Tuesday, September 20, 2011

End of the Mystery Binge

So I've finished the stack of mysteries on my nightstand and am moving on to more serious reading (maybe). The last three in the stack were all decent reads:

Betrayal of Trust, by J.A. Jance. Jance writes four different series (note to James Patterson: she writes them herself!), which seems to keep each series fresh. Betrayal of Trust is the latest entry in the J.P. Beaumont series, her first (and still my favorite). J.P. and his wife Mel are called in to investigate when the governor finds what appears to be a snuff film on her step-grandson's phone--and things quickly go from bad to worse in a story of cyberbullying, sexual abuse, and amorality.

The Silent Girl, by Tess Gerritsen. Gerritsen has a vivid and dark imagination, and in this entry in the Rizzoli and Isles series (which bears little resemblance to the tv series it has spawned), she gives that imagination full rein. The case opens with a Chinatown tour group's discovery of a severed hand. Soon Jane and Maura are investigating not only this murder but a 19-year-old murder-suicide (or so it appeared) at a restaurant in Chinatown. Chinese folk tales, a mysterious monkey-like being, and an martial arts master all play into the case.

Broken Prey, by John Sandford. Like J.A. Jance, Sandford writes more than one series and an occasional stand-alone book. Here, he returns to the Lucas Davenport series but with a twist. The bodies of two girls are found by a construction crew; the girls' disappearance was the first case Lucas investigated as a plainclothes cop (not officially promoted to detective yet). Half the book provides background on the investigation in the 1980s, introducing us to a younger and much less experienced Lucas than we have met before. The second half of the book describes the investigation following discovery of the girl's body--an investigation that proves deadly for one of Lucas's long-time friends. It's a sad story, with some foreshadowing that makes me wonder when Lucas's daughter Letty will implode!

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