Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Web of Evil
4 out o 5
I really enjoy this series by J.A. Jance.
Ali Reynolds is finally putting another chapter of her life behind her. She is heading to Los Angeles from her home in Sedona, Arizona, to finalize her divorce. But when her husband doesn’t show up for the appointed court date things get a little curious.
Turns out Paul Grayson was kidnapped from his bachelor party, yep, the cad was going to remarry the day after the divorce was granted. Not only was Paul abducted, but he was bound, placed in the trunk of a car and left to die on a railroad track.
Since the divorce was never granted, that leaves Ali to be the grieving widow, that not quite being her style she sets out to find who and what was behind this ghastly act.
As Ali keeps the reader of her blog updated, we slowly see the story and Ali’s role in it slowly unwind.
With great twists and an unpretentious cast of characters, Jance leads the reader to a thrilling conclusion that leaves you wondering what can Ali get into next. Thankfully, this is only the second book in the series, so it won’t be long until I can delve into Ali’s world again.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This book seemed to have lost the spark that his previous works had. Though it is still very good, this one was just off a bit.
Tish Verdure returns to Minnesota to write about a case that is just too personal for Detective Jonathan Stride. This book will be about the night 30 years ago that Jonathan and his late wife Cindy thought would be the most wonderful of their lives, the night that they would make their most personal commitment to each other. But when Cindy’s sister Laura never comes home and is found murdered, and the town is readily able to believe that it was the black vagrant that did it, and all was easily swept under the rug. But that was just too easy. This is the case that sent Jonathan into police work.
Now Tish is back to write a book and expose the truth. A truth that has too many people wanting this story to stay hidden. A truth that will set some free, but will bury others.
Freeman writes a tightly wound thriller that has multiple storylines and has the reader rapidly turning pages to see which conclusion will answer the questions the Jonathan has been trying to solve. Did his beloved Cindy keep secrets from him? Why didn’t he know about Tish?
Freeman slowly unfold more depth to his continuing characters. Slowly, but sure, we begin to see the inner workings of these characters and what makes them tick.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
4 out of 5
First of all the title of the book really bothered me. Too much of a take off of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. But I read the book anyway. And with the British humor that runs though this book, I am glad I did.
Jo Mackenzie gave up a very promising career in television broadcasting to raise her two boys while her husband dashes around the world to cover international stories. On his last visit home he informs Jo that he would like a divorce, but the wanker gets himself killed in an automobile accident and Jo is left with two young rambunctious children and not sure how or if she should actually mourn his loss.
When she find that they are in severe debt and a second mortgage had been taken out on their home without her knowledge; what is she to do but pull up stakes, buy her grandmothers knitting shop and start over again.
Not your typical “Oh, poor me” type of book, Jo is a refreshing character that has learned to make the best of what she has and not to dwell too much on the past. It would be nice if her boys could have a father, but together they are a family and that is good enough.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder
3 out of 5
In this 4th Hannah Swenson mystery, Hannah’s mother finds a body in the basement of a home that is set to be demolished. Things get a little sticky when one of Hannah’s Lemon Meringue Pies is found on the table with two slices missing with very little evidence of who was sharing the pie with Rhonda when she was murdered. The high school principal, guidance counselor and even the local reverend seem likely suspects.
Once again the residents of Lake Eden, Minnesota aren’t sure if Hannah is the culprit or the only one that can solve the crime. Seems drug store clerk Ronda Scharf had a couple of secrets of her own. Namely a bank robbery and missing money that has just started to show up.
And now Hannah, with the help of her two sometimes boyfriends, Mike and Norman, set out to solve the murder. Once again the book seems more drawn around the romantic antics of Hannah, Mike and Norman with the mystery plot definitely playing second fiddle.
For me this book was a little bit slower moving and not a whole lot going on as compared to the previous books in the series. Andrea is still ditzy with moments of brilliance, Mom is still annoying and Hannah who seems to be the smart reliable character can’t get her personal life together, which for me is starting to wear thin. Not as fun as the love triangle in the Evanovich books, but an interesting break from hardboiled mysteries.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener
M C Beaton
4 out of 5
Somehow I had gotten these books out of order and had to go back and read this one. For some reason I had confused it with a Nancy Atherton book; well, at least that is who I think it was.
After taking a break from Carsely and James Lacey, Agatha returns from her cruise with a few extra pounds and finds that she now has competition for James’ affection and it’s none other then a tall, beautiful, well put together woman by the name of Mary Fortune.
When Agatha finds that Mary has taken the gardening club by storm she sets out to beat her at her own game. Since Agatha is not against cheating to win at all costs, remember the cake incident in the first book, she sets out to win both James and the gardening award.
When mysterious incidents start happening around Carsely and a curious murder occurs, it’s up to Agatha, with the help of the wayward James, to solve the crimes and to find out how much Carsely really loves and appreciates Agatha.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
3 out of 5
Annie Lauance has retuned to Broward’s Rock Island to run her uncles bookshop after his death. Ever since her childhood visits, this part of South Carolina has always been home.
This isn’t your typical bookshop, they specialize in mysteries and when a much disliked author is murdered during a weekly gathering of island writers all fingers point to shop owner Annie - who had just had her own blow up with Elliot Morgan.
Just when Annie’s life couldn’t get anymore complicated her past comes for a visit in the shape of the very dashing and quite wealthy Max Darling. To win Annie back, Max starts his own investigating and with any luck he will exonerate Annie and get the girl of his dreams. That is if she would ever take Max seriously.
Carolyn Hart takes the reader on an interesting journey with this book. Though she does go off a bit with central characters living in tree houses, she incorporates famous writers and interesting mystery plots that remind the reader of past books and how enjoyable they were.
Friday, July 3, 2009
The Devlin Diary
4 out of 5
The whole time I was reading this book I kept saying to myself, “you didn’t need to read the first book in this series, The Rossetti Letter, to understand this book“. But, by the end I really think that I missed something in reading this one first. By the end there was just too much references to Princess Henriette-Anne, which is who the first book is written about.
This book alternates between Dr. Clare Donovan a present day lecturer and historian who is on a temporary loan program to Cambridge University and 17th Century Hannah Devlin the physician to the king’s mistress. Needing a new subject in the ever present publish or parish mentality of academia, Clare accidentally stumbles across Hannah’s diary in a musty chamber of Trinity College. This is no typical diary, this one is written in code and thus the mystery and challenge begins.
With the help of Andrew Kent, a main character from the first book, and a snarkey but dashing professor named Derek Goodman; who has quite a few secrets of his own, Clare begins to put the pieces together. When Goodman is found murdered with part of the diary in his hand, Kent and Donovan set off to solve murders centuries apart but apparently intertwined.
Christi Phillips puts you right into this story. From the decaying 17th century with it’s rules about women to modern day Cambridge University with it “rules” about outsiders. This two fold mystery will keep most readers enthralled. With either it’s modern day adventure or historical intrigue Phillips tells two stories that draw vivid pictures of the times and the people that live there.