Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Trace of Smoke

Rebecca Cantrell's A Trace of Smoke takes the reader deep into the noir world of Berlin in 1931. A world in upheaval with the rise of the Nazi party just before Hitler comes to power. The power of this debut mystery is enthralling, spurred by the in depth research of the author.

The minute details makes the novel come alive in the reader's mind because the word pictures she paints are both stark and vivid. Rebecca recreates a world that becomes a major character. A Trace of Smoke could not exist, except for the setting.
Hannah Vogel is a crime reporter for Berliner Tageblatt under the pen name of Peter Weill. On her way to the Criminal Investigations Department she discovers her gay brother's picture on the wall of the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. He had been stabbed and his body was dumped in the river, where it was discovered by a passing tourist boat. Hannah is shocked and frightened, but she vows to unearth his killer.
Hannah inherits a five year old boy who calls her Mother. Anton carries a birth certificate which names her as his mother and the brother as the father. Who is "Little Eagle?" Did her beloved bother father this child at the age of fourteen?
Follow Hannah as she searches for the truth through the dangerous streets of Berlin, the El Dorado (gay bar) where her brother was a performer, Tegel Prison, and the abandoned homes of her friends who've fled the coming Holocaust. This is one you will not put down until the last page.
Hannah's story will continue in 2010 with A Night of the Long Knives. Visit Rebecca Cantrell at http://rebeccacantrell.com/.
PS, this copy is from the Russell County, KY public library. Thanks you all, you have good taste.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Last Bridge

The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne is a symphony of pain.

Alexandra "Cat" Rucker has buried her memories in an alcoholic haze for all of her adult life, but the suicide of her brutalized mother brings her home to avoid or face the future.
The complex threads of her life are woven around the cryptic note left by her mother.
"Cat, He isn't who you think he is." Who is the "he?"
Is it her father? Her teenage lover? Her bother? The son she gave birth to and abandoned?
Abuse both sexual and physical leaves many scars and grows twines like a deadly snake around the lives of everyone it touches. What saves this title from being a travesty of malignancy is the powerful writing style of debut author Teri Coyne.
The story itself reminds me of Michaela Jefferies's, Grasping for Love, which is a non-fiction title by a victim of sexual abuse. I have met Michaela and watched her struggle against a past she can never forget.
Cat doesn't forget her past either, and it takes many months to find her way to a tentative understanding of who "he" is or was. With fiction there is a grain of hope buried in the final pages for Cat's recovery. A graphic read that is not comfortable, but it is enlightening. Teri Coyne has a profound voice and a superb story for a debut novel.
You can learn more about Teri at http://www.tericoyne.com/. The Last Bridge will be on sale July 28, 2009.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Missing Mark

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer has all the zip and fascination of her award winning Stalking Susan.

Riley Spartz, investigative reporter for Channel 3 in Minneapolis has found a rental in the exclusive White Bear Lake community, which has a history of peaceful living until Riley arrives. Her forte is mystery, finding the truth, while murder clouds her view.
The frenzied pace of her day doesn't keep Riley awake as her next door neighbor operates his perennial yard sale through the night. K-9 officer Flying-Cloud is shot and Riley covers the story. She ends up dog sitting when Shep recognizes her and destroys the scene report. Shep's nose for meth is legendary and he discovers a wealth of fragrance in the neighbor's inventory.
May is ratings month at the station and Riley is pushed to follow the breaking news of a missing trophy bass, while her interest is sparked by an ad that parodies Hemingway's bet winning short story.
Why did the impoverished groom miss his wedding to a wealthy heiress and leave the bride to be humiliated before their families and friends? No word has been heard from him in the months before Riley enters the case to dig in the dirt and stir the waters of White Bear Lake.
I watched the video trailer (http://juliekramerbooks.com/), which is as slick as the story. You will want to reserve your copy of Missing Mark. Julie Kramer has proven her Riley Spartz mysteries are events to anticipate.
You can visit with Julie at kramerjuliem@aol.com, but visit your favorite brick&mortar bookstore or order this excellent summer mystery online.
Nash Black, Writing as a Small Business and Sins of the Fathers.