Deep South (Anna Pigeon #8) by Nevada Barr – An #Audiobook Review – Cultural Heritage Fiction -#ThrowbackThursday

“You stick your finger in the water and you pull it out, and that is how much of a hole you leave when you’re gone.” (Finger in the water test–Multiple sources)

Deep South by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Nevada Barr‘s ever-popular Anna Pigeon series is consistently praised as “exceptional” (Denver Post), “stunning” (Seattle Times), and “superb” (New York Times Book Review). In Deep South, Park Ranger Anna Pigeon heads to Mississippi, only to encounter terrible secrets in the heart of the south…

Anna Pigeon finally gives in to her bureaucratic clock-and signs on for a promotion. Next thing she knows, she’s knee-deep in mud and Mississippi. Not exactly what she had in mind. Almost immediately, as the new district ranger on the Natchez Trace, Anna discovers the body of a young prom queen near a country cemetery, a sheet around her head, a noose around her neck. It’s a bizarre twist on a best-forgotten past of frightening racial undertones. As fast as the ever-encroaching kudzu vines of the region, the roots of this story run deep-and threaten to suffocate anyone in the way, including Anna…

My Review:

My second book by Nevada Barr in her Anna Pigeon, US National Park Service series and I enjoyed this one possibly even more than my first, Hunting Season. While we are working through the trope of the lone female in a normally male bastion, the park service, I greatly appreciate the strong, independent woman portrayed as Anna Pigeon.

Deep South by Nevada BarrWilling to tackle just about anything (while admitting in some circumstances fear), she still plows through as if being a female doesn’t matter. In this case, a white woman and a Yankee in a new promotion as District Ranger on the Natchez Trace of Mississippi. Oh, and new to the south as well, she has several strikes against her before she even begins.

It’s apparent immediately she isn’t wanted, welcome, or tolerated. Still, before she can really settle into the new position or thoroughly meet her subordinates, she encounters the murder of a sixteen year old girl. The girl’s body is left with racial implications.

Dealing with the investigation, the road blocks thrown up by her deputies, and confronting an attraction for one of the men, she manages each confrontation with calm and intelligence and is making headway in the mystery.

I love the information regarding the historic area of Mississippi, the Natchez Trace being an ambitious trail from Natchez to Nashville, some 444 miles and three states. Underlying the Trace information is the Civil War stories that permeate the area in general and the Trace in particular.

Anna is well developed, we can see who she is without having read the seven prior to this entry, and in this episode, strong interpersonal relationships are borne of the circumstances that create engaging support characters.

These narratives set an early hook, reel you in, and don’t let go. It is a well-plotted and fast paced storyline that keeps you reading (in this instance—listening) and hard to pause.

Hard push into the explosive conclusion and the calming collective following. An oldie but a goodie that rallies interest in the remaining books of the series—nineteen in all. A good mystery with culture cues. The narrator does an excellent, even superb job of narrative—forcing the pace, either faster or that ease into another discovery, or possible perp. Who was it killed that girl? I won’t tell.

Book Details:

Genre: Cultural Heritage Fiction, World Literature, Women Sleuth Mysteries 
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002QUWQY
Listening Length: 12 hrs 8 mins
Narrator:  Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 22, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Deep South [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada [Barr] was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Barbara Rosenblat - narratorThe Narrator:  [Barbara Rosenblat] has recorded over 600 audiobooks in a distinguished career that has garnered 8 Audie Awards, 50 plus Earphone Awards from Audiofile Magazine for exceptional recordings and numerous  accolades over the years. She has been inducted into the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. One critic wrote, ‘Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film’. Her book, ‘Audiobook Narrator- The Art of Recording Audiobooks’ provides personal guidance for those pursuing this avenue of art and is a direct result of answering many questions at personal appearances and at her masterclasses about the craft.

Barbara has also done a lot of animation, anime, and video games as well as documentaries and commercials. (Bio and pic from Hasty Book List.)

©2021 V Williams

The Spirit of Animal Healing: An Integrative Medicine Guide to a Higher State of Well-being by Marty Goldstein – A #BookReview – Small Animal Veterinary Medicine

Happy #bookrelease Day!

Book Blurb:

The Spirit of Animal Healing is the follow up to Dr. Marty Goldstein’s bestselling book on holistic veterinary medicine, The Nature of Animal Healing.

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Dr. Marty GoldsteinIt is chock full of the very latest integrative medical knowledge (which combines conventional therapies with complementary and alternative medicine). Coupled with the vast amount of specialized expertise and learning Dr. Marty has gained from his own practice over the past 45 years, the book takes readers on a journey to the leading edge of integrative veterinary understanding to achieve greater insight into the minds and bodies of their animal companions.

However, this book is not simply a new edition of Dr. Marty’s first book with some refreshed content. It is a completely new book in which Dr. Marty turns the traditional approach to animal care upside down. The Spirit of Animal Healing provides readers with the most up to-date tools and knowledge they need to keep their dogs and cats healthy and prevent disease from occurring in the first place, instead of just treating their animal companions when they are sick.

Topics covered include:
*Nutrition and supplements
*Integrative remedies and harmful treatments
*Cutting edge therapies
*The truth about vaccinations
*The latest in cancer treatments
*The spiritual nature of animals
*True, mind-blowing cases from over the years
-And much more!

His Review:

Dr. Goldstein casts a practiced eye on the health and wellness of dogs in this comprehensive veterinarian knowledge based book for small animals. It is an enlightening look into the cloistered profession of veterinary medicine and some of the prejudices Dr. Goldstein had to overcome.

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Dr. Marty GoldsteinHolistic medicine has been around for thousands of years. Herbal healing and acupuncture are also thousands of years old. However, the re-introduction of these practices for animals was met with the same prejudices and resistance as they were in human medicine. The book alludes to these problems often. Diet, whether it be for humans or for animals, is integral to health and life satisfaction.  We really are what we eat.

The introduction of healthy diets and abstinence from genetically modified organisms is enlightening. I came away with the impression that some of animal illnesses and cancers can be directly traced to the foods that they are given to eat and the businesses that flourish by selling substandard raw materials to the animal food industry. Changing of an animals’ diet can sometimes reduce or actually eliminate tumors and other maladies of the animals being treated.

Living a healthy and active life is a goal for our animals. Adding chemicals or supplements to extend the shelf life of feeds causes more harm than good in many cases. Quality of life should be a key ingredient in any food stuff supplied for animals. However, heavy metals and other results of our mechanized civilization adversely affects the well being of many animals.

Through the efforts of the worlds’ medical associations and veterinarian associations, the identification of these problems and in many cases their elimination is directly sourced to vigilant practicing doctors in these fields. Doctor Goldstein is one of the doctors who works to identify and halt bad practices. I feel healthy foods systems should be required reading for all students looking to enter the fields of human and/or veterinary medicine. 4.5 stars – CE Williams 

Our thanks to Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press for our complimentary review copy of this book through NetGalley. These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Small Animal Veterinary Medicine, Pet Food & Nutrition, Vaccinations
Publisher: St. Martin’s Essentials; 1st Edition

  • ISBN-10 : 1250249694
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1250249692
  • ASIN : B08BYDB35K

Print Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Spirit of Animal Healing [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Dr Marty Goldstein - authorThe Author: Dr. Marty Goldstein‘s Smith Ridge Veterinary Center is in South Salem, New York. He received his D.V.M. from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and has been at the forefront of integrative medicine for pets for decades. He has many cats and dogs, all of which are quite old and healthy. Dr. Goldstein is also the author of The Nature of Animal Healing. [Goodreads bio]

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Churchill’s Secret Messenger by Alan Hlad – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Churchill's Secret Messenger by Alan HladLondon, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale air. Winning the war is the only thing that matters, and she will gladly do her part. And when Rose’s fluency in French comes to the attention of Churchill himself, it brings a rare yet dangerous opportunity.

Rose is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe. After weeks of grueling training, Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance, knowing that the slightest misstep means capture or death.

Soon Rose is assigned to a new mission with Lazare Aron, a French Resistance fighter who has watched his beloved Paris become a shell of itself, with desolate streets and buildings draped in Swastikas. Since his parents were sent to a German work camp, Lazare has dedicated himself to the cause with the same fervor as Rose. Yet Rose’s very loyalty brings risks as she undertakes a high-stakes prison raid, and discovers how much she may have to sacrifice to justify Churchill’s faith in her . . .

His Review:

Air raids are a nightly terror in London. Working in the war room underground is a task many young ladies are willingly doing to help the war effort. Rose Teasdale is proud to be doing her part. An interpreter is needed late at night when Winston is having a discussion with General Charles de Gaulle and Commandant Martel. The latter speaks no English. Rose volunteers to assist. Rose’s ability to flawlessly translate English to French does not go unnoticed.

Churchill's Secret Messenger by Alan HladMeanwhile a young man, Lazare Anon, is preparing and posting flyers suggesting the population resist Nazi occupation. He is crossing a river when he sees an old man reading one of his posters. An SS officer sees him reading the poster, pulls him away and executes him in front of his wife. Lazare is devastated. The ruthless character of the occupiers is crushing.

Her brother Charles was shot down over the English Channel and never recovered. Her parents and the house she grew up in are destroyed in one of the nightly blitzes. She is very heartbroken and angry because her entire family is now dead due to the Battle of Britain and she would like to do more to aid the war effort.

Being an enemy agent in a foreign country is a death sentence if caught. Rose is taught how to survive and is trained by the SOE (Special Operations Executive) to be dropped into France to assist in clandestine operations and communications. Should she be caught her death will be slow and painful as the Nazi’s try to extract as much information as possible. With her entire family dead at the hands of the enemy she is willing to be placed in France.

This book is an excellent example of the trials of many volunteers who served during WW II. The characters are well vetted and believable as saboteurs. This book ended with my having a much deeper appreciation of the people who did everything they could to defeat the enemy.  5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from publisher through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Jewish Historical Fiction, Historical European Fiction
Publisher: A John Scognamiglio Book

  • ASIN : B08F2XLBCZ

Print Length: 398 pages
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Churchill’s Secret Messenger [Amazon]

Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Alan Hlad - authorThe Author: Alan Hlad is the international and USA Today bestselling author of The Long Flight Home. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Literary Cleveland, and the Akron Writers’ Group. Alan is a corporate executive turned writer who lives in Ohio with his wife and children. You can find him online at alanhlad.com, Facebook.com/AuthorAlanHlad, and on Instagram @AlanHlad.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Bitter Rain (Kate Fox Book 3) by Shannon Baker – a #BookReview – #mysteries

“A lump the size of a Bartlett pear made its way down her throat.

Book Blurb:

Bitter Rain by Shannon BakerSheriff Kate Fox is still settling into her new role when Deputy Kyle Red Owl’s sister, Shelly, vanishes from the nearby Lakota reservation. Convinced it’s an “Indian issue,” neighboring sheriffs are reluctant to get involved. Tempers flare—and Kate knows things are bound to get even more heated.

But when Kate and Kyle start to gather evidence, they realize the case isn’t at all what it seems.

Their search for Shelly has uncovered deep-buried family secrets, and soon, Shelly isn’t the only one in danger.

As Kate struggles to nail down a suspect—and with the truth seeming just out of reach—the new sheriff knows she’s running out of time.

And then she makes a big mistake. Can Kate right the wrong in time to save the life that’s hanging in the balance? 

My Review:

The storyline centers around the Nebraska Sandhills across the South Dakota state line and the crushing poverty level of the Lakota at the Antelope Ridge Reservation. I enjoy books about the Midwest and any parts east of my native California—always so eye-opening. The Sandhills situate in an area of low population, cattle outnumbering humans by approximately fifty to one.

Bitter Rain by Shannon BakerIn this episode of the series, Sheriff Kate Fox is called to the site of an apparent accident but finding no one there except Sheriff Lee Barnett on scene from a different county is sent away with the explanation it must have been an auto from the local rez and whoever was driving had someone pick them up. It’s obviously good ole boy territory and as a newly elected female sheriff, she’s not totally accepted, particularly when it appears to be an Indian issue.

But Kate had gotten a call from a terrified young female pleading for help. And she is one who listens to her gut feeling. The missing female turns out to be her own Deputy’s sister, Shelly, and now Deputy Kyle Red Owl is also heavily drawn into the search.

Turns out, she is pretty much blocked in her investigation at every turn, but she does manage a small lead every now and then only serving to further muddy the waters.

In the meantime, the area not known for friendly rain is experiencing one gully washer after another, which doesn’t help.

Further hampering interview efforts besides the divisive racial issue is her own family. As the middle child with seven brothers and sisters (or is it nine?), either the oldest, youngest, or any in between is constantly intruding on her time. It doesn’t help that her immense family and familial obligations and expectations seem to override pretty much any other minute she isn’t thinking about her missing niece. Well, bring it on!

The conditions of the people populating the reservation describes conditions beyond dismally, buying into the old stereotype, and painting a crushing scene of desperation.

A lot going on in this novel, the mystery, the family sub-plot, and the deeply descriptive prose of the area. The author is nothing if not full of analogies and has one for every occasion:

“We stood as natural as ketchup on ice cream.”
“To say I was relieved to wish them a fun day would be like calling Lake Michigan a puddle.”

 Philosophical thoughts:

“It was the face of fake compassion I hated worse than cooked cabbage.”
“It’ll be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
“It’ll stop hurting when the pain goes away.”

As a newly elected sheriff, Kate has a lot to prove—not just to the county apparently—but also to her family. A rather unique writing style that cried “tilt” as often as it spoke a deeply meaning thought. A theme of hanging in there, overcoming, concessions, and adapting.
The conclusion included a twist I certainly didn’t see coming, although all the leads were to the over-obvious. Interesting, thoughtful, deeply disturbing, and also engaging and entertaining.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. It appears this novel was previously released in 2018, new cover, but I’m in for a penny, in for a pound, and looking forward to Book 4.

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Mystery Series
Publisher: Severn River Publishing

  • ASIN : B08PDVXL26

Print Length: 276 pages
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Shannon Baker - authorThe Author: Shannon Baker is author of the Kate Fox Mystery series. Set in rural Nebraska cattle country, according to a starred review in Library Journal, “Baker’s writing evokes the beauty of the Nebraska Sandhills, and her colorful cast of secondary characters adds a depth of charm.” Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. Shannon is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 and 2017 Writer of the Year.

Baker also writes the Nora Abbott mystery series, a fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. The first in the series, Height of Deception, is set in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived for several years and worked for The Grand Canyon Trust, a hotbed of environmentalists who, usually, don’t resort to murder. It is a 2013 finalist in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards.

A lover of the great outdoors, she can be found backpacking in the Rockies, traipsing to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, skiing mountains and plains, kayaking lakes, hiking, cycling, and diving whenever she gets the chance. Having the desert for a backyard is a daily thrill, bringing javelinas, rattlesnakes, zillions of birds, and spectacular sunsets every day.

Arizona sunsets notwithstanding, Baker is, and always will be, a Nebraska Husker. Go Big Red.

©2021 V Williams

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody by Barbara Ross – An #Audiobook – #amateursleuth

Yahoo! Book one of a new series!

#audiobook - Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody

Book Blurb:

Jane Darrowfield is a year into her retirement, and she’s already traveled and planted a garden. She’s organized her photos, her recipes, and her spices. The statistics suggest she has at least a few more decades ahead of her, so she better find something to do….  

After Jane helps a friend with a sticky personal problem, word starts to spread around her bridge club – and then around all of West Cambridge, Massachusetts – that she’s the go-to girl for situations that need discreet fixing. Soon she has her first paid assignment – the director of a 55-and-over condo community needs her to de-escalate hostilities among the residents. As Jane discovers after moving in for her undercover assignment, the mature set can be as immature as any high schoolers, and war is breaking out between cliques.   

It seems she might make some progress – until one of the aging “popular kids” is bludgeoned to death with a golf club. And though the automatic sprinklers have washed away much of the evidence, Jane’s on course to find out whodunit….

My Review:

As a big fan of author Barbara Ross and her Maine Clambake Mysteries series, I was delighted to see an audiobook for her new series, Jane Darrowfield. Jane is a widow, retired, and has done all those things women save for retirement. Now at odds but finding a niche with her intelligent guidance in a number of “discreet” situations, Jane is cultivating a “fixer” rep.

Of course, being a senior myself, it’s fun to see a growing influence in the “senior sleuth” genre. And a strong, independent, and intelligent woman to boot, she represents a new face to the cozy sleuthing genre as well.

Jane Darrowfield, Professional BusybodyIn this first entry, we are introduced to Jane as she attempts to discern and solve the problem at an over 55 condo community—amenities to die for—apparently. A well paid assignment that requires her to move to a temporary unit, it doesn’t take long to realize she’s landed back in high school, including the cliques (groan), the jocks (read golfers), and a motorcycle gang.

Jane has an easy personable way of infiltrating and begins to realize what she is up against when one of the popular boys is found murdered on the golf course. In the meantime, we are introduced to her new (maybe) boyfriend Harry (if he’ll just back off the protective male attitude a bit) and Detective Alvarez. I had to agree with Jane about Harry (for awhile—then began rooting for him) and he and Det. Alvarez are great support characters.

While Jane may be a bit more difficult to warm to, walk in her shoes, or identify with, all three are shaping up to produce some good chemistry in characters that are engaging.

The author has a wonderful subtle way of building up the suspense, providing clues and twists. The conclusion throws the well-plotted pace into high gear and I must admit that although I’d given the ultimate perp some thought had toyed with dismissing that one too.

On the whole, a lively novel that builds suspense, keeps engagement, and is highly entertaining. Nice to have a senior portrayed as a person still very capable, physically as well as mentally. A great start to a new series!

FTC Disclosure: I downloaded the audiobook from my locally well stocked library and greatly enjoyed the narrator as well as the storyline.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Audible Books
ASIN: B08BF53LH5
Listening Length: 6 hrs 29 mins
Narrator: Traci Odom
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody [Amazon] 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Barbara Ross - authorThe Author: Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at http://www.barbararossauthor.com

Traci Odom - narratorThe Narrator: Traci Odom, American-born actor and voice artist with 150+ titles narrates under her name, as well as Tieran Wilder for erotica and wild romance. She loves working closely with her authors and publishers and delights in inviting listeners into her worlds of romance, witchcraft, devilry and love. Check out my pseudonym website at www.tieranwilder.com. Accents: American English, British English, Irish, Midwest, New York, Russian, Italian

©2021 V Williams

Dead Cat, Run by Annabelle Lewis – a #BookReview – #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

You’re where you’re meant to be. Run if you can.

Dead Cat, Run by Annabelle LewisHigh school senior Jenny Gallagher’s psychic abilities have made life in her small New England town a rocky one. Her premonitions and déjà vu have given her a reputation, but not one she’s happy with. Tragedy is about to strike again however, and this time she oddly doesn’t see it coming. Is her gift betraying her? Now what’s happening?

Not far from Jenny, Wellesley Professor Maximus Dyer also has a gift. To his thinking, a painful and useless one. Able to see the past, his ability has brought him insight into the field of history, but other than that, he’s never known what to make of it. Overwhelmed by the physic shocks his unprotected hands receive through touch, he’s frustrated that his secrets have made any deeply real, human relationships literally beyond his grasp. But someone new enters his life who doesn’t trigger a vision. A dog?

Sidrah Keeling runs determinedly optimistic through her life trying hard not to ask the big questions. Her foresight, her ability to see glimpses of the future in her dreams, often drive her to follow a path she doesn’t understand, but she listens to them. Recognizing that the guardrails of security she’s erected around her doesn’t mean she’s in control, she reluctantly stays alert, waiting for answers, uncertain if she’ll ever find them.

Lurking deep in his sensory deprivation tank, Turner Black sees it all. Born out of the great chaos of time, he once again feels the forces of good gathering to move against him. Not in this life. This time, his darkness would reign supreme. The hunt for his antithesis would begin again now. He couldn’t wait to feel his opponent in destiny bleed.

My Review:

Yikes! I do some into some douzies! This one set an immediate hook and it was all over until read. I couldn’t find it on Amazon—would the genre be classified as a mystery? Thriller? Suspense? Paranormal? Paranormal mystery thriller. But it doesn’t end at mystical as there might be roots in Greek mythology. An introduction to sibyls—oracles and prophecies of a god.

Dead Cat, Run by Annabelle LewisSuch a pleasant surprise, this book. Mythology, yes, but still the ancient oft-repeated story of good versus evil. A teenager, labeled odd and shunned throughout most of her early school years (learned the hard way not to foretell), and two thirty-somethings—a self-made woman cashing in (but sparingly—just sparingly) on her abilities to see the future; and the man, a history professor who wears gloves to ward off the histories of those he touches with his bare hands. (It’s the nineteen year old who is labeled “Destiny.”)

Those who believe there is no such thing as coincidence—don’t we have evidence of that phenomena all the time. The odds so enormous you wonder if the gods aren’t playing with you. In this case, the three are put together carefully, one at a time, the chapters playing with the reader paralleling the timelines, drawing them together.

Each of the characters are powerful, engaging, emotive. Did I mention the Golden? Way too intuitive to be a normal canine—Bones—is a delightful character.

Together they seek to find the reason they are brought together. But as the forces of good gather strength, the evil one watches them and sees his chance to take them all down in a modern day battle that will see his darkness, this time, win.

 “I’ll see you again, my friend, in the next life. And then, heed my words, dead cat. Run.”

The storyline just whips along, sweeping the reader with it, chapters trading advances into the well-plotted, fast paced conclusion. No, I’m beginning to note just the tiniest hole in the evil one’s plan; Turner Black hasn’t reckoned with Bones—no ordinary dog—Black was busy trying to manipulate the humans. WHERE did that dog come from? I’m still clearing the dust from the conclusion—we were already stretching disbelief—but something there was just a bit too tidy.

This is just quirky enough to catch the imagination. (Some adult language.) FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest opinions. High entertaining and recommended.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Mystical, Crime Thriller, Suspense
ISBN: 9781734375
Publication Date: March 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 
Title Link: Dead Cat, Run [Goodreads]

Annabelle Lewis - authorThe Author: Annabelle Lewis lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Regrettably? Perhaps. She still believes she’s a Texan even though the math no longer supports that. Nor her birthplace. Nor her residence. No offense, Minnesota. You’ve got your good points too, but only about six months of the year.

In her youth, Annabelle was a complete failure. Ask anyone who knew her. Any of her teachers and family would tell you this. High school graduation was a sad day for all when Annabelle walked proudly off the high school stage, her thoughts consumed with boys, beer, and after-parties, and later into the arms of her parents. Her father’s laughter and singular remark? “I didn’t think you’d make it. Get a job at the post office, they have a good retirement plan.”

A high bar and words to live by, but Annabelle wanted more. She needed to flunk out of college too. But damn, she sure did have a good time. Arrest records not-withstanding, it was a growth period for our girl. And if you look closely, you’ll see a bit of what was to come when she majored in criminal justice. Her lifelong aspiration was to become a judge. Hmm.

For better or worse, Annabelle didn’t graduate from college, but did find gainful employment and a fulfilling career. This path ended when she became a mom. Married to her wonderful George, who to this day can hardly remember an actual proposal, Annabelle finally became a mother. She didn’t have a clue how hard she would need to work to keep those self-imposed requirements of Downey-fresh, iron-pressed sheets, home baked meals, and mom-of-the year awards arriving. She composed a small self-affirmation song and made her children sing it to her for money. She was a very good mom.

After clearing the largest hurdles of motherhood and regrettably, begrudgingly, and not-without-tears, launching her children onto the world, she looked around and realized she had a lot to say. Picking up a laptop, she got to work.

Annabelle spends her days continuing to tackle the challenges of motherhood, for both her humans and canines. She also writes. And reads. And cleans. And cooks. And bakes. And cleans again. She also supports her husband, George, in an administrative capacity. Not necessarily in the home, but for their small business. She’s in charge of payroll and cuts George’s checks. This leads to no marital acrimony.

At the beginning, with the blank page staring at her and possibly in a hostile mood after being literally mauled by a dog and by the world in general, she had an idea. What if she could wield a force of good upon unsuspecting evil-doers? What if she had the resources to get the job done without dealing with committee and anyone else’s whiney-ass opinions?

It was gold. It took off. Annabelle sat down and began to write and couldn’t stop. To date, having written almost a million words in the Carrows Family Chronicles, several items have become quite clear. Annabelle had a lot to say. Annabelle really enjoys writing. And although she hates all things technology, she begrudgingly pounds her head on her desk daily as obstacles are put in her path. Almost a hero.

Since adopting the Carrows Family and becoming one with them in her mind, she has rebelled against all intrusion of real-world responsibilities. Her house is a mess, but she tries. Her family is fed, but more often than not, on takeout. She vows to shower every day, but no, it’s a vow she’ll never keep. Her friends are neglected, but not in her heart.

Leave her alone or you’ll end up in her blog. Annabelle Blogs is another communication vehicle she uses to not only rant at the world, but at her family. She regularly sets them up for failure when they forget to read her diatribes and report back their response in a timely manner. Shame on you, Annabelle. They’re good people and they have to live with you.

The Carrows are her second family. They are on the streets as we speak, deceptively and cleverly taking out the bad guy. And he doesn’t see them come. https://www.theannabellelewis.com

©2021 V Williams

Tell No One by Harlan Coben – An #Audiobook Review #suspense #TBT

Tell No One by Harlan Coven

Book Blurb:

Critically acclaimed, best-selling author Harlan Coben has won the Shamus, Anthony, and Edgar Awards during his impressive career.

Tell No One by Harlan CobenTell No One is an irresistibly suspenseful thriller infused with nail-biting tension and packed with shocking plot twists. It has been eight years since Dr. David Beck’s wife, Elizabeth, was murdered by a serial killer. When Beck receives a message containing a phrase only Elizabeth should know, he is tormented to tears. Either someone is playing a sick joke, or the wife he’s never stopped loving is still alive. He’s been warned to tell no one, and as the desperation of his search for the truth intensifies, he heads straight toward a deadly secret.

Coben tempers the drama with dashes of sly humor and a cast of unforgettable characters, including a bare-hands assassin, a glamorous plus-size model and a drug dealer with a soft spot for Dr. Beck. Listeners will relish Ed Sala’s exhilarating narration. 

My Review:

Tell No One by Harlan CobenNo, I hadn’t read everything the author has turned out and sure if I did it was years ago—before I started reviewing—but thumbing through the Netflix offerings came across The Stranger his ebook originally published in 2015. Admittedly, I couldn’t find the audiobook in my local well-stocked library, but here was Tell No One (originally published in 2009) and I must say—close enough. There’s a mild case of déjà vu lurking there.

Okay, yes, there is quite the hook and the premise gets you to reading. The novel is fast-paced and the prose engaging. I couldn’t quite get into any of the characters—main (i.e. Dr. David Beck) or the support characters who were all over the place from medical colleagues to partner of his sister to the street thug who rescues him. I must admit, however, to rooting for the street thug to split—while he had the chance.

I don’t know. What was I expecting?

The narrative gets to spinning when Dr. Beck receives an email that almost convinces him that the wife he thought he’d lost eight years ago is still alive. No, he’d never found a replacement, isn’t married, still pining over the soul mate with whom he’d carved momentous occasions on a pine tree. Also, nature being what it is, has unearthed two bodies at the site where the kidnapping and his attack took place and a whole new scenario opens. Hmmm…

Coben heaps it on, adding twists, adding bits of clues concealed as info, adding more characters, explosive scenes, and enough tender scenes between he and Elizabeth that even the most romance addicted YA would begin to gag. There are more questions, but suddenly Beck himself appears to be a POI in his wife’s kidnapping and death. Wait. Is she really dead?

He’s on the lam and amazingly with the help of his street thug buddy evades the dragnet. Oh, I’m telling you, this will get quite a bit more complex and convoluted, stretching into disbelieving territory before it all winds up in conclusion. Even then, this is a tough act to sell and I’m not wholly buying. Yes, lots of suspense building and at this point I was just curious to see how the author was going to pull it all together, but then he didn’t. Not for me. I was kinda bummed.

The Stranger by Harlan CobenSo, now let’s see—The Stranger (Netflix series) has the same kind of harried husband, discovers a devastating secret about his wife, wife disappears; unlikable, unrelatable main and support characters. Unfathomable conclusion leaves you somewhat flat. What? is written across your forehead. Maybe just mine, but I downloaded the ebook and I’ll report back.

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Suspense Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Publisher:  Recorded Books
Print Length: 396 pages
ASIN: B002SXIF4A
Listening Length: 10 hrs 36 mins
ASIN: B0078IX10I
Narrator: Ed Sala
Audible Release Date: February 13, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Tell No One [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Harlan Coben - authorThe Author: With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times author of thirty one novels including RUN AWAY, FOOL ME ONCE, TELL NO ONE, NO SECOND CHANCE and the renowned Myron Bolitar series. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas SAFE starring Michael C. Hall, Audrey Fleurot and Amanda Abbington, and THE FIVE starring Tom Cullen and OT Fagbenle. He is currently filming THE STRANGER, based on his novel, for Netflix starring Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea. Harlan was also showrunner and executive producer for two French TV mini-series, UNE CHANCE DE TROP (NO SECOND CHANCE) with Alexandra Lamy and JUST UN REGARD (JUST ONE LOOK) with Virginie Ledoyen. KEINE ZWEIT CHANCE, also based on Harlan’s novel, aired in Germany on Sat1.

Harlan’s novel TELL NO ONE (NE LE DIS A PERSONNE) was turned into the renowned French film, directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Francois Cluzet. The movie was the top box office foreign-language film of the year in USA, won the Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine Cesars (French Oscar) and won four, including best actor, best director and best music. The movie with subtitles is now available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD/Blu-Ray.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

In his first books, Coben immersed himself in the exploits of sports agent Myron Bolitar. Critics loved the series, saying, “You race to turn pages…both suspenseful and often surprisingly funny” (People). After seven books Coben wanted to try something different. “I came up with a great idea that simply would not work for Myron,” says Coben. The result was the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller TELL NO ONE, which became the most decorated thriller of the year. Two books later, Bookspan, recognizing Coben’s broad international appeal, named NO SECOND CHANCE its first ever International Book of the Month in 2003 – the Main Selection in 15 different countries.

Harlan was the first writer in more than a decade to be invited to write fiction for the NEW YORK TIMES op-ed page. His Father’s Day short story, THE KEY TO MY FATHER, appeared June 15, 2003. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications including the New York Times, Parade Magazine and Bloomberg Views.

Harlan has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. In Paris, he was awarded the prestigious Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society by the Mayor of Paris. He was won the El Premio del Novela Negra RBA in Spain, the Grand Prix de Lectrices in France, and the CWA/ITV3 Bestseller Dagger for favorite crime novelist in England. On the other end of the spectrum, Little League Baseball inducted Harlan into their Hall of Excellence in 2013, and Harlan is also a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame from his playing days at Amherst College.

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

The Narrator: Ed Sala received a master’s degree in playwriting from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He’s lived his life primarily as an actor, appearing on and off Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and in movies and episodic television. His plays have been produced from New York City to Melbourne, Australia. He considers himself very lucky to live a life in this business.

©2021 V Williams