Implied Consent: A Maureen Gould Legal Thriller by Keenan Powell – #BookReview – #womensleuths

Book Blurb:

Introducing a new series with a twisty edge-of-your-seat courtroom thriller from award-nominated author Keenan Powell.

Implied Consent by Keenan PowellWhen a tearful young woman appears at attorney Maureen Gould’s office with a tale of workplace assault, Maureen agrees to fight for her. Surprise evidence? No problem. Witnesses hiding? Maureen will find them. Ironclad agreements? No such thing. But when the defendant, a Hollywood mogul, hires Maureen’s estranged father, long buried secrets pull her back into his dark orbit. Maureen must steel herself to protect her client even as the past threatens to destroy her marriage and her practice.

As Maureen fights for justice, doors are slammed in her face, a witness is murdered, and her office is burglarized. She doesn’t know who she can trust. Clearly, someone is trying to silence her. But Maureen knows that secrecy binds the shamed to the guilty. There is only one way to save her client, and herself, and that is to tell the truth.

His Review:

Maureen Gould felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Her mother and step-father doted on her constantly. In her fourteenth year that all changed. One day her step-father put her on his office couch and violated her. She felt guilty and full of shame! What had she done to cause such an action by him?

Implied Consent by Keenan PowellJosephine was recently fired from her job. Everything had been going well and she was being groomed as a production assistant with a major motion picture studio. Her future could not have looked brighter. Then late one night her boss was reviewing the studio’s next project with her when he grabbed her head and forced it down on him. She ran from the room ashamed and devastated. Early the next morning she was fired from the job she loved and told to leave the hotel they were staying in.

Josephine engages Maureen to sue the offending boss. Frank Gould represents the defendant and Maureen is seeking damages from her father’s employer! A young attorney, she is expected to lose against her highly influential and successful father.

The trial centers around the age-old axiom, “she asked for it.” Josephine is considered guilty until proven innocent. After all, she was wearing very provocative clothing and the offender was enticed to perform. The prosecution maintained that the real victim in this situation was the man who was enticed by the woman.

CE WilliamsThis is a very interesting story showing the dynamics of courtroom posturing and the assumption of guilt of the young woman in question. The narrative is enlightening and made me angry to think the victim in question was assumed to be the perpetrator. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuths
Publisher: Three Hooligans Press LLC
ASIN: B0BKYMP37V
Print Length: 351 pages
Publication Date: January 26, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Implied Consent [Amazon]

 

Keenan Powell - authorThe Author: Keenan Powell is the Agatha, Lefty, and Silver Falchion nominated author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series.

Despite being one of original Dungeons and Dragons illustrators, art seemed an impractical pursuit – not an heiress, wouldn’t marry well, hated teaching – so she went to law school. The day after graduation, she moved to Alaska.

She is the author of the Maeve Malloy Mysteries, a three-book series and numerous short stories. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She writes a legal column, Ipso Facto, for the Guppies newsletter, First Draft, and blogs with Miss Demeanors.

When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found oil painting or studying the Irish language.

©2023 CE Williams – V Williams

Have a great weekend!

The Nature of Secrets (Finley O’Sullivan Book 2) by Debra Webb – #BookReview – #womensleuths

Book Blurb:

From USA Today bestselling author Debra Webb comes a thrilling installment in the Finley O’Sullivan series about a well-connected woman who stands accused of her husband’s murder. She’s innocent—unless Finley proves otherwise.

The Nature of Secrets by Debra WebbLegal investigator Finley O’Sullivan has had a difficult year in the wake of her husband’s murder. But in her line of work, there’s no time to grieve. Her job is to protect the firm’s clients and defend their innocence through grueling investigative work.

Ellen Winthrop is a force to be reckoned with in the financial world. In a male-dominated industry, she shattered the glass ceiling by empowering and promoting women. But now her husband is dead, killed in the Winthrop family home—and she stands accused of his murder.

Finley, as the investigator at the firm Ellen Winthrop hired to defend her, has a clear objective: prove that Ellen didn’t do it. But the deeper Finley digs into the Winthrops’ marriage, the more she starts to doubt Ellen’s story. The uncomfortable truth is that Ellen Winthrop may in fact have killed her husband.

And he might not have been the first.

His Review:

Working as an assistant detective for the police department was not the career Finley O’Sullivan envisioned for her life. Leaving the department and organizing a private detective firm seemed to be the answer to her problems. She and another of the detectives went into private investigations.

The Nature of Secrets by Debra WebbThis book had so many murders and unnatural deaths that I almost lost track! Finley cannot maintain a lasting relationship. She keeps choosing losers that wind up being killed! I began to feel like she has become a black widow and men should run, not walk, away from her.

CE WilliamsI prefer more mystery in my mysteries! I felt sorry for any man that decided to go out with the attractive Finley because it put a hit on their lives. I finished the book and applaud the writer for doing the same. Fans of the author will no doubt enjoy the addition to her series. My expectation in a mystery novel, however, is to try to determine who the killer is rather than compile a body count. 3.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuths, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B0B3M9TNB8
Print Length: 351 pages
Publication Date: March 14, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link:  The Nature of Secrets [Amazon]

 

Debra Webb - authorThe Author: DEBRA WEBB is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than 160 novels, including reader favorites the Shades of Death, the Faces of Evil, and the Colby Agency. She is the recipient of the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense as well as numerous Reviewers Choice Awards. In 2012 Debra was honored as the first recipient of the esteemed L. A. Banks Warrior Woman Award for her courage, strength, and grace in the face of adversity. Recently Debra was awarded the distinguished Centennial Award for having achieved publication of her 100th novel. With this award Debra joined the ranks of a handful of authors like Nora Roberts and Carole Mortimer.

With more than four million books in print in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood when, at the age of nine, her mother bought her an old typewriter in a tag sale. Born in Alabama, Debra grew up on a farm. She spent every available hour exploring the world around her and creating her stories. She wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the Commanding General of the US Army in Berlin behind the Iron Curtain and a five-year stint in NASA’s Shuttle Program that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has expanded her work into some of the darkest places the human psyche dares to go.

Visit Debra at http://www.debrawebb.com.

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Sunday

 

The Rising Tide: A Vera Stanhope Novel by Ann Cleeves – #Audiobook Review – #womensleuths

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves

Editors' pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb:

For fifty years a group of friends have been meeting regularly for reunions on Holy Island, celebrating the school trip where they met, and the friend that they lost to the rising causeway tide five years later. Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . .

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible.

My Review:

Is Ann Cleeves an acquired taste? Installment ten of this series is my second (having read Book 9 The Darkest Evening), although I’ve read another Cleeves novel in a different series. I like Vera Stanhope—she’s not a profanity-spouting, booze-guzzling, bed-hopping DI. And I like the audiobooks, the narrator growing on me a bit as well as she projects the different voices, connotations, inflections of the text.

The Rising Tide by Ann CleevesThe storyline this time involves a group of old school friends who meet every five years at Holy Island—the site of a school trip. Unfortunately, it is also the site of a fatality at their first reunion. This reunion sees the death of another of the former students. Attempted to appear as a suicide, Vera suspects murder.

These are not fast-paced mysteries. The participants at the reunion are introduced and studied, listed as possible suspects or not. There remained a number of inquiries that Vera is loathed to delegate, but as she is getting older, begrudgingly allows her staff to tackle different aspects of the investigation, relinquishing the reins just a bit. And we get to know them as well, their POV, motives. I like both Joe and Holly. It’s a good team.

Vera has a sixth sense, honed from years with the department, as well as unhappy childhood experiences, that she often uses to jump to the next facet of exploration. It’s good that she does and is usually right.

Unfortunately, sometimes her timing is a bit off. In this case, tragically so. I mourned that loss so I wasn’t wholly thrilled with the ending this time. Still, now that I’ve found an almost contemporary protagonist, I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuths, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B09Q7QC2NC
Listening Length: 11 hrs 28 mins
Narrator: Janine Birkett
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Rising Tide [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Ann Cleeves - authorThe Author: Ann is the author of the books behind ITV’s VERA, now in it’s third series, and the BBC’s SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann’s DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann’s Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands…

Ann grew up in the country, first in Herefordshire, then in North Devon. Her father was a village school teacher. After dropping out of university she took a number of temporary jobs – child care officer, women’s refuge leader, bird observatory cook, auxiliary coastguard – before going back to college and training to be a probation officer.

While she was cooking in the Bird Observatory on Fair Isle, she met her husband Tim, a visiting ornithologist. She was attracted less by the ornithology than the bottle of malt whisky she saw in his rucksack when she showed him his room. Soon after they married, Tim was appointed as warden of Hilbre, a tiny tidal island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary. They were the only residents, there was no mains electricity or water and access to the mainland was at low tide across the shore. If a person’s not heavily into birds – and Ann isn’t – there’s not much to do on Hilbre and that was when she started writing. Her first series of crime novels features the elderly naturalist, George Palmer-Jones. A couple of these books are seriously dreadful.

In 1987 Tim, Ann and their two daughters moved to Northumberland and the north east provides the inspiration for many of her subsequent titles. The girls have both taken up with Geordie lads. In the autumn of 2006, Ann and Tim finally achieved their ambition of moving back to the North East.

For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. It came as a revelation that it was possible to get paid for talking to readers about books! She went on to set up reading groups in prisons as part of the Inside Books project, became Cheltenham Literature Festival’s first reader-in-residence and still enjoys working with libraries.

Ann Cleeves on stage at the Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards ceremony

Ann’s short film for Border TV, Catching Birds, won a Royal Television Society Award. She has twice been short listed for a CWA Dagger Award – once for her short story The Plater, and the following year for the Dagger in the Library award.

In 2006 Ann Cleeves was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland Quartet. The Duncan Lawrie Dagger replaces the CWA’s Gold Dagger award, and the winner receives £20,000, making it the world’s largest award for crime fiction.

Ann’s success was announced at the 2006 Dagger Awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton, in London’s Aldwych, on Thursday 29 June 2006. She said: “I have never won anything before in my life, so it was a complete shock – but lovely of course.. The evening was relatively relaxing because I’d lost my voice and knew that even if the unexpected happened there was physically no way I could utter a word. So I wouldn’t have to give a speech. My editor was deputed to do it!”

The judging panel consisted of Geoff Bradley (non-voting Chair), Lyn Brown MP (a committee member on the London Libraries service), Frances Gray (an academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction), Heather O’Donoghue (academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction) and Barry Forshaw (reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine).

Ann’s books have been translated into sixteen languages. She’s a bestseller in Scandinavia and Germany. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden in 200.

Bio and photo from Goodreads.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Happy Autumn Weekend to you from Rosepoint Publishing

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (The Finlay Donovan Series Book 3) by Elle Cosimano #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

From USA Today bestseller and Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun—the hilarious and heart-pounding next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series.

Dating. Diapers. And dodging bullets. Who said single moms can’t have fun?

Finlay Donovan Jumps the GunFinlay Donovan has been in messes before—after all, she’s an author and single mom who’s a pro at getting out bloodstains for rather unexpected reasons—but none quite like this. After she and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they may have “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob got her out of debt. But now Finlay owes them

Still running the show from behind bars, mob boss Feliks has a task for Finlay: find a contract killer before the cops do. Problem is, the killer might be an officer.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has started up a citizen’s police academy, and combined pressure from Finlay’s looming book deadline and Feliks is enough to convince Finlay and Vero to get involved. Through firearm training and forensic classes (and some hands-on research with the tempting detective), Finlay and Vero have the perfect cover-up to sleuth out the real criminal and free themselves from the mob’s clutches—all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

My Review:

Holy Moses! Finlay is back and again tied in as many plot threads as series books one and two. How can one mommy and crime writer get into so much trouble?

Finlay and her close buddy, nanny, accountant, and crime partner Vero seem to set sparks off wherever they go whether instigated by Finlay or Vero—and Vero certainly is accountable for her share.

These two are almost Laurel and Hardy performing a slap-stick comedy complete with virtual pratfalls, double entendres, smart and snappy dialogue, and threads that multiply as the plot frays. Finlay has an ex, two little ones, and an editor that calls to provide feedback on the last chapter at the worst possible moment as well as arguments as to where the narrative should go. It’s that story in the story concept—Finlay always wrestling with her characters and where she wants them as opposed to what the editor says will sell.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle CosimanoIn Book 3, the duo are busy trying to identify “EasyClean,” a contract killer working jobs through one of the Russian mob’s website forums because it must be he who tried to kill her ex and is possibly working within the same department as Detective Nick. Nick makes it easy to infiltrate his department when he heads up the citizens’ police academy. Oh, that’s fun!

I really like the support characters. Of course, there must be some sort of romance and that’s apparently boiled down to Nick, that hot, but damaged detective, as well as her sister, also a cop. With what Finlay is into, most of which by accident but certainly illegal, there is that tension of working with them while hiding covert activities.

The writer has managed a scatter-shot of genres, combining snarky comments with humorous suspense(?) or mystery with a crime thriller. The brand of humor has created a staccato-like pattern of hit and retreat, advancing the storyline carefully in well-paced choreography that barrels into a conclusion pocked with cliff-hangers.

I enjoyed this tale as much as the first two in the series I listened to in audiobook format, Finlay Donovan is Killing It and Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘em Dead, approved this time for the ARC. While it would help to read the first two in the series, Book 3 might be read as a standalone that will whet your appetite for the first two. I’m looking forward to Book 4.

 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: Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B09Y4666Q4
Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: January 31, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Elle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle Cosimano is a USA Today bestselling author, an International Thriller Award winner, and an Edgar® Award nominee. Her acclaimed young adult novels include Nearly Gone, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm. Elle’s debut novel for adults, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, kicked off a witty, fast-paced contemporary mystery series, which was a PEOPLE Magazine Pick and one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021. In addition to writing novels for teens and adults, her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Time. Cosimano lives with her husband and two sons in Virginia. You can learn more about her at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Murder at Black Oaks: A Robin Lockwood Novel Book 6 by Phillip Margolin – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip Margolin

Book Blurb:

In Phillip Margolin’s Murder at Black Oaks, Attorney Robin Lockwood finds herself at an isolated retreat in the Oregon mountains, one with a tragic past and a legendary curse, and surrounded by many suspects and confronted with an impossible crime.

Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip MargolinDefense Attorney Robin Lockwood is summoned by retired District Attorney Francis Hardy to meet with him at Black Oaks, the manor he owns up in the Oregon mountains. The manor has an interesting history – originally built in 1628 in England, there’s a murderous legend and curse attached to the mansion. Hardy, however, wants Lockwood’s help in a legal matter – righting a wrongful conviction from his days as a DA. A young man, Jose Alvarez, was convicted of murdering his girlfriend only for Hardy, years later when in private practice, to have a client of his admit to the murder and to framing the man Hardy convicted. Unable to reveal what he knew due to attorney client confidence, Hardy now wants Lockwood’s help in getting that conviction overturned.

Successful in their efforts, Hardy invites Lockwood up to Black Oaks for a celebration. Lockwood finds herself among an odd group of invitees – including the bitter, newly released, Alvarez. When Hardy is found murdered, with a knife connected to the original curse, Lockwood finds herself faced with a conundrum – who is the murder among them and how to stop them before there’s another victim.

His Review:

Attorney/client privilege is a cornerstone of American jurisprudence. In the course of defending his client, a young district attorney learns of the other attorney’s inability to disclose certain facts in a case. The result is the client being sent to death row for a crime the young man did not commit. Jose Alvarez spends over thirty years on death row- an innocent man.

Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip MargolinRobin Lockwood is contacted 30 years later to help salve the conscience of the then much older district attorney. He resides at Black Oaks Manor, a desolate mansion in an even more desolate region of Oregon. Black Oaks Manor is at the end of a remote location often unable to be reached by land vehicle. Jose is now released because papers have surfaced that proved he could not have killed the man he was sentenced to death for.

The story’s plot is further complicated by a faulty elevator and washed-out roads. The washed-out roads strand Robin and her associate while deaths continue at Black Oaks. Who is responsible for these untimely deaths?

Throughout the novel’s plot line, the story leads to false trails and impossible outcomes. I found myself flummoxed by the possibilities and recognized my personal inability to discover the truth.

This novel harkens back to some of the older great mystery writers. As the body count mounted, I found myself on quicksand trying to ferret out the culprit. Usually, a concrete motive for the killings and an obvious villain begin to surface as the novel proceeds. This is not the case with this novel. Facts are not presented until the end which exposes the killer. However, I still found myself in disbelief as to the capacity of the killer to be responsible for the crime. CE Williams

I suggest you read the book and see if you reach another conclusion. I have read many of Phillip Margolin’s books and this is one of his slippery best. Enjoy! 4 stars – CE Williams

We’ve read several previous Robin Lockwood series novels, most recently The Darkest Place and  A Matter of Life and Death, and in 2020 A Reasonable Doubtand enjoyed them all, although more so the former. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars 4 stars

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B09NTKCH8C
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: November 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Murder at Black Oaks [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 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.

[Read more about Mr. Margolin on his website.]

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Bad Axe County (A Bad Axe County Novel Book 1) by John Galligan – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Bad Axe County by John Galligan

Bad Axe County by John Galligan

Book Blurb:

Dennis Lehane meets Megan Miranda in this “dark beauty of a novel” (William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author) about the first female sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, Wisconsin, as she searches for a missing girl, battles local drug dealers, and seeks the truth about the death of her parents twenty years ago—all as a winter storm rages in her embattled community.

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.

With “striking prose, engaging characters, and a searing story of crimes rooted in the heartland,” Bad Axe County is a “darkly irresistible thriller” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) that you won’t be able to put down.

My Review:

I didn’t realize that the CE read and reviewed Book 3, Bad Moon Rising last year, and wasn’t wholly thrilled with it.

That is essentially my reaction to Book 1. From the beginning, it’s heavily atmospheric, describing Wisconsin very well. This is a small town with all the idiosyncrasies that comes with a small town: everybody knows everybody’s business. Most have been born, raised, and never strayed beyond the county city limits. Usually, that also means narrow thinking, biased attitudes, ole boy enclaves well entrenched. The haves; the have nots.

Bad Axe County by John GalliganThe protagonist, Heidi Kick is a former beauty queen turned law enforcement who suddenly discovers herself sheriff upon the death of the former officer. She has a history, of course, the apparent murder/suicide of her parents—something she never accepted and a case that is never far below the one currently being investigated.

And what’s being currently investigated is plenty. The storyline veers into missing girls, discovery of bodies, drugs, and human trafficking.
Lots of characters. Heidi is married with little ones. She is battling those who don’t want a “Dairy Queen” in the position—but she does have a base support.

The plot line turns decidedly dark, the dialogue raw, profane, denigrating, and demeaning. It is suspenseful, violent, and fast-paced. Better keep up!
The conclusion manages to work out all the threads, leaving Heidi snarking with her buddy, Denise—that part is fun—and I like the character of Denise.
It is well-plotted, loaded with atmosphere, and for the most part dark. I like strong female protagonists, but will have to give this one more thought.

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths, Suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
ASIN: B07NDYSZLJ
Listening Length: 10 hrs 24 mins
Narrator: Samantha Desz
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Bad Axe County [Amazon]

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John Galligan - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] John Galligan, in addition to being a novelist and teacher, John has worked as a newspaper journalist, feature-film screenwriter, house painter, au pair, ESL teacher, cab driver, and freezer boy in a salmon cannery. He currently teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College, where his experience is enriched by students from every corner of the local and world community.

 

 

2022 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

The Wedding Plot: A Mercy Carr Mystery by Paula Munier – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier

Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #4

Book Blurb:

The Wedding PlotUSA Today bestselling author Paula Munier’s fourth Mercy Carr mystery, finds Mercy and Elvis at a deadly Vermont wedding.

Love never dies a natural death…

The Wedding Plot by Paula MunierWhen Mercy’s grandmother Patience marries her longtime beau Claude Renault at the five-star Lady’s Slipper Inn, it promises to be the destination wedding of the year. Just as the four-day extravaganza is due to begin, the inn’s spa director Bodhi St. George disappears—and Mercy’s mother Grace sends Mercy and Elvis to find him. But what they discover instead is a stranger skewered by a pitchfork in the barn on the goat farm where St. George lived.

As Mercy tries to figure out who the victim is and where St. George is hiding, the bride and groom’s estranged relations gather for the first of the pre-wedding festivities. Long-buried rivalries and resentments surface—and Mercy realizes that they’re all keeping secrets that could tear both families apart. When Elvis interrupts the escalating melodrama to alert Mercy to an intruder on the estate, she finds a wounded St. George in the cottage where she and Troy are staying. St. George is not who he says he is—but when he escapes from the hospital and disappears again, Mercy thinks he’s gone for good. With the wedding imminent and the families at each other’s throats, she decides finding St. George will have to wait.

The big day arrives—but the danger is far from over. With the families and the festivities still under threat, it’s up to Mercy and Elvis together with Troy and Susie Bear to stop the killer and save the bride and groom—before death do they part.

My Review:

I really like Mercy Carr, formerly an Army MP and her bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois, Elvis—a promise to his former handler to care for him. Highly trained and intelligent, Elvis is the star of the series, as well as her love interest, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Game Warden Troy Warner. He has a rescue Newfoundland Retriever mix, Susie Bear, who you just want to hug.

The Wedding Plot by Paula MunierThis entry to the series has Mercy participating (unwillingly) in her grandmother’s destination wedding at the luxurious Lady Slipper Inn, an over-the-top lavishly restored historical resort in the “Live Free or Die” state. Of course, the whole family is there and that is the problem, beginning with her mother, Grace, who is orchestrating the entire affair.

Mercy is thrown into the position of instructor for the wedding party’s yoga session, filling in for the missing spa director who is the manager of the adjacent goat farm, producer of award-winning artisan Cruyére cheese. But meeting Annie, owner and operator of the creamery, discovers with Elvis far more than a missing yoga instructor—a dead body. And it’s not the yoga instructor.

Nor will it be the only body Mercy and Elvis discover and as the wedding plans advance and guests begin arriving, complications set in.

I wouldn’t really call this novel a cozy mystery. I read the first and third (The Hiding Place), but still struggled with the sheer amount of characters. The main support character, Annie, was well fleshed and we did get additional background on Mercy. The Vermont descriptions were both delightful and terrifying, the storms enough to drive any Sunday driver into another state.

While the canines had an integral part of this narrative, it was the families of the wedding party and the clashes between them and their problem with Mercy and her chosen life path that took center stage. Finding and discovering ever-deepening and disturbing minutiae had the plot going in different directions, but always coming back to the next family conflict. Honestly, I thought the wedding would never happen.

The conclusion satisfies but the storyline bogged down for me this time to the point where it became slow going. No problem—Book 4 being a one-off for me. I’ll be looking for Book 5. I like the series and Mercy, Troy, and those amazing dogs.

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin

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: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 125082236X
ASIN: B09CNF3X3W
Print Length: 342 pages
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Paula Munier - authorThe Author: PAULA MUNIER is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was recently named the Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Book of the Year. The second, BLIND SEARCH, pubbed in November 2019. The third, THE HIDING PLACE, will debut in March 2021.

Paula was inspired to write the series by the hero working dogs she met through Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescues, Newfoundland/retriever mix Bear, Great Pyrenees/Australian cattle dog mix Bliss, and Malinois mix Blondie, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.

Paula also written three popular books on writing: PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, and WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, as well as the acclaimed memoir FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle, and HAPPIER EVERY DAY: Simple ways to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.

She lives in New England with her family, her three rescue dogs, and a rescue torbie tabby named Ursula.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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