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Hocus Mass Market Paperback – 26 Aug 2003

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (26 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743444531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743444538
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,041,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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EVEN BEFORE HE STARTED KINDERGARTEN, he had figured out that his favorite superhero flew with strings. Read the first page
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think we need to bring a sense of balance to the reviews of Jan Burke's books. This is the first one I have read - and I'm afraid it will be the last. I am an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers and it takes a lot for me to give up one third of the way through. However the plot was deeply unconvincing and the dialogue puerile. It was a verry amateurish production - for example you can always tell a story is floundering when the author has to constantly brings his or her dogs into the storyline. So, one third of the way through, I decided that life was too short and I moved onto a book by another crime writer. So, readers beware.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the Irene Kelly series that does not include the main character's first name in the title. I read an interview with the author in which she explains that it took a lot of courage to change that pattern, due to the fear of people not recognizing her books anymore. She should not have worried, since the quality is still there and the series has become even a bigger success. "Hocus" starts a series of books by Jan Burke that have a one-word title, creating a contrast between this succinct title and the excellent ability the author has for describing different scenes and setting up engaging dialogues.
Irene is a reporter for the Las Piernas News Express and is married to detective Frank Harriman. Since they met they have had a great relationship and they have only been married for a little while, but at the start of this novel things are rocky. Frank has just finished blowing a case wide open against two men that are supposed to be the ringleaders of a group named Hocus; a story has appeared in Irene's newspaper with information that should only be known by an insider. Even though Irene did not write the article, the department is putting pressure on Frank and blaming him for the leak. This in turn has created some strain in the couple, and to make matters worse there was the issue of an old girlfriend asking Frank to visit her.
When the action starts Irene has not heard from Frank all day and thinks he is blowing off some steam, but when not even Frank's partner, Pete, knows of Irene's husband whereabouts, things start to turn south. Is Frank in trouble? Is he alive? Besides these questions, Irene has to deal with the recent discovery of a troublesome secret on Frank's family.
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By A Customer on 22 Jun. 1997
Format: Hardcover
Jan Burke continues to provide the reader witha believable and likable herione. This timethe reader is on the edge of his seat from thefirst page. I highly recommend "Hocus".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91be0ca8) out of 5 stars 30 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91bde0d8) out of 5 stars Another Winner from Jan Burke 26 Jun. 2000
By Ms. Nancy F. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Almost every professional reviewer puts Jan Burke in a box with other female mystery writers. We see her compared with Grafton, Cornwell, and Paretsky, etc. Well, enough of that! This "female mystery writer" can go toe to toe with the boys anytime. She proves it again with "Hocus". As with most of her other novels, Burke again uses the theme of tragedies in the past impacting on lives in the present. In this book Irene Kelly's husband, Frank, is taken hostage by two young men he had rescued ten years ago. Their fathers had been killed and they had been left to die in an abandoned warehouse. They believe that a corrupt policeman was involved and are using Frank as a bargaining tool to obtain his name. Burke creates sympathy for the two villians. We feel real pity for them because she has shown us how they became the damaged creatures they are now. Frank and Irene are very likeable characters simply because they seem like normal people. They have a loving marriage, two great dogs and a 20lb cat, wonderful friends and neighbors, and jobs they go to every day. This series just keeps getting better and better. Burke deserves to be compared with Robert Parker, Dennis Lehane, and Robert Crais. She definitely can play with the big boys.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9235cc54) out of 5 stars Extremely different plot for a mystery! 10 Mar. 2001
By K. L Sadler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had not realized that I have read Burke before. This book made a much larger impact on me then the last book of hers that I read. I will definitely remember her name and look for her books when I go to read an intelligent mystery. This particular plot is so intricately woven and has little gems of insight into the writings of Bret Harte, California, and the psychological impact of trauma on children and speech as to make it a wonderful read. I always enjoy it when authors take the time to do research into the basis of their story and Burke did a great job in incorporating all the facets into a sensible whole.
Burke's protagonist is different in that not only does she work in a newspaper, but she is also married. I rarely come across American writers who have married protagonists...makes you wonder if they think married women cannot possibly have interesting lives. Burke shows that this is not true, and makes her characters believeable. A totally enjoyable read. Karen Sadler,
Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91fe61bc) out of 5 stars Nobody writes a mystery romance as well as Jan Burke 19 Mar. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Never let it be said that a good mystery book can not have a fulfilling and captivating romance at its core because HOCUS will prove them wrong. Irene Kelly has an argument with her husband, policeman Frank Harriman, thinking they will make up when they return from work. Only problem with that scenario is Frank never comes home. It soon becomes evident that he has been taken hostage by unknown people for inexplicable reasons. While Irene worries, something totally out of character for her, she receives a phone call from the kidnappers who have the injured officer in their custody.
..... The two men holding Frank captive were victims of a childhood trauma, eye witnesses to the slaughters of their fathers. As adults they finally expect to exact their own brand of justice on the man responsible for the carnage. They don't know who he is except that he was a policeman in the town where Frank grew up and went to work as a detective. It is Irene's task to find out his identity and bring him to them in exchange for her spouse's freedom. Irene subdues her own controlling nature, out of her deep abiding love for her husband, and allows herself to be at the beck and call of the kidnappers knowing that if she fails to obey their orders, she will lose the only man she ever loved.
..... Readers of romance, mystery, suspense and thrillers will want to get their hands on HOCUS as quickly as possible. It is a deeply satisfying emotional read yet intellectually stimulating, prodding, and provoking the audience into trying to guess what will happen next. Jan Burke is a brilliant writer, a gifted storyteller who can hold her own with any writer in the genre, including Cornwell, Crichton and Rosenberg. If ever a book deserves an award, this one does, not only because of its popular appeal but because of a masterful plot execution.

......Harriet Klausner
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92023c9c) out of 5 stars "Hocus has news. We know where to find you" 6 Feb. 2005
By Sebastian Fernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the Irene Kelly series that does not include the main character's first name in the title. I read an interview with the author in which she explains that it took a lot of courage to change that pattern, due to the fear of people not recognizing her books anymore. She should not have worried, since the quality is still there and the series has become even a bigger success. "Hocus" starts a series of books by Jan Burke that have a one-word title, creating a contrast between this succinct title and the excellent ability the author has for describing different scenes and setting up engaging dialogues.

Irene is a reporter for the Las Piernas News Express and is married to detective Frank Harriman. Since they met they have had a great relationship and they have only been married for a little while, but at the start of this novel things are rocky. Frank has just finished blowing a case wide open against two men that are supposed to be the ringleaders of a group named Hocus; a story has appeared in Irene's newspaper with information that should only be known by an insider. Even though Irene did not write the article, the department is putting pressure on Frank and blaming him for the leak. This in turn has created some strain in the couple, and to make matters worse there was the issue of an old girlfriend asking Frank to visit her.

When the action starts Irene has not heard from Frank all day and thinks he is blowing off some steam, but when not even Frank's partner, Pete, knows of Irene's husband whereabouts, things start to turn south. Is Frank in trouble? Is he alive? Besides these questions, Irene has to deal with the recent discovery of a troublesome secret on Frank's family. When she learns soon enough that Frank has been kidnapped by Hocus and that their demands are very peculiar, she has to embark in a dangerous and complex investigation to save her husband.

As has happened before, Burke delivers a high intensity thriller that does not lack an outstanding use of narration and three-dimensional characters. One of the important aspects for me in a mystery series is how well the author develops the characters from one book to the next, and I am happy to say that Jan Burke excels in this area. In "Hocus" we advance considerably in our knowledge of Frank's family and the relationship they have with Irene, and we also get a glimpse of several events from their past. The different aspects mentioned in this review make this book and the series overall a great choice if you are looking for a good mystery to plunge into.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x924bb0d8) out of 5 stars If you don't like this book, you don't know how to read. 12 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Hocus is the best of the excellent Irene Kelly series. Each book in the series provides continuous humor and suspense, along with clever and interesting character and environment descriptions, and leaves the reader with the fulfillment that comes from having definitely done the right thing by setting aside the time to read. This book transcends previous works by Burke in its keen use of quick, yet smoothly coordinated sequences of place and time movement of the reader. Do yourself a favor and give this book a read. You will find the urgency of other things you had planned for the day to fade as you fall deeper into the pages of Hocus.
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