Monday, February 20, 2017

Whale of a Crime

Title: Whale of a Crime
Author: Karen MacInerney
Published: Published January 16th 2017)
Format: Kindle Edition, 221 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery #7

I enjoyed this, the seventh book in the series, more than the previous offerings. There was no added fluff, just a nicely flowing book with multiple side stories to keep the layers fluid without the usual “let’s get on with it” feel.

Innkeeper Natalie Barnes finally has her inn booked to capacity and things are going smoothly. That is until a touring company has a couple of guests that have more on their mind than the scenery. When the ship captain’s body is pulled from the water and odd things begin to happen at Gray Whale, Natalie and John are beginning to believe that someone is not only out to complicate their lives, but to also shut down the inn itself.

Turns out that the captain has been on the island before and left a trail of broken hearts in his wake. The new boyfriend of Natalie’s best friend is charged, but things are not that simple. As Natalie digs, the past reveals itself, but not before a few other problems get in her way such as Natalie’s domineering sister, rumors of a new resort on the island, and a travel writer that seems to be making the wrong type of waves.

There is one clue that is dropped in the middle of the book and if you did not pick it up, that is ok, it all comes to light in the end and you find yourself saying, “Shoot, I knew that had to be important”. Good job Karen MacInerney and thank you for bringing us back to Cranberry Island.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Feels Like Family

Title: Feels Like Family
Author: Sheryl Woods
Published: April 1st 2007 by Mira Books
Format: Paperback, 393 pages
Genre: Romance
Series: Sweet Magnolias #3

‘Feels Like Family’ centers on 40-something Helen Decatur who having spent a lifetime moving her education, law practice and financially stability forward has decided that she is missing something. Maybe it is time for have a child. She has been going back and forth for a while. When she begins spending time with the pastry chef at Sullivan’s, she makes up her mind that he will father her child.

Unfortunately, she decides this on her own and without his knowledge tricks him into fatherhood. Not something that he is ready for since he is still reeling from the death of his wife and premature infant. Being the old-fashioned sort, he decides that maybe Helen, and her shoe collection, just might be worth the effort.

Things are not simple in Serenity, North Carolina. There are several side stories – While representing a client, Helen’s life is in danger, one of Dana Sue’s employees suffers a breakdown with the challenges of being a single mom but being a romance, you know how that is going to be tied up. Tess, another woman from Sullivan’s needs help with the false deportation of her husband and Helen, seeing a way to jab at another attorney, takes on this case as well.

You have to take this series for what it is – a feel good romance. There is no depth and the writing is a bit choppy with paragraphs and chapters jumping with very little transition or the explanation of time. So accepting that downfall, if you are looking for a way to spend a rainy afternoon, take a chance and visit the likable and funny women of Serenity.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Darkness Absolute

Title: A Darkness Absolute
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: February 7th 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 416 pages
Genre: Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Casey Duncan #2

Is it wrong when you start telling a book to “get on with it already”? It was not that this book was unbearably dragging, but I really wanted to get to the meatier parts. The parts that would tell me who the kidnapper was and how they were doing it and not dwell in the emotional turmoil that Casey Butler and Eric Dalton are constantly going through. While on that point, let’s stop with Eric constantly growling – that was getting a bit redundant.

This is definitely a series that you have to begin with the first book, “City of the Lost”, to understand Rockton and how the inhabitants were chosen. A town so off the grid that an airplane flying over this part of the Yukon would not see it. A town created by a counsel to house residents that need to step away from the prior lives if they want to keep living. This is not a place for everyone, and those here, have secrets of their own.

What begins with Detective Casey Butler and Deputy Will Anders trying to track down a runaway resident turns into a harrowing ordeal when they are hit with a sudden blizzard and seek shelter in a cave. Once there, they hear a voice calling for help and stumble onto a hole holding a woman that is barely alive. Turns out Nicki, who was also thought to be a runaway, but that was a year ago, has been kept here. Now the question is - who has been holding her captive and where are they now?

As the team of Butler, Dalton and Anders try to piece the kidnapping story together, they come up with many scenarios that need to be tracked down. Could this be one of their own behind the kidnapping or even a hoax that Nicki was part of? Then the bodies of two more women turn up and the town is on edge. Who is behind this and can they figure it out before more residents go missing.

Kelley Armstrong is a genius when it comes to complicating a story, just when you think that you have it narrowed down, she throw in yet another plausible snag and the reader is chasing down that right along with everything else that is going on. This is definitely a book that needs to be read in large chunks or you will lose the momentum and suspense that is being built. Be warned, this book is on the dark side and if you are skittish just read it with the lights on, but by all means, read this series. The characters, dialogue, and psychological insight will stay with you for a long time.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Quiet Game

Title: The Quiet Game
Author: Greg Iles
Published: July 1st 2000 by Signet
Format: Paperback, 580 pages
Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: Penn Cage #1

Way behind in getting to this series, but well worth the wait. Greg Iles draws Penn Cage with such a fine point that the reader can feel not only every word spoken, but also every breath drawn.

Penn Cage, an attorney and novelist, is recovering from the death of his wife and has decided that it is now time to leave Houston and return home with his young daughter. Modern day Natchez, Mississippi still reads like the segregated south. When Penn’s father confides in him that he is being blackmailed over a murder that occurred decades prior involving the bombing death of a black man, Penn cannot walk away. Coming to his father’s aid, Penn and newspaper publisher Caitlin Masters trek down a very rocky road angering Klansmen, a judge, the director of the FBI, the police and his old high school sweetheart who has a couple of secrets of her own.

With no one talking and the town playing their version of the quiet game, Penn has no option other than going against his own ethical code. He is going to expose the truths and in so doing will turn this Southern city inside out.