Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

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The Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr

Random House, Sept., 1997.
Hardcover, 626 pages.
ISBN: 0679435328.
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The Angel of Darkness
by Caleb Carr A year has passed since the intrepid team of Dr. Kriezler, Mr. Moore, Sara Howard, young Stevie and the Isaacsons hunted down serial killer John Beecher in the stunning historical thriller The Alienist. This sequel to The Alienest pits the unusual team against a formidable and terrifying foe who has kidnapped the baby daughter of the wife of a Spanish diplomat. As they investigate the case, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary kidnapping and that their foe has committed numerous other crimes against innocent children and must be stopped before more children are murdered.

Caleb Carr once again hits the mark in this brilliant sequel. Part history text, part action-adventure and part psychological thriller, The Angel of Darkness is not for those looking for a quick, lighthearted read. But for those who are willing to delve into the world of turn of the century New York, the trip is well-worth it. Filled with delicately shaded characterizations, historical figures whose actions are seamlessly interwoven into the story as well as a sometimes shocking portrayal of the social underbelly of 1890s New York, The Angel of Darkness is a must read for lovers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, history buffs and fans of the modern psychological thriller.

A Corpse By Any Other Name by Neil McGaughey

Scribner, March, 1998.
Hardcover, 203 pages.
ISBN: 0684197626.
Ordering information:

A Corpse By Any Other Name
by Neil McGaughey Kyle Malachi can't stand it anymore. Stokes Moran must die, regardless of the fact that Stokes is not a flesh and blood human, but Malachi's nom de plume when writing as the famous mystery critic. Over the loud objections of his wife, agent Lee Holland, Malachi places the obituary of Stokes Moran in The New York Times, thereby ending the 10-year reign of Moran as the premier American mystery critic. So it is only natural that Kyle and Lee are totally shocked when they get a call from New York's finest asking them to come identify the body of none other than the recently-deceased Moran, whose body showed up in a seedy New York building. As Kyle and Lee attempt to explain to the skeptical authorities their relationship with the deceased Mr. Moran, they quickly realize that it's up to them to find out the identity of the corpse in order to exonerate themselves from suspicion in the murder of the mystery man. So Kyle and Lee move into their apartment in the city and set out to investigate. Their quest leads them into some odd parts of New York and encountering a host of odd characters such as the homeless lady who may be a witness to the crime.

With his classic comic wit and snappy dialogue, Neil McGaughey turns up a winner with the latest Stokes Moran mystery. The sly humor, twisting plot and the comraderie between Lee and Kyle make for fun, intelligent reading. The quotes from famous mystery authors' works are, as always, a treat to read as they provide commentary on the shenanigans of Kyle and Lee. Another fun outing for Moran fans.

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