Monday, December 10, 2018

Be Our Ghost

Title: Be Our Ghost
Author: Kate Kingsbury
Published: October 9th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
Format: eBook, 278 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Merry Ghost Inn #3

This book came across as too simplistic for me. A town in an uproar because Jason Northwood has plans to put in a gaming arcade in the center of town. Yes, we are talking pinball machines, something that has not happened, or been profitable, since the late 70’s. Why would an author use a premise that is so outdated, even if she is trying to keep the subject matter “clean” and non-offensive, there has to be something else that would work besides wondering if property values will fall or if adults will actually “kiss”.

You are going to have to force yourself to stay awake while reading this slow moving, and rather dull in places, book. Of course Jason is going to be killed and of course Melanie and her grandmother, owners of the Merry Ghost Inn, jump into the middle of the investigation since grandmother Liza Harris is rather taken by one of the main suspects.

Thankfully, a subplot that has run through the books involves Melanie’s missing mother. Since this is the third book in the series, the usual make or break point for a cozy mystery series, the author has tied up that item which has been dangling and will leave the read with a needed conclusion or could possibly be the leaping off point for the next round.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Harvest of Secrets

Title: Harvest of Secrets
Author: Ellen Crosby
Published: November 6th 2018 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Wine Country Mysteries #9

The Wine Country Mysteries series is not your usual who-done-it; it is also a history lesson of Loudoun County, Virginia, with a mystery thrown into keep your attention.

As the vineyard is preparing for an incoming hurricane, the workers at Montgomery Estate Vineyards unearth a skull that has been buried under a shed outside of the family cemetery. Detailed forensics reveals that the skull, and the rest of the bones, have been there for more than a century, but what is interesting is the quilt that the woman was buried in. A quilt with historic value and story that goes back to the Underground Railroad.

Lucie Montgomery has a sudden conviction that this woman is a family member, but proving it also digs up interesting family drama when a DNA test through the genome project reveals that Lucie’s father had a secret that was kept from the family. Add into that, Jean-Claude de Merignac, the wayward son of a well-regarded French family arrives and while working at a neighboring La Vigne vineyard, is killed and there is no shortlist for those that could be responsible.

The multiple stories in this book will keep readers engrossed. There is no straightforward path to the end, yet enough trails to twist your mind around and possible reasons, all wrapped up in an interesting history lesson, with a potential new character that could add even more backstory to the Montgomery family and their enduring presence is the wine country of Atoka, Virginia.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Rooted in Deceit

Title: Rooted in Deceit
Author: Wendy Tyson
Published: September 4th 2018 by Henery Press
Format: eBook, paperback 270 Pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Greenhouse Mystery #4

Book number four in the series has Megan Sawyer opening a farm to table pizza kitchen on her Washington Acres farm located in Winsome, Pennsylvania. To add more stress to the days before the opening, Megan’s father and his high maintenance wife Sylvia appear and while they have been invited to stay at the farm, they decide that a nearby yoga wellness center would suit them better. Unfortunately, that creates issues all its own when Sylvia confronts an artist in residence, Thana Moore, whose body is later found and Sylvia is the main suspect.

There are a few twists and recurring characters, but overall the book is a good continuation of the series and by the end, some new revelations will be found and a new spin on old history will finally find its way onto Washington Acres.

The ongoing side stories are what keep this series moving for me. The murder du jour is a given, but the people and history of the area are what keeps me coming back. Small businesses, new relationships, and family all rolled into the typical cozy mystery formula without overburdening any of the usual ploys.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tailspin

Title: Tailspin
Author: Sandra Brown
Published: August 7th 2018 by Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Suspense

I was disappointed with the slow superficial feel of the book and was ready to put it down on numerous occasions that is until the last 100 or so pages ramped this ho-hum novel into a page-turner that kept me reading later than I had intended.

You are going to learn more about flying and reckless pilots than may interest you, but the descriptions go a long way in understanding Rye Mallett and why he agreed to take a small black box to a remote airstrip, in the middle of a storm, to meet a doctor. What he did not take into account was others might not want this package to arrive and if it is necessary to try to blind a pilot with a laser and crash his plane, well then, it is just something that had to happen.

It turns out Dr. Brynn O’Neal has her own reasons why no one but she can receive this package. She is not going to let some “freight dog” get in her way and if she literally has to fight her way out from under him, she will do whatever is necessary to get this bio-medical package to those in the most need.

Neither trusts the other and as the full story of research drugs, testing, US regulations, and unscrupulous people in power all converge, it is a countdown to whether all Rye and Brynn have gone through will be worth it to save just one life.