Unputdownable thrillers and mystery novels

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Unputdownable thrillers and mystery novels

The Loch Ness Papers by Paige Shelton, Minotaur Books, US $26.00, Pp 320, April 2019 ISBN 978-1250127815
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall, Forge Books, US $26.99, Pp 314, April 2019, ISBN 978-0765398147
Crown Jewel by Christopher Reich, Mulholland Books, US $28.00, Pp 384, March 2019, ISBN 978-0316342391

The Loch Ness Papers is set in Edinburg where Bookseller Delaney Nichols is living a happy life and works at The Cracked Spine — a shop that specializes in rare books and artifacts. She loves her job and is excited about her coming marriage in a week’s time to handsome Tom Shannon who owns a Scottish pub. Her life is like a fairy tale but then the pastor who was to perform the wedding ceremony dies. When she is coming out of the church after finalizing with Rev. Nisa Bellows to perform her nuptials, she accidentally meets Norval Fraser — an elderly man who is obsessed with the Loch Ness monster. She likes the old man and befriends him. One day, when Delaney goes with Norval to see his great-nephew at his apartment, they found him dead. He has been stabbed to death. As they are there, police arrest Norval because of his obsession with the Loch Ness monster and send him to be hospitalized because of his mental health. Norval’s great-nephew Gavin was running a Ponzi-like scheme and had made many enemies. The Loch Ness has buried its secrets deeply, but Delaney is determined to dig them up. She does not care if Nessie likes it or not. Norval wants Delaney to investigate the murder and find the killer. Delaney decides to help her new friend although she already has many other things to organize her wedding. Delaney is determined to find out the truth. As Delaney investigates the murder, she finds a pack of Loch Ness Monster cards. Nisa believes that they belong to Norval Fraser who is obsessed with the monster and who has collected a huge anecdotal archive. The Loch Ness Papers has a complex plot and little eccentric characters that make it thrilling and suspenseful. There is something hypnotic about this made-for-the-movies novel. It is as gripping as it is entertaining.

About the author

Paige Shelton had a nomadic childhood as her father’s job as a football coach took the family to seven different towns before she was even twelve years old. After college at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, she moved to Salt Lake City where she thought she’d only stay a few years, but she fell in love with the mountains and a great guy who became her husband. After many decades in Utah, she and her family moved to Arizona. She writes the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series, which begins with The Cracked Spine.

*****

The unsolicited invitation from “A. Nansi” to visit a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico comes as a surprise. The ostensible reason for the invitation is to compete on a reality TV show set along with six other people. Without even thinking what possible hidden motives the sender may have, Miriam Macy accepts it. She is delighted and eager for the visit. The reason is that 45-year-old African-American Miriam Macy has lost all her savings and money in litigations and is unemployed. She has suffered emotional breakdowns as well. She presumes she will be able to pay off her debts after the reality TV show. The island is surrounded by miles of open water in the gloriously green Sea of Cortez. Miriam’s excitement is not going to last for long anyway. She soon discovers that she and six others were lied to in the invitations by their lawyer, prominent defense attorney Phillip Omeke who has died since. These seven people were brought there because they all carry a secret in their hearts. There is a danger for all of them no matter where they are — in the lush forests, in the halls and bedrooms of the lonely mansion on the island. Cellphones don’t work here. The island may be a paradise on earth, but it is more of a prison surrounded and protected by the ocean. The seven guests are suspicious of strange things happening there. As attorney Phillip Omeke has died, Artemis was his house, and this gathering is his wake. More guests are supposed to arrive the next morning for a reading of Phillip’s will. So the guests start expecting a share in the inheritance. As the guests start enjoying, there is sex and drugs in the story but also racial tension. There is another surprise the following morning as no expected guests show up which is followed by mysterious happenings. They All Fall Down is an intense, suspenseful, and gripping thriller. There is something irresistible about this thriller that will make you turn pages.

About the author

Rachel Howzell Hall writes the acclaimed Lou Norton series, including Land of ShadowsSkies of AshTrail of Echoes, and City of Saviors, and is also the co-author of The Good Sister with James Patterson, which was included in the New York Times bestseller The Family Lawyer. She is on the board of directors for Mystery Writers of America and lives in Los Angeles.

*****

Crown Jewel is set in Monte Carlo where the spy-for-hire Simon Riske is in action to stop casino frauds, car thefts and the kidnapping of rich people. A gang of very sophisticated and ruthless Bosnian criminals is targeting Monte Carlo. The criminals have already beaten a casino dealer to death and kidnapped a German heiress’s son. Simon Riske specializes in resolving such crimes. Simon Riske was once a high-end thief who robbed armored trucks and successfully escaped police chases across the Côte d’Azur until he was betrayed by a fellow criminal and arrested. He served his time and went to the Sorbonne and graduated. His new mission is to resolve big and risky crimes. In Monte Carlo, the managing partner of the Casino de Monte-Carlo hires him. Toby has been losing millions of dollars from his casino, and he wants Riske to uncover how he is being cheated and catch the culprits. Riske will do anything risky and dangerous and end up resolving it. He can outmaneuver high-end criminals as he himself was one. In Monte Carlo, Riske quickly identifies and catches the individuals involved in the casino scam. But, soon he runs into a gorgeous and pretty woman named Vika, and falls in love with her. Vika’s mother has died in mysterious circumstances. First, Vika is threatened, then assaulted. Riske finds out that she is, in fact, a princess and that her assailants are members of the same gang that is bleeding the casino. They want to rob her of her billions. How would their love affair evolve? Crown Jewel is a highly entertaining sequel to The Take. Simon Riske is an interesting spy character. The reader is mesmerized as they are taken to Monte Carlo, inside the casinos and bars — a wished-for place. It is a real thriller.

About the author
Christopher Reich was born in November 1961 in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Los Angeles in late 1965. He graduated from Harvard School (now Harvard-Westlake) in 1979, then attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Then he went to Austin, Texas to earn an MBA at the University of Texas. After graduating from UT, he moved to Switzerland, where he joined the Union Bank of Switzerland, first in Geneva and then in Zurich. He left banking and worked first as a consultant, and then as the CEO of a small watch company in Neuchatel.

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