Sunday, August 10, 2014

Red Julie by J A Whiting ****

Ogunquit, Maine is too small a town for two questionable deaths in a month not to be connected. The police figured the first to be a heart attack, but Olivia Miller found too much to question with her aunt Aggie's death ... on a bicycle, at night. Olivia found Martin Anderson at the side of the road, shot and his tongue cut out. He slipped a gold cross into her pocket and muttered something like Red Julie before he died. These are the few clues she has as she starts her quest to uncover the truth.

Red Julie by J A Whiting is murder mystery with the juxtaposition of coastal Maine and brutal violence. The story moves from the idyllic life in a quaint tourist town of antiques, books, and cafes and the senseless violence of greedy psychopaths. From the romance of quiet dinners, walks on the beach, and homey decor to the terror of private prisons, torture and mutilation.

This is a mystery driven initially by Olivia Miller's pursuit to solve the mystery, but in the end by her individual face-to-face, hand-to-hand battle with the psychopaths. The is a mystery that moves clue to clue to exciting climax.

On the other hand, seasoned mystery reader might be disappointed by the dearth alternate suspects or explanations. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman ****

Alex Delaware is a psychologist who solves mysteries. In this early Alex Delaware novel, he explores the question of how do early-childhood traumatic experiences affect later life. This important question usually concerns child abuse, rape and incest, but in this novel more obscure situations are explored.

Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman opens with the case of a two-year-old buy who was in an automobile accident and had his father's severed head land next to his car seat. However, the real story is about a brilliant woman, psychologist Sharon Ransom, and old friend of Dr Delaware, who commits suicide. As Alex investigates the suicide he discovers that Sharon has no history and seems to be a something of a nymphomaniac.

As might be expected from Jonathan Kellerman, much of the investigation reveals not answers, but more questions and more mysteries. The true story is so complex, that the final reveal requires chapters to explain it all.

This is an intricate mystery. I found it to so complex as to seem a little contrived (unbelievable).

Also, a warning, this is a fair amount of explicit sex.