Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rum-runners, Gangsters & Kidnappers

Carol Tibaldi's "Willow Pond" takes place in the world of 1930's New York.  Prohibition is in force and gangsters and rum-runners rule the underworld.  Virginia Kingsley is one of the power players in the speakeasy business.  Her niece, Laura Kingsley Austin, is recently separated from her philandering movie star husband, Philip Austin.  When their 2 year old son, Todd, goes to spend time with his father at Willow Pond it isn't long before he is kidnapped.

Phillip pays the ransom but Todd is never returned to them.  Speculation that the kidnapping was a result of Virginia's business dealings prompts Virginia to start her own investigation into the whereabouts of the little boy.  Laura and a reporter named Erich who befriends her also investigate their own leads as the police fail to get results.

The story crisscrosses the country as well as the Atlantic Ocean as they seek to bring Todd home.  You'll have to read the novel to see if they are successful.

"Willow Pond" has a great storyline and interesting characters.  I did find the timeline of events to be confusing at some points as the story switched between different characters viewpoints.  Over all it is a strong story and a great first effort.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Murder Most Unusual

In Lars Trodson's "Eagles Fly Alone" the murder victim is most unusual - a bird!  The story opens with Langley Calhoun, the sheriff of a small New England town investigating a murder reported by Antonio, an 80+ war veteran.  He'd found a strange bird on his property that had obviously met foul play.  Antonio is convinced that the owners of the landfill which borders his property is somehow too blame.

When the bird turns out to be an endangered species of eagle from another part of the world Calhoun's investigation heats up.  The town council does not want to upset the largest area employer and Calhoun faces opposition to his investigation.  Even from his own brother with whom he's had a lifelong rivalry.  He's aided in his investigation by park ranger and potential love interest, Delia.

The plot line of this story was very intriguing and took some unexpected twists.  The narrative flows and the suspense builds throughout the book.  The characters are well fleshed out and believable.  It's a great summer (or anytime) read.  I'll be looking for more from Trodson in the future.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mystery in Middle America

"Julie, Do You Love Me?" by Stephen Spencer begins with a mysterious government program being discovered by the White House, resulting in orders to shut it down immediately.  A secret FBI team is assembled and the bodies start piling up.

Enter newlyweds, Paul Mallory & Julie Preston.  Julie leaves town suddenly on unexplained family business and Mallory is left questioning her love for him.  Shortly after she leaves he gets a telephone call that she has been found seriously injured in Reese City, Indiana.  A town which doesn't happen to be on any maps. Mallory heads to Reese City to be with her.  All is not what it seems when he arrives in Reese City and they must defend their lives from multiple assailants.

I really enjoyed the character of Mallory and rooted for him the whole way through.  The writing is witty and well paced with an ending that will surprise you.  I do think that more hints of what was going on in Reese City and why Mallory & Julie were in trouble would have been helpful.  That being said, the ending did tie it all together and explain it.