Three recent crime novels feature women in peril in varying degrees. One's an herbalist/investigator, another is a DEA agent and the third is an out-of-work mom with serious problems.
"Death Comes Quickly" by the prolific Susan Wittig Albert (Berkeley Prime Crime, $25.95) is the 22nd in her popular series starring herbalist, ex-lawyer and amateur sleuth China Bayles.
When her friend Karen Prior is attacked in a mall parking lot and dies a few days later, Bayles decides to investigate. She discovers that Prior was involved in a student filmmaking project about a murder that took place fifteen years earlier.
The convoluted plot involves Mexican artwork and much more; tasty recipes are included.
Albert fans will certainly be satisfied; newcomers may also enjoy her three other series of mysteries.
"Rosarito Beach" by M. A. Lawson (Blue Rider Press, $26.95) introduces Kay Hamilton, a sexy DEA agent who's just been assigned to San Diego.
She has moved there from Miami, where she used her wiles to topple a drug cartel. Soon she's on a similar mission, trying to bring down an international drug czar, using his brother as bait.
Things don't go quite as planned (putting it mildly!); there's lots of violence and unexpected plot twists. One character appears that will change her life forever.
If you enjoy reading about drug dealers, gangs and smart heroines, you'll live this one, the first in a new series. M. A. Lawson is a pseudonym for Mike Lawson, who's written eight taut political thrillers starring Joe DeMarco.
"Everything to Lose" by bestselling author Andrew Gross (William Morrow, $26.99) showcases Hilary Cantor, a woman who's just lost her job. She's got a deadbeat husband and a son with Asperger's - but her problems are about to become much worse.
Cantor's driving down a dark road when a deer runs in front of the car ahead of her. That car swerves off the road and into a tree.
She rushes down to investigate, discovering that the driver is dead. She finds a satchel with $500,000 on the car's floor and hides it.
The pulse-pounding tale gets considerably more complicated as she's stalked by a nasty killer who wants the money back, regardless of cost. Gross doesn't disappoint his legion of fans; it's a riveting, tense tale of suspense.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop,
has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
Find this book 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 May 11, 2014.