<i>Date with Malice</i>: Excerpt Date with Malice: Excerpt Julia Chapman The second book in the Samson and Delilah Mystery series. Discount: <i>The Nearest Exit</i> by Olen Steinhauer Discount: The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99! Review: <i>The Silent Companions</i> by Laura Purcell Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell Gabino Iglesias Read Gabino Iglesias's review! Review: <i>Last Ferry Home</i> by Kent Harrington Review: Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review!
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Showing posts by: Lois Karlin click to see Lois Karlin's profile
Jan 3 2013 8:30pm

Fresh Meat: Mastermind by Maria Konnikova

Mastermind, by Maria KonnikovaMaria Konnikova’s Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes is an examination of the mind and methods of the great detective and a discussion of how current techniques in neurology and psychology can help you become more of a master detective in your own life (available January 3, 2013).

Journalist Maria Konnikova writes Scientific American’s “Literally Psyched” column. Mastermind is her first book.

Maria Konnikova was raised on the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Whether or not this early introduction to the world’s brainiest detective influenced her vocation, it certainly helped give birth to Mastermind, a book that presents Holmes in his natural role as a mentor of mindfulness. In writing it, she aims to help readers develop habits of thought that will allow us to improve our intellectual and creative capacity and engage mindfully with ourselves and the world.

The book gives the average person (that is, the average motivated person—the task is not an easy one) a boost onto the Holmesian playing field. Konnikova uses the character of Holmes not just to entertain, but because Holmes himself, by revealing his deductive process to his friend Watson in story after story, “provides an education in improving our faculty of mindful thought and in using it in order to accomplish more, think better, and decide more optimally.”

[Isn’t that what we all want?]

Oct 15 2012 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Blood Lance by Jeri Westerson

Blood Lance by Jeri WestersonBlood Lance by Jeri Westerson is the fifth Crispin Guest medieval noir mystery (available October 16, 2012).

If you’re a history buff with a penchant for romantic suspense that borders on noir, Jeri Westerson delivers the goods. A touch of 14th century London. A murder and joust at London Bridge. A visit to Westminster. Finely wrought armour and a religious relic of inestimable worth. Geoffrey Chaucer, belligerent sheriffs, an unsuitable wench, a beloved but aging archbishop, and not-so-knightly knights. Read a few of the earlier books in the series first, however, or you’ll miss character development. In Blood Lance, histories are a little bit vague and possibly too numerous for newcomers to the series.

In this, the fifth book, Crispin Guest sees an armourer’s body fall from one of the buildings that line the length of London Bridge. Crispin does not believe the death was a suicide and investigates with his orphaned apprentice. They uncover the theft of a relic the dead armourer was paid to locate. The customer, the bedeviled and unhappy Sir Thomas, apparently suffers battle fatigue. Having once fought side by side with Sir Thomas, Crispin agrees to recover the artifact.

[But this is noir, no matter how ancient, and nothing is easy...]

Sep 2 2012 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Detroit Breakdown by D.E. Johnson

Detroit Breakdown by D.E. JohnsonDetroit Breakdown, the third book in the Will Anderson series by D.E. Johnson, is an historical noir mystery (available September 4, 2012).

In Detroit Breakdown, which like D.E. Johnson’s earlier books is set in the Detroit of the early 1910s, the author doesn’t actually describe the thriving city so much as casually place the reader in the midst of Gilded Age mansions and wealth wrung from new industry.

The book’s flawed characters include Will, son of an electric automobile magnate. In earlier books he nearly lost his life to gangsters, Teamsters, and crooked cops. He is traumatized, terrified, and full of guilt. Elizabeth, the former fiancée he still loves, hides dark secrets.  She’s a gutsy suffragette who, in earlier books, has fought and held her own in the city’s underworld, but she’s also a former opium addict with a family history of madness.

[Sounds like the life of the party to me!]

Aug 16 2012 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Rock Bottom by Sarah Andrews

Rock Bottom by Sarah AndrewsRock Bottom by Sarah Andrews is the eleventh in the Em Hansen, forensic geologist, traditional mystery series (available August 21, 2012).

I’ve always wanted to go white-water rafting on the Colorado River. Actually, I’ve always wished I had the guts to do such a thing. Guts are exactly what Em Hansen believes she lacks when she faces the river at the start of a month-long white-water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. But she’s not about to admit her fear to Fritz, the hunk she married six months back, especially since he’s agreed to guide the party of fourteen as a wedding gift to her.

[The honeymoon’s over . . .]

Jul 20 2012 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Blind Faith by CJ Lyons

Blind Faith by CJ LyonsBlind Faith by CJ Lyons is an edgy, stand-alone romantic suspense novel. This new edition includes new material (available July 31, 2012).

I’ve come to admire well-written romantic suspense. It takes a lot of skill to maintain a number of points of view, grow characters, and provide a dash of romance—both wholesome and hot—then pull the plot together without losing the reader.

CJ Lyons weaves an intricate plot that takes off at a gallop with continual twists and turns along the trail. As a reader I did skid, from time to time, due to some name confusion, a ton of characters, and the frequent demand for suspension of disbelief. But the book, set in the Adirondack Mountains with an eye well focused on that area’s dark beauty—kept me in the stirrups to the last page.

[Ride the dark horse . . .]

Apr 20 2012 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Silenced by Allison Brennan

Silenced by Allison BrennanSilenced by Allison Brennan is a romantic thriller, fifth in the Lucy Kincaid crime series (available April 24, 2012).

In Silenced, agent Lucy Kincaid nearly loses her grip on her climb toward acceptance in the FBI’s ranks. The troubled past that has driven her to succeed now threatens to derail her.

As Allison Brennan’s Kincaid series enters its third year, Silenced returns us to DC, where Kincaid takes on Washington insiders with fierce resolve and anger-driven courage.

The book moves from the city’s idyllic Rock Creek Park, to a brothel all but sanctioned by social workers, to a mountain compound where a religious cult controls members with drugs and terror. The “silencing” of the title goes well beyond the dead, as Brennan skillfully weaves present-day intrigue with the dark pasts of several young women.

[Will Lucy’s past come back to haunt her?]

Feb 10 2012 2:00pm

Fresh Meat: Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt

Heart of a Killer by David RosenfeltIn Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt, coming February 14th, we have the month’s ultimate Valentine.

The heart in question belongs to Sheryl Harrison, who is locked up in New Jersey State Prison for Women for slitting her husband’s throat. It is to her fourteen year old daughter, who is dying of a congenital heart defect, that Sheryl Harrison wants to give her own heart—a perfect match for the girl’s rare blood type. To make this happen, Sheryl wants to die.

[But the heart of the State is a cold, dark place.]

Jun 21 2011 11:00am

Narcissism and the Supervillain

Narcissus, variety Vernal Prince“Narcissist” has become a household word. We laugh as we assign the label to Castle’s self-absorbed, drama queen mother and to Hugh Laurie’s arrogant, manipulative, and egocentric character in House. We use the term as a kind of shorthand to peg the grandiosity, manipulation, demand for admiration, and sometimes cruelty of a spouse. Or a child’s dance teacher. And certainly our mothers-in-law.

Meanwhile, psychologists are in an uproar over a decision to strike Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the diagnostic manual (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association. The decision is hotly contested (see psychologist Gretchen Gibbs’ post at Zest of Orange) because the disorder has long been well-defined and the diagnosis useful in treatment.

[What does this have to do with me?]