Monday, May 21, 2018

Asking for Murder

Title: Asking for Murder
Author: Roberta Isleib
Published: September 2nd 2008 by Berkley
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Advice Column Mystery #3

From time to time, I like to go back to a series that I had let fall off my radar. Sometimes to see if the series still holds my attention, but mostly to see if the writing can hold the test of time. When it came to this book, “Asking for Murder”, neither were true, all I found was stale, flat, and dated. The Advice Column Series ran it course after three books and though Roberta Isleib left a few “what-ifs”, the characters were left up to their own devices and the readers can make up their own minds as to what happened between Dr. Rebecca Butterman, her ex-husband Mark, and any future with Detective Meigs.

When Rebecca finds her friend, and fellow therapist severely injured, she takes it upon herself to find what happened. Was it as simple as the local police wanted to make it sound – a home invasion, or was there more to it and now everyone in Annabelle’s life is in danger.

As Roberta Isleib weaves a dull trail, the reader trudges along in hopes that something will spark and the path to the end was worth it, but unfortunately, not in this book. The who seemed to come out of nowhere and the reasoning for the deaths was weaved out of thin cloth. If you have not already started this series, I would say to just wave it off.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Crooked Staircase

Title: The Crooked Staircase
Author: Dean Koontz
Published: May 8th 2018 by Bantam
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 512 pages
Genre: Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Jane Hawk #3

After all that had gone on in this book, how could the single word “mommy” be so heartbreaking? How could a long-winded book boil down to one word that tugs at your heartstrings and turns this battle between good and evil into a desperate struggle for a mother to protect her child.

Each book in the Jane Hawk series is a literal step in a staircase. You cannot begin in the middle; you have to start with the first step, the first book, “The Silent Corner”, since each book build off the previous uninterrupted. Literally book two, will begin the day after book one ended without the neat little bow that readers look for.

If the idea of nanotechnology has not scared the begeebers out of you yet, then book three will cement the fear. As Jane Hawk continues her one-woman crusade against the likes of Booth Hendrickson, she begins to take him and the Arcadians down one person at a time, and this time, it is through his brother Simon and the woman who created them.

Dean Koontz throws in a side story of fraternal twins, but their story pales in comparison to the tale of the Washington’s and their loyalty to Travis, Jane’s older than his years son, who has been entrusted to them until Jane finishes what she has started.

This is not a book that you can put down and pick up something else, something lighter, this is a book that needs to be read (possibly with a dictionary next to you) start to finish. To absorb the drama and the wit, the reader has to be fully enmeshed in Jane’s world, a world of cataclysmic reality.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Dark Angel

Title: The Dark Angel
Author: Elly Griffiths
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 15, 2018)
Format: eBook, Hardcover 352 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Quercus for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Ruth Galloway #10

Elly Griffiths sure likes to keep her readers guessing and with the title answering a question that you did not know that you had asked, since there are many references to dark angels in this book, it is up to the reader to decide which angel Elly Griffiths was referring to.

Continuing on the heels of her last book, “The Chalk Pit“, Elly Griffiths dives right back in to the dangling question of who is the father of Michelle’s baby. DCI Harry Nelson is beginning to wonder, but with his wife expressing repeatedly that there was never anything physical with Tim, Nelson leaves it at that and realizes that there could never be a future with Ruth. That is until Ruth and Kate take up an offer of a working holiday in Italy and with an earthquake and a body found in a crumbling wall, Nelson is on the first plane out to save them and perhaps a second chance to play family until he is expected to return home to his real one.

Elly Griffiths floats the reader between several storylines. When Harry is in Italy and Ruth is part of a television show and dodging the secrets of a small village, Mickey Webb, who has just been release from prison after serving ten years for the death of his wife and children, is playing the innocent redeemed man that only wants to apologize for his past. Mickey’s current wife is playing her supportive role and though he has been seen in Harry’s neighborhood when Michelle is home alone, Mickey has his alibi and reasoning in place until that fateful night when things change suddenly.

Combining history, science, and human frailties, Elly Griffiths brings the reader into Ruth Galloway’s world and does not let them go with a simple happily ever after ending. You have to work in these books, you are taught not only the history of the area and the science involved, but also the accounts of all the characters that the author has interwoven over the previous nine books and the heartbreak that is brought to each in turn.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Alter Ego

Title: Alter Ego
Author: Brian Freeman
Published: May 1, 2018
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 400 pages
Genre: Police Procedural
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Jonathan Stride #9

There is a slow building intensity to Jonathan Stride novels. You know the characters, you know the scenery, but there is always something lurking in the background that holds you to the spot and makes you continue on to each chapter; each nuance that brings you to the final conclusion that makes you exhale the “huh” that you had been holding in for the last third of the book.

After eight books, Brian Freeman has combined Stride’s past and presents a ninth book that explores a previous case with a new eye, a new realization, and brings his lead character from the Cab Bolton series to Duluth for an ultimate showdown with Hollywood royalty.

With a movie company in town to film scenes from Stride’s past, a body is discovered that ties to the film crew and when an investigator, sent by Cab Bolton also goes missing, the two team up to take down the elite in the most dramatic way possible and in doing so, a fragile mind is bent further.

I was never a fan of the Bolton series, it just never caught on for me, but using him as a secondary, or was it a primary character; Freeman brought new life to both Cab and possibly Maggie through Stride. Swinging storylines in concentric arcs, the reader is ultimately brought to the center with the realization of the true puppet master and how one small detail can be the unraveling of a damaged mind.