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The Minotaur by Barbara Vine

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine (2005)
The Minotaur is classic Barbara Vine – an enthralling gothic-creepy tale. It has a 1960s family living in an ancient house with mysterious rooms and neurotic relatives. Set in rural Essex, it is the story of the dysfunctional Cosway family, who are locked in a power struggle. The story is narrated by the young Swedish nurse hired to care for the only son, John who suffers from what we now know as autism. True to her style, Vine tells the story in flashback, which has a dramatic impact.

Preview the book before you visit the library and read a review at Mystery Ink.com.

Undertow by Sydney Bauer

Undertow by Sydney Bauer (2008)
From start to finish, Bauer hooks the reader with her compelling first novel of political intrigue. Characters, dialogue and plot meld together to produce such a fast pace that you’ll be breathless at the end.

Visit the author's website to learn more about the author and her other books.

Spotlight: Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine

Spotlight: Ruth Rendell and Barbara VineRuth Rendell, who also writes under the name Barbara Vine, is an English bestselling mystery and psychological crime writer. Her Ruth Rendell novels are about police detective Chief Inspector Wexford, guardian of fictional south of England town, Kingsmarkham or about individual psychological suspense thrillers, with no detective and no recurring characters. She specializes in examining the inner darkness of her characters, whether they are ordinary or alarmingly aberrant. Try Murder Being Once Done, a Chief Inspector Wexford title, for a taste of this fine series.

Writing as Barbara Vine, she crafts psychological crime novels (such as A Dark Adapted Eye) which explore the minds of people who commit murder, often through obsession or social inadequacy. The Vine books maintain the theme of relationships between families by delving back into the past, which set them apart from the Rendell work.

Under either name, her novels are complex in character development and precise in sense of place. Always suspenseful and viscerally compelling, I highly recommend them.

Check back next month to read Sally’s review of The Minotaur by Barbara Vine.

Orbit by John J. Nance

Orbit by John J. Nance (2006)
A private space company sends lottery winners into orbit around the earth. Through a freak accident, Kip is stranded alone, stuck orbiting the earth. He starts journaling his life on the computer, but little does he know everyone on Earth is able to read his journal.

Preview this book before you visit the library and check out the author's website.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver (2008)
This book is vintage Lincoln Rhyme. In this thriller, Deaver graphically portrays murder(s) via computers. The concept really blows the reader away. We are all vulnerable in cyberspace. As the plot twists and turns, the romantic team of Lincoln and Amelia face the ultimate amoral mastermind. This reader was breathless and involved until the last word of the last page.

Visit the author's website for an excerpt and interview. Watch a video on Amazon.com.

Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain

Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain (2008)
This is an interesting novel that shows the complexities of human relationships. Laurel Lockwood is a mother who is trying to help and protect her special needs son after he is accused of arson. The author shifts from past to present so you really get to know the characters. Very enjoyable read!

And Then You Die by Iris Johansen

And Then You Die by Iris Johansen (1998)
This thriller grabbed me immediately and kept me on the run with Bess Grady, a photojournalist who comes upon a horrifying site in a Mexican village. Would she, her sister, and a man she must trust against her better judgment escape each new dangerous situation? This page turner pulls plot ideas from headline events and shows some frightening possibilities that could come to pass.

Garden of Beasts by Jeffery Deaver

Garden of Beasts by Jeffery Deaver (2004)
An American hit man is hired to go to Berlin during the 1936 Olympics to take out a high ranking Nazi. Check out the author's website for more about the novel, an interview, an excerpt, and more.

The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing start today! Visit NBC's Olympic website for TV and online listings, results, plus information about the U.S. athletes and teams.

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood (2000)
Father Tommy Madden is counting the minutes until he can leave the sweltering confessional. Before he can escape, a cocky serial killer enters the confessional and brags about a murder he’s already committed and the one he plans to commit next. His intended victim? Tommy’s sister Laurant.

FBI agent Nick Buchanan swoops into action after a frantic call from his best friend Tommy. After Laurant refuses to hide, Nick and a team of FBI agents set a trap for the killer in Holy Oaks, Iowa. And that's when the fun begins.

Garwood’s first foray into contemporary fiction proves successful. This engrossing thriller keeps you guessing about the killer’s identity, while you’re also laughing at the dynamics of Nick and Laurant’s growing relationship.


Check out an interview with the author or read an excerpt.

The Master of the Delta by Thomas H. Cook

The Master of the Delta by Thomas H. Cook (2008)
Jack Branch is living in the moldering remains of his family’s plantation house. Jack, formerly a teacher at the local high school, relives events from the 1950s when his encouragement of a young boy to write about his father, a local murderer who died in jail, opens up wounds and provokes actions that end in tragedy.

Publisher's Weekly has an article about the author, and both Yahoo! and The Washington Post have reviews.

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child (2007)
As read by expert reader Dick Hill, Bad Luck and Trouble (#11 in the series) goes into overdrive as Jack Reacher solves the brutal murder of a former colleague. Jack Reacher reunites his old team of elite investigators into a wildly exciting assault. Not always probable, tough, mach Jack raises the level of excitement to high – fun. Listen and enjoy.

Third Degree by Greg Iles

Third Degree by Greg Iles (2007)
A fast-paced page turner! This thriller unfolds over a 24-hour period, during which a rational, intelligent physician spins out of control after suspecting his wife of having an affair. There are several sub-plots with twists and turns that keep you on edge till the end.

The Eye of the Abyss by Marshall Browne

The Eye of the Abyss by Marshall Browne (2003)

In late 1938, Franz Schmidt, an unassuming, slight man and bank auditor, takes up the anti-Nazi cause as his bank is taken over by the Party.

The New York Times has an overview of this novel and other crime stories from 2003.

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (2007)
A novel that succeeds as both historical fiction and crime-thriller, the story contains fascinating details of historical forensic medicine, entertaining notes on women in science (the medical school at Salerno is not fictional) and a wonderful plot with lots of twists.

Four children have been found dead and mutilated. The Jews of Cambridge have been blamed for the murders, the most prominent Jewish moneylender and his wife have been killed by a mob, and the rest of the Jewish community is shut up in the castle under the protection of the sheriff.

King Henry I is invested in their fate because without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping to exonerate the Jews, he appeals to his cousin, the king of Sicily, to send his best master of the art of death: a doctor skilled in “reading” bodies. Enter Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, 25, the best mistress of death that the medical school at Salerno has ever produced. Adelia, along with Simon of Naples (a Jew) and Mansur (a Moor), must find the murderer before he can kill again.

The Serpent’s Daughter by Suzanne Arruda

The Serpent’s Daughter: A Jade del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda (2008)
This is the third entry in the Jade del Cameron mysteries. Jade grew up on a ranch in New Mexico and served as an ambulance driver during WWI. Her abilities to survive in extreme circumstances serve her well as her adventures take her to Colonial East Africa. In The Mark of the Lion, she searches for the murderer of her dead fiancé’s father and in Stalking Ivory, she tracks down elephant poachers. Her latest adventure takes her to Morocco where she is to meet her mother before heading off to Spain to buy a stallion for the family ranch. When Jade’s mother is kidnapped, Jade chases after Tangier to Marrakesh. These charming books are part mystery, part Saturday afternoon matinee adventure.

Check out the author's blog for information on Jade and the time period in which she lives.