Yellowhead Blues: A Hunter Rayne Highway Mystery Book 5 by R. E. Donald – a #BookReview

I saw this series and enjoyed it and recommended to my associate reviewer, the CE, who was still driving truck at the time and thought he’d enjoy. He did. The following is his review.

Book Blurb:

Yellowhead Blues by R E DonaldJust west of the Rocky Mountains, a frightened horse with a bloody saddle is found running loose on the Yellowhead highway. Former RCMP investigator Hunter Rayne is on the road in his eighteen-wheeler when he’s flagged down to help calm the horse and find its missing rider.

The horse with the bloody saddle leads Hunter and a good-natured French Canadian cowboy into a complicated murder mystery. The police are none too happy with his interference, but Hunter strongly believes the RCMP has arrested the wrong man and sets out to uncover who stood to gain from the death of a wealthy ranch owner.

His belief in the suspect’s innocence is shared by a rookie female RCMP constable who joins him in the search for the truth. She befriends the dead man’s young fiancé in an effort to get answers, and discovers that the vulnerable Texas beauty is not who the victim’s family believes her to be.

This is the fifth novel in a unique mystery series set on the highways of North America.

His Review:

A flag-down on a remote Canadian highway thrusts Hunter into another mystery/adventure. This author skillfully twists this ex-Canadian Mounted Policeman into twisted intrigue. A burly French-Canadian flags him down to help with a spooked horse.  Leon Rousseau is a good Samaritan trying to save the animal’s life! Hunter gives him a hand.

Yellowhead Blues by R E DonaldA blood trail leads back to the horse’s former rider and Leon’s dog Blue leads the way. Ms. Donald has put together a great read including a grifter, a manipulated young lady and a ranch owner. The tale will mesmerize you as you try to figure out exactly what happened! Was it a hunting accident?

Leon, the good Samaritan, is arrested for the murder. Hunter takes care of Leon’s dog Blue while trying to solve the crime. He juggles the investigation with his current job of long- haul trucker.

The characters involve the reader immediately in a drama of love, greed and a young female Mounty, Bianca Morrison; trying to establish herself in the remote Canadian setting. This book is fun, engrossing and hard to put down. I was certainly not disappointed with this entry to the series and this may be her best of the series so far. The novel would work fine as a standalone, the characters are immersive, the setting atmospheric.  She spins a terrific yarn!

We received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and really appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Totally recommended for anyone who enjoys a well-plotted mystery with a unique and beautiful setting. You won’t be disappointed either. C. E. Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Crime Thriller, Crime Fiction
Publisher: Proud Horse Publishing

  • ISBN-10:0994076258
  • ISBN-13:978-0994076250

ASIN: B07TDQ9RB2
Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: July 21, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Yellowhead Blues

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5-stars

R E Donald - authorThe Author: R.E. Donald is the author of the Hunter Rayne Highway Mysteries series. Ruth worked in the transportation industry in various capacities for 25 years and draws on her experience in creating realistic characters and situations in her novels.

Ruth attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., where she studied languages and creative writing to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree.

She currently lives on a ranch in the South Cariboo region of B.C., where she and her partner, Gilbert Roy, enjoy their Canadian Horses (Le Cheval Canadien) and other animals.

©2019 C E Williams

Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

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Portal to Murder by Alison Lingwood – a #BookReview

Yahoo! I won this Print Book in an International Giveaway

Portal to Murder by Alison LingwoodBook Blurb:

This is a story of the use and misuse of the internet.
Angela is a bored, middle-aged spinster approached on the internet by an ex schoolfriend Kevin.
Concerned that her boring existence will not hold his interest, she weaves a fabric of lies, becoming more and more obsessed with her fantasy life.
But Kevin too is not who he claims to be, and the relationship between the two of them leads to death and destruction.

My Review:

A debut by this author and certainly a heroic effort penning a fully engaging novel that grips from the first page.

Mercy! How easy is it to unintentionally involve persons in a web of deceit using the internet. The interaction is arms length–shielded by the internet wall of protection. So easy to hide behind that shelter. From one small fantasy turned twisted to another whose life was already irrevocably warped. Of these myriad characters, a few innocents caught in this perverse tale turned sinister and eventually deadly.

Portal to Murder by Alison LingwoodI’m not sure. Is the main character the antagonist? Perhaps. There would appear no protagonist. There are empathetic characters in Giles (I felt so bad for him), his daughter, Harriet. The good support characters unintentionally involved by their network of friends. Then there are the others. You can’t think like them. (I hope not anyway!) Can’t figure them out. Angela–just–yuck. Yuck, yuck, and phtooey! She is so well fleshed you can smell her.

I enjoyed the journey through to discovery with the Detective Inspector Timothy and DS Talbot. Gleaning one tiny piece at a time until all the rest came together. And it was not a pretty picture.

Yes, I’m American and the dialogue purely British, but the dialogue is quite natural and believable. Antagonists are well developed as my suspicion is you are supposed to dislike them. They are egregious. And you do.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…”

The conclusion is folded out patiently, so if at some point you got mildly lost, you could catch up at this point. Since the antagonists were intentionally set early, you knew who. But it was that last little zinger that got me and I hadn’t expected that one. No, quite the opposite, in fact.

My only problem with this very complex tale was the edit misses and a few missing words. Could have benefitted by an additional editor. Otherwise, this is one spell-binding drama that I would have no problem recommending.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Crime Thriller, Mystery

  • ISBN-10:1480225320
  • ISBN-13:978-1480225329
  • ASIN: B00B5ULJZY

Print Length: 314 pages
Publication Date: January 24, 2013
Source: International Giveway by Kerry @ https://chataboutbooks.blog
Thank you, Kerry!
Title Link: Portal to Murder

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

The Author: Alison Lingwood was born in Cheshire in 1952 and this is her first novel. She is an ex-lecturer and retired businesswoman who lives in Staffordshire with her husband. [This author now has six published novels, the last, Immersed in Murder in August, 2018.]

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Dachshund Through The Snow: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt – a #BookReview #Mystery #rosepointpub

NOooo, this says Book 20 of 20. Say it isn’t so! I’ve only caught one previous (Bark of Night, Book 19) and I’m feeling abused. I may have to resort to trying the library–but I will find some more. In the meantime, you might want to grab this one while you can. These are too much fun to miss.

Five Stars 5-stars

Dachshund Through the Snow by David RosenfeltBook Blurb:

This Christmas, lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, can’t say no to helping young Danny and his dachshund, Murphy.

Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, have started a new Christmas tradition. Their local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need. One poignant wish leads Andy to a child named Danny, whose selfless plea strikes a chord. Danny asked Santa for a coat for his mother, a sweater for his dachshund, Murphy, and for the safe return of his missing father.

It turns out Danny’s father doesn’t want to be found, he’s on the run after just being arrested for a murder that took place fourteen years ago – a murder that Danny’s mother swears he didn’t commit.

With his trademark humor and larger-than-life characters – including a police officer and his K-9 partner, Simon – Rosenfelt never fails to deliver as Andy and his eccentric crew dash to reunite a family in time for Christmas. 

Dachshund Through the Snow by David RosenfeltMy Review:

If you love dogs (and even if you don’t but love a good mystery), you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter mystery series. I discovered this author plying the pages of the audiobooks in my local technically advanced library. They have all those things–audiobooks, movies, books! (See my review for Bark of Night here.) Well, I loved that audiobook so much I went searching for the author on NetGalley and found this one. I was thrilled when they accepted my request. I knew it’d be good. Some, you just request, or order, just because you know. Right?

Well, I was. Right, that is. Loved this novel! I love a good book with a sense of humor. No, it’s not a cozy and doesn’t get that idea. These are serious mystery books, well-structured plots, fully engaging from page one. Interviews, investigation, legal maneuvering, filing of all manner of papers, as well as courtroom capers. It’s that writer’s style, you know. He has a way with his snarky lawyerly attitude that tells you maybe being an attorney was not what he really wanted to do. And it wasn’t. Luckily for him (we should all be so lucky), he inherited beaucoup bucks. Now he can do want he wants and he loves dogs. In fact, he created an animal rescue and would love nothing more than to spend his time there, because lawyering, as you might know from the fees they routinely collect, takes mountains of time. He’d rather not. He’s early retired. Or supposed to be.

This narrative begins simply enough with a Christmas request and devolves into a full-fledged, multi-level whodunit. A young boy asked that his dad be brought home from jail and a murder he didn’t commit fourteen years ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They are all innocent. And this one has his DNA thanks to the strangled eighteen-year old’s fingernails. But as Andy gets deeper into the case, he begins to believe he is–innocent–that is. Now: How to prove it.

Parallel with the main plot premise is a retiring cop who’d love to have his beautiful K-9 service dog retire with him. But Simon is nine. They don’t retire service dogs until they are ten. Here’s the bad news (okay, more bad news): Simon is beginning to exhibit signs of arthritis. Remember, German Shepherds tend to have hip problems. So Andy sues for species discrimination.

Dialogue between Andy and his wife, (former) policewoman Laurie is intelligent and realistic. He has a cadre of unusual support staff, including Marcus (the silent muscle), a computer technie-hacker, and an office manager who also rather not work and usually doesn’t. Despite his irreverent attitude, he can be quite self-deprecating when called upon to do any hero stuff. But don’t ever sell him short. He’s known for his brain, not brawn, and his courtroom triumphs would bear that out.

Talk about hitting all the right buttons. Intelligent mystery, dialogue, twists, red-herrings, and dogs. How deep does this fourteen-year-old murder mystery go? How can you get past DNA evidence after all this time? I love the complications and finally decided I knew the ultimate culprit (it goes up the chain). But the twist at the end totally throws a monkey-wrench into that theory.

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley and totally appreciate the opportunity to read and review. (THANK YOU Minotaur!) And this book and this series is highly recommended. I’ll continue to follow this author, even if he’s leaving Andy behind.

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Book Details:

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Animal Fiction, Traditional Detective Series
Publisher: St Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:1250237688
  • ISBN-13:978-1250237682
  • ASIN: B07P9LQ99N

 Print Length: 313 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Dachshund Through the Snow
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.

©2019 V Williams

V Williams

Release Blitz and #Giveaway for 13 Steps to the Cellar by Teresa Mathews #rabtbooktours #teresamathews

Yahoo! My first Release Blitz and Giveaway @RABTBookTours! 

Mystery

Date Published: September 4, 2019
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Thirteen Steps to the Cellar. They were steep; they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head? 
Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.
Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?
In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond her suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces Callie to her core.

13 Steps to the Cellar by Teresa Mathews
About the Author

TERESA MATHEWS is a graduate of The University of South Alabama.  She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.
An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered a third passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.
Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama. This is her first novel.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
Amazon
RABT Book Tours & PR
Thank you for reading! I’d love your clicks, comments, and critique. Approve the presentation? 

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber – a #BookReview

Title: Desolate Shores (An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense Book 1) by Daryl Wood Gerber

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood GerberBook Blurb:

Daryl Wood Gerber, the national bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, returns with a novel of gripping suspense . . .

A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . . .

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Beyond the Page

  • ISBN-10:1950461203
  • ISBN-13:978-1950461202
  • ASIN: B07V9PP2R4

Print Length: 239 pages
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Desolate Shores

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood GerberMy Review:

Aspen Adams fled to the beautiful mountains of Lake Tahoe when her therapy practice crashed in on her. (And I must say, the author had me at Lake Tahoe–love that area, those mountains, the memories, and the cabin we shared a couple blocks from the shore.) Aspen was invited to work with her aunt Max in her detective agency and was hoping to elevate to private investigator. She is thrust into the position when her best friend, Vikki Carmichael, is murdered and she lacks trust in the local sheriff’s department to find and bring her killer to justice.

The author weaves a well-plotted mystery while she extols the beauty, the activities, and the unique location of the premier ski resorts at the California/Nevada border, favoring Alpine Meadows (not my favorite). Her descriptions of the scenes with the protagonist and her aunt, contacts, and Detective Sergeant Nick Shaper put you in the area and bloomed so real, you could smell the pine trees.

Aspen’s sister, unfortunately, has a drug habit that has driven a wedge between them, but she is unable to deny her niece, Candace, a safe haven when her sister unceremoniously dumps her there for the week. It’s not long before a sub-plot develops with juggling the care of her niece with her investigation which moves at a good pace.

The author has infused a wide cadre of characters, including Karen Brandon, a seasoned detective who appears to have an alcohol problem, favorite haunts around the lake, and the bitter cold of winter in the Sierras. Aspen is floored to realize she really didn’t know Vikki as well as she thought. In the meantime, she begins to get flutters when she is in the presence of sexy Detective Shaper.

There is sufficient backstory of Aspen to get a grasp of who and why she is, though is a bit difficult to fully invest. Her niece is woven sympathetically. I liked Gwen at the bar and her aunt and they will prove to be strong support characters in the future but have reservations on the possible romance aspect with Shaper. Ummm, nah.

The author draws a careful and believable conclusion, possibly confirming who you thought was the culprit all along; just not the how or why. If so, you may have missed in the twists the subtle clues to how it would all interlink.

I received this ebook digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Either as a standalone or as book 1 in a new series, the narrative is off to a terrific start keeping the suspense throughout. Recommended to fans of Ms. Gerber (of cozy fame) and anyone who enjoys a clean, well-paced mystery with sufficient suspense that piques your interest for a second.

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 4.5-stars  

Daryl Wood Gerber - authorThe Author: SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER, which comes out once a month and with a new release
http://www.darylwoodgerber.com/contact.php#mailing-list

ALSO FOLLOW ME ON BOOKBUB: http://bookbub.com/authors/daryl-wood-gerber so you’ll get an alert whenever I have a new release, preorder, or discount!

Tasty, zesty, dangerous!

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber writes the bestselling COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES and FRENCH BISTRO MYSTERIES. As Avery Aames, she pens the bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES. In addition, she writes stand-alone suspense thrillers, including GIRL ON THE RUN and DAY OF SECRETS and DESOLATE SHORES. Fun tidbits: Daryl jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and she hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. Also, as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to read, cook, and golf. She has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Thank you so much for visiting my page. Follow my PROFILE for important updates. And thank you for your reviews!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

The Night Window by Dean Koontz -a #BookReview

The Night Window by Dean KoontzFive Stars Five stars

Title: The Night Window (Jane Hawk Book 5) by Dean Koontz

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Publisher: Bantam

  • ISBN-10:0525484701
  • ISBN-13:978-0525484707
  • ASIN: B07GMS9JXT

Print Length: 432 pages

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: The Night Window

Book Blurb:

A visionary young filmmaker hunted for sport across a vast Colorado ranch by the celebrated billionaire at the heart of a monstrous cabal . . .

A brilliant computer hacker slipping through top-secret databases a whisper ahead of security trackers, gathering the facts to fight the all-powerful perpetrators of mass murder . . .

A pair of brutal operators, methodically shadowing their targets with every cutting-edge tool in the arsenal of today’s surveillance state . . .

A sequence of quiet heroes—everyday citizens—stepping up, stepping forward, intent on countering the advancing darkness . . .

A Vegas mob boss teamed with a homicidal sociopath, circling a beloved boy and his protectors, aiming to secure him as leverage against his fugitive mother . . .

And that fugitive mother herself, ex-agent Jane Hawk, closing in on the malevolent architects of ruin she has stalked as they stalk her, prepared to sacrifice herself to finally bring them down.

These are the people and circumstances of The Night Window, the thrilling new novel in Dean Koontz’s acclaimed Jane Hawk series. Replete—and then some—with the ingenious twists, the spellbinding action, the resonant themes, the sheer heart that has characterized Jane’s journey from the start, The Night Window follows its extraordinary heroine to her long-sought objective, in a stunning, unforgettable finale.

The Night Window by Dean KoontzMy Review:

What a stunner of a finale! Book 5, the conclusion in the Jane Hawk series was inarguably the best. Don’t get me wrong–I really enjoyed the previous installments–and couldn’t wait for the next. This doesn’t disappoint. It leaves you breathless, spent, with a major book hangover.

Book Handover

Yes, that is a real condition: Book Hangover (book hang-oh-ver) n. The struggle of trying to reconnect with reality after finishing a really amazing book.

If you started this series from Book 1, kudos! But even if you didn’t, this would still function well as a standalone. Just that you get all that backstory with the first 4. Jane Hawk is an amazing young woman, cunning, intelligent, and capable who had a spectacular career in the FBI. But something went wrong, criminally wrong, and she left and went rogue after the death of her beloved husband. Now she is desperately trying to save her son as well as expose the Techno-Arcadians whose nano-technology mission is to contain and control the population. They have a good running start.

The author has a way of painting the good people very good. You love them. You could hug them–you know them. They are real, enormously empathetic, and you’d love to meet them in real life. Most especially this time ex-FBI guy Vikram Rangnekar. What a brilliant sweety! He is a white hat genius hacker. Then the other side, darker than dark, evil ego-maniac billionaire Wainwright Warwick Hollister. I love the way Koontz gives you a baddy such as Hollister and pits him against sweet, naive Tom Buckle. You begin rooting for Tom immediately, heart in your throat, he’s an innocent for heaven’s sake!

The chapters skip between scenarios, Hollister, Weatherwax, Jane and then Vikram. In her mad dash to reveal and destroy the Arcadians, Jane had garnered somewhat of a sympathetic, independent following who are distrusting and disbelieving of the vile assassination of her character on the social media. And always, there is the uncanny connection of mother to son. Then there are Mustafa al-Yamani and Charles Douglas Weatherwax doggedly tracking Jane while Mustafa is being counseled by Weatherwax on the proper and stylish dress and manner of the population of Long Island. Brooding about the proper after-shave fragrance or man purses among other upper-crust conundrums adds a bit of humor and comical spice that cuts somewhat the horror of these two agents. Koontz balances the hate with love, the evil with good and all the while discussing technology fascinatingly sinister while mind-blowingly mesmerizing. It can sound all too real!

Shocking discovery--What!?? And then the shocking conclusion, the only way Jane could see to expose something this massive, this evil. But I couldn’t believe what I was reading! Really though, it was incredible. How else could this have been handled? It was brilliant and devastating. Koontz is the man. The master storyteller. Loved this series! It moves at a remarkable pace. I’m a grateful recipient of an uncorrected digital ebook download and loved the opportunity to read and review. Totally recommended.

Did you read this book? Let’s talk about it!

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Dean Koontz - authorThe Author: Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Book Beginnings-The Friday 56

Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are currently reading. Starting last October I participated in Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. You can too! Just include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. This week I am spotlighting The Night Window by Dean Koontz.

“The triple-pane floor-to-ceiling windows of Hollister’s study frame the rising plain to the west, the foothills, and the distant Rocky Mountains that were long ago born from the earth in cataclysm, now dark and majestic against a sullen sky.”

(And because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it is common to combine the two.)

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader, and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, and then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – there yah go! How’s that for easy!

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56--The Night Window by Dean Koontz

Friday 56:

“He’s been drunk on money for so many years, he needs that high no less than a heroin addict needs his next injection. He can’t live happily without it. Another man in such a condition might seek purpose in philanthropy, but Wainwright Hollister is no more likely to give away his fortune than he is to donate his eyes to a blind man…Although buying things no longer gives him a money high, he still has one source of inebriation: wielding power over others.”

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So what am I thinking?

Wow.

Just wow.

While I missed the first in this series, I’ve read from Book 2 and I must say, I enjoyed each book more than the last. But this one–this one has to be the best. And this one will also be the last in the series. So far, it’s been electrifying and unputdownable. I can’t wait to see how Koontz will bring this climax to a satisfying close, but I know it will be good. Beyond good–fabulous! The man is an expert storyteller and the way he builds his characters, his scenes, and plots the course is amazing. Waxing prose with intelligence, science, and technology. It’s a rewarding time well spent. (I got my uncorrected proof from NetGalley.) Start with book 1 if you must, but do not miss this explosive conclusion.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

The Secret Place by Tana French – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is a police procedural/crime fiction by Irish author Tana French. I was not prepared and it knocked my socks off! What did I get myself into?

March!

The Secret Place by Tana FrenchTitle: The Secret Place: (Dublin Murder Squad Series, Book 5) by Tana French

Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Police Procedural

Publisher: Penguin Books

Print Length: 480 pages

Publication Date: Reprint edition August 4, 2015

  • ASIN: B00IOE4JXS
  • ISBN-10:0143127519
  • ISBN-13:978-0143127512

Source: Reading Ireland 2019 list 746 Books

Title Link: The Secret Place

Book Blurb:

A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption: “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.” Stephen joins with Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case—beneath the watchful eye of Holly’s father, fellow detective Frank Mackey. With the clues leading back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends, to their rival clique, and to the tangle of relationships that bound them all to the murdered boy, the private underworld of teenage girls turns out to be more mysterious and more dangerous than the detectives imagined. Continue reading “The Secret Place by Tana French – a #BookReview”

Dark Hollow by John Connolly – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is a crime fiction by Dublin born Irish author John Connolly. Because of the length of this and another that we borrowed from our local library, my associate reviewer read Dark Hollow and the following is his review.

March!

 

Dark Hollow by John ConnollyTitle: Dark Hollow: A Charlie Parker Thriller (Book 2) by John Connolly

Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense, Supernatural, Ghosts, Serial Killers

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Print Length: 432 pages

Publication Date: Reprint edition (June 16, 2015)

  • ASIN: B002OK2OQM
  • ISBN-10: 1501122630
  • ISBN-13:978-1501122637

Source: Irish Authors by 746Books

Title Link: Dark Hollow

Book Blurb:

The second thriller in John Connolly’s bestselling, chilling series featuring haunted private investigator Charlie Parker.

Charlier Parker, a former New York City detective with a haunted past, befriends a down-and-out mother with a small child. When she turns up dead, Charlie’s first suspect is her estranged husband. Charlie follows the man’s trail to Maine and there he becomes entangled in a series of strange occurrences which all seem to harken back to a string of unsolved murders that took place generations before. The murders were never solved and now Charlie must hunt for a killer and the connection between two crimes that span a century.

Dark Hollow by John ConnollyHis Review:

Extremely dark crime noir may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Charlie Parker is a former police officer turned private detective haunted by the death of his wife and daughter. The overall plot moves slowly, developing into a harsh reality of Charlie’s life. Overall the book is well written and keeps engagement but is brutal in the reality of catching the killer.

Subplots of harrowing psychological events imposed upon the reader by a mother who basically hated her husband and her child results in diabolical events. Add the mob on a ruthless quest to recover two million dollars and nobody is safe. Brutality at every turn left me wishing for a little peace in detective Parker’s life.

I felt the book could have matriculated quicker with less exposure to a ruthless killer of young women. It quelled my thirst to visit the far corners of Maine. Two generations of Parkers finally solve the mystery but at a horrendous price. Part of a series but could function as a standalone. Well-plotted but a little slow and long for me. C.E. Williams 4/5 stars

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John Connolly - authorThe Author: [John Connolly] I was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and have, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a “gofer” at Harrods department store in London. I studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which I continue to contribute, although not as often as I would like. I still try to interview a few authors every year, mainly writers whose work I like, although I’ve occasionally interviewed people for the paper simply because I thought they might be quirky or interesting. All of those interviews have been posted to my website, http://www.johnconnollybooks.com.

I was working as a journalist when I began work on my first novel. Like a lot of journalists, I think I entered the trade because I loved to write, and it was one of the few ways I thought I could be paid to do what I loved. But there is a difference between being a writer and a journalist, and I was certainly a poorer journalist than I am a writer (and I make no great claims for myself in either field.) I got quite frustrated with journalism, which probably gave me the impetus to start work on the novel. That book, Every Dead Thing, took about five years to write and was eventually published in 1999. It introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow, the second Parker novel, followed in 2000. The third Parker novel, The Killing Kind, was published in 2001, with The White Road following in 2002. In 2003, I published my fifth novel – and first stand-alone book – Bad Men. In 2004, Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories, was added to the list, and 2005 marked the publication of the fifth Charlie Parker novel, The Black Angel. In 2006, The Book of Lost Things, my first non-mystery novel, was published.

Charlie Parker has since appeared in five additional novels: The Unquiet, The Reapers (where he plays a secondary role to his associates, Louis and Angel), The Lovers, The Whisperers, and The Burning Soul. The eleventh Charlie Parker novel, The Wrath of Angels, will be available in the UK in August 2012 and in the US in January 2013.

The Gates launched the Samuel Johnson series for younger readers in 2009, followed by Hell’s Bells (UK)/The Infernals (US) in 2011. A third Samuel Johnson novel should be finished in 2013.

I am also the co-editor, with fellow author Declan Burke, of Books to Die For, an anthology of essays from the world’s top crime writers in response to the question, “Which book should all lovers of crime fiction read before they die?” Books to Die For is available in the UK as of August 2012, and will be available in the US in October 2012.

I am based in Dublin but divide my time between my native city and the United States, where each of my novels has been set.

©2019

Associate Reviewer - C E Williams
C E Williams

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDanielTitle: A Life for a Life: A Mystery Novel (Appalachian Mountain Mystery Book 1)

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Lynda McDaniel Books

Print Length: 341 pages

Publication Date: August 15, 2016

ISBN: 0997780800

ASIN: B01KGVUREG

Source: Direct Author Request

Title and Cover: A Life for a LifeSimple cover–subtle subject suggestion

Book Blurb:

One mysterious death. One lazy sheriff. Two seekers of truth.

Della Kincaid escaped to the mountains of N.C. to get away from it all. Didn’t work. She discovers a dead woman in the wilderness and gets embroiled in the investigation. The sheriff says suicide; Kincaid says murder. As a former reporter in Washington, D.C., she knows how to chase the truth. Without her usual sources, she turns to an offbeat cast of characters—friends, forger, former husband, and new neighbor Abit Bradshaw, a challenged boy who’s spent the first 16 years of his life plagued by small-town bullies and family lies. They team up to search for answers to the possible murder—and to make peace with their own lives. 

A Life for a Life is the first book in Lynda McDaniel’s internationally acclaimed Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series. Reviewers have compared her work to To Kill a Mockingbird and her storytelling style to that of Fannie Flagg. If you like page-turning dramas without over-the-top violence—but packed with suspense and character-driven stories—you’ll love this series. Continue reading “A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview”

The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly – a #BookReview

The Lost Traveller by Sheila ConnollyTitle: The Lost Traveller (County Cork Mystery Book 7) by Sheila Connolly

Genre: Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1683318900
  • ISBN-13:978-1683318903
  • ASIN: B07D2J14S8

Print Length: 336 pages

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Lost TravellerNice cover, title is misleading

My Review:

It’s amazing how often I manage to bumble into two books in a row that not only deal with (sorta) the same subject, but use many of the same names or locations as well. My last two books dealt with the Irish and particularly the last one with Travellers. I’d read Furlong’s first book, my introduction to the subject, and didn’t realize this one also used that spelling, indicating that particular group of Irish citizens who set themselves apart many generations ago. But I saw “County Cork.” YES! I was in.

No, I wasn’t.

This promised to be a great read. I was enthused, excited. Look at the cover. Pretty, huh? But that is also misleading, certainly doesn’t bear accurately the description of the bridge in the book. And this is the seventh in the series. Hopefully, there was lots of character development in the previous six. In this one, not so much.

The Lost Traveller by Sheila ConnollyProtagonist Maura (popular name) Donovan inherited old, established Sullivan’s pub in the little village of Leap, Ireland (West Cork). She is from Boston, possibly middle-twenties. She neither knows how to cook, peruse the internet, or craft an attractive setting. She also inherited a small cottage with the pub and except for getting her own mattress, has done little else to remodel or decorate.

The first portion of the narrative looked to be making good on the implied promise. She discovers a body, the mystery begins. We get to learn somewhat of the main characters, Rose, a seventeen-year-old student, and Mick, resident bar-keep. I think he is supposed to be a romantic interest, but wouldn’t have my interest, Irish brogue or not. The support characters, some old time bar patrons such as Billy, or friends such as Bridget and Gillian add interest, and there is Garda Sean Murphy who sounds far more appealing than Mick. Dialogue is stilted, meant to convey an Irish accent.

But Maura, poor Maura, descends into a muddled, befuddled American mess. She is actually a little embarrassing. Let Rose do it. Rose will know what to do. Let Rose run the pub. Let Rose create a website and set up the internet. (Rose is 17 going on 34.) Maura needs to figure out who was the victim, why he was dumped on her property, and where oh where can she find more employees to help with all that beautiful June summery tourist traffic. Should she create a kitchen and let Rose cook? (Cause she can’t.) Can she keep Rose long enough to turn her into the pub cook? No problem, she has rooms upstairs. Rose will want to live above the pub for convenience–easier to get to school and work.

The Travellers? They play a very small part in the overall plotline (and they are not lost). Maura is busy jumping from one theory to another regarding the murder, working herself into a dither when she isn’t wringing her hands over the employee/kitchen situation. The whole situation is recited over and over. The conclusion comes in as confirmation of her theories, quietly and rather as an anticlimax. Not all ends are tied, but oh well.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to read and review. I did enjoy to an extent, but would also suggest obtaining a better editor. These are just my impressions–you may have an entirely different view. Many do. 😘

Rosepoint Publishing:  Two point Three of Five Stars Two point Five of Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck. 

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

Laced with warm Irish charm, a delightful small-town setting, and a colorful cast of characters, New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly’s seventh County Cork mystery, The Lost Traveller, conspires to delight.

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Sheila Connolly - authorThe Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press. Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork. She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong

My First #fivestar Read of the Year

Title: Fractured Truth (A Bone Gap Travellers Novel Book 2)

Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Animals

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: December 18, 2018

Print Length: 288 pages

  • ISBN-10:1496711696
  • ISBN-13:978-1496711694
  • ASIN: B07BVDNVC9

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Fractured Truth – February snow in the mountains

Book Blurb:

When the mutilated remains of a young woman are found in an Appalachian Mountain cave, newly sworn-in deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan is forced to track down a killer driven by twisted motives . . .  

Not long after donning the uniform of the McCreary County Sheriff’s department in Bone Gap, Tennessee, ex-Marine Brynn Callahan faces her first official homicide. On a cold February morning, a lone cross-country skier stumbles across the mutilated body of a young woman. Sent to investigate, Brynn is shocked when she recognizes the victim as a fellow Traveller, Maura Keene.

Maura held a solid standing both within the Travellers’ insular community and among the settled townspeople—a fact that makes her murder all the more disturbing to Brynn, who also straddles the two worlds.  After her trained K-9, Wilco, digs up human bones, and then a scrap of paper scrawled with arcane Latin phrases is uncovered, Brynn finds evidence leading her to question those closest to her—and closing the case becomes a deeply personal matter.

While trying to suppress local superstitions and prejudices, Brynn discovers that Maura was keeping a dangerous secret. And as the bones Wilco found are analyzed by forensics, Brynn harbors the troubling suspicion that she knows who they belong to. Still struggling with PTSD, Brynn must put her career on the line and her life at risk to find justice for a woman not unlike herself—haunted by her past, and caught in a vicious cycle she may never
escape . . .
  Continue reading “Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview”

Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview

Title: Live and Let Pie (A Bakeshop Mystery Book 9 ) by Ellie Alexander

Genre: Cozy, Culinary, Mystery, Amateur Sleuth

Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

Printed pages: 304

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

  • ISBN-10:1250159393
  • ISBN-13:978-1250159397
  • ASIN: B07DNBH26W

Title and Cover: Live and Let Pie – Pie theme cover

Book Blurb:

Live and Let Pie by Ellie AlexanderLife is sweet once you step into Torte, everybody’s favorite small-town bakeshop. But what happens when it becomes the scene of a crime?

The heat is on for pastry chef, family business operator, and unlikely sleuth Jules Capshaw. Just when she thought she could enjoy some time away from the kitchen, Jules manages to discover a skull during a picnic by the lake. As if unearthing remains that may be connected to a missing-persons case from the 1960s isn’t enough on her plate, Jules must contend with the unsolved matter of her own marriage while her estranged husband Carlos sails the open seas, awaiting a verdict. Then there’s Jules’s bitter landlord Edgar, who is intent on making a sweet deal on a vacant lot down the block from Torte—until he turns up dead. If only Jules could find a recipe that would let her bake her cake and eat it, too… Continue reading “Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview”

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

In October I began participating in Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are currently reading. Include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. This week I am spotlighting Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent.

“What would possess Joe Nelson to give the Christmas solo to a woman who sings like a washing machine full of rocks?”

(And because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it is common to combine the two.)

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader, and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, and then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – there yah go! How’s that for easy!

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

Friday 56:

Ruby spun around in front of me. “I know you’re looking at my jacket, Betsy. Like it?”

The white fur of the jacket was lustrous. I would never have bought it for myself, and I also thought it was more suited for a woman much younger than Ruby. She was running the risk of looking like the famous abominable snowman from the claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “Very nice,” was all I could manage to say.

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So what am I thinking?

Nice to get into a slightly unusual scenario for a cozy mystery! I can relate to a choir member hurting your ears since I was part of several choirs for more than fifteen years. And there is always one…

This review is scheduled for Christmas Day. Don’t you just love that cover?

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown – #BookReview

Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery (Book 3)

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Women Sleuths

  • ISBN-10:1729374786
  • ISBN-13:978-1729374788
  • ASIN: B07JRB373X
  • 298 pages
  • Date Published: October 27, 2018

My Review:

Not a problem that this is book 3 of the Cycle Path series, as Tandem Demise can work just fine as a standalone. There is enough here to check off the list of most everyone reading a cozy and Ms. Brown knows just the right pace to lead you along!

Evie Bloomfield must be the most inept bicycle rider ever that owns a bicycle rental shop, Rudy’s Rides, on the touristy island of Mackinac Island, Michigan. But you have to give it to her–she decorates and names each bike such that they take on a personality. It’s the perfect place to have a bicycle rental shop–there are no cars allowed. There are, however, plenty of horses. The description of the island already has me planning a trip in the summer (as it definitely wouldn’t appeal as a winter-time destination).

Evie is apparently a single thirty-something who is eyeing Nate Sutter, the police chief and transplanted Detroit cop. Her best buddy is Fiona, a newspaper editor. There is a wealth of well-developed support characters, including Evie’s mother and Cal, her ex-Marine shop assistant. The names of the local shops are quaint and the island inviting. She has two kitties, Bambino and Cleveland. There is a wedding planner running interference and a couple of casualties and Evie discovers both.

The author leads with snarky, snappy dialogue and the pace and never slows the narrative. The well-plotted storyline runs into twists and becomes apparent that there is a more complex story here than immediately apparent. Packed with a LOL sense of humor, the mystery carefully weaves in and out of island exposé. You may guess the antagonist correctly prior to conclusion, but the exciting reveal held one final little twist you didn’t see coming. The only problem I had was the number of edit misses.

I was given this ebook download by the author through BookFunnel for a spotlight that I’ve previously published on this blog and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries. Fun and fast. Not my first Duffy Brown book and I look forward to many more!

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Book Blurb:

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.
To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets.
With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself. 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About The Author:

Duffy Brown - authorDuffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island.

Author Links:

Website – http://www.duffybrown.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com

©2018 V Williams V Williams

 

The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview

The Pint of No Return by Ellie AlexanderTitle: The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander

Genre:  Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Culinary, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur Books

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

ISBN-13:978-1250108654

ASIN: B079DV6VX

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Pint of No Return – Conveys picturesque Bavarian village

Book Blurb: Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause returns in The Pint of No Return, another delightful cozy by Ellie Alexander—this time investigating a movie star who’s murdered not long after arriving in Leavenworth, WA to film his latest project.

No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.

To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew? [Don’t miss the Oktoberfest parade-click to see more!] Continue reading “The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview”

Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview

Malice at the Manor by J Marshall GordonTitle: Malice at the Manor (Penny Summers Mystery Book 2) by J. Marshall Gordon

Genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Woman Sleuth, Private Investigations

Publisher: Taylor & Seale Publishing

Publication Date: April 27, 2018

Source: Happy Book Reviews and author

Title and Cover: Malice at the Manor – Beautiful cover conveys subject background

Book Blurb: Penny Summers bones up on Renaissance garden design until she finds a dead docent and finds herself up to her tramp stamp unraveling a Civil War battle flag scam.

In North Carolina where “The Recent Unpleasantness” between the North and the South is still romanticized, the problem of a dead docent in a famous garden leads ex-Navy public affairs officer Penny Summers to a Civil War battle flag scam, a deadly reenactment, and a search for a man in black. With the help of Kalea, an eleven-year-old C.S.I.-wannabe, and Aaron, her handsome Navy friend working undercover, Penny discovers more than she bargained for. She thinks if she had studied psychology, it might have turned out differently. Probably not.

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(This was a publicist request that I thought both the C.E. and I might enjoy and review together–you’ll note the CE often holds a different opinion although many times generously so.)

My Review:

I must confess that this is the first quasi-cozy whose protagonist is a Master Gardener/landscape designer. Ex-Navy Penny Summers enrolls in Madison Lerrimore’s residential design course in Maryland which leads to a visit with the instructor to North Carolina.

The author does a masterful job of interlacing fact with fiction, the names in our recent history, and fascinating locations in this country’s civil war including the little-known site of a short skirmish in Asheville, NC. I must say, it incites interest in visiting civil war sites and some of these gorgeous old southern mansions and their gardens. This one, whether or not fictional, sounded fascinating enough to warrant a closer inspection (especially if the bridges where the public would be allowed are unsafe).

This is actually the second in the series. Among the recurring major characters are her Aunt Zelma and Navy sweetie, Aaron Hunt. In this narrative, Penny gets to know her instructor on a personal level, including Madison’s daughter, Kalea, a precocious eleven-year-old and Madison’s partner. The author includes a touch of paranormal with his first-person Penny who often hears her “Grandpa Jack” making comments in her ear, and her great-aunt Zelma is said to have “second sight.” Additionally, backstory is added to Penny’s own childhood that appears to have some impact on current events.

It doesn’t take long before Penny is stumbling across a docent face down in a creek bed who turns out to be a relative of Madison which unintentionally opens a can of worms. The multi-layered plot forks off with absorbing peek into history, Madison’s twisted tale, and Aunt Zelma’s hosting prowess with food and the ever-present chardonnay. And there is always “money” as motive in civil war memorabilia. Penny concocts an idea to wheedle out the antagonist using her sweetie, soon to be lover, and manages to pull off a coup at the conclusion with the help of local law enforcement and Henderson County detective, Coleen Jackson.

The description of the gardens and associated local plant species was interesting, the civil war history interesting, and the sights and flavors of the south interesting. However, there were times when Kalea appeared to be smarter than the adults who were supervising her, and the growing romance between Penny and Aaron was just annoying unnecessary. The characters were not wholly engaging although the narrative moved at a nice pace, and the dialogue (except for exaggerated southern drawl) believable.

On the whole, a relatively quiet conclusion, albeit without a complete resolution to all questions. The antagonist seems apparent and as they note, “Maybe the how will suggest the why. And then the who will become obvious.” 4/5 stars [V Williams] V Williams Continue reading “Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview”

A Borrowing of Bones – a #BookReview

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula MunierTitle: A Borrowing of Bones (Mercy and Elvis Mysteries) by Paula Munier

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Animal, Police Procedurals

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur Books

Publication Date: To be released Tuesday, September 11, 2018 

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Borrowing of BonesI still maintain that if it has a dog on the cover, it has to be good.

Grief and guilt are the ghosts that haunt you when you survive what others do not….”

Retired MP and Afghanistan vet Mercy Carr and the Belgian Malinois she brought home after a six-month battle to retrieve the highly trained ex-bomb-sniffing dog, Elvis, are living a quiet life. Mercy exercises the high energy canine early every morning continuing a bonding regime from his former handler and her deceased fiancé Martinez. That is, until this morning when the dog suddenly darts into the dense underbrush and alerts to a baby. Continue reading “A Borrowing of Bones – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – Deer Season (Ray Elkins Thriller series) by Aaron Standler

#ThrowbackThursday-Deer Season

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Aaron Standler, another prolific author who wrote Deer Season #3 in his Ray Elkins Thriller series. (He has written other series as well.) This novel was published by Writers and Editors LLC on July 1, 2009. He consistently runs approximately 3.5-4 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

I posted a review of Shelf Ice by this author in January 2014. Shelf Ice is #4 in the series. See that review here. That was back when I was gleaning free books from BookBub and also downloaded Deer Season as my hubby was a hunter and thought he’d enjoy. Apparently, the author has written nine in the series. The C.E. read this book and his review follows. Winter is knocking on our doors, changing the direction of the wind, and the smell of dry leaves permeate the air perhaps earlier in Michigan and parts of the north than the midwest and sunny south and west. Are you ready for some cooler temps?

Book Blurb:

It’s late November along the shores of northern Lake Michigan. Deer season has been open for a few days and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A local TV anchorwomen is returning home from an early morning yoga class with her young twin daughters. She stops at the end of her drive and climbs out of her car to collect the mail from the box. As she turns back toward her vehicle, the bullet from a high caliber weapon tears through her chest. In this third book in this series, Sheriff Ray Elkins confronts both the dark history of his own department and powerful and wealthy adversaries who try to control the direction and reach of his investigation.

 Add to Goodreads Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Deer Season (Ray Elkins Thriller series) by Aaron Standler”

The Forbidden Door – a #BookReview – #greatreads

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzTitle: The Forbidden Door (A Jane Hawk Novel) Book 4 by Dean Koontz

Genre: Currently #60 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publisher: Bantam – Random House LLC

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Forbidden DoorCompelling colors, interesting face, same model as book covers 2 and 3(?) but I don’t see here a vision of the “real” Jane Hawk.

Okay, yes, I didn’t read book 1 but I did read books 2 and 3 and I must say if Book 2 hooked you, Book 3 stayed the course, Book 4 absolutely cements you into Hawk’s boots. They are kick-ass boots worn by a quick-witted, intelligent ex-FBI agent gone rogue. She’s mad.

Not mad, furious.

She’s tough, intuitive, and on an urgent mission as book 3 ended with a call from her son, Travis…his guardians are missing. Continue reading “The Forbidden Door – a #BookReview – #greatreads”

Tag – This Is My Genre Book Tag

This is My Genre Book Tag

I was tagged by Shalini at BOOKS, REVIEWS ET AL BY SHALINI to participate in the This Is My Genre Book Tag! Thank you so much! If you haven’t followed Shalini yet, you owe it to yourself to check out her blog and enjoy the biting wit and wisdom she bestows in her reviews, posts, and interviews.

The Rules

  • Answer the questions
  • Tag as many people as you want

The Questions

What is your favorite genre?

I don’t think I can pin that down to one genre. I tend to read all over the board. However, I do love thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense, crime, police procedurals, yadda, yadda, yadda…hey, I list all that, including genres I won’t normally read on my “Submission” page.

Who is your favorite author from that genre?

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzArgh! Well, that could change, but right now I’m reading book 4 of the Jane Hawk series, The Forbidden Door, by Dean Koontz. Gees, can that man write!! (And, btw, I’ll be reviewing his book this Sunday, September 2nd, which is also my 56th anniversary with the CE. How the man has hung in this long is beyond me.)

What is it about that genre that keeps pulling you back?

Are you kidding? The nail-biting, edge of your seat, can’t put it down to fix a meal or go to the bathroom, glued to the page reading. These books leave you spent at the finish line and looking for the next one. They are the “crack” of books. And like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t read just one.

What is the book that started your love for the genre?

Blood Orchids by Toby NealUh huh, at my age, I can’t remember that far back. When I told my son I was reading a Dean Koontz book, he mentioned that Koontz wrote horror. (He knows I wouldn’t read that.) But I was hooked. Years ago I discovered Toby Neal and her Lei Crime series. After reading Blood Orchids, yeah, I was hooked.

If you have to recommend one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader–that genre, what book would you choose and why?

Just Add Salt by Jinx SchwartzYeah, no. I don’t generally recommend books, although I discovered that I had no problem recommending books to my recent visitor–an avid reader (who seems to prefer books of more than 300 pages). She also reads a fairly wide variety of genres. I introduced her to Toby Neal and Jinx Schwartz. If you don’t know that latter name, Jinx writes the kitschy Hetta Coffey Mysteries. I got started with her books because she writes sea stories (and you know where that interest stemmed from).

Why do you read?

I’ve always read. Books have the power to transport you to exotic places, exercise super powers, teach, empower, and write. Which I also wanted to do!

I tag –

Mischenko

Carla

And many of you don’t do tags, so anyone else who wants to do this tag, please do! I’d loved to read your answers!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Burning Ridge – a #BookReview

Burning Ridge - a Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently #204 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Burning Ridge – Cover depicts K-9 major character

Burning Ridge comprises #4 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the second I’ve had the privilege to receive through download from the publisher and NetGalley. Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is a handler for regal German Shepherd police K-9 Robo who has been trained for specialty assignments in search and rescue in the remote and rugged Colorado mountains. Continue reading “Burning Ridge – a #BookReview”

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Disappearing Diva #BookTour #Spotlight

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Disappearing Diva

I am so delighted today to provide a spotlight for you at my blog stop for Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Disappearing Diva by Gemma Halliday and Kelly Rey on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details 

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Disappearing Diva

Book 2 of the Series

Romance – Mystery, 227 pages

Gemma Halliday Publishing

Released August 14, 2018

ASIN: B07DP3NBH7

Book Blurb

Sherlock Holes and the case of the Disappearing Diva

From #1 Kindle & New York Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday and USA Today bestselling author Kelly Rey comes a story about Sherlock Holmes, two savvy female detectives, and one chance to catch a killer and the hot Dr. Watson at the same time…

If there’s one thing Martha “Marty” Hudson can’t say no to, it’s her best friend Irene Adler. So when Irene’s little white lie about a fake detective named Sherlock Holmes turns into a real case from an actual paying client, Marty is all in. But their simple missing person case takes a deadly turn when the missing “person” ends up being a missing corpse. Rebecca Lowery was an opera singer in life and, according to her sister, who hires the famous detective to find her, a diva with capital D. When her body goes missing after a supposedly accidental fall, Marty & Irene can think of several people who might want the diva to disappear permanently—especially if her missing body is actually hiding evidence of her murder. Is it the boyfriend with a temper and a shady record, the jealous understudy who’s now stealing the show, the creepy undertaker with possible ties to the underworld, or the estranged sister herself who now inherits everything? Marty and Irene aim to find out, even while trying to keep cool around the hot ME, Dr. Watson, and dodging questions from the Irregulars blogger, Wiggins, about the mysterious man behind the name Sherlock Holmes. Will the ladies be able to pull this one off? Or are they in over their heads…and possibly about to take their own final bows?

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About the Author

Gemma Halliday is the #1 Kindle, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of several romantic mystery series, including the High Heels Mysteries, the Hollywood Headlines Mysteries, the Jamie Bond Mysteries, and many others. Gemma’s books have received numerous awards, including a Golden Heart, two National Reader’s Choice awards, a RONE award for best mystery, and three RITA nominations. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her boyfriend, Jackson Stein, who writes vampire thrillers, and their four children, who are adorably distracting on a daily basis.

Want a FREE ebook? Sign up for Gemma’s newsletter and get a free ebook as a thank you! http://www.gemmahalliday.com

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

August 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

August 15 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

August 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

August 17 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 17 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 17 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

August 18 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 19 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 20 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 20 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

August 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 21 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 22 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

August 23 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

August 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 24 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

 Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to post this spotlight!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview

See You Soon, Afton by Brent JonesTitle: See You Soon, Afton (Afton Morrison Book 2) by Brent Jones

Genre: Currently #3787 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: See You Soon, AftonAfton Morrison, Book 2 (The Afton Morrison Series) by Brent Jones

Holy smokes! Book 2 literally sets the plot on fire with the dark and desperate attempt by Afton to find and save little Kim. The despot in Afton takes a back seat as she must act on that soft spot for the sweet and innocent volunteer library assistant who looks on her as a mentor. After all, she has yet to prove her psychopathic vigilante assassin status! If Afton ravaged your senses in Book 1 with her first-person account of her twisted, deep vigilante desires and her comprehensive search for the perfect victim to stem the Animus within her, Book 2 slams what you thought you knew about where this was going against a very hot, blackened wall. Continue reading “See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview”

Series Sampler-What’s Your Pleasure? Crime Thriller or Sci-Fi-Fantasy

#AmReading - series

OMG, it’s not often I get in depth in a single series, let alone two!

This time, however, I began The Afton Morrison series with #1 and glad I did! This one is just plain hardcore.  I am now reading #2, See You Soon, Afton by Brent Jones. While there are some series in which the individual novels could function as a standalone, these two series, as widely different as they are, should both begin with numero uno, number one. Fortunately, it’s not too late into this series to start reading number one as the author plans to release number two August 7, 2018.

See You Soon, Afton #2 Afton Morrison series

I will be presenting my review of See You Soon, Afton on Friday, July 27, 2018, and I’ll warn you up front, this series is not for the faint of heart, tender ears, or PG eyes–it is definitely “R” rated. Amazon classifies as mystery, thriller, and suspense. The thing about Brent’s books–despite the delayed gratification is that there is generally a surprising, often shocking, moral to the story–and the reading is worth it. If you missed my review of Go Home, Afton, number one in the series, you can find it here, or see it on Amazon here.

See You Soon, Afton – Book Blurb:

Somebody is watching. Somebody is always watching.

A teenage girl in Wakefield has been abducted, and tracking her down not only tests Afton’s moral limits, but threatens her freedom and her life.

Suspected of murder by local police, and under the watch of a menacing figure in the shadows, Afton’s search and rescue effort unravels dark secrets from her own past. Familial secrets her mother took to the grave, more than a decade ago.

See You Soon, Afton is the second of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

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Thank heavens I had a little help with this one–the C.E. taking the helm at the sci-fi police procedural techno-thriller, The Invisible Mind – Murder by Munchausen #3 by M.T. Bass . OOH! That’s a mouthful, huh? Seems I have a habit of coming into a series at #3 or even #7–it’s happened before. Amazon classifies it as sci-fi-fantasy and cyberpunk, and I’ll just mention here that it is definitely some hardcore science. Electron Alley plans to release the novel on August 25, 2018.

The Invisible Mind-Murder by Munchausen #3

The C.E. was asked as a condition of the book review for Sage’s Blog Tours that he read number one and two prior to reading number three, which is the subject of the book tour. That was quite the undertaking! I will be presenting the C.E.’s review of The Invisible Mind on Sunday, July 29, 2018.

The Invisible Mind – Book Blurb:

A police procedural thriller ripped from future headlines!

Now unleashed, the “Baron” is resurrecting history’s notorious serial killers, giving them a second life in the bodies of hacked and reprogrammed Personal Assistant Androids, then turning them loose to terrorize the city.  While detectives Jake and Maddie of the police department’s Artificial Crimes Unit scramble to stop the carnage with the Baron’s arrest, the cyberpunk head of the Counter IT Section, Q, struggles to de-encrypt his mad scheme to infect world data centers with a virus that represents a collective consciousness of evil.

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I’ve argued the whole series or standalone novels before, and will just point out that the Afton Morrison series are novellas. You can whip through them–just possibly not late at night, alone, quiet. Or maybe quiet is good–you’ll want to be able to hear.

Tired of reading your same-o-same-o? Look into one of these. They are not one of your average cozy mysteries. You’ll thank me (or not).

©2018 V Williams V Williams