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]
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 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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What She Found (Tracy Crosswhite Book 9) by Robert Dugoni – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

What She Found by Robert Dugoni

Book Blurb:

Solving a decades-old disappearance sets Tracy Crosswhite on a dangerous collision course with the past in a pulse-pounding novel by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

What She Found by Robert DugoniDetective Tracy Crosswhite has agreed to look into the disappearance of investigative reporter Lisa Childress. Solving the cold case is an obsession for Lisa’s daughter, Anita. So is clearing the name of her father, a prime suspect who became a pariah. After twenty-five years, all Anita wants is the truth—no matter where it leads.

For Tracy, that means reopening the potentially explosive investigations Lisa was following on the dark night she vanished: an exposé of likely mayoral graft; the shocking rumors of a reserved city councilman’s criminal sex life; a drug task force scandal compromising the Seattle PD; and an elusive serial killer who disappeared just as mysteriously as Lisa.

As all the pieces come together, it becomes clear that Tracy is in the midst of a case that will push her loyalties and her resilience to the limit. What she uncovers will come with a greater price than anyone feared.

My Review:

What I love about the Tracy Crosswhite series? This is Book 9 and could still be read as a standalone. I popped into this series with Book 7 A Cold Trail, and then read Book 8 In Her Tracks. I feel I know Tracy pretty well, although as a complex, intelligent detective in Seattle there is always more that can be discovered. Lisa has been relegated to Cold Cases after a couple little disagreements with her former superior.

What She Found by Robert DugoniThis entry to the series has decorated Detective Crosswhite looking into the disappearance of investigative reporter Lisa Childress at the behest of her daughter, Anita, who was two years old at the time of her mother’s disappearance. After 25 years and the circumstances surrounding her departure though, there are few possibilities—none with what would look to have a positive outcome.

Lisa was full-tilt into an extremely dangerous investigation that certainly pointed to the circumstance of finding herself at risk. She was meeting someone in the middle of the night that might have exposed corruption within the department, a murder, and a crooked drug task force. It was Lisa’s husband, however, that became the local police focal point and they looked no further following scrutiny of their family life.

Chief of Police Marcella Weber may be a stumbling block in Crosswhite’s digging into the Childress case as her objective is positive public opinion and council approval and the desire to investigate only those cases where new DNA evidence is found that might lead to a resolution of the case.

Crosswhite still maintains a strong bond with recent partners from the Homicide Division, all strong support characters as well as maintaining a happy home life with a successful, supportive hubby and sweet baby girl. But she has a history and Crosswhite is driven to find the answers to the Childress case whether she secures approval or not.

I loved the direction it took, well-plotted, and the conclusion is very satisfying.

520 floating bridge into Seattle
Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, Seattle, WA

Dugoni’s novels are well-paced and deliver leads that keep the reader engaged. I always enjoy references to the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge better known as the 520 bridge, bringing back memories of the sensation of riding over it on my motorcycle. These narratives are always intelligent offering learning opportunities as well as incite to strong characters and motives. Easy to invest in Crosswhite, follow her discoveries, look for the next, and applaud her victories.

I’ve also read the Charles Jenkins series (even started with Book 1 The Eighth Sister!) and now I’m thrilled to see a new Dugoni book come up, whether one of either series or a standalone; a go-to author. This is one you won’t want to miss! Currently on pre-order.

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

[goodreads]

Book Details:

Genre: Murder, Women Sleuths, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: ‎ 1542008328
ASIN: B08ZMWPP9Q
Print Length: 343 pages
Publication Date: August 23, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Robert Dugoni - authorThe Author: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, the David Sloane legal thriller series, and several stand-alone novels including The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novels, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award and the critically acclaimed, The World Played Chess; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series. Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He has also been a finalist for many other awards including the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than thirty languages.

Visit his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com, and follow him on twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertD

©2022 V Williams V Williams

520 floating bridge attribute: Wikipedia

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Death by Didgeridoo (Jamie Quinn Mystery Book 1) by Barbara Venkataraman – #BookReview – #cozyanimalmystery

Book Blurb:

Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman Attorney Jamie Quinn is on a six-month hiatus from practicing law to deal with her beloved mother’s death. Rarely leaving the house, she shares most of her days with her late mother’s cranky cat.

But soon, Jamie is forced into action by a frantic call from her Aunt Peg, whose autistic son Adam is in police custody and suspected of murdering his music teacher, a once-famous rock star named Spike.

It’s up to Jamie to find the real killer. The problem is, Spike seems to have had more enemies than he had friends, and Adam had confessed to the murder already. Can Jamie piece together the evidence and bring the murderer to justice before it’s too late?

A delightful, light mystery set in the small town of Hollywood, South Florida, Death By Didgeridoo is the first book in Barbara Venkataraman’s Jamie Quinn Cozy Mysteries series.

My Review:

That’s a fun word—Didgeridoo—of course, a wind instrument originating and common to Australia. But, yeah, so both the title and the cover are a serious draw.

Fortunately, the short story following delivers the implied promise. It’s both unique and vaguely familiar.

Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman A cozy mystery with an attorney protagonist (shudder), practicing family law until her mother’s death leaves her devastated and almost literally unable to function. Six months has not seen her return to her former active lifestyle, now barely capable of leaving the couch long enough to feed her mother’s cranky cat. The cat is on a formidable mourning period of its own.

When she receives a hysterical call from her Aunt Peg about her son, Adam, Jamie is forced to get up and deal with it—it’s family—and Adam cannot handle being pulled in and suspected in the murder of his music teacher with his own musical instrument. Adam has Asberger’s Syndrome. He is shutting down–and this trauma could make it permanent.

Jamie is forced to swing her focus on her cousin and her aunt—she is not a criminal attorney—but is smart and resourceful and it doesn’t take too long (this is a short story after all) to first, get her cousin calmed, and then invoke the help of her best friend and a PI.

The storyline necessarily moves at a good pace and along the way develops the characters sufficiently that the reader becomes invested in a positive outcome. The victim of the didgeridoo was not particularly viewed with love but the numero uno suspect is entirely innocent and naïve and almost becomes victim number two. It’s easy to become invested in the characters.

A quick read, engaging, and entertaining. I received a (now permanently) free review copy of this book as an introduction to the series after a request from the author 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: Cozy Animal Mystery, Women Sleuths, Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Next Chapter
ISBN: ‎ B099KZ3XX8
ASIN: B00GVJ4WOY
Print Length: 102 pages
Publication Date: November 13, 2013
Source: Author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Barbara Venkataraman - authorThe Author: Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of the Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery series, as well as: Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person; The Fight for Magicallus; If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place; Quirky Essays for Quirky People; and the Flash Fiction Shorts series.

She has won the Indie Book of the Day award twice, the Book of the Day Award, a gold medal for memoir in the Readers’ Favorite Competition, was a finalist in the Kindle Book Awards twice, and won first place in the Amateur Detective category of the Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Mystery Writing Competition.

Her popular Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery Series includes: Death by Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce, Peril in the Park, Engaged in Danger, Jeopardy in July, and Malice in Miami.

Her recent non-fiction: Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four, a memoir she co-authored with her son about lessons he learned while working to exonerate four men falsely accused of a terrible crime in the Jim Crow South.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Gambling with Murder: A Southern California Mystery by Lida Sideris – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Gambling with Murder by Lida SiderisA late-night call is all it takes for rookie lawyer Corrie Locke to kiss her day job at the movie studio goodbye, and do what she does best: flex her sweet P.I. skills and go undercover to find a senior who’s missing from a posh retirement community. One small stumbling block: skirting past security to gain inside access to the exclusive Villa Sunset. Time to call in the heavy artillery. Besides former security guard turned legal assistant—now wannabe P.I.—Veera, Corrie relies on a secret weapon: her mother, a surprisingly eager addition to Corrie’s team. Armed with enough pepper spray to take down a band of Navy Seals, Mom impersonates a senior to infiltrate the Villa, Corrie and Veera in tow. Turns out the job’s not as easy as they’d thought. These seniors have tricks tucked up their sleeves and aren’t afraid of using them.

The action gets dicey when the missing senior case turns into attempted murder by a criminal mind who’s always one step ahead. Corrie’s hot on the trail, but finds more than she bargained for…when her mother becomes a target.

My Review:

Oops! The fifth in the series and my first. I think I may have missed something. Wannabe PI Corrie Locke (also a newly minted lawyer) is trying her chops at finding a missing person. Villa Sunset is an exclusive retirement home in Santa Barbara and, yes, that is a gorgeous, very expensive area of southern California. The author sets the reader up for beautiful views, ocean-scented air, and palms swaying in the gentle breeze.

Gambling with Murder by Lida SiderisThe novel is a cozy mystery and moves at a laid-back pace. Corrie is joined by her best bud, Veera, a former security guard, and apparently this entry to the series, Corrie’s mother, who proves to be the interesting character (for me). Because it’s a senior community, they need her mother to be their “in.” It appears to work as she is readily accepted and they “temporarily” tag along.

It is supposed to be a senior community, but these seniors are apparently not only “active” but bored and tend to come off more as “geriatric delinquents” than seniors. But nothing is simple, even in a cozy mystery, and things begin, slowly, to become more complex adding characters to the plot, threads, and twists.

The author writes with wit, coining some interesting and funny phrases:

“…he regarded me with the disdain reserved for a virgin eggnog.”

“I can spot a liar like a hawk can spot a grasshopper.”

“I’m not doing it. I’d stick out like a raisin in a jar of mayonnaise.”

At about seventy percent, the narrative begins to heat up and the pacing finds the gas pedal. At this point, there are a lot of issues to clarify which do get ironed out in conclusion following a fairly low-key climax.

I’m not sure whether it was because I started well into the series or there was just too much minutia that didn’t help keep the plot on track, but I found it too slow for me. The dialogue could be humorous at times, however, there were occasions when action got a bit over the top and the residents too juvenile. I am a senior but these characters didn’t ring true for me.

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: Women Sleuths
Publisher: Level Best Books
ASIN: B09QYW2VYG
Print Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Lida Sideris - authorThe Author: Lida Sideris first stint after law school was a newbie lawyer’s dream: working as an entertainment attorney for a movie studio…kind of like her heroine, Corrie Locke, except without the homicides. Lida was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship Award for her first book and a Killer Nashville, Silver Falchion Award Finalist for her fourth book – Slightly Murderous Intent. Lida lives in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens.

“A smart caper with a heroine to match.” – Kirkus Recommended Review

“…An excellent read. It has everything needed for a cozy afternoon curled up on the sofa – murder, mystery, humor, and plenty of action. The plot is extremely detailed and so well written that I found myself hooked on page one.” – Readers’ Favorite

Bio for The Cookie Eating Fire Dog:

Lida Sideris loves baking and eating all kinds of cookies. Never, ever leave her alone with a batch of fresh baked cookies…if you want any left for yourself. She is the author of a Southern California Mystery series. This is her first book for children. When she’s not writing, she’s running a legal non-profit in Southern California. Lida is a lawyer and mother of two human and two canine kids. She is an avid supporter of the three R’s: reading, writing and rescue dogs.

“The story is charming and readers will love Dan.” – Readers’ Favorite

“If you have any little aspiring firefighters at home, Lida Sideris has penned an adorable and motivating tale that is just perfect for them…the lesson is solid, and as Dan learns the value of selfless acts, so will many young readers” – IndiesToday

©2022 – V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Darkest Place: A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin – #BookReview – #legalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Defense attorney Robin Lockwood faces an unimaginable personal disaster and her greatest professional challenge in the next New York Times bestselling Phillip Margolin’s new legal thriller, The Darkest Place.

The Darkest Place by Phillip MargolinRobin Lockwood is an increasingly prominent defense attorney in the Portland community. A Yale graduate and former MMA fighter, she’s becoming known for her string of innovative and successful defense strategies. As a favor to a judge, Robin takes on the pro bono defense of a reprehensible defendant charged with even more reprehensible crimes. But what she doesn’t know—what she can’t know—is how this one decision, this one case, will wreak complete devastation on her life and plans.

As she recovers from those consequences, Robin heads home to her small town of Elk Grove and the bosom of her family. As she tries to recuperate, a unique legal challenge presents itself—Marjorie Loman, a surrogate, is accused of kidnapping the baby she carried for another couple, and assaulting that couple in the process. There’s no question that she committed these actions but that’s not the same as being guilty of the crime. As Robin works to defend her client, she learns that Marjorie Loman has been hiding under a fake identity and is facing a warrant for her arrest for another, even more serious crime. And buried within the truth may once again be unexpected, deadly consequences.

His Review:

Sequestered in a remote location in Oregon, Marjorie Loman was surprised by a knock on her door late at night. Two police officers were standing at her door. They give her the news that her husband’s body was found in an alley behind a trash can near Portland. Laughing might not have been the best response to the news!

The Darkest Place by Phillip MargolinHaving your assets tied up in probate calls for desperate measures. Surrogates were being paid around $50,000 to carry another families’ child. The nine months would cover the period waiting for the courts to release their joint properties. She will then be well set for the rest of her life. Her husband had taken most of the couple’s assets and converted them to gold bars but no one knew where the bars were hidden.

Author Margolin always writes intricate plots with some clever twists. This book is no exception. I formed a quick empathy for Marjorie and did not understand why the people in Oregon were so caustic towards her. She wants to keep the baby after a nurse lets him sleep with her the night of his birth. The subsequent psychosis that followed that error made a very gripping tale. I was not aware of the post-partum problems associated with surrogate births.

CE WilliamsThe author held my interest throughout the book and kept me intrigued as well as educated me. I suggest the book to anyone who is considering surrogacy for overcoming the inability to have their own child. The author weaves parallel plots in a gripping manner and releases a very satisfying read. 5 stars – C.E. Williams 

We’ve read two previous Robin Lockwood series novels, most recently A Matter of Life and Death, and in 2020 A Reasonable Doubt, and enjoyed both, although more so the former. 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: Legal Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B092T8M4K8
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Darkest Place [Amazon]
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Phillip Margolin - author
Phillip Margolin – author

The Author: I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, I graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in government. I spent 1965 to 1967 in Liberia, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer, graduated from New York University School of Law in 1970 as a night student. I went nights and worked as a junior high teacher in the South Bronx to support myself. My first job following law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the chief judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals, and from 1972 until 1996, I was in private practice, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. As an appellate attorney I have appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, I handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court, and have represented approximately thirty people charged with homicide, several of whom faced the death penalty. I was the first Oregon attorney to use battered women’s syndrome to defend a woman accused of murdering her spouse.

Since 1996, I have been writing full-time. All of my novels have been bestsellers. Heartstone, my first novel, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978. My second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was made into an HBO movie. Gone, But Not Forgotten has been sold to more than twenty-five foreign publishers and was made into a miniseries starring Brooke Shields. It was also the Main Selection of the Literary Guild. After Dark was a Book of the Month Club selection. The Burning Man, my fifth novel, published in August 1996, was the Main Selection of the Literary Guild and a Reader’s Digest condensed book. My sixth novel, The Undertaker’s Widow, was published in 1998 and was a Book of the Month Club selection. Wild Justice (HarperCollins, September 2000) was a Main Selection of the Literary Guild, a selection of the Book of the Month Club, and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. The Associate was published by HarperCollins in August 2001, and Ties that Bind was published by HarperCollins in March 2003. My tenth novel, Sleeping Beauty, was published by HarperCollins on March 23, 2004. Lost Lake was published by HarperCollins in March 2005 and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. Proof Positive was published by HarperCollins in July 2006. Executive Privilege was published by HarperCollins in May 2008 and in 2009 was given the Spotted Owl Award for the Best Northwest Mystery. Fugitive was published by HarperCollins on June 2, 2009. Willamette Writers gave me the 2009 Distinguished Northwest Writers Award. My latest novel, Supreme Justice, was published by HarperCollins in May 2010. My next novel, Capitol Murder, will come out in April 2012.

On October 11, 2011, HarperCollins will publish Vanishing Acts, my first Young Adult novel, which I wrote with my daughter, Ami Margolin Rome. Also in October, the short story “The Case of the Purloined Paget,” which I wrote with my brother, Jerry, will be published by Random House in the anthology A Study in Sherlock.

In addition to my novels, I have published short stories and nonfiction articles in magazines and law journals. My short story “The Jailhouse Lawyer” was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 1999. The House on Pine Terrace was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2010.

From 1996 to 2009 I was the president and chairman of the Board of Chess for Success. I am still heavily involved in the program, and returned to the board after a one-year absence in 2010. Chess for Success is a nonprofit charity that uses chess to teach study skills to elementary- and middle-school children in Title I schools . From 2007 to the present, I have been on the Board of Literary Arts, which sponsors the Oregon Book Awards, the Writers in the Schools program, and Portland Arts and Lectures.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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