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Joe Hartlaub

Biography

Joe Hartlaub

Senior Writer
josephhartlaub@gmail.com

Joe Hartlaub is senior writer/reviewer for Bookreporter.com and has been with the site since 1997. In addition to reviewing for Bookreporter.com, Joe has had a number of short stories published in the crime and horror fields and is an actor, having had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed film LA-308. An entertainment attorney specializing in music and publishing, Joe lives in Westerville, Ohio with his family, who permit him to do a number of things that he probably shouldn't. He describes himself as a boring guy who lives a very interesting life. He has been a vociferous reader since he was four years old, starting with the Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie comic strips, before graduating to the Hardy Boys mystery series (the original one) before being thoroughly corrupted by Mickey Spillane and Richard Prather.

Joe Hartlaub

Reviews by Joe Hartlaub

by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Jacob and Megan Brandeis have gotten jobs with the mega-successful, ultra-secretive Store. Seems perfect. Seems safe. But their lives are about to become anything but perfect, anything but safe. Especially since Jacob and Megan have a dark secret of their own. They're writing a book that will expose the Store --- a forbidden book, a dangerous book. And if the Store finds out, there's only one thing Jacob, Megan and their kids can do --- run for their bloody lives. Which is probably impossible, because the Store is always watching.

by Matt Goldman - Fiction, Mystery

Suburban divorcee Maggie Somerville was found murdered in her bedroom, her body covered with the dust from hundreds of emptied vacuum cleaner bags, all potential DNA evidence obscured by the calculating killer. Digging into Maggie’s cell phone records, private detective Nils Shapiro finds that the most frequently called number belongs to a mysterious young woman whose true identity could shatter the Somerville family. But could she be guilty of murder? After the FBI demands that Nils drop the case, Nils and neighboring Edina Police Detective Anders Ellegaard are forced to take their investigation underground. Is this a strange case of domestic violence or something with far-reaching, sinister implications?

by Erik Storey - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Clyde Barr, the drifter with lethal skills, is alone again, wandering the highways of the American West in search of something to believe in. But when he runs across an elderly sick man --- a Ute Indian from a nearby reservation --- Clyde’s dream of solitude is quickly dashed. On the reservation, Clyde finds the old man’s daughter, Lawana, and grandson, Taylor, as well as a group of menacing bikers called Reapers running wild in the economically depressed, half-abandoned village. As tensions rise between the locals and the Reapers, Clyde’s efforts to protect the reservation become a fight for his, Lawana’s and Taylor’s lives. And then the stakes ratchet up even more.

by Peter Robinson - Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

At the doors of a charming country church, an unspeakable act destroys a wedding party. A huge manhunt ensues. The culprit is captured. The story is over. Except it isn't. For Alan Banks, still struggling with a tragic loss of his own, there's something wrong about this case --- something unresolved. Reteaming with profiler Jenny Fuller, the relentless detective dives deeper into the crime...deep enough to unearth long-buried secrets that reshape everything Banks thought he knew about the events outside that chapel. And when at last the shocking truth becomes clear, it's almost too late.

edited by Otto Penzler - Anthology, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories

If you open your dictionary, you will discover that there is no such word as “bibliomystery.” However, most mystery readers know that the word refers to a mystery story that involves the world of books: a bookshop, a rare volume, a library, a collector or a bookseller. The stories in this unique collection were commissioned by the Mysterious Bookshop and were written by some of the mystery genre’s most distinguished authors --- tough guys like Ken Bruen, Reed Farrel Coleman, Loren D. Estleman, and Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins; bestsellers like Nelson DeMille, Anne Perry and Jeffery Deaver; and Edgar winners such as C. J. Box, Thomas H. Cook and Laura Lippman.

by John Burley - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

It's the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child who appears to bring ruin to those around him. Even his own mother is plagued by an illness that is slowly consuming her. Sheriff Jim Kent has watched the people of his town suffer, increasingly aware of the whispers and rumors surrounding the boy --- and he worries someone might take drastic action to protect their loved ones. Then a stranger arrives, and Danny and his 10-year-old brother Sean go missing. In the search that follows, everyone is a suspect, and the consequences of finding the two brothers may be worse than not finding them at all.

by Hart Hanson - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Michael Skellig is a limo driver waiting for his client in the alley behind an upscale hotel. Suddenly the wind begins to speak to Skellig in the guttural accent of the Chechen torturer he shot through the eye in Yemen a decade ago: Troubletroubletrouble. Skellig has heard these warnings before --- he’s an Army Special Forces sergeant whose limo company is staffed by a ragtag band of wounded veterans. He runs inside just in time to save Avila from two gunmen but too late for one of Avila’s bodyguards --- and wakes up hours later in the hospital, the only person of interest in custody for the murder. Avila is willing to help clear Skellig’s name under one peculiar condition: that Skellig become Avila’s personal chauffeur.

by Baird Harper - Fiction, Short Stories

When two cars collide at an intersection in a leafy Chicago suburb, Hartley Nolan is not the person police expect to find behind the wheel. After all, he barely drinks; everyone knows it’s his wife who’s the alcoholic. But the bigger question on people’s minds is what brought Sonia Senn, dead at the scene, back to her hometown in such a hurry that night? In 11 tightly linked stories, RED LIGHT RUN pulls us into the inner lives of Hartley, Sonia and a host of other characters to untangle the mounting forces that carry them to their fates.

by Gin Phillips - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours, she keeps on running. Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself --- the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines --- is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

by Glen Erik Hamilton - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

A terminally ill ex-con tells Van Shaw of an easy fortune in gold, abandoned and nearly forgotten after its original owner died in prison. For the dying man, the money is a legacy to ensure his preteen daughter’s future. For Van, the gold is cash he desperately needs to rebuild his destroyed family home. However, the safe holding the fortune is a trap --- set by a mysterious player armed with tremendous resources and a lifetime of hatred. Now, Shaw’s partner is in the clutches of the hunters, and the former army ranger may be their next prey. But when the ex-con’s innocent daughter is threatened too, Van’s own hard childhood means he can’t let her come to harm.