Moscow Embassy: The Angara Club by Thomas J Mitchell – #BookReview – #politicalfiction

2020 CIPA EVVY AWARD WINNER for Thrillers and Suspense.

Book Blurb:

Moscow Embassy by Thomas J MitchellINSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS—A POWERFUL PORTRAYAL OF ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL EMBASSY PROJECTS IN HISTORY—the construction of the US Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 2000. Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” BLENDS HISTORICAL FACTS, FAMOUS CELEBRITIES, AND VIVID IMAGERY to bring this novel to life. The story of American construction workers who are recruited by the Russian KGB to plant listening devices and engage in other espionage activities while the new Moscow Embassy is under construction—and while US intelligence agencies working in concert with Britain’s MI6 are going to great lengths to neutralize the Russian threat. It is also the story of the men and women in the public and private sectors—the nomads who go from one country to the next, building these beautiful facilities for the US government. With a cast of colorful characters and a plot filled with danger and political intrigue, Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” is a fascinating novel about an industry most people never think about. The story of American construction workers who are recruited by the Russian KGB to plant listening devices and engage in other espionage activities while the new Moscow Embassy is under construction—and while US intelligence agencies working in concert with Britain’s MI6 are going to great lengths to neutralize the Russian threat. It is also the story of the men and women in the public and private sectors—the nomads who go from one country to the next, building these beautiful facilities for the US government. With a cast of colorful characters and a plot filled with danger and political intrigue, Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” is a fascinating novel about an industry most people never think about.

His Review:

How do you protect an embassy and its’ personnel in a foreign country? Mitchell’s book explores this in detail. You cannot hire Russian Contractors because the primary mission would be to put listening devices all over the building. Therefore, the object is to build a structure without foreign assistance.

Moscow Embassy by Thomas J MitchellSteel needs to be purchased for the building. In the case of the U.S. Embassy the structure will be eight floors above ground. The costs are prohibitive to bring the steel by ship into Russian ports and then bring them by rail to the construction site. Therefore, locally sourced steel which met the building specifications was the answer.

Mother Russia is trying to figure out how to put listening devices into the steel during fabrication. The Americans tasked with maintaining the integrity of the building continually examined the beams and rejected those with listening devices. The Russians then developed very sophisticated methods of attaching the devices to the edifice.

A cat and mouse game was played throughout the construction period. Some of the devices were obviously detected and removed. The final solution was to allow the devices in selected locations in the building. Then by adding sound deadening devices or sound dampers the result was allowing the enemy to eavesdrop on those discussions the U.S. wanted the enemy to hear. False or misinformation is as important as no information against a foreign power.

The book explains very completely the means Russia used to compromise some of the contractors working on the project. Russia and her satellites have many very beautiful ladies they involve in information gathering. This makes for a very interesting back and forth between the two governments. The ladies were required to get to know the contractors and get them to fall in love with them.

CE WilliamsThe result is a very interesting mix of romance and intrigue. I could see the way that the ladies were used and some of them wound up marrying the guys and moving here to the states. I wonder if they are involved in information gathering even though they are now U.S. Citizens? A very interesting problem to contemplate! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Political Fiction, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
ASIN: B0829DLJ7Z
Print Length: 344 pages
Publication Date: December 2, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Moscow Embassy [Amazon] 
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Thomas J Mitchell - authorThe Author: Thomas J. Mitchell is a world traveler, writer, musician, and fitness enthusiast. He has been involved in construction management of embassy projects for over 20 years. Mr. Mitchell lived in Moscow and worked on the construction of the Moscow Embassy between 1996 and 1997 and again between 2013 and 2015. During his long career he has been involved with the construction of several other embassy projects located in the South Pacific, Africa, and Central and South America. He currently works as an embassy construction consultant from his home base in the Southwest. Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” is his debut novel.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

 

Silent Parade: Detective Galileo Series Book 4 by Keigo Higashino – #BookReview – #policeprocedurals

Book Blurb:

Detective Galileo, Keigo Higashino’s best loved character from The Devotion of Suspect X, returns in Silent Parade, a complex and challenging mystery—several murders, decades apart, with no solid evidence.

Silent Parade by Keigo HigashinoA popular young girl disappears without a trace, her skeletal remains discovered three years later in the ashes of a burned out house. There’s a suspect and compelling circumstantial evidence of his guilt, but no concrete proof. When he isn’t indicted, he returns to mock the girl’s family. And this isn’t the first time he’s been suspected of the murder of a young girl, nearly twenty years ago he was tried and released due to lack of evidence. Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police worked both cases.

The neighborhood in which the murdered girl lived is famous for an annual street festival, featuring a parade with entries from around Tokyo and Japan. During the parade, the suspected killer dies unexpectedly. His death is suspiciously convenient but the people with all the best motives have rock solid alibis. DCI Kusanagi turns once again to his college friend, Physics professor and occasional police consultant Manabu Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, to help solve the string of impossible-to-prove murders.

His Review:

Saori Namiki is missing! She is the eldest daughter of Yutaro and Machiko Namiki. She had a beautiful voice (concert quality) and was absolutely stunning. Where could she have disappeared to? Three years later her body is discovered in a derelict house in the outskirts of a neighboring village.

Silent Parade by Keigo HigashinoThe writing is very complete and covers all of the characters in the village. Some of them have known Saori since she was a small girl. Everyone in the village felt she was a credit to her family, would go far in life, and she was a talented treasure.

Kanichi Hasunuma is a stranger to the village and is disliked by everyone. He is abrasive and obnoxious. The Namiki’s own a restaurant and put up with his bullying every day. He requires that Saori refill his tea cup each time he drinks his tea and requests demeaning service from the young lady. He has been seen more than once pinching her buttocks and then laughing or smirking at her displeasure. He is finally banned from using the restaurant, however, he continues to come around with his haughty and demeaning attitude.

The whole village suspects Hasunuma has done something to Saori but they have no proof or witnesses. She was such a happy and outgoing young lady. A potential star musical performer! The discovery of her body destroyed her parents and her boyfriend left the village searching for answers. Who would have done such a thing to such a beautiful and gentle creature?

The writer builds this story like the integral detective investigation it took to solve it. Each character in the story is proven to have a solid alibi during the commission of the crime. The novel involves rather intricate devices to dispatch people. When the corpse of Hasunuma is discovered in a closed room the plot thickens. There are very few marks on his body and yet he is dead.

This entire novel reads like a crime investigation primer. How could some of the crimes actually have been committed? I marveled at the intricacies of the various methods and thought processes utilized to complete the crimes. I recommend the book as a way to delve into the minds of Japanese detectives and criminals. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250624819
ASIN: B08R2L9Y3L
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: December 14, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Silent Parade [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
 

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Keigo Higashino - authorThe Author: Keigo Higashino (東野 圭吾) is one of the most popular and biggest selling fiction authors in Japan—as well known as James Patterson, Dean Koontz or Tom Clancy are in the USA.

Born in Osaka, he started writing novels while still working as an engineer at Nippon Denso Co. (presently DENSO). He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize, which is awarded annually to the finest mystery work, in 1985 for the novel Hōkago (After School) at age 27. Subsequently, he quit his job and started a career as a writer in Tokyo.

In 1999, he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Inc award for the novel Himitsu (The Secret), which was translated into English by Kerim Yasar and published by Vertical under the title of Naoko in 2004. In 2006, he won the 134th Naoki Prize for Yōgisha X no Kenshin. His novels had been nominated five times before winning with this novel.

The Devotion of Suspect X was the second highest selling book in all of Japan— fiction or nonfiction—the year it was published, with over 800,000 copies sold. It won the prestigious Naoki Prize for Best Novel— the Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize. Made into a motion picture in Japan, The Devotion of Suspect X spent 4 weeks at the top of the box office and was the third highest‐grossing film of the year.

Higashino’s novels have more movie and TV series adaptations than Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, and as many as Michael Crichton. [Goodeads]

©2021 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Happy Autumn Weekend to you from Rosepoint Publishing

13 ½: A Novel by Nevada Barr – #BookReview – @nevadabarr

Book Blurb:

In 1971, the state of Minnesota was rocked by the “Butcher Boy” incident, as coverage of a family brutally murdered by one of their own swept across newspapers and television screens nationwide.

13 1/2 by Nevada BarrNow, in present-day New Orleans, Polly Deschamps finds herself at yet another lonely crossroads in her life. No stranger to tragedy, Polly was a runaway at the age of fifteen, escaping a nightmarish Mississippi childhood.

Lonely, that is, until she encounters architect Marshall Marchand. Polly is immediately smitten. She finds him attractive, charming, and intelligent. Marshall, a lifelong bachelor, spends most of his time with his brother Danny. When Polly’s two young daughters from her previous marriage are likewise taken with Marshall, she marries him. However, as Polly begins to settle into her new life, she becomes uneasy about her husband’s increasing dark moods, fearing that Danny may be influencing Marshall in ways she cannot understand.

But what of the ominous prediction by a New Orleans tarot card reader, who proclaims that Polly will murder her husband? What, if any, is the Marchands’ connection to the infamous “Butcher Boy” multiple homicide? And could Marshall and his eccentric brother be keeping a dark secret from Polly, one that will shatter the happiness she has forever prayed for?

My Review:

Okay, I’m one of those caught up in the author’s name and just blindly grabbed the book written by Nevada Barr, too late to notice it was NOT part of the Anna Pigeon series. Oh, dear.

And I’m having a seriously difficult time trying to visualize that the same author who writes about Anna Pigeon and her experiences in the park service is the same beautiful lady whose author photo is shown below. I might be more inclined to believe the author might have been Dean Koontz, but come to think of it, I’ve not read a Koontz book quite so viciously, violently graphic (and with children as well?).

13 1/2 by Nevada BarrNot a book to undertake without some trigger warnings—it’s twisted, dark, and suspenseful and (perhaps just a King horror novel) difficult for me not to just DNF. This reader needed to see a meaningful conclusion, although I’d certainly predicted from the beginning the revelation. Not a big surprise at that point.

Then Polly comes along and with her two young daughters discovers a kindred spirit in Marshall, easy going, pleasant, loving, concerned. What more could a young mother need or want?

“Most had made lives they enjoyed and would only compromise for a very shiny white knight with a particularly breathtaking steed. And a very long lance…”

The setting in post-Katrina in New Orleans was interesting and lent an atmospheric touch, until Polly meets a tarot card reader who provides dark warnings that trigger her investigation. Noooo, you say… Don’t go down into the basement—or in this case—to the slum residence of the Woman in Red.

13 1/2 by Nevada BarrOh, and by the way, 13 ½ is a tat described as meaning “One judge, twelve jurors, half a chance.”

Predictable, yes, (see paragraph three above), an unusual read for me, yes, I would classify as horror. But you don’t have to take my word for it, if you are willing to take a chance. Granted, the author does have a rather poetic turn of phrase, descriptive prose, tension-building expertise. But this author also writes, as mentioned now several times, the Anna Pigeon series, including my last couple reviews Destroyer Angel and Track of the Cat, as well as several prior to those. I particularly enjoy the audiobooks narrated by Barbara Rosenblat (she’s awesome). This novel is a standalone—a good thing. However, as you’ve no doubt understood by now, I’d recommend her series.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Murder Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Crossroad Press
ASIN: B07L19Y98Z
Print Length: 253 pages
Publication Date: November 30, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada 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, Bittersweet 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.

©V Williams V Williams

Have a great week!

Fallen Angel (Detectives Kane and Alton Book 13) by D K Hood – #BookReview – Organized Crime Thrillers

Book Blurb:

Hurrying along the dark, snow-covered path, she knows she’s not alone when she hears the light tread of someone behind her. Panic rising in her chest, she picks up the pace. But she doesn’t even have a chance to scream before everything goes black.

Fallen Angel by D K HoodWhen a beautiful young woman is reported missing from her hotel room on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane are devastated to discover her pale, lifeless body trapped beneath a frozen lake nearby. It’s Jenna who finds the single pearl earring buried in the frosted grass that gives them their first lead.

Just as Jenna has the remaining hotel guests safely back in their rooms, the killer strikes again, and another victim is found in one of the hotel’s lakeside cabins. Next to his bloodied body is a second pearl earring. What does it mean, and why is the killer leaving them for Jenna to find?

Interviewing witnesses, Jenna discovers that both victims were seen arguing with other residents hours before their deaths. Could the murderer be out for revenge, and how many more bodies will follow before they are truly satisfied?

As a blizzard cuts the hotel off from Black Rock Falls, Jenna and her team are trapped with the killer. Then she receives a terrifying call from a teenage girl who thinks the murderer was in her room as she slept. Can Jenna save her from becoming the next victim? And how many more innocent lives will be taken before the snow thaws?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot will love this gripping and addictive thriller from USA Today bestselling author D.K. Hood. Prepare to stay up all night!

His Review:

Mother was anything but a loving nurturer, she was a monster. And she allowed strange men to do things to her child for the shear joy of knowing it was happening! Could anyone fault the child for becoming what she had pre-ordained?

Fallen Angel by D K HoodBut the antagonist is a study in psychopaths and the reasons they become who they are.

D. K. Hood builds an interesting profile of the killer as an adult. Despicable and frightening.

Trapped in a snowbound ski resort with a couple of hundred writers and publishers is the perfect target element. The victims are chosen with relish, particularly those who have dismissed who is perceived a hack writer. Sure they have no redeeming qualities and wouldn’t know a good book if it fell off the shelf on them, oh yes, they have it coming!

Two of the local law enforcement members of a small mountain bound town are trapped in a blizzard when the deaths keep mounting up. The attendees at a writer’s teaching seminar are the targets of ire. In the beginning they believe that it is a game set up by the seminar sponsors.

I found the approach to the novel interesting in the authors’ attempt at getting into the head of the killer. The ending is poignant as the killer explains that the commission of these crimes fill a need more pressing than food!

CE WilliamsRead and enjoy this book, but make sure you have the doors and windows properly secured. Checking and rechecking these items may give you a modicum of security! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Currently on pre-order, this book releases next Tuesday (November 23rd).

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

Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09CH7LYGF
Print Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Fallen Angel [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

 

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D K Hood - authorThe Author: D.K Hood is THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and Amazon Bestselling Author of The Kane and Alton Series. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Australian Crime Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime Australia.

Where Angels Fear and Her Broken Wings, are listed as the Best Thriller and Best Detective Books Of All Time by The Book Authority.

D.K’s books have been or are currently being translated into many different languages.

D.K. lives very quietly with her husband and enjoys a beautiful garden filled with wild birds and water dragons. The dogs and cats in her stories are reminiscent of the wonderful companions from her past.

She started her writing journey to assist with drug free pain management and has continued to use the stories as an escape from intolerable pain. She likes to highlight current themes in her books and is a strong advocate against all forms of abuse.

D.K says,

“Writing crime thrillers for Bookouture (Hachette) is a dream come true for me. I really love writing the Kane and Alton Series.

It’s great to “meet” so many wonderful readers from all over the world through my Facebook pages. Their support and friendship is inspirational.

I’m currently writing more books in the series.

I love writing about the rugged beauty of Montana and my interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. It was one subject I enjoyed studying and with the constant advances, it never gets boring.

With many stories, waiting for me to write, I’ll look forward to sharing more exciting crime thrillers with you.”

Join me for a chat:

Twitter

@DKHood_Author

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor

Web:

http://www.dkhood.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Happy Autumn Weekend to you from Rosepoint Publishing

The Deathwatch Beetle (Ann Lindell Mysteries Book 9) by Kjell Eriksson –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Kjell Eriksson’s next Ann Lindell book, The Deathwatch Beetle is an atmospheric thriller and a tender depiction of the countryside and the people of Roslagen.

The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell ErikssonFour years have passed since Cecilia Karlsson disappeared from the island of Gräsö in Roslagen. When Ann Lindell receives a tip that she has been seen alive she cannot help getting involved, even though she is no longer with the police.

The black sheep of the island, Nils Lindberg, has never forgotten Cecilia Karlsson, with whom he was in love as a teenager. And he carries a secret. He may not be completely sober all the time, but he has no doubt of what he saw out on the bay just before Cecilia disappeared. Cecilia’s parents are desperate, not knowing what happened to their daughter. Yet their silent house contains many things that have been left unsaid.

While Ann struggles to put the jigsaw puzzle together, she is trying to establish herself in her new life together with her lover Edvard who, like herself, is marked by life. At the same time, someone is hiding in a cottage in a remote part of the island. Someone who is looking for revenge…

My Review:

Such an unusual title and a story that takes place in the country of one my ancestors, I thought this might be an interesting departure from the crime mysteries we typically pick up. Described as an atmospheric thriller, I could agree with one part of that characterization. It was atmospheric.

The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell ErikssonMy first experience with the series, in this particular episode (former?) protagonist Ann Lindell has retired from the police force and lives on the island of Gräsö off the eastern coast of Sweden. (My relatives still live on the western coast.) When Lindell gets a tip that Cecilia Karlsson was sighted alive, she can’t resist pursuing the lead.

It’s an island. People know each other and there are secrets. Some not meant to be revealed. The opening scene hooked the reader then basically foundered for the remaining portions of the book, introducing relatives and friends, chasing down little leads but at such a slow pace it was difficult to continue reading.

I’m not sure—is Ann still meant to be the main character? The narrative comes back to her often, but… It might have been helpful at the beginning of the chapters to explain who was up front and speaking that chapter. Not first person, but it often took me a couple pages to figure out who was making an appearance and his/her connection to the whole thing.

Ann didn’t come across in this episode as being a fully developed person, nor did I really engage in her boyfriend. I did come across, however, an explanation for the title.

“…something was scratching and gnawing in the wall, deathwatch beetle she thought it was called…”

Granted, I came in on Book 9 of the series, having lost, I’m sure a large part of setting the scene and characters as well as her earlier experience as a police person. But was something lost in translation? This one lost my interest fairly early on and it was never really regained.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Two point Five Stars Two and one-half Stars

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Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250766168
ASIN: B08R2KR132
Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Kjell Eriksson - authorThe Author: Karl Stig Kjell Eriksson is a Swedish crime-writer, author of the novels The Princess of Burundi and The Cruel Stars of the Night, the former of which was awarded the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2002. They have both recently been translated into English by Ebba Segerberg.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Songbird (Jax Diamond Mysteries Book 1) by Gail Meath –#BookReview – #historicalmysteries

Book Blurb:

Songbird by Gail MeathMeet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.

But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.

Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.

Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.

My Review:

I was absolutely taken by this gorgeous book cover and I love the period of the twenties. Women were just beginning to break out, jazz, blues, and the Charleston were the rage, prohibition in 1920 caused the rise of “speakeasies” (illegal taverns). A very colorful time in American history. And, of course, I enjoy historical fiction.

Songbird by Gail MeathLaura Graystone is the songbird, rising quickly in the musical theatre. She has the opportunity of filling the limelight when the production’s leading lady is mysteriously murdered.

Jax Diamond (what a perfect name!) is the PI, former detective, who is sure that the death of a playwright who has written a musical especially with her talent and voice in mind dies with what looks like natural causes. Not.

The first book in the series, we are gradually introduced to their backgrounds and the twenties atmosphere of New York. Jax has a formidable looking GSD he named Ace and the dog figures prominently in the storyline (which, of course, I also enjoy). Jax is multi-talented and mysterious—not revealing all about himself.

The author has tried to keep the authentic feeling of the period with both the speech (vernacular), and the sights and sounds of the prohibition era, including historic Coney Island. There are subtle sub-plots and twists and turns that keeps the reader pursuing justice.

There is a romance between the two with a cautious exploration of their relationship. Jax, however, lost his usual cool persona when there was a perceived threat to Laura, which seemed an over reaction to the situation.

The copy I received from NetGalley seemed to be an uncorrected proof as there were so many edit misses it sometimes slowed the read to visually correct either missing words, punctuation, or words used incorrectly. Otherwise, I found the storyline interesting, well-plotted and fast-paced, the characters well on their way to development, and the conclusion fitting.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mystery
ASIN: B09HMRCVCL
Print Length: 212 pages
Publication Date: November 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Indie Bookstore

Gail Meath - author The Author: Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

The subgenres of her books vary from action-packed westerns, plot twisting murder mysteries and biographies of powerful women who defied the strict rules of society fighting for the freedom of their countries. Her romances may exclude steamy sexual scenes, yet the intensity between heroine and hero will satisfy your deepest fantasies.

Outside of writing, she spends loads of time with her husband, children and grandchildren. http://www.gailmeath.com

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Weekend!

TV Netflix Series Firefly Lane vs #Audiobook Fly Away by Kristen Hannah and Susan Ericksen (Narrator) – Family Life Fiction – #TBT

Netflix series Firefly Lane vs Audiobook Fly Away Book 2 of the Firefly Lane series

 

Somewhere in my travels through buddy blogs or Netflix ads, I noticed the novel Firefire Lane and that the book had been picked up for a Netflix original series. I must admit to loving the challenge of listening to the audiobook and then making a mild comparison to the Netflix version. In the past I’ve noticed a radical departure from the original books (not quite so much with Longmire, but seriously rewritten in the Virgin River series).

The storyline by Kristen Hannah in Firefly Lane (Book 1) is about Kate Mularkey, who in the summer of 1974 meets Tully Hart. Kate is in the eighth grade and a doomed bottom feeder whereas Tully is “the coolest girl in the world.” But Tully lives a tenuous life with an addicted and aging flower child and she quickly assimilates into Kate’s family. The ensuing well-paced narrative chronicles the friendship, the bond between the girls through thirty years and several life changes.

Netflix Series

Firefly Lane follows Tully played by Katherine Heigl and Kate played by Sarah Chalke through their coming of age, young adulthood, and the rise of each in their chosen life path. They are BFFs, supporting each other through both the good times and bad into their 40s.

There are ten episodes in Season 1 with Season 2 promised some time in 2022. The actors, both the youths and adults, do an incredible job of selling their characters.

Katherine Heigl - actressKatherine Marie Heigl (born November 24, 1978) is an American actress, producer and former fashion model. She started her career as a child model. Heigl and her husband of 13 years — the singer Josh Kelley — have a 4-year-old son together, Joshua Bishop Kelley, Jr. They adopted their daughter Nancy Leigh, 12, from South Korea in 2009 and Adalaide, 8, who is Black, in 2012. [Wikipedia] She may best be known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy.

Sarah Chalke - actressSarah Louise Christine Chalke born August 27, 1976) is a Canadian actress and model. She is known for portraying Elliot Reid on the NBC/ABC comedy series Scrubs. Chalke is engaged to lawyer Jamie Afifi. The couple have a son, Charlie Rhodes, and a daughter, Frances. Her son was diagnosed at age two with Kawasaki disease. [Wikipedia]

My Thoughts

I love finally having female buddy films that women can identify with, enjoy. Of course, Thelma and Louise made some waves when it came out, but I don’t remember seeing a number of similar cinema offerings after. A League of Their Own? (“There’s no crying in baseball.”) First Wives Club? Not sure this isn’t apples and oranges and you no doubt can cite better or more current examples.

In this case, the often bawdy Netflix theme offers adult entertainment from violence and drug abuse to nudity and sex scenes. If that’s not offensive, then behind the restricted content comes the beautiful story of a powerful friendship that manages to survive jealousy, anger, triumphs, and betrayals. Life is a struggle, but the friendship and connection prevails.

Really, if you haven’t discovered this one yet, I recommend the series. Engaging, well-developed and portrayed characters. So far, a “feel good” series, although I understand that changes. 5 stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

The number one New York Times best-selling author returns to the characters in Firefly Lane in her next blockbuster novel, Fly Away. Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than 30 years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. 

But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on…Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate – to be there for Kate’s children – but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people. Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her…until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world. 

Dorothy Hart – the woman who once called herself Cloud – is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs. 

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another – and maybe a miracle – to transform their lives. 

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. 

Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day. Includes a Reading Group Guide Read by Kristin Hannah  

My Thoughts

[Spoiler alert—Book 2 revelations]

Well, damn, try as I might, could NOT get the first book, Firefly Lane, which would have thoroughly supplied the background that Fly Away appears lacking. After a friendship spanning thirty years, Kate dies.

Fly Away by Kristen HannahThere has been a rift between the two, but Tully drops her very successful daytime TV show to spend the rest of the time she and Kate have left together. Tully promises Kate she will be there for her children. The problem, of course, is that Tully has devoted her life to attaining stardom on television. She never marries, doesn’t have children. Has no clue how to play devoted aunt to Kate’s twin boys and sixteen year old Marah.

What follows is a sub-plot involving Marah and her attempt to turn on, tune in, drop out. And there is an intense story in which the reader (or listener) gets the full low down on Dorothy Hart (Cloud—Tully’s flower child mother). Her story is heart-breaking and familiar to many of the older generation.

And finally, Tully’s failed attempt at reconciliation with her world, the cost and the redemption and ultimately a conclusion that somewhat settles the heart.

The narrative is long-toothed on retrospection, coulda, woulda, shouldas. A review of the highlights of the thirty years—the good and the bad. The romances, their families. Overall, I felt it rather morose, sad, not an audiobook to read with depression or happy for that matter—it’ll bring yah down. (And here again, I did not care for the narrator). Really, a rather unfortunate wrap-up for what is otherwise a celebration of a relationship few are privileged to experience. 2 stars

Overall Impression

Sometimes I discover I prefer the (audio)book, sometimes it’s the Netflix version. The Netflix version is usually a compromise of adult material, softened somewhat, or not. Character events are switched, or a major plot-twisting event occurs—not as originally written but what works best for the TV version. In this particular instance, the character that stuck out for me the most from the book that Netflix nailed is Dorothy (Cloud), who eventually looks at least ten years older than her real age. The story of Tully is tragic, really, and although obvious in the Netflix version, concentrates on the stark reality of her childhood and the life-long battle that forges in the Tully character.

I’m all over Netflix Firefly Lane Season 1, but if Season 2 follows Fly Away, I’m out.  

Book Details

Fly Away: Book 2 of the Firefly Lane series
Genre: Family Life Fiction, Friendship Fiction, Women’s Sagas
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B000V77082
Listening Length: 16 hrs 4 mins
Narrator:  Susan Ericksen
Audible Release: April 23, 2013
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Fly Away Book 2 [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

Kristin Hannah - authorThe Author: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore’s bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by the both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star. Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development. Firefly Lane, her novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix show around the world, in the week it came out. The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently being filmed.

http://www.kristinhannah.com

©V Williams V Williams

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