Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quicksand

Title: Quicksand
Author: Malin Persson Giolito
Published: Hardcover: 512 pages
Format: eBook, Hardcover: 512 pages
Genre: Legal Procedural
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This is not a book that I could recommend. The first quarter was interesting, but then my attention began to wane as the narrator went on incessantly. The middle part, I skimmed and feel that I missed nothing and then the ending was somewhat interesting but I had lost patience with the whole thing and was just glad that it was over.

Told from the perspective of 18-year-old Maria “Maja” Norberg, currently on trial for her involvement in a school shooting that was carried out by her boyfriend Sebastian. Until the very end, the reader is not completely sure of her participation. Was she part of the initial strategy that Sebastian, the son of Sweden’s richest man, had planned or was she just caught up in events that she was unaware of until the final defining moments.

Told in a teenage voice full of condescension and a story that unfolds too slowly for my tastes, I had a hard time with this book. Maja just seems to drone on in an unfiltered diatribe of those around her and her trying to come to terms with what happened and her part in it. Was there deeper meaning and societal innuendo that I miss – probably, but at the same time, the author should do their part in keeping my attention.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Burial at Sea

Title: A Burial at Sea
Author: Charles Finch
Published: November 8th 2011 by Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Charles Lennox #5

I enjoyed the first two books in this series, A Beautiful Blue Death and The September Society, ever since then, I have been disappointed but continue on in hopes that they will return to the where they had first captured my attention.

Charles Lennox is asked by his brother to leave his pregnant wife for a clandestine mission to Egypt to help the British government. Unable to say no, he boards the sailing ship Lucy. Of course, there is no such thing as a retired sleuth so when the ship’s second lieutenant is found butchered, the ship’s Captain implores Charles to find the culprit. Very much a locked room scenario since the ship is at sea, Charles sets off to answer the questions only to discover that there is a possible mutiny afoot and now the Captain has been murdered.

What is funny about this book is that by the time the murders on the ship are solved, I had completely forgotten the reason why Charles Lennox was on the Lucy in the first place and found myself frustrated that they book had continued when I thought that the climax had been reached.

For me, the Egypt meeting was completely unnecessary but then I had remembered that Teddy was on the ship and now I am pretty sure that this whole thing was a ruse by Sir Edmond to make sure that his son was safe. Maybe there was more to the meeting, but either way, my brain checked out during the last third of the book.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Goodbye to the Dead

Title: Goodbye to the Dead
Author: Brian Freeman
Published: March 8th 2016 by Quercus
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Genre: Suspense / Police Procedural
Series: Jonathan Stride #7

Well, did the brilliant Dr. Janine Snow kill her husband Jay Ferris nine years ago or did she not. That is what is keeping Lt. Jonathan Stride of the Duluth Police Department up at night. Nine years ago, he got the conviction for this murder and Janine is doing time, but now that a gun and jewelry have been found no one knows for sure.

At this time, Stride’s wife Cindy was still alive and she and Janine were close friends. They had worked together and on the fate-filled night, Cindy was the last to see Jay alive and she knew that Janine was there. She needs to testify but is conflicted.

Howard Marlowe, a Janine worshiper, just so happens to be placed on her jury. He is determined to be the lone holdout but the evidence is too strong and votes to convict her. Feeling as if he has betrayed her, he then spends the next nine years visiting her and searching for proof of her innocence much to the chagrin of his wife.

Brian Freeman does not let his audience down, interspersed with Janine Snow, the reader is juggled a mall shooting, sex trafficking, the continuing reappearance of troubled teen Cat Marlowe, the beginnings of Cindy’s illness, and how two unrelated cases, years apart, can be connected, but most importantly – can Stride find a way to come to terms with his past and move forward with Serena Dial.

Brian Freeman does not draw simple lines with his characters. Not everyone is good, not everyone is bad, you see them develop and change. They will infuriate you one moment and then you see a human side underneath and there is no easy answers for anyone involved.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Western Star

Title: The Western Star
Author: Craig Johnson
Published: September 5th 2017 by Viking
Format: *Hardcover; 336 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Walt Longmire #13

Thank you for the epilogue otherwise I would not have been able to pull all of those parts together. I did notice Cady asking why it took them so long to have her, but that was brushed over and I was hoping that by the end, that part would have been explained and when it was, I have to admit that I did let out a very loud gasp.

Current day and flashbacks divide each chapter. In 1972, Walt Longmire returned from Vietnam and joins Sheriff Connelly as his deputy on the annual Wyoming Sheriffs’ Association outing across the state of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back on the Western Star. Taking plotlines from Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and her credence “he did it, she did it, no one did it, or they all did it”, Longmire sets off to solve a murder that takes place on the train and intermeshes it with the present day where he is fighting the compassionate release of one of the most dangerous killers that he has ever encountered.

Present day has Walt, Vic and Henry at Cady’s home helping her with her daughter and preparing for their fight against the compassionate release board. Craig Johnson has done his homework here and goes into great length explaining this process to the reader. What you do not realize at the time is who the inmate is and why Walt is taking it so personally. You think you have an idea because of earlier points, but the truth is a surprise.

The bouncing back and forth is not hard to follow. The trainload of Sheriffs is hard to keep straight but fortunately, there are only a couple of names that you have to remember. It truly is not until the ending where Craig Johnson pulls this tightly wound narrative together and when he does, it is truly a “oh, wow” moment.

What is even more surprising is the postcard with one word written on the back that has Walt Longmire boarding a plane with his trusty Colt. He is on a mission, a mission that will not be disclosed until the next book and has me wondering what that one word could be.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Light We Lost

Title: The Light We Lost
Author: Jill Santopolo
Published: May 9th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Format: Hardcover, 328 pages
Genre: Romance

A heart-wrenching story is the easiest way of describing the relationship between college students Lucy and Gabe who meet on September 11th, 2001. As they stand on the top of a building at Columbia University, they see the devastation that takes down the twin towers and in its place, their shifting thirteen-year relationship takes form.

Lucy is consumed with her immediate connection with Gabe, but when he suddenly returns to his ex-girlfriend she pines and wallows until they meet up by chance a year later. They are drawn to each other but they each have careers that they are equally passionate about and have agreed to never dissuade each other from their dreams.

As Gabe’s career as a photojournalist takes him to war torn regions, Lucy develops her ideas for children’s programs that build young minds. Then Lucy meets Darren, a stable and settling force. He is not as exciting as Gabe is, but he is dependable. Something that Gabe never was. She settles for the man that does not tick all the boxes, but is home every night for dinner. Their life together grows, her career fulfills her, yet her husband Darren discounts her dreams. He thinks that what she does is unimportant and wishes that she would just stay home with their children. Something that Gabe would have never asked of her.

This is the danger point in her marriage. Lucy sees excitement in Gabe that is missing from her life at home. Maybe just one last time and she will finally be able move on, but fate hands her one last trick. As Gabe, lies injured in a hospital in Gaza City, Lucy rushes to his side. Trying to keep him engaged in this world instead of letting him float off, she recounts their dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, love.

No stone is left unturned in this bittersweet love story. A story that will stay with you and at points make you question your own life choices. This book is both beautiful and devastating so grab the tissues because you are in for a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Witches' Tree

Title: The Witches' Tree
Author: M.C. Beaton
Published: October 3rd 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover 244 pgs
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Agatha Raisin #28

After the last book, ‘Pushing up Daisies’, I had hoped that MC Beaton has turned a corner and her Agatha Raisin series would get back to what they had previous been with multiple story lines that bounced back and forth effortlessly. Unfortunately, this book returned to the usual drivel that has become her norm.

Fifty-three year old Agatha is in her usual depressed mood when there is no man in her life and work is the usual boring assortment of missing pets, marital affairs and wayward teens. Agatha is still the “pet hate” for Wilkes since she tends to solve more crime by “bumbling about” then he does. Thus begins the tale of the Witches’ Tree when the body of Margaret Darby is found hanging from a tree that has a curious past.

The story gets a bit twisted with several dead bodies, a coven, and a will that has gone through several revisions, but when it comes down to it, the village of Sumpton Harcourt has some very odd people not to mention too much affinity for Agatha Christy and romance novels.

Things were touched on in the book, involving the wife of the new vicar, that I did not think belonged in a cozy mystery and I was rather surprised to see it brought up here. There were parts that did not seem to be fully addressed by the end of the book and characters that took up more room than they should have. Overall, if you have read the full series to this point, you would not be able to pass by a new Agatha, but if you are just staring out, I suggest that you start at the beginning and develop you own love for the people of Carsley.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ghost on the Case

Title: Ghost on the Case
Author: Carolyn Hart
Expected Publication Date: October 3rd 2017 by Berkley Books
Format: eBook; Hardcover 272 pages
Genre: Cozy Supernatural
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Bailey Ruth #8

This series is getting more ridiculous with each book. Easily three-quarters of the reiteration could be removed and you would be left with a decent, though not great, novella. Granted, the multiple outfit changes have been reduced, but to take its place, Carolyn Hart is under the belief that her readers cannot retain plot points and characters and needs to re-explain each every other chapter.

Since excessive detail goes into informing the reader who Bailey Ruth Raeburn is and her job as an emissary, there is no reason that you have to read this series in order. Each book follows the same tired format of a good person caught in a bad situation needing help and Paul Wiggins from ‘Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions’ picks Bailey Ruth to return to earth to help but she must follow the ‘Precepts for Earthy Visitation’ or the “Rescue Express” will come smoking in and pick her up before her task can be completed.

Yet again, using various disguises, identities, and outfit changes, Bailey Ruth saves the day. The case is solved, the outfit is on point and those bumbling around the Adelaide, Oklahoma police department would not be able to save their town or citizenry without the help of the perpetually twenty-seven year old that always knows where to find passwords, extra handfuls of candy, or the perfect booth at Lulu’s.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Legal Tender

Title: Legal Tender
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Published: October 1st 1996 by HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardcover; 291 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Rosato and Associates #2

I need to make the Rosato and Associates series more prevalent in my reading choices since I enjoyed this book and the previous “Everywhere that Mary Went”, so much. Lisa Scottoline keeps the guessing and the developments on track so the reader is never bored and there is no lag time between events.

Bennie Rosato is a six-foot blonde that is hard to miss either in the courtroom or walking down the street. She is one of two partners in a growing law firm and is knocked for a loop when her partner and ex-lover announces that he is dissolving the partnership. Not to worry, she can keep her clients involving police misconduct and excessive-force cases and the good guy that he is has rented new office space for her and anyone that wants to go with her. When she had initially called the meeting, where this announcement was made, it was only to verify rumors that some of her associates where floating their resumes. Little did she know that she would be blindsided and her world would implode.

Since everyone heard the argument with Mark that followed their showdown, it is no surprise that when his body was found the next morning Bennie would be the first and to some the only suspect but Lisa Scottoline would not make it that easy for the readers. What follows is a well-braided tale with planted evidence, a corporate CEO that is also murdered, running around NYC in various outfits and identities, a mysterious meeting in a boathouse, a lawyer posing as a lawyer, all the while still making it to a doctor’s appointment for her mother.

How the ending was pulled off sounded more like a slapstick vignette with suspect and police alike stumbling into a courtroom. There are characters that you will adore, there are characters that you do not trust and are hoping that Bennie’s radar is working and there is humor, lots of humor, and hope, which is exactly what Bennie needs as she faces her next escapade and life with her mother.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Death on Tap

Title: Death on Tap
Author: Ellie Alexander
Expected Publication: October 3rd 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Sloan Kraus #1

I should have known that if the murder did not happen in the first twenty five percent of the book, that this was not a “who-done-it” and that the body floating in the fermenter was only an incidental part of the bigger picture.

Leavenworth, Washington is a Pacific Northwest destination town centered on beer with its Bavarian architecture and Oktoberfest banners. Sloan Krause and her husband Mac are brew masters for his family’s business Das Keller. All that came to a crashing halt when Sloan finds her husband in a compromising position with a barmaid and she wastes no time in heading off to the newest nanobrewery in town - Nitro.

All would have been fine and dandy if it was not for the body that they found floating in the tank at Nitro and fingers being pointed at Mac since he has a bit of a temper and a business on a downhill slide. Sloan wants to clear his name, if not for him, but for his aging parents that have been disappointed by Mac’s most recent antics and bad business deals.

This is where the book takes off in all sorts of directions and the idea of this being called a mystery left completely in the dust. This is a book about family, about beer and hops, about coming to terms with life in foster care and how people can take you in and make you one of their own. Plus, a murder that needed to be tied up since it was mention earlier in the book.

This is the first book in the Sloan Krause Mystery series that comes across as flat. The ending offers some interest in the next planned book, but as of now, I do not see myself waiting for its arrival.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sleep Like A Baby

Title: Sleep Like a Baby
Author: Charlaine Harris
Expected Publication: September 26th 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBooks; Hardcover: 272 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #10

I have to admit that I am not reading this series in order. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I catch the Hallmark version so when I picked up “Sleep Like a Baby”, I was somewhat taken aback by where Aurora’s life is but at the same time, I was grateful that Charlaine Harris did a little bit of catching the reader up with what had been happening.

Just as Robin is getting ready to jump on a plane for his big night at the awards ceremony, Aurora comes down with a horrible case of the flu. With a new baby to care for, and a stepbrother that is helpful but has his own life, Aurora cannot be left alone. Robin decides to call Virginia, a local caregiver that can come in nights to help with both Aurora and two-month-old Sofie.

Turns out that there is a whole mess brewing when Aurora wakes to find her daughter crying and the caregiver nowhere in sight and a dead body in the backyard. Thankfully, it is not Virginia but a woman that had been stalking Robin. This case just got a whole lot stranger for the local Lawrenceton police department and now Robin is in panic mode since he was not there to protect his family.

With her head swimming in germs and a crying infant that needs nursing every two hours, Aurora does her best to find answers but at the same time, she needs to be there for her mother when adversity strikes Aida’s life.

This book did get a bit silly from time to time, for instance, Aurora’s sentimentality to a diaper bag because a dear friend gave it to her, made me shake my head at her. I know that this series is kinder and gentler than others out there are, but sometimes Aurora’s gosh-golly-gee outlook irritates me.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Resort

Title: Last Resort
Author: Jeff Shelby
Published: August 29th 2014 by Mission Bay Publishing
Format: eBook, 298 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Moose River Mystery #2

It had been so long since I had read the first book in the series, “The Murder Pit” that I am glad Jeff Shelby did a little rehashing to click my old brain cells into place. It is not necessary to have read that book first, but it was a nice reminder of where Daisy and Jake started out.

Windy Vista Resort on Lenzen Lake is north of Duluth, Minnesota and looks like an ideal vacation spot for Daisy and Jake Savage, or at least that is what the brochure said after they had won an all-expense paid vacation that they two of them greatly need. After finding a body in their coal chute and repairs to a house that are never-ending, they desperately needed to leave their four children in the hands of trusting grandparents and head out of town. The brochure was geared more to a the vision of the future then the rundown trailer park full of wacky people and a dead body with a much-coveted medallion around his neck that they found.

Delilah, the owner of Windy Vista does her best, but times are tough and now with her business partner dead and money missing from their accounts, the park is in peril of closing. While Jake cannot get away fast enough, Daisy has taken a liking to this group of misfits and is determined to solve yet another murder mystery.

This is a fun series, the Daisy and Jake relationship is funny and the situations that they find themselves in are over the top. They complement each other well and their banter is what holds the books together for me. Funny story – I had actually stumbled across this series by accident. I had been looking for another book in the “Stay at Home Dad” series by Jeffrey Allen and somehow my searches lead me to Jeff Shelby. Come to find out, they are the same person. Who Knew? Now if we could only convince him to write more Deuce Winter’s books.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Grave Peril

Title: Grave Peril
Author: Jim Butcher
Published: November 4th 2008 by Roc
Format: Hardcover, 348 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Series: Dresden Files #3

I do not know why it took me so long to find this series. Granted the spooky world is not my usual go to, yet I find myself transfixed each time I pick up these books. To be fair, I am not sure that it is the ghoul factor that keeps me coming back, but I do know that if Jim Butcher ever removed the humor, I would not enjoy them as much as I do.

Since Harry Dresden is the only Wizard in the phonebook, he receives call for the strange things happening in the Windy City, yet when Harry and his friend Michael are called to the hospital to battle a ghost that is terrorizing babies in the maternity ward, how can they say no. What they did not know at the time was that the veil between this world and the “nevernever” is thinning thus allowing all sorts of creepy things through.

Harry and Michael seem to be the targets of a gang of demons. Being what demons are, they do not play fair and when they go after those closest to Harry and Michael, all rules are thrown to the side and using whatever is at their disposal, this team of two, plus a couple of vampires are ready to take on those that are bent to destroy our world.

Hearts are broken, souls are shattered, yet Harry, Michael, and Bob will continue to protect those that they love and those that are completely unaware of what is going on around them. Jim Butcher packs this volume with many memorable characters and I, as the reader, hope to see a few of them again.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Title: Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Author: Jamie Ford
Published: September 12th 2017 by Ballantine Books
Format: eBook and Hardcove; 320 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

I do not know where to begin with this book. Jaime Ford has such a way with his descriptions and heartbreaking characters that it is always a disservice to try to relay the depth and emotions that he puts into his writing and the lives of his characters.

Beginning in 1902 when five year Yung Kun-ai is placed on a freighter by a starving mother after he witnesses her smothering his infant sister, this sad young boy learn quickly that the world does not treat everyone fairly especially if you are an orphan and have mixed blood. Being the product of a Chinese mother and a white missionary father, he lives in two worlds and realizes that neither world wants him.

Arriving in Seattle, he becomes a ward of the state and with a wealthy benefactress, he is sent to a boarding school, but once again is treated like a second class citizen. Gathering courage, he informs his sponsor that he no longer wants what is offered and being the horrible person that she is, she has the brilliant idea of auctioning him at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific World’s Fair.

Madam Flora and the Gibson Girls of the Tenderloin bordello take him in and create a home for him. To the outside world this is a disaster, but to Ernest, his prayers have been answered especially when he is reunited with Fahn, a young Japanese girl that was on the freighter with him and had, in his youthful way, told her on their first week at sea, that he was going to marry her.

Of course there are conflicts especially when Maisie, the daughter of Madam Flora, has staked her claim on Ernest, but the three come to terms with their arrangement. Life in a brothel is both exhilarating and terrifying. There are prices to be paid and lasting realties must be faced.

Now in 1962, Ernest is trying desperately to keep control over Gracie’s memories. She has slipped away from him and with moments of clarity, and an investigative journalist daughter that is asking questions about their past, Ernest is trying to keep the most scandalous parts hidden and his family together.

Every chapter has a breathless moment as their story is revealed. The reader is trying to keep a step ahead and when the realities are voiced, you are both relieved as to what has been exposed and terrified as to what will be laid bare next.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Death in Dark Blue

Title: Death in Dark Blue
Author: Julia Buckley
Published: May 2nd 2017 by Berkley
Format: Paperback; 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Writer's Apprentice Mystery Book Series #2

Running parallel to quotes at the beginning of each chapter from the fictional novel Death on the Danube written, I believe, by the main characters of the book - Camille Graham and her personal assistant and collaborator, Lena London. The reader is given a slight taste as to what will unfold in the subsequent pages and will open the door to the body that is found and the upheaval that is brought to them all.

Continuing from the last book ‘A Dark and Stormy Murder’, Sam West, their semi reclusive next door neighbor, continues to be under suspicion since his once thought to be dead wife has been spotted and Lena is using her research talents to find her.

Taylor Branch, the best friend of the missing Victoria has used her blog to disparage Sam at every turn, but had sent a message that she would like to meet up with him and apologize in person. When her body is found on his property, the tabloids are after him once again to prove that he is a murderer. It might not have been his wife Victoria, but with Taylor’s body being discovered on his property, he obviously had a hand in this one.

Many characters are thrown in throughout this book and the reader needs to analyze each and decided if they are important or just thrown in for distraction. I cannot understand why a few of them were mentioned, but then again, that is what a mystery is about. The infamous red herrings that keep the reader engaged. Then there is Grace Palmer who throws this whole thing wide open.

Winter in Blue Lake, Indiana, gives a very heavy hand to this pseudo-gothic novel. The atmosphere is heavy, gray, and oppressive, yet at the same time, there are modern day features such as the determined paparazzi and cozy mystery features using the ever present German Sheppards named Rochester and Heathcliff and a cat named Lestrade. Of course, Julia Buckley throws in touches of romance so when it comes to classifying this genre, it is all over the place.

The end of the book leads to a very large opening for the next book in the series with an orchestrated abduction and Sam ever present in the center of the drama.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Doom With A View

Title: Doom With a View
Author: Kate Kingsbury
Published: September 12th 2017 by Crooked Lane Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover 244 pgs
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 #2

I almost put this book down after the first chapter. Innkeeper Melanie West finds a body on her driveway, calling emergency dispatch she says, “I think he is dead”, but is rather indifferent and returns to the house since she has piecrusts in the oven and is too worried about bad reviews of her new inn, than an actual human being.

With a group of elderly booklovers taking over the Merry Ghost Inn for their grand opening weekend, Melanie and her grandmother Liza have their hands full when the investigation drags on and no one is allowed to leave town. As to who could have tampered with the balcony and killed Walter, they each have their own speculations but it is not until Beatrice mentions the man in the skeleton mask that they sit up and take notice.

With the grumpy town detective interviewing everyone and getting nowhere, Melanie and Liza decide to start asking a couple of questions on their own. Apparently, Walter was barely tolerated by the members of his book group and after Gloria had accused him of breaking up her most recent relationship, others started turning their backs on him too.

With only a couple of days before their next group of visitors descends on the Merry Ghost Inn, Melanie and Liza are running out of time. The grumpy detective is making no headway so why not set a trap of their own considering their entire guest list are possible suspects.

This book is a good weekend read, if you remember the previous book, you would be familiar with Melanie’s backstory and though it is not a dominate part of this story, hopefully one day soon, she will have all her questions answered.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Keepsake

Title: The Keepsake
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Published: September 9th 2008 by Ballantine Books
Format: Hardcover, 349 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Rizzoli and Isles #7

I think that I am actually surprised by how much I liked this book. The previous books were hit or miss and I was preparing myself for yet another miss.

Medical Examiner Maura Isles is called into the Crispin Museum in Boston to help with the dating process of Madam X, a recently discovered Egyptian mummy. As she looks closer at the x-rays, it becomes obvious that this is not an ancient relic but a recent murder victim that someone has tried to pass off as a relic.

Tess Gerritsen goes into in depth detail on how mummies are created and how bodies are preserved in bogs, and surprising to me, this part was rather fascinating.

Dr. Josephine Pulcillo, a young archeologist and a central character in this book, is not who she claims to be. Her credentials are genuine, but who she really is has been kept secret and her lineage is what keeps her on the run.

As Detective Jane Rizzoli tries to unravel this tightly coiled story, as more parts and more bodies reveal themselves, leaving everyone involved more confused than when they started. The reader will have to hold on until the end when that last, but most intricate, part is exposed.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Shunning Sarah

Title: Shunning Sarah
Author: Julie Kramer
Published: August 7th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Riley Spartz #5

I have a love hate relationship with this series. There are certain parts that I love – Riley’s bumbling. Yet at the same time, I really dislike Riley’s bumbling. Some parts seem to take too long to conclude, yet other parts are over much too quickly. There is only one more book in this series, and hopefully, Julie Kramer will be able to draw all the parts of Riley’s life together and maybe see a happily ever after for her.

You have to go with what mom says and if she is pointing you towards the body of an Amish girl and you are a news reporter, you had better grab your camera and go. Oh, and do not get distracted by a bear. Apparently, there is one in the woods that has others grabbing their guns.

When a local boy falls into a sinkhole, no one expected that hole to be hiding the dead body of a woman wrapped in a quilt, but that is exactly what happened when Josh Kueppers falls in and comes face to face with her. Doing what any other panicked child with a shotgun would do, he blows off her face. Now with no way of identifying the woman, the local police and Channel 3 reporter Riley Spartz set out to find out who this woman could be.

Come to find out that the dead woman is Sarah Yoder from the nearby town of Harmony. Since this is technical outside of the broadcast area that her market audience is from, Riley has to battle the new news director. He is a disgusting sort, but this story is too interesting and Riley is willing to put up with just about anything to keep her news followers up-to-date on her findings.

The Amish are a quiet self-contained community and they have no need of the devil in the form of television or its reporters, but that does not stop Riley. As she digs further into Sarah’s life and shunning, Riley’s life, if not her hair, is in danger. Being slow on the uptake, she eventually figures out most of the parts, but not before she is running for her life and needs to climb into a bear’s den to get the help that she needs.

By the end, Sarah’s tormented life is revealed, yet Riley is not comfortable sharing it all. She will make sure that those that need to be protected will be. She will see a grieving mother, yet not feel sorry for her. Riley will do what she can, but right now, she needs to go home, to the farm and her parents. Her own personal life is in turmoil, but that can wait for another day. Today she just needs her family.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Welcome to Serenity

Title: Welcome to Serenity
Author: Sherryl Woods
Published: December 1st 2008 by Mira Books
Format: Paperback, 408 pages
Genre: Romance
Series: The Sweet Magnolia's #4

I am still not sure how I feel about this book. For me, the ending was empty with no true conclusion.

Jeanette Brioche, the esthetician at the Corner Spa in Serenity, South Carolina, has her life in order. She loves her friends and their families but she is missing something in her life. In walks Tom McDonald, the new town manager. Theirs is a rock start and it gets bumpier when she realizes that his mother is the woman that ran her out of the last spa that she worked at.

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, they are both active on the committee organizing the annual Christmas festival. There is an attraction and with Tom trying to work out his growing interest in Jeanette with her need for independence and his mother’s need for him to move back home and take his rightful place in Charleston society, things get bumpy before they find their way.

As I said, the ending was empty for me. What did Jeanette actually agree to? Is she going to give up her own dreams and stability so Tom can pursue his own? Not sure where I stand with this book since I have enjoyed, to a point, the previous books. I enjoy the women of Serenity, I just wish that there was some reality before the happily ever after endings.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Black Book

Title: The Black Book
Author: James Patterson and David Ellis
Published: May 4th 2017 by Century
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Genre: Suspense

I should know better than to drop everything and pick up a new Patterson just because someone else had said that it was the best book that they had read in a long time. A Patterson is a Patterson is a Patterson. They all seem to follow the same plug and play format and when the book has reached its ending, Patterson or co-author finds it necessary to add a couple more unnecessary chapters.

In a way, this book begins in the middle and works past and present when Detective Patti Harney finds her twin brother Detective Bill Harney near death from a gunshot to the head in the bedroom of assistant state’s attorney Amy Lentini. Only in a Patterson book, can a character take a straight through shot to the brain and come out of it with only memory loss and a limp.

Working backwards, and on face value, what lead up to this was a raid on a brothel and a missing black book. Apparently, everyone from executives, political leaders, and the head of a church frequented this brownstone and with so much at stake, names and pictures were released. What no one knew, outside of a very small contingent, Billy was also working undercover for Internal Affairs. Now the question is - why was Billy and his partner shot. Was it involving the black book or what he discovered during his undercover work?

With no memory and Billy being accused of murder, how is this going to unwind? There is the usual Patterson twist, one that you could see coming, but it was not until the end that you would find out the direction. Multiple characters were set up and if you have read Patterson long enough, you know to expect the least likely.

I could not wait until this book was over. Granted, the build-up was interesting but once again, Patterson lost me with dragging out the ending when the book was already over.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Oh, Fudge

Title: Oh, Fudge
Author: Nancy Coco
Expected Publication: August 29th 2017 by Kensington
Format: eBook,Paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Candy Coated #5

This one just missed the spot for me. For some reason, I had thought that this book was further down in the life of Allie McMurphy but it is mere weeks after her last adventure of finding a body and still within her first year on Mackinac Island and ownership of the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop.

Allie walks into the local Butterfly House only to discover her cousin Tori is back and is currently standing over a woman who has a garden spade sticking out of her chest. Allies is not sure of the circumstances, but she knows that her cousin could not be responsible. Tori may be trying to get a portion of the McMurphy and had her lips on Allie’s boyfriend, but she is no killer and the cousins need to stop battling and work on this together.

As the story tries to gain momentum, the local gossips are in full force explaining that Barbara Smart made it a habit of seducing any and every man on the island. She had no problem doing what she wanted and hid nothing from prying eyes. She might have made some promises to her friends, but if that got in the way of her endgame, so be it, she could always make other friends.

Add in a secondary story about diamonds found in a shipment of butterfly chrysalis and now you have an additional source of suspects and queries leading to the big question of “are these two crimes related” or is this just another day on the island.

This easy read series does not need your undivided attention and allows for those quick breaks from your stressful day. There are some nice things going on in this book, unfortunately, they are overshadowed by the relentless meanderings and the all too frequent - “how did you jump to that conclusion”, that distracts the reader.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Unraveling Oliver

Title: Unraveling Oliver
Author: Liz Nugent
Expected Publication: August 22nd 2017 by Gallery/Scout Press
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 272 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Usually, I am not a fan of a book told backwards, but as you unfold or unravel Oliver, there is no other way. Each character is being interviewed and in the telling of their individual stories, the truth of Oliver is revealed and reviled in this psychological thriller. As you read, you are putting bits and parts together. It is not until the author voices the actual words that you find yourself gasping at the realization of where she is going with this narrative. That the little fragments are coming together and where once you had felt sorry for Oliver, you grow to despise who he is and what he had done to those around him.

There is no shocking or surprising revelation that Alice is in a coma. Oliver took responsibility from the start. What there was, was that boiling point and when Alice, dear sweet perfect Alice, went too far and looked into the box that she was told never to touch that Oliver’s lies came pouring out. Oliver could not have that, he had constructed his story too finely to have it all unravel now.

There is nothing random about Oliver or this book, each part of the story is finely tuned, on point with the times and truths of the generation. From Oliver hidden away by a father that could not come to terms with his own choices. A wife that was blinded by her belief in a man, a friend that was not willing, until it was too late, to see what was in front of him. People eager to see only a small part and assumed a larger picture and in the end, a psychopath that was willing to lie to the one and only person that needed nothing from him but the truth.

I admit, in the beginning I actually felt sorry for Oliver. How could the world be so torturous to a young boy? Yet, by the end, there was no pity left. There was raw emotion, yet no lasting feeling of sorrow for who he had become. Was Oliver born with a broken mind or did the world break it for him. I guess that is a question that will never be answered and what would make for a great reading group discussion. Each person will come away with a different response to this book, but at the same time, I will guarantee you that no one would want to be part of Oliver’s world.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Medical Examiner

Title: The Medical Examiner
Author: ****
Published: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Women's Murder Club #16.5

When it comes to writing a novella, it should not be too hard to keep facts straight. Was Joan Murphy missing 24 or 48 hours? How can a person pop over to San Bernardino from San Francisco for a notification when that would involve a one-way jaunt of over 6 hours? Little things like this drive me batty when it comes to a Patterson book.

I am used to this author just throwing stuff in with no apparent thought and trying for sensationalism when it comes to the backgrounds of characters, but this book was silly. Two people found dead in a hotel room, one may not have been so dead after all, a person missing 24 or was it 48 hours, a love triangle or was it a convenience with an extra person, PTSD and bullets flying.

Once again, it is all on me that I chose to pick up this book. The only redeeming quality is that Claire Washburn makes more than a passing appearance, which I enjoyed since she is the one character from the Women’s Murder Club that is given too little attention.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Education of a Coroner

Title: The Education of a Coroner
Author: John Bateson
Published: August 15th 2017 by Scribner
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
I am actually surprised as to how much I enjoyed this book. The beginning is a bit dull and I found myself skimming parts, but once I got into the actual findings and how the investigators were able to dig through the obvious to the actual, the book took a surprising turn for me.

John Bateson takes his time interviewing Ken Holmes and recounting his thirty-six year career at the Marin County Coroner’s Office starting as a death investigator and ending as the three-term, elected coroner. There are actual case studies, but there is no gruesome gore. In his career, Holmes focused on the family members. He emphasizes how important the job of coroner is when it comes to working with people compared to police investigators who are only looking at the facts of a homicides and do not take time with outward appearing suicides. Sometimes you do not know what you have until all the details are examined. How all the pieces may not become known until decades later, but a focused coroner investigator is always on the lookout for the parts that make up the whole.

Granted, this reads more like a memoir where Ken Holmes only recounts the “saves” in his long career, and recounts the “if it was not for me” stories, but such is life. He has a fulfilling career and it was interesting to see it from an insider’s perspective.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Seeing Red

Title: Seeing Red
Author: Sandra Brown
Expected Publication Date: August 15th 2017 by Grand Central Publishing
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
This is one of those books that you did not want to see end. Though the story was concluded, you did not want to let go of the suspense and intrigue that Sandra Brown had built. Just as one part was winding down, you found yourself breathless as a new revelation reared its head and the characters were either exposed for who or what they were or a wild conclusion that you had jumped to on your own had come to pass.

Billed as a sexy romantic thriller, I did not really see the romantic side, I saw raw unbridled passion between two characters that had too much too lose if the story that they were chasing went anymore sideways than it already had.

Lives changed the morning of the 1992 bombing of the Pegasus Hotel where 192 people died and one man, Maj. Franklin Trapper, became an instant hero. Being forced to live in his famous father’s shadow has been nothing but torment for his son John. There were things about the bombing that never sat right with him so when he became an ATF agent, he took on the Pegasus case as his own personal crusade. Little did he know, but that was going to be his downfall and the one thing that would cause a permanent wedge between father and son.

In walks the brash and beautiful TV reporter Kerra Bailey. With the anniversary of the bombing quickly approaching, she wants an interview with the now reclusive Major. With every door slammed in her face, she searches out John. This is her last chance to come face to face with the Major and get her life-changing interview if only John would make that first introduction.

There are people that do not want this interview to take place. The mere fact that these two individuals coming together and comparing notes could destroy what others had built their careers on. Within an hour of the interview, bullets are flying with Kerra barely escaping two would-be killers and the Major clinging to life.

At points, were the story is running out of steam, there are revelations and twists exposed that leaves the reader gasping and holding the book tighter in a mad race to the end. Once you pick up this book, I certainly hope that you do not have plans for the next day or two since you will not be putting this down until the true puppet-master is revealed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Murder on the Thames

Title: Murder on the Thames
Author: Matthew Costello and Neil Richards
Published: December 19th 2013 by Bastei Entertainment
Format: eBook, 119 pages
Genre: Short Story Mystery
Series: Cherringham Crime Series #1

Short stories are not easy to write, yet the writing team of Matthew Costello and Neil Richards did an excellent job.

Former NYPD homicide detective Jack Brennan has retired to Cherringham hoping for a quiet life on a boat after the death of his wife. Sarah Edwards has just returned to Cherringham, a quiet town in the Cotswolds, from London after the collapse of her marriage. When a woman’s body is found in the river, Sarah needs help in finding answers since the local police consider it an open and shut case.

Sammi Jackson and Sarah had been friends before they had both gone in different directions, though they had chosen different paths, Sarah does not want to let her friend down. With the help of Jack, whom has grown quite board and listless, the two set off to find the answers that the police do not want to look for.

This is the first installment of the Cherringham Crime Series and I have to say that I am hooked. The authors do not talk down to their readers and just enough is laid out so the reader is not left in the dark or conclusions are jumped to without enough backstory.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Lavender House

Title: The Lavender House
Author: Hilary Boyd
Published: August 8, 2017 by Quercus
Format: eBook, Paperback 432 pages
Genre: Romance
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

I enjoy Hilary Boyd’s books; they are more along the lines of mature romances instead of the sweaty sheet books that are too prevalent in this genre.

Love hurts no matter what your age and unfortunately, fate is not yet finished with Nancy de Freitas. Having given up her own music career when she married, Nancy now finds herself alone when Christopher walks out after thirty-four years. Four years later, she is all that is holding her small family together. Her ailing mother Frances refuses to get the medical treatment that she needs, her daughter Louise is in a troubled marriage to a man that cannot see beyond his own dreams to understand that his family is suffering. And two adorable granddaughters that are of the age where they can both see and need to be sheltered from the dynamics surrounding them.

Taking an evening for herself, Nancy is introduced to Jim, a pseudo successful, but past his prime, country singer. There is a spark, but Nancy knows that she has more pressing responsibilities at home then starting up with a man that may not be completely honest when it comes to his current situation.

Yet she cannot get this man off her mind. This may be her last chance at not being alone, that is until fate once again steps in. Does she choose Jim and the new life that he has to offer or does she stay firmly within her comfort zone and resign herself to the needs of her family.

That is what I like about Hilary Boyd – she writes realistic characters. We can feel Nancy’s pain and confusion and we can understand why Jim is not willing to let go. We find ourselves constantly preaching to and cheering on this couple and it is not until the last pages that we can finally exhale and hope that destiny has finally connected this couple.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chapter and Hearse

Title: Chapter and Hearse
Author: Lorna Barrett
Published: August 3rd 2010 by Berkley Prime Crime
Format: Paperback, 326 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Booktown Mystery #4

This is one of those series that I continue reading with no real reason why. I guess it is because I love the idea of a town centered on bookstores that each specialize in a different genre and with a murder or two thrown in to keep things interesting.

When a gas explosion kills the owner of the history bookstore ‘History Repeats Itself’, Tricia Mills, owner of the mystery bookstore, ‘Haven’t Got a Clue’, must spring into action before her sister Angelica’s boyfriend is accused of the crime. It is not as if Tricia has any free time since she is responsible for two bookshops since Angelica is on a book tour with her cookbook and it appears that she herself is having a bit of trouble. There is curious tampering and downright acts of violence that are following Angelica and not wanting to upset Tricia, she leaves this information out of their conversations. With Angelica’s boyfriend not talking about what he knows, Tricia is left to investigate on her own and hopefully, she will find the answers before the next plot twist sends the reader down a weedy path.

With recurring characters, this is an easy series to pick up and put down. A perfect summer read where you do not have to concentrate too deeply and from time to time just the right amount of humor.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Better Late Than Never

Title: Better Late Than Never
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Published: November 1st 2016 by Berkley
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystr
Series: Library Lover's Mystery #7

Like the previous book in the Mystery Lover's series, “A Likely Story”, Jenn McKinlay needs to stop using the word “said” (forty six times in the first chapter) every time one of her characters is speaking. Not only is it annoying, is it distracting and downright maddening.

Who knew that holding an amnesty day for overdue books at Briar Creek Library would open a twenty-year-old unsolved murder mystery, but that is exactly what happened. Lindsay Norris, director of the library, once again involves herself when she cannot let sleeping dogs lie and is determined to find who could have possibly returned the book that was last checked out by the murder victim.

Convinced that the murderer must have dropped off the book, Lindsay delves into the decades old mystery to find justice for the much loved high school English teacher Candice Whitely. What she did not realize was how many lives this woman touched and the unsubstantiated rumors that were flying around about her. As the story is revealed, with the meddlesome help of returning character Robbie Vine, Lindsay not only solves the mystery, but also clears a young woman’s name.

There were a couple of good parts to this book, some unexpected humor and a twist or two, unfortunately they were overshadowed by word repetition and the need to hide a budding romance between two unencumbered grown adults.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

May the Best Man Die

Title: May the Best Man Die
Author: Deborah Donnelly
Published: September 30th 2003 by Dell
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Carnegie Kincaid #3

Carnegie Kincaid, a Seattle based wedding planner, is not in the mood for a last minute call to a stag party, but when funds are running low she will do what she needs to do to keep a bridezilla, and her wealthy mother happy, and her business afloat. Ok, that is a play on words since her business in run out of a houseboat when it is not being quarantined over repairs.

You would think that keeping two holiday weddings on track would be the most difficult parts of Carnegie’s life, but you would be wrong. The whole idea of juggling brides, grooms, family members, florists, caterers and a whole flux of details straight pales in comparison to juggling two men and a couple of dead bodies.

It does not help that she is a pseudo witness when she peers through binoculars and sees a fight breakout between two guests, but when one is found in the canal the next morning and the other is the brother of her best friend, things heat up quickly.

Add in a corporate merger that has way too many twisty parts and an ending that seems pulled out of nowhere and you have the third book in the Carnegie Kincaid series. This is an older series that I had started years ago and had forgotten about. There are parts that stand the test of time, but other parts that did not age well. Since this book is the midway point in the series, I will trudge on when I can, but I will not be rushing for the next book.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Killer Party

Title: Killer Party
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Expected Publication: July 18th 2017 by Lyrical Underground
Format: eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #9

This series is definitely growing on me. I know that most people would not wait until the ninth book in a series to reach this conclusion, but I do believe that this just might be the best book in the series.

South Cove, on the California coast, is a tourist stopping off spot that houses a unique combination of shops and eateries. When she is not serving up coffee or enticing readers with new book releases, Jill Gardener, the owner of Coffee, Books and More, tends to get involved in local murders, which is a touchy point between Jill and her boyfriend, local detective Greg King, since Jill seems to have a better track record when it comes to solving crime.

Levi Walker, tech millionaire and best childhood friend of Greg, is hosting a friend’s weekend at The Castle, a local historical spot in South Cove. After a night of drinking and old wounds opened by the group, a body is found floating in the pool and since Greg is a little too close to this crowd, he asks Jill to do a little sleuthing on the side and get to the bottom of this latest murder.

The book follows one main storyline with a few added bits and parts tossed in along the way. The high school friends are an interesting sort with their own drama, Aunt Jackie is hauling around a five pound binder of wedding plans, Amy and Justin decide on an engagement party, there is a new shop in town, and Jill is trying to offload her responsibilities when it comes to who will represent CBM at the next planning meeting for the upcoming winter festival in South Cove.

There had better be another book in this series since this one ended with a shocking announcement by Aunt Jackie and though Jill wants answers, she is going to pull a Scarlet O’Hara and just deal with it tomorrow. Not sure what Jackie’s announcement is going to be, but I do know, Jill will be in for another adventure and this time, she might be wearing an elf costume.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Driving Miss Norma

Title: Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying "Yes" to Living
Author: Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle
Published: May 2nd 2017 by HarperOne
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Genre: Memoir

This is a hard one for me. I love what Norma’s son and daughter-in-law did for her, but throughout the book, I kept wondering if Ramie knew what a weak man that she was married to. That if anything happened to her, her husband Tim would not be able to take care of her. I have never read a memoir where a grown man would willingly tell his readers that he was too afraid of the world knowing his name, or having to leave a room when a bandage was needed. A man that left it up to his wife to be the caregiver to his own mother that he himself should have been. He came across as a very selfish child and I feel that he distracted from the story that was being told.

After the death of her husband, nonagenarian Norma received her own cancer diagnosis. When given the treatment options, of which none sounded appealing, she weighed her options and decides to hit the road with Tim and Ramie -- which is a good thing since I wonder if her son would have left her in a care facility so he could return to his own self-indulgent nomadic lifestyle. Together, this band of three plus a dog, hit the road to embark on a yearlong adventure.

From the accounts relayed, it sounded as if Norma was kept cloistered by an overbearing husband and when the opportunity to see and experience parts of the US, that she had only dreamed of, she took hold and in doing so, would slowly come out of her shell and live the life that was denied her.

There is laughter and optimism in this book, there are times when I wanted to shake a selfish man and hug a daughter-in-law. Ramie was tested in ways that she was not prepared for, yet took on so she could give a woman that she had grown to love, the final days that she deserved. This was also a healing trip for Norma, she never spoke about the death of her only daughter until she met a woman on her journey that had also lost a child and realized that sometimes people are put in your life to help you to heal and that is what both this woman and this journey did for Norma.

That is the part that I am going to focus on. I am not going to count the number of times that Tim spoke about himself or lamented that his privacy was invaded (yet he did not have a problem when he was the center of attention or free accommodations were given to them). I am going to remember Norma as a person that was finally able to live her moments and to meet and share her story with the people that would carry her to final days with a smile on her face.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool

Title: I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool
Author: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Published: July 11th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Humorous Essays
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Every summer I look forward to the publication of their essays, but this time, it is bittersweet. In previous years, I would pop the audio into the car and listen as I took my daughter to check out colleges or to drop her off for the upcoming semester. She has now graduated and our mother daughter time listening to this mother daughter team has come to an end.

Now I am not going to get weepy over life changes, I have been doing that for the last couple of months, what I am going to do is celebrate that I have wonderful memories and as each new compilation comes out, I will remember our trips.

Each year Lisa’s essays talk to me in a different way, sorry Francesca, but your essays make me glad that I am not thirty anymore. Even though Lisa does comment on the aches and pains of aging, I would not trade them for the aches and pains of discovering who I am.

This is one of those books that you do not want to read in public, not that the cover would embarrass you, but because you will suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter -- namely her essay on pot. That had me laughing so hard that I had to reread it again the next day to laugh some more.

Thank you ladies for a wonderfully enjoyable book and lasting memories.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Silent Corner

Title: The Silent Corner
Author: Dean Koontz
Published: June 20th 2017 by Bantam
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 464 pages
Genre: Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Jane Hawk #1

Dean Koontz loves his words and in the beginning, I was hoping for an abridged version since this book starts out a bit too wordy for my taste. A tad overly descriptive and in parts repetitive, but once the reader reaches part three and gets into the flow, the book just opens up and you find it hard to put down. I am not going to say that “The Silent Corner” is in equal running with vintage Koontz, but this book does come close.

Not a usual reader of tech/sci-fi, I am a bit out of my element when it comes to describing rogue FBI Agent Jane Hawk who after discovering a surge in suicides, including that of her highly decorated Marine husband, sets out to right the wrongs of a conspiracy that reaches the highest echelons of the technology world.

Nano brain implants are injected into those that this particular unnamed group has deemed either unnecessary or are needed to perform services for a wealthy select few. A mind-controlled group that will perform without question, or if necessary, end their own lives.

Jane is staying off grid, she has left her son in the hands of the only people that she trusts, but even with that, she knows that decisions are going to be made that will affect them all. With the help of an interesting character with access to interesting toys, Jane and Dougal head out to make a grand entrance and hopefully make a dent into this empire without having to leave her Silent Corner, that place in the world where a person can live off grid, but still be able to use the benefits of the internet.

Though this book ends, Jane’s story does not. I do not know how many installments are planned (I see that Dean is currently writing book number 3) for Jane, but with such a far-reaching conspiracy unfolding, this tough and uncompromising woman will have many either fearing her or cheering her on.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Down A Dark Road

Title: Down a Dark Road
Author: Linda Castillo
Expected Publication: July 11th 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Police Procedural / Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Kate Burkholder #9

This book was a disappointment. If it were not for the previous eight books that I could not put down, I would have given up early on. It was not until three quarters of the way through that things got interesting. Usually there are multiple plotlines in a Castillo book, but other than a brief mention of a call to graffiti on a bridge, ‘Down a Dark Road’ concentrated on a single straight line to a mediocre end.

Kate Burkholder knew that one day she would get a call that would hit too close to home. She grew up Amish and now she is the police chief of Painters Mill, the same area where she played in the creek and picked berries as a child. Now she must separate her childhood memories of Joseph King, the boy next door with the man that broke out of prison where he was serving a life sentence for killing his wife.

Kate becomes his unwilling hostage yet that is not how she is viewed. There is too much history and with a photo that could have multiple meanings, Kate is not only frantically searching for the truth, but she is also trying desperately to keep her job.

The story boils down to secrets and what a precocious 3-year-old saw. Kate will not give up, she made a promise to Sadie before she realized how deep this murder investigation went and who, in the surrounding areas of Ohio, are responsible for a cover-up.

For me, this book would have been much better if they had cut out most of the first third of this book and continued where it had ended. There would have been more “meat” to the story if she had continued with the conspiracy and brought the real criminal to justice.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An East End Murder

Title: An East End Murder
Author: Charles Finch
Published: November 15th 2011 by Minotaur Books
Format: Kindle Edition, 32 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries #4.5

This quick novella can easily be skipped since there is no forward momentum within the series and just another way of teasing the reader into reading the included first chapter of the next book in the series.

It appears the constable’s first call is to Charles Lenox when a local man is found strangled and an interesting twist in the story appears on the back of the man’s neck in the shape of initials. Charles is out of his element in this seedier part of town, but there is something interesting going on and it is not until Charles tracks down Phil Jigg’s lodgings and sees an orphanage on site that helps him to put the pieces together.

Unless you need to fill in an hour, I would say to skip it and just move onto the next book “A Burial at Sea”.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Night She Died

Title: The Night She Died
Author: Dorothy Simpson
Published: Re-Release - June 6th 2017 by Open Road Media Mystery Thriller
Format: eBook, Paperback 208 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Inspector Thanet #1

This was a reread for me, about nine years ago I had read it and enjoyed it. This weekend, I tried again and by the time I was half way through, I could not bear it any longer and jumped to the end to see who had murdered Julie Holmes. I would have thought that some parts of the book would have seemed familiar, but I could not pull any part of this book from my memory.

This is the first book in the Inspector Thanet series which find Mrs. Julie Holmes dead in the entryway of her home from a single stab wound. Told in a back and forth, with a little bit of sideways thrown in, manner, Thanet and his sidekick Lineham, interview suspect after suspect, coworkers, neighbors and even people from Julie’s past where it was discovered that as a child, she was a witness to the never solved murder of her caregiver.

By the time that I had jumped to the ending to see who was guilty, there was no surprise, this person had stood out in the beginning as being a bit stand-off’ish and when Thanet finally pulled the pieces together, those that were not thoroughly farfetched, rounded out the story.

Originally published in 1981, this book reads as if it was much older and just does not hold the interest that I had remembered from my first reading.