‘Sure to be one of the best mysteries of 2012’

HEART OF A KILLER
By David Rosenfelt
Minotaur Books, 2012
304 pages, $24.99
ISBN 978-0-312-59837-2
 
Jokes about lawyers falling down stairs are always funny, but Jamie Wagner — an irreverent and underachieving associate in a high-powered New Jersey law firm — would happily deliberately fall down some stairs just to annoy his bosses.  And then he is assigned his first real case, and Jamie isn’t laughing anymore.

HEART OF A KILLER is Maine author David Rosenfelt’s 13th novel, a complex, clever legal whodunnit that reveals just how determined and focused people can be when they want something bad enough.
This is an intricate plot, carefully woven with gripping suspense, surprising plot twists and a slew of characters who are not at all what they seem to be. The reader must pay close attention to Rosenfelt’s subtle clues and masterful foreshadowing.

After six uninspired years as an associate “gofer,” Jamie is handed an unexpected pro bono case involving a convicted murderer with a strange request. Sheryl Harrison is serving a life sentence for killing her husband. Her 14-year-old daughter has a congenital heart defect and needs an immediate heart transplant. The only acceptable donor is Sheryl, so she wants Jamie to arrange her suicide in prison, so she can give her heart to her daughter.

However, this is an impossible task; the state won’t allow Sheryl to die. Jamie’s only hope is to generate overwhelming public support, but then he begins to doubt Sheryl’s confession and murder conviction. Is she innocent? He’s not the only one to think so, but a sinister criminal mastermind is watching closely, ruthlessly manipulating the police and Jamie, causing violence, death and terror, anticipating the authorities’ every move to get what he wants.  And the clock is ticking for everyone.
Hold on tight, because this is sure to be one of the best mysteries of 2012.

‘Fournier is a gifted writer and storyteller’

TALES FROM MISERY RIDGE:  ONE MAN’S
ADVENTURES IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

By Paul J. Fournier
Islandport Press, 2011, 193 pages, $16.95
ISBN 978-1-934031-60-5
 
Mainer Paul Fournier has had an outdoor career path that most outdoors people can only dream about.  He has been a Registered Maine Guide, a backcountry bush pilot, a sporting camp owner and spent 20 years as the public information officer for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

With a career like that he’s got plenty of good stories to tell, and he does just that in this debut memoir, TALES FROM MISERY RIDGE.  Fournier is a gifted writer and storyteller, and with these 13 stories he tells poignant, humorous and dramatic tales of nature, wildlife, people and high adventure.
He has written articles for numerous magazines, so several of these stories have been previously published.  First, however, he explains the title.  Misery Ridge, he asserts, is not miserable at all.  Located in Somerset County, in the mountains northwest of Greenville and Moosehead Lake, it is a beautiful, rugged wilderness where he spent much of his life.

In “Trophy Salmon,” he tells the hilarious story of how Willie, the inebriated camp cook, spoiled a rich sport’s trophy catch.  In “Bush Flying,” he describes his early flying lessons in a little Piper J-3 Cub, graduating to floatplanes and flying for Folsom’s Air Service in Greenville.

Other fascinating stories include trout spawning activities, rampaging black bears, search and rescue operations, how a grown man can fall in love with a canoe, weird moose anecdotes, ice harvesting and what a sporting camp owner really does to pass time in the winter.

Best, however, are “Foster Eagle,” a detailed description of the successful effort to renew Maine’s bald eagle population through egg adoptions by foster eagle parents, and “Return of the Caribou,” the bold (and sadly unsuccessful) program in 1986 to introduce caribou to Maine from Newfoundland.

— Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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