“Mightier Than the Sword” by Jeffery Archer review and more.


By Jeffrey Archer

This is Volume #5 in this author’s Clifton Chronicles series, and is just as fabulous as the four before. Although first intended to be the grand finale of the series, this is not the blockbuster event readers will expect. Why is that? Although this book ties up some loose ends and offers some needed explanations, it’s not going to be the end after all. (YAY!)

Beginning where “Be Careful What You Wish For” left off, this story consists of the IRA, the Cold War, and developments of the Communist Party in East Germany and the USSR.

At the beginning of the tale, the Barrington and Clifton families are continuing into the twentieth century featuring a whole new generation. The Barrington Shipping Company is launching a new ocean liner, the MV Buckingham that is on its way to New York, and is about to be blown up by a bomb planted by enemies of the Barrington/Clifton families. A bomb that very nearly works. Set to detonate at three o’clock in the morning when all passengers should be snug in their beds not knowing they will soon be headed for Davy Jones’ Locker, the bomb is suddenly discovered eight minutes before three. Thrown overboard, the disaster that would have killed many people is averted.

With two dramatic courtroom dramas, one in England and one in Russia, main characters that readers have become attached to bring about serious issues that occurred in the twentieth century, while a new character, Sebastian Clifton, son of Harry and Emma Barrington Clifton, comes of age and joins the family businesses.

This book begins with a possible ‘bang’ and ends with a courtroom battle that readers will love so much, they will head back to Volume #1 and read it all over again. The smile will be planted on their faces knowing that there will be a Volume #6 coming soon. Archer, as always, never lets the reader down!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion 



By Maggie Barbieri

Sean Donovan is an upstanding member of the Farringville, New York community who has been brutally killed. Maeve Conlon, his cousin, finds herself pulled into the investigation when the police think that her father, Jack, might just be the killer. And it doesn’t help that lead detective, Rodney Pool, refuses to say why he believes the well-liked ex-cop suffering from severe Alzheimer’s is a murderer.

Maeve is desperately trying to protect her father and makes up an alibi for him. Her troubles go from bad to worse when she finds out that a patron of her bakery, Michael Lorenzo, is beating his wife and child. Maeve wants to help there, too, but soon finds herself buried by crimes and lies.

Maeve has been a victim in her life, but now she’s finally seeing the light and getting back on track after her husband left her for her best friend. Maeve is a graduate of the Culinary Institute and she has finally been successful in running The Comfort Zone, a gourmet shop she owns. Just getting used to being a single parent, Maeve is also, with the help of a friend, getting into the speed-dating fad.

More bad luck strikes when the most promising date of the evening turns out to be Rodney—the police detective that cannot be swayed when it comes to believing that her own father is a definite killer. Worried, and wanting to do anything to save her father, Maeve begins dating the detective to keep an eye on him. With her new choices, she finds her life going to heck once again as the many allegiances she makes weigh heavily on her ever diminishing patience.

The author has created a great plot that holds the attention. Maeve is a wonderful character that readers will root for, warning her throughout the story that the light at the end of the tunnel is undeniably an oncoming train.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion



By Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer

“Trauma” is a riveting medical thriller that will grab you by the throat and won’t let you go until long after you have read the intense climax.

Dr. Carrie Bryant is a talented neurosurgical resident who works long hours and is asked to do procedures that are complex for even the most-seasoned of neurosurgeons. While performing brain surgery to remove a tumor, the surgery ends up lasting hours longer than it was originally slated for. If not for Carrie’s brilliance, the patient would not have made it out of the OR. With no sleep, she must help her mentor, Dr. Metcalf, a brilliant yet ego-driven neurosurgeon, with his next surgery. Due to her lack of sleep and the tardiness of Dr. Metcalf, a small, yet debilitating medical error occurs, an error that Carrie takes the blame for, and ultimately causes her to resign her residency.

With no prospects for future employment, she accepts a job at the VA in an experimental program that deals with Deep Brain Stimulation—DBS—for the cure of PTSD. In DBS, a series of electrodes are implanted in the part of the brain that controls emotion, thus erasing the emotion that accompanied soldiers’ traumatic episodes.

Carrie finds flaws in the patients who have undergone the procedure and soon finds them to be among the missing. She goes on a terrifying, twisting ride of self-discovery as she searches for answers that no one is supposed to find.

“Trauma” reminds us that what seems too good to be true, usually is, and that playing God comes with repercussions.

Though Michael is no longer with us, Daniel Palmer has taken the reins, bringing out his finest work and a must read for all!

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine



By Anne Hillerman

Readers will be overjoyed to know that Hillerman, daughter of the late bestselling author, Tony Hillerman, is going forward with his famous Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee series about life and times in a Navaho reservation in the southwest. Anne Hillerman is able to keep up with these fabulous characters brilliantly, while making her own main character Jim Chee’s wife, Officer Bernadette Manuelito.

Bernadette brings a woman’s point of view to these tales, as she has to deal with family issues that include Mom and a difficult younger sister, while also bringing law and justice to the area. This tale also gives time to Officer Jim Chee, when he assists his cousin in the Monument Valley region of the reservation that’s having problems with some movie people. Seems a person has gone missing, and a newly dug grave has been found.

Officer Bernadette Manuelito makes a routine traffic stop on a car in New Mexico that turns into something of a mystery when the driver tries to bribe her. Odd, seeing as that the only cargo he’s carrying is two boxes of dirt. Bernadette already has a lot on her plate, with an uncovered drug ring and an investigation into a fire that was started in the middle of nowhere.

In the case of Lt. Joe Leaphorn, he is recovering from an injury but is still able to help solve any problems the others might stumble over. As always, under the guiding hand of their Lieutenant, Chee and the others will get around all the obstacles in their way and do their jobs like the very cool pro’s they are.

Readers will be thrilled to once again join the Navajo Tribal police with their two very interesting cases, and Hillerman has offered up a true gift by providing action, suspense, and great characters, all wrapped up in Southwestern mysteries that are fresh and exciting. Anne is a ‘chip off the old block’ to say the least!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion



By Andrea Kane

In the heart of Tribeca there is a quiet business nestled in a Brownstone called, Forensic Instincts (FI). This is an investigating team that is second to none, providing clients with the ultimate protection by making sure they stay among the living no matter what.

In this new case for FI, Madeline Westfield has had an attempt made on her life. Apparently, Madeline was walking home on a quiet street when she suddenly heard the screech of tires, and vaguely saw the form of a black SUV speeding straight at her. Fortunately, the car only grazed her, and a couple of pedestrians helped her out and took her to the hospital. FI is the team she now needs.

The leader of the company is Casey Woods. Her associates include; Marc, a former Navy SEAL, Ryan, a technical whiz, Claire, a brilliant clairvoyant with the body of a supermodel, and Patrick, a retired FBI agent. And we must not forget, Hero, the FBI trained bloodhound who may just be the smartest member of the team.

Madeline, their new client, used to be very close to team member, Marc, so personal feelings do come into play. As a nurse at Manhattan Memorial, she doesn’t really understand why she would be anyone’s target. However, the hospital is on the edge of a merger with another Manhattan hospital, and the staff is still upset that their hospital administrator, Ronald Lexington, passed away on the operating table during heart surgery that was being done by Madeline’s ex-husband. Suspects begin to pile up in odd ways, but the FI team has faced far worse before this and are not about to lose a client now.

As always, these Forensic Instincts novels are fascinating, memorable, and highly thrilling reads. Fans will love it!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Lyndsay Faye

It is 1845; the time period of the founding, building, and early days of the New York City Police Department. The star of the police department, at the moment, is Timothy Wilde. He is excellent at crime solving, at finding lost or missing items, and does not have to walk a beat. Instead, he is a special detective who works on ‘particular’ cases assigned to him by the Chief of Police. Tim shows off his special skills in this story, but this novel’s major case is about the crime of kidnapping free blacks in the North and selling them back to the South as escaped slaves.

A great cast of characters include members of the New York Committee of Vigilance that was founded in 1835, a committee that prevented the kidnapping of men, women, and children to be sold into slavery. In this narrative, a lovely and very terrified woman, Lucy Adams, practically falls into Tim’s office reporting a robbery. Tim asks her what was stolen, and she replies, “my family.”

When Tim is following up on this search for her sister and son, who are of mixed race, Tim will run into very tough times, including the police who look the other way, and politicians that are cruel to say the least. Tim must deal with the side of the law that doesn’t seem to care about this travesty, choosing instead to turn their focus on other things far more substantial that will bring more wealth to them and to New York.

Great action scenes, an excellent plot, and truly fascinating characters, readers are literally brought back in time in order to stand by the side of the compelling Timothy Wilde, as he fights for justice and against the laws that bring harm to others. As great as the first book in this series, Wilde is a character that should stick around for a long time to come.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Joyce and Jim Lavene

This great cozy is the first in a new series called, Retired Witches Mysteries, and offers up characters that readers will love getting to know.

It seems that the magical powers of Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are beginning to wane. Because of this, they have to find a few witches to replace them so they can retire to Boca Raton and join the AARP. So, with spell book in hand, they set their eyes on Dorothy, a young librarian who doesn’t yet know that she is a witch. Sadly, a great tragedy happens to the trio when Olivia is murdered and their spell book vanishes.

These three women had been close friends for years and didn’t really use their witchy gifts, besides helping out with household work, and do not fully know what can be accomplished when a witch’s mind is truly set to a task. Molly and Elsie now have to put up with a powerful witch; a witch that is stronger and better at the game than their trio had ever been. With Olivia gone, the two friends are forced to keep family members in the dark.  Making matters even worse, Molly’s husband is the homicide detective assigned to investigate Olivia’s death.

It’s not easy for these two to take on this far more powerful witch while keeping their talents under wraps. Will Molly and Elsie be able to stop this new, very difficult problem, so their dream of retiring and moving to Boca can come true? We shall see…

This is a well-written cozy with absolutely terrific characters. The author team has made sure not to simply ‘reveal’ answers; it takes a while to find out who is good, who can be trusted and, of course, who is the bad witch after all. This book assures readers that this will be a very readable series, and they will definitely be looking forward to the next tale.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By Kate Parker

This next Victorian Bookshop mystery is a wonderful cozy set in Victorian England featuring Georgia Fenchurch, a bookshop owner who specializes in rare and antique books. But that’s not all she does with her time. Georgia is also an investigator for the Archivist Society in London, a secret group that assists with some very special cases.

Speaking of special cases… The Duke of Blackford comes to the bookshop to speak to Georgia about the murder of a cousin, a relation to Lady Phyllida Monthalf, who is a friend of Georgia’s. The victim’s name is Clara Gattenger. She was killed during a robbery at her home involving the theft of blueprints of a new battleship designed by her husband. Oddly enough, her husband is being held for her murder.

Georgia is asked to go undercover as a widowed “Lady” (Lady Georgina) and a friend to the Duke. Georgia’s friend, Emma, will play Lady’s maid to both her and Phyllida. As the Lady Georgina, she will be brought forward to the social side of London and given a new home, new wardrobe, and a friend of the upper-class in order to help find the real killer, as well as discover where the missing blueprints ended up.

Georgia is not exactly gung ho about the job, especially since she hates the idea of turning her bookshop over to anyone. But this very intelligent lady is needed by the Archivist Society, and Georgia soon finds her life turned into a dream of high fashion, high-society, and escorted by a truly handsome man through it all. It would be thrilling…if not for the job. This is all a sham to catch a killer, and Georgia is ready for it.

This cozy, as is always the case with this author, is very well researched and an extremely fun and interesting read.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By Spencer Quinn

This is another great read about Private Eye Bernie Little and his canine partner—that just happened to have flunked out of the police academy—named Chet.

On the way home after finishing up a case, Chet and Bernie stop at a barbecue shack in Louisiana and mix it up with some bikers. During the ensuing fight, which Bernie and Chet win, they take possession of a pink-handled gun which Bernie takes off one of the bikers. When they get back on the road, instead of heading home they take a vote (all paws in the air), and come to the decision that they will go to Washington D.C. where Bernie’s longtime girlfriend, Suzie Sanchez, has gotten her dream job as a reporter for the Washington Post.

When they arrive at Suzie’s home, one of her sources, Eben St. John, is just leaving, and Bernie, being the jealous type, thinks he is there to romance Suzie and jumps to the wrong conclusion. With a battle avoided, Bernie catches up on his beauty sleep while Suzie and Chet go to see Eben at his office; seems he was helping Suzie with a story that could change some people’s lives dramatically in our nation’s capital. Unfortunately, at the office, they find him very, very dead. Irony at its finest, the murder weapon just happens to be the pink-handled gun.

Bernie is arrested for the crime, then released. But taking the arrest personally, Bernie decides he wants on the case. The police and a man from a government agency warn him away from the investigation but Bernie keeps right on hunting for the killer. Spied on by a drone that Chet believes is a bird that must be caught, this is one mystery that is both entertaining and exciting to solve.

Chet’s narration of these stories are always worth reading, letting dog lovers know exactly what a canine could say if only he could talk. A fun read!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■

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