Mystery/Thriller Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, March 2006
False Impression by Jeffrey ArcherSt. Martin's Press, March, 2006
Hardcover, 384 pages
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk
On September 10, 2001, the British owner of a priceless Van Gogh painting is murdered at her estate. Before she was killed, Victoria Wentworth wrote a letter to her sister detailing her plans to ship the painting to financier Bryce Fenston. Fenton owns a sleazy New York-based finance company named Fenston Finance which regularly defrauds members of the British aristocracy by loaning them money secured by priceless works of art. Bryce's clients never read the fine print and usually end up destitute. And sometimes they end up dead, with their most precious assets in the hands of Fenston Finance. Fenston's activities have not gone unnoticed by FBI agent Jack Delaney who is ready to arrest Fenton and Fenton Finance's attractive art historian, Anna Petrescu. But Delaney isn't sure if Anna is a crook or if she's just a dupe. Anna isn't a crook and in fact has just realized that her boss is one. The 9/11 attacks happen just as Anna has just been fired by Fenton after a fiery confrontation in the firm's offices at the World Trade center. Anna barely escapes with her life, but everyone thinks she died when the towers came down. Anna manages to intercept the priceless painting, but now she's got the FBI and a ruthless assassin on her tail who is determined to get the painting back for Fenton and eliminate Anna as a threat. Jeffrey Archer's cinematical roots show through in this fast-paced, gripping thriller that spans the globe.
A Hole in Juan by Gillian RobertsHardcover, February, 2006
Ballantine Books, 256 pages
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk
High school teacher by day and private investigator by night Amanda Pepper has now been married for one month to Mackenzie, a former homicide detective who is back in school studying to get his Ph. D. in criminology. Amanda and Mackenzie have another person living with them: Mackenzie's 16 year-old nephew has been dumped on them as a house guest so that he can recover from a broken heart which is no doubt at the root of his repeated threats to quit high school. But it's not her houseguest that has Amanda so worried: it's the strange occurences at the school that has all her detective's instincts screaming. The seniors are acting very strange indeed. Her roll book disappears, then reappears, as do various supplies in other classrooms. When physics teacher Juan Reyes is terribly injured by an explosion in the science lab, the police rule it as an accident -- but Amanda knows better. And if she doesn't find out what is really going on with her students, she knows that something even worse is going to happen at the upcoming Friday Mischief Party.
A Hole in Juan is a tautly written mystery that resonates with a pervasive sense of evil. Gillian Roberts controls the pacing, building the suspense to a breathtaking conclusion. As an entertaining counterpoint to the creepy atmosphere at the school, Amanda's thoughts about her students, the bureaucracy of the school, the doltish principal and her the customs of today's teens make for a hilarious counterpoint in this excellent entry in the popular series.
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