Author: Jim D Combs

White Star by James Thayer

Simon & Schuster (first), 1995 After the deaths of two people within arm’s reach and the occurrence of a third tragedy, Owen Gray realizes that a mystery marksman is challenging him to a duel. When he served as a Marine, Gray was America’s best sniper, with 96 kills, most of them at a distance of up to three-quarters of a mile. Gray plans to confront the challenger. From Big Apple to Big Sky, this near supernatural sniper stalks Gray as relentless and as unstoppable as a hockey-masked Jason. The identity of the sniper is an irony — deep, rich and delicious as dessert food for thought. The attention to character […]

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Kiss the Girls by James Patterson

Little, Brown (first), 1995 This novel is two much. There are two good guy detectives, Dr. Alex Cross and John Sampson. Two Chapel Hill, North Carolina cops. Two FBI agents. Two of the baddest of bad guys: serial or “recreational” killers. They operate on both coasts. In LA, “the Gentleman Caller” always leaves flowers, saves a body part for a souvenir and leads the police to the crime scene. On the opposite coast is “Casanova,” who abducts young women in the southeast and keeps them in a bizarre boudoir; unless they displease him, in which case they are discovered in the woods, nude, dead, and pumped full of exotic drugs. […]

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The Wizard of La-La Land by Robert Campbell

Pocket (first), 1995 When a chum tells Mike Rialto, a glass-eyed card shark, that twangy boy (male prostitute) Kenny Gotch, who is dying of AIDS in a local hospital, knows “something” about the brutal mutilation murder of ten-year-old Sarah Canaan ten years ago, Mike visits Kenny. He finds him apparently sleeping, and as he tugs at his shoulder to talk to him, Kenny rolls over and spews a mouth full of blood in Mike’s face. Kenny is dead, and Mike is freaked. He runs to private investigator Whistler and his sidekick, one-armed, avid reader, intellectual counterman Bosco Silverlake. As Mike relates his story to Whistler and Bosco, Isaac Canaan, who […]

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Suspense by Parnell Hall

Mysterious (first), 1998 Hall’s satiric plot centers around bestselling author Kenneth P Winnington. Winnington and his trophy wife hire Stanley for protection following threatening phone calls. And everywhere that Stanley goes, the lam is sure to follow because every suspect our hero interviews dies shortly thereafter. One succumbs with Stanley’s name clutched in his hand minutes after he leaves his office, putting Stanley on the run from both the bad guy and the police. Clues are sparse but they all point to Stanley. Worse,  several characters refer to our hero’s version of what’s going on with the same refrain, “What a weak plot.” If there is a flaw in this […]

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