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$10.19 list($11.99)
61. No Escape
$9.56 $7.51 list($11.95)
62. Death by the Riverside
$4.08 list($23.95)
63. Stay: A Novel
$11.95
64. Murder Undercover: A Denise Cleever
$18.95
65. Third Man Out (Donald Strachey
$10.46 $9.95 list($13.95)
66. Stage Fright
list($21.95)
67. Are You Nuts? (Tom and Scott Mystery)
$16.29 $3.12 list($23.95)
68. A Fountain Filled with Blood:
$38.84 list($13.95)
69. Bleeding Out: A Mystery
$9.75 $8.97 list($13.00)
70. A Small Gathering of Bones
$12.95 $8.95
71. Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter
$9.71 $8.20 list($12.95)
72. Caught in the Net (Alex Peres
list($11.95)
73. Chain Letter (Mcnab, Claire. a
$14.96 $14.41 list($22.00)
74. Biceps Of Death
$9.71 $3.50 list($12.95)
75. Drop Dead : A Paul Turner Mystery
$4.95 $2.99 list($5.50)
76. Hen's Teeth
$11.95 $5.00
77. Until the End: The 3rd Maris Middleton
$10.46 $8.99 list($13.95)
78. Blood Brothers : A Novel
$11.16 $9.15 list($13.95)
79. The Blue Scorpion : A Loy Lombard
$9.75 $2.50 list($13.00)
80. Flight Dreams

61. No Escape
by Nancy Sanra
list price: $11.99
our price: $10.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883061237
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Rising Tide Press (AZ)
Sales Rank: 747047
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting sequel to No Witnesses
This was a page turner. I enjoyed the development of the love story between the 2 main characters. The writing was crisp and kept me in suspense. ... Read more


62. Death by the Riverside
by J. M. Redmann, Jean M. Redmann
list price: $11.95
our price: $9.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931513058
Catlog: Book (2001-09-15)
Publisher: Bella books
Sales Rank: 335422
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The San Francisco Chronicle called Micky Knight, `one of the most hard-boiled and complex female detectives in print today.`Kirkus Reviews claims, `Redmann has the makings of a landmark series.`Death By The Riverside is where it all began.Long out of print, the first adventure of Micky Knight introduces this sardonic and steamy New Orleans private detective and leads us into her world.`I suppose I should have known that tasteful blondes like her didn`t traipse down to my part of town and hire me to find their missing fiances.And I did have a feeling that she was going to lead me astray.I just thought that it was a direction I`d like to stray in.Now two very bad things have happened to me -- a lot of not nice men are pointing guns in my direction and I think I`ve fallen in love.` ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here comes Micky Knight
It's all here murder, mayhem, hot sex and beautiful women. This is the first in a series of four murder/suspense/mysteries featuring PI Michelle Knight.From the beginning when Knight is hired to help Karen Wentworth expose her ex-fiance, who is dancing at a gay bar, I was hooked. We have a police detective, an assistant DA and a doctor all linked to Mickey in some way and very important to the plot. Redmann knows New Orleans and shares it with us, albeit the seamier side. The story moves and takes the reader with it. We care what happens to our PI and her friends and the people who get pulled into the criminal happenings. Watch what happens with Cordelia James and her involvement with the happenings. And then read Deaths of Jocasta, The Intersection of Law and Desire, and Lost Daughters.
It's time for another Micky Knight book. Top drawer!

5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT PLOTTING & CHARACTERIZATION
This is one of the best mysteries I have read in a very long time. Redmann manages to pull the reader along through three interwoven tracks: 1) the basic mystery that PI Micky Knight is dealing with, 2) the daily and often amusing life Micky lives, and 3) the mystery of her past and how she became who she is.

The story line is well-written--I mean, it has DEPTH. So many mysteries are fun fluff. Redmann manages to weave a tale that is so much more than just a mystery. Micky Knight's smart-ass, oddly observant point-of-view is funny and catchy, but under the cool quips, the character is DEEP.

I had a tough time getting hold of a copy of this book and the next one in the series, but I don't regret the trouble I went to. I can't wait to keep reading! And I agree with Litterati: if Knight were straight, people would be tossing aside their Grafton and Cornwall and Paretsky mysteries in favor of Redmann's!

Jolly good job!
:) Lori L. Lake

5-0 out of 5 stars REAL SUBSTANCE
If you are getting bored reading the same old tired detective/mystery stories, pick up the Mickey Knight series. As a previous reader wrote, you'll find mystery, romance, comedy, steamy sex, and plenty of action in the Mickey Knight novels. The author has created a strong character with depth, who is very human and vulnerable. Let me say this: MICKEY IS NO WIMP! The supporting characters are richly developed throughout the series and you'll care about them all. The author makes you feel as though you're moving through New Orleans with Mickey. I loved all 4 books and can't wait to see what comes next. Don't miss this top notched series. It is THE BEST written detective series featuring a lesbian.

5-0 out of 5 stars A lesbian mystery that is also great literature
This book (and the other three in this series) are the best written mysteries I've read. The characters are well developed, the plot is twisted and interesting, and the psychological drama is intense. This is a dark story that goes far beyond the plot of a simple cliff-hanger mystery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Death by the Riverside
Redmann's character development and plot were excellent. I could not put the book down. It's a true page turner that has you guessing and surprised around every corner. Not since Patricia Cornwell's 'Kay Scarpeta' series have I been so entertained. After finishing this, the first in the series of 'Micky Knight' mysteries, I immediately had to order the following three. ... Read more


63. Stay: A Novel
by NICOLA GRIFFITH
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385503008
Catlog: Book (2002-04)
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Sales Rank: 402515
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Devastated by her lover's death in a slaying that was her fault, AudTorvingen has sequestered herself in an isolated Appalachian cabin she'spainstakingly rebuilding. Grief is Aud's only companion--a grief so acutely andpowerfully evoked that it's almost another character in this brilliant andmultifaceted novel. Reluctantly drawn back to the world by her oldest friend,whose fiancée has gone missing, Aud agrees to investigate, and quicklytracks the missing Tammy Foster to a Soho loft. She also finds Geordie Karp, thepsychopath who turned Tammy into a sexual and psychological slave and hasalready chosen his next victim, a 12-year-old girl who's been smuggled into thecountry and sold to Karp.

Stopping Karp, a task for which Aud is uniquely suited, tests her strength andher sanity; by transforming her grief into vengeance, she's forced to come toterms with the violence and brutality that are as central to her character astenderness, sensuality, and vulnerability. Tautly plotted and pulsating withenergy, this is a novel that won't let go, alternately searing and shocking aswell as soaring with lyrical prose that's close to poetry in places. Aud, NicolaGriffith's complex protagonist who made her first appearance in The Blue Place, is never lessthan compelling in this stunning sequel. --Jane Adams ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful and unforgettable book
I have followed Nicola Griffith since her earliest books (Ammonite and Slow River) and her short stories. I've always admired the beauty of her writing and the humanity of her characters, and Stay is a remarkable addition to her body of work.

Stay continues the story of Aud Torvingen (the hero of The Blue Place) who has shut herself away in a cabin in the woods to mourn the death of her lover. Aud is grief-stricken and full of guilt because she believes she is responsible for Julia's death, and it seems she is determined to stay that way.

Griffith has always made full use of environmental and physical details (Slow River has been noted for its use of water and light as metaphors, and in The Blue Place Aud is constantly aware of her own body moving in the world and the sensations and textures of the things around her). In Stay, the entire forest ecology becomes a metaphor for Aud's state of withdrawal and grief ("The birds were quiet, the sun streamed down, and for a moment the valley felt like a place out of time, secret and silent and still, where no one intruded and nothing ever happened. Then I saw that the gilding on the trees up the mountain wasn't just sun but the first tints of autumn which would seep downhill until all was copper and russet and gold and, not long after that, bare.")

Change is coming to the land and to Aud. An old friend convinces her to leave her refuge and find his missing fiancée. Aud wants to stay in the woods, but her lover made her promise to stay in the world, to stay connected in spite of her rage and her pain.

This is the metaphor that structures and enriches the book: Aud learning that to 'stay,' she must change and become something else. In order to keep her promise to Julia, she has to grow beyond the person that Julia knew and leave Julia behind. Griffith is wonderful at weaving many layers of image and meaning into a narrative that moves quickly but always keeps us in Aud's head and heart as she navigates her way to New York and back again. I was impressed by the small, precise touches that Griffith uses to show us that Aud is really on the edge, not tracking well, and vulnerable: as one example, she reaches the city and opens her suitcase to find she's packed "three pairs of socks, two books, my phone, and a can of half-frozen concentrated orange juice."

I was also impressed by the development of Aud's relationship with Tammy, the missing fiancée. They start out disliking and distrusting each other, and then begin to understand each other better as they spend time together on the mountain, healing. Again, the layers of metaphor abound: "When dirt is disturbed, it becomes unpredictable: perhaps when turned and tilled it grows fertile and lush; perhaps erosion sets in and the whole turns to sand. Some soil is never meant to be turned; it's best left frozen and hard-packed. Sometimes it can be hard to tell until you try."

Griffith has been widely praised for The Blue Place, and with Stay she makes Aud more complex, more compelling, and just as fascinating as ever. The writing is lush and lyrical whether Griffith is talking about violence or healing, and Aud's journey through grief is convincing. Stay took me through a spectrum of emotions on a journey that I won't soon forget. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of literary work that doesn't pull punches or simplify the human heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Wow! It's been worth the wait for this one. Aud is a fierce, complex character who is growing and changing--a complicated process that Griffith handles beautifully and believably at every turn. STAY is a remarkable story of grief, reconstruction, love, and the joy in being alive that even the greatest loss cannot smother entirely. I wasn't expecting this book after THE BLUE PLACE, but now that I've read it I can't imagine Aud doing anything differently. Emotion, quiet moments, excitement, violence and its consequences, hard choices--it's all here in STAY. A brilliant book.

5-0 out of 5 stars she does it again
Niccola Griffith has written another wonderful novel. Perhaps her greatest strengh as an author is her ability to delve so effectivly into the mind of her characters and make them fully developed without resorting to any cliche' or formula. In this follow up to the Blue Place we get to see Aud's tranformation through grief and sadness--and it works. Keep it up Niccola!

2-0 out of 5 stars lesbian heroine but no lesbian conflict/tension
This is a decent story, and although it was nice to read about a lesbian heorine for a change, there is really no discussion or even mention of "being gay" in the entire book. The common complexities/difficulties that commonly surround this issue are completely ignored, making the story too unbelievable for my tastes.

For example, didn't the fact that Aud prefers women have any effect on her career as a cop, her childhood, or her relationship with her mother? Evidently not, since I don't recall her mentioning "coming out" or any similar incidents when she talked about the past. Wasn't Aud initially curious about Julie's sexual perferences or relationship history? Oh I forgot, in the world of this book, like the others I've ready by this author (The Blue Place, Ammonnite), all the women seem to be lesbians, or at least bisexual, and all the men are completely understanding and supporting of the protoganist's same-sex relationships. This is a nice fantasy and I wish it were true, although it seems too fake for me to really relate to the characters.

4-0 out of 5 stars A standout novel
Nicola Griffith's _Stay_ is a standout novel of intrigue and suspense. I will forgo plot summary here as it is available elsewhere on this page.

Griffith writes a mesmerizing book that is hard to put down. I read the entire thing in one day. After I began reading, I had to find out how it ended.

Griffith plays a nasty trick on the reader. The characters appear to be distinctly one-sided. The 'evil characters' that are harboring a young Mexican girl to be a wealthy New Yorker's child-bride are revealed to be fundamentalist Christians. When the protagonist visits their church, she hears the preacher trying hard to 'convince himself' of his sermon. The young Mexican girl is unnaturally intelligent for her age. The fundamentalists have a 'sinister' wall decoration. But then Griffith reveals that all is not as it appears. The fundamentalists appear to have genuine love for the girl. The priest is trying to protect his flock from the ravages of the world. The wall decoration is fully explained, and the young girl, though still precocious, is not the preternatural genius we originally thought she was.

It shouldn't be surprising that Griffith managed to extricate herself from the type of characterizations normally found in shoddy bestsellers. After all, she's a multiple award winner who is routinely praised as one of the best contemporary novelists. _Stay_ is an engaging novel, and though it's not likely to win a Pulitzer, it's definitely worth a few hours of your life. ... Read more


64. Murder Undercover: A Denise Cleever Thriller (Denise Cleever Thriller)
by Claire McNab
list price: $11.95
our price: $11.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1562802593
Catlog: Book (1999-12)
Publisher: Naiad Pr
Sales Rank: 440091
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars McNab's New Series a Winner
This is the first in the Denise Cleever series, and it's a winner. It features undercover agent Cleever sent to an island resort to determine if a powerful family is involved in a rumored coup to overthrow the government. It is dangerous in the extreme - someone has already killed. What Cleever didn't count on is the daughter of the family being so attractive - and willful. McNab has returned to the writing of her early Ashton series - the kind that keeps you up late at night reading just one more chapter until the last page is read and it's three in the morning. The second in the series is published so order them both because, in this case, you'll definitely want to read every book McNab adds to this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars murder undercover
As a long time fan of mystery and Claire McNab I was excited to see her venture off into another series. Denise Cleever is a beautiful undercover agent who's personal passion,her love for life, women,and her job takes me into a mind-set in which everything in this world seems possible. Intricate and playfully written this book is a gem. If you love a good mix of suspense, steaming passion, and upbeat writing you'll love this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars very exciting
Being a long time fan of Claire McNab, and the Carol Ashton series, I was very pleased with Denise Cleever, it was very refreshing to read and I looked forward to seeing more of her in the future.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Disapointed
I was concerned when McNab went to a different character because I liked the Carol Ashton mystery's so well. I read this first Cleever book and I liked it a lot. I am looking forward to the next one. It may take a few to like the character as much as the Ashton character but I believe I will. ... Read more


65. Third Man Out (Donald Strachey Mysteries)
by Richard Stevenson
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312302142
Catlog: Book (1992-12-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 601576
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66. Stage Fright
by Ellen Hart
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312317654
Catlog: Book (2004-12-10)
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Sales Rank: 443467
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Aging theater actor Torald Werness's last curtain call is as a corpse.Murdered after his last performance in his last theatrical production, Minneapolis restaurateur-sleuth Jane Lawless finds his body onstage, impaled on a part of the set.Before long, a series of coincidences places Jane in the role of prime suspect.

Determined to clear her name, Jane turns to her best friend, Cordelia, for help.Together, their intuition leads them to the dead man's family, a glamorous--and appropriately melodramatic--Midwestern theatrical dynasty.Jane and Cordelia must separate the theatrics from reality before Jane takes the blame for someone else's crime, and their search for the true killer uncovers a tangled and dangerous web of deceit.All in all, Stage Fright is another engaging, dynamic installment in Ellen Hart's award-winning series.
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Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars An okay Mystery
I thought that this book by Ellen Hart, the third in the Jane Lawless mystery series, was a little slow moving at first. I didn't really get interested into the book until Jane started discovering the deep and dark secrets about the Werness family, and it seemed like it took her a while to do this. Although I found it slow moving, once Jane started uncovering different clues, I found that it was an easy and interesting read. I would guess that it's probably a better book if you read the two before it in the series - that way you know a little more about Jane.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stage Fright Indeed
This was a beautifully written cozy in my opinion. The mystery was woven so tightly, I found it very hard to detangle and detach. Excellent character development (for the characters not known).

In this installment, it seems that Jane and Cordelia took a break from being the center of attention. A tough statement for anyone who "knows" Cordelia. Det. Trevelyan (ick!) is at his worst, meaning his best of course. The complimenting "cast" is very developed, very.

Definitely 5 stars! Grab a copy, settle down, and enjoy. You won't regret it! ... Read more


67. Are You Nuts? (Tom and Scott Mystery)
by Mark Richard Zubro
list price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312185286
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 862029
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After a difficult summer, the last thing that gay high school teacher Tom Mason needs in the new school year is turmoil.But a conservative parents' group, "worried" about gay teachers corrupting the students, is attempting to take over the local PTA.And it soon gets worse--one of the ringleaders of the parents' group is murdered in the high school after a very contentious PTA meetings, and Tom's best friend is arrested for the crime. Now to prove her innocence, Tom must hunt down the real killer...
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Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars NUTCASE #7
One morning in 1989 gay school teacher Tom Mason unlocked his Chicago classroom and opened the door to one of the most successful mystery franchises in gay fiction--the real mystery being the apparent popularityof this implacably mediocre series.

And yet there is much to be said forZubro's work.His plotting, though predictable, is crisp and clean, abalance of action and analysis, with all loose ends tidily knotted. Through the (currently) eight books of the series--not even counting thePaul Turner series--Zubro worked out a formula which has served him well,although his characters, ex-Viet Nam vet and high school teacher Tom Mason,and southern baseball star Scott Carpenter, never evolve.When we firstmeet them they have already been a couple for eight years.Scott, we aregiven to understand, is initially closeted, but it never puts much strainon their relationship.The differences in their personalities are neverexplored--possibly because there aren't any.The books are written in apassionless, simplistic style ideal for teaching English in ESLcourses.

In ARE YOU NUTS?, the seventh book of the series, Tom echoes his1989 entrance by finding a body in the school library.(No wonder the PTAis in an uproar; it probably has less to do with Tom's orientation than thefact the man is a walking health hazard, an academic Jessica Fletchertrailing death and disgrace in his wake).As usual one of Tom's closestfriends and allies (there's still some alive?) is arrested for the murder,and Tom and Scott (Scott, suffering mild depression--and who could blamethe guy) set off in flat-footed pursuit, following the blueprint sosuccessfully laid down eleven years earlier.

That, eleven years after TomMason stumbles on his first body, there are still very few gay mysteryseries' probably explains the relative popularity of Zubro's books.It'sinteresting that this series is published by the Stonewall Inn imprint andKeith Kahla, who recently asked in "Having Our Say" why so manygays seem to have abandoned the written word?Just a clue, Keith, butpossibly if publishers offered something a little more substantial in theway of genre fiction, readers might be more interested.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable amateur sleuth
They have been a happily married, faithful couple for years. Scott Carpenter is a well-known professional baseball pitcher while his spouse Tom Mason is an English teacher. They hid their sexual preference and theirrelationship out of fear for their careers, especially the athletic Scott.However, unable to hide any longer, they reveal their relationship to theworld and to their sock and joy, most everyone supports them.

Tom andScott begin to openly support gay rights, but soon become symbols andtargets of the opponents. Things begin to turn ugly forcing Scott to hirebodyguards. Scott assumed that he, being the more public figure, would bethe target if tragedy struck. Instead, while Tom is at the Human ServicesClinic, a series of bombs go off destroying a whole block, killing manypeople. Tom is lucky to survive, but is badly injured. Scott wonders if Tomultimately was the target. He begins his own investigation that will leadto a dangerous person with a deadly goal who will do anything to attainit.

ONE DEAD DRAG QUEEN is as much a relationship drama as it is anamateur sleuth mystery. The tale stars two heroic, realistic males tryingto make the world a better place. Mark Richard Zubro has written a mysteryinside the mystery. The technique can slow down a story line, but worksextremely well in this plot because the author never loses sight of themain theme and ties the subplot back to it. By providing color and insight,the secondary characters are vital to the beat of the tale and lead to aspecial treat for readers.

3-0 out of 5 stars As a mystery, so-so, as a gay affirmative novel, very good
The value of the book as a mystery is pretty average.However, I found, as usual, the portrayal of gay characters very affirming and supportive.Especially good for gay teens or people just coming out.

4-0 out of 5 stars Teacher Cat Fight!
If anyone hated high school and relishes the idea of reading a book where stuffy teachers threaten each other, act like children, and commit homicide then give this book a try.I think this book could have been better thanit was but as a murder mystery it has the right stuff and I didn't guesswho the murderer was (always a bonus)!

1-0 out of 5 stars Torturous
This is probably the worst book that I have ever read. It is terribly boring. There is nothing in it that people might relate to, or care to. This is a "must skip", unless you're an insomniac looking for away to fall asleep. ... Read more


68. A Fountain Filled with Blood: A Mystery
by Julia Spencer-Fleming
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312304102
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Sales Rank: 356335
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In In the Bleak Midwinter, Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Malice Domestic–winning first mystery, Reverend Clare Fergusson was quickly introduced to a more eventful life than she had expected after moving to the small town of Millers Kill in upstate New York.But the Episcopal priest and former Army Air Force chopper pilot proved to her flockæ and to police chief Russ Van Alstyneæthat she could cope with the unexpected, even when it was as dire as murder. In this new adventure for the two ill-matched friends (who are gamely resisting something beyond friendship), evidence shows that a small town can hold just as much evil as the Wicked City.
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best mysterie/suspense novels I have ever read!
I am a tough to please reader and have been reading a lot more mystery/suspense books in the last two years. I like reading about female cops, detectives ect..

I wasn't sure if I would like these mysteries when they were recommended to me. A female Episcopalian priest as the lead character? What? Well, Clare Ferguson is one of the best heroines that I have been privledged to read in a very long time.

I love the relationship between Clare and everyone she comes into contact with. She is a very modern priest. She is smart, witty, strong and interesting. Who knew?

This author gives Clare and Detective Russ a lot to grapple with. Death, murder and a budding, albeit "off-limits" relationship since Russ is married.

This is one series that I can highly recommend to everyone. I wish there was more than one book a year. I have lent these "Clare Ferguson" books out to several friends and family and every person is hooked. Bravo Ms. Spencer-Fleming...keep them coming.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Follow-Up to "Bleak Midwinter"
As both "Publishers Weekly" and "Booklist" indicate, "A Fountain Filled With Blood" is a compelling and exciting follow-up to the author's debut novel, "In a Bleak Midwinter." In this book, Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, the local police chief, must deal with such serious issues as gay-bashing and environmental protection vs. community development to solve the murder of a local developer. The book has realistic characters, a great sense of setting, and some page-turning action. Highly recommended. And when you are finished with the book and want more of Clare and Russ, go back and reread "In the Bleak Midwinter" and see things that you didn't catch the first time around. Can't wait until the next installment.

5-0 out of 5 stars I liked this second book better than the first
Spencer-Fleming is, I think, one of those writers who will get better as she continues, not one of the writers who has one good book and then it's all downhill from there. This book had few of the problems that bothered me with the first.

The "detective" of this series is Claire Fergusson, former Navy helicopter pilot turned Episcopal priest and living in a resort area in upstate New York. Claire is a brave, gutsy priest -- perhaps too much -- who doesn't back down. She can't help but get involved in a series of attacks when she herself discovers one of the third person to be attacked -- and he's dead. Since all the victims are gay, the murder appears to be a hate crime, but perhaps not -- perhaps there's another explanation for this similarity. Maybe it has something to do with a resort that's being built in the community.

Claire is ably abetted in her detective work by the Chief of Police (Russ Van Alstyne), with whom there is considerable sexual tension. He is, after all, married, and she is, after all, an Episcopal priest. This time around, they are making more of an effort to stay out of too much proximity with each other and any compromising situations. You can't help but wish she's find someone more available and wonder why the author set up such an apparently hopeless situation to begin with (maybe something unfortunate will befall the Chief's wife?).

The plot moves right along -- hardly a dull page in this book -- and although I wasn't particularly surprised at the outcome, it was an entertaining trip to get there. Spencer-FLeming describes location very well, so well that you could imagine being there, but some of the helicopter stuff was a bit too involved for my taste.

I look forward to reading the third book in the series.

4-0 out of 5 stars murders within crimes
Once again Julia Spencer-Fleming gives us a fine mystery to unravel as well as the development of two thoroughly modern heroes who work well together while avoiding the inevitable -- their burgeoning affection for each other.

Rebeccasreads recommends A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD as a satisfying read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than the first
Many times an author's second book is not quite as good as the first one, but this one is better. Fleming seems to be settling into her setting and characters, and does a fine job of maintaining the tension between the protagonists. This is an adult romance that seems entirely believable. Russ is drawn to Clare's vitality and intelligence, but is also a responsible husband in love with his wife. The helicopter incident is well done with what seems to be knowledgeable detail. The bigotry of a ordinarily decent people is handled well. The writer does not beat the drum, but lets us know her stance. (I really dislike writers with an agenda.) I wait for the next one with impatience. ... Read more


69. Bleeding Out: A Mystery
by Baxter Clare
list price: $13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563411180
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Firebrand Books
Sales Rank: 373340
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Fans of police procedurals and the grittier murder mysteries will welcome Baxter Clare's debut novel, in which a hardened female police lieutenant, L.A. Franco, known as "Frank," tries to catch a serial rapist and murderer while stoically nursing her grief over the shooting death of her lover Maggie. Having been assigned right out of the academy to Figueroa, the LAPD's roughest district, at 39, Frank's "mastery of the mean streets was no longer a question, either for herself, her colleagues, or the veteranos and OGs within the division." As a (closeted) lesbian and a legendary hard-ass, Frank isn't the most popular of cops, but she earns the grudging admiration of almost everyone she works with. In a film, she would be played by Humphrey Bogart, and speak out of the side of her mouth. Despite this stereotypical characterization, and some tedious, slangy dialogue between cops that periodically interrupts the flow of the story, Bleeding Out is fairly engrossing. Frank may not be new, but she's effectively drawn, and her exploits on the trail of the killer would enliven a beach vacation or a transatlantic flight. --Regina Marler ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A superb police thriller!
Police lieutenant L.A. Franco commands Homicide Squad #93 in the gang-ravaged heart of south-central Los Angeles. A workaholic, she allows nothing into her bruised private life but booze and exercise, football and music. But when one, then another brutally murdered girl turns up within Frank's jurisdiction, the pressures of running one of the country's busiest homicide units increases when Frank and her squad find themselves dealing with a serial rapist turned murderer. As investigative leads go nowhere, a trap is laid for the unknown assailant. The bait is Allison Kennedy, a playful young narcotics detective who seems to delight in irritating Frank. The two women face are compelled to forge an alliance in order to survive as their hunt for the killer brings Frank painfully close to her own demons and she must choose between freeing herself from the bonds of a turbulent past, or remain fatally shackled by them. Bleeding Out is a superb police thriller, and justly documents Baxter Clare as one of the best.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut
Los Angeles Police Lt. L. A. "Frank" Franco is introduced here as she seeks the killer of a young girl. She eventually ties in nine rapes and four murders to the perpetrator. Franco is meticulous and thorough as she shifts through the few clues she has. The author painstakingly puts us into the mind of both the perpetrator and Franco. This is police procedural at its best. The characterizations are such that the reader cares about the main characters even the closed-off Franco. There are several minor characters that the author manages to fully flesh out as well although Franco's squad members are, at times, hard to identify because of her use of their nicknames - a minor flaw at best. This author deserves a wide audience. Let's hope the author and her publisher gives us more of Baxter Clare and Lt. Franco.

2-0 out of 5 stars Didn't know it was a lesbian based book...
I wouldn't have given it too many stars anyway. It was boring to me..too much police interaction and the subject was a little too weird but I somehow missed that it was also about lesbianism. I thought Baxter Clare was a man! That a lesbian wrote it doesn't matter to me..just the lesbian parts didn't interest me.

4-0 out of 5 stars well written, engrossing thriller
Clare's first novel, Bleeding Out, is a taut, gritty, psychological thriller set in contemporary South Los Angeles. Police Lt. L.A. Franco is a tough, tall, handsome, intelligent, dyke investigator. Years ago, the traumatic loss of her lover prompted Franco to shut down much of her personal life and focus on work. Years in one of the city's toughest districts have built an armor around Franco.

Franco cares about the people in her district and is alarmed when the first victim of a serial murderer appears. Franco sees the pattern in these murders as an extension of earlier, increasingly brutal, rapes and walks a razor's edge as she allows herself to sink deeper into the killer's mind in order to track him down.

Clare provides remarkable insight into the "rearing" of a serial killer in a series of short, often horrific vignettes at the beginning of each chapter. These hauntingly powerful depictions stay with the reader.

Allison Kennedy, a young, smart mouthed, narcotics officer is brought in to act as bait for the killer. Displeased with the stake out plan, Franco is annoyed, worried and just a little attracted to Kennedy. --Feelings that Franco does not welcome, yet may be important for her salvation. Not because their relationship is necessarily destined to be a success, this is not a "happily ever after" love story. -- Because for the first time in years Franco feels more than simple lust for another woman and is willing to risk the relationship.

Some of Clare's secondary characters are difficult to differentiate, particularly in the macho police world. Yet other characters are complex, compassionately drawn and touchingly real. Not a thoughtless, pleasant armchair mystery; Bleeding Out is a well written, engrossing thriller of police investigation and politics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Drops Of Brilliance
I found drops of brillance in Bleeding Out. As with any debut novel, I give the authoress her due. Baxter Clare introduces us to the world of Lt. Franko and all that is entailed in her inner city struggle between criminals and police politics in solving a serial rapist case. We are also privy to inner demons of a violently lost lesbian love, a rebirth into a non-conforming society, and an isolation finally thrown off. Almost as if cloaks of darkness removed will allow voids to be filled--like buttery warmed pastries & the playing of "These Foolish Things" ( I prefer Etta James' version ) can fulfill a Sunday morn.

An intriguing criminal read with inner glimpses into important issues of lesbianism. ... Read more


70. A Small Gathering of Bones
by Patricia Powell
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0807083674
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 170042
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Small Gathering offers most genuine view of Jamaica Gay life
"A Small Gathering of Bones" offers one of the most genuine renderings of Gay life in the Caribbean in print. It shows with refreshing accuracy the spaces Gay men have created within Jamaican society as well as their challenges. Powell's writing creates surprising and intimate textures of male life. "Small Gathering" gives the lie to many stereotypes of Gay life in Jamaica and the Caribbean. ... Read more


71. Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter Mysteries)
by Joseph Hansen
list price: $12.95
our price: $12.95
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Asin: 1555837107
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Alyson Books
Sales Rank: 144000
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Book Description

The third volume in the award-winning groundbreaking Dave Brandstetter mystery series finds Dave investigating the murder of the owner of a local gay bar. The only witness appears to be the killer, but he swears he's innocent. Trouble is, he may be telling the truth. ... Read more


72. Caught in the Net (Alex Peres Mysteries (Paperback))
by Jessica Thomas
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 1931513546
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Bella Books
Sales Rank: 41890
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She's intelligent. She's witty. She lives in Provincetown and she's got a great dog. Pretty good credentials, one would think. So how come private investigator Alex Peres is single...again?

When a sneaker washes up on the cold winter beach, Alex and her four-legged partner, Fargo, are sent on an unlikely adventure. But that's nothing compared to the one-on-one thrill ride of a new relationship.

From the moment Janet Meacham walks into the Wharf Rat Bar, Alex's usually stable world rocks like never before. Just as work and love seem to settle down, that sneaker comes back to kick Alex right between the eyes.

Alex would do anything for Janet -- remodel her bachelor household, clean out the closets and even make Fargo share the bed. But if she can't figure out where that sneaker came from, Alex may not live long enough to enjoy the happy-ever-after ending she's finally let herself believe in. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mystery? Romance?
Well this book was ok, not great but enjoyable. I think it was lacking in its ability to keep me guessing who was the bad guy, or girl in that matter. But it was funny and warm.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love in Provincetown
This is a great book with terrific descriptions of PTown. If you know Commercial Street, you can probably figure out some of the locations. This book is well written. I look forward to more books by Jessica Thomas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun new voice!
I love lesbian mysteries and read them like popcorn, so it is always welcome to try out a new flavor and see what it's like. I hope Jessica Thomas writes a whole bunch more books about Alex Peres.

Alex herself is an interesting woman. She pays the bills with routine business type investigations, and spends the rest of her time with her camera and her dog Fargo, documenting P-Town's beauty. Her gun's been in the safe so long it's probably rusty and she's more concerned with dating than danger.

She might be humdrum, even, if Thomas didn't give Alex a wry, amusing, insightful personality and a way with a turn of phrase and a humorous remark that is up there with Scoppetone's Laurano.

It's not a long, nor terribly involved book, and I figured things out about the same time Alex did -- but the red herrings did work. All in all, it was an unexpectedly fine bowl of popcorn, perfect for a rainy afternoon at home or a sunny beachside day in, well, Provincetown.

4-0 out of 5 stars New Lesbian Detective - A GoodThriller!
Provincetown, women, a black Lab, murder, and a devious plot -- what more could a reader want in a lesbian mystery! Although the best character in the book is Fargo, the lab, Alex Perez is the kind of woman you want to know better. This would be a good beach book for this summer. ... Read more


73. Chain Letter (Mcnab, Claire. a Detective Inspector Carol Ashton Mystery, 9.)
by Claire McNab
list price: $11.95
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Asin: 1562801813
Catlog: Book (1997-11-01)
Publisher: Naiad Pr
Sales Rank: 591502
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74. Biceps Of Death
by David Stukas
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
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Asin: 0758206305
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 73703
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75. Drop Dead : A Paul Turner Mystery (Paul Turner Mystery)
by Mark Richard Zubro
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0312263147
Catlog: Book (2000-07-11)
Publisher: Stonewall Inn Mysteries
Sales Rank: 229502
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When male supermodel Cullom Furyk plummets to his death from the top of a major downtown hotel, gay Chicago Police Detective Paul Turner and his partner, Detective Buck Fenwick, are called to find out what actually happened.One witness claims that Furyk was pushed to his death, and someone involved in Furyk's tumultuous personal or professional life may have played a role in the mysterious incident.Will Turner and Fenwick be able to determine the killer before someone gets away with murder?
... Read more

Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars I expected it to be better.
The dialogue was trite and repetitive, and the relationship between Paul Turner and his partner not very believable. I was looking for strong characterisations of the main characters. Instead, what I got were many detailed descriptions of what each successive character wore, the different fabrics, etc.

I'm a fan of the detective/whodunit genre, and have read many and occasionally indiscriminately, but this book left me wondering if the author did any research into police procedures and lingo at all, because if he did, it did not reflect in the story. Seemed a little amateurish to me. By the time I reached the middle of the story - with so many red herrings tossed left right and centre arbitrarily and without follow-up - I stopped caring who the murderer was. Truth be told, I was really rather disappointed.

I did enjoy the interaction between Paul and his kids though, but they were few and far between. If you're looking for strong characterisations and solid plot, this may not be the book for you. But if you're looking for some light reading before bed after a long day at work, pick this one up.

5-0 out of 5 stars NOT taken in!
I live in Europe but grew up in the States and go back from time to time to visit family. In Chicago, I always stop by Unabridged Books to pick up some gay literature, and this time "Drop Dead" dropped into my hands. It won't be a cat's whisker of a minute before I pick up the other Paul Turner mysteries, 'cause this one was great. The relationship between gay Paul Turner and his distinctly not gay partner Buck Fenwick is drawn hilariously, the relationship between gay Paul Turner and his two children from a previous relationship is touching, the story is interesting, the fashion world is drawn perfectly ... in other words, this was what for me passes as a "couldn't put it down" (I can put books down because I spend most of my time working at the computer, but when I'm free for a bit, I keep on reading). Even if you're not gay, pick this one up ... it's a hoot.

2-0 out of 5 stars Taken in
I have read many detective, mystery, and police procedurals from classics to trash. This is in the middle of the spectrum. It's OK, mildly entertaining, contains no real procedural suspense. The subject is the death of a male model and focuses on the fashion world. The only detail concerns what everyone is wearing. Makes a point of being blase at a raft of gay characters. I bought it because of past success from St. Martin's press. They should have left this one for the trade/genre paperbacks. I would have liked it better [on a] ... sale table.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zubro at his best
I've read most of Mark Zubro's work, and I think that "Drop Dead" is his best effort yet! A mystery that kept me interested and guessing, good descriptions of places in and around Chicago, likeable hero, and a keen, yet dry sense of humor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like snappy dialog? You'll love "Drop Dead"!
"Drop Dead" features deliciously snappy dialog, along with Zubro's realistically drawn characters and well-paced action. In this latest addition to the Paul Turner mystery series, Zubro gets the balance just right. Read it! ... Read more


76. Hen's Teeth
by MANDA SCOTT
list price: $5.50
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553579673
Catlog: Book (1999-01-05)
Publisher: Crimeline
Sales Rank: 243877
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm not a big mystery fan, but I *loved* this book!
This is one of the most emotionally gripping novels I have read in years -- and I'm an English professor who rarely reads mysteries or crime fiction. The plot was page-turning and pulse-pounding, but what I loved was the characters and the emotional tone, and the excellent writing. I love the protagonist, Kellen, and found myself caring greatly about her and her relationships. This is one of the few novels I've read that, without making a big point of it, captures the intensity of lesbian *friendships* (and ex-lover relationships) in a way that evokes my own life and that of the women I know. It's also one of the only novels I can think of in which animals are fully present as characters -- it also captures the human-animal bonds that are such a central part of the lives of most my friends. After I galloped through Hen's Teeth in a day or two, I kept going back to it repeatedly -- and bought several more copies to send to friends. For quite a while I found it hanging around my psyche like a powerful dream.

Scott's next novel, Night Mares, is out now, and it's also excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Novels as good as this one are scarce as ...................
"Hen's Teeth" is a darned good novel. Scott is a fine craftsman of the written language: her evocative descriptions of animal life, of nature, of the world of science, and of human relationships is fresh and intriguing. The plot is complex and intellectual and involves the reader up and through the surprising ending. And the heroine, Kellen Stewart, is a delight. After I post this review, I'm going to order Manda Scott's next book!

1-0 out of 5 stars Dire, turgid nonsense
Three years ago I had my wallet stolen in Las Vegas and had to drive my van into the desert to wait three weeks for new cards to come through from New York. After getting food and water I had only enough cash to buy one book. I took two hours to choose, and settled on Hen's Teeth because it was set in England and I thought I might get through the ordeal thinking of home. I have never made a worse decision in my life. An appalling, two-dimensional crawl through the most laughably implausible situations and the most idiotic stock characters (complete with dashing copper, mad scientist and wilting-flower lesbos). It made a difficult time for me incalculably worse. I will hold this 'book' in contempt forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Manda Scott's first thriller novel...
...had me searching for more. Her gift for pinning her audience to each page leaves you nothing to do but read until you turn that final leaf...and still want more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing
Although there were parts of the plot where I needed to suspend belief a bit and, liked the characters, although I couldn`t visualize them as much as I would have liked, what really got me was her discriptive writing. I could smell the woods and the river. Feel the horses and the dog. This is what, for me, made it such a good read. Her knowledge of animals and plants is extensive as is her science. I thought I might be a bit uncomfortable with the lesbian angle but wasn`t at all. Relationships are just relationships. All in all I really enjoyed the book and am about to order her others. ... Read more


77. Until the End: The 3rd Maris Middleton Mystery (Maris Middleton Mysteries)
by Kaye Davis
list price: $11.95
our price: $11.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1562802224
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Naiad Press
Sales Rank: 714027
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With her lover away for eight weeks of FBI training, crime scene specialist Maris Middleton is hoping something exciting will come along to keep her occupied when an old woman's battered body is found in a ravine. Maris suspects the homicide is linked to events dating back 50 years. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Until the end..... read the first in the series first
I read "Until the End" and I thought it was a pretty good plot, but it wasn't as strong and as interesting as the first two books in the series. I was looking forward to learning more about Maris' and Lauren's relationship, but something seemed to be lacking. I would definitely encourage anyone to read the first two books first before reading this one, just to get a general idea of what is going on. ... Read more


78. Blood Brothers : A Novel
by Michael Schiefelbein
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555837298
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Alyson Publications
Sales Rank: 324005
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"I_d be damned if I would ever worship their God of unconditional forgiveness. Mine was the Old Testament_s God of justice_the God who had exposed the lascivious elders of Babylon plotting the ruin of Susannah, the God who fortified yound David against a giant Philistine. . . . They were flesh and blood, they prized their own worth, and asserted it, even to the point of bloodshed. What God brought out of their revenge for Israel or anyone else was not their concern. Who knows the mind of God? Man_s business is to know his own mind, and he sins when he ignores its commands."_from Chapter Four

In Madrid at the age of 7, Juan Ramon Fuertes witnesses the murder of his parents by two thugs supervised by his father_s business partner, Martin Esteban. His identification of the murderers dismissed by the police, the boy vows to avenge his parents. Sustained by his lust for revenge, Juan Ramon endures years of abuse in a Spanish orphanage, where he follows the movements of Esteban in news reports, eventually noticing Esteban_s beautiful and pious son, Bernardo. Later, when Bernardo begins training as a monk, Juan Ramon_s plan crystallizes: Use the son to get the father. With cool calculation, Juan Ramon begins monastic training, finally entering Bernardo_s monastery in Toledo as Father Juan Ramon. Sensing Bernardo_s attraction to him, Juan Ramon seduces the young monk to gain access to Esteban. Gradually enthralling the devout, troubled Bernardo, Juan Ramon pursues the two thugs while planning Esteban_s murder. But all his schemes for justice hit an unforeseen snag when the fierce avenger falls in love with his tortured protege. Told from the points of view of both Juan Ramon and Bernardo, Blood Brothers explores the fascinating mixture of lust, love, spirituality, and revenge underlying the mutual seduction of a holy monk and his unholy brother.

Michael Schiefelbein has lived in Italy and Washington, D.C., and now resides in Memphis, Tennessee, where he is a professor of writing and literature. He is also the author of Vampire Vow.

... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Theology, Eroticism, Violence, and Passion
I read a review of this book, and thought it would be quite interesting to read a book that combines so many atypical characteristics and themes for gay literature. At seven years old, Juan Ramon Fuertes watches his mother be raped and killed, sees his father shot dead, and is cast aside by the murderer, a man he can name and remember, but who has enough power to pass by the police. This boy grows, and plots revenge from the cold horrible orphanages he endures through adolescence.

He sees that the man who killed his parents has a son, Bernardo. Bernardo is entering a monastary to become a monk, and the plan for revenge begins. Juan Ramon will find a way to use the son to get to the father, and is willing to first pass through all the steps of becoming an ordained monk himself to do it.

The story alternates between Juan Ramon and Bernardo, the son of the murderer, and is absolutely packed with sexual tension, erotic prose, and dark emotion. Juan Ramon can sense the attraction Bernardo has for him, and slowly realizes his own feelings for Bernardo are growing to be more than usery, but with so much blood on everyone's hands, is the innocent Bernardo doomed? Written with some deep theological internal debate in Bernardo's voice, and even darker violent anger in Juan Ramon's, the libidinous charge that saturates this novel is just nail-biting. Ultimately, where the end of the novel goes is a sharp shock, and the characters are definitely true to themselves, though not in a way you might think. Good for fans of thrillers of any sort, but definitely a solid choice for fans of the gay genre written at its most sensual.

'Nathan

5-0 out of 5 stars Great summer read...
I was looking for some new authors and after reading the customer reviews decided to try this one. Excellent, starting Vampire Now, as a result of reading Blood Brothers, and even thinking about going to Spain....lol...
The writing is amazing, the depth of characters and the visual images he creates in such a short work captured me.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did...
Thanks..
Wolf

5-0 out of 5 stars Skillful Characterization in a Suspenseful Plot!
What makes this suspense novel good? Schiefelbein has created, in a very readable style, two haunting and memorable characters: the hard-focused, reserved Juan Ramon, who has devoted his life to a plan for self-styled justice, and the vulnerable and sensitive Bernardo, whose need for love causes him to risk everything he holds sacred.
What makes this novel great? You'll see something of yourself in either Juan Ramon or Bernardo, which is an unexpected jolt. Outwardly these are simple men who lead simple lives. But beneath that facade they struggle with issues of love, faith, ambition, commitment, revenge and betrayal. As in life, none of these are resolved in nice, neat little packages. I look forward to a "Blood Brothers, II", because their saga begs for continuance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Suspense-filled, provocative book!
This is a smart psychological thriller about a monk obsessed with avenging the murder of his parents when he was a child. His scheme to manipulate the murderer's son into doing his bidding goes awry when he falls for the sensuous, pious Bernardo. This is a sexy, provocative story about mutual seduction in a Spanish monastery. And the monastic setting is more than just background: it plays an intricate role in shaping the passions of both characters. As soon as I finished the book, I started over again. ... Read more


79. The Blue Scorpion : A Loy Lombard Mystery (Loy Lombard Mysteries)
by Julia Lieber
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555838766
Catlog: Book (2005-06-15)
Publisher: Alyson Publications
Sales Rank: 86919
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Book Description

"Unforgettable!"-Claire McNab on There Came Two Angels

Who was Natalie Wolf? A Russian mail-order bride married to an oafish husband? A desperate woman who disappeared, trying to escape from an international prostitution ring? Or the deadly third in a triangle of blackmail and white slavery? Hired by Natalie's husband Abel to find his missing wife, Loy Lombard learns quickly the pitfalls of finding a missing person whose identity keeps changing. Following on the success of There Came Two Angels, Julia Lieber once again proves herself adept at putting her surly sleuth in deep jeopardy and leading her out safely!

Julia Lieber is an attorney practicing in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the author of There Came Two Angels, the novel that introduced Loy Lombard.

... Read more

80. Flight Dreams
by Michael Craft
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1575668548
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 277566
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars IS THAT ALL YOU BLIGHTERS CAN DO?
My goodness these chaps talk alot! And it's all in that highflown tone reminiscent of novels from the '30s, like BETTER ANGEL (or am I thinking of GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST?). Mark and Neil chat about Art and Architecture and Sex and missing heiress Helena Carter (because this is, after all, a mystery). But for all their jawing I never could gain a real fix on Neil and Mark's personalities, and that's a problem because this novel is also a romance, as well as the story of Mark Manning's coming to terms with his homosexuality.

Romance has become a staple of the gay mystery sub-genre. Cool. But if romance is going to be the subplot of choice, then shouldn't it have to meet the same criterion as, say, a Harlequin Intrigue? Who are these guys and WHY are they in love? Young architect Neil Waite is 39 year old journalist Mark Manning's first homosexual affair. It is through meeting Neil that Mark accepts his own sexual orientation. So what is it about Neil? FLIGHT DREAMS is the first of the Mark Manning series, so perhaps Michael Croft will develop these promising characters and their relationship on a later leg of the journey.

As for the riddle of what did happen to the vanished airline heiress and her two prize Abyssinian cats, Craft offers a smart and satisfactory, if unsurprising answer.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Bit of a Disappointment
Wealthy Chicago widow Helena Carter disappeared six years and nine months ago. In three months, Helena will be declared legally dead and her estate will be divided up amongst the charities listed in her will. Investigative journalist Mark Manning had covered Mrs. Carter's disappearance years ago and was one of the few who still believed that she was alive. He refused to follow the mainstream and make his articles match what every other newspaper was reporting until his editor gave him the ultimatum: either back up his story that Helena Carter was still alive or go find another job. Mark cannot believe that he is being tossed out after years of hard work and popular articles, but he is not going to leave without putting up a fight.

Mark digs up all of his old information about the Helena Carter case and reviews. Then he reinterviews the cast of suspects and begins to find some clues. All of his instincts tell him that Helena left of her own free will and has chosen to remain missing for personal reasons. But why? Mark wishes that he could leave Helena to her new life, wherever it is, but he just can't. His leads will send him to exclusive cat shows, religious cults, televangelists and a host of other wacky characters. Along the way, Mark makes a startling discovery - the reason why he has never been able to commit to a relationship and get married is because he's gay! When Mark's pursuit of the story leads him to Arizona, he meets a friend of a mutual friend and finds himself strongly attracted to architect Neil Waite. But will Neil be able to break down Mark's walls and pursue a relationship with him? Will Mark ruthlessly pursue the truth of Helena Carter regardless of the consequences? And what is up with Mark's strangely erotic dreams about flying naked?

Flight Dreams is the first book in the Mark Manning mystery series and I was not very impressed. The mystery plot had a lot of potential, missing heiress, tons of suspects, a surprise twist to the ending, but it was all presented as a sideline to Mark's personal life and Mark's personal life just wasn't that interesting. I liked Mark as a character at first, but after a while, I kind of lost that because the author takes any and every opportunity to stand up on his soap box about sex, homosexuality, politics, religion, etc. using Mark as his trailer. This led to a lot of long-winded sermons that I just skimmed through as I kept losing interest. On the plus side, the book is well written and the mystery had a lot of potential. I hear that the series gets better as it goes along, so maybe this is a just a rocky start...?

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Series of the Genre
Michael Craft is absolutely my favorite author. Jump aboard for a great ride with this the first novel in the Mark Manning series. The only other series that ranks as high in my book is the Todd Mill series by RD Zimmerman.

3-0 out of 5 stars Light dreams perhaps
Craft's newspaper writer turned detective, Mark Manning, gets involved in the disappearance of a wealthy North Shore woman who breeds and shows the exotic Abyssinian cat. He is the only journalist who still believes she is alive after 7 years, but the forces supporting the Chicago Archdiocese inheritance of 100 million dollars from her estate want the courts to rule that she is dead.

There are additional threads to the story involving Roxanne; a lawyer friend who introduces Mark to her architect friend from Phoenix named Neil. What she doesn't know is that putting Mark and Neil together is going to stir up Mark's repressed feelings for the same sex. This is not exactly the kind of romantic plan Roxanne had for Mark since she also has designs on him.

The actual "mystery" aspect of the story isn't really very much of a mystery. Early on you can easily figure out what is going on and pretty much how it will end. So, with that in mind you have to judge the book on whether or not you like the characters and writing. I'd give the book one less star if it weren't for Craft's writing style. He moves the story along fairly well and throws in some clever ironic moments. However, his action scenes are stiff and confusing, particularly one involving a car mishap in the Arizona desert. The fluid prose needed to convey the split second events with some clarity is just not there.

The real issue for Craft's series, of which this is the first installment, is his main character Mark Manning. He is portrayed as a physically attractive indeed above average man who knows his own mind and is absolutely certain that he is right. Rarely does Mark have doubts about anything involving himself. Quite often Mark actually lectures various characters and doesn't seem to mind making the contemptuous remark for the (in his view) wrong-headed opponent. His arrogance is astonishing in some scenes.

The other issue I have with the book is the thinly drawn characterizations. You learn superficial facts about most of the characters (Roxanne has a drinking problem for example) but there is no real exploration or resolution of the issue at hand. Or if there is a resolution of sorts it is so briefly handled as to fall into the category of miraculous. The "bad guys" are incredibly stereotypical cutouts that are more laughable than menacing.

Quite often Craft sets up a scene simply to climb upon his soapbox and lash out at whatever issue he wants his characters to champion. Religion in particular receives the most scathing criticism. I have no issue with the criticism of religion, but if I wanted a set of opinions on religion and gays I don't think I would seek it in a purported mystery. If handled well it wouldn't be a problem even if in a mystery novel, but it is very forced and an interruption to the flow of the story.

Overall, a somewhat satisfying read in the take-a-book-to-the-beach variety, but I seriously doubt I'll read the additional installments in the series. You have to care about a character or set of characters in order to be willing to invest the time in reading a half dozen or so books. I just don't care enough about Manning to do so.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this, and you will want to read more of Michael Craft!
Flight Dreams is another one of those books that you want to keep reading. Great character development and enough continuing plot lines to know that Mark Manning is going to have more dead bodies to trip over in the future! This is definitely a fun read! I have read every book in the Mark Manning series, and Flight Dreams was a great kickoff. This book is the first of a series that just gets better. ... Read more


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