In The Mail

The Devil’s Halo by Chris Fox

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Kirkus:

A hair-raising spy thriller chock full of plot twists, paranoia and political intrigue.

As in his first novel (L.U.C.I. in the Sky, 2001), Fox enlists the services of industrial spy Terry and rocket scientist Maria Weston, now husband and wife, to defend U.S. interests against a virulent threat from extremists in the newly-formed Greater European Union. Set in the near future, the story unfolds at a time when Germany has gone bankrupt, NATO is dead and the former EU, led by France, has incorporated Russia to tackle the U.S. as a military and economic superpower. Anti-Americanism is rampant, with the greatest bone of contention being the American goal to dominate space. The trouble begins when the digitized master of a film extolling U.S. military prowess is stolen, and Terry is hired by Hollywood’s most powerful producer to retrieve it.

Because the film was encrypted using the same technology designed to protect U.S. military assets, Maria, who happens to be the daughter of the CEO of a large space contractor, soon follows Terry to Russia to use her unparalleled knowledge of quantum theory and some nifty surveillance equipment of her own invention to unravel what swiftly proves to be a much larger plot. The warp-drive action—space travel, grim assassinations and continent-hopping—as the Westons try to outwit their pursuers and convince the American authorities of imminent peril, will certainly keep readers hooked. (Jerry Bruckheimer, take note.) But the narrative also serves up a thematic stew that should leave Americans—particularly the defenders of “freedom fries”—with ample food for thought.

The sky’s the limit in this tour de force thriller of 21st-century espionage and technological warfare.

The Not Knowing by Cathi Unsworth

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Jon Jackson, the famous film director, is found savagely murdered under the railway arches of Camden Town in a gruesome re-creation of a scene from his hit gangster film Bent. His death strikes a chord with many, including the staff at Lux magazine in possession of the last-ever interview with Jackson. Journalists Barry Hudson and Diana Kemp knew Jackson in the old days before he was a celebrity-Diana having known Jackson a little more intimately than most. As Diana is drawn ever closer to the killer, The Not Knowing vividly captures the seamy side of London life.

Time to Say Goodbye by Pat MacEnulty

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Publishers Weekly:

Patsy Palmer, a happily married suburban mom and successful Charlotte, N.C., real estate agent, has a secret. A really, really big secret. Over two decades ago, when she was known as Vera Lee Gifford, she was convicted of three murders: the owner of the bar where she worked as an exotic dancer, the owner’s bodyguard and the wife of her boyfriend’s lawyer. After breaking out of prison, she transforms herself into a solid citizen by taking a new name, graduating from college and eventually marrying good-guy Tom Palmer. When younger sister Fancy Lee decides to find Vera, Patsy’s picture-perfect life begins to unravel. An old prison pal of Vera’s, Thelma Jackson, has been murdered, and Gainesville, Fla., police detective Rodney Ellis, who years ago arrested the teenaged Vera, is called in to investigate. Patsy fights to keep her early years a secret, but soon the past comes back to bite her, and she’s fighting for not only her own life but her young daughter’s as well.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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