Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Souviens by Barbara Darling Saxena, Hair-Trigger by Rip Hunter, Dark Sunset by McGarvey

If you enjoy Michigan mysteries, you're in for a real treat. Here's a quick look at three entertaining crime novels, including one that's now back in print. You may have best luck ordering these directly from the author from the author or other on-line suppliers.

"Souviens" by Grand Ledge physician and award-winning author Barbara Darling Saxena (Createspace, $13.99) is an intriguing first paperback novel that has been re-issued by the author after her publisher went out of business.

With many scenes set in Lansing, it deals with a woman who's been having flashbacks about the awful Kern Hotel fire downtown on December 11, 1934.

It has many unexpected plot twists, strong characterization and a nasty, unscrupulous villain. The carefully researched tale uses many local businesses, landmarks and events, adding a distinctive flavor to the complex thriller.

It is again available from the author at .

Canadian author Peter McGarvey has released two paperbacks that are set in Michigan; both have scenes set in his fictional town of Sunset, located up north between Traverse City and Petoskey.

"Hair-Trigger" (Cliff House, $14.95) showcases Rip Hunter and Wilma (not their real names!), who are "high-functioning psychopaths".

They've been successful professional killers for 15 years; Hunter breaks one of their cardinal rules and accepts a job without getting half the money up front.

Serious complications arise; the dedicated duo face a wide variety of challenges, including deadly encounters in a crumbling Detroit.

It's the first in a new series; a sequel, "Double Tap" is in the works.

"Dark Sunset" (Cliff House, $14.95) marks the debut of police detective Molly Parsons; it's mostly set in Sunset, but at different time periods.

This is a solid police procedural, initially focusing on the death of a writer who was doing research on a famous re-discovered American poet. It's a complex but satisfying tale; "Bloody Sunset", a sequel, is scheduled for release shortly.

Both of McGarvey's books are fast-paced, enjoyable crime novels that are better than many of the crime novels currently in print.

The real question is why a major publisher hasn't latched on to these compelling tales and given McGarvey considerably more exposure.

McGarvey's email address is For an additional giggle, you may want to

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

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, February 23, 2014.

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