Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

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Smoke Screen by Marianne Macdonald

St. Martin's Minotaur, Dec., 1999.
Hardcover, 255 pages.
ISBN: 0312242433.
Ordering information:

Smoke Screen by Marianne Macdonald London antiquarian bookseller and single mom Dido Hoare wishes she had heeded the advice of a friend when he warned her not to get involved with Clare Templeton. But Dido was enthralled with the book collection of Clare, which includes some astonishingly valuable papers left by the famous American poet Orrin Forbes, Clare's former lover. But the more Dido gets involved with Clare and her bizarre and tempestuous family, the worse things get. When a fire destroys Templeton house, Clare is found dead, and a valuable manuscript mysteriously appears in Dido's car, she becomes the police's chief suspect. Dido, with the help of her father Barnabas, and her Internet savvy employee, must find a killer before she lands in jail -- permanently.

Smoke Screen has everything a cozy lover could want: a feisty, charming and funny heroine, a wonderful London and Oxford background, and a varied cast of suspects for the murder of someone no one liked very much anyway. Barnabas is especially charming; every single mom should be so lucky as to have a father like him. We eagerly await Dido's next foray into the world of amateur sleuthing.

--Claire E. White

Vector by Robin Cook

Berkley, January 2000.
Paperback, 395 pages.
ISBN: 0425172996.
Ordering information:

by Robin Cook Yuri Davydov, a Russian cab driver in New York, is homesick for mother Russia and tired of being denied the American dream. Before he returns to Russia he wants to send a message to the Americans. Trained in the making of bioweapons with thousands of other Russians in massive bioweapons factories, he still retains the deadly knowledge and hooks up with some Arian punks to give Americans what's coming to them. Jack Stapleton, a forensic pathologist, is astonished when he discovers a victim who has died from Anthrax. He investigates and finds the victim had an international rug business, and this is enough for his superiors to discontinue any further investigations. But luckily Dr. Stapleton is not one to give up so easily. When a death from botulism occurs, Stapleton gets curious, and realizes that he must get to the bottom of these deaths from unlikely causes before more deaths occur.

Robin Cook, author of numerous medical thrillers including Coma, Chromosome 6 and Toxin, has created another exciting medical thriller with Vector. This time the threat is anthrax and the location is New York City. Bioweapons are a real potential terrorist threat for the 21st century and Cook provides a compelling story to show this threat could become a reality. An exciting medical thriller with a surprising finish.

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