Ink and Shadows (A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel Book 4) by Ellery Adams – a #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

A Witty and Page-Turning Southern Cozy Mystery

New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams is back with the latest in her acclaimed Secret, Book, and Scone Society series.”

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Ink and Shadows by Ellery AdamsLocal bookstore owner Nora Pennington is back on the case in Miracle Springs, North Carolina when an accidental death turns out to be something much more sinister…
 
Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.

Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.

The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation—before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all . . .

My Review:

My first entry into the series and it’s an amazing introduction to Nora Pennington and her shop, Miracle Books, in Miracle Springs, North Carolina. Either the author has an amazing and thorough history with books or spent months in research as this novel was a treasure trove of titles for all occasions.

Ink and Shadows by Ellery AdamsFirst, protagonist Nora is part of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, she and three other women—close friends, confidants, and co-conspirators—they contribute to the investigations. Nora runs a themed showcase but this year her fictional heroines (powerful women display) runs amok of a group of ladies who decide the books pose a dangerous theme for young, impressionable minds.

In the meantime, a new shopkeeper has popped up, selling CBD oil products along with natural remedies, scents, soaps, and gift baskets. It is her daughter that raises a number of red flags and finding a private moment with the girl offers her help. It isn’t long before the girl is found deceased in Nora’s backyard.

Before I get caught up describing the well-plotted and paced mystery, I must say the support characters in this book add such a dimension to the narrative you want to sit in on their book nights and share a glass of wine with them. And Sheldon, her assistant—wonderful. Later in the book, an old college roommate comes back into her life and wouldn’t we all have loved to known anyone like Bobbie!

If you never had a love for books before, this book should build the flame in your heart that has you running to your closest library. There to smell the pages, inhale the scent of hardbacks filled with knowledge and adventure, or coax out beautiful poems, prose, and memorable thoughts by the authors who shared. There is a reverence in the collection of good books.

Surely there is a category level above cozy (intellectual cozy?) that includes the emotion, experience, and gravitas imparted in these pages. From beautiful prose to too many quotables to list here, and in between, the subtle investigation, the gentle gleaning of leads that weaves in through the lives of the characters, their way of life, and their individual concerns.

An unusual cozy mystery in that the victim(s) are not hateful people and no love lost. The antagonist only gradually prodded out after one of few red herrings or twists. Unusual number of references to particular names or events only an older generation might recognize and an interesting tidbit of information regarding CBD oil—COA—Certificate of Analysis (…”document from a lab that shows the exact number of various cannabinoids in a CBD product…customers know that they’re buying products containing no THC.”)

I might have missed the explanation of “ticket agent’s office,” and “book pockets” by reading this as my first entry to the series. Still, this novel served quite well as a fascinating standalone for me. I read one of the author’s books in the Book Retreat Mystery series, Murder in the Reading Room and enjoyed. This one opened a whole new realm of cozy for me. Highly recommended.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B087YR9M54

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: To be released January 26, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Ellery Adams - authorThe Author: Ellery Adams, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, has written dozens of mystery novels. She shares her North Carolina home with her husband, two trolls, and three keyboard-hogging felines. Ellery loves reading, coffee, bubbly, jigsaw puzzles, baking, volunteering at her local animal shelter, and rearranging her bookshelves.

Her traditionally published series include The Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries, The Book Retreat Mysteries, The Books By the Bay Mysteries, and The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.

Her Indie series include The Supper Club Series, The Hope Street Series, and The Molly Appleby Collectible Series.

For book club discussion questions, lists of Nora Pennington’s bibliotherapy titles, and more, visit http://www.elleryadamsmysteries.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Mystery at the Old Mill (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 4) by Clare Chase – a #BookReview – #cozy mystery

“…a huge flock of widgeon rose to the sky, changing its shape like a dense collection of iron filings pulled by a magnet.” 

Book Blurb:

When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!

Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare ChaseEveryone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to know more about Harry Tennant, the newcomer who owns the Old Mill. He usually keeps himself to himself, but he’s finally invited the villagers round for drinks, and Eve Mallow isn’t the only one looking forward to having some questions answered.

But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out quiet, charming Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford. Eve has to wonder what revelations were contained in the letters he received… and whether one of them was worth killing for.

Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an uncle desperate to inherit, two women who thought they were his one and only, not to mention everyone who shared their darkest secrets with him. Was one of those strangers much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?

My Review:

My second excursion into an Eve Mallow mystery. I did enjoy Book 1, Mystery on Hidden Lane, which as the first of the series developed the character of Eve apparently as by Book 4, there is little further fleshing of Eve as there is of Gus, her companion Dachshund.

I was intrigued in Book 1 by the idea of a freelance obituary writer, an easy cover for her sleuthing activities when something happens. In this entry to the series—the death of a man living in the Old Mill in Saxton St Peter, Suffolk village.

Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare ChaseThe victim, Harry Tennant, is an “agony aunt,” that is, an advice columnist. Unfortunately, he is passed off as a woman, and very few knew that he is actually Pippy Longford. And fewer still that the local citizens of the community were writing to someone right there in their midst. Interesting premise!

Harry is not a nice man. (“He’d fought bullying by becoming a bully”…and it worked for him.) Heaven knows he has lots of advice—for everyone—about everything. His columns are not always helpful—but, hey, that’s what sells. When his old mill burns down with him in it, it is established that it wasn’t accidental.

I’m not quite sure what to think about Book 4. Obviously, I missed Books 2 and 3, but Book 4 does not redux the character of Eve sufficiently, other than she is still working with her BFF, Viv in her tea shop. Eve takes to discussing the threads of the case with Gus, who eyes her appropriately depending whether or not he gets to go on her interviews.

I had difficulty getting into the rather drawn out plot, well-plotted though it was, just a bit slow for me and my attention lagged more than once. Who knew Tennant’s alter-ego and who was it who might have been harmed by a juicy tidbit he was set to announce at the open house he’d planned to reveal the night following his death?

His isn’t the only body to fall by the wayside in the ensuing investigation and there are a number of red herrings. Eve had a way of seriously ticking off her interviewees, curtailing any further discussion. Several possible perps rise to the top of the list and the atmosphere becomes tense.

Seems the more obvious suspects are too obvious and in the end, the conclusion is enlightening as well as surprising. In the meantime, I enjoyed the little tidbits about the frigid location by the North Sea and the country lanes with their very colorful names: i.e., Blind Eye Lane, Haunted Lane, Old Yard Lane. If you are a fan of the author, I’d suggest you begin this series with Book 1, as I felt a bit lost in Book 4. Must have missed something and perhaps would not function as a standalone.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Christian Suspense
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08CBHCRSG

Print Length: 317 pages
Publication Date: To be released December 7, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Clare Chase - authorThe Author: Clare Chase writes classic mysteries. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.

Her debut novel was shortlisted for Novelicious’s Undiscovered Award, as well as an EPIC award post-publication, and was chosen as a Debut of the Month by LoveReading. Murder on the Marshes (Tara Thorpe 1) was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.

Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere from the house of a lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

You can find Clare’s website and blog at http://www.clarechase.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Sky Worshipers by F M Deemyad – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

a CE review

Book Blurb:

In the year 1398 A.D., Lady Goharshad and her husband, King Shahrokh, come across an ancient manuscript in the ruins of Karakorum, the Mongol capital. The manuscript chronicles the era of Mongol invasions with entries by three princesses from China, Persia, and Poland who are captured and brought to the Mongol court. 

The Sky Worshipers by FM DeemyadAfter being stolen from her family at the Tangut Emperor’s coronation, Princess Chaka, the Emperor’s youngest daughter is left with no choice but to marry Genghis Khan. Thus, the Tangut join Genghis as allies. She is the first to secretly chronicle the historical events of her time, and in doing so she has the help of an African eunuch by the name of Baako who brings her news from the war front.

Princess Reyhan is the witty granddaughter of the last Seljuk King in Persia. She is kidnapped by Ogodei, Genghis’s son and heir, who falls in love with her. The romance does not last long, however, since a Mongol beauty wins Ogodei’s heart, and Reyhan is sidelined. Reyhan continues the tradition of recording the events in secret, turning her entries into tales.

During the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary, Princess Krisztina, niece to Henry the Pious, is taken as a prisoner of war by the Mongols. Reyhan learns about Krisztina’s predicament through Baako and asks Hulagu, Genghis’s grandson, to help free her. Krisztina has a difficult time adjusting to life in Mongolia, and at one point she attempts to run away but is unsuccessful. When the child she is bearing is stillborn, the Mongol court shuns her. She is able to return to her homeland in old age but comes back to Karakorum and writes her final entry in the journal.

Through beautiful language and powerful storytelling, this fact-based historical novel lays bare the once far-reaching and uncompromising Mongol empire. It shows readers the hidden perspectives of the captive, conquered, and voiceless. It brings to light the tremendous but forgotten influence of Genghis Khan and his progeny, while asking readers to reconsider the destruction and suffering of the past on which the future is built.

 His Review:

(A novel of Mongol Conquest)

Expansion of the Mongol Empire as told through the eyes of a hopeless romantic! (me) My reading of this tale reminded me of Arabian Nights and Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. Ms. Deemyad sees this period through the eyes of the women who were married to Genghis Kahn and his offspring. Told from a woman’s point of view makes the overall tale a tender and heart-breaking story of the time.

The Sky Worshipers by F M DeemyadGreed and the desire to improve the lives of his people was one of the hallmarks of Genghis Kahn’s military exploits. Europe during the 12th to 14th centuries was a contrast in those that had and those that were destitute–the majority of the population falling into the latter category. It is postulated that 10% of the people of this planet can trace genes back to Genghis Kahn and his offspring.

Sky worship was the primary belief system of the Mongols. Lightning storms and frequent rains were the norm in the areas they controlled. However, Genghis Kahn showed real compassion towards other cultures by not forcing his religion upon the lands he conquered. Certainly, this is not the case with most of the other cultures in the world. Muslims having anger towards Christians who have fostered a hate of the Jews because of the death of Christ are but a few examples.

The building of large mosques and cathedrals are examples of the tolerance shown by the Mongols to their conquered lands. Today’s inter-religious conflicts could learn from this example. The laws imposed by the Mongols on the conquered are another story. Talking back or having a different point of view or suggestion for an upcoming campaign could result in the death of the person bold enough to suggest an opinion other than that of the current ruler.

This book and its’ writer immerse the reader in the culture and events of the time. Hoping that some of the more compassionate characters will survive leads to disappointment. The strongest in the Mongolian culture were the survivors. Young ladies of privilege and comfort stolen from their families and forced to marry warlords were the norm. Yet some of them came to know and respect the kidnappers that changed their lives forever.

CE WilliamsWrapping the book up in the mystique of a secret historical document chronicled by these very abductees added credence to the overall dynamic. I can whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to follow the exploits of the Mongols in both Asia and Europe. It’s a well-plotted, paced narrative with sympathetic characters. Currently on pre-order. 5 stars – C.E. Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley through Colin Mustful at History Through Fiction. These are my honest thoughts. 

Book Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: History Through Fiction

  • ASIN : B08K3LXPPV

Print Length: 332 pages
Publication Date: To be released March 2, 2021
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Title Link: The Sky Worshipers [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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F M Deemyad - authorThe Author: [F M Deemyad] Author of Historical Novels/Short Story Writer/Memoir Writer/Johns Hopkins Graduate/MFA in Writing/Maryland Writers’ Association + Authors Guild Member. (The Sky Worshipers is her debut novel.) Find her on twitter.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Big Kibble: The Hidden Dangers of the Pet Food Industry and How to Do Better by Our Dogs by Shawn Buckley and Dr Oscar Chavez – A #BookReview – #NonFictionNovember

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars5 stars

Big Kibble by Sawn Buckley

a CE review

Book Blurb:

A big, inside look at the shocking lack of regulation within the pet food industry, and how readers can dramatically improve the quality of their dogs’ lives through diet.

What’s really going into commercial dog food? The answer is horrifying.

Big Kibble is big business: $75 billion globally. A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the industry and together own as many as 80% of all brands. This comes as a surprise to most people, but what’s even more shocking is how lax the regulations and guidelines are around these products. The guidelines―or lack thereof―for pet food allow producers to include ever-cheaper ingredients, and create ever-larger earnings. For example, “legal” ingredients in kibble include poultry feces, saw dust, expired food, and diseased meat, among other horrors. Many vets still don’t know that kibble is not the best food for dogs because Big Kibble funds the nutrition research. So far, these corporations have been able to cut corners and still market and promote feed-grade food as if it were healthful and beneficial―until now.

Just as you are what you eat, so is your dog. Once you stop feeding your dog the junk that’s in kibble or cans, you have taken the first steps to improving your dog’s health, behavior and happiness.

You know the unsavory side of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. Now Shawn Buckley, Dr. Oscar Chavez, and Wendy Paris explain all you need to know about unsavory Big Kibble―and offer a brighter path forward for you and your pet.

His Review:

All of a sudden she was jerking and stumbling on our walks! She would inexplicably walk in front of me. She is our 14 (almost 15) year old Bichon Frise named Frosty. Did she have a heart attack or get some poison out in the yard? My wife and I worried about her tremors which appeared to be getting worse and went on a crusade to find out what was going on.

Big Kibble by Shawn BuckleyI looked at the dog treats I was giving her after her potty break walks. One of the easiest and her favorites was a very popular brand we’d often shared with her. After I stopped them, she seemed to improve. We took her to the vet who said, “she is in great shape and very well-toned for a dog her age,” and he found no immediate neurological cause.  How would a popular dog treat cause such a dramatic event?

My wife is a book blogger and between us we review about 160 books a year. One of the most recent books is “Big Kibble.” The authors discuss the very thing that seemed to happen to Frosty. Could there have been some kind of poison or substance in the expensive brand of the dry kibble that caused Frosty to begin to have violent tremor episodes?

There are interesting animal feed discussions, feed regulation discussions, tragic dog stories and  happy dog stories. Fresh ingredients to safely allow and those “not for dogs.”

This book will open your eyes to the dilemma that is the problem of choosing healthy dog food. The book writers are interested in keeping your dog healthy and also in keeping their own business growing.

The companies supplying the majority of the pet feed (not food–there is a major difference in regulations) in the country are a monopoly. So successful companies with thriving brand identity are bought out by these large corporate behemoths who have a very sophisticated monitoring system to watchdog their market shares. According to the authors, such upstarts as Blue were bought up when they intruded into the cash flow profits of these conglomerates.

Learning the pitfalls of such disclosures as “Made in America” (not necessarily) and “whole natural ingredients” (doubtful) makes me angry. We shop for the best and try to give our dogs the healthiest (“for small active senior dogs”). We want our fur babies bright-eyed and happy. Companies putting profits before our animals are being exposed, their sources exposed, their ingredient list exposed.

CE WilliamsMy wife has been topping Frosty’s kibble with portions of meat mixtures separated from our meals for some time. We are extremely careful about her treats and monitor them. My takeaway from the book: prepare your own food for your four legged friends and lose the big corporate poison brokers. Five stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

 Book Details:

Genre: Pet Food & Nutrition, Dog Care
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

    • ISBN-10 : 1250260051
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250260055
    • ASIN : B084M1PWLR
    • Print Length: 320 pages

Publication Date: To be released December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Big Kibble [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Shawn Buckley - author
Shawn Buckley – author

 

 

 

The Author: Shawn Buckley (No bios)

 

 

 

 

©2020 C E Williams – V Williams – V Williams

A Big Fat Greek Murder (A Goddess of Greene St Mystery Book 2 of 2) by Kate Collins – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

A Big Fat Greek Murder by Kate CollinsSingle mom Athena Spencer is back in Michigan working at her family’s garden center, raising a pet racoon, and digging up clues in the smart new mystery series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mysteries . . .

The entire family has been put to work when a big fat Greek wedding rehearsal is booked at the Parthenon. All hands are needed for rolling grape leaves, layering moussaka, and keeping the bride calm. But then the groom goes MIA and there’s far more to worry about then just whether Yiayia’s lemon rice soup has gone cold.

No matter how tangy the tzatziki, everyone’s appetite is ruined when the groom is found dead, a pair of scissors planted in his back. When the bride accuses Athena’s sister Selene, a hairstylist, of seducing and stabbing her fiancé, it’s all-out war—and it’s up to Athena to dig up the dirt on the suspects and nip these suspicions in the bud . . .

My Review:

The second in the Goddess of Greene St Mysteries and another fast, fun cozy. There is that strong family theme with the Greek families’ enclave in Sequoia, Michigan, and the tie to the nursery family business and the little mascot that comes to get his peanuts. The family also has a restaurant, the Parthenon, which was to be graced by the Athena statue her grandfather found and brought in. Too large, it ended up at the garden center. But it was a way to introduce Case to Book 1 who plays a very prominent part in Book 2.

A Big Fat Greek Murder by Kate CollinsIn this installment, the restaurant is hosting a rehearsal dinner for Mandy Black and Brady Rogers. Protagonists’ Athena’s sister was to be one of the bridesmaids, but when the groom doesn’t show up, he is later found murdered. Uh oh. The police will point to the one obviously set up person who wouldn’t have done it, her sister, so Athena will get involved, along with Case, who helped her solve the mystery in Book 1 to clear her sister.

A little side tongue-in-cheek gig that slides just under the main storyline is Athena’s blog—unknown to her family (mostly)—known as “Goddess Anon.” Fun little snipes regarding what is going on in her family, the joys of a large family with all the drama, relationships, and idiosyncrasies of the individuals—i.e., her mother will feed anyone—including the people at the jail.

She and Case have a direct prosecutorial courtroom style of questioning; double-teaming those on their interview list until the list gets bullied down to three possible perps. Of course, it’s not terribly difficult to figure out who is the culprit and in the meantime I enjoy the steps they take to each new clue. Athena is smart, if not wholly open to a relationship—and you know that’s brewing between she and Case. The bits with the family are always entertaining, and the side trips to the Goddess blog fun.

You might wish to begin this series with Book 1, Statue of Limitations, to get more background. Could be read as a standalone, however, as there are bits of background info snuck in. The conclusion is satisfying and a wrap-up of details, which we’ve pretty much sussed out at this point. Engaging characters, descriptive locale, and entertaining storyline. However, there is a monkey-wrench thrown in at the end which worries me about a possible partner in Book 3? Say it isn’t so…and I’ll be watching for it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B085LTLH4P

Print Length: 258 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Kate Collins - authorThe Author: Kate Collins is the author of the best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series. Her books have made the New York Times Bestseller list, the Barnes & Noble mass market mystery best-sellers’ lists, the Independent Booksellers’ best-seller’s lists, as well as booksellers’ lists in the U.K. and Australia. All Flower Shop Mysteries are available in paperback, hardback and large print editions. The first three books in the FSM series are now available on audiobook.

In January of 2016, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel aired the first Flower Shop Mystery series movie, MUM’S THE WORD, followed by SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS and DEARLY DEPOTTED later that year. The movies star Brooke Shields, Brennan Elliott, Beau Bridges and Kate Drummond.

In December of 2017, a Christmas novella featuring the whole cast from the Flower Shop Mystery series was released in e-book format. MISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE is the first mystery to be released digitally, with plans for many more stories to come.

Kate started her career writing children’s stories for magazines and eventually published historical romantic suspense novels under the pen name Linda Eberhardt and Linda O’brien.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Leave No Trace (An FBI K-9 Novel Book 5) by Sara Driscoll, Jen J Danna – a #BookReview – #animalfiction – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars5 stars

The “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are descendants of those resisters” (who refused to go on the Trail of Tears).

Book Blurb:

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollOne arrow through the heart could be a tragic hunting accident. A second one, within days, looks more like a crime. That’s when Meg Jennings and Brian Foster of the FBI’s Forensic Canine Unit head to Georgia to investigate. With their dogs Hawk and Lacey, Meg and Brian are enlisted to follow the scent of a killer. At first, nothing seems to connect the two victims–a county commissioner and State Patrol officer.  But the blood sport around the southern town of Blue Ridge is just beginning.

As the body count rises, the compound bow killer becomes even more elusive, appearing and vanishing like a ghost. However, with each new slaying Meg is beginning to suspect the grim design that’s escalating in the shadows. At its heart, a tragic event that reaches back nearly two centuries in Georgia’s history is now turning Blue Ridge into a hunting ground. But as Meg gets closer to solving the puzzle, the closer she is to stepping into the crosshairs of an elusive murderer with deadly aim, and motives as deep and dark as the woods . . .

My Review:

Book 5 of the FBI K-9 mystery Leave No Trace will be coming out late December and I couldn’t resist getting a jump of one of my favorite series about the awesome dogs and their handlers who work so effectively with law enforcement.

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollThe author manages to craft a remarkable canine-human story, but teach as well. In this case McCord is back and his character weaves in some amazing history, heading each chapter with points of interest in the early US Native American account of the Cherokee, one of the five Eastern tribes later known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” or providing a heads up for what’s coming. But more than that—the background of early Georgia–some really remarkable and little known history of the development of hydroelectric power in that area.

Protagonist Meg Jennings is back with her black Lab, Hawk. Her partner is Brian, whose dog is a German Shepherd, Lacey. They’ve been called in to track a killer using a compound bow that quickly escalates into a series of murders. Tracking high in the Appalachians is not easy. But it not only the expert bow hunter that’s deadly—so are those mountains.

Meg and Brian go from one peril to another, often caught in deadly situations that only the young and extremely fit could survive. It’s action packed, bringing training into the fore when called on.

The well-plotted and fast paced narrative grabs the reader in scenes of extreme danger and pushes the pulse-pounding experience to start flipping pages faster. Lots of drama here: critical information regarding bows, survival techniques, doses of fascinating history, police procedures and communication, and in between the larger picture, the personal issues confronting those prominent in the immediate team, including Meg’s guy.

I also read two others in the series, No Man’s Land and Storm Rising, and the CE read one in her new series NYPD Negotiators, Exit Strategy, and loved them all. Of course I love the interaction between dog and handler. The conclusion answers the whodunit, but not all the questions, issues, things you might have wanted to know. Still, the ride has been non-stop and immersive, the characters engaging, and the narrative wholly entertaining and thought-provoking. Totally recommended.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. Thank you!! These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Pet Dogs, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B086R8ZHBQ

Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: Available now on pre-order. Releases December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019.

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Puzzling Ink (A Crossword Puzzle Mystery Book 1) by Becky Clark – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“She wanted her words to come out standard Times New Roman, but was pretty sure they ended up being Comic Sans.” 

Book Blurb:

1 DOWN: DEATH BY HOMICIDE
 
Puzzling Ink by Becky ClarkQuinn Carr wishes her life could be more like a crossword puzzle: neat, orderly, and perfectly arranged. At least her passion for puzzles, flair for words—and mild case of OCD—have landed her a gig creating crosswords for the local paper. But if she ever hopes to move out of her parents’ house, she can’t give up her day job as a waitress. She needs the tips. But when a customer ends up dead at her table—face down in biscuits and gravy—Quinn needs to get a clue to find whodunit . . .
 
6 LETTERS, STARTS WITH “M”
 
It turns out that solving a murder is a lot harder than a creating a crossword. Quinn has plenty of suspects—up, down, and across.  One of them is her boss, the owner of the diner who shares a culinary past with the victim. Two of them are ex-wives, her boss’s and the victim’s. A third complication is the Chief of Police who refuses to allow much investigation, preferring the pretense their town has no crime. To solve this mystery, Quinn has to think outside the boxes—before the killer gets the last word . . .

My Review:

Hmmm, okay. Puzzling Ink starts a new series for Becky Clark and it still has me trying to decide what to think about it. Not my first novel by Becky Clark and I usually enjoy her wry, witty writing style.

Puzzling Ink by Becky ClarkProtagonist Quinn Carr has returned home to Chestnut Station after she failed to progress in a police academy in Denver. She has been diagnosed with a mild case of OCD (and associated depression), but holy moly—if this is mild I hate to think what full blown obsessive-compulsive disorder is like. She has recently began waitressing at a diner and on the side creates crossword puzzles for the local paper. Her best friend from childhood, Rico, apparently encouraged her to try for the academy, but I can’t imagine a more unsuitable candidate. The author has given the MC several interesting support characters along with parents who are quirky and endearing.

Unfortunately, on a night when she find herself alone in the diner (the boss man off on a fundraising catering job), one of two remaining customers is discovered dead. Jake, owner of the diner ends up in jail for his murder. This is the first where I have difficulty—she’s crazy over the top to support him and prove him innocent, taking on single-handedly the cooking and waitressing of the diner. She’s worried about his wrath when he discovers she’s not doing well in the diner (huh?) and scared she’ll lose the job (double huh?).

The reader is introduced to her OCD side almost immediately, and that theme repeats—not just in nervous gestures or activities—but constantly reminded of being OCD. It’s a serious disorder. It is some time into the book before the reader is treated to the mechanics of creating a crossword puzzle and some time after that that she actually uses the device to promote a theory. And I must admit—the mechanics of the crossword puzzle is amazing (professional cruciverbalists)—I had no idea…it’s no simple process. (But did you know there’s an app for that?)

In her investigation and interviews, she tends to be a bit scattered. Definitely a real novice amateur sleuth. Quinn is fleshed to the degree of her OCD symptoms—lining up objects squarely, color coding. The mystery takes a back seat to the quandary of the anxiety disorder. Although well-plotted, the pacing was a bit erratic and Quinn not a protagonist with whom I could connect. The conclusion sorta snuck in and was not one that could have been guessed.

I read and enjoyed Fiction Can Be Murder back in March, 2018 and for the most part enjoyed this one to the extent I’ll read the second. Recommended for crossword puzzle fans and cozy mystery fans.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  • ASIN : B085LTVY49

Print Length: 227 pages
Publication Date: November
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Becky Clark - authorThe Author: Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Her stout-hearted dog keeps her safe from menacing squirrels, leaves, and deer, but not plastic bags. Those things are terrifying.

Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” They also say “Warning: You will laugh out loud. I’m not kidding,” and “If you like Janet Evanovich, you will like Becky Clark.”

Visit http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com for all kinds of fun. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to her “So Seldom It’s Shameful” newsletter. You’ll hear about new releases, get the chance to win fabulous prizes, find out about book promotions from her and others, read interviews from new-to-you authors, and more. (As you might have gleaned from the title, she won’t inundate your inbox, either.)

If you want to connect more often, join Becky’s Book Buddies at Facebook … https://www.facebook.com/groups/beckysbookbuddies/

Follow Becky Clark here on Amazon, on BookBub, and at Goodreads. If you enjoy her books, she’d swoon if you left a review. Yes, swoon.

©2929 V Williams V Williams

Parabellum by Greg Hickey – A #BookReview – Noir Crime

Si vis pacem, para bellum: “If you want peace, you should prepare for war”. 

Book Blurb:

Parabellum by Greg HickeyA mass shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the crime, four individuals emerge as possible suspects.

An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of hits to the head.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.

One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.

“Parabellum is taut, slow-burning crime fiction at its best. And it’s a great deal more than that.” – Paul Flower, author of The Great American Cheese War

If you like nuanced literary crime fiction that explores the depths of the human psyche, you’ll love Greg Hickey’s compelling and unforgettable novel.

His Review:

Parabellum is an interesting study of human failures and broken relationships. I found the book hard to follow because I never felt invested in any one character. A young budding soccer star who is given a scholarship to USC but has to withdraw and loses her scholarship because of a concussion related injury was sympathetic and tragic. Her parents’ struggle to get her back into society were commendable.

Parabellum by Greg HickeyA veteran who returns from the desert storm conflict with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who has a very difficult time because of repeated dreams and lack of sleep is sympathetic. However, this is another character I could not get fully vested in. The issue was the continued complaint and lack of regard for the dedicated medical staff at the veterans’ medical facility in Chicago. The veteran was receiving psychiatric evaluation. The complaint of lack of understanding of the individual problems and pill pushing became exasperating.

A young couple who tried to build a relationship was intriguing. However, the young man’s brother was killed in a gangland type shooting. He continued to frequent the area where the killing occurred because it was his childhood neighborhood. He was thereby marked as someone who could be bullied by the local thugs and gang members. He had real artistic potential but then again deferred to something more lucrative and ignored his talents.

Yes, I could have found these characters sympathetic but the structure of the narrative was such that being engaged in the characters was not possible. Each of their stories was presented shotgun style within the book and as soon as my interest was peaked another character was introduced. It might be two or three chapters before the person you wanted to follow was reintroduced. I found this to be a serious irritant and required me to push through rather than flow with the book.

The end focus of the book was a diatribe against the ownership of guns. This was poorly disguised in the staccato approach to the lives of each of the characters. I suspected early in the reading that something like this must be afoot.

An obvious red flag went up almost immediately on one of the individuals and a couple of the other characters were also leaning towards anti-social activities. The end event was predictable and the narrative a text book type of psychological exercise. 3/5 stars -CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

 Book Details:

  • Genre: Noir Crime, Hard-Boiled Mysteries, Literary Fiction
  • ASIN : B08L1NPNWB

Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: October 10, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Parabellum [Amazon]

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Greg Hickey - authorThe Author: Author of entertaining stories for smart readers. Download the short novel The Theory of Anything for free at https://www.greghickeywrites.com/anything-amazon.

Greg Hickey wrote his first novel, Our Dried Voices, while spending a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Today, he still loves sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of his life. He is a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After his post-college travels, he once again lives in his hometown of Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tom W Jackson – a #BookReview – #International Mystery and Crime – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tim W JacksonMost people dream of being stuck on a tropical island, but Cal Batten just wants to sell his dad’s ramshackle, football-shaped house, fly home and pay off his creditors. Problem is, his dad’s will’s gone missing, what passes for an attorney has his own agenda and the wacky locals may tear the house apart to get at the gold and jewels they reckon are hidden inside. There’s also his childhood former-best friend, now a beautiful scuba instructor, who just might drown him out of spite. Cal has to dodge sharks–on land and under water–if he’s to unload the house and escape the crazy little rock.

The Secret of Rosalita Flats is a smart, funny tropical misadventure for anyone who’s ever dreamed of chucking it all and running off to the Caribbean. From the author of Blacktip Island.

My Review:

If there was ever an island that would convince you not to run off to the Caribbean, this would be it. Although fictitious, I get the sense it’s not all that big, but it seems to be populated with all the crazies the other islands couldn’t tolerate. But that’s where protagonist Cal Batten travels to settle the estate of his late father, Rhodes, whom he had not seen since the age of twelve.

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tim W JacksonThe author paints Blacktip Island in some amazing visuals, from the ironshore surface with death-defying cliffs and gumbo-limbo trees and cactus, to the mosquitoes, merquatches, duppies, and boojums. Sounds fun, huh? But all Cal wants to do is sell and settle the place and head home to his little shop in Naperville, IL.

Unfortunately, what he finds is a confusing mess of a shack shaped like a football and a housekeeper that refuses to quit, showing up whether fired or not, to clean what is no longer cleanable. And then there are those who show up to buy the place, junk and all, as is, au naturale, immediately so he could be on his way. There are scraping sounds that wake him nightly along with the warnings to leave. Problem is—he can’t. He must have the paperwork—the deed, the will, the legal conveyances of which he can’t find in all the mess—though he’s certainly caught the housekeeper searching for it. And when he leaves, comes home to find the place tossed.

Cal remembers many of the island’s citizens and one would reintroduce him to scuba diving if he can get over his manic fear of sharks. They were friends when children but she doesn’t seem to know much more about his dad than he. The rest of the population has his dad pegged at weird and reclusive more than friendly but they all suspect he was hiding—what and how much—they are not sure.

Euler anglesInteresting tidbits about diving, Fibonacci number sequence, and Euler angles—remote stuff I love to learn and won’t remember two days from now—unless perhaps someone mentions it. Okay—that’s not going to happen, huh, unless you’re familiar with Euler angles.

As Cal digs deeper into the mystery, the gentle re-acquaintance with Marina begins to develop as the tension tightens into the who and why. Above and underwater scenes prove an exciting push into the conclusion which gradually settles the waters and works things out very satisfactorily.

I read Blacktip Island back in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed the author’s tongue-in-cheek humorous writing style brought forward here (the stench from the booby pond), while working tangible bits of information into a plausible scenario. It’s a Blacktip Island novel, perhaps classified as Book 2, but certainly a standalone. Only the island is the constant. It’s a lingering build of conflict coupled with twists and red herrings that keep the pages turning. You may not always identify with the characters, but they are thoroughly entertaining and the storyline amusing—comical at times. A lovely get-a-way when we all need one. Recommended and looking forward to Book 3.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: General Caribbean Travel Guides, Travel, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Devonshire House Press

  • ASIN : B08BQCH6TJ

Print Length: 211 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Tim W Jackson - authorThe Author: Tim W. Jackson‘s first taste of scuba diving came at the age of six when he sneaked breaths off his dad’s double-hose regulator in the deep end of the pool. Later, as an ex-journalist armed with a newly-minted master’s degree in English, he discovered he was qualified to be a bartender, a waiter or a PhD student. Instead he chose Secret Option D: run off to the Cayman Islands to work as a scuba instructor and boat captain by day and write fiction at night. Two decades later, he still wishes that was half as interesting as it sounds. Or even a quarter . . .

Jackson is the award-winning author of the comic Caribbean novels Blacktip Island and The Secret of Rosalita Flats, as well as The Blacktip Times humor blog. His “Tales from Blacktip Island” short stories have been published in literary journals worldwide. He is currently concocting his next Blacktip Island novel and still enjoys scuba diving with his dad’s old double-hose reg.

For more insider info, visit his website, http://www.timwjackson.com, the Blacktip Times (www.blacktipisland.com) or follow him on Facebook (Tim W. Jackson) and Twitter (@timwjax).

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Photo attribution: Euler angles-courtesy Wikipedia

Mainely Power (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 1) by Matt Cost – a #BookReview – Private Investigator Mysteries

“…Do you know that in olden times the newspapers would send people to the taverns to find stories to write? When the news was slow, they’d send a man down, tell him to ‘go sip a beer’ and keep his ears open. Over time, this got shortened to gossip.”

Book Blurb:

Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Was Harold Dumphy killed to cover up something at the nuclear power plant where he was the head of security?
This is what Harold’s widow asks Goff Langdon, private detective, to find out. Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To compliment his income in small town Maine’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.
Does Langdon stand a chance against corrupt cops, crooked politicians, greedy millionaires, radical environmentalists, and a deadly assassin named Shakespeare?
With the help of Bart, the bear of a cop; Jimmy 4 by Four, the hippie lawyer; the immigrants Jewell and Richam; and his true desire and employee, Chabal—Langdon sets out to do just that. And then he is framed for not one, but two murders, and events become very complicated.
Follow Langdon and his band of friends as they attempt to untangle the web of intrigue and return Brunswick to “the way life should be.”

My Review:

The author has created the first installment in his Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery series and kicked it off with some memorable characters with such names as (attorney) 4 by Four and Peppermint Patti. And his dog? That’s Coffee Dog. You know I’m a sucker for a story with a dog in it, but a little disappointed this one didn’t get more press time. Still, I enjoyed the back story of 4 by Four.

Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Protagonist Goff Langdon is a twenty-something mystery bookstore owner and a (I’m guessing) newly minted part-time private detective in Brunswick, Maine.  His wife up and split with their precocious three year old, Missouri (I told you he chose some unusual names).

I’m not sure if the town is just that small or if there are no other PI’s out there, but he is approached by a voluptuous lady to look into the death of her husband, an apparent suicide. (After all, there is a life insurance policy to consider.) He was head of security at DownEast Power, an aging nuclear power plant.

He has an interesting cadre of support, from his twin brothers, to Bart, a local cop and Chabal, his young assistant at the book store. They hold a confab after Goff and his little girl are threatened to back off and they divvy up the investigation issues. The immediate antagonist, Lawrence Shakespeare, drops the crux of the whole thing and at that point it’s a matter of staying alive long enough to get the guy giving orders to Shakespeare.

In the meantime, there is a lot of hanky-panky, an additional victim, suspense, blackmail, and less than stellar decisions on how to proceed. There are red herrings and rehashing of the salient points, but they do manage to wheedle out the perp, although that is not a revelation more than a confirmation of the reader’s suspicions.

The protagonist is not wholly fleshed, no doubt more on him in Book 2. The women enjoy a dalliance or two (or more) as well as the appreciative looks by the men. An occasional profane word or two are sprinkled in as well as implied sexual content.

A well-plotted, albeit not unique, plot well paced. A character-driven narrative that has you shaking your head more than once—the protagonist is not a Mensa candidate, but he loves his daughter—and dog.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications

  • ASIN : B08FMXQFNV

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Matt Cost - authorThe Author: Matthew Langdon Cost has wanted to be a writer since age eight. “I Am Cuba” is his first traditionally published novel. He has also self-published another work of historical fiction, “Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War: At Every Hazard”. Encircle Publications will be publishing his Mainely Mystery trilogy over the course of the next year: “Mainely Power” is due out in September, “Mainely Fear” in December, and “Mainely Blackmail” in May of 2021. Over the years, Cost has owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, and a gym. He has also taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable. He now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing. You can keep up with Matt by visiting facebook.com/matt.cost.3, http://www.mattcost.net, and on Twitter, @MattCost8.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Wolf Pack (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 19) vs The Bitterroots (Cassie Dewell Book 5) by C J Box – #Audiobook Reviews #crimethrillers

Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots - #audiobooks

I’ve tried a couple times to get an ARC from the publisher (through NetGalley) for one of this author’s Joe Pickett books. No, they said. Nuh uh. Nada. And then I discovered the series, or most of them, at my local library audiobook section and while some are on a waiting list, I managed to snag these two—back-to-back. Wow—same author, huh? But then I realized these aren’t the same series—not nearly (or the same narrator). And these two are apples and oranges—

Wyoming–the Cowboy State, Equality State and Montana–Big Sky Country

big sky country

Mountains and treacherous terrain, wild animals, desolation, and weather that can turn on a dime and leave you stranded. Common to both states. So, yes, I loved the descriptions of the locale, especially in Montana, having ridden my motorcycle through Lolo Pass—FUN road! It’s gorgeous up there. And frighteningly isolated. This my introduction to the author, plunked into the middle of both series, found either would work as a standalone as there is enough backstory slipped in to bring you quickly up to speed. However, as with all series, sometimes you can watch the evolution of the character(s) if you go back and start with the first.

Wolf Pack-Book Blurb:

Wolf Pack by C J BoxWyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C.J. Box.

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone–including Joe, Nate, and others–who is associated with him.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself in the most violent and dangerous predicament he’s ever faced.

Wolf Pack Review:

Joe Pickett is a Wyoming state game warden and he has his hands full dealing with unmonitored animal traps and drones driving herds of deer and elk to exhaustion, some to death.

Wolf Pack by C J BoxIn this case, the leg traps have initials on them—duh. Not too difficult then to find the owner and then discovers the drone’s owner as well. Joe has three daughters, the last of which is dating the grandson of the drone’s owner living out on a well fortified and secluded acreage compound.

One of the series main characters, Nate Romanowski is an experienced falconer and it doesn’t take much for the bird to bring down the drone—which doesn’t sit well with the owner. It’s not a pleasant confrontation and when he and Kate (another series regular) tries to corral his activities is brought up short by the FBI. Huh?

You know when the FBI gets involves, the case will go sideways, and it does. When bodies begin to show up, the case goes well beyond animal protection. The Wolf Pack is a far more serious threat than the four-footed fur-bearing animals and it’ll take some work to track them down. Can they really be more cunning than the wolves? Certainly more deadly!

It’s a dark and profane narrative, graphic at times, in a well-plotted novel, fast moving story on a collision course with an explosive conclusion. I won’t even mention the epilogue. I’m not sure I needed that. On the whole, a shocking introduction to the author’s writing style—glad I listened to this audiobook second!

Book Details:

Genre: Murder Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books

  • ASIN: B07JGB5PG9

Print Length: 381 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 51 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Wolf Pack

Add to Goodreads4.39 average of 1,044 reviews

The Bitterroots-BookBlurb:

2019 Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year

The Bitterroots by C J BoxA riveting new audiobook from New York Times best-selling and Edgar Award-winning author C. J. Box.

Former police officer Cassie Dewell is trying to start over with her own private investigation firm. Guilty about not seeing her son and exhausted by the nights on stakeout, Cassie is nonetheless managing…until an old friend calls in a favor: She wants Cassie to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young girl from an influential family.

Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out in the Big Sky Country of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there’s always something more to the story. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against the ghosts of her own past that threaten to pull her back under.

With The Bitterroots, master storyteller C. J. Box delivers another audiobook featuring fan favorite Cassie Dewell from the Highway Quartet series.

The Bitterroots Review:

My first introduction to this author and the series, Cassie Dewell has separated herself from the police department, going out on her own as a private investigator. She is thinking this will give her some more latitude with her time as Ben, her son, and her hippie mother lives with her in Bozeman, Montana.

The Bitterroots by C J BoxHer last case left her with no small amount of PTSD and she still cringes whenever an eighteen-wheeler dusts her doors. She owes one to an attorney friend, so when she calls to pull in the favor, Cassie will grudgingly oblige—against every fiber in her being—the investigation into the rape of a fifteen year old. The attorney is playing defense and wants to know how strong the prosecution’s case is. Of course her client asserts his innocence. A quick perusal of the file has her convinced of his guilt—after all, look at all the evidence!!

But off she goes to Lochsa County to talk to his family and those officials connected with the case. The family appears to have a strangle-hold on their ranch and the area around them, including the officials. I got a strong sense of the more well known male dominated clans—and must say the mother of the girl is one hell of a character. No one wants to talk with her and she’s warned out of there.

In the meantime, her life continues to remain involved in her son’s activities as she continually referees issues between her mother and Ben. And then there is the big black semi who keeps showing up—to just sit and watch. Okay, he’s a creep.

After awhile, I had some sympathetic pangs for the accused and sorry that did not end well. I had a problem with the narrator, more than once, as she attempted different voices—the attorney in particular. And the mother of the victim…the way she handled the voice of the mother going into the conclusion was priceless. Did not see that coming!

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Crime Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio

  • ASIN: B07ND36RSR

 Print Length: 307 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 49 mins
Narrator: Christine Delaine
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Bitterroots –
Cassie Dewell #4
The Highway Quartet #5

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4.02 average rating of 729 reviews

Overall Impression:

These will continue to be similar/dissimilar. While one is a great deal more established, i.e., long term main characters, locale-driven plots, atmospheric fast-paced and graphic (Joe Pickett), the other will build a strong female protagonist, character-driven plots, toned down language (somewhat) and exhibit more feminine issues and concerns. I didn’t care for the epilogue in the Wolf Pack but that same little ploy in The Bitterroots was a classic feminine “gotcha.” Oh, yes, that brought a smile to my face. But you know what? If I get a chance for another audiobook in either series, I’ll grab it.

C J Box - author

The Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, two Barry Awards, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. He was recently awarded the 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by the National Cowboy Museum as well as the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel by the Western Writers of America in 2017. The novels have been translated into 27 languages.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he co-owns an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. They have three daughters. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Box lives in Wyoming.

–from the author’s website

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Bending the Paw (A Paw Enforcement Novel Book 9) by Diane Kelly – A #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

Book Blurb:

A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY IS LIKE A DOG WITHOUT A BONE
Bending the Paw by Diane KellyA bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?

Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…

His Review:

Can a person live with a loss of over 2 quarts of blood? Diane Kelly has written a very interesting novel around this question. Medical science explains that a person will expire with this amount of blood loss. Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are called to a grizzly scene where there is blood everywhere but no body present! The K-9 partners’ name is Bridgit and she begins to examine the scene to see if she can identify where the victim could possibly be.

Bending the Paw by Diane KellyDiane Kelly has presented this tale from three and sometimes 4 perspectives, the perpetrator, the detective, the dog and the aspiring detective, Megan Luz. The trail ends near the garage where the body was supposedly loaded into the back of a car for disposal. Switch to the perpetrator and his attempts to hide the body and evidence and the plot thickens.

Very little evidence is available as to what type of weapon was used to slash the victim and cause all of the blood loss. With very little evidence to go on the case stands on the brink of being put into an unsolved cubbyhole. Meanwhile other crimes in the Fort Worth area are happening which keep our beat K-9 duo occupied. Weather related storm damage and the need for repair acts as a magnet for all unscrupulous individuals to harvest money from other peoples misfortune.

Megan responds quickly to the needs of the lead detective, Ms. Jackson, whenever called. Most crimes can be solved with the assistance of a highly trained police dog. Diane Kelly writes from the perspective of the dog and at times it is very enlightening. Working on one case confuses the animal who recognizes a possible scent of the criminal in the other crime. Yes, the answer can be as plain as the nose on your face, particularly if you are a dog!

CE WilliamsThe conclusion is very entertaining and I did not expect it. Dogged police work (pun intended) helped to solve the case. Again, the actual ending was totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book to those who would like to learn some interesting police procedures while being totally entertained. 5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

    • ISBN-10 : 1250197392
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250197399
    • ASIN : B084M1NGYF

Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! October 27, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Bending the Paw [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:

Barnes and Noble | Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Diane Kelly - authorThe Author: A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Not surprisingly, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series and the new House Flipper cozy mystery series. Look for her moonshine series debut in June 2021!

Be the first to receive book news by signing up for Diane’s newsletter at http://www.dianekelly.com/ “Like” Diane on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dianekellybooks. Follow her on Instagram at dianekellybooks and on Twitter @dianekellybooks.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Deadly Weapon (Jake Wolfe Book 5) by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview #thrillerbooks

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”—Carl Jung

Book Blurb:

Deadly WeaponIn Alaska, a lethal threat is unearthed from the frozen ground. Near Maui, a shipwrecked submarine holds a frightening secret, and on the California coast, war veteran Jake Wolfe races against time to uncover a conspiracy.

When a master plan emerges that has the potential not only to threaten Jake’s city, but to kill off targeted populations around the world, Jake embarks on a desperate search-and-destroy mission in order to protect the lives of everyone he knows and cares for. His target? A group of rogue operatives planning mass murder.

With assassins on his trail, and the clock ticking, Jake must trace the path that will finally bring him face-to-face with the psychopathic genius who wants to remake the world.

Deadly Weapon is part of a series, but may be read as a stand-alone novel.

My Thoughts

This is Book 5 of the Jake Wolfe series and how many have I read? ALL OF THEM. I just love the duo of Jake and Cody—well, Cody maybe a little more—but these two are beyond engaging. Intelligent, fast, cunning, capable, but tender and hot at the same time—and that’s just the dog! There is something overwhelming in the attraction of Jake—perhaps that “animal magnetism.” (snicker, snicker)

In this series entry, Jake’s Alaskan holiday is interrupted by a call to action and he’s swept up and away to a mission not wholly successful…it will continue back home in the Bay Area of California. He is living gratis in Sausalito on the yacht Far Niente thanks to a buddy across the pond for a year. Damn, I get such pangs when he gets to describing the Pacific, that wonderful all pervading salt water open ocean air atmosphere. “He felt the need for some vitamin sea.”

Anyway, it’s a nasty consortium of people (working towards a one-world totalitarian oligarachy) bent on eliminating certain populations around the globe. The mission will be undertaken in fits and starts as they gain intel. Jake (Jukebox) is a Marine combat veteran, but not out of the “above top secret” classification that has pulled him in before on classified missions. Highly trained, athletic, weapons ready, and deadly, he takes Cody without question of his orders.

“Sometimes I think the hardest part of war is coming home.”

So much intelligence here, both in weapons, locations, and personnel, it’s scary—hard to separate fact from fiction except that this narrative barrels through heart-stopping action (okay—some over-the-top action even) that has you groaning at the odds and cheering at the accomplishments. (Reference to the U-505 submarine on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago—I’ve seen it—OMG!) Page-turning, non-stop action that includes many of his previous Marine buddies (also back to civilian life), including his best buddy Terrell Hayes (Grinds), SFPD Homicide Detective. This plot is just a little close to current global events and difficult to put down.

Deadly WeaponThe author’s writing style has evolved, relaxed a bit in Book 5, becoming more graphic, letting that ole testosterone fly, and having Jake speaking more brazenly—irreverent—and I blinked several times, but even so, the well-plotted novel is descriptive, immersive, and prose laden. There is the thread of a romance between Jake and Sarah, a veterinarian, but it weaves that thread carefully through the outline, allows the plot to naturally progress to a conclusion that has you craving Book 6.

Yes, it’s a series, and you don’t have to start at Book 1, this can work as a standalone, but you’d be missing out on a lot of fun. You’ll have no problem getting to know these series characters and fall in love with that dog as well. Full of suspense, take your blood pressure medication, as this action-thriller will have you hanging by a nail. Wildly entertaining, tales with fascinating bits of information slipped in before you realize you are learning something, wonderful strong studly characters (man and dog). This one is for you and it’s out now.

(Links to my reviews for series books 1-4 below in the author bio.) 

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

His Thoughts

Clandestine operations are not for the faint of heart. Jake Wolfe is never really on vacation. His summer getaway is interrupted by a frantic call and a helicopter taking him to a remote Inuit village. Salmon fishing and an escape with his wartime K-9 survivor dog Cody, is curtailed. Can they stop a diabolical group of billionaires from getting their hands on an active strain of the deadly 1918-19 flu virus? They have dug up a body containing the virus buried in an old Inuit graveyard.

Controlling the world population through germ warfare has been attempted throughout history. The number of potential fatalities from this flu strain is staggering to consider. Can the perpetrators be stopped before developing a massive biological weapon? Mark Nolan examines this issue with his usual masterful storytelling capability. I would never want to be in Jakes’ or his dogs’ shoes.

Cody, a decorated war dog and hero, accompanies Jake on most elements of the case. His tracking and identification capabilities are integral to solving most cases. Time is always a key factor in stopping those who would do great harm to our nation. Cody has the rank of sergeant in the Marine Corp while Jake is a corporal. Cody will warm up to anyone given instructions to do so. Casual petting without being invited to do so can result in loss of body parts.

This is my second book by Mark Nolan and I enjoy his writing style, although he portrays the world as a place with few hidden safe spots. Jake continually looks for reasons why the Feds and his handler can locate him so quickly, which adds spice to the stories. CE Williams

I find the use of some of the weapons to be extremely graphic and frightening. As a normal citizen I’d rather not know some of these facts. I find the stories engaging, although I lost a little sleep over this novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Action-Thrillers. 5 stars CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Financial Thrillers, Sea Adventures Fiction
ASIN : B08BFCV7GR
Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2020
Source: Author Request

Title Link: Amazon

Mark Nolan - authorThe Author: Mark Nolan was born near the sea shore and has enjoyed boating, fishing, scuba diving and exploring in Florida, Mexico, California, Hawaii, etc. If you like dogs, boats, ocean beaches, and action movies … you’ll probably enjoy reading Mark’s books.

Mark’s books in order: 1. Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie. 2. Vigilante Assassin. 3. Killer Lawyer. 4. San Diego Dead. 5. Deadly Weapon. 6. Key West Dead.

Subscribe to Mark Nolan’s reader newsletter for updates, specials, and to be notified when a new book is available. Please visit marknolan.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Murder at an Irish Christmas (An Irish Village Mystery Book 6) by Carlene O’Connor

“She only speaks music.”

Book Blurb:

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor

Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan’s holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies . . .
 
This December in Kilbane, if you’re planning to warm up with a cuppa tea at Naomi’s Bistro, you may have a bit of a wait—the entire O’Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James’s fiancée Elise’s family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. Siobhán is so happy for James and Elise but also quietly disappointed that she must put her own wedding to fellow garda Macdara Flannery on hold. Mac will have to join them later, so he can spend part of the holidays with his mam.
 
When the O’Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern—until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a ninety-pound harp in a local concert hall.
 
With the extended family—including Enda’s much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist—suspected in his murder, it’s up to Siobhán to ensure the guilty party faces the music. But as a snowstorm strands both families in a lavish farmhouse on a cliff, Siobhán had better pick up the tempo—before the killer orchestrates another untimely demise . . .

Book Review:

Oh my stars is this novel packed with characters! Normally, that overwhelms me, but not this time—these are large families—but not like we’ll get to know them all.

In this entry to the series, protagonist and Guarda Siobhán O’Sullivan is out of her element as well as district when she puts her own wedding aside to join brother James and his fiancé Elise at her family’s estate in West Cork for the Christmas holiday celebration.It’s not just a full house, but the cottages as well as they begin the task of creating their own Christmas decorations while they join with Elise in her family’s Christmas traditions, which includes a “secret Santa” style of gift-giving. Her extended family includes her grandfather, a famous orchestral conductor as well as his much young wife. His orchestra is poised to present an outstanding concert and all the members are present. Unfortunately, it is he who is picked off shortly after the O’Sullivans get settled.

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene 'Connor

I enjoy this series, the female Guarda O’Sullivan, even if she is tall, red-haired, and pretty. Her own fiancé, Macdara Flannery, is no slouch. Despite trying to stay out of the murder investigation, you know that won’t happen and sooner or later Dara joins her. Then it’s a long list of suspects between the family drama, the mystery, and the orchestra members.

I always enjoy the immersion into Irish culture, lore, food, unpronounceable names…and descriptions of the countryside. (If you missed my review of Book 4, read it here, Book 5 here.) The well-plotted narrative is an easy pace and often punctuated with that great Irish sense of humor I’ve come to expect from the author and the enlivening and perceptive dialogue. There are an abundance of red herrings and twists, and the conclusion may surprise the reader. It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to Book 7.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars

4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Kensington Books

ASIN : B085LT73HG

Print Length: 252 pages

Publication Date: to be released October 27, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Links:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Carlene O'Connor - author

The Author: Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

http://www.carleneoconnor.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Watch Her Vanish: (Redux of the) Rockwell and Decker Book 1 by Ellery A Kane  – A #BookReview  – #policeprocedural

OOPS! The CE finished the book, gave me his review and I published it on September 27. See that review here. However, we were invited by Gail Torr as part of Galaxy Media USA to participate in the book tour currently unfolding. Mia culpa—in the meantime—I’ll repeat his review and please enjoy the tour!

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery Kane

 

Readers love Watch Her Vanish:

PERFECTION! Be prepared to skirt your responsibilities because you won’t want to put this book down… keeps you guessing until the end. I cannot wait for the next installment!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

A taut fast-paced thriller in every sense of the word. Dark and oozing with suspense. Well plotted and stunningly written. Loved it!’ Kelly Russo Reviews, 5 stars

WOWZA!!!… I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment in this series!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic… I couldn’t put it down once I started.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A scream!…  Grabs a hold of you and keeps you reading till the end!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Loved!! Everything about this book was spot-on!…  I was pulled in from the beginning and it didn’t let up once! Can’t wait for book 2.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A fantastic book. Like wow! I really got into this read This book will draw you in and you won’t be able to stop.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Grabs you by the heart, then grabs you by the throat and shakes up all your cells.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The beam from the lighthouse slices through the dawn sky as she runs down the rocky stairway to the beach. She tries to take it all inthe waves crashing against the cliffs, the whip of salt grass in the windbefore finally dragging her eyes down to the innocent girl’s blonde hair, strewn across the bottom step like seaweed…

Returning home to Fog Harbor, California, to be closer to her little sister, Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. That is, until the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening criminal psychology patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her murderer father in prison and away from her sister—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of Detective Will Decker, whose past mistakes mean this case is his last chance to make amends.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Will to admit he needs Olivia’s special talent for understanding the minds of killers. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead of the murders, and Olivia knows she will need her estranged father’s help to get close to Drake.

But when Olivia’s profile leads them to believe Drake could be masterminding murders from within the prison walls, a message written on a scrap of paper found in the latest victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: Olivia’s little sister will be next…

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

His Review:

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery KaneMurder intricately designed in a maximum-security prison. Ms. Kane has developed characters that are both engaging and exasperating. Heap that on a prison system with type A personalities and both officers and inmates jostling for position and control and the plot develops. Both the men and women charged with rehabilitating the criminals and the criminals themselves seem hell-bent on controlling the entire system.

Olivia Rockwell is a Doctor of Psychology who strives to rehabilitate these hardened convicts. A mysterious murder of one of the workers at the prison opens the narrative. She and her younger sister Emily are working at the prison and trying to make the prisoners lives better and more productive. But at what personal psychological costs do these prison workers pay for their attempts at helping? Law enforcement and the wardens at times seem to be on the opposite end of this rehabilitation tug-of-war.

Crescent Bay State Prison set in northern California’s north coast is the place where dangerous killers and hardened career criminals reside. The other residences are career prison workers who have been washed out of other California prisons. They are all very smart and crafty and have been trained by the hard knocks of the California Penal System. Add to this the dregs of Bay Area gangs like The Oaktown Boys who wield tremendous influence in all prisons and the plot matures.

I found myself wondering why seemingly intelligent and highly trained women would devolve into situations which led them to being at risk. The further into the narrative I got, the more I began to wonder; can these people be so naïve and stupid? After a couple of similar killings, I would have expected the characters to wise up and not put themselves in threatening and exposed positions. Foggy and cold nights on the northern California coast are not really inviting times to be on the backroads at night, especially knowing there have been some gruesome killings.

Will Decker is a career law enforcement officer who is attracted to Olivia and is charged with finding the killer or killers. The prime suspect is a career criminal who has written a best-selling novel. He is closely watched by everyone and held in maximum security and yet appears to get out and commit the crimes.

The twist at the end of the book caught me unprepared. I recalled dealing in psych wards with people who seemed very normal and suddenly turned into psychiatric basket cases. I did not expect this to happen with people who had so much education and training. My kudos to the author for delving into that aspect. I also appreciated the lack of gratuitous hot sex scenes. Rather, this author made the characters more believable by pointing out their insecurities. CE Williams

I recommend you set aside a good time period to read this tale, as it really isn’t one you can take all at once—at times moving at a rather slow pace. I had a few problems with the protagonist and Detective Decker is a bit cliché. Be aware of the cliffhanger ending. A good pot of coffee or a glass of wine will help. CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural, Serial Killer Thriller, Organized Crime Thriller
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08D3X8Y2X

Print Length: 441 pages
Publication Date: October 9, 2020
Title Link: Watch Her Vanish [Amazon]

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Ellery A Kane - authorThe Author: Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers.

Ellery lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, a picturesque setting that provides the backdrop for many of her novels. If you don’t find Ellery interviewing murderers behind prison walls or pecking away at her latest novel, she is probably at the gym landing a solid jab-cross to a punching bag; riding bicycles with her special someone; or enjoying a movie the old-fashioned way–at the theater with popcorn and Milk Duds.

Ellery was previously selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition, and she recently signed a three book deal with Bookouture for her new Rockwell and Decker mystery thriller series. The first book is scheduled for release in 2020.

If you’d like to receive a notification when new books are released, please sign up for Ellery’s newsletter at ellerykane.com. Ellery also signs e-books on authorgraph.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Darkest Evening: A Vera Stanhope Novel: Vera Stanhope Book 9 by Ann Cleeves – An #Audiobook Review – #policeprocedural

“From Ann Cleeves – New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows – comes the stunning new Vera Stanhope novel, The Darkest Evening.” 

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

Book Blurb:

On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.

Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights, and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.

As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past.

My Review:

Ugh! I really hate it when I discover a new author (to me) and then realize I had no clue just how well established or far-reaching the author is—apparently to the rest of the world. Why am I always the last to know?

So, my first experience with the author, much less the character of Vera, a DCI in Northumberland. She is a what? Gasp! Not just a woman—also a “mature” woman.  Well, not so sold or engaged in probably the first quarter of the book—not like there was a lot of backstory going on. After the initial scene—that of Vera discovering a car off the road in a snowstorm…with the doors open…with a baby strapped inside—things tend to bog down just a tad.

The Darkest Evening by Ann CleevesIt’s the estate of distant relatives, aristocrats with which her family was estranged, and they are having a party in the country house. No cell service, she slogs to the house with the toddler to notify her office and get some help finding the person who abandoned the car. Who would seek help but leave a baby with the doors open? They do find the mother’s body, but she didn’t freeze to death. Lorna Falstone had a history of mental health issues, including anorexia, and was a single mother.

It’s a small, tight-knit community with the haves and have-nots and few secrets—except perhaps for the identity of the baby’s father. Character-driven, a study in the dysfunction of the well-to-do as well as those working their land.

I was sympathetically engaged with Vera—she was fighting an uphill battle in her position—but now add her age to that and she sees her share of discrimination. She is supported by a team, that of DS Joe Ashworth (not so supportive) and DC Holly Jackman (guardedly supportive and) smart enough to watch the master at work and learn. Vera is often the target of Joe’s wife who says he works too hard and too many hours. I appreciated the character of Holly—she is content being unconsciously mentored by Vera—and she’s a sponge. There is a grudging and growing respect between both of them. Holly often sees the path Vera is taking—anticipating the path—and providing timely support.

As Vera continues to interview and investigate, gradually gleaning clues and pursuing leads, little secrets and family dynamics are peeled back and exposed. Vera leads with a strong protagonist, no-nonsense, take no prisoners attitude.

The well-plotted storyline leads inexorably to the perpetrator with one further casualty into the investigation and a thrilling heart-stopping conclusion. Janine Birkett does an admirable job as narrator, quietly adding emotion and tension. The atmospheric woodsy setting, dark and cold, hand-warming tea cups and biscuits or brandy paints a quiet, rural, but deadly setting and adds to the creepiness of the scenes bringing to the forefront the poem by Robert Frost:

“…The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

And I didn’t even know I was a (Robert Frost) Ann Cleeves fan. But I do now. And I’ll be looking for more of her books (and probably the TV series as well).

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Police Procedural Mysteries
Publisher:  A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:

ASIN: B084D6ZP74
 Print Length: 379 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs, 16 mins.
Narrator: Janine Birkett
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Darkest Evening

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

Ann Cleeves - authorThe Author: Ann [Cleeves] is the author of the books behind ITV’s VERA, now in it’s third series, and the BBC’s SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann’s DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann’s Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands…

Ann grew up in the country, first in Herefordshire, then in North Devon. Her father was a village school teacher. After dropping out of university she took a number of temporary jobs – child care officer, women’s refuge leader, bird observatory cook, auxiliary coastguard – before going back to college and training to be a probation officer.

While she was cooking in the Bird Observatory on Fair Isle, she met her husband Tim, a visiting ornithologist. She was attracted less by the ornithology than the bottle of malt whisky she saw in his rucksack when she showed him his room. Soon after they married, Tim was appointed as warden of Hilbre, a tiny tidal island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary. They were the only residents, there was no mains electricity or water and access to the mainland was at low tide across the shore. If a person’s not heavily into birds – and Ann isn’t – there’s not much to do on Hilbre and that was when she started writing. Her first series of crime novels features the elderly naturalist, George Palmer-Jones. A couple of these books are seriously dreadful.

In 1987 Tim, Ann and their two daughters moved to Northumberland and the north east provides the inspiration for many of her subsequent titles. The girls have both taken up with Geordie lads. In the autumn of 2006, Ann and Tim finally achieved their ambition of moving back to the North East.

For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. It came as a revelation that it was possible to get paid for talking to readers about books! She went on to set up reading groups in prisons as part of the Inside Books project, became Cheltenham Literature Festival’s first reader-in-residence and still enjoys working with libraries.
Ann Cleeves on stage at the Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards ceremony

Ann’s short film for Border TV, Catching Birds, won a Royal Television Society Award. She has twice been short listed for a CWA Dagger Award – once for her short story The Plater, and the following year for the Dagger in the Library award.

In 2006 Ann Cleeves was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland Quartet. The Duncan Lawrie Dagger replaces the CWA’s Gold Dagger award, and the winner receives £20,000, making it the world’s largest award for crime fiction.

Ann’s success was announced at the 2006 Dagger Awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton, in London’s Aldwych, on Thursday 29 June 2006. She said: “I have never won anything before in my life, so it was a complete shock – but lovely of course.. The evening was relatively relaxing because I’d lost my voice and knew that even if the unexpected happened there was physically no way I could utter a word. So I wouldn’t have to give a speech. My editor was deputed to do it!”

The judging panel consisted of Geoff Bradley (non-voting Chair), Lyn Brown MP (a committee member on the London Libraries service), Frances Gray (an academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction), Heather O’Donoghue (academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction) and Barry Forshaw (reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine).

Ann’s books have been translated into sixteen languages. She’s a bestseller in Scandinavia and Germany. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden in 200.
Bio and photo from Goodreads.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Reference and partial quote in the book from the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

I Jonathan: A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion by George WB Scott – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

“The book is pro-South, but not pro-Confederate.” …

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars

5 stars

Book Blurb:

NEW CIVIL WAR NOVEL SEES CONFLICT THROUGH NEW EYES

First-time novelist George WB Scott debuts a novel that offers a thrilling glimpse of Civil War Charleston through the eyes of a newcomer from Boston.

Readers join the main character of “I Jonathan, A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion” on his journey as a young man, marooned in a strange city just as the Civil War begins. His relationships with working men and women, slaves, merchants, planters, spies, inventors, soldiers, sweethearts and musicians tell the story of a dynamic culture undergoing its greatest challenge. Scott’s novel shows the arguments and trials of a wealthy cosmopolitan community preparing to fight a nation superior in manpower and arms.

“I wanted to tell a personal story built on the framework of history,” says Scott, “and the real story is Charleston’s challenges and experience in the war.

“The book is pro-South, but not pro-Confederate. It’s anti-war and anti-slavery. I wanted to go beyond stock characters and themes. I hope this encourages readers to reflect on a people who lived through a fundamental change of their society.”

His Review:

This is a magnificent civil war saga as told by a non-combatant. I was immediately immersed in the confusion and blockade that was the conflict between the North and the South during the American Civil War. Mr. Scott has distilled a myriad of letters into an eye-opening tale of survival during the conflict. I was swept away into another time and developed a kinship to the protagonist, Mr. I. Jonathan Vander.

Raised by a doting mother who falls ill and dies, Jonathan is sent to France by his father after an affair with a younger step-sister. Then his father falls ill and he is sent a bank draft to cover the voyage back to his boyhood home in Boston. The return voyage is interrupted by a rogue wave and Jonathan winds up in Charleston due to needed ship repairs. He misses the boat back to Boston and now being low on funds he is forced to stay in Charleston.

The relationship between the rich and poor in Charleston is apparent throughout the conflict. The rich land owners were able to escape the low country and retreat to the mountains to be cooler during the summers. The plight of the African American slaves was a bit different than expected. They too had a caste system which separated them into very distinct groups. Those that were freed were able to own businesses and controlled other groups of slaves. Jonathan being destitute was hired by one of these freed slaves. This entrepreneur dealt in all kinds of commodities and Jon was able to move easily through the area to collect and deliver the goods.

I was particularly intrigued by the blockade running enterprise of some of the traders. Avoiding Yankee blockades, the blockade runners were able to go to the Bahamas or Nassau and procure everything needed to make life a little more comfortable in the blockaded city. Jon is constantly harassed by the Confederate military because he was young and of the age of conscription. He was carrying papers which detailed his reasons for not being in the military. Being a Boston-Yankee, he avoided fighting with either side but simply fought to survive.

His relationship with a young woman that he saved from a fire is particularly moving. Their near poverty lives came together in comfort during this tumultuous time. Disease was always prevalent and yellow fever and sleeping sickness played a part in everyone’s lives. It seemed nobody was immune from the heartbreak and sorrow that living in marshlands during the summer can bring.

The development of instruments of war is also well described. The ballistics of the weapons and the distances they could shoot with accuracy amazed me. Thirty-five pound cannon balls lobbed into Charleston with various incendiary devices seemed particularly cruel. Simply starting a fire in this timbered city could wipe out major portions of the city and leave inhabitants destitute. This became an everyday event in the latter parts of the war.

CE Williams

Give yourself a block of time to allow yourself to be taken back to this era. It’s frighteningly eye-opening. The relationships of the inhabitants and their struggles are a rewarding infusion of knowledge. The tale is an immersion into another time and place. 5 stars CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest and unbiased thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Kindle eBooks (Historical Fiction)

Publisher: Archetype Imprints

ASIN : B08GH3YPJ1

Print Length: 442 pages

Publication Date: August 21, 2020

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: I Jonathan [Amazon]

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George WB Scott-author

The Author: George WB Scott was born in Stuart, Florida where he lived until he went to college in North Carolina. He graduated from Appalachian State University and went into television news in Tennessee. He is now an independent video producer and lives in Knoxville with his wife Mary Leidig.

His childhood memoir “Growing Up In Eden” explores experiences of his youth and of Martin County during the 1960s and 1970s. It includes more than a hundred photographs, mostly taken by the author just before the 2004 hurricanes, and has a CD with a screensaver of photographs and music by Gatlinburg acoustic guitarist Bill Mize.

In autumn of 2020 he will release his first novel, “I Jonathan, a Charleston Tale of the Rebellion.” More information is available on my blog at http://www.southernrocket.net/i-jonathan

(c) 2020 CE Williams – V Williams

V Williams

Without a Brew: A Sloan Krause Mystery Book 4) by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview #cozymystery

“Life is what happens between coffee and beer.”

Book Blurb:

Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into a murderous winter wonderland in another delightful mystery from cozy writer Ellie Alexander, Without a Brew.

It’s winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest—a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded.

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed, but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow—until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things, but when Liv’s room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car, and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro’s roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won’t be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice.

My Review:

I really enjoying tearing into this series as soon as the next book is available. Not a beer drinker, but this series is written so well I’m almost ready to try–it’s right there with soliloquies about wine. Such an art—I’ll bet you never knew!

“The beer thief, or sample thief, as they were sometimes called, was a long plastic device with a gravity valve on the base.” Hmmm…okay.

Sloan Krause is the product of the foster care system, but has found a strong family and idyllic home in Leavenworth, Washington, where she has joined Garrett in crafting unusual beers made from specialty hops and crops unique to the area and the season. They’ve gradually added more services, light snacks and soups and are now looking forward to opening rooms above Nitro as a limited B&B. Her ex is from a strong German family where she honed the knowledge of her craft and learned to love the family she never had. She also has a teenage son, Alex.

In this episode, they are gearing up for IceFest and testing their B&B quarters which has resulted in an eclectic group of guests—opposites on the social pole with one group downright obnoxious, as well as a couple celebrating an anniversary, and a single woman stranded for the night.

So many strong layers here to enjoy: the description of the delightful Bavarian style town nestled in the high mountains of Washington state and the citizens, the information regarding the art of brewing, the equipment, the nuances, ingredients and recipes, Sloan’s mysterious background coming to the fore and its possible connection to her (soon-to-be ex) in-laws, and the mystery itself expertly woven smoothly together. It’s okay that it’s Book 4, the author easily adds bits of pertinent data (no info dump), although these are fun enough to go back and start with Book 1.

The protagonist herself, Sloan, is not an in-your-face amateur sleuth. She doesn’t generally put herself at risk. She is good with people, quietly putting them at ease, and usually gets the clues she’s looking for without their being any the wiser. Also, she works well with local police Chief Meyers, herself an intelligent woman, effective, exchanging hints.

The mystery rides the tide with Sloan’s personal life growth and that of the service industry and occasionally slips in a quick recipe explanation or two. The mystery is not without twists or red herrings. Not like you won’t get a sense of the perp (although once again, not one I wanted it to be). The author builds her characters so three-dimensionally, the reader becomes engaged and except for the rude and crude one, not easy to assign guilt.

Fully invested and rolling in all the layers, the conclusion comes whether or not you’re ready. The storyline has resolved several issues, set up for the next book, and fully cemented you in the series. The only issue I had was of “the sharp edge of the shovel.” Just not sure that’s one you’d walk away from.

I missed the first, but have read and thoroughly enjoyed Books 2 and 3. You should check out this atmospheric and character-driven series. On pre-order now, this one releases in November.  

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my unbiased thoughts.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars

4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ASIN : B084M1SDGK

Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

About The Author:

ELLIE ALEXANDER is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses and breweries nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails of Southern Oregon and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. She is the author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries. Follow her on social media to learn more about her books, see her recipe videos, and participate in fun giveaways!

Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her here:
Website: https://www.elliealexander.co/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellie_alexander
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/elliealexanderauthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliealexanderauthor
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/BakeshopMystery
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/elliealexander

(C) 2020 V Williams

V Williams

Mordecai’s Ashes (Larsson Investigations Book 1) by Alana Crane – a #BookReview

Your next PI/Crime Fiction–#mustread

Book Blurb:

Karl Larsson is an out of work roughneck, home from the oil fields of Alberta and back on the coast for the first time in years. His wife has left him and his future looks bleak. Becoming a detective is the last thing on his mind, but when Karl learns that he has inherited his estranged grandfather’s agency he decides to take a chance.

He doesn’t expect much action in a city as small as Victoria, BC, but Karl soon finds that Victoria is only the base of operations. His grandfather’s business took him across the length and breadth of Vancouver Island, and the Island is a world unto itself, with a culture all its own.

When a reporter from a national news agency asks him to investigate a drug running operation on the Island, Karl is drawn into a dangerous game. Finding the truth sounds simple in theory, but as Karl delves deeper he begins to realize that more than his life may be at stake.

My Review:

You’ll excuse me if I’m at a loss for words—still sniggering, shaking my head, totally but happily surprised with that little twist at the end of the book and enjoying that afterglow of a hoot of a book that has me amazed this is a debut author.

Karl Larsson is the youngest of his siblings and at the moment out of a job, out of a marriage, and out of luck. He’s currently shuffling aimless when he gets a call from his sister that his aunt Matilda passed away and she’d appreciate it if he would help his mother clear her rental. Following the funeral and reading of her will, he is dumbfounded to discover he has inherited his grandfather’s (Mordecai’s) building and detective agency in Victoria, BC.

He’s young. What does he know? He’s naïve, lacks a lot of street knowledge, but the building and the agency gives him a direction. No license? No prob. What he is is a sympathetic protagonist, an underdog you’ll root for immediately. His head is on straight—he’s a good kid just trying to get along in this world. You can’t help but love him.

Then comes his cousin, Kelsey—she’s only 19—smart as a whip, intuitive, ingenious. She is clever, resourceful, and enormously engaging. You might have grudging respect for her, but she earns it—time and again when she proves an invaluable resource for Karl. You can’t help but love her.

The light-sided search and serve side of the detective agency moves along until a journalist (a former client of Mordecai) comes with a very serious investigation and soon Karl is heavy into the case with the initial support of Kelsey, which quickly turns grim.

The author carefully introduces the circumstances building her characters background, her main characters, and a well-plotted drug running operation into a fast-paced and immersive storyline. I enjoyed the description of the island and the little coastal BC communities. She builds sympathy for Karl; he’s naïve and a quick study, but the reader becomes fearful for him as he succeeds getting deeper into a situation that will not be easy getting out of. Kelsey speaks her mind with knee-jerk reaction and the reader is quickly drawn to her creativity and smarts. She is a strong co-protagonist. Can Karl keep Kelsey safe, much less himself?

The narrative cruises into the conclusion and the dust settles quietly, until little plot points, threads, begin tying off. There were questions, issues to be resolved (after all, this is Book 1) and the reveal at the end is one that will elicit a chuckle. My only problem is the edit misses—but the story and characters really win the day. Brilliant twist. Master storyteller. I’m so looking forward to Book 2!

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts—loved it.

Rosepoint Publishing: Just Shy of Five 

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Book Details:

Publisher: Big Tree Press

Genre: Private Investor Mysteries, Crime Fiction

ASIN : B089LG7BB9

Print Length: 260 pages

Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Source: Publisher and author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Arlana Crane - author

The Author: Arlana Crane is a fourth generation Vancouver Islander, currently living in Calgary, Alberta with her husband James. She loves to read, write, knit, play the ukulele and attend the theatre. Summer vacations will find her back on her beloved Island, enjoying the ocean and spoiling her niece and nephews. For more information please visit arlanawrites.com.

(C)2020 V Williams

V Williams

Your next crime fiction.

Back Bay Blues (An Andy Roark Mystery Book 2) by Peter Holt – a #BookReview – Hard-Boiled Mystery

Happy Publishing Day!

‘“…we gotta di di mau. Come on, bud, we gotta go.”… He was right. We had places to go. Things to do. Our war wasn’t over yet.’

 Book Blurb:

Theft, greed, and corruption collide in Peter Colt’s hard-edged new mystery featuring Vietnam veteran turned Boston P.I. Andy Roark.
 
Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt1985, Boston. In Vietnam, Andy Roark witnessed death and horrifying destruction. But for the soldiers who made it back alive, there are other casualties of war—the loss of tenderness, trust, and connection. Still feeling adrift and unsettled, Andy has struck up a welcome friendship with Nguyen, a Vietnamese restaurant owner. Sipping beer and trading memories after the restaurant shutters, Andy gradually learns of the extraordinary lengths Nguyen took to flee Saigon shortly after its fall.

Andy’s latest case, too, has ties to Vietnam. His new client, a beautiful and enigmatic young Vietnamese woman, hires him to investigate her uncle’s murder. Andy discovers a connection to a group of refugees determined to overthrow the communist government. Led by the sinister Colonel Tran, the Committee is extorting local business owners to raise funds. The search for more answers takes Andy from Boston to Washington D.C. to San Francisco, and deep into a web of political and personal betrayal.

Somewhere near the heart of this mystery is a connection to Nguyen’s daring escape from Saigon. Decades may have passed, but sometimes the price of freedom twists allies into enemies, loyalties into betrayals, and truth into a web of lies . . .

My Review:

Yes, of course this premise would appeal to me and the CE (who has not yet read it), as we were married when the CE joined the Navy. So while he did not set foot on the soil of Viet Nam certainly was embroiled in a support effort. (I remember the Bob Hope tour that came to Taiwan when we were there.) Anyway…

Back Bay Blues by Peter ColtThe protagonist, Andy Roark is a Vietnam veteran of the Special Forces, Recon. He was perfect in his role and good at what he did. He was a survivor. The problem was, he saw a lot of his buddies die and ended with survivor’s guilt as well as a good bit of PTSD.

Arriving back home, no real family to speak of, he worked a short time in the Boston PD and decided it was worse than the Army. So he became a private investigator and no one to tell him what to do. It’s been sufficient for him until he is hired by a young Vietnamese American woman to find out who killed her uncle.

His first look into the matter discovers there was a journalist in Boston killed within two days of her uncle. There is a locally strong Vietnamese community apparently strongly divided politically and problems have festered between the two factions.

The deeper he gets into the investigation, the more serious attempt on his life, but at this point, the pit bull in him comes out and he will NOT drop it until he knows the whole story. The corruption appears to spread fingers beyond the community.

It is a complex and well-plotted narrative, fast-paced. I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor, which intermittently pulled at the seriousness of the storyline. There was a lot of knowledge and expertise expressed, explanation of materiels. Remember, this is back in 1985—ten years after the fall of Saigon. Feelings of the unpopular conflict raw. There was no “thank you for your service” back then.

Amazingly enough, there are little pops of dishes of which I almost expected the recipes to be found at the end of the book.

Andy is damaged, scarred, aware of his aloneness. Not lonely. Alone. He is a sympathic character, an underdog to root for. The author has a unique writing style that I appreciated and kept me engaged. The conclusion was very satisfying.

My first novel with this author and this series, but I found no problem jumping right into Book 2 (and will be looking forward to Book 3, should there be one). This is releasing today. Looking for something different? Entertaining, unique? Totally recommended, buy from your favorite outlet; links noted below.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Hard-Boiled Mystery, Hard-Boiled Mysteries, Cozy Culinary Mystery
Publisher: Kensington

  • ASIN : B082WS2YXC
  • Print Length: 208 pages

Publication Date: Happy Release Day! September 29. 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

Peter Colt - author
Peter Colt – author

The Author: I am currently a police officer in a small New England city where I have worked since 2007. I spent over twenty years in the Army reserve and was deployed to Kosovo in 2000, where I was attached to the Russian Army. I deployed to Iraq in 2003 and again in 2008. I was fortunate to get to know many Vietnam vets and U.S. Army Special forces soldiers. I lived on Nantucket Island from 1973‑1986. He’s currently working on the next Andy Roark mystery.

I write because I enjoy it. I hope to tell the types of stories that I like to read but inform them with my experiences. I enjoy interacting with readers who get something from the book or the characters. Or if some aspect of the books resonate with the readers. That is the cool part of this whole thing.

I was probably one of the few people in the U.S. Army to ride on top of a Russian Army Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), in this case a BTR-80, with Russian soldiers, going jointly to a riot. Good times!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Watch Her Vanish: An absolutely gripping mystery thriller (Rockwell and Decker Book 1) by Ellery A Kane – A #BookReview – #policeprocedural

A CE Review

Book Blurb:

The beam from the lighthouse slices through the dawn sky as she runs down the rocky stairway to the beach. She tries to take it all inthe waves crashing against the cliffs, the whip of salt grass in the windbefore finally dragging her eyes down to the innocent girl’s blonde hair, strewn across the bottom step like seaweed…

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A KaneReturning home to Fog Harbor, California, to be closer to her little sister, Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. That is, until the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening criminal psychology patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her murderer father in prison and away from her sister—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of Detective Will Decker, whose past mistakes mean this case is his last chance to make amends.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Will to admit he needs Olivia’s special talent for understanding the minds of killers. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead of the murders, and Olivia knows she will need her estranged father’s help to get close to Drake.

But when Olivia’s profile leads them to believe Drake could be masterminding murders from within the prison walls, a message written on a scrap of paper found in the latest victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: Olivia’s little sister will be next…

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

His Review:

Murder intricately designed in a maximum-security prison. Ms. Kane has developed characters that are both engaging and exasperating. Heap that on a prison system with type A personalities and both officers and inmates jostling for position and control and the plot develops. Both the men and women charged with rehabilitating the criminals and the criminals themselves seem hell-bent on controlling the entire system.

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A KaneOlivia Rockwell is a Doctor of Psychology who strives to rehabilitate these hardened convicts. A mysterious murder of one of the workers at the prison opens the narrative. She and her younger sister Emily are working at the prison and trying to make the prisoners lives better and more productive. But at what personal psychological costs do these prison workers pay for their attempts at helping? Law enforcement and the wardens at times seem to be on the opposite end of this rehabilitation tug-of-war.

Crescent Bay State Prison set in northern California’s north coast is the place where dangerous killers and hardened career criminals reside. The other residences are career prison workers who have been washed out of other California prisons. They are all very smart and crafty and have been trained by the hard knocks of the California Penal System. Add to this the dregs of Bay Area gangs like The Oaktown Boys who wield tremendous influence in all prisons and the plot matures.

I found myself wondering why seemingly intelligent and highly trained women would devolve into situations which led them to being at risk. The further into the narrative I got, the more I began to wonder; can these people be so naïve and stupid? After a couple of similar killings, I would have expected the characters to wise up and not put themselves in threatening and exposed positions. Foggy and cold nights on the northern California coast are not really inviting times to be on the backroads at night, especially knowing there have been some gruesome killings.

Will Decker is a career law enforcement officer who is attracted to Olivia and is charged with finding the killer or killers. The prime suspect is a career criminal who has written a best-selling novel. He is closely watched by everyone and held in maximum security and yet appears to get out and commit the crimes.

The twist at the end of the book caught me unprepared. I recalled dealing in psych wards with people who seemed very normal and suddenly turned into psychiatric basket cases. I did not expect this to happen with people who had so much education and training. My kudos to the author for delving into that aspect. I also appreciated the lack of gratuitous hot sex scenes. Rather, this author made the characters more believable by pointing out their insecurities.

CE WilliamsI recommend you set aside a good time period to read this tale, as it really isn’t one you can take all at once—at times moving at a rather slow pace. I had a few problems with the protagonist and Detective Decker is a bit cliché. Be aware of the cliffhanger ending. A good pot of coffee or a glass of wine will help.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. 4 stars –  CE Williams 

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural, Serial Killer Thriller, Organized Crime Thriller
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN : B08D3X8Y2X
Print Length: 441 pages
Publication Date: October 9, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Watch Her Vanish [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Ellery A Kane - authorThe Author: Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers.

Ellery lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, a picturesque setting that provides the backdrop for many of her novels. If you don’t find Ellery interviewing murderers behind prison walls or pecking away at her latest novel, she is probably at the gym landing a solid jab-cross to a punching bag; riding bicycles with her special someone; or enjoying a movie the old-fashioned way–at the theater with popcorn and Milk Duds.

Ellery was previously selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition, and she recently signed a three book deal with Bookouture for her new Rockwell and Decker mystery thriller series. The first book is scheduled for release in 2020.

If you’d like to receive a notification when new books are released, please sign up for Ellery’s newsletter at ellerykane.com. Ellery also signs e-books on authorgraph.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery Book 5) by Tina Kashian – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

Not even her impending nuptials can keep Lucy Berberian, manager of her family-owned Kebab Kitchen, from the Jersey Shore’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. But her dive into the icy ocean is especially chilling when she finds a fellow swimmer doing the dead man’s float—for real . . .
 
Who would kill a man in cold blood during Ocean Crest, New Jersey’s most popular winter event? When Lucy learns the victim is Deacon Spooner, the reception hall owner who turned up his nose—and his price—at her wedding plans, she can’t help wondering who 
wouldn’t kill the pompous caterer . . .

Perhaps the culprit is the wedding cake baker whose career Deacon nearly destroyed? Or the angry bride whose reception he ruined? With her maid of honor, Katie, busily planning Lucy’s wedding without her, Lucy will have to get to the bottom of this cold-hearted business in time for Kebab Kitchen’s mouthwatering Christmas celebration—and before her hometown’s holiday spirit washes out to sea . . .

My Review:

Not my first go-round with this author and series, and while it would function just fine as a standalone, I started remembering Lucy the protagonist and her support characters. My favorite is always Katie, her BFF, and in this entry to the series pushing Lucy to proceed with her engagement and wedding plans. Lucy has obstinately dug in and refused to budge.

Visiting a possible venue, the owner is seriously rude (to potential clients??!) that she crosses that one off immediately. However, as she’s embroiled in the Polar Bear Plunge, she and Katie brave their way in and leaving the water discover said nasty venue owner on the sand and not moving. She’s not been the only person he was rude to and universally disliked. (Beyond me how he could stay in business.)

One of the universally abused is her friend Susan, owner of the bakery Susie’s Cuties. Having had a run-in or two with the deceased and also in the same frigid water at the same time, the local detective has decided she’s numero uno suspect. You know the drill.

While the quest to clear her friend becomes a driving force, Katie is still busy pushing the wedding bell blues; venue, cake, dress, food, music, photographer…although I must hand it to Katie, she is up front with helping Lucy in her pursuit of the real killer (yes, shh! he was held underwater).

It is a well-plotted book but I had a difficult time getting into the mystery when it slogged along just under the wedding plans and her reticence of making the engagement announcement or wrestling with her qualms of marriage to Azad. He seems like a nice enough guy, hard worker, successful chef in her parents restaurant. Personally, I think that’s a done deal.

The parents and their loving bickering is par for the course. The kitty is a personality as well as her rather nosy landlady. There is naturally a lot of foodie talk—most of it sounded yummy. I was sorry to see revealed in the conclusion the one I suspected but hoped it wasn’t. Also chagrined to see the reason behind the mayhem. Really? I also read One Feta in the Grave but think I actually enjoyed it more.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Culinary Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington

  • ASIN : B082WR6DMT

Print Length: 293 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 29, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Tina Kashian - authorThe Author: Tina Kashian, previously published as Tina Gabrielle, is an Amazon bestselling author, an attorney, and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks and on the B&N bestseller’s list. Please visit her website at http://www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter free contests, and more!

You can also find Tina at:
Facebook: facebook.com/TinaKashianAuthor
Instagram: instagram.com/tinakashian
Twitter: @TinaKashian1
Website: http://www.tinakashian.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook – Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy #1) by Jennifer Worth

A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

Netflix vs Audiobook - Call the Midwife

Book Blurb:

Call the Midwife’ is a most extraordinary book and should be required reading of all students of midwifery, nursing, sociology and modern history. It tells of the experiences of a young trainee midwife in the East End of London in the 1950’s and is a graphic portrayal of the quite appalling conditions that the East Enders endured.

My Review:

If you ever feel badly about your childhood, tune into either the Netflix series or the audiobook of Call the Widwife by Jennifer Worth.  At least we had an outhouse—wasps in the summer, black widows otherwise. To hear the deplorable conditions of the East End of London in the 50s, however, is unimaginable. The conditions were horrid. The TV series gives you glimpses, and by the glimpses, I mean also the smells.

The Netflix Series

We discovered this series and immediately set about binge watching. We blazed through the first three episodes and beyond. Inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, and Farewell to the East End, the series stays remarkably true to the original trilogy. However, the series took on a life of its own and grew far beyond the original characters into ten episodes with eleven being in the offing and eight, hour long episodes each. How many of those on Netflix? Actually, Season nine isn’t scheduled until 2021.

The show is, of course, a work of fiction, although Worth’s daughters Suzannah Hart and Juliette Walton loves that the performance of Jessica Raine (as Jenny)was terribly anxious that we should be happy with her performance and I think she’s got it just right.” Many of the characters and situations early on were borrowed from the memoirs.

It is Vanessa Redgrave, herself an icon, who narrated three series and then appeared on screen.

It’s eye-opening watching Jenny Lee learn about the slums of postwar Poplar. The characters of Sister Julienne, Cynthia, Chummy, Sister Evangelina, and Sister Monica Joan (among others) are introduced early and quickly claim a place in your heart—cast so exquisitely, and very true to what Worth’s daughters remember. Even the handyman Fred and all his shenanigans are recounted with relish.

The real life Nonnatus House was moved to Birmingham during the 70s. Jennifer Worth died in 2011 at the age of 75. The first episode aired in 2012.

The Audiobook

I’ll admit to being thrown just a bit starting the audiobook, wherein there was a prologue not introduced to the first BBC series episode. Not to fear—it quickly catches up and proceeds with memories, characters, and stories played so well in the TV series that it was easy to remember the episode and circumstance.

What I enjoyed in the audiobook were the jumps into some retrospection of the characters. We get a bit of backstory of the nuns and how they came to be midwives at the Nonnatus House.

Remarkable stories, as are some of the recreations of the accounts of several of the more difficult deliveries, especially as Jenny is being indoctrinated into the system of the House, the nuns, and the other midwives. Talk about heroes. Absolutely jaw-dropping tales of the 50s in London, the men, the women prior to any kind of birth control, the lack of sanitary conditions, clean and accessible water and toilets, and the unfortunate back alley remedy of unwanted pregnancy.

A powerful book relayed in realistic conversational tones of an amazing story, mesmerizing, full of heart and emotion, at times euphorically happy and triumphant and others tragically bewildered or heartbroken.

Overall Impression

If this isn’t a novel you’ve already discovered, I certainly recommend the audiobook. If you have Netflix available and haven’t already binge watched—check it out. Either way, this is a win-win.

Book Details:

Genre: Biography
Publisher:  Audible Audio

  • ASIN: B01N8XUV0Y
  •  Print Length: 352 pages

Listening Length: 12 hrs 1 min
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)

Title Link: Call the Midwife [Amazon]
 

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Jennifer Worth - authorThe Author (Goodreads): [Jennifer] Worth, born Jennifer Lee while her parents were on holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was raised in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After leaving school at the age of 14, she learned shorthand and typing and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife.

Lee was hired as a staff nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in the early 1950s. With the Sisters of St John the Divine, an Anglican community of nuns, she worked to aid the poor. She was then a ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Bloomsbury, and later at the Marie Curie Hospital in Hampstead.

She married the artist Philip Worth in 1963, and they had two daughters.

Worth retired from nursing in 1973 to pursue her musical interests. In 1974, she received a licentiate of the London College of Music, where she taught piano and singing. She obtained a fellowship in 1984. She performed as a soloist and with choirs throughout Britain and Europe.

She later began writing, and her first volume of memoirs, ‘Call the Midwife’, was published in 2002. The book became a bestseller when it was reissued in 2007. ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ (2005; reissued 2008) and ‘Farewell to the East End’ (2009) also became bestsellers. The trilogy sold almost a million copies in the UK alone. In a fourth volume of memoirs ‘In the Midst of Life’, published in 2010, Worth reflects on her later experiences caring for the terminally ill.

Worth was highly critical of Mike Leigh’s 2004 film Vera Drake, for depicting the consequences of illegal abortions unrealistically. She argued that the method shown in the movie, far from being fairly quick and painless, was in fact almost invariably fatal to the mother.

Worth died on 31 May 2011, having been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus earlier in the year.

A television series, Call the Midwife, based on her books, began broadcasting on BBC One on 15 January 2012.

The Narrator: Nicola Barber is an Audie Award-winning narrator whose voice can be heard in television and radio commercials and popular video games such as World of Warcraft. Nicola is also an Audie nominee in the Solo Female Narration category for her work on Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen and Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. –This text refers to the audioCD edition.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Attribution: Worth’s personal information from interview with her daughters at Radio Times

The Body from the Past (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery Book 5) by Judi Lynn – a #BookReview – #cozymystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

 Book Blurb:

The Body from the Past by Judi LynnA closed room in her newest fixer-upper leads Indiana house-flipper Jazzi Zanders to reopen a chilling cold case involving a high school girl . . .

Jazzi, her cousin Jerod, and her husband Ansel are preparing to renovate a charming house that reminds her of an English manor. Before purchasing it, they had inspected the house for structural issues, but now when they do a more thorough walk-through, they discover a teenage girl’s bedroom that clearly hasn’t been touched in years. Dust covers the pink canopy bed, clothes still hang in the closet, and a hope chest remains full of journals and memorabilia. They’ve stumbled on a shrine to a dead girl.

They learn Jessica was killed in the middle of her high school graduation party. The murderer was never identified, but the brother-in-law of Jazzi’s friend, who went to school with Jessica, was suspected and never lived it down. He implores Jazzi to review the cold case and finally prove him innocent. Now it’s up to the house-flipper to nail a killer who will do anything to close the door on the past . ..

My Review:

Can’t believe we are already at Book 5 of this series from this prolific writer. This entry to the series veers off just a tad from previous plot lines in that they don’t discover a body in their newest fixer—they discover a locked room that had been the bedroom of the deceased. It’s still the open case of a murder.

The Body from the Past by Judi LynnJazzi, her hubby Ansel, and cousin Jerod are working on another flipper, this time in the little town of Merlot. The room they discover locked was actually that way when the last owner bought and not needing the room simply left it as is. The house has been sold with furnishings and the room in particular left just as the teenager had prior to her untimely death.

They don’t get too deeply into the project before Jazzi is asked to dig into the cold case as the girl’s boyfriend was the prime suspect but never arrested or charged. Still, he is left with the stigma and would like to be cleared, once and for all.

Ah, youthful energy!! Jazzi balances her full on rehab work with the boys as she also prepares their lunches and snacks, meets the girls for their weekly gab fest, and provides a big family dinner every Sunday, as has been her routine now for some time. They have a pug, George, and two kitties that they tend. In between, she begins to read the journal left by the young graduating high schooler. It’s enlightening, but not wholly revealing.

Then a body is found obviously connected to the case which involves Gaff, their local police connection who manages to show up for a lot of lunches (just to exchange information, of course). Now she’ll ramp up her efforts and begin systematic interviews with all involved.

The narrative is well-plotted, the mystery just under the surface, as the three work through their plan for renovation, choosing colors, textures, materials, appliances, and equipment. Having also worked on rehabbing old houses for years, I’m always fascinated with the description of what and how they go about it. Of course, styles and colors have changed a LOT since we worked nights and weekends on our projects while working full-time.

I enjoy the characters and having read several of the books now (including The Body in the Attic and The Body in the Apartment), see a subtle change in dynamics of the main characters. The pacing is just right, working on the mystery, working on the house, working on the family relationships, and working on some pretty interesting food dishes (several included at the back). An easy-in conclusion and the promise of Book 6 and I’m a happy reader.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground

  • ASIN : B082WRCXS3

Print Length: 204 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

Judi Lynn - authorThe Author: [Judi Lynn] USA Today Best-selling author for The Body in the Attic.
When I started self-publishing, I wrote urban fantasy as Judith Post. Then my wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo, suggested I try to find a publisher by writing romance, and she was right. I sold my Mill Pond romances to Kensington’s Lyrical Press. After six romances, my equally wonderful editor, John Scognamiglio, asked if I’d like to try to write a mystery. Ironic, because I started writing–forever ago–by writing mystery short stories and selling them. I decided to write about a fixer-upper because my husband and I bought a 1920s small bungalow when we got married, and it needed lots of work. We’re still working on it. And cooking crept into the stories because I LOVE to cook and have friends over to eat supper with us. A lot of my passions have ended up in my books:)

Connect with Judi on Facebook and her blog at Judi Lynn Writes

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Act of Revenge: A Medial Thriller (A Doc Brady Mystery) by John Bishop MD – a #BookReview #medicalthriller

I have a question for you: Can you really enjoy reading a medical thriller? The CE and I read this one.

 Book Blurb:

Act of Revenge by John Bishop MDPlastic surgeon Lou Edwards’s life is complicated by two major issues.

One, his wife has lupus, possibly due to leaking silicone from breast implants Edwards himself inserted. And two, his malpractice insurance has been canceled, as it has been for many other plastic surgeons, due to the burgeoning breast implant problem.

But it gets worse.

Shortly after Edwards threatens an insurance company president on national TV, the president is found murdered in his penthouse.

Dr. Jim Bob Brady once again finds himself doing a bit of investigating, this time on behalf of a colleague. But how well does he know this colleague? Is the investigation worth the threat to Jim Bob’s own life? Will he discover that it was a burglary gone bad? A lover’s quarrel? Or is this an act of revenge?

My Review:

Oh yes, refreshing as it is with down home Dr. Jim Bob Brady. Yeah—Jim Bob. From Texas. He’s an orthopedic surgeon, who, at the age of 51 has decided he’s paid his dues and slacked back a bit from the grind. He has to put in continuing education time for his license—why not a conference in Snowmass, Colorado for a little bit of February skiing?

“He had a full head of thick black curly hair and was ruggedly handsome. I disliked him immediately.”

Act of Revenge by John Bishop MDIf you’ve ever snow skied, you know it’s that last run of the day when your legs feel like jelly but you JUST don’t want to give it up that accidents are most likely to happen. And it does. Doc Brady plows into a lesser skier who turned into his path. And wouldn’t you know? He’s another doctor from his own area of Houston.

No, Jim Bob won’t do the surgery but they do get him back home and one of Brady’s colleagues does the surgery. Dr. Brady and his wife, Mary Louise keeps up on his progress while Mary Louise befriends Lou Edward’s wife. She has lupus and is in ill health due to breast implants Edwards himself insisted she undergo. Of course that opens the disclosure that Dr. Edwards, a plastic surgeon, having been sued in regard to related silicone breast plant injuries, had his malpractice insurance cancelled. Come to find out, so has many other plastic surgeons with the same kind of practice. Their insurance based right in the Houston area.

Hooboy, you do get some medical jargon, but it’s fascinating stuff and really doesn’t slow the well-plotted storyline. I really enjoy that personable Dr. Brady and his family, his friends, the local police with whom he’s worked before. This is Book 3 of the series, but even if you’d not started with Book 1, this would work just fine for you. The characters all work well and it doesn’t take long before you become engaged. So medical malpractice insurance and breast augmentation discussion and can be interesting.

An entertaining medical thriller mystery with a protagonist full of wit and charm, that oozes a sense of humor that’s contagious. (I also enjoyed Book 2, Act of Deception, also an easy read.) It’s a writing style full of tenderness and affection.  The author keeps it on the lighter side. He’s a doctor who is brilliant at what he does and he does enjoy getting into an investigation, even when it appears to be getting dangerous. The 1990s setting puts the reader in an era of medical discovery and technology. The conclusion comes about as easy and satisfying as the rest of the narrative without extended blow-by-blow discussion that extends the page count another twenty. Very entertaining. Trust me.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. Book 4, please.

His Review:

Could some people need to be dispatched? I nominate Paul Thompson, the head of a malpractice insurance firm, as a possible candidate. He is a bully, rude and despicable to say the least. Doctor Jim Bob Brady, Orthopedic Surgeon, should refrain from investigating. But his friend, Dr. Lou Edwards is missing and presumed to be the villain.

The writer, John Bishop MD, seems to have a lot of time on his hands. He is a practicing physician but still has time to concoct tales of a surgeon who solves crimes in his spare time. Dr. Bishop is good at his hobby! This book is suspenseful and engrossing. I can understand Jim Bob’s attempt to save his friend’s life and reputation but at what cost? Engaged by the Houston Police Department, he investigates the crime while trying to exonerate his associate. They met during a ski accident at Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado. This is a novel way to get new patients.

The locales are colorfully described, particularly the hospital and medical school in Houston. Dr. Bishop also develops his characters with an eye to beauty and detail. The ladies are all beautiful and well educated. Mr. Thompsons’ office has four dedicated and lovely ladies who handle the books and do the daily work as well as the financial tasks.

Self-centered and egotistical Paul pushes everyone around with no care but for himself. As the novel develops his character turns into a despicable victim. Any sympathy for the victim evaporates as you progress through the novel. The drama is captivating and spell-binding. The climax is a surprise and I did not suspect or see it coming.

CE WilliamsI suggest a block of time be set aside to read this tale. Mary Louise, Dr. Jim Bob’s wife, is an empathetic character who would be a jewel for any man. She supports her would be detective husband and the other doctor’s wife throughout the story. The Houston police department accepts the novice’s assistance in solving the crime because of his association with the suspect. A really fun twist to the story. I had trouble sleeping until I finished the book. 5 stars – CE Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Fiction, Medical Thrillers, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Mantid Press

    • ISBN-13 : 978-1734251142
      • ASIN : B08F11BVVW

Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: September 10, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

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

John Bishop - author
John Bishop MD

The Author: Lost for over 20 years, Act of Murder is the first rediscovered novel in a new medical thriller series set in the changing environment of medicine in the mid-1990s. Bishop’s sense of humor and surprising wit create a story of medical miscreants capable of murder, mayhem, and greed. His 30 years as a practicing orthopedic surgeon give the reader a unique glimpse into the medical world with all its problems, intricacies and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of most health care professionals.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The House of the Setting Son: A Misty Dawn Mystery (Misty Dawn Mysteries Book 3) by Nancy Cole Silverman – a #BookReview – #ghostmysteries

“…the former “Hollywood Psychic to the Stars”… 

Book Blurb:

The House of the Setting SonWhen Misty Dawn, the former “Hollywood Psychic to the Stars,” receives a phone call in the middle of the night, she knows it can’t be good news. Dorine Witherspoon, an actress and former client is in town for the opening of her touring musical and tells Misty the show’s leading lady, Cassie Marx, has disappeared, and the understudy had to go on for her on Opening Night! Misty immediately suspects foul play and when she and Wilson, Misty’s psychic shade, arrive at the theater the next morning, they discover LAPD’s Detective Cesar Romero meeting with the cast and crew. Events on both sides of the veil take a dark turn when Romero asks Misty off the case, and Wilson appears out of his depth with ghosts who want nothing to do with him. Death, close calls, and forces on both sides of the veil threaten to undo Misty and destroy her relationship with Wilson unless she can find Cassie and restore order to the show.

My Review:

Wow, I loved and cover and really wanted to love the book as I enjoy psychic ghost stories. You know I do. But I must have some level of veracity and this falls short.

The House of the Setting Son by Nancy Cole SilvermanMy first experience with the author and the series and I’m still getting used to some of the terminology used for ghosty or psychic stories. I think this is the first time I’ve ran across the term “shade” as it is used for a ghost who is caught behind the veil but not allowed to cross over. In this instance, that’s Wilson. Wilson is just a little TOO over-the-top handy on this side of the veil if he is capable of driving a car. Uh huh…

I like the location of LA/Hollywood and the premise of the old theatre that is going to celebrate one last hurrah—the run of My Fair Lady. Unfortunately, the aging star is murdered and the younger sister—far the better woman for the part—is missing and assumed the perpetrator. A little too obvious, that one. The theatre, with it’s old history, has it’s own ghosts and Wilson manages to get into a hassle with the theatre’s resident ghost.

I also like that Misty, the co-(living)protagonist is a mature person with a plausible history of being a psychic to the stars—and there is some name-dropping here with a well-known politician’s wife who did indeed engage her own. While she coordinates with the LA police, they are reluctant to return the favor.

There is a number of possible perps, some interesting support characters, and the buzz and excitement of the lights and cast, but the thought of the car winding it’s way through LA without a visible driver is just a bit much for me. The conclusion is not really a surprise, and this one may have resolved Wilson’s cross-over. Of course, this is rumored the last in the series, although there is now the specter of a romance between Misty and an ex.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychic Mysteries, Ghost Mysteries, Cozy Mystery

  • ASIN : B08F65LCBJ

Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: September 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Three of Five Stars three stars

Nancy Cole Silverman - author
Nancy Cole Silverman

The Author: After twenty-five years in news and talk radio, Silverman retired to write fiction. In addition to her short stories, Silverman has two series with Henery Press, THE CAROL CHILDS MYSTERIES, featuring a single-mom whose day-job as a radio reporter often leads to long nights as a crime-solver, and the MISTY DAWN MYSTERIES, centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her readings working as a consultant to LAPD and the FBI. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Final Second: A completely unputdownable action thriller (A Grant Fletcher Thriller Book 2) by John Ryder – a #BookReview Suspense Action Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Sometimes it takes a stranger to find a killer…

Final Second by John RyderIn a small farming town in rural Wisconsin—where generations of families have lived in peace for decades—no one expects trouble to come calling.

But then a farmer’s beautiful young wife is found brutally murdered, with a chilling calling card that suggests she’s just the first victim of a serial killer. And the FBI elect not to send one of their own. Instead they send a stranger to town—former Royal Marine turned mercenary, Grant Fletcher. And they’re giving him no choice. Find the killer. Because we know what you’ve done.

With the threat of the executioner’s chair hanging over him, Fletcher finds himself in an impossible situation—and a race against time. Catch a murderer whose killings are escalating with every day that passes. Or face certain death…

His Review:

Action packed suspense thriller centered around remote dairy ranches. working independently, Grant Fletcher is called in to help identify the killer of a FBI agents’ childhood friend. The agent is involved in a major case and cannot be directly involved at the onset. The killer is flaunting his kills by numbering each one. Her friend is #1.

Final Second by John RyderGrant is on a short leash from the police on a possible murder charge himself. A mysterious person far above the FBI agents’ paygrade is pulling the strings. The local police department is poorly staffed and it is doubtful  they will be able to find the killer. Grant has the specter of a trial over his head and going to prison, so he is given little support from the FBI while dodging the local police department.

The author, John Ryder, skillfully builds suspense while throwing in a few red herrings to salt the suspense. Aggravatingly, the local police department keeps getting in the well. An inkling of the reason for the murders begins to become apparent but the suspense builds after each new murder. Can Grant Fletcher find the killer before he is charged and arrested in his separate case? By number five, Grant’s time is running out and is looking at a deadline of next Monday.

The killings are centered in a particular area. His friend, Special Agent Zoey Quadrado, joins him near the end of the book as he narrows in on the killer. The killer has become brazen and does not care about the age of his targets, just the outcome. Hunting this killer becomes extremely dangerous as both Grant and Zoey become targets. CE Williams

The tale is fast moving and readers will need to set aside time to complete the book. It can cause insomnia! 5 stars-CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense Action Fiction, Crime Action Fiction, Crime Action & Adventure
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08B8ZRJ92

Print Length: 341 pages
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Final Second [Amazon]

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©2020 C E Williams – V Williams V Williams

Front Line: A Domestic Spy Espionage Terrorism Thriller (Phantom Force Tactical Book 3) by Jessica James – a #BookReview

A domestic-military thriller review by the CE.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Special operators work against the clock to stop a radical extremist from detonating a dirty bomb during a Monday night football game near Washington, DC. in this award-winning domestic terrorism thriller.

Phantom Force Tactical’s Nicholas “Colt” Colton thought the radical extremist he captured years ago was locked away for good. Unfortunately, a new classified mission reveals that the threat is still very real, and corruption within the U.S. government runs deep.

Task Force 2 agent Josephine “Joey” Summers has been working her own angle, trying to figure out where the terrorist leader will strike next. She’s come up with a very plausible—and terrifying—theory, but doesn’t know who she can trust. After teaming up with a retired Navy SEAL, she discovers the plot is even bigger than she’d imagined—and the consequences much more alarming.

When the stakes are this high, promises must be kept. And when thousands of people could die, sacrifices must be made. Only by letting go of their pasts will they have any hope of stopping the chaos. But courage and commitment—plus a pledge—fuse to create an outcome that is both unpredictable and unimaginable.

All books in this series can stand alone.

His Review:

This is a fast-moving framework for espionage at the highest level. Jessica James has written a quick moving tale of treason at the highest level of government. Former Navy Seal Nicholas Colton is working with an off the books’ agency called Phantom Force. Working directly with the President and carrying the highest security clearance available, Nick helps to defuse a well devised terrorist plot.

Josephine is a chance encounter who turns into a valuable asset in the enterprise. Both Nick and Josephine are widowed and do not want to be involved or hurt again. The author handles this relationship with understanding and comfort.

Government intelligence sometimes gets in its’ own way. A highly placed foreign operative whose goal is chaos at a major sporting event that would foul a major metropolitan area adds to the plot.

Highly placed government officials want to bring down the United States and teach it a lesson for interfering in other countries business. A dirty bomb may be the way to cause this catastrophe. Can Nick and his team accomplish this task? The novel could be a playbook for the current situation in Washington. Can Nick and his group stop the plot to cause a major international event similar to the bombing of the twin towers? Infiltrators at the highest level of the US government are involved in planning and executing the plot.

CE WilliamsThe overall book is a fast read and very satisfying. I feel the author may have had some of these experiences herself. She handles the entire situation with sympathy and understanding. I appreciated the slow and tentative road to intimacy in this novel. Rather, it is two adults getting to know each other while both are reeling from past experiences and that is refreshing. Read and enjoy! 5 stars CE Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookBub. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thriller, Military Thriller, Terrorism Thriller
Publisher: Patriot Press
ASIN: B06WD4YPH1
Print Length: 340 pages
Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Front Line [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads Jessica JamesThe Author: Jessica James award-winning novels are inspired by her love of the land, her belief in everlasting love, and her curiosity about the past. She enjoys transporting readers back in time with complex characters and stories that stir deep emotion.

By weaving the principles of courage, devotion, and dedication into each book, James attempts to honor the unsung heroes of the American military–past and present–and to convey the magnitude of their sacrifice and service. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

James is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America.

Get your choice of one of two books when you sign up for her newsletter (or get them both, if you can’t decide). The first one is From the Heart: Love Stories and Letters from the Civil War. The other is a bestselling romantic suspense novel Protecting Ashley. Sign up today!

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook – Walt Longmire Mysteries – by Craig Johnson

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”
Sherlock Holmes

Longmire audiobook vs Netflix blog banner

Wahoo! One of my favorite Netflix series and lots of audiobooks (as well as ebooks) at my local well stocked library. We binged right through the Longmire series, even trying to discipline ourselves to three episodes per night, so of course when I discovered the audiobooks at my library I grabbed the first that wasn’t on a waiting list. And whadda know, it’s about bike week—Sturgis! (which, coincidentally, was last week). I doubt there is few around the globe that hasn’t heard of Sturgis, and no, that’s one rally I didn’t go to (just a little too nutsy for me), although that is me on my Kawi in the background of the blog banner getting ready to pull off the road.

An Obvious Fact-Book Blurb:

In the 12th novel in the New York Times best-selling Longmire series, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident near Devils Tower involving a young motorcyclist.

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming – the nearest town to America’s first national monument, Devils Tower – to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt’s granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won’t stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”.

Audiobook

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson a Longmire Mystery

This is Book 12, so while the protagonist or his major support characters are not wholly fleshed, they don’t need to be—they are whittled out of casual remarks, innuendo, description. Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The wild west. Two other main characters, Henry Standing Bear (Native American) and Vic (Victoria Moretti), his (female) deputy—a Philadelphia transplant. Walt is often accompanied by Dog, (of dubious parentage) who needs no further description. Walt’s daughter is not notably featured in this episode.

Walt received a call from another county about a motorcyclist run off the road near Devil’s Tower and his mother shows up to ask again for Walt’s help. The mother is Lola, the mother for whom Henry named his classic T-Bird. Yes, it’s “the” Lola.

Unsurprisingly, it won’t be a simple hit-and-run and while the young man languishes in the hospital not expected to recover, Walt soon discovers bad-ass motorcycle gangs and multitudes of despicable conspiracies.

I love the scenes, so beautifully laid out you can smell the landscape, and the banter between Walt and (Henry Standing) Bear and his undersheriff, who by the way, is a great deal more profane than she appears on Netflix. Also appreciated the motorcycle lingo; been awhile since I’ve participated. Almost non-stop action, the multi-plotted storyline getting more complex with fast-turning pages. I love the tidbits of knowledge about the area, the people and culture and in this case, of course, motorcycles.

The narrator, George Guidall, did one heckava outstanding job creating a down-to-earth narrative and understated conversational quality to the written words. He wasn’t just reading it. He made it come alive. It’s drugs, money, and mayhem and I can’t wait to tear into the next episode that becomes available. 4.5/5 stars

Netflix Longmire Series

Walt Longmire of the Netflix series by Craig JohnsonI loved this series of the modern Western crime scene. The TV drama series began on A&E but was picked up by Netflix and developed by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin somewhere around the fourth season. It ran for six seasons and is still streaming on Netflix after the sixth season ended in 2017. Popular? Oh, yes…what is not to love?

Despite amazing viewership numbers, A&E felt that the demographic was primarily older Americans—the horror of it all! Thanks to a huge fan uproar (think Star Wars), it was picked up by Netflix.

The cast is perfect: Australian Robert Taylor as Walt, Katee Sackhoff as Vic, and American Filipino Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry. Also, it was filmed in New Mexico (not Wyoming). While it doesn’t follow each book of Johnson’s series per se, there is crime fiction we’ve come to expect including bank robberies, murder investigations, and prominently featured conflicts with the local Cheyenne Indian reservation.

The series became so popular they began a yearly July festival in Buffalo (WY). (Absaroka County is fictional), according to Wide Open Country.

If there was a revival, Season 7, I’d be tuning in. Hollywood version Americana but well written and immensely engaging and entertaining. 5 enthusiastic stars

Overall Impression

I don’t think you can go wrong with either the Netflix series and that outstanding cast, gripping installments, and immersive episodes or the books. (Of course, I’m among that older demographic that had A&E dumping it.) While the audiobooks, the character Vic being more profane, might alienate a few of that older demographic, the descriptive storyline, natural and often humorous dialogue, and the narrator’s excellent delivery make it a winner. I’m a solid fan looking for my next audiobook. Wholly recommended.

Rosepoint Publishing recommended

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Western Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
ASIN: B01K23ZXCE
Listening Length: 7 hrs 50 min
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: An Obvious Fact [Amazon]
 

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Craig Johnson - authorThe Author: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve Walt Longmire mystery novels, which are the basis for Longmire, the hit Netflix original drama. The Cold Dish won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/Bibliobs. Death Without Company, the Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year, won France’s Le Prix 813, and Another Man’s Moccasins was the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award Winner and the Mountains & Plains Book of the Year. The Dark Horse, the fifth in the series, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and Junkyard Dogs won The Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick. Hell Is Empty, selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year, was a New York Times best seller, as was As the Crow Flies, which won the Rocky for the best crime novel typifying the western United States. A Serpent’s Tooth opened as a New York Times bestseller as did Any Other Name and Wait for Signs, Johnson’s collection of short stories. Spirit of Steamboat was selected by the State Library as the inaugural One Book Wyoming and included visits to sixty-three libraries. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

George Guidall - audiobook narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Night Drop by Ian D Wright – A #BookReview – #historicalthrillers #TuesdayBookBlog

“The remote marshland villagers did not want them, but if their mission failed, the Allies could lose the war!”

A book review by the CE.

Book Blurb:

A WW2 Historical thriller – Resistance in the Marshlands

The Night Drop by Ian D WrightThe summer of 1943 and Jack Ross, a talented young recruit to the British special forces, was flown into a marshland village near St-Omer, France, along with Roland Keene, an Irish-American volunteer to the British forces. Their mission was to find out how successful the Allied bombing raids had been on the massive V2 flying bomb installations, which had been built under a giant concrete dome near St-Omer. The Nazi V2 project could have had a devastating effect on England and changed the future of the war.

Jack and Roland joined with the local Resistance cell and quickly established a good working relationship. But incidents occur that point to a mole in the ranks. Two feuding brothers, one in the Resistance, the other with the Partisans, make identifying the traitor almost impossible.

Jack’s primary source of information was Sofia, a young girl who was one of the most active members of the group. She was brave, smart and tireless, and Jack found himself falling in love.

Twenty years later, in 1965, and one of the suspects decides to go back to the village to clear his name. His arrival immediately triggers a murder. Two investigative journalists agreed to help Jack tackle the job of finding the real mole but find themselves in a battle with a group of fanatical Nazi sympathisers.

His Review:

Investigating war crimes can be dangerous business. Jack Ross goes back to the place where he was dropped during the height of WW II. The year is 1965 and he is assisting Steve, an investigative journalist and his wife Emily to write an account of the area during Nazi occupation in 1943. Working on the story becomes fraught with danger as the story develops.

The Night Drop by Ian D WrightRetrospectively I have often wondered what the world would have been like if the Nazis had prevailed. This book paints a picture of grudges that develop even within families during a war. Do you side with the occupiers who have your country under marshal law or fight in a resistance that tries to overthrow your occupiers? During such conflicts there will always be winners and losers.

During times of war, food is always hard to get. Helping the enemy may provide some food or other assistance that otherwise would be unavailable. Occupied France was no exception. Jack Ross is parachuted behind enemy lines to find the location of V-2 rocket launch sites and get that information back to the British. His mother was French and his father English and his spoken French sounds like a native.

Sofia is a young teenage girl who can get around the occupied area on a bicycle. She is almost invisible and therefore able to gather information. Jack joins the resistance and she becomes very helpful in obtaining updates on the location of the launch facilities and also a production factory. Every day is fraught with danger as the British start bombing the facility and begin to suspect a mole is giving secret information to the enemy.

The Audomorais Marshes in France are poorly defended and the Nazi troops are spread thin. However, who is actually loyal to whom? As the invasion nears and the attacks on the rocket facility increase, the Nazis look for the leak. Brothers with a long running feud are highlighted. One of the brothers is grabbed and executed by the Nazis. His contact was Jacks’ wife Sophie. Suddenly she becomes a target for the German occupiers.

Who is the mole who identified Sophie and thereby Jack? The invasion is about two months away and suddenly they must go underground. Later in 1965 they are trying to solve the riddle of who the mole might have been. Anyone harboring allied pilots or servicemen are summarily shot upon identification and capture.

CE WilliamsThe list of suspects included the local butcher, the parish priest and the feuding brother. Unraveling the answer is an integral part of this well-developed novel. One of the suspects is found hanging in a tree and danger is rampant, even in 1965! I found the book keeping me up nights with my search for the answer. History buffs and WW II aficionados will find this read compelling. My only quibble was that the thread between the war and 1965 was at times scattered and elusive. 4/5 stars CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Historical British Fiction, Military Thrillers
ASIN: B086JZDY8K
Print Length: 251 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: The Night Drop [Amazon]

Ian D Wright - author
Ian D Wright

The Author: My passion for writing goes back to a Christmas present I received when I was seven years old. It was a John Bull printing outfit that inspired me to produce a newspaper for my family to read. By the time I finished the first edition, several weeks had passed, and the stories were long-forgotten events.

I was encouraged at school by my English teacher, and he suggested that I should write a newsletter about school activities. It was handwritten and pinned to the notice board. The encouraging words he wrote on my school report then enabled me to get of job in the publicity department of a large engineering company. This introduced me to the luxury of the typewriter, which I still think is an amazing invention.

As the years went by, I happily wrote anything that I was given; brochure copy, advertisements, press releases, speeches for other people, scripts for industrial films, videos, and copy for websites. In 1988 I started my own media company, which I ran until retiring a few years ago.

My only venture into fiction was in my early twenties writing teen romance stories for Jackie magazine. It was just a part-time addition to my real work, but it taught me how to build characters in as few words as possible and how enjoyable writing fiction can be. I always promised myself that when I had the time, I would return to fiction again. Just over two years ago, I started on my first novel, Murders of Consequence, which was followed by Murders of Necessity and Murders of Misfortune. They are all available in eBook and paperback on Amazon.

All three books are set in the nineteen-sixties when the UK was going through a significant transformation of social outlook. Young people were making their views known in fashion, music, attitudes, and public protests about the many different causes that concerned them. The reasons were not frivolous; all they were asking was for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, with my wife Sheilah, who is editor, proof-reader, and critic of my work. We are both avid readers, enjoying mainly thrillers.
I also love music, particularly jazz. When I was young, I played tenor sax in a rock/blues band, and more recently, Sheilah and I formed a Jazz duo to raise money for charity. We both enjoy traveling, watching cricket, and football.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning – a #BookReview – #Mystery #Thriller

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick CanningSeeking to rediscover herself after a divorce, a detective-minded woman embarks on solving the small mysteries of a Midwest neighborhood, only to learn the secrets hidden there are more horrifying than she could have ever imagined.

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

My Review:

Well, here I go again with one of Patrick Canning’s books. This author writes such off-the-wall stuff you know going in it’ll be a ride. The question is just how crazy will this roller-coaster be? Answer: Subtle, confounding, twisty, and who can you trust?

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick CanningFrancine is reeling from a devastating divorce in 1989 in San Francisco when her sister Ellie suggests a child/housesitting stay at her home in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois while they take a European vacation. It certainly looks benign enough, quaint, friendly, and attractive. A nice getaway when she needs one.

A bon voyage-welcome party turns a bit ugly, however, when one of the guests throws a drink in Francine’s face. True, you never know what goes on behind closed doors and there are certainly enough neighbors here to offer a variety of single and married, tempers, secrets, and fears. Her sister’s best friend Laura Jean is a strong ally and there are a number of interesting support characters. When Francine discovers the death of Brownie (a goat), she decides it’s time to start investigating the neighbors more deeply.

And what a smorgasbord of characters there are! You are not meant to like them all. Hers is not the only temporary stay in the hood and it is Bruno that brings a special light to Francine’s eyes as they collaborate together in his own secret research.

Francine is fragile and easy to invest in; Bruno a history teacher smothered in cliché right up to his bow tie and brown corduroy trousers and I really liked them both. Obvious red herrings, teenage boy, nasty HOA lady, ex-Marine. It’s a slow burn but weirdly compelling. What IS going on here? Are you confused yet?

The conclusion brings a shock you never saw coming and a head-shaking surprise you can’t compute. Yes, yes, you knew the one answer, but… I loved the little questionnaire questions her ex left with her at the beginning of each chapter setting your nerves to jangling and the tension rising.

“In most marriages, one or both partners are unhappy. [x] True [ ] False.
“I often think: ‘I wish I were a child again.’ [x]True [ ] False.
“I am so touchy on some subjects that I can’t talk about them. [x] True [ ] False.

The author’s writing style is beguiling, clever, and wily fun. Keep reading and watch his mind twist you in the wind. I’ve read one of his books before, The Colonel and the Bee back in July, 2018 and if I didn’t recognize that signature…um, just wait…of his, I wouldn’t know it was the same author–and I really enjoyed that one. This is a suspense thriller that leaves you shaking your head, just shy of a book hangover. A mystery thriller you shouldn’t miss. Totally recommended.

Rosepoint recommended

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Women Sleuths
ASIN: B08CS2RK9S
Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Patrick Canning - authorThe Author: Patrick Canning was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Illinois, and now lives in California with his dog, Hank.

He is primarily focused on turning coffee into words, words into money, money back into coffee.

Find him at patrickcanningbooks.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams