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!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sucker Punches

This is a compilation of short stories written by Carolyn Rose and Mike Nettleton. I found the first three or four stories very entertaining. If you are an editor or publisher you will certainly enjoy the first one. After those it got a little far-fetched, although still amusing. It's a light read and something you can pick up and put down at will. Both writers are talented and imaginative. Worth the purchase.

The Novel World of Angela Crown

Crime has long reaching effects on its victims. Angela Crown is the small girl hiding under the bed when her mother is murdered – Angela Crown is the young woman, preparing for her honeymoon, who gets word that her fiancĂ© and father are victims of a bank robbery gone bad. The violence suddenly becomes too much. As an aspiring writer, and avid reader, Angela is caught up in a world where she can no longer separate fact from fiction. Leaping into the pages of the latest thriller she sees herself as an avenging angel for the characters that are in danger. She perceives the authors and creators of the books as evil people preying on innocent beings. The Novel World of Angela Crown is a book within a book. The author skillfully takes the reader from the physical world of Angela Crown to the fiction world she creates from the books she reads. Her sister, Maggie, her psychiatrist, Liam Price, a police detective and a former teacher are striving to bring Angela back into the real world. A famous author sympathizes with her illness but becomes the victim of her increasing rage. It was difficult to place a rating on this novel. The concept was fascinating. Still, I found some of it very far-fetched and at times tedious. If you are looking for a book that is out of the ordinary you may want to give it a try. Reader beware – you may not like the ending.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Martini Regrets - Phyllis Smallman

If Sherri Travis hadn’t decided to have that last dirty martini her life would have taken a different turn. She wouldn’t have been traveling across the Florida Everglades in the middle of the night with an almost empty gas tank. She wouldn’t have wound up fighting off a plethora of critters both creeping and crawling; the most dangerous of all the kind that stands on two legs. Frightening beyond belief is Sherri’s adventure in the treacherous swamp land. But maybe not as terrifying as thinking she’s safe when that’s far from the truth. Why did a business card and a pink flip flop pose such a threat? Sherri and Clay, her finance, are thrown by circumstance into the elegant but amoral world of the ultra rich whose only passion is rare and exotic orchids. Would someone who would pay thousands of dollars for one orchid become a murderer to win the prize? Phyllis Smallman’s Sherri Travis is a sassy, tough but tender character that has never quite escaped her swamp rat image although she’s now the owner of the best bar on the coast, The Sunset. She’s mouthy, impulsive and a little paranoid but she’s also compassionate and loves deeply. If you have been following the Sherri Travis series, Martini Regrets, is a must read. Even if you haven’t read the others this book is guaranteed to keep you up at night eagerly turning page after page. Sherri may well start to regret more than that last martini as her life takes a dramatic turn. I personally can’t wait for the next book.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Murder Most Convenient

In Robert Colton's novel 'MURDER MOST CONVENIENT' it’s the 1940’s. Pulp fiction whodunits are all the rage. So, Mrs. Xavier Stayton, a recently widowed American woman of privileged class and her equally young English companion, Lucy Wallace, decide to get on the bandwagon and write their own ripping mystery. Mrs. X’s mother-in-law graciously arranges for the young women to stay with her deceased husband’s estranged relatives at a very proper British estate known as Pearce Manor. They do, after all, need atmosphere for their fledging novel. The ladies feel fate has smiled on their efforts but little do they know that their unwelcome appearance will set in motion a catastrophic procession of events that will spin light hearted murderous fiction into grim reality. Had someone already tried to murder the handicapped woman known as Phyllis? And why is she so interested in Mrs. X and Miss W’s manuscript? Does the handsome detective really believe that Mrs. X is the murderer? Stay tuned for a series of clues and revealing interviews that lead to truth about more things than murder. Murder Most Convenient is a light-hearted, humorous read with just enough actual mystery to keep the reader turning the pages. Be aware that there are some typos in this novel and I found Colton’s habit of addressing a future editor disconcerting. Otherwise – have fun with one!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Dead Red Alibi

A DEAD RED ALIBI by RP Dahlke begins a new adventure for Lalla Baines and her zany family of characters. Left standing at the altar by true love Sheriff Caleb Stone Lalla just wants to get away. Rich Aunt Mae to the rescue. She gives Lalla the deed to a piece of property in Arizona where her great Uncle Ed found a gold mine. Since her dad, Noah, has sold his business, bought a new, bright red Jeep, he offers to accompany Lalla to see the gift property. It’s only a matter of hours until Noah is at the bottom of a mining pit with a near dead police officer, Caleb is wondering around the desert wearing nothing except his underwear, and Lalla is plunked down in the middle of yet another murder scene. The only one missing is crack pilot and wannabe P.I., Cousin Pearlie who soon shows up at the local airport. There is a suspicious deputy dubbed ‘Deputy Dumb-ass’ by Noah and a community of local artists who all have something to hide. Mix in a drug cartel, a member of the mob and you’ve got a rollicking escapade that features a downhill roll over in the new Jeep, a million dollar Italian race car, another shooting, a bomb and nonstop action. Oh, did I mention the Emu? RP Dahlke has a unique talent for blending humor, excitement and bigger-than-life characters in her Dead Red series. There are sad moments, moments when we are reminded of real life problems of real life people. But all together A DEAD RED ALIBI kicks off a promising following of Dahlke’s stimulating series. .

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dead Man Falling by Desmond Cory is book for the true adventurer. This action packed ‘walloping’ read is filled page by page with spellbinding questions of who’s who and where are the diamonds. Set in the ruggedly beautiful mountains of Austria the book gleams with vivid descriptions of stunning scenery. Former British agent, Johnny Fedora, alongside his attractive companion, Marie-Andree, board a train under the guise of a couple on their honeymoon. A man is murdered, another man jumps from the train and there is a muscular mountaineer supposed named Johann Beil who is sharing their compartment. Is this in any way connected to Fedora’s search for valuable diamonds? Reaching the Hunting Horn Inn in Oberneusl, Fedora gets his first look at Old Man Mountain. He realizes that somehow his fate is linked to that majestic peak. Will he be the ‘dead man falling’? No one is who they say they are and when dead bodies start stacking up Fedora begins his treacherous climb up the icy Hunting Horn in search of the ‘third hut’ and hopefully the diamonds. His guide is an ‘odd’ boy who just might be the son of the most famous German in history. Dead Man Falling is both exhilarating and gripping. An unexpected ending makes it well worth the read.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A WEDDING AND A KILLING – the latest book in the Mac Faraday series by Lauran Carr is a pleasurable read. Mac is a super rich retired police detective who learned that his biological mother was a famous mystery writer when she left him her multi-million dollar estate. The book is set along the beautiful shores of Deep Lake Creek and begins on a happy note. Mac and his true love, Archie Monday, have planned a ‘pre-wedding’ ceremony, wanting to tie the knot before the major event expected by Archie’s mother. It seemed simple enough – but Gnarly, Mac’s German shepherd spoils the occasion by finding an almost dead body at the chapel. Who would want to shoot a nice church elder that’s just doing his job by counting the Sunday offerings? There is actually a mystery within a mystery in Carr’s new book. It’s a tangled, twisting adventure that adds more dead bodies along the way. Carr devised a very unusual method for dealing with a rich man’s son who thinks that women were born to be abused. You’ll also be surprised at the choice of weapon used in the climax as well as the deciding factor on who committed one murder by a uniquely distinct residue left on the pistol grip. And then there’s Gnarly who, much to his humiliation, has a forced run-in with a Chihuahua. Carr’s characters are lively, her plots complex, there is always just enough humor to set a lighter tone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I've Got You Under My Skin

Mary Higgins Clark didn’t accidentally get her title, “Queen of Suspense” she earned it. Even in her 80’s she still spins a chilling tale that keeps you up late at night, afraid to put the book down in case you miss something. The enchantment of her books; the thing that makes them so spine-tingling, is they could actually happen to you – or me. In I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN a seemingly senseless crime has been committed and a vicious threat shadows a woman and her child. Not knowing why – or when the killer will strike again makes life unbearably difficult for Laurie and her son Timmy. Yet, life must go on. Laurie, a producer of true-crime cold case stories, has focused on a twenty year old murder not knowing that the two, unrelated cases, are coming together with force of an oncoming train. The reader will be startled by the complex, tangled ending with more false clues, suspects and surprises than ever thought imaginable. And – there is that pair of ice blue eyes. . . even they can be deceiving. Review requested by Simon & Schuster

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Grave Blogger

Wanna play a game? Choose from the three-sided dice. Choose A and I cut off your right thumb. Choose B I'll cut off your left thumb. Don't choose and I will be X and choose for you. Raya Landry is a 'Grave Blogger'. Simply put – she writes blogs about cold cases for True Crime websites. It's a solitary life, one Raya loved, until the day she came across a cold case headline, 'Two Decades Later, Bayou Family Slaughter Remains A Mystery'. What was it about that headline, out of hundreds Raya had worked, that reduced the 25 year old, independent woman, awesome internet gamer, to a quivering, crying facsimile of her former self? Donna Fontenot is a true Southerner. Born and raised in Louisiana where the setting of her debut novel takes place. She draws the reader into the Bayou with ease and grace. She paints the picture of Southern charm and a crispy poboy with accuracy and delicious knowledge. Does she also watch Criminal Minds? Getting inside her villain's brain would suggest careful, and time consuming research. What is it that would trigger a violent rage after twenty years? Is the murderous psychopath still living in St. Felicity? Is he, or she, watching innocent victims through equally innocent windows? 'Grave Blogger' introduces us to some unforgettable characters; Raya, Detective Nick Simoneaux, his uncle Perry, psychiatrist Jon Forester, eccentric forensic examiner Dustin and many others. WARNING: This book is not a cozy! If you are not into graphic crime scenes then give it a pass. And, if you are picky there is some lazy editing and typos. Otherwise, if you like the feeling of having to occasionally glance over your shoulder when you are reading, or take a second look before you open that door. . .you will be spellbound by this author's work. Donna Fontenot, will there be a sequel?