Books by John Miles

Released: Jan. 8, 1996

Miles, who published Missing at Tenoclock (1994) under the pseudonym Arthur Williams, unmasks himself for this sequel. It begins with a lion loose in the streets of cash-poor, crime-rich Tenoclock, Colorado, and proceeds to enough other prodigies to gladden the hearts of millenialists everywhere—an earth tremor that doesn't show up on the recording equipment at Denver, a fire that destroys the courthouse annex and ancient custodian Amos Pinkstaff, an Alamosa junkman found dead with a Ute arrow in his neck, a bar fight broken up by a stranger in full skin-diving regalia. The hearts that aren't gladdened are those of the venal, suppressive town fathers, who don't find the crime-and-circus spree at all consistent with their vision of marketing Tenoclock as the next Vail—and who promise Sheriff Johnnie Baker a fight for her job if she doesn't solve both murders (a third looms) and clear up the other riddles posthaste, and maybe even if she does. Fortunately, puddinghead visiting Ute historian Noah Webster's persistent nosy questions will make the mystery about as tough to solve as a two-piece jigsaw. A chamber mystery that can't help looking kind of puny amid the wide open spaces. Read full book review >
Released: June 16, 1995

A third, vastly more potent dose of geriatric homicide for Laura Michaels, assistant director of Oklahoma's Timberdale Retirement Center. First, Violet Mayberry, who detoured en route to the neighboring JiffyGrub to check out a blinking red light, is attacked and left for dead. Then Davidson Bell, a new resident who has ideas of his own about the mysterious red light and weed- trimmer Violet says she saw, meets the same fate. As James Aikman, the deadeyed security guard whom Laura's heartless boss Judith Epperman has brought in to reassure the surviving residents, patrols the grounds beating and terrorizing whoever makes one false move—talk about the cure being worse than the disease—Miles (a.k.a. Jack Bickman) expertly coaxes suspicion, suspense, and a frisson of fear out of his cast of endearing old warhorses right up to the neatly satisfying end. A welcome leap from the contrivances of Murder in Retirement (1994) to the open air of everyday life at Timberdale. Shame on you, though, if Laura and her beau, Deputy Aaron Lassiter, dope this one out before you do. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 17, 1994

Everybody who worked with him, and quite a few people who didn't, would've loved to see J. Turner Redwine dead. So when the corpse who's starring in the climactic scene of the murder-game theatricals that the Redwine Players have brought to Oklahoma's Timberdale Retirement Center turns out to the be the real thing, Deputy Aaron Lassiter has a full slate of candidates (the wife Redwine left behind and reported missing? the long-suffering manager he'd bilked out of a partnership? one of the string of bimbos he'd been toying with?) for the hot seat. Fortunately, Aaron's true love, Laura Michaels, assistant to Timberdale's director, and scatty Timberdale client Maude Thuringer, who just loves mysteries, reprise their detective roles from A Permanent Retirement (1992)—and even stick around for a long, superfluous postlude. Though the confusion of staged and real mysteries seems falsely promising early on, this turns out to be no different from dozens of other staged-murder-turned-real scenarios. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

Laura Michaels—a graduate student at Oklahoma's School of Social Work and part-time group leader at the Timberdale Retirement Center—is upset when one of her favorite patients, Cora, dies suddenly during the night, a jar of Ben-Gay at her side. When two more old people die, and when it becomes clear that each of the three victims had only one thing in common—a pain-racked future from a fatal disease—Laura begins snooping. Meanwhile, she drops one boyfriend, acquires another—assistant deputy Lassister—and has her footsteps dogged by mystery-reading retiree Maude Thuringer, who's thrilled to bits to try her hand at solving a real-life crime. The avaricious Center manager will fall under suspicion, as will several residents and staff members, but Laura must suffer through a Center talent show/costume party and a villain-induced concussion before the poorly motivated perpetrator is brought to justice. Wooden and predictable. The pseudonymous Miles—``a best- selling thriller writer who always wanted to write cozies''—is working on a Laura/Maude sequel. Read full book review >