Category Archives: Book Reviews



Title:  The Ice Man

Author:  P. T. Deutermann

In 1942, off the port city of Nazaire in occupied France, a United States Navy S-class submarine assigned to the Royal Navy lurks just outside the borders of the minefield protecting a German U-boat base.  Lieutenant Commander Malachi Stormes, the boat’s skipper, patrols dangerously close to the minefield entrance and manages to trap and sink three outbound U-boats in one spectacular attack.  Britain decorates him, and the U.S. Navy promotes him and then gives him command of a brand-new class of submarine, a fleet boat called Firefish.  Based in Perth, Australia, having been driven out of the Philippines by the Japanese juggernaut, the Perth boats are the only American forces capable of hitting the Japanese in the western Pacific.

Stormes with his cold, steely-eyed focus on killing Japanese ships, is an enigma to his officers and crew, especially when it becomes clear that he is willing to take huge chances to achieve results.  Firefish sinks more ships than any Perth boat on her first war patrol, but Stormes’s  unconvential tactics frighten his crew.  Driven by a past steeped in the whiskey-haunted violence of the Kentucky coal fields, with psychological scars that torment his sleep and close him off from personal relationships, Stormes is nicknamed the Iceman.  His crew is proud of their boat’s accomplishments but wonder if their iron-willie skipper will bring them home alive.

With intense action and featuring authentic submarine tactics in the early years of the Pacific war, The Iceman continues P.T. Deutemann’s masterful, award-winning cycle of thrillers set during World War II.



Title:  Whiskey When We’re Dry

Author:  John Larison

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead.  Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother, Noah, and bring him home.  On her quest, Jess a talented sharpshooter, lands in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious Governor, wh9ose militia is hunting Noah–dead or alive.

Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her to become a hero in her own right.

Told in Hess’s wholly original and unforgettable voice, Whiskey When We’re Dry is a stunning achievement, a propulsive quest for salvation and family, and a reckoning with the myths entwined with our history.


Title:  Whistle in the Dark

Author:  Emma Healey

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country.

Lana won’t tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed.  But Jen can[t leave it alone.  Lana is distant, hostile, and acting strangely; she stops going to school and always sleeps with the light on.

Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days.  Lana seems equally sure she’ll never speak of it.  Terrified of losing her all over again,  Jen has to do something.  But jhow do you rescue someone who has already been found?

Asking how well you can know even those closest to you, Whistle in the Dark is masterfully drawn, thought-provoking, and psychologically complex tale that affirms Emma Healey’s status as a writer at the top of her game.




Title:  A Noise Downstairs

Author:  Linwood Barclay

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life.  But that normal existence is turned upside down late one evening when he spots his colleague Kenneth driving in a suspicious manner along a deserted road.  Curious and concerned, Paul follows Kenneth, and catches him in a horrifying act–trying to dispose of two dead bodies.

That was eight months ago.

After nearly losing his own life that night, Paul is battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work and home.  To cheer him up, his worried wife, Charlotte, gives him a surprise present: a vintage typewriter–complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys–because he’s always wanted one.  Paul heels inspired to write about the terrifying experience that damaged his life.  ” If I can look into the eyes of evil in the real world, “Paul explains, “maybe I won’t have to run from it in mu sleep.”

However, the typewriter soon becomes a source of anxiety itself.  Paul swears he can hear the keys clicking  in the early hours of the morning when everyone id in bed.  Charlotte and his son deny playing with the old-fashioned machine or hearing any strange sounds.  It is only Paul who can hear the noise he swears is coming from downstairs.  Are Paul’s claims real–or is he going off the rails as Charlotte fears?

Paul believes that the typewriter is connected to the dark events that night on the Post Road, as implausible as that seems.  After all, Kenneth is in prison and he worked alone.  so how could the typewriter have anything to do with the crime?  Increasingly tormented yet determined to discover the truth, Paul begins reinvestigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do.  Maybe Paul should just get rid of the typewriter.  Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can.  Because if he doesn’t his darkest nightmares just might come true.




Title:  Paradox

Author:  Catherine Coulter

With the unparalleled suspense and her trademark explosive twists, #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter delves into the terrifying mind of an escaped mental patient obsessed with revenge in this next installment of her riveting FBI series.  When he fails to kidnap five-year-old Sean Savich, agents Sherlock and Savich know they’re in his crosshairs and must find him before he continues with his kill lust.

Chief Ty Christie of Willicott, Maryland, witnesses a murder at dawn from the deck of her cottage on Lake Massey.  When dragging the lake, the divers not only find the murder victim, they also discover dozens of bones.  Even mores shocking is the identification of a unique belt buckle found among the remains.  Working together with Chief Christie, Savich and Sherlock soon discover a frightening connection between the bones and the escaped psychopath.

Paradox is a chilling  mix of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, old secrets that refuse to stay buried, and ruthless greed that keeps Savich and Sherlock and Chief y Christie working at high speed to uncover the truth before their own bones end up at the bottom of the lake.

Don’t miss Paradox, the twenty-second FBI thriller.


Title:  Come Sundown

Author:  Nora Roberts

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers who want to ride horses in the apple-crisp air or couples holding weddings under the wide-open sky.  A little more than thirty thousand acres, it is home to four generations–and behind the scenes, Bodine Longbow does all she can to keep things running with the help of her siblings, the staff, and the new hire, Cullen Skinner.

But not far away, an aunt Bodine has never met lives in her own twisted version of a family, one no one knows about, one she never chose.  Years ago, Alice was a rebellious eighteen-year-old who ran off looking for freedom and adventure.  Now she cowers in fear, rarely seeing the sunlight, her mind shattered by a man who views her–and her offspring–as his rightful property.  The Longbows don’t talk about Alice anymore.  Many quietly presume that she is long dead.

Then a young bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow.  It’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them, and it will not be the only murder to unnerve this peaceful town.  But the greatest shock is yet to come when Alice returns–and the threat that follows in her wake will test the bonds that hold Bodine to this place and these people, and thrust her into a darkness she could never have imagined.


Title:  A Brotherhood of Spies

Author:  Monte Reel

On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union just weeks before a peace summit between the two nations.  The CIA concocted a cover story for President Eisenhower to deliver, assuring him that no one could have survived a fall from that altitude.  And even if pilot Francis Gary Powers had survived, he had been supplied with a poison pin with which to commit suicide.

But against, all odds, Powers emerged from the wreckage and was seized by the KGB.  He confessed to espionage, revealing to the world that Eisenhower had just lied to the American people–and to the Soviet premier.  Infuriated, Nikita Khrushchev slammed the door on a rare opening in Cold War relations.

In a Brotherhood of Spies, award-wining journalist Monte Reel reveals how the U-2 spy program, principally devised by four men working in secret, intensified the Cold War and carved out a new mission for the CIA  This secret fraternity, made up of Edwin Land, Best known as the.  inventor of instant photography and the head of Polaroid Corporation; Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, a hare-charging taskmaster form Lockheed; Richard Bissell, the secretive and ambitious spymaster; and ace Air Force flyer Powers, set out to replace yesterday’s fallible human spies with tomorrow’s undetectable eye in the sky.  Their groundbreaking clandestine successes and all-too-public failures make this brilliantly reported account a true-life thriller with the highest stakes and the most tragic repercussions.


Title:  Navigator

Author:  Stephen Baxter

As Willian the Conqueror’s men attempt to stamp out the flames of rebellion, a prophecy is uttered.  A bedraggled woman in a ruined chapel speaks of civilizations in conflict, armed by the engines of God.

And that prophecy proves to be true as the fearsome war between Christianity and Islam leaves its mark across the land.  In Spain, where Moore and Christian live side by side, a rogue priest dreams of the final defeat of Islam, for he has found a rent in the tapestry of time, a point where agents from the future once tampered with the past and changed history—using diabolical weapons of destruction.

For centuries, the conflict ebbs and flows, moving from one part of the known world to the next.  Men of vision, weary of the strife, are drawn to the West, to whatever may lie across the endless sea.  And in 1492, one such explorer seeks the funding for his voyage while a mysterious Weaver plots to unravel the strands of time and stop him.




Title:  Ruff Justice

Author:  Laurien Berenson

As owner of prize-winning Poodles, Melanie Travis knows how to handle fierce competition.  But when a conformation show turns deadly, it’ll take every trick in the book to outsmart a murderer who refuses to lose.

With the excitement of the spring dog show season sweeping Connecticut, Melanie is determined to help her son finally lead his Standard Poodle toward a championship title.  Aunt Peg even skips the judging panel to exhibit a pup of her own, and she’s set on standing out from the pack with a handmade leash from Jasmine Crane, a talented canine portrait artist who also crafts stunning accessories for discriminating show-goers.  Jasmine’s handwork is to die for –but Aunt Peg didn’t expect to discover the woman murdered behind the concession booth, strangled by one of her dazzling custom creations.

Another shockwave ripples through the close-knit show community when Amanda, Aunt Peg’s longtime dog sitter and a renter on Jasmine’s property, ominously vanishes that same day.  While nosing around for clues, Melanie suspects a dangerous connection between Amanda’s disappearance and the homicide case–a hunch that grows as her investigation reveals sketchy secrets about the late artist.  Juggling a demanding teaching job, the pressures of the show ring, and a daunting suspect list, Melanie finds herself entangled in a mindboggling murder mystery…and hot on the trail of a desperate killer.




Title: Rising in Flames

Author: J.D. Dickey

Antebellum America was a deeply troubled country, divided by partisan gridlock and ideological warfare. There were angry voices in the streets and the statehouses, and furious clashes over tace and immigration, coupled with a growing chasm between immense wealth and desperate poverty.

The Civil War that followed brought America to the brink of self-destruction. But it also created a new country from the ruins of the old one, bolder and stronger than ever. No campaign in the war was more destructive—or more important—than William Sherman’s legendary march through Georgia and the Carolinas. It would cripple the heart of the South’s economy, free thousands of slaves, and mark the beginning of a new era.

The invasion not only quelled the Confederate forces, but transformed America, forcing it to recon with a century of injustice. In this timely, narrative social history, Dickey reveals the story of women actively involved in the military campaign, and later in civilian networks, one of whom was so vital, even Sherman himself would call her “General.” African “Americans also took active roles as soldiers, builders, and activist, despite the hesitation on the part of some, though not all, Union officers to integrate the ranks.

Rich with despair and hope, brutality and compassion, Rising in Flames tells the dramatic story of the Union’s invasion of the confederacy. Dickey brilliantly examines how this colossal struggle provide a radiant and violent rebirth for a nation on the edge of collapse—and helped create a vigorous new country from the embers of the Old South.