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Joel Goodman writes a terrific legal thriller

Final Judgment (Lou Mason Thrillers Book 5)Final Judgment by Joel Goldman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Three plots for the price of one

A fascinating story of coercion, blackmail, and murder. Lou Mason’s heart is in the right place, but sometimes he has to bend the rules to the breaking point. A compromised judge forces Mason to help her clear her name. Then aging con man wants Mason to negotiate a plea bargain. Things get complicated when a headless body turns up. Lou Mason is up to his eyeballs in trouble. You won’t want to put this one down until you finish it. As a mystery/thriller writer myself, I appreciate the skill with which Joel Goldman constructs this enjoyable novel.

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A mystery solved though clues!, February 15, 2017

By

Ian J. Miller

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This review is from: Double Fake, Double Murder (A Carlos McCrary, Private Investigator, Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)

Chuck McCrary is ex-police and now a private investigator and he gets a case – an old friend, Jorge, from his police days has been charged with murder. The problem is, the evidence seems to be overwhelming. He was patrolling in the crime area just after midnight, the victim was a known drug dealer that all the police hated, Jorge had previously admitted that his gun had never left his possession, and the bullet that killed the victim came from Jorge’s gun. I must confess when I got this far I was feeling somewhat depressed. There was no reasonable way for Jorge not to be found guilty, short of some deus ex machina type solution. But Chuck soldiers on, and does some normal police work that seems to get nowhere with his real case, then he gets accused of murdering one of the suspects. Hidden in amongst all this is the odd clue, for those who really appreciate mysteries. Meanwhile, Chuck has also found a witness, except that in the dark he did not see much, and worse, he is a run-away kid for whom the system has failed. Jorge’s lawyer merely wants to plea bargain; being a public defender, she is overworked. Thus the public defence and the social services for children who are more or less abandoned by their parents are examined, and found wanting. Then, as you might guess, Chuck solves the crime, but to my pleasant surprise, the whole thing ended up quite reasonable, the crime was solved in an orthodox way without silly confessions but by putting together clues. Not only that, but it is well written. As mysteries go, this is way up with the best, and, as I noted, there is a social commentary relating to those for whom life has not been kind as an added extra. Highly recommended.

 

Lee Child is what a thriller writer should be. He’s imaginative, articulate, persuasive, and, best of all, entertaining. Reading any of Lee Child’s books is a great way to spend a few hours. I bought “Night School” at a book store in hard bound because I keep all of Lee’s books in my personal library. “Night School” is a “prequel” to Jack #Reacher as an ex-military cop in that it takes place while Reacher was still in the US Army in the late 1990s. I don’t want to spoiler the dynamite ending, so I’ll say that I loved it. After I finished it, I loaned it to a friend who has read all the Jack Reacher novels also, and she said it was her favorite Reacher novel–the best that Lee Child has ever written. I can’t say that because they are ALL excellent.

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McCrary’s Justice, the 6th book in the Carlos McCrary series is a hard-hitting, soul-crushing, fast-paced novel that grabs you with the first sentence: “Liz lay still as a corpse in the dim light…,” and doesn’t let you go until justice has been exacted. The five stars are for the riveting pacing and heart-stopping horror of the victims in the story. But even McCrary’s justice comes at a very steep price. I longed for a different ending, one that didn’t hurt my reality-scarred spirit a second time, but then Carlos McCrary apparently isn’t destined for happy endings, at least not yet. If the idea of vigilante justice appeals to you and throwing away the rules is entirely justifiable under some circumstances, you are going to love Carlos McCrary and this series.

mysterymayhem2016-image

I’m delighted to be one of the authors appearing at the Bartow Mystery Mayhem Book Fair on Saturday, November 12. I’ll be talking about the business of writing and answering questions about the art and craft of writing. This will also be the first public appearance of my new book McCrary’s Justice.

novelist-burning-buildingGideon Hodge, a 35-year-old novelist, playwright, and actor, sprinted past New Orleans firefighters into a burning to save his laptop. He had stored two completed novels on the computer. “Anybody that’s ever created art, there’s no replacing that,” he told The New Orleans Advocate after he made it out of the burning building safely. “It’s got pretty much my life’swork.”

While I admire Hodge’s dedication to his work, I wonder about his common sense. No backup?

I use Carbonite, which automatically backs up every working file on my computer every day. It costs $59.99 a year for the basic service–cheap when compared to risking your life.

coffee-cupI remember a scene from an old television show. The Darren McGavin, playing private investigator Mike Hammer, met his client in a coffee shop. He had met her at a coffee shop each time he had something to report. Each time he ordered coffee. Finally, her curiosity got the best of her and she asked, “How much coffee do you drink every day?”

He answered, “Fifteen or twenty cups.”

The client said, “Doesn’t it keep you awake?”

Our hero said, “It helps.”

I’m like Honoré de Balzac, the early 19th century French author, who said (translated by Robert Onopa): Coffee is a great power in my life… [It] sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it… chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects.

Balzac is said to have drunk up to 50 cups a day, although his cups were much smaller than today’s mugs. Best-selling author Lee Child reportedly drinks 30 cups a day.

Compared to these writers, my coffee habit is modest. I am usually at my desk by 8:00 a.m., having risen at 5:30, read three newspapers, and breakfasted with my wife. My first cup of breakfast coffee is the normal high-octane stuff to knock the cobwebs off my brain. Years ago a doctor told me after a routine physical that too much caffeine is bad for people, so for the rest of the day I restrict caffeine to times when the cobwebs come back.

After working in my study until about 9:30, I start to feel the cobwebs lurking in the far corners of my mind. Bang! Back to high-octane coffee—only now, I switch to iced coffee. Over the rest of the day, I’ll have three more iced coffees, occasionally four or five.

I discovered iced coffee in 2004 after Hurricane Frances.

11:00 p.m. Saturday, September 4. 2004, Labor Day weekend: Hurricane Frances moved ashore in Martin County, Florida with sustained winds over 100 mph. The eye passed directly over our house, knocking our two-story screened enclosure into our swimming pool. Fortunately, our townhouse was built to the stronger building codes adopted after Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida in 1992. Our home was otherwise intact. Even with underground utilities, our neighborhood electric power was knocked out for four days. (Which is one reason we now live in Lake County, Florida. But that’s another story.) My wife and I had evacuated to Georgia and returned to find our town in need of help.

I am a Volunteer Minister for the Church of Scientology and we worked with the National Guard and the Red Cross to hand out food and water to long lines of victims. The temperature was over 90 degrees in early September with humidity match. Three o’clock in the afternoon, after working in the sun since early morning, I was dissolving into a puddle of sweat and grime. Miraculously, an angel of rescue appeared in the form of a Dunkin’ Donuts panel truck. The Dunkin’ truck pulled into the shopping center parking lot where we were handing out water and ice. The back of the truck was full of huge containers of iced coffee for the volunteers. One sip of that delicious Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and I felt like I’d had a two-hour nap in an air-conditioned room. It was almost better than sex. Almost.

Ever since then, I’m a big iced-coffee fan.

Ann Livi Andrews just posted this review on http://www.annliviandrews.com/book-reviews/2016/6/22/quarterback-trap

She made my day. Here it is:

Quarterback Trap – Dallas Gorham

This is a great suspenseful and thrilling mystery that, while geared towards men with the football theme, will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

To be clear, I am not a football fan, and I very much enjoyed this book. I read it all in one sitting, completely unable to put it down until the plot was resolved.

Gorham’s writing style is easy to follow and he doesn’t bog the reader down with statistics or football-speak that might alienate readers who don’t really follow the sport.

I loved all the characters and thought they were excellently written. Chuck is great as the main character and I can see him starring in future novels, such as Alex Delaware for Jonathan Kellerman, etc.

Even if you’re not a football fan, if you enjoy a good mystery/thriller, then I can definitely recommend this one to you.

My friend and fellow mystery writer, Judi Ciance, was asked for the second year in a row to exhibit at the Leesburg Art Festival on March 12 and 13th.

Judi provided this picture
Here she is at her booth.

Judi has written four books in her Casey Quinby series:

Empty Rocker

James’ life was falling apart. How did he allow a sixteen-year-old girl to infiltrate his world? She wanted commitment. It wasn’t going to happen. It was Sunday night. He got home in time to grab a beer before the eleven o’clock news. A young girl, yet to be identified, was found lying face down by the edge of the Scenic Highway … a presumed hit-and-run. He didn’t need a name. He’d left no clues that would lead back to him. It was quick and clean … the way he’d planned it. The name-plate on her desk read, Casey Quinby. She was the head investigative reporter for the Cape Cod Tribune. She worked hand-in-hand with police departments from one end of the Cape to the other. Casey was their ‘Kelly Girl’ detective. Her boss gave her free rein to work with the cops, fully knowing she’d get the exclusive. She got to play with the POs, and then got paid to write about it. Last Sunday night, there was a hit-and-run on the Bourne Scenic Highway. For some reason, Casey wasn’t given clearance to mingle with the cops at the scene. Even her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Sam, suggested she step back from this one. Said he’d get in touch with her in a couple of days. Sam was the chief detective in the Bourne Police Department. Imagine telling a reporter, a nosey one at that, to close her eyes and disappear for a few days. Not going to happen. She knew she had to use her Sherlock Holmes’ nose to sniff out well hidden clues – mix them together – and end up with a perfectly assembled table puzzle. EMPTY ROCKER provides the perfect blend of mystery and suspense, coupled with twists and turns, and infused with a bit of romance.

Paint Her Dead

The body of a young girl found tucked away beside a bed in a closed-for-the-season ocean-front cottage… a boyfriend without an alibi… a rich and conniving widow… strangers and lovers caught in the triangle of an unknown identity.

And then came Casey Quinby, considered the ‘Kelly Girl’ investigator for several Cape Cod Police Departments, and her side-kicks, Annie, right-hand to the District Attorney, and Marnie, a recent law school graduate.

After a near-death experience only four months before, Casey promised her boyfriend, Sam, the lead detective in the Bourne PD, that she’d stay clear of dangers reserved for seasoned police officers. He constantly reminded her she was a newspaper reporter, not a PO. But, her accidental encounter with a very dead Jane Doe draws her back into a world of suspense, mystery and intrigue.

The road from Provincetown to Boston is paved with twists, turns, unexpected dangers and hidden secrets waiting to be uncovered.

Caught with a Quahog

Casey Quinby, head investigative reporter for the Cape Cod Tribune had worked with the Barnstable Police Department on their cold case backlog in the past, generating a high success rate in uncovering new details allowing the PD to reopen several cases. When she expressed an interest in working on another cold case, the Chief jumped at the chance for her to examine the Mary Kaye Griffin murder file.

Chief Lowe was a personal friend of Mary Kaye’s and was haunted by the lack of evidence gathered to solve her murder. Against his approval, but because of department policy, it had been classified a cold case five years ago.

According to the reports in the evidence box, the husband, Brian Griffin, made the 911 call from their home to report the murder. When the police responded to the 42 Shady Brook Lane address, he was nowhere to be found … vanished into thin air. He immediately became the primary person of interest. The investigation that ensued didn’t produce any evidence implying anyone other than the husband.

A dead end case filed in the bowels of the police station was about to resurface.

Bones … boats … and bullets come together to create a strange trio.

And her latest book—

A Tale of Two Lobsters

A Falmouth fishmonger is found dead in one of his lobster tanks. The Medical Examiner determined Rocco Deluca was electrocuted when he slipped, accidentally grabbed a live electrical cord and fell into the tank that was partially filled with water.

Casey Quinby—now Casey Quinby, Private Investigator—is hired by Rocco’s niece to look into his death. Bella Deluca doesn’t think it was an accident. The ‘fish-market-caper’ is Casey’s first case since leaving her position as head investigative reporter for the Cape Cod Tribune.

A classic who dun it—a disgruntle family member, a dissatisfied customer, a complete stranger just passing by—or could it have been a suicide triggered by the loss of his wife. Rocco had made the decision to close the market. Without Rita by his side, his get-up-and-go, got up and left. His life had taken a turn. It was time to retire—but how …. by accidental death …. by suicide …. or by murder.

A tangled web of deceit, secrets and lies. If only the lobsters could talk, what a tale they could tell.

 

Judi’s books are filled with local color from Cape Cod. Her fans are always after to her to keep writing more Casey Quinby stories.

This whole recent kerfuffle about Donald Trump re-tweeting a #Mussolini quote is hogwash. Of course, a lot of the so-called “controversies” the mainstream media create are hogwash, so that’s nothing new.

The quote was supposed to be “It is better to live one day as a lion than a thousand years as a sheep.” I don’t know if Mussolini ever said it or not, but the quotation is a lot older than Mussolini. The original quote is “It is better to live for one day as a tiger that to live for a thousand years as a sheep,” and it is a Tibetan proverb.

I first saw the quotation last year painted on a construction fence at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The fence surrounded the area where #Disney is building the #Avatar section of the park. I was there with two of my grandchildren and having a wonderful time. I saw the quote and loved it. It sounded so… Disney that I figured the Disney people had created it. It was just too, too perfect to be authentic.2016-03-11 Day of The Tiger-smallWeb

 

When I got home, I looked it up online and discovered it was a real honest-to-God Tibetan Proverb. The proverb inspired a whole series of “what if…” thoughts that unfolded into the plot of my latest thriller, Day of the Tiger.

I hope you  reading Day of the Tiger as much as I enjoyed writing it.