January 8th, 2018 by diane92345

A deadly cat and mouse game between a bomber and the LAPD Bomb Squad.

Dick Stahl is the owner of a security company. He is famous for doing whatever it takes to rescue American business people from kidnappers in foreign lands. Dick was also a former head of the LAPD Bomb Squad. When a bomb kills the current leader and most of his senior staff, Dick accepts a temporary post as interim bomb squad chief.

The bomber is a loner skilled at creating explosives, blasting caps and detonators by hand. He is targeting the Bomb Squad. But why?

Alternating perspectives of The Bomb Maker and the squad trying to catch him makes for a compelling read. The bomb defusing scenes are particularly tense. The science of bomb creation is fascinating and well detailed. This reader is hopeful that at least one ingredient is left out of each explosive recipe.

Due to its nice mixture of science and suspense, The Bomb Maker is highly recommended for fans of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Grove Atlantic, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Murder has a Motive
January 3rd, 2018 by diane92345

Something wicked this way comes.

Something evil is loose in small British village of Dalmering. A woman is stabbed in a wood right before her wedding. What could be the possible motive for killing someone liked by the entire village? Could the murderer be her last dinner companion with whom she didn’t share romantic feelings? A mysterious stranger seen lurking about the village? Why didn’t her roommate of many years call the police when she failed to return after her dinner?  

The village is putting on an amateur production of a play called Murder has a Motive. Could the murderer be only acting like a concerned friend or neighbor?

Murder has a Motive was written in 1947. It is the first Mordecai Tremaine detective series but second to be republished, after Murder for Christmas (review here). Between the two books, this is clearly the lesser story. Murder for Christmas had a twisty pseudo-Christie plot that this book did not. The ending was not surprising and the clues were too obvious to be missed by most readers. Murder has a Motive is a good, not great, lesser golden age mystery. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.

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Death Makes a Prophet
January 2nd, 2018 by diane92345

Originally published in 1947, Death Makes a Prophet is one golden age mystery that deserves to find a new audience.

The Children of Osiris, or Cooism for short, is a church/cult based on a mishmash of Egyptian gods, astral bodies, meditation and vegetarianism. Its founder, Eustace Mildmann, is the High Prophet. One of Cooism’s highest members, Mrs. Hagge-Smith, donates substantial funds to the church including a 5,000 pound annual stipend to the High Prophet.  However, she is entranced by the dynamic personality of the Prophet-in-Waiting, Peta Penpeti. So rapt that she creates an additional annual stipend of 500 pounds for him. Penpeti and Hagge-Smith plot a coup on Cooism: hoping to overthrow Mildmann if favor of Penpeti. Several church members remain loyal to Mildmann and tell him of the rebellion. Meanwhile, Terrence, Mildmann’s son, is attracted to Mrs. Hagge-Smith’s secretary, Denise, but the romance is thwarted by both his father and Mrs. Hagge-Smith.

Death Makes a Prophet is bursting with plots.  It is one part Preston & Child and two parts Agatha Christie. The plot synopsis above is only from the first 10% of the book. There is a cauldron of attempted murder, mistaken identity, murder, suicide, theft, sex without benefit of marriage, blackmail and more within the storyline. It is genuinely awesome how all of these disparate puzzle pieces magically transform into a clear picture by the end of the book. Mr. Bude was a master at misdirection and it is a treat to read this book. It kept me guessing until the end. However, the book is best read on a Kindle as some of the words may be unfamiliar to modern audiences (e.g. toper, rissoles, abeyance, paucity, surfeit). Some of the phrases also take a little detective work to figure out.

“I’ll cut the cackle and come to the goose, eh?”

seems to mean I’ll get to the point.  Some phrases are rather racist and one contains the n-word so sensitive readers may not enjoy this book. However, for all other mystery lovers this book is highly recommended.

Thanks to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.

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