Sunday, September 12, 2010

Familiar Characters Again on the Hunt in Recent Releases

Two recent crime novels feature determined investigators, dead bodies and a clever sociopath.

Yet they differ dramatically - one is an action-packed tough guy tale while the other is a police procedural.

"Judgement and Wrath" by Matt Hilton (William Morrow, $24.99) is the exciting sequel to his acclaimed debut "Dead Man's Dust."

Joe Hunter, a former counter-terrorist expert, is working as a private investigator in Florida, along with his buddy Rink. He's hired by Richard Dean to get Dean's 18-year-old daughter, Marianne, away from her abusive millionaire boyfriend, Bradley.

Hunter tracks them down, only to find it's not quite as Dean had described. The pair seem very much in love and Marianne says she has not been abused.

Dantalion, a crazed, deliberate, experienced hitman, has his own agenda and is out to kill Bradley. Hunter thwarts the attempt, barely escaping with the couple.

Considering himself a fallen angel, Dantalion bizarrely keeps score of his kills in a little notebook. He's determined to succeed, regardless of the cost of human life.

This pulse-pounding thriller will appeal to those who enjoy Lee Child's "Reacher" series. It would make a dandy movie in the best, early Rambo tradition.

"Hangman" by Faye Kellerman (William Morrow, $25.99) is the latest crime novel starring Los Angeles Police Lt. Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus.

Decker agrees to do a favor for an old friend, but the situation becomes complicated when she disappears, leaving behind Gabe, her 14-year-old son.

Her husband becomes a prime suspect, because of his violent nature, recent actions and past prowess as a professional hitman. Meanwhile, Decker and his team get involved in the murder investigation of Adrianna Blanc, a local neonatal nurse whose body is discovered hanging at a construction site.

Adrianna's lifestyle offers many clues; her boyfriend is missing and the body count slowly rises.

Kellerman's book is ideal for fans of her long-running series, further exploring the strained relationship of Decker and Lazarus.

Ray Walsh, owner of the Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly for the Lansing State Journal since 1987.
(Originally published by the Lansing State Journal on September 12, 2010.)

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