Monday, January 24, 2011


 If you’re trying to get away from all the cold air and snow, maybe it’s time to try a couple of hot, quirky mysteries set in sunny Texas and Florida. Each action-packed book stars a quick-thinking, heavy-drinking hero, who gets into dangerous situations and a lot of trouble.

“Web of Greed” by Mancelona MI author Buzz Harcus (Sandhill Publishing, $15) is a fast-paced crime novel introducing Houston TX Detective Sam August, who enjoys pretty women, drinking and sailing, but not in any specific order.

The ex-Marine is called into a bloody crime scene with four dead bodies and begins working on the case, trying to put together clues.

His investigation leads to a scheming millionaire, his pretty wife, a talented actress, a crooked lawyer and a cold-blooded psychopath.

There’s also an ambitious, obnoxious FBI agent, assorted members of an Asian crime gang and a nasty villain with evil intentions.
With violence galore, it’s tough to stop turning the pages; the hard-working detective gets himself in deadly trouble in almost every chapter.

While this paperback offers a pretty unusual view of cops, it’s not always politically correct. Even with numerous typos, it’s still highly entertaining.

Harcus has self-published two earlier books, “China Marine: Tsingtao Treasure” and “Tainted Treasure”. For more information, contact the author at

“Bitter Legacy” by H. Terrell Griffin (Oceanside, $28)
is the fifth book in the excellent series featuring Matt Royal, an ex-Special Services veteran and retired lawyer.

He’s gone down to Florida to retire and has many of the same attributes as Harcus’ main character, except he’s not a cop. When a sniper tries to kill his buddy, Royal decides to investigate; soon there’s an attempt on his life.

Royal can’t figure out why anybody would be after either of them; soon a mild-mannered attorney is murdered and an aging visitor from the Bahamas is almost beaten to death.

Griffin adds many more plot twists and historical aspects as the body count rises. He deftly uses distinctive characters, including a reclusive billionaire, an albino, assorted biker gang members and a fast-shooting, innovative, mysterious government agent.

In the best John D. MacDonald tradition, the pulse-pounding action never stops; Griffin’s well developed, crime novel provides solid escapism.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.

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