This Land is No Stranger: A Nordic Mystery Thriller by Sarah Hollister and Gil Reavill – A #BookReview – #nordicnoir

Book Blurb:

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillWith a career that is spiraling out of control and a nasty drug habit that has taken her to rock bottom, NYC detective Veronika Brand is looking for a way out. When a call from Sweden interrupts her personal chaos, the foreign tongue of her distant Swedish relatives pulls her across the Atlantic with the lure of adventure and escape. But what she finds is far from the idyllic picture her grandmother painted. Instead of long languid summers basking in the midnight sun, she unearths secrets long since buried in the frozen ground.

In Krister Hammar, a local Sami land rights lawyer, she thinks she has found a kindred spirit. But when they stumble upon a brutal murder scene in a manor house owned by the rivals of her family, she starts questioning his truth. She finds herself being moved like a chess piece between the desolate region of Härjedalen in the north and the steely-cold streets of Stockholm, scrambling to find the links between her family history, a trail of missing Roma girls, and a series of vicious murders. In unfamiliar territory on the wrong side of the law, Veronika has her sights set only on the beast that preys on the wicked. Will she be able to see past the lure of the northern lights to the dark secrets that threaten to destroy her?

[Note: I chose this novel as my maternal grandmother was 100% Swedish having immigrated to Minnesota, one of the many “sons.” I thought I’d give some time to the Swedish side as I always seem to favor the Irish side, i.e. Reading Ireland Month—March, coming up. Hubby found the ebook first, however, and got a bit of culture shock. It is, after all, described as Nordic noir or Scanoir and does tend to run dark. As Donna Moreau (author of Waiting Wives mentioned), “it is an intriguing family saga intertwined with the …mysterious Roma people.” Aware of the impact of the Irish Travelers in Ireland, the Romani people are not  genetically related and represent a much larger population in Sweden*. A surprising revelation.]

His Review:

Revenge is a dish best served cold! Can an eighty year old crime between families continue to this day? The tale of the Hatfields and McCoys compares closely with the ongoing animosity between the Dalgren and Voss families. Veronika Brand is the granddaughter of the Dalgren family and is invited back to Sweden to attend a family reunion for her 95 year old relative.

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillIn 1940 when the Nazi’s occupied Sweden, her ancestors began printing pro-Nazi propaganda after the country is occupied. A splinter group led by the family Voss decides to stop the paper by burning down the printing establishment. They are not aware that some of the Dalgrens are asleep in the apartment over the printing shop. The death of the Dalgrens in the fire starts the feud between the Dalgrens and Voss’.

The Voss family is very wealthy, ruthless and are involved in many nefarious endeavors including prostitution and slavery. They have the power. A vengeful Dalgren family is hardly a problem. The Voss family also owns and operates the largest trucking firm in Europe. Young Romani girls are kidnapped or otherwise drawn into a world of sex slavery and poor diets. They finally die from poor nutrition and continual sexual brutality from customers who use them in total depravity.

The inter-familial war of revenge is continual and brutal. Veronika Brand is a former New York detective who becomes embroiled in the conflict. Brutal murders and lack of any social responsibility drove me to the conclusion that this may not be a future vacation destination. Cruelty and death are portrayed as an integral part of the psyche of the northern Swedish families. There seemed to be no division between the young and old regarding a more innocent mind set.

CE WilliamsThe narrative is well written although exhausting to read. Continual brutal murder and total disregard for human life with wicked visuals of red snow were excessive. The ending, however, was satisfying and surprising! I kept wondering why a well-trained New York detective would stay in such a toxic environment! The conclusion explained a lot.  4 stars-CE Williams 

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: LYS
Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: March 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: This Land is No Stranger [Amazon]
Also find the book at this locations:
Barnes and Noble 

Add to Goodreads

 

Sarah Hollister - authorThe Authors: Sarah Hollister is an American writer and playwright, living the Scandinavian reality on one of the 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. Her plays Sisters’ Dance and Relevant Truth have been produced in New York City, and she is a member of the Dramatikerförbund (Sweden’s drama guild), which awarded her residences at the Henning Mankell House in northern Sweden. She is a founding member of the Stockholm Writers Festival.

Gil Reavill - authorA New York-based author, screenwriter and journalist, Gil Reavill often writes about crime, both in fiction, with the 13 series of thrillers (13 Hollywood Apes, 13 Stolen Girls, 13 Under the Wire) and non-fiction, with Mafia Summit and Aftermath, Inc. Reavill also co-wrote the screenplay for the corrupt-cop feature film, Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. While growing up in Wisconsin, in the American Upper Midwest, I was surrounded with Nordic immigrant culture, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish communities. Later on, I discovered Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, and, especially, Peter Hoeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow. I was interested in the cross-fertilization of American and Scandinavian crime fiction, the trans-Atlantic influences flowing both ways. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

*Swedish Romani info obtained from Wikipedia.

The Blame: A totally gripping mystery and suspense novel by Kerry Wilkinson – a #BookReview – #Psychological Fiction

 

“People change and then they change again.” 

Book Blurb:

The Blame by Kerry WilkinsonPaige, Richard and me. We thought we’d be friends forever. But everything changed the day we took the short cut home from school along the old railway line. I wish we’d gone the long way. I wish we hadn’t seen our classmate, pale and still in the undergrowth. And I wish we hadn’t promised to keep one, awful detail a secret just between us…

Twenty years later, I have a brand-new life, and try never to think about my old one. But I’m dragged back when Paige calls out of the blue. Richard has been accused of something terrible. Everyone back home is whispering about the body we found years ago, and saying Richard deserves to be locked up…

Before I know it, I’ve returned to the small town I thought I’d never see again. Paige is almost the same as I remember – jet-black hair, slender frame – but why does she seem so nervous?

Revealing the truth about what we saw that day twenty years ago could clear Richard’s name… but will the blame fall on me? And can I really trust that Paige is on my side – or is she hiding her own dark secret?

When we find a strange note in Richard’s flat, only one thing is for certain: someone else knows the truth too. All three of us are in danger…

My Review:

Definitely different than the others I’ve read by this author. This novel began on a bewildering call that didn’t compute at the beginning and became a bigger question as the narrative progressed.

The Blame by Kerry WilkinsonOne of three close childhood friends, Harry is called away from his home in Toronto by Paige regarding the third, Richard. He is drawn back to the UK and his small hometown of Macklebury leaving his home(?) and his job(?). Richard has been arrested for the murder of a common former teacher. However, it’s been twenty years since he left and few things have not changed, including his two friends. Were they ever really that close? Now it appears he doesn’t really know them at all.

First, he’s at a loss to know what he’s doing—why he was actually there or what he could do. It’s Paige who declares they’ll have to search for the real perp, but she is quickly discovered to be on drugs and vacillates between manic and low key, depressive. Not like she is the only one depressing as his sister with whom he shares ownership of the family home is estranged, uncommunicative, allows him a room, not interested in “catching up.”

Richard is an obvious easy collar, having been associated with the discovery of one of his deceased classmates eighteen years prior in questionable circumstances. That murder was never solved, but as both he and Harry were at the scene, they share a secret harbored since. Too easy to look at Richard for this one, though there seems no strong connection to this victim; means, motive, possible opportunity? Seems they are more concerned with the cold case than the current one.

Too many questions here, holes I couldn’t fill, lack of affinity for any of the characters, and largely depressing and wretched conditions slowed the narrative for me. The pace doesn’t gain much momentum going into the conclusion with much of the investigation slotting in with Harry following Paige around on one of her manic objectives. Harry is not a strong protagonist and loathe to confront anyone, including Richard about a glaring omission in his statement. The conclusion cleared up few questions and provided no big surprises (I was right about the person but not for the reason), but then there was little burning desire to know more. Difficult read left me rather empty.

I believe this is meant to be a standalone. I’d previously read Last Night and two from his Jessica Daniel Thriller Series, The Unlucky Ones (Book 14), and A Cry in the Night and enjoyed all, giving the latter 4.5 stars and requested this one as soon as I saw the author come up. A disquieting theme, sad tale, and disappointing. Still, I won’t quit the author.

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

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08TM4D498

Print Length: 317 pages
Publication Date: Released February 19, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Kerry Wilkinson - authorThe Author: Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States. His book, Ten Birthdays, won the RNA award for Young Adult Novel of the Year in 2018 and Close To You won the International Thriller Award for best ebook in 2020.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry spent way too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike, hikes up something, or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

Recent and upcoming UK releases:
What My Husband Did: 17 Nov 2020
The Blame: 19 Feb 2021

Find out more at: http://kerrywilkinson.com or http://facebook.com/KerryWilkinsonBooks

©2021 V Williams

Ghosts of the Past: The Search for a Lost WWII Art Collection Worth Killing for by Mark Downer – A #BookReview – #crimeaction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerIn the spring of 1945, on the eve of the Allied victory in war-torn Europe, an unmarked German transport plane crash lands deep in the rugged Swiss Alps, and with it is buried one of the greatest single collections of World War II stolen artwork never recovered. Lying undisturbed in its rocky tomb for over half a century, a family member’s deathbed disclosure and war memorabilia hold the key to the existence and dormant location of this incredible treasure. Subsequently, one man’s quest to locate the crash site is unwittingly exposed, and the race to recover the find of a lifetime becomes a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that weaves together an eclectic cast of characters in an international web of intrigue, murder, mystery, and surprise.

American advertising executive Matt Ferguson, determined to track down his great uncle’s mysterious legacy, enlists the help of a beautiful art expert, Courtney Lewis. They immediately become embroiled in a local murder investigation that draws them together to save not only a piece of history but ultimately their lives. Pursuing them is a cold-blooded killer and his henchmen, representing the past and present generations of the German Nazi party, and also gangsters dispatched by a multi-millionaire South American boss, whose passion is acquiring art by any means necessary. As Ferguson and Lewis struggle and maneuver to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, their relationship swells through ups and downs of trust, mistrust, mutual attraction, deception, and, finally, shared mission.

The dogged persistence of a city homicide detective determined to solve a triple murder, and his ability to knit together an international police effort as the scope of his investigation explodes, are the last component affecting the thrill of the chaotic chase and the excitement of the climax.

His Review:

As World War II comes to a close, two flyers from Germany are engaged to make a special flight to Switzerland by none other than Hermann Goering! This starts a saga of immense value and hair-raising discovery. Mark Downer creates a narrative with the efficiency of a master fly fisherman. Information from a dying uncle sets Matt Ferguson on the quest of a lifetime.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerAn immense treasure of purloined art is hidden away in the mountains of Switzerland. Not by design but by a fortuitous accident as the treasure is being flown to Switzerland by two young shanghaied German Luftwaffe pilots. The transportation of art objects is at the personal bequest of Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering himself. A chance meetup with a US fighter pilot results in a crash landing of the German plane prior to arriving at the airport in Switzerland. The plane and its’ crew remain in hiding sitting out the rest of the second world war.

The quest begins at the dying bed of Max Hignite, the German pilot in question. His nephew, Matt Ferguson, is given a map drawn on the back of the cargo manifest by Max. Two pieces of art are in Max’s safe and are authenticated by assistant curator Courtney Lewis and her contacts at the Speed Art Museum. The two small paintings are valued and insured at $4,000,000. Courtney and Matt set out to find the treasure and have it distributed to the rightful family owners. The problem is that the curators who helped verify the authenticity of the paintings are interested in the rest of the shipment and as Matt and Courtney begin the quest, they start an international conspiracy to obtain the balance of the valuable cargo.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark Downer
(See NB below)

Matt and Courtney are not well versed in clandestine operations. They are followed by some very rich and powerful individuals who want to control the artifacts. They are followed discretely by operatives whose sole purpose is to gain ultimate control of the entire cargo. Keeping the two of them alive is not really a concern to the criminal element wanting to own the cargo.

Mark Downer has put together a quick engaging read with a number of twists and turns that are very entertaining. The book took center stage in my daily activities until I finished it. You will find the story well-plotted and paced although at times predictable. I highly recommend it for a quick and satisfying read! 5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Action Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Crime Action & Adventure
Publisher: Old Stone Press (2nd edition)
Print Length: 287 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Ghosts of the Past [Amazon] (Second Edition)
Also find the book at this location (See NB below):
Barnes and Noble (First Edition)
 

Add to Goodreads

The Author: (Barnes & Noble) Mark Downer was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Journalism, he has spent the last 30 years in executive level marketing, sales and management. He currently owns and operates a transportation and logistics company in Louisville, where he resides with his wife and three children. Ghosts of the Past is first novel.

NB: This novel was originally published in 2014 under the same name.

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French – An #Audiobook Review – #police procedural – #TBT

Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

The Trespasser by Tana French 

Book Blurb:

In best-selling Tana French’s newest “tour de force” (The New York Times), being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. 

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed-to-a-shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before. 

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-the-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be. 

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?  

My Review:

Protagonist Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner, Detective Stephen Moran, begin work on a new case involving Aislinn Murray, whose death is easily and quickly attributed to her new beau by the veteran detective who took lead in the interview. But since Conway was promoted to the Dublin Murder Squad, she has been the butt of practical jokes, harassment, and hostility, partly owing, she attributes, to her being a woman in a male dominated bastion.

The Trespasser by Tana FrenchDetective Conway is pushing back, however, her gut telling her this quiet, ineffectual man could NOT have been the one to cause Aislinn’s death. She is wondering, however, with the obvious circumstantial evidence, if she is getting paranoid, pushed this one time too many in a bid to find something that isn’t there.

Not my first go-round with the author, I previously read The Secret Place (semi-finalist in Goodreads’ best mystery/thriller category 2016) for a Reading Ireland Month in March 2019—it was 480 pages—and included both detectives. I figured this time I’d try an audiobook. Even at just over twenty hours, I’d make it in time for March.

Tana French is nothing if not verbose—I’m glad I went the audiobook route as that included narrator Hilda Fay who didn’t just read the book, she became Detective Conway allowing the reader to see the rest of the narrative riding on Conway’s shoulder, heart, and mind, hitting the nuances of French’s dialogue and thoughts with depth of emotion, philosophy, and circumspect anguish.

The problem is, with ALL that dialogue, and ALL those recriminations, and ALL those subtle disclosures of the nasty pranks from the guys, the novel tends to lose sight of the story arc and extends exponentially when it could easily have been conveyed in under 300 words. The interdepartmental rivals and pissing matches become a broken record and loses the plot spit and fire.

French does pull all her various threads together in spectacular fashion in the climatic conclusion thrusting home her theory. It’s a hallow victory—sad—unsatisfying. But it’s a win.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, #Suspense, British & Irish Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Penguin Audio

  • ASIN: B01IQ1MEH6

Print Length: 455 pages
Listening Length: 20 hrs 6 mins
Narrator:  Hilda Fay
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Trespasser [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars

Tana French - authorThe Author: Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

 

Hilda Fay - narratorThe Narrator: Hilda Fay is an award-winning actress from Ireland who has worked both on stage and screen for the past 25 years. She has performed in Oedipus, Little Gem, and the one-woman show Alice Devine. Hilda’s TV and film credits include Prosperity, Proof, and Whistleblower, which won an IFTA award for Best Drama.

©2021 V Williams

An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young Book 1) by Carol Wyer – A #BookReview – #murder

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

An Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerDI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

His Review:

Catching someone who is involved in the police investigation is extremely difficult. Add a supervisor who continually places roadblocks in your way and a recent tragedy in your life, and you have Kate Young at the starting line. How can she overcome the trauma of the love of her life being lost in a train tragedy and physical problems? She is called back early to head-up an investigation into gruesome murders.

An Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerCarol Wyer weaves a net of intricate knots and unexpected turns leading to a completely different ending than one would expect. Young refugees escaping a poverty ridden childhood are forced into sexual servitude. A young African male saves every penny to come to England and a new start, only to be forced into a terrible life of sexual debauchery!

Kate is just getting over the loss of her life partner on an outbound London train. She is mentally frail and her supervisor decides to pull her into the investigation despite being under a doctors’ care. The team, including the forensic officers and other investigators, are trying to find out who murdered a prominent citizen. The trail seems to indicate someone very high up in the police department.

CE WilliamsAs a reader I became aggravated that the lead investigator is being pulled so many different ways. However, the investigation took a very short period of time compared to what is seen in most crime movies. Can Kate keep her team together and bring the perpetrator to justice? A number of red herrings leads to dead ends with police supervisors clamoring for results. I had to finish this book. CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Print Length: 426 pages
Publication Date: February 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: An Eye for an Eye [Amazon]
Also find the book at this location:
Barnes and Noble
 

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Carol Wyer-authorThe Author: USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer‘s crime novels have sold over 800,000 copies and been translated into nine languages.

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in Little Girl Lost and proved that Carol had found her true niche.

February 2021 saw the release of the first in the much-anticipated new series, featuring DI Kate Young. An Eye For An Eye was chosen as a Kindle First Reads and became the #1 bestselling book on Amazon UK and Amazon Australia. The second book, A Cut For A Cut, will be released on June 24th.

Carol has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post. She’s also been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr. Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy.

When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

To learn more, go to http://www.carolwyer.co.uk, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter: @carolewyer

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Long Range (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 20) by C J Box – An #Audiobook Review – #crimefiction

Editors' pickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Long Range by CJ Box

Book Blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder – a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance – in the riveting new novel from number one New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers – and the shooter.

The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski – just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child – falls under suspicion for the crime. It’s a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate’s name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe. 

My Review:

The twentieth episode in the Joe Pickett (game warden) series, Long Range hooks immediately with the setting of the technical, sophisticated, and very expensive gear that successfully picks off a target a military sniper would be proud of. The shot pulls Picket from his participation in the search for the survivor of a grizzly attack in his district.

Long Range by CJ BoxMy second Joe Pickett (I also listened to The Wolf Pack). I was drawn to vivid descriptions of the people and the area of Wyoming along with the main characters. This installment understandably adds more characters, while subtly reminding us of the well developed protagonist and support characters from previous installments and will work fine as a standalone.

The long range shot hits the wife of the person who was considered the target, a judge. The search is on for the shooter and gets too close when Joe’s best friend, Nate, falls under scrutiny by the local sheriff. Nate is a well-known falconer and just recently became a new daddy. He is a strongly independent and uniquely forceful character. Descriptions of the training and abilities of his birds build a pulse-pounding visual.

The plot inserts layers of well-paced, complex hypotheses, builds tension, and twists. Many of the support characters are well developed sufficient either to engage and empathize or decry. You can’t stay neutral and uninterested. The narrative absorbs the reader’s attention, entertains, and posits thoughtful consideration.

The conclusion was a bit hurried, explanations, and resolution, but not wholly. There were a couple quibbles—the grizzly thread, was that actually answered? (Perhaps legally, but I never got a satisfactory reason for the bears’ action.) And the Nate thing, hmmm…just too pat. While I enjoyed the novel (the storyline never dragged), it seemed to fall back on an overused trope and I’ve tired of that one. Also, a little disappointed in the narrator’s delivery this time. I don’t remember that the previous one sounded quite that monotone. 

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B07ZJTW2XX
Listening Length: 10 hrs 35 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Long Range [Amazon]

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C J Box - authorThe Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-two 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, the Barry Award (twice), the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western. The novels have been translated into 27 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven, Nowhere To Run, and The Highway have been optioned for film and television. Millions of copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. 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 and is currently serving on the Wyoming Tourism Board. He lives in Wyoming

The Narrator: David Chandler was born on February 3, 1950 in Danbury, Connecticut, USA as David Suehsdorf. He is an actor and writer, known for Hide and Seek (2005), Law & Order (1990) and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987). He is married to Janet Elizabeth Muir. They have two children.

©2021 V Williams

Dog Days by Ericka Waller – A #BookReview – Friendship Fiction

Book Blurb:

Dog Days by Ericka WallerGeorge is a grumpy, belligerent old man who has just lost his wife. She has left him notes around the home and a miniature dachshund puppy called Poppy. But George doesn’t want a dog, he wants to fight everyone who is trying to help him.

Dan has OCD but has channeled his energy into his career as a therapist. Afraid to acknowledge his true feelings, his most meaningful relationship so far is with his dog Fitz. That is, until Atticus walks into his life.

Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from the world. She distrusts dogs, but when she starts having to walk the refuge’s dog, Maud, things begin to change.

As three strangers’ lives unravel and intersect, they ultimately must accept what fate has in store for them with their dogs by their sides. Set against the backdrop of Brighton, Dog Days is an inspiring, unflinching, and deeply moving novel about life, and the way dogs can help us understand it, and each other, a little better.

His Review:

Three very different lives in a book of fragility and loss. George has lost his dear wife Ellen and has great difficulty extracting himself from his living room chair. Despair takes many faces and lonely despair is but one. George has never been a people person and his departed wife is the antithesis of his life.

Dog Days by Ericka WallerLizzie has escaped a brutal marriage. Running off with her son and living in a shelter for battered women is her refuge. She has a brilliant mind hiding behind secrets that she holds close to her chest. Her husband, Greg, has been abusive and she wants to hide that fact from herself and the world.

Dan is a practicing psychologist trying to help those who have lost their way. Atticus comes into his office and begins treatment. Dan remains professional although he is attracted to the handsome Atticus. His problem with Atticus is that he cannot get him to open up. Without a patient disclosing problems to be sorted, the psychologist is failing in his endeavor.

Three very different scenarios in one book. The lives of the characters do not intersect although they live in the same area. Lizzie is sympathetic, George is despicable, and Dan is pathetic. This author has taken these people and made a case for the trials and difficulties we all face in life. Her writing is entertaining and engaging.

How can anyone put up with a cantankerous old fuddy-duddy, George. Particularly, since he is a man who is only interested in himself and what life can give him. Betty, at the request of his first wife, tries to engage and help him. He is abusive and why she would put up with him makes for a very interesting narrative. She cleaned and cooked and fed him while being continually mentally abused.

CE WilliamsThe overall impression this book leaves is that opposites attract and sometimes we will put up with anything to be with the ones who attract us. Life has a way of equalizing our desires. Pain at times seems to be a cure for boredom. Ericka puts this into the each of the characters as well as the dogs in each characters care. Her endings are definitely worth reading and I felt the book made some pointed observations about how each individual handles the life and love they are given and the losses they incur. I highly recommend it. Currently on pre-order. 4 stars – CE Williams

Thank you to Alexis Neuville at St. Martin’s Press for my review copy. These are my honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: Family Fiction, Animal Fiction
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

  • ASIN : B08FZ7FZYD

Print Length: 368 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Dog Days [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Ericka Waller - authorThe Author: Ericka Waller is 39 and lives in Brighton with three daughters, too many pets and a husband.

She is an award winning blogger and columnist.

When not writing she can be found walking her dogs, reading in the bath or buying stuff off eBay.
©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

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

Happy #bookrelease Day!

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

His Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

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

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

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

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

His Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B08F2XLBCZ

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

Also find the book at these locations:
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Kobo

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

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Philosophical thoughts:

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

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

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B08PDVXL26

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

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

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

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

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

©2021 V Williams

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

Yahoo! Book one of a new series!

#audiobook - Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

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

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

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

©2021 V Williams

Snow on the Range: A Red Hart Ranch Christmas Novel: a Montana Cowboy Holiday Romance by Sofia Aves – a #BookReview – #holidayfiction

Why aren’t these novels rated X if they contain explicit sex scenes?

 Book Blurb:

Snow on the Range by Sofia AvesEvery Christmas, Red Hart Ranch opens their doors, and Montana provides the perfect backdrop for good company and better food. But this year, the table won’t be as full.

Eve Beaumont is a twin heir to Red Hart Ranch. She loves the land, loves the people, and will do anything for them. Christmas sees most of the ranch hands return to their own homes to celebrate. Only a few long term cowboys remain with the family.

When Eve and her brother Trav go into town to collect supplies, they each bring home a drifter for Christmas. Rhys Archer and Simon Haldon are as different as two cowpokes can be. One rough edged who can work the land and animals with a firm hand; the other a smooth talker with a devilish charm. Eve finds both men attractive against her better judgement, but when tragedy hits the ranch, romance is the last thing on her mind.

Vandalisms happen around the ranch, and Eve isn’t sure who she can trust. She knows neither man is who he pretends to be — but when no one listens to her, she has to prove her suspicions on her own.

My Review:

Still wish there was some kind of content rating for books as there are for movies. I may be among the minority when I say this book was WAY over my censor level for sexual content. I’m not a fan of strong adult or language content and whatever possessed me to download a book in a romance genre is beyond me.

Snow on the Range by Sofia AvesThe blurb tells you there is a plot—but no mystery here—it can’t be more obvious. The main character, Eve, is twenty-five and horny. It’s nearing Christmas and one of the two drifters (not Montana cowboys) they’ve taken in for the holidays is yanking her chain. The other would like to. Ugh.

There are so many contradictions, omissions, edit misses and plot holes, I was constantly trying to “fix” as I went along. Eve is one of a fraternal twin, immature, obnoxious, and did I mention horny? They have a deer ranch—and bison. Huh? And wait—hoping for a white Christmas? The white can happen prior to Halloween up there.

Some of the descriptions of the area pull you in, then throw you right back out with another inconsistency. (“He picked leaves out of my hair.” Yeah, leaves. In December. In Montana.) It’s a tell not show and dialogue is weak. Eve is petulant, scattered, and clumsy. Most characters are one-dimensional, the ranch hands thrown in for elusive background.

The conclusion makes as little sense as most of the rest of the narrative, (it appears to be a vehicle for the graphic sex scene). The whole thing would have benefited from several more editors.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. I won’t be reading another.

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Book Details:

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Western Romance
Publisher: Little Quail Press

  • ASIN : B08CVFJZ4Q

Print Length: 212 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Snow on the Range [Amazon]

Sofia Aves - authorThe Author: Sofia is a romantic suspense author from Brisbane, Australia. She started writing romance when she couldn’t find the books she wanted on the shelves in her local bookstore and became addicted to story telling. She exists on a diet of coffee and champagne and routinely kills her collection of orchids. sofiaaves.com

©2021 V Williams

Mainely Fear (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 2) by Matt Cost – A #BookReview – Private Investigator Mysteries

Book Blurb:

“I want you to find out who is responsible for ruining his life and I want them to pay for it.”
Mainely Fear by Matt CostThis is the desire of Latricia Jones as she hires Goff Langdon to investigate her son’s arrest for burglary, vandalism, and possibly hate crimes.
Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To complement his income in Brunswick’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.
He was on the fast track to success. And then something happened.
Jamal Jones is an eighteen-year-old rising star attending a post-grad prep school in central Maine to bring his grades up so he can play college basketball at the D1 level. Then he is arrested for crimes that his mother knows he committed, but not why. She’s sure someone has put him up to it, the behavior so unlike him as to be unthinkable, especially since Jamal was on the verge of beginning a better life. Latricia wants Langdon to track down those responsible for her son’s sudden turn from grace, and she wants them to pay.

His Review:

Can a frantic mother get justice and help for her son? A promising basketball career hangs in the balance. But the wisdom of the streets is: keep you mouth shut! Goff Langdon is engaged to “see what you can do for my son.” Always easier when the person you are trying to help actually wants the help.

Mainely Fear by Matt CostCentered in the middle of a Maine ice-storm, Jamal and two of his fellow students are captured with a van full of loot from burgled and vandalized houses. At six feet seven inches his mother can no longer put her son over her knee. This single mother has been working two jobs to keep him in a good prep school and a roof over their heads.

Latricia Jones is at her wits end. All that she had dreamed of, hoped for and worked for was going up in smoke. Can Goff Langdon help her? Why are the burglars being so destructive? Langdon with his group of crony detectives sets out to solve these questions.

Coffee dog is a comic relief character who is everywhere in the story. He will beg or steal from anyone not paying attention. He is also very friendly and engages everyone with a sawmill tail and doleful eyes. The rest of Langdon’s cadre are a very eclectic group of characters. A subplot takes a tragic turn.

Home is not a happy place for Langdon and his wife nor his right-hand person Chabal and her husband. The Langdon family has a young daughter who is the apple of everyone’s eye. This makes for a very difficult decision looming on the horizon.

This story is gripping, has a number of many interesting turns and is a pleasure to read.  I found the book engaging and entertaining. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams (Author request)

Book 3, Mainely Money, is set to release March 2021. Book 1, Mainely Power was reviewed in October of 2020. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications
ISBN : 1645990966

ASIN : B08KY6KJG2

Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: December 4, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Mainely Fear [Amazon]
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Matt Cost - author

 

 

The Author: Matt Cost–I write. That’s what I do.

 

 

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Shucked Apart (A Maine Clambake Mystery Book 9) by Barbara Ross – a #BookReview – #cozyculinary mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Shucked Apart by Barbara RossThe Snowden Family Clambake Company has a beloved reputation in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Almost as famous is the sleuthing ability of proprietor Julia Snowden, which is why an oyster farmer seeks her out when she’s in trouble.

When Andie Greatorex is robbed of two buckets of oyster seed worth $35,000, she wonders if somebody’s trying to mussel her out of business. Could it be a rival oyster farmer, a steamed former employee, or a snooty summer resident who objects to her unsightly oyster cages floating on the beautiful Damariscotta River? There’s also a lobsterman who’s worried the farm’s expanding lease will encroach on his territory and Andie’s ex-partner, who may come to regret their split. Before Julia can make much headway in the investigation, Andie turns up dead, stabbed by a shucking knife. Now it’s up to Julia to set a trap for a cold and clammy killer . . .

My Review:

If I can’t be on the left coast for some sumptuous fresh and sweet crab and clams, I’ll tap into the latest novel in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross and join her on the right coast for some of their world-renown seafood—including oysters and lobsters. YUM! The subject of Book 9. Maybe you aren’t currently an oyster fan, but by the end of this cozy culinary, you’ll be searching for the fastest route to the Damariscotta River and Busman’s Harbor, Maine.

Shucked Apart by Barbara RossThe Snowden Family Clambake Company is gearing up for opening season, and Julie is responsible for finding appropriate seasonal staff when her boyfriend Chris asks her help for a poker buddy who was recently assaulted and her pails of oyster spat (baby oysters) stolen. Yes, it was reported to the police, but they are taking it as an assault and robbery and Andie knows it’s much more than that. First, Julia is a little put off that Chris has not been forthcoming regarding his “poker buddies” but on speaking with Andie, however, she sees a serious oyster farmer who has made for herself a respectable name and reputation as producing quality product.

Whether or not you’re interested in the farming of oysters, this is fascinating stuff and amazing how Ms. Ross weaves in information in Julia’s investigation to pique your interest not only in aquaculture but the history of the area and it’s evolution. And then there is the death of Andie (no accident there). Andie’s expansion plans may have spurred some backlash and there is some competition between the oyster and lobster farmers.

The author describes the area so beautifully, the fishermen so completely, the sights, sounds, and fragrant air plunks you into the middle of her scene. The well-developed characters make you wish you could sit at their table, reliving those fish stories or the best way to care for the upwellers.

In the meantime, the mystery is progressing through red herrings (chuckle) and twists, some too obvious not to be dismissed. Easy to have your own suspicions and the well-plotted and paced narrative progresses without repeated rehashing of salient suspicions.

I’ve had the opportunity of receiving two others in this series, Sealed Off and Stowed Away, both of which I enjoyed, and really these can be read as a standalone, but now I’m off to see if I can find an audiobook. These are atmospheric, engaging, and entertaining and I never come away without learning something.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest opinions. Releasing in February, this one is on pre-order now at your favorite retailer.

Rosepoint Recommended

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Craft & Hobby Mysteries, Cozy Culinary Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B089N3KK89

Print Length: 189 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

©2021 V Williams

Cover Reveal for A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing #coverreveal #cozymystery


A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
by Amy Pershing

COMING FEBRUARY 23, 2021

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A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593199146
ISBN-13: 978-0593199145
Digital ASIN: B087PL9HHF

Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is known for seafood, sand, surf, and, now…murder.

Samantha Barnes was always a foodie. And when the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) came calling, she happily traded in Cape Cod for the Big Apple. But then the rising young chef’s clash with another chef (her ex!) boils over and goes viral. So when Sam inherits a house on the Cape and lands a job writing restaurant reviews, it seems like the perfect pairing. What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

The dilapidated house comes with an enormous puppy. Her new boss is, well, bossy. And the town’s harbormaster is none other than her first love. Nonetheless, Sam’s looking forward to reviewing the Bayview Grill—and indeed the seafood chowder is divine. But the body in the pond outside the eatery was not on the menu. Sam is certain this is murder. But as she begins to stir the pot, is she creating a recipe for her own untimely demise?

Pre-order Your Copy Today! 

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

About Amy Pershing 

Amy Pershing is a lifelong mystery lover and wordsmith. She was an editor, a restaurant reviewer, and a journalist before leading employee communications at a global bank. A few years ago (with the final college tuition bill paid), she waved goodbye to Wall Street to write full time (and spend more time sailing on the Cape!). A Side of Murder, the first of the Cape Cod Foodie mysteries, is her debut novel.

 

A SIDE OF MURDER COVER REVEAL PARTICIPANTS

January 18, 2021

Reading Is My SuperPower

Author Elena Taylor’s Blog

The Ninja Librarian

Maureen’s Musings

Moonlight Rendezvous

Christy’s Cozy Corners

Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic

My Reading Journeys

Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews

Socrates Book Reviews

FUONLYKNEW

Celticlady’s Reviews

I Read What You Write

Rosepoint Publishing

Cozy Up WIth Kathy

Brooke Blogs

The Book’s the Thing

Melina’s Book Blog

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

2021 V Williams

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite – A #BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Book Blurb:

MISSING – Have you seen this girl? Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins was last seen on 24 June, 1994, when she left her parents’ anniversary party early and ran into the stormy night wearing her twin sister Stella’s long red coat. She was never seen again.

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara CopperthwaiteI wrap my arms around the tree trunk, pressing my cheek against it until the bark digs in and the missing poster is finally secured. I try not to look at the photograph on it. At the features so similar to mine. Perhaps this will be the year someone comes forward.

Were crucial mistakes made by detectives from the very beginning?

Could the pressure of living two lives have led my sister to run away – or even end it?

Or did someone in her tight circle of friends and family have reason to want her gone?

Someone out there must know something.

But the last thing I ever expect is a direct response from the person who took Leila. Wracked with guilt and completely alone in the world without the other half of me, I have no choice but to agree to his strange request: private, intimate details of my life in return for answers.

As the final moments of my sister’s life play out before me, I feel closer to her than I ever dreamed I’d be again. So close, it could almost be happening to me. But when I finally realise who is behind this terrifying tragedy, will I make it out alive?

From the bestselling author of The Perfect Friend, this absolutely gripping psychological thriller will keep you up all night and leave you sleeping with the light on. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you!

His Review:

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara CopperthwaiteHer identical twin sister is missing! The police have investigated for twenty-five years and are no closer to solving the crime than when it first occurred. The younger twin (8 minutes) continues to search for answers. Can the often-touted genetic connection between identical twins help solve the case?

Barbara Copperthwaite weaves a very interesting intrigue involving a young dog whisperer and her male suitors. The ardent attention of the television production companies’ owner as well as her past romances keeps this novel fresh. Suspicion of the various suitors kept me projecting and guessing. Great tactic Ms. Copperthwaite! The ending was certainly not expected although in retrospect it made perfect sense.

I suggest this thriller to everyone who enjoys noir mysteries. The suspense grows at a quick pace only to be exposed as not possible near the end of the chapter. The ending of the book wraps the suspense in a very logical bow. 4 stars – CE Williams

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

(Editor’s Note: I previously read two of the author’s works: The Perfect Friend and Her Last Secret. Her novels dip into deep psychological noir, validating the “psychological thriller” definition. They are gripping, immersive, and thoroughly engaging.)

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Crime Fiction, Women’s Psychological Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

Print Length: 360 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Girl in the Missing Poster [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
 

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Barbara Copperthwaite - authorThe Author: Barbara [Copperthwaite] is the Amazon, Kobo and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, HER LAST SECRET and THE PERFECT FRIEND. Her new book THE GIRL IN THE MISSING POSTER is out on February 23, 2021 – but is available for preorder now!

Her writing career started in journalism, writing for national newspapers and magazines. During a career spanning over twenty years Barbara interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.

Her first book, Invisible, was ‘totally gripping, and scarily believable’ according to Bella magazine. Its success was followed by Flowers For The Dead, which was the Sunday Mirror’s Choice Read, beating Lee Child’s latest offering. ‘Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,’ their review read.

The Darkest Lies came next, published by Bookouture, and became a USA Today bestseller. The follow-up, Her Last Secret, hit the Number 1 spot on Kobo. The Perfect Friend is a No 1 Kobo and Amazon best seller.

When not writing feverishly at her home in Birmingham, Barbara is often found walking her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy, or hiding behind a camera to take wildlife photographs.

To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to:
Website: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.com
Blog: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BCopperthwait
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/barbaracopperthwaite

2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Audiobook Reviews by Bestselling Authors #jdrobb #davidrosenfelt

Audiobooks by bestselling authors

Gotta temper the heavy with the light audiobooks and last week I enjoyed both. Here is a quick summary of Outfoxed released in 2016 by David Rosenfelt and Golden in Death released last February (2020) by JD Robb.

Book Blurb: Golden in Death An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 50) by JD Robb – In the latest thriller in the number-one New York Times best-selling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas investigates a murder with a mysterious motive – and a terrifying weapon.

Pediatrician Kent Abner received the package on a beautiful April morning. Inside was a cheap trinket, a golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body – and killed him.

After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team – and undergoes testing to reassure both her and her husband that she hasn’t been exposed – it’s time to look into Dr. Abner’s past and relationships. Not every victim Eve encounters is an angel, but it seems that Abner came pretty close – though he did ruffle some feathers over the years by taking stands for the weak and defenseless.

While the lab tries to identify the deadly toxin, Eve hunts for the sender. But when someone else dies in the same grisly manner, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with either a madman – or someone who has a hidden and elusive connection to both victims.

My Review:

My first experience with this series and it was an eye-opener. I was astounded to realize this is Book 50. ACK! Fifty of these? Starting in 1995? And this is supposed to take place in 2061? Really! Somehow, I totally missed that.

Golden in Death by JD RobbI love getting into a unique premise and, for me, it was unique and well-plotted and I kept either my earbud or the wifi speaker handy. I can’t speak, obviously, to Eve’s evolving dynamics—her relationship with slobber-worthy Roarke.

You may remember I read Hideaway by Nora Roberts (I’m not sure which is the alter-ego) and found it a little syrupy. This series (and J.D.) alternates between offering slightly lighter scenes of banter or situation to downright serious and deadly scenes punctuated with profanity. While the other, of course, is a romance novel, this one would be classified as a near future police procedural. (Damn—I really never got that they’d progressed much further than they are today.)

The body count begins to escalate while the interviews become more intensive lending a stark tension to the narrative. Eve and her partner Detective Delia Peabody pursue leads, hit a brick wall, go around it, and find another lead. There are twists. It’s complex, compelling, and entertaining. Narration kept interest. The conclusion satisfying.

Recording Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Police Procedural
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07QQZW5JL
Listening Length: 13 hrs 50 mins
Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Publication Date: Feb 4, 2020
Source: Local Library
Title Link: Golden in Death [Amazon]
 

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J D Robb - authorThe Author: J.D. ROBB is the pseudonym for #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. She is the author of over 200 novels, including the futuristic suspense In Death series. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

♥ ♥♥♥♥

 

Book Blurb: Outfoxed by David RosenfeltDefense lawyer Andy Carpenter spends as much time as he can working on his true passion – the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs. Lately Andy has been especially involved in a county prison program where inmates help train dogs the Tara Foundation has rescued to make them more adoptable, benefiting both the dogs and the prisoners.

One of the prisoners Andy has been working with is Brian Atkins, who has 18 months left on a five-year term for fraud. Brian has been helping to train Boomer, an adorable fox terrier the Tara Foundation rescued from a neglectful owner. Brian and Boomer are clearly a terrific match. In fact Andy hopes that Brian will adopt Boomer himself, once his sentence is up.

But one day Andy arrives at the prison to discover that Brian has used Boomer to make an ingenious escape, and man and dog are both in the wind. The next day the man on whose testimony Brian was convicted is found murdered. Brian is caught and arrested for the crime, though he forcefully asserts his innocence.

Suddenly Andy finds himself with a new client in Brian and a new dog in Boomer. And as he starts to dig deeper into the murder and the events leading up to it, Andy realizes he might be putting them all in far more danger than anyone had realized.

My Review:

Outfoxed by David RosenfeltNo, I don’t wish to hammer you over the head with books by David Rosenfelt. Really, my major go-to by him is the Andy Carpenter book series.

I have read a number of his other books, but for fun, fast, and fascinating legal two-step courtroom drama, I return to the Andy Carpenter series. They are clean and comfortable with a cast of support characters that seldom vary with the exception of the reason for the current mystery.

Andy is a well to do attorney (not all of it money from his cases), his wife Laurie, son Ricky, Willie, Marcus, and Hike. Each a force of their own. It’s a familiar and winning formula. Andy doesn’t want the case but feels the guy (or gal) is innocent.

Proceed with investigation,

Enter chuckle-producing snarky dialogue,

Continue with investigation,

Get dangerously close to be taken out (enter bad guys),

Continue with LOL moments, snarky dialogue, tongue-in-cheek observations,

Continue to courtroom drama, wring hands over witnesses, documents,

Add sarcastic quips,

Win case, go celebrate. Andy pays.

Did I leave something out? Yes, usually the beginning sets the stage for the plot which always sets a hook, grabs your interest and promises to be highly entertaining. And, of yes, he begins with those same self-deprecating remarks and cheerful scenes to the setting, players, and his two dogs, Tara and Sebastian. It’s not a K-9 series per se—it’s a legal thriller mystery series with a snarky attorney who loves dogs enough to set up a rescue with Willie (see above). The narrator, Grover Gardner, btw, is absolutely perfect. Nails it!

And I never fail to enjoy each and every one, a few of which are listed here: Silent Bite, Muzzled, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Rescued.

Recording Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Traditional Detective Mysteries
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B01H5U6F5Q
Listening Length: 7 hrs 18 mins
Narrator:  Grover Gardner
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Source: Local Library
Title Link: Outfoxed [Amazon]

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David Rosenfelt - authorThe Author: David Rosenfelt, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, is a graduate of NYU. He was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. “Open And Shut” was his first novel; “First Degree,” his second novel, was named a best book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and 35 dogs.

Are you a JD Robb fan? Rosenfelt fan? (I prefer the JD Robb books to the Nora Roberts books—not a romance fan.)

©2021 V Williams

Silent Voices (Detective Lottie Parker Book 9) by Patricia Gibney – a #BookReview – #policeprocedurals

Book Blurb:

The words blurred as she read the note from the killer. She could feel her blood turning to ice. Shivers ran up and down her spine. ‘Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, meet me. If you don’t, her blood will be on your hands. She is with me. You know where to find us’.

Silent Voices by Patricia GibneyWhen twenty-five-year-old Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party…

Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue.

While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die?

Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

My Review:

Book 9 finds DI Lottie Parker looking forward to her marriage to DS Mark Boyd in less than a week about the same time as she becomes embroiled in the murder of Rachel Mullen—the victim of rat poison. Rachel had attended a glittering private party in which she’d hoped to network.

Silent Voices by Patricia GibneyIt’s not long after the first that another is murdered with the same horrifying MO. But before the dust really settles, a third victim is found. The investigation launches into extended interviews and an ever-widening pool of possibles. In the meantime, she runs the gamut of both ends of the spectrum of the human experience from the very entitled wealthy to kids living in tenements trying to fend for themselves and whose mother is—somewhere.

The Flemings figure prominently, from the two venomous sisters and their mother who have parted from the mother’s soon to be ex, to Mattie and Ellen found to have a possible link with the murdered women.

The author casts a wide net and varies her chapter focus on the various support characters, alternately developing the young girl as a sympathetic child caught in a miserable home situation to disagreeable Annie Fleming the entitled mother whose only focus is the empire she is busy trying to build. Background has Lottie alternately trying to coordinate with her daughter the wedding plans scheduled for Saturday and apparently nothing from weather to her current cases will cooperate.

Well, okay, once again I’ve jumped in up to my hips of a well established series, this being Book 9 and my first experience with either the series or the author. My initial impression was that it seemed to belabor a few of the characters while continuing to introduce more, muddying the water more than once. I found it to be well-plotted but the premise was pushing the line and I wondered how it was all to be gathered in one net.

Two quibbles—first the conclusion and the detailed discussion how it all laid out. Was the perp suspected? Yes, but too obvious and dismissed. It became so complex as to press into disbelief. Granted—they were damaged…but. Oh, and the use of “they” when it meant an individual. I kept wondering if it were really the two? Currently on pre-order.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08KT53KGV

Print Length: 460 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 5, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Patricia Gibney - authorThe Author: Patricia [Gibney] lives in the midlands of Ireland. She is an avid crime reader so naturally she found herself writing in the crime genre. A life changing experience in 2009, with the death of her 49 year old husband, meant she had to give up her career, and over the following few years, she rekindled her love of art and writing.

Initially Patricia wrote and illustrated a children’s book, but her real ambition was to write a novel. And she did!

In January 2016, she joined with Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau Literary Agency. In July 2016, Patricia signed with Bookouture for four DI Lottie Parker crime novels.

The Missing Ones (Book 1) published in March 2017 and to date has reached a high of number 2 in Amazon UK Kindle charts and number 6 in the US. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories. It is a bestseller in UK, US, Canada and Australia.

Book 2 in the series, The Stolen Girls, published on July 6th, 2017.
Book 3 in the series, The Lost Child, publishes on October 27th 2017.

©2021 V Williams

Unnatural (Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1) by Deven Greene – A #BookReview – #medicalthriller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Unnatural by Deven GreeneDr. Erica Rosen is perplexed when she sees a young Chinese girl with blue eyes in her San Francisco pediatrics clinic. The girl’s mother, Ting, is secretive, and Erica suspects she has entered the country illegally. Later, Erica encounters Ting’s son and discovers he has an unusual mutation. Erica learns that Ting’s children underwent embryonic stem cell gene editing as part of a secret Chinese government-run program.

The Chinese government wants to murder Ting’s son to prevent others from learning about his unusual mutation and the secret gene-editing program. At Ting’s urging, Erica heads to China to expose the program and rescue the infant Ting was forced to leave behind, all while attempting to evade the watchful eye of the Chinese government. 

His Review:

Could world sports dominance be an offshoot of gene manipulation? Deven Greene explores the concept in this spell-binding tale of international intrigue and romance! This book sweeps you away into a world of excessive national pride and the attempt at world domination in the sports’ world. Adolph Hitlers’ attempts at creating world class athletes to dominate the Olympics were tame compared to this tale.

Unnatural by Deven GreeneTing, a diminutive Asian female and her son/daughter Wing Shu are in the room for a physical exam for kindergarten. Dr. Erica Rosen is struck by the impossible; this Chinese child has blue eyes! This is genetically impossible! A lack of any health history or history of vaccinations begins a very engaging tale of genetics, gene manipulation and seemingly science fictional intrigue. Read the first chapter and you are hooked by this book.

Deven has simplified some of the scientific jargon to make it understandable for someone who has not had genetics classes. Gene splicing and correction of DNA (Desoxyribonucleic Acid) family traits that cause diseases or maladies in later life are replaced with gene sequences that do not have these traits! Imagine the way a child would look with more muscle mass, stronger bones, perfect complexion and optimum height and weight. Add a body extremely adept at utilizing oxygen and nutrients. The ability to run long distances without fatigue! The possibilities are endless and mind-blowing!

China is a country with a large system of facial recognition cameras in most major cities and a cadre of police and governmental officials tasked with controlling the population and eliminating dissidents. With technology utilized throughout the country to control the population and their opportunities for advancement, how can a foreigner get into the country and explore the newest technology. A very difficult task indeed for a non-native visitor.

Dr. Rosen undertakes the task of visiting China to find a missing child and unravel the ongoing research into gene technology. Once in country she learns quickly that you cannot trust anyone. People loyal to the communist regime will go to any lengths to protect the technology and states’ secrets. Can a lost child be rescued and the state secrets be unraveled? This read demands time set aside as the action is fast paced, well plotted and very engaging. 5 Stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense Thrillers, Genetic Engineering Science Fiction eBooks

  • ISBN-10 : 1684336082
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1684336081
  • ASIN : B08Q35H24G

Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Print Length: 292 pages
Publication Date: January 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Unnatural [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble

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The Author: Fiction writer Deven Greene lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ever since childhood, the author has been interested in science. After working as a biochemist, Deven went back to school and became a pathologist. When writing fiction, the author usually incorporates elements of medicine or science. Deven has penned several short stories. Unnatural, Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1 is the first novel the author has published. The two sequels are in the works.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

TV Netflix Series When Calls the Heart vs Audiobook (Women of the West series Book 11) by Janette Oke #historicalfiction

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook

The reason you should never say never is because you’ll invariably end up doing it.

You can usually tell (sight unseen) a Hallmark production by the music and the fairytale romance following. I’m not the Hallmark watcher in this family—it’s the CE—and Netflix knows his Hallmark proclivity from the stats that apparently note his selections pretty closely. But this one caught my attention, too, and we’ve been binge-watching again. When I saw that it was originally a Canadian author’s western historical series, I had to go looking for it at my local library to see what they had. They had one audiobook (!!) as well as a number of ebooks and you know I will choose the audiobook. What I discovered was a TV Netflix series loosely based on a bestselling series originally written by author Janette Oke as western religious fiction. 

Netflix Series

Season 2-When Calls the HeartWhen Calls the Heart is a Canadian-American television drama series, one of many we’ve watched and enjoyed lately. It was inspired by Janette Oke’s book from her Canadian West series. Developed by Michael Landon Jr, the series began on the Hallmark Channel in the US on January 11, 2014.

Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) is a young teacher from a wealthy family anxious to follow the calling of her heart to teach. She finds herself in a classroom in Coal Valley, a coal-mining town in Western Canada.

The life is tough enough without the mine-disaster that kills Abigail Stanton’s (Lori Loughlin) husband and her only son, along with 45 other miners in an explosion. Trying to get on with their lives, they rename the town Hope Valley. (As most know, Loughlin was involved in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal and sentenced to two months, her husband five. She was removed from the series in Season 6.)

Universally appealing, gorgeous costumes, themes of loss, love, and growth, redemption. Was supposed to be filmed in Colorado but moved instead to Vancouver, BC. The program creator, Michael Landon Jr does a superior job with his storytelling, pushing engagement.

The series became available internationally on Netflix in August 2017 but will be removed January 24, 2021.

Audiobook-Original Print Series

A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette OkeA Gown of Spanish Lace: Women of the West, Book 11 (Abridged)
Ariana loves her life as a schoolteacher in a little frontier town. But one evening after classes are done and she prepares to hurry home, her life changes in an instant when a band of rough outlaws abduct her and take her far away from all she has ever known. Trapped in a small shack, Ariana prays and waits, her emotions swinging between terror and boredom as days stretch into weeks. Still, the outlaws refuse to tell her why they’ve taken her or what they plan to do.

Then the boss’ son appears in the doorway of her cabin. He seems different from the others, but can she trust him? Will she ever again see her mother and father, the couple who lovingly adopted her and raised her as their own? Will she ever wear the beautiful wedding dress so carefully saved for her – her one remaining link to her birth parents?

My Thoughts

First, I was unhappy the audiobook was an abridged version. Elizabeth is a schoolteacher in the northwestern territories and in a rather weak plot device to explain her kidnapping, is abducted and taken far away. She is treated as a hostage which gradually relaxes weeks later when the “boss’ son” suddenly takes over her care. In the backstory, it is explained she was adopted after her birth parents were killed in a wagon train raid. Her one remaining link to her birth mother—a wedding dress.

Okay, the son of outlaws—the one who “didn’t fit” (not a beautiful Canadian Monty, resplendent in his iconic uniform). Ariana is deeply religious, praying heavily first to live, then to see her adopted parents, home, and school again. She gradually appears to have feelings for Laramie as he tends to loosen the bonds.

Actually a pretty tame bunch of outlaws, almost caricatures (at least around Ariana—could have been MUCH worse) and having raised Laramie that he could be so different.

It could happen.

There was a heavily religious theme and that of Ariana gradually pulling Laramie into Christianity, amid themes of faith, trust, and forgiveness. Maybe because I had the abridged version, so much detail was missing. The plot line progressed at a nice pace (abridged…remember?), but there were elements of implausibility. Otherwise, very sweet, very clean. Not sure I could start back at Seasons of the Heart, Book 1 though.

Overall Impression

Mercy! At least this one isn’t the shocker that Virgin River turned out to be for me. If anything, it swung in the reverse, a squeaky clean version of western frontier life. But I must vote for the Hallmark version. I love the Mounties (and Jack—why did he have to leave?) Oh…and Elizabeth. Actually, I much prefer the characters in the Hallmark version. Elizabeth (Ariana) is a level-headed intelligent woman extolling moral lessons on her students (Christian principles from the Oke published series without being preachy).

There are two or three “bad” guys who gradually turn to the “good” side. The mining town cleans up to become a lumber (sawmill) town, and as always, there are the busy-body citizens—who can sometimes do good as well.

The storyline is engaging and entertaining, although I’ve noticed a slight change from possible realistic period costumes and hairstyles to dresses of décolleté and hair worn down in curls. (Difficult without a curling iron.) It is a time of change, the turn of the Century, and the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps also a time of some societal confusion, women just beginning to become a force of nature, as well as nurture.

The first seven seasons on Netflix will go bye-bye in January. Season 8 debuts in February on…yeah, the Hallmark Channel. We’ll wait until it hits Netflix.

Book Details

Genre: Western Religious Fiction, Religious Historical Fiction, Christian Westerns
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ASIN: B005E87WUY
Print Length: 260 pages
Listening Length: 3 hrs 13 mins (Abridged version)
Narrator: Aimee Lilly
Audible Release: April 15, 2016
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: A Gown of Spanish Lace [Amazon]

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Janette Oke - authorThe Author: Janette Oke (née Steeves) was born on February 18, 1935 to Fred and Amy Steeves in the family’s log house near Champion, Alberta. Janette Oke pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. She received the 1992 President’s Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, and has been awarded the coveted Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and nine grandchildren and make their home in Canada. Most lately she has collaborated on a series with her daughter Laurel Oke Logan. Bethany Fellowship Inc. (now Bethany House) has been Oke’s benefactor and says of Oke, “Oke’s pioneering influence on Christian historical fiction, and Christian fiction as a whole, has lifted her to near-legendary status.”

The Narrator: Aimee Lilly has narrated over 200 audiobooks in a wide variety of genres, most of them for Oasis Audio, including 100 books in the Boxcar Children series. An Earphones Award winner, she has also been nominated for an Audie Award, an Independent Audiobook Award, and a Voice Arts Award.

©2021 V Williams

Info sources: Wikipedia, Hallmark Channel

No Going Back (Sawyer Brooks Book 3) by T R Ragan – A #BookReview – Vigilante Justice Thriller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

 Book Blurb:

No Going Back by T R RaganThe biggest story of a crime reporter’s career could be her last as fury, vengeance, and justice collide in this breathtaking thriller by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Some call it murder. Others, karma. The female vigilantes dubbed The Black Wigs call it justice. The victims? Sexual predators who never paid for their sins. For three months, The Black Wigs byline has belonged to Sawyer Brooks, a crime reporter still struggling with her own demons. But for Sawyer, there’s suddenly more to the story than just catching the dark web avengers.

Copycat vigilantes are cornering the unchecked abusers of Sacramento and uploading the men’s abject fear to social media. The trending insanity isn’t making Sawyer’s job any easier. Neither is a new murder—another predator, but one who doesn’t fit so neatly into The Black Wigs’ agenda. Something even more sinister is at play.

As she follows every lead, someone with the answer is following her, determined to bring Sawyer to her knees. Because soon enough, for both Sawyer and a killer, the truth she’s been looking for will be a punishing revelation. 

His Review:

An orphanage with a troubled past and a history of raising unwanted children. Sounds boring unless you remember the bullies in your youth! If so, this book should fill a void in the revenge you wanted as a child. Too small to protect yourself, you were tied up, beaten, abused and there was no one to turn to! T. R. Ragan paints this backdrop with vivid colors and bitter memories.

No Going Back by T R RaganOccasionally girls and ladies will get together to seek revenge for the cruelties foisted on them as young girls. This is one of those tales. Warnings of avoiding fraternity parties and places where young girls are left alone is the backdrop of this saga. Does the end justify the previous crimes committed on these young women? I found myself lacking in sympathy for the perpetrators.

Rape and molestation are often adjudicated by the courts in favor of the rapists. “The girl was asking for it.” However, if the victim is a ten year-old girl and the thugs are teenagers, this is obviously not the case. Four guys lying about the circumstances and a good defense attorney and the crime is thrown out of court.

A group called the “Black Wigs” undertake to right these wrongs. Sawyer Brooks is a reporter for the Sacramento Independent that is an investigative reporter trying to find out who is doing these crimes. She and another reporter are trying to get to the bottom of the case. Bodies are found in old warehouses and other locations in the Sacramento, CA area and a bizarre series of crimes are set into motion.

This well-developed narrative is satisfying in its’ conclusion and tragic in the outcome. I was hoping the police department would solve the murders but had my fingers crossed that the women seeking justice would not get caught. Definitely a near dual personality read. Enjoy this tale and hurrah for the author!

Previously read were two in the Jessie Cole series and Book 2 in this series by the other half. She rated four and one-half stars and five. The link to those reviews indicated by bold below. A solid thriller author we both appreciate and recommend! Currently on pre-order. 5 Stars-CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Vigilante Justice Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 4, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: No Going Back [Amazon]
Also find the book at this location:
Barnes and Noble

Add to Goodreads 

T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over three million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram: @trraganauthor

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
Abducted
Dead Weight
A Dark Mind
Obsessed
Almost Dead
Evil Never Dies

FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
Furious
Outrage
Wrath

JESSIE COLE SERIES
Her Last Day
Deadly Recall
Deranged
Buried Deep

SAWYER BROOKS SERIES
Don’t Make a Sound – 6/20
Out of Her Mind – 11/20

©CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

Welcome 2021 and Happy New Year to You All! My December Reviews Recap

I am thrilled you are here to celebrate the beginning of a new year and hoping we’ll all see a healthier, virus free-2021.

Good grief but it was a highly unusual year and another fast one (trust me, they do get faster as you get older). I did manage, however, fifteen reviews. If you missed my full review, the links are listed below the pictures.

My book reviews for December:

December Reviews-DecemberThe Giver of Stars

What a Dog Knows

Open for Murder

Hadley and Grace

Fatal Divisions

Fortune and Glory

Runaway Justice

The Highwayman

The Burning Girls

The Keepers

A Tip for the Hangman

The Law of Innocence

A Sugar Plum Christmas

Lie If You Can

Blue Moon

Most of the December reviews were from NetGalley, several audiobooks, and one direct author request. I continue to grab favorites from series—as well as the occasional sample of a standalone. We binge-watched the Netflix series of books written by the author from which the TV series spawned. One of those, the books written by Robyn Carr, The Virgin River series, turned out to be a major shock and I wrote about my discovery, apparently well timed, as it spiked my views over 1,700 one day and almost 1,900 the next. Residual interest in the post has pushed my December views to just over 15.1k. And no one more surprised than I. Apparently the traffic caught the attention of the WordPress people as I now have bunches of little advertisements cropping up everywhere.

Book Review Bloggers

Book Promotion Directory-2021The new issue of the Book Promotion Directory – 2021 Edition – is available now on Amazon. I am included (on page 152) along with 180 amazing book bloggers and 40 book promotion companies in a comprehensive 8 ½ x 11 printed format as well as digital. Check it out at BookBuilders.design.

 

Challenges!

Have I learned my lesson yet? Oh yeah…I’ve dropped a couple and will still go with my favs: Audiobook, Goodreads, Historical Fiction, and NetGalley. I’ll add Reading Ireland as we push closer to March 2021. Several of last year’s hosts are handing off host duties. I’ve added the new graphics for 2021 for Audiobooks and I’ll be adding the 2021 graphics and links as they become available or I can get my act together with Mr. Linky. He and I weren’t on speaking terms for one of the challenges in 2020. Since I pretty much maxed out on Challenges, I’m staying with most challenge levels except for Audiobooks. (Love those.)

AudiobooksGoal achieved. Going for over 20—Binge Listener (The Caffeinated Review has a new co-host and is ready for you to select your goal level and sign up.)

GoodreadsGoal achieved and I’ll be staying with 170.

Historical FictionGoal achieved–staying with 10 books–Renaissance Reader

NetGalley  – Goal achieved—staying with 75. (Now hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews and we appreciate her taking the helm.) Select your goal level and sign up.

Most reading challenges run from Jan 1 – Dec 31. You can check out my progress by clicking on my Reading Challenges page. Note that I’ve ended up with a cross between the old Classic editor and the new Block editor. Page needs a complete redo—I’ll get to it—some time.

Hoping all my readers have a happy and healthy New Year! And, as always, thank you! I appreciate your follows and comments!

©2021 V Williams

Welcome 2021-Happy New Year

Blue Moon: Jack Reacher, Book 24 by Lee Child – An #Audiobook Review – Thriller & Suspense – #TBT

 

Blue Moon by Lee Child

 

Rosepoint Pub CrawlEditors' pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Number one New York Times best seller

Jack Reacher comes to the aid of an elderly couple…and confronts his most dangerous opponents yet.

“Jack Reacher is today’s James Bond, a thriller hero we can’t get enough of.” (Ken Follett)

“This is a random universe”, Reacher says. “Once in a blue moon things turn out just right.”

This isn’t one of those times.

Reacher is on a Greyhound bus, minding his own business, with no particular place to go and all the time in the world to get there. Then, he steps off the bus to help an old man who is obviously just a victim waiting to happen. But you know what they say about good deeds. Now, Reacher wants to make it right.

An elderly couple have made a few well-meaning mistakes, and now they owe big money to some very bad people. One brazen move leads to another, and suddenly Reacher finds himself a wanted man in the middle of a brutal turf war between rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.

Reacher has to stay one step ahead of the loan sharks, the thugs, and the assassins. He teams up with a fed-up waitress who knows a little more than she’s letting on, and sets out to take down the powerful and make the greedy pay. It’s a long shot. The odds are against him. But Reacher believes in a certain kind of justice…the kind that comes along once in a blue moon. 

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Evening Standard 

My Review:

Well, I’ve certainly been here before—swimming upstream. How is this an Editor’s Pick? My first encounter with Child and Jack Reacher.

Blue Moon by Lee ChildWhat I found was that the beginning of the narrative begins with a rather gratifying example of an ex-badass who noted something imminently obvious that he felt needed his intervention.

But then the plot goes totally off the rails. Absolutely no backstory, the old guy, and the reason for Reacher’s intervention, refused to tell him the whole story, which when revealed was, like, uh huh, heard that one before.

In the meantime, Reacher subjects an old couple and a waitress to outrageous danger with the heavy-handed threat of the Ukrainians and Albanians and any other “ians” he can pull out of the hat.

Suddenly, Reacher’s gone extreme quasi-military, vigilante, kill’em all. Didn’t like the answer? Kill’em. Take no prisoners. These are all nasty gang members anyway, huh?

I know little about Reacher and if I had any warm and fuzzies immediately it was just as quickly swept away. All this murder, mayhem, violence, and high body count—I’ve almost forgotten the original reason he wouldn’t just say buh-bye. No developed characters, a blurry undefined town—somewhere—slow pace…step over the body and proceed to the next. Destruction everywhere.

Wait—let’s go back. He was on a Greyhound bus and noted a possible mugging going to happen. Then he continued to pursue the old guy after his rescue. Ad nauseum. Violence for shock value. The plot is lost. The characters lost. The time listening lost.

I know there is a conclusion—I think it is after everyone died—but at some point, and particularly being an audiobook, I could just “turn off” (*click*) the narrative—skip over the ucky parts. I think somewhere in the past Reacher might have been a good guy, an admirable protagonist—that Reacher didn’t make it to Book 24.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery Action Fiction, Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Mystery Action and Adventure, Men’s Adventure, War & Military Action Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B07QYWMKVJ
ASIN : B07NCNVZ5P
Print Length: 377 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs 21 mins
Narrator: Scott Brick
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Blue Moon [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Two point Five of Five Stars Two and one-half Stars

Lee Child - authorThe Author: Lee Child is one of the world’s leading thriller writers. He was born in Coventry, raised in Birmingham, and now lives in New York. It is said one of his novels featuring his hero Jack Reacher is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds. His books consistently achieve the number-one slot on bestseller lists around the world and have sold over one hundred million copies. Two blockbusting Jack Reacher movies have been made so far. He is the recipient of many awards, most recently Author of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. He was appointed CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Narrator: In 1999, (Scott) Brick began narrating audiobooks and found himself a popular choice for top publishers and authors. After recording some 250 titles in five years, AudioFile magazine named Brick “one of the fastest-rising stars in the audiobook galaxy”, and proclaimed him a “Golden Voice”, a reputation solidified by a November 2004 article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Publishers Weekly then went on to honor Brick as Narrator of the Year in 2007 and 2011. To date, he has won over 50 Earphone Awards, two Audie Awards and a nomination for a Grammy Award.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Welcome 2021

Lie If You Can: A Mystery of the Mind Novel by Greg Peterson – A #BookReview – Neuroscience

Book Blurb:

Lie If You Can by Greg PetersonJulie Swanson is a single, hardworking professor, admired by her University of Minnesota students. She awakes in a hospital following a brutal beating and begins to experience strange déjà vu-like sensations. She seeks answers from renown neuroscientist Karl Undset who compares her unusual episodes to a well-established scientific condition known as dual processing. Her injury has resulted in a new ability to sense elevated autonomic indicators present in certain voice patterns, those that change under stress. She’s processing these indicators in the same way a polygraph detects elevated levels of blood pressure, skin conductivity, and heart rate. Julie, in effect, has become a lie detector. She and her brain surgeon become romantically involved and together they devise a plan to use her ‘sixth sense’ to find her attacker.

His Review:

Julie returns home from teaching her class at the university. Bending into her car she grabs for her purse and tennis racket. That is the last thing she can recall before waking in a hospital room. Doctor Art Tyler is asking how she feels. The answer is evident by the terrible bruising and abrasions on her head and face. She has no idea how it happened.

A good Samaritan neighbor called the ambulance which rushed Julie to the hospital. Without the call it would have become a murder investigation instead of a follow-up to a brutal mugging. Police get involved and are helpful but their case load is heavy and an assault is not highest on their priority list. As the investigation proceeds the case quickly is relegated to a back burner. The prospect for a satisfactory outcome looks dim.

Lie If You Can by Greg PetersonThis is how Greg Peterson opens this novel. Muggings and brutal attacks often come out of the blue with no warning. One does not usually expect this in your own driveway. Trauma often causes amnesia and Julie is its’ victim. Trying to expose the reason takes an extreme effort, but the loss of her memory is not the only change, and both she and Dr. Tyler gradually become aware of another interesting neuro-change.

Julie and Dr. Tyler have an attractive chemistry but having a doctor/patient relationship keeps the relationship at arms’ length. The author does an admirable job of building the sexual tension between the two. During the investigation there is also a continuing angst that is fun to follow.

The investigation itself is a great parallel plot in this story. The doctor and patient take some of the investigation into their own hands. A drug dealer enters the picture and begins to look like a very viable suspect. Can the duo get to the bottom of a very brutal attack in Julie’s own drive-way?

The relationship grows between the doctor and Julie as the two work together and the sexual tension between the two increases. The doctor moves in slow motion despite the fact there is obviously an attraction between them. As a reader I wanted to be able to step up and slap him alongside the head. Wake-up doc! However, I do not want to give a spoiler to this well-crafted novel.

The novel reached a mid-point but not a full conclusion. I hoped their relationship would continue to grow satisfactorily, but it seems this may have ended rather abruptly. The outcome is satisfying and aggravating at the same time. I previously read Newgate’s Knocker, the author’s debut novel. While well-plotted and paced, his sophomore novel didn’t quite complete the storyline for me. 4.5/5 stars – CE Williams

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

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

Book Details:

Genre: Neuroscience, Occult Unexplained Mysteries
ASIN : B08QLXLZML
Print Length: 219 pages
Publication Date: December 13, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Lie If You Can [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

 

Greg W Peterson - author - Newgate's KnockerThe Author: Greg Peterson is a prior naval aviator, commercial airline pilot, and air traffic control specialist. He holds nearly every fixed wing flight certificate available and is a certified ground and instrument instructor. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

Although Mr. Peterson has been published in a number of professional magazines. “Newgate’s Knocker” is his first full-length novel. The story is fictional, however you may find it interesting that the historical background of the main character, Mac Macintyre is based on Mr. Peterson’s real life, and most of the aviation sequences are also taken from his flying experiences.

Greg Peterson is certified in seven different categories by the International Code Council and has owned and operated a professional residential home inspection company since 1999. His home inspection report supplement provides a comprehensive explanation of many common concerns reported in most home inspections. His home inspection supplement, “Your Home Inspected-An Addendum For Residential Home Inspection Reports” can be purchased in Kindle, paperback or CD form. He can be contacted by email at: gregpeterson@comcast.net

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

A Sugar Plum Christmas by Susan Hatler – a #BookReview – Christmas Mountain Clean Romance Book 8

A Sugar Plum Christmas by Susan Hatler

Book Blurb:

City girl and former foster child Lacey Lane arrives in Christmas Mountain to do research for a hit reality dating show she produces. If the location gets approved for filming then she’ll receive a bonus that will allow her to buy her own house–a forever home after a lifetime of moving from place to place.

Jacob Curtis is a small-town guy who doesn’t want his hometown exploited for ratings. Lacey might think he’s her tour guide, showing her all the best places to film her show, but he has a different agenda: show her all the reasons the town wouldn’t appeal to her TV audience.

Lacey catches on quickly to Jacob’s goal to undermine her research and soon they’re engaging in a dance that takes them from one end of Christmas Mountain to the other. Before long, she’s charmed by the town and its people, including Jacob, who is funny, heartfelt, and honest. For once in her life, she’s slowing down long enough to focus on things other than her career.

But when it’s clear Lacey and Jacob have developed feelings for one another, Lacey is torn. Regardless of where the show is filmed, will she return to the city to buy her dream house? Or will she stay in Christmas Mountain and make a home with the man of her dreams?

My Review:

Looking for a quick little Christmas read, I stumbled upon this holiday romance, rom-com. Before you start rolling your eyes at me, no, I didn’t realize it would be quite so saccharine, but there is a plot and all the cliques you’d expect.

A Sugar Plum Christmas by Susan HatlerPopular right now to introduce the main character as a foster child, fiercely independent, unattached and staying that way. She is excited about her scouting trip to beautiful little Christmas Mountain to find the sites and scene settings for their fourth season of her reality romance TV show series.

Descriptions of the little town and the friendly people certainly bring that small home town nostalgia to focus, imagining the little shops, their decorations, and lights. Meeting the townspeople, contending with the temperatures and snow and learning about their traditions is sweet.

Of course it wouldn’t be complete unless she stumbled, literally, into the fella who’ll become the romantic interest. And actually, seems she stumbles quite often. Clumsy. He’s gorgeous, unattached, and talented with his wooden projects, loves his family and his small town.

Totally enjoyed the interruption to the love fest when the boss from New York showed up. All right! A little conflict! (As if a cross country romance isn’t conflict enough.)

My first romp with the series and the author. Those who are fans of small town romances will greatly enjoy and those like myself will have no problem reading as a standalone.

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Fiction Classics, Holiday Fiction, Holiday Romance
Publisher: Hatco Publishing

  • ASIN : B07XYK2HS1

Print Length: 210 pages
Publication Date: December 14, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): A Sugar Plum Christmas [Amazon]

Susan Hatler - authorThe Author: SUSAN HATLER is a New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. Many of Susan’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, French, and Italian. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too.

***** To receive a FREE BOOK, click the following link now to sign up for Susan’s Newsletter: http://susanhatler.com/newsletter *****

You can reach Susan here:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/authorsusanhatler
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susanhatler
Twitter: http://twitter.com/susanhatler
Website: http://susanhatler.com
Blog: http://susanhatler.com/category/susans-blog

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Merry Christmas and Thank You!

A Tip for the Hangman: a Novel by Allison Epstein – A #BookReview – Assassination Thrillers

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue, and romance.

A Trip for the Hangman by Allison EpsteinEngland, 1585. In Kit Marlowe’s last year at Cambridge, he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. Her Majesty’s spies are in need of new recruits, and Kit’s flexible moral compass has drawn their attention. Kit, a scholarship student without money or prospects, accepts the offer, and after his training the game is on. Kit is dispatched to the chilly manor where Mary, Queen of Scots is under house arrest, to act as a servant in her household and keep his ear to the ground for a Catholic plot to put Mary on the throne.

While observing Mary, Kit learns more than he bargained for. The ripple effects of his service to the Crown are far-reaching and leave Kit a changed man. But there are benefits as well. The salary he earns through his spywork allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years, he becomes the toast of London’s raucous theater scene. But when Kit finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the uncertain world of espionage, conspiracy, and high treason, he realizes everything he’s worked so hard to attain–including the trust of the man he loves–could vanish before his very eyes.

Pairing modern language with period detail, Allison Epstein brings Elizabeth’s privy council, Marlowe’s lovable theater troupe, and the squalor of sixteenth-century London to vivid, teeming life as Kit wends his way behind the scenes of some of Tudor history’s most memorable moments. At the center of the action is Kit himself–an irrepressible, irreverent force of nature. Thrillingly written, full of poetry and danger, A Tip for the Hangman brings an unforgettable protagonist to new life, and makes a centuries-old story feel utterly contemporary.

His Review:

Christopher (Kit) Marlowe lived in a time of great intrigue and strife. The throne of England was contested by Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth the First. These cousins both had genealogical claims to the throne. A cobblers’ son attending Cambridge irritated those of means. Intelligence should have not have been the sole criterion for admittance to this austere college and certainly not with a scholarship to afford the tuition.

A Tip for the Hangman by Allison EpsteinKit had another problem, a lack of total subservience to the aristocracy. His humble beginnings were always a thorn of contention and a spear of disdain. As Kit is finishing his Masters’ he is approached by one of the heads of Queen Elizabeth’s spy service. His task was to unravel an intricate series of messages between Mary Queen of Scots and her supporters. Kit had shown himself very adept at breaking foreign syphers.

Christopher Marlowe is also a very prolific playwright. He is thrust into the under-belly of London society to uncover plots against the Queen. Tangled webs of deceit and subterfuge complicate his life and endanger him wherever he goes. Forces beyond his control continue to press him to decipher and expose the potential usurper to the throne. Getting into the good graces and trust of Queen Mary is one of his assignments. He succeeds and Mary is exposed and beheaded.

Kit’s life is complicated by his love for another man, Tom Watson. Love like most other vices tends to skew a persons’ logic. Rather than escape a very dangerous situation love draws them back like a moth to a flame. Others within the Queen’s cadre of spies all vie for the control and top of the heap. Poisonings and daggers in the middle of the night are often the reward for hard and diligent work.

This author has pulled together a very believable narrative with predictable ends. Caring for Kit and his relationships are destroyed by the expectation of the outcome of his labors. The beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and the deaths of many of the spymasters begin to point towards a tragic conclusion. Once one begins to read the book you must see it through to its’ conclusion.

I recommend this book to any history buff. The narrative paints a very pathetic picture of England during the latter part of the sixteenth century. The smells and the religious turmoil caused by a king who wanted to divorce his wife are sad. Beheadings are a common occurrence and hanging is rampant. It is textbook for reasons that people immigrated from the old world to the new world. Enjoy! 5 stars – C.E. Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

Book Details:

Genre: Assassination Thrillers, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: Doubleday

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

Print Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Tip for the Hangman
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Allison Epstein - authorThe Author: Allison Epstein is a Michigan native, current Chicagoan, and hopefully someday the owner of a New England lighthouse. She holds an MFA in fiction from Northwestern University and a BA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. Allison works as a marketing copywriter at an agency serving not-for-profit clients. Two of her greatest joys in life are Broadway musicals and puns that get her thrown out of the group chat.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

The Keepers: A Mystery (Mace Reid K-9 Mystery Book 2) by Jeffrey B Burton – a #BookReview – #animalfiction

“I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” – Will Rogers

Book Blurb:

The Keepers by Jeffrey B BurtonJeffrey B. Burton’s The Keepers is the next installment of the Mace Reid K9 series, featuring golden retriever cadaver dog Vira and her handler, Mason Reid.

Mason “Mace” Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection—that is, he trains dogs to hunt for dead bodies. He calls his pack of cadaver dogs The Finders, and his prize pupil is a golden retriever named Vira.

When Mace Reid and Vira are called in to search Washington Park at three o’clock in the morning, what they find has them running for their very lives. The trail of murder and mayhem Mace and CPD Officer Kippy Gimm have been following leads them to uncover treachery and corruption at the highest level, and their discoveries do not bode well for them . . . nor for the Windy City itself.

The Keepers is an exciting, fast-paced mystery filled with courageous dogs you’ll want to root for.

My Review:

Progagonist Mace Reid lives near Chicago and specializes in training cadaver dogs. Human Remains Detection. His alpha right now is a golden retriever he named Elvira—Vira for short. He is often called to Chicago for searches and that is what brought him to Washington Park in the middle of the night. (Living near Chicago and still finding it a fascinating city with such a reputation for dishonest government, and finding these books are loaded with smart, intuitive dogs pulls me in. This series doesn’t disappoint.)

“Many question whether ours is a city that can be saved. Others question whether it deserves to be.”

“…you either run Chicago…or Chicago runs you.”

I actually got to start with Book 1, The Finders, and was hooked immediately. Main characters and support characters alike, including the canine variety, all have well developed three-dimensional personalities. I love Vira, but still feel bad about Sam (Samantha—a GSD) from Book 1, now recuperating from injuries. And, by-the-way, this could function fine as a standalone, you’ll get info along the way that will catch you up if you missed Book 1.

The Keepers by Jeffrey B BurtonNot too much “cozy” (in the classic genre sense) about this cozy animal mystery—it’s a solid, hard-hitting action thriller from the first chapter. These are well-plotted and fast-paced narratives. Mace is not your ideal hero—he’s divorced, drinks some, swears, and tends to vomit when extremely scared. Not damaged—just not Superman material—but he loves his dogs. Five of them. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Must love dogs.” His new “just friends only” girl is CPD officer Kippy Gimm.

“There is honor in being a dog.” – Aristotle

The thing is, Vira is “gifted.” Or perhaps Mace is just so well tuned in to his alpha now, he knows when she is signaling more than just a dead body. Vira is also very protective. Which is good, because Mace and Kippy quickly get in well over their heads in this one with the systemic corruption of the government providing a powerful catalyst to flee the Windy City. NOW!

A complex two-level plot, the first of which is put to bed fairly easily while the second simmers into an explosive boil. I like that the dogs aren’t just background—their training and senses are explored and explained. Their specialized talents clarified and they have jobs to do and do them.  

This entry to the series is hard-hitting, serious, and at times raw, profane, with eye-popping comprehension. There are murders, description of torture, and language. There is some weakness in Mace this time that I don’t remember in the first book. He is now more likely “every” man—real, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes exhibiting a sense of humor. But he is definitely emerging as a real person. Sometimes I like him—sometimes I don’t. But I do love those dogs and my heart lurched at Maggie’s injury.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary uncorrected digital galley of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts. This book will be released next year. You can get place a pre-order now through your favorite retailer.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08FZB2D45

Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: To be released June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jeffrey B Burton - authorThe Author: Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received his BA in Journalism at the University of Minnesota. THE FINDERS, the first in Burton’s K-9 mystery series, came out in June of 2020 (St. Martin’s Press). THE KEEPERS, the second in his K-9 series, comes out in June of 2021.

Novels in Burton’s Agent Drew Cady mystery series include: THE CHESSMAN (MacAdam/Cage, 2012; paperback Harlequin Suspense, 2015), THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, 2015), and THE EULOGIST (The Permanent Press, 2017). His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines.

Jeff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a goofball/sweetheart of a Beagle named Milo.

Visit http://www.jeffreybburton.com to see more about Jeff’s novels and short stories.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

The Burning Girls: A Novel by C J Tudor – A #BookReview – British Horror Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

The Burning Girls by C J TudorAn unconventional vicar must exorcise the dark past of a remote village haunted by death and disappearances in this explosive and unsettling thriller from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man.

A dark history lingers in Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, Protestant martyrs were betrayed—then burned. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And a few weeks ago, the vicar of the local parish hanged himself in the nave of the church.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping for a fresh start. Instead, Jack finds a town rife with conspiracies and secrets, and is greeted with a strange welcome package: an exorcism kit and a note that warns, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”

The more Jack and daughter, Flo, explore the town and get to know its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into the age-old rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo begins to see specters of girls ablaze, it becomes apparent there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

Uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village with a bloody past, where everyone has something to hide and no one trusts an outsider.

His Review:

A nice safe position to be placed in for a young priest, a vicar in a small hamlet outside of Nottingham. You would think so but this turns out to not be the case. Jack (Jacqueline) Brooks has been sent to Castle Croft to replace a former priest. She was moved from Nottingham under suspicious circumstances.

The Burning Girls by C J TudorOnce a year, the hamlet celebrates a special day to honor the memory of eight missing women burned at the stake during Queen Mary’s purge of Protestants from 1553 to 1558.  The martyrs are represented by twig figures which are set ablaze during the celebration.

May 24, 1990 (two) fifteen year-old girls disappear from the area. Half-hearted searches turn up nothing and the community considers them runaways. The mystery continues but the search ceases. Legends abound and this close-knit community goes on with its’ business. Tough place to become the new Vicar, particularly for a female priest.

The characters are well developed and believable. Jack has been blessed with a fifteen year old daughter named Flo. Mother and daughter have a tumultuous relationship very much like many teenage girls and their parents today. Flo is a fairly free spirit and is not the least bit happy with coming to this hamlet from Nottingham and leaving all of her friends.

Integrating into a small close- knit hamlet is a struggle at best! Jack has a very difficult integration because of her sex and the cloistered community. The paupers’ wage of a vicar certainly does not help. The town folk are not impressed by the new vicar and throw at her problems and roadblocks at every turn. Set in their ways they are not amenable to change and a new spiritual leader.

There is no part of this book that moves slow! I am reminded of the young girls who go into the barn in the “Chainsaw Massacre.” You would think they would learn from some of the gruesome stories and tales of killings in those places. And the grave yard outside of the chapel at Chapel Croft adds the macabre to the setting. A rational person would avoid the location like a plague. The locals guard all of the towns’ secrets jealously. A dark and chilling suspense thriller nee horror. Can the vicar solve the mystery of the disappearance of the girls? 5 stars – CE Williams

My other half read or listened to The Other People and The Hiding Place. It was my turn at a Tudor book. Currently on pre-order. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Kathleen Quinlan of Ballantine Books-Random House through NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: British Horror Fiction, Ghost Suspense, Horror Suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books

  • ASIN : B087PMPD5S

Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and Netgalley
Title Link: The Burning Girls [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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C J Tudor - authorThe Author: C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.

Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.

She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.

She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.

Everyone calls her Caz.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

The Highwayman (Book 11.5 of the Walt Longmire series) by Craig Johnson – An #Audiobook Review – #westernfiction – #throwbackthursday

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Audiobook-The Highwayman by Craig Johnson

Book Blurb:

Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear embark on their latest adventure in this novella set in the world of Craig Johnson’s New York Times best-selling Longmire series – the basis for the hit drama Longmire, now on Netflix.

When Wyoming highway patrolman Rosey Wayman is transferred to the beautiful and imposing landscape of the Wind River Canyon, an area the troopers refer to as no-man’s-land because of the lack of radio communication, she starts receiving “officer needs assistance” calls. The problem? They’re coming from Bobby Womack, a legendary Arapaho patrolman who met a fiery death in the canyon almost a half-century ago.

With an investigation that spans this world and the next, Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear take on a case that pits them against a legend: The Highwayman. 

My Review:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record—have you tried one of the Craig Johnson, Walt Longmire series of books yet? I continue to go through the vast audiobook collection of the Longmire series at my local library and stumbled on this novella length audiobook released back in 2016. Gees, I love these books!

I introduced my readers to our binge of the series when I compared the TV Netflix version with the Longmire books by Craig Johnson here. AND, I was delighted to hear beautifully executed audiobooks of the series by narrator George Guidall. OMG—he does such a wonderful baritone of narration—his inflection, tone, and pace perfect!

The Highwayman by Craig JohnsonCraig Johnson has an exquisite way with words—his descriptions conjuring the visual, the scent of the scene, the chill or heat of the air, and the tension of the characters. The characters? Wonderful! Longmire has had enough time and experience under his badge to handle just about any scenario you can throw at him. The dialogue, particularly between he and Standing Bear (Henry) of the Cheyenne Nation, full of respect, honor, emotion. Their banter can argue philosophical or devolve into the humorous. Dialogue is so natural—you can hear the affection—it’s genuine.

In this short but well-packed and plotted narrative, there is a call from Rosie, a newly transferred Wyoming HP who is receiving radio calls at the same time of night from Bobby Womack. Can’t be, however, as he is an Arapaho patrolman who died in a fiery collision 50 years ago in the Wind River Tunnel. Others have investigated but no one—NO ONE—is picking up Bobby Womack besides Rosie.

I love the folklore of the local Arapaho, Shoshone, and Cherokee and the delightful dip into the paranormal. If Womack is a ghost come back to Rosie—what is he trying to tell her? The conclusion calms the waters, but not before it was one heckava level five ride over the rapids.

Absolutely riveting, page-turning, spellbinding storytelling. You don’t have to read the first eleven to enjoy this short read. You’ll love the characters, the setting, the pace. Don’t like western fiction? What about literary fiction level fleshed dynamic characters and prose that’ll keep the light burning late? Don’t let the genre labels fool you. Trust me.

Rosepoint recommended
Book Details:

Genre: Western Fiction, Mysteries, Ghost Suspense, Ghost Mysteries
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B01EM8BSRY
 Print Length: 190 pages
Listening Length: 3 hrs 43 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Highwayman [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: Widely recognized as the world’s most acclaimed and most prolific narrator of audiobooks, George Guidall has brought a consistent artistry to his readings, delighting listeners for over 20 years. His narrations of classics like Crime and PunishmentFrankensteinThe IliadDon Quixote, and Les Miserables, along with many popular best sellers, have set a standard for excellence recognized throughout the audiobook industry.  His recordings have garnered uniformly excellent reviews from AudiofileKliattLibrary JournalPublisher’s WeeklyThe New York Times, and a variety of national newspapers and magazines.   He has also received  several Audie Awards—the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar— and holds the record for receiving the most Earphone Awards for excellence in narration given by Audiofile Magazine which has named him one of the original “Golden Voices” in the audiobook industry. He has been  honored by the Audio Publishers Association with a life-time achievement award for his record of more than 1,300 unabridged narrations.

Along with his award-winning work as an audiobook narrator, Guidall has also enjoyed a career in the theatre, including starring roles on Broadway, an Obie award for best performance Off-Broadway, and has shared the stage at the New York Shakespeare Festival with Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, and Meryl Streep. In addition to TV dramas such as Law & Order, he has appeared on most of the daytime television series.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Happy Thursday

Photo background attribution of the Wind River Tunnel: Our Empty Nest

The War Widow (A Billie Walker Novel) by Tara Moss – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The War Widow by Tara MossThe war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker’s search for a missing young immigrant man will plunge her right back into the danger and drama she thought she’d left behind in Europe in this thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous postwar Sydney.

Sydney, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, for her the heady postwar days are tarnished by the loss of her father and the disappearance in Europe of her husband, Jack. To make matters worse, now that the war is over, the newspapers are sidelining her reporting talents to prioritize jobs for returning soldiers. But Billie is a survivor and she’s determined to take control of her own future. So she reopens her late father’s business, a private investigation agency, and, slowly, the women of Sydney come knocking.

At first, Billie’s bread and butter is tailing cheating husbands. Then, a young man, the son of European immigrants, goes missing, and Billie finds herself on a dangerous new trail that will lead up into the highest levels of Sydney society and down into its underworld. What is the young man’s connection to an exclusive dance club and a high class auction house? When the people Billie questions about the young man start to turn up dead, Billie is thrown into the path of Detective Inspector Hank Cooper. Will he take her seriously or will he just get in her way? As the danger mounts and Billie realizes that much more than one young man’s life is at stake, it becomes clear that though the war was won, it is far from over.

His Review:

Post WWII was a turbulent time everywhere. Germany was in ruins, much like the millions of lives it had ruined attempting global domination. Our protagonist is a former war correspondent returning home to find work for women very scarce. She took over a Detective Agency after her father died and is working in Sydney.

The War Widow by Tara MossLike so many women after WWII she has lost the love of her life. Where could Ryan be? He disappeared somewhere in Austria. Not knowing the fate of your loved one is a cruel cross to bear and then a woman enters the detective agency and asks if she can locate her son. He is 17 and just disappeared one afternoon.

Tara weaves a very entertaining tale of mystery and intrigue in the Sydney area. The job won’t pay much but Billie needs to keep working to continue to pay her “Secretary” Sam Beaker. The trail leads to many interesting places in and around Sydney. I never knew the underbelly of Australia could be so seedy.

Taking the assignment and trying to locate the lost teenager takes many twists and both Billie and Sam are attacked many times. It is a real pleasure to read about the defensive tactics Billie employs. Never underestimate a woman with a well placed hatpin!

Australia like most countries post WWII is recovering from economic restrictions and rationing is still in place. Gas coupons are still necessary because the worlds’ fuel supplies are still being sorted out. Silk stockings and fine clothing were at a premium and Billie bemoans the loss of some of her finer things. It is hard or impossible to replace them.

This entire book kept me spell bound and very entertained. I even fell in love with the heroine although she would be my mothers’ age. I could see the rakish hats and Mode O Day dresses as she stepped out into the Sydney night life. These mental visuals so well presented by Tara entertained and satisfied my mentally visual sequence of events. It is an immersive and entertaining look back in time. Read and see for yourself. 5 stars – CE Williams

Thank you to Emily Canders, Senior Publicity Manager of Dutton & Plume for my complimentary review copy of this book. These are my unbiased thoughts. 

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Dutton
Print Length: 351
Publication Date: December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher through Net Galley
Title Link: The War Widow [Amazon] On Pre-Order Now
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Tara Moss - authorThe Author: Since 1999 Tara Moss has written 13 bestselling books, published in 19 countries and 13 languages. Her latest is the internationally bestselling historical crime novel The War Widow published with with HarperCanada, HarperCollins Australia, and launching in Dec 2020 with Dutton Books at Penguin Randomhouse US, and translated to German in Jan 2021 with AufBau as Die Jägerin.

Her first non-fiction book, the critically acclaimed The Fictional Woman became a number one national non-fiction bestseller in 2014, and her iconic cover design, featuring her face labeled with ‘fictions’ or stereotypes about women won Best Non-Fiction Book Design in 2015.

An experienced documentary host and interviewer with a passion for research and human stories, Moss has hosted the true crime documentary series Tough Nuts – Australia’s Hardest Criminals on the Crime & Investigation Network and Amazon Prime, Tara Moss Investigates on the National Geographic Channel and the author interview show Tara in Conversation on 13th Street Universal. In 2018 she hosted The Craft Of Writing series on RN (Radio National) Australia. She was also the host, co-executive producer and co-writer of Cyberhate with Tara Moss on Australia’s ABC, examining the phenomenon of online abuse, and she gave her address to the nation, ‘Cyberhate and Beyond’, at the National Press Club in 2017, putting the phenomenon of extreme online abuse and harassment on the national agenda.

Moss is an outspoken advocate for human rights and the rights of women, children and people with disabilities, has been a UNICEF Australia Goodwill Ambassador since 2007 and since 2013 has been UNICEF Australia’s National Ambassador for Child Survival, and has visited Australian hospitals, maternity wards, refuges and schools as well as Syrian refugee camps in her UNICEF role. In 2014 she was recognised for Outstanding Advocacy for her blog Manus Island: An insider’s report, which helped to break information to the public about the alleged murder of Reza Barati inside the Australian-run Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre. In the media and through her page Tara and Wolfie, she brings advocacy and visibility to issues of disability and chronic pain, and the need to normalize mobility aids.

In 2015 Moss received an Edna Ryan Award for her significant contribution to feminist debate, speaking out for women and children and inspiring others to challenge the status quo, and in 2017 she was recognised as one of the Global Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life, for using her position in public life to make a positive impact in diversity, alongside Malala Yousufzai, Angelina Jolie, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet and more.

Her in-depth novel research has seen her tour the FBI Academy at Quantico, spend time in squad cars, morgues, prisons, the Hare Psychopathy Lab, the Supreme Court and criminology conferences, take polygraph tests, shoot weapons, conduct surveillance, pass the Firearms Training Simulator (FATSII) with the LAPD, pull 4.2 G’s doing loops over the Sydney Opera House flying with the RAAF, and acquire her CAMS race driver licence. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney, and has earned her private investigator credentials (Cert III) from the Australian Security Academy.

She is a mother, a wife and a dual Canadian/Australian citizen, and currently resides with her family in Vancouver, BC. She is a new signing with Aevitas Literary Management in New York. Visit her at taramoss.com

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Runaway Justice (David Adams Book 3) by Chad Zunker – a #BookReview – #legalthrillers

“The single greatest cause of homelessness is a profound, catastrophic loss of family.”

 Book Blurb:

Runaway Justice by Chad ZunkerAttorney David Adams is the last hope for an adolescent runaway being targeted by an assassin and sought by the FBI in a breath-catching novel by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of An Unequal Defense.

Having abandoned corporate law, David Adams is now the voice of justice for the city of Austin’s vulnerable outcasts. His new client is Parker Barnes, a trembling twelve-year-old runaway and foster-care poster boy arrested for petty theft. Dealt a rough hand in life, he reminds David of his own childhood. This should be a simple, if heartbreakingly familiar, case. Until the FBI muscles in.

Parker is also a suspect in the murder of a federal witness. No matter how desperate Parker’s denial, David fears there’s so much more to the kid’s hard-luck story than he’s letting on. Especially when a hit man sends the boy running to the only safe place he knows: the streets.

With both the feds and a killer on Parker’s trail, the hunt is on. Teaming up with a pro bono investigator and utilizing his reliable band of street-savvy friends, David must find Parker first if he’s to save the boy from an undeserved fate. And maybe even save himself. 

My Review:

The author is a guy who “walks the walk and talks the talk.” He’s living with it, works with it, has the experiences from which he pulls the emotional plots for his books, my second, having read An Unequal Defense, which I also enjoyed.

The well-paced mystery is deceptively simple reading while wielding a hard social commentary—the homeless, the less fortunate, those whose luck has run out many times through no fault of their own—as with the plot of this luckless twelve year old. He lost both parents and had no extended family who would take him in, landing him into “the system.” And then the system wasn’t kind either and he ran.

Attorney David Adams caught the case when the kid is arrested for purse-snatching. Oh, were it that simple! Parker Barnes, however, has a secret he will trust to no one and in getting the kid out of juvie and into a home shelter, David discovers the kid has run—again—after his own confrontation with the FBI regarding the kid he is trying to protect.

Runaway Justice by Chad ZunkerAbout the same time as he’s picking up this case, he has also been sent by the court a woman who is to provide 40 hours pro-bono for her own infraction. Fortunately, she is a private investigator, an extremely effective one, and Jess knows how to research.

Now Parker is being sought by both the FBI, persons he witnessed performing a felony, and David himself after his promise to the judge to contain him has failed. Parker is very adept at running and hiding.

Through investigation, research, and interviews, Jess and David has formed a solid, plausible theory, perps they are chasing down, and gained new insight on the psyche of the boy, both working hard to find and gain his trust.

I like the character of David; honest, reliable, kind and (usually) very effective as his job. Jess is empathetic, adept, competent, and smart. They make a good team and work well together. It’s an easy, fast read with an important message, empathetic characters with whom you’ll invest. The conclusion ramps up the tension and raises the hair on your neck.

While this is Book 3 of the series, it can be read as a standalone, as there are new characters and few characters from previous books. You won’t have a problem figuring out where David is coming from and the mystery and suspense are engaging.

 FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. The book won’t disappoint and is now on pre-order.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Political Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN : 1542025524
ASIN : B0868WMW2M
Print Length: 230 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Chad Zunker - authorThe Author: CHAD ZUNKER is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. Chad has worked for some of the country’s most powerful law firms and serves at Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters, and is hard at work on his next novel. For more information visit http://www.chadzunker.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Fortune and Glory (A Stephanie Plum Novel Book 27) by Janet Evanovich – An #Audiobook Review – Crime Thriller

Editors' pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

audiobook-Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich

Book Blurb:

The twenty-seventh entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series isn’t just the biggest case of Stephanie Plum’s career. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

When Stephanie’s beloved Grandma Mazur’s new husband died on their wedding night, the only thing he left her was a beat-up old easy chair…and the keys to a life-changing fortune.

But as Stephanie and Grandma Mazur search for Jimmy Rosolli’s treasure, they discover that they’re not the only ones on the hunt. Two dangerous enemies from the past stand in their way—along with a new adversary who’s even more formidable: Gabriela Rose, a dark-eyed beauty from Little Havana with a taste for designer clothes. She’s also a soldier of fortune, a gourmet cook, an expert in firearms and mixed martial arts—and someone who’s about to give Stephanie a real run for her money.

Stephanie may be in over her head, but she’s got two things that Gabriela doesn’t: an unbreakable bond with her family and a stubborn streak that will never let her quit.

She’ll need both to survive because this search for “fortune and glory” will turn into a desperate race against time with more on the line than ever before. Because even as she searches for the treasure and fights to protect her Grandma Mazur, her own deepest feelings will be tested—as Stephanie could finally be forced to choose between Joe Morelli and Ranger.

My Review:

Cripes! What happened and where did the other Janet Evanovich go? Years ago, and I mean well before I even started reviewing, the CE and I used to listen to her audiobooks on our many trips. They made crossing the desert go faster, mountain ranges less hairy. So I was pretty shocked at this latest audiobook, and less you really have to ask—no, I  have neither read nor listened to others in this series. I just saw “Evanovich” and remembered the “old times.”

Fortune and Glory by Janet EvanovichWell, groan. Despite the amazing narration of Lorelei King using many voices and New Jersey accent, the protagonist left me a bit flat. Stephanie is a mess. She’s not terribly good at what she does, nor terribly smart. What she is—according to new character Gabriela Rose, is lucky.

Stephanie apparently is one third of the dreaded triangle (Ranger—fabulously rich and great in bed, and Morelli—Jersey cop). Lula is a strong “partner” in the bond business, and then there is Grandma Mazur, who is just plain obnoxious. It’s her recently widowed grandmother that has set her on the latest adventure—finding a fabulous treasure, joined by Potts (who is well past annoying into egregiously obnoxious).

If you can get past both grandma and Potts, there is a mystery that does hold interest and adventure as they tick off each of the nine(?) hints to the treasure held by members of the mob apparently known to good ole grandma. (Thank heaven mine stuck closer to gardening.)

Heavy into the New Jersey mob scene, the accents, food, and back alley streets definitely spun atmospheric illusions. The mysterious Gabriela held my interest as well and will apparently spin off on a series of her own. Thinking I might try that one but reading any of the previous 26 of this series? I don’t think so.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuths, Organized Crime Thriller, General Humorous Fiction, Crime Thrillers
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio

  • ASIN: B085DQTY3P

Print Length: 318 pages
Listening Length: 7 hrs 13 mins
Narrator: Lorelei King
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
Source: Local (Audiobook Selections) Library
Title Link: Fortune and Glory [Amazon]

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

Janet EvanovichThe Author: Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the co-authored Fox and O’Hare series, the Knight and Moon series, and the Lizzy and Diesel series as well as twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels, Troublemaker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author.

 

Lorelei KingThe Narrator: Lorelei [King] is a multi-award-winning narrator of audiobooks, recording the works of best-selling authors Janet Evanovich, Darynda Jones and Patricia Briggs, among others. She is one of the first inductees into the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat