The Running Woman by Patricia Carlon

Soho (first), 1998 An alluring eeriness characterizes Carlon’s books — heightened, or exacerbated, for her newer readers because her books come to us not only across the hemispheres but, in tumbled fashion, across decades. Their taut suspense, intensified by calm prose and apparently commonplace settings and events, created a coterie of eager readers; her American publishers have responded with The Running Woman, billed as “a new mystery set in a small town in Australia.” A mystery set in Australia, surely, but new only in the sense of being unfamiliar: rather than a book written in response to readers’ eagerness, we have a book written before those the current publisher chose […]

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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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