Monday, July 27, 2015

The Melodoy Lingers On - Mary Higgins Clark

This is the latest book from the Queen of Suspense and doesn’t disappoint. It’s a tale all too familiar in this world of big money and even bigger criminals. Average, middle-class, Americans are being robbed of their life saving by an unscrupulous, but charming, investment broker. When the pot reaches five billion the broker, Parker Bennett, mysteriously disappears from his sailboat – so does the money. He leaves behind a grieving wife who believes his innocence, a distraught son who has inherited his father’s charisma, and a devious mistress. Lane Harmon works for an upscale interior decorator that is currently redoing the mistress’s apartment for a cool five million. Her boss is also redoing an apartment for the supposed widow of Parker Bennett, who has lost the multi-million dollar mansion shared by her husband and son. Lane meets the charming Eric Bennett and immediately believes he is innocent of his father’s crime. Lane has a four year old daughter who is also enchanted by this man who claims to like her cookies. Is a trail of deception leading Lane and her daughter into irreparable danger? Or is she right in thinking Eric is only trying to clear his name? Who’s the guy renting the apartment next to Mrs. Bennett and listening in on conversations? Who’s driving the old, beat-up, black car that keeps following Lane around – will the golf partner of an alleged British engineer, living in the islands, finally figure out what he knew all along? It’s a tangled trail of suspenseful coincidences, of hurtful actions, and in the end true love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Plum Spooky - Janet Evanovich

If you’ve never read a Stephanie Plum novel you’ve missed some pretty wild plots. Even if you have read one there are still plenty of bolts from the blue in the next one. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter and wherever she goes, who ever she is with, you can be sure that something is going to blow up, catch fire or just plain wind up in pandemonium. Plum Spooky is no exception. Some of the regular, or irregular, characters, show up in this book; Stephanie’s three men, Diesel, the one that shows up without warning, Ranger, the protector and her one love, Morelli. The story is centered in a place called The Pine Barrens where the Jersey Devil, among other weird and shocking living things reside; like a old man who thinks he’s the Easter Bunny, a family of Sasquatch, and the infamous Elmer, The Fire Farter. Yeah-that’s right, a fire farter. You can guess how that turns out! The opening paragraph of the book reads; “Sometimes you get up in the morning and you know it’s going to be one of those days. No toothpaste left in the tube, no toilet paper on the cardboard roll, hot water cuts out halfway through your shower and someone’s left a monkey on your doorstep.” Carl, the monkey, turns out to be an interesting addition with his one finger salute and an addiction to Mario Brother’s video game. Stephanie Plum isn’t for everyone – you have to have a perverse sense of humor and the ability to enjoy a story that at times flies into unknown, and mostly unbelievable, twists of plots. I don’t exactly give this book a thumbs up – it’s an acquired taste – but if you’re looking for something different, give it a try. The book is available at Novel World of Used Fiction. We ship free in the USA.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Ballad of Frankie Silver - Sharyn McCrumb

“I want to show you a grave.” The sheriff said. There were three markers, smooth stubs of granite, showing the place where Charlie Silver lay. But, which marker was right? “All three. . .” the sheriff told Spencer Arrowood. Charlie Silver had been hacked into so many pieces that they had to bury whatever they found, and then bury some more. Charlie’s eighteen year old wife, Frankie, was accused to the gruesome crime. The year was 1832, the crime committed in the dead of winter. Did young, pretty, Frankie, mother to Baby Nancy, really commit this crime? According the courts of law she did; and was the first woman hanged in the State of North Carolina. Spencer Arrowood, over 100 years later and wounded in the line of duty, set out to find the truth. Was Frankie guilty? What was she trying to tell them when she had the noose around her neck and her father hushed her? He also wanted to know the truth about Fate Harkryder, another youth accused of being the Appalachian Trail murderer. Spencer, at that time a deputy, had arrested him twenty years ago and was a witness at the trial. Now – they were sending him to electric chair and Spencer wasn’t so sure that Fate was guilty, just like he wasn’t so sure of Frankie’s guilt. What did Fate know about the awful day when two young hikers were brutally murdered? He, like Frankie, was about to go to his death with the answer sealed on his lips. ‘The Ballad of Frankie Silver’ is a fascinating book about the law and lawyers. It’s a history lesson that keeps repeating itself.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Death Wears A Beauty Mask - Mary Higgins Clark

Death Wears a Beauty Mask is a novella never before published by the Queen of Suspense. In 1974, Clark, was inspired to write a story about the dark side of the New York City fashion world. It’s a tale about two sisters who look alike-and another woman who is made up to look like the sisters. Someone is found murdered in one sister’s apartment. Who was it? Was it really her sister – or someone else? What deep secret was being covered up in the newest fashion craze? The novella is a suspenseful thriller but there’s more, much more; nine other stories written by Clark in her early career. The first is, Stowaway, When the Bough Breaks, Voices in the Coalbin, The Cape Cod Masquerade, Definitely, a Crime of Passion, The Man Next Door, Haven’t We Met Before?, The Funniest Thing Has Been Happening Lately and the Tell-Tale Purr. This is an interesting book showcasing Clark’s many talents as a story-teller. Stowaway is Clark’s first published short story (1956). If you’re a fan of Mary Higgins Clark you won’t want to miss reading this one, and even if you have never read her before you’ll find this a good collection of suspenseful tales. Some, admittedly, better than others.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Summer Shadows

When Julia Lamontaigne received heartbreaking news that her sister and her husband were killed in an accident she never dreamed they had left their three children to her care. How could she possibly provide for herself and three other lives when she had just lost her job? Julia discovered that although the house she and the children were living in was mortgaged her sister had recently purchased an old fixer-upper in a small town near a lake in New Hampshire, hoping to make it their summer place. Financially, something had to give, and with thoughts of fixing up that place with the help of her three charges and selling it to make payments on the other house she packed up the kids, a few belongings, and began an adventure that would lead to far more than a financial solution! Julia found in their new location a house badly in need of cleaning and repair but did it also hold a deadly secret? A connection to that derelict old mansion at the end of the street where a young artist was murdered? It becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Julia in town. Someone is watching her. . . Living in a neighborhood of free-spirited local characters, which tend to complicate life for Julia and her crew, especially the attractive cop next door, is the beginning of an engaging summer packed with action and emotional turmoil that leads to the knitting together of a real family. The family values addressed in this book were not only refreshing, in today’s jaded world, they added much to the mystery. I recommend Summer Shadows to any reader who wants a good read and to walk away knowing there are still people who care.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Three Days to Forever - Lauren Carr

Mac Faraday and Archie Monday are planning a wedding – simple enough until you throw in a few seemingly unrelated murders, a cell of terrorists, a heinous plot of mass destruction, bureaucratic cover up, and a new pair of high heeled boots – then, it gets interesting. Did Faraday kill the man who threatened him? Why was his DNA found at the murder site? What did Agnes, the tough handed mother of the bride, have in the black hole? Who targeted Faraday’s brother, David, as a sacrifice to Jihad? New characters, and old ones, merge in this exciting read. You’ll fall for the hard shelled naval officer, Murphy, who is a vegetarian and only drinks herbal tea. You’ll love the image of Jessica, Faraday’s daughter, her violet eyes, trendy clothes, closet full of shoes and purple Ferrari that screams spoiled rich girl – only don’t mess with her unless you’re up for a few surprises. And speaking of surprises, exactly who gets to walk down the wedding aisle? As always, the dogs take center stage every chance they get. From Jessica’s sheltie, Spencer (or is it Candi?), to Chelsea’s Molly and of course the ever present hero of the Mac Faraday series – Gnarly. This book, Three Days to Forever, is not only entertaining it is thought provoking. From the Bible reference to Ishmael, and in these shocking days of terrorist alerts, there are glimmers of truth mixed in a fictional account. The book is not intended as a political commentary, nor does it make broad accusations about our nation in general – yet, when you read it you may begin to wonder. . .what if?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Deepest Dark

An elderly couple living out their remaining years in an isolated farmhouse – a famous writer, alone, working in a secluded cabin – three escaped convicts, Roach, Tattoo and Dog – sets up a terrifying and horrific scenario of brutal murder and willful kidnapping. Abby Miller’s life was torn apart when her husband, Corey, and daughter, Ellie, died in a car crash. Striving to get her writing life back on tract she told no one, not even Karen, her sister, where she had gone. Will that mistake cost her her life; or something even more horrible? And, why does the ring leader of the escaped convicts, Roach, seem vaguely familiar? Joan Hall Hovey’s The Deepest Dark is a thrilling, chilling, tale of sadness, regret and heart stopping suspense. Don’t miss it! Reader Beware: This is definitely not a cozy!!