Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, July 1998
Page Four of Six

Liar by Jan Burke

Simon & Schuster, May 1998.
Hardcover, 348 pages.
ISBN: 0684803453.
Ordering information: |

by Jan Burke Amateur sleuth/reporter Irene Kelly and her husband feel lucky to have each other after a terrifying kidnapping incident (see, Hocus). But they barely have time to catch their breath when Irene gets the news that her long-estranged Aunt Briana has died. Irene must find her aunt's son Travis and tell him of his mother's death. But Travis doesn't want to be found and he certainly doesn't want anything to do with Irene or any of her branch of the family, the Maguires, after they cut themselves off from Briana over her marriage to a man with a decidedly shady past who everyone always suspected of murdering his first wife, a wealthy heiress. When Irene locates Travis they join forces, somewhat reluctantly, to find out more about Briana's death and stumble onto a viper's nest of lies and buried family secrets which could result in Travis and Irene being the next targets of a long-hidden murderer. Nevertheless, Irene is determined to find out the truth about her family's past -- no matter what the cost.

Liar is a skillfully plotted, suspenseful story of how the actions of a prior generation can have ever-widening repercussions on a modern family. Everyone in Liar has something to hide; the dual nature of the mysteries both past and present are carefully unraveled in Burke's engaging style of storytelling. Another winner in a fantastic mystery series.

--Claire E. White

The Only Good Lawyer by Jeremiah Healy

Pocket Books, March 1998.
Paperback, 298 pages.
ISBN: 0671009532.
Ordering information: |

The Only Good Lawyer
by Jeremiah Healy John Cuddy, a private investigator, decides to take on the case of Alan Spaeth, a racist white male who is charged with murdering Woodrow Gant, despite the negative reaction from his girlfriend, attorney Nancy Meagher, who believes Spaeth is obviously guilty. Woodrow Gant was a prominent African-American lawyer who was found murdered by his car in the early morning hours. All the evidence points to Cuddy's obnoxious client and he certainly is isn't winning any new friends by taking on the unwanted case. As Cuddy begins to investigate, he finds that there is more than meets the eye to Gant's lifestyle and that he had unusual passions and multiple enemies. Cuddy goes forward with the case, determined to discover the real killer so he can clear Spaeth's name, despite the damage it is doing to his own love life.

Jeremiah Healy continues to please private-eye fans with this 12th entry into his Shamus award-winning John Cuddy series. Strong characters, great dialogue and an exciting plot highlight this appealing addition.

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