Funny Money, by Laurence Gough, McClelland & Stewart, 257 pages, $32.99
It seems a long time since the last novel from Laurence Gough featuring Jack Willows and Claire Parker. Gough keeps his long-running series fresh by introducing new characters while keeping the old ones solid. Here, Chantal is a reluctant prostitute trying to escape an abusive pimp. To earn a little extra cash, she turns a trick for a pair of thugs on their way to pay off Russian mafiya goons with counterfeit cash belonging to a local crime lord. The thugs pay Chantal with fakes, and soon she is on the run. There's plenty of action, including snippets from the Parker-Willows home scene with grown-up kids setting Claire's biological clock in motion. Very satisfying. The Switch, by Sandra Brown, Warner, 469 pages, $34.95
This 14th thriller by bestselling Sandra Brown is one of her best. Its slightly hackneyed plot -- the evil religious maniac -- is forgivable because there are enough twists here for a pretzel factory. Identical twins Melina and Gillian Lloyd meet for lunch. Gillian's just been artificially inseminated; her lover is sterile, but willing to be a father. It's a happy day for her, and, despite misgivings, Melina shares it. The next day, Melina awakes to the news that her twin is murdered. At the scene, she realizes that she, not Gillian, was the target, beginning her hunt for a murderer and a motive. Dead and Gone, by Andrew Vachss, Knopf, 334 pages, $38
Andrew Vachss packs his books with so much grit, perversity and evil that revenge seems essential. Dead and Gone is a Burke novel, starring that nightcrawler of New York and places west. Burke is hired to carry the payoff for a kidnapped child. The kid isn't there, and Burke ends up with a dead partner and a body full of bullets. After he gets out of hospital -- suffering bloody hallucinations -- he heads after the men who shot him. If you like guts and gore, this will keep you reading to the very last sentence.
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