Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ray's Reviews: "Paradise City" by Archer Mayer and "Seven Days" by Deon Meyer

If you enjoy reading police procedural mysteries, here's a quick look at two highly talented authors with similar last names. It's easy to get mired in Mayor and Meyer -- both writers showcase well-developed returning characters faced with deadly, unusual challenges.

"Paradise City" by award-winning author Archer Mayor (Minotaur, $25.99) is the 23rd in his popular series starring Joe Guenther, head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation.

Somewhat similar to his earlier novel "Tag Man", Guenther becomes involved in investigating a string of unusual burglaries at the residences of wealthy residents.

But this time, there's a big difference -- jewelry and antiques are also being stolen. The fast-paced novel opens with a robbery at the Beacon Hill home of an elderly rich woman who lives alone -- but the burglars kill her.

Guenther notices similarities to Vermont break-ins and joins forces with Massachusetts authorities. The dead Boston woman's granddaughter is independently searching for answers and makes surprisingly useful discoveries.

Other assorted clues lead to the disclosure of a meticulous mastermind with devious plans. There are numerous plot twists and violence erupts. Mayor doesn't disappoint his fans with his latest highly entertaining tale.

"Seven Days" by best-selling author Deon Meyer (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25) is another strong entry in his series set entirely in contemporary South Africa.

It stars hard-working recovering alcoholic homicide detective Benny Griessel, who earlier appeared in Meyer's "Devil's Peak" and "Thirteen Hours".

Two police officers in Cape Town have been shot; the killer vows to shoot more unless a recent unsolved murder case is reopened.

The shooter wants further investigation of the murder of an attractive and ambitious attorney who was stabbed to death in her luxury apartment.

Sending strange e-mails to the cops and the press, the shooter is quoting scripture and demanding results, threatening to continue his shooting spree until the killer is found.

Griessel and his associates have little luck -- there are few good leads and no forensic evidence. The tension mounts as the shootings increase and media frenzy escalates.

Meyer is exceptionally adept at examining the diverse complexities involved in solving a challenging crime. While you may slowly tire of continuous dead ends, realistically the search for facts is tedious and time-consuming.
Eventually, information is discovered that reveals the truth, providing an unexpected but satisfying conclusion.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal
on Sunday, January 27, 2013

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