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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing

On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
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    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757


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Domesday Books #07: The Hawks of Delamere by Edward Marston
Domesday Books #07: The Hawks of Delamere

S Cohn, January 12, 2008

William the Conqueror sent his Royal Commissioners throughout England to determine who truly owned the lands and how much taxes should be collected on the estates. Ralph Delchard and Gervase Bret visit the King's nephew, the Earl of Chartier, Hugh d'Avranches, who rules his lands with an iron fist. Hugh has subdued the nearby Welsh, but has had problems with a stealth enemy attacking from nowhere.

While the Earl hunts in his personal playground of Delamere Forest, an unknown assailant kills one of his falcons. Hugh retaliates by murdering two Saxon peasants. The next day, Hugh hunts again and another arrow lands near him. In both incidents, a Welsh arrow was used. Hugh believes the Welsh is trying to assassinate him. As the warrior Earl prepares for battle, Ralph and Gervase try to keep the peace.

Edward Marston is an author noted for his ability to entertain while educating his audience. Focusing on the era following Hastings, Mr. Marston provides varying perspective of life from the viewpoints of Saxons, Normans, and Welshmen. The protagonists stay in character as expected from two members of the ruling class, which adds to the eleventh century feel of the novel. As usual from Mr. Marston, the story line is filled with exciting action, but the plot of THE HAWKS OF DELAMERE (and the previous six chronicles) belong to the cast.
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The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces by Ray Vukcevich
The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces

S Cohn, January 12, 2008

Private Investigator Skylight Howells hangs his hat in Eugene, Oregon. Many sleuths call Oregon their home, but none have the various personalities like Sky has. In fact Sky is only one of Brian Dobson's personas. These include Dennis the math nerd, Dieter the chef, Scarface with the hideous visage, Lulu the one who goes where others cannot, and Tag the common man.

Perhaps Mr. Dobson suffers from multiple personality disorder or maybe he is just an eccentric actor who buries himself in his role. However, whatever the cause, it does not matter since each of the personalities work towards the same common goal of solving a case, whether it is finding out whether a spouse is cheating or tracking down a murder.

This novel is one of the most unusual tales ever written. The personas constantly switch roles and the narration changes from first person to third and back again. This makes for a wild ride for the reader trying to absorb everything as the protagonist(s?) keeps the story line moving. The scene where all the personas meet in cyberspace is humorous in a Mad Magazine sort of way. Fans of Monty Python or Mel Brooks (the early works) will enjoy this eccentric mystery.
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Daughter of God by Lewis Perdue
Daughter of God

S Cohn, January 12, 2008

Christianity strictly believes that Christ is the Son of God. The Vatican has ruthlessly suppressed that they are convinced another Messiah Sophia lived in Ancient Times. In 310 AD, the men of King Constantine murdered her for fear that her life would destroy the power of the Roman Empire and the Holy Church.

In the present era, a dying Nazi asks art dealer Zoe Ridgeway to return the stolen collection he took during the war to its rightful owners. He also wants her spouse Seth to translate the story of Sophia into English. However, before they can begin, assailants steal the artwork, kill its "owner," and kidnap Zoe. The record of Sophia vanishes. The Russian Mafia holds her prisoner in the hopes of negotiating a deal that will bring needed currency to their country. Certain Vatican officials want Sophia's Passion (the gold box that contains an account of her life). Seth wants Zoe safely returned to him, but realizes that he and his spouse know too much about Sophia for the Vatican to allow them to live.

DAUGHTER OF GOD is an action-packed thriller that ties together an art theft, a conspiracy that has existed for over a millennium, and a religious philosopher. Although the action never slows down, the characters drive the plot to its triumphant conclusion. Readers will care about Zoe and Seth while appreciating and understanding the motives of the antagonists (Russian and Vatican). This makes for a realistic feel to the rich story line. Fans know that Lewis Perdue soars with the best writers of the new millennium and will demand a prequel that stars the female Messiah.
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Bloody London by Reggie Nadelson
Bloody London

S Cohn, January 12, 2008

Former Russian citizen, Artie Cohen left NYPD to become a private investigator. Much of his work comes from Sonny Lippert, who asks Artie to investigate a Manhattan murder of a British expatriate Tommy Pascoe. The assailant tried to remove the victim's head before leaving the deceased to swim in an exclusive Sutton Place pool.
Artie begins to investigate the murder and soon finds a Russian connection that sends the sleuth into Brooklyn. Other killings follow and lead Artie to London where the city seems on the verge of annihilation or exhilaration depending on where you sit in the food chain.

BLOODY LONDON, the third Artie Cohen mystery is a puissant tale that focuses on the decade-old aftermath of the collapse of Communism on New York and London. Artie remains a charming but wild mix while his girlfriend Lily seems stronger than previously depicted. The who-done-it is entertaining as Artie falls in love with the decadent, exciting, and pendulum-like swinging London. Though Reggie Nadelson makes Artie seem too lyrical at times, this doesn't prevent fans or readers new to this exciting series (see RED HOT BLUES and HOT POPPIES) from enjoying the maturing of the characters as the tale twists into new areas.
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Two Sisters by Kay David
Two Sisters

S Cohn, January 12, 2008

When the identical twins were twelve, their beloved father killed himself or was murdered by their mother. No one including the police cared what happened as their mother mentally fell apart and has been in institutions ever since. The girls Elizabeth and April Benoit traveled the foster home circuit until they were old enough to care for themselves.

Sixteen years since their Nieman Marcus environment abruptly collapsed, Elizabeth has become a consulting tax attorney while April is a stripper. On their twenty-eighth birthday they squabble. The next morning April is gone along with Elizabeth's car. A worried Elizabeth reports her missing to the police, but nothing is done about it. She informs her neighbor, homicide detective John Mallory who begins to make some inquires. As Elizabeth and John work closely together in search of April they fall in love. However, he has been burned by a former marriage to a pretty face and she knows that love is a fleeting faÁade.

TWO SISTERS is an engaging work of romantic suspense that sub-genre fans will enjoy. In spite of trite theme of of twins falling into a good twin- bad twin plot, the entertaining story line xcfeels refreshing because Kay David makes her identical sisters do more than just act differently. They do not look the same because April, changing her hair color, etc., refuses to compete with what she perceives as her perfect sibling. John is a caring hunk, which comes across in two distinct ways: the investigation and his activity with his little daughter. Ms. David makes romantic suspense fun with this character-driven contemporary.
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