Books: 451

By E.B. Boatner September 6, 2012

Categories: Books, Our Affairs

Dos Equis
Anthony Bidulka
Insomniac Press
$19.95

Biduka’s eighth Russell Quant is as fresh and engaging as its predecessors. In the year since Quant parted from his near-perfect, nearly-betrothed Ethan, he’s roamed the world to learn and grow. While lazing in Mexico, he receives an old rival’s message: “Quant, you are the only one who can help me.” But upon his return to Saskatchewan he finds Jane Cross’s murdered corpse. Too late to help? Not for Quant. The trail leads to a cunning female serial killer whose undoing requires Quant to involve his whole family of friends–including his indomitable Ukrainian mom, Kay, in a caper-con worthy of Jim Rockford’s legendary Files. Danger, humor, creepiness, murder – a new love – Bidulka pulls out all the stops for another great Quant read. So read.

Jericho
Ann McMan
Nuance
$19.95

Two young women with troubled pasts meet over a flat tire in southwestern Virginia. Syd Murphy, still married, is coming to create a Jericho Public library, while Maddie Stevenson, unmarried and a multi-credentialed physician, runs her late father’s medical practice. Electricity flows between them as Maddie changes Syd’s tire and they part ways, destined to meet again. McMan crafts a near antiromance as straight Syd and closeted Maddie become close friends, daring not speak to their names although gay friends Michael and David, owners of Jericho’s Riverside Inn, clearly read their coded subtext. Meanwhile, Maddie’s mother Celine, her father’s long-held secret, Syd’s delightful parents, a five-yearold, and a menacing psychopath keep the plot energized as the reader roots for those fabled walls to tumble down.

Hearts, Dead and Alive
Kate McLachlan
Regal Crest
$15.95

“Once you’ve smelled that pungent, sweetly putrid odor of rotting heart, you don’t forget it,” declares fifth grade teacher Kimberly Wayland, who knows whereof she speaks. A friend gave Kim her ring for safe-keeping during surgery. Kim slipped it onto her finger, then into a paper cup while making papier-maché in class. The cup was thrown out, hence Kim’s Dumpster diving and her grisly find. Questions: Whose heart? Why didn’t Kim call the cops? Well, Kim hides lots of things. From friends, the police–herself. Matters of hearts real and intangible inform this book, as does Kim’s search for the severed heart’s owner and his murderer. A gay child, a religious fanatic, family values and self-understanding join to build a highly readable, tautly plotted tale.

Fearless
Erin O’Reilly
Affinity
E-Book $2.99; Paperback $10

O’Reilly mines the historical Brtish Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) civilian women pilots who ferried new, repaired and damaged airplanes wherever they were needed within Britain during WWII. Crucially, they delivered aircraft to ready combat pilots for them to fly across the Channel on missions over France and Germany. Interwoven in through this historical reality are the stories of one particular group of women; beautiful Irish Meg, Yank Jo Laughlin, crop duster and barn stormer, scheming Midge Reister, and “Flying Debutante,” the upper class Brit Sarah Faulkner aka Lady Smythe-Armstrong. There’s romance aplenty and suspense when Jo and Sarah are downed and hiding out in France. While the book would have profited from a tighter edit, Reilly’s debut novel gets high marks for character and plot.

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