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Monday, February 27, 2012

Book behind the Oscar movie Winners

Encore Books in Yakima, WA has an online Oscar Ballet to vote for the BOOKS that the Oscar nominated movies originated from. I wanted to follow up on the earlier post and supply the winners.  Winners were decided by visitors to the online ballot who voted.

From their site: "Every year the Academy honors the actors and directors and everyone else involved in movie-making, but they almost never recognize the books... and the beloved characters in those books... that make so many of their films possible.

We think its time to correct that oversight, so we've created this ballot. Please help us choose which books and characters are Oscar-worthy. The six categories and nominations below are all taken from this year's Academy Award nominations."

Here are the categories and nominees with the winner noted:
Best Supporting Female Character (Taken from nominations for Best Supporting Actress)  

Nominees are 
-Hubert Page (The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, a short story by George Moore)
-Minny Jackson (The Help, novel by Kathryn Stockett) Winner*

-Celia Foote (The Help, novel by Kathryn Stockett)     

Best Supporting Male Character (Taken from nominations for Best Supporting Actor)   
Nominees are:
-Sir Laurence Olivier (My Week With Marilyn, a memoir by Colin Clark)  
-Peter Brand (Moneyball, non-fiction by Michael Lewis)  
-"The Renter" (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, novel by Jonathan Safran Foer)  Winner*
Best Female Character (Taken from nominations for Best Actress)   
Nominees are: 
-Albert Nobbs (The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, a short story by George Moore)  
-Aibileen Clark (The Help, novel by Kathryn Stockett)  Winner* 
-Lisbeth Salandar (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, novel by Stieg Larsson)  
-Marilyn Monroe (My Week With Marilyn, a memoir by Colin Clark) 

Best Male Character (Taken from nominations for Best Supporting Actor)  
 Nominees are: 
-Matt King (The Descendants, novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings)  Winner*
-George Smiley (Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy, novel by John le CarrĂ©)  
-Billy Beane (Moneyball, non-fiction by Michael Lewis) 

Best Book (Taken from nominations for Best Actor) 
Nominees are: 
-The Descendants, by Kaui Hart Hemmings 
-Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer 
-The Help, by Kathryn Stockett   Winner*
-The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick  
-Moneyball, by Michael Lewis  
-War Horse, by Michael Morpugo

Best adaptation of a book into a movie (Taken from nominations for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay) Nominees are: 
-The Descendants, based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
-Hugo, based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.  Winner*
-The Ides of March, based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon.
-Moneyball, based on the non-fiction work by Michael Lewis.
-Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, based on the novel by John le Carré.

So did the ones you voted for win?  None of the ones I voted for won.   :-(

Here is the Oscar winner of the short animation film.  It is a wonderful short little movie.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Review - The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen

I am going through a spy thriller phase, so keep that in mind.  The blurbs for this book caught my attention, plus the introduction from a former president.  Check out what my thoughts on this debut novel and see if it makes your cut.
Author: Thomas Caplan

Copyright: January 2012 (Viking Adult) 400 pgs

Series: Debut novel of series?

Sensuality: some sex, some swearing

Mystery Sub-genre: Intrigue, Thriller

Main Characters:  Ty Hunter, former
Task Force 508 member, turned Hollywood leading man

Setting: Modern day, Gibraltar, Tangier, and a Yacht

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Ty Hunter is at the height of his career. He is in demand and can pick and choose his movie roles.  When he is in Cannes to support the director who essentially gave him his big break, he is invited to a party on board a yacht.  On the yacht Surpass he is introduced to the beautiful Isabella, her god-father Ian Santal, and her fiancee Phillip Frost.  It is barely a day later that he is contacted by the President of the U.S. because Ian is suspected of possessing, and about to sell, nuclear war heads that were supposed to be dismantled from the old Soviet Union.  Since he was invited onto their yacht, the government feels Ty is their best bet to getting close enough to stop the nuclear war heads, and a potential World War III.  

This is the beginning of a long tale.  Ty is given one piece of high tech gadgetry, a cell phone with a few special features.  The idea is for Ty to get back into Ian/Phillip's presence, via Isabella of course, to ferret out information.  A good bit of time is spent on board the yacht just being the pampered rich. 

Ty Hunter was an okay main character.  Even after reading the story I can't tell you much about his real inner self.  He is a pretty boy actor who seemed more interested in Isabella at times than stopping the imminent WWIII.  So, he is shallow, but then he would have moments of being more like the black ops soldier you expected.  There was the potential to give him more depth but it was only skimmed briefly.  I can't help but compare to Jason Bourne and Bourne wins out.  That is probably not fair of me, but it happened.  Some have compared this book to James Bond and I suppose that would be a better comparison, although I have not read Flemming's books and I suspect this is a slower pace. 

The villain is well done as an amoral, cunning person out for himself in the end.  Ty's contact is Oliver.  Oliver makes for a good supporting character.  Isabella is clueless to what is going on around her and seemed more privileged than anything else, so she makes a good Bond Girl.  Ironically, the surprise stars are four young geeks/hackers employed by the government: Bingo, Delilah Mirador, Jonty Patel, and Nevada Smith. They were great, sadly they appeared later in the book.  These characters are golden, and if this becomes a series, they should be given more prominent roles. 

The plot was good.  The idea of using the dismantling of old nuclear warheads by people who plan to keep them intact, cover their disappearance with an elaborate shell game of misdirection, and sell them is a good story idea.  The use of a former black ops soldier who is an international movie star to become a spy is good as well.  There are fairly convincing political games and manipulations that occur.  It seemed like the perfect combination for a thriller.  But just having the building blocks didn't ensure success on all counts I am afraid.

My biggest let down, personally, was the pacing of the novel.  First, it was long.  That isn't a bad thing in itself, but when there are stretches in the story where I am asking "what is the point of this?" there is a problem.  There were long periods where the reader is immersed in the glamorous world of the ultra rich with no particular point to it.  Ty spends a considerable amount of time on board the uber-glam yacht meeting other wealthy guests, soaking up the sun, and trying to get closer to Isabella.  It isn't until the one big twist in the story that things really pick up.  In other words, it dragged sometimes.  I felt that it could have been trimmed down to be more of the action thriller that the blurbs promised.

The settings are exotic and/or glamorous which did add to the covert feel.  The book provides a lot of details in a wide breadth of topics which provides credibility to aspects of the storyline. There were some good suspenseful scenes and tense moments.  The conclusion of the book was good and left the way clear for a series.

I guess I expected more from this character and book.  I am a Bourne fan, or Camel Club with Oliver Stone fan, so I could not help but compare Ty Hunter to those.  There is no comparison.  This book is for those who like more of a Bond panache and style, so keep that in mind.  Overall this is a fair debut entry - when you keep in mind it is more Bond-esque and the pacing slows at times.  A guilty pleasure for some.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vote for the Book behind the Oscar movie!

I just came across this and had to share it immediately with all of you. Encore Books in Yakima, WA has an online Oscar Ballet to vote for the BOOKS that the Oscar nominated movies originated from. I love this idea so I am spreading the word.  Online Ballot is HERE.

From their site: "Every year the Academy honors the actors and directors and everyone else involved in movie-making, but they almost never recognize the books... and the beloved characters in those books... that make so many of their films possible.

We think its time to correct that oversight, so we've created this ballot. Please help us choose which books and characters are Oscar-worthy. The six categories and nominations below are all taken from this year's Academy Award nominations."

As a special Thank You, they will select some of the entries to receive a free book!

You get to vote on these categories:
  • Best Supporting Female Character (Taken from nominations for Best Supporting Actress)
  • Best Supporting Male Character (Taken from nominations for Best Supporting Actor)
  • Best Female Character (Taken from nominations for Best Actress)
    Best Male Character (Taken from nominations for Best Supporting Actor)
  • Best Book (Taken from nominations for Best Actor)
  • Best adaptation of a book into a movie (Taken from nominations for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay)

Voting closes at midnight February 25th.
Results will be revealed February 26th on their Facebook Page

Let's help celebrate the BOOKS behind these movies!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Agatha Award Nominees - 2012

The nominees for the 2011 Agatha Awards have been announced by Malice Domestic for books published during 2011 that honor the "traditional mystery." The winners will be announced at the Agatha Awards banquet to be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012, during Malice Domestic conference.  But let's take a look at the top contenders this year.

Best Novel
• The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews (Reviewed here)
• The Diva Haunts the House by Krista Davis
• Wicked Autumn by G. M. Malliet  (Reviewed here)
• Three Day Town by Margaret Maron
• A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

Best First Novel
• Dire Threads by Janet Bolin
• Choke by Kaye George
• Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry
• Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab 
(Reviewed here)
• Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend  (Reviewed here)

Best Non-Fiction
• Books, Crooks and Counselors by Leslie Budewitz
• Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making by John Curran
• On Conan Doyle by Michael Dirda
• Wilkie Collins, Vera Caspary and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel by A. B. Emrys
• The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris

Best Children's/Young Adult

• Shelter by Harlan Coben
• The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein
• Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
• The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey
• The Secret of the Skeleton Key by Penny Warner

Best Historical Novel
• Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen  (Review Here)
• Murder Your Darlings by J. J. Murphy
• Mercury's Rise by Ann Parker  (Review Here)
• Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson (Review Here)
• A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear 
(Reviewed here)

We already have reviews for three of the nominees.  I will try to review a few more on this list before the Malice Domestic conference on April 28, 2012.  Do you follow the various mystery book awards?  Do you like to read the books that are nominated, or that win?  Who do you think will win for each category?  Do you follow the Agatha Awards like the Academy Awards? 

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review - Affairs of Steak

I love the White House Chef cozy mystery series, particularly during a major election year.  I think it helps to lighten some of the politicking.  The White House Chef mysteries have grown and established a fan base, while garnering new readers with each release.  I interviewed the author a while back (click here.)  Let's join the White House as spring blossoms in the capital.

Author:  Julie Hyzy

Copyright:  Jan 2012 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series:  5th in White House Chef Mysteries

Sensuality:  n/a

Mystery Sub-genre:  Amateur Sleuth, Cozy

Main Character:  Chef Olivia Paras (Olie)

Setting:  Modern Day, Washington D.C.

Obtained Through:  from publisher for an honest review

Olivia and the haughty Sensitivity Director, Peter Sargeant, are to meet the First Lady's assistant at a local convention venue.  They are reviewing several potential sites for the Secretary of State's birthday party and will decide which location is best for the party.  When Olivia and Peter arrive at the last venue, it seems they are alone.  They soon find the First Lady's assistant and the Chief of Staff dead in the kitchen.  Olivia attempts to restrain herself from asking questions, but one evening she is followed from the metro, which signals the killer knows who she is.  She also comes to the assistance of a confused elderly man, only to find out it is the Secretary of State's father-in-law who suffers from dementia, and may have been kidnapped.

Olivia has plenty to complicate her life in this edition.  First, she is forced to work with Peter Sargeant, who has always been unpleasant to her.  Virgil is the egotistical personal chef for the First Family who is trying to undermine Olivia's authority and position.  There is a new Head Usher, Doug, who is throw-in during this crisis and doesn't handle situations well.  Olivia's ex-boyfriend, Tom MacKenzie, is around and repeatedly opens old wounds.  Her new "almost boyfriend", SAC Gavin, is reluctant to commit to much of a relationship at all.  Add to this mix Peter's black-sheep nephew who thinks he knows who the killers maybe and wants to help out - if they can get him a job at the White House.  Then, as if working with Peter weren't difficult enough, Doug assigns a narcissistic protocol aide to help them plan the birthday party.

Olivia's character is a little more mature in this edition.  She displays patience with difficult people when I would have told a few off.  In this book the theme for Olivia is patience.  She is patient with Peter, with Virgil, with Doug, with Gav, with Kyle, and even with Tom.  The reader practically cheers when she does give a well-deserved lecture to one character.

The supporting cast in this edition is full of well drawn characters.  Milton is a sad pathetic character, like a puppy trying to please. The reader can't help but feel a bit sad for Milton. Virgil is a nasty piece of work.  I think everybody has experienced a co-worker who just wants to discredit you.  That is Virgil. Virgil is just wicked enough to be believable. Kyle is the narcissistic, slick player that the song "Smooth Operator" aptly describes. This character is another that the reader will no doubt have met in real life at some point.  One of my pet peeves is when the main character is harassed about sleuthing, and that is ex-boyfriend Tom's sole purpose.  The Secretary of State's elderly father-in-law with dementia is bitter-sweet and portrayed with a loving touch.  Mrs. Wentworth is a great neighbor.  She could have been a stereotypical nosy neighbor, but instead we get a diligent one-person-neighborhood-watch who is a touch snarky.

The setting goes outside just the White House and explores a bit of the D.C. area.  Prior novels have had more of the White House inner workings.  This book contains less information about the food that Chef Paras is preparing than prior books, and focuses on the many activities going on.  The pace was steady and kept my interest easily.

The plot had enough depth and shadows.  I did not expect who the villain was, so that was a surprise.  I did feel as though the initial murders were only slightly part of the story.  There didn't seem to be a feeling of grief or shock in the White House.  Even Olivia was only mildly affected by finding the bodies. 

There was a good, suspenseful climax that utilized a great location coupled with realistic action.  The wrap up was worthy and made me want the next book right away.  Overall, another solid addition to the White House Chef series, potentially the best thus far. 

Here is a short video interview with the White House Chef for children to learn about careers:

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Fill in the Blank - Mystery Game

We have not had a game for a while, so it is time for one. 

The idea is to try and fill in the blank of each of these mystery book titles. These are all books from the same series.  

In a few days I will provide the answers and you can share how well you did.   Here are the answers!  Did you get the correct answers?

Let's give this a try.

1)  Mrs.Pollifax  and the Hong Kong Buddha

2)  Mrs.Pollifax and the Second Thief

3)  Mrs.Pollifax on Safari

4)  Mrs.Pollifax on the China Station

5)  Mrs.Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish

6)  Mrs.Pollifax and the Golden Triangle

7)  Mrs.Pollifax and the Lion Killer

8)  Mrs.Pollifax Unveiled

9)  Mrs.Pollifax, Innocent Tourist

10) The Amazing Mrs.Pollifax

I hope you enjoyed this mystery game.  Please leave a comment and let me know how well you did.  Are they too easy?

Here is a recipe for Valentine's Day - enjoy!


3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped or broken in small pieces (you can get away with
1 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water, divided (2 tbsp for chocolate, 2 tbsp for egg mixture)
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp ground chipotle
very tiny pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
extra cream and chocolate shavings to garnish, optional

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Author Interview: Pamela Beason

This is the first Monday of the month but we will not be having the Mystery and Crime Fiction Blog Carnival since there weren't enough entries this month.  Please spread the word about the blog carnival.  I truly believe it is a win-win situation for bloggers. Submit your blog entry for next month's Carnival here: (

Today we are very fortunate to have an author interview with Pamela Beason of "Endangered" fame.  Please welcome her to MM&M!!

 Do you start your next mystery with the killer, the victim or a plot idea?

I always start with a plot idea. These are usually sparked by news stories or by some case I’ve worked on (I’m a private investigator as well as an author).
Do you outline the plot or some variation of that (a little/a lot of detail, a strict 3 act structure etc) before sitting down and writing?

I wish I were more organized, but my brain just isn’t. When I sit down to write, I always know the beginning and ending and the major turning points of my story, but how to get from Point A to Point B comes to me in the course the actual writing. After I’ve written the first draft, I outline it and that often reveals some problems with structure that I fix on the second pass.

Summer Westin and Chase Perez are great characters. What is your process for developing a character? Do you use pictures, a worksheet or just let the character(s) tell you about him/herself as you write?

Thanks for saying they’re great characters! I must confess that, being a bit lazy as a series writer, I made Summer Westin simply a younger, more intrepid version of me. So it’s particularly embarrassing when my critique partners say “Why would any sane person do that?” because of course I’ve probably done precisely whatever it is that they’re questioning. Chase Perez is simply a man who would be interesting to me (and therefore to Summer). I know what they both look like in my imagination.

Why a wildlife biologist? What drew you to have your main character in that profession? How much research do you have to do?

I’m not a wildlife biologist, but I wish I were! I’ve always been passionate about wilderness and wildlife. My heroes have always been people studying animals in the wild, so I’ve read nearly every book written by wilderness explorers and animal researchers, beginning when I was a child with Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall. I spend a lot of time in the wilderness hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and scuba diving, so I encounter a fair amount of wildlife face-to-face. Then I fill in with research as needed.

Do you have anything special you do before writing, particular music or a special room/location that helps you get in the zone and write?

Depending on the time of day, either coffee or wine is required. But that’s true of everything I do, so I guess that really doesn’t count. So I suppose the answer is no; I just plunk my backside in the chair and begin. When I get stuck, I go for a walk and think. I find it helps to have my body in motion to get my imagination moving, too. When I get really stuck, I outline books by my favorite authors or watch movies that are similar to whatever it is I’m working on, and I usually discover how to move forward.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing and how long does it take you to write a book?

How long it takes to write a book completely depends on how much time I can spend focused on the writing. Recently I’ve been pulled in all sorts of directions by my various jobs, so that can make writing difficult, and I believe my first four full-length novels (3 mysteries + a romantic suspense) each took more than a year to complete. But now that my career is taking off (in other words, I’m finally making money from my books), I can dedicate more time to my creative writing, and when I can completely focus on a story, the writing goes quickly because I’m constantly thinking about it and living with my characters. So I’m hoping to finish two novels a year in the future.

What in your background prepared you to write not just mystery novels but wildlife related stories?
I have always been an avid mystery reader, so of course I wanted to write mysteries. As a private investigator, I have worked on a few mysterious cases, too, so I know a bit about investigation and clues. And like I said above, I have always loved animals and I spend a lot of time in the wilderness, so that explains the wildlife. I have had encounters with a lot of wild animals, ranging from hippos to squid.

Who is your favorite Mystery character?

I like so many, but I guess I have to say Anna Pigeon, who is Nevada Barr’s park ranger protagonist. I also like Joe Pickett, the main character in C.J. Box’s series. I adored all of Tony Hillerman’s Navajo police characters, too.

Which author has influenced or inspired you the most?

It’s hard to say for influence; I suppose all of the authors I mentioned above. This might sound odd, but for inspiration, I’d have to say Jodi Picoult and Maeve Binchy are two of my most admired authors—they are both so fantastic at characterization that they don’t need to throw in a lot of death-defying action. Making readers care about the everyday dramas that take place around us is the mark of a great writer, and they both have that.

How did you get your first break to getting published? Was it at a writer's conference or mailing a query letter?

It was endless try, try, and then try again. That’s the thing about publishing—your manuscript may not get purchased this week or by that editor, but it might the next week or by another editor, so you have to keep submitting. After years of searching, I finally connected with my agent, who has been a tireless advocate for my writing, and he worked hard in trying times to sell my series. However, it was only after I self-published my first mystery (I called it WILD) that Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin) decided to purchase my series (so WILD became ENDANGERED). I don’t know if that was coincidence or not, sometimes self-publishing can prove to a publisher that you are serious about your career.

What are you currently reading?
That changes almost daily. I am a voracious reader; I usually read more than 100 books a year. I read mysteries, true adventures, romances, memoirs… Last week I read The Rope by Nevada Barr and Beautiful Boy by David Sheff. Today I’ve got to choose a new book, but I’ve got a whole stack and more on my new e-reader, which I’m just starting to use. I don’t read much fantasy and I never read erotica or biographies of celebrities, but other than that, I read everything.

If your Summer Westin mysteries were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in your character's roles?
Oh, wow, I can’t even guess. Who in Hollywood is believably outdoorsy and enough of a kick-butt woman to play Summer (“Sam”)? Chase is probably easier to cast. I’ll have to leave the choice of actors up to the director and producer.

And please tell Hollywood that I’m off to kayak and scuba dive in Belize this week, but I’d be glad to take their calls when I get back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

THANK YOU Pamela for that great interview.  If you have read the book "Endangered", who do you think would be good to play the lead characters of Summer or Chase?  I can't wait for the next book in the series.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review - Endangered

I was drawn to this book from the blurb on the cover and the wilderness setting in Utah, but I was very surprised by what I found.  Join me for a trip to Utah's beautiful wilds for a suspenseful tale.

Author: Pamela Beason

Copyright: December 2011 (Berkley) 320 pgs

Series: 1st in Summer Westin Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Suspense

Main Characters: Summer Westin, Wildlife biologist for Save the Wilderness Fund

Setting: Modern day, Utah's Heritage National Monument

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Summer (Sam) Westin, aka Wilderness Westin to her "Save the Wilderness Fund" website followers, is in Utah's  Heritage National Monument to do a follow-up on a previous story.  A cougar had been shot and SWF had rescued the cougar and her cubs, treated the wounds and released them back to the park.  Sam is hoping to get some photos of the cougars now to report their progress to SWF website.  She had worked at the park in the past and still knows some of the park rangers.  She is about to set off from the Ranger HQ to hike into the off-trail back country when she sees a little blond haired boy who wandered away from his camp.  Sam can hear the mother calling for Zack and  she is about to take the boy to his mother when Zack goes toddling off to a man approaching.  Everything appears as though this is Zack's father and she thinks nothing of it until she has set up camp hours later and calls into her park ranger friend Kent to find out everyone is searching for Zack.  Sam treks back into the Ranger HQ to join the search, feeling responsible not ensuring the little boy was really with his father.  It seems like a simple premise, but this book grabs the reader and won't let go until the last page. 

There are several elements at play in this story.  Sam and the SWF are getting stabbed in the back by an opportunist reporter who turns Zack's disappearance into a sensationalized tale of Cougars versus unsuspecting campers.  It doesn't help that Sam was dating said reporter.  This begins a chain reaction of "kill the cougars" frenzy spurred on by a local who resents not getting to hunt in the park.  Then the FBI join the mix which brings more exposure to the situation when it sorely needed less distractions from the search efforts.  There is a clock ticking to find Zack before the autumn temperatures get too cold at night, or a human slips out of the park with him, and before the cougars get hunters using helicopters to hunt and kill them.

Sam is a great character with a good mix of independent outdoors woman who is vulnerable yet daring and smart but headstrong.  She is passionate about the wilderness and animals while she dials her satellite phone to upload her story from a laptop complete with digital photos.  She is a modern woman who is very capable in the wilderness by herself but not afraid to show her softer side.  Chase (Starchaser) Perez, half Lakota FBI agent is a fascinating character too.  His cool FBI demeanor only hints at much deeper waters occasionally.  He enlists Sam to be his guide for checking spots in the park that are prime for hiding Zack and finds himself trying to keep up.  Repelling for the first time down slot canyons is but one challenge that Sam throws his way.  These two characters play well off each other in a natural believable way. 

The setting of Utah's wilderness and wildlife becomes a character in itself.  The author brings the coyotes yipping at night, the crisp autumn air, the wonder of ancient Anasazi ruins, and the magnificence of slot canyons vividly to the readers mind.  The cougars that Sam is following up on become a part of the story as you want the mother and her grown cubs to be innocent of any involvement with Zack's disappearance and ultimately left to live their lives.  I felt like I had been trekking the trails experiencing the sights and sounds with Sam.

The plot is very believable and gripping as it unfolds.  The pacing keeps the reader turning pages always wanting to read just a little further to find out the next thing.  This book is hard to put down even to eat a meal.  I warn you now.

The climax is white knuckle-edge-of-your-seat ride that has me holding my breath.  The wrap up is a resounding success that ensured my checking to see when the next book would be released.  Bear Bait is the next book and it is "coming soon" - not soon enough for me. 

If it seems like I am gushing, I just can't help it.  This was a fantastic suspense story with a plausible plot filled with suspense, characters who are compelling and exciting in their mission, with a luscious setting and a gripping climax.  

I love big cats and since the book is about rescued cougars, thought this video about Big Cat Rescue might interest some readers, particularly the first seven minutes.

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