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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 Brian Panowich - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain’s most notorious criminal family. As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job, and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally inclined brothers last year, he’s doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice. When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind.

by Jason Allen - Fiction, Literary Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Corey Halpern, a local high schooler with a troubled home life, is desperate to leave the Hamptons and start anew somewhere else. His last summer before college, he settles for the escapism he finds in sneaking into neighboring mansions. One night, just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate, where he and his mother, Gina, work. Under the cover of darkness, Leo Sheffield --- a billionaire CEO, patriarch and the owner of the vast lakeside manor --- arrives unexpectedly with a companion. After a shocking poolside accident, everything depends on Leo burying the truth before his family and friends arrive for the holiday weekend.

by Jeffery Deaver - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley, and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a "reward seeker," traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America's tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past --- The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

by Robert Knott - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery, Western

When gold is discovered in the foothills just outside of Appaloosa, it sets off a fight between two shrewd local business operations as their hired gun hands square off over the claim. First a young miner disappears, then another. And then one of the businessmen himself is killed, right on his front doorstep. Meanwhile, as Cole and Hitch try to put a stop to the escalating violence, another killer is making his way toward town in pursuit of a long-lost dream, and a mission of vengeance. Cole and Hitch will have their work cut out for them to keep the peace, especially when all these ruffians converge at the huge Appaloosa Days festival, where hundreds of innocent souls might get caught in the crossfire.

by Melanie Golding - Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own...creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley --- to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

For a trio of colleagues, an innocent night out after class ends in a deadly torture session. They vanish without a clue --- until a body turns up. As the chief of police and the press clamor for an arrest in the "school night" case, Detective Lindsay Boxer turns to her best friend, investigative journalist Cindy Thomas. Lindsay and Cindy take a new approach to the case, and unexpected facts about the victims leave them stunned. While Lindsay is engrossed in her investigation, her husband, Joe Molinari, meets an Eastern European woman who claims to have seen a notorious war criminal --- long presumed dead --- from her home country. Before Lindsay can verify the woman's statement, Joe's mystery informant joins the ranks of the missing women.

edited by Anne Perry - Anthology, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories

Throughout the annals of fiction, there have been many celebrated detective teams: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Nick and Nora Charles. Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. That last pair is the creation of beloved mystery writer Anne Perry, who, as the editor of ODD PARTNERS and in conjunction with Mystery Writers of America, has enlisted some of today’s best mystery writers to craft all-new stories about unlikely duos who join forces --- sometimes unwillingly --- to solve beguiling whodunits.

by John Sandford - Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don't much care about a low-level guy --- it's his boss they want --- but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation. Then, they step onto a dirt trail behind Deese's rural Louisiana cabin and find a jungle full of graves. Lucas Davenport is now on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. His quarry is ruthless, and --- as Davenport will come to find --- full of surprises.

by James Patterson - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Psychiatrist Randall Beck specializes in PTSD cases --- and his time is limited. Especially when he uncovers a plot to kill a presidential candidate. Molly Rourke's son has been murdered --- and she knows who's responsible. Now she's taking the law into her own hands. He can kill anybody in just minutes --- from the first approach to the clean escape. His skills have served him well, and he has a grand plan: to get out alive and spend his earnings with his beloved wife, Maria. An anonymous client offers Ryan a rich payout to assassinate a target in Harvard Yard. The precision strike starts perfectly, then somehow explodes into a horrifying spectacle. Ryan has to run and Maria goes missing. Now the world's fastest hit man sets out for one last score: Revenge. And every minute counts.

written by Dylan Struzan, illustrated by Drew Struzan - History, Nonfiction, True Crime

Called "one of the most significant organized crime figures in the United States" by the U.S. District Attorney, Vincent "Jimmy Blue Eyes" Alo was just 15 years old when Prohibition became law. Over the next decade, Alo would work side by side with Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky as they navigated the brutal underworld of bootlegging, thievery and murder. Introduced to the 91-year-old Alo living in retirement in Florida, Dylan Struzan based A BLOODY BUSINESS on more than 50 hours of recorded testimony --- stories Alo had never shared, and that he forbid her to publish until "after I'm gone." Alo died, peacefully, two months short of his 97th birthday. And now his stories --- bracing and violent, full of intrigue and betrayal, hunger and hubris --- can finally be told.