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by Walter Satterthwait

Category: Fiction / Mystery
0 pages; ISBN: 0312339747

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Walter Satterthwait
Dune, Feb 2005, $23.95, 368 pp.
ISBN 0312339747

In 1923, The Pinkerton Agency based in London is hired by the Nazi Party to find the person responsible for trying to assassinate Adolph Hitler in Tiergarten Park. He was meeting with General Von Secit hoping that he could convince Von Secit to allow Hitler to have a Putch without the army interfering. While the men are talking, a shot rings out and a gun is found but there is no trace of the assassin.

English agent Jane Turner and American agent Phil Beaumont travel to Berlin where they discover that only eight people, all trusted aides of Hitler, knew about the meeting. The Nazi’s want to blame the communists who control part of Germany but the Pinkerton agents believe that the assassin either was one of the eight people or that one of them talked to somebody who then acted on the information. Jane and Phil spend most of their time questioning the eight men but as they get closer to the truth, the octet closes ranks and tries to kill the Pinkerton Agents who the Nazis know detest their war-mongering, hate spewing agenda.

Germany in 1923 is a country on the verge of bankruptcy with beggars living on the streets and men, women and youngsters selling their bodies to get a meal. Walter Satterthwait shows why it was so easy for Hitler to rise to power because he gave the people hope that if they band together and take care of the Bolsheviks and the Jewish “Problems”, Germany can because a powerful country again. CAVALCADE is an investigate thriller that shows how hate can fester under certain conditions allow atrocities to occur. This is a very exciting and intriguing reading experience.

Harriet Klausner

The Ha-Ha
Dave King
Little, Brown, Jan 2005, $23.95
ISBN: 0316156108

Three decades ago while on his first month of duty in Viet Nam, Howard Kapostash suffered a head injury that devastated his communication abilities. Though his intelligence remained average, he no longer could speak, nor write or read. His emotional quotient was already lagging before the trauma and over the subsequent thirty years since has not developed. Howard shares his childhood home with Vietnamese-American Laurel, who makes specialty soups for local restaurants; and Steve and Harrison two housepainters he calls to himself Nit and Nat.

Taking advantage that Howard still has some feelings for her, Sylvia dumps her reticent nine-year-old child Ryan on Howard to take care of him while she is away though he has no experience with children. This dysfunctional commune soon comes together as the four adults responsibly and lovingly rally for the child. As the quartet learn about what life is all about, Sylvia will return soon and take away their catalyst, but will each one slip back to indifference and irresponsibility?

Though what happens to the foursome when Ryan enters their lives seems too obvious and expected, readers will not care as Dave King provides a deep look at the importance of having a reason to live not jus exist. The story line is terrific as the four adults begin to mature and provide stability to the introverted child who changed their lives for the better. Fans will enjoy this fine character study as everyone begins to heal because now they have a cause.

Harriet Klausner

Gods and Kings
Lynn Austin
Bethany, Feb 2005, $12.99, 320 pp.
ISBN: 0764229893

Believing Yahweh as a myth of his ancestor King David and desperate to appease the idol Molech that he believes is the power, Hebrew King Ahaz of Judah decides to sacrifice his last son Hezekiah. By killing his son in sacrifice to Molech, Ahaz hopes to gain favor to win a war that has so far devastated his army and people. Only the lad’s mother Abijah might be able to save her son’s life, but she trusts no one yet needs help to keep Hezekiah safe. That help comes in the form of a miracle when Yahweh the true God makes his presence known at the altar.

Surviving his evil father’s excesses when he was a child, Hezekiah is now the king with only two people loyal to him out of love for him; his mother and his wife, but they know they must allow him to rule. Besides showering him with love, they pray to Yahweh to guide their beloved; for both knows his male role models have been abominations including his dead father, drunken grandfather, the power hungry disbelieving High Priest and foreign born instructor. Yet he must also deal with the Assyrian invasion and the scorn of the Great Prophet Isaiah.

This is a terrific work of Old Testament historical fiction that provides an insightful look at two intriguing Hebrew descendents of David Kings Ahaz and Hezekiah; the former prayed to an idol while his son implemented needed religious reforms and a return to the One God. The story line is very entertaining while bringing to life a fascinating segment of the bible. Lynn Austin entertains her myriad of fans with her first of five book Chronicle of Kings series.

Harriet Klausner

Highlander in Disguise
Julia London
Pocket, Feb 2005, $6.99, 384 pp.
ISBN: 0743465075

After Liam Lockhart failed to regain the beastie, he married the woman who stole the valuable artifact back from him (see HIGHLANDER UNBOUND). The quest falls to his younger brother, Griffin. However, Griff lacks funding to spend any time in London even with his using the home of his best friend’s grandmother while she vacations in France. He borrows heavily from his neighbor whose usury interest will cripple the lad if he fails to remit within a year to fund his search for an unknown Amelia, who allegedly bought the beastie from Lady Battenkirk who had purchased it from Liam’s wife.

Anna Whittington hopes that Drake Lockhart will ask for her hand in marriage, but he seems more interested in her beautiful younger sister. Meanwhile she wonders about this so-called wealthy Scot who asks questions about her cousin, Lady Battenkirk and anyone named Amelia especially since he looks so much like last year’s wealthy Scot Laird. Anna investigates and learns that Griff is an impoverished fake. She blackmails him into teaching her how to seduce Drake, but soon desires her mentor instead; he finds the beastie means little now that he is deeply in love with his troublesome student.

This entertaining Regency romance uses a theme that has been employed in many historical romances, yet the talented Julia London makes it feel as if this is the first time that an innocent asks to be trained in seduction graces a tale. The story line is fun as Griff knows from the first moment he meets Anna that her name spells trouble. This charming couple provides a solid gender war tale that readers will appreciate.

Harriet Klausner

To Wed a Scandalous Spy
Celeste Bradley
St. Martin’s Feb 2005, $6.99, 384 pp.
ISBN: 0312931166

In 1813 Nathaniel Stonewall chases after Sir Lucien Foster, the last free traitor of the Knights of Fleur. Nathaniel knows catching this turncoat would help ease some of the sacrifice he accepted when he was named as “Lord Treason” for allegedly betraying his country. In fact Nathaniel is a double agent, Cobra and a member of the top secret Royal Four.

In Derryton, Willa Trent has resigned herself to being a spinster when her latest suitor is injured. On the way home she shoots a rock from her slingshot, but accidentally knocks out Nathaniel. She spends the night nurturing him though she stole a quiet kiss, but as he remains consciousness her guardian John Smith declares they must marry. As she learns who her spouse is, Willa realizes not all is as it seems. She and Nathaniel fall in love, but he remains undercover as a man detested by everyone except Willa, willing to risk her life to prove her husband is loyal.

This terrific espionage Regency romance will remind the audience of the classic tale James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy though that novel occurs in colonies during the American Revolutionary War and has no courageous female as a co-star. The story line is action-packed, but also insures the audience fully grasps what the hero has given up and accepted, including the disowning by his father; even his Royal Four peers recognize how much the cost is. He and the incredible Willa make this a splendid story that will have readers desiring more tales like this one.

Harriet Klausner

Nerd Gone Wild
Vicki Lewis Thompson
St. Martin’s Feb 2005, $6.99, 4164 pp.
ISBN: 031299866X

Following the death of her beloved grandmother who raised her, Ally Jarrett decides to live her dream. She leaves the relative warmth of Southern California to become a wildlife photographer in wintry Porcupine, Alaska. Not long afterward, her grandmother’s nerdy personal assistant Mitchell Carruthers arrives with the pretext he needs her to sign estate documents.

Mitch is actually a private investigator bodyguard hired by Ally’s grandmother to keep her safe from her Uncle Kurt. Because she knew Ally would reject a bodyguard, grandma got Mitch to pretend to be a nerd and obtained a deathbed pledge from him that he would keep her beloved safe. As Mitch and Ally fall in love, Kurt arrives with dominatrix girlfriend Vivian pretending to be a famous wildlife photographer for they have plans for the wealth that his stepmother left totally to his niece.

The nerd series has not gone much wilder than this tale that seems to take two Los Angeles citizens and voluntarily places them amongst a rowdy crowd that must have escaped from Northern exposure. The story line is fun to follow as Mitch tries to ignore his desire and love for Ally who thinks he is pathetic until the first kiss. Vivian is an intriguing character though some readers will be turned off by the S&M bondage relationship between her and Kurt. Vicki Lewis Thompson takes nerds where they never gone before with this amusing North to Alaska tale.

Harriet Klausner


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