Review: Best Defense by Randy Rawls

Best DefenseBest Defense

Randy Rawls

ISBN 978-0-7387-3461-3

Paperback / 288 pages

Midnight Ink Books

November, 2013RandyRawls

Reviewed by Patricia K. Batta

South Florida Private Investigator Beth Bowman goes the home of her client, Sabrina Hammonds, to turn in her report. When she finds Sabrina and her maid dead, she is certain the killer is Sabrina’s husband, John, who Sabrina had hired her to tail. John, a respected and highly successful defense attorney, convinces Beth he loved and was faithful to Sabrina. He then asks Beth to help him get back his missing five year old daughter, Ashley, whatever the cost to him. He insists the police stand down and take their lead from Beth.

Beth knows she has little chance of success on her own, and little chance of finding Ashley alive if she doesn’t move quickly. She enlists the city’s homeless population to be her eyes and ears on the street and eventually earns the grudging help of the police. The heat is turned up when the kidnappers threaten to sell Ashley to the highest bidder if all doesn’t go as they demand.

The book begins with somewhat repetitive back-story, but it soon moves into a fast-paced narrative that keeps the reader guessing about what will happen next.

One can only hope the background information given on the street people who rally to support Beth and Beth’s growing respect for the detective with whom she works most closely indicate the author plans future books featuring this unique group of crime busters.

Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Death-of-a-NightingaleDeath of a Nightingale

Book No. 3 Nina Borg Series

Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete FriisNightengale authors

Soho Crime, 2013, 368 Pages

ISBN No. 978-1616953041

Reviewed by Patricia Reid


Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg was first introduced to readers in The Boy in the Suitcase.  Nina takes her job very seriously and her commitment to her work has interfered with her relationship with her husband and children.

The book skips back and forth between Nina’s present day time and the story of two young women growing up in Stalinist Ukraine in 1934, the time of the terrible famine.  The story of the two young girls growing up during the famine is one that kept this reader fascinated.

Nina currently is working at the Coal House Camp for Refugees and has taken a special interest in an eight-year-old asthmatic girl whose name is Rina.  Rina’s Ukrainian mother, Natasha Doroshenko, has been arrested for murdering her Danish fiancée.  Natasha is no stranger to murder.  Natasha’s first husband was murdered three years early in Kiev.

Nina is familiar with Natasha’s case since at one point Natasha took refuge at a crisis center where Nina works.  Everything about the case comes to a head when, on the way to Copenhagen’s police headquarters to be interrogated, Natasha escapes.  Natasha looked at Google Earth and feels sure that she can locate the Coal House Camp.  Meanwhile someone tries to abduct Rina from the camp.

Nina is frantically searching for both the mother and daughter but without much luck.

When the author reveals the connection between the two young girls living in the time of the famine and their connection with Natasha and her daughter I am sure the reader will be  surprised and shocked.

As the book ends Nina wonders if she will ever be able to make her way back to her husband and children and be a part of their lives. Highly recommended.

Review: Alex by Pierre Lemaitre


Pierre Lemaitre

ISBN:  978-1-62365-000-1

MacLehose Press; 2013pierre lemaitre

Hard Cover, 362 pgs.

Release date: September 3, 2013, $24.95

Reviewed by Gina Metz

Alex is book one in Pierre Lemaitre’s Commandant Camille Verhoeven trilogy translated from French by Frank Wynne.

Alex Prevost is a beautiful single 30 year old woman living in Paris.  After a day of shopping and treating herself to a dinner out, Alex is kidnapped off a Paris street while walking home.  Her kidnapper savagely beats her and places her in a cage suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse.  All he will tell her is that he wants to watch her die.

An eyewitness notifies the police but gives very vague details of the girl, the kidnapper and the van.  Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven is assigned the case but initially has very little to go on and it is even difficult to be sure a kidnapping has taken place.

Verhoeven does not want to take the case as it hits entirely too close to home for him.  A few years earlier Verhoeven’s wife was kidnapped and killed and he had a breakdown shortly thereafter.  But his superior insists that he take the case until another detective comes back to town to take over the case.  By the time the other detective returns, Verhoeven is too deeply involved in the case to relinquish it.

Alex is a riveting book that the reader will not want to put down until the final page has been read.  Be prepared to be enthralled by the book’s twists and turns.  I could not read this book fast enough.  I highly recommend it to mystery readers.  I cannot wait to read the other books in this trilogy.

Review: The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey

The Widows of Braxton CountyThe Widows of Braxton County

Jess McConkey

William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013, 384 PagesJess McConkey

ISBN No. 978-0062188267


Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid


Kate Krause was a very happy bride as she traveled with her husband, Joe, to her new home in Braxton County, Iowa.  Kate and Joe met online but Kate felt that they were just right for each other.  Kate’s widowed mother had passed away and her grandparents raised Kate. Her grandmother complained endlessly and Kate’s life was not a happy one.


When the new couple arrived at Joe’s farm, a woman that Kate first mistook for a housekeeper met Joe and Kate at the door.  The woman was Trudy Krause, Joe’s mother.   Joe explained that he didn’t tell Kate about Trudy because Trudy was to have moved to a retirement home prior to the couple’s homecoming but there was some problems at the home and her room would not be ready for weeks.


Kate soon found that life was not going to be as she pictured it.  The farm was in bad financial shape and Kate’s savings were used to pay some of the debts but it wasn’t enough.   Joe would not agree to let Kate help him with the management of the farm even though Kate had proven to be an excellent money manager.  Plans for Trudy’s move to a retirement home did not materialize.


As Kate became acquainted with the neighborhood, she finds that the Krause family harbors a long kept secret about a mysterious death.   This secret haunts Kate as dangerous, unexplainable events begin.


A Krause family member, but not one that Joe associates with, owns the local hardware store.   Joe warns Kate not to shop at that store.  Kate ignores his wishes, makes friends with the owner of the store, and finds out a little more about the mysterious past and haunting secret of the Krause family.


The book goes back and forth between present day and the past where the Krause mystery began.  I found this book to be very interesting and I could not wait to get to the end but when I did, I wished the book were longer.


Jess McConkey a/k/a Shirley Damsgaard is an award-winning writer.  Love Lies Bleeding was the first book I read by the author Jess McConkey and it was a good read.