A Trail of Lies: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery Book 3) by Kylie Logan –#BookReview – #cozyanimalmysteries – #TuesdayBookBlog – #bookseries

Book Blurb:

A Trail of Lies is the third in the Jazz Ramsey mystery series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan.

A Trail of Lies by Kylie LoganJazz Ramsey is just getting used to the idea that her on-again-off-again beau, Nick, might actually be a permanent fixture, when she gets an alarming call in the middle of the night from his mother, Kim: there’s a dead man in her backyard. Kim has a long history of drinking and a vivid imagination, so when Jazz’s human remains detection dog, Wally, finds no evidence of a body, Jazz thinks she can breathe easy.

But when the body of a middle-aged man, Dan Mansfield, is discovered in a nearby park, and a photo of Nick and his mom is found in his pocket, Jazz has to admit that something isn’t adding up. Kim claims not to know who Dan is, but the cops find out soon enough: he’s a recently paroled convict who served thirty years for murder. And when Jazz traces his crime back to a bar fight with an antiques dealer, she ends up with more questions than answers.

Meanwhile, no one wants her poking around—not Nick’s mom, nor the Motorcycle-riding ex-con she connects to Dan, nor Nick himself, who seems worried about Jazz’s safety, but also about what she might find. But Jazz has never been one to take no for an answer, and she won’t give up now—even if it means risking her own life.

My Review:

Yes, I found a doggy story to share with you today! So many dogs in this world and each and every one has a job—even if only to be a companion dog—like our little Bichon, Frosty. (Her job is to be a thigh buddy and she usually performs that job very well.)

A Trail of Lies by Kylie LoganIn Book 3 of the Jazz Ramsey Mystery series, Jazz is awakened by Nick’s mom. Unfortunately, Nick’s mom is an alcoholic and it’s difficult to believe she is actually seeing the body of Nick in her back yard as Jazz knows her (police) boyfriend is on an undercover assignment. He had asked her to look in on his mother, however, and she dutifully drags herself over to inspect her back yard.

Kim continues to be quite adamant though and after her own Airedale terrier Wally, seven months old and training to be a HRD dog, fails to find anyone, she thinks the issue is over until the body of a man is discovered in a park. Oops. Apparently this isn’t going to go away, especially after Jazz brought in a trained dog who did alert. Double oops. Don’t tell me the woman actually did see something?

This episode focuses a little more on her position at St. Catherine and we get glimpses into the training involved with the dog, but again, I miss more dog involvement in the mystery. In the meantime, we are introduced to some interesting characters, are thrown red herrings, and follow Jazz as she pursues one lead after another up to and including the attack on her life. EEK! She’s out for the count–for three weeks(?). Little further development in Nick—he is mostly out of the scene. Her family comes roaring to her rescue—and the family theme becomes prominent.

Kim’s past appears to be catching up to her and pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, interesting twists exposed. The conclusion neatly wraps up the loose dog hair and I like the protagonists’ dogged character—she WILL get answers. A slightly more serious entry to the genre and fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy the inclusion of smart dogs with just a touch of anthropomorphic inclusion. I previously read and enjoyed The Secret of Bones and was happy to see more canine involvement in this, Book 3. Still, no problem reading as a standalone. Currently on pre-order. 

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B08FZ8143D

Print Length: 312 pages
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

The Author: Kylie Logan is the nationally bestselling author of the Jazz Ramsey Mysteries, the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries, the Button Box Mysteries, the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries, and the Ethnic Eats Mysteries.

[Goodreads] A pseudonym used by Constance Laux.

©2021 V Williams

Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers

Book Blurb:

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanGaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.
Her public life Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

My Review:

My first book by this author, a domestic thriller standalone features two main characters. Greg is a well-to-do early fifty something, Harvard educated, and an architect. After only six months, he has invited Jade Thompson to a rental home they’ll share until they are married and have their baby in their new home. She is the product of the Caribbean and a strong social medial influencer who has managed to create a sufficient enough following that she makes her own living. She is also the May to his December.

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanUnfortunately, this is not his first marriage, nor his first child, and although he met Jade after he separated from his wife of twenty-five years, his soon to be ex and both of his children by her are more than a little unsettled at being replaced.

From the outset, there is the sin of omission between the two. Not lies. Not untruths. The failure of disclosure. And both harbor secrets—but perhaps more so on her side. So when they are attacked and he’s left with a serious brain injury and she loses their baby, it sets off a slow chain of events.

Greg’s recovery is slow and debilitating requiring further surgery and in the meantime, his daughter is planting more and more venom in his mind regarding Jade, adding to his insecurity and paranoia. He has wealth and added her to his insurance policy. Is it his money? She has hidden an appalling childhood. Does the attack stem from her father, his associates, or one of his victims?

The attacks on her character are vicious. Greg follows one theory then another. Watches her. She is trying to settle the doubts in her mind about her dad. But Greg and Jade don’t sit and talk. No honest heart-to-hearts here. Just suspicion. They aren’t well developed, so it’s difficult to walk in either shoes.

I had a problem getting into this one. It dragged a bit for me. Not so much as a thriller as a slow build of suspense. I had a couple little problems with the lack of sufficient research (Rikers? Nope—not going to happen). It gradually makes it to conclusion, but by then a matter of eliminating one or the either (not that many and a bit obvious). The relationship between the two is one you’d peg to fail. Communication being a major problem and then add the disparity in cultural and financial backgrounds.

His daughter is awful—no way you can get over that—or his quick lack of support for Jade in a crisis. Yes, I know, I know!!—he’d almost died from the head injury. Am I being too harsh on him? She’d also suffered loss—where was her sympathy? (Don’t get me started.) 3.5 stars

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: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

  • ASIN : B08F4ZJVN6

Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Cate Holahan - authorThe Author: Catherine “Cate” Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower’s Wife (August 2016), Lies She Told (Sept. 2017), Dark Turns (November 2015), and One Little Secret (July 9, 2019). An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record newspaper, and on many web sites. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two young daughters, and sometimes-good dog.

©2021 V Williams

Punning with Scissors (A Crossword Puzzle Mystery Book by Becky Clark – #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

“Don’t bring problems, bring solutions.” 

Book Blurb:

1 DOWN: A PERSON OF INTEREST
 
Punning with Scissors by Becky ClarkQuinn Carr has been quietly creating crosswords for the Chestnut Station Chronicle in her small Colorado town since she was in high school, but she has yet to solve the puzzle of how to make a living from her passion. So she lives with her parents and works at the local diner, catering to regulars like The Retireds, a charming if cantankerous crew of elderly men. The most recent member to join the group is a recently retired tailor, the unfortunately named Hugh Pugh.
 
4-LETTER WORD FOR “IMPALE”
 
But Hugh’s misfortune dramatically increases when he’s arrested for stabbing his husband with a pair of fabric shears. With a cryptic crossword clue left at the crime scene, Quinn seems tailor-made for solving this murder. The local police may be determined to pin the crime on the kindly tailor, but Quinn will use her penchant for puzzles and what her therapist calls her “obsessive coping mechanism” to get the clues to line up and catch the real culprit—before the killer boxes her in. . . .

My Review:

An OCD breakdown is responsible for Quinn Carr returning to her parents home in rural Colorado, where she has established herself as a waitress at the local diner owned by Jake. There she caters to an eclectic group of patrons, one of whom is “The Retireds.”

“How many vegans does it take to eat a piece of bacon?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “Just one, if nobody’s looking.”

Punning with Scissors by Becky ClarkHer position there gives her ample opportunity to exercise her OCD proclivities, arranging condiments, cleaning, and straightening objects. Her form of OCD is serious, an anxiety disorder, and she is seeing a therapist to help her tame the OCD monster.

Quinn is also a professional, albeit closet, cruciverbalist—creating puzzles for the local Chestnut Station Chronicle–something she prefers kept quiet. She has used this skill in the past to send subliminal messages to the local police captain of Chestnut Station when she becomes involved in the murder that has the newest member of the Retireds landed in the slammer.

Following the arrest of Hugh, she has taken on the care of Virginia Wolf, his dog also known as Gin, and her care almost sends her into overload. The police chief, of course, is sure he has his man and, of course, Quinn knows he didn’t do it and takes on the investigation as well as the care of his home.

I started this series with Book 1, unusual for me I know, but was left scratching my head a few times. First, creating a puzzle requires an extremely clever word smith and second, I had no idea how serious OCD could be, often referring to my straightening things as my OCD. Not even close. But I did enjoy this book for the mystery and the characters whether or not I could really connect with Quinn. Also, loved the wit and sense of humor encased in this cozy.

“Don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and delicious with ketchup.”

“…people food is for people, not dogs who think they’re people.”

I like the support characters—all are well developed (her mother’s recipes a hoot) including her boyfriend Rico (her police connection), the mystery (cloaked within the mysteries of the OCD), the clues, investigation, and puzzling scenes. Gees! Sounded like a lot of mathematics were involved and, no surprise there, also not one of my strong suits!

In Book 2, Quinn has graduated into a slightly more astute woman sleuth, tending to be more methodical while obsessive. The narrative is a well-plotted and paced mystery. While I found Book 1 a bit disjointed, novel two of the series was smoother and I could get into the puzzling aspect, unique to a cozy mystery, I’m sure. If you didn’t start with Book 1, no prob—Book 2 could be read as a standalone. Don’t read by rote; don’t read while watching TV or knitting; this cozy requires a thinking cap. Come prepared with yours.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my unbiased opinions. Pre-order is now available.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  • ASIN : B08FXTDJST

Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

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

Becky won the 1st place “Best in Category” Mystery & Mayhem Award from the Chanticleer International Book Awards for Fiction Can Be Murder, book one in the Mystery Writer’s Mystery series.

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

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

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

©2021 V Williams

The Manhattan Job (Spider Heist Thrillers Book 3) by Jason Kasper – #BookReview – #financialthrillers

Book Blurb:

The Manhattan Job is the third installment of the heart-stoppingly suspenseful Spider Heist series by USA Today bestselling author Jason Kasper.

The Manhattan Job by Jason KasparBefore she was a thief, Blair Morgan was a disgraced FBI agent…her corrupt former boss sending her to jail as a scapegoat.

Now a world-class thief, it’s time for Blair’s revenge.

Blair has all the evidence she needs to take her old boss down…she just needs to steal it first.

But when another master thief beats her to the punch, Blair finds her evidence up for sale in a bidding war between her crew, her enemy, and a mysterious figure known only as Fixer. The journey will take her crew from their LA hideout to Washington DC and Manhattan, where the final victor will be determined once and for all.

With ten days until the auction, Blair’s crew must find a way to uncover Fixer’s identity and convince him to join their cause.

If they can’t get leverage, the man who put Blair in jail goes free forever…

…and then he’ll be the one coming after her.

His Review:

Really successful thieves are well educated and smart. Many of them go into politics. Jim Jacobson has risen from the ranks of the FBI to state and federal government. He had his eye rising from a seat in Albany to a chair in Washington DC. Along the way he did not hesitate to do everything necessary for self- promotion.

The Manhattan Job by Jason KasparA series of four digital tapes could derail his chances for upward mobility and a possible run for president. He was determined to acquire those tapes and continue climbing the ladder to the federal government. Standing in his way is a group of professional thieves’ intent on exposing him for the corrupt politician he has become.

The group is called “The Sky Thieves.” Trained Federal Bureau of Investigation operatives are working on both sides of this novel. Blair is a former FBI Agent burned by the aspiring Mr. Jacobson. She is being trained by fellow master criminals including Sterling who was broken out of a maximum-security prison by the Sky Thieves. Their current mission is to stop this man on his road to the presidency.

The book reads like a primer or introduction into the many tools available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its’ operatives. Criminals of course soon gain access to these tools and they work on both sides of the law. Many of the tools are the things of former science fiction! Laser voice recorders and observation tools, heat sensors showing people in rooms, disguises which would earn an Oscar for a set designer and devices which disarm phones without detection are just a few of the tools available.

Read the book and see if you can identify other science fiction tools. Quantico is a very good finishing school for those who would become master criminals. Enjoy! Currently on pre-order. 4.5 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 point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Financial Thrillers, Heist Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Severn River Publishing
ASIN: B08CPV5WVH
Print Length: 416 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 4, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Manhattan Job [Amazon] 
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Jason Kasper - authorThe Author: Jason Kasper is the USA Today bestselling author of the Spider Heist, American Mercenary, and Shadow Strike thriller series. Before his writing career he served in the US Army, beginning as a Ranger private and ending as a Green Beret captain. Jason is a West Point graduate and a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and was an avid ultramarathon runner, skydiver, and BASE jumper, all of which inspire his fiction.

Click FOLLOW for instant notification of new releases.

Join his mailing list for bonus content and book updates: https://bit.ly/2QnpS9j

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©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Buried by the Sea (A By the Sea Mystery Book 5) by Kathleen Bridge – #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

At her family’s hotel on a Florida barrier island, sleuthing novelist Liz Holt is shocked by a hidden treasure—and a buried body . . .

Buried By The Sea by Kathleen BridgeA team of archaeologists is staying at Indialantic by the Sea to study the days of the Spanish explorers, and they’ve stumbled upon a stunning and valuable find at the dig site, but before they can unearth it one of the archeologists finds himself buried in the sand and pierced with diving spear tipped with poison.

The local sheriff’s department accuses the owner of the neighboring property, Liz’s elderly reclusive friend and naturalist, Birdman, of the crime. Liz is sure—well, pretty sure—he is innocent and sets her sights on the remaining four archeologists.

With the help of her PI boyfriend and an octogenarian hotel resident, and two mischievous pet parrots, Liz must dig into the mystery of who buried the scientist and absconded with the artifacts he’d promised would put him in Florida history books—before she becomes history herself . . .

Recipes included!

My Review:

A lovely spot on the coast filled with old stories, explorers, and shipwrecks consistently draws treasure seekers including the current team of archeologists staying at Indialantic by the Sea. They appear to have found a valuable artifact at their dig site (there by the permission of the land owner) but one of them is discovered very quickly buried in the pit with a diving spear. And if it’s not the owner, Birdman, a reclusive naturalist, then it has to be one of the four archeologists.

Buried By The Sea by Kathleen BridgeThe Bennett property, site of the dig, has not been a particularly quiet venue lately. It’s obvious there are problems among them. Unfortunately, it’s Birdman the police arrest and protagonist Liz Holt, part of the hotel’s family, knows it couldn’t have been he. Not her first murder since she returned home, the novelist turned sleuth begins her investigation.

Ryan is her PI boyfriend and their relationship is becoming serious. Her octogenarian aunt, a flamboyant ex-Hollywood bit player is always full of stories, name dropping, with activities sufficient to cross the eyes. Among other support characters, are two macaws, one recently added in hopes of mating the pair and hopefully encouraging the female to talk.

The investigation and collaboration continue until the perp is ascertained in a rather low-key conclusion adding in one last twist of a romantic nature at the end.

I must admit to finding more than a few passages so low key my interest waned and I had a hard time staying engaged, nor was I really able to connect to the protagonist. A few more clichés than I appreciate and some mysteries and twists added (including the extended conversation regarding Barbies) that just lost me in the pages. Apparently the wrong book for me, but I’m sure fans of the author will find the discussions, particularly regarding Ponce de León enlightening.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Three Stars  three stars

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Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B08D71LHR7

Print Length: 268 pages
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo


Kathleen Bridge - authorThe Author
:
National Bestselling author Kathleen Bridge started her writing career at the Michigan State News in East Lansing, Michigan. She is the author of the Hamptons Home and Garden Mysteries: Better Homes and Corpses, Hearse and Gardens, Ghostal Living, Manor of Dying, and A Design To Die For. She is also the author of the A By the Sea Mysteries: Death By the Sea, A Killing by the Sea, and Murder by the Sea, and Evil by the Sea. Kathleen is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and blissfully lives on a barrier island on Florida’s central east coast.

©2021 V Williams

Judgment at Alcatraz: A Danya Biton Novel by Dave Edlund – #BookReview – Native American Literature

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars  5 stars

Book Blurb:

Fans of Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong series and of James Rollin’s Seichan will identify with and devour the Danya Biton series.

Judgment at Alcatraz by Dave EdlundCapitalizing on a peaceful protest for Native American rights, a small, extremist militia swiftly seizes Alcatraz Island and holds more than 200 people hostage. Their demand: return all lands taken from Indigenous Peoples through broken treaties, or an armada of drones will render the San Francisco Bay Area a glowing ruin, uninhabitable for decades.

Former Mossad assassin Danya Biton and her friend Toby Riddle are thrown headlong into the conflict. As the authorities debate the cost of acquiescing to the demands versus the loss of civilian lives, Danya—on the run from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic—offers the only hope for rescuing the hostages and preventing an unprecedented disaster… but she may have to sacrifice herself to save the others.

His Review:

The plight and poverty of Native American’s is well documented. Broken treaties and population displacement abound. Promises are made during election years and discarded as soon as the election is over. When the United States leaves a property that was taken from the natives, the land is to reverted to them. The island of Alcatraz is one such example.

Judgment at Alcatraz by Dave EdlundDanya is an ex-Mossad operative who now works for the highest bidder. She is well trained, very physically fit, and an expert marksman. She can be very selective who she works for because her skills are very hard to come by. Two gun-runners have employed her to assist in delivering a mule train full of automatic rifles. The gun store owner and his nephew are way out of their league. The delivery goes sideways and Danya saves their lives.

Leonard White Cloud and Sacheen Crow Dog are Native Americans who have lived in poverty their whole lives. All of their ancestral lands have been taken by the whites and promises of reparations have never been fulfilled. De-commissioned military bases and other abandoned U.S. Government properties lie idle while their people still linger on the most arid land in the country.

It is time for the indigenous people to be compensated. Occupying Alcatraz might be a good start to that recompense. However, the U.S. Park service has turned the property into a tourist destination. No longer being used as a prison it should by rights go back to the natives that it was stolen from. Getting the property returned by peaceful means seems out of the question. The government could care less about the plight of the original people who developed this country.

Dave Edlund has developed a very entertaining tale of broken promises and reasons for the poverty indigenous people live in. He cites many reasons for the poverty and the military control of the natives. This entire book is a good example of governmental promises broken and population suppression. Currently on pre-order. 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: Native American Literature, Political Thrillers & Suspense
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing
ISBN : 1611533848
ASIN: B08SJJGY45
Print Length: 284 pages
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Judgment at Alcatraz
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Dave Edlund - authorThe Author: Dave Edlund is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Peter Savage thrillers (all novels stand alone, read in any order). A member of the International Thriller Writers, Edlund writes action-political thrillers often compared to the Sigma Series novels by James Rollins, and the Jack Ryan novels by Tom Clancy.

Edlund’s latest thriller, GUARDING SAVAGE, was awarded the Silver Medal by IBPA for best popular fiction and has become a bestseller. LETHAL SAVAGE will be released October 22, 2019.

James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Demon Crown proclaims “GUARDING SAVAGE fuses the authenticity of Tom Clancy with the world-hopping adventure of Clive Cussler” and “Both topical and suspenseful, here is a book that belongs on the shelf with the best military fiction out there.”

Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series, writes: “Equal parts military and political thriller, Dave Edlund’s Guarding Savage is a top-notch action-adventure tale that rivals the best of Brad Thor and Brad Taylor.”

Edlund’s award-winning debut, CROSSING SAVAGE, was followed by RELENTLESS SAVAGE and the critically acclaimed DEADLY SAVAGE. He lives with his family and four dogs in Central Oregon. A graduate of the University of Oregon (Ph.D. in chemistry), he has dedicated his professional career to developing new technology to support the hydrogen economy. “I strive to bring cutting-edge science and technology into my stories, and then to extrapolate that innovation beyond what is presently known, but is plausible,” Edlund explains.

An avid outdoorsman, you are likely to find the author in the deep woods far away from other people when he is not writing. To connect with Dave Edlund or to request a Skype visit, contact him at dedlund@lightmessages.com.

©2021 V Williams –

 

What You Never Knew: A Novel by Jessica Hamilton – #BookReview – #ghostmysteries – @crookedlanebooks

Book Blurb:

Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of The Lovely Bones.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonIdyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.

Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may in fact have been murdered rather than having abandoned his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up, doors locking on their own, unexplained noises in the night, shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

My Review:

Alternating chapters between May and June Bennett spark an interesting hook into this ghost mystery thriller. Extremely close, June loses her older sister May in a tragic auto accident only to set in motion the exploration of family secrets well hidden more than thirty years.

The daughters of well to do parents, they spent their summers on Avril Island. The idealistic laid back warm summer life spent in a gorgeous resort setting is well described and immersive. But their summers on the island ended when June was twelve with the sudden disappearance of her father. Their narcissistic mother divulges that he’d left the family and she subsequently sold the island.

Nope.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonJune has also recently divorced an overbearing, unemotional husband and left with two daughters of her own, and now without the sensitive support of her sister goes into deep grieving. She is shocked to learn she is sole owner of the island. Her daughters safely with her ex for the summer, leaves for the resort and the island to retrieve some of those good memories, the happy times, and hopefully a lessening in her grieving process.

The reader begins to learn about their mother, emotionally crippling and manipulative, but beautiful mother. She was the catalyst that drew the sisters closer, stronger in their common bond. The POV of May is compelling, drawing mental pictures of an ethereal sentient trying to “talk,” guide her sister—trying in her own way to remember events that led to the tragedy that split the family and those of her family from the local, year-round folks. May is still not sure why she has been drawn back or for what purpose.

Difficult to become engaged with forty-year old June, she is rather one dimensional. Ezra, the son of the family who did some caretaking of the island, is not fully developed either but characterized as being her only close childhood friend. I doubt June could have lived thirty years on royalties from a one-and-done book published in her twenties (or if still family money—how?). Ezra never married, thoroughly embroiled now in caring for his mother suffering from dementia.

The conclusion kinda veers off the rails but confirms what I suspicioned early on and wondered what took so long. The big reveal is certainly not a surprise. There is, however, a gotcha that you don’t see coming—one more little twist—that adds some fun.

There were some edits missed, it’s an ARC, and a couple contradictions that I’ll assume are fixed prior to release. Otherwise, it is certainly entertaining and for the most part keeps the reader engaged. Just a few points of disbelief to overcome and for a debut novel, an ambitious and worthwhile effort.

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: Ghost Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

  • ASIN : B08FZMZ6K2

Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

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Jessica Hamilton-authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jessica Hamilton was born in Australia but grew up in Canada. She has lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Taiwan, India and Japan. She studied writing at the Humber School for Writers as well as George Brown College. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and daughter. What You Never Knew is her first novel.

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