Sunday, October 23, 2011


Two recent mysteries feature diligent Michigan journalists trying to solve puzzling crimes.

"Juror 55" by Shepherd author Chris Zimmerman (Joker's Conundrum, $17) again showcases Alma newspaper reporter Derrick Twitchell.

He witnesses the kidnapping of Congressman Floyd Capp from a Town Hall meeting. Capp had voted for a controversial health care bill; angry constituents were there to relay their displeasure.

After the kidnappers get away, Capp is murdered, and Martin Yandle, leader of an ultra-right wing religious group, is sought as the killer.
Weeks later, Twitchell stops a deadly attempt by Yandle at an Amish schoolhouse. The reporter gets help from psychologist James Ong while his wife tries to infiltrate the religious group.

The trial in Flint involving the murder case causes serious complications. An Amish juror provides unexpected challenges for Twitchell and Ong as another major crime develops.

"Dead Dogs and Englishmen" by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (Midnight Ink, $14.95) is the fourth in her paperback series starring Emily Kincaid, a part-time journalist in the small northern Michigan town of Leetsville.

As usual, Kincaid gets into trouble, this time when local deputy Dolly Wakowski takes her to the site where the brutally slain body of a woman has been discovered at an abandoned farmhouse.

The corpse of a dog is also found there; further investigation reveals that bodies of dead dogs have been thrown into the yards of Mexican migrant farm workers.

Kincaid's ex-husband is back on the scene; he provides her with an unusual job offer from Cecil Hawke, an eccentric, wealthy Englishman.

Hawke wants her to edit his manuscript; Kincaid takes the job, only to discover a much darker side of the hopeful author. When another murder occurs, Kincaid and Wakowski are drawn deeper into the case, with deadly results.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has been reviewing crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

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