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.