Mystery & Crime Book Reviews (page 955)

MUMBO JUMBO by Kathryn Lasky Knight
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"Amusing stuff that wears thin very quickly with its predictable targets—licentious swamis, the pay-and-pray converts, etc.—and Calista and Charley, previously notable for their intelligence and exuberance, are awfully subdued here, though Charley still charms."
When children's book illustrator Calista Jacobs (Trace Elements, Mortal Words) joins brilliant archaeologist/lover Archie and her teen-aged son Charley at a Red Forks, Arizona, dig, the two are grumpy: a bunch of New Agers have bought up vast acreage, dubbed it ``Rancho Radiance,'' and now refuse to let them ``disturb'' the spirits of the ancients with research trenches. Read full book review >
THE LOVE THAT KILLS by Ronald Levitsky
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"Don't miss this one."
A first novel that soberly, without fanfare or gimmickry, tells the story of Edison Basehart, the militant white supremacist arrested for killing Vietnamese immigrant Hguyen Thi Nhi, in quiet Musket Shoals, Virginia; Jimmy Wilkes, the young prosecutor assigned by his aging patron Edgar Simpson to get a fast conviction; and Nate Rosen, the attorney from the Committee for the Defense of the Constitution who's been sent to assist in the defense of the virulently anti- Semitic Basehart. Read full book review >

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF MURDER by William F. Love
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"Brighter and tighter than the pair's debut last year in The Chartreuse Clue: this welcome series could take off if only Dave, who's by no means a dope, could get over his implausible ignorance about the Church."
When born-again Okie Jerry Fanning, just arrived in the Big Apple to claim it for Jesus, gets jailed for the stranglings of three prostitutes and an ambitious model-exec, Nero Wolfeish Bishop Francis X. Regan and his legman Dave Goldman go to work to get him off. Read full book review >
SINGAPORE TRANSFER by Wayne Warga
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"Lightweight stuff, but without the light touch of two previous Dean adventures, Hardcover and Fatal Impressions."
A loony, far-fetched caper in which journalist/consultant Jeffrey Dean is approached by an emissary of Singapore's prime minister, who'd like him to ghost the PM's book on economics. Read full book review >
THE TWENTY ACRE PLOT by Stephen F. Wilcox
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"A complicated ending assigns murder in one direction, the coverup in another, for a tough, funny, original approach to the hard-boiled genre, and more proof that second-novelist Wilcox (The Dry White Tear) is a comer."
Another entrant in the son-of-Raymond-Chandler sweepstakes as Wilcox—who can write a wonderfully crusty, wry turn-of-phrase- -introduces upstate New Yorker Elias Hackshaw, who, with his sister and brother-in-law, produces the weekly Triton Advertiser, including his muckraking opinion column. Read full book review >

DEATH QUALIFIED by Kate Wilhelm
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"But the audacious scope of Wilhelm's cosmic riddling may spoil you for mysteries that merely ask whodunit."
Another heaven-storming hybrid of mystery and fantasy from veteran Wilhelm (Cambio Bay; Sweet, Sweet Poison, etc.): What's the link between a powerful mind-altering computer program and two murders in the Oregon woods? Read full book review >
FATAL RECALL by Deforest Day
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 1991

"But despite Chase's highly adaptable derring-do—he concocts a homemade bomb and breaks out of a car trunk en route to identifying a who-cares mastermind—Day's just playing back old material at a faster speed, like Alvin and the Chipmunks."
Day's third novel about do-it-all Naval Intelligence veteran Chase Defoe (August Ice, A Cold Killing) begins with the death of retired general Harmon Kilgallen just as he's reached a crucial point in his memoirs: his recovery following WW II of a priceless cache of Old Master paintings. Read full book review >
A RED DEATH by Walter Mosley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 1991

"This time Mosley earns the acclaim his first novel received."
SPLIT SECONDS by Kevin Robinson
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: June 30, 1991

"If Robinson can work harder on plotting, the outlook for book two will be brighter."
Wheelchair-bound since he fell off a roof in 1986, Nick Foster writes a column for the Melbourne Sun Coaster, a Florida newspaper- -and when NASA staffer James Woods is found enmeshed in a crab-line and Propjob the porpoise salvages a computer disk from the site, he's sure he's onto a big story. Read full book review >
BLOODY MARKO by J. Madison Davis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 28, 1991

"Rattles in the brain for weeks."
The history of a war criminal is revealed in reverse, beginning with his trial in today's disintegrating Yugoslavia and ending with the Austrian invasion of his childhood village. Read full book review >
MEXICO WAY by Robert Moss
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: June 28, 1991

"Original, horrifying, extremely entertaining, and certainly no stranger than any of the bungled real-life geopolitics of the past 20 years."
Moss, who sometimes teams with Arnaud de Borchgrave (Monimbo, 1983) and sometimes doesn't (Death Beam, 1981), cooks up a Tex-Mex thriller about secession and oil rights and dirty politics on both sides of the Rio Grande in which the hero is, of all things, a decent CIA officer. Read full book review >
PACIFIC BEAT by T. Jefferson Parker
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: June 28, 1991

"Not as much fun as Heat—the action is too slowly deliberate, and sometimes overwhelmed by introspection—but a wiser, more mature work, resonant, literate, and powerful."
Mirroring the title of his marvelous debut novel, Laguna Heat (1985), Parker's third California thriller—after the uneven Little Saigon (1988)—is a moodily intense affair: the introspective and involving tale of a man who searches for his sister's killer among the citizens of Newport Beach. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >