First Love: The Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mysteries Book 10 by Steven Henry – BookReview – #policeprocedural #readingirelandmonth21 #TuesdayBookBlog

Reading Ireland Month 2021

 

“May the good saints protect us and bless us today, and may troubles ignore us each step of the way.” 

Book Blurb:

A young woman is strangled in her bed. The door is smashed in and the apartment ransacked. Is this a robbery gone wrong? A random attack? A jealous lover? Or a serial killer? It’s up to Detective Erin O’Reilly, her K-9 Rolf, and the rest of her Major Crimes squad to find out the truth before anyone else dies.

It’s a simple case; or is it? Erin has been able to keep an uneasy balance between her personal and work lives. She’s always known it was risky to let herself fall for a gangster. But now, she and her boyfriend, smooth-talking Irishman Morton Carlyle, find themselves drawn into a situation in which the only escape is for the two of them to choose a side and take a stand. Jealousy and betrayal are in the air. Who do you trust when your lover could be your enemy?

My Review:

First Love by Steven HenryI got hooked on this series with Books 1 and 2, Black Velvet and Irish Car Bomb, and fell in love with the dog, Rolf and Erin O’Reilly, a very strong NY traditional Irish cop following in her dad’s footsteps. She has been now been promoted to detective in Major Crimes. She had a special guy I was rooting for that didn’t work. Now her interest is an immigrant Irishman with a history who runs a bar. Unfortunately, Carlyle is a mid-level organized crime associate of the O’Malley Irish mob. Her involvement with him creates somewhat of a quandary for her.

Topping this episode is the death of a young woman whose apartment is made to look like a botched robbery and the crew jumps all too easily on a guy witnessed in the building before; my first quibble. Rolf has a small contribution to this storyline, my second, as I love the scenes with these powerful working canines. As with all police procedurals, there are the associates, supervisors, good and bad, who make for interesting support characters, as well as Carlyle’s driver/bodyguard, Ian.

High Stakes by Steven HenryThe sub-plot then comes to the fore as the initial crime is solved and the storyline goes a bit off the rails. I can’t say too much here as it would only add spoilers. Book 10, however, exploded into a hurried conclusion resulting in a cliff hanger. Book 11, High Stakes, will be coming out the end of March this year.

Much as I like the character of Erin, it seems she is being steered into a double direction, although she’ll continue to perform her K-9 partnering duties with Rolf. Still, I’m torn.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clickworks Press

  • ASIN : B08PS3VWJ8

Print Length: 213 pages
Publication Date: December 18, 2020

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Steven Henry - authorThe Author: Steven Henry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Erin O’Reilly mysteries and the Clarion Chronicles. He learned how to read almost before he learned how to walk. Ever since he began reading stories, he wanted to put his own on the page. He lives a very quiet and ordinary life in Minnesota with his wife and dog.

©2021 V Williams

A Matter of Life and Death: A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin – #BookReview – #legal thriller – #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Book Release Day!

 Book Blurb:

A Matter of Life and Death by Phillip MargolinJoe Lattimore, homeless and trying desperately to provide for his young family, agrees to fight in a no-holds-barred illegal bout, only to have his opponent die. Lattimore now finds himself at the mercy of the fight’s organizers who blackmail him into burglarizing a house. However, when he breaks in, he finds a murdered woman on the floor and the police have received an anonymous tip naming him the murderer.

Robin Lockwood, an increasingly prominent young attorney and former MMA fighter, agrees to take on his defense. But the case is seemingly airtight—the murdered woman’s husband, Judge Anthony Carasco, has an alibi and Lattimore’s fingerprints are discovered at the scene. But everything about the case is too easy, too pat, and Lockwood is convinced that her client has been framed. The only problem is that she has no way of proving it and since this is a death case, if she fails then another innocent will die.

His Review:

Capital crimes require the best available defense attorneys. Robin Lockwood fits that description. A persons’ life hangs in the balance. The press and the prosecuting attorneys present the defendant as a cold blooded and ruthless killer. Robin is faced with the task of saving the life of the accused. All the I’s and T’s need to be dotted and crossed and no mistakes made!

A Matter of Life and Death by Phillip MargolinPhillip Margolin opens the reader’s eyes to the process. Robin is portrayed as a hands-on defense attorney charged with saving the arrested man’s life. Evidence can point one way and the truth takes another path. Knowing that a life hangs in the balance is the carrot driving the story line.

Unlike TV dramas this book reads more like a defense lawyers’ primer. Dig into the events, identify key witnesses for both the prosecution and the defense and strategize how the prosecutor will present the case. Build a solid timeline of the events leading up to the crime. The investigators of the crime and the forensic team will do their best to label your defendant as the perpetrator and how he is tied to the case.

Framing a patsy for the crime is an interesting process. Robin goes about the procedure with a fine-toothed determination. Certainly, the prosecutors are not cheating or manufacturing evidence. Can the actual killer be doing such a great job of manufacturing damning evidence? Reading this book is a way to learn what brilliant strategies culprits can employ.

I highly recommend this book as both an entertaining read and a satisfying use of time. The actual conclusion had enough twists to keep me totally engaged. 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.

[NB: I reviewed Book 3, A Reasonable Doubt, in April, 2020. There is a slight disparity in how I saw the protagonist. See that review here.]

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

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08BYC5YSM

Print Length: 281 pages
Publication Date: 1st Edition, March 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Matter of Life and Death [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Phillip Margolin - authorThe Author: PHILLIP MARGOLIN has written over twenty novels, most of them New York Times bestsellers, including Gone But Not ForgottenLost Lake, and Violent Crimes. In addition to being a novelist, he was a long time criminal defense attorney with decades of trial experience, including a large number of capital cases. Margolin lives in Portland, Oregon. This text refers to the audioCD edition.)

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

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

Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

The Trespasser by Tana French 

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

  • ASIN: B01IQ1MEH6

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

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars

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

 

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

©2021 V Williams

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

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

 Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

His Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

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

Add to Goodreads 

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

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

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram: @trraganauthor

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

FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
Furious
Outrage
Wrath

JESSIE COLE SERIES
Her Last Day
Deadly Recall
Deranged
Buried Deep

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

©CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

And the Devil Walks Away by Kevin R Doyle- A #BookReview – Police Procedural

Book Blurb:

And the Devil Walks Away by Kevin R DoyleFrom the author of THE GROUP, comes another riveting mystery…

A disgraced ex-cop is hired by a convicted serial killer to dig up information not to absolve him of his crimes but to in fact prove that he committed more murders than the authorities know of. He is attempting to bargain for a reduced sentence by providing information of his previous killings, but in another state another man, who the original killer has never met, is taking credit for his crimes.

His Review:

Was it her fault? Former detective Helen Lipscolmb has been ostracized! Someone has to take the fall and it certainly won’t be the brass. Yes, the raid attempt went south and her partner as well as a couple of other officers were killed. Was she really to blame because of poor planning and execution? Try getting a job with that reputation!

And the Devil Walks Away by Kevin R DoyleA very high-priced attorney needs help on a case. Someone who has a tarnished reputation will do nicely.  Helen is a perfect choice! The job is a very interesting twist of a criminal mind. What she is asked to do is prove that a serial killer actually killed victims claimed by another. Yes, prove him guilty of additional crimes, not prove his innocence.

Mr. Doyle weaves a very entertaining and engrossing novel of manipulation, death and deceit. Very quickly I began having sympathy for Helen and her situation. Every place she looks the local law enforcement is against her. They do not want help on their cases and certainly do not want her interference on cases they have already solved.

Helen needs money and the client is offering big money for her help. He is really pissed that someone would take credit for crimes that he has committed. A billionaire sitting in jail convicted of a storied criminal past and on death row wants answers. Will the proof that he is in fact the killer of deaths claimed by another give him an extended stay in prison instead of a quick execution? The twists in this book are entertaining and very revealing.

CE WilliamsThe reader should enjoy anything Kevin r. Doyle has written. His books are easy to read and keep interest and attention throughout the endeavor. Enjoy! 5 stars – C.E. Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural, Women Sleuths
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

  • ASIN : B08CY76L37

Print Length: 483 pages
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: And the Devil Walks Away [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to GoodreadsRosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Kevin R Doyle - authorThe Author: A high-school teacher, former college instructor and fiction writer living in Missouri, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of two crime novels, The Group and When You Have to Go There, published by MuseItUp Publications, and one horror novel, The Litter, published by Night to Dawn Magazine and Books. Next year will see the release of the first book in his Sam Quinton mystery series, Squatter’s Rights, by Coffeetown Press. He has also had numerous short horror stories published in small press magazines. Doyle teaches junior and senior English at a high school in Missouri and can be found at facebook.com/kevindoylefiction.

©2020 C E Williams – V Williams V Williams

Wolf Pack (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 19) vs The Bitterroots (Cassie Dewell Book 5) by C J Box – #Audiobook Reviews #crimethrillers

Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots - #audiobooks

I’ve tried a couple times to get an ARC from the publisher (through NetGalley) for one of this author’s Joe Pickett books. No, they said. Nuh uh. Nada. And then I discovered the series, or most of them, at my local library audiobook section and while some are on a waiting list, I managed to snag these two—back-to-back. Wow—same author, huh? But then I realized these aren’t the same series—not nearly (or the same narrator). And these two are apples and oranges—

Wyoming–the Cowboy State, Equality State and Montana–Big Sky Country

big sky country

Mountains and treacherous terrain, wild animals, desolation, and weather that can turn on a dime and leave you stranded. Common to both states. So, yes, I loved the descriptions of the locale, especially in Montana, having ridden my motorcycle through Lolo Pass—FUN road! It’s gorgeous up there. And frighteningly isolated. This my introduction to the author, plunked into the middle of both series, found either would work as a standalone as there is enough backstory slipped in to bring you quickly up to speed. However, as with all series, sometimes you can watch the evolution of the character(s) if you go back and start with the first.

Wolf Pack-Book Blurb:

Wolf Pack by C J BoxWyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C.J. Box.

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone–including Joe, Nate, and others–who is associated with him.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself in the most violent and dangerous predicament he’s ever faced.

Wolf Pack Review:

Joe Pickett is a Wyoming state game warden and he has his hands full dealing with unmonitored animal traps and drones driving herds of deer and elk to exhaustion, some to death.

Wolf Pack by C J BoxIn this case, the leg traps have initials on them—duh. Not too difficult then to find the owner and then discovers the drone’s owner as well. Joe has three daughters, the last of which is dating the grandson of the drone’s owner living out on a well fortified and secluded acreage compound.

One of the series main characters, Nate Romanowski is an experienced falconer and it doesn’t take much for the bird to bring down the drone—which doesn’t sit well with the owner. It’s not a pleasant confrontation and when he and Kate (another series regular) tries to corral his activities is brought up short by the FBI. Huh?

You know when the FBI gets involves, the case will go sideways, and it does. When bodies begin to show up, the case goes well beyond animal protection. The Wolf Pack is a far more serious threat than the four-footed fur-bearing animals and it’ll take some work to track them down. Can they really be more cunning than the wolves? Certainly more deadly!

It’s a dark and profane narrative, graphic at times, in a well-plotted novel, fast moving story on a collision course with an explosive conclusion. I won’t even mention the epilogue. I’m not sure I needed that. On the whole, a shocking introduction to the author’s writing style—glad I listened to this audiobook second!

Book Details:

Genre: Murder Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books

  • ASIN: B07JGB5PG9

Print Length: 381 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 51 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Wolf Pack

Add to Goodreads4.39 average of 1,044 reviews

The Bitterroots-BookBlurb:

2019 Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year

The Bitterroots by C J BoxA riveting new audiobook from New York Times best-selling and Edgar Award-winning author C. J. Box.

Former police officer Cassie Dewell is trying to start over with her own private investigation firm. Guilty about not seeing her son and exhausted by the nights on stakeout, Cassie is nonetheless managing…until an old friend calls in a favor: She wants Cassie to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young girl from an influential family.

Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out in the Big Sky Country of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there’s always something more to the story. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against the ghosts of her own past that threaten to pull her back under.

With The Bitterroots, master storyteller C. J. Box delivers another audiobook featuring fan favorite Cassie Dewell from the Highway Quartet series.

The Bitterroots Review:

My first introduction to this author and the series, Cassie Dewell has separated herself from the police department, going out on her own as a private investigator. She is thinking this will give her some more latitude with her time as Ben, her son, and her hippie mother lives with her in Bozeman, Montana.

The Bitterroots by C J BoxHer last case left her with no small amount of PTSD and she still cringes whenever an eighteen-wheeler dusts her doors. She owes one to an attorney friend, so when she calls to pull in the favor, Cassie will grudgingly oblige—against every fiber in her being—the investigation into the rape of a fifteen year old. The attorney is playing defense and wants to know how strong the prosecution’s case is. Of course her client asserts his innocence. A quick perusal of the file has her convinced of his guilt—after all, look at all the evidence!!

But off she goes to Lochsa County to talk to his family and those officials connected with the case. The family appears to have a strangle-hold on their ranch and the area around them, including the officials. I got a strong sense of the more well known male dominated clans—and must say the mother of the girl is one hell of a character. No one wants to talk with her and she’s warned out of there.

In the meantime, her life continues to remain involved in her son’s activities as she continually referees issues between her mother and Ben. And then there is the big black semi who keeps showing up—to just sit and watch. Okay, he’s a creep.

After awhile, I had some sympathetic pangs for the accused and sorry that did not end well. I had a problem with the narrator, more than once, as she attempted different voices—the attorney in particular. And the mother of the victim…the way she handled the voice of the mother going into the conclusion was priceless. Did not see that coming!

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Crime Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio

  • ASIN: B07ND36RSR

 Print Length: 307 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 49 mins
Narrator: Christine Delaine
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Bitterroots –
Cassie Dewell #4
The Highway Quartet #5

Add to Goodreads

4.02 average rating of 729 reviews

Overall Impression:

These will continue to be similar/dissimilar. While one is a great deal more established, i.e., long term main characters, locale-driven plots, atmospheric fast-paced and graphic (Joe Pickett), the other will build a strong female protagonist, character-driven plots, toned down language (somewhat) and exhibit more feminine issues and concerns. I didn’t care for the epilogue in the Wolf Pack but that same little ploy in The Bitterroots was a classic feminine “gotcha.” Oh, yes, that brought a smile to my face. But you know what? If I get a chance for another audiobook in either series, I’ll grab it.

C J Box - author

The Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, two Barry Awards, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. He was recently awarded the 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by the National Cowboy Museum as well as the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel by the Western Writers of America in 2017. The novels have been translated into 27 languages.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he co-owns an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. They have three daughters. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Box lives in Wyoming.

–from the author’s website

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Black Velvet (The Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mysteries Book 1) by Steven Henry – a #BookReview #cozyanimalmystery

“USA TODAY Bestselling Book 1 in the Erin O’Reilly Mysteries series.” A shared review with the Vicarious Blogger.

Book Blurb:

Black Velvet by Steven HenryErin learned a lot from her partner: stay alert, follow your nose, and once you’ve got your teeth in them, never let go.

It’s tough working nights with the NYPD. The crime rate is high, the hours are terrible, and forget about a personal life. So when Officer O’Reilly and her K-9 Rolf switch over to the day shift, things are looking up. She’s even able to find time for a new boyfriend.

But when the theft of a priceless painting from the Queens Museum leaves a fellow police officer dead, Erin and her four-legged partner find themselves dealing with dangerous criminals, sleazy art dealers, and obstructive detectives in a race to capture the killers…and just maybe bring closure to a 75-year-old crime.

My Thoughts

Being the sucker that I am for a K-9 book and having found this series for Reading Ireland Month 2020, I went back and bought (gasp! How unusual is that!!) Book 1 of the series. There are currently seven in the series and I’m determined to progress to the rest.

Erin O’Reilly is a patrol officer for the NYPD with K-9 partner Rolf. She has been on the job for eleven years, ready for a change and has her eyes set on detective. She is second generation NYPD and proud of it, strong, confident, and dedicated.

A date at a major art gala runs awry when men dressed as part of the security team grabs an extremely valuable painting. The painting has yet to be authenticated, leading to insufficient security and they do a grab and run. Unfortunately, a patrolman gets caught in the crossfire. In formal attire and without her normal gear, she does her best with the downed officer’s gun, calling in the theft, backup, and a bus for the casualty.

Erin recognizes the uniform theft from a call she’d previously had and begins her investigation. Unfortunately, as the officer dies, the case has now gone to the detectives in her precinct and they tell her to back off. Of course, now fully involved, not likely she’ll do that.

Erin comes off a bit gruff, rude, sharp, and almost hostile at times. She has difficulty reining in that Irish temper and becomes offensive with the date who is trying to help her. After all, he is the art expert who invited her to the exclusive exhibit where he was known and connected. He is able to reliably give her a couple leads that sets her investigation.

I enjoyed the interaction with her K-9 partner and her work with him, his well-trained commands in German. She exhibits some training of her own, remembering lessons when the need arises. The well-plotted and paced police procedural moves along at a good clip, reminding you that it really isn’t over until it’s over. The conclusion was sweet, the transfer to detective in the new unit being formed in Manhattan.

Since I’ve already read Book 2, I can see where the author pulled back on the wholly bad-ass female officer to a slightly more mellow detective. There are compelling characters and she is given more dimension–after all–this was Book 1. This book is a fast read, not terribly difficult to figure the culprit, but the climax satisfying. I already see the growth that happens in the newly minted detective of Book 2–a new challenge for her, not quite so sure of herself but with enough background she’s no green-horn either and can hold her own. Engaging and entertaining. 4 stars

Book Titles are the go-to drink for the series entry. Recipe included and they mysteriously include Guinness! Book 3 of the series is entitled White Russian. Wanna make any bets on the drink?

His Thoughts

Black Velvet by Steven HenryIf crime doesn’t pay, why is there so much of it? Erin O’Reilly is a beat cop in New York who answers the call and puzzles over the answer. Her partner is Rolf, a German Shepherd with an unending loyalty and a nose for perps. A minor burglary turns major.

Steven Henry spins his tales with a master’s touch. This small-time burglary turns into a major art theft and the death of one of New York’s finest. The problem is an underlying disdain for beat cops by major crime detectives. Many times Erin appears to be one step ahead of the detectives despite their telling her to butt out of their case.

The minor burglary includes four uniforms taken and the cash register unopened. One of the criminals is caught by Rolf and Erin, but he is a minnow in the pond later the theft of a priceless painting. The plot thickens as the detectives’ order Erin to butt out and let them solve the case.

The dialog in Mr. Henry’s books make it difficult to put down. There are no idle moments in this tale. The action is very fast and would make a good television mini-series. As the plot thickens, the crime shifts to the death of the cop in the commission of the major art theft.

CE WilliamsIt is a delight to read Mr. Henry’s books and engage with his characters. Sleepless nights are rewarded with an exciting and ongoing plot. Erin’s character is a no-nonsense second-generation cop in Queens. She is portrayed as a small dynamo of a cop. She is much bigger with her partner Rolf. Criminals would certainly like to do her physical harm but a 96 pound German Shepherd is not to be trifled with.

Try the book, you will enjoy the characters and the repartee. 5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clickworks Press
ASIN: B077LT86SM
Print Length: 244 pages
Publication Date: November 17, 2017
Source: Purchased Direct from Publisher
Title Link: Black Velvet(Amazon)
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Steven Henry - authorThe Author: Steven Henry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Erin O’Reilly mysteries and the Clarion Chronicles. He learned how to read almost before he learned how to walk. Ever since he began reading stories, he wanted to put his own on the page. He lives a very quiet and ordinary life in Minnesota with his wife and dog.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams