Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Deadly Canyon, Jake Page-Book Review

"The Deadly Canyon" by Jake Page is a good mystery about conspiracy,smuggling and murder. Mo Bowdre, a blind sculptor from Santa Fe, NM, was commissioned to do a piece for a scientific research center, thirty miles from the border of Mexico in the Peloncillos mountains, NM. Mo was accompanied by his half Hopi Indian lady friend, Connie Barnes, who was his spiritual connection, lover and eyes. Mo has a sixth sense for trouble and a simple and sure way for detection. His loss of one sense has greatly enhanced others which proves that he is a complete man. The commission was organized by the FBI. An agent for the FBI was killed while working out of the facility and they wanted an inside man to gather information about the scientists and everything he could. Mo and Connie fit in the research center well, making friends and getting comfortable with the site. Another body was discovered in Skeleton Canyon, A Mexican lady scientist was found at the bottom of the canyon, her death was ruled accidental but Mo had other ideas.

SPOILER: There was a smuggling ring at the center. Aztec artifacts and gold statues were being processed through the center from Mexico and the head scientist was the ring leader. After telling the sheriff the stories that Mo developed in his mind, four people; Mo, Connie, a guide and a deputy, headed to the canyon where the smuggling was to take place. They were on a simple camping trip, but the Sheriff was waiting for an arrest near by. They pitched their tents and waited. That night after dark, gunfire erupted striking the tents. Everyone was hiding in the surrounding bush and escaped the onslaught of the bullets. The bad scientists were captured, Mo was shot in the side trying to apprehend one who was fleeing, not life threatening, and all worked out as planned.

Page has done a great job with this book. He is right up there with Hillerman and James Doss, with the American Indian and their ways and thoughts. Mo Bowdre finished the scuplure and it was presented to the science research center with a big fanfare. I am looking forward to another adventure of Mo Bowdre, his wit and detection along with humor, are always welcome.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lean Mean Thirteen, Janet Evanovich-Book Review

Bouncy and perky Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter from Trenton, is in perfect form with this funny mystery. In "Lean Mean Thirteen" Stephanie is busy apprehending FTA's and trying to prove her innocence. She had an altercation with her X-two timing husband, Dickie Orr. He ended up missing with blood and bullet holes in his residence, Steph was the suspect. This leads to a search for Dickie, but Steph is not the only one looking for him. With Joe Morelli, her on and off again Trenton cop boy friend, on a special job, Ranger is looking after Stephanie. She is a handful with trying to get her FTA's and her living the life she does with family ties and just good friends. Dickie was tied to a firm of shady men who were into drug running and money laundering. Dickie overheard the plan to get rid of him , take the millions and flee the country, but Dickie was able to divert the money. His cohorts thought Steph knew all and started to go after her. Evanovich has Stephanie apprehending FTA's, escaping from the bad and trying to live a peaceful life. Is Stephanie ever going to grow up? One should learn from past experiences, but that is what puts the humor in the stories.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Skeleton Man, Tony Hillerman Book Review with Spoiler

Retired Leaphorn, from the Navajo Tribal Police Headquarters, gathers with some of his cohorts to discuss diamonds that have been surfacing for years. Some fifty years ago there was a mid-air collision of airlines over Grand Canyon. The canyon floor was littered with dead and body parts. One victim had an atache case handcuffed to his wrist full of diamonds. His body was never found, but rumor had it that the severed arm with the case was seen in the river but not retrieved. Joanna Craig was the illegitimate daughter of the diamond czar and wanted the arm for DNA analysis to prove her rightful heir to her grandfathers fortune. Several diamond show up in northern Arizona with the same story as how they were acquired. An Indian Shaman, Skeleton Man, gave them in trade for some personal items from passer byers at the bottom of Grand Canyon.

Plymale was the lawyer in charge Craig's fortune and did not want Joanna to get the arm for DNA results, so he hires a bounty hunter, Chandler, to keep this from happening. He had a lot to lose if the truth came out.

Sargent Chee along with his bride to be, Bernie and Dashee were preparing for a climb to the canyon floor. Tuve, one who got the diamond from the Shaman, was going to take them to the spot where he saw the Shaman. He did not show, so Bernie and Chee and Dashee headed down the trail with hopes to meet Tuve later. At the bottom, Chee and Dasheee split up to locate Tuve. Bernie stayed put to wait for Tuve, as time past Bernie went exploring. She found the canyon that Tuve described and went up to see what was there.

SPOILER: Joanna was on her way down with Tuve when she lost Tuve. She continued down and found Chandler, who got a helicopter ride down. Bernie went up the canyon and found the Shaman, who was dead for a long time, laying in the path. Further up the canyon she found the ledge he called home, the diamonds and the arm with the case were there. Joanna and Chandler were following her tracks and not far behind. They met up and found the diamonds also. Chandler was in charge and took the diamonds, Joanna took the arm bones. Suddenly there was a big rain storm that produced flash floods in the canyon, with water flowing strong through the canyon. Joanna and Bernie were able to get to the ledge where the bedding of the Shaman was and escaped the flood. Chandler was swept away. Chee was following the tracks left by Bernie and the others and when the flood arrived, he was able to get to a safe spot. Chandler's body was later found on the shore of Lake Mead, no diamonds. Joanna got her arm bones and the DNA proved she was the heir to the Craig fortune.

Hillerman has provided a great story with American Indian background. The Leaphorn legacy lives on and is ready for another adventure.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Grandmother Spider, James Doss-Book Review

"Grandmother Spider" by James Doss is a mystical thriller full of suspense. Starts with nine year old Sarah Frank killing a spider and Daisy Perika, her guardian, tells her that the big grandmother spider will come from her home under the water of Navajo Lake and take revenge. The spider is huge and kills his pray by decapitating them, sucking the blood out of them and putting them high in a tree for future consumption. That night Daniel Bignight is called to the shore of Navajo Lake because an unusual orange light was spotted. In awe Bignight sees a huge shape in the sky, with legs dangling down and tangled in one is Tommy Tonompicket. The thing floats north in the wind and out of sight. Many calls come in to SUPD seeing this thing in the sky. Grandmother Spider is out and on the prowl!

Charlie Moon is the acting chief for the SUPD and is more realistic about what happened. On the shore of Navajo Lake there were two trucks and no occupants. The trucks are owned by Tommy Tonompicket and Dr. Pizinski. Pizinski works for RMAFS (Rocky Mountain Advanced Flight Systems). The RMAFS does work for the Air Force and is very secret about their activities. A couple days later Tommy is found in a tree and Pizinski was found wandering in the forest. They were put in the hospital but neither one had memory of the incident.

SPOILER: Charlie Moon was very skeptical about the spider myth and did his own investigating. With murder and mayhem, a lawyer was decapitated, Charlie comes up with the truth. The episode was produced by the launching of a hot air balloon in the shape of an octopus. Tommy and Pizinski floated north in the balloon and hit the roof of a lawyer which caused a sheet of ice to slide down the structure and decapitate him. Tommy was thrown from the gondola and landed in a tree, so there was a vengeful side, kill Pizinsky. Doss has done a good job with the mystical spider and the episode of the following events. A very good story that shows Doss is a knowledgeable person of the Ute myths. This book is worth reading, with suspense through out. The ending is a dream come true with Doss showing the reader tranquility and bliss.