Spring Upon a Crime (A Seattle Wilderness Mystery Book 2) by ML Erdahl – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

 Roxie—“The hostess lacked certain social filters and either enjoyed pushing boundaries or didn’t recognize what they were…”

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Spring Upon a Crime by ML ErdahlWilderness guide Crystal Rainey leads a group of college students to a private campground amidst the awe-inspiring Olympic Rain Forest. The excursion is ruined when the charming hostess Roxie is discovered standing over the land owner’s body, murder weapon in hand.

Enlisted to investigate the crime to absolve her friend, Crystal descends on the quiet city of Forks to find loggers, developers, and eco-protesters circling the property, intent on either exploiting or protecting the bastion of old-growth forest. The list of suspects is intimidating. Can Crystal find answers in a community determined to keep her in the dark?

My Review:

Author Erdahl has embraced the cozy mystery genre and produced a sweet, clean mystery that is fun, confident reading. Protagonist Crystal is still faking her way through her wilderness guide gig finding gorgeous new backdrops in the Pacific Northwest of Washington and she is holding her own weight (and good-naturedly the initiations into mountain hiking). (My motorcycle buddy used to refer to the Pacific Northwest as the Great Northwet—she lived near Seattle and saw her share of rainfall.)

Spring Upon a Crime by ML ErdahlIn this episode, we see Crystal has put in sufficient time under her belt that she is becoming more secure in her role as wilderness guide. She’s a quick study and can hold her own with the more seasoned guides, this time into the Olympic Rain Forest. Unfortunately, once arrived with her college students at the private campground where they’ll spend several days, she discovers her friend and hostess Roxie at the scene of a very fresh murder. Not good.

The power struggle for land between loggers and developers is a very real one that has been in the news off and on for decades. Years ago, riding our motorcycles south after leaving Victoria Island down the Olympic Peninsula, we came across miles of clear cut forest. The stumps and devastation was depressing to witness. Of course, logging is a gargantuan business, and the fight between the two attracts environmentalists, “tree huggers.” So the storyline hit close to home and was a familiar one.

The characters are becoming more developed, more human, complete with foibles and strong suits, and the mystery progressed at a steady pace, bringing in descriptions of the scenic area, information about the mountains, and some history with it. Easy to smell that clean mountain pine scent and revel in the blue sky (when it makes an appearance).

It’s a clever and immersive story, bits of back story eased in, this can work as a standalone. (Read my review of Book 1, Winter Takes All.) There is a building of tension and twists, scrutiny of possible perps, and I must admit I didn’t guess whodunit going into the conclusion. A great follow up to the first in the series, just the right amount of atmosphere, romance, snappy dialogue, and mystery. And while Crystal doesn’t have a dog, she has a cat named ELF (an acronism), who is becoming an integral part of the engaging characters.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. Now available at your favorite retailer.

N.B. The author just posted receipt of a Five Star Award for Spring Upon a Crime from @readersfavoritecom.

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Book Details:

Genre: #cozymystery #AmateurSleuths #WomenSleuths
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc

  • ASIN : B08P87F6J1

Print Length: 213 pages
Publication Date: January 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

ML Erdahl - authorThe Author: Award-winning author ML Erdahl lives amidst the trees of the Pacific Northwest, where he pens humorous cozy mystery novels set in the wilderness he has spent his lifetime exploring. The only thing slowing him down is when his adorable rescue dogs, Skip and Daisy, demand to be petted and cuddled on his lap while he types. When he’s not wandering the mountains, you can find him gardening, reading, or searching for the best coffee in Seattle with his wife, Emily.

©2021 V Williams

Crimson at Cape May (The Haunted Shores Mysteries Book 2) by Randy Overbeck – a #BookReview – #ghoststories

“Cape May: the country’s most haunted seaport.”

 Book Blurb:

Crimson at Cape May by Randy OverbeckNo matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.

When a resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help, he can’t refuse, and joins forces with Cassie, another sensitive. As Darrell and the street-wise teen investigate the bride’s death, they uncover something far more sinister than a murder. Can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up becoming the next victims?

My Review:

Crimson at Cape May by Randy OverbeckWhen I participated in a blog blitz for the author’s book titled Blood on the Chesapeake, I was intrigued by the premise. Something about ghost stories pulls me in and I wasn’t disappointed with this—his second in the series. I suppose you might begin with Book 1 as it would explain about Darrell’s history—but I read this as a standlone and had no problem catching on pretty quickly that this was an unusual educator.

Darrell Henshaw is first a history teacher, and coach, and then a paranormal sensitive. He’s been asked to assist the coach at a summer football camp in Cape May. Oh my goodness…a quarter of the way into the book I was looking at pictures of the beautiful beach resort community and wondering how quickly I could make the trip to the East Coast. Sooo atmospheric. (I’m a big fan of the coast anyway—the Pacific though.) However, Cape May, with it’s history, Victorian Mansions, and no end of ghostly stories catches up to Darrell in a hurry. And the Haunted Bride is a douzy.

Darrell is an interesting protagonist. He has his foibles—for one, he’s OCD—and he’d lost his job back in Wilshire when he backed off defending himself in order that two of his player’s would keep their scholarships. So he grabbed this opportunity, leaving behind the bewildering state of affairs connected with his frame up and his sweetie, Erin, although she’ll soon join him.

It doesn’t take long before he sees a ghost—and she is very persistent. Then he meets Cassie. Cassie believes he might have the same powers of perception as she. And she’s seen the same persistent ghost. The Haunted Bride has found her conduits, unwitting and unwilling as though they may be, but she won’t let up.

Darrell is a personality I’d have a problem with in real life. He doesn’t scream romantic partner to me, but he can be endearing, sincere, and just as persistent. He must or he’ll just keep getting that ghost, cropping up where he least expects.

Erin is patient, understanding, kind, and still a bit skeptical of his visions, but is beginning to show interest—actually encouraging. She is feminine and motherly and seems to instantly know how to calm Cassie—pursue her visions. Cassie is a Goth, would be homeless except for the crib she’s sharing with a guy in exchange for favors. And she has contacts. They know where to get the good stuff and they share. The nervous interest in her character goes from cautious to compassion.

The well-plotted storyline keeps a steady pace through two-thirds of the book and then gradually ups the ante, adds tension, grit, drops more pieces of the puzzle then explodes. When the dust settles, all is right with the world. The main characters will go on to Book 3 and I’ll be looking for them there.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and these are my honest, unbiased thoughts. NB: CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY recently won its first national award, the Gold Award from  Literary Titan.

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Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Fiction, Ghost Mysteries, Mysteries
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc

  • ASIN : B089P2PG1B

Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: July 20, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Randy Overbeck - authorThe Author: Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children as a teacher, a college professor and school leader. During his more than three decades of experience, his responsibilities have ranged from senior prom advisor to superintendent and he has lived the roles of many of the characters in his fiction.  A tireless advocate for literacy instruction, Dr. Overbeck has won state and national awards for his work and has also served on numerous state and national educational boards.

An accomplished writer for more than two decades, he has been published in trade journals, professional texts and newspapers. His first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND, published by Heroic Teacher Press, is a thriller about a terrorist takeover of a high school and the teacher who defeats the terrorists. The work earned rave reviews and was named the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year from ReadersFavorite.com. His newest work, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, released in 2019, has also garnered five-star reviews and won a national award, the Gold Award from Literary Titan.

When he is not writing, Dr. Overbeck is often in demand as a speaker to groups, large and small. His speaking experiences run the gamut from delivering a keynote at a national conference to a participant in a federal policy debate on education. During the past several years, he has shared his tribute, “Teachers–the Real American Heroes” with more than 150 clubs and organizations, introducing audiences across the country to his first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND. Currently, Dr. Overbeck is sharing his newest presentation, “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” a fun and intriguing talk about the role of ghosts in our culture, and introducing audiences to his ghost story/mystery, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE.

A member of the Mystery Writers of America, he is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Midwest Writers’ Workshop and Killer Nashville.

Dr. Overbeck is married to Cathy, his wife and partner for more than 40 years, and they have three grown children–settled in three different states across the country–as well as seven grandchildren, whom he loves to spoil. For him, time not devoted to writing and speaking is spent traveling to visit family and other favorite spots around the US.

©2020 V Williams V Williams