SO MUCH PRETTY by Cara Hoffman

Imagine you are the “outsider” and reporter, Stacy Flynn. You came to this farm town in upstate New York via Cleveland to find the “big-picture” story on rural waste dumping here in off-the-grid Haeden. You’re twenty-four, alert as a cat, keen to pounce like a tiger, with Malcolm X glasses, a postmodern flair, and a Mencken regard. You’ve won an award in the big city, and now that the Rust Belt stories are waning, you seek the newly pelted. But after several years of living among wind-battered farmhouses, tall white flagpoles, crumbled colonials, and broken-down buses, you’re still waiting and suspicious of the omnipotent, industrialized local dairy farm while writing benign pieces about the latent, wall-eyed community….

April 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York, Reading Guide

THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly

Michael (Mickey) Haller is still working out of the back seat of his armor-plated Lincoln Town Car, but he now specializes in helping people prevent or delay foreclosure on their homes. In the shattered economy and with housing prices in freefall, business has been brisk. Although criminal defense is his first love, Mickey has changed course, knowing that “the only growth industry in the law business was foreclosure defense.”

April 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author


It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a light hearted crime novel. In fact Teresa Solana’s latest mystery A SHORT CUT TO PARADISEis so amusing, it is very likely to stretch its appeal beyond the usual crime aficionados. The novel, however, is not a cozy, by any means. Instead it’s a satirically funny inside look at the highly competitive world of prize-winning Catalan literature. Some of us may not automatically think of bitter, murderous rivalry between competing authors who seek a lucrative prize, but then again the Booker Prize manages to stir some controversy every year–along with the occasional highly entertaining “what-the-hell-were-they-thinking” comment from judges, authors and readers.

April 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, Spain, Translated, y Award Winning Author

LUCIFER’S TEARS by James Thompson

Kari Vaara is back on the job. After taking a bullet to the face in his last book, Snow Angels, he is back to working on new cases as a police detective with his partner Milo. As Lucifer’s Tears opens, Kari is assigned two investigations. One involves a murder and the other is bringing an alleged war criminal from World War II to justice. Meanwhile, Kari’s wife, Kate, is eight and a half months pregnant with a baby girl. After losing twins in her last pregnancy, both Kate and Kari are very apprehensive and nervous that everything goes right this time. Both of them feel responsible for their prior loss. Kate has invited her brother and sister over to Finland from the United States to be there for the birth and this creates a whole new set of problems for Kari.

March 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags:  · Posted in: Family Matters, Iceland, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, World Lit

LOVE YOU MORE by Lisa Gardner

In Lisa Gardner’s Love You More, Tessa Leoni has a great deal on her plate. She has been a Massachusetts state trooper for four years and has a beautiful six-year-old daughter, Sophie, whose father’s name Tessa does not even know. Leoni has an inner toughness that she will desperately need as she faces an uncertain future. Her husband of three years and Sophie’s stepfather, Brian Darby, has been shot to death, and the evidence points to Tessa as the perpetrator. Worse, Tessa’s little girl, Sophie, has disappeared. The detectives soon suspect that not only did Tessa gun down her husband in cold blood, but that she also killed and buried her daughter.

March 15, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: NE & New York, Sleuths Series

THIS WICKED WORLD by Richard Lange

Jimmy Boone is a certain kind of maverick – out of the box and not quite a civilian. After serving his time in the Marines, Boone becomes a partner in a security firm. He works as a bodyguard for the rich and famous. He spends his time in Hollywood, Hawaii, Aspen or wherever those with money gather. It is his job to protect and defend them. However, one of his jobs goes awry. Jimmy believes that his client is sexually molesting his daughter and beats him to within an inch of his life. Jimmy later finds out he was set up by the man’s wife as part of a mean divorce. The man he almost killed may have been innocent. Jimmy goes to jail and, when THIS WICKED WORLD opens, Jimmy is out on probation. He is bartending by night and acting as super of an apartment complex.

December 18, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide