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Stormy Weather Books  

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"Making a book is a craft, like making a clock; it needs more than native wit to be an author."

Jean de La Bruyère

Mysteries & Thrillers

William Bernhardt

Berhnardt's done it again with multi-level plotting, character development, snappy dialogue and legal expertise. Dark Justice is an intense exciting read. Ben Kincaid, first introduced in 1992's Primary Justice on a book tour in Washington lands himself in jail and later gets a blast from his past. Seems a man he successfully defended from a murder conviction is accused once again. In Washington State, the murder of a logger is taken very seriously, especially when the accused killer runs the eco-terrorist organization Green Rage. Enter "Granny (don't let the nickname fool you)" Granville, an ambitious, drop-dead gorgeous and unscrupulous D.A., who is just one of the fascinating characters stacking the odds against our hero.Subplots abound, in Berhnardt's typical fashion, starting with a catnapping and ending in . . .you'll have to read to find out. Other books by William Bernhardt: Deadly Justice (1993), Perfect Justice (1995), Double Jeopardy(1996). For a complete listing, click here

James Lee Burke

If you thought hard-boiled detective fiction went out with Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, you're in for a treat. Set in both the seamier parts of New Orleans, and later on in the parish of New Iberia, Lieutennant Dave Robicheaux battles crimelords, the bureaucratic system, memories of Viet Nam and alchoholism. The Neon Rain, starts it all. The reader meets our unlikely hero, who, in spite of being jaded by experience, still has an incredibly strong code of honor, and a tendency to fight for the underdog. If the system doesn't work for him, he's not afraid to make his own rules to ultimately do the right thing. Other titles in the series include A Stained White Radiance, In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead, and most recently Sunset Limited. In each book, Burke delights the reader with complex characters, multi-level plots in an atmosphere as rich and thick as the French Quarter in August.

J. A. Jance

Click here for an interview with the author

In In Breach of Duty, after a three year hiatus, J.A. Jance resumes her Seattle-based mystery series featuring homicide detective Jonas Piedmont Beaumont. The novel begins on Lake Chelan (in eastern Washington State) as Beau scatters his grandfather's ashes in the water. The reflective moment offers Jance a perfect opportunity to get new readers up to speed with her hero (and offers a quick refresher course for the many ongoing Jance fans). Beau has struggled through a hard life of alcoholism and two failed marriages, but now, just maybe, he's pulled things together. After his return to Seattle, his new partner, Sue Danielson, bombards him with two cases and a number of leads. A 67-year-old woman named Agnes Ferman burned to death in her bed. After $300,000 was discovered in her garage, the police rightly began to suspect murder. At almost the same time, a group of teenagers discovered the long-dead body of a Native American man--possibly connected to recent hate crime. Sue and Beau plunge into both cases while they begin to learn a bit more about each other. One of the pleasures of Beau's narrative is his constant, unspoken (and often hilariously sarcastic) asides to the reader. Meanwhile, Beau's sensitivity to Sue and her personal struggles suggest great promise for this couple. In the end, a diverse collection of oddball characters, a comprehensive sense of Seattle and environs, and a strong pairing of mystery plots make this another winning installment in Jance's much-beloved series. The tale of J.P. Beaumont began with Until Proven Guilty in 1985, and has included award-winners Without Due Process and Failure to Appear among its 14 books. reviewed by Patrick O'Kelley

Jonathan Kellerman

Kellerman's latest has hung in the top sellers since its November 1998 debut. Billy Straight holds up a warped mirror to the now-infamous OJ Simpson trial. Don't look for a lot of Alex Delaware in this one, he's playing a small part. Taking center stage is Detective Petra Connor. Seems the 12-year-old title character witnessed a brutal murder, and Connor is competing with a couple of bounty hunters, Billy's perpetually stoned trailer-park mother to find the boy, who is a hero in his own right. Subplots about, diabolically woven into a rich tapestry of an insightful, if gritty story.

John D. MacDonald

John D. MacDonald published forty-four novels before The Deep Blue Good-By (1963) introduces the reader to one of the most enduring characters in the mystery genre. Travis McGee, a self-styled modern knight errant lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL on a houseboat, appropriately named The Busted Flush. Eschewing the 9-5 existence, McGee enjoys his retirement in installments, working as a "salvage consultant" when his money gets low. Salvage consultant? It works like this: suppose you have lost something very valuable, very important to you and you've exhausted all your resources trying to get it back. McGee will get it back for you-for half its value. MacDonald writes with intricate, multi-level plotting, gritty insights into human nature and meticulous characterization. One of the many delights of the series is MacDonald's clever interweaving of the Florida people, landscape and the changing times into the story. Like L.A. in Chandler's Philip Marlowe Stories, the setting is almost a character. For a select bibliography of MacDonald's works, click here.

John Sandford

if you enjoy mysteries full of intense characters and plot twists that you won't want to put down, check this author out! Sandford shows a keen insight into the minds of cops, killers and the occasional mercenary. The Fool's Run and The Empress File were originally published under the author's real name, John Camp and will have you demanding more. The Kidd is a computer expert, who will have you believe he's one of the meanest sonofabitches that'sever lived. Until you get to know him, that is. The famed Prey series, starring Lucas Davenport--his picture is in the dictionary under "ruthless"-- begins with Eyes of Prey. A TV-movie based on Mind Prey will be shown on ABC this year.


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