Requiem for a Glass Heart
By David Lindsey
I think some of it will seem familiar to you but again the author obviously did his research and was talented enough to breathe new life into a thriller/suspense novel format. It's set in the mid nineties, shortly after the chaos of the Soviet Union's disintegration. It's very descriptive of the cities and hotels in which the action takes place.
Sergei and Irina have a history together. He has corrupted her into becoming a "special" of his. Her assignments include murdering people that either Sergei can't reach or would prefer that his organization not be implicated in killing. Irina's looks will make just about any man and not a few women lower their guard. To the deeply cynical Sergei this makes her the perfect assassin. He enjoys forcing people, especially women, to do things against their will. But Irina is growing weary of Sergei's sadism and her own moral loss. She wants out. Sergei has one last assignment for Irina, one which she dare not refuse.
The Sicilian Mafia and Chinese Triads are involved. Except for Sergei, most other male characters aren't very strongly drawn but that's okay since many of them are only seen through Irina's or Cate's perspective. Male sexuality is often portrayed as something dangerous to women but also something that makes men vulnerable to women. It's ironic as Irina is deadlier than any man except for Sergei. The book's title comes from Irina's self-description to Cate. Irina sees herself as both fragile and hard. The hold that Sergei has over Irina is obvious but isn't confirmed until much later. There's a thin line between love and hate. To conclude, if you enjoy well written thrillers with scummy bad guys, morally complicated Natasha Fatale heroines who might be only slightly less bad than the bad guys, and international criminal/intelligence conspiracies with a fair dose of tastefully understated sex, you will like this book.
by Sean Doolittle
Matthew Worth is an Omaha, Nebraska police officer who is something of a loser. He comes from a long line of police officers-his grandfather, father and deceased brother were hero cops but Matthew is evidently not cut from the same cloth. His ex-wife was cheating on him with a detective. When Matthew confronted the detective, not only did he badly lose the ensuing fight but as hitting superior officers is a no-no Matthew was given the most humiliating assignment his department could think of. This was to guard a low-rent grocery store which has been the target of a few robberies and burglaries. Most nights this means actually bagging groceries or even sweeping up while he's in uniform. His fellow officers find this to be greatly amusing and love calling in "emergencies" on the police scanner that involve "cleanup in aisle five" or "gimme a price check on preparation H stat!!".
Matthew tries to make the best of it. As he became a police officer out of a sense of family obligation he doesn't have a whole lot of pride that could be injured by this assignment although he is too stubborn to quit. As a side benefit at least Matthew gets to talk to and occasionally flirt with the fallen angel checkout clerk Gwen, who when she's not being abused by her violent thug boyfriend, actually has a kind word for Matthew.
This all goes belly up one night when Matthew gets a frantic call from Gwen. Tiny little Gwen has just removed her hulking boyfriend from the planet and needs Matthew's help. Immediately Matthew has to make a choice about how he wants to play this and if he is going to place the law over his feelings of affection (both lustful and protective) for Gwen.
One nice technique I liked is that the author lets conversations play out very realistically. People don't always explain every little thing and it can take a while before you realize for example that two supposed "good guys" are considering if they should murder someone. Characters make mistakes, take actions based on wrong assumptions and generally make a mess of things. And even when people try to do the right thing, like when Matthew's ex drops by to tell him that she's pregnant by her new husband, they often end up hurting people emotionally.
Legends of Light
by Ed Wardin
I love living in Michigan, especially as summer gives way to fall and winter approaches. Michigan is blessed with The Great Lakes. I would love to retire to a lakeside property some day. The Great Lakes are really more freshwater inland seas. In particular, Lake Superior is well named as it is the largest freshwater lake in the world. There are a lot of interesting facts about Lake Superior. In the days before mass transit and aircraft the Great Lakes served as the commercial highways of the northern US, linking the East Coast and Midwest to the Plains States and the South. In order to help captains navigate and avoid accidents, people built a great number of lighthouses all along the shores of the Great Lakes as well as some of the tributary rivers.