Now I have to admit I have already been introduced to Beau. J.A. Jance writes another series that I read. It is the Sheriff Joanna Brady series. I have read that series from the beginning. In one of the latter books, Beau and Joanna Brady join together to solve a mystery. This is how I was introduced to Beau. I decided then I wanted to read this series as well and am finally starting on the series.

Incidentally, there is a new book in the Joanna Brady series coming out soon so I am looking forward to getting it. And I just read on J.A. Jance’s blog about the latest book in the J.P. Beaumont series being available. I looked and discovered I have (but have not read) the last two books of the Joanna Brady series. What happened? Why have I not read these yet? I am not sure but “there are so many books and so little time to read them.”

Now back to the current book. As I read it I started remembering bits and pieces of the information from the other book I read. As Beau says, there are some cases you do not forget and this is one he does not forget. It starts with the murder of a kid whose mother belongs to a cult. The suspects change through out the book – including the mother and the leader of the cult. Another of the suspects is the kid’s father who shows up after the burial of the kid. Shortly afterwards, the leader of the cult and the mother of the kid are murdered. Beau finds it hard to believe the father is responsible although proving this will be hard.

A mysterious and beautiful woman also showed up at the funeral for the kid. This woman becomes another reason this case is one he does not forget. She tells him she is writing a book about children who were murdered. She says her motivation was her sister’s death and funeral – she was not allowed to attend it.

Beau and this woman get involved and within a matter of days he becomes engaged with her. Despite the fact he knows little about her he will marry her within a week. On the day of his wedding he learns of the death of another man, another suspect in the murder of the kid. He also learns his “new” wife knew about this “suspect” the day before. He also discovers his gun is missing and will discover his gun is responsible for the murders of the wife, the cult leader, and this guy as well. He sets out to find her and she shoots him but he survives, pursues her and shoots her as she prepares to shoots him again. He realizes she forced his hand as he remebers her asking if he would ever shoot anybody again if he was put into that situation.

This is a case he will in no way forget. There is so much to this story I am leaving out because I think it is worth reading. I am looking forward to continuing this series by J.A. Jance.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Henrie O Mystery

This book was referenced in the book Lone Star Sleuths - An Anthology of Texas Crime Fiction. Typically I would start with the first book in the series but I started with this one instead. It is by Carolyn Hart and is called Death On The River Walk. Henrie O is the short name for our sleuth Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins. She has come to San Antonio in search of her best friends' granddaughter named Iris. Iris typically contacts her grandmother on a regular basis but has failed to do so several times in a row. Henrie O is a retired reporter. When she discovers Iris has not been to her apartment and it has been searched through, her instincts tell her there is something not right.

She checks out Iris' place of employment and learns that Iris left there abruptly as well. In spite of the explanation given by one of the employees (and Iris' male friend), that Iris went to Padre with some other guy, she does not buy it and files a missing person report. She also speaks to several members of the family who operate the shop where Iris works.

She eventually gets a note to meet somebody on the River Walk and it turns out to be Iris. At this meeting another person shows up to grab Iris but she gets away. It turns out this person wants something Iris and Rick have taken from the shop and he wants it back. Later this person turns up dead at the shop and the package Iris had gets taken away from her in the mayhem created by a fire alarm. While Iris and Rick insists the package contained drugs, Henrie does not believe this to be the truth. She remembers recent news about a robbery at a museum in Mexico and suspects this is related. She is determined to find the reason behind this and to learn the identity of the killer in order to free another person of the suspicion.

Another person is murdered at the shop but it appears simply as an accident - Henrie O knows better. She knows somebody at the shop is hiding something. She sets out to investigate the family members and a select group of special customers who might be interested in the stolen treasures from the museum.

She discovers the stolen treasures in one of the customers' room where she is caught. She talks her way out of the room and discovers the identity of the person at the shop responsible for the theft. However her main concern is getting the person responsible for the murder captured in order to get the wrongly accused brother out of trouble.

She sets in motion a plan to capture the other person. But the person she suspected of the murder is not who she expected.

Later her friend's granddaughter and Rick get married and head off on there honeymoon in Mexico. While they are there, the missing treasures mysteriously show back up in the museum.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Ben Brice is a central character in this book by Mark Gimenez called “The Abduction”. He is a decorated hero from the Vietnam war but he lives alone and drinks a lot to forget things about the war. He cannot understand why certain events have happened in his life. He remembers his mother telling him God had a plan for his life but fails to see it. The only time he does not drink is when his grand daughter comes to visit with him.

One night after drinking he has another one of his recurring nightmares but there is a twist in the end of it. Instead of seeing the face of the Vietnamese girl begging for help in his past, he sees the face of his grand daughter. This seems to coincide with the abduction of his grand daughter – an abduction for which there is no apparent reason. Is this a kidnap for reward? Her father is on the verge of becoming a billionaire - but no ransom demand is made. Is this prompted by a child molester? “Evidence” seems to point to this and a convicted sex offender is taken into custody. But he professes innocence and kills himself while in jail – and Gracie is still missing. Ben sees this as a mission - to find and get her back – he has visions and still feels connections with her.

A photo of the kidnapper from behind revealed a tattoo that places a connection with Ben’s past in Vietnam. Is this kidnapping an act of revenge against him as he suspects? Or is this a coincidence? Ben does not know but follows the trail. He knows the people he is dealing with and knows it will be a difficult (but not impossible) situation to get his grand daughter back. He and his son (who has not had anything to do with him) go after Gracie.

Nothing is simple about this story / plot. There are so many twists revealed throughout the book that shed more light on what seems like unrelated events. They also reveal some surprises – like a planned assassination of the President of the United States.

I find it hard to really summarize this story – without revealing too much. At first I thought there were too many coincidences to be believable but found the theme was consistent. As Ben learns through this experience (and as his mother had told him), " God has a plan for him and this was how he discovered everything was connected. It was in my opinion a very good book. This is the second book I have read by Mark Gimenez and it was different from the first. I am impressed by his writing skills and plan to read the next book by him.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mystery in a Rural County

Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Blacklin County (Texas) hands are full again in the 15th book of this series by Bill Crider. The name of this book is “Of All Sad Words”. Some county officials are unhappy about the Citizens Police Academy he lead and some of the “vigilantes” who took it. Then, there is an explosion and fire at a trailer of “suspected” meth dealers that must have been the work of these “vigilantes”. One of these “suspected” meth dealers is also discovered dead.

On top of all of this, the county officials want the sheriff to follow-up on a delayed website for the sheriff’s office – to make sure it gets done.

Finally there are the regular (not necessarily normal) calls he gets to deal with. One widow calls him to remove some possums from her attic. Another man has problems with flying saucers stealing his electricity.

It is interesting to see how the sheriff deals with these and more problems and how he makes use of some of the recent graduates from his Citizens Police Academy.

Also interesting is how the author uses references to a character in another one of his book series – a series he no longer writes. Will he be writing another book in the Dr Sally Goode series? I hope so. Anyway, I enjoyed this Dan Rhodes book as I have the previous ones.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Want The Truth

"I Want The Truth". These are the word on the sign on a tent overlooking the White House. This is the goal of the group that bears the name also used as the title of this book - "The Camel Club" by David Balducci. And what a web of political intrigue is built into this book. There are several persons of interest that make up this story - the first in a series of three written with the Camel Club involved.

The leader of the Camel Club calls himself "Oliver Stone". He is joined by three others in this group to seek out and expose the truth. The other members are Caleb Shaw, Milton Farb, and Reuben Rhodes. They are having a secret meeting when they stumble upon a murder. When they are almost caught at the scene by the killers, they decide to determine the reason behind the murder. They have no idea the plot behind this murder is about.

Also involved in the investigation of this murder are a couple of agents in the Secret Service since the murder victim had a highly sensitive job involving a national intelligence database. These agents are Alex Ford and Jackie Simpson. The murder appears to be related to the victim's "supposed" involvement with drugs. Alex is aquainted with the person who calls himself "Oliver Stone" and he decides to look further into the murder when Oliver questions him it. Neither he or Oliver realize just how involved they will be.

I do not want to give away too much regarding the story. Suffice it to say that it involves terrorism, intelligence, and a twist of plots by several characters.

Was it something I enjoyed reading? Did it keep my attention? You bet!!! Would I be inclined to read the other two books in this collection - The Collectors and Stone Cold? With out a doubt these two books are on my list of books to read.