Amanda Cross: Introductory Notes

Feminist critic and scholar Carolyn G. Heilbrun was a tenured professor of literature at Columbia University in New York City. She published mystery novels featuring heroine Kate Fansler under the pseudonym Amanda Cross. I originally read In the Last Analysis, the first Kate Fansler novel, because I had frequently heard this series described as “literate …

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“Santa Fe Rules” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Santa Fe Rules (1992)   Harper Paperbacks, 332 pages, $5.99 paperback   ISBN 0 06 109089 1 After leaving his Santa Fe home one morning to travel to his Hollywood home and workplace, film producer Wolf Willett is stunned to read his own obituary in The New York Times. He, his wife, and …

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“The Ax” by Donald E. Westlake

Westlake, Donald E. The Ax (1997)   Mysterious Press, 273 pages, $23.00 hardcover   ISBN 0 89296 587 8 Most of the serial killers we meet in modern fiction are tortured souls, abused as children or tormented by multiple personalities. But what if an otherwise ordinary man made a perfectly logical decision to become a …

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“New York Dead” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. New York Dead (1991)   HarperPaperbacks, 325 pages, $5.99 paperback   ISBN 0-06-109080-8 Having read two other Stone Barrington novels (Dirt and Dead in the Water) previously, I decided to go back and be properly introduced to this character whom Stuart Woods can’t seem to let go. In New York Dead Stone Barrington …

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“Smoke” by Donald E. Westlake

Westlake, Donald E. Smoke (1995)   Mysterious Press, 454 pages, $21.95  hardcover   ISBN 0-89296-543-7 Freddie Noon is a twice-convicted thief in New York City.  So when he’s caught by Dr. David Loomis and Dr. Peter Heimhocker stealing electronic equipment from their research facility, he decides that becoming their experimental subject is better than the …

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“Run Before the Wind” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Run Before the Wind (1983)   rpt. 1988; Avon, 310 pages, $6.50 paperback   ISBN 0 380 70507 9 In Run Before the Wind Stuart Woods picks up the Lee family from his first novel, Chiefs. Will Lee, the spoiled, restless son of politician Billy Lee and his wife Patricia, is finishing his …

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“Baby, Would I Lie?” by Donald E. Westlake

Westlake, Donald E. Baby, Would I Lie? (1994)   Mysterious Press 291 pages $19.95  hardcover   ISBN  0-89296-532-0 Singer Ray Jones has his own theater on traffic-jam strip in Branson, Missouri, new center of country-and-western music.  And Branson traffic is about to become even more congested than usual as reporters from everywhere pour in to …

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“Point of Origin” by Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell, Patricia. Point of Origin (1998)   G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 356 pages, $25.95 hardcover    ISBN 0 399 14394 7 I’m getting really sick of Kay Scarpetta. At least in Patricia Cornwell’s earlier novels Scarpetta waited until the plot began to develop before beginning her self-centered, self-righteous lamentations. But in Point of Origin Scarpetta starts …

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“Chiefs” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Chiefs (1981)    Avon Books, 427 pages, $5.99 paperback   ISBN 0 380 70347 5 Recommended One benefit to discovering a prolific author with one of his later works is that you then have the pleasure of going back and reading all his earlier books as well.  I first discovered Stuart Woods in …

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“Unnatural Exposure” by Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell, Patricia. Unnatural Exposure (1997)   G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 338 pages, $25.95 hardcover    ISBN 0 399 14285 1 After Cornwell’s two recent disasters, Cause of Death and Hornet’s Nest, I approached Unnatural Exposure with trepidation. Dr. Kay Scarpetta returns in a novel that doesn’t exhibit Hornet’s Nest’s lack of focus but that does, like …

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