RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
I really enjoyed MURDER BY THE BOOK by Devorah Fox which is a mini-cozy mystery that is packed into 27 pages. I KNOW!!! I was very surprised that such a short story had almost everything I look for in a much longer book.
Candy Wadsen comes into work at the Sugarloaf Inn and Resort to find her loathsome boss murdered at his desk. Candy is a mystery book buff and knows what to do, but reality is very different from books. She is quickly cleared with her alibi by the hunky Sergeant Dan Petrowski, but the rest of the staff had to stay for an after work meeting and all become suspects.
This is a wonderfully clever who-done-it that had me guessing until the end. All of the characters were your usual cast of quirky cozy mystery types and they were well written for the short length of the story. When you want a very quick and smart mini-cozy mystery, grab this one and you will not be disappointed!
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
ROOTS OF MURDER by R. Jean Reid is a mystery that is both thought provoking and powerful.
I had a hard time putting this story down and it lingered in my mind when I was not reading. It starts out a little slow, but there is a lot of history to incorporate and it picks up speed very quickly with a suspenseful climax. Although fictional, this story covers very real topics regarding race relations, social injustice, poverty and voting rights in the South during the 1960’s and today.
Nell McGraw is trying to deal with her grief and that of her two children as they go on after the loss of Thom, Nell’s husband. She takes over running Thom’s weekly local paper, the Pelican Bay Crier in Mississippi by herself now instead of as a couple. Nell gets a call that human bones have been found in the park and they appear to be about 50 years old. This discovery leads Nell and her coworkers at the paper to go on a search to identify the bones and to find out why they were buried there.
While Nell and her coworkers try to discover the mystery surrounding the bones, Nell is dealing with the backlash from a local family trying to get her to quit prosecuting the drunk who caused the accident that killed her husband. The paper is covering the race for mayor and also trying to unravel a past scheme to steal the valuable property of poor black residents through property tax fraud. The author weaves this web of several storylines, past and present, into an amazing story.
I really want this book to be the start of a series and I checked online and it seems there will be a second book featuring Nell in June of 2017. Nell is such a strong female lead with her own problems to conquer and a wonderful cast of secondary characters. I felt this book was especially poignant considering the current state of affairs in our country. I did not want this book to end!
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
UNPUNISHED is the second book in Lisa Black’s Gardiner and Renner series and it really brings Maggie and Jack into focus as fully developed characters to follow. The plot of this book can be read as a standalone, but the first book “That Darkness” should be read before this to understand the complicated history and stand-off between these two.
Forensic investigator, Maggie Gardiner is called to an apparent suicide of the copy editor of the Cleveland Herald, the struggling daily newspaper. Maggie notices an inconsistency and realizes that this suicide is really murder. Jack and his partner, Riley are assigned the case and already at the scene.
Homicide Detective Jack Renner is a serial killer. If the courts cannot keep the worst of the worst locked up and away from innocent citizens, Jack personally takes care of them —permanently. Maggie is the only one who has been smart enough to figure out his secret. Their truce has held so far, but Maggie still has her doubts about him stopping his personal form of justice.
As another body of a Herald worker is found, Maggie and Jack have to work together to find the killer and figure out what is going on at the Herald.
This book gives a lot of information on the current state of print media in this country. Maggie takes us through the interesting steps of the forensics of the case which I am sure are realistic since that is Ms. Black’s specialty. The plot is fast paced and interesting throughout. Ms. Black has really breathed life into Maggie in this book. That was my only problem with the first book in this series and I am very happy with Maggie’s character development.
Maggie and Jack are great characters and I am looking forward to many more books in this series!
Thank you very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was great!
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
I now understand why there are so many conflicting reviews for this book.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING by Kathryn Croft is a psychological suspense/thriller that is fast paced and a page turner, with many red herrings and twists. It will keep you reading until the end, but it was not my favorite.
When Tara Logan wakes up naked next to her dead neighbor in his bed, she has no memory of how she got there or what happened. She dresses, runs across the road to her own home and decides not to say anything.
She has a husband, Noah, who has cheated on her, a teenage daughter, Rosie, who has a history of lying and stalking and her young son, Spencer. As the investigation into her neighbor’s death progresses everyone comes under suspicion for differing reasons. The picture of the perfect family is no longer perfect and Tara no longer knows who to believe. Besides the family, there are secondary characters that are creepy and questionable.
This is a well written plot that constantly keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat and the ending was a big surprise but it didn’t deliver. It just sort of fell flat for me and then it is the end very quickly. I also had a huge problem with the DCI working the case. He gives a suspect information and becomes involved with her, but then he is worked out of the story. If his purpose was just to deliver info, it wasn’t realistic and another way should have been considered.
Very interesting premise and plot, great use of plot twists, interesting characters, just not a good ending for me.
Thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
Once again, Robert Brynzda has me reading late into the night on the edge of my seat!
DCI Erika Foster is back in DARK WATER, the third book in the DCI Erika Foster series. This is one of my favorite British police procedural series. Erika is an amazing character who is flawed, driven, and at times extremely brusque and yet I cannot stop wanting her to succeed in her personal life as well as professional. She also has a great cast of secondary characters surrounding her that are all unique in their own ways.
At the beginning of this story, Erika is in a new district and no longer working murder investigations but instead is working major organized crimes. To put a major drug dealer behind bars, the local quarry is dredged to recover drugs hidden in the depths. The drugs are found, but so is the wrapped skeleton of a child. Erika cannot get the sight of those small bones out of her mind and fights to get the case assigned to her and to have Peterson and Moss moved to be on her team once again. The bones are 26 years old and the case has already destroyed one DCI’s career, but Erika and her crew refuse to quit.
This is a complex case with many plot twists and surprises. When you think you have it figured out, it takes a sharp turn in another direction and yet in the end, all the little threads come together in a very satisfying climax. With a fast paced plot and interesting, intriguing characters, Mr. Brynzda has delivered another exceptional addition to this series.
Thanks very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This is an excellent book and series!
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
FLAWLESS DANGER (The Spencer & Sione Series, #1) by Rachel Woods is a thriller/mystery with romantic elements that I have very mixed feelings about. The writing is well done with very short change of point of view chapters to keep the story moving. The characters are my personal problem. Just as in Gone Girl, if I don’t like the characters, I don’t enjoy the book. No matter how many times you tell me Spencer had a terrible childhood, and it was too many times, I couldn’t warm up to her.
The thriller/mystery has Spencer being blackmailed by Ben Chang to get close to Belize resort owner, Sione, and steal back an envelope he claims belongs to him. She is also sent on side delivery jobs for him to three women with a bag containing a fake passport and money. All these women end up murdered. This lands Spencer in the middle of a power struggle between Ben and Richard, who is Sione’s father. Although Sione is trying to change his life, all of these men are dangerous and deadly criminals. And Spencer is no saint, either. It is sort of like a criminal soap opera.
The plot was what kept me reading, but it does drag at times. I would not call it a romantic suspense, as some have, because the love is all based on omission and lies so that was a problem for me. If you are into these types of characters, you will enjoy this book and there are more to follow because this does end on a cliffhanger of sorts.