Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

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Black Friday by James Patterson

Warner Books, April 2000
Paperback, 450 pages.
ISBN: 0446609323.
Ordering information:

Black Friday
by James Patterson When an unusual and highly secretive terrorist group targets Wall Street for an attack, it gives the FBI little warning or explanation. Oddly, the group makes no demands. Wall Street is reluctantly evacuated and when the bombs do go off, it is up to federal agent Arch Carroll and a team of special agents and investigators to determine the cause and the next likely action of the terrorist group known only as the Green Band. The police and special investigators are totally in the dark as to the aims and plans of the Green Band and have very few leads. The few leads they do have turn out to be tricks and traps set by the Green Band. Meanwhile, the stock market is beginning to tumble and is threatening to collapse. Carroll meets up with attractive and cunning Wall Street attorney Caitlin Dillon and it's up to the both of them to solve the puzzle of the Green Band before the United States economy collapses.

James Patterson, suspense author of Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, is well-known for his regular lead character, forensic detective Alex Cross. However, this April, 2000 release is an update and re-issue of an earlier 1986 novel called Black Market and it is Cross-less. Luckily, the novel still stands up well without Alex Cross, especially with character Arch Carroll, a tough-mannered spy who ignores all the rules when pursuing law breakers. He also has a sensitive side and a romance sparks with attorney Caitlin, but Carroll is most interesting when he is breaking the rules to get the bad guys to spit out the answers. Black Friday is an exciting thriller with an original plot that has plenty of twists and turns. It is not quite in the same class as the Cross novels however, and might leave some fans of the Alex Cross series disappointed.

The Celtic Riddle by Lyn Hamilton

Berkley Prime Crime, Feb., 2000 .
Hardcover, 296 pages.
ISBN: 042517235X.
Ordering information:

The Celtic Riddle
by Lyn Hamilton Toronto antiques dealer Lara McClintoch journeys to County Kerry, Ireland to lend moral support to her friend Alex Stewart. Alex is a named beneficiary under the will of the late (and incredibly wealthy) businessman, Eamon Byrne. Byrne's relatives are an obnoxious lot, who immediately try to take Alex's legacy, Rose Cottage, away from him. The eccentric Eamon Byrne left a series of mysterious clues which he says will lead to a fabulous treasure. The catch? Each beneficiary has one clue; to find the treasure, the quarreling relatives must all work together. When people begin to die off, one by one, Lara determines not only to find the killer, but to assist in finding the treasure and to help her dear friend Alex to keep his much-deserved legacy. But will the killer allow Lara to poke her nose into a family affair without knocking her off, as well?

Lyn Hamilton's latest mystery novel has antiques dealer/amateur sleuth Lara hip deep in ancient Celtic lore, dead languages and, of course, murder. The Irish background provides welcome local color, and the puzzle left by the persnickety decedent are quite interesting. As always, Lara is an entertaining heroine and the identity of the murderer is, somehow, quite satisfying.

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