Saturday, May 22, 2010

Madison Avenue and Dead Sleeping Shaman

5/9/10 Quirky, unusual characters abound in a pair of recent crime novels by Michigan authors. While one has more of an international flavor, the other focuses on life in small-town Northern Michigan.

Madison's Avenue (Lighthouse, $19.95) is an excellent, compelling page-turner from Mike Brogan, the Birmingham author of Business to Kill For and Dead Air.

It introduces Madison McKean, a Boston ad executive who gets a disturbing phone call from her father, the head of a major Manhattan advertising agency.

Flying to New York, she discovers that he's apparently committed suicide after being accused of misappropriating millions of dollars.

Suddenly, Madison is in charge of a $2.4 billion ad agency, which is on the verge of a takeover by a conglomerate.

She's joined by Kevin, a creative ad whiz, and they try to figure out who was responsible for the accusations and whether they were warranted.
They follow the convoluted trail to the Caribbean and go to an advertising awards banquet in France. Madison barely escapes attempts on her life, but others are not as fortunate.

Brogan has created a likable heroine and provides numerous clever plot twists. His enjoyable novel is filled with intriguing characters, including assorted oddball advertising executives and a quick-thinking, experienced, frustrated hitman. This pulse-pounding tale is ideal for movie adaptation.

Dead Sleeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (Midnight Ink, $14.95) is the third in her paperback series starring newspaper reporter and frustrated author Emily Kincaid.

Set in the area of Leetsville, a small town in Northern Michigan, Buzzelli's tale opens with Emily discovering the body of a dead woman under a pine tree near a long-forgotten lumber camp.

Getting help from friend Deputy Dolly Wakowski, they return to the scene with other authorities. The victim had ties to the area; she was an eccentric psychic and the leader of a shamanic healing group.

But Emily and Dolly have more problems: an end-of--the-world revivalist group is camping out and causing considerable challenges. Additional stress occurs when Dolly joins the cult and further investigation unearths deadly hidden secrets.

Buzzelli is in fine form, creating an intriguing cozy mystery overflowing with bizarre characters and strange happenings. It's best to read the earlier two books in the series first to fully appreciate Emily's lifestyle and growth.

Ray Walsh
This article also appeared in the
Lansing State Journal on May 9, 2010

1 comment:

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