Share This

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 31, 2021

Mystery Movie - Crooked House

This is an Agatha Christie mystery without Miss Marple or Hercules Poirot and I think it is the best of her works.    “Writing Crooked House was pure pleasure and I feel justified in my belief that it is one of my best.” (Agatha Christie)

The 2017 movie of Crooked House is a mystery film directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, based on Agatha Christie’s 1949 novel of the same name.  The movie stars Glen Close and Gillian Anderson.

"In this classic Agatha Christie detective story, former diplomat Charles Hayward has returned from Cairo to London to become a private detective. When Aristide Leonides, a wealthy and ruthless tycoon, is poisoned in his own bed, Detective Hayward is invited to solve the crime. As the investigation deepens he must confront the shocking realization that one of the key suspects is Aristede's beautiful granddaughter, his employer and former lover; and must keep a clear head to navigate the sultry Sophia and the rest of her hostile family."

This film has lots of atmosphere combined with a secretive and eccentric family for a creepy feel.  The conclusion is a bit of a shock.  It is well done and reminds me of some of Hitchcock's best work. A must see for Christie fans, and mystery fans in general.

If you have seen this movie, please share your thoughts.

Here is the movie trailor:

Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 28, 2021

Review - Murder at Blackwater Bend

Stella Kendrick, a wild-hearted Kentuckian "Dollar Princess" shipped off to England for an aristocratic marriage and her soon-to-be groom Viscount "Lyndy" Lyndhurst must navigate culture clashes, scandal, and a high society killer in Clara McKenna's second historical mystery set in England's New Forest region at the turn of the 20th century.

I reviewed the first in the series, Murder at Morrington Hall (click here).   Now is time for the second book.  Is it as good as the first? Better?  Read on to find out.

Clara McKenna

Copyright: April 2021 (Kensington) 352 pgs

Series: 2nd in Stella & Lyndy Mystery series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: historical cozy, amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Stella Kendrick, Kentucky heiress shipped to England to marry a Viscount sight unseen. 

Setting: 1905, Hampshire England

Obtained Through: Library

Book blurb: "Wild-hearted Kentuckian Stella Kendrick cautiously navigates the strict demands of British high society as the future Lady of Morrington Hall. But when petty scandals lead to bloody murder, her outspoken nature could be all that keeps her alive...

Following a whirlwind engagement to Viscount "Lyndy" Lyndhurst, Stella is finding her footing within an elite social circle in picturesque rural England. Except tea time with refined friends can be more dangerous than etiquette faux pas--especially in the company of Lady Philippa, the woman Lyndy was once set to marry, and her husband, the ostentatious Lord Fairbrother...

Outrage erupts and accusations fly after Lord Fairbrother's pony wins best in breed for the seventh consecutive year. The man has his share of secrets and adversaries, but Stella and Lyndy are in for a brutal shock when they discover his body floating in the river during a quiet morning fishing trip...

Suddenly unwelcome around hardly-grieving Lady Philippa and Lyndy's endlessly critical mother, Stella faces the bitter reality that she may always be an outsider--and one of her trusted new acquaintances may be a calculating killer. Now, Stella and her fiancé must fight against the current to catch the culprit, before they're the next couple torn apart by tragedy."

Stella Kendrick is smart, free spirited, stubborn, and independent with scars from her father's ill treatment of her.  Mr. Elijah Kendrick, Stella's cold hearted, self-centered father is a self-made millionaire, who is uncouth and rude.  Viscount Lord Lyndhurst, Lyndy, is the intended groom who is marrying Stella for her money to save the family - but he has fallen for her in truth.  The Earl and Lady Atherly are Lyndy's parents. Lady Atherly is an insufferable snob who can't stand Stella. Lord Atherly is kind and just loves his expensive archeology hobby.  A rather rough man known as the snake-catcher helps Stella several times with his amateur veterinarian skills on her beloved horse.  He gets mixed up in the killer's net. 

The setting is New Forest, the former royal hunting grounds for King William the Conqueror centuries prior.  In particular the streams where Lyndy attempts to teach Stella to  fish.  The wild areas are used for many scenes.

The story is setup first introducing many of the characters for this story. The murder is just one aspect, there is Lyndy's mother scheming to marry Lyndy off to somebody else who has money but is "proper". Another subplot is Stella's loyalty to her unlikely friend, the snake-catcher. Another subplot is Stella's father's involvement with an opportunistic reporter much younger than himself.  There are many suspects and Lord Fairbrother turns out to have many haters.  The story had many interesting aspects to keep my flipping the pages.
The climax is realistic with the police supporting Stella and Lyndy as they confront the killer.  Well done. All the questions are answered and the wrapup shows some progress for Stella.

This is a great addition to the series and shows even more of Stella and Lyndy's growing relationship based on regard and affection for one another rather than money.  The mystery was solid with several facets of the investigation and layers of what was happening.  This is a fun historical mystery if you don't mind family drama.  I am rather done with Stella's horrible father.  Otherwise this is a well done historical cozy mystery.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

A year in the New Forest highlights the beauty 
of the novel's setting.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 24, 2021


The Anthony Awards are given at each annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention with the winners selected by attendees. The award is named for the late Anthony Boucher (William Anthony Parker White), well-known writer and critic from the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times, who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. The Anthony Awards will be presented at Bouchercon New Orleans on August 28, 2021. Our congratulations to all the nominees.

Best Hardcover Novel
  ° What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark 
  ° Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby 
  ° Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
  ° And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall 
  ° The First To Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best First Novel
  ° Derailed by Mary Keliikoa
  ° Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
  ° Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer 
  ° The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman 
  ° Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden 

Best Paperback Original/E-Book/Audiobook Original Novel
  ° The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins
  ° When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (on my TBR)
  ° Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
  ° The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day
  ° Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan

Best Short Story
  ° “Dear Emily Etiquette” by Barb Goffman
  Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  ° “90 Miles” by Alex Segura
  Both Sides: Stories from the Border
  ° “The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74” by Art Taylor
  Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
  ° “Elysian Fields” by Gabriel Valjan
  California Schemin’: The 2020 Bouchercon Anthology
  ° “The Twenty-Five Year Engagement” by James W. Ziskin
  In League with Sherlock Holmes

Best Juvenile/Young Adult
  ° Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur Bradley
  ° Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  ° From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
  ° Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco by Richard Narvaez
  ° Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura

Best Critical or Nonfiction Work
  ° Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Leslie Brody
  ° American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson
  ° Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club edited by Martin Edwards
  ° The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg
  ° Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane
  ° Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession edited by Sarah Weinman

Best Anthology or Collection
  ° Shattering Glass: A Nasty Woman Press Anthology edited by Heather Graham
  ° Both Sides: Stories from the Border edited by Gabino Iglesias
  ° Noiryorican by Richie Narvaez
  ° The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell edited by Josh Pachter
  ° California Schemin’: The 2020 Bouchercon Anthology edited by Art Taylor
  ° Lockdown: Stories of Crime, Terror, and Hope During a Pandemic edited by Nick Kolakowski and Steve Weddle
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Review - The K Team

"From bestselling, award winning mystery author David Rosenfelt comes a new series – a spinoff of the much beloved Andy Carpenter mysteries – about a dynamic new investigative team featuring a determined former cop and his loyal German Shepherd."  This is a new to me author and series, but I'm a sucker for K9 dogs in stories.

Author: David Rosenfelt

Copyright: March 2020 (Minotaur Books) 301 pgs

Series: 1st in K Team Investigations series

Sensuality: Some sprinkled language

Mystery Sub-genre: Private Detective

Main Characters: Corey Douglas, retired cop now investigator with his K9 German Shepard

Setting: Contemporary time, Paterson, New Jersey

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb: "Corey Douglas and his K-9 partner, Simon Garfunkel, have recently retired from the police force. Not ready to give up the life yet, they come up with a proposal for fellow former cop, Laurie Carpenter, and her investigating partner, Marcus. Laurie and Marcus – who help out Laurie’s lawyer husband Andy on cases – have been chafing to jump back into investigating on their own, so they are in.

They call themselves the K Team, in honor of Simon. Their first job as private investigators comes to them from Judge Henry Henderson, who's known as a very tough but fair judge, and they've all come up against him in court at one time or another. Though it's hard to believe, Judge Henderson is being blackmailed and extorted, and he doesn't want to involve the police--he needs the K Team to figure out why."

Corey Douglas, former 25 year career cop, is a still a cop in his outlook and lifestyle. He is also a classic movie buff. Simon Garfunkel is Corey's best friend and a top notch police dog. Laurie Carpenter is the official leader of the team and a former police lieutenant. Marcus Clark is the third member of the K team, and he is the muscle: tough and scary. Sam Willis is the computer hacker that helps them out occasionally but Corey doesn't like his methods. Judge Henderson, known by lawyers as Hatchet, is no-nonsense and rather hard-nosed.

The plot has several twists and some danger lurking. The case is certainly far more involved than I suspected at the beginning. I found it a page-turner as I wanted to get to the bottom of all the revelations to the truth of the matter.  
The climax is more police involvement and not the traditional mystery killer reveal. That is okay since there are other tense moments throughout the book to make up for it.  

For those who have read and loved the Andy Carpenter mysteries, be forewarned.  This series isn't like the Carpenter series. It is the investigative side with none of the courtroom or legal side and Laurie isn't the main character as you might expect.  This is also a bit different style, not the snarky humor but more dry humor.  This series is a toned down, lightened up noir (bet you never thought you would hear such a combination!)  That is because Corey is that sort of character.  Since this was my first introduction to David Rosenfelt's writing, I found it funny and enjoyed the story.  I gather some who started with the Andy Carpenter books first have a hard time with Corey as the main character and the dry humor, but I am looking forward to the next in this series.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 
Find out more about the author and 
his love for rescue dogs

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 17, 2021

Guest Post - Ashley Weaver

Please welcome Ashley Weaver, author of the Amory Ames mystery series and the exciting new Electra McDonnell historical mystery series.  I will be reviewing her debut novel in the new Electra McDonnell series soon.

Ms. Weaver is also the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries in Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.

How My New Series Was Born
A few years ago, I developed a fascination with World War II. I began reading several nonfiction books on the topic, everything from the Blitzkrieg to the SAS to the Navajo Code Talkers. It’s a subject that has innumerable facets to be explored, so many absolutely incredible rabbit holes to follow. I even read the riveting account of a serial killer operating in Occupied Paris!

It was while reading an excellent book by Ben Macintyre entitled Agent Zigzag, however, that I was inspired to write my own World War II tale. Agent Zigzag is the true story of Eddie Chapman, a petty criminal and sometime member of a safecracking gang, who ended up becoming a double agent for the British. I loved the idea of someone who was initially on the wrong side of the law using their talents for the Allies. I thought it would be especially interesting if that person was a woman. And so the idea for Electra McDonnell was born!

World War II proves a particularly good timeframe for the story
of criminals with a code of honor. It was a time when everyone was pulling together to “do their bit” to stop Hitler and his armies. Whether it was victory gardens, creative rationing, scrap drives, or buying war bonds, people wanted to help in whatever ways they could. Having my character, Ellie, possess a skill set that is considered dishonest in peacetime but invaluable in a time of war creates an interesting dynamic. When she is asked to break into a safe to retrieve some important documents before they can be handed to the Nazis, she has the opportunity to help the war effort on a larger scale. Not only is she able to help the cause, which is something she genuinely wants to do, but she is also able to take pride in her work in a way that she hasn’t been able to before.

Researching for this book allowed me to take a close look at England—London in particular—at the start of WWII. The Blitz has not quite started in A Peculiar Combination, but I found that, even before the bombs began to fall, there was a sense of unity and shared purpose among the British people. As various countries fell before the advancing German army, it became increasingly vital that Great Britain prevail against the Nazi onslaught. The mindset of determination and resilience was something I tried to work into my characters. Even though Ellie and her military intelligence contact, Major Ramsey, come from completely different worlds, they are equally determined to do whatever necessary to stop the enemy from succeeding.

I also particularly enjoyed getting to research the art of safecracking for this book. It was fascinating for me to delve into the workings of locks and develop at least a basic understanding of the mechanisms and how they can be thwarted. I even bought a lockpicking set to practice with, though it will be a long time before I come anywhere close to Ellie’s level of skill!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you Ms. Weaver for your sharing a little of the behind the scenes of your new series.  I'm looking forward to reviewing it since I too am fascinated by WWII history.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Review - Deadly Fashion

 "If you are a fan of Jacqueline Winspear, Susan Elia MacNeal, or Rhys Bowen, you are going to love Kate Parker's Deadly series."  

Kate Parker is the author of the Victorian Bookshop series as well as this WWII era series.  I reviewed the first in the series, Deadly Scandal (click here), I read the second but sadly hadn't reviewed it.  Here is the third book in the this exciting series.

Author: Kate Parker

Copyright: January, 2018 (JDP Press) 318 pgs

Series: 3rd in Deadly Mystery series

Sensuality: mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical mystery, amateur sleuth

Main Characters: Olivia Dennis, Young widow and society columnist 

Setting: 1938 London and Paris

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb: "A Nazi-trained assassin with an assignment to take out anti-appeasement leaders in Britain adds one more name to the list. Olivia Denis.

September, 1938. Olivia Denis wins a plum assignment from her newspaper covering a glamorous French fashion designer providing frocks for Britain’s elite. While there, she finds herself rubbing shoulders with the fabulously wealthy, advising the aristocracy, and tripping over the body of a German anti-Nazi resistance leader.

In her search for a killer, Olivia discovers that an assassin with links to the London fashion house is targeting prominent British politicians.

Now Olivia must find the assassin before Britain loses the leaders who can best protect it from the Nazi menace. As she digs for the truth inside the designer’s studio, Olivia finds herself in the assassin’s crosshairs. Can Olivia survive a killer waiting in the shadows for the right moment to remove her...permanently?"

Olivia Dennis is a smart, capable young woman trying to be independent at a time when it wasn't acceptable.  Captain Adam Redmond, who works for Army Intelligence, is the romantic interest and gets only a little page time in this book, but his appearances show dynamics with Olivia and her father.  Olivia's father, Sir Ronald Harper, wants to control Olivia's life and tuck her away thus they have disagreements about her assignments. Sir Henry is the owner of the paper where she works and involves Olivia in aiding Jewish family and friends trying to secure means to leave occupied countries.  Mimi Mareau is a French fashion designer in the middle of the situation and is clearly a nod to Coco Chanel.  General Alford also has an assignment for Olivia to add to the excitement.

This is more than a murder mystery with its elements of intrigue with Sir Henry and General Alford asking for her help.  This kept my attention and I couldn't put it down with everything going on with the various plot lines. 

 I didn't foresee the killer, so kudos.  Although this wasn't an daring and tense killer reveal, I liked how it worked out.  The conclusion answers all the remaining questions and ends a great note.  

This series is quickly becoming on of my favorites.  Give it a try if you like historical mysteries with a dash of intrigue.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 10, 2021

Mystery Movie - Five Card Stud

This week I am reviewing the only Mystery Western, that I know of, from 1968 titled Five Card Stud from the novel by Ray Gaulden.  Directed by Henry Hathaway and starring popular Dean Martin and the powerhouse Robert Mitchum.

In 1880, a gambler in the small town of Rincon, 100 miles from
Denver, Colorado is caught cheating at a five-card stud poker game. The players, led by the volatile Nick Evers, take the cheating gambler to hang him.  Dean Martin's character, Van Morgan, tried to stop them, but was unable to prevent the tragedy.  The players in that fateful night's poker game are being mysteriously killed off, one by one.  Van Morgan (Dean Martin) realizes the connection of the deadly poker game and investigates along with Mitchum's character, the newly arrived unorthodox Reverend Jonathan Rudd.  Tensions rise until panic turns the townspeople against each other.

It's a Western with a traditional mystery plot and plenty of suspense wrapped in a film noir style.  Dean Martin and Robert Mitchum give stellar performances and have a quality supporting cast with Inger Stevens, Roddy McDowell, John Anderson, and Denver Pyle.  This is an often forgotten movie and sadly underrated.  The director, Hathaway, gave us True Grit, How the West Was Won, and The Sons of Katie Elder but that didn't ensure this movie being better.  It is a good movie, not great.  

It is a slow burn to modern audiences used to fast paced everything in movies now. Don't look for prefect historical accuracy either.  It builds the story and characters like a Hitchcock movie.  The picking off of the poker players that fateful night is reminiscent of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" story.  

This is an enjoyable movie for an afternoon with some popcorn when you want something unique and outside the usual.  I saw this on television when I was a teen and it stuck with me until I bought the DVD as an adult.  Give it a try, it might surprise you.

Movie trailer

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Review - Journey to Munich

Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler’s Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue—the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling “series that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).

I have only read one prior novel in this series, Book 8 -- A Lesson In Secrets (click here).

Jacqueline Winspear 

Copyright: March 2016 (Harper) 309 pgs

Series: 12th in Masisie Dobbs Mystery series

Sensuality: one murder witnessed, no gore

Mystery Sub-genre: historical amateur Sleuth, intrigue

Main Characters: Masie Dobbs,  Private Investigator, former psychologist, & war nurse

Setting: 1938 London and Munich on the brink of WWII

Obtained Through: library

Book Blurb: "Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler’s Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue—the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling “series that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).

It’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square—a place of many memories—she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie’s travel plans. Her nemesis—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death—has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . . ."

Maisie is a responsible woman who has faced much in life. In this book she is still grieving the untimely death of her husband and trying to pick up her life again.  Everybody needs a close friend like Priscilla who provides a home for Maisie in London while she pieces her life together.  Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service are more concerned about the coming confrontation with fascist Germany and only slightly worried about Maisie's lethal mission.  As if it weren't dangerous enough, John Otterburn pushes Maisie into finding his errant socialite party-girl daughter, Elaine Otterburn, while in Germany and getting her home.  Maisie has to face her anger at Elaine for not flying and Maisie's husband flying in her place which is when he died.  Mark Scott, an American agent who always seems around is somebody Maisie doesn't fully trust but who could come in handy.

The setting is only a little in London, but mostly in Munich. The author is great at conveying the mood of the setting.  The plot is going undercover to impersonate a man's daughter to get him out of Dachau, the only concentration camp in Germany, and then in her spare time find Elaine and convince her to return to England.  But things don't go as planned with either assignment.  The man who is in Dachau as Mr. Leon Donat isn't who he says he is so Maisie must find the man to rescue him. Elaine has been setup for murder of a soldier and Maisie is trying to keep her from being arrested.  With the complications it keeps the tension up and I was glued to the story.  

This isn't a whodunit, so there isn't a killer reveal.  Just when I thought we were at the conclusion, Maisie has still more to accomplish before she can get the @$#* out of there.  This ratchets up the final chapter's suspense.  Very well done.

The wrap-up shows Maisie taking steps for her future and showing healing from her grief.  I appreciated ending on an upside for Maisie.

The Maisie Dobbs series has won several awards and this book displays why the accolades.  This has everything: great historical detail, just complicated enough plot, complex characters, the setting used optimally, and plenty of high stakes tension.  I can't recommend highly enough.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

Here is the author at a bookstore for the novel

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 3, 2021

Mystery Movie - Agatha & the Truth of Murder

It's no surprise that I not only read mysteries, thrillers, and espionage, but I also watch them.  I will occasionally review a mystery series or movie as a new feature on the blog.  I hope you enjoy it.
Today I want to share my thoughts on the 2018 British movie Agatha and the Truth of Murder.  I chose this movie, while not Oscar worthy, because it probably wasn't a movie widely advertised and it was much like a Christie traditional mystery.  

The short description is the author Agatha Christie decides to solve a real murder.  The longer description is based in fact.  On Friday 3 December 1926, the wildly popular Agatha Christie vanished (for real) from her home in Berkshire for 11 days. It sparked a massive manhunt of 1,000 policeman and hundreds of civilians searching for her.  Her car was found abandoned but no sign of Agatha or foul play.  I read a report of the time saying that fellow authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers also were enlisted in the search.  For the first time in history airplanes had been used in the search along with dogs on the ground.  

Wild conspiracies abounded from suicide to a publicity stunt and worse murdered by her husband, since he was know to cheat (some reports say she had an argument with her husband right before disappearing).  News spread around the world and the New York Times covered it.  On December 14 she was located safe and sound at a hotel in Harrogate England enjoying herself at the hotel dances.  She has no memory, reportedly, of what happened and she didn't speak of it ever again after that.  Her husband claimed she suffered memory loss from the car accident.  I suspect she ran away for her own sanity and was contemplating the big decision of divorce.  This movie takes place in those 11 days she went missing with the premise that she went undercover to solve a murder.  I found that fascinating and couldn't resist the lure of the movie.

My thoughts:  It is very British, so the slower pace and understated acting are on full display.  With that in mind I found this a fun, traditional mystery in the classic style of Agatha herself.   If you like the BBC Christie television murder movies (Mystery Theater), this will be your cup of tea.  If you don't like the British style of a slower build up in the murder investigation, then you may find this too plodding.  I enjoyed it tremendously and will likely watch it again sometime.

Watch on Vudu:​



Movie Trailer

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Review - The Kaiser's Web

 In New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest Cotton Malone adventure, a secret dossier from a World War II-era Soviet spy comes to light containing information that, if proven true, would not only rewrite history — it could impact Germany's upcoming national elections and forever alter the political landscape of Europe.

It has been a while since I reviewed a Cotton Malone thriller and this one grabbed my attention. My prior reviews in the series are: 

#5 The Paris Vendetta (click here).

#7 The Jefferson Key (click here).

#8 The King's Deception (click here). 

Author: Steve Berry

Copyright: February 2021 (Minotaur) 421 pgs

Series: 16th in Cotton Malone Thriller series

Sensuality: mild, gun-play

Mystery Sub-genre: political thriller, suspense thriller

Main Characters: Cotton Malone, former Dept. of Justice (Magellan Billet) 

Setting: Contemporary- International (Germany, Chile, S. Africa, Switzerland)

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Book blurb: "Two candidates are vying to become Chancellor of Germany. One is a patriot having served for the past sixteen years, the other a usurper, stoking the flames of nationalistic hate. Both harbor secrets, but only one knows the truth about the other. They are on a collision course, all turning on the events of one fateful day — April 30, 1945 — and what happened deep beneath Berlin in the Fürherbunker. Did Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun die there? Did Martin Bormann, Hitler’s close confidant, manage to escape? And, even more important, where did billions in Nazi wealth disappear to in the waning days of World War II? The answers to these questions will determine who becomes the next Chancellor of Germany.

From the mysterious Chilean lake district, to the dangerous mesas of South Africa, and finally into the secret vaults of Switzerland, former-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone discovers the truth about the fates of Hitler, Braun, and Bormann. Revelations that could not only transform Europe, but finally expose a mystery known as the Kaiser’s web."

 Cotton Malone is working as part of team and learning to be a couple with Cassiopeia.  I liked seeing this side of Cotton. Cassiopeia Vitt is always a great, dynamic character and for a while they cover different aspects of the story separately.  This was interesting to see her character more closely.  Former President Danny Daniels makes several appearances in the story, mainly to help facilitate special transportation or make it easier for Cotton to do what he needs via his contacts.  Chancellor Marie Eisenhuth is the politician Former President Daniels referred to Cotton for help.  Information has fallen into her hands about her opponent, information that would tie him to 1940s Germany in a very disturbing way. Rather than leak the information, she wants somebody trustworthy to investigate the validity of the information. There is a subplot of her failing marriage and how her hubby is more aligned to her opponent.  Her opponent, Theodor Pohl, is the spider in the middle of a tangled web to destroy the Chancellor.  Can Cotton and Cassiopeia cut through the elaborate scheme and get to the truth in time?

In the course of the investigation, Cotton and Cassiopeia travel light and far. The Chilean lake district, the harsh mesas of South Africa, secret bank vaults in Switzerland, and a German castle.  Mr. Berry is quite good at evoking the setting no matter where the story takes the reader.  This is special in a thriller to have such attention to the place for atmosphere and context. Wonderfully done.

The plot revolves around a volatile election with historical echoes and significance.  I found this timely with the resurgence of neo-Nazis and anti-Semitism around the world.  I felt this was handled well in the storyline. There is a tangled web to wade through and at times I wasn't sure if Cotton and Cass were getting to the truth amid all the subterfuge.  The pacing had just a few instances of slowing for a little too long, but it picked up again.

 The reader knows who the villain is and you approach the climax with that knowledge, but there is still a twist that makes your jaw drop. The final confrontation is exciting and tense, which is my favorite.  Excellent job there. 

A great addition to the Cotton Malone adventures series. As usual, Mr. Berry takes a historical event (Hitler's death in the furher bunker) and finds tidbits to weave a credible thriller from.  For clarification, this has Hitler definitely die from suicide, but looks for closely at Martin Bormann.  Well done and the twist at the end was superb.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

1) Short talk with Steve Berry

2) Poisoned Pen Virtual Book Launch

3) Steve and his wife discuss the book

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts with Thumbnails