Deadly Spirits by Mary Miley – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Deadly Spirits by Mary Miley

(A Mystic’s Accomplice mystery Book 3)

Book Blurb:

Medium’s assistant – and reluctant sleuth – Maddie Pastore is shocked when her long-lost sister is accused of murder, in this twisty, atmospheric mystery set in 1920s Chicago.

Deadly Spirits by Mary MileySummer, 1924. Young widow Maddie Pastore has been working for fraudulent spiritual medium Madame Carlotta for nearly a year – if ‘work’ you could call it. Investigating Carlotta’s clients, and attending seances as her shill, keeps Maddie and her young son Tommy fed and clothed, and she’s grown to love the kind, well-meaning spiritualist like family.

Still, Maddie – estranged from her abusive parents for over a decade – can’t help but wonder what fates befell her brothers and sisters. So when she lucks into two free tickets to a glamorous Chicago speakeasy and recognizes the star performer as her pretty little sister Sophie, she’s beyond delighted.

But before Maddie can meet with Sophie again, the telephone rings. It’s Sophie’s husband, calling in a panic to tell her that his wife is locked in the Cook County jail, charged with first-degree murder . . .

Enter a dark and deadly world of seances and speakeasies, populated by fake mediums, sultry singers and dangerous mobsters! An ideal pick for readers who enjoy glitzy Jazz Age mysteries with feisty female sleuths.

My Review:

What a pleasant surprise this turned out to be! I was sucked in because of the blurb and the cover and thought it would be one I’d like. And it is! It’s the wild and wooly early 1920s, a decade that can provide endless stories.

Maddie Pastore is the MC, a young widow working for spiritual medium Madame Carlotta for bed and board. Handy that Madam Carlotta loves Maddie’s fourteen-month-old son. She attends Madame Carlotta’s séances as a shill, but her real purpose is to research upcoming clients so she can feed info to Freddie who helps with “enhancements” to solidify the experience.

Maddie scores free tickets to a Chicago speakeasy and discovers the star performer is her own baby sister from a large abusive family where siblings scattered like the wind as soon as they could. But before she and Sophie really have a reunion and catch up, she is notified by Sophie’s husband that she’s in Cook County jail charged with first-degree murder.

Deadly Spirits by Mary MileyYou can’t scratch much of the surface of Chicago’s history without confronting the mobsters who populated the back streets and unfortunately Maddie has a bit of experience with that as it was what got her husband killed.

So here’s what I liked about the story: There’s history here, real history, lots of well-known names, the Chicago mystic, and iconic architecture. Lots of fascinating tidbits you might not have known about the area and the time. (Reversing the flow of the Chicago River, for heaven’s sake! Yeah, I’m still new to the area.)

In between working on finding a way out of jail for the sister she’s sure is innocent, she is given the names of new clients to investigate and these are interesting side stories uniquely fabricated into the narrative seamlessly. Her method of investigation is remarkable, not unlike a person searching ancestry info—sources readily (or not so) available to scour.

I like the characters, both the main characters and the support characters, most well fleshed, and the female detective (apparently drawn from history) a hoot, but I thought the baby might have been a little good to be true.

I had just a little problem with the climax (wondering about survivability) and the conclusion that pushed boundaries a bit. Otherwise, although this is the third in the series (and sorry now I missed the first two!), it can easily be read as a standalone. It’s gripping, evenly fast-paced, and has me ready to read the next.

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

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Historical Mystery
Publisher: Severn House
ASIN: B09XGRP2TK
Print Length: 259 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Mary Miley - authorThe Author: [Mary Miley] I’m an Army brat who has lived in Virginia most of my adult life. I received my BA and MA in history from the College of William and Mary and taught American history and museum studies at Virginia Commonwealth University for thirteen years. I am the author of 200 magazine articles, most on history, travel, and business topics, and a dozen nonfiction books. The Impersonator (2013) was my first foray into fiction–and it won the national Mystery Writers of America award for Best First Crime Novel! Three others in the series followed: Silent Murders (2014), Renting Silence (2016), and Murder in Disguise (2017). More recently, my new Roaring Twenties series debuted in the U.S. in 2021. The Mystic’s Accomplice is set in Chicago and features violent gangsters, fraudulent Spiritualists, and a single mom with a new baby. Its sequel, Spirits and Smoke, was released early in 2022 and the third, Deadly Spirits, is scheduled for a fall debut. For me, the Roaring Twenties is the America’s most fascinating decade and the perfect setting for both my mystery series.

When I’m not writing or plotting, I spend a good deal of time at Valley Road Vineyards in Afton, VA, a winery that my husband and I own with 4 other couples. Last year we planted another 6 1/2 acres of vines and introduced several new wines–my favorite is the viognier. Already this year I’ve spent 3 days on the bottling assembly line, doing strenuous intellectual work like loading full bottles into cases and standing on a ladder to feed corks into the hopper. Visit us at Valley Road there in person or at http://www.valleyroadwines.com.
http://www.marymileytheobald.com
http://www.pinterest.com/mmtheobald/the-mystics-accomplice

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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Man On Fire (A Rake Ozenna Thriller Book 3) by Humphrey Hawksley – #BookReview – #politicalthriller

Book Blurb:

Man On Fire by Humphrey HawksleyA tense firefight on the Russian-American border heralds the start of a terrifying high-stakes mission for special forces agent Major Rake Ozenna in this gripping espionage thriller.

Instructed to guide in a speed boat crossing from Russia in the Bering Strait, special forces Major Rake Ozenna watches in horror as the operation culminates in a fatal firefight – and the loss of vital intelligence of a deadly new weapon. A weapon of unimaginable power. A weapon that, if it were unleashed, would cripple civilization as we know it. But who sabotaged the mission? Who possesses the weapon – and what is their ultimate goal?

Rake’s search takes him to the remote outpost of Uelen on the Russian coast – and the discovery that he is up against a formidable enemy from his past. As world leaders gather in Bonn for the signing of the new European security treaty, Rake enters a desperate race against time to prevent a catastrophe beyond imagining.

His Review:

The border between Russia and the United States is only 2.4 miles! The time difference is 21 hours. Rake Ozena is attempting to get a young lady back from Big Diomede Island to Little Diomede Island. A Russian sharp shooter wounds the young lady upon her arrival at Rake’s boat. It makes no sense because the transfer was government authorized!

Man On Fire by Humphrey HawksleyThis blatant break in protocol has both sides mystified. The murder was ordered by a rogue minor official somewhere in the Kremlin. The young woman dies without awakening and the mystery deepens. What vital information was she carrying? Rake and the U.S. Government want to know! Who deserves retaliation for this murder?

Little Diomede Island was a former base utilized by the Soviet Union during the cold war. Radioactive residue is found in the old facility that is not readily identifiable. Neither the Russians nor the Americans can figure out what the compound was used for! The usual finger pointing ensues while Rake and his Russian counterpart try to figure out the truth.

A new weapon seems to be one possibility! Without verification from either the Russians or the Americans, the plot thickens. What was the purpose of the radio-active material and why was it in such a remote location? The two sides work closely together to identify the use of the material. The overall result was a finely written tale of international intrigue and suspense. The conclusion was frightening and enlightening. CE Williams

I recommend this book to anyone interested in international diplomacy. The policy of “classified information” muddies the waters and spices up the story. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

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

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

Book Details:

Genre: Political Thrillers & Suspense, Terrorism Thrillers
Publisher: Severn House
ASIN: B094MNK997
Print Length: 258 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Man On Fire [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

 

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Humphrey Hawksley - author
Photo from Goodreads author profile

The Author: Humphrey Hawksley’s brand-new international thriller series begins in paperback in October 2019 with MAN ON ICE a knuckle-whitening drama set on the remote and wild US-Russian border. In early, 2020 comes the nail-biting MAN ON EDGE set on the Norway-Russian border followed in 2021 by MAN ON FIRE whose location is yet to disclosed. Rake Ozenna, a native of Little Diomede island in Alaska is the series hero. Each thriller includes trauma surgeon, Dr Carrie Walker, American intelligence contractor, Harry Lucas, and his ex-wife, British businesswoman and diplomat, Stephanie Lucas.

Humphrey’s thrillers have been widely praised. Steve Berry describes ‘authentic settings, non-stop action’ from MAN ON ICE. Lee Child speaks of SECURITY BREACH as ‘high stakes, high octane’ and Alan Furst as a ‘hard-driving, a good taut thriller’ — right back to the first future history thriller DRAGON STRIKE: THE MILLENNIUM WAR which Steve Coonts hailed as ‘ominous and insightful.’

His recent non-fiction ASIAN WATERS: THE STRUGGLE OVER THE INDO_PACIFIC AND THE CHALLENGE TO AMERICAN POWER a has been acclaimed on every continent by those at the heart of global decision-making, such as Indian cabinet minister, Hardeep Puri; the last governor of Hong Kong Baron Lord Patten of Barnes; and Dr Wu Shicun, President of China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies. China’s rise is a fast developing story, and Humphrey is currently working on an updated edition which is due out in June 2020.

Humphrey’s work as a BBC foreign correspondent has taken him all over the world with postings in Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila, Delhi and Colombo. He has contributed to ABC, National Public Radio and other networks in the United States and global publication of his work includes the Financial Times, New York Times, Yale Global, Nikkei Asian Review and others.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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