Tag Archives: missing children

Naples novelest gives lost soul goals for redemption

Blood Moon Rising, by Richard Conrath. Gulf Shore Press. 414 pages. Trade Paperback $14.99.

This is the second installment in Mr. Conrath’s Cooper Mystery Series, following “Cooper’s Moon.” A third installment is expected. The story line for “Blood Moon Rising” continues to follow the protagonist’s despair over the disappearance of his young son, Maxie, who was abducted or otherwise lost at the age of seven. His eight-year quest to find Maxie has faltered, and his marriage has collapsed. However, he has become dedicated to and skilled in missing persons crime detection.

Indeed, Cooper had resigned his university teaching job, relocated from Ohio to Florida, became a homicide detective for the Miami Police Department, and then a private detective.

The present action opens when a call from his former teaching colleague, Jackson, who asks for help. Jackson tells Cooper that he’s the major suspect in a missing person case involving one of his female students who has vanished – and with whom he had been intimate.

Conrath

Now Cooper is plunged into confronting the human trafficking marketplace, with his lost son always on his mind.  The self-imposed assignment first takes him back to Ohio where he picks up some of the help that he needs. Then back to Florida for more support, featuring former co-workers on the Miami PD.

He is by now well aware of an international market in body parts removed by unscrupulous surgeons. Such enterprises, which have Russian mob involvement, include tricking those desperate for money to be test cases in pharmaceutical experiments that might be deadly.

Aside from his crew of old friends from Ohio and Florida, Cooper’s team includes Leo Federovich, the grandfather of a missing university student, who understands the Russian mob scene through his former role as a KGB agent. . . .

To explore the full review, as it appears in the January 1, 2020 Fort Myers, Charlotte County and Venice Florida Weekly, and the January 2 Palm Beach and  Bonita Springs editions, click here: Blood Moon Rising

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Failure to protect a witness rocks self-esteem of protagonist

A Beautiful Voice, by Robert Lane. Mason Alley Publishing. 404 pages. Trade Paperback $14.95.

Lane

It’s difficult, and not terribly important, to summarize the plot of Robert Lane’s latest novel, the sixth in his “Jake Travis” series. The attraction of this crime thriller is less in the plot line than in the high quality of characterization, physical setting, and moral ambiance. Meeting Jake and his friends, his girlfriend Kathleen, and several other well-drawn characters who are newly developed for this novel is the real pleasure.

 

Here’s the set-up: When a government agency assigns Jake to safeguard a witness who is brought into the U. S. to testify about the head of a major drug syndicate, the idea is that the witness will keep a low profile. Without warning, this man, an accountant with priceless information, arrives with a family – a wife, two young daughters, and an even younger boy. When the family disappears just a few days later, Jake gathers that he has been misinformed, but why? What has happened to Alejandro Vizcarro and his young family?

Lots of surprises follow, including the fact that the gorgeous wife, Martina, is actually the accountant’s first daughter, much older that her siblings. And it’s possible that one of the children is not a sibling to the others.

The Mexican drug cartel leader, Sergio Flores, has a thriving business. His tainted drugs kill thousands of Americans. No wonder the U. S. government wants him brought to justice. In addition, he has murdered two DEA agents. Some of his books are kept by an American, Richard Bannon, and it’s the hope of Jake’s associates that Mr. Vizcarro’s testimony will tumble Bannon and, in turn, Flores.

Well things just don’t work out. Vizcarro’s protection, set in place by Jake, is just not sufficient. A remaining part of the mystery is the to discover and protect Vizcarro’s children. Assuming they are still alive.

As readers follow the plans that Jake puts in place for himself and his comrades, they enter Jake’s world more fully. This is a world of weapons that Jake’s team knows how to use. It is a world of waterways along the western edge of the Florida peninsula (the St. Petersburg area) that is at once the setting for Jake’s home and the action center of the novel. It is a world of magnificent boats and crime-busting accessories that Jake has long mastered. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the September 4, 2019 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the September 5 Bonita Springs and Charlotte County editions, and the September 12 Naples and Key West editions, click here: A Beautiful Voice

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Brooding spirits, lost voices of The Hollows make their claim, again

Ink and Bone, by Lisa Unger. Touchstone. 352 pages. Hardcover $24.99.

If you’ve never been to The Hollows before, that upstate New York community that passes for normal while hiding its truly haunted nature, then you’re in for a big surprise. Restless spirits fester in The Hollows. They cry out for recognition. They have stories to share.  In time of trouble, residents and visitors may sense that there is something strange going on – some kind of invisible force. There seem to be voices, sometimes cries, in the wind.  InkandBone

There are people who are sensitive to the spirit world, whether they wish to be or not. These are the same people who have psychic powers which grant them glimpses of the future, or of the hidden past. They are called upon by the spirits. Eloise Montgomery has lived among the haunted, and among the rest of us, for her whole life: “Eloise told her [granddaughter Finley] long ago that a haunting was a relationship, that the dead clung to the living only as much as the living clung to the dead.”

Finley Montgomery, a twenty-year-old student at the local Sacred Heart College, also has this power, and sometimes the spirit voices and her strange dreams overwhelm her. Only Eloise is able to help her. And she will need all the help she can get to avoid being pulled under by what she must confront.

There is a long history of children who have gone missing in The Hollow. For almost a year, Merri Gleason has tried to find her daughter, Abbey. She feels that if Abbey is not already dead, she soon will be if she’s not found. She contacts Jones Cooper, a former police officer now working as a private detective. Though Jones is a down-to-earth guy, a man of facts, he is open to the paranormal. On the right kind of case he will consult with Eloise. Finding Abbey is one such case.

Lisa Unger credit Jeff Unger

Lisa Unger credit Jeff Unger

It’s a case that can’t help but suck fiercely tattooed Finley into it, much to her peril.

Ms. Unger orchestrates her gripping, eerie novel so that readers alternate among several plot strands, trying to guess if and how they will come together. Tracking down Abbey is one strand. Witnessing the imprisonment and attempted escapes of a young girl called Penny is another. Readers are teased with the idea that Penny is not this girl’s actual name by the introduction of another girl referred to as Real Penny. Perhaps the one we meet is a replacement for one who fled or died. And perhaps there have been others who have been called Penny. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the June 1, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the June 2 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda /Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach Gardens / Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Ink and Bone

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